A Life Stirred

Got Books?

A long time ago, I wrote a post about the hilarity that happens in my head when I read books to Joanna.  I meant to do another post with a few more of our favorite books (with my hilarious commentary, of course), but somehow 4 months flew by.  Thanks for being so patient.  Because I know you were just dying for more of my “comedy”.

First up, Baby Bear’s Books by Jane Yolen.  A book about books.  Fun.  Baby Bear really loves his books.  Like really.

This poor mama bear.  She's just trying to make dinner, and her baby bear is skateboarding.   In the house.  And asking (probably whining) for more books!

This poor mama bear. She’s just trying to make dinner, and her baby bear is skateboarding. In the house. And asking (probably whining) for more books!

Next, we’ve got one of Jo’s favorites, Millie Waits for the Mail by Alexander Steffensmeier.  (Whoa, now that’s an intense last name.   Poor guy.)  It’s about a cow who just loves mail time (or rather, terrifying the mailman).

I really like all the illustration details.  Like that pile of cow poo.  Really?  Joanna likes to find all the chickens.

I really like all the illustration details. Like that pile of cow poo. Really? Joanna likes to find all the chickens.

Also, how can you not enjoy a book where the cow wears goggles?

Also, how can you not enjoy a book where the cow wears goggles?

Lastly, I Love You Through and Through by Bernadette Rossetti Shustak (ooof…that’s a doozy of a name too!).  It’s your standard love-y board book.  And it’s a nice thought, but there are a few lines I always want to change:

Really?  Do I have to love your mad side?  I love you.  But I don't think I love when you throw tantrums.

Really? Do I have to love your mad side? I love you.  And I love you when you through tantrums.  But I don’t particularly *love* that side of you.

I feel like it's unkind to say I love your sad side.  Like I love when you're sad...?  Maybe I'm reading too much into this...

I feel like it’s unkind to say I love your sad side. Like I love when you’re sad…? Maybe I’m reading too much into this…

So, do you have any favorite kid books?  Or anything in your kid’s books that make you laugh?

 

 

Advertisements
Leave a comment »

A Belated Christmas Post

Before Christmas, random old people at Walmart (and a few friends) would exclaim, “Oooooh, Christmas is going to be so much fun this year!”  People were just so excited for us to have a fun Christmas.

And I was excited too.  But last year, I had these picturesque visions of what Joanna’s first Christmas would be like.  I had visions of that under-the-tree-Christmas-Eve picture.  I imagined her pulling new blocks out of her stocking.  I dreamed about her opening her presents and loving the wrapping paper and boxes instead.  I pretty much had the perfect Christmas planned out.  Except that Ben and Jo got the flu.  And I spent the day finding an open store so I could buy some medicine and fluids (thank you, Rite Aid, for being open).

At least I got an under-the-tree picture before the flu hit.   (Christmas 2012)

At least I got an under-the-tree picture before the flu hit. (Christmas 2012)

So this year, I held back on having an expectations.  Lest I be disappointed by reality.  And guess what?!

We had an awesome Christmas!!  It really was “so much fun.”  Just like everyone said it would be.

I think it really helped to have no expectations.  (Seriously, I think I could be a happier person if I didn’t have so many expectations about everything.)  But I did just want to share some of the awesomeness of this Christmas (I figure since we’re still within a month of Christmas it’s still permissible).

Christmas 2013 in 13 pictures:

Introducing Claire to my grandparents!  So fun.

Introducing Claire to my grandparents! So fun.

Sisters on Christmas Eve.

Sisters on Christmas Eve.

Our family after Christmas Eve service.  Some of us may have been grumpier than it appears here...

Our family after Christmas Eve service. Some of us may have been grumpier than it appears here…

Claire tried to wait up for Santa.  Missed him.

Claire tried to wait up for Santa. Missed him.

He left her a candy cane.

He left her a candy cane

Joanna pulled a cereal bar out of her stocking and wanted to eat it before she got anything else out.

Joanna pulled a cereal bar out of her stocking and wanted to eat it before she got anything else out.

Claire, on the otherhand, was pretty into opening things quickly.  (Not pictured:  Joanna opening presents like she was trying to save the wrapping paper.)

Claire, on the otherhand, was pretty into opening things quickly. (Not pictured: Joanna opening presents like she was trying to save the wrapping paper.)

Too much excitement for the baby.

Too much excitement for the baby.

4 generations of Morses!

4 generations of Morses!

Cousins!  Joanna loved "the boys."

Cousins! Joanna loved “the boys.”

Seriously.  She loved them.  I think Claire might've felt like a 3rd wheel.

Seriously. She loved them. I think Claire might’ve felt like a 3rd wheel.

Nap success!  Finally.  Not  pictured:  All the crying and fussing and fighting-sleep that happened prior to this picture.

Nap success! Finally. Not pictured: All the crying and fussing and fighting-sleep that happened prior to this picture.

After 2 days of traveling in yicky weather, we came home to a frozen house.  So we bundled up and watched a movie while Ben thawed our pipes.

After 2 days of traveling in yicky weather, we came home to a frozen house. So we bundled up and watched a movie while Ben thawed our pipes.

Disclaimer:  Our Christmas trip was great.  And it exceeded my expectations (or lack thereof).  But it wasn’t perfect.  I’m choosing to highlight the good (so don’t compare your real-life to my snapshot-of-real-life, ok?).  There was plenty of not-so-good too:  We had to travel in snow and rain, making for some tense road-tripping.  We got grumpy.  Some of us screamed in the car.  We lacked patience.  Some of us had a hard time taking naps.   But I’d rather not remember that, if you know what I mean.

1 Comment »

On listening

I’m super excited about my word of the year.  In fact, if you spend any amount of time with me, I might just talk your ear off about it.  Yet, that seems fairly ironic since my word of the year is “listen.”  So, I’ve been thinking through what it means to listen.  And I’ve realized that this word, while simple, might just be more complex than I originally thought.

So what does listening look like? 

Listening is not just being quiet so others can talk (while I secretly plan in my head the next thing I want to say).  It’s an active, engaged thing.  It’s focusing in on who I’m listening to and putting 100% of my attention there.  So, listening is unselfish.

Hmmm.  Unselfish can be hard.

Listening requires patience.  I’ll need to allow others to process as they talk with me (instead of jumping in and telling them what I think they’re saying).  It might mean allowing some quiet in a conversation, and there’s a good chance that might feel awkward.  So, listening is patient.

Hmmm.  Patience can be hard.

I want this year to be marked by listening to God.  But that means I’m going to have to invest time into His word and prayer.  And then I’m going to have to leave more time to just be quiet and listen.  Because I can’t really listen to God if I pray real fast and then run off to do a thousand other things.  So, listening takes time.

Hmmm.  Carving out quiet time can be hard.

Listening means I need to be fully present.  I will need to put down the phone, computer, or tablet.  I will need to disconnect from media and plug into the people around me.  This might make me feel left out.  So, listening is focused.

Hmmm.  Focusing can be hard.

And yet, I know that listening will be worth it.  It will be hard.  Because I can be a selfish, impatient, busy, distracted person at times.  Through God’s grace, I will grow into this word this year.  Will I nail it?  Nope.  I will still interrupt and check facebook and be annoyed with slow processors and fill my days with activity and think about other things in my head while “listening.”  But as God works on my heart this year, it is prayer that I will learn to listen more and more.

Oh, that I might "be still" more.  This very much ties into my desire to listen.(Painting props to my husband...he painted Sherwood forest for me.  Isn't he awesome?)

Oh, that I might “be still” more. This very much ties into my desire to listen.(Painting props to my husband…he painted Sherwood forest for me. Isn’t he awesome?)

Leave a comment »

Ten on Ten: Birthday Edition

I feel like every 10 on 10 I’ve done starts with a disclaimer.

Today’s disclaimer:  it’s my birthday!!  I thought that might result in a series of super exciting pictures and events…but it really ended up being a fairly ordinary day.  (Sidenote:  There ought to be a law about changing diapers and doing dishes on your birthday.)

A "cake-cake in hand."  Daddy makes a huge batch on the weekend, and she eats them cold, plain, and on-the-go for the rest of the week.

A “cake-cake in hand.” Daddy makes a huge batch on the weekend, and she eats them cold, plain, and on-the-go for the rest of the week.

The post office needs a drive-thru.  It's too cold to haul two kids up all those steps just for a book of stamps.

The post office needs a drive-thru. It’s too cold to haul two kids up all those steps just for a book of stamps.  I did it.  But I complained in my head.

Dollar Day at the Thrift Store!!  Happy birthday to me.  The girls didn't love it as much.  Joanna filled her diaper as a way to hurry me up.  Be glad this picture doesn't include smell.

Dollar Day at the Thrift Store!! Happy birthday to me. The girls didn’t love it as much. Joanna filled her diaper as a way to hurry me up. Just be glad this picture doesn’t include smell.

Lunch time!  Left-over oatmeal and peaches.  Classy.  (Seconds after this picture was taken she burnt her mouth...Mother of the Year, here I come!)

Lunch time! Left-over oatmeal and peaches. Classy. (Seconds after this picture was taken she burnt her mouth…Mother of the Year, here I come!)

Bonus picture #1:

Meanwhile on the floor, Claire chases her paci around.  I think she was just glad to be out of her carseat.

Meanwhile on the floor, Claire chases her paci around. I think she was just glad to be out of her carseat.

She looks asleep...she's not.  Because who needs sleep?!

She looks asleep, but she’s not. Because who needs sleep?!

Not even twinkle lights can make this scene less daunting.  Ugh, dishes.

Not even twinkle lights can make this scene less daunting. Ugh, dishes.

Do you see that?  Do you hear that?  Exactly.  The calm before the post-nap storm.

Do you see that? Do you hear that? Exactly. The calm before the post-nap storm.

A snack for Claire!  She was jazzed.

A snack for Claire! She was jazzed.

Bonus picture #2:

Joanna had serious snack envy.

Joanna had serious snack envy.

Birthday party prep!  With everyone happy and content, I got a shower.  Happy Birthday to me (again).

Birthday party prep! With everyone happy and content, I got a shower. Happy Birthday to me.

30 looks pretty good!

30 looks pretty good!

ten on ten button

2 Comments »

Word.

Guess what?!  I have a word of the year!

As I mentioned here, this new year kind of snuck up me.  But in the course of the past 9 days, I’ve been mulling over 2014, and God was faithful to show me where I should put my focus this year.  He gave me a word!  (And I know it was from God because it came to me in the morning before I got out of bed…and anyone who knows me knows I’m not really my sharpest in the morning.)

Just so we’re clear there’s nothing magical or weird about a word of the year.  It’s not like Pee-wee Herman’s word of the day where all the household items would scream like crazy when he said it (did that show creep out anyone else?).  For me, a word of the year is just a word that I feel like will be central in how I interact with God, friends, and family.  Just a way to direct my thoughts, really.  And I hope that by the end of 2014, I will have made some progress with regards to my word.

So…are you dying to know what word God gave me?  Are you sitting on the edge of your seat?!

LISTEN!

No, I’m not yelling at you.  That’s my word: listen.

I want to listen to the Lord’s still small voice…which means I’ll need to talk to Him (ie prayer) and then be quiet and wait and listen.

I want to listen to Ben.  This is the first time in two years that we aren’t expecting a new baby in the new year (as far as we know…I suppose it’s technically still possible to squeeze in a 2014 baby).  It’s time to put some focus back on our relationship…and to stop just surviving the baby-stage.  Listening will be first step.

I want to listen (and be present) to my girls…which means I’ll need to turn off the computer and put down the phone and engage with them.

I want to listen to my friends.  I want to truly take time to hear what they’re saying and what they’re not saying.  I want to encourage and follow-up where I can.  I want the Lord to be more central in my relationships.

So, it’s my prayer that 2014 will be a year of listening.

2 Comments »

The Big 3-0

My birthday is on Friday.  I’m turning 30.  (Yes, I will accept presents.  Thanks for asking.)

There’s something about a new year and a new decade that’s been making me extra introspective and life-analyze-y.

Thirty!  It blows my mind.  Mostly because I pretty much still feel 13 most of the time.

This is 12 year old me...with a cat on my head.  I don't know.

This is 12 year old me…with a cat on my head. I don’t know.

Thirty sounds so grown-up.  And I feel anything but grown-up!  Thirty sounds like maybe I should have some clue what I’m doing.  But I’m totally just winging it most of the time.  I’m starting to think, though, that most “grown-ups” are actually just faking it.  Maybe that’s the big secret of grown-up-hood.  We’re all just faking it.

I toyed with the idea of doing a 30-things-I’ve-learned-in-30-years post, but as I wrote it in my head, it was a little anticlimactic.  I spent a good portion of these past 30 years learning basic stuff like walking, talking, math, and reading…not really blog-worthy.

In thinking back over the last decade, my twenties, I was blown away by how many huglife-changes I’ve gone through.  In the past 10 years, I’ve graduated college, got my first “real” job and moved 12 hours away from my family, got my first boyfriend, married my first boyfriend (insert an “awwwww” here), had a baby, became a stay-at-home mom, adjusted to being a family of three, had another baby, and adjusted to being a family of 4.  And that’s just the “big” stuff .

It's been a good decade.

It’s been a good decade.

But as I thought and reflected (seriously, there’s been a lot of that lately), one thought kept coming back to me.  Despite all the change (I went from a college kid to a mom in 10 years!), the Lord has been constant through it all.  And by His grace, I’ve learned (ok, and I’m still learning) that my identity must be found in Him alone!  This is the lesson I’ve learned over and over and over in the past decade.  I learned that I can’t define myself by  a relationship or a job or a ministry or a kid or two.  I suspect I will keep learning this lesson throughout my life (can we say “slow-learner”?).

So as face a new decade, I pray that the Lord will continue to be my only source of identity.  I want God at the center of everything I do!  I pray that my 30’s will be a decade marked by a deep passion for the Lord and commitment to my relationship with Him.  I want to tackle this new decade, and I want to marvel at the changes that He’s made in me.

So, bring on my birthday week (and yes, I think we should celebrate it allllll week).  I’m ready for 30!

1 Comment »

What? 2014 already?!

I think I need a vacation from my vacation.  Can I get an amen?

We just got back from a 10 day gigantic, whirlwind Christmas tour of Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  The girls got to see all their grandparents, 3 great-grandparents, 4 aunts and uncles, 2 cousins, 3 first cousins once removed (one by marriage, but I’m counting her), 2 second cousins, and a partridge in a pear tree (well, not really).  Oh, and we threw in a few visits with some high school friends for good measure.  Sidenote:  There’s nothing like lining up all the toddlers and babies (with one MIA due to naptime and one on the way) on a couch to make you realize you’re really a grown-up.

We’ve been doing a Christmas get-together of some sort for 14 years!  It used to be a sleep-over, and our parents had to drop us off and pick us up.  Whoa, Time.

We’ve been doing a Christmas get-together of some sort for 14 years! It used to be a sleep-over, and our parents had to drop us off and pick us up. Whoa, Time.

The trip also involved 3.5 Christmases, an over-stimulated toddler, a few melt-downs (and not just from Joanna), a couple of colds, 4 days of traveling (in snow one way and rain on the way back…not cool), a broken-down car, a tow-truck ride where Claire screaming the entire time!, and coming home to this:

This was AFTER it warmed up 12 degree!  Just be glad I didn't take a picture of the frozen toilet bowl.

This was AFTER it warmed up 12 degrees! Just be glad I didn’t take a picture of the frozen toilet bowl.

It was a lot to do in 10 days.  And I’m fairly certain we could all use a few more days of vacation.  But we’re back and trying to settle back into a normal routine.  Joanna is coming off the inevitable spoilage that defined her last 10 days, and with Daddy back at work, I’m sure that transition will be delightful (or terrible…we’ll see).

“Whaaat?  You mean I don't get to a pile of new toys every day?  And where are all my adoring fans to enjoy my every move?”

“Whaaat? You mean I don’t get a pile of new toys every day? And where are all my adoring fans to enjoy my every move?”

But the trip was totally worth it.  Even if I do need a few more days to realize that it’s actually 2014 now.  In fact, that’s really throwing me off.  Apparently, that week and natural lull between Christmas and New Year’s is clutch for me.  Normally, I’m all over the goal-making, list-writing, dreaming-about-the-next-365-days aspect of a new year.  But I need an extension this year.

So, I’d like to announce my Word of the Year, accompanied by my verse for the year.  I’d like to lay out my 6-point plan for what I’m going to do differently this year.  But that’s not where I’m at right now.  And in fact, doing those things in my own strength will result in failure.   Rather, I want to wait on the Lord, seek His face, and ask Him what He has in store for me this year. And if He gives me a word or a verse or a 6-point plan, then my goal-making, list-writing, plan-loving side will probably do a happy dance.

But most of all, I want His voice to speak to my heart this year.  I want to drown out the excess noise in my life and make the Lord a priority.  Father, help me to make time to hear from you, and give me ears to hear and a soft heart.

1 Comment »