video vednesday: and y'know what he did?!

black friday. (or, why meatloaf is the only one who truly understands me.)

i will admit that i am a complete and total wuss when it comes to black friday.  i have never had the cahones to venture out and even attempt it, which is saying something if you know me at all and know how much i love a deal.  and it's definitely no indication that i judge people who do brave the crowds and the cold and the fatigue and the heightened risk of being stampeded to death.  in fact, i am kind of in awe of you if you are a regular black friday black widow.

so believe you me when i say i actually respect the whole concept of black friday, especially considering that i would not have my shiny, beautiful, workhorse, bright red, professional series kitchenaid stand mixer without the whole phenomenon.  (and also without the dedication of my wonderful mother-in-law jacqi and her quick and tiny best friend maggie, who darted into kohl's as soon as the doors opened and sat on the box so no one else would take it before jacqi could get to it.  THAT is true courage of heart and love for your daughter-in-law.)

but even still, like i said, i still can't bring myself to even consider participating myself.  and like i said, on the surface it doesn't seem to make sense since i love a deal and would marry a deal and would make babies with a deal.  but i think meatloaf said it best when he said, 'i would do anything for love the spice girls a deal, but i won't do that.'  anyone ever wonder what exactly he wouldn't do because they were too repulsed by the song to actually listen to the rest of the lyrics?  well, not me, and i'll tell what he wouldn't do for a deal: shop on black friday.

because meatloaf also has always been a person who needs lots of sleep, and is raising two toddlers and is pregnant and therefore especially exhausted, and also spent way too many hours on recess duty when he worked at fellows elementary to voluntarily stand out in the cold for long periods of time in the middle of the night when he could be in his nice warm bed next to his husband instead.

maybe that's not exactly what the song is about.  but that's the general idea, anyway, and i'm fully on board with him.

unfortunately for me, i did not realize that meatloaf released a subsequent though less popular hit titled, 'i chose to stay at home on black friday so i could sleep instead, but my toddler developed some kind of infection and i didn't get to sleep much anyway.'  i could have avoided a lot of surprise on thanksgiving night had i only listened more closely to meatloaf's entire catalog.

and i bet i'm the only person in the history of time who has ever uttered that last sentence.

anyway, is anyone out there more valiant than i who actually did venture out on black friday?  score any awesome deals?  anyone else dealing with an infected kid?

celebreality monday.

the bible says that women will be saved through childbearing.  whut.  that's kind of a crazy thing to say - really crazy, actually, if you think about it. 

now, obviously it can't mean that we will get into heaven because we had a baby.  first of all, that's not fair to single gals and girls with fertility issues and the few high school girls left who have kept themselves from impregnantion.  second of all, the bible's clear that we are saved by GRACE alone, through FAITH alone, in CHRIST alone.  (there's even a latin phrase backing me up on that one - which means i know what i'm talking about.)  the bible doesn't say that we're saved by grace through faith in christ and/or by babies.  if that were true, it would motivate me to be more like octomom, which is not something i think god is hoping to accomplish in my life.

but the bible does say clearly we'll be saved by having kids.  and this is what i take it to mean: salvation is made up of three big words with the following overly-simplified definitions: justification (jesus taking on your sin and paying for it himself), expiation (you taking on the righteousness that only jesus earned) and sanctification (being made more closely into the image of christ).  for a christian, justification and expiation happen in a moment, when christ pays for your sin and transfers his righteousness to you, but sanctification lasts the whole live-long time you walk on this earth.  SO.  i think what the bible is saying is that having kids is an opportunity that god uses uniquely in the lives of women to sanctify them, or to make them more like jesus.

and the thing i want to make clear through celebreality mondays is not that we should necessarily celebrate our failures, but that there is a lot of noise out there telling you what a 'good' mom is.  and most of it is stuff that really doesn't matter, so it kind of doesn't matter if you suck at it.  it doesn't make you more christlike, it doesn't encourage your kids to know and love jesus.  and it's not that all of these things are bad: i think it's great if Joe Blow Mom loves to craft or bake or power sand furniture.  it's just that those aren't the things that make a mom a good mom in the eyes of god.  being forgiven in christ and seeking to be like him are the only things that make us good moms, because they align us with the only One who actually is good: christ.

so what i'm trying to say is this: do not feel like a failure if once again your house is a mess because you spent your day raising up your kids to know the lord.  don't feel like if you can't sew a straight line without requiring a trip to the emergency room you're somehow failing.  don't put that on yourself, because god doesn't, and it isn't fair for the world to put that on you.  you are not accountable to the moms who have it all 'together'.  you're accountable to god, and this is all he wants from you: the faith that leads to repentence and forgiveness in christ, and the humbleness that allows for growth in his likeness. 

that seems like a shorter to-do list than the one pinterest would have me make.

penelope's crazy eye.

as i mentioned previously, penelope has developed a lazy eye.  only, according to her doctor, the reason it turns in is because it's working so hard to see...which, in my opinion, makes it a bit misleading to call it a 'lazy' eye.  so i've dubbed it the crazy eye.  much better, or at least more accurate.  because it makes her look CRAZY, especially when she starts singing and dancing and sticking out her tongue, with her eye all wonky and turned in.  see what i mean? crazy eye.

as an update, we took her to the eye doctor on friday, who said she is going to need glasses yesterday.  (luckily she won't need surgery or even an eye patch, as far as we can tell right now.)  he said her prescription is for +8.0 lenses, which in my non-expert opinion means she's basically legally blind.  (although she obviously is not.  but +8.0 is really bad.)  the sooner we can get her in glasses, the better, because at this age there is a greater possibility of enabling the eye to improve its own ability to see, and there is also a chance that if we let it go unchecked her brain will stop recognizing input from that eye, which will result in crazy-eye blindness. 

also, the only celebrities that came up when i googled 'famous people with lazy eye' were paris hilton and amy winehouse, and anything that would cause her to follow in those footsteps in any way must be nipped in the bud.  so, glasses it is.

so yesterday we took her to pick out some frames, and this is what we ended up going with:

unfortunately they don't make buddy holly-style or cat eye glasses, or something equally funny for an 18-month-old, so basic oval wire rims it is.  however, considering we're looking at years and years of glasses for her from here on out, hipster frames are happening sometime down the road.  and that is what i like to call  'silver lining.'

i want to thank everyone for praying for her.  even though we're choosing to get her glasses now rather than wait until her insurance kicks in, we aren't having to do surgery and her vision should be corrected with just glasses - a definite answer to prayer! so thanks SO MUCH!

video vednesday: when god created adam and eve, i'm pretty sure he gave them both uMoves.

i'm not sure if technology is advancing or digressing.


if you haven't heard, we recently moved to a cute, kitschy little town and we're having a blast getting to know our new community better.  basically so we can rub it in your face how much you out-of-towners are missing out on by not living here.

today, i would like to rub your face in Yard Art Guy, or Y.A.G., a nocturnal local artist who always has some kind of interactive piece going on his yard, both with and without stereo accompaniment and free-for-the-taking christian tracks.  he lives on the main street into town and, while i'm positive he's well-intentioned, i'm also quite sure that he affects the home values of his neighbors.  not to mention how much it used to piss me off that he was allowed to put such obtrusive stuff in his yard (i really am about 85 at heart).  since then, i have come to appreciate Y.A.G. and his voice as an artist.

and also, i found another way home that allows me to bypass his house should i so choose.  

no one i know has ever seen Y.A.G.'s face, although one night todd and i caught a glimpse of him as we were coming into town around 11 pm.  and no one i know definitively knows his story.  and no one i know fully understands what his art is really getting at, although judging by the soundtrack, the reading materials, and the dummy hanging on a cross and wearing a wolverine mask, i think he's trying to convey something spiritual.  but then, the dummy sitting on a lawn chair holding a bottle of moonshine, as well as the viking ship and cast-off playground bouncy horse, speak to pure frollicking of heart.  both deep and jovial is Yard Art Guy, and i have much to learn from him.

i am a bit worried that Y.A.G. is preparing to move.  there has been not a touch of yard art (whimsical or otherwise) to be seen since halloween, and he has been purging lots of stuff lately - his curb is regularly stocked with contributions to our local sanitary landfill.  and i wonder what will become of our town if we are prematurely robbed of our only access to art.  hopefully we'll never have to find out.

celebreality monday.

i hate cooking.

there, i said it.  and i'll say it again, and use bold and italicized font:  i hate cooking.

and to be entirely honest, i am flabbergasted (YES! i have now used that word once in 2011) when moms say they like cooking.  because i just think of the mess and the tedium and the time and the mess and the toddler 'help' that is really highly unhelpful, and all for what? i'm not a good cook, so i just wasted a bunch of time and effort making some from-scratch equivalent of spam, where you know you won't starve to death if you eat it but you'd really prefer to eat anything else than what's currently in your mouth.

so i do it because i love my family.  and i do it because i would personally die of starvation if i didn't and my self-survival instinct seems to be in the average range.  but i will just say that if you ever try to have a conversation with me about how calming food preparation is, i will probably smile and nod and pretend you're talking about watching TV or petting a bunny or something else that is actually calming.

and there's a little part of me that feels guilty about this (and not just because i'm not paying attention to you when you talk).  in fact, i would love to be a mom who loves my kids with food, and who has an instinct regarding whether such-and-such dish needs a dash of sage to really make it some kind of culinary explosion.  and i would like to not make my smoke detectors go off so much, because it really scares my kids.  also, i would personally like to eat something that tasted better than the concoctions i devise.  (i will not say definitively whether or not i made pumpkin-coconut milk-jalapeno soup once.  but i probably did.  and it was most likely disgusting.)

so i peruse the recipe section of better homes and gardens and i humor myself by pretending if i just watch one more episode of the barefoot contessa i will be able to host delicious and beatific luncheons.  but then 4:30 pm rolls around and i decide once again that it's spaghetti night because a) it's cheap, b) it only dirties two pans and c) it's a matter of turning on the stove and waiting 15 minutes.   cheap, easy and quick? not to be a dirtbag or anything, but that's how i think these things should be.

so this is who i am.  and i'm not running away from it any longer.  anyone else with me?

just my luck.

the other day, i found a crisp ol' twenty flying around the parking lot in front of jo-ann fabrics.  and i was all, thanks god for blessing me with this here jackson and making me someone who crafts and is a stay-at-home mom and therefore finds themselves at jo-ann fabrics at 1:00 on a thursday.  to be honest, after i got over the guilt of not being able to give it back to its rightful owner, i was feeling pretty darn lucky and downright good about myself.

but then penelope developed a lazy eye and i was all, yeah that's about right.  can't keep the lucky streak going for long before the pendulum swings back in the other direction and your un-vision-insured daughter has an urgent eye issue. 

so she has an appointment this morning to figure out the cause and severity and urgency and whatever of the lazy eye issue.  not to mention she already had an appointment scheduled for january (strategically after her insurance kicks in) because they've already established she's incredibly far-sighted and will most likely be needing glasses asap.  bum.mer.

so i'm hoping someone out there will read this and respond to our desperate cry for help prayer.  we're hoping her severely crossing eye isn't indicative of anything bad that's happened (one particular fall recently could have reasonably been cause for a detached retina, for instance) or has caused any permanent vision loss.  we're also praying (and hoping you will too) that if she needs glasses - or worse, surgery - that it won't be such an urgent need that it'll have to happen before her vision insurance kicks in on january 1.  mainly, we're hoping you'll pray that god will heal all of her vision issues without too much event or expense.  (if he wants to spit on her eyes or put mud on them or whatever else they did in the bible, i'm all for it.  i'm just praying he heals her.)

i'm also praying that this isn't just another 'had it coming' kind of episode where my kid has to wear an eye patch (common therapy for lazy eye) simply because i decided to deride people for dressing up as pirates.  because it would just serve to prove my suspicion that this is a cruel, cruel universe we live in, and that's a pretty crappy truth to have to face coming up on the christmas season and all.

thwr: feel right at home.

(giving some friends a tour of the house)

todd: and this is our laundry room.

atticus (walking into the bathroom and spinning around):  this is our bathroom.  (walking over to the toilet.)  this is where i poop.

and that's how we roll.

video vednesday: where's bea?

i have no idea why i find this so funny.  but i do.

i bet things are getting all 'rats of nim' as we speak.

our basement has a finished family room where we keep our tv, so most nights todd and i will hang out down there for a while watching random shows on dvd.  (we don't have any incoming channels - even basic ones - so any shows we watch are usually rented from the library and years old.  which is why i'm only culturally relevant through 2009.)

i will also tell you that our basement has one of those fancy-pants dropped ceilings with clear plastic tiles covering the fancy-pants fluorescent tube lights.

SO. on to the point of this story: the other night we were sitting on the couch and i saw something out of the corner of my eye.  i looked up to the ceiling and running across the clear plastic tile above me was a mouse.

i looked over at todd.  who looked over at me.  we both looked back up at the ceiling where the mouse was already out of sight, probably chewing holes in our insulation and gnawing on our wiring and hatching little mouse babies that will be the only ones to survive the inevitable electrical fire we're about to have.  sweet.

todd bought some mouse traps but we haven't set them yet because you're supposed to bait them with peanut butter.  i typically buy the '100% peanuts so it tastes like cardboard' kind of peanut butter and todd is skeptical that a mouse would want to eat that stuff.  i snarkily replied that i failed to pick any up at the store anyway so we don't even have any, so there.

so...somewhere in the depths of our house is at least one mouse, running unchecked and drunk with power because that's what mice do.  so that's awesome.  if i show up to church next week with a bald patch, just assume my hair was gnawed off while i slept and subsequently incorporated into the baby mouse hatchery in my walls.

celebreality monday.

i heard somewhere once that there exists a spectrum with task-oriented people at one end and relationship-oriented people at the other.  because it's a spectrum, there are varying degrees of orientation one way or the other, but people tend to fall in one of the two categories.  i am task-oriented.  and pretty strongly so.

there are definite advantages to this at times: my house is typically 'clean enough,' we're only rarely over our grocery budget, and i have this inherent need to cross stuff off my to-do list, which means things that need to get done actually get done.  i really like feeling like i've accomplished something, and i think because of this i am a pretty quick learner and i have a really broad range of stuff i like doing.

but i also know that getting stuff done takes priority over spending time with my kids...WAY more than i'd like it to.  most mornings, as i'm trying to do whatever the task is that i've decided to take on for the day, the kids are asking me to read a book or play with them and i get so annoyed at having to stop what i'm doing to just spend time with them.  and i hate that about myself, honestly. 

and i realize that if i keep going the same way i have, my kids are going to grow up saying things like, 'my mom did a lot for me, but she never did a lot with me' and other stuff that kids with moms like me say.  and i really desperately don't want to be that mom.  but to be entirely honest, i cannot relax and enjoy just hanging out with my kids until my stuff is done...which is rare, because that's the nature of being a mom to toddlers - tasks, sentences, laundry, basic hygiene routines are never ever finished, at least in a reasonably timely manner.  so my kids are always pushed to the bottom of the to-do list, and i really grieve for them sometimes that that's how i orient my life.  it's not fair to them.

and i get scared for when my kids are older and they have 'heart issues' that need to be addressed or confessed or counseled or whatever...because i'm completely unequipped for that.  i am not a person who knows how to ask questions and understand feelings.  i know how to address behavior problems - black and white, task-oriented issues.  not relational issues.  because i am basically (as i'm finding out) a black hole of emotion and interpersonal relating.  i (like to think i) am good at hiding it, but deep down i'm pretty much socially inept.

and i would like to be better at spending time with my kids and listening and caring for their hearts rather than simply their behaviors, but i find myself too busy to even figure out how to start being this way...and sometimes i just really mourn that fact for the sake of my kids.  and mostly, i just really hope that god has plans to teach me how to be different than i am because i'm not capable of turning into a more caring, more attentive, less bound-to-the-to-do-list kind of parent on my own.

and i'm also hoping i'm not the only one like this, and that i'm not just some kind of sociopath who can't function on a basic human level and desire to spend much time with my own children.  so...can anyone else relate to this and/or share any wisdom?

in like a lion, out like a meaner lion.

i know; it's supposed to be 'in like a lion, out like a lamb.'  and it's also supposed to be in reference to march, not october.  but whatever.  it seemed fitting.

the last two weeks have been absolutely insane.  here's a brief recap:

the weekend of the 22-23, todd's parents came to visit.  they took us to center grove orchard, where we played in the corn pool (and i got lots of corn down my pants), atticus showed off the socks he picked out himself, and also my camera died after like 15 minutes.

the 24th was todd's birthday, so i made him a pan of pumpkin bars and atticus decorated them.  i served todd his piece on our non-food-safe, free-at-a-garage-sale jimmy carter plate that i like to save for special occasions.  and since we have a tradition of carving pumpkins every year for his birthday, we did that a few days later.  (the kids painted theirs since i'm waiting until they get a little bigger before handing them serrated knives and letting them go to town.)  todd carved percy from 'thomas the tank engine.'  being pregnant and constantly hungry, i carved my pumpkin to resemble the best thing i could think of: a burger and fries.  (the golden arches are on the other side of the pumpkin.)

the following weekend, todd took to the task of conquering the storm windows.  i will not go into all of the blood, sweat, tears, and swearing those windows have cost us, i will just say that a) storm windows are probably somehow involved in interrogations at guantanamo and b) those suckers are NEVER. COMING. DOWN. EVER.

my mom came up on the 30th and brought with her the ADORABLE costumes she made for the kids.  we took them trick-or-treating monday morning at the downtown merchants' stores, and monday night we headed over to the nursing home in town.  penelope made a new friend who liked to call her 'my little peanut butter.'

penelope turned 18 months.

and i'm 24 weeks pregnant.

and while i don't have pictures of this, i'm about halfway done with my christmas planning/shopping.  (an awesome friend even took the kids for me one morning this last week so i could shop at a store with lots of breakables and no carts...LIFE.SAVER.) last year i waited until the last minute and therefore missed out on getting to really appreciate all advent had to offer, so my goal is to be totally done buying and wrapping presents, writing the christmas letter, etc. by the end of november.

here's to hoping december will be a little easier on the schedule...(crossing fingers.)

george bush hates black people.

there are a lot of things i say on this blog that i like to pass off as 'fact' rather than 'opinion.' partly because it's my blog, and what good is having your own blog if you can't use it to act like kanye? and partly because i really like my opinions and think they should be facts.

opinions that should be facts: don't dress like a sleaze bag, don't decorate for halloween, don't go to doctors who advertise at the local health food store, and also don't dress like a sleaze bag. i think they should be passed as facts (similarly to how you pass a law) because there is some legitimate biblical back-up to what i'm saying. (less so for the halloween decor, more so for the douchey clothes.)

but i admit that i don't think all opinions should be voted into fact. here is one personal opinion that is purely that: a personal opinion (although, i wouldn't mind if you also held said opinion and we started a club or a political party or something): a lot of people think if a guy has good hair, that is excuse enough to have long hair. and i'm here to say that, in my humble opinion, those people are wrong.

i agree that it's not fair when you see a guy with super nice, shiny, thick, wavy, good-smelling hair. because the female population could really use a little hair socialism: spread the wealth, you know? and i'm not exactly sure why god didn't set it up so that if you're not using your blessed locks you could pass them on to your neighbor. (i'll jot that down in the moleskin full of questions for god that i'll be taking with me to heaven.)

but good hair or not, guys should not typically grow their hair out to neck-tickling lengths (or beyond) because it just looks wonky. if it needs to be swept out of your eyes, it is too long. if it can be pulled into a ponytail longer than a two-year-old girl's (or my grandma's), it is too long. if you have to have your roommate clean your hairs off your sweater at the end of the day, it is too long. if you feel the need to brush it in the middle of child development lecture with the comb you keep on you at all times for opportunities such as this (not that i sat behind this guy or anything), it is too long.

i am saying this for your own good, fellas. legolas had long hair, and it made him look like an elf. (also the ears did, and also the fact that he actually was an elf.) samson had long hair and look where it got him: betrayed by his wenchy girlfriend, and blind and shackled and crushed to death. now, i'm not saying that was purely a result of the hair...except that i'm saying it was basically purely the result of the hair.

and don't get all, 'jesus had long hair and i'm only wwjd'ing.' (we all know you were going there, Long Hair.) prove to me he actually did have long hair and then we'll talk. and when we do talk, i will tell you he also wore a loinclothy-thing and a robe so you should do that too, and also i'll tell you that it's kind of sacreligious to be walking around all dressed up as jesus so it's best to just cut your hair.

here's why you should cut your hair short-ish:

1. you're making the rest of us jealous.

2. boys don't have a reputation for great hygiene, so it will always look greasy just because people expect it to.  harsh but true.

3. long hair will only trip you up in a sword fight.

4. your wife/girlfriend/future wife/future girlfriend will take over all the bathroom cabinet space, and you will be robbed of product storage, and no one likes a pouty boy.

5. i hate to pull this card, but you kind of look like a hanson brother. and not the middle one. there, i said it.

6. it takes less money and less time, and regardless of what society and the bravo network are trying to tell you, men can benefit from being low-maintenance. (when you're married and dirt poor and only one of the two of you can afford regular maintenance, you do not want to be the guy who had to arm wrestle his wife for salon rights.)

7. girls earn the right to long head-hair by shaving and plucking and waxing the hair that grows everywhere else. you have not earned that right. and if you have, that's a little metrosexual and weird.

HOWEVER, i will say that there are a few men who can pull off the long haired look without looking girly or homeless. if you are adam duritz, for example. or shawn from boy meets world.  plus, there are some artsy guys at church where you're all, you must have the spiritual gift of pulling off difficult hairstyles. (and also, i'm still wondering why god didn't make that a 'ladies only' kind of spiritual gift the way he made LARPing a 'guys only' kind of gift. or at least, he should have done that, too. he should really start asking my opinion on things before making decisions.)

oh, and one last thing: if you're a guy who found himself locked in a tower once with only his hair as an opportunity for escape, i can see why you'd want to keep it long. just in case. 

anyway, what the crap do i know about hair? if my own record has shown us anything it's that i can't be trusted as a sage of hair advice. like i said, this is all my personal opinion. what's your personal opinion on the topic?

video vednesday: seem the same, seem seem the same (or at least very similar)

big changes over the last year.

last september, i decided to start moving our family in the direction of a more traditional diet.  in december, i went off grains and when i reintroduced them in april, i discovered i had sensitivities to wheat/gluten and corn.  so we've made a lot of changes over the last year, and i'm excited to see how far we've come!

in my cooking i now:

- use no vegetable oils or margarine.  i cook mainly with coconut oil, butter, olive oil and lard.
- incorporate more sprouted, soaked, or soured grains (although not 100%)
- make my own mayonnaise and gluten-free salad dressing
- make my own kefir, yogurt and sourdough starter
- go through TONS of farm eggs (currently 7 dozen a month, but i would totally use more if i could afford it)
- have switched from teflon pots and pans to stainless steel and cast iron (although i do still have a teflon griddle i use), and i've switched to all stainless and wood cooking utensils (no plastic).
- know how to grow some basics in my garden and use/can them myself (an accomplishment for me!)
- make all my own chicken stock
- have tried things like coconut water and traditional sauerkraut ('sick' and 'not bad,' respectively)
- soak and dehydrate our almonds, and have made almond butter
- switched to less refined flours and sugars
- have tried lots of alternative baking products such as gluten free mixes; rye flour (for the kids' bread); coconut, almond and rice flours; and arrowroot powder
- switched to full-fat dairy, including milk
- avoid soy if we can at all help it (except traditionally fermented soy sauce). not always possible, that stuff is in everything.
- eat more fruit (small step, but significant for me.)

that being said, there's a lot we don't do.  we haven't gotten rid of a lot of our standard, go-to snacks like crackers for the kids and oreos for todd.  i still eat too much chocolate and ben and jerry's coffee-heath bar crunch.  we still occasionally drink soda (although, we've never really purchased it, simply for budget reasons).  we enjoy eating at mcdonald's.  i don't spend money on organic or grassfed items unless they're cheaper than conventional items (unusual but not impossible to find) or they taste significantly better (eggs have been the only thing i've noticed).  we don't do raw dairy (even if we could afford it, it's currently illegal).  while i would love to change a lot of these things, we're not at a point where it's realistic, moneywise or otherwise.  and that's fine.

because i think the thing that has struck me most about all this is - none of it really matters!  yes, i think i'm called to steward my kids' health and to make healthy decisions for myself, but i don't have to do it all rightnow and i don't have to think that the way i'm doing it is the only way for someone else to do it.  there are a lot of things i'd like to still grow in and add to/take away from the way we eat for the sake of health and environmental stewardship, but i don't feel a compulsion to do it out of fear or 'what if's.  

and there is so much grace from god in this!  i don't think he wants us to be bound by fear, and i know he doesn't want us to think that we're capable of completely preventing the effects of sin (sickness and death) by our own efforts.  i'm going to screw up my kids' health by what i feed them sometimes, but i fully trust god to do what he does best: redeem the mistakes that i'm destined - bound, determined - to make.

and that's the gospel, really.  god is trustworthy, in christ we are not slaves to our mistakes, we don't need to feel condemned by our failures but encouraged by what god has in store for our futures, we don't need to judge others who don't do secondary things the same way we do.  it seems silly that sourdough starter makes me think about these things, but it really does.  i have learned to trust god much more deeply with my life and the lives of my family over the last year.  and that has been the best part of this whole process.

for the kingdom of god is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the holy spirit, because anyone who serves christ in this way is pleasing to god and approved by men.
romans 14:17-18

celebreality monday.

i have been putting off showing you pictures of the inside of our house because, well, it's bad.  i don't think i was prepared for how long it would take to nestle in and make it 'home.'

i have been tempted to post photos of our kitchen because it's the closest to being done - for now at least.  (i like changing things up every once in a while, so in a year or two we might change the paint or something.)  but for now, it's the room that i feel most comfortable showing to people and not thinking they're judging me for being way spartan and also having no taste.

that being said, i still haven't posted pictures because there are stupid little things i want to finish first.  but i figured i'm just going to leave those things undone and post pictures anyway.

BUT THEN i decided that i'll post them on a different day, because if we're really going to get into the nitty-gritty reality of the state of my house, i should first introduce you to the three most horrifying rooms here.

taking the bronze, we have the craft room/play room/office.  otherwise known as the disaster zone/dumping ground/bane of my existence.

i had all kinds of intentions to cutesy up this room and do sewing and craft projects all the live long day.  instead, i have a sewing table full of crap with no home, an on-loan dehydrator on the floor to use when processing all the apples i bought a month ago and should have had done by now, and window treatments that are wonky 100% of the time because the kids like to stand at that window and watch the cars go by.

the toy corner/office-supply-nightstand of doom.  enough said.

taking the silver, we have the living room.  this room is rarely messy because it is rarely used.  it is sparse and the same horrible yellow-brown-cream color as the rest of the house (don't let the pictures fool you.  the true-to-life color is reminiscent of sick people skin.)  so i took it upon myself to find a friendly color to paint it instead.  seven-paint-swatches-on-each-wall later i have decided that blue is not the color for this room.  also, seven paint swatches later, the old lady across the street asked me if i let the kids paint the living room.  these are the conditions in which i've been living.

up against that orangey trim, all blues look way nursery-y.  so it will be getting a coat of the same grey-beige as the kitchen.  someday, when i have time and money to paint, don't hold your breath.  also, i would like to point out that in addition to the actual patches of paint on the wall, i have loads of paint chips taped to paper taped to the wall.  i have had a hard time making decisions lately... also, that plant that looks dead actually is halfway there.  i really am a nurturer of things.

AND PROUDLY TAKING HOME THE GOLD MEDAL....OUR BEDROOM!  i like to affectionately think of this room as the 'febreze room.'  not because it smells good or makes you think you're in a rolling meadow, frollicking along the clovered hillside like you feel when you snort febreze.  no, i call it that because it reminds me of those febreze commercials where they blindfold people and take them into some landfill of a room and take their blindfolds off and the people are like, omg where are we are we about to die.

actually, let's get really realistic and see how it looks on a normal day when i don't take pictures of it to post on the internet:

ahh, yes.  lovely.  curtains fashioned from drapes and painter's dropcloth.  a ceiling light with no cover and only a couple bulbs.

the bay window in the bedroom is identical to this one in the dining room, only without the leaded glass pane in the middle window, and with more white-trashy window treatments.

here is where penelope naps.  and probably has nightmares the whole time.  notice the lovely finish on the walls - that, my friends, is bare plaster.  we ripped down wallpaper nearly six months ago and have done nothing to the walls since.  i'm pretty sure they use walls like this to set the scene in shows about child abuse and drug addiction.

and last but not least, my classy nightstand fashioned from an old folding chair.  i'm way into repurposing and shabby chic.  our old nightstands were square and therefore wouldn't fit into that tiny triangle the bed left when we set it into the bay window.  any creative nightstand solutions that are not made of aluminum would be well appreciated.

so there you have it.  the very loveliest corners of my home.  and before you even think about hyperventilating at the sight of all these photos, just think that i'm the lucky one who gets to see (and neglect cleaning) these spaces every day.  don't be jealous.

show me that smile again.


apparently maggie seaver is the same kind of party planner that i am:

the mentality that decorations are for chumps? check.

lack of guests because they all know how bad your parties suck, and also because you forgot to send out the invites until yesterday? check.

the one guest who did make it (and isn't sleeping in the doorway) is stuck in the corner amidst piles of boxes because you didn't clean your house before said party? check.

plenty of sandwiches? check and check.

half-chugged bottle of orange juice in which to drown your lonely, failure-of-a-party-planner sorrows? definitely check.

although, she at least arranged for a special cameo appearance by kirk cameron...i can't remember the last time i got a celebrity to show up at one of my shindigs.


so, i get that it's thursday and halloween has already come and gone, but i've been busy lately and i'm choosing to air my grievances a few days late.  everyone okay with that?  (if you're way into halloween decorating or dressing up in trampy costumes, i suggest you stop reading before you get pissed at me.  also, i suggest continuing to read for some helpful rules of thumb.)

WHAT. THE. CRAP. IS. THE. DEAL. WITH. HALLOWEEN?! can someone please answer me that?!

since when do we think that it is tasteful or chic to decorate our homes and yards with skulls?  have we forgotten that SKULLS ARE PEOPLE-HEAD BONES?!  it is never classy to decorate with decapitated cadavers.  period.  even if martha stewart tells you it's okay because we all know she smokes drugs and can't be trusted when it comes to holiday decorating.

and then there are the hypocritical arachniphobics going all out with the fake spider web stuff.  and the other day i saw someone's yard done up as a full-on graveyard with tombstones and arms reaching out of the ground and stuff.  please clue me in on this as i purely do not understand the whole 'sweet, it's halloween, let's get gross and/or scary' thing.

and don't even get me started on the 'sweet, it's halloween, let's get slutty' thing.  LADIES, IS IT TOO MUCH TO ASK TO NOT SEE YOUR NIPPLES?!  (or six inches of cleavage, or the bottom half of your butt, or all of the above?)  why, oh why, can't we have costumes like 'super intelligent pirate' who has a monacle for his one good eye and carries around a dictionary on his hook-hand?  why is it always 'slutty pirate wench' or 'trampy deck hand' or 'porno parrot sidekick with feathered heels and eyepatch that doubles as a condom'?  heck, i'd even like it better if someone dressed up as a somalian pirate and took me hostage for kit kat bar ransom.  too soon? maybe, but that would at least make sense, pirately speaking.

what i'm saying here is that there is very little inherent sexiness to pirates (and whatever else people turn into 'slutty whatever else' for halloween).  and also, i could care less about your belly button ring.  and also, i think blackbeard would shudder to think that all his murdering and pillaging fame was now being used to sell lingerie costumes.  really kind of soils the name of blackbeard, if you ask me, and i for one would like to pass on the kind of karma that can only accompany wearing an 'i'm trampy and also i'll murder your whole family' blackbeard costume.

anway, to sum up my general halloween rules-of-thumb:

..unless your house is actually built on an ancient indian burial ground and you can't help it, keep the creepy crap in the backyard.

..unless your body is made of a magnetic field that forcefully rejects clothing and you can't help it, cover your orafices.

that should do it.  happy haunting.

video vednesday: go be with her on the sidewalk if you want to.

oh ellen.  callin' them like you see them.


'i put the sugar in.'  (he wants to put the dishwasher powder in.)

'he's pullin' the bean car.'  (thomas is pulling his car full of coal.)

'i wanna hear the jacket song.'  (the what?) 'jacket song! bluuuuuue jacket.' (ah, yes. 'moves like jagger.')

'it's my wally pop.'  (pretending to drink soda; i think he heard 'lollipop' somewhere and assumed it was related to actual pop.)

'it ooches.' (it itches)

'i need a sticker on it.' (he has something he thinks he needs a band-aid for.)

'wanna hug up-air.'  (he wants me to hold him while i'm standing up.)

'these are my boots.'  (his tennis shoes.)

'suckanose.' (what it's called when i suck his nose with the aspirator.)

'those are trash guys?' (every weekend at church when he sees the parking guys wearing orange vests.)

and the following conversation took place the other day:

paige: mommy has a baby in her tummy.

atticus: i have a baby in my tummy, too!

paige: you do? is your baby a boy or a girl?

atticus: um, it's a butterfly.

paige: oh really?! you have a butterfly in your tummy?

atticus: no! i'm a boy, not an animal.  (as in, 'duh, mom.')

he is so funny right now.  most conversations we have are pretty hilarious.  he should probably have his own weekly column on the blog.