Life on Cottage Hill: PAGES

Thursday, January 31, 2013

life lately.

Life lately... has included too much car time and not enough baby time. But, we make up for it with extra dance parties and cuddles and playing every game JP comes up with in that crazy imaginative head of his. And the peanut, well the peanut has suddenly become a little chatter box, with her word count growing at crazy speeds it seems. She's definitely not a baby anymore. I'm so thankful for those two. And I'm thankful for the perspective they give me, helping me to keep my feet on the ground when they can so easily be pulled out from underneath me when I get wrapped up in this crazy rhythm of work and stress and busyness. Perspective and gratitude: powerful stuff there. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Smarty-pants & a Diva

Jackson is really into his atlas lately. Audrey is really into doing whatever Jackson is doing. And so he attempted to give his peanut a lesson in geography...

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

heavy heart.

I have a long commute to and from my office. This can easily be a blessing to help clear my mind, to help think through things or just for some moments of silence, but there are other days when the opportunity to think extensively also gets me into trouble. 

It's at those times that the weight of the world seems to fall heavy on me and I don't do well when I can't solve for everything. Lately, more often than not all of this seems to go back to our adopted baby. How I know she (or he) is still a few years away from bringing home, but my heart still hurts for her every single day. 

I know she probably hasn't even been born yet, but today my mind and heart keeping going to her - to the man and woman who will conceive of her, who will give birth to her and then for some unspeakable reason will abandon her in some part of the world, to be taken care of by people who mean well but don't have the resources to care for her in the way she deserves and then she will wait. She will wait for me to find her, to fight for her and to finally bring her home. 

I'm mostly writing this to myself, to help ease my mind a little so that I can get some work done, but I also write it so that one day Emma (I call her Emma when I pray for her) can read back and understand how much I loved her and prayed for her every single day long before she even existed on this Earth. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

a tale of two peanuts.

This is a tale of two peanuts- the precious peanut and the little monster within. She started out so adorable with her hair done, her skinny jeans on and playing "baby" so nicely with her brother. And then, then the day wore on and next thing I know she looks like a wreck and has decided to take a hammer to her cheese-its, busting every single one up into a million little crummy pieces. Every part of those last photos cry out to me "wronged girlfriend in a rage"- future boyfriends watch out, do not mess with the peanut!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

saturday adventures...

While I have been gifted a THREE day weekend (thank you, MLK!), Dan unfortunately had to work all day, so the monsters and I were on our own. Admittedley a little paranoid with all of the flu germs, we stayed home most of the day making Valentines, building with Legos, getting chores done and having more than our fair share of dance parties (the peanut has a new favorite song and demands that we play it often). But, we also made an escape for a trip to the library. We're very lucky to have one of the most beautiful public libraries with a children's section that is enormous, fun and for some reason almost always empty except for us. Why people never take advantage of their local libraries I'll never understand, but JP and the peanut LOVE going. PS: What is cuter than a peanut? A peanut with a pig-tail of course!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

"Still what I want for my life is to be willing to be dazzled- to cast aside the weight of facts and maybe even float a little above this difficult world." -Mary Oliver

I haven't posted a lot this week, I haven't shared photos or over-shared as I normally do about Jackson and Audrey; I haven't done any of that because I've been feeling guilty about being so blessed. More specifically, I've been feeling feeling guilty that my family, my babies, are healthy. I have a couple of friends who have gone through the unimaginable this week- one who has a precious toddler battling for his life with cancer and one who lost her infant to SIDS. The unimaginable. And yet here I am with two healthy, beautiful, precious and perfect babies. Babies who I pray for every day in faith- but also in fear- that these nightmares might never come true. 

And I'll continue to pray for that. And for those going through so much, but God has spoken to me more clearly this week than I think ever before and so all is right with my soul. It may not all be right with my heart right now- I feel so strongly for those moms, for those babies- but I know in my soul it is all going to be okay. It is in His hands, and there's no better place to be. 

This weekend was so needed- after the heartache and the constant reaching out to understand and after my first full week back to work after Christmas I was emotionally and physically exhausted. But, these little faces, these perfect little faces, they were everything I needed. 

     PS: This is what happens now when I put JP in time-out... Audrey runs after him yelling "Jack! Jack!"    and then joins him on the step in a display of unified orneriness. Monsters. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

How is it already time to sign this face up for preschool? Mama dislike. 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

People have been in existence for thousands of years. And for thousands of years they have been living on this same Earth- having babies, raising babies, falling in and out of love, working hard to not only survive but to thrive. And while much of what people have faced over those thousands of years has evolved and changed with the times, there are a lot of core things that have stayed the same. So, isn't it funny that there have been billions before us who have faced much of what we face and yet we still struggle every time we face it? 

I think that's because there are some things that are so much deeper or on such a higher level that man's wisdom cannot overcome it. Give man a problem like how to more safely cross the ocean and he'll build you better boats and eventually an airplane. Give him a problem like staying warm in the winter and cool in the summer and he'll build you heaters and air conditioners. But, give man the problems of hate, anger, loneliness and disease and he'll look back at you feeling helpless, leaving you with only one place to look- up. 

I don't believe that God wants bad things to happen. I don't believe that he wants us to hurt like we all to often do. But we don't live the world that he had envisioned, we live in a fallen world where there is a lot of really bad stuff and I believe in my heart that every time something horrible happens he hurts more than we do- much like when our children are hurt it is harder on us most times than it is on them. 

I'm not sure where this is all coming from except I guess I do. There's just been so much ugliness lately on the news, in the world and it seems to get closer and closer to home, most recently with a good friend learning that her precious 3 year old has cancer. It's all heart-breaking, all of it and every time a piece of news like that arrives I find myself- as I'm sure everyone does- wondering what to do to help, how to make it better and also how to feel better about this world that I have brought my children into. 

For me personally I also search for answers, grasp on to ways to help only to end up feeling more helpless than before and I've done this countless times in my life only to always arrive back at the same answer. That prayer is the only way. Sure there are other things I do- offer words of encouragement, reach out with kind gestures and those are all great things, all needed things. But, nothing can surmount the power of prayer, the power of the only one who can give us hope when things look hopeless, who can provide a way, a cure, an answer when nobody on this earth can. 

Prayer. Lets take comfort in that. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Resolution Rekindle.

One of my 2013 resolutions is to better prioritize my marriage. Dan and I have a great relationship already, but I know that I let myself make excuses too easily about kids or work or stress or whatever getting in the way of us really putting us above it all. I want to rekindle, if you will. And so we've made the agreement to start out by making sure we have monthly dates and I'm doing my best to plan ahead of time for babysitters and planning the dates themselves so that life doesn't get in the way and prevent us from making the time that we need. 

Here are the dates we currently have lined up for 2013:

January: Bowling 
February: A Hockey Game
March: Take a cooking class together
April: Visit the Creation Museum
May: Cincinnati Reds Game
June: We'll be on a mission trip in Ecuador this month, so lots of quality "date" time. 

July: The Observatory (take 2, last visit wasn't so much a success)
August: TBD- any ideas? 
September: TBD- any ideas? 
October: Dinner at our local winery
November: Dinner at our favorite winery (so, we like wine...)
December: Ice Skating

I guess a lot of my resolutions, including this one, are about not allowing life to be all about the day-to-day. About not allowing the mundane to become the hero of the story. And that applies to marriage as well- especially to marriage I think.  What is that saying that they say, that the best gift you can give your children is to love your husband/wife? I couldn't agree more. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

January: Diving into DIY...

There's something about January, the new year, the snow outside that ignites the DIY wannabe inside of me. It makes me want to tackle every project on my Pinterest boards and every project I've been creating in my mind. Dan and I both get overly excited about projects and so we normally start too many at once, but I guess that's part of the fun?

Here are a few of the projects I want to tackle this month to help get me closer to checking off another 30 by 30 ("completely designing 3 rooms exactly how I want them"). 

I think the little engineer in Jackson would love this latch board

Creating something like this custom art for the great room. 

I love these letters from one of my favorite blogs and they would be perfect for the playroom.

Speaking of the playroom, I want to create a reading nook for the babies, maybe one like this or this. 

And I can't forget getting ready for handsome butt's 3rd birthday, he has requested a construction theme

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