December 28, 2010

On backing up...

And we're back.

Yes, that was fast, wasn't it? 

That's courtesy of my kind-hearted MIL who made it possible to replace what was lost so fast.  Bless you, Mama B.  You're a gem!

To clarify?  We haven't replaced the documents...the files...the pictures...(sob).  That recovery is still in the balance and being worked on furiously. 

We have replaced my fried computer with a lovely and much upgraded version.  (insert happy emoticon here in place of yesterday's overwhelmed/crying/blubbering mess emoticon) Hubby's upgrade/replacement will wait a bit, but we've decided to share. (gasp!  I know...share a computer?  Such a foreign concept anymore, eh?) 

And so, I'm sort of back.  (we can't let the blog suffer for months on end - I mean, priorities, right?) heh.

In the meantime, we're still at La Cabin - and trying to recover emotionally from the loss.  I mean, it took the wind right on out of our sails, and we've spent over a day now trying to remedy, find solutions, locate IT fixes, and source someone to retrieve the files - in addition to driving over three hours roundtrip to purchase a replacement.  Not exactly the "vacation" we had in mind.  Sounds dramatic, but it hits you where it hurts.  We live our lives on the computers today.  Social contacts, files, pictures, videos of our kids, addresses, websits we visit regularly - saved to our "favorites", writings, letters, scanned docs, saved e-mails, on and on and on.  You truly never realize how much you keep on your laptop...until it's all g.o.n.e.  Then you start going through the mental lists of each little thing...

And oh the chagrin.

Today I asked AB "what's the one thing that you lost that mattered the most?" - his reply is oh so true...

"All the little things"

All the little things that took years to build up.  Literally. 

Friends, backup your computers.  Backup your files.  Splurge and spend what you need to, to take care of this simple fix.  Backed-up files equal much relief when your computer takes a nosedive out of the blue.  Or when, say, a bad power cord fries three computers at once.  Like that.  Or whatever...

This advice is free to you - but so costly for us.

You're welcome...


December 27, 2010

Spoke. Too. Soon.

so after I posted today?  After I said that all is perfect?  Lovely?  Happy?

We had a disaster of sorts.

A series of events led to the death of not just AB's computer - but mine as well. 

Dead.  As a doornail.

Not just our computers, but my Father In-Laws as well. 

Yes, you read that right.  The grand total is 3 dead computers - beyond help.  No hope.  Not coming back.  Say goodbye.  (waving her hand...annnnnnnnd....scene.)

Good thing about small towns - there is a very kind IT fellow close by who stopped by the house to assess the damage.  Yes, stopped by the house.  Loving that kind of service.

But the diagnosis?

Ummm.  I repeat:


As a doornail.

No hope.

All three of them.

So here's the bottom line.  We are without computer.  (well, ok - except this one which does not belong to us) I'm borrowing my MIL's computer to tell all of you that it certainly seems, short of a miracle, I'll be skipping this week's posts.

Fotunately, I create regular backups of my computer files.  Sadly, I had not backed up December (read: Christmas pictures - omg...Keira's first Christmas at home!). 

Sadder still?  All of my programs are gone.  So in this case, my files can be replaced, for the most part.  All of my many programs - not so much.  Or not without great expense, as most of them were digital versions. 

We're getting the hard-drives taken out to see if any of the files can be saved.  But I'm cringing over what was most likely lost.  Permanently.  Like addresses.  Favorites (I have hundreds of links).  E-mails on my outlook server.  Oh!  (insert sad crying emoticon here)

Bear with me as I try to find a hoo.

Loving La Cabin Life


Only 24-hours in and we’re soaking up the comfort of a roaring fire alternating with brisk walks to explore the beauty all around us.  Hot coffee and homemade bread, with being bundled up in all our gloves and winter garb to take in the outdoors.  I have to say, the children are truly as happy as I’ve ever seen them.  There is a tangible level of peace and comfort here that they just seem to soak up.  Being around family, enjoying the cocoon that being together 24-7 provides us, and having lots of time and attention to love on each other.  What else could compare?

Among the many firsts this year has provided, we mourned the loss of my sweet kitty, Chloe – after seventeen years together.  To say she is missed – well, that’s clearly an understatement.  We lost Kaleigh in April and Chloe in December.  Still, our sweet and faithful Anabelle is our ever constant and a tremendous source of comfort amongst the loss.  So, in the spirit of togetherness, we made the decision to bring her along on this trip – a very rare treat indeed.  What a wonderful choice!  She is soaking up her surroundings with great joy. 

Today is a day for laughing, exploring, and yes – eating some great food.  (truly, is there anything better than good food?  I think not.)

“Excerpts” from our long walk this morning – ammmmaaaazzzzinggggg!!

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IMG_9424 IMG_9435  IMG_9469

December 26, 2010

Sweet Holidays

Heading to La Cabin for a week of relaxation and rest.  

Hoping your Christmas was and is filled with many joyful moments of celebration.  None the least of which is a Savior born to Save!

Don't forget that time is slipping away to get in on the super spectacular SEASONS package over at Bushel & A Peck Designs - these are HOT, so grab one up.  They are going fast and the special Holiday price is going with them - only $100 for FOUR DESIGNS!  (where else can you find that?!?!?)

More to come from the peaceful woods soon to surround us...I can feel my inspiration rising!

December 23, 2010


I’ve been spending a lot of time highlighting Mr. Q on here – and I’m not sure how that happened.  Maybe because the princess – aka, the dreamboat baby – aka, the blessing – aka the most wonderful little girl EVAH’…well she’s so busy being adorable that I guess I’m cathartically writing about what seems to come to the surface when I can finally sit down and put a sentence together.  And what comes to the surface seems to the be struggle.  And getting it out seems to help.

But there really aren’t enough good things I can say about Keira.  And that’s a whole big post unto itself.  And as we are fast approaching her 1-year mark with us (I know…take a minute and gasp…I just did! How did that happen?) I have many things rolling around that I’d like to say about that year.  Many things.  And that’s going to be a cathartic piece as well.
In the meantime, here’s the bit you need to know.  She is a delightful, loving, friendly, sweet natured, adorable, and DELICIOUS child.  We are so upside down in love with her, there is no hope for us.  Call off the search party – because honey, we are never coming back from this kind of love.  It’s o-v-e-r for us.  That’s a glimpse.  And here’s the unique part – it didn’t happen over night.  It happened over an entire year.  And that was not what we expected, as you know.  For Quint it was instant love at first sight and never changed.  For Keira…well it has taken time and care and time and love and time and more time. 


She’s worth every. single. second of it!

Oh, and I must say…I’ve never – repeat thatnever – seen my husband so completely upside down, messed up in-love with a little girl, so hook-line-and-sinker for this little princess…he is wrecked, friends. 


So am I for that matter.  Utterly. 

And we’re oh-so-happy to be wrecked.  Life is so good with Missy Lou-Lou…and that was a long time coming.

December 22, 2010


So to help with the this struggle I keep telling you about, that is my beautiful boy - we looked for a resource that would help him learn some new skills.  I had a hard time with school.  The idea of school, for Quint.  I wasn't totally crazy about it - I can tell you.  Because I wanted to do it all.  Or thought I had to do it all - be all of it, and all that jazz.

And I didn’t want to traumatize him.  There was that.

Or seem lazy – because I’m a stay at home Mom.  I didn’t want it to seem like I was giving up.  Completely the opposite.  He’s my baby boy and I wanted what was best for him.  Something to help him out.  Something to stimulate his active mind and high energy level.

And also?  In the background of my mind?  Something that might offer me a chance to breath, re-group, and maybe even afford me some time to bond with little Keira.

We were having a hard time acclimating Quint to socialization.  He’s friendly.  Really friendly.  Too friendly.  Tackle you, take-you-down-to-show-his-love kind of friendly.  I was worried he’d be a bit much for his teachers to handle, let alone his classmates.

Turns out?  Not so much.  I think we worry about whether what our kids are doing is ok or not ok way more than we need to. 

And school turned out to be the best thing for my boy. 

This was the Fall Harvest Party.  And I’m a bit late in posting, but as I was looking over the pics again the other day, I loved the story they tell so much, that I had to share them.

 IMG_6877  IMG_6900  IMG_6880

He’s so HAPPY!  He has some very sweet friends and wonderful opportunities
 that he just doesn't get at home with the ol' Mommy Monster. (ahem)

IMG_6801  IMG_6920  IMG_6857

  He soaks up all the fun stuff and jumps right in.  No hesitation.
Hello Mr. Fireman!  Why yes, I would love to have my picture taken with you.


He has made friends and more friends…priceless.


It does not hurt that his teacher LOVES him.  Love, love, loves him.
That she just happened to have adopted two children herself.
That she has a soft spot for Quint and really "sees" him.
And we love her too…that doesn't hurt either.


Sometimes, I think we might need the things we’re afraid of.
It helps us grow and it makes us stronger. 
And wiser.
And cuter.


Maybe not that last one, but it certainly seems like he gets cuter by the day.

For now, it’s two days a week.  Next year, maybe three.  Either way, I’m happy we didn’t let the fear win.  He’s a spectacular boy – and he surprises me all the time with his fun-loving nature.  We just need to take it one day at time around here...hoping my sweet little man will find his way out of this "stage".

Until then...

December 19, 2010

Missing them…


This whole having my parents across the nation thing is really turning out to be a bummer…especially now that we have kids.

Having them here for a month was, in many ways, so comforting and normal for me.  And for the kids?  Oh, it was more than that.

Quint sat in my Dad’s lap every day.  In the red chair.  Snuggling, laughing, playing, talking, watching TV, sharing a snack or some of my Dad’s tea.  It was a ritual they started and kept each day they were together. 

And both kids still ask for them DAILY.  Nina?  Papa?  Me see Papa?  Me see Nina?  Nina home?  Papa home?

Why do we have to live apart from the people we love and that love us most in the world?  So sad…

Especially around the holidays?

We’re missing them…

(and since I know you read the to you both!  We miss you every day!)

December 17, 2010

Mommy Monster

That’s my nickname.  The Mommy Monster.  Self-appointed. Sort of.  It came up as a joke one day and it sort of...well, stuck.  A little too well.  

And I used to say that he was Mommy's little monster...and when he stated - no demanded - that this is what he wanted to be for Halloween, I thought to myself "how appropriate".  

Well, it’s hard.  Much harder than I anticipated.  This is a sweet boy.  A good boy.  A boy that I love and cherish every day.  But for my life, he is aging me.  Whether it be “boy” antics, my general lack of patience, or his un-ending need to be in control of all things – I can’t really say for sure.  Maybe a little of each.  Or a lot of each.

Every day seems to be a challenge.  The good days of fun and laughter and truly enjoying each other are, well not so much happening at the moment.  We’re more or less struggling to make it.  He and I.  We are both very strong willed.  And let’s just clear this up – I’m not caving.  Not to a 3-year old.  No way.  No how.  And maybe that’s part of it.  My complete unwillingness to bend to the will of a 3 year old.  But I’m here to tell you – it’s not gonna happen.  He would have us eating chocolate for all major meals, watching back to back episodes of Scooby Doo, and screaming at the top of our lungs and tackling poor Keira for 22 of the 24 hours in any given day.  So no.  I’m not caving. 

But the not caving?  It takes a toll.  Because everything is a struggle.  Everything is a fight.  I’m exhausted by the end of the day, emotionally.  There is very little that he doesn’t want his way and his way only.  And the temper…he has even started HUFFING at me.  Huffing and SIGHING.  Rolling his eyes at me.  Oh for the love of Gouda Cheese.  This cannot be!  It’s too soon to start these games.  Games that I am in no mood for.  And he does not get away with it.  Let’s be clear.  Oh no.  He does not.  But I can’t help but wonder if my attitude in general is the bigger problem.

Little bit about me:  I’m not very patient.  I’m not a roll on the floor, happy-happy, spunky, fun, let’s play “tackle the Mommy” kind of gal.  This is vulnerable to admit, because I guess you could tell me that that’s a shame.  That you’re sorry my kids are stuck with me.  And I’m not sure I would disagree in a way.  Even though I would be lost without them.  They are kind of stuck with me.

I’m a tow the line kind of Mom.  Crack the whip.  Stay in line.  Don’t back-talk.  Pick up your toys.  Let’s wipe your nose.  Did you brush?  Eat your food.  Not right now, I’m sorting laundry.  Don’t jack with the dog.  Don’t make a mess.  Are you seriously pushing your sister again?  Did you just bite your brother?  Is it not naptime yet?  Where are my keys?  You flushed your Lightening McQueen underwear down the toilet, for real?  No, I’m not kidding.  If I have to tell you again…

I’m that Mom.  The Mommy Monster.

And don’t bother hating me.  I already loathe that I inadvertently picked that Mom card before I ever had kids and not the joyful Pollyanna Mommy Card.  I think it’s the OCD, Type-A unfortunate happenstance that’s killing me here.  Not knowing before that I would spend a lot of these early years in a dreary type of overwhelmed state…just ignorant really.  Because in my head it was so much more romantic and grand and constantly a wonder.  Ahem.

And my struggles with Quint – well they just compound the already sharp parenting stage set in my mind.  He’s been taking me to the mat daily, since nine months old.  Never letting go of his need to control.   Hyper-vigilant to win.  Argue.  Stand his ground.  Make me work for it.

And I do try.  I am at constant war with the Mommy Monster.  Always trying to push her down a bit and find a better way to cope. 

So, we play.  We laugh.  We read together.  We take walks and go to the park.  We tickle and act silly and play with toys.  I’m not a drill-sergeant – although some days it certainly feels like all I do is yell or get frustrated too quickly or bark orders or lose my cool or throw my patience out the door…


I want to see all the beauty, day in and day out of my children growing up.  But I spend a lot of time stuck in the trenches of resistance.  Resistance to letting go of my former pre-Mommy Monster life.  Resistance to  allowing my house to become a dumping ground, in general.  Resistance to having a toddler that is so full of laughter and life and love – but that seems to take joy in antagonizing those around him.  Whether it be me, his sister, his dog…even his friends.  Picking him up from school is like a cross between happy to see him – because I adore him – and cringing to hear what the teacher might have to say about his behavior for the day.  Cringing that we now return to our regularly scheduled program of “The Mommy Monster”.  Because that’s what I seem to become.

And I guess I don’t have to tell all of you this, about me.  I guess I really don’t.  Because it is vulnerable and it is somewhat sacred.  And transparent.  You know, that I’m not perfect. (I know…not a big newsflash there)  That I struggle every day.  That despite what it looks like maybe on the outside, on the inside we’ve all got something we’re walking through.  And parenting is the hardest relationship I’ve ever tried to build in my life. 

But I think there is something more important to my transparency and that is a sense of understanding.  For the person reading this that feels the same way that I do – and needs to be affirmed in that troublesome place.  We are much more common than you might think.  The Mommy Monsters.  And I hate to be cliché, but perhaps the first step is admitting you have a problem with the way you relate to your kids.  I don’t have it figured out at all.  But a sense of community always helps.  Just knowing you are NOT the only one – hearing those words - “I’m not the only one who is going through this.  We’re not unique”.  There is comfort there. 

For what it’s worth, I certainly don’t want to waste so much time feeling like my head might pop off.  I don’t want to do battle with my son.  I don’t want to be the Mommy Monster.  Angry, frustrated, depleted, and spent. 

And I think there is a point when you can admit to yourself that you might be the problem.  I might be the problem here.  I am too impatient.  I am quick to anger.  I am not as loving and kind as I would like to see myself be.  Not as gentle.  A little too quick to react. 

The sad thing is that time is slipping by – and if I don’t change my approach…well, it will be gone.  These precious moments of the early years.  Gone too soon, and with them my ability to enjoy them.  They are only little once.  There is a reason people tell you to “enjoy them now”.  There is a reason we look back and remember the good over the bad and see our sweet babies in pictures and become weepy.  This is a sweet time – a cocoon of innocence and tenderness that is fleeting.  

Yes, we are bound to have our not so glamorous moments of parenting. But not enjoying them because we’re too stressed out all the time?  Not changing the way we parent or approach our strong-willed kids so that we can soak up more of the good in them?  See their hearts and who they are at their core, and not just the behavior?  Not reigning in our own anger and frustration so that we can find a more manageable way to get through to their hearts - and not just their heads? 

I think anything less will only leave heavy regret. And I think I've been settling for just getting by.

Can I live with that?

-The Mommy Monster


December 15, 2010

Slipping away

Quint and I spent a while looking at old pictures today.  Old as in, when he was a baby.  Two and a half years have flown by (and taken their sweet time, hello terrible 2’s…) 

He sat on my lap and we talked about each picture, what he was doing at that time, and how old he was.  We even came across pictures from his first Christmas with us.  And while he was ooh-ing and aww-ing at himself, and completely distracted by the pictures of him opening presents – I was feeling a little misty.  I was moved with nostalgia.

He has changed so much from that little guy…


to who he is today…
 IMG_6307    IMG_6330



My oh my…that little man of mine…

And two years from now, I’ll be looking at these pictures and wondering where the time went…and how much he has changed from this little guy to the way he will be then.

I’m going to really miss these early years…so fleeting and fast.  They are precious few and short.

December 14, 2010

The Zoo




We take a yearly excursion to our local zoo – and it’s one of the best in the country.  We had an amazing day – and the kids absolutely loved it.  One of the things I love so much about being a Mom is seeing the world through the eyes of my children.

Hands-down, one of the best perks – don’t you think?

December 13, 2010

Who’s the winner?

December Give-Away

Yes, the weekend has come and gone and the Blog Makeover Contest has ended…(so sad)

Everyone who entered got their name in Santa’s Hat – and out came a lovely name, and a lovely winner

Ashley at Expecting Miracles – you’re the lucky gal who just won a Full Bushel Blog Makeover from Bushel & A Peck Designs

Remember when I said that the sweet person who nominated the winner would also get a special treat?  Well, it’s the spirit of Christmas after all…the season of giving.  The joy of…oh enough

Em?  Em from Snowflakes are one of a Kind?  Ashley’s kind nominator?  You ALSO won a Free Full Blog Makeover from Bushel & A Peck Designs!  Yes, yes you did indeed.  (I know, awesome, right?  I do LOVE me a good give-away!)

Both of you can contact me at to get started on your new design. Congratulations to you BOTH!

To all of you who entered, many thanks!  You are ALL deserving!  If it makes you feel any better – I have a great $40 price tag on the Full Bushel Package right now.  That’s the big un’!  Merry Christmas to you, eh?  Head over to the Design site and let’s get you started!

Anyone else up for a new look?  It’s almost 2011 after all…new look, new vibe, commitment to more writing and expressing?  Trust me when I tell you, a new look on the blog somehow lights the fire!  It’s so refreshing…

Meanwhile, here’s a pretty picture I took at our local zoo.  And I have no idea the significance of this picture for this post, but I just thought I’d share.  Muah!


December 10, 2010

It's your last chance

Today is your LAST DAY to nominate someone fabulous-o
(or even yourself!) for a wonderful free Blog Makeover!  

This is it!  Tell a friend...spread the word.  Post it on your blog, Twitter, Facebook (why not?  come on...takes two minutes!).  It's your good day Christmas Deed!  Someone might really need this!

Leave a comment with the link to your nomination (be sure to only refer blogger formats) and the reason why you think they or YOU deserve this fun gift.  Everyone entered will get a name in Santa's Hat and a lucky winner will be drawn this weekend - with an extra surprise for the person who enters the nominee that wins (unless it's you...and your blog...and then...well, you win - so there)!!  

Be sure you tell your nominee that you've entered their blog in the contest.  We don't want party poopers who pass on this fun stuff.  (boo...hiss).  Unless it's you.  And...well you know the rest.

Easy peasy, 1-2-3

1.  Click to leave a comment
2.  Nominate someone deserving that uses the blogger format
3.  Leave a link to both the nominee and yourself (unless...well, you nominated You)

Also?  If you haven't taken advantage of my new special blog design package "Seasons"...

You REALLY need to.  I have yet to see a product like this one on the blog design market, and especially not at this price!  Click the picture above to read all about how you can get FOUR fresh blog designs for the New Year for only $100.00.  You choose when, what, where...all that good stuff.  You even choose the design kits.  

It's a great opportunity to inspire and help you keep that New Year's resolution you're bound to blog more in 2011!!


December 7, 2010

Not too late

Between the lot of us, we read hundreds of blogs.  Hundreds.  And I know it's easy to miss the designs with Google Reader, Bloglines, and all that jazz.  But I can almost guarantee that someone you follow would love to have this makeover!

So take a minute and nominate them!

Ok, so you can't think of anyone?  Yes, it's been done.  And it's ok.  You can even nominate yourself.  It's not taboo!  Maybe you really need it?

Regardless - here's the deal:

Leave a comment with the link to your nomination (be sure to only refer blogger formats) and the reason why you think they deserve this fun gift.  Everyone entered will get a name in Santa's Hat and a lucky winner will be drawn this coming weekend - with an extra surprise for the person who enters the nominee that wins!!  

(Maybe be sure you tell them you've entered their blog in the contest?  We don't want anyone winning a prize they might not necessarily want? I'll say it again poopers.

Easy peasy, 1-2-3

1.  Click to leave a comment
2.  Nominate someone deserving that uses the blogger format
3.  Link to nominee and yourself

Get to it!  Tis' the season my friends...consider it your good deed for the day!
Friday is the deadline for entries...


December 6, 2010

the perkiest party girl

I don't like to brag, unless it's about my kids.  Then?  It's off the chart bragging brags-alot.

A sweet friend e-mailed this to me today (thanks so much, Jenn!) - after spotting it in her e-mail.  I'm not on the mailing list, so I never got it.

I know we did the shoot.  I know they didn't get a lot of good pics from it.  And I kind of left it on the cutting room floor while assuming they were glad my clingy, whiny girl had left the building (after almost 1.5 hours of cajoling).  I forgot about it, really.  It was a bit of a miserable shoot and I assumed they had moved on or chosen someone else.

But no, they didn't

Proud of you perky party girl baby!  You rock Mama's world!

December 3, 2010

Give-Away...tis the season

It's that time again...yes, Bushel & A Peck Designs is giving away yet another fabulous Blog Makeover!  

In the spirit of the season, we're going to bless someone special!

Time to nominate someone you feel deserves a fun bloggie makeover!  Maybe this is someone who really needs a fresh look?  Someone who makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside when you read their posts?  Someone who should have more traffic than they do - because they ARE that good?  NOMINATE THEM!

Leave a comment with the link to your nomination'(be sure to only refer blogger formats) and the reason why you think they deserve this fun gift.  Everyone entered will get a name in Santa's Hat and a lucky winner will be drawn next week - with an extra surprise for the kind person who enters the nominee that wins!!  

(Maybe be sure you tell them you've entered their blog in the contest?  We don't want anyone winning a prize they might not necessarily want?  Phshaw on them though if they don' poopers.)

Ok, so get to it!  It's so simple.

1.  Click to leave a comment
2.  Nominate someone deserving that uses the blogger format
3.  Link to nominee

Easy peasy!

Tis the Season!!

December 2, 2010

She’s the one…

It was a year ago today.  And I’m lousy with anniversaries, because I’m just forgetful.  But this one is etched in my heart because that wait…oh that wait my friends.  Took the lifeblood right on out of me.  Times five years.

Maybe you were following along back then, a year ago – when our world stood still for a whole day while we waited and wondered and cried and laughed and rejoiced?  If not, you can read it HERE and HERE.

But if you were, then you already know that it was the most amazing moment.  Filled with happiness and joy and so much excitement...and her…

Keira Joy - 1      Keira Joy - 2     Keira Joy - 3

And you can click here to see a special video of the moment we saw her face for the first time.  We don’t do small.  No, we are a family of big reactions. 

I guess it goes without saying that all those January days following our referral were etched with pain and heartache.  And a long, long road to healing and acceptance.  Because not everything is perfect.  Not everything can be situated exactly how we want it to be. 

Still, even through all the transition this year has brought to our little family, I look back on December 2nd – a year ago now – and I can only think about how much I love her.  How much she means to us.  How much she has changed our world.  And we are so much better for knowing her…thank God…so much better.  She’s the one.

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