A Winter Night

Last night, we stayed at my parents’ home because our furnace has stopped working.  Period.  So we moved from the frustration of trying to be grown-ups who want to provide warmth and safety for our kids to the comfort of having parents who make homemade soup and tend the fire.  With our boys tucked into bed, Mom, Dad, my hubby, and I enjoyed conversation and true relaxation.  Just before we put ourselves to bed, mom called us to the window.   A full moon lit the sky and everything it touched with a bluish glow.  Backlit by that gorgeous moon, trees cast tremendous silver shadows across the snow.  The world looked so bright and so clean in the unusual mix of light and shadow.  I could have stood a very long time gazing out at the yard, but we had had a long day.  Bed sounded too good.

I slept in my childhood bedroom.  Some things remain the same there.  My rack of Taekwondo belts still hangs near the door.  My case of ceramic and glass figurines is displayed next to the bed as it was for most of my youth.  A wooden cat sits above the door chasing a mouse on a long stretch of twine.  My four poster twin bed has been replaced by a double bed, and in it, I slept with an eighteen month old little boy.    As I lay in my old bedroom listening to my baby sleeping next to me, I looked out to the roof of the picnic pavilion that stands in the backyard.  During the winters of childhood, I would wake myself up through the night to look out at that roof, hoping to see snow beginning to pile up and confirm the hope of a Snow Day home from school.  On this night, a school cancellation wasn’t in question, but the magic of the anticipation was there nonetheless.

Pirate-y Things

For quite some time, our household has been on a pirate kick.  It all began with the Veggie Tales movie, The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything.  Things took off from there!  You might remember the Halloween costume.  Well, now we can add the building of a ship and the crafting of a treasure chest to our list of pirating skills. 

(The treasure chest was the boys’ birthday gift to Daddy.  As you can imagine, I’m still finding green paint in places.)

Goal update!

So you may remember my New Years post concerning two of my primary goals.  One of those goals was to learn to use my sewing maching.  Here is some evidence of my progress!

This cotton bib–backed with flannel–was made for my sweet little God son as a belated Christmas gift.  Seemed simple enough, but I had a really hard time with the topstiching around the neckline.  It’s pretty wobbly, but overall I’m happy with the finished product.

What’s been going on…

The last week has been filled with the things that make life rich and the things that make life real.  To begin, our furnace has been acting funny for a few weeks—the kind of funny that makes you tilt your head, listen carefully, and hope that you are imagining the recurring humming/buzzing/whirring sound that emanates from the basement. The furnace was at the forefront of our minds until last Sunday (January 10) when some bitter weather caused our pipes to freeze.  For about a day, we had no running water.  Then the bathroom seemed to recover.  A few days later, the kitchen started working.  We thought we were in the clear until my hubby noticed a damaged and spraying pipe in the basement.  Ugh.  So there was a lot of tinkering, hair-dryer-blowing, and praying!  Finally, water returned, and the repaired pipe held fast.

 Yep…the ordeal was tiresome, frustrating, annoying.  But call me “Pollyanna”—good did come from the ordeal.  On Wednesday evening—with the water officially turned off by the water authority—we stay at my in-laws for the night.  We toted a bag of clothes and a bulging sack of laundry for an evening of relaxing and enjoying American Idol while the boys played with Grandma’s toys (Why are her toys so much better?).  Instead of my constant tidying and jumping up to fix one thing or another, I played a fun, uninterrupted game of “dinosaur” with my sweet kiddos.  My older boy said, “You’re fun today, Mommy.”  An important lesson! 

 We spent Thursday night with my parents, and again, I noticed certain refreshment in being surrounded by love and comfort and running water.  So I guess you could say that I liked being a kid again!  I went to a Taekwondo class after several weeks of close to no real exercise (lugging a 20+ pound toddler on my hip is almost exercise), and I returned to Mom and Dad’s house with tired muscles and a wonderful sense of satisfaction.


While my husband and I were fussing about the inconvenience of frozen pipes and all that goes with such trouble, a tremendous earthquake hit Haiti.  If you’ve glimpsed a TV, caught a moment of a radio broadcast, or even logged on to any major website in the last week or so, you have a sense of the depth and breadth of the devastation in an already troubled country.  What a  powerful reminder of the blessings in my life.  Haiti suffered from the fall-out of a corrupt government even before the ground shook beneath them.  I don’t always like the workings of my county’s government, but I know that avenues exist for my voice to be heard.  I believe that despite political disagreements and differences of judgment on issues of moral weight, we all want the greatest good for rich and poor alike.  I do not feel guilty for being upset over my water pipes and the rust sludge still clogging my washing machine; I feel grateful for in-laws who order pizza and let us use their laundry room and so much more.  I feel grateful for a Mom who washed up a batch of flannel sheets and made up cozy beds for the four of us and a Dad who retrieved a fresh tank of spring water for our visit (more about that later).  Sure, troubles come our way; money is as tight as it has ever been, but I lead a rich life.  I have friends, food, a God above, and the assurance of a steadfast family.

A New Look

Well, we finally took down our Christmas tree (We always wait for Epiphany, but this year we were even later!), so I figured that it was time to take down my Christmas header. If you haven’t noticed, the picture on “Erica’s Front Porch” changed a few weeks ago. 

It’s fun to have a new look.  Now if only I could achieve a fresh appearance up here in my messy attic.  Back to work.

A Birthday at Our House

Hubby had a birthday.  There is no one in the world that I would rather celebrate!  This guy isn’t just a funny, nice guy–he’s my best friend and an inspiring, cute, silly, fun, responsible, committed dad.  Very hands on.  Totally amazing in a crisis!  (For instance, gently coaxing a certain 4 year old to open his mouth for the dentist). 

So while my in-laws played with the kids, we celebrated #32 with an afternoon date to a nearby history center and sports museum.  We ended with a late lunch at one of our favorite restaurants.  We love to do things as a family, but those couple of hours of hand-holding and quiet chatting did our souls some real good.

Then we headed back home for cake with both sets of parents and our boys. The cake was yummy but a bit…stiff?  I’m not sure what happened.  I used a recipe that I’ve used three times with excellent results.  The icing was my first attempt at a buttercream (chocolate in this case).  I loved the icing, but the cake itself had a very odd texture.  No matter…the birthday boy enjoyed it, and that’s what matters.

Easing into the new year

We had a nice quiet celebration of the new year, and we continued the fun on Saturday with a trip to the natural history and art museums.  Both little fellows had a grand time.  Dinosaurs were the biggest hit for our older son, but the art wasn’t lost on him.  As we were headed to our car, he asked, “Can I paint today?”  We stopped at the craft store on the way home for some new paints and brushes.  I can never resist a craft project…especially one that is initiated by a kiddo.