Jan 29, 2014

Pardon Me, Do You Happen to Have Some Super Glue?

We seem to be falling apart over here. Not literally, of course (at least I don't think), but Hope has been kicked in the face with a horrible cold and cough. With her illness and all the days the school closed due to severely cold weather, she's been to class about twice since the new year. Which might be a bit of an exaggeration, but not much.

And Paige is now developing another cold. (You may remember she had one from about Thanksgiving until just a few weeks ago.) At night I can hear their deep congested breathing and sporadic coughs and I have no idea if it's the six-year-old getting better or the three-year-old getting worse.

Up until last night, my legs had not seen a razor since before Thanksgiving. ::Gasp::Shock::Eww:: I know, right? I hadn't shaved my legs for over two months. I'm a little in awe myself, to tell you the truth. And you know the static electricity that comes with winter? How your hair gets all crazy on the top of your head? Well, I'm here to confirm that if you let your leg hair grow long enough, those bad boys will be able to electrify a small city. I'm pretty sure I cleared Target of all their razor inventory to get this under control.

Also, this just in, our toilet is clogged and the usually couple of plunges doesn't seem to be doing the trick. Which is excellent news since this is our only toilet. And it's winter. And I have to pee right now. (And it isn't actually excellent news if you didn't catch that bit of sarcasm.)

On the plus side I'm wasting exponential amounts of time researching warm places we could go for several days over spring break. At this point I have no desire to do anything but find a place that is 1) warm  and 2) has an outdoor pool. I don't care if there are fun places to go, interesting things to see, or kid friendly activities to do. Just get me somewhere warm enough for my kids to swim and I will go. Seriously.

Oh, and also? I have a sinus infection. Because, well, of course.

So far Adam seems to have made it unscathed. I'm really hoping we continue this trend as we all slowly work our way back together. You know, since we're falling apart.

But the toilet? That's not lookin' so good. (If there's knocking at your door tonight, it's just me, stopping by to use your bathroom. Thanks.)

xoxo, christine

Jan 26, 2014

Prima Paige

This weekend my sweet, sweet three-year-old had her first dance performance experience. Her dance studio put on a winter show and even though it was optional, Paige told us that she wanted to be a part of it.

When I saw her up on the stage I'm pretty sure they had to evacuate the auditorium because my heart swelled so big. Whether she ended up doing the dance moves or completely freezing on stage, my eyes watered while I felt an overwhelming abundance of joy for my second born. It felt like such a big moment, her up on that stage all by herself (well, with fifteen other three and four-year-olds), taking a big leap into independence and pushing through a new and even uncomfortable experience to grow into girlhood.

Plus she just made a pretty darn cute Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

In other news, if you're wondering why I'm not returning your calls, you can read all about my phone's plot against me.

Also, we're still recovering from numerous illnesses -- and some new ones are popping up now too. It's already been a loooong winter. A winter which could possibly be made better by getting a new puppy. But then, I'd have to go out in the negative bazillion degree weather.

I'm looking forward to a new week, and really really REALLY hoping for weather above minus 400 degrees any day. Any day. ANY DAY.

Stay warm everyone!

xoxo, christine

Jan 25, 2014

It's Not You, It's My Phone

My phone is plotting to turn me into a hermit.

I can not send or receive texts and any phone calls that come in go directly to voicemail never indicating to me that a call came in or whether or not a voicemail was left. Luckily I see a few friends on a regular basis who were able to inform me of this, otherwise I might start to wonder if everyone decided Avoid Christine and Cut Her Out all at the same time. One could get a complex quite easily, I think.

But, if I weren't so afraid of annoying or offending or alienating people, I might be tempted to succumb to my phone's plot. There is something to be said about shutting out the world and folding into myself. The constant quiet, only to be broken by my own words spoken aloud. The stillness, the ability to be alone with my thoughts. Alone, unable to step on toes, hurt anyone's feelings, feel too much.

The reality is, though, I need my friends. They breathe life into me when I'm feeling deflated. Friends remind me of what it means to love and care about other people. They laugh with me, cry with me, and reassure me. I need them as much as I need food on the table. They nourish me.

And the fact that I'm even toying with the idea of turning into a hermit indicates just how much I need my friends right now.

I think it's time to trade in my phone. And call a few friends.

xoxo, christine

Jan 23, 2014

We Are Not Getting a Dog

Yesterday I spent a good half hour looking at puppies available for adoption from local shelters. Clearly I am losing my mind as we are no where near ready to add a four-legged friend to our family. Adam and I have talked about it in the past, but it's mostly been of the "if we were to ever get a pet it would be a dog" and "maybe when the girls are a lot older and can take on most of the responsibility" variety of discussion.

Aside from a brief stint my sister and I had where we owned guinea pigs, Adam and I both grew up in no-pet households. Somehow I fostered a love of kittens as a child, and was horrified when I got into high school and starting developing an allergy to them. Adam, I think, is relieved that there is a valid reason not to adopt a cat because he finds them creepy. (Apparently they're too smart for him or something -- it has to do with their eyes.)

So, I guess we are a dog family. Even though we're not a dog family. I like the freedom of not having to be home at certain times, or being able to be away for the weekend without having to worry about what to do with our dog. I can hardly keep up with the housecleaning as it is and would probably suffocate under all the puppy hair and potty accidents. Not to mention going out for walks in negative one million degree temperatures (the likes of which we have now). Obviously, I am not ready for the commitment of a puppy.

Still, for some reason adopting a pound puppy has been on my heart lately. Even though Adam and I both agree this is not the time to get a dog (if ever), I find myself periodically checking the local shelters and falling in love with little faces named Dixie and Aika and Ace. I daydream about the innocent mischief a puppy would bring to our lives, the giggles and snuggles and kisses the girls would enjoy.

I know that owning a pet is not all sunshine and rainbows, which is why we are not actually considering one at this time. We are far too realistic and cautious to make such a rash decision. Still, maybe some day. A girl can dream, right?

xoxo, christine

Jan 21, 2014

In Need of a HAZMAT suit

It feels like Paige just got over an eon-long illness. Cough, runny nose, maybe getting better - nope just kidding, runny nose, cough, cough, cough. Somehow she managed to be sick from Thanksgiving until just a few weeks ago and oh-my-goodness she is finally sleeping through the night again.

But when you have more than one child, illnesses last infinitely longer, because even though Hope could have gotten Paige's cold anytime during those two months, she didn't. It wasn't until Paige was cough-free that Hope woke up with a killer cold, full-on faucet nose with red eyes and a nighttime cough.

We have actually been lucky because I thought that, with her first year of elementary school, numerous sick days and catching everybody's new germs were givens. But Hope has been relatively healthy and only missed her first day of school last week when she had a one day fever.

But the snot in this house, I tell you, we are need of about two hundred boxes of tissues just to keep up. I have been washing my hands so frequently I feel like a nurse, desperate to keep the germs as contained as possible. Preferable with the sick one, and not with me.

Alas it is a part of life, a part of winter life especially, these days and days of sniffly nose and deep congestion. Of course I am hoping I don't get sick. But I'm hoping even more that my husband doesn't get it. I'm already tired from nursing two sick children through this awful thing, I don't think I have the energy to nurse my third "baby" through this too.


Photos below from our week. As you can see I did not make it one photo per day, but at least I'm picking up my camera more now than I was a few months ago. {Baby steps}

 I peeked in my room after cleaning up the kitchen and this is what I found.

 Family "Lady Bug class" instructed by Hope.

 Dinner. Who needs a fork when you have perfectly good fingers?

One of my snow angels. She would play outside all day if she could.

xoxo, christine

Jan 14, 2014

On Feeling Less-Than

I've got a secret. A "hidden talent," if you will.

I am really good at making myself feel less-than.

It is amazing how my internal dialogue can be spinning my inabilities and lack-of-specialness while the outside of me pretends it's not. I'm like a magician. Only, it's a really crappy trick.

But it's what I do. Not all the time, but enough. Because, I like photography but my photos never look like her's and I'll never have her talent. And I like to write but my words are never as eloquent as her's and I don't do things to nurture my writing like she does.

It is a constant comparison of who "they" are and who I'm not. How wonderful and special "they" are and how un-wonderful and un-special I am. Of course, it has nothing to do with any of the "they"s or "them"s and everything to do with me.

But I am the master of comparisons. Because, I'm not as skinny as she is and I feed my kids non-organic macaroni and cheese and she never would and My photos will never look like hers and I'm not as funny/organized/happy/[insert verb here] as she is -- which of course implies that I am a less-than person.

Sometimes I can shake these negatives thoughts. Sometimes I am really good at talking myself down and reminding myself that I am special, that I am enough, that I am more-than. But those sneaky words... they still make occasional appearances in my psyche. Cutting me down. Making me feel like everyone around me is super-special-extra-ordinary and I am just b-l-a-h.

The question is: why do I do this? Where does this come from? It does not make me feel better, or work harder, or act nicer. It does not make me a better person. It makes me crabby and irritable and jealous. The more I compare myself to others (and who I perceive them to be), the more unhappy I am.

Why do we continually do things to ourselves when we know they make us unhappy?

I wish I had some deep and meaningful way to answer this. I don't. I just know that this is why I have great friends that I can complain and cry and laugh and be silly with. This is why I have a wonderfully supportive family. This is why I talk to a therapist. This is why I pray.

To remind myself, especially when I really need it, that if there's something special about all of us (and there is) then there's something special about me. To remind myself that it's normal to compare myself, but that doesn't mean it's right. To remind myself that I am enough, right here and right now.

xoxo, christine

Jan 13, 2014

I've Got the Blues

We have officially enter the winter doldrums. Or at least, I have. I know, I know, some people would argue that I'm choosing to live in in this tundra so if I'm that miserable I should just leave. And sometimes I really wish we would leave. (San Diego anyone?) But, our families are here and our life is here. So I guess I'm just going to have to find a way to embrace winter in the Midwest. (Do I say this same thing every year?)

I keep telling myself that one of these winters I will figure out a way to enjoy the season. That I will find winter activities that make the snow and cold more bearable.

This year we've at least started by getting the girls out ice skating. With a former hockey player as a husband I'm a little surprised it hasn't happened sooner, but at least it's happening now. And both of the girls seem to really love the ice, which is good news for those winter doldrums I've been complaining about.

And, in related news, the weather has warmed significantly so at least getting out of the house feels at lot less overwhelming and a lot more doable.

Our frigid Monday. Modern Family and an evening treat.

Peppermint tea for the ladies before bed.

Paige fell asleep mid-tv show. Smile. Hope's birthday cake (for her party). She lost her first tooth.

Yes, someday I'll be one of these hearty Midwesterners that scoff at below zero temperatures and have as many outdoor things to do when it's freezing as she does when it's hot. (Maybe.)

And I'm not-at-all jealous that my brother-in-law and niece are going to Texas this next weekend at all. Nope. (Except that I totally am.)

Any thoughts on how to beat some winter blues? I'm taking any and all suggestions.

xoxo, christine

Jan 6, 2014

How Many Synonyms Can You Think of for "Flippin' Freezing"?

As anyone and everyone around the Midwest (and probably even the country) knows, it is disgustingly and dangerously cold today. In fact, it is so cold that our governor cancelled school today and several school districts have cancelled school for tomorrow as well.

Poor Hope wanted to spend the day with friends but as I have no desire to even open the door (let alone run from the house to the car) we're not going anywhere and I'm pretty sure we will be hard-pressed to find anyone else willing to venture over.

The birthday girl and her Oreo Cupcake

I feel like I'm living in the movie The Day After Tomorrow where the temperature drops so low that fuel lines freeze in helicopters.

Luckily, I'm not opposed to spending the day watching movies, snacking, and making a mess, so hopefully we'll enjoy the next couple days closed off from the world.

Big sister isn't the only one who got her hair cut. She needed it, but I'm mourning the loss of her curls.

In other news, I have decided to make an effort to use my camera more again this year. I'm not exactly sure if I will be participating in Project 365 like a did a few years ago, but I have really let my personal interests slide and I'm not okay with that. If I have something like a photo a day (and weekly photo dumps here) to keep me accountable then maybe I'll get back into one of the ways I nurture my soul.

Learning the fine art of the Rainbow Loom

(Also? I lied. I did open the door. For the Jimmy John's delivery guy. Don't worry, I tipped well for making him come out in tundra.)

Some sort of clue-finding game

Well, I'm off to start up another movie for my kids, snuggle under a big blanket on the couch, and sip some hot tea.

Stay warm!

xoxo, christine

Jan 1, 2014


To my first-born,

Today, my beautiful daughter, you turn six years old. Today we celebrate your life, your joy, your 'you-ness'.

You have brought so much into our lives, starting with that first positive pregnancy test six years and nine months ago, to today. You are such a sweet joy, full of light and love for the world.

This past year you have really opened up. You have grown from a timid little five-year-old into a confident six-year-old. You are no longer afraid to try new things, and even jump right into them. Kindergarten has taken me by surprise with how much you love it, how easily you dance onto the bus, how much you come home having learned.

Your interests are becoming fine-tuned with an absolute love of art, adoration of puppies (and most animals), and a wonder for being and playing outside. (The kind of wonder and joy I remember having when I played outside for what felt like hours, even by myself, as a kid.)

I love watching you at your tennis lessons because you look like you are having so much fun, skittering around the court and learning something new. I loved watching you put on your first pair of ice skates and slipping and sliding around the ice. And even though you kept falling, you didn't give up. You didn't even want to hold onto me, instead telling me, I want to do it myself, Mom.

As you grow up you are learning the meaning (and use) of grown-up words and how sometimes they aren't literal but figures of speech. And even though sometimes I wish you'd stop growing (it's happening so fast!) I love that you are growing up and becoming more and more of your own person.

Even though I sometimes claim you are emotional, you keep most of your feelings and emotions inside, something that worries my mama-heart. I want you to know that I am always here for you, and that I want to hear what you are thinking and how you are feeling whenever you need to talk.

I love you from the tips of my fingers, with every beat of my heart, to the tips of my toes. I wish I could explain to you how my love for you is bursting in every cell of my body.

Today is a new year for everyone, but for you it is a doubly over, filled with the possibility of 2014 and also being a new age, six.

I wish for you to be happy with who you are, to be healthy, to find joy in your life. I wish for you to always know how much you are loved, how special you are, how much the world needs your amazingness.

Happy Birthday, Hope Margaret!

xoxo, mommy