Y2K8

Remember Y2K? New Years Eve 1999. The Man and I were dating and were downtown at a party. I remember the countdown and being surprised that the lights didn’t go out and nothing exploded at midnight. I walked to the window to look out at the city, and everything was as it had been. I think I was kind of disappointed after all the fanfare, the months of speculation, that there wasn’t even a flicker. This was us in the wee hours of the new millennium.
Four years and one wedding later, there were 2 babies on the way by New Years Eve 2003. My due date wasn’t until February 18, but the twins were ready to come and I was camped out in the hospital, waiting for their arrival.
I have no shame. Seriously, who does this? Nobody is holding a gun to my head. I am freely sharing this photo with the world. Why am I doing this? I must be crazy. Or alone on New Years Eve because my husband has to work. Yeah, that must be it.

The twins came 2 days later, forever marking my before and after; the space in between ‘just me’ and ‘mommy’; the day held by neither side.

And so I am a bit of a sentimental sap. Because now, New Year’s Eve no longer just represents the last day of the year. It is the day before the day before our lives changed forever. So I guess our dramatic Y2K came a few years late…our world was tilted on its axis a bit and all sense of control was lost with that first cry. I can’t remember life before them. I can’t imagine life without them.

I apologize for any nightmares you may have as a result of the above photo. And as long as I’m documenting New Year’s Eve’s, here’s another from earlier tonight to take your mind of the alien stomach. And yes, that is a banana peel on my mantle. And a baggie of cheerios. And Christmas garland with all the froofroo taken out because I’ve only half-way un-decorated…The Nester would not approve. So happy new year to you. Now I’m off to plan a birthday party for a couple of four year olds.

mr. clean

Here he is on Christmas day. Just a few hours earlier, he had opened his gifts…or should I say ‘gift’. That’s right. The dust buster was a hit. A HIT, I tell you.

After a brief tutorial, he was ready.

He dust busted the toys.

He dust busted the ottoman…see how fast he goes? Look at him bust that dust!

He dust busted up.

He dust busted down.

He dust busted the kitchen table…

…with a respectable pause just long enough to check out the truck that daddy conveniently placed half-opened within his reach.

And then later, when it was time to snuggle before bed, well…you get it. [Please ignore the fact that he still uses a bottle before he goes to bed. I know he is 18 months old. I know he is going to have buck teeth. I know, I KNOW. But...he's a baby. He's my baby, my last baby...because I will not be pregnant again. (Notice how I recently included pregnancy in a list that also included depression, starvation, and homelessness. I do not want to be pregnant again.) ok. Brackets and parenthesis are over.]

So much for trucks. That truck was purple, anyway. Meanwhile, in other Christmas present news, there were 2 very happy little twins on Christmas night.
No, she’s not scared of it. Yes, she did sleep with it. No, it isn’t soft. Yes, it is made of rubber. And yes, it was covered with a pink blanket to keep it warm in the night.

do you see what i see?

This is my son. I think we will call him Baby until he finds a girl and gets married and has babies of his own. And maybe even after that. This is a rotten photo…the lighting and such. But it had to be posted for all to see. DO YOU SEE? My son is playing with polly pocket clothes. And loving it. It’s nothing new, really. This morning he was walking happily along in pink, plastic high heels. He does surprisingly well in them. He is the classic over-looked, under-bought-for 3rd child. Boy toys are limited in our house. Poor baby.

I am happy to report that an assortment of trains, trucks and tools are waiting under our tree for his masculine delight. And a pretend dust buster. He loves the dust buster.

the not-so-silent night

It would have been a silent, holy night. That is, until Joseph threw up and Mary got a fever.

The girls had their Christmas play at preschool yesterday. (I use the word ‘play’ very loosely in this context…imagine it to be a verb rather than a noun). It was fun to watch as long as you remember that the actors are not even as old as the baking soda in the back of my fridge…way too old for baking soda, not so old for people.

So even though the cast was young and inexperienced, all the nativity characters were accounted for: a too-tall-for-her-age Mary; a small, red-headed Joseph; a donkey who walked on his hind legs. I spent the first 3 minutes of the play trying to figure out why Joseph had construction paper ears and who is that red-headed kid supposed to be? Jesus? Then the teacher motioned for the donkey to crawl and the scene became much more familiar.

My girls were the angels and there were sheep and 3 wise men and an inn keeper (the only one with actual lines). As chaotic as it was, I felt myself relax and watch the story retold through these little ones. It was enjoyable. The girls even posed for a photo after the show in their intricately designed costumes with their friend, Julia.
It wasn’t until we were sitting down after the performance, eating our cookies with red punch when I heard it, the words that historically send me into a tailspin of anxiety and a strong tendency to overuse hand sanitizer: Joseph just threw up over there…and Mary has a fever. I immediately put down my punch that had mysteriously begun to taste like bile flavored kool-aid. One glance at The Man: We gotta get outta here. Quick.

And that’s just what we did.

fly to my rescue and crash through the wall

I had a new friend come over this morning. She’s the best kind of new friend. She brought me a really large coffee. From Starbucks. And cinnamon rolls. She is a mom as well, but her kids are in middle school. She asked me a question and I found myself excited to answer her because it was a real question that required real, cohesive thought. And I began to share from my heart about things I have learned and am still learning…and what I was saying was profound and smart and vulnerable…but for some reason she was not nodding thoughtfully. Rather, she was smiling, almost laughing. Why, you ask?

Turns out she was distracted by my pacing from one needy child to the next. As I was talking, evidently I also pried open one mouth, pulled one baby from the dining room table (4 times), settled 3 arguments, dressed 2 polly pockets and took 147 steps while pacing the floor and I didn’t even realize it until she opened her mouth and said these beautiful words:

“There’s a reason why the laundry doesn’t get done.”

And it was nice for someone who’s been there to recognize that which I already know…that I can work hard all day and still get nothing done. The only proof that I worked at all is my sore back, tired feet and, of course, piles of laundry…if that even makes any sense.

So here I am at 8:30 pm and it feels like midnight. Blinking takes effort. I’m tightly clinching my jaw as I type and I. can’t. stop. This life is exhausting. And I’m not even sick or pregnant or depressed or dying of starvation or homeless. But I still need a hero. Good thing I’ve got one.

I’ve thrown myself headlong into Your arms -
I’m celebrating Your rescue.
Psalm 13:5 The Message

How life-giving it is to know I have someplace else to throw myself headlong into other than my bed. Besides, it isn’t made and the sheets are dirty.

title quote from Chris Rice’s I Need a Hero

o little town


But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel…And this One shall be peace.
Micah 5:2,5

It was last year about this time. I was driving and thinking, a rare moment alone in the car….trying to sort through the difference in my head between what was true and what was simply a product of my often over-active emotions. I was stuck in a dark place where the idea of the hope and joy of Christmas seemed to be an illusion at best. I had Christmas music on in the background and the second verse to this song struck me in particular.

How silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is giv’n!
So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of His heav’n.
No ear may hear His coming, but in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him still,
The dear Christ enters in.

And in that moment alone in my car, the reality of Christmas and the hope of all believers seemed to connect for me like never before. Because there was a real day when a real baby was born in a real stable from a real woman. And He was a real human and a real King who came to bring real life. So I celebrate the day He was born to die so that I might have life. Not just life forever with Him, but life on this real day, in my car, in the midst of my emotional rut…He offers me the choice of death or life, conflict or peace, hope or despair. Without Christmas, there would be no choice…defeat would be my only option.

What a beautiful thing to celebrate the birth of a King who offers so much, who is so much…to remember that from that little town that wasn’t even big enough to be included among the clans of Judah would come One who is called Peace.

As I continued to drive, it began to seem as though she was singing about me and not a little town called Bethlehem. Small, insignificant… yet among the sometimes dark streets of my soul shines His everlasting light. He chooses to be born in me, to reside in the manger of my heart so that life and peace are made available to me in limitless supply.

my day in pictures

These are the cinnamon rolls I made this morning with Alisa. I am considering it to be a trial run, as my mom and sister and I are planning to make them just before Christmas. Of course, I will be 15 pounds heavier by then, as this recipe makes 8 tins of rolls. While they were cooking, I took a few photos for some friends’ Christmas card.
I think that was a good one. Then I headed over to my sister-in-laws house for her birthday. She’s married to my husbands’ brother. Here they are in Spain on their wedding day 4 years ago.
The Man’s mom and sister and I helped her decorate her house for Christmas. She mentioned she was so glad we enjoy decorating, because she certainly doesn’t. I asked her what brings her joy to the same extent. And in her thick, Spanish accent, she answered me, “Studying. I love to study.” I suppose that’s why she’s the university professor with 2 masters degrees and I’m the one with the cute house. And I guess when you love to study and don’t care about decorating, then you also don’t care when your husband builds a putting green in your backyard. Don’t believe me?
There it is, baby. Green in all its glory. But back to my day. The girls had fun with their cousin, as always.
Then later, when we came home, we had carolers. We’ve never had carolers….some freshmen girls from the youth group. And it was great, albeit a bit strange to have people singing to me on my porch. But great. And they left these behind.
And, unfortunately, they’re gonna be ON my behind. Along with 8 tins of cinnamon rolls. At least Santa will have some company.

all i want for Christmas

And so it begins. I went Christmas shopping yesterday and it kind of snowed. I mean, it was 40 degrees out so I have no idea how it happened. And you had to look really hard to actually see the snowflakes. But it did snow. I took that as a good sign. I had high hopes for my shopping outing. After all, expectations were extremely high…here is the request list I had to work from:

Twin B:
three dinosaurs
one farm
one dollhouse
a small boat

And shorter but no less complex…

Twin A:
three Diegos
rainbow hair

The rainbow hair is no joke. She tells me she wants her hair to be every color of the rainbow (with brown on the sides). Whatever happened to a pair of skates? A dolly? Two front teeth? Needless to say, Wal-Mart was fresh out of live dinosaurs.

a follow up

Attention everyone. I just received this important document via email from my sister. If it makes no sense to you, then read this. Regardless, I have to ask…which mask do you think is better? And though I know this photo offers incriminating evidence to the contrary, I do have a neck…for the record.