27 April 2016

Crochet Toddler Market Tote

Eleanor is my compassionate one. The lover of the stuffed animals and the baby dolls. She overflows her little arms with "security objects" and cries when she can't carry them all. So I crocheted her a little market bag to cart her belongings around. I scaled down the Lion Brand Fresh Market Produce tote pattern (the pattern is free, but you'll need a free account in order to view any of Lion Brand's patterns).

At first I just cut the pattern in half (6 dc instead of 12, for example). I stopped increasing when I thought it was wide enough. And I stopped adding rows when I thought it was long enough. It was one of those projects that should have taken a weekend (a definite one-day project if I didn't have a baby), but ended up taking much longer because I kept taking it apart to try to make it more perfect. After a few weeks of off-and-on work, I needed to move on, so I called it good enough. I used just over one  "super skein" of the classic cotton yarn, Lily Sugar 'n Cream.

If I were to make it again, I'd scale down the bottom of the bag just a scoach. It'd make the bottomless pointy and use only one skein. But all complaints aside, Eleanor loves her "Eleanor bag" quite a bit. Today she loaded it up with all my old cat Beanie Babies, her favorite baby doll, her favorite cat and horse stuffed animals, and as many books as she could get to fit in the remaining space.

Plus she looks adorable walking around the house with a little crossbody tote hanging on her tiny hip.

26 April 2016

This Blog

Sometimes the best part of blogging are the posts that don't get written. I spent two hours this afternoon writing and rewriting a blog post again and again in my head. There were sink boat metaphors and close readings of old cliches. I wrote and I thought for the entire afternoon and I ended up with no words to publish. Mostly insights into my marriage that were not really "blast on the Internet" -able and thoughts on my personal sins that are rather boring to read. I wrote them all while staring at my freshly polished dining room table in my finally clean dining room. It's a small beauty that reminded me that my family suffers when I neglect the mundane.

I reflected and meditated and prayed. And in the end, I didn't not have a blog post. But I had some serious insights into some very important things. I wouldn't have them if it wasn't for this blog. So I thank you for existing. That alone has helped me.

21 April 2016

The Power of Modeling

I ran downstairs to grab a tapestry needle out of the craft cabinet, but I still needed my fingers to re-close the child-safety lock, so I slipped the oversized plastic needle between my first and second fingers on my left hand. I was struck with the urge, so after I locked the cabinet, I put the need needle between my lips and pretended to take a long drag. I let balanced my elbow on my hand while I puffed out pretend smoke and let my fingers casually relax, the tips curling around the plastic cigarette in what I imagined was an attractive, "lady in red" type pose.

I've never smoked. Not one cigarette. But my parents smoked during my entire childhood. There were very remorseful the entire time - they told us they started because they wanted to be cool and because the dangers of smoking were unknown at the time. When we would stop at the gas station on our way out of town to buy another pack, my parents were bemoan the cost - my dad would tell my sister and I things like, "If I put all the money I've spent on cigarettes into buying silver, we'd be rich by now." Many, many times he would get back in the car, close the door, buckle his seat, and tell us in a serious voice, "Never start smoking." My sister and I would come home from school after a D.A.R.E program day and lecture our parents on the dangers of smoking, but they never quit. We hated that they smoked, we would huddle together in my room and wonder why they didn't quit - why they let themselves be slaves to the addiction.

Their "do as we say, not as we do" did stick with me, though, thankfully, and I have never put a real cigarette to my lips. But it was modeled for me. Day after day for 18 years. And even though they said it was bad and I knew it was bad and I never tried it, here I am, still moved by urges to imitate smoking.

That is the power we have over our children. All the little things we model every day: how we react when something doesn't work, what we say when we stub our toes, how we treat our spouse when we are mad at them. The cuss words we use, the phone we whip out when we sit down on the couch. The smoking realization makes me meditate on the things I don't like about myself. I've got to change those things, or at the very least try. Even if I don't succeed, at least I will have modeled for my children the desire to change.

19 April 2016

Best Laid Plans

The one thing I never understood about the Catholic Church was its position on birth control. No matter how much I read Church teaching or listened to podcasts and homilies, it was completely beyond me why a little non-abortifacient was so wrong. I still followed the Church's teaching, we only used NFP, but it was out of dutiful obedience and not out of understanding. I didn't want too many kids (3 or 4), and I didn't want them too close together or too far apart. For the sake of the family. I had it all figured out: exactly what would constitute good for our family.

After I had Abigail, I knew I wanted more kids, but I was worried if we had too many, Matt and I wouldn't be able to provide for Abigail throughout her life. I wonder too if new life was a bit scary to that Jacqueline - so fragile and easily damaged. So my 3 or 4 count was reinforced.

After our miscarriage - the third anniversary of which was yesterday - life became more precious to me. A body and soul I helped to create was gone. And I had no say in the matter. And now that little soul is looking down on me from Heaven and I when I die, I will get to hold that little soul in my arms and not a moment before. It is such a strange feeling sometimes to have part of your heart walking around in Heaven. I cherish life on a whole new level because of the baby we lost.

After Eleanor, I was still obsessed with controlling my life plan, but I had come to realize that life, kids, and especially babies, are totally awesome. After we had Eleanor, I knew I definitely wanted more than 3 and was leaning toward maybe planning for 5 (gasp!) kids.

Then came Theodore. When I was pregnant with him, I was furious with God, with the Church, and with the whole birth control issue. No contraception felt like a big joke that celibate men were playing on women. I saw myself getting pregnant every year for the rest of my fertility. How could we provide for our family? Afford the medical bills? Stop from loosing my sanity?

Antidepressents cleared away the pain and the anger and the bitterness. Then I gave birth to the chillest, laziest, funnest baby ever. And I look in his eyes and I am so thankful my life didn't go according to my plan. Where would I be without my Foxy Man?!

Sometimes when we're snuggling, I think about all the Foxy Men I could have. Part of me wants to just throw my NFP chart away and have as many kids as God gives me for the time being. I want to fill up my big, beautiful house full of adorable children.

I'll pack them in bunk beds in their rooms and they will grow up together swapping clothes and staying up past bedtime. They'll become doctors and teachers and lawyers and moms and dads and hopefully a priest or a nun and they'll get together every year at Christmas and laugh and rejoice in their memories.

Up until fairly recently, I would scorned at the imbecility of someone who said things like, "As many kids as God will give me." Pre-kids Jacqueline would never have thought she would grow up to live in a brick house on the edge of town full of kids and cats and dogs and love.

But this Jacqueline wants to grow old surrounded by her family. And maybe, just maybe, the Writer of souls knows better than this writer of words.

15 April 2016

The second car, the house, the...dog?

I've been itching for a dog for what seems like forever, but since we were not in a position to get one until recently, I spent countless hours watching The Dog Whisperer and Animal Planet's Dogs 101 on Youtube, reading Cesar Millan's books from the library, and practicing calm-assertive techniques on my sister-in-law's dog and during the kids' meltdowns. Some nights I would practice being a good pack leader in my dreams.

*Note: I know there is some controversy surrounding Millan's techniques. I've researched those critiques and I think they are baseless. He is awesome at what he does. He is my dog-rehabbing role model and I will continue to utilize his techniques regardless of any mean comments left here.

I also have very high expectations for a dog. The dog of my childhood was in training to become a leader dog for the blind when he was shot in the chest with a bbgun and had to have what they call a "career change." (That's really what they call it.) Red was a very calm, obedient dog; the kind you could let your toddler walk because he would never misbehave. I grew up thinking that all dogs always walk calmly next to their owners, never jump up on guests, drop balls on command, let you lay on them, get into the car when you tell them to, essentially they always did exactly as told. It was quite shocking to me when I got older and realized that not all dogs are trained so well. I have always vowed that any dog of mine will be an obedient, respectful dog.

Matt and I had a few breeds in particular that we liked, including German Shepherds, pitbulls, and Newfoundlands; big and/or powerful breeds, no silly little yippy dogs for us. I stalked the website of two local shelters for months before we were ready to adopt. We needed someone good with little kids and cats and someone who would be satisfied with daily toddler-paced family walks and a 30 minute slow jog. Such dogs were few and far between, but when we were finally ready (or, I felt that we were finally ready. Matt begs to differ on our readiness), a German Shepherd mix popped up. Her description said that she was an anxious girl who needed some stability and was good with little kids and cats. Within two days, we were wading through a loud hallway of kennels looking for Bella the dog.

I used a Cesar Millan-approved leash and spent a solid hour fighting to get Bella to chill-the-heck-down. She was crazy-bounce-off-the-walls anxious with a high-pitched bark. She had no interest in my calm-assertive energy and barely sniffed me. (A dog's most important sense is the nose.) With much patience, I got her to stop barking and to lay down in a somewhat calm manner in a little waiting room, but I could never get her calm enough to take her for a walk. She was so large and powerful that keeping her restrained literally made my arm sore the next day. I wanted Bella really badly. Eleanor, Theodore, and I had gone to PetCo that afternoon to pick out the leash, some toys, and a bag of treats. The crate, outdoor cable, and food bowl I ordered from Amazon had already arrived and were set up waiting for her. We even had her new name picked out: Roxy. But I couldn't bring this dog home. She was too crazy. She would easily bulldoze the kids. She clearly didn't respect me as pack leader. I didn't even think she knew I was there.

We drove home. And when my sky-high hopes came crashing down, I started to cry. I had felt foolish standing in the middle of the hallway at a county animal control adoption center as an amateur trying to utilize Cesar's somewhat counterintuitive techniques. Volunteers, clinic workers, and uniformed officers walked by, staring at me as they passed. People petted her on the head as she bounced around barking, unknowingly encouraging her anxious behavior. I wanted this dog, it took guts to stick with my interaction techniques, and now we were at home and I was staring at Roxy's empty crate. It still held the old blanket I'd been using for the last few days, trying to get it to smell like me so that when she laid on it, she would be further imprinted with my pack leader status.

When my tears dried up, I wanted a second chance. One more shot at Roxy. So that night, I called my mom and asked her to watch the kids for me for one hour while I went back up to the shelter.

It was 24 hours after our first meeting. I opened Bella's kennel door and she came out calmly and sniffed me. She let me put my leash on. She let me lead her through the maze of hallways. When we reached the waiting room from the day before, she laid right down. She remembered! Cesar's techniques got through to her despite all the craziness! When we went outside, the crazy-bounce-off-the-walls returned. The anxiety, but not the barking. The dog who was known around the shelter as, "The Barker" did not bark when I held her leash. At that moment, she shed Bella and took on her new identity: Roxy. And the kicker? The super-awesome clincher? As I went to pay for her, I learned that dogs are half price on Wednesday. So Roxy found herself in her forever home.

If I had only one word to describe Roxy, it would be "Sweetheart." She is fabulous with the kids, she is scared of the cat, and she is very obedient in the house. The "good with kids" part is my favorite. She gives them wide berths when she walks by (distance in dog world means respect, according to Cesar), she does not chew their toys, and she respects my rule to stay out of the girls' rooms. Today the girls crawled in her crate with an armload of diapers (this is what happens when I nurse Theodore in the bedroom), and when Roxy walked into the room and up to her crate, the girls threw a diaper at her. She just walked away. Abigail has poked her in the eye, "sung" to her at the very top of her lungs, and dropped the cat on her tail, and every time, she just sat there calmly (okay, she jumped a bit when the cat freaked).

Anxiety is this poor girl's middle name, though. But she has made amazing progress in merely two days. She has so far overcome her fear of loud kids, the door to her create closing, vehicles with trailers, diesel engines, buses, and cats hissing. I think it's because I'm calm and assertive when they happen. Roxy has a serious desire to please and follow a pack leader. I use Cesar's "no touch, no talk, no eye contact" rule when we got through a situation that makes her nervous in the house, and when we are outside, I jog or make her turn in a circle so that she has to concentrate on her movement and can't focus on the buses.

Rox is so anti-confrontational that she won't even make eye contact with my camera. Girlfriend needs some confidence. I'm excited to come up with some games to get her to use her nose and teach her some cool tricks. I really want to get her to help me pick up the kids' toys, but right now she doesn't even know "sit" or "stay." (Except shake - she'll shake your hand, but that's only if you can get her to understand you want her to sit down). It also be awesome to get her trained to be a therapy dog - I'd love for her to alert me when Abigail bolts for the street. Despite Roxy's extreme submissiveness, she packs a serious bark, so while I doubt she'd actually do anything to an intruder, he'd probably avoid us just due to her size and her woof.

I can't believe this is my life. If someone had told little 13-year-old Jacqueline, depressed and frustrated locked her in room that one day she would marry a totally hot man (13-year-old Jacqueline thought she'd never even have a boyfriend), have three kids, live in her dream house, publish a book, and have a German Shepherd all before her 30th birthday, she would probably die of happiness. So maybe it's a good thing no one told her because I totally love my life and I'm thankful I'm around to live it.

I held a treat above the camera so she would look over here.

12 April 2016

Working the Steps

Did I ever tell you how I came to buy my favorite shirt? It's a super-long gray maternity and nursing hoodie. I impulse-revenge bought it from Zulily, a flash deal site, the night the first house we put an offer on sold to someone else. I was so angry. At our Realtor, at Matt, at the world, at God. So I selected a size, put it in my basket, and flew through the checkout. I slammed my computer shut and stared at the silver lid, immensely smug; that shirt purchase equaled my middle finger to the world. Zulily takes forever to ship, so after the anger and pride wore off, I was left feeling guilty at my foolishness for the week or two it took the shirt to show up at my front door. It sat in the package on my dresser for a few days, a package I wished I could "undo," as it was a very price revenge buy. Thankfully it turned out to be my favorite shirt ever, so I am "getting my money's worth," so-to-speak, but it's an example of what people with money struggle with: shopping to fill holes.

I've realized a while ago that I've been shopping to fill the "I hate my body" hole. It's an ongoing series of battles. I'll be browsing OldNavy.com in order to avoid doing the dishes and find some athletic pants I totally love on sale! I want to buy them so bad! I already have five pair of athletic pants or capris, so I definitely don't need more, and my clothing budget is in the red, so I don't even have money for more. "But, oh my gosh, but I love them and they are a great price!" But the truth is this: I don't want the pants, I want the body of the girl in the pants. Buying another fitness magazine or breezy tank or heavier kettlebell will only make me happy until I use it the first time. I am incredibly uncomfortable with where my body is right now (2 babies in 2 years). If I want to be happy with myself, I need to log off the Internet (walk away from the nail polish section of the grocery store, get up from the marathon Making a Murderer session) and pack up the kids in the stroller. (I also need to stop sneaking chocolate chips when the girls are playing in their room and have a few carrots from the 2lb bag I bought, but that's a different topic.)

Even though I know this, of course it is still easier to type my credit card numbers into the online form than it is to break out a Jillian Michaels DVD after the kids go down for the night. One takes work, the other doesn't. So sometimes I win the battle, sometimes I lose. They say that admitting you have a problem is the first step, but there are still many, many steps after that. I guess the joke is on me for assuming that meant the first step was also the hardest step.

Matt and I were never much for partying in college, so we never did the whole clubbing thing. So for a date, we want to split up, get dolled up, then meet up at a club as if we don't know each other. We'll flirt and dance and woo each other. We'll get a hotel and in the morning, instead of doing a "walk of shame," we'll get into the car and drive home to our three kids, hahaha. After I had Eleanor, I bought a super cute, flirty, fun dress to wear, but I got pregnant with Theodore before I could wear it (and before Eleanor was old enough to go without mommy for the night). That pink and gray dress still hangs in my closet, rather taunting me. I want to feel sexy wearing it. I'll get there. I know I will because I know I am not going to be this size for the rest of my life. I need equal parts self-forgiveness (setback happen) and discipline.

In Slim For Life, Jillian Michaels uses the example that when you slip up and eat a bunch of junk food, it's sorta like getting a flat tire. There is no need to slash the rest of your tires, or, give up and eat a bunch more junk food. A screw up doesn't mean you're sunk. It means you gotta get back up. I had brownies this morning for breakfast (I don't even know how many I ate). But that doesn't mean I need to eat the rest of the pan. I need to have a healthy lunch and dinner and take a nice long walk this evening. Steps 2 and 3. The hard steps.

10 April 2016

23 Months

Eleanor is exactly 23 months today. In one short month, she will officially be a 2-year-old. Sometimes when she runs across the room, I see a little girl instead of a baby.

She knows her full name, how old she is, she can count to 10, she (mostly) knows her ABCs, she can climb out of her crib, speak in (copious) complete sentences, run, jump, and follow three-step commands. She has opinions about what she wears, preferences when it comes to toys, and sob hysterically on command. She weighs 23 pounds and is 33 inches tall.

When Abigail was 23 months old, she was 5 days away from taking her first steps. She knew a handful of signs. She weighed about 18 pounds and was about 30 inches tall.

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The two girls are so very different at the same age, it's hard to comprehend. I thought it would be really difficult to watch things come so easily to Eleanor when Abigail struggled so. But it's not.

"Whenever Eleanor first hits a new milestone, I just kind of stare at her awestruck. Every time it's another moment to thank God for the incredible genius that is a healthy human body.
And every day that I see Abigail struggle through another milestone is another moment to thank God for the incredible fight and resilience He endowed in the human mind."

I am so thankful to have both little girls in my life.

*Note: "Trot trot" followed by a tongue click means "run." Abigail learned it in horseback riding therapy and taught it to Eleanor. Now they shout it whenever the other one runs.

06 April 2016

Good Pride

As I lie in bed last night, exhausted but insomnia making it impossible to sleep, I wrote out a majority of this blog post in my head. But here we are today, Theodore is fussing in his bassinet because he woke up too early and is having trouble going back to sleep, the girls have decided after three bites of peanut butter Cheerios that they are "all done" with breakfast, and me struggling to find the words that flowed last night. This is real life - beautiful and chaotic all at the same time. My coffee is hot, I'm eating a healthy granola-topped yogurt for breakfast while I type on my new, working computer to the sounds of a now sleeping baby. Yet on my left is a child who thinks if she just says, " scuse me!" she can burp wherever whenever and on my right is a child who is trying to feed me my coffee - "Mommy? Coffee? Coffee, Mommy?" and someone (maybe both?) is poopy.

I hosted two dozen people on Sunday, all my in-laws for Easter (but on Divine Mercy Sunday). A few of them thought I could host in my apartment, but Matt and I held off, knowing the absurdity that would be so many people in such a tiny space. I've only been in my house for two months and I have a four-month-old, but the gig was up when my mother-in-law, moving boxes in hand, enthusiastically shouted, "Jacqueline! You can host Easter!" I figured it would be easy since we usually celebrate Easter on Easter Sunday and only a few people can make it. But since it was my first real hosting, we were outvoted and the date was shifted to Divine Mercy Sunday so everyone could make it.

But I switched things up hard core. You see, while we were in Florida and Chicago, Matt's family started delegating the holiday cooking. (I'm not saying anything here that I haven't already said to someone in person.) It's not uncommon for me to bring 4-6 dishes to someone else's house for Thanksgiving or Christmas. I'll be assigned an appetizer, dessert, side dish or two. I'll need to bring a chopped and washed vegetable for the veggie tray and fruit for the fruit tray. Someone is assigned chips, veggie dip, one year someone was assigned butter for the rolls. When we moved back to Michigan, I'd find myself standing with a huge belly in my tiny apartment kitchen trying to wash, boil, and mash enough potatoes for two dozen people when I don't even like mashed potatoes.

So I pulled a 180. For my party, I forbid anyone from bringing anything more than a six pack of beer. And even that was optional. You'd think everyone would relish the break, but I actually had to fend off emails, "Are you sure you can handle it? It's a lot of people..."

In true Jacqueline fashion, I selected a fresh, never-before-used notebook and embraced the planning and organizing. I drew up a menu, I make a schedule for baking and cleaning, I invented a game the whole family could play and spent evenings making it. I tracked down enough tables and chairs and I spent one afternoon tying napkins around plasticware with yellow yarn. There were hand-dipped truffles under a glass dome and a bouquet of pastel flowers on every table.

I kid you not. I'm a hard worker. I'm not very smart and my social skills are embarrassing, but at least I have "good work ethic" going for me.

The celebration opened with a family-wide, girls vs. boys game. Pick a category (animals, chores, places you go), act it out charades style, get your team to guess as many as you can. For each correct answer, you get a random piece of bunny (head, body, or tail). Assemble your bunnies (Franken-bunnies are allowed) and the team with the most bunnies wins. The prize? The winning team gets to go through the dessert line first.

Matt acted out "Things You Wear" with a pink toddler fedora on his head, slipping into invisible tights and sashaying across the room in an imaginary dress. My white Ikea couch was filled with girls laughing so hard they were nearly crying while across the warm, hardwood floors, the guys were sprawled out across our too-large coffee table, letting out cat calls. Abigail, Eleanor, and their similarly-aged girl cousins trotted back to Eleanor's room to play with stuffed animals and the sweet brown sugar glaze on the ham wafted out from the kitchen.

My home was filled with loving family and delicious food.

After the game was declared a success (the girls won - by three bunny heads), we settled around the extra-long dinner table to say prayers and dig into the meal. I spent an entire week baking, cooking, and cleaning (one or two dishes and one or two chores per day) to ensure the vast majority of food would be homemade (except the pie crusts, I hate making pie crusts). Monday and Tuesday including things that would keep - truffles and chex mix - and I made the potato salad and fruit parfaits on Friday and Saturday.

We enjoyed dinner: (precooked) ham, tasty potato salad, roasted broccoli, mac 'n cheese (in the slow cooker), and brioche bunny buns.

CP: I found a glass glue, let it set overnight, and now it's as good as new!
My family made the effort well-worth my while with their compliments: "Wow, this looks amazing!" "The potatoes in your potato salad are cooked perfectly!" "The broccoli is really good!" "I loved that ham!" My girls did wonderfully in their crowded house: gobbling up mac 'n cheese - Abigail even ate potato salad! - and laughing when their cousins laughed. As soon as the kids were done dipping their bunny buns in "syrup" (honey), they were begging to do the Easter egg hunt.

That's right, when Aunt Jacqueline hosts Easter, she throws an Easter egg hunt in the mix. 80 "Jesus Lives" eggs from the Oriental Trading Company stuffed with mini yoyos, mini beach balls, mini Robin's Eggs, and other assorted mini treats. Every egg labeled with a name and hidden in our basement - among 250 ballpit balls. Kids tore through the basement. "I can only find 5! I keep finding Ethan's eggs!" "Can you give me a hint?! I can't find any of my eggs!" A few of the little kids declared every egg they found to be their eggs, Eleanor found two or three of her eggs and then just sat down in the middle of the basement and started eating the candy, Abigail thought the eggs were super lame and just started gathering up the ballpit balls in her basket and throwing them in hopes of starting a game of catch. There was so much fun and excitement that one kid actually got overwhelmed and broke down in tears, two of the mini beach balls ended up with holes in them, and one of the bunny mugs cracked right down the side.

Then we filed back upstairs for dessert. Snickers bar pie, baked Alaska fudge pie, mini apple pies, lemon truffles, cookie dough truffles, and peanut butter cookies. I am totally on a truffle kick right now. Hand-zested and squeezed lemons hand-dipped in melted Ghirardelli chocolate. My nine-year-old niece declared loudly, "I love everything Aunt Jacqueline makes! It's so good!"

By this point in the game, my pretty Easter dress was stained, sweat had flattened my hair and caused my new mascara to flake off, and I needed another spritz of my favorite perfume to hold off the smell of sweat, but it was totally worth it. My mother-in-law sought me out, gave me a big hug, and said, "Thank you so much. This was so relaxing and the food was so good. I hope we run holidays more like this in the future," then hugged me again. My father-in-law made eye contact and said, "good job, Kid." Twice. That's the highest praise I've ever gotten from him.

I set out the snacks (chocolate M&M pretzels, parfaits, homemade chex mix, a veggie tray with (store bought) hummus, and three homemade loaves of cinnamon bread shaped into stars), grabbed Theodore, and collapsed on the couch.

Pretzel + Hershey kiss at 250 degrees for five minutes + M&M = ...

A total crowd pleaser
I made three just like this one that I made in my apartment on Christmas Eve
Now that everyone was full and the kids were content to play with their new toys, the adults settled down around the tables to play some board and card games. Sitting on the couch in an exhausted heap, nursing a hungry and tired baby, I just looked around the room and soaked up the company: the passionate discussion about getting the best deal on a truck from a dealership, an eight-year-old explaining poker face to her grandma ("You can't be all 'boo-hoo' if you get the Old Maid. You just have to pretend like you don't have it." "So, you need a good poker face." An annoyed, confused look: "What's a poker face?"), my sisters-in-law discussing how much fun a girls trip to Costco would be.

It was definitely a ton of very exhausting work to host two dozen people in my new home with a four-month-old, but the pleasure that comes from serving others and having that service appreciated makes me eager to do it all over again. To watch the stubborn brother-in-law seek me out in disbelief, "your star bread is really good!" To have my intimidating father-in-law tell me with all sincerity, "Good job, Kid." For my food-loving sister-in-law to exclaim, "You're hired for all my birthday desserts!" To have it all happen in the house we worked so hard for and searched so long for - it fills me with a good pride. A pride you get from serving. I am happy and proud and filled with a sense of belonging and purpose.

Ever since we moved in here, my life has felt picture-perfect, too-good-to-be-true. Easter was an extension of that. A beautiful chaos of stained dress and drippy mascara while someone shouts, "I love everything Aunt Jacqueline makes!"

04 April 2016

Thank You!

Thank you for voting in my poll! I have a bunch of ideas for posts now, thanks to the results! Tonight I am going to finish transferring things (especially photos!) from my computer onto my new one. This will make for more interesting posts come tomorrow! I hosted my in-laws for Easter yesterday - my first time hosting them, since we finally have a house in which to host. I spent an entire month working on it - planning a family-wide game, creating a menu, making and then following a cooking and cleaning schedule. (I spent an entire week cooking!) It went incredibly well and I want to talk about it! I also have a bunch of Down syndrome related things to blog about, craft projects I've been working on lately, and hopefully some fun news in a week or two.

I look forward to a prolific blog life!