Archive for the ‘Holiday’ Category

Heart Strings

Sometimes I turn around and see a whole bunch of love goin’ on.

And even though it’s Cat love, one of my heart strings goes haywire…

And I melt for the kid squishin’ the last bit of oxygen out of the cat.

And for the same kid an hour later who loved the heck out of my flowers with his leg crossed and then took charge of who would smell them first.  And for how long.

And for the happiest group to ever hold a couple roses, a few tulips and a homemade card.

And for the luckiest bouquet completely tucked in with a towel and listing to the left. 

And finally for my daughter…God bless her…who ran upstairs to put on every heart she owns.

Which is why they all match.

And which might be the cause for the plinking of another heart string.


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We welcomed 2011 with a long-distance high-five from across the room.  Well, it wasn’t even that.  More a mental one.  Our kids were in bed at ten-thirty and completely asleep with their eyes rolled back  by ten thirty-one.  And I sat here and my husband there yawning our way to midnight.

If you did anything at all, say, blow your nose, I guarantee it was more  rip-roaring than our last hour and a half waiting for both clock hands to get to the twelve. 

Anyway…what I realized here in January, other than it not being swimsuit weather, is that without meaning to, we drug a few things with us from 2010.

Like our band-aided light socket.

And the brown marker art on the inside of the bathroom door. 

Though the longevity on this one is really something.   Seems we just can’t pee and scrub the door at the same time.   Or remember that we ought to after we flush.  Quite the marvel.

And the random paint project taped to the wall with a single strand of tape.  One of my favorites.

And here’s the guy who “didn’t do anything.” And who’s tucked himself away in a Christmas tote with a…(rubbing eyes…) a sucker. 

Which is why we thought we’d put that kind of energy to work.  So here’s our son on his first bike, fresh from under the Christmas tree.  

 Nevermind his sister’s pink gloves.

Or the sheets of ice on the roads.  Or the 26 degrees. 

Or the mere fact that none of the rest of us are on bikes.

Desperate times, people…heh.

Which ain’t it so much as it is my son who’s climbed into my lap insisting he needs my ‘bu-ttention’. 

Which is why I’ll end here…

Gots me a little boy to love.

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I don’t know your sentiment, if any, on saying goodbye to Twenty-ten.  I can’t say I’m squeezing out a tear here. 

It’s just that as we button up another year, I realize, too, that  it’s a whole decade we’re shelving…and somehow, that seems significant. 

And it’s not that I want to dredge up the last ten years and try to make sense of any of them.  I ain’t got the time.  I just want to remember for a moment, while I can, some of the reasons I smiled in 2010.

Some time in July my son and daughter came downstairs and twirled in these same-color dresses until they nearly burst from giddiness. 

But it’s this picture that does something to me.  I just can’t put it into words.

In the spring, we’d sprinkled a packet of wildflower seeds in our backyard and had waited out most of the summer for them to bloom.  Only when they did, my son took to harvesting them in small bunches multipe times a day.  This was one of my gifts.  Like winning the jackpot, people.

Here are both my kids in the back of the kiddie train chugging through the park in Orting.   I don’t even remember the reason we’re there.  Just somethin’ about  them smiles.

In late August, we hadn’t intended to stop at Little Eorthe Farm to see the chickens and the sunflowers.  But it’s what we did when we didn’t want to go home quite yet.  Our son had just turned green and upchucked his entire roast beef lunch in the truck as we wound around a few mountain roads… which ended our hike before it began. 

Our time at Little Eorthe was a close second.

This is one of our Mount Rainier hikes where we started the tradition of eating lunch in the back of the truck.  Huge highlight when you’re six and three…something you’ll just have to trust me on…heh.

This was the beginning of another hike, where en route, our son turned a different shade of green.  Only this trip we pulled over in time and hung out on this beachy picnic sight until he turned  a more acceptable color.  Something like pink.

This is that same pre-hike spot, still biding time..

Only I’d take more of this in 2011. 

Not the barfing.  Or the windy roads that bring on the barfing.  But the outdoors.  With the fam.

I’d like to get in on more laughter, too.  And sleep….

Not talk of sleep.  Not a snooze.  Not 43 interruptions while I should be sleeping. 

The real deal…sigh.

It’s been a year…and it’s been ten. 

Welcome 2011!  I think I’m ready. 

And if I’m not…well, welcome anyway!

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Me Thinks I Heard a Whine

I don’t know if post-Christmas selfishness hit your house.  But it made a stop at ours.  

Only it was at the moment we were due at my in-laws to eat the meal-of-the-year.  Which meant that either we were taking a selfish child with us.  Or one of us was eating cold steak.

Cold steak it was. 

And so as I drove away with our son who couldn’t believe he had the van and the window controls to himself, my husband had a little chat with our daughter.  What he said…I don’t know.  I only know that a happier child joined us at dinner.  One who ate everything but the crust of her roll and who resisted further meltdown even when it became popular to do so.

Hours later, I found her hand-written list of things she’s thankful for still resting on our dining room table.  Which doesn’t matter so much…the items, that is.  Though feel free to scratch your head with me at number thirteen. 

What matters is that when our daughter practiced being thankful…she actually became thankful.

And you know…

I bet the same would happen to me.

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There’d been some confusion at our manger all December, as manger members disappeared for days at a time.  There’d be Mary, baby Jesus and a lamb.  But no Joseph.  Then Joseph would show up and the shepherd would be off doing whatever…wherever.  Only the lamb was still there.

That all three of our lost-in-route wise men showed up on Christmas morning was a household miracle.  That they’d recruited our Santa soap dispenser and were all kneeling before baby Jesus on the corner of the coffee table seemed strangely appropriate.

Only I’m not sure why.


I am sure, though, that we wanted our kids to know the story behind Mary.  Behind Joseph.  Behind the baby sleepin’ in the straw.  Behind the wise men and their fancy boxes.  All of it.  Which was why, before we tore the wrapping off a single present, we coraled our manger pieces…

took inventory on who was here and who wasn’t… 

and began reading the Christmas story from the Bible in Luke chapter 2.

As she heard their names, our daughter picked up Joseph and Mary and placed them in the stable.

Baby Jesus, too.

Our son did the same with our less breakable version.

Then, as I continued reading…little hands added more pieces.

Only here the shepherd’s a bit early…

’cause, per the story, the angel was still frightening them in the fields while they watched their sheep.

Only this is the only angel we have left.

Not so, uh, frightening.

Still…our shepherd hastened himself and his lone lamb to Bethlehem to see this King that had been born.

The same thing happened over here.  Except that Mary and Joseph seemed to be on the look-out for the shepherds, especially since the sheep were already there.

And even though there wasn’t mention of the wise men yet, it was too hard to resist giving them a spot beside Baby Jesus and his blue binky.

Which was when our daughter suggested we just jump ahead and pretend that Jesus was two or three years old now, so that we could put the wise men somewhere. 

And so we did.

Here’s the final gathering on our carpet.

Looking peaceful, even.

Which, if there were nothing wrapped and stacked under the tree, would be enough.

God’s peace, that is…

God’s peace.

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That this Christmas tree is wearing breakable bulbs from top branch to tree skirt can mean but one thing:  It ain’t ours.

Rather…it is a far cry from ours which has been snipped of most of its bottom branch on the right side, has no water because the cat was thirsty, lacks garland on the whole top half, and has never heard of matching ornaments.  Uh, ever.

This is my in-law’s tree.  Fake as they come.  Pretty, too. 

And this is their living room…

which strained to contain the excitement of four kids with presents reflecting off their eyeballs.  One of these kids is mine.  And that present behind him is his.

Only he knows it.  Which meant he thought he could sneek a private peek. 

Heh heh…who would know?

Only now that the supervised shredding of paper has begun… 

Here’s our daughter, quite pleased to be a new pet owner.  Even if it’s just of that pillow.

And our son who can’t remember being this happy since yesterday.

Here he is with my mother-in-law whose fault it is he can’t stop smiling.

And here’s the small crowd of cousins whose attention we all want at the same time and to whom we resorted to snapping our fingers and waving our hands like we’d been saving seats for them for two hours in the front row and if they’d just look our way…  Um…


I feel fortunate to have snagged three of the four…

Because the rest of the time, the guy in the blue vest had a candle to sniff. 

And then a pack of girls to sprawl on.


Here’s the lot of us.  Minus my in-laws. 

Ain’t nothing more beautiful than nobody crying. Which, uh, means…this isn’t that.

But this was.

Cuz couldn’t nothin’ compare to fire…

in the hands of a three year old…

who’s finally been trusted to hold his own candle and who would sing at the same time were that possible.

And now behold…the most blessed compound word of all…

Bed. Time.


Thank you, Lord…for such a Merry Christmas Eve.

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Maybe Santa Claus is a part of your Christmas tradition.  Which is completely your business.  No judgement, here.  I just had no idea he was a part of ours.  Until a friend stopped by and asked my son if he was excited for Christmas.  Which was like asking him, “do you think we should feed you today?”  Somewhat rhetorical.

Only in response, my son zipped ahead of her down the hallway, pointed to our gas fireplace and told her with complete conviction that that was where Santa Claus was coming.  A miracle I wouldn’t mind witnessing.  In the time it took my friend to smirk, my son was in the kitchen–this time showing her the five dozen cookies we’d just made for Santa.  

Which I could barely refute, since I was so newly enlightened about the fireplace. 

I don’t know if my son had more to say about Santa.  I just figured I’d help myself to one of Santa’s non-cookies, as I wondered for a moment where we might’ve derailed. 

Should my son not be excited about Santa?  Should the Santa hand soap dispenser actually be in the bathroom…or is it okay that it’s hovering over baby Jesus in the manger like one of the shepherds? 


Driving home a moment ago, my kids shouted out at each yard Santa we passed.   Santa, it seemed, was hanging out on every other corner and porch step.  But then from six inches away in the backseat I heard my daughter say, ” Jesus is everywhere.”  And in whole agreement, my Santa-excited son added, “even in my tummy.”

So, while Santa may bring a smile,  get credit for gifts, and supernaturally squeeze down our chimney, Jesus, that baby in the manger lookin’ up at soapy Santa, is the guy who saves.  All of us.

St. Nick, too.

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