Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentine's Day

It may surprise you to know that we don't really do much for Valentine's Day. Taken aback? Thought so.

This year, we had a Valentine's Day lunch and card exchange with a bunch of our friends the Friday before Valentine's Day (I almost abbreiviated it VD but it seemed kind of inappropriate.) It was very enjoyable for all the kids to give each other little treats and cards. It was simple--no fancy decor, flower arrangements, engraved invitation, bells, and/or whistles (well, as simple as a gathering of 11 or so moms and our 26 children can be.) We do chaos. It's our thing.

That was the major event surrounding this "holiday" so Monday was rather anticlimactic. I did make some heart-shaped pancakes because it seemed like an easy way to appear to be a really good mother. Someone questions my parenting, I just pull up this picture and say, "Do you like apples?"

"Well how you like them apples?"

Would a bad mother make heart-shaped pancakes for VD breakfast? I hardly think so.

I also made a pumpkin pie for my Mr. Rives. It's his favorite. I make the Martha Stewart recipe that has a shortbread crust so it's really easy--just a little time-consuming. He brought home some Pinot Grigio, cheese, and crackers because he knows my well-documented love of appetizer food. I'm thinking that will be dinner tonight. The kids should sleep well.

I'm not anti-Valentine's Day, I have decided. I've said it before and I'll say it again--I'm anti-hassle. There is nothing about receiving roses that have been marked up 150% and some mediocre chocolate and then going on out for dinner at a crowded restaurant that appeals to me. Because it's too much hassle. But easy, inexpensive, meaningful expressions of love for the people in my life that I absolutely adore? I can handle that.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

In Which I Rip Off A Friend's Idea

My friend Shauna has a series of posts on her blog where she writes about something that is going on and then at the end, in parenthesis, she writes one word that sums up the emotion or mindset that it elicits. I haven't asked her permission, but I am going to rip off her idea now. Thank you, Shauna.

Simeon knows how to clap now! He claps for me as I change his diaper. He claps for his brothers as they play. He even clapped for our pastor on Sunday during his sermon. It's pretty cute I have to say. (*smitten)

~~I pump iron now...did you know that? Well I do. Which means I had to start tanning, perming my hair, and wearing black spandex shorts and socks. Ok, maybe not the last three, but I have been lifting weights for several months now. I started because I needed something I could do at the gym that wasn't time-sensitive, like a class would be. So I bought this book and have been working my way through the stages. I like lifting more than I thought I would. I don't get to do it as much as I need to and would like to, but I'm waiting until after cold and flu season to bring Simeon to the childcare center so I go when I can work it in after the kids are down or right after Kris gets home. But all this to say, it's not something I anticipated really enjoying but I do. It is a much more effective means of losing weight because you increase your body's ability to burn calories, even at rest. Paired with yoga, it seems to be a great combination for me. (*empowered)

~~I would like to be the proud owner of a "working closet." By that I mean, I want only stuff that I love and wear to be in there. So when I walk in to get dressed, I'm not bogged down by a bunch of stuff that I never wear or don't really like or that doesn't fit. Of course, my hobby for the past 4 years has been getting pregnant, getting fat, and losing weight so I obviously have quite the array of sizes. So that's a little bit of a problem because there are things I will be able to wear soon (see above) but not quite yet. The other problem is that you have to stay on top of the laundry situation. Many things don't get worn because they are dirty for long periods of time, then buried under layers of clothes on the floor of my closet and then I forget about them. Maybe I should work on being the proud owner of "clean laundry" first. (*realistic)

~~Please tell me you have downloaded this album. I can't stop listening to it. And they are coming to Houston in March. We are so there. (*obsessed)

~~My current list of "projects to make" includes but is not limited to:
>photo book on Kodak.com
>infinity scarf
>personalized messageboards for the boys room
>case for Asher's guitar
>about 13 other things
But I just can't seem to make them happen. Maybe because I spend nap time writing insipid lists in attempt to revive my blog instead of doing something productive? (*distracted)

I sell Scentsy. Please see me for all your home-fragrancing needs. No one likes to be somewhere stinky. I can help.(*self-promoting)

Friday, February 4, 2011


"And Leah said, 'How happy I am! The women will call me happy!' So she named him Asher." Gen. 30:13

Kris is the one who suggested we name him Asher. I didn't love it immediately. Mainly because it was his idea and I thought the naming of the children should be my role. But something about it resonated with me. And when I learned it meant "happy" I was sold. As long as he would let me use Owen as his middle name because I just loved that name and because all good Reformed Presbyterians name their first born either Owen or Knox or Calvin.

So Asher Owen it was and I cannot think of a name meaning that would suit him better. He is a happy little guy indeed. And on Monday, he will be four.

And I feel the tug-of-war...pulling me into memories of my sweet little baby in one direction and into excited anticipation of all that lies before him as he continues to discover this wonderful, absurd world God has made. I gaze back into the past longing for those early days of simplicity and newness but then I am quickly jerked the other way, and am filled with joy as I watch him explore and learn and become. Happy-sad I am. Being a mom is to learn to embrace the paradox.

Oh Lord, if this is what gets stirred up in my at four, I may have to be checked in at some facility when he turns ten.

Oh, I really am excited. He will be very good at being four. He loves being independent. And as much I miss that chubby-cheeked little cherub of a baby, the big boy that can buckle his own seatbelt and dress himself and turn on the Disney Channel if I'm not quite ready to get up yet (I mean, I guess he could...if that ever were to happen...) is pretty nice to have around.

So go for it, Asher! Live up this whole "being four" business. You are done with "baby." You are big. Be brave and be strong. Ask and try and change. Love God. Serve others. Be thankful.

But stop this "mom" nonsense and let's stick with "mama" a little longer. My heart can only take so much.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Stars At Night Are Big and Bright...

Please tell me you mentally clapped four times and then sang, "deep in the heart of Texas!"

There are a few reasons that I live in Texas. One of them is that I was born here and have never bothered to leave. Another is Tex-Mex food. Yet another is the weather. It's not amazing. I don't think you should move here for the balmy temperatures. Summer (and a big chunk of Spring and pretty much all of Fall) is rather hot and humid. But it's what I am used to. What I am not used to is extreme cold. And that is what we have right now. Part of it is that owning proper winter attire is just not practical. Owning lots of tanks and skirts and flip-flops--this is practical. Big puffy coats. Not only not practical, but unflattering as well. I will just stay inside.

In the book that I mentioned a few days ago, Loving the Little Years, Rachel Jankovic describes the state of her house by saying she feels like she is living at the bottom of a toaster. Have you ever heard a more apt description of a house full of small children? The crumbs. The sand. The unidentifiable ick. I'm no neat freak but in my next house I'm having industrial tile with drains spread throughout and we will just hose the floors down every night.

I'm loving this blog right now. I really like her aesthetic and her What I Wore Wednesday series is a lot of fun to look through. It's a great place to get a little inspiration for shopping your closet.

It's Wednesday night. This can only mean one thing. Half-price fajita night at Pappasito's. I will brave the extreme temperatures to go pick up some good Tex-Mex (see first paragraph.)

I am currently saving cereal boxes for this ministry. Will you save yours, too? And then will you either get them to me or mail them yourself. All the info you need is in the post I linked to.

Stay warm, y'all.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Aftermath

Today we hosted "Bible Study" at our house today. "Sit on the couch and drink coffee while the children run amok" is really more like it, but I like to sound holy sometimes.

Today we had a small group. Before our group split into two groups, there were 10 moms and over 20 children under the age of 4. We all love each other and did not want to divide ourselves, but logistically, it was just not working out. So last year, we broke up into two smaller groups. Now, sometimes, we hear what the other moms are saying. Occasionally we complete sentences we start. It's great!

But today, just 3 moms and 8 kids. Here at my house. For about 2 hours. And as is the custom of our children regardless of whatever home we are at, there are toys and crumbs and sippy cups strewn from one end of the house to the other. There was laughter, shrieks, tears, and shouts. (The kids were kind of noisy, too.) My floor is no longer swept. I'm out of coffee. The playroom is a wreck.

And I sit here, I'm struck by the reality--I would have it no other way. It's all proof. Undeniable, incontrovertible evidence. We have been among friends. We are loved. Our homes and our things and our food are not just for looks--they are for filling up and using and sharing. I'm so thankful for these women in my life and the fact that we don't let the chaos scare us. We run headlong into it, because we know life may be messy together, but it's far better than lonely order.

So thank you Saige, Meadow, Reed, Cate, Asher, and Jude for the oatmeal raisin cookie crumbs that are everywhere (Evie and Simeon are off the hook for this one.) I needed reminding and it's amazing where reminders can be found.

But now I have to go sweep.

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