Sunday, December 6, 2009


In the past few weeks since Thanksgiving, I have been trying to think of something I am thankful for everyday. The habit has worn off on Scarlett too and every night when she says her bedtime prayers we talk about things that made her happy. A little while ago, her prayer was "Dear God, Thank you for purple. Amen" It was so sweet and sincere it still rings in my ear. There are so many huge blessings in my life to be thankful for--a great husband and kids, a house I love in a city I love, loving and supported extended family--but now I have been trying to be thankful for the small things that bring me joy. Today I am thankful for Honeycrisp apples and pandora radio. Sometimes the simplest things really are big treasures. What are you thankful for?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

I tri'd

Well the time has come for the Iron Girl...The race is tomorrow. Today we have to go pick up papers and set up transition areas and get bikes inspected and ask all of the questions we still have. I am already sick with nerves. I have been training so long I know that I am phisically ready for the race...but I am still not sure how it is going to go. I am pretty worried about the lake swim--somehow I can do it easily in the pool but once I am surrounded by so many others I freak out a little bit. There is a good chance that I will not finish this part of the race, and I will have to go home without a medal around my neck. But I am ok with that. I am really proud of myself for all of the work that I have put into this and feel like I have already accomplished my goal of getting into better shape and trying new things. I know that I will continue to swim and bike and run no matter what happens tommorrow. Even though I have my doubts, I am going to show up in the morning before the sun and do the very best that I can. I am going to keep my mind focused on the scriptures that I memorized and I am going to be an Iron girl regardless. If I do finish this thing, I know that it will not be because of my own strength, but because of His help!
Isaiah 45
1 "This is what the LORD says to his anointed,
to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of
to subdue nations before him
and to strip kings of their armor,
to open doors before him
so that gates will not be shut:

2 I will go before you
and will level the mountains [a] ;
I will break down gates of bronze
and cut through bars of iron.

3 I will give you the treasures of darkness,
riches stored in secret places,
so that you may know that I am the LORD,
the God of Israel, who summons you by name.

4 For the sake of Jacob my servant,
of Israel my chosen,
I summon you by name
and bestow on you a title of honor,
though you do not acknowledge me.

5 I am the LORD, and there is no other;
apart from me there is no God.
I will strengthen you,
though you have not acknowledged me,

6 so that from the rising of the sun
to the place of its setting
men may know there is none besides me.
I am the LORD, and there is no other.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Ensley's a year old!

Today we celebrated Ensley's first birthday. Just to prove to me that he is a big boy, he took several steps on his own and insisted on feeding himself everything. He blew out his candle, ripped open his presents and paired up with his daddy to race his new matchbox cars on the track. Watching him be such a big boy made me proud of him and eager to see what this next year will bring. It also made me flash back to a year ago, when we first met. Just a whiff of a thing, swaddled up and asleep in my arms. I feel so blessed to have had this year with him. He is such a treasure to me--his dimpled smile, inquisitive nature and great sense of humor. As expected, I do feel like his babyhood went way too fast and I will miss dearly the time that we spent being so very close. But I am enjoying this too--this time of becoming his own little person. He's my little dude and he always will be! Happy Birthday Enny-Benny I love you!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

my adventure begins

I am on my way to Chad to visit Kirsten!!!! I am sitting in the Paris airport, 6 dollar coke in hand (a necessity as my body does not compute that it is 930 am alrady!!) and pacing as I wait through my layover. In a few short hours I will be away from everything familiar and dear with the exception of my big sister and her family. I can't believe I will be hugging them so soon! I am missing my family so bad, especially when I see a little toddler or baby. I want to snatch them up and run away. But then I realize how peaceful it is and I appriciate the temporary solitude. I have been burning through my novel and working on sketches that have remained only ideas for 2 months. Every now and then I am shocked at myself that I have traveled all of this way alone--what an adventure! Don't forget to say a quick prayer for me tonight!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Camping adventures

We got brave and decided to take our first family camping trip. The scenery was amazing at the campground that was hosting the weekend-long bluegrass music festival.

We camped with friends who also had kids (misery loves company I guess!) and had a great day and night listening to music and playing in our campsite. Weather was so perfect we even got to enjoy a swim in the Potomac.

Then the hail storm came. At first it was just huge droplets of rain that were welcome relief from the heat. But then the sky got dark. and loud. and angry. The wind gusted, thunder and lightning warned, and we all ran. I was pushing the two kids in our double stroller and doing my best to keep them sheltered while pushing through crowds. Right after we got to a pavilion, hail pelted down. We were all awestruck. The storm lasted what felt like days but ended up being a bit over an hour. Our tent poles were broken, our sleeping bags were floating in icewater and a tent just feet from our was flattened under a massive tree.

Shortly after throwing our sopping wet gear into my in-laws minivan and hitting the highway for a dry, indoor bed, Nate and I were debating the ranking of this trip in our "worst camping experiences" list. It definitely was the wettest (although we both thought of a few that were close runners up!) but the good times made the craziness seem worth it. I can recall camping disasters with my parents growing up and so can Nate. I guess our kids are doomed!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

I'm going places!

The little man is mobile...
brace yourselves!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Peaceful protest


Lately Scarlett has developed a new and interesting form of protest. She does not engage in the full tilt hissy-fit--she's way too cool for that. When she decides that she has had enough, she simply lays her body prostrate. Wherever we are (even gross floors like the doctor's office) she just goes completely limp. This is a particularly powerful weapon, as I am often carrying around her not-yet-moblie younger brother. I then must resort to dragging her floppy body where I need it to go and threatening her through clenched teeth. I have already been chastised by several 'helpful' people about not allowing her to lay there, as if I hadn't noticed the filth layer just beneath her stubborn little cheek. It is not like I approve of my daughter laying face down in the dairy isle, library lobby, and worst of all women's locker room--clearly I am just outwitted. While I do prefer this kind of peaceful protest to the screaming tantrum favored by most of her peers, I do worry that her little arm might get pulled right out of socket! At the end of the dat though, I secretly admire the creativity and determination that she already possessess in spades. I imagine all of the great things she might accomplish one day.
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Thursday, March 19, 2009

For daddy

Nate has to travel for work so this is for him.
We miss you honey.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Triathalon Wednesday ( I give up!)

SO I guess I'll never make it on Tuesday...
This week I lunged till I hurt. (didn't take long)
I also swan half the distance I will swim in the race. When I see others in the pool, I realize how much more practice I need. Luckily I have someone to give me some coaching on Friday! (am a little nervous)
Running has been going well. I have been running to the gym as my warm up and now when I run I am almost having fun (imagine that!)
I really need to ride my bike soon....
Now that spring is almost here I think my training will be much more fun.
Most Irongirl moment of the week:
swimming 4 laps without stopping!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Can you dig it?


To call our house a fixer-upper seems to be a bit of an understatement. It is a huge project that we have been working on since we moved in 9 months ago. The kitchen had to be gutted (thats a picture of it empty) and built again. Same for the bathroom. We bought the house knowing we needed to fix these things and Nate's done a great job of doing these projects so far. We also knew the house was too small and planned to dig out the basement and add on a third story. Right now Nate's office occupies the front half of our bedroom and I think he's getting anxious for his own space (mostly so he can be a slob without me rolling my eys at him!!) We spent a ton of time prepping for the basement dig out--cleaning it out, getting the plans drawn up, choosing a contractor to help out and enlisting a workforce. One of the things we didn't spend much time on was getting city permits. We had been warned about this part of the process, but haven't had to deal with it so far (none of the other projects were so obvious from the outside...) We were given the permit to put the dumpster out on the street to collect the dirt, but denied the permit to remove the dirt. Boo. Seems there were a few dig-outs that resulted in a few rowhomes collapsing. We are confident that our architect/structural engineer has created a plan that would not destabilize the house, but apparently the city is less confident in our plans. Some have suggested digging without the permit. I am wondering if those people will give us a place to stay when the city condems our home.
This is a hurdle, sure. But we are determined ot eek out more living space from our small city home anyway we can, so we are on to plan B (in case anyone cares, I suggesting finishing the basement without digging it out BEFORE we spent 4 digits on the project!!) And from this setback we have gleaned several bits of wisdom:
You can fight City Hall, but why would you want to?
Get any permits you might need sometime BEFORE the day you plan to begin the project.
Make the architect's pay contigent on a sucessful permit!
Don't get your heart set on a project or the powers-that-be will crush your spirit.
Cleaning out your basement is cathartic!
Anyway I am sure there will be many more headaches to come but I wouldn't leave my little rowhouse for anything!!
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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Triathalon Tuesday (late again!!)


I am really sore from yesterday's workout. No pain, no gain, right? I haven't been able to swim this week, but we did go on a family hike and with Ensley on my back that definitely test the endurance! The hike almost didn't happen though...As we were parking, a sickinglt sweet smell wafted up to me from the back seat. Ens was hysterical to get out of his seat. I knew this was not going to be pretty. Without going into all of the gory details, lets just say that even his sock was completely full of poo. Wowza! Luckily I hadn't completely unpacked my car from visiting my parents' so there was a pair of jammies that we could put him in. Ensley seem to enjoy his first hike and I got in a great workout.
My most irongirl moment: holding down a wriggling, poopy 7 month old with one hand while cleaning up the mess with the other and getting no poo on me!! (and finally passing runners--I'm not the slowest anymore!)
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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Triathalon Tuesday ( a day late)

An astute reader of this blog might remember that I made a new year's resolution to finish a triathalon this year.
I have been wanting to update my progress weekly to keep myself accountable. I thought it would be catchy to call it triathalon tuesday (sorry I was too tired last night!)
I have been practicing my swimming about once a week for a month or so. This last time, the lifeguard didn't seem to be ready to leap in to save me. And I didn't swallow any chlorine. But my arms and neck are still sore. And I am starting to be nervous about the big crowd of swimmers the day of the race.
I also ran about three miles and didn't collapse.
I had a personal training session that left me so sore that I couldn't climb the steps for an entire day.
There is definitely some progress (and a long way to go still).
See you next Tuesday (or Wednesday)

Friday, February 27, 2009

Thanks Poppa!


Today my father drove all the way to my house to install a shelf he built for my kitchen. We had to cover up an area behind our cabinets where the wall was out of square by several inches (gotta love 100 year old homes!)
Ikea couldn't fix this kitchen dilema, but my father could. He did a great job--it looks better that I even imagined.
And all the while it was amazingly georgeous weather--he could have enjoyed it working on his own projects. Scarlett was very excited to see her Poppa and so was Ensley. It was a great little visit and my kitchen is really coming together! Thanks Poppa- you're awesome.
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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

six months later


The other day I was marveling that Ensley is almost 7 months old!
Could it be that my little boy used to be that tiny? He has just gotten his second tooth, started practicing a very endearing laugh and sits and rolls and has an "I wish I could crawl" mentality.
He loves to play peek-a-boo and wiggle and splash in the bathtub.
I just caught Nate trying to teach him to say "Dada."
He already has a favorite toy and knows the difference between a real and pretend cell phone!
What happened to that little tiny peanut of a baby?
Looking forward to what happens next.
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Friday, February 20, 2009

What's your love story?

For a project at church, we are collecting love stories. I'm not just talking about romantic love stories, but how loving someone has changed your life. Or maybe how someone showing you love has affected you. It might be a story of generousity, forgiveness, redemption or hope. It doesn't matter what the circumstances are, it is your story. But please tell me your story. Do it here or send it to me--call me, write me, e-mail me, just take a minute this week to share your story with me. Thanks.
I guess it wouldn't be fair for me to ask you to do this without sharing a story of my own.
There are so many examples of people showing me love in my life, my husband, my parents and my siblings have all loved me over and over even when I was completely unloveable. I can still distinctly remember one time in particular.
As a teenager I was lost. I seemed to know the right answers but purposefully chose the opposite. I made a lot of choices that I am not proud of. If there was a rule I wanted to break it, even if it meant sneaking and being dishonest. Trying on this new 'bad girl' skin to see what it was like. Apparently I wasn't very good at it, though--because I got caught. Alot.
One time I got caught (I think it was skipping school or breaking curfew) blatenly disobeying my parent's rules AGAIN. All afternoon I sat in my room dreading the fallout of the event. I practiced giving my parents an indifferent shrug and snide countenance. They came into my room and told me to get in the car. Now I was nervous. We started driving and it was very quiet at first. Then they started talking to me about what I had been doing. Not yelling, but asking and listening. Then I saw where we were going--a little greek restaurant that I hadn't tried before but wanted to. We sat together and talked. We talked about the food--it was good. and we talked about the choices I needed to be making. There was no anger, only love, guidance and forgiveness. When I wnet to sleep that night, I lay there knowing that my parents loved me no matter what. They did not like what I was doing but they liked me, and they always would. I went on to make even more mistakes and I am sure that I will continue to make more, but I know that my Poppa and Mom will love me despite them. This demonstration of their love not only gave me a peace and security all me life, but have given me an even greater gift. Now that I am a mother, I can model myself after them. I can show my children what unconditional love is and give them that gift.
That's my story. What's yours?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Confessions of a deadbeat mother

This morning I was giving art lessons, so I got up very early and made sure everything was clean and ready to go. About 20 minutes before the first students was to arrive, I realized that we had no toilet paper. Knowing that I would have people in the house throughout the day, I decided that it would be super embarrassing to ask guests to use diaper wipes. So to the convenience store one block down I went. Scarlett begged to go on a walk (it was snowing), so I told her if she hurried she could come. She put her own shoes on (wrong feet of course) and put down the marker that she was using to give herself a beard. I threw on the nearest sweatshirt (inside out) and we were on our way. Scarlett spots her wagon and insists on filling it with a random assortment of her "treasures" to drag behind her. Sure, okay...let's go!
I get into the store and grab the paper and hand the guy my card that I always use. I already feel bad about using a card for a $2 pack of TP, but I'm out of cash, so what can I do? He furrows his brow, hands me my card and tells me it has been declined. I ask him to try again--same result. WHAT!?! So I try the ATM. No dice. I tell the guy, "I'm so sorry, I will have to run home and get cash--I'll be right back." The guy hands me the paper and says "Ma'am, really it is no problem, you can bring me the money if you want, but you don't have to." I say I will and run out of the door.
On the walk home, I am wondering, why is this guy trying to just give me the tp? Then I survey the situation. My clothes are disheveled and I have fuzzy slippers on. My daughter has wild hair. She is dragging her possessions behind her in a wagon and her face is smeared with marker. I can't even pay for one lousy roll of paper. This guy must think I am the biggest deadbeat in town! He was giving me the paper because he felt bad for me. Great.
So after getting home and figuring out my banking error (all the money was in the other account...woops). I asked Nate to take the two bucks to the guy--I just couldn't bring myself to do it. Soon enough I will have to pop back in to that store(whenever I am craving dark chocolate m&ms most likely). But next time, I will try really hard not to be a pathetic wreck!!!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I think it should be a law that all grocery stores have a few of those carts with the car in the front. It makes shopping with a toddler and a baby SO much better!! It would drastically reduce the number of carts abandonded as a result of a bored and screaming child.
Also any place that has a changing table in the women's room should also have them in the men's room. Nate had gotten out of some real stinkers with that one!
I am also in support of anything that can be a drive-through. I think the post office and wal-mart should consider this service.
And I would defintiely be able to try clothes or get a haircut if all stores had a play area. Just a thought...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

adventures in potty land

I decided to take advantage of being stuck in the house and encourage Scarlett to potty-train. When we sat down for our morning "project" I made a little chart where Scarlett could put stickers when she used the potty. I was narrating the whole thing, explaining how we would use it. I even showed her the Dora stickers she could have. Surprisingly, she didn't seem all that interested--she would glace over at me but wasn't buying into the whole thing. I let it rest for a little while and then pulled it back out later. I asked her if she wanted to try to use the potty and she did. While she was sitting there, I gave her a sticker and told her we would put it on her potty chart. At this she started freaking out--screaming and running around (with her pants around her ankles). I asked her what was wrong, she yelled "No potty shark! Scarlett's afraid! Potty shark bite." And then I understood why she had no enthusiasm for the potty chart. After much explanation and enunciation, I did calm her down but she will NOT go on the potty. Poor little thing--I've probably given her a lifetime's worth of bathroom anxiety!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Cabin Fever

Even though I do not work, I can hardly be called a stay-at-home mom. Really I am a run-around-town mom. I can create a list of errands a mile long when I want to. By Sunday, my week is often double and triple booked with playdates, story times and trips. Having Ensley around didn't really slow us down much either--not at first. But now it is cold out. This means I have to bundle up three people with 3-4 layers. If I am lucky enough to know where everyone's hats, coats and gloves are, then I unvariably will have to do a diaper change once we are all assembled. Last week I did all this to go to storytime at the library and stop over at the post office. Both kids screamed on the way home because the biting wind was freezing their poor little noses off. And now Ensley is on a schedule. Don't get me wrong, this really is a good thing, but the whole nap thing has really thrown a wrench in the works. He takes a morning and late afternoon nap and Scarlett takes one wedged right in-between. This means I can only get out between 7:30 (unshowered-yuck) and 9am or wait until 4pm when they are both up. But I have to get dinner started by 5 or 5:30 so the afternoon trip has to be short. I have been in this stinkin house since church on Sunday morning. It is not that big of a house and I am a little tired of it. I have packages to be mailed,dry cleaning to drop off and even a few Chistmas exchanges to take care of still. Unprecedented!! As a cruel joke, Safeway is delivering my groceries for free tomorrow. I hate lugging around bags of groceries with both kids in tow, but this is getting ridiculous. I might become a crazy recluse as a result of this cold snap, forgetting how to interect with actual human beings (other than through blogs and Facebook, of course). I do not know when on Earth I will get out and get my eyebrows done--I am starting to look like Bert! (I guess the upside is that who will see me to notice?!?!?!?)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

my two cents

I am an unabashed music lover. Nate calls my music "wussy man rock." I don't know what to call it, but admit he is not too far off the mark. I love music so much that I have to carefully guard my itunes addiction or I will spend our mortgage on mp3s. But once a month I do buy an album. Half of the fun is discovering new music that I haven't heard before, so I will share my favorites with you. If it isn't your kind of music just ignore this post. If it is, please to enjoy (in no particular order) my favorite albums of 2008:
Micheal Franti & Spearhead-All Rebel Rockers
Various artists-Yo Gabba Gabba
Brett Dennen-Hope For the Hopeless
The Weepies-Hideaway
Jack Johnson-Sleep through the Static
Vampire Weekend-Vampire Weekend
Sia-Some People Have Real Problems
Ray LaMontagne-Gossip in the Grain
Thao-We Brave Bee Stings and All
Amos Lee-Last Days at the Lodge
Josh Kelley-Special Company
Bob Dylan-Bootleg Series vol.8

Tell me what your favorites were.

Friday, January 9, 2009

small victories

It is a rare moment...
The house is quiet, no one is screaming, crying or throwing up. I believe we are turning a corner.
Life has been hectic because Ensley has not been feeling well, which means he hasn't been sleeping well, which means we are all tired. It was so hard to see my little baby crying and not be able to fix it. Plus he has projectile vomited on me 6 times in the last 3 days. To quote Scarlett, "not awesome."
All of the sleep deprivation was getting to me. Poor Nate had to tolerate quite a few snide comments. I will make it up to you honey, I promise. I had to miss my spinning class at the gym, which made me feel depressed and I ate two dark chocolate batons from Trader Joes. This is not Iron Girls behavior. Although carrying both sleeping children from the alley into their beds the other night was a feat of strength. I read that you burn more calories during an activity if you concentrate on burning calories, so I thought about my skinny jeans while I was toting the laundry up and down 3 flights of steps. I guess that counts for something.
But I did send out a birthday card and met up with a woman that I am going to start volunteering with. Small victories that are keeping me sane.
Well, I hear the prince fussing now. It was nice while it lasted!