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re:defined: April 2009

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

a legitimate amount of cuteness.

here's a photo story of the past few days. we've been enjoying this beautiful weather, and our friends and family. it's hard to drag myself inside to write, even though i love to write, but there is a legitimate amount of cuteness to be shared. here we go:
here's elias and pip in their "sunday best." i figured i ought to hurry up and capture them before elias "gets dierdy" and piper drools everywhere. the best of the bunch will hopefully be going out in a spring mailing. before it's...well, summer.

sunday afternoon, dave's aunt carolyn, uncle ted, and cousin daina came by on their way back from daina's apartment in coolidge corner to their home in new york so we could all kiss and hug daina before she leaves for nicaragua with the peace corps. isn't that awesome? daina's cool like that, but elias sure is going to miss her. he loves daina- and elyse (in the video i put in at the end of the post, he sweetly asks where elyse was...cute), so he was happy to play with her, and ran screaming and crying when she left- dramatic and honest, my boy is. we had a nice afternoon drinking iced tea and chatting. here's the kids playing and wrestling. and playing peek-a-boo in the video below.

don't they look innocent? ohh, the lies we believe...

"my co-sinn daina" as elias calls her

daina, piper (mostly her bum, actually), eli, me, and davey

pippa attacking elias- trying to, i don't know, eat his face?

piper's got some wrestling moves, too.

we dedicated our monday to garden planting and preparation. really- gardening is not as simple as it seems. the research to make sure the plants are seeded properly either inside or outside, the planning to know how much light they'll need, how big/tall/wide they'll grow, getting the soil ready, the fence up, the gate made, the layout laid out, the watering, the nurturing. i think i just took on about 100 new babies- except they're plants. i think it will be worth it once i get over the learning curve...i guess i just didn't realize how curvy the curve is. here's dada and elias getting some tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers ready. (we've managed to add peppers, corn, lettuce, and maybe onions to our repertoire. yeah- we may need a farm stand...)

hey eli, you've got a little something on your face, bud :)

my flowers. i love purple, but only in flowers, really.

"big helper"

tuesdays are my friend leelee and i's play date day. ever since elias and cadence were small, we try to get together once a week to escape mommy prison. err, i mean, to socialize and stay connected. here's jaxon and pippa today.

jaxon's like "uhh, what are you doing, girl?"

elias and cadence...playing in the dirt piles. of course.

this is eli and piper wrestling and playing peek-a-boo on sunday when dave's family came for a visit. pretty cute, really.

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Friday, April 24, 2009

my baby needs a baby

i've been on the hunt for a baby doll for piper for some time now. i never seem to have much luck when i check for cute dolly-dolls at target or wal-mart (and those are the only two places i venture to, really. sad, but true).
i have been surfing the web on amazon to see what i could find, and just LOOK at how cute some of these baby dolls are! i've listed them from least expensive to most expensive, ranging from about $15. to (gasp) $150.
a baby girl (ahem, mama) can dream, right?
alright everyone. it's voting time!





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Thursday, April 23, 2009

shout out

to my beautiful west coast friend, jessi, who made me this fabulous header. i know, ain't it perrrdy?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

earth day

happy earth day, everybody!

the earth is the LORD's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters. psalm 24:1-2

don't you think this is pretty much what i think our earth would say if it really could rock a t-shirt? i do. this is God's green earth, isn't it? and if anyone should be taking care of it, it's us God-lovers! so, reduce, reuse, recycle, replenish, and restore :)

it only seems appropriate that on earth day i share a little bit about our new garden. i love the part in the book of jeremiah where God says: "build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce" (jeremiah 29:5). good advice. very practical. i love that about the Bible.
the four of us spent our monday outside, raking, shoveling, digging, wheel barreling, and getting our patch of earth ready for some seeds. okay, well piper mostly sat around and played toys, and elias climbed dirt piles and helped here and there finding rocks and throwing them into the wheel barrel. it was such a fun way to spend our monday, all together, working in the yard. fun. so what's on the menu for our very first garden?
cherry tomatoes
green beans
& cucumbers
just enough to manage...and truth be told, i didn't exactly get a green thumb in the gene pool. mine is, like, pink or something. so i'll try. and hopefully we'll grow some, as elias would say "dewicious" vegetables. and i'm taking a stab ot some perennial flowers, too. some delphinium, rock soapwort, salvia, and a whole slew of wildflowers. i love flowers, and i don't want to have to buy them and plant them every year, so we'll see if i can grow them!
there's definitely something, i don't about having your hands in the earth, isn't there?
how are you all out there taking care of our earth?
anyone have any good tips for making a garden grow??

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

the thing about spring

you see, the thing about spring is that nice weather lures me into the outdoors. i live for being outside. i love the sun, i love nature, i love outside. and being inside all the time makes me irritated and hateful by january. so when the weather is nice, i can't help but be outside all morning with the kids, having a picnic lunches, and after putting them down for naps, i'll head right on back out with a book or a rake or something to busy myself.

today, however, is a rainy day (torrentially down pouring, actually, but...). it's wet and warm- very spring. and i'm conflicted. now that i don't have to option of being outside, doing yard work, or playing "chase" with elias, i have to choose between the things i want to do and the things i have to or should be doing. it was much easier to just go outside and forget all of the other responsibilities besides mothering.

this is what i want to do most days while the kids sleep:

-blog. i have too many that are half drafted and in the wings. and i'm feeling a green and brown makeover coming on soon. and my west coast girl, jessi, is making me a beautiful header to adorn my blase blog, too. like she has nothing else to do. my word :)
-watch television. i have, ohhh, i don't know, 98725872350 shows racking up on tivo that i either fell asleep watching or have not had a chance to see yet.
-nap. speaking of sleep, i could really use a nap. REALLY.
-read more of the irresistible revolution. it truly is irresistible.
-organize a few things that are getting out of control. like the garage. or eli's toy room. or piper's closet. i'd also like to organize the folders upon folders of pictures on my computer.

this is what i usually end up doing instead:
-laundry. yikes. elias is getting dirtier and dirtier with all his playing outside, so there's no wearing jeans twice anymore. and piper makes a hot mess eating these days, so forget it.

i have another 5, 6, 7 loads awaiting my attention. seriously. check out this pile....

-cleaning. my entire home is sandy and dirty right now, thanks to the piles of dirt in my backyard. talk about piles! there's no way to keep him out of them or off them, so he needs a hose down every night now. geesh.

so today, now that i've blogged about my time management issues, i think will go do some more laundry, and heck, maybe i'll watch a show or two while i fold. that sounds like a win-win.
what do you all think?
what are the things do you choose to ignore when there's a better option??

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

my baby girl

in the past couple weeks, i've come to the realization that my baby girl is not really a baby anymore. she's getting...big.

last time i dedicated a blog to piper, she was 6 months old- and today, she's 9 months old! crazy!

truth is, i really love that she's getting bigger. i do love the novelty of small- don't get me wrong. that's why babies are so darn cute to me- miniature things are my favorite. but as piper's personality takes shape, i suddenly have this new infatuation with her. on the verge of obsession, actually. i can't get enough of her big blue eyes, her loud & silly laugh, her big squeezy neck hugs, her cheerful disposition. i'm happy when she wakes up from her naps, and i adore watching her excitement at the sight of her nutty big brother. i could literally smooch her big round chubby cheeks all day long.

for those of you who don't get to see my snuggle bug all the time, here's what piper has been up to since my last post about her:
-she sits up (well, she has for quite a while now). but for the past month or so, she's been rock solid sitter, except if her big brother is lurking sneakily around. then she mysteriously falls over. hmm.
-she feeds herself. fruit, cheerios, vegetables. sometimes she gets all aggressive with her food and her hand lunges out and snatches it up into her fist, like 'ha! i got you!'. she takes food from elias all the time, too. pretty funny.
-actually, she does a lot of lunging. that's her thing right now. she comes at you like a spider monkey. she leaped across eli's bed the other night trying to get alicia, his doll. she'll whap at you if you get in her way, which is what elias is quickly learning.
-she scoots about on her belly. military style. and she can get herself onto her hands and knees and rock. she "crawls" backwards a little, too, and can just about get out of her own way from a sit to a crawl position; she gets her legs all twisted up like a pretzel a lot.
-she can pull herself from a sit to a stand, in her crib at least. saw it the other day. little sneak.
-she loves to clap. clap clap clap. and wave. not a girly miss america wave, though. a hand folds in half, arm jutting straight out. she'll probably be about as dainty as i am. ha.
-she smacks her lips. well, it's her tongue, actually, smacking the roof of her mouth. but it's very loud. and very cute. she likes attention. typical girl.
-she's got herself a nice bottom tooth, and bottom tooth #2 is almost here to keep #1 company.
-she constantly chirps, my little bird. chitter chatter, sing song, she's always got something to say. it's what i call her "constant commentary." elias is always saying "quiet, piper!". and it's for better or worse. if she's mad- you'll know it. piper's got pipes. and one furrowed brow. whoo-ee. she's got a little fiesty italian in her.

here's a closer look at miss expressive:

this picture i LOVE. it's so...her.

this is what i call the "stratton nose flair," typically accompanied by the "stratton serious" face

smiley girl

she's got herself some big bad baby blues

hehe. those cheeks, i tell you!

the last thing that piper is up to, which i adore, is when she jams out when she hears music. this is her rockin out to her glow bug. precious :)

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Sunday, April 12, 2009

sticky notes

i have a constant inner dialogue that i could only dream to remember when i sit down to blog. i'm sure many of you, whether you blog or not, can relate to this kind of forgetfulness. i've decided i need some of that speech recognition software, so i can rock a headset and talk out loud to myself all day. you know, like in the opening scene for the movie body of lies where russell crowe meanders around his house while his computer types for him? i have GOT to get me one of THOSE! maybe then i wouldn't forget any of my witty genius. ha ha ha.

but since that isn't exactly practical or realistic, you'll just have to deal with this michelle, who instead of software (that i'd probably never know how to use correctly anyway) has about 2398462397 sticky notes filled with scribblings, ramblings, ideas, quotes, and happenstances that eventually make it into a blog or are filed away in some dusty, distant corner of my brain.

aahh, owell.
with this in mind, i bring you sticky note 1423742398, which has a few things i'll be writing about this week...or maybe next week. i have only my aspirations, people. life gets in my way from time to time ;)

here is what i have in store for the days to come:

-life in the motherhood. not the show, but the concept. based on a conversation i had with my oldest sister lauri, which was followed by a show i saw on oprah (funny when that happens, right?). and, no, if you're wondering, i do not think oprah is god. she is a walking contradiction, if you ask me. but i do enjoy her show a solid 10% of the time.

-blogging and the most visited blog on mothering.

-elias quotes. and they're getting more and more hilarious. this will be a nice compilation.

-happy 9 month birthday, piper! an update, pictures included, of my favorite girl around.

-picture post, compliments of miss lindsey mae. you've seen a sprinkling, now you'll get to experience he whole shebang.

so stay classy san diego. and thanks for stopping by.


Friday, April 10, 2009

a revolutionary named Jesus.

i sat outside this morning with piper, and elias, and a book.

elias ran around the yard, digging in dirt, crawling on dirt piles, getting dirty. that's what he does. piper sat on a blanket with me and smacked toys and smacked me. that's what she does.

and i...opened a book that was on my book list called "the irresistable revolution" by shane claiborne (thanks, kate!)

and i can NOT put it down. i want to be reading it even now as i type.

all i want to say in light of good friday is that jesus made a sacrifice that is very real. HE was very real. following him is not meant to make us feel safe, or comfortable, or good.

i become more and more uncomfortable with my "possessions" and my sinfulness and my "normalness" as i read more about what Jesus said and taught and how he lived.

and i become more and more enchanted the more i picture this man who is also fully God. who is everything we hoped for, but nothing we expected. the one who would suggest that to become the greatest, we would need to become the least. that it's not okay for us to just love the people who deserve it, who we like, who don't ruffle our feathers, who aren't dirty, or annoying, or needy.

but that we must love everyone. especially the least.

if he could die for every one of us, it's the least we can do to show this world a little love, Jesus style.

so today i'm thinking about what it really means to be part of the church, the church of this world, a community of believers. and i feel really blessed to know a God who forgives, who is the picture of justice and unfailing love, and it makes me want to be a better person.

and today, i'm relishing in Jesus' life as a revolutionary, what he can teach me about how to live and love, and what his sacrifice represents for us all.

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Thursday, April 9, 2009

the results, please.

there are a few reasons why this blog is post-dated for thursday, when clearly it wasn't there yesterday:

1. honestly, i couldn't share a picture of my hair until i stuck my head in the sink and started over. hairdressers for some reason have no concept of styling hair. is this only my experience? my hair is SO thick. SO thick, and they blow dry it as if they want to win the contest to see who can create the most volume. my GOODNESS. so last night as i bathed my children, i went round two on my hair-do to inspire more excitement and less leeriness. with some success, i might add. i think i actually might like it now.

2. however, i do not like pictures of myself. i guess everyone feels that way. in addition, i am having a tiny semi-crisis about looking like a boy/not feeling very feminine (dave is totally going to make fun of me when he reads that. when i told him that last night, he told me i was the sexiest boy he ever saw. haha. i love my husband.). but truly. i had to adjust. actually, i still need to adjust.

3. and really, i was just tired, and feeling kind of ick (hair trauma?) last night, so i had to just lay on the couch, drink tea, and watch LOST and CSI:NY on tivo until i couldn't stay awake any more.

but at long last:
here are a few pictures (i had to take them myself, since dave wasn't home. harder than it should be, isn't it?), so you all of my chroniclers can see (those of you who need to catch up, read this and this).

i admit, it's growing on me (what's with the hair puns?), but it is definitely a shock! ultimately, that's what i wanted, though. it's funny, my own hairdresser would not cut it as short as i wanted. it literally took 3 tries, and a second hair wetting to get it short, and still it's not actually as short as the picture i brought. i guess i wasn't the only nervous one :) but i couldn't come home and have my husband think i chickened out, now could i?!

finally- here i am, rocking my new shorty short hair!


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

my preliminary findings

i don't know what it is with me today. i'm all hyper, and giddy, and chipper, and productive, and patient, and positive, and...hmm- myself.


i keep trying to figure out if someone slipped me a mickey, or what it is that has gotten me all high on life. there's a few possibilities. these are my preliminary findings:

a. getting some sleep.
last night piper only woke up once, because she was freezing her little biscuits off, and went right back to sleep, and slept until 7:30 this morning. i had forgotten what it was like to have her sleep. it's a distant memory now. because honestly, the night before, she woke up at 12am and i could not get her back to sleep until 2:40am, and i almost hurt her. but for the grace of God, truly. she screamed and screamed and fussed and kept opening my bathrobe up like it was doors to the refrigerator. sorry, no late night snacks, kiddo. haven't done feedings like that for over 6 months. she was adamant about being awake, crying, and trying to eat. and ask me- did feeding her make her simmer down?? ohhhh no. it was bad. luckily, today is a new day. yesterday, i could not muster up the ability to blog anything free of profanity or rude, ungodly thoughts. i'm glad i waited. too many of my relatives read this blog ;)

b. shopping at target.
i managed to find all the things i needed today without having to be one of "those moms" in the store screaming empty threats at my 3 year old. even though elias concluded wearing a diego backpack means it's yours, and proceeded to throw himself on the floor over a diego slip-n-slide, i managed to stay very calm and firm. as if my son needs anything that will make him go any faster or be any more dangerous. he though it was a pool, anyway. "it IS a pool, mum! me bring dis hommmeeee!" there's no talking sense to toddlers, is there? no, you're right elias, i can't read, it must be a pool. my mistake...(eye roll).
so as shallow and terrible as it may be, shopping, even with two small children, brings me great pleasure. i can't explain it. mostly for clothes, especially for elias and piper. even with the tears and the drama, today, i found some of the MOST adorable things for my cutey beauty. just look at how adorable these are! and oh, so affordable!

c. getting my hair cut. YAY! what's better than friends, starbucks, and getting your hair "did"? amber's bringing baby yuuukas (lucas), as elias would say, so i get to chop this hair, and squeeze a bitty baby, and chat without interruption. i love my husband, who makes all these things possible, and gladly. seriously. i am married to THE most amazing man in the world.
so tomorrow- 12:30, new hair, new me! going bold- going short!
SO nervous.

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Monday, April 6, 2009

hair update

okay, i admit it. i watch america's next top model. truth be told, there's a lot of shows i would never in a million years watch (american idol and antm, for example), but i'll watch on tivo because i can fast forward through nonsense (ie, paula and that other chick, or cat fights and drama) to the parts i want to see (ie, danny gokey, kris allen, & matt giraud, or the photo shoots and elimination). what can i say, i love me some reality television. but i didn't want to leave some of you stranded (no pun intended), wondering what i was going to do with my hair.

enter: london, from america's next top model.

now- i am SO sick of my hair, i shudder to have to go out into public. so it has to go. FAST. i've put a call in to my girl jenny at j stevens salon in newton, a fabulously talented hairdresser who always did my tresses when i was in college and living in the big city...when i was daring and had all sorts of fun haircuts, to see if she can squeeze me in. but i'll only let jenny do something as crazy as this. so i'm meeting my girl amber up in newton for a starbucks and a legitimate chop, hopefully some time this week. basically, as soon as possible.

the pictures below are what dave votes i do with my hair. he's daring me to go short. SHORT short.

eeekk! am i CRAZY?! i'm so stinking nervous to have my hair this short. but i'm SO desirous of something different, i think i just HAVE to.

(p.s. the dark hair will likely debut in the fall. i forgot that i really do love the blonde of my hair, in the summer especially, so i'll wait on the darkness for fall.
...and so people can recognize me. myself included.)

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Friday, April 3, 2009

what is the secret ingredient?

right as i sat down to share this thought, dave came in and asked me the same question i was asking myself (which happens all the time actually. weird, but awesome).

he asked me: what is the secret ingredient?

to what, you may ask. well, let me tell you a little story...

i'm more exhausted today than i've been for a while. non-sleep catching up with me is all. i could have easily gone back to bed this morning, but i took a shower and dressed instead, and my sister stopped by on her way to the grocery store to hang and chat for a bit. we don't get a whole lot of qt because she's a mama of 3 herself, so i opted for tea with nik instead of sleep. i must really love her ;)

weariness and general tiredness aside, all of a sudden, after lunch and putting the kids down, i went on this organizing and cleaning tear. putting away winter shoes/clothes/scarves/etc. and replacing them with summer items, washing and sweeping floors, running laundry, cleaning the kitchen, organizing every last toy my children own into appropriate sized bins, vacuuming, folding laundry, cleaning out closets, and Lord only knows what else.

dave came in from the garage, which no longer has bags piled on bags of clothes to donate, boxes, stacks, piles, etc. and is FAR neater as a result of this cleaning frenzy, and asked what in the world had gotten into me. but in not so many words.

he asked: "what is the secret ingredient?"

you see, he has a lot of his father engineering brain in him, so he thinks in bullets and lists, LIVES for multi-tasking, and aspires to be uber efficient, streamlined, and effective in everything he does. he more wants to know what the secret ingredient is in order that i might create this scenario at my will and command, rather than it be some inexplicable side effect of exhaustion or tides or plate shifting or some random phenomena. he wants to pinpoint exactly what it is that gets into me that sends me bustling about the house, organizing and cleaning anything and everyhting in my path.

so, what is it? it's not that i'm rested. it's not that i have company coming (usually my best motivator). it's not that i have to. or because it's friday. i don't know!

is it motivation? opportunity? desire? boredom? haha. right.

what IS it that gets into women, when we just can't be stopped? we tear around the house like we've got wheels, and we leave this glittery, shining, beautiful, organized path behind. do we have some sort of magic? :) it can't just be me. right?

what do you all think?? do any of you have an explanation for your magic??

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Thursday, April 2, 2009

a week in review

here i am!

today dave asked me if i was going to write a blog about not writing a blog and wanting to write a blog. haha, funny. i really miss writing when i don't have time to, and i get all ornery and frustrated. so i'm back, which is better for everyone, really :)

here are the highlights from this past week:

a massage on wednesday. i have a tendency to hang onto things that involve relaxing or pampering- waiting for some elusive, perfect time to use them. example- the manicure and pedicure that someone gave me as a gift right after elias was born. yeah, that was almost 3 years ago. go ahead, ask me if i've used it. but anyway, davey got me a massage for our four year anniversary in november (again, with the holding on to things) and he just went ahead and scheduled it for me, knowing me as he does. it was a REALLY great massage. much needed. one of those every week would do a mom some serious good, eh?

a photoshoot for elias and pip friday. with lindsey, photographer extraordinaire. and i'm not joking about her skills. it's crazy how good she is. and the pictures-- they're so good i can barely stand it. i don't have all of them yet, but here's a couple to tide you over. a picture post with more of these photos is coming soon:
elias being a "frock star!"

mystery date for march friday night. dave and our friend ian have decided they are going to plan mystery dates once a month for their wives (ie, me and elya). now- this is a brilliant idea. i LOVE surprises. have i mentioned this? ;) it doesn't have to be anything fancy, but it has to be planned and arranged by the husband. and all i have to do is show up...AND i get to go OUT! i always ask for clues, which is a mistake because dave always lies to me and tells me contradictory and ridiculous clues, so there's no use, but i ask anyway because i'm, i don't know, a glutton for punishment. the clues this time were "bring a potato peeler" and "it involves timing." actually, he gave me one legitimate clue. he took me to see duplicity with clive owen and julia roberts (on the day it was released, hence the timing). and i love clive owen. LOVE. he could read me the phone book an i'd love it. so see it. it was clever...i really liked it. yay for mystery dates!

benjamin's birthday party on saturday. my friend amber and i met in college, and we found ourselves married with a couple kids all of a sudden, so we like to playdate whenever possible. she lives in rockport on the north shore, and i'm in raynham on the south shore, so typically we'll meet halfway in boston and go to the children's museum, or the artesani playground and pool in brighton (don't worry- only in the summer). i miss her when i don't see her, and i love that she's my excuse to go into the city. so dave and i took the kids up to rockport to celebrate "jamin's" 2nd birthday. i realized "whoa- putting a bunch of kids under 3 in a room together is kind of crazy." elias had a lot of fun, though. and i finally got to see their new home. (it was lovely, by the way. of course. amber has good taste.) so that was a nice saturday family excursion.

tortellini soup on monday. i love mondays. mondays are dave's day off, and this one was particularly productive yet leisurely. i've had a recipe by tyler florence for tortellini soup i've wanted to try since i randomly saw it on oprah. dave and i played with the kids and chopped vegetables and chatted and enjoyed some time in the kitchen together. usually one of us cooks while the other does something else, but cooking together is way fun when you can do it. and the soup was really hearty and delicious. try it.

a surprise birthday party for elya tuesday night
. now- i'm not a planner. truly. but when it comes to surprises-- i just love them. so i'll even plan and coordinate. maybe i'm more of a coordinator, and just not a planner. hmm. i'll have to think about that. anyway, we surprised elya with a house full of friends, some nice cupcake decorating- thanks to deanna, who likes "activities," and a little mad gab. good fun. i did a little painting project to make a birthday sign with my niece madison on sunday, and on tuesday, elias and i did some baking. mostly, elias did a lot of licking, but he's got great pouring skills, so he was technically a help.

one cupcake for the birthday girl

ian and elya (and wittle wittle baby in the belly!)

so there it is: a busy and fun and exciting and tiring and hectic and relaxing and enjoyable and crazy week. juuuuuuust how i like 'em!