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Dec 31, 2011


Meet Henry, our new puppy.


One of Rich's Christmas gifts to me was either a puppy or new carpet. Initially, I was leaning toward the carpet - we really need it. And the last thing we need is a puppy.

So of course, we chose a puppy.

We've been talking about dogs on and off for probably a year, trying to figure out when to get one, researching breeds, etc. We'd kind of been off the search for awhile when Rich surprised me with this idea at Christmas. So the search began again.

I found a breed we really liked first, but from researching figured out they were bad with cats. Miles wasn't down with that. Then we found the Havanese. They're small but not tiny (about 15 pounds as adults), sturdy, healthy, playful, calm, not big barkers or yippers, fluffy with non-shedding hair (they have hair, not fur, so they only shed about as much as I do...hallelujah), great with kids, dogs and cats.


A breeder in Mt. Vernon had the sweetest Havanese boy for sale online, so we went up this morning and got him.

Sam picked the name Henry from a list we'd compiled. So Henry it is.

The kids love him. I haven't heard a sound from him so far, and he's peed outside already. Of course he also vomited on my lap on the car ride home and peed on me when I picked him up before he was finished outside too, but let's focus on the positive!

Welcome to the family, Henry!

Dec 28, 2011

Twas Christmas Day

The kids were so excited this year, which made it so special for us, too. I can't imagine that Christmas morning is ever as precious as when your kids are small, when the magic of Santa and Jesus and lights and snow and gifts and late nights and cookies and music creates this tangible buzz within their tiny bodies. It's like electricity. It enlivens you just to be near them.

We taped them opening all their presents, but only broke out the camera after they'd finished.

When Mom and Dad and Lori's family came over for dinner later in the day, I didn't remember to take one photo. But we had a great dinner and opened more presents, if you can believe that. I swiped these photos from Lori's blog.

After everyone left and we cleaned up a bit, Lena sat down on my lap and we both dozed for awhile.

Our blessings are overwhelming, especially on days like that. So much family and food and fun and laughs and love.

God is good.

Twas the Night Before Christmas...

After church, we came home and had a snack, set out cookies and milk for Santa and a carrot for Rudolph and rushed the kids off to bed.

Then Santa came...

Dec 27, 2011

Christmas Eve

We had Christmas Eve at my cousin Jen's this year. She and I rotate hosting it every other year and it works out great.

The weather was sunny and beautiful and we had a great time, as usual. I don't know another family who laughs as much as ours.

Christmas with the Coles

Whoa, am I behind. Tis the season, right?

Let's start with Christmas with the Coles, which was on the weekend of my birthday. It was a quick trip since I agreed to sing that Sunday that church, but we had fun visiting with everyone at the party and spending time with Rich's parents at home. And it snowed, which was lovely. Since our Christmas down here was warmer and sunny, it was so nice to have a white Christmas in Chardon!

Dec 14, 2011

God Bless Preschool!

Just look what our sweet Sammy boy did tonight. It's a Christmas card for his teachers at school (click on the photo for a larger picture).

He drew the dog and wrote the word DOG by himself (the G is sideways, but it's still good).

All. By. Himself.

WHAT? When did this happen? He doesn't even know the whole alphabet yet and he's writing words?

And his name - I made a dot S for him to trace, but then he just wrote the A and the M all by himself.

WHAT? By. Himself.

Of course I got all weepy and called my mom...

God bless preschool!

Dec 7, 2011

Sleeping Through Life

Bridges of Madison County

The book provides an crushing love story, and the movie offers two such gifted actors (which is a rare thing these days), Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood.

At different stages in my life, different parts of this story affect me. But always the character Francesca gets to me. Beyond the love story, she is a beautiful, educated, kind, simple, middle-aged wife, mother, farmer and teacher.

And she is present.

For example, she's sitting alone on the front porch one late night reading Yeats. It's so hot she's sweating, even at night wearing only a robe. Suddenly she stands up to face a breeze and opens her robe. Her robe flows behind her in the wind and her face shows an expression of, I don't know...of being alive. She is aware of herself, her mind, her body, the world around her. Alive. Present.

She says, "Just because someone chooses to settle down and have a family doesn't necessarily mean they're hypnotized. Just because I've never seen a gazelle stampede doesn't mean I'm asleep in my life."

Asleep in my life...that is profound to me.

She knows that the bliss and raw true emotions of having a family are equal to or greater than what someone living a life of "adventure" experiences. But she also realizes that being a mother and wife can be hypnotizing sometimes. Families bring joys and blessings that are incomparable, though often time right alongside the routines and ruts and schedules.

She also says, "When a woman makes the choice to marry, to have children; in one way her life begins but in another way it stops. You build a life of details. You become a mother, a wife, and you stop and stay steady so that your children can move. And when they leave they take your life of details with them. And then you're expected move again, only you don't remember what moves you because no-one has asked in so long. Not even yourself."

My God, it's amazing to me that a man wrote this.

Details, errands, schedules, responsibilities...days and weeks can be easily eaten away by these necessities.I see this in many of my friends' lives whose kids are older. Hell, my kids are very young and I'm already starting to experience this.

Socrates said something like the unexamined life is not worth living. I've always found truth in that. And I guess that's what I find so real and refreshing about Francesca's character. Even before this man stumbles into her life and changes her forever in an intense and tangible way; she's aware of herself and her mind. She's awake. Even through long hard days of farming and mothering and the mundane parts of living, she doesn't allow herself to be lost in it all.

I don't want to be lost in it all.

When Sam and Lena are grown, I don't want to have forgotten what moves me. I love my children and Rich to disgusting degrees. I would give my life for them without a second thought. Honestly. They bring me more joy and fulfillment than anything else I've ever known. They occupy my mind completely most days and I'm glad for that, I want that, I owe them that. They're my family.

But I don't want to give them so much of myself that there's nothing left of me when the kids are grown. I don't think with my introspective tendencies that would ever happen, but like I said before, my kids are very young. And I know parenting gets harder as they (and you) get older. Who knows what might happen. Or how much of me it will take to teach them and love them and guide them the right way. I'd rather be spent completely after presenting two loving and smart and faithful people to this world than to half-ass parent them and make their lives and this world worse just because I refused to do what needed to be done.

I'm rambling.

Here's my point. I will do whatever it takes to be the parent my kids need me to be. And I will pray that I don't lose myself in the process. Either way, I just don't ever want to be asleep in my life.