Friday, December 31, 2010

Ten in Twenty-Ten

Last year on New Year's Eve, I wrapped up the year with my ten most heavily commented posts. It was fun to do that, so I thought I'd go for it again, though I had a tie for #10. Of course, nothing I've written has come close to the number of comments on Tommy's birth story... I guess I need another kid to boost my stats in 2011 (JUST KIDDING, UNIVERSE).

10A. 364
10B. Two Birds
9. [untitled]
8. Global Domination
7. The End of an Hair-A
6. An Open Letter to the Fine People at International Delight [please note that although Sweet Buttercream is now gone from the stores, I have approximately 20 bottles frozen, so I'm still not without my creamer. But when it's gone? TRAGIC. International Delight, please bring this back!]
5. Real
4. Randomize
3. Hands Together [I forgot that I wrote this. I love it so much.]
2. Separation Anxiety
1. My Heart

Thursday, December 30, 2010

All Is Calm

Our holidays tend to be hectic. While we are very blessed to live so close to both of our families, it can make for busy days where we drive, drive, drive all day long. The upside, of course, is that we do end up in our own beds at night. As Christmas wound down, Tommy found respite from our hectic day on Papa's lap.


You Capture: Holiday Favorites

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Hope For Christmas

I hope your Christmas was full of togetherness

Quiet thoughtfulness
I hope your Christmas was both messy...
And clean.
[just kidding. My Christmas was all messy. I have no clean photos to offer you.]
Most of all, I hope your Christmas held all you wanted.
Merry Christmas
Mine did.

[gorgeous card by Tiny Prints--I wish I could have budgeted sending you all one!]
[if you don't celebrate Christmas, I hope your Saturday was full of all of the above.]

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Shadows On The Sky

I really thought my captured lights would be Christmas lights, but after driving home from the most disastrous Santa experience ever we ran into this sunset.

The sun was making the most perfect play of light and shadows across the fields of snow.

Unfortunately, my windows are dirty, so I braved the cold and a rapidly moving car to take this photo. Shane joked that somehow, I was going to drop the camera out the window, but miraculously, I held onto it.
It was totally worth the risk to capture that gorgeous vertical sunbeam. I suppose it's not really holiday related, but it is definitely magical.

Monday, December 20, 2010


Today has been rich in simple pleasures. Shane's parents gave us this bag of misshapen jelly beans from the Jelly Belly factory outlet. I'm not going to lie, it's like Christmas come early. You see that one on the left? It's THREE jelly beans in one singular blob.
My teeth are coated in sugar and I can't stop eating jelly beans. It's beautiful.

Luke made me this vase and picked out this flower arrangement all by himself. Do you think he has a future as a florist? I'd love nothing more than a son who could keep me in fresh flowers all year round.
The picture next to it is my grandma's senior photo. Wasn't she beautiful?

The simplest of all, though. Two silly boys doing silly things.

Did you find simple pleasures in your day, too?

Thursday, December 16, 2010



I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
~Mary Frye

You Capture: Outside

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

'Til The End of Time

My first night home from the hospital with Luke, I was so confident. He was sleeping well, nursing well, and didn't really cry at all. He was all settled in the bassinet next to our bed, swaddled and sleeping soundly. I remember clicking off the lamp and having a half-second to sigh at the joy of being back in my own bed before he started to WAIL. Honestly, I hadn't even put my head down on the pillow. I picked him up. He didn't want to nurse. He didn't want to snuggle in the bed with me. He just SCREAMED. I had sent Shane to sleep in the guest room, thinking that one of us should be rested in the morning (rookie mistake). He screamed and screamed and screamed. I tried rocking him, my newly post-partum body sore, hurting in places I'd never imagined, skin loose and unfamiliar. He screamed while I was rocking him. I tried putting him in the swing for the first time. In the dark, unfamiliar with the swing, I managed to hit his head on the swing. He screamed louder. I sobbed and wondered to myself if I was really cut out for this, only 48 hours into it and I was already a half step away from breaking my new baby. Finally, in a last ditch attempt, I started to sing to him. The only song I could remember in my tired haze, Hush Little Baby. He started to quiet, but still fussed until I held him tight my chest, walking, swaying, and singing. And walk, sway, and sing we did for hours, the same song on repeat over and over and over, until I was so tired that while (thankfully) standing next to the bed, my knees buckled and I collapsed from exhaustion. I didn't catch myself, but I reached out and gently deposited Luke on the bed before I hit the ground. At this point, obviously, I swallowed my pride and enlisted Shane's help.

I learned my lesson Tommy's first night home from the hospital and made sure that Shane was in the room with us. Except that as Tommy woke up at midnight, I whisked him into the bed, laid him next to me, and had him latched on and nursing before I even realized what happened, before I even fully came out of that dreamy sleep and realized that I had a newborn again. What a difference a kid makes, huh? Except that Tommy is the king of false advertising and the older he got, the worse his sleep became (and still is, thanks for the 3:30 wake up call, TOMMY) and so, hours of walking, swaying, and singing Hush Little Baby became my life again. I've learned more songs since then, but it's always struck me as the truest. Of course, we want to do what we can to make our kids happy, but none of us run out and buy them diamond rings. Yet, even if everything we've done falls apart, we'll still love them 'til the end of time and hope that they know that. I'm probably not ever going to buy my kids a billy goat, but I'll go to the ends of the earth to make them happy.

Sometimes when I'm standing in front of the room teaching, I find myself swaying gently from side to side. I stop and mentally admonish myself that my students must think I'm crazy, that they don't understand the motion that grips you when you become a mother, they don't understand that once you begin swaying, you never stop.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

the lovliness of loving you

I have eaten horribly this week. So horribly that it's not even funny. It's Secret Santa week at work, which means I've gotten candy in my mail box EVERY SINGLE DAY. And I've eaten all of it, every sweet, chocolate-y bite.

As if this week's sugar binge hasn't been bad enough, I took the boys for milkshakes Sunday. It was one of those mom moments where I was totally patting myself on the back. When Luke was a baby, we never went out to eat EVER because the thought of taking him to a restaurant was so daunting. The first time we ate out, he was a year old--and taking him by myself? I would've broken out in hives at the mere thought. So, as I packed the boys in the car by myself and took them out to eat by myself without even a second thought, I realized that I totally got this. Except that last night, Shane and I took the boys out together and it was an unmitigated DISASTER, so really? I don't got this.

But what I DID get was two delicious milkshakes shared with my two best boys.

It doesn't get any sweeter than this.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

my hope secures

Once upon a long time ago, I sent Sara Joy this beautiful necklace. We'd never even met, but I saw it and knew that she needed it, as a reminder that hope IS always there, even when hidden.

When I was home with sick Tommy last week, I checked the mail and sighed in dismay at the stack of Christmas cards, knowing I'd yet to even order mine. I saw Sara Joy's return address and made a mental note to yell at her for taking the time to address Christmas cards when she should be napping.

To my surprise when I opened it, a very familiar necklace fell out, along with a note. I had to sit down to read it, so taken aback, so filled with awe at the thoughtfulness of the human heart. She said it was mine to borrow as long as I needed it. Until I could find hope on my own again.

I haven't taken it off since, except to shower and sleep. Wearing it around my neck, a necklace made by loving hands of one friend, passed on to the loving hands of another is like wearing a constant hug, a constant shoulder to cry on. I haven't felt like myself lately. I've had clouds in my head and it's been hard to find the words to admit that I'm not me, that I'm lost and lonely and scared.

But today, with the subtle reminder, the guiding pressure around my neck... I'm thinking I won't need this necklace much longer.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Here And Now

Today I am home from work for the zillionth time this year with a sick Tommy. I feel like I've been gloom and doom lately and each week I say, Wow. That was a rough week. Like, I've been saying this since the first week of October, but truthfully, they HAVE been rough weeks. I don't know why. I guess this is our season of sad and sick and hard, although I am still happy, I am also very sad. It's weird how the two can coexist, isn't it?

I thought it'd be fun to live blog our day, because I never get to do these things and I am always wishing I can. So here I am!


I'm drinking my second (big) cup of coffee (with Sweet Buttercream creamer, of course) while Tommy vacuums. Almost every single day, he runs to the closet and gets out the blue vacuum that Luke got for Christmas last year. He loves to vacuum, too. It's a big deal that he's doing it today, because the last two days, he's been this miserably sick shadow of himself and has just laid around. My house is a really huge mess and I'm behind on laundry, so I'm hoping to get caught up today. But also, I have season three of Dexter (which I am seriously in love with) and I'm kind of hoping to sit and watch that, too.
Tommy just crawled in my lap to nurse and is waving bye bye, which means that he wants to go take a nap. I should nap with him, but I will probably clean (or watch TV). What are you up to today?
(Tommy is blurry because my camera is a dumb jerk and focused on the vacuum instead of him, but also because he is a very fast vacuumer.)


Tommy is down for his nap, and I am hoping that today he will not wake up with a fever. Fevers in kids are always scary, but it's been very scary with Tommy because for me the fever chill induced shaking and the glassy stare was too much like a seizure. I just did a super quick clean of the house, which is seriously so messy. I picked up dirty clothes from every room and had enough clothes to fill an entire load of laundry. It's so bad when everyone is sick! Luckily, I am caught up on towels and sheets. I am going to mop the kitchen floor, then fold the two clean loads of laundry I have. Not very exciting, but much MUCH better than being at work. I just went through the mail from this week and found a Subway ad, which makes me very much want a giant sub RIGHT NOW. I wish Subway delivered.


Tommy just woke up from his nap crying, which is not normal for Tommy.

See? He was nursing and still had sad little tears slipping out of his eye. However, as I was uploading this picture, he got done and proceeded to maniacally throw every piece of folded clothing out of the basket and over his shoulder, which is normal for Tommy. Now he's upstairs playing with Luke's trains (Luke is at the sitter today), which means that I should probably refold the clothes, huh?
I just checked my online bank information and my last four debits have been from Papa John's and Dairy Queen. I think this means that I have a problem, except that eating awesome food is really not so much a problem as it is a big huge win and seriously, I wish I had pizza and a Blizzard right now. Why am I SO HUNGRY today?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Lead Balloon

I've been collecting Willow Tree angels since I was 15. Back before they were sold in Hallmark and every other store imaginable, this little florist by me sold them. It was one of the few places where you could find them, and I just fell in love. I haven't gotten any new ones in the last year or so, due to budget and Shane never remembering which ones I need, but this little boy with the Hope balloon is one of my favorites. I bought him for myself ages ago and I bought him for Sara Joy on sweet Joel's first birthday.
I love him and his hope balloon, but lately, my balloon has felt a little deflated. Like the helium has all gone out and instead of holding it aloft, I'm just dragging it after me.

I'm trying. I'm really, really trying, but there are so many heartaches with work and I wish I could talk about them, but you know I can't, life, love, everything. The dumbest things hit me and hit me hard, like realizing that for the rest of Tommy's life with me, I'm going to have to write epilepsy on his medical forms. When he starts school, his teachers will get medical info from the nurse stating that he has epilepsy. I drag that little hope balloon behind me with wishes and prayers that he will outgrow them, but how it was burst and drug down a little further when he had another seizure Monday night. As I type this, he's sitting on the floor with shoes on his hands clapping them together and how can I feel anything but hope when he's so healthy, so normal all the time, but. When people ask how he's doing, I never know how to answer, shuffling my feet and words, because of course he's fine when they ask. Of course he's a normal, healthy one year old, but. The seizures and the images I can't get out of my mind, his blue lips, twisted in a silent scream. I hate it. I know that blue lips are normal for his seizures. I know that they don't mean that he isn't breathing, but my heart shuddered on Monday while his little body shook in my arms and thought, nononono, this is wrong, so wrong.

Someone once told me that you can't rank pain. If you're having a bad day, a really bad day, you can't allow yourself to brush it off and say, Oh well, at least I still have a house/job/family, unlike some people. And while you should of course remember to count your blessings, you can't brush off your pain because someone else's pain is worse. I've caught myself doing that, thinking that I have NO RIGHT to be sad or upset at everything, because it could be so much worse. I know this. I do. But in the here and now of my days, I roll the word epilepsy across my brain a million times a day and it makes my heart hurt because of all the I don't knows. Will he outgrow his seizures? Or will he learn someday to tell when he's going to have a seizure? My brain misfires, too, with migraines and sleep paralysis, are his misfires related? Is it my fault? Will he have another seizure tomorrow? Next week? Next month? Never?

When will my heart heal?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

From The Ground Up

I have been a really lazy blogger this week, so I thought it would be best to get my You Capture photos up early...otherwise I might just forget that I have a blog all together! I took all of my pictures while lying on the ground, either on my stomach or back. Lucky for me the neighbors already think I'm crazy, so I have nothing to lose.

Spring is green grass juxtaposed with a stormy sky
Picture 173
Playing at the park while the 6 o'clock church bells play "Bringing in the Sheaves." {Sometimes I love living in a small town}
Picture 234
Bright bursts of yellow
Picture 205
Being too big for the baby swings, but also, just big enough to give your baby brother the best swing ride of his life.
Picture 264
Picture 266

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

You Capture: Spring

I love spring. I'm fairly certain I've said this about eleven billion times, but I do. I love spring. If I could marry spring, I would.

While on the March of Dimes walk, I captured a lot of gorgeous spring pictures. And then baby Godzilla unleashed himself on my laptop, where I had, sadly, uploaded the photos and then deleted from my camera. Luckily, my husband recently acquired a laptop, so I was able to steal his while anxiously awaiting a replacement power cord for my laptop! Technology. It's wonderful (and confusing, if you're my husband), but kind of annoying in its breakability.

ANYWAY, I did manage to snap some pictures that are very, very spring to me. In the field behind our house, there is a ditch that has three lilac bushes growing in it. They're very big and since no one really lives by them, I consider them fair game for flower cutting. Cutting the flowers is a little treacherous since it's pretty overgrown and I, of course, wear flip flops to do it, but it's worth it for all the flowers I can put in glass vases around the house.
Aside from cropping, this next one is SOOC. Isn't it lovely what the spring sunshine can do?

And finally, this photo represents spring because after months of spending every night inside, we finally get to go outside and play at the park every night after dinner. We're all thankful for this, but no one is as thankful for the warmth that spring brings as Luke!
You Capture: Spring

Monday, April 26, 2010


The realization that this sweet baby face has now officially spent more time on the outside than on the inside hit me just the other day.
When he was a newbie on this side of the belly, he did something his older brother never really did. He cried. A lot.
Whenever I wasn't feeding him, he'd make this face at me. And if I put him down to use the bathroom? He WAILED.
Now that he's a little more used to our world, he doesn't cry as much, but he still cries way more than his older brother did. And he sleeps way less. Sometimes I ask him if he even wants a younger brother or sister, because my goodness.

But then, I look at this face and THAT HAIR and think, how could I not want a million more of him?

Friday, April 23, 2010


When Shane and I first got married, my mom dug up a tiny lilac bush for me to plant at our new house. My parents have a whole row of mature lilacs in their orchard, so growing up, I would become almost intoxicated with the scent of these lilacs. In the spring, I would cut bouquets for my busdriver and teachers. This scent, a scent that I've yet to find decently replicated in a bottle, brings me back to childhood, to spring, and I swear, if hope had a scent, it'd smell like lilacs. If Heaven has a scent, it must smell like lilacs, fresh baked chocolate chip cookies, and vanilla.
I babied that plant, checking on it throughout the winter, breathing a sigh of relief when the leaves would shoot up vibrant green every March, chastising Shane if he got too close to it with the mower. This has been a long week. Tommy has woken up every single night this week. This morning, he was awake at 3:30, just sitting in his crib, clapping and shouting happily to himself. I'm thankful that he's healthy and happy, but goodness, I wish he would just sleep. This morning, as I was climbing wearily into my car at 6:30, I noticed a flash of purple out beyond the fence. I blinked, cleared my eyes, and the flash of purple was still there.

Without even setting my things in my car, I ran to the back and yes, five years later, my baby lilac was blooming for us. Not caring who was watching and what it would do to my allergies, I buried my face in the blossoms and breathed deeply. I took a picture with my phone, and then before leaving, I buried my face again and breathed it all in. I got into my car with a little less weariness. Sure, I'm still tired and sure I'd rather not be at work, but the scent of lilac is still clinging in my nose and with it, the breath of hope.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

She's Losing It

And in the first moment of her waking up
She knows she's losing it, yeah she's losing it
When the first cup of coffee tastes like washing up
She knows she's losing it, yeah she's losing it
She goes to the mirror to put on her stuff
She knows she's losing it, oh yeah she's losing it

Belle & Sebastian

Sometimes I feel a lot like I'm losing it. I'm so torn. I don't want to leave my boys, and yet, sometimes I so badly want a break. I want to treasure every moment in the evening, but I also find myself wishing that I had more time after bedtime to clean and shower and then relax, instead of cleaning, showering, and collapsing into bed. I kick myself for losing my cool and raising my voice with my students because they are, after all, just 8th graders. And then I go home and kick myself for raising my voice with my toddler, because he is, after all, just a toddler. No matter where I am, I feel like I just can't get it right.
I want to be patient and kind when waiting in a long line at CVS, yet I also want to sigh impatiently because I just want to buy my milk storage bags and my bag of peanut butter M&Ms and GO HOME. But then, I also want to turn around and shush the woman behind me who IS sighing loudly and muttering under her breath, because sighing loudly is not going to make the line move any faster.
I want to be absolutely outraged at the state of public education right now, but also, I want (or maybe need) to leave work AT WORK and just not think about it if I don't have to think about it. I also want to tell you about a moment last week that changed me as a teacher and a person, but I can't really.
I want to do and be everything for everyone, but then, I also just want to sit on my couch and just BE.
I want to write something meaningful and witty and poignant in this little white box, but also, I just can't dig deep enough to get there.
Most of the time, I feel so happy and so content, but then sometimes I feel like something is missing. I don't know what that something is. I hope I can find it.

I honestly just don't think I've ever been so tired in my entire life.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


When I went through my photos from the last week, I realized that I took approximately 8,000 pictures of food when thinking of Fresh. Clearly, I have a problem, but I was able to narrow it down to just two food pictures.

Fresh donuts with my favorite guy. While Shane slept in Sunday, Luke, Tommy, and I snuck out to Dunkin' Donuts AND Starbucks. It was a great morning, with fresh donuts, fresh coffee, and lots of smiles.

Then, Sunday afternoon, I met Julie and Love for coffee, at which point I indulged in a very fresh cinnamon roll with brandy buttercream sauce. Yum. And wow.

On the rare moment that I think outside of FOOD for fresh, I think flowers for sure. I have this lovely little glass vase that I use for just one or two single flowers because it looks so pretty.
Don't you think?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Comfort Is...

Sleeping under Christmas lights because you're a little scared of the dark.
Balancing the silly moments with the quiet ones.

Knowing that you'll always have someone to love you, no matter what.
001 (2)

(Shane took the last photo, but he doesn't have a blog, so I'm totally posting it.)
You Capture: Comfort

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Times Four

The last four Easters have been my very favorite. Easter is my favorite holiday because it's beautiful and meaningful and lacks the materialism and stress of Christmas.
We hid eggs for Luke for the first time ever. Watching his excitement this morning as he discovered each one was wonderful, truly magical. Life has been so good lately. The "traumatic threes" have gotten a little easier, Luke and Tommy have been interacting in so many sweet ways, and I just love it. Every little bit.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Final Letter to the Fine People at International Delight

Since Sweet Buttercream first came into my life, I've been pondering whether it is truly better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all. Would the void in my life created by a limited edition creamer be too much to handle? Or should I just be thankful to have shared this sweet time with my new love?

In the end, I'm certain it's been better to have loved, because my life has been infinitely richer for the delicious love affair I've shared with Sweet Buttercream. I'm sure I'll never love another quite the same as Sweet Buttercream, but I'll be strong and move on. Maybe I'll find another flavor, but it'll never quite be the same. I'll sip it and sigh wistfully, remembering the good old days. Mornings snuggled in bed, late nights around the kitchen table, the way he always kept me warm.

The most fabulous thing about this whole love affair is that it was really just a silly topic, but what I love is that so many of you out there have tweeted or commented that you sought out Sweet Buttercream. And! That you loved it almost as much me. THEN, in the apex of my blogging career (just kidding, I don't have a blogging career. Why DO you people read this thing?), I was contacted by someone who works with International Delight (shout out to Heather with Horizon Media!) and last weekend, a package with SIX QUARTS of Sweet Buttercream showed up on my doorstep, along with a handwritten card from the Associate Brand Manager. I didn't even know that it was available in quarts! I never expected anyone from International Delight to read this or even care, yet they've shown that, actually, they DO care about their consumers.

So, Fine People at International Delight? Maybe you didn't arrange that warehouse full of creamer or make it permanent, but you have gained yourself a customer for life. (And if you ever need a product tester? Well, you know I'm your girl.)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

You Capture: A Moment

For this week's You Capture, I wanted to capture a moment from each day this week that made my soul sing, alongside the lyrics from one of my most very favorite soul and heart lifting songs. I hope your moments were beautiful and full of music this week, too.

What a beautiful face I have found in this place
That is circling all round the sun

What a beautiful dream

That could flash on the screen

In a blink of an eye and be gone from me

Soft and sweet

Let me hold it close and keep it here with me, me
And one day we will die
And our ashes will fly from the aeroplane over the sea

But for now we are young

Let us lay in the sun

And count every beautiful thing we can see

Love to be
In the arms of all I'm keeping here with me, me

What a curious life we have found here tonight
There is music that sounds from the street
There are lights in the clouds
Anna's ghost all around
Hear her voice as it's rolling and ringing through me
Soft and sweet
How the notes all bend and reach above the trees, trees
Now how I remember you
How I would push my fingers through
Your mouth to make those muscles move
That made your voice so smooth and sweet
Now we keep where we don't know
All secrets sleep in winter clothes
With one you loved so long ago
Now he don't even know his name
What a beautiful face I have found in this place
That is circling all round' the sun
And when we meet on a cloud
I'll be laughing out loud
I'll be laughing with everyone I see

Can't believe how strange it is to be anything at all
In the Aeroplane Over the Sea--The Neutral Milk Hotel

Thursday, March 18, 2010

You Capture: Reaching

Flowers reaching through the still cold ground for the sun. I love Daffodils for how hardy they are, for how they reach up while all the other flowers are still hiding.

Before I took the above photo, I had to get a photo of my little Leprechaun. It was a little hard, though, because every single time I tried to snap a photo, he kept reaching out for me. Every single time.
I love when he reaches for me.