Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Today is a very special day in my world - it's my mom's birthday. Now, I won't offend her by telling you which birthday (but compared to many of my friends' parents', she's a baby!). But suffice it to say, we are thankful for her birth today.

I always knew (well, maybe not for a couple of those years in high school) that I had an amazing mom. As a dedicated teacher she modeled that you could have a career and be there for your children. As a wife, she taught me that marriage is worth every bit of hard work. But it is within in the last few years I am learning just how much she taught me about being a mama:

- Mamas always let their children know they are loved - especially in those moments when they aren't really feeling it.

- Mamas teach you to love books - and therefore teach you to love fantasy and imagination and learning.

- Mamas let you make messes - and just as importantly, teach you to clean them up.

- Mamas know that modeling what is right isn't easy - but it's just what you do.

- Mamas understand that sometimes our children will hurt us, and that it is ok to let them know when they have. That's how we learn compassion, empathy, and the importance of kindness.

- Mamas have the tough talks, even when it embarrasses the both you. It's the only way you'll learn some of life's most important facts.

- Mamas hug, kiss, and soften the rough edges of the world.

- Mamas make mistakes too. And they apologize.

- Mamas know best. And help you to be better.

- And the number one mama job? To be your own personal cheerleader throughout life. Clap, Praise, Brag. No one will ever see you as such a wonderful being as your mama does. And we all need that.

My only wish right now? That everyone could have had my mom. She truly is THAT good.

Happy birthday mom. And thanks.

Monday, December 29, 2008


Being Catholic is just who I am. My mom regularly took us to Mass, and we attended religious education starting as soon as we started school. I went to church camps, and later became a counselor. Then I went on to attend a Catholic university and have a Catholic wedding. I can't imagine my life without the role that the church has played in every stage of my life.

Now, I am the first to admit that I am anything but devout. I refer to myself these days as a cafeteria Catholic - picking and choosing which parts of doctrine and dogma I believe in. But it is still a very important part of my life.

So it was with great joy that on December 20th, we had the wonderful blessing of welcoming Luke and my niece Savannah into the Roman Catholic Church. It was a beautiful semi-private ceremony, and we were very fortunate to be surrounded by loving family. My sister Erin is Luke's godmother, and I have the honor of being Savannah's godmother. It is so special for all of us to have shared this important sacrament together.

Here are just a few pictures of the day. I want to thank those of you who were there both in body and spirit to share in this event.

Monday, December 22, 2008

An Early Christmas Wish....

I'm so incredibly lucky. Tonight in a state covered with ice and snow, I am in the warmest place on Earth.

I have the blessed fortune of being surrounded by my family for this Christmas week. My sister, brother-in-law and beautiful niece are down from Canada. My father has taken the longest amount of time off work he has had since they came to visit me in Salzburg 12 years ago. My mother has planned and prepped and taken care of every concern so that we can all be together. My oldest is sleeping down with his grandparents and the baby is snuggled up with his rabbit in my childhood bedroom.

Does it get any better?

I am largely taking this week away from the computer (tomorrow we are headed up to the cabin where we are without any outside connections other than a local land phone line). While I am missing checking in with many of my favorite online friends (I love my NCB girls and my ELW-ers), it is a needed break to focus on that which is most important to me. Please know that you are all in my thoughts and prayers, and I look forward to catching up when I return.

I want to wish you all the dearest of Christmases. I know that not all are in a merry place right now, but it is in these times when we most need to hug our babies and our mamas. May the magic of the season find you, and may your heart find a moment of quiet joy amidst all the lights and sparkles and shouts.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Ok, I'm still sick with this obnoxious cold (it's been three weeks now), but I decided there's been to much goodness going on to wait any longer to blog about it. So, in no particular order:

1. We went to Zoolights last night. It's a big light display put on at the zoo, and a lot of fun. We took the train ride, and both boys were fascinated. We lucked out, and the lines were short and the weather was dry. Totally worth it! (And a marked improvement from when we took Max when he was 4 months old and he cried the entire time!)

2. Max's patience with Luke amazes me. Over the last month, Luke has started to play really roughly with Max. He climbs all over him, pulls his hair, bites (yes, we are working on it!), and can generally be quite the menace. Max takes it all in stride. The big bruise on the arm? A few tears, but back to playing right away. A few minutes ago Luke clocked Max with a block and gave him a bloody lip. Max came for cuddles, and in the sweetest voice said, "That hurt me really bad, Lucas. Please don't do that." And 99.5% of the time there's no retaliation. For my impulsive little boy, that's really saying something.

3. Only 9 days until my sister, brother-in-law, and niece come for Christmas. I am SO excited. I miss them so much, and this time together is just incredibly needed. Plus, I have the world's cutest niece.

4. The constant changes in our lives. For the past several years, I have been very fortunate. All around me friends and family have been welcoming new life and love into their worlds. Marriages and babies have abounded, and celebrations have been the name of the game. But in the last few months, there has been a slight shift in that joyous balance. Two dear friends have lost parents, and several more have parents facing severe health concerns. My own parents have had their challenges (While blessedly remaining very young!), and all around I am more aware of the role that aging will have on our lives in the coming years. These changes are scary and heartbreaking. But this post was about goodness, right? So here's my take. This Christmas season I want to soak in every moment. Really be aware that the changes are inevitable, but we have so many wonderful things to appreciate right now. No guarantees for later. I'm going to be thankful for what I've got. And try to celebrate even in the face of change.

5. Luke's becoming a person. A communicative person at that. Now, currently responds to most direct questions with a "yep", but he tosses in the occasional "go" and has a great finger wagging that goes with "no". It's pretty funny. And Max is almost always the first to notice a new word.

Ok, think that's the brain spew for now! I'll be back soon with pictures from the Chirstmas tree "hunting" trip. Glad to know that a few of you have recently joined me here, and your comments make my day every time!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Climber....

One thing I love is how the boys always keep me on my toes. Many of Luke's peers right now are stopping their mothers' hearts with wobbly steps and full-on running. Luke is giving me my heart attack a different way. Like his brother, this boy loves to climb.

And I can't be too mad - he's just too darn proud of himself!