Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009: A Recap

We found a new home and settled in.

We got into a routine and explored our new home.

I blathered on and on about potty training and the weather.

We celebrated Easter and I cut Catie's hair.

Garage saling pays off in more ways than one and Catie eats banana cream pie.

Babies are born and Brad learns a lesson.

My parents come to visit and we find a new job.

We say goodbye to friends and hello to family.

The twins had new experiences: some fun, some not so fun.

I found a new hobby and we celebrated the twins' 3rd birthday.

We fought like cats and dogs and we were thankful.

We found a new home and settled in.

We have been blessed this year! Praise God from whom all blessings flow...

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The walk of shame

So remember this post. Like mother, like daughter.

This morning we headed to Fred Meyer for grocery shopping and an hour of peace. (They have childcare, one of many reasons I shop there even though it's 15 minutes from home.)

I stepped out of the car in the parking lot and looked down at my feet to make sure it wasn't icy. I laughed out loud at the sight. I was wearing two different shoes. Both black, both backless slip-ons, one dressy, the other casual, one high, one shorter. Ugh. Two different shoes is embarrassing, but walking around with two different heels is just annoying.

So, I did what any sensible woman would do. I dropped the kids off at Playland, and I bought myself a new pair of shoes!

What? That's not sensible? I figured painfree hips were worth $17.50 (Clearance!). Plus, they're really cute. :)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. --Galatians 5:22-23a

That last one always gets me. Self-control. Of all the fruits of the Spirit, that's the one that my own spirit rebels against.

I've been thinking lately about New Year's resolutions. For most of my adult years I've decided against resolutions. People never keep them anyway. What's the use? This year, however, I feel a pull toward creating a list. And, that list is centered around my lack of self-control.

The context around the verse about the fruit of the Spirit has another lesson for me, though. Our own striving will never make us good enough. If we strive to save ourselves, we are making Christ's sacrifice irrelevant. We must live by the Spirit, and these wonderful things will be the result, not of our own striving, but of the Spirit's work within us.

So, with the Spirit's leading, I feel compelled to make this list. I will be praying that the Lord would work within me to help me accomplish these things to His glory.

1. Read the Bible every day. I will probably be reading from the One Year Bible.

2. Exercise and make an effort to feed my family healthier meals.

3. Make a budget and stick to it.

4. Find family time activities that don't involve sitting on the couch.

What are your New Year's resolutions?

Saturday, December 26, 2009

YouTube is good for me

So, we like watching funny YouTube videos. This is a favorite around our house as you can see.

it's good for me from Erica Herzog on Vimeo.

I have no idea why this is funny. But, Nick happened to see it once and now he asks for it all the time.

Peanut Butter Jelly Time from Erica Herzog on Vimeo.

Christmas Review

Christmas Eve afternoon while the kids were napping, we began putting together their larger presents. Was I ever glad that we started early when I opened this box. Three hours later I finally had the play kitchen put together...
We separated all the presents and set up the big ones. It looked so pretty...

Christmas morning Catie and Nick were excited about their toys. They started playing right away.

I found this play house last year on clearance. :) $35! I've been saving it all this time. (It was flat in a smallish box.)
Catie danced from thing to thing...

She keyed in on the kitchen pretty quickly.

After that, I didn't get any pictures of Christmas morning, what with all the unwrapping and undoing all the doo-dads and what-nots that you find inside toy packaging. But, we had the video camera running the whole time if anyone wants to see 2 hours of us. :)
Here's Catie and Daddy playing with their new legos and lego table.

Catie is totally mesmerized by her new DVD, "Snowed in at the House of Mouse." Daddy doesn't mind though; he's having fun.

Here's Nicky playing in the aftermath of Hurricane Christmas.

This is our living room floor right now....

And this is our hallway....
We are so blessed!!!
How was your Christmas?

Friday, December 25, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

Identity Crisis

*I wrote this last year for a talk at MOPS in Doha. I've been thinking about it again lately, and thought I'd share.

My favorite family Christmas tradition used to be one that I merely tolerated until it was time to dig into the presents. I was well into my teenage years before this tradition held much meaning for me. I don’t recall how old I was, but I do remember the feeling the first Christmas that I honestly looked forward to the reading of the Christmas story. We would sit around the living room, my brother and I antsy with anticipation, my mom settling down after bustling around the kitchen making last minute adjustments and preparations for our Christmas morning breakfast, and my dad would read from the 2nd chapter of Luke:
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
"Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Can you imagine the loss of identity that Mary must have felt when she found out that she was expecting a child? She was a good Jewish girl, planning to marry a man from her home town that she had probably known all her life, to settle down and have children, but not now, not yet. God had stepped in and changed her plans. All of a sudden, she was an unwed mother-to-be, with an impossible story to tell her family about the child’s parentage. Most likely she had looked forward to becoming a mother, but no one could blame her if she was angry about the timing. In fact, it would have been very easy for Mary to lose herself in this situation. She had every reason to be lonely, scared, and depressed. But scripture tells us that while she was pregnant, she sang, “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.”

It is so easy to get caught up in outward things, even in our relationships with others. We find our purpose in accumulating money and worldly goods. We define ourselves by our jobs, and when we choose to stay at home, we feel a sense of loss. We crave the attention of friends and acquaintances, a sense of belonging to those we look up to. We depend so much on our husbands for support and love that we never look to any other source. We are tempted as mothers to find our identity in our children, to make our relationship with them the defining role in our lives. Worldly possessions, jobs, friends, spouses, children, these are all good things that come from the Father, but these are also changing parts of our lives. Money comes and goes, jobs can be lost, friends move, husbands are fallible, and children will one day leave our homes, but if you find your identity in the Lord, you will be like Mary, able to sing, “My soul glorifies the Lord,” no matter what your circumstances.

In Colossians 3:2-4, Paul says, “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you will also appear with him in glory.” Your life is hidden with Christ in God. Because you have believed in Him, your identity is ultimately found in Him, not in earthly things. One day, you will rise with Christ into Heaven, and that is all that really matters, not how much money you have, how fulfilling your work is, how smart your children turn out to be. Your life is Christ’s. Christ is your life. This is an identity that can never be lost or taken away. As a Christian, your identity is completely, inextricably wrapped up in Christ.

This Christmas season, away from all the trappings of our home countries, here so close to where it all happened, I want to encourage you to take the time to evaluate where you find your identity. I’m not suggesting that you are a robot for Christ, each one of us exactly the same; God has given us unique personalities and talents, and you are also a mother, and a wife, and all those other things. But where do you draw your strength? Where are you finding refreshment? What do other people see in you? Remember God’s promise to us in John’s version of the Christmas story, “He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” If you have trusted Christ as your Savior, you are a child of God and nothing can change that. You can rest in that promise. You can stake your identity on it.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Ho ho

Catie and Nick ran up to sit on Santa's lap, then wouldn't say a word or smile for the picture. Sigh.

Oh well, at least I didn't have to be in the picture this year.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Be careful, Little Ears, what you hear

It was Thanksgiving. Brad and I were sitting on the couch in our pajamas watching the Today Show while the kids played. There was a segment about keeping the peace with the family over the holidays, and the psychologist suggested that Thanksgiving was not the time to bring up sensitive topics or come out of the closet.

At that point, Brad turned to me and said, "Erica, I have something I need to tell you. I'm a gay."

Nick, who was passing by, looked at me and said, "Mommy, I'm a gay."


We went to the dreaded rat hovel (aka Chuck E. Cheese) on Monday. After Catie ate two bites of pizza and we released her to play again, she began to arrange the chairs into a choo-choo train. (There were only about 10 people in the whole place.)

Then she said, "Mommy has a seat. Daddy has a seat. Catie has a seat. Everybody has a seat! Does that sound good?" in her best "mommy" voice.

The mommy voice shows up pretty often around here lately.

"You want a fruit snack? Okay," she says to herself as she sits down at the table.

"Oh, no! I dropped my ____________," she cries out in the car. "Oh, no. It's okay. Mommy's driving. When we stop we'll pick up your toy."

You know what I love most about the mommy voice? It's not that it's funny, but it definitely is and it makes me laugh to hear her answer her own questions. It's also not because she can calm herself down, even though that helps me immensely.

No, what I love most about it is that her mommy voice is soft and gentle and kind. I'm happy to see that (with a lot of prayer) I'm doing it right often enough to leave that kind of impression on her.

Now if I can only keep my husband from saying things we don't want repeated.... :)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ode to a Mouse

You were so cute,
Scurrying across the garage floor,
Hiding from the light.

It was difficult to say goodbye.
In other circumstances I might have kept you
And named you Mickey.

But, if you have friends
they aren't welcome here.
So, we had to be sure you wouldn't invite them.

I'm sorry, Little Mouse.
Your life was so short.
Hope you enjoyed the peanut butter.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Look, Mommy! I dressed myself!

At first she came downstairs with a long sleeve shirt on. That didn't last long with my hot-blooded girl. She decided a tank top was much more appropriate.
Like these shoes? She's got another pair just like them.

Monday, December 7, 2009

More pics of the house

Catie has been up every night so far at least once crying about not finding her paci. Ugh. I am so poking a hole in it today.

Maybe part of my frustration comes from this:
The playroom after a full day at home.

I really should have taken a picture of this tree as soon as I finished it. It's already looking a little bedraggled.
Here are some rooms that I haven't shown you yet. Here's the dining/living room. Eventually we'll put some bookcases on the blank wall in the living room.

Here it is from the other direction.

Our guest room is ready!
I promise we'll move the pack n play out of there if you come to visit, but for now we have to separate Catie and Nick during nap time.
And here's the family room. I took a close up of the garland and tree, but you can clearly see in that picture that we haven't really taken care of the electronics under the tv yet (thus the computer sitting on the little table in front of the tree still hooked up to the internet through a wire) and nobody needs that much honesty.

So, it's coming together. The master bedroom, garage, and craft room are all disaster areas still, but I'm hoping to tackle the master today. The garage is mostly Brad's territory, and it's not his fault that there's 20 million empty boxes and 50 tons of packing paper in there. As for the craft room, it's not even on my radar yet. Maybe in January.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

So far so good

I blame my last post on sleep deprivation. Catie was up several times last night upset that her paci kept falling through the slats on her crib.

Anyway, thought you might like to see some pictures. Here's the kitchen. It was difficult to fit my stuff. It wasn't as intuitive as some other kitchens we've had. There's a lot of space, but it's mostly vertical.
I love this space behind the sink. I've already filled it with plants. :) Aloe and jade in the big pots, some seasonal poinsettias, and a set of herbs that started as seeds, some of them are starting to sprout already.

I love this desk area, but I think it's going to be a chore to keep it clean, so I had to take a picture now.

This afternoon I worked on the playroom. Why are we buying more toys for Christmas? Ridiculous.

So, those are the two clean areas of the house. I'll take and post more pictures as I finish other rooms.

Just checking in

Our shipment arrived yesterday morning. I have the kitchen unpacked and put away. I'm exhausted already. The end.