snow day!

even though Jack isn’t in school and I don’t have to go outside the home for my work, today has been declared a snow day! We’re having a good ol’ fashioned snowstorm here in MN at the tail end of winter. It’s been a strangely snow-free, mild season thus far, so most of us are kind of happy to see a big dumpload. And chances are it will be melted in a week or two. After last year’s insanely long, cold and VERY snowy winter, this one has been a welcome break. But I still like a fresh cover of the white drifts over everything like vanilla buttercream over the flat cake top of Minnesota.

As we were making breakfast, we heard a rumbling out the window and saw a 4-wheeler with a plow taking care of our driveway. Our awesome neighbors down the street sent their favorite neighborhood teenager snow remover entrepreneur down to our house AND paid him. Such a sweet kindness. Kyle won’t have to spend an hour or more out there later, but will still get to use his new snow-blower from my parents, just to take care of the few more inches that have fallen since then.  He will be excited!

I made some snow ice cream for Jackson this morning to enjoy after he had tromped around outside and “soveled” the snow. He loved it! I have such fond memories of mom making it for us when I was a child, and knew he would enjoy it too. While he had his snow fix, Taylor happily jumped in her new jumparoo thing that a friend loaned to us. She LOVES it. Bounce, bounce, bounce and spin!

About 2 hours ago I measured the snow on the deck and it was at 8 inches. And it’s still coming down! Now I need to clean my house – the kitchen and dining room floor is in desperate need of a mop and the dust could have stories written in it. 🙂 I hope you’re having a happy day, no matter the weather. As Jackson reminded me in song this morning: “This is the day the Lord has made! Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Blessings on you!

funnies from Jackson

lately, Jackson has been cracking us up with his bursting vocabulary and communication skills, his story telling and spontaneous song composition. Here are some snippets that I don’t want to forget:

  • the other night, Taylor spit up after a feeding. Jack loves it when we sing, “Stand up, stand up for Jesus” when he stands up after getting dressed or having a diaper (now only for overnights! Yay!) put on. So we died laughing when he sang, “Spit up, spit up for Jeeesus!” after Taylor’s burp. Another recent variation was “Clean up, clean up for Jesus”.
  • This morning Jack asked if he could “paint wif a bruwsh on de chair”. Last year when I was touching up the paint in the kids room, I let him “paint” with water on his little rocking chair. So right now he’s giving his chair a new coat of H2O. 🙂 How do they remember this stuff MONTHS later?!
  • He loves to “take a pitcher” with my iPod or my little point and shoot. We’re working on composition because I often find numerous photos of the carpet and cabinets on my photo stream.
  • Jack loves to greet Taylor in the morning when she wakes up, saying ever so cheerfully: “Good MOWNING, TAyer!”
  • Helping makes his world go ’round. Whether its with the laundry, the vacuuming, cleaning the sliding glass door with spray bottle and rag or with whatever I’m cooking or baking. Or ANYTHING with Daddy. Helping outdoors is a bonus.
  • Nikon is alternately his favorite or his enemy. When he does what Jack wants, he loves him. When he doesn’t, there is much weeping and gnashing of teeth.
  • If there is a cake or special dessert at some event we attend (or at our small group), Jack believes it must be time to sing, “Happy birfday to you”. This song is in his repertoire of random songs to sing as well.
  • When Kyle left for work last night, Jack sat on the couch and watched out the window until he drove off, shouting, “Bye DADDY! Bye DADDY!” over and over.
  • He wants everything to be “big big” these days. A little plate will not do when Kyle and I have “big big” ones. A “big big” (full) cup is much better than half full.
  • At meals he frequently declares his food to be “deeYIshush” and thanks me for making his food.
  • His favorite worship song is “Glory to God” and has been heard singing it while jumping on the bed, going to the bathroom and playing with trains.
  • Most days he wishes to wear his “jumping pants” (aka workout/wind/sweatpants). He loves to workout with Kyle and I. His DVD of choice is “ah-santy” (Insanity).
  • He must think “Merry Christmas” is a year round salutation because he still tells me that about 4 nights a week as I tuck him in. But it sounds more like “Mewwy Kissmas, Mama.” 🙂
  • Jack loves to go to church. “Worsip Jeeesush!” he exults as we drive there each Sunday.
  • I love hearing him say memory verses and catechism questions/answers. “Why did God make you and all things, Jack?” “For HIS OWN GWORWY!”
  • Nothing melts my heart so much as when he tells me, unprompted, that he “yoves” me and wants to give me a “tiss on the cheek”.
with his first snowman

I cannot believe how big he is and how much he can do/say/think. Most people guess he’s already three since he is so tall and big. His cognitive and physical development blows my mind almost daily. I know I will just have to blink and he’ll be doing something new and before I know it he’ll be graduating from high school and driving a car. 😯 In the meantime, I try to grab these moments and remember them, even as they slip through my fingers like grains of sand.

Have I mentioned I love being his mom? Well, if there was any doubt – I do. 🙂

mere life is interesting enough

“When we are very young children we don’t need fairy tales: we only need tales. Mere life is interesting enough. A child of seven is excited by being told that Tommy opened a door and saw a dragon. But a child of three is exicted by being told that Tommy opened a door.

Boys like romantic tales; but babies like realistic tales — because they find them romantic. . . . This proves that even nursery tales only echo an almost pre-natal leap of interest and amazement.

These tales say that apples are golden only to refresh the forgotten moment when we found that they were green. They make rivers run with wine only to make us remember, for one wild moment, that they run with water.” G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

I read this quote yesterday and it resonated loudly. Perhaps its because I have a two year old that constantly finds complete delight in the most simple things – like seeing the moon, or the “pink and yeyyow” sunset. Watching my son get so excited over things I have long since lost my wonder over (snow, cups of tea, etc.), brings me back to simple joys and captures my heart.

Let me never lose my wonder.

the sun rising over our neighborhood yesterday morning

christmas memories 2011

its the day after the day after Christmas. 🙂 Jack is happily playing with his new train and tracks in his bedroom wearing his new, self-described “jumping pants” from Grandma Char and Grandpa Rick. His awesome handcrafted work bench is downstairs and he wants to watch a “moomie” (Planet Earth) that Kyle got for him.

Christmas through the eyes of a 2.5 year old is far more fun than merely through my own. He made it so fun to open gifts and his repeated “Oh WOW!”‘s were priceless. On Christmas morning, we drove home from church and Jack fell asleep. He was all cute in his new puffer vest and dapper hat, clutching a stuffed teddy bear. If I hadn’t been driving, I would have snapped a picture, because I just want to remember these moments. They are slipping by more quickly than I want them to!

Jack loved moving the Advent star on our advent calendar and lighting the candles each night when we did our devotional. He said many a “Merry Kiss-mas!’ and would always say that as we said goodnight. It was great fun to give cookie plates to our neighbors and wish them a “Merry Christmas!” too. When we had a Christmas party with our friends the Sullivans and Gulbransons, Jessica made a birthday cake for Jesus and Jack LOVED singing “Happy Birthday” and blew out the candle with joy. We talked a lot about baby Jesus in the manger and the stable, in spite of the stupid dog eating our “gingerbread nativity”. I think he is “catching” that Jesus is the reason for this wonderful season.

the strangest part of the Christmas season of 2011 was that we had NO SNOW! Super odd. I can think of one, possible two other brown Minnesota Christmases I’ve experienced in my lifetime. Hopefully this remains an anomaly and not a typical event! I miss the snow. It’s the one thing that makes winter pretty. However, I am NOT complaining about the warmer temps which have accompanied the snow famine. Last year the snow and cold came early and often and stayed far past it’s welcome. We just need snow by the time we go to Lutsen to ski in February. Please and thank you, God.

We attended several different musical events this Christmas and Jackson loved them all. His favorite Christmas song was “The Little Drummer Boy”, which incidentally was MY favorite Christmas song as a tiny kid. I called it the “Pum-pum Song”. Jack especially notices violins in music or when he sees them being played. It comes out “why-o-lin” when he says it, which is totally adorable. 🙂 I wonder how young is too young to start music lessons? He is so interested in playing and singing and everything musical.

The family events were plentiful and wonderful. I’m so grateful, once again, that we live within close driving distance of both sides of our family. We made cookies and shared cookies, gave gifts and received gifts, played games and enjoyed many cups of coffee. Taylor was fawned over, held and adored. Jackson was made to laugh, giggle and said “STOP IT” when things got too exciting for him. oh silly boy. His aunts and uncles love him to bits.

Amazon Prime saved my shopping bacon this Christmas. Hooray for free two-day shipping and great prices on the stuff we wanted to give! 🙂 I got Kyle a bunch of fun little things to “fill his stocking”, since we gave each other a night at a bed and breakfast to be enjoyed at a later date. We gave Jack an IKEA rug for driving his cars and trucks on, the Planet Earth dvd’s, finger paints, bubbles, and a puffer vest. Kyle did an epic job filling my stocking – I loved it, especially the copy of White Christmas peeking out of the top. We watched that yesterday. I love that movie, schmaltz and all. 🙂

And now 2012 is around the corner. I was pondering a year ago, as I’m wont to do, and love thinking how Taylor was just a twinkle in our eye at this time in 2010. Now she’s here and we love her so much. She has this face-splitting, exuberant smile that is just contagiously beautiful. Though two kids have multiplied my work, they have also multiplied my joy. It’s so nice that God doesn’t give me one without the other. 🙂

I consider the best gifts of the year to be the ones from my Heavenly Father. My wonderful husband, Jack, our sweet new baby girl, the ability to give much to others, a warm place to sleep and so, so, SO much more. And most of all, I am grateful for the gift of a little child that grew into a man who rescued my heart and saved my soul. Merry Christmas indeed!

before I forget…

some things I want to remember about Jackson right now:

  • Your prayers: “Dear Jethuth – thank you, your NAME, Amen.”
  • “Baby Sthisther, Tay-er”
  • “What doin’?”
  • “Where gooing?”
  • You love to read books
  • Tuesday is your favorite morning because its Garbage Truck Day!
  • Tuesday is also your favorite day of the week because Daddy takes you to the car wash and you get a candy bar while you go through it.
  • When I make a cup of tea, you want one too. 🙂
  • You are a big helper and want to do things for us
  • “My do it! My churn, Mom.”
  • “Go church, worsip Jesuth!”
  • You ask about Molly, Grandma, Grandpa and Grandma Meri and Papa Keith all the time.
  • You like to have candles lit. “Bwow out, Mom?”
  • Bob the Builder, Kipper the Dog and Shaun the Sheep are your favorite shows
  • You can operate our iPad and iPod with scary alacrity and skill.
  • When you look at pictures you say, “T-ute!”
I love you, Jack boy!

taylor’s birth story

The night before baby girl’s due date, I made a special point to rock Jackson before he went to bed. He had been asking for several nights if we could do that and I felt it was important. I sang him a song and gave him a kiss, grateful for the two wonderful years of being his mommy.

As I got ready for bed, I looked up “acupressure points for labor” on Google, because I was ready to be done. I also downloaded a contraction counter app for my iPod, just in case. All of that must have been helpful, because at 3am I woke up with a contraction that was painful enough for me to wonder “Is this it?! I timed them and got up for a bit, and then laid back down and they persisted. After about 40 minutes of timing and the contractions being 3-5 minutes apart and lasting a good minute without deviation, I woke Kyle and told him I thought we better call our mom’s so they could get up here.

I texted them and about 10 minutes later called them both to ask them to make their way up to the hospital. We packed our things, ate some breakfast and called a friend from church to come stay with Jack for the morning. I called ahead to the hospital and the nurse thought it sounded like I was definitely in labor since the contractions weren’t slowing down or easing up at all.

A little apprehensive of arriving at the hospital too soon, we sat in the parking lot in the dark for about 10 minutes trying to decide if I was ready to check in. The next contraction was hard enough that I decided I was. I was wheeled into the same labor and delivery room where Jack was born! – that was surreal and fun. My nurse was great and things were definitely moving in the right direction toward delivery!

My mom got there at the same time we did (6am) and Char (Kyle’s mom) arrived a while later. For a while, the contractions just continued as they had been and I chatted and rested. After two hours, Dr. Barrett checked on me and I had progressed a little and my water had broken. She suggested getting in the tub for a while and seeing if that would ramp things up.

It did. I was having a little more trouble relaxing fully through my contractions because they were wrapping around to my back – I didn’t remember feeling pain there with Jackson’s labor. But I soldiered on. At around 10:30am, I was starting to think that drugs/pain relief sounded really, really good. I just liked the idea of turning off the pain and just dealing with pressure. I talked it through with Kyle and my mom and Char and told the nurse that I was interested in the interthecal shot. (Similar to an epidural but only requiring one poke with the needle and it wore off after 4 hours.)

JUST after that, I could tell I was probably in transition or something. The contractions were getting to the point where they didn’t really let up in between and I was feeling shaky, nauseous and just a little crazy. When my nurse came back to check me before ordering the drugs, I was far enough progressed that I would probably be complete too soon to have the meds and still be able to push effectively. Somehow I just knew that would happen and I wasn’t surprised, but I was annoyed that I couldn’t get the shot and turn off the pain. The nurses called my doctor to come from the clinic since I was so close.

Then all of the sudden it was like the contractions were tripling on top of each other. I was frustrated and trying to cope with the insane intensity. I knew I was ready to push, but my doctor wasn’t there yet! At some point I asked if there was PLEASE another doctor that could come in so I could push…which quickly turned into me TELLING them to get another doctor in because I was not going to be able to NOT push. Crazy people!

Thank goodness, just moments later, my wonderful Dr. Barrett skidded into my room and got down to business. She checked me and it was already time to push! I remember telling everyone in the room to just tell me what to do because I couldn’t think or process or anything. I also remember asking God to help me because I was having a really tough time dealing with the intensity of everything. My eyes were closed for about the last 30-40 minutes of her birth just so I could block out everything and focus as much as possible.

Dr. Barrett had me start pushing, which was SUCH a relief. I think it was about five pushes or less, and no more than 8 minutes of pushing before we met our daughter. SHOCK. That happened so fast! (Jackson took his sweet time – 2 hours+ of pushing!)

They placed my little girl on my chest and I was so happy to see her! I said, “Oh my gosh, she’s so tiny!” and soaked up the moment because I didn’t really experience it with Jack due to the exhaustion and shock of pushing so long. Here she was and she was beautiful. They measured her and weighed her and snuggled her in a blanket. She was perfect – 8 lbs. 5 oz. (a whole pound and one ounce lighter than her brother at birth), 21 inches long and scored 8-9 on APGAR.

We were instantly smitten with our gorgeous daughter and deliberated on her name for just 10 minutes before deciding she was, indeed, Taylor Charlotte Puelston.  We moved to a recovery room and I floated high on adrenaline and the joy of being delivered from pregnancy, now with my baby in my arms. Later we welcomed the grandpa’s, aunts and uncles to meet our sweet girl.


Recovery has been a DREAM, thank the Lord. She is a sweet, wonderful newborn with surprisingly dark hair and long fingers, feet and toes. Jackson loves her and has done really well so far with the new normal. I can’t believe how “right” it feels to have two children and be their mommy. God is so gracious and we love our little Taylor-girl!

two years

I’m not really sure where the time has gone, Jack boy. Just two years ago you made your grand entrance into this crazy world, but it seems like much more time has passed than 730 days. In our first family picture, your sweet face is barely visible above the bundle of blankets you were wrapped in. Your dad and I were so very happy to meet you.

And now, your big blonde haired, blue eyed, two year old self takes up much more space between me and your daddy. The past year has been full of fun, challenges and more than a few laughs as you daily entertain us. In the past several weeks, you have started talking in full on sentences and we crack up constantly at the way you pronounce words and count to ten so very earnestly.

You truly are a delight, Jackson. Sometimes after I put you to bed when the day has been long, I honestly miss your sweet face and hearing you tell me “Ninon’s ball, guck.” (Translation: Nikon’s ball is yuck.) But only for a minute. I’m learning how blissful silence can be after having mini-conversations with a mini-you all day.

Things you like/love at two years old:

  • helping me in the kitchen. You pull up a chair and are honestly a good helper. You are also good at tasting whatever we’re making many times. 🙂
  • basketball! You call it BEE-ball. You also enjoy balls of any sport – soccer, football, golf, baseball. Balls rule in your little world.
  • counting. For a while you counted only up to 7, but in the past week or two you’ve master 8, 9 and 10. You count very intentionally and love to count down and jump off of things around the house.
  • planes! Every time an airplane passes within earshot or in your line of sight, you nearly scream “OH! PAIN!” and point and get very excited. It’s cute.
  • blueberries. You pronounce it “boo-bies”. ahem.
  • family devotions. You have started to sing along with your dad and I when we worship and usually sit quietly while we read the Bible out loud. One of my favorite parts of the day is singing to you before bed and your sweet voice chiming in with “harmony”.
  • playing outside. In your pool, in the yard, on your bike, on your little jeep truck, at the park, on a walk – no matter what, you’d rather be “ousside, mom!” Sometimes you think you could just go out the front door and hang out by yourself. um, no. 🙂
Yes, my happy, spunky little man, you make my world a happier, more exciting place. Your daddy and I love you very much. Happy Birthday, Jackson boy!

foto friday: singing in the rain

I might as well just call these posts foto of jack friday because more of them are of him than any other subject. But can you blame me? I mean, really. He’s just. too. cute.

last week, on a warm, humid day, the skies opened and it rained. Not a heavy, drenching rain, but the kind that just falls and soaks into the earth. The kind where you can almost hear the ground, the grass, the plants sigh happily. Jack recently discovered how great a toy the garden hose is! Yay! (or not…depending on the extent of our water bill next month, lol.)

So while Kyle and I sat on the front porch, sheltered from the sprinkling, Jackson got thoroughly drenched by both the rain from above and his own clumsiness with the hose. It was really sweet to watch him play and pull the hose over to the plants in the front yard to water them, as redundant an activity as that was in the rain! 🙂 His adorableness only increased when Kyle snapped this picture while he said “TEEEEZE!”

foto friday: spring delight

spring delight

Today, after we returned from a run/walk, we needed a snack. So I laid out corn chips and ham slices, hunted for some salsa in the pantry and we snacked. While I went into the kitchen to get water for us, I looked out the window and thought, “I want to remember this beautiful moment,” and thankfully my iPod was close at hand and I snapped this.

Things I love about this photo:

  • the sunshine
  • the tulips on the table
  • Jackson is so big I can’t believe it
  • Nikon waiting for a morsel to drop
  • yummy homemade salsa from the Howards
  • the things on my window sill
  • the world becoming green again

Other things that made me happy on this lovely spring day:

  • a run/walk even though the world smelled strongly of freshly spread manure
  • spending 65% of the day outside with Jack
  • Vitamin D, baby!
  • a healthy prenatal check up and only gaining a lb. in the last month
  • brats on the grill for dinner
  • S’mores at our first bonfire of 2011

you’re gonna miss this

this morning at approximately 6:52am, as I laid in bed contemplating how rough a night’s sleep I had, I was shaken from my reverie by a firm KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK on my wall. Jackson occasionally employs this technique to inform me of his state of wakefulness. It’s endearingly annoying.

then, at approximately 7:28am, as he was devouring his toast with jam and his plate of eggs was already emptied, I heard “Mom, mom, mom – biiiite?” That’s Jack speak for “what you have on your plate looks way better than what I had or in addition to what I had I would like some of yours, thankyouverymuch”. 🙂 Again – so cute, but really I just want to eat my fried egg…ALL the bites of it.

these two events of the morning made me think of the country song, “You’re Gonna Miss This” because I’m sure one day I’ll wish for a chubby hand to knock on my wall with a cheerful cry of “Mom!” when the house is quiet because my kids are all grown up and gone. I’m sure one day (a long time from now) I’ll remember with more fondness how I couldn’t get through a whole meal or eat anything in his presence without sharing just a “biiiite”.

it also made me think, “What else will I miss someday that currently drives me bananas?” I came up with this list:

  • changing poopy diapers three times in a row (okay maybe I REALLY won’t miss this!)
  • constant requests to go “a’side, Mom?”
  • a little “helper” during meal prep, who wants to taste everything and gets too close to the stove
  • the very. slow. pace. of walks when Jack wants to get down and walk next to me
  • hearing him say “noo” in response to almost everything, even if he really means “yes”
  • cleaning up toys and blowing bubbles endlessly
  • hardly ever eating a meal when its hot or uninterrupted by something a little person needs

yes, these are the good times. 🙂 I’m trying to take a good look around and remember these moments that will so quickly fade. Someday I will miss motherhood and the trivial trials that come along for the ride. For now, I’ll ask God for grace to live in the moment and embrace it. Poopy diapers and all.

what are you going to miss?