November 24, 2010

Thankful


I am thankful.

For my amazing husband, who I have been with for almost 11 years. For the fact that he has supported me, first through college, and now so that I can stay home with the kids, giving them love and being their first teacher. For the support he gives me, and the way he makes me laugh.

For two healthy and beautiful children. For their smiles, their shining eyes, never having had to sit by their sides in a hospital or worry about whether they would be around tomorrow. For how happy they are, and how much time I get to spend with them.

For family.

For my mother who loves her grandkids enough to come to Sam's IEP meeting with us, who contributes to our marriage by babysitting so we can spend time together, who has loved me and helped me find my way many times. For her husband, who is another amazing grandparent who loves my children and wants to share his world with them.

For my father, who uses frequent flier miles to help us visit him and other family. He is so smart, for all the things he has taught me. For the new relationship I have with him in the last couple of years.

For my amazing stepmother, who is also an incredibly loving grandmother and a wonderful mother to my little sister. For the friendship and bond I've felt with her in my adult years, I feel so lucky to have her as part of my life and my kids life.

For my stepfather, who helped raise my sister and I. For the way he taught me to drive, to change the oil in my car. For how we built things and he made it so that I'm not afraid of a hammer and nail, or of trying to do things for myself.

For my sister, who is one of the coolest people I know. For the things she teaches me about food and farms and the things I know she will teach my kids. For the way she has nurtured my son sot hat she is one of his favorite people in the world. For the way we laugh together.

For my little sister, who I fell in love with at first sight when my Dad and Stepmom carried her of the plane from China. For her smile and the way she teases me, for the way she plays with my kids. For the way she taught me that family is not only in your blood, but in your heart.

For my Mother in Law and her husband, whose love and generosity has brought tears to my eyes. For my Father in Law who has given us a place to live and whose jokes still make me laugh. For my Brother in Law and Sister in Law who are just good people, and through whom we've been blessed with amazing extended family in her parents.

For my amazing friends.

For the best friend whose children I love almost as much as my own, who understands me so well that I think of her as a soul mate. Who I can reconnect with even when it's been weeks, and who I absolutely love.

For the cousin I'm not really related to, who has become a close friend to share my life with.

For the friend without whose amazing heart and generosity I don't know how we would have gotten through the first half of 2010.

For the women who listen to me, who understand me.

For the support they've given me through the hard times. For the way they've encouraged me and helped me on my quest to lose weight.

For the way that their companionship rejuvenates me.

For people I've gotten to know online, the comments they've left on my blog, and the support and community I find there.

For a steady income, a car to drive, a roof over my head.

For life.
[Continue reading...]

November 23, 2010

30 - Portrait of the Blogger as a Young Woman

On Halloween, my best friend remarked that I've been looking forward to my 30th birthday for as long as she's known me.

I think it's true. Since high school, I've always been the young one of the crowds I've hung out with. Most of my best friends are a few years older than me, and I was never that enthralled with my 20s. 30 just seems like such a nice number. It's still young in my opinion, I feel young. But old enough to be taken seriously. Old enough to feel comfortable in my own skin, and in what I want in my life. Old enough to be sure of the things I love and confident in the things I don't like - and my ability to avoid them!

On my 30th birthday, I feel content. My life is in good order. I am a mother - something I looked forward to for ten years before it actually happened. I have two beautiful young boys. It's a challenge for sure, but it brings me a lot of joy too.

My marriage is one of the joys in my life. I've been with Justin now for almost 11 years, and he's so comfortable for me. He makes me laugh, and we're lucky enough to have a regular babysitter (thanks Mom!) so we can do date nights. Things have been a little tough, especially since having the 2nd little one. But one of my biggest goals right now is to work on reconnecting and figuring out how to work staying connected and spending time together into our crazy lives.

I love that I can sit and reflect on how blessed I am to have the family I do - both in my home every day and in my extended family.

I feel like I've found my niche. I want to concentrate on my writing, and am embarking on a journey of getting more seriously into photography, looking forward to my first DSLR and in working towards actually selling my photography someday.

I still love to read, I love watching TV and going to the movies, though I don't get to do that as much as I used to. I have an established group of friends that I absolutely love, and even though I only get to see a lot of them once a month at book club, those few hours absolutely rejuvenate me every single time.

In the past 2 years, I've lost 50 pounds. I am still heavy, and only halfway through that journey. But I feel hopeful and I weigh less than I have in several years. I eat better, and have discovered that I actually like cooking more than I knew that I would.

My life isn't perfect. Financially, we are still struggling. We're working on a new budget and being more responsible and thoughtful about how we spend, but we're still feeling ripples from our bankruptcy two years ago.

I am looking forward to the next few months, the next few years. I am looking forward to changes around the house - working on a schedule for Sam, watching him grow and change, and watching Danny turn into a person and not just an infant.

This year I get to celebrate my birthday all week. On my birthday, I'll get to have lunch with family and dinner with more family. Wednesday I'll get to see one of my best and oldest friends. Thursday is Thanksgiving and I get to be with even MORE family! Next weekend I get to celebrate by having a weekend for myself in Seattle, part of which will be spent with my sister and part of which will be spent with my best friends enjoying a Girls Night Out. The rest of the time I'll get to reflect and do whatever I want, because it's time just for me - a very rare treat these days.

Today, I kiss my 20s goodbye, and I can honestly say that I won't miss them. Life is good, and I can't wait to keep on living it.

[Continue reading...]

November 21, 2010

30 Days of Truth Day 6: Let the truth be true

The prompt for Day 6 of 30 Days of Truth is 'Something you hope you never have to do.' Of course there are some very obvious answers to this question. Many people have written about hoping they never have to go through the soul-wrenching pain of losing a child, and I'll tell you - I'm absolutely right there with him. I also hope I don't have to go through the sudden and unexpected loss of my husband, sister or best friend. I hope I never have to feel the abject horror of having my children be abused, or the powerlessness of sexual assault.

So, I'm gonna skip over those ones. For many people, those go without saying. Recently, I saw this preview for the new Liam Neeson movie "Unknown":



And I realized that there is something else that is terrifying to me. Having the entire world think you're crazy when you know you're not. I would imagine that for some people with mental illnesses, that is what it feels like. I hope that never happens to me. I can't imagine the pain and frustration and utter hopelessness of knowing something to be true, but having everyone and everything refute it. It makes me shudder.

For the other 29 days, click here.


[Continue reading...]

November 18, 2010

Friday Fragments

Friday Fragments are bits and pieces of your week that are usually brief; too short for a stand-alone post, but too good to discard. Collect humorous observations, "Heard" items, and other small gems and put them together in a Friday Fragments post.

Friday Fragments are the brainchild of Mrs.4444 and you can find more at Half Past Kissin' Time.


~ You never realize how much you use your left thumb until you cut it in an ill-advised move involving a knife and a bottle of teriyaki sauce, then have a big band-aid on it.

~ The forecast here is calling for snow. If you're not from Washington, you don't know that when it snows here, people FREAK OUT. Even an inch is enough to bring things to a grinding halt. People don't know how to drive and they start stockpiling goods. Last winter it snowed ONCE. This year? It's already snowing before Thanksgiving... I think we're in for it. The only thing I'm looking forward to is watching Sam play in it.

~ Does anyone else out there watch Private Practice? I loved the last minute of last night's episode. The music, the lineup and Charlotte starting to take back control. I think they're handling this storyline really well.

~ I haven't had much energy lately due to the horrible plague that took over my house. As of today, it looks like it's almost over - I'm only coughing in the morning and late at night now. Hopefully that means I'll be able to get back to writing more frequently, I have so much in my head that needs to get out.

~ I had the most pleasant dentist visit yesterday at Willamette Dental in Bellingham. It was so calm and quiet and they were all so friendly. Also, my teeth and gums look "healthy" and my gum pockets have even shrunk some, which is like THE best news in my opinion due to my fear of receding gums and grafts.

~ I finally got in touch with this local photographer about a photo of hers I saw on display and fell in love with. She pointed me to it on her website so I could buy a copy. The photo in question:

There is just something about it that I love! If you're a fan of tulips, check out her page, she's got lots of great pictures of flowers and her travels in Asia.

~ New in my feedreader this week is Curvy Girl Guide. You should check it out, because it's all about real women, living life together and talking about the things that really define us - not our waist sizes or our pudge (or lack thereof), but our stories. Also, it was started by two of my favorite bloggers, and with those two (and a bunch of other awesome ladies) behind the wheel, it's bound to be awesome.

~ Yesterday I was watching this show on TLC about the amazing story of Abigail and Brittany Hensel, conjoined twins who share one body and each have their own heart and head. Sam was watching with me and I asked him what he would do if he met someone who had two heads. He said "Say hello to the both." DUH MOM. Isn't it funny how kids have the simplest answers sometimes?

~ I am SO EXCITED about the new Harry Potter movie that I can't stand it. Hopefully I'll get a chance to see it this weekend.

~ Danny got his first tooth! I hadn't noticed it and we had his 6 month well baby visit this week and got a clear view of it during his after-shot screams. Chomper!

~ Well, I am starting to fade and think it's time to hit the sack. Hope everyone has a great weekend! I will hopefully have a chance to visit all you other Friday Fragmenters on Friday after Justin gets home from work.


[Continue reading...]

November 12, 2010

Friday Fragments: What a week!

Friday Fragments are bits and pieces of your week that are usually brief; too short for a stand-alone post, but too good to discard. Collect humorous observations, "Heard" items, and other small gems and put them together in a Friday Fragments post.

Friday Fragments are the brainchild of Mrs.4444 and you can find more at Half Past Kissin' Time.



~ What a week! So much has been going on and in our house things have been pretty much halted due to this awful cough that's been residing in our throats. My throat is tickly and raw and Sam has twice coughed until he threw up in the last few days. It's like some kind of horrible, sick symphony around here.

~ Is anyone else watching Top Chef Just Desserts? It is insane. I don't know why, but it's so much more catty/dramatic than normal Top Chef. All I want to say after this week's episode: WTF is wrong with Morgan?! He is crazy and it's like he thinks everyone is out to get him or something. He says the rudest things. He's like the embodiment of "I'm not here to make friends."

~ So, I'm sure that most of you have already read about and formed an opinion about this whole Amazon selling a guide for pedophiles debacle. It's hard to know what to say about it because I'm sort of on the fence. The book is absolutely deplorable and disgusting. But it's not illegal to write or talk about illegal acts. As a person, I think it's really gross that Amazon was selling the book. I don't know. Why don't you go over and read Avitable's post instead? He is smart and the comments are interesting. I feel like my brain is liquefying and running out through my nose right now, so I'm not the most intelligent person in the world at this moment.

~ On another, completely different note... I read two wonderful posts yesterday that boiled down to basic compassion for other people. I wholeheartedly agree with both of these women, and I believe that if we could all treat each other a little more kindly, it would make a huge difference in the world. I try to always give people the benefit of the doubt, because you really never know. Check out Melody's post at The Brave Girls Club, Seeing Past What it Seems and Casey's at Moosh in Indy.

~ Found this cool video through my friend Scott at Pages to Type Before I Sleep.

Typography from Ronnie Bruce on Vimeo.

~ I wanted to share this touching post from Burgh Baby. It's worth reading, and if you've got a little extra, why not support Christmas Crazy? The holidays are all about warmth and family and being together for me, and the idea of people not having that sucks. Help some kids have a better Christmas - imagining their faces on Christmas morning is plenty motivation for me.

~ I would like to breathe without hacking. I would also like it if I could breathe through my nose again. Just saying.

~ The whole 'Danny doesn't poop' debacle is still going on. I have a huge post planned about both the kids and our visits to Children's Hospital, I just haven't had time to write it yet. Oh well, he is a happy baby, so that's what matters most, right?

~ I'm gonna go ahead and stop writing now and publish before my kids wake up. I've been up since 6 because even after Danny ate & fell back asleep I was coughing too much to do the same. JOY! Hope everyone has a great weekend and that NONE of you get this horrible thing that's going around.

[Continue reading...]

November 10, 2010

Happy 6 Months Little Dude!

Six Months Ago

041

044

Today

IMG_6401

IMG_6398

My little man is 6 months old today! I can't believe how fast the time has gone by, how big he's gotten. I feel like when I look at his face now I'm starting to glimpse what he'll look like as a toddler.

Despite the illness that is consuming our household right now, Danny is SUCH a happy baby. He smiles all the time and as long as he can see a face he is happy. He loves standing up - with support, but he's strong - and I could totally see him trying to cruise/walk before he ever tried crawling.

We've had lots of firsts in the last six months, the most recent of which have been his first bloody lip, caused by playing with the armoire from Sam's dollhouse, and his first illness - a mild ear infection and a cough.

We've settled in to being a family of four and it's hard work, but I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Happy 6 months little dude!

[Continue reading...]

November 9, 2010

Day 7: The Situation Grows Increasingly Volatile

November 9, 2010
21:39 hours

Somewhere in the woods of the American Pacific Northwest

Day 7

The situation in our base camp grows increasingly volatile. I hope that I will be able to finish this log and transmit before another incident occurs.

Subject 1 (infant) has shown improvement with the regular administration of antibiotics. Still exhibiting signs of illness, most notably what my research partner and I agree is the most pathetic sound ever heard, an infantile chest cough. Exertion of cough also causes pink, watery eyes. Subject resists sleeping in any conditions other than being held by an adult.

Subject 2 (juvenile) was showing improvement after appearance of fever on Day 2, which subsided the next day. However, today brought regular bouts of sneezing as well as an increasingly intense cough culminating in a large amount of vomit expelled due to the exertion of the cough. Attempt to medicate juvenile brought on another attack in the closed quarters of the lavatory which almost brought me to retching and was thankfully sanitized by my research partner.

My condition has grown increasingly poor. Today brought more coughing and my voice is now hoarse. The gland in my throat are swollen and tender to the touch, and breathing has become increasingly difficult while prone. My eyes are watery and though afternoons are easier, mornings and nights are difficult.

My research partner managed to venture off base today to site number two, where work needed to be done. However, this evening he exhibits signs of fever - very rare in his medical history.

I can only assume that our base is now harboring germs of intense magnitude, and I warn against breaching our perimeter.

End transmission. 21:48 hours.

[Continue reading...]

November 4, 2010

Friday Fragments

Friday Fragments are bits and pieces of your week that are usually brief; too short for a stand-alone post, but too good to discard. Collect humorous observations, "Heard" items, and other small gems and put them together in a Friday Fragments post.

Friday Fragments are the brainchild of Mrs.4444 and you can find more at Half Past Kissin' Time.



~ Again this week I was ready to sit down and write a post, but what I have on Thursday night is two sick kids (up one from this morning) and I'm stealthily watching Private Practice (which is hurting me so much and if I wasn't typing I would likely be bawling) on the computer with headphones and typing and crossing my fingers that he'll stay in restless sleep long enough for me to finish this post. Danny started coughing yesterday and had a fever last night, we took him to the doctor today and he has a wet cough and a mild ear infection. Then tonight Sam was really restless falling asleep and now he's feverish too. Awesome. I have no idea what's going on but I hope I'm not next.

~ This week, Sam and I were at the end of the driveway waiting for the school bus. He likes it when I stand outside the car and he leans out the window and we dance to the music together. He also really likes it when Justin or I "do Danny's voice" - talk in a high little voice and pretend it's Danny talking. We were talking about the cars going by on the road so I had Danny ask Sam "what's that noise?" Sam replied, "It's just vehicles."

~ We've been working on getting Sam sleeping in his own bed again. He did a full week, then he regressed a little. We decided to try the 'sleep fairy' idea, giving him a little prize under his pillow each morning if he stays in his own bed all night. He has also been waking up less during the night, and going back to sleep easier when he does wake up. It's been awesome. Even if he comes in our room he knows that he's not allowed to be in the bed with us, he can sleep on his "floor bed," which is Danny's crib mattress on the floor with a pillow and blanket. It's been great having our bed somewhat back - Danny's still in it, but that's a whole other story.

~ Here is a gratuitous photo of me as a baby, because I scanned it last week and it makes me smile.

Baby me

~ Do you read The Spohrs are Multiplying? Well, if you don't, you should. If nothing else, you need to check out Spohr TV. Saying that Heather & Annie's videos make my day every single time is a humongous understatement. SO CUTE. Just look at this awesome Halloween video:



~ I have a bunch of things saved under a "Friday Fragments" tab in my browser on my laptop to share, but I can't get to them right now as the couches are occupied by two sick kids and a passed out husband. Next week I have posts coming continuing my 30 Days of Truth, a followup to my DSLR question post, and a big update on what happened at Sam's eye doctor appointment and our first visit to the GI specialists, both at Children's Hospital in Seattle.

~ Aaaaand... Sam is stirring, and the baby's coughing so I guess I'm done. Hope everyone has a great weekend!

[Continue reading...]

November 2, 2010

30 Days of Truth Day 7: Happy Birthday Kira!

The prompt for Day 7 of 30 Days of Truth is 'someone who has made your life worth living for.' Which I think is bad grammar. But that's okay because I'm pretty sure that these prompts were originally written by a 13 year old on Facebook or something because some of them are pretty melodramatic. Also you may have noticed I haven't written Day 6 yet. I'm takin' liberties and doing 7 before 6. You'll see why in a minute.

There are so many people I could write about for this post, but it just so happens that it's my sister's birthday today. Kira is turning 28 this year, and she is one of my favorite people, and for sure one that makes my life worth living.

Rachael010

When we were kids, I was jealous of her. Well, not just as kids, even through high school. I thought she was smarter than me, and better at almost everything - sports, art, writing, school. My Mom told me that she was so smart because when I was younger, I would come home from school and teach her everything I'd learned.

We're two years apart, close enough in age that we could share friends, but far enough that we had our own lives. We were three grades apart in school, so after 6th grade we weren't in the same school again until I was a senior and she was a freshman. When I was 18 I went to England to study abroad for three months, and realized on the way there that I had never been apart from her for more than 4 or 5 days in my entire life.

This is one of my favorite pictures of us, from my wedding. She was my maid of honor.

13 Rachael Party_filtered

She was there when Sam was born, and if she has kids and I get to be there, I will certainly not look as composed as she does in this photo from after Sam was born. I will be a sniveling pile of mess.

DSC_0127

She didn't make it for Danny's birth since NO ONE did. But she was here an hour after, and I love this picture of my kids with their Aunt the next morning.

037

I guess it might be true that I'm biased, but Kira is going to be that cool Aunt that everyone wishes they had. Not only is she a great sister, she is just a wonderful person all around. She is caring and thoughtful, and aware of the world around her and how we live in it.

She became a vegetarian in 3rd grade after she made a poster as a book project for "Charlotte's Web." It said "Save the Pigs" and for each letter, she wrote about why you should not eat pigs or should save them. Then my stepdad said "If you think that, why do YOU eat them?" He was totally goading her on, but she said "Well, maybe I won't!" And that was that. She morphed over the years into a vegan and now has started eating meats and cheeses again with more of a focus on local foods. She works for the Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance and Growing Washington. Because of her, I definitely think more about food - where it comes from, how I eat it, and what I feed my kids.

Even though we're both adults now, she's still my little sister. Sometimes I am shocked when I realize that she has a real job, makes a salary, and does so much for so many people.

In terms of family and family-in-law, I have been truly blessed. I love hearing her stories, and can't wait to see what she does next. I love that my kids are going to get to grow up with someone so awesome as an Aunt who will teach them things I wouldn't have thought of.

IMG_6362

So, today, Happy Birthday to my little sister, who most definitely makes my life worth living.

For the other 29 days, click here.

[Continue reading...]

November 1, 2010

Halloween Parade

Today I'm writing a post as part of the SITS Girls and Shutterfly spectacular Halloween giveaway. It's a weekend of celebrating Halloween and sharing our stories and pictures, as well as earning the chance at winning an amazing DSLR camera!

We have some lucky kids, they got to go trick or treating TWICE this year. On Friday, we headed over to Justin's job at Whatcom Community College for fun treats there. Each kid had 2 costumes this year, all procured through the glory of Goodwill.


IMG_6259


IMG_6264

IMG_6270

Sunday we headed down to Seattle for my best friend's annual Halloween bash and trick or treating.

IMG_6234

IMG_6295

IMG_6322

IMG_6372

IMG_6379

To join the Halloween parade, or see more participants, hop over to the SITS website! I'll be there all afternoon looking at fun Halloween pictures.

[Continue reading...]

Currently Captivated By...

My People

My Favorite Blogging Resource

Learn the Secret