Monday, November 29, 2010

One thousand gifts and still counting (1172-1191)

1172. Friends over for Thanksgiving dinner.
1173. Friends over for dinner on Black Friday.
1174. Returning writers at 66 Books.
1175. Unsolicited email that reads, "I'm in!"
1176. Nighttime grocery run with Lanie.
1177. The wandering cow at Chik-fil-A that high-fived Erin.
1178. M&Ms gifted.
1179. Finding God in the wilderness.
1180. A book for $4.99 with a $3.50-off coupon. Fairy tales by Hans Christian Andersen.
1181. Snow Queens.
1182. The last sweet, creamy sip of coffee in the mug.
1183. Propane heat.
1184. Blankets.
1185. Peanut butter cookies shaped like reindeer.
1186. A house full of kids running around.
1187. Laughter around the table.
1188. Friends who moonlight as piano movers.
1189. Music in our house.
1190. Divine humor.
1191. Socks with holes.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Still full

A full table. Kids playing. Fresh herbs, rain washed. Pumpkin dip. Hollow pie (or humble pie). Golden turkey. And, oh, the soup! Good smells. Good friends. Good time.

Traveler on the road

When it comes to loving a neighbor, there are no insults or repayments of evil. There is no passing by and pretending someone doesn’t exist.
Writing today at 66 Books.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Turkey talk

I got up just after seven and walked into a kitchen that looked like someone had spent the night baking. Lots of prep work, and a feeling of "hurry up and wait." Turkey cooking. Potatoes baking. Other stuff planned out through the day with start and end times. The house smells wonderful.

Erin decided last night to boycott turkey.

"Well are you going to eat other stuff?" I asked.

"What kind of stuff?" she wondered.

"Well, there's stuff. And stuffy stuff. And other stuff. But don't eat the stuffy, stuffy stuff," I joked.

She laughed.

Today, she was mesmerized by Jack's Big Music Show. She sang and danced along with it. As I fixed her some juice and gave her a big hug, she shared these thoughts, "You know the mom on Jack's Big Music Show? I saw her open the door, but I didn't see her."

"You can hear her voice," I commented.

"Yes. But I think she's invisible."


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Like a junkie

I had been watching a boxed set of Beatrix Potter books on eBay. The auction had just over a day left on it. It was for all twenty-three books--the cute, perfect for a three-year-old size like the library has. I was almost drooling. The starting offer was $19.99.

I curiously tapped in a few dollar bids to see where the threshold was. Then I decided I would wait to put in my real, final, not chasing after this item bid. The kids and I went to a bounce house place and jumped the morning away with a friend. Then we had lunch out, a novelty--being visited by a costumed employee who looked like a cow. Erin invited him to her birthday party. He nodded yes. They high fived.

I got home with at least fifty-five minutes to spare on the auction. Christy called and we chatted.

"Do you want to witness the moment?" I asked.

"Sure." So we chatted some more.

Four minutes. Three minutes.

"You should get your bid ready," she suggested. Amateur. I was going to wait. But she started to get me distracted with a new thread in the conversation so I told her to be quiet.

Fifty seconds. Forty.

"Should I ready the bid?"


I put in my numbers, and with eleven seconds, sent it in. I was top bidder.

"Listen for it!" I said. "Six, five, four--NO, NO, NO! I got outbid!"

"Oh!" We laughed. "I thought you had it. I was sure you had it!"

"I know! Somewhere, someone is LAUGHING that they snatched it away!" It was actually rather entertaining.

Win some. Lose some.

Monday, November 22, 2010

One thousand gifts and still counting (1156-1171)

A piano of our own

Christmas tree patterns and advent pockets
Sewing with a friend at the kitchen counter
Her homemade rolls
And her kindness in everything

Sleepy looking old man waiting for his wife to finish up shopping
His sweet smile when I said hello

Long grocery lines
and cheery patron faces
Quietly Chamomile tea

Gifted dulce de leche

Deck the Halls played by Lanie. Fa la la la la, la la la la!
Intentional friends
Christmas lights, before Thanksgiving

Keep counting at A Holy Experience.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

In the eye of the beholder

It was dark when we drove to church last night. I took the back road detour. As we drove along a quiet street, Shane muttered with disapproval, "Christmas lights. Before Thanksgiving."

Just as he finished speaking, Erin perked up and joyfully said, "WOW! Look at the Christmas house!"

I chuckled.

"I love my window!" she said.

And I melted.

It wasn't the window--she and Shane had the same view. It was her heart.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010

One thousand gifts and still counting (1135-1155)

God is awesome. So thankful for:

1135. Acceptance.
1136. Widowers loved and remembered.
1137. And the people who love and remember them.
1138. A beautiful skyline in the sideview mirror.
1139. Free turkey.
1140. A visit from my dad.
1141. Crafty friends.
1142. Coconut M&Ms to give away.
1143. Saturdays at church.
1144. The writers on 66 Books who show up every day. We're in the home stretch of our second year and I feel JOY.
1145. Fresh figs.
1146. Nightmares replaced by happy dreams.
1147. Heroes and she-roes who serve and have served this country.
1148. Movie night with the ladies.
1149. Coffee and donuts with my girl.
1150. A really great hug.
1151. Entertaining unexpected guests.
1152. Prayer.
1153. Lollipop trees.
1154. A cozy bed.
1155. Thanks that spills out of my kids' mouths while creating a mantle leaf garland.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The love language of thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I guess I just like it for its simplicity: spending time with people I love, singing thanks in my heart, enjoying good food. (Is food a love language?)

This year, I'm changing things up just a little.

The menu:

Spinach, bacon and onion dip (Nov. 2010 issue of Everyday Food)
Feta, scallions and tomatoes with french bread slices

Bacon corn chowder (Shane wants to know who, besides me, serves soup at Thanksgiving. I see nothing wrong with it.)
Salad (of some sort)
Luxurious mashed potatoes with roasted garlic and thyme
Cauliflower gratin (Nov. 2010 issue of Everyday Food)
Maple whipped sweet potatoes (Nov. 2010 issue of Everyday Food)
Sausage stuffing (as in, the holiday is OFF if this isn't on the table)

Apple pie with ice cream
Pumpkin bread pudding with dulce de leche (Nov. 2010 issue of Everyday Food)

With the house being on the market, I'm having a hard time getting into the overall holiday spirit. It's almost as if I don't feel like we live here anymore and this house isn't ours. So far, the closest I've gotten to putting fall's stamp on our home is the pumpkin pie scented candle I burn in the kitchen sometimes and this leafy craft of giving thanks that adorns our mantle.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The chocolate in the freezer

The day after Halloween, I told the girls they could choose three candies a day from their Halloween bags. Erin carried her bag with her nearly every place she went. Lanie was quick to notice Erin's chocolates getting melty when set in the sunny spots on the floor.

"We should put Erin's chocolates in the freezer," she said. Smart girl. So we put the chocolates in the freezer.

Each day, Erin and Lanie selected their three choices. And from time to time, I would go to the freezer and get a misshapen Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. Oh gosh, does anyone see where I'm going with this?

A few neighbors handed out full sized candy bars, including a lovely Hershey's milk chocolate. The day I snuck off with that one was memorable. I opened the wrapper carefully, because while my kids can't seem to hear me when I'm less than arm's length from them, they are keenly attuned to the sound of any treat wrapper being opened. Then I ate the chocolate.

Yesterday, Erin lamented being out of candy.

"Mommy, can you put some more candy in my bag?" she asked.

"Oh, honey, you get three treats a day while the Halloween candy lasts. It's not three treats forever," I explained.

"But Mommy, I had some chocolate in the freezer," she said. Does this kid take echinacea? "I had a really big chocolate bar."

I couldn't look at her. I remained silent. Oh, I was going to have some explaining to do.

"Mommy, did you eat my chocolate bar?" she asked.

"Oh Erin!" I exclaimed apologetically. "I'm sorry! I will get you another one."

"I knew you would eat it," she said to my astonishment. "But that's ok. I still love you."

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Having to laugh at the whatever in Whatever Monday Brings thankful item 1134.

I woke up to Lanie's cries at 5 a.m. from a nightmare. I comforted her and decided I might as well stay up since I was working at the co-op that day. I went to leisurely cruise the internet in search of a crafty template for a homemade advent calendar.

I found this cute little snowflake flurry calendar. And this adorable circle tree calendar. And, thanks to a friend who is going to help me sew with my sewing machine, we will be attempting to recreate this masterpiece, a la Pottery Barn Kids. (In fact, we just got all the supplies today. Yay!)

But while I was scooting around to another crafty site, I managed to pick up two viruses. Lights flashed on the computer, and a total cyber meltdown was about to ensue. I called Shane.

"I'm at work," he said. "I really can't do anything from here. But don't click anything that reads exe."

So I headed over to a software site and download the things I should have had to begin with and fix the problem. At that point, I was running late for school: wake up kids, get all dressed, teeth brushed, food fixed, lunches too, tidy house, into the car, get to school. Pant, pant.

Nearly had a table fall on me. Almost had fingers smashed twice from table legs that weren't locked. There were a couple of other things too that, fortunately, made me laugh.

But what I was really hoping to be thankful for was a decision we were waiting to hear at the end of the day. It was good. And I'm thankful.

Side note: Who's the creep who puts computer viruses on Christmas Advent Calendar sites? Scrooge! That is messed up. And you owe me $40. (As far as I know, the sites linked above are safe. Cruise away.)

Monday, November 8, 2010

One thousand gifts and still counting (1121-1134)

1121. The wrestle of understanding ... shoes on other feet ... Him in the middle.
1122. Peace and hope in the waiting.
1123. Anticipation.
1124. Pumpkin streusel cake, gifted.
1125. Wednesday play dates.
1126. A fall picnic at the park, cold winds, runny noses and red hands.
1127. Free gourmet cupcakes.
1128. Vacuumed carpet.
1129. Chocolate in the freezer.
1130. Quiet time.
1131. Thanksgiving menus to plan.
1132. Clean films.
1133. Girls' morning out with Lanie on Sundays.
1134. Whatever Monday brings.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Happy thanksgiving

It took years of dealing with my own stubbornness trying to find my own solution that had to do with anything else but reconciliation. Relationships can get messy. Comments can still hurt.  But unforgiveness hurts worse, and it hurts everyone involved–be it the person unforgiving, the one unforgiven, or the bystanders caught in the middle.

Writing today at 66 Books

I used to think it was perfectly acceptable to love someone and not like them at the same time. Until I really looked at what love is and saw what it's not.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

She loves me, she loves me not

Carrying a three year old up the steps with bedtime protests, teeth brushing protests, pajama protests. I tried to appeal to her on a common ground, "How did you like your cupcake? Did it taste like mint?"

We got a free foursome from an area cupcake company: grasshopper, tiramisu, red velvet, strawberry mousse. They were delivered, free of charge, in the rain, with a smile, to my door. If the kids hadn't been home when I received them, I would have eaten them all. As it was, they saw the cupcakes and picked them out before I could lay claim on a single one. (I got red velvet, the last choice. A mother's plight ...)

She shook her head.

"Did it taste like grasshoppers?"

Grumpy headshakes. "NO!"

"Mine was red. And you know what it tasted like?" She waited intently. "Red!"

A half smile. "For real?" she asked.

I got her dressed and settled in bed, hugging, kissing and squeezing on her.

"Stop squeezing me! Stop kissing me!"

"I can't help it--that's what mamas do. They love their babies. And their three year olds. And when you're four, I'll love you more!"

"No! Don't love me!"

Goodnight wishes and into the hall, I opened Lanie's door to a darkened room and lean over to kiss her. She holds on tight and doesn't want to let go.

"I love you so much. I want to marry you!" She tells me this often. We made a date for tomorrow morning, that she would come join me for cuddles before breakfast.

"Goodnight!" she called as I closed the door. "Love you!"

"Goodnight. I love you."  Because that's what mamas do.


Lanie has been wiggling a tooth for weeks. I watched her working on it tonight.

"That tooth is going to come out soon!" I said.

"I know!" she exclaimed. She's been waiting.

"I hope the tooth fairy has some dollars on her," I said. I happen to know she's been spending time at Panera lately--the tooth fairy, that is.

"I know it's you, Mom."


Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Erin's request for dinner, "Betchables."


Leaving the polling center, Erin says loudly and proudly, "Vote for Kaelyn and Becca!" (Our friends and next-door neighbors' daughters.)


Erin got a new pair of shoes that light up, like Lanie's. She's so excited to have them, I no longer have to put socks and shoes on her feet. She does it all on her own.


Last night, I was too tired to stay up and read. Shane told me he was going to bed and I said I was following. I was a few minutes behind him, and as I entered the darkened room, he waited till I walked past and made a sinister sound and reached out and grabbed my shoulder. I screamed. Then I girlie smacked him down while he howled with laughter. The whole time he was brushing his teeth, I could hear him laughing.

"We'll see if you're still laughing when there's no sandwich in your lunch tomorrow!" I threatened. He just kept laughing. (I made the sandwich anyway.)


Lanie has been a self-starter and taking initiative to help around the house. I was telling Shane about how helpful she's been, when I caught Erin reaching into the silverware drawer and heading over to the table. She was setting the table ... with baby spoons.


In jest (well, sort of, not really) I said, "Raise your hand if you think we should have another baby!" Lanie and I raised our hands. Erin said, "Raise your hand if you think we should have ice cream!" I was outnumbered.

Monday, November 1, 2010

One thousand gifts and still counting (1100-1120)

1100. Seat heaters in the car.
1101. Crunchy leaves.
1102. Harvest parties.
1103. Backseat laughing.
1104. A great day at the zoo.
1105. House showings.Three in a row.
1106. Roller coasters.
1107. Banana chocolate chip bread to go.
1108. Hard cries.
1109. And the peace that follows.
1110. Cerebral retreats.
1111. Long-distance phone calls.
1112. Neighborly invitations.
1113. Book binges.
1114. Band-aids.
1115. Apple fritters, shared.
1116. Hugs.
1117. Good friends.
1118. Breakfast out with my eight year old.
1119. And a donut run for the three year old.
1120. A trick-or-treat with the girls.