Friday, December 31, 2010

A Sunny Winter Day

The weather was just gorgeous yesterday, around 70* I believe.  So we bundled up and ran outside to absorb some vitamin D and run out some wiggles.  Of course, our animals joined the party.  Come with us!

Running to the pond!


 Brandt practices standing on our decrepit old picnic table.


  Jack gets a little personal during his ear scratch :-)


 Clyde gets a little personal, too.  Hello, Clyde.


I placed Brandt on the ground and he was just mesmerized.

"Oh Mama!  It's just so beautiful and exciting out here!"

"Look at the ground!  Look at the grass!"

"Is this edible?"

He stayed on the ground pawing it like a bull for about 5 minutes.  
He's an outdoors type of guy.

And here is our precious Missy.  We are Missy's 4th recorded home.  I say recorded because she was found as a stray so who knows what happened before then.  The man that gave her to us had her spayed at my request and once she was under and they went to find her uterus it wasn't there.  So apparently she'd already been spayed.  That's quite an ordeal to go through twice, but the sweet girl hasn't let on any embitterment.  In fact, she just loves, loves, loves. 


 She loves to be loved, too.


 I know if Charissa kept hugging her for a couple days she would stay in this exact position.


Unless maybe a winged creature came by.  
Missy kills winged creatures.  
Just ask my 7 dearly departed guinea hens.  
Oh well, having a wonderful dog was higher on my priority list.


 The pond is one of Clyde's favorite places.  He'll just sit and survey.  
He particularly enjoys watching and participating in fishing.  
You have to be careful where the lure goes.  
I'm sure he'll be hooked one of these days while we're casting.


"Ah, it's good to be king."

 Missy on the other hand...

"It's good to adore you, wonderful human."

You know that's what they are thinking.

Charissa stands on the table and sings,


"Go tew it on deh mowtin, ober dah hi-ows an ewewhey-er!"

And Brandt and I go swinging.


It was a beautiful day!  Wish you could have been here, too.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Life'n'stuff


- Charissa got organic bubble bath in her stocking.  I was surprised at how bubbly it gets and the kiddos love it :-)

- I just found Brandt in the bathroom eating toilet paper with the rest of the roll strewn on the floor. 

- Charissa was given an enormous chocolate lollipop from a friend.  She just finished it after 2 hours of sucking, chewing, and attempted-Brandt-feedings.   I think I'll just throw the whole house into our washer ...including Brandt. 

- I polished the hard water stains off all our glasses with hot vinegar water this morning but every dirty dish since Sunday is still on my counter.  In neat stacks, mind you.  I think I got every dish in the house dirty three times in the past 4 days.  We're still eating leftovers, so it was worth it.  But I still need to do dishes.

- I have three paper cut wounds from opening Christmas cards.  Isn't that pathetic?

- If you look closely at the picture below, someone has started writing the letter 'C'.  Yay, Miss C!

See the 'C's?
- Brandt is wearing 18 month pants and he's only 8 months old.  I finally decided to start feeding him solids regularly in an attempt to have him sleep through the night, but with more food and at the rate he's growing, he'll be in the NFL draft at age 10.  This kid isn't even close to fat.  He's a solid rock.  Charissa's chest measures 19" and Brandt's is 18".

- I made the most amazing frosting ever for Doug's birthday cake on Sunday.  I'll have to share it with you later since I'm not about to make it again anytime soon for the how-to pictures.  Well, maybe I'll have to tell you anyway since I can't deprive you much longer.

- We have an amazing collection of animal bones in our front yard thanks to the taxidermist up the street and our two rogue dogs.  Rib cages.  There are rib cages in my front yard.  It's like a horror flick.

- The Christmas cards are now New Year cards.  Here's hoping...

Monday, December 27, 2010

Our Christmas

This Christmas was our first "just us" Christmas.  It was a cozy and relaxed day.

Here is our little tree!
Apparently, I cut off the top of tree's heads as well as people's.


Charissa's fat stocking, lovingly crochet by her Great-Grandma Zeller.


MERRY FIRST CHRISTMAS, BRANDT!!!


 Charissa got a recorder in her stocking.  
It was a hit in the figurative sense and also literally to my eardrums. 


 Her main present was the Cooking & Dining Set from GreenToys.com.  
They are made out of recycled milk jugs.  How cool is that?

She immediately made me soup seasoned with salt & pepper 
while Doug was served chicken and rolls.


 Brandt's present was a dump truck, also from GreenToys.  
Currently, I'm pretty sure Charissa enjoys it more.

See her purple ball hopper?  
That's been an alternating source of great joy and injury.


 Brandt just wanted to hang out with Daddy.


We read the Christmas story and watched The Nativity.

What a simple and blessed day with my favorite people!

"For to us a Child is Born, to us a Son is given, 
and the government will be on His shoulders.
And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, 
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."

Isaiah 9:6

Hope you all had a joyous Christmas celebrating the True Gift!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Faith of a Child

A few nights ago, I sat with my little girl in my lap reading her Bible Promise book.

"Mama? My heart is bad.  It is bad inside me."

I was shocked.  Where had she ever heard that?  
She must have decided it on her own.

"Do you want a good heart, sweetie?  
Do you want Jesus to make it clean?"

"Yes."  She was sincere.  Her brown eyes wide.

Daddy came across the room.  He led her in a short and simple prayer.  

Her curly head bowed, her eyes shut tightly, 
her sweet lisp repeating each word carefully.

I kept thinking, "What is happening?  She's only two!"

As I watched, I spoke to the same One,
"Thank you,"  my heart whispered,
"For so many prayers are answered this day."

We have taught our daughter about Jesus 
for the same reason we teach her to hold our hand in the parking lot, 
not to play with knives, not to get to close to the edge of our pond.  

It means the difference between life and death.

But even more than that, when the other earthly precautions fail,
(for no precaution can escape death)
her eternal life will be secure.  

Through the simple faith and prayer of a child.

Some say children cannot understand at this age, 
their minds unable to grasp every intricacy of the Gospel story.  

But in all honesty, I am staggered by the complexities myself 
and have yet to meet anyone that has grasped it in its entirety.

For love this deep and justice this strong is more than our frail human capabilities can comprehend.

But even a small baby can understand love.

And the Holy Spirit has dwelt within a new born child (Luke 1:15),

It is a simple understanding, but I will not negate the faith of my child.  

Perhaps, it is an even purer faith than that of her elders, 
often muddied by the questions, the trials and uncertainties of life.

For Jesus is as real to her as the sun,
which she doesn't understand completely,
but she knows its name and dances in it's rays daily.



Tuesday, December 21, 2010

True Beauty

In my completely unbiased opinion,
I have the most beautiful 2 year old on the face of the earth.
I'm pretty solidly convinced.




"No more posing for pictures, Mama!"

"Okay, fine but it's with 'The Picture Smile'"



She saw an airplane.


Another cheesy smile...

Tickles!

 But her greatest beauty is on the inside.  
My kind, sweet & thoughtful helper-girl.
What would I do without you?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Our Wreath

Charissa, Brandt and I went outside today to gathered cedar branches and all kinds of berries for a wreath.  This isn't the best picture, but we're pretty proud of it.
 

 I love these berries!





 And all from our backyard :-) 

Wow, Little Man!

Today, I was in the checkout line at our local grocery store.  The cashier looked at Brandt (wearing a plaid button-up, oh be still my heart) and asked how old he was.  I responded,


 "He just turned 7 months.  I mean...


 "I guess I've been saying that for a while!  I think...


 "He's 7 and 1/2 months now.  Wait!


 "He'll be 8 months on the 21st!  That's soon isn't it?"


 The cashier smiled, "That's tomorrow.  They sure grow up fast, don't they?"

They sure do.  Wow, little man!  Time flies when you're having fun!


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Paranoid Perfection

Yesterday I mentioned how I am paralyzed by my perfectionism.  I want to do EVERYTHING just so and then end up doing nothing because I can't do it right.  Well, last night as I lay in bed patting myself on the back for these future mail-themselves Christmas cards, I had a sudden vision of horror...

What if they send my card to someone else's list?!?!?

What if my entire group of family and friends receive a photo of an aging dachshund wearing a Santa hat and the message "Merry Christmas from Santa Paws! Love the Mashamakowsky Family" while I sit here in total oblivion?  What if my friends ask, "Do we know the Mashamakowskys?" and throw it away not knowing someone really does love them and the intentions were so good?  What if complete strangers get our card and throw it away?  "Do we know the Fourtners?"

And this little voice inside me said, "Have them shipped to YOU!  Don't you DARE trust them to send your cards to the right spot!  It won't take long.  All you need is to have them mailed to you, then get envelopes and stamps and mailing labels and return labels - but that would be cheaper if you addressed them by hand... - and then just stick and lick and send and there you go!" 

As I lay there in bed with my beloved sleeping peacefully beside me, I sat up in bed and viciously whispered, "Don't you DARE!!"  Then I went to sleep.

But only after I decided to have one sent to me, too.  Just to make sure.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas-y Things

From "The Night Before Christmas" by Tasha Tudor

- Today Charissa saw Santa Clause.  She was not interested in sitting on his lap but she was very interested in the candy canes.  So Brandt sat on Santa's lap so his big sis could get a candy cane.  He's such a warrior.

- I love driving around town after dark with Charissa.  She absolutely loves the lights! 

- Charissa told me we need lights all over our house.  I muttered something about maybe someday when she is big enough to crawl all over our roof and hang them, we can have lights all over our house.  I hung lights around her room with scotch tape and they need daily maintenance. That's about all I can handle.

- I hope I don't sound like a Scrooge there.  I absolutely love the lights, too!  But hanging the things steals my Christmas joy.  What's more important?  Christmas lights or my Christmas joy?  Yeah, I think so, too.

- I tend to be paralyzed by perfectionism.  Last year, I purchased everything needed to hand stamp over 50 Christmas cards.  Yeah right.  Who am I kidding?  I actually stamped about 25 of them but then it got to the hand addressing (with the silver inked pen) and stamping (with Charissa scribbling on the back of every envelope - aw, so cute) when I threw up my hands and ate about 20 Christmas cookies.  I think I ended up printing off a few pictures of the kids and handed them around to relatives if I thought about it.

- This year, I started to compile an address list (*cough* today *cough*) which I will plug into the card printing database which will then send my drag-and-drop Christmas card for me!  It might end up being a New Years card...or perhaps an Easter card...but I'm not getting ink all over my fingers, folks, and they might even end up getting sent.

- Every time Charissa sees a Nativity she says, "Look Mama!  Mawee an' Joseph and duh wise men and duh angoos!  And Mama, BABY JESUS was bown on Chwismas, Mama!  He was BOWN!"  And that makes my heart sings :-)

Hope you are all having a wonderful Advent season!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Baby Mine


Oh Baby Mine, why do you grow so quickly?
You wore the new shoes only three times and now they sit on your dresser top, to small for your busy feet.


With each morning you wake a whole new person full of blossoming talents I have never seen before.
I am startled when I see your baby pictures.  Were you really that small?  How did this happen?


You sleep all night but I wake repeatedly to stare at your peaceful face.  Watch your chest rise and fall.  Hear the soft snores.
You need me for food, clothing, comfort, and love.
But while I watch you sleep, I realize how completely I need you. 


Don't grow up to fast, Baby Mine.