Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The More of the Book

I was at Sam's Club a few weeks ago with Little Lady and there was no rush.  Usually, Daddy and the kids and the dogs are all in the car waiting and a trip through Sam's feels more like a supermarket sweep as I rush through the aisles as fast as I can flinging 55 lb bags of dog food in here, 20 lb bags of flour there and don't forget the coffee. Lord Almighty, never forget the coffee!  Only at the end, it isn't all free, so it really isn't anything like a supermarket sweep, I guess.  There's always a catch, isn't there?  But we had time.  It was a week day and Daddy was at work, Little Man at school and the dogs were sleeping in their beds at home, oblivious to the fact that Mom was just down the street from the dog park.

So we took our sweet time and went up and down every aisle, even the ones in the middle that hold nothing but the promise of money spent on things we don't need.  And spend money we did!  I found myself unable to resist the pull of a new dress shirt for Daddy.  Our dryer ruins his shirts weekly and I am sick of finding grease stains from the dryer randomly streaked across shirts after I've already halfway finished ironing and he needs a shirt tomorrow.  Sigh.  But I digress. 

And the book section.  Always torture for me.  Walking through a book store and not buying anything seems wrong on so many levels.  Books are good.  Books are life.  Books make me drool. Until I bring them home and remember I have no.more.room.anywhere.  We have stacks of books everywhere.  The bookshelves are overflowing.  There are boxes full of books in the basement.  In the bedrooms.  In the closets.  I spent weeks when we first moved here trying to whiddle down the books in our collection, with the end result being less than ten cut from the pack.  Sigh, why would I want to part with my friends?  Even if they are really heavy, bulky friends who I never really spend time with and have moved 13.times.in.10.years.  God help me, I need to stop buying books!

We bought a book.

This book.

It was worth the money and the space on the shelf.  I read the adult book Heaven Is For Real shortly after J died and was so happy I did.  It was amazing and comforting and wonderful.  And this is that book, but for Little Man.   I bought hoping it would make him feel good and get warm fuzzies when he thinks about Jameson in heaven and all the great promises we have to look forward to.  And it has done all these things and more!

The more is awesome.  The more is helping with bed time and fears and anxiety.  The more is having such a clear picture of his powerful Guardian Angel described by a boy who went to heaven and saw them for real.  The more is my son going to bed knowing that there is a powerful Angel standing by his bed all.night.long.every.night. with a flaming sword, keeping watch over him because his God wants him to sleep safely and peacefully.  And he does most nights, now.  The more rocks. 

We will not be culling this book.  Ever.

Now we just need to get the other child sleeping.  Teething is a *fun* process!  Which is why I buy my coffee in bulk. 

Happy Tuesday everyone!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Rice and Legos

I just wanted to pop in during nap time on this frigid Minnesota morning to let you all know that I made rice. Twice now, since the last post.  And I didn't burn it either time.  And, the burgers were dynamite!  Everyone should make wild rice burgers!

If you want the recipe, click here.  They were totally awesome. 

Ahh, the girl is awake.  Time to get moving!  Today we are headed to Michael's with coupons in hand to get a grommet tool and make a lego mat.  I have a big, round table cloth and I'm going to put grommets around the perimeter and run a big shoe-lace-style string through it.  The legos live in it and when you want to play, it is a mat.  When Mama goes crazy and wants a clean house, all the boy has to do is pull the string and drag is bag of legos into his room!  I've been meaning to do this for 3 years now...

Anyway, she is still in her crib and protesting.  Have a happy Thursday and weekend!

Friday, January 18, 2013

A Day in the Life

I burned the rice this morning.  Not like, oh- no,-I-left-this-on-simmer-and-it-is-stuck-to-the-bottom-of-the-pan-burnt, but let's-eat-lunch-and-then-take-a-shower-while-the-rice-is-on-high-because-I-forgot-about-it-burnt.  And before we move on, let us all give thanks that my kitchen did not start on fire.  And that dogs will eat anything, so it wasn't entirely wasted. 

Blogging right now probably isn't in my best interest as I'm ALSO on round two of rice-cooking, but when the baby sleeps and the homework is done and the boy is still at school, a lady needs to write!

When I went to bed last night, Daddy casually said "wait til you see Little Man in the morning."  And wouldn't say more.  I was intrigued, but let's face, I'm a tired lady.   Little Lady is teething and getting up a million times a night to eat, to be held, to glare at me while I rock her and throw the nuk on the floor.   Nights are a little rough at the moment.  So after a few moments of wondering, I feel fast asleep.  For like, 5 minutes, when I had to get up with Little Lady.  Seriously, how do they know when you get into the perfect spot in bed?  It's like a mom-is-resting-radar that blares in their evil little minds the second you hit relaxing mode.  "Oh, mom's not busy, I should cry."  Sigh.  You already forgot about Little Man, didn't you?  I did too.  Not like forgot that he's mine, but forgot what Daddy said.

So Little Lady decided a 6:30 wake up call was in store for us all this morning.  While normally that is frowned upon, we forgot to set our alarm.  Well done in getting daddy to work on time this morning, Little One, well done.  But now that he's up, PLEASE, for the love of all that is Holy in this world, will you please let me sleep a little longer?  Yeah, she didn't go for it.  She did, however, hang out quietly long enough for me to make a pot of coffee. 

So I'm hanging out with my happy girl at the crack of dawn, drinking hot coffee and coaxing her to take a step.  Because the night before, she took her first step.  And only Little Man saw it.  But it happened.  But not for me.  And I know it happened because she did it today at work for my friend when I wasn't there.  Gah!  How do I miss this!?  Anyway, life is good.  Coffee makes life okay at 6:30 in the morning.  I take a big swig and look up to see Little Man walking out of his room, all sleepy and cute.  And it is all I can do to not spit this swig of coffee out all over the room and pee my pants from laughing.   Because he colored all over his face with marker. 

I know.  The good news is, it is washable crayola.  That even better news is that is did NOT wash off in the shower and he has spent all.day.long. looking like this at school.  I hope Ms. K has a good poker face.  Seriously.  I was one big smirk all morning. I can't wait to see him again when he gets off the bus.  I just hope it doesn't distract me from the rice again.

So far so good, people.  And for the record, it is wild rice.  Last August I had a wild rice burger in Duluth that was so freaking good I have thought about it since.  Yet here we are in late January and I have yet to make it.  And if I burn the rice again, we're gonna have buns and sweet potato fries for dinner.  And I'll wait until we get back up to Duluth to have it again.

But back to the day.  I'm all over the place.  Little Man gets on the bus, Little Lady is napping, I get my homework done for one of my classes.  She wakes up the minute I finish and decide to pick up a magazine...that dang evil radar thing gets me every time.  Except this time.  Right now, she is napping very nicely.  I think having a snoring dog right next to her helps.  It's making me want to fall asleep, too.  Although, that could also have something to do with the sleep deprivation.  Right. 

We play.  I start cooking rice.  We eat lunch.  I stir rice a few times.  I completely forget about rice while Little Lady, completely covered in cottage cheese and grapes, laughs and flings graham crackers to the dogs.  She is so messy, she needs a bath.  But, my smart brain thinks, why not use the same amount of water and just take a shower with her?  I LOVE showers.  No matter that I'm about to go workout.  We have a nice, hot, relaxing shower.  We so use twice as much water as a bath would have used.  She stack cups and splashes in the water that collects in them.  When I tell her we are all done she says "nanananana" and we stay in longer because who can resist cute babies saying no?

Eventually we get out.  At this point, you'd think I'd smell the rice.  You'd think I'd walk into the kitchen to check on it because it would have dawned on me that, yes, there is food cooking and yes, you are a moron.  You'd be wrong.  I get dressed.  I take a full 10 minutes to find the shirt I want to wear in the bottom of the basket of miraculously folded clothes.  I marvel at how nice clothes look when they are folded.  I play "naked baby on the loose" and chase her around the house.  She cackles and crawls faster when I tell her I'm going to get her.  And I'm still completely oblivious to the smell.

Seriously.  Maybe 30 minutes after we get out of the shower, I stroll into the kitchen to grab another cup of Joe.  Oh crap!  At this point I'm just glad flames aren't shooting up from the wooden spoon that is literally stuck to the bottom of the pan along with the charred remains of what was once wild rice.  Awesome.  I dump water in the pan, turn off the heat and stir.  And then, like any sane person would, I TASTE it.  As if.  My thought process went something like, "Well, sometimes beers are good smokey, maybe rice burgers can be smokey?"   Followed by "Blech!  Aw, nasty, it tastes like I just ate a stick from the fire pit and there wasn't even a marshmallow on it."  Followed by "Smores.  I wonder if there are any graham crackers left..."  Yes people, my brain is always this crazy.  Be thankful I keep it to myself most of the time. 

And then we had to go to work.  And now my kids are both awake and home and I have a face to smirk at and rice to not burn.  The weekend is calling.  Happy Friday, friends! 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Breakfast and a Good Book

It is 9:15 am on a Monday morning and I have already packed a lunch, gotten Little Man off to school, washed a load of laundry, emptied and filled the dishwasher, AND I'm dressed.  Okay, they are yoga pants, but I didn't wear them to bed last night, so...  Oh, and my teeth are brushed! 

If that isn't impressive to you, you don't know me very well.  It's gonna be a great Monday!  In a little while, a girlfriend is coming over for some coffee and nisu.  I can't wait.  This is nisu.

I started a new schedule working evenings at my job; while there are challenges with working late with the kids, God has blessed us in this change as well.   All of a sudden my calendar is overflowing with coffee dates and lunch dates with dear girlfriends who I rarely get a chance to see.  It feels so good to get together and actually sit down with a flesh and blood girlfriend instead of only having cyber-chats. 

And the kids are sleeping in regularly.  Little Lady has started getting up at 9 am.  Can I get an Amen here?   Seriously, that is huge.  And since the bus doesn't pick up Little Man until 9, it makes the mornings so relaxing and easy to get things done, like getting dressed!

Spent the weekend snuggling with my babies and reading Little Man Bible story after Bible story.  He loves his Bible.  I love that he loves it.

I also got to go out on a date with my man.  My In-laws gave me a gift certificate to an amazing restaurant for my birthday and we made reservations, got dressed up, dropped off the kids with their Aunt and Uncle and went out.  Wow, it was so good.  I had an Italian Basil Mojito, a beet and fried goat cheese salad, osso bucco, and for dessert chocolate hazelnut semmifreddo with dark chocolate ganache.  Plus half of Huuby's dessert, butterscotch pudding with caramel sauce, sea salt and whipped cream.   I should have taken pictures.  It was one of the best meals I've had in a long time.  YUM. 

I wish I had some good cooking to share with you all, but Hubby and I have both been working nights for the past week, so its been lots of quick and easy stirfrys and risottos.  Tonight is gonna be meatloaf, which is always a favorite in this household.  I have great plans to make baked eggplant parm, wild rice burgers and sweet tater fries, and the best soft pretzels with a white cheese sauce.  I will take pictures.  Promise.

I just finished a great book called Your Beautiful Purpose by Susie Larson.  I think you all should buy this book and read it.  It is full of relevant verses and quotations and great knowledge pertaining to the season of our lives and finding God in everything.  I am all out of time to write a decent review, but I'll leave you with a quote that has been speaking to me this week.

"Ingratitude and forgetfulness cause spiritual blindness and deafness.  But when our mouths open in praise, our eyes look up too.  That's when our next horizon comes into view.  And when we look ahead through faith's lens, our ears more clearly hear the Shepherd's voice telling us, 'I've been with you.  I'll be with you.  This is the way.  Follow Me.'"

Friday, January 4, 2013


We've been dealing with fear a lot lately in our house.  
The boy is afraid of monsters.  Afraid of the dark.  Afraid of being alone.  Afraid of getting out of his bed at night.  
As a result, we've also been dealing with a lot of wet sheets, crying and crabbiness.  
This one is hard for me.  I don't know what to do for my boy to make it better.  I want to teach him how to have courage.  How to work through things instead of running away from them.  I want to teach him how to find his inner strength.  How to lean on God, who is the giver of inner strength.
I remember being afraid when I was a girl.  I vividly remember having terrible nightmares of snakes.  I remember being afraid to get out of bed, too, and jumping as far away from the bed as possible so the monsters I was certain were under there couldn't get me.  I remember the terror.  To this day I'm still afraid of snakes.  Living in Florida was not easy for this girl.  When we first moved there, for weeks, I would kiss Hubby goodbye in the morning, look out the window, and just cry, thinking about all the snakes that I just knew were lurking right outside the door, waiting to bite my pregnant, swollen ankles and kill me.  (Yeah, I know....can I pull the pregnancy-hormone card on this one???)
I also remember that one day I didn’t jump far from the bed when I got up.  And after a few weeks in Florida, I stopped looking out the window and crying; I opened doors without expecting something bad to happen.  There weren't any magic words or epiphanies that made things manageable.  It took time.  And consistency.  Eventually, he has to learn his fears don't cause bad things.  That he's gonna be okay even if something scary happens in his mind or in the world.  I am still afraid of lots of things.  Snakes still top my list, and if you say there is no such things as monsters you obviously haven’t seen the news this century.  

 Fear is a very real part of life and it isn’t all bad.  Being afraid keeps us from doing a lot of stupid stuff.  Having a healthy fear is something I dearly want my children to have.  But I don’t want my kids to be so afraid of the unknown that they can’t function.  Seeing my boy experience this debilitating fear breaks my heart.  His fear is real to him.  So much was taken from him when Jameson got sick and died.  He lost his brother.  His roommate.  And the room, house, and world were all instantly a little lonelier for him.  He also lost a huge part of childhood innocence.  That safe feeling that nothing can hurt me, and that mom and dad can fix anything, left him at age 4.  What a horrible thing.  He knows bad things can happen to children.  He knows mom and dad can't make everything all better.
It is my job to teach him how to navigate through this world.   I want so desperately to teach him how to do it without letting this paralyzing fear take over.  I want to teach him that being afraid is okay; everyone is afraid of something.  It isn't the fear that is the problem, but how you handle it.  And this is where I get lost.  I look back on my life and all of my bravery has been earned the hard way.  I can't make him brave.  I can't give him courage.  These are characters he needs to develop within himself. 
This process has not been an easy one thus far.  We’ve tried many coping strategies to help him work through his fears to no avail.  I know that one day, he’ll wake up and things will be manageable.  And he’ll be able to look back and wonder what all the fuss was about.  He’ll find his courage.  Until then, I’m working on developing patience. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Every year my sister-in-law makes an awesome photo calendar for the whole family.  Every month has fun pictures of everyone from the year before and it is always put together so well.  It is the gift I always look forward to getting.  This year was no different; yet as I paged through it, smiling bigger with each month's photos, I couldn't help but feel my heart sinking a little every time I turned the page.   And then September came around and there was my sweet Jameson's face smiling up at me from the middle of the page.  It is a great picture of him.  One that we look at often.

It made me so sad.

Everyone else changes in the calendar.  The kids grow bigger and stronger.  The grownups have new hair cuts and clothes.  I have more wrinkles and grey hairs.  We all change.  And he does not.  He will never change, never grow up, never get another hair cut or new jeans or wrinkles.  And I will never see pictures of him riding a two wheeler for the first time or getting on a school bus or playing soccer.

I look at family photos in the calendar and on the beautiful Christmas cards people mail out and think about how lucky they are that their whole family can be in one picture.  Do they realize how lucky they are to get to complain about how little Bobby ruined all the pictures by making funny faces or how not everyone ever looks at the camera at the same time?  And all I can think is that I will never ever get to have another family photo ever again.  Ever.  We are always minus one.  And every picture I ever see of my family now always has a hole in it.

He's been gone for two years now.  Two years of missing him and fighting against that damn clock that never rewinds, never goes the right way.  Two years.  My sweet little boy is gone and he is never coming back and life has moved on everywhere else except in this hole in my heart.  And I can't move on and I can't stop moving and how do you reconcile enjoying your future and embracing change and living life with this desire to just rewind and stop?  It tears at my soul.

It's been two years and we've all changed and grown.  And he isn't here.  He isn't in our daily lives.  We wake up and he doesn't live here.  There is no toothbrush for him, no plate at the table, no coat in the closet.  I don't listen for his voice in the night anymore.  I no longer expect to hear his laughter during the day.  We've learned how live without him and how can that not sting?

It's been two years since we've said goodbye.  And the ache is just as great, the loss just as heavy on our hearts.  And I still marvel at our ability to keep moving and keep breathing and keep living without him here.

Two years.  And I wonder if the loneliness and fears will ever go away for the rest of us?  Will we always be so incomplete? Will we always be the puzzle with one missing piece and all you can focus on is the hole?

Two years without my Jameson.