Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Bitter Taste of Victory

So I won, but it sure doesn't feel like it. Jeff came home yesterday and said we would have to get an artificial tree because he looked and no one still has live trees, he went to three different places. He said we would just use the fake tree like I suggested and get another real tree next year. We went to Target and bought a fake tree. Great, right? Not so much.

Jeff was REALLY sad. We talked about it and he said that Christmas is something that has a lot of good memories tied to it and for him a real tree is a part of that. He doesn't care very deeply about much besides people so since Christmas is something he does care deeply about it really effects him when it doesn't go as he had hoped. Ouch. Why would I take away the joy of Christmas because I have to vacuum a few (thousand) needles. I sure felt like a scrooge. I believe this is a valuable lesson in being logically right but morally wrong. Oops, hopefully lesson learned. I am giving Jeff a coupon in his stocking good for "no more arguments about real trees forever more."

Friday, December 21, 2007

Let's Get Ready to Rumble

Now say it in that voice like the guy from the boxing matches. I hear that in my head every year around Thanksgiving because that is when Jeff and I are start our annual Christmas tree battle. I believe it has come to a head today and he doesn't even know it. You see Jeff loves Christmas. This is big because Jeff doesn't LOVE much besides people and our pets. But Christmas is a big deal to him and he likes to have the decorations up as long as possible and he starts listening to Christmas music after Halloween I am pretty sure. Part of Jeff's Christmas obsession is having a real Christmas tree. I guess they always has a real tree growing up so maybe that's why, I don't really know. (We had a real tree growing up as well and yet I am not wedded to a real tree.) Now I don't mind a real tree except for the fact that I swear I am still picking up needles in March. It makes me CRAZY! So this year I started in about getting a lovely artificial tree and he said just one year could we not have this argument. I felt childish and decided I would not hound him about it again. Who am I to take away his joy of picking out a real tree and having it for Christmas. By the way picking it out is also a ridiculous task - he cuts open about 10 trees and bangs them on the ground and then makes me hold them while he inspects them from every possible angle. Then he ends up getting the first one he picked out. Lucky for me we have the world's greatest tree stand and it is easy to make the tree straight without too much hassle. So anyway I am trying to be a good Christian, non-combative wife so we got a real tree and decorated it and all was well with the world until about a week ago.

About two weeks ago I noticed that the tree was getting really brittle and I thought I needed to be better about checking the water. So I checked but the water level never went down. A week ago I declared our tree officially dead. Yesterday every time I looked at it I was just sad. (In the mean time I noticed that the room we spend the most time in has no Christmas decorations because the tree was in the living room and we hang out in the family room.) So I said to Jeff maybe we can get a real tree for the living room and put all of our sentimental crazy decorations on it and then we can get a fake tree for the living room and I can attempt to make it the perfect tree a la Martha Stewart. Jeff said no but didn't sound to convincing about it so I decided to wait and bring it up again after Christmas because maybe we could get a fake tree cheap the day after Christmas.

Well this morning I told Jeff how sad the tree was making me and I said maybe we can get a fake tree to replace this one until Christmas and then the fake tree will move in to the family room next year. Well you would have thought I suggested we sacrifice Emelia to the tree gods. He said he would just go get a new real tree. I said that was a waste of $60 and he said there will be no fake trees in this house. Oh really?!? So we argued about it some more and then he says what will you tell Emelia? As though some day I was going to have to explain to her why mommy smoked crack. WHAT!!!!! It is an artificial tree. Finally I just decided that this is one of those rare instances when we can not come to a reasonable compromise and as the head of the household I was going to have to follow him. (kicking and screaming, but I will follow.) I even decided that I would take down the ornies and lights from this tree and be ready for a new real tree.

Okay that was a mistake because this tree was so dead that I think 1/2 of the needles ended up on the floor. I would try to take and ornament off and the whole branch would snap off in my hand. The more I plucked needles out of my sweater the more annoyed I got. By the time I got the stupid tree outside I was fuming. I have calmed down now, thank you blog, but I still think there has to be a better way. I will try to follow wise advice I once got, just shut up about it and pray. I will let you know what happens.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Sweet Tooth

My cookie exchange was really fun. The playdate was also great. It was nice to just to be around other moms and see that everyone struggles. There were three moms at the playgroup and they have kids ranging in age from ten to one. Holly actually has a three year old, a two year old and twin one year olds. Her husband is not in Iraq but on a short term assignment in the Caribbean, I think. She handles everything with such ease. At least it looks that way... she says she has lots of help from her friends which makes it doable. She just doesn't seem to get freaked out about anything. She borrowed a diaper at lunch and when she was changing one of the twins I asked if she wanted some Desitin and she replied "oh no we don't have time for that luxury." I smiled and thought thank the Lord for perspective. I am hoping to join up with their playgroup. Holly also mentioned a Bible study at the church designed for people who are new to town. I think I will look in to that.

My dad is coming next week and I am really excited so see him and for Emmy to have some time with him. It is good to engage her with family. I met my aunt for lunch this week and when we left I said say goodbye to auntie and she leaned over and gave her a hug. It was very sweet.

Good news from my friends in Ukraine, their adoption went through and they are on their way back with the boys on the 22. What a blessing! Thanks for your prayers!

Lately I have been very humbled by the people around me. I look at Mark and Courtney and think how are they adopting two boys who are 4 and 5 and don't speak English and yet Mark and Courtney feel as though this is the best gift they could have gotten. Holly has four kids under age three and I marvel at how she does it and yet she not only gets by, she doesn't complain and seems to really relish her children and takes the time to extend a warm welcome to a newcomer. I feel like God is placing these people in my life to show me gratitude and humility and grace and peace. I hope I can use the lessons wisely. I really want to be connected to a church again so I can serve others. My life feels sort of unfulfilling without the opportunity to help others.

Today it is warm, above freezing so maybe I will take Em for a wagon ride.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I Have a Date

I actually have two. I am so excited! No, not that kind of date silly, a playdate. Jeff and I went to a new church this weekend and we both really liked it. (As much as Jeff can really like anything - Jeff likes to limit use of adjectives when describing emotions.) I met a women there who has twin one year olds, a two year old and a four year old, oh and her husband is deployed in Iraq currently. (I am tired just thinking about it.) She introduced herself and we chatted. She invited me to a cookie exchange on Wednesday evening. Then she called last night and invited me to a play group she does tomorrow during the day. I really am excited. It is sort of like having a life again. I made my best cookies - they aren't pretty but they taste good. They called for chocolate icing to be drizzeled on top and I am not a good drizzler and I think I made the frosting to thin. Oh well. Look I am all nervous, this is worse than my first date in high school. Probably because I was a lot cuter then and no one was looking at my cookies, trust me. I even bought a new sweater to wear. I will let you know how it goes. Even if I never speak to one of these women again at least for one week I was excited. In addition I think the church would be a really good place for me to get plugged in. They seem to have a lot of activities and different ministries that really appeal to us. We will continue to pray for God's guidance as to where we end up.

In other news we have some friends from St. Louis who are in Ukraine right now trying to finalize an adoption. If you all could pray for Mark and Courtney that would be great. The power of prayer is awesome and this couple has been waiting for this adoption for three years and they are finally there and the two boys they are set to adopt may have family showing up out of the woodwork. I am just sick when I think about it but I know God has a plan for them. Thanks for your support for our friends.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Call Oprah, my kid's a hoarder

Monday was Emmy's first birthday. I can't believe it has been a year. It feels like yesterday that I was wondering if she would sleep through the night or roll over. Now she walks and dances and eats waffles. Who knew? I never could have imagined that I could love her as much as I do or that being a mom would change my life in such a dramatic way. This is by far the hardest job I have ever had. Some days I feel like it is the most rewarding and other days I want to sell her to the gypsies. (Not that I would know where to find gypsies or how much to ask for my child.) I have begun to think about what it would be like to have another child. I wonder if I could go through the tough stages again while still facing the unexpected challenge of whatever new stage Emmy was going through. Can I handle sleep training and potty training at the same time? Do I want to go back to work anytime soon? Do I want to go back to work ever? Every time I try to think about what this next stage of life will bring I end up with more questions than answers. I imagine that is why God is in charge and not me.

Some new revelations about Emmy - she loves Elmo and she is a hoarder. We have started a new ritual with Sesame Street. She sits on my lap and we cuddle and watch Sesame Street. She loves Elmo. Sometimes if she is clinging to my legs while I am trying to make dinner I put on Sesame Street to occupy her. It will keep her busy for a little bit then she will wonder off. As soon as the theme song to Elmo's World comes on she comes running back in to the room with a huge grin on her face. Yesterday we were in Babies R Us and she found a life size Elmo doll. She promptly picked it up and tried to share her snack with him. I would have bought him but he was $40 and I was sure I could find him somewhere else cheaper. Now to the hoarding.

Jeff bought her a wagon for her birthday. She loves it. She likes to go for rides in it but mostly she likes to put her toys in it and push it around. After I laid her down for her afternoon nap I took a peak inside the wagon and I found the following items that she had been collecting all day - Elmo, her dolly, her stuffed frog, letter from her fridge phonics game, my headband, the dog's bone, Jeff's xbox controller, a fish teether and her spin a letter toy. I laughed so hard. What a funny baby she is.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Um it is snowing--again

Why, why must it snow again today and yet again on Tuesday supposedly? Yesterday the low was 19 and the high was 21. What is that? How is the high two degrees from the low?

Last night was Jeff's holiday party at his boss' house. It was really nice. It was sooooo nice to talk to people. It turns out the event group reports in to Jeff's boss as well and they have a woman who is going on maternity leave so we talked about me maybe helping out while she is on leave. If we can work out the details that would be nifty. My aunt Elaine watched Emmy and she said she did really well. I am so thankful! It is nice to know that maybe Jeff and I can go to a restaurant that doesn't have a kids menu every now and then.

So I am officially putting in a request with God to melt the snow but according to everyone I talked to last night I don't hold out much hope until March.

Friday, December 07, 2007

"It's still there!"

This is what I said to Jeff this morning when I realized the four inches of snow we got yesterday was still on the ground. (Disclaimer - for those of you who have grown up around snow you are going to find this post fairly ridiculous.) I figured that snow would be like it was in St. Louis. It would snow, it would be pretty/cold for a day or so then it would melt and in a month or so it would snow again. Um that is not the case here. It never gets warm enough for the snow to melt so from here on out I believe that every snow fall we have will just add to the snow on the ground. UGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!

I don't like to drive in snow and I don't like to have to dry the dog off every time he goes out in the snow. Poor buddy the snow covers his legs and makes his little belly all wet. The bright side I have found in all of this is that it is a good chance to buy some new shoes - snow boots.

Here are some pictures I took yesterday. The first one was taken at 8:00 and the second one was taken at noon.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

So Sad

I am at a loss for words to describe how I feel today. I am so sad for the families of the victims and the people who are still recovering from their injuries. Yesterday as the story of t eh mall shooting unfolded at first I just head shooting at a mall. I assumed it was one of the "not so nice malls" and that it was gangsters shooting at each other. (How callous is that? - We will get back to that in a minute.) then I heard it was Westroads, that is one of the nicer malls. Then I heard it was in Von Mauers, that is sort of like a Nordstroms. First it was five likely injured, okay I could deal with that. That was all we heard until around 4:00 when the Police Spokesperson said " we can confirm that nine people are dead." I thought surely she misspoke. Unfortunately she did not. I was just so sad. I called my friend and asked her to pray with me because I didn't know what else to do. I know there is not much more I can do.

I called all of my family here and everyone was good. When I talked to my dad's brother he told me that my cousin's husband and their two daughters left the mall about 15 minutes before the shooting started. It is all so surreal. Jeff and I were just at that mall on Sunday.

Friends and family is you read t his please take a minute and pray for the victims families, those still fighting to recover and teh entire city of Omaha.


Saturday, December 01, 2007

Ice Ice Baby

Today is a unique day for a couple of reasons.

1) Jeff and I were awake before Emmy. She slept until 7:11! It is so pleasant to awake not to an alarm and not to a fussing child or even to a singing child, but to your own body's circadian rhythm.

2) Everything is covered in ice. As we were making breakfast this morning Jeff and I were discussing this phenomenon, because frankly I don't get it. The water coming from the sky is rain yet when it lands it turns to ice. If it is cold enough to turn it to ice shouldn't it be cold enough to make the precipitation snow? You know? Jeff says that it is warmer in the atmosphere than on the ground. I am going to blame global warming. It looks like it is just raining outside but the dog slid down the sidewalk on his way to relieving himself. One really cool part of this is icicles. Also the individual blades of grass are encapsulated in ice. I tried to capture it on film but my photography skills leave a bit to be desired.

3) I am stuck inside and loving it. We made breakfast together and now we are going to give Em a bath and then we are going to decorate the tree. Jeff brought a tree home last night. Yippee!!!!! Now if only the Big 12 championship game weren't on in prime time it would be a banner day!