fail to win

Today was not my proudest of moments.  Wanna hear about it? I know you do.

Before I begin, would you please join me in asking for Mama Mary, St. Joseph, and St. Pio to make intercession for a strong and wonderful woman who has loved God and also these three? I know they will comfort her as she turns her sights towards Heaven.

I’m not one to swear*, by nature. I’m hard to shock, so that’s not it. I sorta wish I was the sort if person who could pull off, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” You know. CLASSY profanity. Um, ok, so maybe that doesn’t exist. But, you know what I’m talking about? Some people turn the drop a choice word and you think to yourself, “*gasp* there are CHILDREN present!” And some people can turn the air a little blue and the effect is just different. Think Irish priest who has the room in stitches. I think it has to do with one’s mood and intent when said choice words are dropped? Maybe.

You know?

But me? If I use bad words it just sounds like a little kid wearing underpants on her head looks. A little ridiculous. Not as cute. But just as ridiculous.

I’d like to say I don’t swear because piety. But that’s not the reason. I don’t use profanity because vanity. *sigh*

TODAY I dropped a good “Son of a NUTCRACKER!” I was reminded last Christmas that is a good choice word for me. I can swear it with vehemence and it can help me to immediately laugh at myself.

I needed to laugh at myself.

All day I WANTED to write a good blog post so that I could complain complain complain.

“Everything happened wrong.” I wanted to write that…except that really only ONE thing happened wrong and I just decided to let it color my whole day. “Nothing happened right.” I longed to declare that…except that nearly EVERYTHING happened right, but I was just letting that ONE thing that went wrong color my whole day. I’m emotional. My kids were so sweet and wonderful today. And me? I was just frumpy and frustrated with every little annoyance. Every last bit. So I ranted and raved at nutcrackers. And reminded myself that there were children present.  And laughed at myself. Wryly. I then sat down on the stairs with my head on my knees to have a party. Of one. Pity style.

Then cleaned the apartment while my kids played outside.

engineerAnd the sun shone all day. And I STILL planned to write a whiny, complainy blog post. (And, in between the lines, apologize to every single person who is mired in snow.)

And then, in an instant, I realized I had to end my pity party. In a phone call I was reminded how nothing remains but love. Gratitude closed around me like one of those slap bracelets I used to love.

So I patched the pants I didn’t really want to patch. And I read the stories that I thought I was too tired and grumpy to read. And I reveled in my funny kids who love each other so much (in between fighting so fiercely) that it makes my heart ache because it swells so much. And we prayed our prayers for peace and comfort for my Nani. Even though I think I might have failed any and every “test” today, our little family ended our day in love. And that’s a win.

*note: I use “swear” and “profanity” interchangeably. Yes, I know the difference. Yes, I am pretty much referring to profanity. Yes, I will roll my eyes at you if you call me out. But you are good readers. I know you will not.

perspective

I’m not exactly saying that I complain. But:

Just when you thought…

  • that 9 months was the longest thing that you have ever undertaken…
  • and then, after that, that perhaps you would be breastfeeding for all eternity…
  • and perhaps that you feel that you have been nothing but continuously pregnant or breastfeeding for the past ____ years…

To put things in perspective:

…kinda puts the whole continuously thing in a different light.

and this:

…makes me glad that labor is a one-way affair.

~~~

For the record, I am not making an announcement.  This morning I was answering questions about kangaroos for Li and Lo today with the help of my friend, Professor Youtube, and had to take some moments for gratitude at the way God made humans.

How to Feed a Friend

meals link up button

Maybe this should read, “How to Feed and Be Fed”.

I’m not sure.

I am also not sure about how wild I am about the “button”.  I’m only a graphic designer in my dreams, y’all.

If you missed the post in which I discussed MEALS!!!, you can find it here. Read the rambly logic of it all. All posts are welcome.  I have heaps o’ appreciation for posts that cover nitty, gritty details like Kathryn posted here and just as much for the posts that cover how to still be generous when life is nitty and gritty, like Rachel posted here.  Love is in the details and love is in giving when the giving is tough, even if the giving doesn’t look as perfect as one had hoped.

The “rules” are as follows:

1) Write up your post on a meal you are taking or a meal you have received.

2) Include all the details that make this meal truly a labor of love.

3) Pictures are 142% encouraged.

4) Grab the button if you want.  Only if you want to.  And if you got mad-styling-graphic skills and more-time/patience-than-me, hit me up to prettify that thing up there.

5) Tell yo friends.  The more people to post, the more ideas I…me…I mean WE…have when push-comes-to-shove-baby-is-out-time-to-make-a-meal! (Meals for any sort of occasion, happy or sad, are welcome.)

6) Use the tool below to link up your post so we (read: me) have allthegoodideas in one, blessed spot.

7 Quick Takes, from the couch

Linking up with Jen, who is better at talking quick takes than anyone else I read.

All my Amazon links are affiliate.  Because.

~1~

A little while ago, while everybody was consternating over the disappearance of Google Reader, I was totally neutral. I had gotten out if the habit of both blogging and reading blogs. When I wanted to read one of my favorite blogs, I would do it the old fashioned way…you know…the way our forefathers did…by typing the blog address into the navigation box. So when everybody was wailing and gnashing, I was thinking, “Hey, a reader is a nifty idea!” and signing up for Bloglovin’. Which I have mostly liked except when I am reading on my phone and want to comment. Except that most of my blog-reading is done from my phone. And Bloglovin’ has been eating my comments. So…my days as a fan may be nearing an end. And if you have been sitting over there at your house wondering, “Why hasn’t Maia commented recently?”…well…it’s probably because Bloglovin’ ate my comment and I’m sulking.

~2~

Isn’t it funny what one chooses to be grateful for? This morning I was really, REALLY grateful that it was 5am when little A got her first wave of sick. You know how the “first wave” goes. It’s that moment when one has to get up and do something, in this case suction out her nose (with my handy-dandy Nosefrida The Snotsucker Nasal Aspirator) (<— seriously, that’s what it’s called…and it’s genius) and take a steamy, hot shower with her to open up those nasal passages and relieve the fever a bit. Waking up at 5am to do all this is infinitely better than pulling oneself out of bed at 2am to do all this. And, even though we all went back to bed after, I’m pretending that I got an nice, early, productive start to my day! Let’s all pretend that with me.  Even though the thing that I am REEEEAALLY grateful for is that my husband got up with all three sick kids at the normal waking hour and occupied them so that I could sleep until 10 am.  I feel a little embarrassed just typing that.  And also compelled to tell you that I get irritated at the people who are all like, “I just can’t sleep in.  Just can’t!”  Well…I can.  And even though I feel lazy and unproductive when I do it, on the rare occasion that I am allowed to, I DO.  <humph>

~3~

I’ve been really enjoying Ana’s “complaining”. And if that sounds like I’m taking joy in someone’s misery, I’m really sorry, Ana. I don’t mean it that way. Honest. I love reading about happy, healthy, and holy families. I’m pretty sure that the Hahns are a great example of that. I’m also firmly convinced that great, firm, loving parents are often blessed with “holy terrors”: kids who are amazing and loved and who also make better parents of us because we really have to stay on our toes because they do these crazy, crazy things that don’t look at all like what we see all the well-behaved, perfect children doing. All this is a roundabout way of saying that I have one such child. And a lot of days I feel like I’m undergoing a major case of Failure, especially when I get well-intentioned bystanders commenting, “I’d never allow that…” or “Is that normal?” So when I read about other great parents meeting challenges in a way that doesn’t always look the way we intended our parenting to look like…well…I take comfort that I may not be totally off track! Ana, you keep doing and writing until I no longer need my blog-boost of courage. Which, at this rate, will be never.

~3.5~

And I’m going to go ahead and fake it til I make it and throw myself into that great parent category even though this

feels more apropos and I’m pretty sure this:

World’s Okayest Mom, is what I’m getting for Christmas.

~4~

There is a fly dive-bombing my sick, sleeping baby. The vengeance I will inflict should said fly wake said baby…

…who am I kidding? What can one really do to make a fly repent of its ways?

~5~

Have you discovered Healthy Happy Home? If you haven’t, you should! Her latest post is a really wonderful gift basket for a new mom. I’m taking notes for the next lovely lady I know to have a baby!

click on the picture to go check out the post!

~6~

I’m hoping to try my hand at canning this weekend.  I’m inspired by many, but more recently by Genna, an awesome IRL friend…one of the few IRL bloggers that I know that I know of (go unscramble THAT sentence, if you please…). She did a post on canning.  That, among a few others floating around the blog world, inspired me to get crazy and try.  If you don’t hear from me for a while, it’s probably because I burned my hands and can’t blog.

Genna’s tomatoes, not mine…I can only pray for such results.

~7~

I mentioned this on Twitter, but it bears repeating.  I mowed the grass this week.  With a riding lawn mower.  With a John Deere riding lawn mower.  Gosh I wish I had photos to show you.  I’m a city kid who wishes she wasn’t.  And I totally feel like, if I had one of those bucket list thing-ys or “do before 30” lists that I totally would have been able to check something off.  But I don’t.  So, oh well.

Go, now, and read other Quick Takes.  It’s what Fridays are for.

Five Favorites: Spend-No-Money Edition

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Linking up with Hallie Grace to try to hashtag heart justfiveofthethings.

pardon any wonky formatting – comforting a cranky teether for forever

1) beef in the crockpot

Not stew. Not ragu. Not stroganoff. I olive all those things. But today it was just the Costco pack of stew meat, tossed unceremoniously into the crockpot and “drizzled” (more like the sound effects from the Grey Poupon commercials…) ketchup, mustard, and wourchestsxiore sauce (dang! I was really hoping autocorrect would help me out in that one…), cooked for hours, and served ceremoniously over steak fries. With some plain green lettuce. Because I needed some Good Mom Points today.

2) baskets

Ok. For the sake of my “spend no money” title, let’s pretend that I wove the baskets from rushes collected on a walk with my children. Really. A walk through TJMaxx…

I just can’t get enough of lovely baskets, and I keep hoping, if I just buy acquire enough of them that all my clutter will magically organize itself. I’ll let you know how that goes.

3) lush, green grass

I took this for granted for far too many years. After a few years of dismal-to-none grass, I love having access to THIS:

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please note the lush, green grass behind the looming infant

4) solid kitchen tables

I’ll complain for 3.4 seconds that the one we have in the apt is miserable for eating with small, climbing children. Or for playing games. Or for doing school. My husband built me a beautiful table right before we left Alabama. It’s sitting in storage. I dream of it.

5) the skyline of the Pacific NW

After nearly 7 years of being away, except for visits, I can tell you that I can’t drive anywhere without being bowled over by the hills and mountains and trees and clouds that paint my view. One of these days I’ll actually get a picture that does a scrap of justice. Just. Beautiful.

Aaaaaaaand, I’m done here today. Go visit all the other Fav’ers for more Favorite stuff.

MEALS!!!

Do I have your attention? Oh, good, I was hoping all caps would do that.

So here is my thought:

Remember when Auntie Leila wrote about (and talked about for those lucky D.C.ers!) forming community and bringing meals? (Julie did a write up here.) Well, I’ve had this on the brain since then. I discovered how food speaks a few years ago when we were in Korea and miscarried and then, again, a few months ago when little A was born. We were on the receiving end of some amazing generosity and delicious meals. It’s really powerful how feeding the hungry helps to form tight bonds in a community. The fact that acts of charity end up feeding the chef as much (if not more) than the eater is a beautiful testament to how God’s mandates are for freedom and happiness instead of restriction and suffering.

At any rate, I’ve got food and putting down roots/forming community on the brain since we moved. Between Julie mentioning meal she took , and the mom of an old friend mentioning how her daughter has an awesome community that pulled together to make meals in a time of need, and remembering the delicious meals WE received, and remembering the eeetsy-beetsy problem that I cook kinda weird….

…I hatched a plan. And, so, I have a question for you:

If I were to put up an on-going link-up (or maybe continually updated post with links?) for meals we take and meals we receive, would you play along?

See, I love to take meals, but I’m also kinda clueless most of the time in addition to cooking kinda weird AND am self-conscious about inflicting weird meals on others.

You know how want to Bring A Meal, and so you ask the recipient, “What do you like to eat?!” And they say, “oh whatever…” Or you log into the mealtrain (or similar service) account and they don’t even have any allergies or likes or dislikes listed? These things cause terror in my soul and crickets chirping where inspiration ought to be.

I loved when we got meals from people who thought out plastic utensils, breakfasts, snacks, other little details that made the meal even more valuable. These little details add such love! It’s awesome (to me) when you smarties share your wisdoms with me, of the slows population.

What I would love to have, in one place, are ideas for these deliverable meals. Now, if this was all I really wanted, I could just start a Pinterest board (and that’s not a half bad idea…think I’ll go do that…), but I want to take that meal idea the step further and see how YOUR communities are being fed.

SO…if I built it (the post), would you come? Would you take pictures and link to recipes? Would you share meals you take? Would you include the details? (I love how Kathryn shared her meal idea here.) Would you do a write up (when you are able) of meals you received and loved?

Would you? Could you?
In a post?
Eat them! Write them!
Just like toast!

I’ll leave you on that Green Eggs and Ham-inspired rambling. Talk to me, though. Would you be interested?

happy, happy, happy

Sorry for the overkill on happy.

I’m living it up in the land of my birth (Oregon) this week. Oregon, in a fit of requited love, has returned my affections by beaming down cool mornings and sunny, warm afternoons.

=hashtag Imayneverleaveagain

I missed out on all the wonderful posting and linking this week, but my Bloglovin feed was full. And I bloggy-loved that.

A few things I have to share:

* my bff is getting married tomorrow, and we just had the rehearsal and I am not ashamed to tell you that I was not prepared for the buckets of tears I started crying. So cue the extra strength waterproof mascara tomorrow.

* as much as I love this girl, she is now going to have to vie for my love. I discovered Squeem. Move over Spanx, this postpartum momma has found a new mummy tummy sheriff. (Maybe I’ll throw fancy links on here for you later when I get to a computer.)

* I am reading The Happiness Project, and it is totally affecting my mood in a great way. Recommend.

* and this happy love fest wouldn’t be complete without gushing how awesome it is to be home and hang with my mom and dad and little sis (who isn’t so little and managed to fly in from Arizona for the wedding).

And – gosh – I’m just so…happy!!

dirty laundry

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It’s really handy to have coin-op laundry in our neighborhood center, five minutes away from our house. The movers took the washer and dryer on Friday. And it is crazy, really, how much laundry a family of two adults and three little people can manage.

This morning I realized that there IS LIGHT at the end of the tunnel. I WILL get all the cleaning finished and all the packing done. And we WILL be hitting the road tomorrow. I think.

Anyhow, we are sitting at the neighborhood center doing laundry. And I’m having to force myself to breathe and not worryaboutobsessstress about the little bits back home. It’ll get done. Our Lady, Undoer of Knots is working overtime interceding, pretty sure.

Li and Lo have been amazing. A big bag of mega bloks, technically Amelie’s, has kept them imaginative and content for hours. I am totally amazed. And thank you, Lord, for helping the developers of the iPad do their thang. Because I packed all other games and these things have filled a lot of game gaps.

And it’s nice, really, to have a breastfeeding baby who requires that I sit and snuggle and love and nourish. Because if I worked without stopping, I’d be a pain to live with.

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“Mom, your hair makes you look like a chicken.” Awesome.

seven quick takes – a moving edition

Joining Jennifer Fulwiler et al for 7 Quick Takes Friday.

1)

This week is moving week.  I am writing these takes courtesy of the awesome crew of movers we had yesterday.  We found out just under two weeks ago that we had just under two weeks to move.  Which is the Army’s way of telling us to

KeepCalmStudio.com-[Crown]-Keep-Calm-And-Panic-
*for the record: I promise that this post is the only time I will ever reference the “keep calm” movement

2)

Movers WERE scheduled to come today (Friday). On Tuesday a representative from the moving company showed up on our doorstep to walk through the house and get an idea of how long it would take the moving team.  He silently surveyed my house, which was more chaos-y than its usual chaos-y self, while I self-consciously deprecated, “Ah, um, well…two weeks to move and all.” Which insinuated a lie while not exactly telling one. Actually, my house really always is this clutter-y. After silently judging, he declared, “hmmm…well…THIS is going to take TWO days.” And then he scheduled us for THURSDAY and Friday. On Tuesday he did this. So, you know,

KeepCalmStudio.com-[Crown]-Keep-Calm-And-Panic-More
*for the record: I promise that this post is the only time I will ever reference the “keep calm” movement

3)

The panic all stems from the fact that we are moving into a studio apartment, so 3/4 of our stuff is going into 6 month storage (that we can’t frantically tear through when I discover we don’t have something) and about 1/4 of it (or less) we are hauling with us to Washington. And I had just one day to finish sorting essential from non-essential.

4)

Aaaaall the while expending massive amounts of energy fretting (introvert-style) that I was going to have, now, TWO days of people in mah house touching mah stuff…for TWO DAYS instead of the already awful one.

5)

Which led my husband to spend all of his home hours talking me down from the proverbial ledge of crazy (which, let’s face it, has probably already been jumped). So the good news is that he hopefully gets time off in Purgatory for Wednesday alone.

6)

Our awesome team of movers showed up yesterday. And those amazing men said, “We think we can do this in a day.” And they did.  And in 9.5 hours of sweltering humidity they did what would have taken us four days and a year’s worth of snapping at each other, and my house is gorgeously empty and un-chaotic (see #7). Sidney, I suspect you and your men will read this never, but you are currently my favoritest persons and on the receiving end of many heartfelt thank yous. This #7QT is dedicated to you.

7)

And in the meantime, my house is gorgeously empty. I’m thinking about keeping our home this way forever. Because empty is the lazy person’s equivalent of decorated.

The End.