Thursday, December 30, 2010

into the unknown.

Magical Fog.

Waiting for the wolf to appear any moment.


I am so incredibly proud of my accountant husband. He just passed the second section of his four-part CPA exam.

PS I'm proud of myself, too. Because I bought him a very special surprise, all by myself, with money I've saved.

We're so grown-up.

Love this man, I do, I do.

Behind the scenes at The Polished Pickle.

One evening as I was getting the boys ready for bed Sparky started whining about the T-shirt I tried to put on him. "No," he said, "those are my adventure clothes." It's true, we do a lot of adventuring. By nature I am constantly seeking new experiences for myself and my boys, and those outings look pretty darn fun when packaged up nicely for a blog post.

What you don't see is... all the chasing down kids before they run into the street... whining, tired, and hungry little grouches when I don't plan ahead well enough and we stay out instead of having nap-time... undone chores and back-burnered responsibilities...

I'm not saying that I would change our thrilling agenda of hikes, bike rides, exploration, hunts, and gathering of life-moments. No, not at all, I choose it, and I fancy myself a pretty good tour-guide. But knowing that I cannot do "it all" means that I must, in that choice, learn to forgive myself for the other things I don't do as well.

Confession time.

1. I have really really really hard time brushing the boys' teeth every day. Sometimes I forget and go several days before something reminds me (like when they breath on me) that I need to take that minute and a half to teach them proper hygienic habits. I seriously have three signs up in my house that say "BRUSH BOYS TEETH" and I still don't always see to it.
2. We eat grilled-cheese sandwiches on white bread with processed cheese for almost every lunch (when we're not having top-ramen, or peanut-butter and jelly). By the time we rush into the door, back from an excursion, or finally put away all the craft supplies or science experiment stuff, we are starving and I make the first, easy thing I see. Do I wish I was a better cook? Yes. Am I willing to make the time sacrifice every day? Not right now. I'm not superwoman, you know.
3. We don't have a TV but we might as well, given the hours we spend on net-flix. The kids are practically fluent in Spanish from watching Go Diego, Go. When I don't let them watch TV, I have trouble finding time to not have B.O.
4. We wrestle and play, but hardly allow ourselves to just be still together. I have to force myself to sit down and read them books, not because I don't want to, but because I feel like I might fall asleep the second I stop moving.

Those are just a few of the many areas in which I "fall short" when I start to compare myself to others or just the ideal mother I created in my own mind. I could go on and on, really, but here's the deal...

A lengthy presentation of all of my worst qualities would (a.) be incredibly uninspiring (b.) make me feel crummy about myself and (c.) cast shadow over any goodness I might have to share.

The long and short of it all is this; no one has it all together all of the time. Not me. Not you. Not anyone. And that's ok.

I read a good cooking blog, not to make myself feel like a wretch in the kitchen, but to become inspired in that area. I hope you come here knowing that although I don't really post my most horrible motherhood "recipes," I have them. That said, I hope I can inspire you in areas of spontaneity, perpetual childhood shenanigans, and creative adventuring.

One last blurb: While creating a dragon for fighting the other day, Sparky let me know he was hungry. I seriously handed him a block of cheese. A BLOCK OF CHEESE, PEOPLE. If you ever think for one second that I've got this whole motherhood thing figured out... please think again.

I hope you enjoyed this 'stop by our house without calling ahead' moment with The Polished Pickle. Hopefully we'll be put together by the time you stop by again, but I wouldn't count on it.

Fight a dragon.

When you make your dragon, remember the pointy teeth. The rest is left to your artistic interpretation.

You might consider war paint. Iggy urges you to self-decorate in permanent marker, which produces superior results (plus you can make your mom fume a little).

Dragon fighting is best when set to proper music, so make sure and pop this one on for a friendly battle or this one for a more intense fight-sequence.

Dragons are dangerous. If you must choose between a sword and a shield, choose the shield.

Now go!

Tip for parents: When beating an inanimate object (such as garbage can with added claws) becomes boring, pick the thing up and chase your kids like there is no tomorrow.


Simply had a wonderful Christmas time.

Christmas has passed, leaving behind hundreds of photographs to sort/share. So many. Too many. Family, you'll have to wait for me to get a bunch on facebook. Everyone else, please enjoy my very favorite picture of the festivities...

For posterity, I'll make quick mention of the highlights of our several day long celebration.

1. Christmas-Eve Eve came with gifts galore, treasure hunts through grandpa's back yard, yummy ham dinner and the delightful company of dear family.
2. The actual Eve was spent playing games, sampling traditional treats, and again enjoying the special time with our kin.
3. On Christmas we dined on the finest holiday cuisine from around the world; especially enjoying stuffed-mushrooms, delicious cannoli, and (slightly burnt) Hungarian cabbage rolls (sorry for that one everybody). We spent the evening playing cards, you-tube browsing as a family, and laughing ridiculously hard as we tried to reenact this childhood favorite.

I love living in the same town as all of my brothers and sisters. And my parents. And my grandpa. I only wish all of our family could be so near, especially during this season.

Hoping your Christmas was joyful, and that the after-Christmas blues passes you by (I doubt I'm the only one who has to combat the January melancholy).

Happy New Years!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

One today.

10 things we adore about our Fitz...

1. He sticks his tiny tongue out to the right side when he's feeling especially giddy.

2. He has to be the happiest baby ever born, crying the minimum, beaming the maximum, bringing a sunny cheer into our family.

3. He is a snuggle-bug.

4. He has the cutest, little gap-toothed grin (which makes him look like a baby hippo).

5. He plays the piano and sings out his own little songs.

6. He climbs to the top of the stairs like a champ, and when he wants back down, he sits on the top landing and calls for us.

7. When he sees us mixing a bottle he becomes so excited that his whole body wiggles, as if he will blast off into outer-space any second.

8. He wrestles with his big brothers already, and loves every moment of it.

9. Maybe it's because he's trying to hide his baldness, but he picks up any laundry he finds and tosses it onto the top of his head, then keeps crawling around like nothing's different.

10. He reminds all of us, each day, to be thankful and glad and inquisitive and ever-joyful, simply by being who he is.

Happy first birthday, our little one. It's been the loveliest year imaginable. You are so very cherished.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Friday, December 17, 2010

beginning to look a lot like.....?

Saint Patrick's day?

Rain? (Tut, tut.)


There it is! Oh, wait. It's just a reflection in a puddle. Not a real snowflake.

Although we get overcast, even-foggy, wet holidays in the Willamette valley, the inside of my our house is beginning to look a lot like.... No, it's just a big mess.

Without giving too much away, here are some peeks on the homespun gift-magic...

Yay for gift-making, which for me, is exactly what Christmas time looks like.

(PS I love that we can pull on some boots and wear our PJs outside. Snow; who needs it?)

gather round.

heavenly story time. enjoy the looks on their faces.

these children captured the joy of the season so well. only one week until we celebrate. hooray!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

a blog famine feast

Mini-post #1...

Duke and I have been making an effort to see as many Christmas concerts for the children we know as time will possibly permit. I was recently called to be the Primary president in our ward (aka assigned a position working with children in our church) so we know A LOT of children.

We've dragged our boys to see orchestras, bands, and choirs. They have been surprisingly well-behaved considering they are sort-of toddlers. Perhaps they're becoming cultured, or it could be that we're boring them to death.

I am really learning that the concerts and activities and all of the time commitments we have can be great opportunities for family time. Yes, lately we've sacrificed what is usually our couch-potato togetherness, but it feels nice to be out and about, recreating instead.

I remember when I was in a school choir or play and I would notice a friend or church leader in the audience, how it would make me beam with confidence. Duke and I see that same feeling written in the faces of the children we make the effort to support, and I tell you what, one second of their joy is worth ten episodes of The Office (and maybe eight of Modern Family).

We're looking forward to many, many years of elementary, middle and high school concerts, with our family serving together by simply showing up.

Mini-post #2...

Hooray for Christmas crafts... I have so much to do before the big day! Yikes.

Mini-post #3...

It's couples like this that make me love being a photographer for the chance I get to witness and preserve great tenderness. Does life get any better?

Mini-post #4...

Winter formal dance time! Look at my beautiful sister. I am so proud of her. I did her hair using this tutorial.

Then I took pictures of her beautiful group of friends. These kids are so very inspiring. Good, young people.

Speaking of good, young people, I also took some photos for one of the most amazing young ladies I've ever met. She has an incredible awareness of her own purpose and potential at such a young age. Like I said; amazing.


Mini-post #5...

The boys haven't been feeling so well. But they've been very good to each other. Who could ask for anything more?

Mini-post #.... what number am I on... oh, whatever...

My dad brought us a tree, the smallest on the lot (though it about touches our ceiling), and it was quite an adventure putting it up.

Something you may have guessed about me; I can be violently independent.

Dad dropped it off, expecting me to wait for Duke to return from work and help me saw it down. Well, we didn't have a saw. And I didn't wait for Duke. It didn't quite fit the stand so I used a wood-carving tool and hammer to make it fit. As my kids watched me carry the upright, 200 lb tree around the living room, getting myself super muddy and almost squashing my body cartoon style, all I could think was, "I hope this won't be their earliest memory."

In the above picture I'm about to leave to sing in a Christmas choir-performance.

I adore this time of year.

And now my blog is like a starving person who suddenly eats a giant feast. Hopefully it doesn't puke.

Merry early-December!