Monday, December 31, 2012

Christmas Recap

We are up to our ears in Thomas the Train, Playmobil, puzzles, and books. To say that we were blessed this Christmas would be an understatement.
We spent Christmas Eve with One Ordinary Dad's family. His parents and sister and brother-in-law also joined us Christmas morning, a long with my grandmother and uncle. C and B were spoiled. B got some more Thomas-- I think we have the entire Island of Sodor in our living room. C got more Playmobil. While One Ordinary Dad set up C's Playmobil beach house (her big Santa present) on Christmas Eve, I finished this: 
My girl has been asking me to knit her a blanket for awhile. So one year and thousands of stitches later, she got one. And she won't go to bed without it. It melts my heart. There were also lots of books and puzzles for the kids as well. One Ordinary Dad spoiled me rotten and gave me a real pair of Uggs. I've been wearing the knock-offs for several years and have gone through several pairs. I didn't think the price difference would make that big of a deal (the only time I pay a lot for shoes are for running shoes), but it does. I love them. He also spoiled me with a new watch (the one he got me 8 years ago finally bit the dust) and a sweater I'd been eying at the mall. Thanks to some bargain shopping, One Ordinary Dad now feeds his coffee addiction with a Keurig and thanks to a rebate and some Kohls' cash is also sporting new jeans and sunglasses, which help him pull off the rock star look to go with his electric guitar (a friend's husband was selling his and gave me a great deal-- good things can be had on a tight budget).

A few days after Christmas, we headed four hours northeast to spend time with my family. More Thomas and Playmobil were unwrapped. We played in the snow. C loves the snow, just like me. I think next year we'll have to get her some skiing lessons. We went sledding.  A lot. And I am still sore in places that I didn't know existed. My ski plans were thwarted though. Despite the several inches they've had, only 2 runs were open at the ski resort near my parents. The $40 lift ticket price wasn't worth it for 2 measly hills. We'll try again on our next visit.
 B wasn't as crazy about the snow. Maybe next year.
 We're back home and excited to ring in 2013. C and B are spending a few hours tonight with one of C's old babysitters who babysits kiddos on New Year's Eve to make a little extra money. One Ordinary Dad and I are heading out on a date, but will be picking up the kiddos before the ball drops (and hopefully they'll be fast asleep by then).

Merry Belated Christmas and Happy New Year to you all!

~One Ordinary Mom :-)

Monday, December 24, 2012

Wishing You and Yours

A Very Merry Christmas and a Bright and Blessed New Year!

Love, One Ordinary Family

Sunday, December 23, 2012

He Still Hates "Happy Birthday"

Sweet B celebrated his second birthday today. Yes, two years ago, after 21 hours of labor that resulted in a c-section, my sweet little man made his appearance. Because he was a c-section and had a little bit of jaundice to boot, we spent Christmas in the hospital, finally getting discharged on the 26th. Thankfully, C was little enough that she has no recollection of Santa coming while in the afternoon that day we arrived back while she was outside playing. All of her presents and family members were a nice distraction. On the bright side, we had the hospital to ourselves, which meant an extra bed for One Ordinary Dad when he stayed the night and the nurses giving us extra attention.

Today we started off with presents and a doughnut breakfast. Balloons and this year's birthday book were also on display.
 I took C to a local toy store last week to pick out a present. She picked out this. B got 2 large Automoblox and an outfit from Mommy and Daddy.
 After breakfast, it was off to the Museum Center for the annual holiday train display. Grandma and Poppy (One Ordinary Dad's parents), Uncle Josh, Aunt Kristin, and cousin Emmy also joined us. My train-loving little man was so happy to see the trains.

 We came home to eat pizza, open presents, and have cake and ice cream. Despite our practices all week, B cried again when we sang "Happy Birthday" but was perfectly happy before and after the song.
 He's definitely got the present opening thing down.
 Aunt Kristin, Uncle Josh, and Emmy got B a sweet Imaginext helicopter (which he calls "Harold," like from Thomas, even though it looks nothing like Harold). Grandma and Poppy added to his Take-n-Play Thomas collection with the pirate cove set and Great Grandma (Grandma's mom) got the train service station. When you combine this with the small set we had from when C was in her train phase and the tunnel and bridge set B got last weekend, we have a whole lot of Thomas. And that's not even the wooden railway stuff we have downstairs (which he also got more of last weekend and has also been played with a lot this week).
I'm pretty sure that after Santa comes and we open presents Christmas morning, we'll probably have enough Take-n-Play and wooden railway Thomas to loop around the house!

Happy Birthday, Sweet B! At two years old, you are amazing! You love cars, trains, and anything that goes. You also love any activity that involves throwing a ball. You speak in full sentences now and definitely speak your mind as well, telling us what you want, what you don't like, and even attempting to mimic C's knock-knock jokes. You play hard and sleep harder, often 12 hours a night, plus a long afternoon nap still. Your energy seems unlimited. You are enthusiastic about everything. The zoo remains one of your favorite places to go-- and a ride on the train is always in order. At the park, you head straight for the slides. If you aren't sliding, you're giving Mommy and Daddy heart attacks climbing up as high as you can go. You smile often, you give us great big belly laughs, and you nothing escapes your notice. We love you so much!

~One Ordinary Mom :-)

Saturday, December 22, 2012

I Feel It In My Fingers...

...I feel it in my toes. Christmas is all around me. C'mon and let it snow.

Sorry, had to get a Love Actually reference in there.

Our December has been busy, as promised. My sister graduated college.

 While we were up in the northeast corner of the state, we went ahead and celebrated B's birthday (his actual birthday is tomorrow-- yikes, how is he two already?). B loved his Thomas cake.
 He did not love us singing "Happy Birthday" to him. As soon as we started singing, he started crying.
 All was well again once he started opening presents. C got a train table for her second birthday because she loved Thomas at that age. I think B has a little more love for trains though, and our collection is growing. He got lots of trains for his birthday. And cars. That boy loves anything with wheels. And balls-- he can already distinguish between a football and a baseball.
 Hopefully he won't cry too hard when we sing "Happy Birthday" and celebrate again tomorrow with our family here in town.

In C's world, she performed in her school's Christmas chapel service. Her class all dressed as shepherds and sang "Go Tell It on the Mountain."
 At the end, all of the students sang "Mary Had a Baby." It's a tradition at the school. It's kind of weird to think that next year we won't have a kid attending preschool there. B will go the following year though. We've loved sending C to this school! It's been the perfect environment for her to grow and thrive.
We enjoyed some flurries here, but our white Christmas won't come until we head up to my parents' house to celebrate with them. We're spending today in our jammies and sweats, wrapping birthday presents, making a birthday cake, and watching Christmas movies. It's cold out there even with no snow on the ground. And drivers on the road are just plain crazy right now.

C is eagerly awaiting Santa's arrival. The big guy does visit our house, brings one gift (that he leaves unwrapped and put together to avoid morning frustration), and that's it. I was actually reflecting on the whole Santa thing the other day, really questioning if we're doing the right thing by allowing our kids to believe in something that isn't real. But at the end of the day, I came to understand and realize that my kids are only going to be little once.

Santa isn't at the center of our Christmas celebration. C can tell you the Christmas story (and act it out if you really want her to do so) and definitely "gets" that Christmas is all about Jesus' birth. B can recognize Baby Jesus in our nativity set, but other than that, he's still too little to understand much beyond presents and bright lights and decorations. The Bible talks a lot about having childlike faith. I see in C's eyes this year that faith that Santa will come. She is in awe and wonder about the fact that a big guy in a red suit will come down our chimney and leave her a gift; she knows gifts symbolize that Jesus was God's gift to humanity. And that awe and wonder and childlike faith in Santa is how God wants me to feel about His Son's birth. I am in awe. I am filled with wonder. God used an ordinary woman. His rescue plan for humanity started with a baby's cry in a dirty stable.

The reality is, the Christmas story isn't something that C (or B) is old enough to grasp with that same awe and wonder I feel. In fact, they really aren't old enough to question it. God wants to save humanity with a baby? Why not? Sure. God can do anything, and yes, C believes that with her whole heart (our Kids' Club team at church is amazing in how they relate the Bible to our little ones). The awe and wonder of a baby born to save us will come with time, but for now, I figure I only have a few short years to enjoy the awe and wonder that come with a big man in a red suit. The way I see my children, especially C since B is still a little leery of Santa, anticipate his arrival perfectly mirrors how God wants me to understand the Christmas story.

And if Santa isn't your thing, that's fine. One Ordinary Dad grew up in a household where he was told from the get-go that Santa didn't exist. He isn't any worse for it. I grew up in household where he did. And no, I didn't feel like my parents had lied to me when I found out the truth. In fact, I had fun building into the anticipation with my younger brother and sister. But please, if you're choosing not to make him a part of your yearly Christmas traditions, don't ruin it for my children. I want to cherish these few years and I want the reminder that I should be amazed and humbled by the most precious gift of all-- a reminder to have that childlike faith that an ordinary baby came to do an extraordinary thing.

Merry Christmas everyone!

~One Ordinary Mom

Monday, December 3, 2012

Hello, December

Hello, December.

We spent the last few days of November getting ready for you. We raked the rest of the leaves (okay, there are a few stragglers).
 And B donned C's Mario hat from her Halloween costume. It's red and festive, so it's kind of Christmas-y. He wouldn't take it off for about three days straight. He even took it to bed.
 And then you came. And we spent the first night of December gathered around the table with friends. We painted cookies, a tradition in our families.
 We shared a meal while the cookies baked (poor B was starting to come down with something, so he just played iPad the whole time-- lil' man still has a fever tonight, but thankfully no other symptoms).
 And then we ate said cookies.
 The Nativity set is the favorite toy right now. While C and One Ordinary Dad went to church Sunday morning, a feverish B and I stayed home. B knows which figure is Baby Jesus and that Baby Jesus is special (that's about all he can wrap his 23 month old mind around). And I think because Baby Jesus is special, B thinks that means that Spiderman comes riding a dinosaur, Batman comes riding a donkey, and an alien sits watch over the Messiah. He'll understand more next year. C totally "gets it" and still invites penguins and any other toys she can find to kneel at the manger.
So with B still fever-y, C getting over pneumonia (she had a mild case of that last week and missed 3 days of school), and Mommy getting in a fender bender this morning, I know that you, December, aren't  off to a great start (okay, well dinner and cookies with friends was pretty awesome). But I'm resting in the peace that C is better, B will get better, and today's accident could've been a lot worse (I won't get into the details, but there was minor damage and no injuries, so I can't complain). I'm resting in the peace of the upcoming celebration of my savior's birth. I'm resting in the peace that so much good is yet to come this season and that a rough start just keeps us grounded.

Welcome, December!

And Happy December to all of you!

~One Ordinary Mom :-)

Friday, November 23, 2012

Christmas Is In The Air

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving and have so much for which we are thankful. My sister and parents were in town (my brother just started a new job, so he didn't come down) for the holiday. That meant some fingernail painting for niece and aunt (C is named after my sister). I'm so thankful for family.
 My aunt and uncle brought my cousin's daughter up from Louisiana with them. I haven't seen my cousin's little girl since she was a toddler. She'll be four in January. C had a blast playing with her. We spent some time at the park downtown the day before Thanksgiving. I'm so thankful C had a playmate for the last couple of days.
 Thanksgiving morning I participated in our city's annual Thanksgiving Day 10K. I haven't run this race in 6 years. To be quite honest, between 2 pregnancies and some health issues, I haven't really run much at all until recently. I was glad and thankful to be out and running in the sunshine again (with 12,000 of my closest friends). Miss C ran the last .2 miles with me. She was so excited to get a finisher's sticker and kept telling everyone all day about how she "ran the marathon."
 After the race we headed to my grandmother's for Thanksgiving "lunch." We went to One Ordinary Dad's parents' house for Thanksgiving "dinner." The kiddos were worn out and definitely slept well last night.  I'm thankful for good rest.
This morning was all about Christmas. Our Elf, Buddy, returned (our Elf on the Shelf). We put up the tree. One Ordinary Dad and C went to Home Depot to get a Black Friday Christmas train on sale (our only Black Friday shopping stop).

 They also came home with a cute little penguin for our yard. I'm not normally one for giant inflatables, but we'll keep this little guy. He's pretty cute and makes me smile.
 We're actually done Christmas shopping (with the exception of about 3 people) and our Christmas cards arrived from Shutterfly a couple of weeks ago. The majority of our presents are wrapped. And by the end of the weekend, all of our decorations should be up. I feel like I'm a little more on the ball this year, but given that this time last year was pretty crappy for me (see this post), it's really not much of a surprise.

I'm looking forward to a December full of relaxing and merry-making. We stocked up on our favorite brew (Great Lakes Christmas Ale). We brought out all the Christmas books and movies to fill our evenings. And our calendar is full of time with family and friends.

And seeing as we have that full calendar and I'm not quite sure how often I'll get to blog, I'll just say it now-- Happy Christmas Season to all of you!

~One Ordinary Mom :-)

And on a totally unrelated note...didn't C's school pictures turn out so cute?

Thursday, November 15, 2012


As a kid, this time of year always always brought a thrill for me, not just because of the magic of Christmas and the joy of being with family, but because of the "stuff." I'd spend quite a bit of time pouring through the big Sears wishbook and the Toys R Us ads and the American Girl catalog, making the list of stuff I wanted. A lot of times my list was inspired by things my friends already had or were asking for-- I wanted to keep up and have the same things. And there is really nothing all that wrong with this attitude. It's not like I was nasty on Christmas morning if something I requested wasn't found under the tree. I was always grateful for what I did receive. But envy continued to be a struggle for me and a lesson I'd learn over and over again. It wasn't until rather recently (within the last few years) that I've really started to understand something about envy. It's not just ugly, it can be downright soul-destroying.

I spent a lot of time (and money) in my teens and early twenties buying things and acquiring stuff because I wanted to "keep up with the Jones'." I envied the Jones'. I wanted their name brand clothes and shoes, and later their new cars and shiny appliances. Sometimes their jobs, their vacations, and well, their lives, seemed enviable.

But what I've been starting to realize is that there is another side to envy-- the cost of those things. God blesses us all differently and allows us all to be challenged by different burdens, and it's not up to me to understand or question it, though the child in me sometimes screams, "it's not fair." And it's not fair. Sometimes that new car or big house came with the price tag of many 90 hour work weeks or a spouse who is always at work. Or it came because the old car died and a new one was necessary and now vacation isn't happening. Sometimes that job came with the sacrifice of less time with family. Sometimes that vacation is a last ditch effort to save a marriage. My friend's mom put it pretty well in this post. That Queen for a Day idea has been sticking with me ever since I read it.

And yet, many more times, there are no strings attached. We simply are given things and need to openly receive them. Sometimes the money is just there to buy that new car or take that vacation. Sometimes that friend or family member just wants to take your kids for a bit to give you some alone time. Sometimes the grass is greener simply because it rained.

That other side still gets me though. In this season of Thanks and Giving I am trying to be thankful for the many blessings I get for what sometimes seems like no reason. And in the times when I find envy creeping up, trying to destroy my soul, trying to get me to cry, "not fair," I try to remember that sometimes there is a cost. That I don't necessarily know the whole story, and that if I did, maybe I wouldn't be so envious. But if I knew the difference-- knew the blessings that came with a cost and the blessings that were simply blessings-- then there wouldn't be much of a lesson to learn.

Tonight I am super thankful for so many things. Mostly though, for time with family. One Ordinary Dad and I are looking forward to a 24 hour kid-free period this weekend courtesy of my awesome in-laws. We have big plans to do a little more Christmas shopping, go out to dinner, see a movie, and enjoy a new brunch place I recently discovered with a friend.

I am thankful that last weekend, we had perfect bonfire weather. 

 I am thankful that last night I saw the most beautiful pink sky.
I'm thankful that so many of my family and friends are enjoying blessings right now.

And I'm thankful that I no longer feel the need to cry out unfairness or to keep up with them (well, most of the time; every once in awhile, that ol' struggle rears it's ugly head).

Wishing you all many blessings this season!

~One Ordinary Mom

Thursday, November 8, 2012

One Eighty

This time last year, I was at the beginning of what would be a nearly four month quest to figure out why I was experiencing many an unpleasant GI system-- turned out to be a newly-developed sensitivity to eggs and since we ate them scrambled every weekday morning, I was kind of doing it to myself. But they had to rule out gall bladder, thyroid, ulcerative colitis, and a few other things before we figured out the eggs.  So this time last year I was a hot digestive mess, on a few medications to subdue the symptoms so I could make it through the day. B was still a needy, crawling baby who couldn't do a whole lot for himself and had some reflux to top it all off. C was slowly gaining independence, but also still reliant on us to snuggle her to sleep and to help her out in the bathroom and all of those other things three-year-olds still need. I found myself crying to God many nights to show mercy. I prayed that my doctors would get answers sooner rather than later. I prayed for rest.

This year, I feel like we're 180 degrees away from where we were this time last year. It's a testament to God's grace and provision and blessing in our lives. With the egg thing figured out, I feel great. B is slowly gaining independence, which makes life easier, and C is super independent (and super fun). They both feed themselves, they sleep well at night and go to bed on their own, they're developing quite a friendship. I could go on and on. I feel like our house has been blessed with rest and peace and love and so much more.

It's funny how sometimes it takes some less than stellar periods of life to help us appreciate the really awesome periods of life. And just because we're in an awesome period of life, doesn't mean the poop is about to hit the fan, so to speak (although I used to be someone who totally held my breath during the "good times" waiting for the bad to grab a hold on me).

I'm thankful for this one-eighty. Though the weeping may last for a night, the joy really does come with the morning.

May all of you find joy and be blessed this holiday season! In this house, we've started Christmas shopping (I cannot wait to blog about some of the deals I managed to snag already this year), we're paying attention to and thanking God for our blessings, we're raking leaves, we're slowly taking down the Halloween and fall decorations in preparation for the Christmas and winter ones, and we're soaking up every sunny fall day that we can outside, because the snowy, blustery, cold days will be here soon.

~One Ordinary Mom :-)

P.S. No post would be complete without pictures. This year, Miss C drew the face on our jack-o-lantern. She wanted square eyes and a rectangle nose. Both kiddos "helped" scoop out the pumpkin guts. C was excited to wear her mustache (we saved it for trick or treat night). B left the head piece for his costume on 50% of the night (I'll count it as a victory).

 And this past Monday was Parent Observation Night at C's dance studio. Her dance teacher even remarked how far she'd come since she first started taking dance in February of 2011. A year truly makes a difference for everyone. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

What We've Been Up To...

Last weekend we went up to the northeast corner of our state to visit my parents. I had last Friday off school and we pulled C out an hour early so that we could hit the road. First on our agenda, going to Aunt C's last Anchor Splash as a Delta Gamma. She graduates college in December.
 Saturday we felt up to hike at the beautiful waterfall near my parents' house. B wasn't quite feeling up to a smile.
 I am pretty sure both of my kids would've been up for tossing stones in the creek all afternoon.
 Three generations of beautiful felt up to taking a picture.
 After our hike, we made our annual trip to the farm stand and corn maze in the valley. B felt up to attempting to plank on a pumpkin.
 And later he felt up to showing off his big boy style.
 The rest of our time was spent enjoying a fire in my parents' fire place (oh how I wish our fireplace were operable again-- I'm sure it can be done, but it'll probably cost an arm and a leg), introducing One Ordinary Dad and my parents to the awesome-ness that is The Hunger Games movie, and relaxing. I'm about halfway through J.K. Rowling's newest (it's good, but it's definitely not Harry Potter, which it shouldn't be). Our drive home Sunday was uneventful.

Yesterday, we were up to an outing at a local farm with C's preschool class. It was a little cold and drizzly, but we enjoyed the hayride, decorations, and animals all the same. C's best buddy from school was there too. According to their teacher, they're like brother and sister-- they get on one another's nerves sometimes, but won't let anyone else mess with the other either. We spent the rest of the day in our jammies/sweats doing a whole lot of nothing.
 Lately, we've also been up to figuring out Halloween costumes. C has been insistent on being an Aye-Aye. Yeah, I had no clue what it was either. Luckily, when she saw the Super Mario costume at Target, she decided it would work, but not after first making sure that Target did not, in fact, have an Aye-Aye costume. C plays Super Mario 64 every time we're at my parents' house. That Nintendo 64 was the hit of Christmas my freshman year of high school.
 C was excited to wear her costume to HallZooWeen today. B made one adorable Dalmatian. 
I'm not sure what all we'll be up to this week, but I have started Christmas shopping, so I might be up for some more of that. What about you-- what have you been up to? What will you be up to this week?

~One Ordinary Mom

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Turn on the Heat

We are continuing to enjoy fall here in the Midwest. The weather forecast shows that we won't be hitting 70 at all in the next week. We've enjoyed having our windows open and fresh air in our home for almost all of the last month. But now? Now, it's getting to the point where it's too chilly at night to leave the windows open. We've turned the heat on just in case the temperature really drops, but it hasn't actually "kicked on" yet.

The sun helps take the chill out of the air during the day, so we've spending quite a bit of time outside-- the time change is around the corner and we know it won't be long before it will be dark by dinner time.  
And once it starts getting dark by dinner time, our evening walks will be accompanied by blankets, hot tea, and a flashlight. For now though, we're still enjoying those after-dinner sunsets. 
Christmas is less than 3 months away too, which means we've started thinking about Christmas cards. I try to seize every moment for a family picture, trying to find the perfect one to go on the front of our card. I always like the front picture to be fairly recent (as opposed to using a picture taken last spring), because the kids change so fast. But since the last two years we've used the folded card style, we're always able to put a few pictures on the inside from earlier in the year. This morning presented one of those golden family-photo opportunities. I don't really try to coordinate outfits so much as colors-- so today we all had to have gray somewhere in our outfit. 
Our weather-beaten potting shed with the wheelbarrow leaning against it made a perfect backdrop. Last night's rain ensured perfect greenery.  
It helps when the kids are in a good mood too. 

We know turning on the heat means winter is just around the corner, but I'm hoping we have a few more weeks where it's on "just in case" instead of "because it's freakin' cold outside and we need to turn it on."

What about you? Are you turning on the heat where you live?

~One Ordinary Mom :-)