31 December 2009

Best Day of the Year

Today was, hands down, the best day of my year so far, for one reason:

I slept in!

My darling, wonderful, handsome, super duper, selfless husband offhandedly asked last night if I'd like to sleep in today.

Umm, yes.

And I did, until about 8:30, when I snuck into the kitchen on literal tiptoes and grabbed some coffee, then ran back to my bedroom where I camped out with my Bible, journal, and pen until sometime around 10 a.m.

It was bliss, and after finishing my devotional book, I got all organized with my resolutions (only one for 2010) and goals (oh, about 40) and whatnot. If heaven could be on earth, I think it would involve staying in bed until 10 a.m. with coffee and quiet.

I also realized that when I get 10 hours of sleep, I can tackle the world with a smile. I was definitely nicer today than, say, yesterday, when I got up around 7 to listen to little people bickering over their cartoons, Legos, couch space, and just about anything else they could think of. If I could have a nanny just for the hours between 7 and 9 a.m., I'd be a much nicer person. Or, if I could freeze my children between those same hours, and let them thaw slowly while I (also slowly) wake up, we'd all be very happy.

Instead, I get up at 7 and learn about righteousness while I try to teach the kids the same thing. For the record, I don't really like having to learn about righteousness. I like sleeping in better. I think the last time I didn't get up with the children was in July, when I had surgery. And before that? I have no idea; it certainly wasn't in 2009.

But not today! Today was a banner day with nobody arguing or begging for food, having to let the dogs out or do anything else for anybody else. It was fantastic.

However, when I sweetly asked Pace if he'd like to bless me with the same thing tomorrow morning, he belted out a "No!" faster than I could blink.

I can't say I blame him. He's got a good thing going, and he knows it. Sleeping in is nice.

30 December 2009

My Boy

Waiting for the Christmas Eve service to start

I realized tonight, while tucking my boys in, that on this day exactly nine years ago, I found out I was going to be a mom. Oddly, I also made that realization at exactly 8:06 p.m., which is Caiden's "special time"--the time when he was born. (We celebrate (loudly) anytime we look at the clock and see a family member's special time on the clock.) Grayson is convinced he's not very special because he's almost always napping during his, so he rarely gets celebrated. Poor middle child.

Anyway, it was a happy moment, looking at the clock and realizing I've been at some point on this motherhood walk for nine years, and that so far, I'm still alive. And so are the kids, which on some days is a Serious Miracle. Literally, actually. We've survived numerous hospitalizations, surgeries, croup attacks, stitches, broken bones, black eyes, episodes of vomiting, sibling rivalry, picky eaters, loud talkers, and years--8 straight, actually--of diapers. I've been pregnant a total of 27 months, nursed another 27, and taken oh, about a zillion pregnancy tests. One in the Fort Worth Public Library, and not a few at Wal Mart. It has been a wild ride--precious, hard, hilarious, too fast, too slow, germy, questioning, growing. I'm thankful for each day composing these nine years, and especially for the little boy who's now fast asleep, who started this trip.

Happy first day, Caiden. You are more than I could've asked for, in every which way, and I'm so glad I've got you. These first nine years have been really great. Let's make the rest even better.

29 December 2009

How We Bake

When we get an urge to do some baking around here, we do a little shopping with the kids. If they behave, they can walk, but if not, in the cart they go!

Once we get home, it's essential to dress appropriately. Chef's hat and ballerina costume not optional.

Also not optional is a sunlit moment of hand-on-hip pondering and gazing out the window at the roses.

As always, baking is for sharing. Even if the cupcakes are stuffed.

28 December 2009

Tom had a good Christmas

because he didn't get eaten for Thanksgiving!

Here he is, surveying his first snow.

Lucky turkey.

27 December 2009

A Sweet Present

Look what I got for Christmas! A new niece! My sister-in-law, Janae, went into labor Christmas morning, and by evening we had the sweetest gift we've ever gotten for Christmas, little miss Jae Elizabeth.

Last night we went to visit her, and Caiden was beside himself to get to hold her. He thought it was funny she has so much hair but was quite impressed with her wrinkly pink toes.

Dear Janae, way to go! You did it!! Welcome to motherhood, the best thing ever. I'm so excited to have you join the Club with me and Les. We love you and will definitely go to lunch in April when Les comes out, to celebrate together!!

(And hey, don't forget about those sitz baths and the inflatable donut--after delivering a near-9 pound baby, they'll be your best friends and make life worth living again.)

p.s. So when can I babysit?? I think you and Dan need a date night around here sometime soon!

25 December 2009

Merry Christmas!

TO: Papa & Grammy, Pop & Mimi, Grandpa & Grandma Angie,
Uncle Jer & Aunt Nessie, Uncle D & Aunt Janae, Uncle Robert & Aunt Cyndi, Uncle Ken & Aunt Meg, and Uncle Joey & Aunt Ellie:

Merry Christmas from Caiden, Grayson, and Addison!

We love you!!

We hope your Christmas is merry and bright and is filled with many blessings!! (and toys, says Grayson)

(We also apologize for this less-than-awesome photo--we were hungry and cranky, and Mom's not a very good photographer.)

We miss you each and will see you soon!

23 December 2009

An Early Christmas

Thank you for the insanity love yesterday. I always feel better knowing I'm not the only person who doesn't have her act together all the time most of the time ever.

Having family in the week before Christmas definitely adds to the craziness but is oh-so-worth it!

Reading books in bed with Grammy (Addie is in there, somewhere!)

Watching football by treelight

Sharing breakfast and cheesy smiles. (Sorry about the before-makeup photo, Mom. You still look cute.) Pardon the wall words falling off the wall and dusty furniture--the kitchen reno ate my lunch and still isn't finished!

Opening presents and modeling them

And playing with those presents. Note: The Series of Unfortunate Events game says "8 and up," but should say "IQ of 208 and up." It's hard!

We also went to a Cub Scouts award ceremony, ate tons of pumpkin pie, drank peppermint hot chocolate and stayed up until past 1 a.m. two mornings in a row watching Survivor. It was a great pre-Christmas celebration, and the best part was knowing that the next time we see my parents, they will live here!

And with that, I'm off to tackle today's list . . . Happy 23rd to you!!

22 December 2009

Three Days to Go . . .

until Christmas, and I felt very on top of it last Friday, when I spent an hour online and did all of my husband's shopping, but then Saturday my parents came in town, and somehow I unravelled. Now it's Tuesday, and I need to:

*wrap all of my family's gifts while watching my favorite old Christmas movies

*shop for Christmas Eve and Christmas meals

*mail packages to extended family--which are destined to be late, as usual

*clean my house, which looks like a tornado hit it inside

*bake cupcakes for the worship team at church to enjoy between services

*go to services and hold sweet babies in the nursery

*and probably something else that I've already forgotten.

So much for feeling on top of it! But unless you're super-efficient (like my mom), you're probably in the same boat as I am, and that seems to make me feel much, much better!

And, if you are as crazy as I am, then you might've also decided to have your kitchen and dining room walls and cabinetry painted the week before Christmas.
(Getting ready to cover the fridge and ovens before spraying--madness!)

My husband thought I was nuts but grudgingly obliged when I promised him stellar results and said he could forsake buying me any gifts if he let me get the job done. (And, happily, he disregarded that and bought me presents anyway. I love that man! And, they turned out SO GREAT! I'll post "After" pictures once my pulls/knobs arrive!!) So this is self-induced insanity, but that seems par for the course around here. Like I've said before here, it's always something . . .

What do you have left to do? Are you super-organized and ready for Christmas, or are you feeling slightly overwhelmed and losing sleep with me? Tell me I'm not alone, somebody!!

21 December 2009

A Sneak Peek

Here's a peek into what was going on all last week:
Any guesses? It's a common theme with me, if you've known me very long . . .

19 December 2009


Three Hartfield boys, crammed in a chair, getting some bedtime sugar. Things I love about this:

Grayson is wearing a hat--Grayson is always wearing a hat, so that's no surprise. But at this point, he'd been wearing that hat for 72 hours straight, and Pace made him take it off at bedtime because he was afraid his hair would fall out. Grayson pointed out that it would be okay if it did, since he had a hat on. And those cheeks! Bliss right there.

Caiden's face--Caiden is a love sponge. That's his trademark expression, and he just oozes with happiness and cheese. I'm crazy about him.

Pace's dad's face--this is a man who's lived through two boys and a girl of his own, and he generally just smiles and shakes his head at mine. By 8 p.m. he was still (mostly) smiling at them--a serious accomplishment. Boys can wear a body out! And see those eyes? That's where Grayson gets his from. Pace's sister has the same sky blue, amazing eyes. Thanks Bob, for passing them on--they're going to be responsible for some serious girl trouble in the future.

17 December 2009


See her? That's my brother's wife, Janae. She's pregnant, and in a bathroom with my nephew, which makes me laugh. She was drinking oj like crazy to get ready for her 4D ultrasound, and then the sonographer told her she needed an empty bladder, not a full one. Oops. Anyway, isn't she cute? And super stylish. And tall, and skinny, and it's a good thing I love her, or I might not even like her.

And is this a good-lookin' group of brunettes, or what? This is me with my mom and sister and Janae and her two sisters. I used to be much blonder but went the Brunette Way after Grayson was born. And then there's my mom, who thought she was a blond, until my sister and I did a Hair Intervention shortly after this photo and won her back to the Brunette Way. Speaking of my sister, she shortly after dyed her hair slightly red. And then she cut my hair and gave me bangs. So actually, we don't look like this at all. But all for the better!

I had to wear my high boots to stick with this group of tall girls--I'm the shortest by about 4 inches. Blah.

I'm the one in the middle. See that belly? Let's pretend I'm pregnant. Except that I'm not. Still working on that baby weight. Three-and-a-half years later. I know you feel my pain. If you don't, I don't like you much. See how skinny my sister is? I don't like her much.

And I don't now how much you can zoom in on this photo, but do you see Addie's super snappy lipstick-red boots? Hit of the shower. Also notice how Catie, second from left, looks more like Addie's mom than I do. Strange, isn't it? At least we know how Catie's future children will look. Unless they, in a strange twist of fate, look like me. Hmmm. Food for thought on a Wednesday morning.

*All photos hijacked from Janae's blog, which I'd link to, but I haven't asked permission. Come to think of it, I didn't ask to hijack the photos, either. But we are sisters, after all.

16 December 2009

"Daddy, I Want a Golden Egg!"

Doesn't she look tragic? She's hungry. So I gave her an egg.

Grayson: "Hey Addie, look! You found the golden center. It's like a buried treasure! What does that yolk taste like?"



Photo Notes: See the pencil art on the wall behind Addie? Yeah, me too. Also notice Grayson's super cool use of pajamas under his t-shirt, and Addie's vintage apron tied over her velour running suit. Style icons, those two!

15 December 2009

I Made Bugs for Dinner

I really did.

(But not on purpose.)

I threw in a cup of wild rice, but I didn't really want it wild, you know.

Turns out it was crawling with bugs.

Somehow I didn't notice until 6 hours later, when the chicken and rice was ready, and I decided to add another cup of rice to it. Then I noticed the container of rice-and-bugs.

Then I noticed the dead bugs in the pot. Awesome. I'd thought they were seasonings. (Then I wondered if I need glasses.) And in a way, they are. To John the Baptist, anyway.

I did what any self-respecting cook would do: I told the kids I'd cooked bugs for dinner,

then texted my husband: "Food Emergency. Call me. Never mind. Meet me at Corner Bakery,"

which is where we went and enjoyed a nice little family dinner until Caiden announced to the entire restaurant,

"My mom made bugs for dinner."

And I couldn't even deny it.

14 December 2009

A Brotherly Exchange

This is my fake smile because I'd really rather be eating my oatmeal than posing for photos at 7:49 a.m.

And this is when I've realized that when you called me a macaroni penguin, you didn't mean that as a compliment. You were making fun of my hair. That's why it's called "bedhead," you know. Sheesh.

Actually, I'm really sort of hurt. I thought brothers were supposed to be nice to each other, especially since we just woke up and haven't had time to get mad at each yet. Right?
You know, now that I think about it, it is kind of funny. And I do like penguins. And macaroni. Okay, I'm over it. Let's go play.

Joke on nearby church matinee today: "Corduroy pillows making headlines." Fitting, isn't it?

13 December 2009

Do You See What I See?

Do you see what I see?

A child, a child, hiding in the tree,

with her blue dress, red boots and pink tights.

Do you see what I see? A child, a child, contemplating which ornament she'll steal next,

maybe even the angel at the very top.

Or maybe she'll just do some super cool dance moves instead. You never know with that girl.

But seriously, who needs presents? She's entirely entertained with the *tree itself.

*Speaking of the tree, we're believers in having the kids decorate it themselves. That's why it's not beautiful, the ornaments are clumped together, and there are no glass balls any closer than 5 feet above ground.

11 December 2009

Soft Baby

I love baby dolls, and Addie loves baby dolls, and neither of us can figure out, for the life of us, what's charming about plastic baby dolls. They're hard and cold and as un-babylike as one can get. And their hair feels a little bit creepy. Everybody knows real babies are soft and squishy and charmingly warm. And floppy.

Like this one:

There. Much better.

10 December 2009

Big Eyes

Style knows no limits around here.

09 December 2009

A Good Month

How on earth has a month gone by? I'll tell you how:

Getting ready for a visit from grandparents,


Eating, and walking, and shopping, and visiting, and fishing, and cooking, and running, and eating, and showing off chickens, all with grandparents.

Then, sliding into a Pioneer Woman book signing with friends, Christmas preparations, having our hot tub removed and deck rebuilt (It's done, hooray!) and getting Christmas lights up, and the house decorated, and lists made for Christmas shopping.

Then stopping suddenly, now that Grayson has bronchitis and is under house arrest/quarantine for a week at least, so we're housebound and not really minding,

except that it's hard to shop for Christmas and everything else when I'm home and banned from anywhere with people. Which is, of course, everywhere.

Today we're also rescuing a rogue rooster who was discovered in our field this morning, bloody from a fight with the turkey, and freezing in the 16 degree temps. Caiden carried him into the shop in our barn to warm up a little and see if we can revive him. So now he's convalescing, as well.

Then there's homeschooling, of course, and paying bills and cleaning and everything else, and somehow a month went by.

It has been a fast month, but a good month.

I just hope the next one slows down a little, you know?