Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Still On Holiday

Here at the Tea Party Place, we are determined to eek the Christmas spirit out of the entire month. I know some people are busy taking down Christmas and organizing, preparing for the new year. Not us. We are still playing Christmas music, lighting the tree, and drinking hot cocoa out of our Santa mugs. You know how I feel about New Year's resolutions. So I am quite determined that we are on holiday until we ring in the new year. That's just the way we roll.

Today our plans include a trip to the zoo and the movie Bolt. We are livin' it up!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


This morning, as I stumbled bloggy and bleary-eyed out of the bathroom, I beheld the familiar sight of little Griffin in his makeshift bed on the floor next to ours. He smiled.

"Good morning, sweetheart."

"Do I go to school today?" he asked.

"No. Today is Christmas Eve. That means tomorrow is Christmas!" I watched as his eyes lit up the way they can only in children. His face glowed from the inside out.

"That means Santa is coming tonight. And I get to ride in his sleigh."

"Wow! You think so, huh?"

"I don't think. I AM!"

May the magic of Christmas give us all such faith, and the birth of Christ all such hope. Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Joy to Your World

We are seeking the joy of the season around the Tea Party Place. Seeking. Sometimes finding. Sometimes not. You might remember last year when I came up with our Advent Calendar Activities? Well, we are going strong again this year, despite the fact that most of the time what I imagine in my head is not how it plays out in reality. A couple of examples:

1) We made homemade Christmas cards for the Children's friends. In my mind it was going to be a happy craft time spent together. How it played out? Glitter everywhere. Griffin mistakenly drinking his painting rinse water. Copious amounts of glue that didn't always stay on the paper. Mommy saying things like, "Okay, already! That's enough." That sort of the thing.

2) We delivered treats to our friends. Keep in mind that it took me three days to finish because the baby is sucking the life force out of me. By the time we delivered I was pretty tired of cookies, frosting and mess. But we at least had some to deliver! In my mind I saw the four of us happily riding in the car listening to Christmas carols on the radio, the children excitedly running to the door, wishing neighbors and friends a "Merry Christmas!" Those things happened, all right. I just didn't also imagine the crushed boxes of treats due to the Christmas-crack induced hyperactivity of the children. Nor did I foresee the almost constant bickering: "It's my turn! You did the last one! Let me ring the doorbell! I'll carry it!..." There was a moment when Mr. Wicke and I locked eyes and questioned our sanity during that very long evening.

Sometimes I wonder if these Christmas events are even worth it. Oh, I think the kids have a good time; I can tell because their joy bubbles over into crazed mania at times, and I just wonder if I do a good enough job hiding the level of frustration I sometimes feel boiling under my skin and the relief I secretly find in saying, "Okay! Time for bed!"

But then there are the magical moments that surprise me. Comments like, "This is the best night ever!" or finding this in Logan's backpack:

"What is the Bob Board?" I asked.

"I forgot what it's called, but it's this," she said pointing the snowman advent calendar hanging in the family room.

And while reading her reasons for loving it, "It's a [great] way to spend the holidays...[because] we get to spend more time with [our] family," I felt it. A happy moment of joy and grace.

I find as a mother that those moments are not constant. No, motherhood is more like a symphony of chaos and low notes punctuated with highlights of brightness. I try to sit in those moments, to remember them, because they say to me, "It is worth it. Keep going. Love beyond your current capacity. I'll carry you. Joy to your world, after all."

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I think Girls are Born with It

While doing Logan's hair today (a lot of interesting conversations happen while doing hair) I said, "What the heck are we going to do with two whole weeks out of school?!"

Her reply came way too easily. "We could go shopping for Griffin's present," she said.

"Yeah, we need to do that."

"...Or we could just go shopping for fun. Or we could go shopping for clothes 'cause I need some new clothes."

"Okay there, Big Spender! So you're saying you might want to go shopping?"

And I know what you're thinking, but I swear, I'm not really a big shopper. I think she was born with the girl gene, that's all. It's a well known anthropoligical fact: Men, hunter-gatherers; women, shoppers. She can't help it.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Girl by Any Other Name

A few days ago, as I was doing Logan's hair in the morning, she said, "Mom? Yesterday Emily and I tried to make a new friend..."

"That's terrific!" I encouraged.

"But she didn't want to be our friend."

"What? I can't imagine anyone not wanting to be friends with you!"

"I think it might have been the outfit I was wearing."

"Oh, I doubt that. You looked so cute yesterday. What happened exactly?"

"Well, we went up to her her at recess and asked if she wanted to be our friend, and she said, 'No way, Jose!"

"Well...that was kind of rude."

"Yeah! And you'd think she would be a lot nicer. I mean her name is Mary!"

Monday, December 15, 2008

How a Crazy Woman Knows She's Loved

Most of the time I love being pregnant. I'm over the moon about it. After all, it's not like this happened accidentally for us. We chased after it, and we got it! And usually I'm super grateful. But today I cried. I mean an ugly, hyperventilating kind of cry.

I'm pretty sure losing my mind has to do with being hormonal, but it also has to do with the fact that my underwear suddenly don't fit. That put me in a bad mood this morning to begin with. And the fact that after coming home from our weekend getaway all of my maternity pants are dirty. So I pretty much had nothing to wear. Standing in my closet in my ill-fitting underwear and trying to determine what I could possibly clothe myself in, I started feeling the low rumblings of angry discord somewhere in the pit of my soul, but I plowed forward. Maybe that green dress of mine would work. It's comfortable and casual enough for every day. But footwear...that was a problem.

Currently I have three pairs of shoes that fit. Lace up tennies (Thank the Lord for laces!), ankle boots (that I can get into most days), and knee high dress boots that I bought two sizes bigger than usual to hide the cankles pregnancy has blessed me with. None of these options were inspired.

Then I spied them in the dark corner of my closet: My tan leather and suede cowboy boots I've had since college. I could probably make them work with the dress in an artsy sort of way. So I put on the green dress. I quickly realized, however, that what worked in month three looks rather ridiculous in month 6. That angry discord began to rise as I yanked it off.

Okay...What about my new heather grey maternity dress? That could work, and probably would look better with the boots anyway. Who cares if I wear it every week? It's a no failer. At least for now...Taking a look in the mirror I concluded that it would do.

Finally it was time for the boots. Except as I pushed my giant troll feet into them, it began to be apparent that they might not--NO WAY! This was not happening. I stood up, looped my swollen fingers through the leather pull straps and yanked, and yanked, and stomped, and yanked again. Of course I had to be careful of my right wrist which has developed carple-tunnel-like symptoms because of the MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF WATER THAT I AM RETAINING!!! However, despite the obstacles, and thanks to the stomping and yanking, I finally forced my way into them... only to find the pinching and constriction unbearable.

That's when I lost my mind. I yelled and stomped, trying desperately to get the thing off, and began blubbering. That's what Mr. Wicke found when he ran up the stairs thinking I had possibly fallen down. I threw myself into the rocking chair, weeping and cursing my enormous troll feet, and then, thanks to my current limited lung capacity I found myself unable to catch my breath.

It's all too humiliating to recall. I am fully aware that I was ridiculous. I was aware as it was happening that I was ridiculous. And it's even more humiliating to think that someone other than God witnessed it. What was poor Mr. Wicke supposed to do with all that crazed, hormonal, emotion?

You know what he did? He petted my head, and then gently tried to remove the offending boots...eventually he had to muscle them off, but I appreciated the initial gentle effort. Then he told me to lie down and get some rest. He even offered to pick me up some new underwear today. And you know what else? I'll bet he'll never mention it again. Now that is love.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Out of Town

We have a friend getting married tomorrow, so Mr. Wicke and I are spending the weekend with many friends in California. And we're leaving the kids here. (Well-supervised by awesome brother and sister in law, of course.) So we have three days in the midst of December to be together. Just the two of us. Ahhh...that's even better than snow on Christmas Eve.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Compliments to the Chef

The other day, as Griffin ate the lunch I had prepared him, he said, "Mom, you should be a cooker when you grow up."

"Really?" I responded.

"Yeah. You're a really good cooker."

"Why, thank you! What a nice thing to say."

"You're welcome. I really like the things you cook."

"What's your favorite thing I make."

"Hmm..." After giving it long, serious thought he concluded, "I like the pot pies and pizza."

It sounds good, except for the fact that, of all the things I DO make, both of these come frozen. Yes, I can see my culinary career expand before my eyes. McDonald's here I come.

Monday, December 8, 2008

You Know the Problem with Grace Under Pressure? You Get No Credit.

I think every mom--shoot, make that woman!--can relate to the following senario in some way:

Consider that in the last two weeks, in addition to the normal running of the household, I have:

-cleaned the house top to bottom--including underbeds and washing windows inside and out. (I won't mention that it rained the day before company arrived anyway.)

-finally decorated and painted the woodwork in the guest bathroom that has been sadly ignored for the last 3 years.

-housed and fed 12 of my favorite people in the world over the Thanksgiving weekend.

-cooked Thanksgiving dinner for 19 adults and 5 children and enjoyed every minute we spent together. (I also won't mention the unbelievable size of my swollen elephant ankles and troll feet.)

-created, printed, and addressed all the Christmas cards.

-decorated the house for Christmas. (I won't mention that Mr. Wicke had a meeting that night and that our kids were wired on Christmas spirit. I mean WIRED!)

-did a lot of Christmas shopping. (I won't mention that Logan changed her mind--AGAIN!)

-planned a progressive dinner for our women's group at church.

-and still managed to keep the children alive, fed, dressed, and clean.

Then consider three nights ago when Logan casually mentioned this over dinner:

"Mom, I've noticed something...since you've been pregnant you haven't worked that hard."

Obviously I'm making this gig look too easy. (I won't mention how tired I feel.)