Thursday, October 30, 2008

Fall Portraits

Somewhere I read about a new photographer setting up business here in town. I checked out her blog and couldn't pass up her amazing price ($25 for a 30 minute session!) so I scheduled a little fall shoot. She posted a preview today!
I really can't say enough about how non-stressful this was. Candra was so sweet with my kids, taking her time, talking to them, getting to know them . . . she was very kind and patient and VERY obliging. She offered the kids candy as a reward for sitting for portraits and Caris goes, "I want one of these pumpkins!" (OMGOSH!!) Candra said, "sure, you can have one!" (NO, I didn't let her take it - boy that girl can be so BOLD!) Anyway, we all had such a good time and I can't wait to see the rest of the pics!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Life Lately

This is my nephew Cole. He's four years old. I asked if I could take his picture and this is what he did. He's so cool.

Here's the dessert the kids & I made for my mother-in-law Juanita's Halloween party. Graham made the "fence", Caris made the scarecrow, Malachi made the haystacks & then he & I stacked the pumpkins all around.

My Mom invited me over for dinner when Megan was in town last week. She made us THE CUTEST drinks - PINK hot chocolate in these adorable cups, with pink & white jelly beans in the drink and on the plate, whipped cream and pink sugar. Do you think we are just a little bit excited that my Mom's breast cancer treatments are OVER?

I took Canaan along with me to dinner at my Mom's. He was playing here and being so silly.

Here's the gang after pumpkin carving at the party. Top Canaan & Malachi, bottom cousins Cole and Brea, Caris, Korean friend #1, Graham, Korean friends #s 2 and 3 (I'm sorry, I forget their names).

Christian & Canaan, both in the pajamas Grandma bought them and both thinking Christian's sippy is quite intriguing.

I love sleeping babies. And toddlers.

Look at the smile on this kid's face. Do you think they just won a big game? They did not. They have, in fact, lost EVERY game of the season by a landslide. I absolutely LOVE that my boy has such a good attitude. He is competitive and one of the best players on his team, and he really wants to win. But if they don't, he still smiles. He is a very good sport.

I am SO GLAD that this phase seems to have died down. For a while, I found Canaan in the refrigerator like this no less than 10x a day. It was enough to make a mommy batty!

This was Bible hero dress-up night at Awana. Caris was Mary and I was Sarah. Graham and Malachi didn't dress up - party poopers! I stopped to pick up one of Malachi's teammates, whose mother I had never met. I thought she probably wondered where I was taking her son . . .

Malachi with his long locks. He decided that he wanted it cut - SHORT. I like it better long.

Speaking of long, it is so much fun to style Caris' hair! I asked Alif if he liked this one and he said, "It's different!" LOL

Malachi and Graham were on a BIG sewing kick. Malachi made 4-5 awesome pillowcases.

This little boy makes my heart melt!!
And now the post that I had started before I uploaded pics and Blogger would only let me put them up top:

Let me start by saying that my computer is dead. Or sick. I don't know what's wrong with it but for now I basically only have access to Alif's laptop, and that pretty much only during naptime. It's really kind of a good thing. I needed less time online. Well, my family and home needed me to have less online time. Now we're thinking of getting me a laptop. A Mac, actually. Would that be called a Macbook? I'm clueless.

I made the best dinner EVER last night. It was also my first time ever cooking with alcohol. Concidence? Hmm. Here's the recipe - I hope I'm not forgetting anything. It's from Everyday Food magazine.
Irish Beef & Stout Stew
beef cut into 1" cubes
1/4 cup flour
12 oz tomato paste
2.5 pounds new potatoes (the white ones)
2 cans beef broth
1 can (12 oz) irish stout
2 medium onions, cut into 1" pieces
10 cloves garlic, sliced
20 oz frozen baby peas

Toss beef with flour in a big pot. Stir in tomato paste, then everything else except peas. Bring to a boil. Move to a crockpot on low for 4-5 hours. Add in peas & let heat through for 15 minutes or so. OH SO GOOD!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


The other day I mentioned to Lynette that I have been feeling stressed out. She looked concerned and asked, "why?" I really didn't have an answer.

I think part of the answer is that I have developed a nasty discontentment this past week.

None of my pictures turn out like I want them to!

I am so fat!

There's never enough money!


One of my things was that I really want curtains up. We've lived in this house for almost two years and the only room with curtains is the boys' room. What the heck keeps me from curtaining my windows? Well, see complaints above, for one - finances. Another reason is that every, and I mean EVERY time I make curtains, I get sick of my fabric choices in about a week. Sometimes I even hate them as I'm sewing them, and then I berate myself for shelling out all the dough for fabric I don't even like once I get it home.

Well! The other day, Malachi & I were sorting through my fabrics when we came across one that I had bought years and years ago to make a bedskirt for the master bedroom. I held it up and said, "Isn't this pretty? I wish I had enough of this to make curtains! Oh well - put this on the buffet and I'll see if JoAnn still has it next time I go." We continued digging through the fabrics and would you know that we found a huge, long piece of The Glorious Fabric at the bottom of the bin? How awesome is our God for providing me a fabric that I already know I love? That I've loved for years? And there it's been all this time, in the bottom of my fabric bin?? (Ok, I actually have about ten of these bins - anyway.)

So that was cool. Totally cool. But today I realized another reason for my stress. I need to REFUEL. My sister is in town and tonight I'm going to go to my Mom's and hang out with them. I was thinking about this time and I didn't get all giddy or excited. I got relaxed. I could physically feel my neck muscles relax and my shoulders lower a good inch. I *NEED* this time with these amazing women. To not feel "on" at all. To not feel fat. To not feel anything but loved and accepted EXACTLY as I am.

I am so thankful for women in my life who love me.

And a night out without (most of) my kids.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Two Pictures

My friend Katie sent a cool e-mail today with a picture of her baby now and one from a year ago. I thought I'd do the same thing here. Crazy how much difference a year can make.

Wow - he looks so much more grown up! :*)


Now you might not be able to tell, but I look at that 2007 picture and go, "woah! She looks so LITTLE!"


Get some grown-up teeth much, Graham?? :*)


Malachi's main difference is his hair. When he said he wanted to grow it out I thought, "@@". Looking at the pictures though, I really like it longer.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Tourette Syndrome

Have I mentioned Graham's tics on here? I can't even think if I've written about it yet. Anyway, Graham has tics. They've been happening for probably a couple years at least, but I think we didn't recognize what was really happening until about a year ago or a little more.

I suspected then that he had Tourette Syndrome, and that I have it too. I read about it a little bit and found out that it's highly genetic. That convinced me even more. I assumed we both have a mild form.

In the last couple months, Graham's tics have been prevalent, both motor (movement) and vocal (unintentional sounds) tics growing worse and more numerous. When his walking became affected by tics I got more motivated to learn about what's going on and whether there's much we can do about it.

So I got on Amazon and found a few books. I first bought Graham Tic Talk: Living with Tourette Syndrome: A 9-Year-Old Boy's Story in His Own Words
He read it and declared it "awesome!". I was actually surprised how much the boy in the book is like Graham and I think Graham was pretty surprised too.

Now I'm reading Children with Tourette Syndrome: A Parents' Guide. I have to admit that I have been a little overwhelmed with all the information. A couple of things have really struck me so far:

1) I always compared my own symptoms and Graham's to people with Tourette that you see on TV - you know, the huge body movements, shouting cuss words kind of thing, and called us "mild". I assumed we had a mild form of Tourette. Well, in a way I guess we do in that I am so thankful that our symptoms aren't super extreme. However, I have learned that our tics are considered complex and that people who have those big noticeable things going on are very rare. So really, in the spectrum of Tourette symptoms, we're not all that mild.

2) I knew Tourette was genetic but I didn't know any statistics about that. Well, it seems that 50% of children of a parent with Tourette will receive that genetic susceptibility to having Tourette symptoms. Of those who have the gene, 99% of boys and 30% of girls will show symptoms. Kids don't show symptoms until ages 6-8, generally. So out of our two kids that age I guess we are pretty statistically correct.

Now, keep in mind that neither of us has had a medical diagnosis. We both 100% meet the criteria so I am assuming but we haven't been diagnosed by a medical professional. I don't know yet if I will take Graham for an official diagnosis.

Alif and I are not really on the same page with this. He definitely agrees that he has Tourette but he simply doesn't understand it. I think a part of him feels like the tics are for attention. I think he thinks it's controllable. He can't relate to the feeling of having tics at all. He just can't grasp the actual need to tic. He doesn't care about understanding it or anything, he just wants to know what to do to make it better, to make Graham happy in spite of it all. I care about those things too, but I have lived with this all my life and I am 34 years old. Suddenly learning so much about it is really opening up the floodgates for me. Of course I want to share with him all that I'm learning, but it's hard to share with him when I feel like he thinks the whole thing isn't quite "real".

Of course he still feels that my afib incident was a mental incident more than a physical one.

In his mind, when something is wrong, you just decide to make it better. I guess he's a good candidate for Positive Thinking.

Anyway, I hope you don't mind if I share this journey with you, because it makes me feel better to talk about it.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Family Portraits

Well? What do you think? I think we all coordinated so well for this one!! Alright, I'm a nerd. Completely. It was fun though - go to and make one!

We really did have family portraits taken a couple weeks ago, and talk about traumatic. First, what in the world was my family going to wear and all coordinate? It had to come out of our current wardrobes, as I didn't have the cash to go get new stuff for everyone. Of course each person has some certain constraints: Alif basically only wears plaid button-ups. Malachi hates everything but t-shirts with no embellishments or seams of any kind. Caris wears a lot of pink. I only have like 2 nice-ish shirts.

I started sorting through and found that we could all coordinate in a brown/red/light blue color scheme. Sweet! I started to really like how everything looked together, even though it was definitely not ideal. Alif came home to get something and I said, "Ok, here's what I have. What do you think?" He said, in a very sweet, reassuring voice, "Oh, I don't mind at all if we're hodgepodge!"


No! Not hodgepodge! Later, someone reminded me that I should have given him the answer first: "Honey. What do you think of the red, brown & light blue color scheme? Looks great together, right?"

I've only been married 10 years. By 20, I'll have this down pat.

The guy from the picture company, who was taking these pictures for free for our church directory, was actually awesome. He was very fast and actually succeeded in getting all of the kids to smile at the camera. Even the one with tics, who blinks nonstop (said child was squinting in 4 out of 6 pictures).

But you know what? All I could think as we posed - Mommy in front of Daddy, baby in Mommy's lap, children standing sweetly around, is that I wished we were in a field somewhere with Lorie or Davi, acting like our normal selves and having *fun*. Maybe next time.