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re:defined: February 2009

Friday, February 27, 2009

the madness.

you all know about the madness, right?

the kind of times in life where you turn around and it's been an entire week? and you don't have any idea where all the time went, exactly?

well. this past week i've been living in the madness. and currently, the war of madness wages on. between not sleeping, because my daughter likes to cry about 6 times every night (get her OUT of my room!), elias getting sick last night and this morning, throwing up...well, everywhere, having play dates (yesterday at monkey joes with ams! and tuesday with lee), trying to finish piper's room, and having dinner guests or plans every day since friday...

i'm spent. more than spent. and i'm sitting here feeling nauseous, just like i have for the past two weeks (oh no, i'm not pregnant...i checked.) and wondering if it's because i'm blimey exhausted or because elias is lending me his sick germs. time will tell :)

(side note: eli calls pukies "mukies" which is about the only cute thing about kids throwing up.)

on the plus side, elias slept through the night last night, even though he still got sick twice already this morning. piper, on the other hand...she did not. what happened to my 2 month old baby that slept through the night!? somebody find her and give her back! and truly, it's been a great week, despite the exhaustion. don't let me fool you with my downtrodden inclinations.

we had a great couples group meeting friday, elias played with our friends (and his obsession) drew and deanna saturday, which gave me a nice break, we had a some really honest and meaningful conversation with our friends jeff and savannah sunday night, we made some progress in piper's room (room is painted, crib is almost painted) on monday, eli and piper got to play with cadence, jaxon, benjamin, and baby lucas this week, i got to take the kids shopping with my mum to find her some new shorts (i love shopping for other people. i considered being a personal shopper at one time. seriously.), and we had dinner with our friends (and eli's infatuation) beth and matt, AND i've sold a couple things on craigslist.

and in all the madness of having piper's room strewn about, now i have pukey laundry, bedding, and the like scattered everywhere. not to mention piled up laundry, and the fact that my daughter, who i've deprived of naps because, darn it, i want to be social, is awake upstairs after a 45 minute nap. grrrr...not gonna cut it. c'mon, piper- SOMEONE'S gotta sleep around here!

but you know what? i'm no defeated mama!

it doesn't matter what our circumstances are, does it? we can do ALL things through Christ who gives us strength. i can't do weeks like these alone. i can't find kind or good words to say in the midst of exhaustion and puking kids. but i CAN with Jesus strength! i can say positive things, i can rely on him instead of myself, and i HAVE to, because if i don't, the madness gets hopeless and suffocating and heavy.

and despite this past week, and if you can see through any of my complaining, i am trying my best to tell myself that sleep will come, wellness will come, and my house will eventually be put back together. and what matters the most is how i can act in and through it.

so i'm gonna hold my boy and snuggle the heck out of him, and i might even brave the outdoors with him and piper so they can get some fresh air! because mamas hold it all together. and i can serve and take care of my little love doves EVEN if i don't feel like i can...or that i want to ;)

as mums, maybe our trials aren't 40 days in a desert, but they are challenging. what do you all do to make it through the madness?

1 Peter 4:11 says "If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ."

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

picture post

i have SO many pictures.

i am totally a photographers daughter, i guess. growing up there was always a camera following me around like paparazzi, and i've grown to love taking photographs and love having my picture taken. my mum still always has her camera, and her and my big sister have been shooting professionally as bartlett photography for years (shameless plug i'm so spoiled, because my mum will just swing by and take pictures. like these first two shots (two out of the 2,000 she took) that she took last week on a whim. gotta love a piper's christmas tutu for these instances.

i can barely stand this picture.


my chipper little bird. she wakes up this way. every day. every time.

my two monkeys with their two monkeys.

i might rename her cheeks mcgee

elias helping dada in the "project room" as he calls it. he does so many projects with dave that he actually has legit skills. like handling drills. he knows what he's doing, man. it's nuts.

so big. so cute.

speaking of cute...

piper sleeping as i burp her. priceless.

this is eli's doll. she's been around since his first birthday (thanks, lee!) and he's had quite an affinity for her lately. he named her alicia (ah-lee-ce-yah) after diego's sister in"go, diego, go!" (he's addicted to that show lately.) and he takes her around with him everywhere. to church. to bed. to watch tv. he sits her on his lap. i could die, it's so flippin adorable.

piper also loves his doll. mostly to chew on. here she is with my sister nicole and her cousin jack.

eli's new thing is crawling into piper's crib with her when she wakes up. now that her crib is covered in a tarp, it's hard, but when he can, he hops right in and snuggles her. and puts blankets over her head.


i LOVE this shot. this is my dad, eli's "gp" and one very happy boy. elias is a lot like my dad. full of energy. a bit fresh. fun to be around. active, which is a gross understatement for them both. elias is obsessed with ATV's because his gp rides ATV's. they play together for hours. because my dad is actually still a kid. good for me. maybe not for my mom...

ahhh, my son. goofball. how did he even get into this? who knows...

and my piper glory girl. her and elias both have these big ole beautiful eyes. lucky little ducks, they are.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

my sanctuary

here i go. this is my first attempt to look on the bright side in the midst of "one of those days".

these are the things that did NOT happen today:

1. getting run over by a car
2. being struck by lightening
3. having a really positive attitude
4. causing my children bodily harm. don't know how, so it must be a miracle.
5. picking up after tornado elias. needless to say, my house is a mess. oh well.
6. a much needed nap for me. oh i tried and tried, but piper, sharer of my room while her is amidst construction, would not go to sleep. grrr.
7. my play date with ams. it's probably best because she busted up her knee and i was threatening my kids safety, soo...

these are things that DID happen today:

1. elias complained all morning about needing to poop. and finally, after 4 days, he did. and BOY that was something else. i'll spare the details, but it involves loads of laundry, bathing, bleaching, and the like. what kid can hold down 4 days of food with a steady diet of miralax? oh yeah. MY kid.
2. one errand. the post office. sent off a few happy packages :)
3. somehow, one of piper's brand new outfits, one of my very favorites, that she's worn once, for two hours, got ruined with bleach. salt in the wound of my day.
4. the diswasher got loaded. a ray of sunshine through the clouds. lol.
5. piper fought and fought eating this morning and then fought and fought sleeping this afternoon. she did, however, succumb to her sleepiness as she screamed herself to sleep while i showered.

which leads to #6...

aahh. a shower.

the shower is my sanctuary. it's not just a place to get clean for me. it's a place of quiet, solace, and solitude. for those 10 minutes, no one needs me (or if they do, i'm ignoring them), i have no responsibilities, and i can

you can't even hear kids crying in there!

so when i'm overtired, and my kids are driving me to madness, i try to remember to take cover in my bunker. better known as the shower. a little quiet. a little prayer. a little refresher. and i can usually pull it together through dinner and bedtime.

where do you all hide/escape/take refuge in the madness?

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Monday, February 16, 2009


our weekend was lovely. and lovey. we a nice, low-key-married-people-with-kids valentines day. and it was perfect.

and we were tired.

davey got me beautiful roses (last tuesday, actually. we're not very conventional, i suppose), and bought me a romantic card. this, though it sounds normal, is actually abnormal. i usually buy HIM a card. and he makes one for me. but elias and i made him cards that we colored and markered together, going old school, and dada found just the right one from hallmark. so i got hot pink roses, a lovey dovey card, AND he bought me a new CD. he was going to get me the jonas brothers to be funny, but he picked one out that i LOVE. so much so that i own it already :)

i love that man. and i love the weekend. and i love sitting in front of our wood stove. and i love time as a family. and i love date nights (tonight! yay!) and i love our friends.

speaking of friends, our friends ian and elya are expecting their first baby! YAHOO! i could yell and scream it. oh wait, i did. hehe. they have struggled for a long time to get pregnant, and God has blessed them and made what doctors called impossible possible. so pray for a safe and healthy pregnancy for her and that little one.

i think it's a girl, by the way. and elias votes boy. of course.

ain't love grand?


Friday, February 13, 2009


question of the day: what is WITH our obsession as a culture with productivity?

why are we all so bent on making the most of every single minute of our day? and why is it so hard to be satisfied when we accomplish nothing?

i wonder why there is less satisfaction in playing play-doh or trucks with my child, or watching a tv show, than organizing a drawer or folding 5 loads of laundry.

why is it that when we relax, we feel guilty?

i'm totally over productivity right now. not because i don't love it, and not because i don't feel awesome when i get things done. oh no-no. i am caught under the productivity spell quite a bit. if i can get "x" amount of things done, it was a "good day." but ever since piper was born, i'm starting to think that it's really not that important.

as i write that, i'm still not sure if it's really REALLY not that important.

we value it. we need it.

or do we? could we just live life, caring for ourselves, our spouses, our children, and others without the rat race of to-do lists, clocks, demands, and expectations? is it possible? can they be mutually exclusive? would we want to? should we be?

i think, as a norm, as a culture, we are obsessed, infatuated, fascinated, driven, and motivated by productivity.

i'm trying to find some balance within making meals, doing laundry, playing with eli and piper, being a wife, cleaning the house, having guests, ministry, caring for children, having fun, and doing things for myself. (it feels weird even writing that i want to do things for myself. why does that feel selfish when it's actually just necessary?). the more i think about it, i feel like productivity walks the thin line between good and evil. we love it. we hate it. we need it. we don't want it.

so. tell me- what would YOU like to say to productivity?

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

a glimpse of what's to come...

next stop on the project list: piper's shabby chic nursery. here is a sneak peek :)

the chandelier (from ikea- believe it) to be swung over her crib. hopefully she won't get any notions to swing from it. we'll cross that bridge when we get to it.

the whole shebang. her crib isn't white, however. it's a light wood. do i paint it?
the bumper
the quilt

and her crib sheet
outstanding questions to consider:
1. paint color. i'm thinking i should pull the blue out bc i'm so not into pink on walls. but maybe a shade or two darker. any thoughts?
2. she has a sloped wall like elias- do i paint it? white? or the same as the wall color? or do i wallpaper it?
3. what color carpet for her and eli's room? it needs to be replaced at some point (soon) and carpets baffle me. i was thinking a texture, jute-like, in a tan color. anyone?

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eli's room

hooray! it's finally finished! was.
until i smashed a huge hole through piper's wall into eli's wall helping (or was it?) dave do some demo in piper's nursery.
he should have known not to ask me if i wanted to take out some aggression on the wall.
big mistake. HUGE.

aaah yes. a nice look in his just finished blue wall.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

refueling the tank

this afternoon, courtesy of my handsome husband, i stopped being a nutty recluse and went out of the house. with no children. to do whatever i want. okay, a couple hours on the clock- and what do i do?

step 1: aviators.

step 2: sunroof open- it's 60 degrees. holy crap. is it spring, and i didn't notice because i don't leave the house unless i have to?

step 3: good music. today's selection, the man i would hunt down to marry if i wasn't already, mr. john legend. his latest cd, evolver, track 2, "green light." this song makes me want to dance. but i try to focus on driving while i sing along like it's karaoke night. sun is shining. life is good.

step 4: iced coffee. oh, it's been SO long. i think coffee and chocolate (ie, my livelihood) make piper gassy and even MORE impossible to breastfeed. so i have gone without. i may regret this decision, but it's such a great iced coffee. i drink every bit of it by the time i'm home.

step 5: wal-mart. lame, i know. practicality wins out sometimes. i need to return a whole bunch of things- which always takes an eternity. i meander around and i find piper cute headbands. SCORE.

step 6: marshalls. oh how i love marshalls. i scout some cute pajamas for my long and lean little string bean of a daughter. much too short are her 9 mos. pjs suddenly. onto 12 mos. it is. i find two really cute antique-y floral types that fit the bill. $6 each. can't go wrong. and what are those? navy stretch pants- for 50 cents?! is this a yard sale or a store?! nothing excites me more than a bargain.

i'm home in time to feed pipski, dinner's cooking itself in the crock pot, and there's a fire in my wood stove. i check the mail, and there's a movie that has date written night all over it. it can't get any better.

as moms, we don't need much sometimes. tell me- what are the little things that refuel YOUR tanks?

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

crazy hector

i just have to throw this out there for all my girls who watch the bachelor.

if you were some random guy, like jason, with a set of beliefs, whatever they may be, and you sit down with some crazy like hector, naomi's dad, you're gonna want to run and hide.

straight up: people like hector are the reason no one wants ANYTHING to do with Jesus.

because he dives straight into a rant about religion and why jason needs it and i just want to throw up my hands. or throttle him. and smack his face for acting like a nut. i feel like i owe the world an apology on behalf of crazy hector.

why can't people who love Jesus just love people?! why can't they talk about their beliefs openly without indoctrinating people? why do people like hector have to be weird and creepy and judgemental.

don't these people know anything about what Jesus taught?

ugh. it's such a good reminder that we really need to just show people what things God has shown us, share our experiences and blessings, help each other, love each other, and just be different. be the change we want to see, like Gandhi said.

be like Jesus.
don't be a crazy.

maybe hector forgot this verse...
The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. 1 Corinthians 2:14

(side note: see ya later, naomi. i couldn't be more excited! )

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Monday, February 9, 2009

25 things

i keep on reading these in emails and on facebook and even in some of the blogs i follow. since i love to read them when everyone else writes them, here's 25 random things you may or may not know about me.

1. i knew i was going to marry my husband when i was 16. i had a dream and God pretty much told me to save a little spot for him in my heart. and that i'd have to wait. (what he didn't tell me is that i'd be waiting for 5 years. it was worth it.)

2. i love fried food. you could fry just about anything and i'd eat it.

3. my favorite thing in the entire world (besides God and my handsome husband) is laughter. and i love music almost as much as i love laughter. almost.

4. one of the things i like most about being a mother is teaching my children. elias is so fascinated by how things work and where things come from, where they're going and why they are the way they are. it's a joy to see kids learn.

5. i usually think i'm right. i'd say always, but since i've been married, i've learned a lot about learning from others. and listening first...BEFORE i open my big mouth.

6. i wish i looked older. i think i always have. i'm going to be 27 this summer, and i feel like a kid still. even with four years of marriage under my belt and two children. i am sure in 10 years i will be glad i look young.

7. if i could pick up everyone i love, i'd live in the caribbean somewhere in a hut on the beach. and i'd be barefoot (no, not pregnant) every day.

8. i was a fashion merchandising major in college. i still love fashion, but not the way i used to.

9. i wish i had more time to read...see friends and :)

10. my favorite color is puke green. and more recently, cobalt blue.

11. i really want to go to italy. mostly so i can eat canoli after canoli after canoli until i explode.

12. i have 2 older sisters, 1 younger brother, great parents, 3 nieces, and 3 nephews. family is really important to me, and i love that mine gets along and has sunday lunches & summertime cookouts. they are a bunch of crazies though. and so am i.

13. i do really want to write a book some day. but i think i have to wait until i'm in my 40's or 50's to write the one i want.

14. i am food motivated. you can pretty much bribe me to do anything with food. it's how i motivate myself to do things i don't want to do. weird. i know...

15. when i was little, i used to think my dolls would come alive at night, so i made sure every single one of them was "comfortable" before i coud go to bed.

16. yeah. i have some OCD tendencies.

17. i like to drive fast. and i get really annoyed when people don't have driving SKILLS. people need to be able to anticipate, maneuver, and weave in and out of traffic.

18. and i'll have you know i have never gotten a speeding ticket in 10 years, nor have i gotten into an accident. nothing on the books anyway :)

19. i was nervous about finding out i was having a girl when i was pregnant with piper. i'm more of a "guys girl" so i wasn't sure she was gonna make it around here. she fits in just fine, though :) i think i've got a little firecracker on my hands, actually.

20. i love the beach enough that i could go there every day of the summer and not tire. something about the ocean just intoxicates me.

21. i got married in newport, rhode island at a castle called oceancliff. it was sunset, and there was an ocean view at the end of the aisle, and it was beautiful.

22. i have had two surgeries to remove both benign and malignant tumors from my wrist. they have not returned since 2002. i thank God for that. i need my hands to take care of these little babies.

23. i never ever ever thought in a million years that i'd be the wife of a pastor. then again, dave never thought in a million years that he would be a pastor.

24. i used to be a nanny when i was in college and after college.

25. i was the editor-in-chief of my college's magazine, polished, and that is what got me interested in writing and editing. i am really glad that i had that opportunity because it directed me to my first job at WIS, introduced me to friends i adore, and continues to present me with opportunities to use skills i love and enjoy using.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

picture post

here is our new fireplace insert. thank you Lord for Craigslist. SUCH a great find. and it's keeping cold me oh so warm :)
eli and cousin caley

here are some before and after shots of the laundry room. what better time to paint than when you have the whole room ripped apart anyway? we couldn't fix the washer, but we sure could pretty up my lil laundry nook :)


the new washer. an get this- it WASHES.

much gratitude must be given to grandma gloria, who helped us to afford the fireplace insert, and dave's parents, who made it possible for us to get a washing machine. otherwise i'd have been down by the creek scrubbing away with a wash board. or something.
busy week. but a productive week. and don't we love our productivity?

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Monday, February 2, 2009

it's good to be back

i haven't been hiding. i promise. it's just been an eventful week.
a busy week.
an exciting week.
a blessed week.
a fun week.

here's what's went down at the strattons.

- monday we finally got our fireplace insert (a wood stove that fits inside your fireplace) installed. many many thanks to my dad, who helped my resident handyman for nine hours on monday. dave finished up the last of it tuesday, and wednesday night for our discipleship group we had our very first crackling, blazing fire. SO good.

- tuesday was yet another lovely playdate with my girl, lee, and cadie & jax. davey was working from home, too, so i got to leave piper home having her morning nap. i realized 'wow- having one kid is easy' when eli and i hit the road and all i needed was a juice cup and a diaper. bonus: lee and i got to have a nice chat.

-wednesday i spent some time at new hope doing some necessary cleaning. i was pretty much on the war path with a mop. then i came home and fell asleep trying to get my pretty little fussbucket to fall asleep. then i woke up and realized i should be on the war path at MY house to get ready for our last discipleship group. ahh well. sitting fireside was a sweet end to our groups 10 weeks of great thoughts and chats. i'm going to miss it. even if i spend half the time dealing with children.

- thursday was grocery shop/laundry/prep day for dave's parents visit with us. i got my meal plan set so i could feed them something besides chicken nuggets, got their room ready, and the house cleaned up for their arrivial. on thursdays, dave is at new hope until 8:30 or 9, so the kids and i got to have a nice meal with grandma and grandpa. and i realized 'wow, having two kids is easy with 2 extra adults around to help.' :)

- well, thursday evening i realized that our washing machine had broken. overuse, i'm sure :) so friday, under the tutelage of art and nancy, we all (by we i mean they) tried to see if it was fixable. no-go. and then heaven opened up and our generous mom and dad decided they wanted to help us buy a new one. 'help' is actually a gross understatement. wow! God just blesses and blesses. so dave and art went ahead and ordered a new front-load washer. and by golly- i think it may very well actually WASH our clothes instead of just wetting them. hallelujah!

and while every single thing was out of my laundry room, art and i seized the opportunity to paint it. cobalt blue and stark white, just like the kitchen. and it looks MAGNIFICENT. truly. so we took the afternoon/evening to paint and paint and paint while the kids slept and slept.

which really was a little nuts, because dave and i had couple's group at 6:30. thank the Lord it wasn't at our place because the house looked like a tornado ripped through. so dave and i went on a date to couple's group and grandma and grandpa held down the eli and piper fort. and i must add that it was the best couple's group meeting we ever had. we just talked and laughed and shared and wrestled (no, not literally) and read from the Word and laughed some more. i love love LOVE those people. we had such a great time.

- saturday we tried to rest. i had some errands to do, and nancy, lovely mom that she is, took some laundry over to my moms and ran it for me. i went out to pick out a cake for piper's dedication, pick up the dry cleaning, and on a man-hunt for a headband or a bonnet for her to wear with her heirloom gown. no luck after 97357345983 stores, but i did stumble across what i think very well may have been the deal of the century at old navy. i don't think God probably cares about shopping, but i tell ya, if he didn't orchestrate those deals, i don't know WHO did. prepare for jealousy- cashmere zip-up hooded sweaters, originally $79.50, for $10. yes. believe it. see, God is good. and he does love me ;)

- because i knew art and nancy would be in town through sunday, i thought what better time to dedicate piper? it would be so special to have them there. so sunday, art and nancy made an appearance at their old home, new hope chapel. for the past two years, they've been living out in the cornfields of indiana, but new england was always their home. and new hope was their home for nearly two decades. they miss it here. and they miss elias and piper especially. so having art dedicate piper was...momentous, somehow. it was one of those "full-circle" moments.

we had my big ole family over after to church to celebrate, eat yummy food (i made homemade macaroni and cheese), and relax. it was really a perfect day. the sun was shining down on my chipper little bird, everything came off without a hitch, and we were more than proud to hand our baby girl over to the Lord.

by the time everyone left sunday it was nearly 7:00, and after some cleaning up, dave and i collapsed on the couch to see if the cardinals could pull a fast one and spank the awful steelers. almost, but no such luck. if it was our patriots, we totally would've shown those steelers what's what. oh well.


now that the week has begun, i'm going to need some down time to re-coup from this past week. elias and pip did really well this week all things considered. i really want to go take a nap right now, but my husband and father are banging around outside putting on the chimney cap, so elias is up early from his nap. which means no nap for me. there's always tomorrow, right?

speaking of tomorrow, tune in for some pics from this past week.

it's good to be back.

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