Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving Recap

We had a really great holiday...celebrating for the first time I can remember in shorts.  It was 75 and sunny and we were thankful! My parents came from Indiana and my brother, Jeff, all the way from Colorado.  Here's my documentation:
  Smoked turkey and ham.  I'm no Martha, but I highly recommend the smoking (of meats).  Keeps the boys  busy, frees up the oven, and requires no brining or basting...and turns out delicious every time.  Sarcastic brother trying to mess with picture is optional.

I love all things cranberry and this is the top.  Here's the recipe.

This is the best of 30 family pictures we took.  I usually bribe Garrett to smile, but L will not be 'had'.

We are still feasting on left-overs, and since we cooked enough for triple our eaters, we will be for awhile--until Paul tells me 'he's had it', which will likely be the after next round of turkey.  Also, I should be in maternity pants after one more plate:).  Good bye turkey....hello Santa.  The Christmas decorating has begun...woohoo!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankful:  the state of being aware and appreciative of a benefit; grateful.

Happy Thanksgiving! Who doesn't love Turkey Day, right? Lots of family, my mom's dressing, my Grams' cranberry salad, the excitement of putting up a tree tomorrow....and, oh yeah, celebrating 'thanks'.  I'll admit, that part of Thanksgiving, the giving thanks part, gets more important to me every year.  As I age, my blessing grow, I know.  But, as I experience more of the world, I am more acutely aware of the richness of my life.  The blessings of health, joy, true friends, family, time, resources, freedom, love, and peace.

The addition of lasting love and precious children should make anyone's heart swell.  And,  teaching those children to have a thankful heart is of the most important things I will do. Surely, if we can just teach our kids to be aware and grateful for all they've been blessed with, they will turn out all right.  Right? :)  I'm banking on the fact that it should be hard to turn into a drug lord or an ax murderer with true thanksgiving.  Get back to me on that in 20 years and we'll see:).

Last night, because my kitchen was overflowing with Thanksgiving feast preparation, we headed out to dine and ran into a man from our church.  I recognized him and we've said hello several times at church, but I didn't know his name or his story.  Thanks to my newly outgoing 4 yr old, this is what I now know:   His name is Arthur and he's in a wheel chair because he has only one leg.  He lost the other after a gun shoot wound that lead to gangrene.  He lives alone and he had just spend all day at the hospital for some tests....alone.  Some days he is unable to get out of bed and into his chair.  And he was alone that night, resting in the night air before heading back to his apartment.  And as he told us his story, he said that he was thankful.  Thankful to be alive.  Thankful for all that God has given him.

I am glad that Arthur reminded me what I already knew, each of us has infinitely more to be thankful for than we even realize.  Grateful for all that is good, and even what we think is bad.  Because there is richness and blessing in hardship.  And thankfulness is a attitude we have to remind ourselves to have, even when it's not easy.  So, as Garrett would say (although in regard to me making a toy talk) "BE IT"!  Thankful, that is. :)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

In general, I'm not a fearful or anxious person.  Maybe it's my German heritage or my pig-headedness....fear and anxiety stand in the way of forward progress, right? There is stuff to do around here and I don't have time to be mulling over the 'what-ifs' very often.  But, I do have my moments.  This moment comes every year at the start of cold and flu season (at least since L got sick), when I start hearing the trends of illness increasing and I'm hit by The Fear.  The Fear is at it's peak when you hear that a child that was at your house 2 nights before is in the ER with a stomach bug, or that someone in Lilah's class came to school with a fever--2 days in a row! (her teachers sent him home because they are awesome.  that mom=not awesome).

I know all moms (and I hear reports of some dads, but they must be more far sighted than the ones I know) have The Fear.  No one wants their kids sick.  It sucks for them and it sucks for us.  Life comes to a screeching halt, schedules are whack, you get even less sleep than before, and on top of that, your kids are so whinny you want to stick your head in the oven--and keep it there.  But for me (and lots of others, just not ones I know), The Fear sends my preparedness into overdrive.  Keeping hospital bags packed, making the house somewhat organized in case I'm gone for a week, watching my 'help's' schedules so I'll know who's on deck if I need them.  I'm embarrassed to say, at least a significant portion of The Fear is driven by an intense hatred of the hospital.  And not "oooh, I hate the hospital" b/c obviously, they are great--I want to slap people that say they don't like to go visit people in the hospital because it's so sad.  I just hate to 'live' there for extended amounts of time.  (Although, to be fair--I don't know the half of it.  There are people who's children spend months and months there).

The Fear makes me want to keep my kids at home, sequestered away from life and it's germs.  No school, no friends, no outings, no church.  And this phase lasts about 3 days....until I am C.R.A.Z.Y!! Then I move to obsessive use of antibacterial wipes, hand washing, and an outlaw of shared sippy cups.  And then, I get lazy and move back to our normal state of "do the best you can" (which, between us is probably a step down from my best, but operating at Code Red all the time wears me out!).  This is where I have a pep talk with myself, which goes something like this:

1.  You can't live life in a bubble.  It's bad for you, for your children, for your family.  A sheltered life is not living.

2.  It's better for Lilah to experience what little she can of the world, even if it means getting sick. And Garrett deserves as normal a life as possible.

3.  You can be an uber-germ-freak and they still get sick.  It's what they do.

4.  A certain amount of it is 'now or later', says Lilah's cardiologist.  I always choose bad news first...let's get it over with.

5.  All of her days were written in His book before even one of them came to be.  (Psalm 139).  This is the truth and it reminds me that it's not up to me.

And that gets me to drop the nerve pills (a la Betty Draper, except I think she always takes them) and have The Peace, which is even more powerful than The Fear and way better.   Because nothing is more freeing than knowing 'it's not up to me'.  Life, and especially parenting, is huge and overwhelming and full of a kazillion pressures and fears....and if I thought I had to do it all on my own, perfectly....or that my children's fates rested solely in my hands....I would a slit second.  So instead, I just do the best I can and trust that it's not up to me.  That way I can get back to things that planning my Turkey Day feast.  In the immortalized words of 2 year old Garrett Burch:  " Dobble, Dobble" !

**edited to note:  Before you start thinking I'm some sort of a jedi, who's conquered The Fear...I just noticed that The Fear has caused a mysterious rash all over me.  That, or it's that virus that kid down the street had last week.  Excuse me.  I have to go take my vitamins.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The G will concede to a hat and mittens, in addition to his summer wear...on days of his choosing. 

It's hard to believe, looking at that sweet face, that this child is driving me to the brink of insanity.  It's true. It's not about the sassiness or the defiance or even the potty words--those are the things I was 'prepared' for with a 4 year old boy. It's about the dress code.

Now, I consider myself a pretty laid back momma, especially when it comes to clothes.  I strive for clean and weather appropriate--and those are about my only 2 requirements. I have some basic requirements about church clothes, but they are very loose.  In short, I chose L's clothes because she could care less and Garrett choses (and has for quite some time) his own.

To illustrate my point, Garrett wore the exact same outfit (of his choosing) to school for the first 6 weeks--before you think I'm some sort of laundry genius, he only goes Tu/Th.  His teachers graciously allowed him to wear flip flops, as in years past tennis shoes were the rule.  The shorts were a pair of size 3s from Kohls from last year.  When he was 2.  They were faded and produced a muffin top like I've never seen on a small child.  The shirt was worn thread bare in two spots.  And if I ever see either of those items again, my head might explode.

Here are the specific requirements of Sir Garrett's clothing:  shirts must be snug fitting and not hang past the waist band of his shorts.  Shorts must hit well above the knee, but not touch the belly button.  Socks of any sort are from the devil.  Pants, long sleeve shirts, jackets, even tennis shoes are out.  Bare feet are preferable, but flip flops will do.

My laissez-faire attitude was making for days of peace and nights of laundry, and I was happy.  But now, the frickin weather has changed and a paper thin t-shirt that almost exposes his belly button and shorts that are 2 sizes too small just won't cut it.  So.....every morning....every flippin morning....we have the same 'discussion' about clothes.  It usually starts something like, "you need to wear some long pants and a long shirt", with G responding No....and it spirals downward from there.

I've tried all the usual and customary threats, punishments, bribes, and rewards, so please don't suggest some sort of cheesy sticker chart....because The General (that'd be G, not me) would laugh in the face of a sticker chart.  This is a child that would forfeit riding his bike over putting on acceptable clothing--he's a machine, I tell you.  A machine of self-control, tenacity, persistence, intense opinion, and pure hard-headedness.  He's wearing me down, breaking my spirit in a slow, systematic fashion--GITMO's got nothing on this kid, people.   Anyway, the point of this ramble is this:  if you see us in January and The G is wearing some blatantly inappropriate ensemble--don't judge, just know that I've made the decision to preserve my sanity over his body temperature.  Every man for himself!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Hobby:   an activity or interest that is undertaken for pleasure or
       relaxation, typically done during one's leisure time.

So today wednesday in my bible study, we had a little 'get to know you' session where you go around the horn and tell the group what your hobbies are.  Go ahead...roll your eyes, I was.  I despise cheesy crap like that (cynical, much?), but it wasn't nearly as bad as the day that they made us stand up and march for 2+ minutes to "get the wiggles out" so we would know what our children are doing in their class. It took all I had to participate and I'm still bitter.  Anyway, for the hobby exercise, I was last to go (because, shocker, I was late), so I had many minutes to formulate my list.  Of my hobbies.  Alphabetically.  And by devotion level.  And years committed to said hobbies.

You know what I came up with?  NOTHING.  No hobbies.  I'm, like, devoid of interest totally* (*you should say this like a valley girl).  I thought about saying 'schlepping crap back to it's rightful place', 'changing batteries', or 'answering questions'....but then I remembered that the key words in hobby's definition were pleasure and relaxation....and leisure time (there's the rub). Huh. So, then I thought about saying 'eating' and 'sleeping' were my hobbies, but that sounds even worse than "nothing."  I considered saying 'watching reality tv', but figured that was not the time or the place for such a confession.

So, I stuck with "nothing".  I don't think I'll be crossing meet new and interesting people off my resolution list anytime soon--because I'm pretty sure the lady that knits hats for overseas orphans or the one who has traced her genealogy back to the 1600s have their eyes on the woman who grows 72 varieties of heirloom roses or the one who is a pastry chef as their new BFFs.  

You win some, you lose some.  At least I have my cats.  No, that's not right. I don't like cats either.  See...I'm like a wasteland of human interest.  But, I'm ok with it.  I'm planning on taking up all kinds of hobbies.....when I'm 80. :)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Look...we have a new pet:).  Actually, we thought about getting a pet and decided against it.  So, we opted for another child instead.  Totally kidding on the pet (as if!), but not at all about the baby.

That's right, the above stork should arrive sometime in late May with Burch Baby #3 (I wish it were that easy!).  We are super excited, with a dash of fear...mostly about how we will bathe, feed, clothe, do anything with 3 kids.  But we already feel like this sweet little one is a part of this family (or at least I do, considering I am expanding at a rate rivaling a hot air balloon) and are so thankful.

Anyway, it's been a little hard for me to blog b/c most every story I have revolves around how I threw up or cried over something dumb.  Sorry you've missed it, right? :) Well, don't know there is more where that came from.  This will be an exciting 9 months--or, if you gestate like an elephant, like me--10.  Let the good times roll:)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Little Miss has yet another piece of equipment...but this one might be our fav so far.  It's just a 'souped up' chair that she can't fall out of and can't tip.  At least it's functional and she likes it (in short spurts).  The downsides are that it's heavier than a 2 ton elephant and it takes up a bunch of room. Oh, and it's not as easy as it should be to get that tray on and off.  Also, it must be filled with gold, considering the sticker price (have I mentioned lately how thankful we are for insurance?).  But, other than that.....:) it's great.

Seriously though, we are glad for it.  It's all adjustable, so it will grow with her and can be rolled around when needed.  It's always a bit of a *gulp* moment when she gets something 'new'.  In our minds, it sounds great and we are so excited before it arrives, because, since Lilah isn't mobile, she spends most of her day being moved from 'place to place'.  The bigger she gets, the fewer safe places she has.  Anyway, once the equipment arrives, it always seems so medical, serious, big, sad, sterile.  And it always takes me awhile to get used to it, and I want to kick myself for being such a brat.

Because I should be, and I am, thankful.  Thankful that this precious soul was born into a home that could provide for all that she needs to make her life as full and comfortable as possible.  Thankful that she doesn't have to go without food or medicine.  Thankful that I don't have to send her to daycare.  I know this is not the case in many families in our situation.  And it is a blessing I do not want to take for granted.