Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter has broken through!

This past month, and really the entire season of Lent, caught me somewhat off guard this year. I made a half-hearted attempt at giving up fast food and failed miserably within a week. I think I expected, since I was in the second trimester, to have a bit more energy. Or to want to do more, to write more, to be creative. To cook. Something different than the way it has been. Of course, we were kept busy with all sorts of fun things like a family wedding and a trip to see Thomas the Train (which I plan to write about soon!). But I hope that nesting phase kicks in soon because our house is nowhere near where it should be if a new little one wants to join us in our humble abode. Thankfully all nausea and sickness is behind me, just lethargy remains. Every day I wonder why I am so tired. It might have something to do with not being able to sleep, you know, because of the little kickpuncher inside my belly.

Thankfully, just before Holy Week, I found my stride. Or at least, started walking again, getting back on the path to being somewhat productive and making our home more of a haven than something I'd like to run screaming from everyday. Signs of new life:

  • I actually got out the box of Easter decorations. (Not that we put them all up this year, but it was a start!) We put up the egg tree.

  • Both boys had baskets for our church's Easter Egg Hunt. (I did have to dump out stuffed animals from one of them, but at least they had a place to stash their finds.)

  • The entire family was together for one whole Saturday. We hunted eggs. We ALL took long naps.

  • On Palm Sunday, we started a tradition of doing a hacked version of Lenten Lights. We used the readings as a guide, but since they didn't hold the little ones' attention all that well, we alternated between the "official" readings and choosing relevant passages from The Jesus Storybook Bible, by far the best children's Bible I've ever read. Have I raved about it yet? I should.

  • By the grace of God I faithfully started and finished N.T. Wright's Holy Week devotional: The Scriptures, the Cross, and the Power of God. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the small but powerful chapters taken mostly from Matthew and John's account of Jesus' last week leading up to the crucifixion and I hope to share more thoughts with you on that soon. It was a first for me -- to read something so regularly.

  • I bought (free with CVS bucks) an egg-decorating kit, fully intending to use it before Sunday. Oh, well, maybe next year? I did buy some little goodies for their bags and didn't spend ANY money on candy this year, thanks to coupons and sales and some surprises that showed up at our door from a kind neighbor.

  • I was glad for the Maundy Thursday service, which I think got me back into a right way of thinking about and living out all that Holy Week entails. That, and the generosity of a friend who helped me clean my house that morning helped prepare me for the weekend festivities.

  • On Good Friday, I spent much of the day at home, but had an unexpected opportunity to peruse Marshall's and Home Goods in the evening--sans kids-- to spend a gift card and help add some small touches that make our home a bit more livable. (Hint: I will gladly accept gift cards to said places and any and all cash upon occasions which call for celebrations in the near future -- the day of mothers, my birthday, etc. I have bunk beds to buy and to outfit with linens! Rooms to redecorate! A new baby! Did you know they even have hedge clippers there, apparently seasonally?!)

  • Saturday was spent shopping in preparation for our Easter meal and for our friends' annual Lamb Roast. Yay for Greek food and good friends and beautiful weather and bubbles! And swings!

  • On Saturday evening, I actually ironed the boys' adorable seersucker Easter outfits (that I had purchased in March for a steal!) and put together baskets of goodies that I then hid around the house. I think this is the first year I really made a big deal about Easter baskets. No real "bunny" talk (they knew it was from us) but we did see an ACTUAL bunny hanging out in our yard over the weekend.

  • We were up early Easter morning. Gaines left around 7am to practice a song for the "sunrise" short service at 8am. Jacob got up and dressed on his own not long after, yelling "Christ is risen!" while somehow not waking up Ethan, who slept until it was almost time to go. J waited for his brother to get up before beginning to look for his basket, which I thought was sweet. (It also gave me a chance to get a shower and get ready!)

  • As soon as E woke up, they both found and opened their baskets! They were delighted! Lightning McQueen socks! Buckets! Sand toys! Candy! Money! ($.50 each) books and goodies galore!

  • I managed to get both boys dressed and out the door in time for the breakfast at 8:30. And I even remembered to ask someone to take our picture BEFORE church.

  • I had a moment of pure inspiration and thought to bring large t-shirts so the boys' could put them over their outfits to keep them clean during the breakfast. Genius, I thought! However, Jacob didn't want to wear anything BUT the t-shirt and Ethan wouldn't wear anything at all (bib or shirt) and so his was quickly stained with OJ. Sorry, no cute photos of just the two of them this year. Still, they managed to stay mostly decent and I even got Jacob to wear his little seersucker jacket to the 11am service. (Over just his plain white t-shirt instead of the peter pan collar button-up, but who really noticed?)

  • The rest of our Easter Sunday afternoon was spent lazily. We ate leftover biscuits from the church breakfast (thank you, kind cook!), added ham and jelly and called it lunch. Most of us napped. We played outside while I cooked a ham in the oven. I threw some sweet potatoes in the same pan, heated up some green beans, served Hawaiian rolls, and called it a meal. Very casual and laid-back for the biggest party of the year, but it was just what we all needed.

    Of course, today brought overcast skies, thunder, most of our time spent indoors and a bit less productivity, but I figured we all needed a break after the hectic weekend. And so, the Easter season begins!

    I think we all forget that Easter shouldn't just be celebrated one day, but an entire season in the church year. I'm hoping we can keep that joy of resurrection life (and some of the leftover ham) reoccurring in our home over the next several weeks before Pentecost. And I still just might dye those eggs.

    Wednesday, April 06, 2011


    A little over two weeks ago I took the boys to the doctor's office (together) for their yearly well checks. I don't recommend doing this by yourself -- I'm thankful a friend went with me to help since Gaines had to work! (There were vaccinations and hearing tests and drawing blood and all sorts of things involved with the 4-year.)

    Here are their current weight and height measurements, if you care about that sort of thing. Since I wrote them on a piece of paper torn off of the patient table, I need to record them before they disappear and so I won't forget. You see it already took me this long to record them!

    Ethan, age 2:

    24 and 3/4 lbs

    32 and 3/4" tall

    They were taking every quarter inch into consideration since he's such a little dude.

    Jacob, age 4:

    35 lbs

    41 and 1/4" tall

    He's upwards of 80 percentile in height. Must get it from his grandfather Lee, certainly not his parents! Both of the boys are on the slim side. Thankfully, that means I can just pass down pants from one to the next...

    Healthwise, both boys are doing well, though Ethan had a mysterious ear infection (no symptoms that I noticed beforehand) which required antibiotics, so his shots had to wait until this week when we got the all-clear. After that long stretch this winter where we had antibiotics for 6 weeks in a row, I'm hoping we can stay away from them for a while. And so far, the boys don't seem to be allergy-prone...yet.

    We're hoping to enjoy this glorious spring weather as much as we can!

    Monday, April 04, 2011

    Passion Sacrificed to Keep from Going Crazy

    All the recent wedding preparations and celebrations brought to mind one of my favorite songs of all time. As I was driving from Atlanta to Montgomery for a bridal shower a few weeks ago, I broke out Waterdeep's album Sink or Swim while the boys were napping. And I cranked it up. While grooving to some great songs like "And" and "18 Bullet Holes," I finally get to my absolute favorite: "Both of Us'll Feel the Blast."

    Really, who else would equate the experience of a newly married couple to an explosion? And include admissions of our brokenness and need for Jesus and a picture of the final marriage supper of the Lamb? Only Don Chaffer, that's who. And the lyrics still all ring true so well, even after being married for over 8 years, that I had to put it on repeat for a while. I feel like there are still many days when I wake up and think "we ain't never done this thing but but I guess that's how it goes/ You breathe deep as it comes to you and hold tight when it blows..." In a few months we're going to be a family of five and I can only imagine how bringing up another new life is going to rock our world.

    I've been considering doing a series on all the music that has shaped my life over the last several decades. I hope you will find some new-to-you artists to appreciate, since our favorite artists will likely never be featured on Glee. Mostly, too, I've realized that people who have only known us in the last 5 years or so have no idea about our history with the independent music scene and how Gaines and I met, so I plan to combine it all somehow. I need to call it something less cheesy than "My Musical Journey," but give me time.

    I suppose this song is an appropriate introduction, since I think we included it in our wedding rehearsal dinner slideshow lo those many years ago. (But I can't check, because the presentation was saved on a laptop that was stolen out of Gaines' trunk one night while he was eating dinner in Midtown, not long after we were married. Backup your files, people!)

    I wanted you to be able to hear Waterdeep perfom, so I've included a video from a live show they played last year. You get an idea of the song, but they cut off part at the beginning, so I included the full lyrics below. Seriously, if you buy one album this week and don't have this one yet, go get it. Or just get the song off iTunes. Waterdeep will thank you.

    Both Of Us’ll Feel The Blast
    Written by Don Chaffer

    We're both dirty, baby- that's just the way it goes
    We'll try to cut the fuses off before everything blows
    And if it blows and both of us are standing real close by
    Then both of us'll feel the blast and both of us'll die
    But dying's overrated, it's a ticket on a train
    And as long as I can hold your hand, I'll know that I'm still sane
    Maybe I'm an idiot for thinking that that's true
    But I believe that Jesus knew what He was doing when He gave me you

    Lately I've been wondering- what are we gonna do
    When we wake up in the morning and its just me and you?
    Cause we ain't never done this thing but I guess that's how it goes
    You breathe deep as it comes to you and hold tight when it blows
    And if it blows and both of us are standing real close by
    Then both of us'll feel the blast and both of us'll die
    And dying's underrated, it's a ticket to the feast-
    The one we're all invited to, from the greatest to the least

    I hope we sit together when Jesus serves the wine
    So I can look into your eyes when I taste it the first time
    And I know there's no secrets when you're sitting at that table
    But I believe we'll smile real knowingly when we read the label
    And it says "passion sacrificed to keep from going crazy."
    We'll tip our glasses to the Host who used to look so hazy
    And drink it down all sweet and slow and slip inside His mind
    And realize as it goes down- this is communion wine
    This is communion wine
    This is communion wine
    This is communion wine

    First Comes Love

    ...then comes marriage!

    We traveled to Alabama this weekend for Gaines' youngest sister Erin's wedding. Her now-husband Kevin has already been like part of the family, since they have been dating as long as we've been married (almost 9 years!). It was appropriate, then, that all of us took part! Gaines gave a Scripture reading, I was one of the bridesmaids, and the boys -- well, they were bell-ringers! Thankfully they were escorted by their Daddy, who had to be up front to give a Scripture reading. Here is Gaines holding Ethan just before their big debut:

    Saturday was the perfect way to send the Mohajerins off into their new life together; the wedding took place at Jasmine Hill Gardens, near Wetumpka. The azaleas and other flowers were in bloom after a week of rain and clouds and overall "lousy Smarch weather." Thankfully, the day was filled with glorious sunshine and we could not have asked for more perfect weather! (I suppose God answered all our fervent prayers!) Here's our handsome oldest son in front of some of the fauna that was arrayed in all its splendor in other parts of the garden:

    Kevin's family is originally from Iran, and so there were many Persian touches throughout the weekend, from his parents' delicious meal on Friday night at the rehearsal dinner, to the incorporation of some Persian wedding traditions and delicacies at the reception. And I can't be certain, but I believe the chosen theme also has Persian ties. From the invitations to the bridesmaids dresses and bouquets, Erin incorporated peacock feathers into every aspect of the wedding. It was beautiful! The mothers and grandmothers' even managed to fit the theme, wearing shades of aqua, deep blue, and turquoise to match our teal bridesmaids' dresses. The most gorgeous and elegant array of peacock feathers, though, had to be Erin's dress, which was designed and handmade by her friend Mara. Here's a picture from the dressing room, where you can see a bit of her peacock-feathered "tail":

    Apparently, according to the all-knowing Wikipedia, the peacock was seen as a guardian to royalty in the Persian culture. Doesn't Erin look very regal here? A princess about to become a queen!

    Also, in Christian tradition the peacock is associated with eternal life and resurrection -- some link it to the mythical phoenix. Either way, it made for some beautiful displays and the English major in me appreciates the symbolism. There were peacock feathers in the cake toppers, on the programs, in the groomsmen's boutonnieres, and on the bridal party's shawls and headpieces. Erin is quite the creative gal and it showed in every aspect of the wedding!

    We hope Kevin and Erin are enjoying their time together as a new couple. Before we sent them off for their honeymoon, Jacob had to "steal some sugar" from Erin! I didn't take many pictures over the weekend, but I am certainly glad I captured this moment!