This was taken when we were engaged. The names Clark and Alice didn't mean anything to me and my heart was still waiting to get all stretched out.

Happy New Year my friends.
Whose arms will hold you good and tight?


look behind from where we came

I'm not really a New Years resolution type. I mean, wearing button earrings more often is one thing, but setting goals in stone for a year I know nothing about (today was good, I guess I do know that one little thing about 2009) seems silly. There are many things I need to work on. SO MANY things. Little things and big things.

(from my high school notebook)

Qualities I want to focus on and encourage in myself, and some quirks that have probably run their course and need to be suppressed. Relationships to cultivate and relationships to let go. Many many things to remind myself that it is okay to do (not always be self deprecating) and things that it is not okay to do (gossip).

I also need to soak up every moment of my baby girl's first year and spend thoughtful in-the-moment time with my toddler, who will likely turn into a full-blown kid right before my eyes in 2009.

Learning to use my sewing machine is on the list of "stuff I would like to do sometime in the very vague future", but resolving to accomplish it in the coming year? Health and income and life as I know are not even all resolved. They are what I have right now and what I am thankful for, but not a promise for the future. I don't have a life plan because I can't have a life plan. I am on God's plan. It is a mystery to me and may or may not follow the path I am imagining in my head.

So in the spirit of all things holiday and new and fresh, I suppose I will offer a few hopeful maybes for the year to come and a few reminders to myself-- many of these are things I tell myself every day in the shower. Okay. Not always in the shower. I don't shower every day. I'm a mom. Maybe "showering" should go on the list.

--> learn to use my sewing machine
--> listen to more music and watch less tv
--> be friendly to strangers
--> cook more
--> be encouraging to others
--> keep on top of the toenail polish situation
--> not get caught up in the games people play
--> put myself out there
--> not take things personally
--> learn how to be direct without being rude
--> accept that I can't make everyone happy and I can't be perfect
--> pray with focus
--> stop stressing about the dirty kitchen
--> find time to take a hot bath when I need a break
--> it's okay to need a break right?
--> breaks are normal. people without breaks are not nice or healthy and often have to drink diet Pepsi to get the energy to brew the coffee.
--> accept that I'm a coffee drinker
--> (let's be honest, coffee addict)

(again from my high school notebook. if i drew this picture now there would be some levers and some pulleys all hooked up to a very extra large mug of coffee.)

Originally published on January 1st, 2009.

I was right: Clark turned into a full-blown kid this year. And I think I did okay with these "hopeful maybes". I'm glad about that. Except for the sewing thing. That may never actually happen.


an actual conversation i had with my mom on tuesday night

Lest you think my mother encouraged me as a child to be the way I am:

Mom: Who is this singing? Bing Crosby? I don't like him, he's a weirdo.

Me: WHAT? I love Bing Crosby. I think he's sweet.

Mom: I don't know, all those old actor men are creepy. They just seem like weirdos. Wasn't there a dancer named Jack or something?

Me: Jack? I... don't know who you're talking about?

Mom: Jack.... Jack.... Fred! Fred Astaire. He's a weirdo too.

Me: Um, what? I love Fred Astaire. You know this about me.

Mom: You do? Well I think he's weird and gross. Though I guess I don't really know anything about him.

Me: Have you MET ME? I know everything about him. YOU KNOW THIS ABOUT ME! Next you're going to tell me you don't like Gene Kelly.

Mom: Oh yeah! I forgot about Gene Kelly. Yuck.


extra special good

I've been running around like a crazy lady for the last week, but I had to steal the computer for a moment to at least say Merry Christmas. I hope it's been magical and cozy and full of cheer. Ours was all of those things, and I can't believe it's over.

(my grandma's tree topper)

I was planning to calm down and sit down and shut down tonight, but then my kids started throwing up all over everything and they've never had a stomach thing before so I'm not sure what I'm doing and I'm in panic mode. Is it okay to let them sleep in their own beds? Will they start to throw up in their sleep and aspirate and I won't hear it? Could that happen? I will probably get out of bed every ten minutes to check on them for the rest of the night, just in case.


the story of the little santa tag



Xmas 1965
by Mrs Deiterich


Dear Mrs Deiterich,
Thank you for taking the time to sew each little individual sequin, bead, and pompom onto this Santa Claus doll. He's living happily in our Christmasy living room.

Dear Ning Ning,
Thank you for leaving the gift tag on this doll that Mrs Deiterich made for you and obviously never touching it. And then donating it to the Salvation Army forty-four years later. Merry Christmas!


you capture: holiday decor

I haven't done You Capture in forever. I am still a little frustrated about my broken lens and haven't been taking as many pictures as I would normally be.

BUT, when I saw that this week's challenge is holiday decor (in my house known as Christmas Crap) I had to participate. Mostly because I want to show off the two glowing Frosty Snowmen I picked up at the S and A. There's this one employee who often rings me up and makes crazy eyes at my purchases. She made SUPER DRAMA crazy eyes at the Frostys. She obviously just doesn't get it.


Aren't they GREAT? And the fake snow? Hilarious, right? I put it up there to hide the cords but it's pretty amazing.


Of course I'm displaying the picture.


You can't have enough tiny wreaths. This one was another Salvation Army purchase that was once-overed by crazy-eyes-lady before it was paid for.


A glance in the mirror. That little Santa tag in the corner has a story of its own. Maybe I'll blog it later this week.


The prettiest of all.

Check out all the holiday frills at I Should Be Folding Laundry.


Have you ever had a dream where you were fighting with a friend and woken up still angry at them?

Last night I had an opposite kind of dream.

Something big was happening, but I'm not sure what. I think I was in labor. Or I was fighting feelings of grief. It was Something Big. And difficult.

My best, closest friends were sitting with me on the floor of my bedroom.
I could feel myself being challenged by what was going on but they continuously comforted me. It went on for awhile.

We whispered and yelled and when the feelings started to suffocate me, someone made me laugh.

When I woke up, I missed them.

And then I realized that the people in my dream were strange.

I have no idea who these women were.

The friend who did most of the talking in my dream-- the one who knew me so well that her mere presence was comforting-- looked nothing like anyone I know in real life. She didn't really act all that familiar either.

Her mannerisms, her shape, her hair, her attitude... it was all so specific.

Where did she come from? Did my brain memorize a random person while I was grocery shopping and then cast her in the role of "best friend" in my dream? Did it put together this friend-person like a puzzle? Was she a dead relative? (Kidding. Mostly.)

I don't know what any of this means.

I think it has something to do with the internet.


my mom told me to update

Really, my mom just sent me a Facebook message saying, "Update your blog! I just looked at it and it is old and tired now."

Thanks Mom.

I've spent the last week obsessed with making room for the stuff my kids are going to get for Christmas from their grandmas.

And listening to my Pandora station. (More on why it is MY Pandora station tomorrow, maybe.) The kids and I are obsessed with it. We had to pay 99 cents this morning to keep listening because we had listened to all 40 free hours allowed for the month. In other words we listened to 40 hours in just 15 days. When I try to turn it off Clark says, "NOOOO! DON'T TURN IT OFF! You can't! It's CHRISTMAS!" and I sort of agree. Besides I was really only making a move to turn it off because I had started to worry that 40 hours of Christmas music in 15 days might be unhealthy but Clark is learning all the words to all the songs which has to be some form of education right?

If this post were more thought out I would now include a video of us singing "The Merry Christmas Polka" in the style of Dinah Shore, but it is 1am so all you get is the mental image.

I'll try to be less blog-lazy. I don't want to get in trouble with my mom again.


I found this! Now just imagine me and Clark singing instead of The Andrews Sisters.

Unless of course you prefer this version...



the smoke has cleared

Yesterday and today were much much better. I feel totally over the frustration. I feel peaceful and normal again.

It's kind of funny. Things are not suddenly "easier" but because I took some steps towards a new routine it is all much better. How is it, with kids, that something simple that works and just clicks for so so long can suddenly change and not work at all anymore? I think I have been stuck in my mothering of a two year old and an infant and somehow missed that I now have a preschooler and a toddler. Clark and Alice just aren't the same kids they were a few months ago. They are more amazing than ever, if possible, but they require me to hide more stuff up high. And that's okay. I can do that.

(Besides, what's left for them to break? Ha ha! See, you can tell I am all the way over the camera lens because I am joking about it! I'm mostly over the camera lens. 50% over it. Okay, I'm still weeping a little but only in secret.)

I went Christmas shopping yesterday, by myself, and the whole time I was out I missed my kids. I also realized while looking at all the "stuff" out there that when I said that I only have like two things and that I need a Christmas present that I misspoke. I think what I really meant is that I only have like two things that are the kind of things that make my brain feel clicky and light ("hobbies" for those not following my bizarre language choices) and one of those things is taking pictures with my camera. The other thing is probably this blog. The rest of my "hobbies" are not actual hobbies but are rather dream hobbies and are all ridiculous and involve expensive equipment and costumes I don't own. (Yes I said costumes. DREAM BIG!) I don't think I need a "stuff" kind of Christmas present after all. I think that on Christmas morning I just want to be included. Luke could wrap one of Clark's drawings and say it's a special mommy-card and that would be just fine. Unless Santa is real and has trained his elves to make big-ticket items in which case I'll take a computer, a camera lens, a video camera, and a new refrigerator.


But I did buy myself something when I was out yesterday.

I bought

(wait for it)

dish scrubber.


PS. Luke does the dishes. I hope he likes pink flowers as much as I do.


growing tired of duct tape

Remember when I said my kids are destructive and have "broken almost everything I own"?

In the last few days the following things have been destroyed:
  • A Christmas rocking horse candle holder that was mine as a child. I had it put away because I didn't want Clark to break it, but he found it in the put-away place and broke it.
  • My camera. It is broken but repairable.
  • My 50mm lens. It is broken and not repairable.
  • A $78 pair of sunglasses that we were going to return.
  • Our refrigerator door. It now barely closes. Clark likes to get in the fridge and get out yogurts and the occasional gallon of milk. He also likes to hang on the door and swing back and forth like it's a ride.
  • The wall hanging that I made for Alice before she was born. It was made of wrapping paper and I knew it wouldn't last forever but I'm still sad it didn't last forever.
  • A photo of me on the day I was born with the date written in the corner by my father who I have not seen since I was seven years old.
Let's total this up shall we?

What does priceless + $100 +78 + $500 + priceless equal?

I know you must think I am never watching my kids for them to get into all of this stuff but I am ALWAYS watching them. They are like ninjas.



After the camera hit the floor I had a little fit during which I cried a little and then blurted out "MOMMY ONLY HAS LIKE TWO THINGS OF HER OWN AND ONE OF THEM IS HER CAMERA!" and suddenly realized that I only have like two things of my own and one of them is my camera.

I started thinking long and hard about the way I have started sacrificing things that haven't even been asked of me.

"Oh, it's okay, you can ________________ ."

(eat the rest of the food I cooked for dinner, I can find something for myself later)
(put that stuff on my side of the closet-- I barely have any clothes that fit anyway)
(have four drawers I only need one)
(take a shower with mommy if you really want to as long as you don't bring too many toys and don't yell too loud)

Stupid stuff.
Stuff no one is asking of me.

I think it's interesting.

And I think it's okay, as long as I am sincere in my oh-its-okays. As long as I can go around not resenting any of it and really being okay with the two kids in my shower and me eating string cheese while my family eats chicken with peanut sauce, then it's okay. It's motherhood, you know? Sometimes when you get done cooking you realize there just isn't enough chicken and I would honestly rather have my kids eat a home cooked meal than feed myself.

I really thought I was okay with this all and I don't know, maybe I still am okay with most of it. But when my camera was pulled from the desk drawer and thrown to the hardwood floor SOMETHING SNAPPED.

So today I cleaned our bedroom.

I moved the stuff that is not mine out from my side of the closet.

I cleared out a space where I can put things that the kids could never ever reach, even if Clark pulled the highest tallest chair over to try. (He does this.)

And even though we are dirt poor right now I AM going to find a way to buy another lens because it's Christmas and this year is not going to be another "oh, it's okay, I don't need a Christmas present" kind of years.

This year I'm getting a Christmas present. I don't even care what it is. Mommy needs more than two things.


(oh the sweet adorable naughtiness.)


excerpt from an email i just sent my sister-in-law

Some detailed things that are frustrating me. They may paint a clearer picture of what Clark is like now, in his final month of being a two year old:

* He is incredibly destructive and has broken almost everything I own.

* He is totally in la-la land (ignoring mom land) when I take him in
public. He often lays down on the ground and ignores me and then
goes limp when I try to remove him from the ground or the paper
towel display or whatever. (He weighs like 39 pounds. That's a lot of limp

* He takes his shoes and socks off in public. And in the car. And
in the house as we are walking out of the door. It was 25
degrees here today. Shoes are kind of important. He doesn't care
at all if he gets in trouble; he WILL do it again the next time.

* He often tells me to "stop talking" or "stop saying that" when he
is annoyed with me. After getting the "you don't talk to your
mother that way, you need to act like the good boy I know you
really are and listen up" he points me in the face and in his
meanest voice whispers, "say it quietly".

* He makes up clever lies/explanations for his behavior.

Today's Example 1: Luke told him like eight times not to stand in front of the TV and when he went back and did it the ninth time (obviously just because he was told not to and wanted to see what would happen) he was given some line about being disobedient and he said, "Dad I have to stand here because your video game is too quiet, and when I stand here I can hear it really well."

(The TV is not quiet at all.)

Today's Example 2: This morning we left the grocery store and he immediately threw himself down on the pavement (see above bullet point about laying on the ground in public).

I blurted out, "WHY ARE YOU LAYING DOWN IN THE PARKING LOT THIS IS SO DANGEROUS! CARS! DANGER! OH MY GOSH STAND UP NEVER DO THIS AGAIN!", and he stood up and very calmly replied, "The wind blew me over."

(It was not windy.)

Today's Example 3: He just took off his nice fleece Christmas pajamas and pull-up for the fourth time and when out of frustration Luke said, "WHYyyyy! NOOOOO! WHY DID HE GET NAKED AGAIN???" Clark (again, calmly) said, "I wanted to slide like a penguin with my bare tummy." Then he sang a little song that went, "slide over here, slide over there!" while sliding across the coffee table.


He stayed up until almost 11 tonight, taking off his pajamas and charming us out of time-outs by making up penguin songs. I finally quit putting the nice fleece Christmas pajamas back on him and instead dressed him in a Star Wars t-shirt and some silky athletic shorts and he was happy to keep them on, though he complained of being cold. This post should also serve as an explanation for why I've been slow with my posts and why I haven't read any blogs all week. I haven't showered either, so don't take it personally.


salvation army bells are ringing

Okay, so for the past few months I have been collecting hilarious/weird kitschy Christmas stuff from my favorite store, the S and A Boutique.

(The S and A Boutique is what my Grandma calls the Salvation Army. I like it.)

For your viewing pleasure, I present to you a sample of my lovely Christmas treasure.

Or as Luke calls it-- my Christmas crap.

"Happy Birthday Jesus, I hope you like crap!" was his follow up quote.

Either way, it makes me happy.


I'm kind of wishing I had had the patience to wait for good light to take these pictures, but guess what? It's only December 1st and you are going to get pictures of my Christmas crap for a whole month! Yay you.