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re:defined: December 2008

Saturday, December 27, 2008

it was just right

christmas was, simply put, a really nice day. we finally made our way down the stairs around 9 o'clock with the tots...enjoyed big delicious sticky buns and mugs full of tea...unwrapped piles of presents that made us all smile...played toys on the living room floor...listened to christmas music...and when noon rolled around i made eggnog french toast- my new favorite seasonal brunch item.

this year, dave made a rather funny observation about the things we tend to buy each other for christmas. for example, i tend to buy him books, cd's, clothes. i sprinkle in some tools and household items handy men like my man like. but mostly, the things i buy him are things i want or like. same for him. he gets me electronic devices, things that require charging, batteries, and instruction manuals, and a sprinkling of kitchen items, maybe. mostly things he likes.

so this year we ventured to buy each other things that the other person would tend to buy. with some success, too, i might add. but dave was the clear winner, buying clothes for the fashion major and music for the music lover. bravo. i got him a few things that raised his eyebrows but i still need some help in terms of purchasing electronics. not exactly my forte. maybe i could apprentice at best buy next year...

it was such a relaxing day spent with our little family, then with my family that evening. i find i can't always enjoy myself when there's too much going on. too much noise or too much to do or too much to prepare. but our day wasn't too rushed, it wasn't too busy, it wasn't too much was just right. i was really grateful for that. i wanted to absorb it all.

elias really is enamored with so many of his gifts- his lightening mcqueen racetrack, his play-doh, his blocks, his firetruck and hess truck. he loves them all. we're hearing a lot of "play with me, daddy!" and "play with me mummy!" ultimately that's all we've done since thursday. and my little bird? well, she got clothes. and books. of course :)

now we head north for some more christmas cheer with the other strattons. so i turn my attention to packing, laundry, organizing, and preparing. if only i could pick up our home and throw it 4 hours north. that would be much quicker. but it will be a nice little escape for us. there will be plenty of arms to hold pip and plenty of legs to run with elias. that will be nice for me. i haven't escaped much since july.

we won't be back until the eve of a new year. it's been great, 2008. but it's time, 2009...

see you all then!

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008


i noticed my blog was looking a bit like fall, and not so much like winter and the holidays. so i added some red and green cheer :)

better late than never...

today i love:

my sister lauri. if someone ever was given the gift of encouragement, it was her. she got all of it. no one else got any. not even a little. that's how much she's got.

the snow! especially because i don't have to be out dragging my kids about in it. but i can look out my windows and see it. and be inside...warm. well, warm-ish. this house is 150 years old...and you sure can tell in the winter.

eggnog. what's better than eggnog?! seriously. try thinking of one thing. good luck...

being mostly done with my christmas shopping. i'm on the verge of sweet relief.

my husband for making all of my christmas shopping possible. because i swear, i can't take elias and piper to the mall by myself. it's harrowing. have i already mentioned this? well, it's true. shopping with them may very well be the most dreadful thing i can think of. i'd rather poke my eyeballs out with a branch of my christmas tree. don't judge me. i'm sure people in my position do it all the time. they're either just crazy lunatics or they don't have a son like mine. who is also a crazy lunatic. and oh so very sweet. killer combo.

home alone. my holiday favorite. what's not to love? i even like when he gets lost in new york the next year. it's all good to me.

dean martin. another favorite. he could sing me the ABC's and it'd be phenom.

that i slept through the night last night. this is not to be taken lightly, people. and certainly not taken for granted, those of you who have not spawned your own kind yet.

surprises. i LOVE surprises. LOVE LOVE. and i never have any idea what my handsome husband is getting me for christmas. SO good!

family. i love my little strattioni's. and the crazy bartlett's i come from. i really feel so blessed that at the holidays, i don't dread family things. we even get to see dave's fam this season, which will be really nice. and with all this immediate family...we're talkin like 30 people, here-- no one hates anyone or fights with anyone or dreads seeing anyone. i hope many of you here experience the same thing. i'm not sure most people do. but i sure am grateful for it!

quiet. whether it's in a shower for 10 minutes or at this desk for 10 minutes, i sure do enjoy me some quiet. and i quite miss it when it goes away...

that God loves us despite ourselves. despite our bad attitudes, our impatience, our unfair judgements, our inability and lacking, and the fact that we constantly choose things over him all the time. he still loves us. and he doesn't love us less, like he should. his love is unconditional in a way we literally can't comprehend. i think that's why i love him so much. he's so complex! so hard to understand sometimes. and yet he meets us right where we're at. crazy.

what do you all love today? c'mon, there's always something to love...

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Friday, December 19, 2008

"ji-bo bells!"

this is too adorable. (and, yes, i caught it on video.) elias singing jingle bells, or "ji-bo bells!" as he might say. and he doesn't sing, really.

he yells. loud. "ONE HORSE O-EN SLEIGHHH!"

he runs. fast. around in dizzying circles.

he 'sings' so loud and so fast and so high that he is literally out of breath in about 60 seconds.

he throws his fisted arms straight up into the holly jolly sky declaring:

jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle bells rock.

(if i can figure out a way to get a video on here, you bet i will.)

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

some random thoughts for today

  • what the heck do i live under a rock? 8-10 inches is a lot of snow. and wouldn't you know it, we're bringing elias to a 2:30 appointment with a GI specialist all the way in weymouth. maybe we'll just take the sleigh instead of the murano...
  • elias cracks me up. we were talking about his cough medicine and he told me "cough mecine yut-ey mummy" to which i replied "it's not that bad, elias. it's sort of tasty" to which he replied deadpan "pri-ey yut-ey, mummy" (pretty yucky mummy). he's like "you're not fooling me, mum. i tasted that stuff." fair enough.
  • the fact that babies poop up their back after you get them changed and dressed. ahem, piper. and what is the funniest to me is there is no good way to get that dirty, mussed up onesie over their head. no good way. poop will get on you. or the poor baby's head.
  • when kids decide they're not taking a nap. eli slept until 8:30 this morning, and currently is in his bed singing the bob the builder theme song (boooob a builder. can we fix it. booob a builder. yuts we can! scooop muck dizzzyy ro-ey too, lofty wen-nyy...), and counting ( oh, and now he's trying to open his locked door. (yes, we lock him in. the kid is literally macguyver. since he starting standing at 9 months, he's been trouble. nothing is safe. ever.)

if he's awake, i guess we should go christmas shopping!

p.s. the rat pack helped me get on my christmas cheer this morning. a little dean martin, frank sinatra and sammy davis jr. goes a long way :)

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008


hello blog readers. thank you for tuning in again to my station. all stratton, all the time. it's really a pleasure that i am not the only one enjoying my blog. my thanks to you all for your kind words.

this christmas, i'm noticing that it feels slightly impossible for me to get myself into the holiday spirit. into it into it. not just luke warm into it. i want to be so badly! but christmas is sneaking up on me, and we haven't even finished decorating the tree yet. (leelee made a good point that last year my parents didn't put theirs up until christmas eve, but still...). we tried to decorate it two nights in a row. the first night, we only got the lights on the tree and some garland on the mantle and the stairs. elias was chucking ornaments (what, mum? it was a patriots one- in the shape of a BALL. what did you expect me to do with it?) and it was more work to keep the ornaments safe than anything else. i envisioned eggnog and snuggling, tree-trimming and laughter, snow falling and movie-watching.

and i got ornament chucking.

yes. i was literally taking his picture as he was throwing ornaments. classic.
the second night the football game was on instead of rudolph, and elias thought it was fun to hang the ornaments on the tree and then take them off again. then put them back on. then take them off. you know. he's such a boy. he can be gentle, but when they are all shiny and they look like balls, what can you do? he thought they were for playing sports. that's my boy...
okay, so my expectations are out of television commercials and my son is TWO, so i'm not sure what needs to give, here. my best guess would be those expectations i had. don't you find that it can be so hard to enjoy certain times when they just aren't as you hoped or expected? just picture me chasing elias with the camera trying to capture some moments of our family tree-trimming. meanwhile he's pitching ornaments like papelbon. ha!

i'm learning to just enjoy the moment. and if it's not on video, it's okay. instead of running around like a crazy person, as a mom, it's important to remember the point of christmas. dave's aunt shared this with me and i'd like to share it with you all:

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love to my family, I'm just another decorator.
If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at meal time, but do not show love to my family, I'm just another cook.
If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home, and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing.
If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir's cantata, but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.
Love stops the cooking to hug the child.
Love sets aside decorating to kiss the husband.
Love is kind, though harried and tired.
Love doesn't envy another's home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.
Love doesn't yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful they are there to be in the way.
Love doesn't give only to those who are able to give in return but rejoices in giving to those who can't.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails.
Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust. But giving the gift of love will endure.

i know i'm not worried about linens and gourmet meals myself, but i do like to share special christmas times and traditions. i'm now adjusting to what it means to do them with infants and toddlers. expectations can be killers in so many aspects of our lives. when i was younger i used to always say "blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed." attributed to ben franklin, i believe. and he's a sad, depressing way. now i would say to expect less, not to expect nothing.

...or should i say expect great things?! (that's what an optimist would say)

problem is, i'm a realist (aka, a pessimist in waiting), so i probably wouldn't say that. i'll have to work up to it :)

so to all of you who have expectations for their holidays (...or husbands, or family, or friends, or whatever), just ENJOY the moments as they come. and i'm going to do the same.

remember: when life throws your ornaments, just duck!

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i love today

can i just say that i love today? why, you ask? very quickly: i got to go out with my bf leelee last night and stay up late talking at the better bean with her and kate. adult conversation. with the girls. SO good. and i found SUCH great accessories to liven up the old wardrobe. ah, success! and my very capable and loving husband took care of the rascals and had them snug in their beds upon my arrival. the dishes were done, the house was picked up, AND he built me a new shelf for the printer to give me more room on the desk! again- who IS this guy?! (he keeps warning me to stop bragging about him on my blog. empty threats...)you want more? my bubskis slept until 9 o'clock this morning. and so did i! which is good because i was up late :) and lee, cadie, and jax came over for a nice tuesday playdate, per our usual.

okay, so maybe that wasn't quickly, but i need to remember days like this so if i complain to one of you out there about children and how i 'never' get a break, you can gently remind me that i'm lying.

Monday, December 15, 2008

why i love my husband

i love my husband because last month while i was out (yes, by myself) shopping (i know. believe it.) he took these, how can i say it-adorable, precious, beautiful shots of our doodlebugs. he knows me so well. what do i love more than black and white photographs?

hello?! nothing.

who IS this guy?

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family fun-day mondays

since dave became a lead pastor two years ago, he has taken mondays as his sabbath. we call them "fun-day mondays". i'm pretty sure that it was leelee who coined it as so ;) it's our sacred day where we don't talk church (trust me, we talk a lot of church. not in a bad way. really. just A LOT. it's his job, you know. and what we do is a lot of who we are, isn't it?) and we just enjoy each other and our love doves. this is what we usually do:

sometimes we go out and get breakfast at a little place down the road called the milk bottle. i call it the milky bottle. their breakfast is oh so good, and it's quiet, and quaint, and inexpensive. bliss.

we typically go to the library each monday to get elias some new books and usually a new movie of sorts. whatever he's into at the moment ("the yi-yon show!" [madagascar], books about "fiyrtrucks", "nemo shuckbite {sharkbait} show!" [finding nemo], etc). he'll run and look at books, find one with a jacket that looks interesting and say "read it to me, mummy!" as he takes a seat at one of their mini tables. so cute. we love the library. i typically take out magazines. maybe better homes and gardens...or this old house (now i subscribe, actually, so no longer)...sometimes people if it looks interesting :) dave tends to read sci-fi series. he takes out books that are like 800 pages. it's his favorite "non-church" reading. i like to buy books much more than take them out of the library (unless they're fiction) because i like to write in books, and the librarians tend not to appreciate that so much. so i'll take them out to see if i want to buy them. and then i go on amazon and buy a nice used copy. i think it's brilliant because there's nothing worse than buying a book and thinking "way to go author, you said nothing i haven't heard a bazillion times already."

we tend to hit up wal-mart on mondays ("wul-maht!!!") for diapers and other randoms. elias loves that they have a "doy stoah" (toy store) inside. he lays around in the aisles like he lives there, presses every button he can find, whacks me with swords, and desperately pleads for me to "take it out mummy" so he can play with the toys for real.

then we come home for lunch and nap time, then sometimes we'll watch a show or take a nap, or i'll do laundry and dave will read, or any number of combinations. today davey fell asleep watching the rest of the football game we didn't finish last night (on TiVo {best xmas gift ever}) and i am blogging/doing laundry/cleaning up the house. both kids are sleeping. GLORIOUS!

and the icing on this delicious cake? i'm going out with leelee for girl time tonight!! back to our old stomping ground: burlington coat factory for some cheap but chic accessories to glam up our house dresses, and then hopefully to the better bean (formerly the daily grind, or dg, as we called it. much better name, i think, but they never ran it by me to see what i thought) for a latte. we never get lattes, but i consider all yummy coffee-type beverages lattes. it just sounds better than saying "i'm going out to get a coffee." boring.

mondays are my favorite. it's like having a day where we don't exist. no one is looking for us, no one needs us. well, except scibbles and bibbles. but that's okay. we love them, so we're cool with fulfilling their basic needs for food, rest, and play.

life is good. but life is even better on mondays.

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

for the record

after my last blog entry, i just have to add for the record that if you don't know Jesus, i still really love you. it's not about who's "in the club" or any of that silly nonsense. everyone is entitled to their own beliefs...i just so happen to know that Jesus is truth.

and it is still ironic to me if you celebrate christmas and not Christ :)

if you're curious about Jesus, however, i really think that you ought to read "The Case for Christ" by Lee Strobel. he was a journalist who was curious to get to the bottom of the whole Jesus thing. this is what writes about the book:

The Project: Determine if there’s credible evidence that Jesus of Nazareth really is the Son of God.

The Reporter: Lee Strobel, educated at Yale Law School, award-winning former legal editor of the Chicago Tribune—with a background of atheism.

The Experts: A dozen scholars, with doctorates from Cambridge, Princeton, Brandeis, and other top-flight institutions, who are recognized authorities on Jesus.

The Story: Retracing his own spiritual journey, Strobel cross-examines the experts with tough, point-blank questions: How reliable is the New Testament? Does evidence exist for Jesus outside the Bible? Is there any reason to believe the resurrection was an actual historical event? . . .

The Case for Christ records Lee Strobel's attempt to "determine if there's credible evidence that Jesus of Nazareth really is the Son of God." The book consists primarily of interviews between Strobel (a former legal editor at the Chicago Tribune) and biblical scholars such as Bruce Metzger. Each interview is based on a simple question, concerning historical evidence (for example, "Can the Biographies of Jesus Be Trusted?"), scientific evidence, ("Does Archaeology Confirm or Contradict Jesus' Biographies?"), and "psychiatric evidence" ("Was Jesus Crazy When He Claimed to Be the Son of God?"). Together, these interviews compose a case brief defending Jesus' divinity, and urging readers to reach a verdict of their own.

basically, i just wanted to put it out there that i believe Jesus was who he said he was. and if you don't, i'm certainly okay with that, but i would encourage you to do some research and come to your own conclusion. jesus offers hope, peace, and eternity. without works. just by grace. it's madness!

c'mon. get in on the madness.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

the funny thing about christmas

so i have had this thought for a while now...since last christmas, i believe. and it's sort of an inside thought. but every time i think about it i laugh because of the irony. so i must share.

i was thinking about what christmas means to believers. the ENTIRE holiday is wrapped up in Jesus and what his birth (even if it wasn't likely in december...we're over it) and death means for us. very deep implications, here, people. it's about celebrating his birth, his godliness wrapped up in a human package...just for us. whoa. don't worry, i'm getting to the funny ironic part. so Jesus comes to earth again finally after hundreds of years of prophets telling the Jewish people he's coming. and it's SO integral to our faith. his lowly birth, his short but awe-inspiring life, and his death, but mostly, his resurrection. clearly not a human (when was the last time you rose from the dead?), but clearly a human (he cried, he taught, he traveled, he ate and slept). fully God, fully man. easy to understand, right?!

so Jesus is the reason for the season, as they say. those christian marketers. and we agree. because we believe.

here's the kicker: what is the DEAL with the whole rest of this critical world celebrating MY holiday. OUR holiday. it's Jesus' BIRTHDAY. if you're not into the whole "God" and "Jesus" thing, why would you go on celebrating a holiday that is ALL about that?! it makes no sense to me. because presents are cool? because it's fun to hang sparkly trinkets on a coniferous tree?

it's not that i'm not a good sharer. or that i think it's "us" versus "them." quite the contrary. mostly, i just think it's ironic that in a country that pushes Christ out of everything and everywhere they possibly can, they still feel the need to celebrate him every single year. and go ALL out. they celebrate the heck out of Jesus, whether they realize it or not.

truth be told, i like sharing christmas. i love that the most popular christmas songs are songs about Jesus' birth. i love that undeniably, Jesus is what it's all about. what other stories, what other traditions, what other gods have lasted for thousands of years?

answer: none

there's probably no better time to share Jesus with the world than at the holidays.

but you have to admit, it's a bit ironic. and definitely a little funny.

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Friday, December 12, 2008

piper glory

i was just struck with how adorable my daughter is when i went to pick her up out of her crib and she just smiled and laughed at me. she's such a chipper little bird. as evidenced below:

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my sweet boy

why being a mom is great/joyful/fun/hilarious/adorable:

- moments like the one i just had where elias (2.5) said to me "make pi-ber yaff, mummy!" (make piper laugh, mummy). we just discovered two days ago that when elias jumps up and down, piper (5 mos) practically (or literally, who knows!) wets her pants laughing and screeching in delight. and as a big brother who has realized piper is just another small person, same as himself, he just adores interacting with her. he'll lay his head next to her and talk to her (while he slyly puts her bink in his mouth, of course...), give her toys to play with, run to me if he hears her crying ("pi-ber sad, mummyyy" or he'll pat her and say "no cry baby"), and bring me blankets for her ("baby pi-ber cowd [cold], mummy"). she just thinks everything eli does is delightful and hilarious, which is so charming and heart-warming to see. it's like they already know that they're in it together. i can only imagine when the two of them are running around wild. let's just hope piper ends up being laid back and mellow...dare i say, quiet?

- those proud mom moments, like when elias simply blows my mind and name colors and shapes correctly. blows my mind! he knows at least 4 colors and at least a few shapes (that i know of)! does that mean kids actually DO listen when we talk?? what?! yesterday we were coloring with markers and he draws a circle. and it's literally a circle. and he looks at me and says "mummy, yi-yi (eli) draw a circo!" and then he told me to draw a circo, and i did, and he took his marker and made dots inside my circle and said to me "boo dots!" and they sure were. blue dots. and it's magical to see them learn. and you just smile because you are so darn proud of them. it makes you realize that they are so eager to learn and their brains are just starving for more knowledge. imagine if we had the time to sit and teach them! i feel like i'm lucky he knows anything because i can barely get piper fed, myself dressed, meals made, and my teeth brushed! if i actually leave the house?! miraculous! see, God still does miracles.

these little moments were just on my mind, and i just HAVE to remember how sweet they are, because when my son turns around and smacks me in the head and i want to throw him across the room, moments such as these help me to find patience when i have none, sanity when it's all lost, and joy when i feel seething madness.

i know i can't be the only one...

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

new to me

i love new. new to me. new in the package. new ideas. new thoughts.

and especially new music. i LOVE music. it makes everything better...making dinner, road trips, rainy days, decorating a Christmas name it.

so today i am in love with the soulful music of adele. she's from the UK, which makes me like her even more. london is cool. it just is. so you should google her if you haven't already heard of her. i'm a mum, so i am not always current. i only aspire to be.

and new rhymes with thirty-two, so a BIG happy birthday to the most amazing man in the entire world. my husband that is. my deep blue sea. davey :) i like him much more than anything new. on the contrary i like him more and more the older he gets. he may be the exception to the "i love new" rule. especially because as he gets older, i see more and more white hairs- stark and beautiful against his jet black hair. be still my heart! just like george clooney. but better. dave does not share my sentiment about the white hair being sexy or desirable. he says they're dead and broken. and i remind him that ALL hair is dead. he doesn't understand. he's just not as wise and cultured as i. someday, my love...

so something old, something new.

what is everyone else loving right now? do tell...

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

why re:defined?

it's hard to find a good name for a blog. you want it to mean something. i love when something has a good meaning.

once upon a time, my handsome husband dave and i lived in a little condo tucked in the woods of easton. i loved our condo. i had just given birth to our first babe, elias, and i was SO annoyed that nothing fit right/worked right/was designed right; nursing bras, clothes, everything needed to be better in my eyes. so i was lying in bed awake thinking about the company i would start to bring style, comfort, and affordability to women whose bodies are undergoing massive and crazy transformations. i envisioned so many genius designs. as a breastfeeding mum, i still have endless notions that would make this time easier. (no, i will not tell them to you. not until i make my millions.) as i lay there, i thought i might name my company (or at least have the label read) "re:define". because when you have children, EVERYTHING is redefined.

i love what this word represents. so many things are constantly redefined to us as individuals: love, relationships, life, beauty, spirituality, our needs, what we like, our desires...

all the time. we evolve as people constantly. what we consider beautiful changes. what we consider fun changes. we always redefine things in our minds. it's a good thing, too, because i don't have much time to live life the way i used to, say, 3 years ago.

some people don't like change. my best friend leelee, for example. hates it. and many of you out there. but i think i usually like change. and if i don't, i try to respect it. because it's inevitable.

and that's why i love the idea of redefining. it's giving new meaning. and who doesn't like new?!

so tell me, what have you redefined?

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Monday, December 8, 2008


i want to write a book some day. it will be called "my deep blue sea." the first line of the book will likely read this:

"my tendency is for overstatement."

and it's true. some call it opinionated...i call it "overstatement." you'll likely notice it if you read my blog. i have a tendency to be a bit ridiculous. it's part of my humor, i guess. i like it.

there is much truth in humor, right? nothing like a little ridiculous to get you through the day...

so this is my blog, intended to be an outlet for thought and record of any worthwhile things. i decided i really want to be able to look back at this time in my life and remember. because for some reason, i never can. something to do with my two year old and 4 month old? maybe :)

well, i hope you enjoy my thoughts as much as i do. it's a little crazy to me that people i know and people i don't know may want to read this. but, hey, i've always had a lot to 2 cents tends to be more like a dollar. hope you like my money!