Sunday, December 28, 2008

we had ourselves a merry little christmas...

ella's prayer yesterday morning at breakfast:
"dear lord, happy birthday. i mean, well... happy birthday next year when its merry christmas time again... thank you for a family who talks about your birth. thank you for coming down to earth."

what a privilege to experience life through the eyes of our children. this christmas was wonderful.

when our family was all together, we shared some of our favorite christmas memories with each other. i noticed that very few of the significant memories of our collective pasts had much to do with gifts we received. interesting, since it seems like the gift part gets so much emphasis in our society today. i was especially touched with my great aunt's memory. living through some very tough times as a child, the christmas that stood out for her was when her parents saved and sacrificed so they could have the delicacy of oranges on christmas. oranges! what a treat. i really appreciated her sharing that. simpler times. and better perspectives, i'm sure.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

my apologies that this is the closest thing to a Christmas card from our family this year. (i know my limits.)

may you all enjoy the celebration of the birth of our savior. Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

a 4 year-old's perspective

ella loves to write out her memory verses. she also likes to make them up as she goes along.
in the off-chance that you don't read russian, allow me to share ella's translation with you: "God is always watching out for us. We don't have to be afraid because God is bigger than the boogeyman."

and on the back, some deep 4 year old wisdom:

"When God was little he didn't get made because he was made."

Thursday, December 18, 2008

well said, king david

sometimes i wonder what will be on my tombstone. not so much because i am morbid (at least i don't think i am) but more because i wonder whether or not i will make it through the day. that being the case, i wonder if my kids were to chose my epitaph, would it be something they must hear me say ALL day long... "no more whining" or "do you need to go to time-out?" or "get off your sister" or "you need to listen to me." how is my little stay on this earth defined in their eyes? i think specifically of my kids because i know they see the real and true me. its hard (and not necessary) to fake it around little ones who see you at your best and worst ALL day EVERY day.

in a very rare, very quiet moment today, i read a verse that i hope will define me. "my share in life has been pleasant; my part has been beautiful." psalm 16:6

while there are many overwhelming and never-ending phases of motherhood, i wouldn't trade my life for anything. i mean, don't get me wrong, i have my moments of weakness where i would certainly choose a yacht in figi over mounds of laundry and sticky floors in arizona. but i have to say my share in life is more than pleasant. it is fantastic. and at the end of it, i hope it will be seen by others, especially in the eyes of children and husband, as beautiful for them.

well... now i'm off to print this verse above the crib, on the dishwasher, in the laundry room, next to the bathtub, above the stove... because pretty soon they'll wake up and i'm pretty sure i'm going to need a reminder.

Monday, December 15, 2008

pajama day

the beautiful thing about the blog is that i am able to declare my passionate love for overcast, rainy days without enduring the replies of others who are convinced i would change my mind if i lived elsewhere and had to "suffer" through sunshine-less days on a more frequent basis. (it tends to annoy me when people think they know me better than i know myself.) because i know that i do indeed love these days and i am thrilled this drizzly weather is currently forecasted until thursday. and i know, that like all other sunny days, friday will be a bit of a disappointment to me when the clouds are gone and the sun is back. this must be an example of "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" because when i hear "it is a beautiful day" (very common phrase in these parts), i want to ask, "where are the clouds?"

we (ella and me) affectionately refer to these days as "cozy days." and here in phoenix, we have to make the most of them when they come. sunless days relax me and energize me at the same time. weird, i know. when there is no rain accompanying the coziness, these are the days i most love to go the park, for walks, run errands... an overcast day just makes everything better. and when there is rain, what better excuse do you need to declare a pajama day and curl up with books and hot apple cider around the christmas tree.

i was slightly concerned this morning that our cozy day would actually be a sick day when ella didn't wake up until 9:30! the last time this happened was... well, never. and while she did emerge from her room with a cold, she is still enjoying the day to its fullest.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

is something wrong?

i have a feeling it is going to be a good day. it is currently 7:57 and my 2 oldest children are STILL SLEEPING! a normal occurrence in homes all across america, it is indeed an extremely rare occasion here. bennett is usually up way before the sun and ella follows shortly after.

i awoke with a start when i realized there was light coming through my window and the house was quiet. did anthony take the kids to work with him? have they been kidnapped? i considered calling 911 because something is surely wrong, but i was afraid of waking them with my voice. instead i checked on them to make sure they were breathing and then tiptoed out to my baby cooing at the christmas lights.

i just don't know what to do with myself. hmmm... i should probably stop typing for now; they might hear the clacking and wake up.

Friday, December 5, 2008

"if it ain't broke..."

one sunday, not too long ago, i was almost convinced that my husband was smoking crack. he had just come out from putting bennett down for his nap and with a slightly sheepish smile informed me, "so i went ahead and took the front off of bennett's crib." (to make it a semi-big-boy bed.) to which i responded something along the lines of, "have you lost your mind?"

as if our lives aren't crazy enough, lets go ahead and uncage the 2 year old at nap time. at the current state of things, my philosophy is to keep life as easy as possible. the ability to chuck bennett in his crib and keep him there was part of this equation. anthony said he explained to bennett that he can't get off his bed. yeah, good luck with that, i thought to myself. and then, instead of making it an "issue" i resolved myself to simply wait until the next day when anthony was at work and i could innocently put the crib back together and inform daddy that it just simply didn't work out.

well, surprise, surprise. bennett was ready for the transition. he loves his bed and does not get off, even when he wakes up. he calls for us and waits for us to get him. this is shocking to me and its all thanks to daddy for having a little faith.

so this week we made the transition official by putting the real big-boy bed in his room. yep, my boy is growing up...

the big-boy bed "christening"

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


well, we did it. we traveled with our newborn. and while i wouldn't say that this thanksgiving weekend falls into the "relaxing" category of trips we have taken, it was still a wonderful time to be with family and reflect on God's provision for the early settlers as well as for us today. and we do have so much to be thankful for.

for starters, i am thankful my mom now knows i'm not exaggerating when i say that mason cries ALL the time. ok, well... not when he is eating or sleeping and not for a cumulative total of about 22 minutes the rest of the day. but even though i am thankful for him, he is quite the fussy little thing. and i feel validated when others can witness it for themselves.

we are also thankful for:

thanksgiving crafts with grammy

chicken fights

hide and go seek... daddy style
fun times with family
(great-great aunt pauline)
(cousin kaitlyn)

meeting great-grandma darlene

extra hands to hold a fussy baby

someone to blow in our faces (hey, don't knock it 'till you've tried it...)

visiting poppa at work

helping grammy decorate for christmas (because mommy never lets us touch stuff like this!)

Thursday, November 13, 2008


so i'm sitting down to share my life with the blog world, and my eye catches this title in the headlines on my computer: "researchers find brisk walk can curb chocolate cravings." hmmm... really? i can't imagine why i would want to go out for a brisk walk when i can just eat my children's halloween candy and accomplish the same thing.

anyhow... so ella and bennett are playing in ella's room today and conversing back and forth. truthfully, i really wasn't paying attention to them because there was no screaming or crying. but at one point, i tuned in and heard ella say, "bennett, the little kid died. we need to pray for him." and then i hear bennett say, "oh." clearly they have my attention now, so i venture back to spy on them from the hallway.

"bennett, we need to pray for him. lets get on my bed and pray." bennett, the compassionate man he is, has clearly moved on to something else by this point because i hear him say, "look at this, ella!" to which she replies, "get on my bed right now! we need to pray for him." a little bit of time passes. "bennett, sit down on my bed! we are going to pray!" more time passes. "bennett! we need to pray right now! get on my bed!!!"

finally i see him climb up on the bed. and i see her settle in next to him. she is about to start praying when he shouts out, "hide!" and dives under the blanket to start hide and go seek. ella just stares at him for a moment and then folds her hands and closes her eyes and prays: "dear Lord, please help bennett to cooperate with me. please help us to be brave. and please help the little boy that died in my bed."

WHAT?!?! as she says amen i come in her room and nonchalantly-like ask her who she is praying for. "oh, mommy, remember that little boy that was playing and the bed came down on his head and then he got stuck and couldn't get out and then he died?" oh yeah... so her bed was recalled and a replacement part was shipped to us because the toy chest part at the foot of the bed did actually cause the death of a little boy. this happened like a year ago now and apparently she retained way more information about it than we would want her to.

and in mason news... he just had his 2 month check-up. the most memorable part for ella (and probably for him too) was that he had 5 shots and she was fascinated to watch. later she said, "maybe he could have 12 shots next time." should i be worried that she would want to inflict this kind of torment on her infant brother?

he now weighs 8 lbs 9oz. yes, i realize many of your babies may have been close to this size at birth. but someone has to even out the averages. mason is currently at the 1% for his weight. yes, out of 100 boys his age, he is the smallest.

now if only those m&m calories i just consumed could make their way into my breast milk and not my hips...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


this morning we said good-bye to jake...
i would like to say that i am really going to miss him, but that would be lying. i am, however, very sad for my husband who has had jake longer than he has had me. and although i am looking forward to no more dog hair, slobber, or fears of him ripping someones face off, i do have some fond memories of our very lovable, goofy dog.

as anthony drove away with jake, i was left to attempt an explanation to the kids. not sure if bennett really cared; he was too busy jumping off the ottoman. but as i informed them that jake was old and it was his time to die, ella actually had a big smile on her face as she realized that now maddie would have some company... you know, besides just Jesus and God. so here is a little snippet of our conversation:

ella: oh, is daddy driving him to heaven?
me: no, just to see dr. kc.
ella clearly is confused by this.
me, trying to explain more clearly: dr. kc will give him a shot and it won't hurt at all.
ella: so then why does it hurt when we get a shot?
me: well, his shot might hurt a little, but the rest of it won't.
ella: so will he die right away?
me: umm... yeah, i guess.
ella: will we see him when we go there (heaven)?
me: uh, yeah, i hope so. (hey, if i'm lying she won't be sad about it then because there are no tears in heaven...)
ella is quiet for a long time: i want jake to come home.

jake, in his better days, getting a very loving check up from his favorite vets:

Thursday, October 23, 2008

she's 4!

"When I count my blessings, I count you twice." -Jewish proverbover the past 6 weeks, i have often wondered what women did before pacifiers, swings, percocet and pbs kids tv shows. life around here has been pretty much what you might imagine it would be with a newborn, a toddler and a preschooler. but someday soon, i am confident i will once again have the chance to shower and make my bed.

it seems the most significant event since the last post is the birthday of our very special first born. ella turned 4. i can't believe i have a 4 year old. i also can't believe i have 3 children, a mini-van and turned 31 this year. but back to ella...

what a blessing our little girl is. her imagination, creativity and sense of humor keep us laughing and we are thankful for her strong-will... which we believe God will use for his glory (if we can make it through these years!) a couple of years ago, anthony made a comment about having 5 kids. i said, "what if they are all like ella?" and his response was immediate: "if we have 4 more like her we can seriously rule the world." we love our feisty, stubborn, determined and strong young lady. and not only is she strong willed, she is also very loving and very sweet. bennett and mason are very blessed to have such a wonderful big sister to look after them.

so... ella's birthday party this year was a princess tea party with her cousins. a big thanks to my mom and sister for making it all possible and thanks to the kids for making us laugh. who knew boys secretly want to wear make-up? and never underestimate the fun of putting sugar cubes in your lemonade.

ella, we love you! you are a gift from God.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


so i checked on ella at naptime the other day. this is how she slept:

Monday, September 29, 2008

no sibling jealousy here...

"You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them."
~Desmond Tutu
ella and bennett absolutely love having a baby brother. ella wants him in the same room as her, and she is always asking if she can hold him, give him a bottle, put in his pacifier. she talks very sweetly to him and is very understanding when he is fussy and takes up all of mommy's time. she even provides some entertainment and dances for him.

bennett... well, i'm not sure if he realizes mason is his little brother or if he just thinks he is a little toy. but judging from the way he squeals in excitement and does his little dance every time mason enters the room, he is happy to have him in our family. and he certainly isn't stingy with kisses. he's very eager to give them at every opportunity, even if it means climbing across mommy while he is eating, or leaning his entire weight onto mason in the swing or bouncy seat, and even in spite of some adamant "no's!" and "not right now, buddy's" from mommy and daddy.

he loves his brother and loves to hold him. "thirsty, buddy?"

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

i love my mommy

home cooked meals, doing the dishes, cleaning, putting my kids down for naps, lifting bennett out of his crib... the list goes on. what would i do without my mom? well, i'll find out soon enough, but for now, i very much enjoy her company and her servant's heart.

yesterday, she bathed the kids for me. she had ella out of the tub, and bennett announces that he has to go to the bathroom. automatically, i reach to get him out of the tub, forgetting that i can't lift him. not to worry, because he remembered. "no! grammy! mommy, owie." oh yeah... nothing like needing your 2 year old to remind you of your limitations.

ella has an abc book of bible verses. Q is one of her favorites that she memorized right away. "be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry." so as i was trying to talk with my mom about something and ella was desperately trying to ask me something about going with her to get her necklace, i was kinda ignoring her and kept saying, "just a minute." and when her pleading didn't work, she realized maybe getting spiritual would. "but mommy, God says we should be quick to listen." maybe not exactly the application the verse is intending, but she got some major points (and laughter) for her persistence and effort.

and poor mason had his circumcision today. he was not happy (can't say i blame him) and there was lots of drama at the doctor's office. sure am grateful grammy was there to help. i'm going to miss her!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

fun at the zoo

ella and bennett have thoroughly enjoyed having daddy home the past week and half. (and so have i!) the fun never ends with daddy. on wednesday, he took the kids to the zoo, where there is a new splash area. they had the time of their lives, daddy too... so on thursday, they went back again!

i am sad the week is coming to an end and he heads back to work on monday (although i am thrilled to welcome my mom and her help this next week). so i had this conversation with ella:

me: "aren't you sad that daddy has to go back to work on monday?"
ella: "no."
me: "really? i am sad."
ella: "but mommy, he still comes home at the end of the day."
me: "i know, but i miss him during the day."
anthony: "what do you like about daddy going to work?"
ella: "because i like it when its just mommy and we can talk all day and hang out. i really love my mommy so much."

awwww... that just warms a mother's heart.