Sunday, December 07, 2014

Friday, August 16, 2013

Summer 2013

I remember back when I wanted to be some great "mommy blogger" I read articles that said, "don't post about how long its been since you posted"! LOL! And as much as I'd be tickled if other moms read these posts and were encouraged, inspired, or - I'll be honest - impressed with my humor, eloquentness, etc...I need to remember that's really not what I'm going to care about 10 years from now. I'll be tickled pink if my kids feel like they have a treasure in this blog. Memories I never manage to get down in a journal. Whoever woulda thunk I would have trouble just quieting my mind enough to write blog entries on my computer! LOL!

The kids are off to Cape Cod for the day to swim in the ocean and play on the beach with their Daddy. I hate to miss any experience with the kids - much as I *love* when Daddy takes them to the playground or the grocery store and I get some quiet time that isn't long after I should be asleep to be more "on my game" the next day. I'm listening to a live performance of Amy Grant sing "Don't Try So Hard". I love this song so much. Its about how we don't need to do ANYTHING to "earn" the love of God. Its always there...we just need to listen. Breathe. I know that if I could remember this more often I wouldn't stress so much about whether I'm doing things "right", and I'd just DO them! LOL!

If anyone is reading this and has advice for any of my conundrums I wouldn't mind if you'd share in the comments. ;-) If anyone ELSE read, maybe they'll get some helpful encouragement too. I'm so not ready for fall, the end of the summer, the shortening days, the cold - and then WINTER! Yikes! So not ready for all that. But the one thing I am thrilled to see return is our worship service Worship at The Well at Hancock Church. I just love this place. Hancock Church is a wonderful community of beautiful folks. And that service feeds my soul so deeply. The music is amazing. The never-to-be-mentioned-publicly sweet hubby plays piano and sings in the band, The River Rock Band. If you've read "about this blog" you know I named it after an Amy Grant speaks to me on such a spiritual level, its just the greatest gift. And the music and The Well is such a gift. kids are not as excited about the start up of going to church again (The Well doesn't meet in the summer, and we never seem to manage to get our sorry butts there for morning worship). Or about Sunday school. :-( I love our Sunday school and I don't know why exactly they feel this way - but like everything else that goes "wrong" in their lives - I'm convinced it my fault! LOL! Evan took to Sunday school at our beloved Hope Central Church so immediately. He would come home and ask me to read the same bible story that they talked about in church school! I felt so blessed, as I had NOTHING to do with this. The first Christmas he had any understanding of what Christmas was, he said to me, "Momma, I don't want Santa to come, I just want Jesus to come". Oh my GOSH. So happy. But his love for Sunday school waned before we moved to Hancock - at the time I hoped it was just a phase. So anyway. I try to connect God to conversation whenever the opportunity should arise. {{Sigh}} As I've mentioned before, I really want my kids to grow up feeling God's love, knowning they can call on Her, even when Mommy and Daddy screw up. So the beat goes on, and I try my best, and hope/pray for the best.

The summer was busy and fun. The kids took two sessions of swimming lessons, one in July before our travels, and one in August after we returned. Amelie had her swim teacher Apple who she had last summer, and this just thrilled her. Last year she drew Apple a picture of an apple to give to her. We love our local water park, Springsbrook Park. They met up with friends after lessons, hung out at the dock whenever they could (jumping off the dock is a favorite thing to do there), and there were some fun performances by the picnic area too!

For our first trip of the summer, shortly after school ended, we went to Bar Harbor. We stayed at The Bar Harbor Motel as we did last summer, as Evan informed us last summer that our vacation was to be at Bar Harbor *every* summer, and we should also always stay there. If you ask Evan or Amelie about our vacation in Maine, most likely the first thing they will HAVE to tell you about is the motel pool. LOL!

After the first round of swimming lessons, it was off to Nana's in NJ to celebrate her birthday. While there we visited The Bergen County Zoo. The kids love their train, their carousel, and Evan was most pleased that they had a tapir! We also went to a little butterfly place where the kids got to see butterflies up close when they would land on a little stick w/ food on it.

And then we were off to Washington D.C.!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

So the other day, my son came to my all smiles with a small packet of papers. It was a print out of several of the pages of this blog...this poor little blog I've neglected for almost over 2 1/2 years. I've whined about wanting perfect eloquent entries being the reason I haven't written. I'm going to try to quit with the excuses and just least *something* every day. So today, April 18th, 2013 we're sitting out on our beautiful porch for the first time since last fall. I try to not write "political" posts anymore, or any posts not directly related to our family anymore...this is a space for my son and daughter. But then again, there's something for leaving a record of "how Mama felt about things", as Amy Grant says in her dedication of her album Lead Me On to her first child. So I'll just say that I'm furious that the Senate failed to pass even the slightest common sense gun control yesterday. I want a better country for my kids. So we're looking forward to summer. A birthday visit to Nana. A trip back to Bar Harbor, Maine. We went there for the first time as a family last summer, and Evan says he wants to go there every summer forever. :-) (He also says he wants to live with us in this house forever). And trips to Kimball Farms for ice cream. And we love to eat out, so we try to only go places we can eat outside in the summer. The Country Store in Carlisle. And yikes, LIVE MUSIC. I wrote that on one of my "to do" lists for my kids a long time ago. I really want to go to as much outdoor music as we can. Falcon Ridge folks festival feels like a bit much right now. (Summer 2011 Kevin made a point of sitting us down at the computer to watch Pete Seeger at the Newport Folk Festival. I'm glad they've at least SEEN him, if only on the computer screen...he's such a national treasure).

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Two preschoolers - a Butterfly & a Chocolate Chip Cookie!

Its been forever since I've written about these amazing little beings I live with. I actually started this entry back on September 9th, and it is now October 30th!This is partly because these two little beings feel like at least a dozen when their energy combines. And partly because they both have become quite adept at the lap top computer and its touch pad mouse - so there's competition for the computer!

The summer went by fast and was full of wonderfulness. The kids and their Daddy went to the beach a lot. Mama made one ceremonial trip over the sand on the last trip. Springsbrook Part is more my speed...or should I say more my terrain. ;-)

We took our first big road trip to Warren Pennsylvania to visit with Evan and Amelie's Godfamily (their Godparents and their two fabulous girls!). They've come to us when each child was born and baptized. I was so excited to finally travel to them, to take the family on a "road trip". The travel went well, so I hope this bodes well for the future and the possibility of lots of travel in the summertime (at least until their summers start to fill up with activities..which will probably be soon).

It is amazing to have two preschoolers. I still can't believe it some days. They continue to amaze me with their beautiful spirits, their kindness, and their observations of the world around them. I'm starting to think more about the things I record, try to save for them on this blog. I started out wanting to make it super-reader not just for the kids, but that other folks out there would enjoy (I have mommy-blogger envy). But that included adding pictures to entries, and to be honest, I'm making photo books now, and more interested in making sure I caption every picture I upload to my shutterfly account so I don't forget why I took the picture or the "unseen" memories that went with them. ANd I realized...there are so many special moments and little memories we *didn't* get on camera (and not 'cause we didn't try! We've got lots of pictures..and I'm so glad).

One of the things I remember from when Evan was a baby, is how when Daddy would pick him up, he would lean in and suck on his nose! LOL! It was so funny...we'd laugh every time...and each time Daddy leaned in, we would wonder, "Is he gonna do it this time?". At first it was especially funny because Evan's cousin Nora had done it to Kevin as well. We laughed that there must just be something about that nose!

I realized recently (with horror!) that there aren't many pictures of me holding Amelie when she was a baby! I rationalize that this is because when Evan was born, we had time and energy (comparatively ;-) for lots of pictures of every moment - lots of pictures. I must have sat with the camera while he would lay on the bed, because there are dozens of photos of him in the same outfit, photo after photo! LOL. But once Amelie was born, everything started to feel 10 times busier, not 2 times. ;-) Evan got mobile, there was nursing, life just got totally nuts. Gloriously, happily NUTS!

I am also trying to make myself feel better by thinking, "I was busy giving love and aren't as important as that!"...but it doesn't always work. I just love having these memories in a tactile, physical way that the kids can look at someday. So I'm going to try extra hard to get down the memories here that I haven't captured in pictures, or with some other kind of memento.

This will be more challenging...because it makes me realize, I don't want this blog to just tell the kids about things they did as kids, or fun things for them to remember. I want it to tell them more. I liken this blog to Amy Grant's album "Lead Me On"...she said she wanted to record the songs she did so her kids would know a little about "how Momma felt about things". I busy myself taking pictures, and when I can, writing things down here.
But those won't be the most special things, if they can go back in time, and know just how very much I loved them, from the moment they were born. Through the fun and the craziness. When I was hugging or laughing with them...or yelling at them about something (who'll remember what those things that made me yell were anyway?). Maybe they will remember Momma crying "for no reason". These were moments when I was just overtaken with emotion at how special they are, how kind, how loving. Or at how fast they are growing up. It can feel like a moment I'm yelling "stop that!" and wishing for quiet time alone with a latte...and the next I'm just brought to tears at how beautiful they are - what amazing spirits of joy they truly are.

Both Amelie and Evan are preschoolers now. Next year Evan will start kindergarten! I can't believe how fast *that* came around! Its all whizzing by...maybe this blogging and picture taking is really just my way of *trying* to make time stand still...if just for a little while.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

3 and 4

So its been almost a month since my last post. Summer was supposed to mean lots more blogging, lots more reflecting on life with my little ones. Its not that I haven't noticed lots of moments and lots of aspects of their little personalities worth noting. Its just life keeps flying by me.

So far this summer, Amelie has had her hair cut and put in pigtails, which shaved about a year off of her, which I loved. (They're both growing up too fast!). But when I call her my "baby", she promptly informs me, "No, Mommy - me a BIG girl!". Sometimes I wonder whether she is supposed to have stopped referring to herself as "me" yet...but part of me is dreading the fact that its probably going to fade away very soon...much like her babyhood has. She starts every day by sleepily wandering into our room and after I greet her, she says, "Good Morning, Mommy". Its the sweetest thing.

Evan is just so smart. He remembered the names of two beaches he hasn't been to in a year. And I wouldn't be surprised at all if he could tell us HOW to get to them. ;-) He likes to ask Daddy when we're driving, "Daddy, is this the actual way to..?" wherever we're going. And recently his sister has picked up on it and started asking us.

So for as long as I can remember, Evan sat behind Daddy in the car, and Amelie sat behind me on the passenger side. Just the other day, we put in a new car seat for Evan, and moved Amelie's to his, so they have switched spots. Its nice to be able to turn and see Amelie, but strange not to see Evan sitting there. Its also weird to hear his voice right behind me and hers off to the side. But Evan is most excited to have a new car seat, and Amelie is pleased to be in her "big brother Evan's" car seat. Other plans for the summer include converting our extra bedroom we've been using for storage into Amelie's bedroom. Again, I can't picture them not sleeping across from each other in the same room. We'll have to see what they think of it.

Evan inevitably ends up in our bed several nights a week. Amelie does it too. Although when she does it, it is almost undetectable the way she just slides on in. Evan makes much more of a production of it, squirming into just the right spot, elbowing and kneeing us...and without fail stealing the covers. And heaven forbid if he wanders in and Amelie is already there. "Oh no! Amelie's in my spot! Now I can't cuddle!". We do our best to discourage this kind of regressive behavior, but I can't honestly say I mind when either of them acts like a "baby" again. ;-)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Life Keeps a Rollin'

So I've been waiting for a bolt of lightning-type inspiration. It isn't coming, yet lots of great memories - small but delightful - are passing by. So its just time to note some.

Evan's brain is amazing. He remembers things from so long ago, or things you told him so long ago. He takes special notes of restaurants (yeah, he's our kid alright ;-). He can tell you the names of all the restaurants and take-out places all the way down Great Road, onto Mass Ave as you go from Bedford to Lexington and Arlington. He loves the dumplings at Jade Garden. And both kids have come to the conclusion that Mexican food means balloons, because the 3 places we go for Mexican now, all give them balloons. (Amelie has been making a special point to request Margarita's, our latest discovery).

Whenever we're going somewhere in the car now, Evan will *always* ask, "Is this the actual way to such-and-such a place?", no, we're actually just going to drive in circles for a few hours, we're not really going there. ;-)

I continue to be grateful for Evan's consciousness about God. He said the other day, "Christmas is Jesus' birthday, because that's when she was born". :-)

All is not fun and games. It never has been, I just don't tend to post about the stuff that drives me nuts. But the lateast things for a while now has been the struggle around teeth brushing. Neither kid liked the switch to older kid toothpaste so they developed this ritual of running through the bathroom, into the hallway, and into our room and back into the bathroom, all in a circle. And Evan would say, "When I say "kite", you catch me!"....don't know where the kite thing came from but the catching was because that was all I could think to do to get them to stop running and brush their teeth.

We have since replaced the new toothpaste with another fluoride one that tastes more like their baby toothpaste and things are calming down a *little*.

Amelie has velcro sneakers now and "me do it MYself!" is her mantra. She is amazing at whipping together puzzles, and at CONCENTRATION. My memory sucks so this is a good development.

She got dress up clothes from Grandma for her birthday that included a little microphone. She likes to rap like the koala character on Ni Hao Kilan....and so she was rapping into her mic, "Me Amelie, its my birthday!"

Evan is loving on the Elephant and Piggy books. And we're using the library more....we got one of them and a new Bear book of the "bear snores on" series.

Its late so hopefully I'll get more down later. Life is crazy but fun, the kids are nutty but total joys.

Friday, April 16, 2010

God's Boundless Love

In my journey with my children to learn about God and God's love, and to teach them that God loves them just the way they are, and that God loves *all* of her children, I am blessed to have a United Church of Christ congregation there to support me. I am so proud to be part of such a progressive, loving, and welcoming denomination. In that spirit, I wanted to share this for the UCC's Coalition for LGBT concerns:

The leadership of the Coalition is proud to be a part of a denomination with such bold outreach to the broader community about our progressive values. We encourage you to join in the UCC "spiral" campaign by posting UCC marketing materials through your website, social networking, and other places today!

Don't forget that there are lots of ways you can spread the Good News of God's love and the UCC's welcome!

Check out the UCC's new Language of God message on Vimeo

And read about the initial report on the overwhelming response to today's launch.

Monday, April 12, 2010


Life can get so crazy around here, I often feel like I'm on a crazy train and I didn't even realize it when I was letting off the brake..and that I wouldn't be able to get that brake back on.

But I'm stopped and time stands still every time I am blown away by some of life's more wonderful moments. When all the mess, the noise, the arguing, the craziness, and the mess. don't really matter.

Like when Evan and Amelie settle down together and have a tea party and sit and "chat" like best girlfriends. (yes, Evan's a boy ;-). Or when Evan cuddles up next to me before bed and informs me (in the cutest little baby voice), "I'm in my comfy nest". When Evan comes home from school, Amelie runs to the gate at the top of the stairs and exclaims, "Evan home! Evan, you're home!

While they are both very outwardly affectionate, it still makes my heart skip when I tell one of them "I love you", and they reply "I love you too, Mommy" (or in Amelie's case, "Me love you too, Mommy"). They are such their own people. They have their own agendas, which sometimes can be maddening, but this independence can be a lifesaver.

Now that Spring is here (Wahoo!), they both bolt out the door when we're off somewhere, and before getting in the car, they go around the yard checking out all the flowers. Evan knows their names too....he'll point out the tulips, the crocuses, and the forsythia bushes.

Evan is a lot bigger than Amelie. But he still will ask me to "hold me like a little baby", because Amelie will ask me to "hold me like little baby". And I gladly oblige. There are already so many moments where they just bolt off to go explore without even looking back. I'll take any opportunity they'll give me to hold on to them tight like little babies.

My latest fashion accessory is a beaded necklace Evan made for me at preschool. He went to the zoo w/ a friend last week, and my friend who took him told me that all the way down Great Road, he showed Julie where *all* of the restaurants were. Hey, we have our priorities straight around here. Our kid can always tell you where the best places to eat are.

There are so many other things that Evan and Amelie are doing that are delightful. Many more posts to come!

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Make Bad Things Better

Evan recently had a unit in preschool on woodworking. He learned to use a saw, screwdriver, hammer. They all made their own projects. Evan made a gadget that is a block of wood, with a smaller block nailed crosswise under it. And then a "handle" coming out of the top. (I'll get a picture up here, I can't do it justice). Its painted light red and light green, and has purple glitter on it (that was for me Evan reported).

So this is is "make bad things nicer" machine. It makes bad things...well, nicer.

I like the idea that he can make a machine for this purpose, that he still believes in his power to make bad things better. As we were driving home from church on Easter, Evan and his dad started talking about Jesus and Easter. I was so glad because I was feeling like my explanation about eternal life and living on forever in Heaven sorely lacking. So way over his head. I wanted him to understand that the people we love who die, never really die because they go to be with God in Heaven, and someday we'll go to Heaven too and be with them again. But I worry that this will mess with helping him understand that indeed when people die, they don't "come back". But I want him to live with the hope of Heaven. In the end, I guess faith really isn't something you "explain" to a just try to live it the best you can, and hope it rubs off on them.

But Evan and Daddy talked about how Jesus wanted everyone to love each other, and he was in a fight for love. There were people who didn't want love to win...they wanted the fighting. But Jesus didn't want us to be fighting, he wanted us to love each other. And on Easter we celebrate that Jesus won, that love won. I remembered last year how our church had a big banner across it proclaiming "Love Wins!". I can't think of anything better to instill in a child than the conviction that no matter what bad awful things happen in the world, that people do...that in the end, Love wins. God wins.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Things I Know for Sure

Okay, so its a shameless nod to pop-culture diva Oprah. But I love Oprah. Anyway, these are some of the things I know for sure...and that I hope my kids grow up knowing for sure. Some of these overlap and may be redundant. If so, it just means its important enough to say in different ways. ;-)

1. Its always better to be yourself and maybe have few friends, than to have a gaggle of friends but not be true to yourself.

2. Whatever hard thing you're going through right now, it will pass. And God will get you through it.

3. Its more important to be kind than to be right. But you need to stand up for what you believe to be important. Just do it as kindly as you can.

4. You can almost always find some commonality somewhere with another matter how different you think you are from them. We're all God's children, after all.

5. There is no sense in beating yourself up over anything. If you do things in a way you're not proud of today, work to do better tomorrow. But beating yourself up won't change things...and you deserve to give yourself a break. You're definition you're not going to do everything right all the time. God still loves you anyway. And so does your family and your true friends.

6. One-on-one time giving others your complete attention is more attention than working to do anything "perfectly".

7. Music has the power to heal.

8. From birth to death, the best thing you can do is focus on knowing God better, and working to do what he wants for you. Be kind. Help people. Honor other human beings. Work for justice. Be humble...we all have faults and we all have done things we shouldn't do at one time or another. Be gentle with yourself...God made you just the way you are, and loves you just the way you are. Nobody is "better" than you...we're all just different, with different strengths and virtues, and different faults, weaknesses.

9. Sin is anything that hurts God because you aren't living the way She wants for you. Its good to think before you do something, "Would Jesus do this?" and/or "Would God be happy I'm doing this?".

10. Life goes by faster than you could ever imagine and the most important thing is to make the most of today. You can't do that if you spend too much time worrying about anything in the past, or thinking/planning/worrying about things in the future. A family full of happy hearts is more important than a clean house, perfect super-uber-healthy meals, being the "best" at something, or getting that A+. An A is perfectly fine. ;-)

11. Perfection is totally over-rated. Its a BAD thing.

12. Hug the ones you love every day. Tell them you love them every day.

13. Everyone in your life will disappoint you at some point. Nobody can be all you need at every moment. But God will always be there for you.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Resolution check in

Some of my New Year's Resolutions (I called them "promises to myself" in the hopes they would feel more like fun opportunities and less like "obligations") were to cook more healthy food for my family, and do more crafts with the kids.

I've done better on the cooking front than the crafts. It seems if I take the time to look up something "different" to do with the kids online, I'm not planning for meals very well. And if I dedicate myself to finding new healthy recipes, making menu plans and shopping lists, the crafts fall by the wayside.

I barely even try to keep the house all picked up. And I don't feel bad about this one...I think love and attention, be it emotional, social or intellectual, are more important than a clean house.

My cooking has consisted of a lot of crock pot meals. Some have been a big success, others nobody but me would touch. And even this one effort seems to be more than I can balance. Either it is super yummy, and not very healthy, or its healthy, and nobody wants it.

But through it all, my kids seem really happy and mostly healthy (winter, I'm ready to say bye bye to you!). Amelie has been "hosting" more and more elaborate tea parties for all her dolls (and her brother ;-). Evan is loving preschool, and is appreciative as ever of everything we do. "Thank you for making us this dinner, Mommy", he'll say. He and Amelie have more and more little conversations, and get along great (for the most part ;-). They just had their first session of a new religious ed. program at church. And after that we went for ice cream and then they played in the back yard with Daddy on their bikes for the first time this season.

And of course, I messed up dinner. I listed only half the cheese I needed for my crock pot mac n cheese, and so I thought the mozzarella cheese that was for another dish was intended for this. Mozzarella cheese in mac and cheese? Not so great. But the kids ate it up and called it yummy. And so now, Monday, I realize I'm not making what I had intended because I used the cheese for it mistakenly on something else. But oh well...Thankfully I have all the ingredients for a Rachel Ray pasta toss recipe.

But I still have a long way to go on my goal to spend more time just BEING with my children. They play on their own a lot of the time. And while there isn't anything inherently wrong with that (independent play and the ability to play independently are good things, and they also love each others' company), I know I spend too much time researching more recipes, looking for "the perfect craft", etc. What they will remember most isn't how well I cooked, or how fantastically creative any given craft was, but the time we spent together. They delight in the simplest of art making and just seem to love it every time I cook for them, no matter how it turns out. Kids have their priorities straight.

So I'm still plugging away at working on doing the same...with gratitude that no matter how well or poorly I do, they love me and seem to be very aware that I love them to pieces too.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Remember that thing....

I seriously need to start writing things down for later, or going right to the computer when there is a moment I want to capture forever. Right now I am thinking of this crazy thing Evan used to do right in the middle of the living room. It involved a lot of movement...spinning maybe? And some loud utterance, I can't remember if it was a phrase or singing. I'll have to ask Kevin in the morning.

Meanwhile Evan has fallen asleep in our bed. He's into sneaking into our bed at night now. I have to say, as I watch my babies grow up into little people, I don't mind so much.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

My rapidly growing babies

Life goes so fast these days. There have been so many cute, sweet, clever moments from Amelie and Evan that I have wanted to capture in writing that I let go by. Hopefully most of them will come rushing back to me and I'll jot them down eventually. But truly, there is too much to capture it all. They are growing up, learning new things, changing into "their own" little people so quickly.

Evan has become quite the computer wiz-kid. He can go over to Kevin's computer and start up his sling-box and watch whatever he wants. Never mind that he can start a browser and move from NickJr. to Sprout to PBS kids faster than you could imagine.

Amelie has changed *so* much in the last two weeks or so. Her short phrases ("me do it", "mommy, drink") are no more. She has dialog back and forth with you now! It is amazing. I just love it when she stumbles out of bed and trudges sleepily into our room...those pj's that go from head to foot so she's all pink hearts or blue lions are so adorable. And she is happy from the first moment she opens her eyes (provided you don't ask her to open her eyes earlier than she wants to ;-).

Evan can be happy when he wakes up, or he can have a list of complaints he rolls out for you one after the other. But on those mornings he wakes up peaceful, it is the sweetest thing in the world. He speaks slowly and quietly. Is is a lovely time of day.

Evan has started coming into our room at night and crawling in between us. I know in my mind we need to re-direct him back to his own bed, but when he lies next to me with that sweet sleepy face, I want to just hold onto him, and freeze him in time.

We just came to the end of a vacation with Kevin home. That is always a wonderful time, the kids enjoy Daddy and his attention so much. They get piggy back rides, and get to sit on Daddy's lap and read stories. They love going grocery shopping with him. He's come home with Dora and Spongebob soups that they have picked out for him.

Back to the "routine", such as it is, tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Where's the Music?!

Evan loves his music, as I've noted here several times. But he's started taking matters into his own hands, when Mommy and Daddy don't provide quite enough for him. This morning before leaving for school he wandered over to the computer, moved the mouse around a bit, clicked, and there he had brought up the cd library and was playing his favorite They Might Be Giants album, Here Come the ABC's. He may just be a little to smart for our own good. ;-)