Friday, December 31, 2010

2011 To Do List...

I didn't make any goals for this last year because at the end of 2009 my main goal was to merely survive. Survive school, survive PPD/Anxiety, Survive motherhood. I'm happy to report that I'm in a much better place and 2010 was a far improvement over 2009. Not only did I survive motherhood but I'm the healthiest and happiest I've been in years. I graduated with my masters degree from Yale, I found my first "real" job, we moved across the country again, it was a busy almost surreal year.

I imagine that 2011 may also be one of more changes. Possible moves, job changes, Marcus maybe returning to school, but I also have many specific goals for this upcoming year that I really hope I can stick to, and even if I can't or won't I just really like the practice of making lists and goals.

1.) Start some kind of retirement account. We're big kids now and need to get on this. I think I'm going to open a Roth IRA, but I need to do some more research.

2.) Pay off our credit cards. We've never carried a balance until now. Between our cross-country move, a few months of unemployment, and our stupid car for the first time we have a balance and I don't like it at all.

3.) Start running/exercising. I really need to make this part of my everyday again. It just makes me feel so much better when I do.

4.) Read 150 books
As a subset of this goal:
a). Read 50 books that I already own and haven't yet read (I own 68 that I haven't read yet oops).
b.) Read 5 presidential autobiographies or biographies (eventually I would like to read one for each president)
c). read more theological related books

5.) Meal plan... *sigh* food and meals are really the downfall of my existence I suck at it. I don't cook, I don't particularly like food, I hate grocery shopping more than almost anything, but if Marcus and I could come up with something that works for this we would be so much happier with life. It's been an ongoing struggle for our 7 years of marriage.

6.) Organize/file/throw away the stuff I've been carrying around for decades. (I'm a pack rat and keep everything and Marcus bless him has watched me pack it up and move it across the country and back). I really need to force myself to re-evaluate the things I keep. For example do I really need every birthday card from my 14th birthday? Probably not and yet I have them all...)

I think that's about it for now I'll see if anything comes to me. Hope everyone has a happy and safe new years. Bring on 2011!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 My Year in Books: Total Read 133...

1. Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage by Elizabeth Gilbert
2. Quiet Strength: The Principles, Practices, and Priorities of a Winning Life by Tony Dungy
3. Religious Experiences and Journal of Jarena Lee: A Preachin' Woman by Jarena Lee

4. Birthing the Sermon: Women Preachers on the Creative Process by Jana Childers
5. One and the Same: My Life as an Identical Twin and What I've Learned About Everyone's Struggle to Be Singular by Abigail Pogrebin
6. Growth in Partnership by Letty Russell
7.  From Pieces to Weight: Once Upon a Time in Southside Queens by 50 Cent
8.  Dear John by Nicholas Sparks
9.  Forrest Gump by Winston Groom
10.  Dreamland by Sarah Dessen
11. The Things We Do For Love by Kristin Hannah
12. Pauli Murray and Caroline Ware; 40 years of Letters in Black and White by Anne Firor Scott
13. Little Bee by Chris Cleave 

14. The Associate - John Grisham
15. The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency - Alexander McCall Smith
16. My Life in France - Julia Child
17. The Souls of Black Folk - W.E.B DuBois
18. Balancing Act - Meera Godbole Krishnamurthy
19. The Lost Symbol - Dan Brown
20. Notebooks - Tennessee Williams
21. From Old Notebooks - Evan Lavender-Smith
22. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down - Anne Fadiman 

23. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
24. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
25. Like Water For Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
26. Dark Testament and Other Poems by Pauli Murray 
27. Finders Keepers by Karin Kallmaker 
28. The Orange Girl by Jostein Gaarder 
29. The Chosen by Chaim Potok
30. Serena by Ron Rash
31. Look Again by Lisa Scottoline 
32. Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
33. On Writing by Stephen King
34. Highest Duty: My Search for What Really Matters by Chesley B. Sullenberger
35. Song Yet Sung by James McBride
36. Just Hospitality by Letty Russell 
37. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer 
38. Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics by Margaret Farley 
39. Church in the Round: Feminist Interpretation of Church by Letty Russell 

40. A Separate Peace by John Knowles
41.  Empire Falls by Richard Russo
42. Overcoming Speechlessness: A Poet Encounters the Horror in Rwanda, Eastern Congo and Palestine/Israel by Alice Walker
43. Morrie: In His Own Words by Morrie Schwartz
44. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
45. Cop on Loan by Jeannie Watt
46. Wildflower Bride by Mary Connealy
47. The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell
48. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levitthan
49. I'm looking Through To You: Growing Up Haunted: A Memoir by Jennifer Finney Boylan
50. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
51. The Opposite of Me by Sarah Pekkanen
52. Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffen

53. The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards
54. Moon Called by Patricia Briggs
55. Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog: The Amazing Adventures of An Ordinary Women by Lisa Scottoline
56. The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner: An Eclipse Novella by Stephanie Meyer
57. The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of A Shattered Rock Star by Nikki Sixx
58. When Chicago Ruled Baseball: The Cubs-White Sox World Series of 1906 by Bernard A. Weisberger
59. March by Geraldine Brooks
60. Orange is the New Black: My Year in A Women's Prison by Piper Kerman
61. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
62. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
63. The Irresistible Henry House by Lisa Grunwald
64. Snow Apples by Mary Razzell

65. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

66. Theodore Boone, Kid Lawyer John Grisham
67. Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever Mem Fox
68. Uglies Scott Westerfeld
69. Dead Man Walking Sister Helen Prejean
70. The Virgin Suicides Jeffrey Eugeides
71. Down Came the Rain: My Journey Through Postpartum Depression Brooke Shields 
72. The Help Kathryn Stockett
73. Shadows on Society Hill by Evelyn Coleman 
74. Stolen Innocence: My Story Growing up in a Polygamous Sect, Becoming a Teenage Bride, and Breaking Free of Warren Jeffs by Elissa Wall
75. Pretties by Scott Westerfeld
76. Specials by Scott Westerfeld
77. Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs
78. Firstlight: The Early Inspirational WRitings of Sue Monk Kidd by Sue Monk Kidd
79. Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs
80. Brothel: Mustang Ranch and Its Women by Alexa Albert 
81. The Running Man by Stephen King
82. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

83. Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs
84. Girls in Pants: The Third Summer of the Sisterhood by Ann Brashares
85. Life, After by Sarah Darer Littman
86. Forever in Blue by Ann Brashares
87. Salvation on Sand Mountain: Snake Handling and redemption in Souther Appalachia by Dennis Covington
88. The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
89. The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd
90. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collings
91. The Summer Before by Ann M. Martin
92. Best Friends Forever by Jennifer Weiner

93. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
94. First Comes Love, Then Come Malaria: How A Peace Corps Poster Boy Won My Heart and a Third World Adventure Changed My Life By Eve Brown-Waite
95. Purge by Sarah Darer Littman
96. A Million Little Pieces by James Frey
97. The Horseman's Secret by Jeannie Watt
98. Trumpet: A Novel by Jackie Kay
99. Cleaving: A Story of Marriage, Meat, and Obsession by Julie Powell 
100. Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner by Dean Karzazes 

101. Once a Runner by John L. Parker Jr.
102. Bitter is the New Black by Jen Lancaster
103. Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan
104. Looking for Alaska by John Green

105. Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
106. Jesus Land by Julia Sheeres
107. The Ivy by Lauren Kunze
108. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor
109. Labor of Love: The Story of One Man's Extraordinary Pregnancy by Thomas Beatie

110. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
111. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
112. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
113. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
114. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
115. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
116. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
117. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
118. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
119. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

120. Let it Snow by John Green et al
121. Call Me Mrs. Miracle by Debbie Macomber
122. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
123. Finding Noel by Richard Paul Evans
124. A Christmas Caroline: A Novel by Kyle Smith
125. The Autobiography of Santa Claus by Jeff Guinn
126. Wishin' and Hopin': A Christmas Story by Wally Lamb
127. A Season of Gifts by Richard Peck
128. Evensong by Gail Godwin
129. Christmas Jars by Jason Wright
130. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
131. The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney
132. The Confession by John Grisham
133. The Perfect Love Song by Patti Callahan Henry 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas Recap...

Christmas was different this year, but wonderful. It was different because for the first time in our 7 years of marriage we didn't have to travel for Christmas. We stayed home in our own house, we didn't have to worry about snow, flight delays, the kinds of presents which could be transported easily across the country. It was wonderful.

It was also different because for the first in 7 years I wasn't on winter break from school, instead I was in the midst of one of works busiest season. My in-laws traveled the 2 hours to spend the holidays with us, and although I really suck at hosting, it was nice to have some family.

Our christmas eve involved Marcus and I finishing our shopping (this was also a first we're usually finished before then) while my in-laws watched the babies. Then after a quick nap for all of us we headed off to church, which also happens to be my work.

We were there before anyone and we sat and listened to the bell choir rehearse. Emerson was so enthralled with the music. Every time they finished a song she immediately started signing "more, more".
Me in my church.

The worst part of the service was that both Eli & Emerson could see me up front and they kept putting their arms up for me. In the middle of reading the scripture Emerson freaked out and started screaming for me. Marcus ran out of the sanctuary but I could still hear her. Let me tell you that it's really hard to focus on reading when you can hear your child screaming. At other points though when they weren't yelling it was cute to see them wave to me up front.

After church we all came home and took a few pictures,
Our Family of four

Eli & Emerson with their Granddad and Gram

The six of us

Me & Emmy

Then we had some snacks. Emmy was having some eggnog with Gram

Eli was hanging out with his dad (Why we're all on the kitchen floor I have no idea)

Then we opened our matching Christmas pajamas and posed for a picture (kind of)

Then Marcus and Emmy did some gymnastics or something.

After all that the babies went to bed and we all tried to watch a Christmas Carol but we didn't get very far before we were all to exhausted and went to bed.

Then the next morning...

SANTA CAME! The babies were so much fun this year. They just played and played with all their new toys.

They got a new kitchen with they both love

A  basketball hoop. (We're trying to channel some of Eli's throwing issues into an appropriate forum. So our new thing is Eli we just throw balls in the basket). 

They also got a double stroller (just like theirs) and new baby dolls. Neither of them is the least bit intersted in the dolls. At one point they put their new toothbrushes and the pots and pans into the stroller but didn't care much about the babies. Often they would dump the babies out and run right over them.

A new table and chairs. 

They were not however interested in opening their presents. 

Not at all.

Eli helping Granddad open a present

Marcus and the hose (He was super excited about this)

Emmy and Gram

After opening all the presents at our house and after the babies had a nap we went over to my brothers and met up with a couple of my sisters do exchange a few presents with them. We were over there for a few hours and then came home.

Christmas night I ended up feeling a little sick and spent the remainder of my Christmas writing a sermon for church the next morning (which was also a first). 

I woke up incredibly sick on sunday morning but managed to get through the two services before coming home and sleeping. It was an exhausting christmas but one of the best I've had in a really long time. The babies were just so much fun and it was so nice not to have to travel.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


My christmas post is coming soon I just haven't had the energy to put it together. Eli, Emerson and I are all sick and we spent the day lying on the couch..., well I was lying on the couch, Emerson was laying on me, and Eli was also laying on me. We were a pathetic pile of sick, but I did enjoy the cuddling with the babies.

Emerson also had a very important milestone today. She finally alerted me that she needed a new diaper. First she brought me the wipes and then tugged on her old diaper, then she brought me over a clean diaper and laid down so I could change it. Brilliant!

This is the first time she's shown any kind of awareness I hope she keeps it up, and I we're all feeling better soon.

Hope everyone had a good holiday.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Surrendering Our Expectations...

After discovering we were expecting twins I created a fantasy of what Christmas 2009 would look like. I imagined Marcus and I dressed for church, each holding one of our babies contently in our arms, (and of course they would be dressed in coordinating outfits). The candlelight singing of silent night would bring the evening to a close. What I imagined was absolute perfection, a perfect first Christmas as a family of four.

The reality was slightly different. The babies were 7 months old at the time and the service was past bedtime, both were restless, both had dirty diapers which required me to leave the sanctuary on multiple occasions to change them, and I stood in the back bouncing a baby for the better part of the evening trying to keep them quiet. Emerson also decided that she wanted to entertain those sitting around us by making faces, blowing spit bubbles and sticking out her tongue. And holding a lit candle with babies who like to grab at everything not such a smart idea, in fact it is an incredibly bad idea. Yet, despite my reality being so different than what I envisioned I was content.

No, it wasn't the perfect evening I had envisioned the year before, not even close.  However, throughout our three year battle with infertility, while waiting and praying for our family, we learned that in life things often do not go exactly as planned or expected.

Our own Christmas narrative teaches us this. Mary, young, unwed and unexpectedly pregnant, required to travel on a donkey hugely pregnant, to ultimately deliver Jesus, the Christ child, in a cave surrounded by animals. I am certain none of which Mary or Joseph anticipated, envisioned or expected.

Advent is the season of hopeful anticipation; a time to reflect on the arrival of an unexpected messiah whose birth would change and transform our world. My own wait, struggle, and anticipation for a family, and the chaos of life with twins that ensued, is a reminder that we sometimes must surrender our expectations to God as Mary and Joseph did so long ago.

Merry Christmas 2010. 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I think the full moon/eclipse...

brought out the crazy in people. Yesterday was my day off and I went into the office today and was met with one ridiculous drama after another. I really wish I could be more specific but it's probably not appropriate for me to discuss the crazy in a public forum.

So in adorable baby news we taught Eli & Emerson Ring around the Rosy and they are hysterical. They have a whole set of rules

1.) All four of us must play or it's not good enough for them. I was trying to play with just Eli & Emmy but that was unacceptable and Eli went and got his dad.

2.) Eli & Emerson must hold each others hands. Marcus and I tried alternating ourselves but this was unacceptable as well and both Eli & Emerson went and found the other.

3.) This isn't so much a rule, but babies trying to hold hands is a more complicated task then I anticipated, it always takes them a couple of attempts to get it right, but then it's super cute.

4.) The falling down part is still not fully understood. Today Emerson walked over to me and then fell onto my lap.

5.) Laughing the entire time seems to be a requirement

6.) And signing "more" as soon as "we all fall down" is essential, so we repeat and repeat and repeat.

They're just so adorable these days.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Baking & Cooking makes me feel stupid...

Generally speaking I'd consider myself to be fairly intelligent. Yet, for some reason I cannot cook or bake without screwing something up. This started in 7th grade home ec, where I burnt my rice Krispie treats, didn't turn the oven on for my chocolate chip cookies, forgot the flour in the snicker-doodles, and turned my orange julius green.

Then in 10th grade I took a foods class and didn't fair much better. My attempts to make Potato Cheese soup always ends with Marcus and I in a fight, and it's really just not something I enjoy. Yet, there's something about Christmas that requires baking. My mom used to make dozens and dozens of cookies each christmas and it was always one of my favorite parts of the holidays. So in an attempt to make the holidays happy and cheerful for my children I'm attempting to make Christmas cookies for the first time and I've already screwed up and had to throw an entire batch of sugar cookies away.

Apparently, when the recipe requires the "creaming" of ingredients it's important to follow that step. I just threw everything in a bowl together and noticed the creaming part too late. I figured it would be fine... it was not. *sigh* At least round two of the sugar cookies went better, it does indeed seem to work better when the creaming of ingredients occurs.


In a totally unrelated note Emmy did the most adorable thing today. Eli and Emmy were both laying down drinking their bottles. Emerson looked over and noticed that Eli's blanket was not with him.

So she stood up, grabbed his blanket, and brought it over to  Eli. Then returned to her spot on the floor, laid back down and continued drinking her own bottle. So incredibly adorable.

Later, Eli brought Emerson her blanket. As she reached for it Eli snatched it back, and took off running at full speed. Trying to persuade Emerson to chase him. This is how he repaid her for her thoughtfulness  haha.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Super busy week...

I haven't had a day off all week and I'm exhausted. I knew this time of year would be extra busy at work but I didn't fully anticipate how that would make me feel physically. The exhaustion coupled with the car breaking stress and some other issues has left me spent.

Luckily, my dad drove over yesterday to fix our car. Turns out the mechanics who "fixed" our car last week forgot to put some vital screws back in, which then resulted in some more problems. Me = not happy with the mechanics. I want a refund or a reduction in what we paid at the very least.

Yesterday and today has been all about work. We had our dress rehearsal for the Christmas program yesterday and then the actual performance was today. I grew up in a small church where there wasn't a lot of competition for space. Our church has been slammed with activities and each one required a different set up.

Last night the church hosted a musical concert for the community. The performers insisted that we strip the sanctuary including removing 7 pews from our choir loft, and moving 100 poinsettias, plus the altar and a bunch of other things (most of which ended up in my office but that's a whole other issue).

Then everything had to be put back in for our 8:30am worship service, and then it had to be rearranged yet again for the children's program at 9:15 (but first the choir had a brief rehearsal in the sanctuary, why they weren't in their choir room I have no idea).

Then after the children's program we had to bring in even more poinsettias plus move everything around again. It was exhausting. The program went really well and the congregation had only positive things to say. I'm just glad it's over.

Although some of the kids just crack me up. Yesterday at our rehearsal I had the following conversation with a little 4 year old.

4 year old: Do you live here?

Me: Nope I just work in the church but I have a different home.

4 year old: Do you work here everyday or just sunday? (which is a surprisingly common question/assumption especially among my brother-in-laws and they're much older than 4).

Me: I have some days off each week.

4 year old: Does God live here?

Me: Well kind of but not really... God lives everywhere

4 year old: Where is God?

Me: um... well God is everywhere all the time and in our hearts.

She pondered this thoughtfully for a few moments and then went back to talking with her cousin. haha, sometimes it's the kids that ask the best/most challenging questions.

Now onto the Christmas eve services and the sunday morning service on the 26th. I need a vacation.

Friday, December 17, 2010

It's still there...

A few sundays ago my church had a prayer request from a couple that had been trying to conceive for five years.  The way we do prayer requests in our church is to write them on slips of paper which are then given to the pastor during our joys and concerns time, so they can be given anonymously if desired.

Immediately both Marcus and I felt a kinship and compassion for this unknown couple. I so badly wanted to know who in my congregation was hurting so I could offer some kind of personal support. The sting and pain of infertility (especially around the holidays) is still so incredibly vivid. The celebration and joy of the birth of a christ child, the pews full of families, and our arms empty for several years.

I feel fortunate that in my job I have found many opportunities to use my experiences with IF and other reproductive justice issues.

I recently came across this quote from Laura Bush's newest book. She so perfectly describes the mourning of a "not yet" child. Something which many can't fully understand or appreciate until it's their own reality.

For some years now, the wedding invitations that had once crowded the mailbox had been replaced by shower invites and pink-or-blue-beribboned baby announcements. I bought onesies or rattles, wrapped them in yellow paper, and delivered them to friends. I had done it with a happy wistfulness, believing that someday my time, my baby, would come. George and I had hoped that I would be pregnant by the end of his congressional run. Then we hoped it would be by the time his own father announced his presidential run, then by the presidential primaries, the convention, the general election. But each milestone came and went. The calendar advanced, and there was no baby.

The English language lacks the words to mourn an absence. For the loss of a parent, grandparent, spouse, child or friend, we have all manner of words and phrases, some helpful some not. Still we are conditioned to say something, even if it is only “I’m sorry for your loss.” But for an absence, for someone who was never there at all, we are wordless to capture that particular emptiness. For those who deeply want children and are denied them, those missing babies hover like silent ephemeral shadows over their lives. Who can describe the feel of a tiny hand that is never held?

It's just perfectly said and I'm happy that she too got her babies. I so hope and pray for all those, like the couple in my congregation, that are still mourning the loss of those tiny hands never held. I hope they get their baby(ies) soon. 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

And the excitement just keeps on coming...

We could really use a break at the moment. To summarize our current woes:

1.) Our car is broken (as is evident from the last post) even though we just spent almost $900 to "fix" it.

2.) Marcus has a broken tooth which needs immediate dental attention. Problem, Marcus does not currently have any kind of health insurance. He's going tomorrow to a clinic to see what they can do for him.

3.) I got my endoscopy results back today and it wasn't really good news. The endoscopy revealed that I do have some issues from the Crohns throughout my intestines. I'm now to double my medication intake meaning I'll now take 12 pills a day (and these pills are so incredibly expensive).

Those are the major new things which occurred today. My brother's solution to all of this is for Marcus to join the National Guard... um probably not. Although in my brothers defense he's a recruiter so he can't help himself. (And if it weren't for the whole basic training, war thing the National Guard may not be a bad option and I NEVER thought I would ever say that).

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I had a really good night...

and by that I mean I had a really awful night. As I've mentioned before I hate driving. In fact up until recently I just didn't drive because my anxiety was too bad behind the wheel. Thankfully a combo of therapy and drugs have done wonders and I'm making baby steps in the driving department. Baby steps meaning I don't drive on highways ever. I just don't do it. The mere thought basically gives me a panic attack. (This is important background).

Tonight I was suppose to go to a students home for a tutoring session. It was the first time we were suppose to meet so I wasn't exactly sure where I was going (and we're still new in town). I had my directions I was confident that I could find it (after all I successfully found the other tutoring sites).

I'm driving, driving, looking for my next turn off, when suddenly I'm on an on-ramp for a highway. At this point I just panic. I do not drive on freeways. I'm on the verge of a panic attack and it literally is taking every therapy skill to remain even a little bit aware of what I was doing (you know so I don't die).

I get onto the highway (going way under the speed limit because my brain has stopped functioning) and just take the very immediate next exit and look for a place to pull over so I can calm down and figure out where the heck I am. Once pulled over I called Marcus and I was in full on panic and hysterics. I'm lost, I just drove on a freaking highway, I'm late, our car is running our of gas, and it just isn't sounding right.

Marcus takes this moment to remind me of our GPS in the glove compartment (oops) and then he stays on the speaker phone as he tries to navigate me back to where I needed to go.

Since I'm still freaked out I've pretty much forgotten how to even drive and I tried to back up with the emergency brake on and then I stalled the car, and I'm sure that people around me are on the verge of calling the police on the crazy woman driver.

Marcus guides me, I'm still hysterical, and the stupid GPS lady keeps telling me different directions than Marcus. It was too much.

Then to make a really good time even better I noticed that our car was totally over heated, (which explains the strange smell). More panic, more screaming at Marcus about not knowing what to do, while also shouting at the GPS to Shut up as she was "recalculating recalculating".

I did have enough sense to put on my flashers and then I looked for a place that was fairly safe for a woman at night to be stranded for a bit. Which ended up being a casino. (You have to love my home state).

My brother ended up coming to pick me up after a 30 or 40 minute wait and our car is not functioning. I'm so glad we just paid $900 to "fix" it.  The good news is I survived. The bad news is I have no desire to ever drive again and we are without a vehicle for the time being.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Emerson, like her mother, loves books. She sits and looks at the pictures, kisses each page that has an animal and she "reads" them out load but just speaking gibberish.

Tonight Marcus heard Emmy "talking" when he found her he saw this

She was reading to her piggy. She would "read" and then pet the piggy. The most adorable thing ever. 

Monday, December 13, 2010

Happy St. Lucia Day...

Ever since I can remember I've wanted to celebrate St. Lucia day. I've always been interested in my heritage and I think the first time I asked my mom, "What am I?" I was in kindergarden. Of course my mom needed a bit more information to understand how to answer the above question but she finally understood and told me that I'm 1/2 Norwegian, 1/4 Swedish, and 1/4 German.

Since I'm 3/4 Scandinavian I spent a lot of time when I was younger researching Norway and Sweden and discovered the St. Lucia holiday which is celebrated in Sweden and also in Norway. Each year I tried to get my family to celebrate the holiday and they were never really up for it.

So I've decided to work the tradition into my own family. So today we celebrated our first St. Lucia day. Traditionally on St. Lucia day the oldest girl in the family dresses up like St. Lucia wearing a white gown, with a red sash, and a crown of candles and the boys dress up as star boys. Then the oldest leads a procession and wakes up the family serving coffee and Lussekatter. Here's a link with some more information.

Being that Eli and Emerson were young this year and had no idea what was going on we didn't go all out. I created a homemade crown of candles and a little star boy hat for Eli. A friend of my Aunts made Emmy's gown and they weren't quite old enough to process and serve treats. Plus I had no idea what saffron threads are so I didn't attempt to make the Lussekatter buns (maybe next year).

I think they looked super cute though (Even though neither of them really wanted anything to do with their head adornments).
Emmy as St. Lucia

Eli as the star boy

The backside of Emmy

Star boy Eli

Emmy, serving her daddy (Of course there wasn't any actual food on the plate maybe next year)

Eating their first cinnamon Role (what we did instead of Lussekatter)

I hope this will be a tradition they get excited about each year going forward. 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Tutoring, Dogs, & a Lost Book...

As you can see from the title today was a very exciting day. I finally started my tutoring job today. I actually think I'm really going to enjoy doing the tutoring. I go into the homes for the tutoring and the family today was really nice (it's always scary when you just go into a strangers home). The mom of the little boy doesn't speak English and I discovered today just how rusty my spanish, since I haven't really used it for 3 years. All in all I think it's going to be a pretty rewarding way to make some extra money. I suppose we'll see how it really is once I start seeing all 6 of my students each week.

After I was finished with the tutoring today we took the babies to the library for what they called "Paws to Read". An older couple with some therapy dogs bring their dogs in, each child gets a free book and they get to hang out with the dogs and read. Since Eli and Emerson love animals and books we thought this would be a great combination.

They had two dogs today, a huge great dane, and a huge fluffy dog of some kind. Eli was so fascinated by the fluffy dog. He kept looking at the dogs nose, patting the soft fur, when the dog yawned Eli crouched down and looked into the dogs mouth. They both waved "hi" to the dogs a lot and Eli kept petting the dog over and over. It was adorable.

Then we had to say "hi" to the library's christmas tree. Emerson ran over to the tree and just plopped herself right in front of it.

This then leads us to the lost book. I have to tell you that I'm a rule follower by nature. I can't help myself it's just the way I've always been. So I hate having over due books at the library. About a month ago I gave Marcus two library books to return and then went about my life.

Last night as I was searching the library on-line catalogue for some Christmas books (I'm also obsessive at times) I saw that they were saying I was delinquent and hadn't returned my book.

This freaked me out and actually kept me up all night. (Did I mention I'm a worrier too). So while at the library I went to straighten out the missing book, since I knew it had been returned. Luckily, it was on the shelf, my fine was waived, and I lost out on sleep for nothing.

I need to relax about things geez...

Friday, December 10, 2010


My house is really quiet. Marcus and the babies drove to our hometown today to give back my FIL's truck and pick up our car which has been repaired (we hope). Can I just say how much I relish the time alone. I love it. I finished my book (Just Call Me Mrs. Miracle, another Christmas book), I addressed Christmas cards while listening to christmas music, I cleaned the kitchen and sorted baby clothes and now I'm just sitting quietly pondering my next move. A quiet, relaxing evening. The babies and Marcus will return home tomorrow morning.

Marcus reported that Eli bit his sister today, this is not good news. I really hope this was a one time occurrence as I really don't want to go through a biting stage. I think now I'll go find another book to start.

And a quote that I love that has nothing to do with anything in this post except I like it and want to remember it.

'There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief and unspeakable love.” --Washington Irving

Good Night.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

19 months old (yesterday)...

In 5 months they'll be two. How does this happen? They're hilarious these days trying to imitate many of the things we do. Eli's particularly talented at imitating the things that Marcus does. Including saying, "ho, ho, ho" and showing his muscles while saying "argg".

Neither of them are talking much. They still pretty much say "hi" although they're both occasionally saying "mo" when they're signing more and Eli often tries to copy some of the sounds we make (not words just sounds). But they're understanding so much more these days.

The other morning after I had my endoscopy I wasn't suppose to really lean over and pick up things, so Emerson was my little helper. I asked her to pick up my book and give it to me and she did, then she gave me my jacket and got me my shoes.

Eli is similar in that he can understand and respond some of the basic requests we have for them. They're both still very affectionate, cuddly babies, giving us hugs and kisses all the time. Eating is still a pain around here. They don't eat much or seem to like anything and they still haven't mastered the sippy cup so they're still getting bottles despite our efforts using a variety of sippy cups. They just don't get it at all.

I love this age though it's my favorite.

Enjoying candy canes (which was a bribe to get them to sit still for a picture)

Emmy slimy from her candy cane. 

And Eli

Monday, December 6, 2010

Advent, Advent time is here...

and I feel like I'm slowly losing my mind. My office at work looks like a bomb went off in it and I'm always running around like a maniac. I suppose this is all to be expected for this time of year. Because of the above this is just going to be a mish-mash post of updates.

1.) I'm tired of craft projects. This last week I spent the evening with 8 homeless children who were staying at our church with their families. I prepared an evening of crafts. I actually really loved doing this. These kids were all so great and you could tell that they were starved for some attention.

There was one mother though who was just ridiculous. She's 23 with 4 kids ages 7, 5, 4, 3. She totally ignored her kids the entire night and instead focused on making her own craft. If was as though she was another child. Then I was telling the kids about my twins at home and she heard me and proceeded to tell me how much she wanted twins. She then asked for advice on how to make that happen. She's heard eating yams helps. Oh good lord woman you already have 4 kids and you're currently homeless the last thing you need is twins.

I left that night with a grateful heart and a heavy heart for the kids who don't have a home this christmas, for kids born in less than ideal circumstances. I hope all the families currently without homes can find jobs and places to live soon.

2.) On tuesday I also found out a friend of my from high school's brother committed suicide. My heart aches for his wife and family. It's been on my mind a lot. Suicide is just one of those things that haunts me.

3.) More craft time on Saturday with the kids of my church at our hanging of the greens event. (Have I mentioned I'm over crafting at the moment).

4.) Our car is still broken. It's going to cost so much to fix. We can't decide now if we keep putting money into this car or try to find a replacement.

5.) On Friday Marcus and I went on a date. We went out to dinner and then we went to see "Christmas on Broadway" (although it wasn't actually on broadway). Marcus bought us front row tickets and holy we were so close to the stage it was uncomfortable because we were so close to the performers. I kept telling Marcus we were going to get kicked in the face.

It was a great show though. Singing and dancing to Christmas music just my kind of thing and Marcus liked it too!

6.) Getting pictures for our christmas cards has been a huge ordeal. We took the babies to have some studio pictures taken on Tuesday which was just didn't work at all. Emerson wasn't having anything to do with pictures and Eli was just being a ham. He kept laying down and twirling around and running all over. We've since attempted 3 photo shoots on our own. We did end up getting some that will have to work.

7.) We took the babies to see Santa. Eli was really curious about this guy. He touched his buttons and his jacket, Santa's belt. Emerson on the other hand was just hostile. She wanted nothing to do with him.

8.) I've been trying to be very intentional this advent season about actually taking some time to remember what advent is all about. I found a really great daily devotional for the season call Watch For the Light which has a different reading each day. Some are better then others but I'm really enjoying it and recommend it if you're looking for a more theological reflection on the season.

9.) I finally read A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (and I loved it!) and now I'm in the mood to just read Christmas themed books. Any recommendations? 

I think that's about it. Oh, tomorrow I'm fasting because I'm having a capsule endoscopy on Wednesday. I get to swallow a tiny camera and it will take pictures of my insides. Which I actually find fascinating and frankly I'm just glad it's not another colonoscopy. Stupid Crohns.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Eli + The Christmas tree =

the cutest thing I've ever seen! He's so in love with the tree he can hardly handle himself. We put it up Monday evening while the babies were in bed and when they came down on Tuesday morning they were both immediately fixated by the tree and at that point they were both so confused neither touched they merely looked, pointed, and Emerson said, "ohh".

Then Eli progressed to running up to the tree waving and saying, "hi" this then led to an immense desire to actually touch the tree even though he very clearly knows he's not supposed to.  Yesterday, he started crawling slowly toward the tree, looking at me the entire time, when I told him no he stopped. But then he stood up and was just reaching for the tree, standing on his tiptoes, going "oh, oh, oh". It looked like it was taking every bit of restraint in his 18 month old body to resist actually touching.

Today he's progressed even further. He's now giving the tree kisses.
He gives kisses by licking so he's essentially licking the tree over and over. His other new thing to do if find objects that he thinks belongs on the tree and tries to put them on. Usually causing several other ornaments to fall. The boy just really loves the Christmas tree. 

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The real thanksgiving post...

I've been avoiding this post because it takes 12 hours to load pictures on blogger these days (is it just me? It takes so long). Anyways, we went to our hometown on Wednesday night (which is now only 168 miles away) and stayed at my in-laws house. Even though they were out of town.

Thursday morning we got up and I prepared my part of the thanksgiving meal. Deviled eggs
Photographic evidence. I don't cook at all, ever. So Marcus was amazed that I even knew how to make deviled eggs and we've been married for over 7 years poor guy. I also brought a salad in a bag. I'm really serious about this no cooking thing. My sister and her husband hosted and her house and we went over shortly after completing the eggs.
The babies had some playing with all their aunts and uncles (Emerson is hiding behind the big bear) I'm holding my nephew Isaac and Marcus is holding our niece Hannah. 

The babies with their Grammy (my mom) trying some new food. 

My sister Lindy and soon to be sister-in-law Kaylee.

Emmy with my youngest sister Abbey

Eli was so excited that he could see his reflection in the tray of this retro high chair. 

The hosts. My sister Libby and brother-in-law Layne

Our table set up with the Cowboys game on in the background 

Me & Eli who looks like he wants to escape desperately. 

Me & Emmy she just looks bored. 

Our little family.

My with my siblings. (We were recreating a picture we have of the 6 of us from when we were much younger I should try to dig it out). My brother Luke is on top of the couch he's the oldest. Then from left to right the youngest Abbey, Lindy on of the twins, me, Libby the other twin and Molly.

All of my siblings our significant others and our kids. We're getting to be ridiculous looking and this is just my very immediate family.

All of us plus my mom thrown in. 

Eli & Emerson with their Uncle Tyler.

Neither baby napped on Thanksgiving so they were beyond exhausted by the end of the day. Friday we mostly stayed at my in-laws so the babies could rest. Then that evening we went to my dads. Which was kind of awkward. My dad left my mom 5 years ago for another woman. He has since married this other woman and I have never met her. I have spent the last 3 years in therapy dealing with the breakage of my family and re-establishing a relationship with my dad. 

Friday night my dads wife was home along with some of her family. Then it was me and 3 of my siblings. The house was totally segregated. Not the best of evenings but my dad was happy to see the babies and we all survived.

Our car broke so it's still in our hometown and we came back on saturday borrowing my FIL's truck. I think that about sums it up. Frankly I think we should of just ordered pizza and called it a day, but all in all not a bad thanksgiving. 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Thanksgiving post (kinda)...

We had a pretty okay thanksgiving as far as thanksgiving goes (but honestly I would just rather order a pizza). I'll post more about it later with pictures. I actually tried to write the post yesterday but in the middle of it one of the babies turned off my MIL's computer. So I'll try again later.

While we were away our car broke. We just put a $1000 into it and now it won't go at all. We used my father in law's truck the whole time we were there and ended up having to drive it back home since I have to be at work tomorrow. So this really sucks a lot and our car is sitting in my in-laws garage. We just need a new car but I don't know if that's in the cards at the moment.

Eli is also really sick. It sounds to me like he might have Croup. He's miserable I hope Emmy can avoid catching it.

My computer also stopped working while we were away so I got nothing done for work so I'm stressed out about tomorrow.  Good times around here.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

An exercise in consistency...

So Eli has perfected the art of the tantrum. Oh my word it's ridiculous (although in talking with his EI therapist she said, "It's not a fun milestone but it's a milestone). He screams at the top of his lungs, starts shaking with rage, stamps his feet, and if we're really lucky throws himself on the floor. It's really really delightful*.

When it happens in public it's also pretty awesome* because it really does sound as though we are beating him or something.

(*This is sarcasm)

This morning I was in our master bedroom getting ready for work and Eli & Emerson usually just hang out with me in the bathroom during the mornings. This morning they both really wanted to use their toothbrushes so I told them to sit, and explained that they can only brush their teeth while sitting.

So they both sat down and were happily brushing their teeth for a couple of minutes.

Then they stood up to test the boundaries. I repeated to them, "Sit down please" and they sat.

Then they tried it again this time seeing if they could walk. I reminded them to sit and this time Eli didn't so I took away his toothbrush and the above describe tantrum ensued.

So repeat process. I tell him to sit, he does, he's happy with his toothbrush, then he tests the boundaries, toothbrush is removed, tantrum ensues.

Oh my lord. The whole process was exhausting and so many times I just wanted to give him back his toothbrush so he would be quiet, but I held strong. (Even when Eli went to find his dad to "tell" on me haha).

By the end of the morning they both seemed to fully grasp that they only got to brush their teeth while sitting, and if they stood I took it away.

We'll see if they remember tomorrow.

(And I say they because even though Emmy doesn't really throw tantrums yet she copies every single thing Eli does. So when he stood, so did she, when he tried to leave the room so did she, she just didn't get nearly as upset when I took the brush away. She simply sat down so she could have it back).

This parenting thing is exhausting. And it just keeps being exhausting in different ways as they get older.

Snow!! (And some catch up)...

Yesterday, we finally got some snow. I say finally because they've been reporting a storm for the last 5 days and nothing happened. Overall it wasn't too bad, just cold and windy with several inches of snow.

We bought the babies some snow boots and brought them outside to see what they thought of the snow. The results..

Emerson was not impressed.

And Eli loved it. 

Emerson was pretty cranky with us the whole time she was out there (which was 2 minutes tops)

Eli continued to be fascinated by everything.

And then tried to talk and fell face first into the snow. But even that didn't deter him. He still loved it. 

Thankful catch up (I really suck at this)

1.) I'm thankful for hugs and love from Eli & Emerson. They both give hugs and kisses freely and I love it. Every morning when I'm blow drying my hair Emerson runs up to me and hugs me around both my legs and Eli regularly just finds both me and Marcus and gives us hugs.

2.) I'm thankful for books. I love them, they make me happy and I love that both Eli & Emerson love books. I hope that love continues.

3.) I'm thankful that after tomorrow I can be done with this thankfulness exercise (is that cheating? yes probably oh well).