Sunday, December 23, 2007

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Cookies You Should Not Volunteer to Make


They're just darling aren't they? Yes, they are just the vision I had when I filled out that little red slip for kindergarten and marked down, "peanut butter cookies." While I could have gone the traditional peanut butter blossom--Hershey's Kiss route, I opted for the more festive, Rudolph. Take my advice, unless you can do the following, do not make these cookies:

A) Pick up single grains of sand with your bare hands. (This will come in handy when you're making the sweet little mini-chocolate chip eyes)

B) Can break a branch into antler shapes. (Useful for constructing pretzel antlers)

C) Do not feel pain when touching burning hot cookie.

D) Can do all of these at warp speeds, moving fast enough to gently press Rudolph components onto the cookie before it cools and hardens, while wrestling young gladiator child from table with free hand.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

If Cars Could Talk

If cars could talk, my minivan would say bad, bad things. Mean things. Terrible things. Maybe even obscenities. I know it's sounds bad, but sadly, it's true. I imagine if cars could talk, mine would probably say, "What did I ever do to you?" It would probably explain to me that contrary to what I believe, it is NOT a closet, or a storage facility, or worse, a trash can. My car might even bring up the old incident of 2004, where I forgot to fully raise the garage door, and drove right through it. It might talk about the numerous times I've accidentally drove up on the curb, or even over the curb. One thing I know for sure, if cars could talk, I'm pretty sure my minivan would bring up the dreaded happenings of yesterday...Yes, this story is just too good(really bad), to be left untold.

As the snowstorm hit the other night, I relished the thought of just hanging out in our pajamas all day, watching Christmas movies and baking cookies. By 10 a.m., that thought changed to, "Is it really too bad out to drive her to school? Anyway, after what seemed like a 48 hour day, the following morning I had committed myself to getting out of the house, even if I had to hitch a ride out of my driveway.

So, I packed all three kids into the van, and prepared some lunches for a long, fun, day of Christmas shopping. (Obviously complete denial. Has anyone ever brought three small children Christmas shopping?) I knew it would be a challenge, but I also knew it would be better than watching my daughter attempt to dance to Bella dancerella all day, while my two year old ripped the mat out from under her.

We get in the car. We buckle up. I survey the driveway, and convince myself that the pile of snow lurking outside my garage, would not hold me back, I'll make it. I buckle up, tell the kids to hold on and step on the gas. Unfortunately, the snow was a bit higher then expected, and I don't quite make it out of the garage. "Hold on kids," I shout to the back. I step on the gas again, and when I do that my van flies out of the garage, all the while ripping my driver's side mirror right off the car. My heated, electric mirror is now dangling from the car. Just great!

I survey the damage, hold back the tears, and reach for a shovel. My determination to leave my house has grown even stronger now. The damage has already been done, I can't lose sight of my goal. As I lean over to shovel a big pile of snow from under my tire, my back gets stuck bent over. "Perfect," I think. As I attempt to stand up, I look around for a neighbor, hoping one with a snow blower or plow, just happens to be looking out their window at that very moment. No luck. Not a sound is made, nothing but my kids fighting inside the car, that is.

I decide that my injury is minor and that I will get in the car and try to ram my way out of the driveway. The tears are unstoppable now, as is the self-pity. I drag my hunchback back into the driver's seat and listen as my older two discuss the situation. As I press my head to the steering wheel, I hear my son say, "Mama, are you pretending me?" Before I could muster a response, my daughter chimes in, "No, mama is crying because she broke the mirror!" Soon to follow was, "Mama, if we drive with the mirror hanging, it might fall off on the road somewhere." Smart kid. Where was her advice ten minutes ago?

I floor the car one last time, only to drive it even further into the snowbank on the side of my driveway. A million thoughts of "why me" and "did this really need to happen," race across my mind. As the throbbing pain from my back starts to creep up to my neck, I decide now, it is time to give up. While I put up a good fight, I know that this is one battle, I will not win. As I dial my mother's number to come and rescue me, I leave this daunting experience but with one thought...thank God that cars can't talk.

Friday, December 14, 2007

It's Hard to Keep a Positive Outlook when there is Poop in the Tub

Some days I wake up thinking, "How in the world am I gonna make it through this day?" And other days I just decide, "Ok, today we are going to be stranded in a snowstorm, but we'll just do fun stuff all day, and it will be great." To be honest, the latter thought is probably thought much less then the other. Nonetheless, yesterday I began the day with a real positive outlook. A major snowstorm was coming, school was canceled, and I just felt like lounging around and having fun all day. Up until bath time that is...

As a Mom/Master multitasker, I try to use the time that my children are in the tub, to also clean my bathroom. Even though my children are getting way to big to fit, they still insist on cramming themselves into the tub all at once. So they play around for awhile, completely soak the entire bathroom, and I use the water that gets thrown overboard, to tidy up the floors and such. Call it...teamwork. Well, wouldn't you know, halfway through the bath, my older two start talking amongst themselves...

Daughter: "What's that?"

Son: "That looks like poopy."

Daughter: "EEWWW, MAMA, the baby pooped in the tub!!"

Me: (naively) "No, honey, he didn't poop in the tub."

I turn from washing the mirror to investigate.

Daughter: "Then what's that, mama?"

Me: "Alright, everyone out of the tub!!"

As my kids fly out of the tub, I turn on the fan, open the window, and prepare myself for the cleanup. As I try to mouth breathe to keep myself from vomiting, I grab a roll of paper towels and some Clorox spray, and brace myself for the massive sanitizing project, I was about to take on. If only I could call one of those massive destruction cleanup crews.

At this point in the day, I must admit, it was a bit difficult to keep that positive outlook I had had earlier. Yeah, difficult is not the word...more like impossible. I'm doomed, I thought. And to think, it's only the morning.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

And the Birthday Party Emmy Goes to...



NOT ME. In fact, I don't know if you all got the memo, but there is no birthday party Emmy. That's right. No Emmy, no award, heck, there ain't even a competition.
As the last birthday party of the year just came to an end, I can't help myself, but to search for a little perspective.

Okay, so how old is he? Oh, he's two. You see, from the massive game planning that took me all night to concoct, I would've said he was about six or seven. Nope, two.
So what is it that two year olds do at parties anyway? Maybe crafts with foam, cotton balls, and glue? Hardly, I mean don't get me wrong, cotton balls and glue are a crowd pleaser for pretty much any kid. But do I really fool myself into believing that these little monkeys are really going to sit long enough to glue Elmo's tiny black pupil to Elmo's tiny white eyeball? Yeah, I do. Every party, every year. And then I watch as my son plays with a blue balloon, and a pack of stickers, rather than the shiny new tricycle I bought him, and I can't help but cringe a little.

I told myself this party would be different, it would be...less. Less people, less food, less games...less work. And it started out that way, I planned to make some homemade pizzas, and I told myself, NO THEMED GAMES. So I invite two less people then normal, throw together seven homemade pizzas and some chicken wings, and I'm off to a bad start. He's two, he'll be happy licking the frosting off the cake, he won't need much. OH, and the cake--this time I'll just do some cute Elmo cupcakes, no cake. I'll skip out on the three hours of piping Elmo's crooked smile at 1 am the night before. Sounds perfect.

But then it happens. Something inside of me, this innate competitive drive within me, it kicks in. And I get online, and I start to Google "Elmo party games." Eh, it won't hurt to have just one cute game, and then I find one, and another, and another and I can't resist, and I start to print out Sesame Street signs on my computer and I'm up at night trying to cut a giant "E" out of a sheet cake and...I'm back to where I started five years ago, and worse, I'm exhausted, more exhausted than usual, because I decided to wait until the last minute to plan it all.

Why must I do this to myself? I don't know. It's not like he'll remember any of it. Maybe deep down my hopes are that the older kids will remember it, and they'll remind him of his grand Elmo party that his mama threw for him. Or maybe I'm just waiting for the day when they do hand out awards for birthday parties. The sad thing is, even if they did, I'd still lose. Heck, my daughter just attended a gymnastics party where they participated in two hours of coached gymnastics. C'mon, who can top that? Do I really think my foam Elmo hats are one tenth as cool? I'll tell you who can top that, the kid who just gave out invitations to the entire kindergarten class, to come to his party at one of the bests children's museums around. See what I mean? I can't compete even if I wanted to. I'm truly pathetic...a pathetic party planner. Just do me a favor and remind me next Spring when my daughter's birthday rolls around, that there really are no birthday Emmys.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Ode to a Holiday Classic

In honor of the Christmas season, I have put a little spin on a good ol' Christmas carol...if you know the tune, feel free to hum along.

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me, a babysitter and a nanny.

On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me, two casseroles,
and a babysitter and a nanny.

On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me, three clean white t-shirts,
two casseroles, and a babysitter and a nanny.

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, four bubble baths,
three clean white t-shirts,
two casseroles,
and a babysitter and a nanny.

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, five per-so-nal chefs...
four bubble baths,
three clean white t-shirts,
two casseroles,
and a babysitter and a nanny.

On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, six fluffy towels,
five per-so-nal chefs...
four bubble baths,
three clean white t-shirts,
two casseroles,
and a babysitter and a nanny.

On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me, seven days of freedom,
six fluffy towels,
five per-so-nal chefs...
four bubble baths,
three clean white t-shirts,
two casseroles,
and a babysitter and a nanny.

On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, eight peaceful phone calls,
seven days of freedom,
six fluffy towels,
five per-so-nal chefs...
four bubble baths,
three clean white t-shirts,
two casseroles,
and a babysitter and a nanny.

On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, nine romantic date nights,
eight peaceful phone calls,
seven days of freedom,
six fluffy towels,
five per-so-nal chefs...
four bubble baths,
three clean white t-shirts,
two casseroles,
and a babysitter and a nanny.

On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, ten empty dish loads,
nine romantic date nights,
eight peaceful phone calls,
seven days of freedom,
six fluffy towels,
five per-so-nal chefs...
four bubble baths,
three clean white t-shirts,
two casseroles,
and a babysitter and a nanny.

On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me, eleven lengthy foot rubs,
ten empty dish loads,
nine romantic date nights,
eight peaceful phone calls,
seven days of freedom,
six fluffy towels,
five per-so-nal chefs...
four bubble baths,
three clean white t-shirts,
two casseroles,
and a babysitter and a nanny.

On the twelvth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, twelve personal organizers,
eleven lengthy foot rubs,
ten empty dish loads,
nine romantic date nights,
eight peaceful phone calls,
seven days of freedom,
six fluffy towels,
five per-so-nal chefs...
four bubble baths,
three clean white t-shirts,
two casseroles,
and a babysitter and a nanny!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Sincerely Sunday

Just Say Yes!
I went to a women's meeting at my church on Friday night, where I heard a wonderful speaker talk about her testimony and journey with God. Her story is amazing, almost unbelievable, a real inspiration for women who are looking to hear from and follow God's plan for their lives.

While I won't do it justice, I will try to give you just a glimpse of her story. You may have heard of her before through her other ministries, or may have even seen her on Oprah, but her real claim to fame lies not in this world, but with the Father. All because she said yes.

It all began one day when she had gone to a concert to hear an African boys choir, sing at a local church. While she expected to hear some great music, she did not expect to hear the voice of God. You see, as she was sitting there listening to these orphan boys sing of the joy of the Lord, God spoke to her and told her that two of those boys would be hers. While she dismissed it at first, this call would later be confirmed numerous times, to the point where she had but one choice...to be willing to follow the voice of God, or to choose to go her own way because of her own fears and insecurities. In the end, she chose to obey God, and despite numerous obstacles, went on to adopt two teenage boys from Liberia, and bring them home to live with her family. As a result of her doing this, her friends also went on to adopt more than 30 orphans from the country of Liberia. Sound crazy? She thought so.

While just the thought of deciphering God's voice seemed crazy enough, what really struck her was the fact that God chose her to adopt these children. It amazed her that she was chosen, out of everyone in the world, to give these boys this new life, that they so deserved.

Here's the real good part. As she examined her life and questioned God as to why He would choose her, a woman not nearly good enough, or worthy enough for this great deed, He simply answered to her, because you said yes.

You see, that is the way God is. He is not a God who is looking for perfection, or even close to that. He doesn't bless nor call only those who are the most spiritual, the most upright, or even the most godly. He merely calls those who are willing. Those who in the face of opposition, will choose to listen for His call, and who will answer it with a yes. Heck, He doesn't even expect you to necessarily like the call, He just expects you to willingly accept it. That is the God we serve. And that is who He will choose...those who say yes.

So, if you are waiting to return to God until you are worthy, better, or even perfect...don't.
Go back to Him now, listen for His voice, and be willing...in your acceptance, He will choose you, He will prepare you and He will perfect you.


Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
If you'd like to hear the speakers full story, check her out here.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Drawing Blood

I decided to run some errands this morning after dropping my daughter at school. At the top of the list was getting some bloodwork done, something that I had been putting off for the last couple of weeks. I had brought my boys with me the last few times, so I knew it wouldn't be all that bad. They actually kind of like watching the phlebotomist tie up my arm in the tourniquet, and well, I don't mind the seconds of pain all that much either. Hey, it's something to do, kind of like a field trip.

Since this was about the fifteenth time I had gone already, I knew that the massive questioning from my son was about to begin. "Mama, why will they take your blood?"
"Mama, what's that thing for?" And then when I glanced down at the script and noticed it said Urinalysis, I knew I was in for an interesting visit, to say the least.

It started out fine. My boys were being so sweet to me and the phlebotomist. My baby is really concerned with me getting hurt lately, so he came over to me and said, "mama, you o-tay?" and stroked my belly. Well, actually it was another part of my body, a bit higher, but he thought it was my belly...cute nonetheless. As I sat there trying to regain my center of gravity, after giving out nearly 70 percent of my blood volume, I couldn't help but beam at their cuteness. I had no idea it was all about to go downhill.

Once I felt stable enough to stand, I headed into the bathroom with my plastic pee-cup and my boys trailing behind. Once I got into the bathroom, the conversation between my son and I went a bit like this:

"Mama, what are you doing?"

"Mama has to pee in this cup honey."

"Mama, that's gross, are you joking me?"

"No, honey, mama is not joking, can you watch that your brother doesn't...Oh, don't put that in the toilet!"

As I wrangle a mound of toilet paper from my son's hand, I stand him on the side of the wall, next to his big brother. As the uncomfortable conversation with my middle son continues, I attempt to pee in the cup, a feat in itself. I continue to explain to my son that the cup is not a real cup, but rather like a test tube for experiments. As I try not to pee on my hand while talking, I look up to see my baby unlocking and opening the door, while I am still trying to pee in the cup.
"NO, don't let him open that!" Luckily my older son grabs the door, just as I nearly flash all of the nice phlebotomists in the lab.
I then grab my baby and try to hold onto his coat, while pulling up my pants. I catch my breath, slide the pee cup through the "secret elevator"(all part of the storyline for my son), and head back out into the office.
Some field trip...guess I ought to rethink bringing my boys to my next O.B. visit.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

10 Things I'm Thankful For

In honor of Thanksgiving, I've compiled a list of things I am thankful for on this day.

1. I am thankful that this morning when I put a button up dress shirt on my son, he didn't fight me tooth and nail, like he usually does.

2. I am thankful that the extreme nausea I have been suffering from, didn't appear until after I hit the dessert table.

3. I am thankful that all three of my kids sat down on the couch this morning in their cute, coordinating outfits, and let me take a picture of them...truly a major feat.

4. I am thankful that two out of my three children fell asleep on the way home from our Thanksgiving commute today.

5. I am thankful for maternity underwear.

6. I am thankful that my husband hardly ever forgets to tell me I look pretty in my new shirt, even when I don't.

7. I am thankful that my middle son loves to hug and kiss his mama.

8. I am thankful for a comfortable bed and pillow to sleep on tonight.

9. I am thankful for big families...especially mine.

10. I am thankful that I am not in control of my life and God is...less anxiety for the both of us.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Desperate for Attention

I'm convinced my children absolutely do not want me to have any down time alone. They just don't. Apparently my innumerable hours with them since their birth, have not been adequate. They are so desperate for attention that the second I step foot in my steaming hot bath at night, they are completely lost among themselves, to the point of delirium.

I know this because as I was just settling in the tub this evening, my husband banged on the door and said, "you've got to help me!" I sensed the urgency in his voice and stepped out of my comfort zone, into the hallway. To my surprise, my five year old had decided to put a wad of gum in my husband's hair, and he needed my assistance in cutting out. So I did. No questions asked. I didn't have to ask, I knew all the answers already. Kids will do anything when they are desperate for your attention. They wanted me out of the tub. Mission accomplished.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Mama Scissorhands Part 2: Revenge of the Toddler



Some of you might remember an earlier post about the traumatic experience that occurred while cutting my middle son's hair. If you don't know what I am referring to, check out this post.

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I decided to finally get some help in straightening out my little one's locks, mainly because he would be meeting some out-of-state family members for the first time. While my heart was saying, "save your money, do it yourself," my brain was saying, "bring him to Snip-its, you stink at cutting hair." In this case, my brain won the argument.

I planned the trip accordingly, made sure my guy was fed and happy, and I even managed to pack my camera, so I could capture these sweet moments of his first real haircut. We entered Snip-its, or as I like to call it, Disney World Hair Salon, without the slightest hitch. This is where it all went wrong.

I didn't see it coming. My baby proceeded to wander through the maze of brightly colored chairs and toys, grabbing at things left and right. He seemed to be enjoying himself. Unfortunately, the fun stopped there. The minute we strapped him in the bright pink hair chair and handed him a dum-dum, he began to throw the biggest fit known to man.

Trying to appease the wailing and thrashing of my son, the women in the salon began performing from their great bag of tricks. Bubbles, lollipops, videos, even a balloon...nothing worked. The girl with the scissors began to cut his hair, and just maneuvered this way and that attempting to salvage some sort of decent cut. Her friends continued to try to sweet talk my screaming baby, while I snapped some pictures. (Ah...for the sake of the scrapbook.)

Approximately 4 minutes later the nice girl asked me if it was okay, and proceeded to release my tortured baby from his chair. I surveyed his hair quickly and nodded that it was indeed acceptable. I must admit, that while I was wiping the tears from his cheeks, I noticed that my son had a bit of blood trickled on his little ear. That's right people, she cut his ear. For the time being, I dismissed the injury, and went on to pay the girl for the haircut, as I am not one to make a big scene and make a girl feel bad. I knew she didn't see the cut, and it was obviously a challenging client. I imagine it was somewhat like trying to put a dress on a cat. And from my experience, that ain't easy.

After going on with the day and pondering it awhile, I have come to the conclusion that I actually am pretty upset about that little cut on his ear. I mean, if I had wanted someone to cut his ear while cutting his hair, I would've cut his hair myself. Isn't that the whole reason for the hair salon? You pretty much expect that they won't do a worse job, or even an equal job, as you, isn't that right? I paid $14.95, for some lady to snip my baby's ear, when frankly I could've snipped it myself. It's crazy! And on top of it all...I tipped her. That's right,the insanity goes like this, "hey you, yes,you managed to somewhat even out my baby's bowl head, but you did happen to snip a little piece of his earlobe. Ya know what, it's okay...here's an extra two bucks, go buy yourself a cup of joe...on me!" And to top it off, I'll probably end up going back there one day, when he needs another haircut! It's crazy I tell you! Snip-its...they get you in with the flashy colors and goofy prizes...they really ought to call it Snip-you. Maybe it's time I break out my own chicken shears again.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Typical Responses to "I'm Pregnant with my Fourth..."

Let's face it, with your first baby, you can barely see the pink line appear, before you are on the phone with half of your family, telling them the great news. With your second, you still have that overwhelming excitement, that you burst the news out over a holiday dinner. Baby number three comes around, and fear starts to set in. You just barely mention it to your closest friends, but only because you are trying to line up some help for the future months. But your fourth? That's a whole different ball game. There's no cutesy announcement t-shirt (trust me, I checked), no special hallmark card, frankly no real easy way to break the news. That is because most women who have four, don't even tell anyone they are expecting, until they're in labor. It's true. And I know why. It's because of those not-so-well-wishes, and facial expressions they receive, when they finally do break the news. Here are just a few:

What they say: "OOhh...four huh?"
What they mean: "You need a hobby."

What they say: "I didn't even know you were trying."
What they mean: "You need a good lesson in birth control, girl."

What they say: "How sweet, another playmate for the children."
What they mean: "Remind me never to come to your house for dinner."

What they say: "I wonder if you can get a refund on that gym membership."
What they mean: "Guess those flabby thighs are gonna be around for awhile."

What they say: "Wow, you're going to have your hands full."
What they mean: "You are absolutely crazy!"

Friday, November 02, 2007

Confessions of a Stay at Home Mom of Three...and Counting

Attention: Will all those with four children, please stand up? I just want to get a head count.
Ahem...is this thing on?
Where is everyone? I don't see anyone standing.
Oh wait, there's someone in the back, uh...nope, just the mailman.

Where are all you moms out there with four children? Are you just busy? Tied up? Are your children all on top of you, so you can't get up? Are you stuck in the basement doing laundry for six people? Are you trying to plan out a meal which includes at least one thing that everyone likes,not even including a vegetable? Are you breaking up a brawl between your little ones as they fight over the one barbie that still has all her body parts? Or are you hiding in a closet somewhere, or better yet, the bathroom? Oh, that's what I thought.

Next to Jon and Kate, and the Duggars, big families are seeming to become obsolete these days...at least in this neck of the woods. What a shame. Somebody's gotta do something about that. Think of all the stuff you'll miss out on...fighting over the last Pillsbury croissant on Thanksgiving,(you've seen the commercials), camping trips at the lake(who can afford a hotel with four kids?), sibling rivalry to get your parents undivided attention, and think about all the valuable writing your children will miss out on, since they won't have to fill out thousands of scholarship essays to get into their school of choice. Yeah, that's what big families are all about. I say bring it on. In fact, I consider it my personal mission to bring back the value and joy to the stigma of big families. And with one in the oven...I'm well on my way. Stay tuned for what probably may be my most hysterical adventures, as I turn into one stay at home mom of four. For now, I must go, there is a bathroom floor with my name on it.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Bedtime Blues

I can remember back to when I used to rock my daughter to sleep at night, for literally hours. It was the only way she would fall asleep peacefully, and I considered it a small trade off, rather than listening to my precious firstborn's, blood-curdling screams. I can remember one night in particular, when I was nine months pregnant with my son. I remember hardly being able to fit my daughter on my lap, and her sliding down each time I made the rocking motion. And yet I still kept my little girl comfortable enough to get her to sleep(about two hours later). As I sat there rocking, I can remember reassuring myself that this wouldn't be forever, and that one day, I would actually miss these precious moments/hours, I had spent putting her to sleep. Yes, that memory crossed my mind tonight, as I lay half my body on a twin size bed and my head down on a strawberry shortcake pillowcase...directly next to...my FIVE year old daughter's head.

It's true, I have not yet been able to miss the memories of the exhausting efforts to get my children to sleep, because, the memories have yet to cease. The exhausting efforts have yet to cease. The blood curdling screams have also, yet to cease. I once heard someone say about potty training, "don't worry, it will happen, I mean nobody ever sent their kid to college in diapers, right?" I've tied that one right in with my own personal motto, "nobody ever had to rock their kids to sleep in college, did they?" The only problem is, I don't believe it. Either one of them. As of about twenty minutes ago, I wholeheartedly believe that there probably are some kids walking around UCLA in pampers, and just maybe those gliding chairs and ottomans in the dorms, aren't just for "movie nights."

I'm not here to tell you bedtime has been terrible with all my children. As most of you with more than one child know, you usually progress as a parent with each successive child, and typically don't make the same crucial mistakes you made with the first one. For instance, yes, my daughter prefers I lay down with her, just as she falls asleep, but my middle son, couldn't care less if I was even in the room with him. In fact, he couldn't care less if he was even sleeping on a pillow, or a bed for that matter. Now my baby has been a great sleeper thus far, of course he does need 3-5 binkys with him to even enter his crib, either that or some random item he picked up on his way upstairs. For example, this evening I laid him down with a small container of crayons...oh well, pick your battles, right?

Needless to say, I am confident that in due time, my little darlings will be marching up to their beds, and settling themselves to sleep all on their own. For now, I just learn how to contort my body to get comfortable sleeping on two inches of mattress, and as I lay there, I plan all of the things I will be able to do, when that glorious day comes.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Under Age Drinking

As of today, I officially deserve the Dumbest Move of a Mother Award. Don't judge me, but I may or may not have just given my 22 month old a sippy full of fermented apple cider.

I was never all that good at chemistry, so I didn't even think twice about giving my son a cup full of the apple cider that had been sitting in my car overnight. I know, it sounds terrible, but we just went apple picking and bought a whole gallon of delicious apple cider. Unfortunately, when we unloaded our car at home the other night, we forgot to bring it inside. Typically, I don't make a habit out of feeding my family food that was left unrefrigerated for hours, but fresh cider? Come on, that stuff is expensive! So, being as I don't live in a tropical climate, and considering the cost of the cider, I decided to render it back to the refrigerator without a second thought.

I should've thought something was up when my baby kept handing me his sippy this morning, saying, "mama, yu-yuck." But I didn't. The kid says everything is "yu-yuck." How was I supposed to know? It wasn't until I started choking on a piece of bagel, while trying to break up a sibling dispute, that I reached for a cup of cider, and realized the enormity of my negligence. The cider didn't taste bad, just...bubbly. Actually it tasted quite delicious to me, but I definitely thought I tasted just a twinge of wine.
Moral of the story...check your kid's pupils after you've given them old drinks from the car.

Monday, October 08, 2007

A Cup in my Hamper


I once read in a magazine how it's a good thing to teach your children while they are young, the value of helping out with chores. It instills responsibility, a sense of accomplishment, and well, an extra hand around the house...NOT! I taught my almost two year old, how to use the laundry chute in the bathroom--definitely one of the worst decisions I've made as a parent.

Don't get me wrong, my son does throw the dirty clothes down the chute. He wobbles into the bathroom, opens up the cabinet door and slides any clothes lying on the floor down the chute. Yes, a big help. The problem is he does not stop there. Anything and everything that is on the floor gets thrown down the chute. Towels that have fallen from the hook, my bathroom rugs, rolls of toilet paper, cleaning supplies that are under the sink(I know they should be locked up in some liquor cabinet somewhere), and yes, a cup. Pretty much anything that is on the floor in any room is game. And with three kids, there are a lot of things on the floor in every room in my house.

The problem is I typically don't realize that he's thrown anything unusual down the chute, until it's already in my laundry pile and then often in my washer, right along with my kid's undies. Go Kenmore! They really do stand up to anything! Let that be a lesson to you all...chores are not really meant for any age. I know we're all anxious to instill hardcore values, but we've got to set some age limits.
I'm not even going to begin to tell you how he washes the dishes...

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The Result of Watching too much Discovery Channel

The conversation today, on my front porch between my four year old nephew and my three year old son, went something like this:

My son: Hey did you see that spider, he was eating a moth? Some moths eat people.

Me: They do?

My nephew: Did you know some people eat moths? Some people eat lots of bugs too.

My son: They do?

My nephew: Yes, there are some poor people that eat bugs.

My son: Why?

My nephew: Poor people who don't have food, eat bugs because they have caffeine.

Me: Oh, bugs have caffeine in them?

My nephew: Yup.

Those are my kind of poor people. No food to eat, but they eat bugs, not for their nutritional value, but because they have caffeine in them. They must be mothers.

Monday, October 01, 2007

The Wrong Fit

I recently attempted to replenish my dying wardrobe with some new Fall must-haves...which for me, means jeans. I must have jeans. Though I thoroughly enjoy the art of shopping, my personal shopping experience is often, less than desireable. This of course due to my figure challenged body that has resulted from birthing my three wonders in, ahem, 4 1/2 years.(You can imagine the stretching.) In fact, shopping for myself is such an ordeal, that I usually schedule a day, weeks in advance, so that I can prepare myself, (not eat for 5 days), for the shopping experience.

So, last Saturday we loaded up the kids and headed out to the mall for the day. I prepared in advance and packed a bag full of snacks for the kids, so my husband could walk around the mall with them, while I tried on clothes. I situated my children in the double stroller, handed my husband the diaper bag, and sent them off.

I began my journey through the massive mall, and ended up in a particular store (I won't mention any names), and made my way over to the jean section. With every step I took, it was so strange I heard a sort of music in my ear, ya know that music they play in scary movies, right before the main character is about to be attacked. Da-Da-Dun. I knew this task wouldn't be easy, but I had no idea what I was about to get myself into. I began to shuffle around through the jeans, passed the acid washed and tapered legs, and headed to the boot leg, dark wash(they're slenderizing). I started to look for my size, well, actually two sizes--the size I wish I was which I always try on first, and the size I unfortunately really am. (Who do I think I'm fooling.) But, as I went to grab a size, I realized that the sizes on these jeans, were not normal. They only had the numbers 1-6 on them, and no, I was not in the junior section. I was completely confused, just how long had it been since I bought a new pair of jeans?

I glanced up at the sign hanging above the jeans, and read, "The Right Fit Jeans." From what I understood, the numbers had something to do with the number of inches from your waist to your thigh...HUH? My goodness, all I wanted to do was get a pair of jeans, and now I've got to go through some sort of major metric measuring system just to find my size? If I wanted to go through all that, I would have just went to a seamstress to make me some jeans out of that old lady, fake denim.

Anyway, I knew my time was running out and my children would be running in the store any minute, asking me when I would be done. (Prompted by my husband, of course) I quickly grabbed two numbers, any two numbers and headed to the dressing rooms. As I tried on the lower number jeans, I realized that this desperate attempt to cram my butt into them, was not happening. I pried them off my body and hoped to God that there weren't cameras in the dressing rooms. I reached for the larger numbered jeans, and put them on, only to find that they were too big. Now what? Just how does this "Right Fit" work exactly? Are there half sizes? Nope, I checked. I give up. And just in time, because wouldn't you know it, in run my three chocolate faced children. So, after an exhausting attempt at a wardrobe upgrade, I discovered that these "Right Fit" jeans, were exactly the opposite...they were the wrong fit. Oh well, Kmart here I come.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Intimidation

Intimidation is defined as something that makes you timid or fearful. Unfortunately, as a mother of three, I've found that the list of things that make me timid and fearful, keeps growing, almost daily. Things that wouldn't intimidate your average twenty-something...can completely intimidate the pants off of your average twenty-something year old mother...translation--Me. I've compiled a list of persons and things which intimidate me, add your own as you see fit.

1. Caked on greasy pans
2. Cooking fish for dinner, unless it's in the shape of a stick.
3. Fresh herbs, can I eat the stems?
4. Restaurants with cloth napkins.
5. Restaurants with glassware.
6. Restaurants.
7. Salespeople from any clothing store that doesn't have the word 'mart in it.
8. The Fine China department at Macy's.
9. Moms who wear low rise jeans.
10. Any kind of beef that isn't ground.
11. Leaving my home with a newly potty trained child.
12. Moms who have "wash windows" on their to-do list.
13. Moms who actually write a to-do list.
14. Defrosting a chicken in time for dinner.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Next Suburban Inventor

As I trudge through my household duties with my three little ones, yet again, I can't help but imagine that there's gotta be a way to avoid some of the stressful situations that unfold throughout the week. Someone, somewhere, has got to come up with some "helpers" for we, stay at home moms. Our comradery as stay at home moms, lies in that we all struggle juggling our duties, while taking care of our children. I've come up with a list of helpful inventions, if you will, that might come in handy for some of you who struggle with the same mundane tasks as I. My hopes are that these inventions would ease the load of our duties, and in turn, better our lives.

1)The Arm Extender: not only used to reach objects high up, as the name suggests, also very useful in reaching numerous toys, snacks, pacifiers etc. from floor of vehicle, while driving the vehicle. Proven to be much safer than driver reaching behind seat to reach items to appease children, while steering car with knee.

2)The Baby Box: A plexi-glass like box, with large air hole, that fits over top of toddler while in stroller. Primarily used to restrict child from pulling down shelve loads of merchandise in grocery stores, clothing stores, etc. Also very effective with double strollers, in keeping child riding in back, from ripping hair out of head of child riding in front. Overall, a real shopping must-have.

3)The Grocery Belt: A sturdy belt you wear when unloading groceries, with large loopholes that attach to grocery bags, to ease the load of carrying in grocery bags, while simultaneously carrying in squirming toddler. A personal favorite of mine, this baby cuts your grocery transport time in half, and also eliminates the dreaded wrestling of food from toddler's hands, as he ransacks the bags that you leave at the top of the stairs.

These are my personal favorites...let me know if you have any to add...

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Serenity NOW

Seinfeld

Get this Seinpost

You remember the Seinfeld episode don't you? George's Dad was trying to manage his frustration, and destress himself, and so he decided to repeat, "Serenity Now" every time he felt his blood pressure rising. I, in turn, have decided to also use this method of decompressing while at home with my three little wonders. I've found this to be effective, especially in dealing with my 20 month olds, massive daily destruction. If your morning jog route happens to be by my home, you may hear me screaming, "Serenity Now", on occasion.

In addition to this method, I have also taken it upon myself to write a little prayer, to be sent up to the good Lord, on those real hairy days. This prayer may sound a bit familiar...feel free to use it also, as needed.

Mama's Serenity Prayer
God grant me the serenity
to accept that no matter what I clean,
my baby will minutes later, destroy it.
Give me courage to pry cleaning chemicals,
hand lotions, and precious valuables from his chubby little fists.
Give me wisdom in outsmarting him, and hiding these things high enough
that he may never be able to reach them again.
Amen.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Mama Scissorhands

I can't put my finger on why it is, but I am completely obsessed with cutting my kids' hair. And...I am completely and utterly terrible at it. Maybe I have some sort of subconscious love of haircare, but honestly, the obsession has turned quite ugly. Literally.

Fortunately, my three year old is terrified of the hair salon, so I get my practice cuts on him, and his little brother. It's pretty hilarious actually, my methods, that is. For instance, when I am cutting my baby's hair, typically I bribe him to sit in a chair out on the porch, with some sort of pop. He then proceeds to take the pop and wriggle his way out of the chair, all the while I am cutting and cutting at his chocolate locks. And as I cut each strand, it falls down onto his face, where it lands right onto his sticky mouth. And there it stays. Sometimes, it even lands in his mouth. When that happens, he usually grabs at his tongue with his free hand, (also covered in hair), and shouts, "Mama, yu-yuck." You'd think that would prompt me to take him to the barber...nope, I like a challenge. So I proceed to chase him around the yard with a pair of scissors, and snip every time he pauses. Let's just say, he will be sporting the "layered" and "messy" look for awhile.

But today, my baby's hair was not the problem. My middle son has this fear of the salon. I've tried many different places, even the real expensive kid's ones, that make it pretty much like a party every time you get your hair cut. Nope, he won't do it. He refuses the prizes, and the cut. So, as his sideburns started to creep around his chin this weekend, I decided that it was time for me to dust off the ol' shears. I told him that if he didn't let me cut his hair, I would have to take him to the haircut lady. He promptly complied.

My skills are what you'd call progressive. When I first begin the cut, I completely forget what I am doing, what number is the shortest, and how to even hold the scissors. I begin to sweat and my pulse races. My son senses my incompetence and begins his hour long taunting of, "can I get down yet?" Usually, about ten minutes into the cut though, I figure out what I'm doing. Just like riding a bike. What happened today though, has got to be my worst performance yet.

I began his cut with the clippers, and was just starting to get the hang of them when, oops! "MAMA, my ear, it hurts so bad!!" And then the tears...I thought those clippers were supposed to be safe...I'm going to have to sue Conair. Anyway, it's sounds much worse then it was, and I quickly grabbed a red towel, (we, moms know what that means), and I managed to calm my son.

Maybe it was the Holy Spirit, or maybe it was the fact that I had to use chicken shears because I couldn't find the haircutting scissors, but something inside of me said, "Stop Now!" A few more uneven snips off the top, and I knew I was in over my head. I approached my son with yet another offer, and told him that if we went to the haircut lady, she would cut it real fast...and I would buy him a toy. And wouldn't you know, he agreed. Unbelievable.

A quick shower later, and I had loaded up all the kids and were on our way to Costcutters. I was slightly mortified to tell the lady that I had butchered my son's hair, especially when she looked at all three of my kids and said, "Oh...he must be the one." But I humbly took my seat and watched in awe as my son conquered one of his biggest fears, right before my eyes. I couldn't believe it. He sat like such a big boy and actually got his hair cut...no fuss, no nothing. And I even heard him talking to the lady! Another major feat! And I didn't even mind as I overheard him tell the lady, "and Daddy was very mad at us!" I had no idea what he was talking about...but I didn't care. I was just so happy that his hair was fixed, and his fear was gone.
Maybe, it wasn't such a bad idea to cut his hair after all.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Sunday's Best

Sunday mornings at my home are completely chaotic. My husband and I usually try to grab every last second of sleep we can, before we have to get up for church. We procrastinate to the very last second. As we are lying in bed, we convince ourselves that it is totally possible to get five people dressed and ready in 35 minutes. We are foolish. It can't be done.

No surprise to me, this morning was no different. As I felt my son jump on my bed and nearly crack my shin, I rolled over and asked my incoherent husband what time it was. He mumbled, "around 7." Well, if it's only 7am, and we have to leave for worship practice by 9:15, then we've got another half hour to sleep. As I strolled into the playroom to bribe my children to watch a show so I could steal some shuteye, I passed by the clock and it said 7:55! That guy better start repenting!

Long story short, the mad dash to find clothes for everyone began. I managed to dress everyone but myself. I literally took out every article of clothing from my closet and tried it on, but to no avail. On Sunday's, I attempt to retire my olive oil stained cotton t-shirts, and ripped up jeans, for something, a bit well...cleaner. Yeah, I'm not worried about some major frilly dress here, just basic, out-in-public attire. But this morning, nope...could not be done. I couldn't find anything. By the time I was dressed, my room looked like it had been ransacked by wild animals. I'm lucky I made it out of there alive.
Contrary to the distress of this morning, I managed to walk away with some very useful lessons for the future. I'd like to share them with you.

What I learned this morning:

1)You gain at least 10 pounds on Sunday mornings.

2)Never eat potato chips on Saturday night. Even if they're baked.

3)Kmart has a surprisingly fashionable clothing line, when you're in a pinch.

4)If you trash your bedroom getting dressed for church, the mess will still be there when you get home.

5)My dryer is broken, it shrinks all my clothes.

6)There is no shame in wearing Spanx.

7)When God said, "May your cup overfloweth," He did not mean, take a second helping.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Sincerely Sunday

A Good Mourning

I recently experienced a loss, one that I didn't see coming, yet always feared. It was a shock to my system, and beliefs, but only for a short while. I am here not to dwell on the pain of loss, but to tell you about an awesome restoration. Somehow, someway, God has turned a day that ranked as the worst in my life, into a day that has begun to change and replenish my life.

Through bible study and prayer in a time where I didn't want to pray or even look at my bible, He has completely opened my eyes to His plan and has graciously and miraculously allowed me to not only accept His will, but understand it as well. For that I am truly grateful, as it is one thing to accept something you can't change, but to see the perspective behind it, that is a great peace giver.

Before this happened, I was in a very slothful way with my everyday life, and most importantly with God. I was fine with "just doing enough," and honestly would've probably continued in that pattern, if not for this loss to catch my attention. Though I don't believe God allows suffering and pain only to get our attention, I do believe he can turn a completely traumatic and devastating event, into one that pushes you forward, and towards Him. And I believe and understand my loss as that. Our relationship with God is not meant to be on the "do just enough to get by" list. He won't stand for it.

God opened my eyes to the vulnerability we as humans have, especially when we make Him less than a priority in our life. An event that I would've once thought would crush my spirit, has actually lifted my spirit, and pointed me to Him. Does this revelation take away the pain I felt that day? Nope. I still felt it, deeper than anything I've ever felt. But He knows that. He was there. God doesn't claim to erase the pain you feel, He just promises to restore your joy.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Just Typical


As with most Thursdays, this one was pretty typical with my three children and my sister's two children. Just so you know what its like on my babysitting day, here are just a few events that transpired today:

1)Numerous "mean looks" (AKA--my son's eye twitched at the exact second my nephew looked at him)

2)Violent behavior--my son threw what I thought was a rock, but turned out to be an acorn, directly at my daughter's head...oh yeah, and it was "on purpose" (AKA--what my 3 year old son thinks, means "by accident")

3)Groundbreaking Injustices--slices of frozen Elio's pizza were not perfectly portioned on each plate...next time I will use a ruler.

Sounds like fun, right?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Beginning of the End


Today was my daughter's first day of kindergarten. I must admit, it might as well have been her college graduation, because for me, it was...the beginning of the end. As we entered her classroom this morning, it was your typical first day scene...clutching bodies, screams of "don't go!", and tears. Lots and lots of tears. Don't worry though, about an hour after drop off, I calmed myself down.

Yep, the tears were from me, not my precious firstborn. The creativity and desire to learn has been running through her little veins since she was born. I knew she'd be crazy for school when she had come to me when she was three years old, after "organizing" our sunroom with chairs and scotch tape, and told me it was her "art gallery." Need I say more? C'mon people, Harvard here we come!

If only I would've known that the time would pass so fast, so fast that I could still remember tucking her into bed for three whole hours, just like yesterday, as she was afraid to go to sleep without me...oh wait, that was yesterday.(We're actually still working out some sleep issues.)
No, but really, even though I've spent every waking moment with my little girl except for approximately 5 days total in her life (seriously), it still seems like it's too soon to send her out into the world. I mean, does kindergarten really have to be every day? Sure it's only three hours, but that's fifteen hours a week. I feel like I have joint custody or something. And lunch? They just have to eat lunch in school? Sure her class hours are from 11 to 2, and sure that is your typical lunchtime, but I figured out on the drive to the school, that I will probably never eat lunch with my daughter on a weekday again? Can you imagine? I think tomorrow I'm going to wake everyone up at 5 am for breakfast, just so they'll be hungry around 10 o'clock for lunch at home. That's right home, where lunches should be served. That's where the term "homemade lunches" came from anyway, they were meant to eat at home. I know what you're thinking, is this the same woman who wrote all of these old posts on this blog? Sounds like a well needed break, right? That's what'd you think, but today, it didn't feel that way to me. It felt like the beginning of this never ending,roller coaster part of parenting, called letting go.

Although I don't think I'll let go just yet, I'm sure after about a week or so, these distraught feelings of abandonment will subside, and I'll find something to do with those extra three hours a day, like organizing my ransacked closet, or cleaning out the cracker crumbs and slurpee stain from the backseat of my van. Either that or I'll just research homeschooling.(LOL)

Monday, August 27, 2007

The $18.00 Bug Bite

After three children, I pride myself on being a pretty reasonable, cautious and self-diagnosing mother. As you can imagine, the viruses in my home are about as rampant as flies on manure.(Nice analogy, as if you all shovel manure.) Anyway, contrary to statistics, my children have all been breastfed, read to, bathed regularly, taught to wash their hands and take their shoes off in the house, and have not stepped a foot in daycare, still they seem to contract any virus that comes within ten feet of our home. Needless to say, this is where my self-diagnosing comes in.
Though I love our pediatrician, I try and keep our visits to a minimum of a couple times a month, as we do need money for groceries. One month we hit the Dr. so often, that I suggested setting up a direct deposit from my husband's payroll, straight into the pediatrician's bank account.

So, I awoke this morning to the usual breakfast requests(Some days I'd swear I'm in
the movie Groundhog's Day), and while buttering my son's cinnamon toast(without raisins), I noticed that his ear looked incredibly swollen, not unlike Martin Short's ears in the movie Pure Luck. Before getting too alarmed, I racked my brain of any other strange symptoms that would help me in diagnosing this new found case. I thought back to last Monday when his ear had looked exactly the same after he had been stung by a bee. After attempting a quick self-diagnoses I couldn't for the life of me, figure out why his ear would swell up again, after last week. But before I would call the professionals, I decided to Google Cellulitis just once, as I was convinced the redness was not in fact from him laying on the couch pillow, but was a bacterial infection brewing under his skin. Good thing I went to med school...

I convinced myself of the diagnosis and decided that he was in fact in need of immediate medical attention. After convincing the receptionist on the phone that her "completely booked" schedule was unacceptable to me and my very ill son, I called the satellite office and was kindly stuck in among the other appointments.

I checked my son's ear about every ten minutes, just to make sure the swelling was worthy of an unruly trip to the office with all three children.
"Oh, yes," I thought to myself, "the swelling seems to be traveling down his ear, it must be spreading."

Long story...uh,...short...I loaded my tired, unnapped children into the van and drove to the pediatrician. Eighteen dollars and two timeouts later, and we have ourselves a bug bite folks. Yep, that's right, an eighteen dollar bugbite.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Goodbye to Anonymity

Okay, so I've been tagged by Elizabeth for a little something called The Face Behind the Blog. Though I wrestled with revealing my true identity to all three of my readers...I've decided to disclose a bit of myself, just this once.

So you know my family story pretty much. Six years ago I married my highschool sweetheart and about 283 days after that I had my daughter and preceded to have my other two children consecutively after that. My husband and I are a part of our church worship team, I like to watch TLC, HGTV, American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance, and other various reality TV shows. Sometimes I pretend I am on a reality tv show, and that the producers are really just setting me up by making my kids do crazy things, all for the sake of good ratings. I also love photography and take the majority of the pictures in my family, so finding one of myself is a difficult endeavor. Here goes...I feel like the masked magician who gave out all the secrets...


Here's one of me and my little guy...what a honey.


And here I am with my niece.

Me and just the boys at the beach.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Menu Challenge


Okay, so I am officially tired of concocting a daily dinner menu for my lovely(picky) family, and have decided I need some help...your help!
Here's your mission: Come up with one dinner meal that will satisfy the needs of one family of five, including of course, a vegetable.

Sound easy? Yeah, right. Want to know the catch? The catch is you have to come up with the menu, without including any of the "Don'ts" from each of my family member's lists, while still maintaining a nutritional meal. This is very tricky, as each member of my family, has quite the list of "don'ts." Consider it a challenge...your incentive and prize will be a picture of one happy and full family.

Here is the DON'T List:

My husband: Due to an unruly gall bladder, spicy and fried foods are to be consumed close to never. Oh, and he doesn't like green beans, peas, or carrots.

My daughter: Nothing with any kind of cheese sauce, although she likes cheese, no sausage, or barbecue sauce. Doesn't like green beans, or cooked carrots, raw are acceptable. No raisins.

My middle son: No salad, carrots, anything with an unusual sauce, pineapple, strawberries, pears, no tomatoes. Nothing "spicy", translation--anything with flavor. He enjoys most meats slathered in ketchup or parmesian cheese.

My baby: He'll eat pretty much anything, besides, green beans, tomatoes and salad.

Me: I will gladly eat anything...(yes, I have some food issues)

Do you accept the challenge? Post your meal here...

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Conspiracy Theory

I don't know what it is about librarians, but they scare me. Yes, you are reading right, librarians scare me. They intimidate me, they give me anxiety, they make me fumble on my words and sweat.

I know it sounds strange. Maybe it's the way the librarian glares at me through her bifocals, as she asks me, "will that be all?", as I trump my 15 books and 3 videos up to the circulation desk. Or maybe it's the way they scan back and forth from my library card to me, even before they run it through the computer, as if I'm using some sort of fake I.D. to get into a club or something.

One thing for sure, if I'm returning a book or video late to the library, I make sure to drop it in the outside box, just to escape the convicting glares of the librarian. I mean, you'd think I had just taken a historic artifact or something.
And the panic attack I have when I finally do face the librarian after returning an overdue book...as she looks up the fine in the computer...I hold my breath as I clasp my checkbook, (maybe it won't show up, maybe they don't even know it's late)...
And that will be $200.00, you've had "How to Groom your Dog" out for a year and a half...
What?? I don't even have a dog! There's got to be a mistake in the computer!

I swear the librarians around here all conspire to trick you into paying fines. I bet you they are confiscating books left and right from the book drop, and then they claim they've never received your drop. I bet there is some hidden underground room where all the "lost and overdue" books are. All to make a quick buck...for what you ask...new globes and microfiche machines, that's what. And all this money is coming from you and me, the Moms who go to the library because we can't afford to buy new books in the first place.

The thing is...it works. Let's face it, no amount of conspiracy or intimidation is going to keep us from returning to the public library. Wanna know why? Because we need it...we need them. We need the free snacks and storytimes, the free video rentals (even if they are from the 1980's), and we need the rainy day activity. Yeah, it's worth the $200.00 bill every six months.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Sincerely Sunday

It's So Easy to Forget

It's so easy to forget about the sinless and perfect life He lived on this earth, when we are satisfied in our own "perfect" little lives.

It's so easy to forget about the unbearable pain he suffered, as the thorns dug into his head and the nails were driven into his hands, easy to forget when you are not suffering or in pain.

It's so easy to forget about the palpable fear he felt as he walked that long walk, all the while knowing that he was walking to his death, especially when you don't face that fear, or any fear at all.

It's so easy to forget about the betrayal he felt, as the very ones he loved, would be the very ones who would sentence him to die, especially when you are surrounded and supported by all of your loved ones.

It's so easy to forget about the immense sacrifice he made, as he gave up his human life, just so that we may live ours, especially when we know that this very act is a sacrifice we will never have to endure.

Imagine if He forgot about us, as much as we forget about Him?

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Tub Terrors

You've heard of night terrors, right? Those terrible nightmares kids have, where they wake up in a sweat, screaming? I have tub terrors. For some reason, every time I step foot in the tub, bad sounds loom outside my door. Very bad sounds. Thumps, bangs, blood curdling screams. Sounds that send rushes of adrenaline pumping through my veins. Sounds that make the hairs on my arms stand straight up. I'd swear my husband and children were reenacting some sort of Civil War battle every time I take a bath. Either that or they're training for the Ultimate Fighting Championship. I go into the bath with the notion of relieving some of the tension and stress of my day, and I come out more knotted than a sourdough pretzel...so much for relaxation.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Exposed


I'm sorry I did not post a Sincerely Sunday this week, but I had a near outer body experience yesterday that I just had to share with you all.

Let me preface this story by saying how much I deeply love my husband and how smart, thoughtful and unselfish he truly is. That being said, today he committed the most outrageous, most unthinkable mistake.

I don't know about you, but Sunday at my house is the one day I am guaranteed some degree of rest, well usually, because my husband is home. During the week, things are pretty hectic and busy with the usual mundane tasks. So, on the weekends I really look forward to those few spare minutes where I can just sit and relax.

I had just laid my son down for his afternoon nap and my husband had taken the older two outside, so he could mow our extremely overgrown backyard. I laid down on the couch and was about to indulge myself in a classic 1980's romantic comedy, you know the ones they play on Sunday afternoons. The second I laid my head on the pillow, I heard voices. I looked up to see my darling husband and my neighbor..."What in the world?" I thought. They were looking right into my living room bay window. I quickly and discreetly slid off the couch and maneuvered through the land mines of toys in my living room, and headed into the kitchen to look as though I was busily cleaning.

The next thing I knew, I heard voices even louder. Voices that weren't coming from outside. Voices that were coming from inside...inside my living room. I shuddered at the thought. "Nah, I must be hearing things." I know the man I've been with for the last ten and a half years, would not, no could not, let anyone step foot in our house, when it was in this kind of disarray. He just wouldn't. That is surely a rookie, mistake, and my hubby is anything but a rookie.

"Who's that mama?" My son asked.
"I don't know honey," I replied, through clenched teeth.
"Mama, it sounds like Mark," he said.
"No, honey, it can't be Mark, Daddy wouldn't let Mark in our house t-o-d-a-y."
He laughed. "But, mama it sounds like Mark." Smart kid.

I slowly walked into the living room and heard my husband yell, "honey, Mark is just coming in to check out our broken window."
At this point I blacked out for a moment and while I was fighting the urge to go towards the light, I watched the years of my life flash before my eyes. When I came to, I was spitting out something like, "I know you are NOT bringing Mark into our living room when it looks like this.

My neighbor graciously acted as though he'd seen worse(yeah right, maybe in a landfill.) As they walked out the front door, I grabbed a paper bag to control the hyperventilating. I sat on the couch, completely mortified and tried to wrap my mind around what had just occurred. "Was my husband completely out of his mind? Was he sick or something? That must be it, Mark must've been very sick and so my husband had to let him in our living room to rest on our couch. Yeah, that's what happened."

When my husband finally made his way back inside, I tried to get my composure and managed to mouth the words, "what were you thinking?"
"He insisted," he said.
"What do you mean he insisted?"
"He insisted, he was looking to fix our broken window, and he insisted he needed to see it from the inside?"
"Did he man handle you?" I asked. "Did he hold a gun to your back? Did he twist your arm, or threaten to harm your family?"
"Uh, no."
"Well, then I don't care who insists. If you gotta tackle him to the ground, or put him in a choke hold, you do not let him in our living room, when it looks like THIS."
"Sorry, honey." he replied.

Unbelievable. We've lived here for three and a half years, the guy has never stepped foot in our house, and the one time he does, it's the day I decided to take a rest from my mother duties. It figures.

Be careful when you decide to take a rest ladies, watch your back. You never know if it's going to be the day your neighbor decides to pop in, and you are standing there completely exposed.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Miracles Come in All Sizes


I'm trying to teach my kids about the power of prayer and how God can do anything, even miracles--not just with the big stuff, but with the everyday little stuff too. In fact, sometimes I think we had a divine appointment with our minivan, and that it's sole purpose on this earth is to inspire prayer and miraculous happenings.

Some of you may think the best time to teach your children about prayer is at bedtime or at mealtimes. But, if you had the track record of car troubles that my husband and I do, you'd think the best time to teach your children about prayer is the second you step foot in the minivan. I'm not talking car accidents here, I'm talking straight-up, one chance in a million, car malfunctions. The kind of car mishaps that don't happen to the average driver--happen to us. Actually, I think of it as our little mission field.

For example, my husband once ran out of gas (typical of our family), on a busy highway, on the way home from work, driving a car with a nonfunctional gas gauge. When he stepped out of his car onto the highway to retrieve the spare gas tank from the trunk, he mistakenly locked the keys in the car. So ironically, even if he had gas in the gas tank, he still could not drive the car, without the keys.

See where I'm going with this: if my kids were there, I would have used that opportunity to pray with them for our sticky situation. The prayer would have sounded like this:

"Dear Lord, we need a miracle here. Please let a fuel tanker drive by, with a driver that happens to work as a locksmith on the weekends. Amen."

Though I don't doubt my husband sent up a similar prayer to this, unfortunately, a police man drove by who was neither a fuel tank driver, nor a locksmith. And actually he wasn't too handy either as he broke the window trying to unlock the door.

Another opportunity for spiritual teaching came about one frosty afternoon as I drove home from the supermarket with my son. We were on the last stretch of highway that leads to our home when I noticed the gas gauge inching towards the orange E. Even though, I decided to push the limits anyway.(I have a habit of doing this, always have, ask my mom.)

So as we rounded the last turn, I feel the all too familiar put-put and I grip the wheel as my power steering starts to go. As I inch over to the shoulder, I look into my rear view at my son and say, "I think we should pray."
"For what," he asks. "How come we stopped, mama?"
"We need to pray that God would help us to get to that gas station right over there."
"Do we need gas mama?"
"Yes, let's pray."
"Mama, why didn't we go to the gas station before?" he presses.
"Pray." I say again.

So we pray. We pray hard. We pray for a miracle. As I lift my head, I turn the key slowly and the engine sputters a bit, and miraculously, it starts. It stays running long enough for me to roll down the hill, right into pump stall number four at the local gas station.

"He did it!" my son shouts. "He did a miracle."
"Yes he did," I say, as I wipe the sweat from my forehead.

For the next week my son went around telling people about God's miracle of gas. Just goes to show you that miracles come in all sizes.
Yup, we're in our own little mission field over here. Bet you didn't think such spiritual growth could occur in a minivan.

Miracles Come in All Sizes

I've always thought it was important to teach my children about the power of prayer. I teach them about prayer at mealtimes, I teach them about prayer at bedtime, and lately, as our vehicle disintegrates, I teach them about prayer in the car.

Thursday was a typical babysitting day with my three and my neice and nephew. We're in the middle of some sort of heatwave in the northwest, so it was like 90 degrees outside but felt like over 100 degrees inside. I decided to take the kids to the McDonald's playplace for lunch. It was either that or the lake, and I just didn't feel like the liability that came with taking five kids who don't swim, to a lake. McDonald's went suprisingly smooth, smooth enough I was actually enjoying myself for a quick minute.

On the way home, I stopped at my parent's new house to let the kids run around for an hour. Though the exhaustion of buckling and unbuckling five children into five carseats was starting to get to me, I pressed on because I knew I was coming into the homestretch of the day, and my husband would be home when I got there.

I loaded everyone back into the van to head home. As I backed out of my parent's driveway I heard a sound, a kind of thumping and dragging sound. I checked my mirror to make sure I hadn't left the diaper bag on top of the car, or any children for that matter. Nope, everything looked clear. I proceeded to step on the gas again and heard the noise again. It wasn't until the kids started asking me what the noise was, that I decided to pull over and investigate. To my surprise, my right rear tire was flat, completely flat. Just great. I almost completed this day with no mishaps, no injuries, no major fistfights, and now this.

I headed back towards my parent's house slowly, all the while, trying to appease the interrogation from the kids, as they wanted to know just what was going on. My father checked the tire and we decided to head down to the nearest gas station to try to pump it up. He followed closely behind as I headed down the unpaved, pothole ridden road. I decided to take this opportunity to teach the kids about prayer again (yeah right, I just really needed divine intervention.) I leaned back and said, okay kids, I think we should pray. It wasn't long before I heard an even louder noise, and decided that inflating the tire was a wash at this point...we needed to change the tire. I pulled over to the side and my dad got out in the sweltering heat and began to change my tire.

As my Dad tried with all his might o turn the jack on the uneven, gravel pavement, the kids were inside the van, screaming, fighting

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

To Spank or Not to Spank



I once heard this story and have concluded from it, that spanking is not always the effective form of discipline...

A man laid his son to bed one night and kissed him on the head. As he slowly walked out the door, his son yelled to him,
"Dad, can I have a glass of water?"
"No," the Dad said, "It's time to go to sleep."
The Dad walked out of the boy's room and headed down the hall.
"Dad, can I please have a glass of water?"
"No!" the dad said. "Go to sleep!"
"But dad, I really need a glass of water..."
Completely fed up and frustrated, the Dad yelled back, "If you don't go to sleep right now, I am going to come in there and give you a spanking!"
The dad heard a small pause of silence. "It worked," he thought. Until, his son yelled back,
"Hey Dad, on your way in to spank me, can you get me that glass of water?"

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Sincerely Sunday

Consistency

My junior year in high school, I took a class called Contemporary Issues, in which we debated various world issues like abortion, euthanasia and surrogate motherhood. I can remember ending one particular debate with a classmate and feeling especially exhausted yet confident in the argument I held. I just felt like I really gave it my all, and well, if you could win a debate, I felt like I did. I looked to my teacher, who remained completely neutral throughout every argument, for some sort of encouragement, and he turned to me and said, "Wow, you are very consistent." Consistent? Ok. I was expecting something more like noble, insightful, or even mature. But all that he said was that I was...consistent.

What I didn't know then, but know now, is that consistency really is the ultimate compliment. What I would do to be as consistent as I was back then. I looked the word up in the dictionary and it said, consistent: to be free from variation or contradiction, marked by steady continuity. In reading that I thought of all the times I contradicted myself in my words and my actions with my kids, my husband, and even with God.

As I think about the word even more, I realize, to be consistent is to be like God. He is completely free from contradiction, and is completely marked by steady continuity. Think about it...

As we consistently sin, He consistently forgives.

As we consistently disobey, He consistently disciplines.

As we consistently stray from his path, He consistently protects us.

As we consistently hurt others, He is consistently merciful.

And as we consistently run from Him, He consistently waits for us to return...with open arms.

How much more consistent can you get?

Yeah, I'd definitely prefer to be called consistent, over insightful and mature, any day. Would you?

Friday, July 27, 2007

3 Signs You and Your Husband Need a Night Out

1) Before your hubby goes to bed at night, you ask him if he has to go potty.

2) You consider fish sticks and birthday candles a romantic candlelight dinner.

3) Your evening wear...is your pajamas.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Do you really want to know about being a Mom?

Do you really want to know that I woke up this morning in a semi-unpleasant mood, and that I really questioned whether I would survive the day's trials with five children?

Do you want to know that I couldn't pull everyone together and out the door in time, to go to this bible study that I really wanted to go to, prepaid for, and desperately needed?

Do you want to know that by 9:30 a.m. I had already given my one year old two time outs (yeah, right) and threatened to throw away toys?

Do you want to know that my mom saved my life, not from a tradgic death, but rather a tradgic day, with five children under six, and took our girls out shopping for clothes, while I took the three boys?

Do you want to know about how excited my daughter was to try on the navy blue school uniforms for me, that she would be wearing this fall to kindergarten?

Do you want to know about how unbelievably cute she looked all dressed up with her blue cardigan, and how unbelievably sad I was that she would be leaving me to go to kindergarten? And how for a second, I pondered not sending her?

Do you want to hear the 15 stories I made up of my childhood, just to appease my nephew's inquisitiveness, as we drove the five minute drive to the post office?
Are you curious about how I convinced my nephew and son that Wendy's has better kid's meal toys then taco bell, just because I was really craving a juicy burger?

Do you want to hear about how my nephew told me his belly hurt at Wendy's and about the thought process that flew across my mind, of how I could race him to the bathroom to throw up, while carrying a toddler and three year old in tow? And my purse?

Do you want to know about how I took the kids to the park, and then had to rescue my toddler from a high death, as he ran up the ladder of the biggest slide in North America, which ironically is in my park? And how when I rescued him, one of his feet got stuck in the slats, and I had to twist and turn his little ankle to pry him out? All the while, he was screaming and getting mad, because he really wanted to climb up that slide?

Do you want to know what it felt like when I ran across the park to retrieve him, and a jagged piece of mulch went through my flip flop into my foot, and slowed me down, so I had to yell for my mom to run ahead and save him?

Do you want to hear about how two seconds after that I loaded the kids back into the car to head home, and bribed them all with pops to stop them from crying about how we had to leave the park so soon?

Do you really want to know that I went home, I put a movie in, and sat on the couch refusing to do any sort of mother duty for the next hour, or two?

Do you want to hear the conversation I had with my husband, when I called him at work to tell him how underappreciated, we mothers across America really are? And how I suggested he start a petition to send to the President, that stay at home moms be compensated somehow, for our noble and backbreaking work?

Do you want to know about how my mother saved me one more time that day, and treated me out for a girls night, to a nice restaurant that didn't even have happy meals? And how she drove the extra miles to take me out to another restaurant, just so I could get a piece of my favorite chocolate cream pie?

Do you want to know about how much fun I had sitting in a chair at Barnes and Noble reading through parenting magazines, without having to keep my baby from tearing books off the shelves, and from tearing books?

Yeah, but do you really want to know, that the whole time I was out on my girl's night, I couldn't help but think about how my kids are so cute? And how every time I saw a desperate mom trying to hold the store door open while pushing her double stroller through, I couldn't help but wish I had my double stroller with my kids in it?

Do you really want to know that we mothers claim we want our time out, but really think about and miss our kids, the entire time we are out? And couldn't imagine what our lives would be like without them? (At least I do.)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Next Generation of Superheroes




Do you ever feel completely wiped out after a long afternoon of playing on the floor with your children? Are you tired of having to come up with names of superhero guys and scenarios for action figures? If you're like my sister, who has a five year old who insists on playing rescue mission and army combat constantly, then you probably are. I mean, are we really supposed to be able to come up with that many diverse, imaginative scenarios?

"Mama, who should this guy be?"
"Uh...that's firefighter Joe, honey."
"Where is he going, mama?"
"Uh...to the firehouse."
"But, he can't be at the firehouse, 'cause Jake Justice is at the fire house."
"Oh."
"He should be diving in the deep sea, mama..."
"Doesn't he need diving gear, honey?"
"NOOO---can't you see he has invisible gear on!"
"O-K-A-Y, honey."

Really, there should be a book of action figures names and what kind of combat and occupation they're in. You just look at the guy, flip to, "man with moustache and yellow hat," and you've got yourself a whole life story on him. One that will keep your kids from hounding you again.

I decided to address this daunting issue, and have come up with a list of superhero names and backgrounds. Feel free to borrow from my list at your next playtime.

1. Veggie Man--Basically he can be any guy that is wearing green or is green. He fights obesity and high cholesterol, and his arch nemesis is Donut Hole.

2. The Toilet Troopers--They can can be white, black, even dark green. They fight germs and bacteria and keep toilets safe so little children can use the potty. Their arch nemesis is the evil Dirty Diaper, who resides in the land of Underoo.

3. Super Sharer Man--He's a pretty versatile character, he can be any color. He's known for making the world a better place by intervening when siblings are brawling over a toy. His arch nemesis is the frightening Mr. Playdate.

4. Captain Coffee--He can be any guy that is brown, tan...He's known for swooping into houses in the middle of the day and saving sleeping mommys from slipping into a comatose state, all over the world. He's pretty much your All-American Hero.

There you have it. Just some ideas you might want to use, in case you run out of your own.

P.S. No thanks required.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Mama TV


Have you ever seen the movie "ED TV?" It's about a guy who lives his life normal until one day he realizes his life is really just a script for a live television show. Maybe I'm crazy, but I'm convinced my life must be a script for a comedy/drama television show. It's gotta be true. Nothing else could begin to explain the series of mishaps that transpired in my home on Friday.

The morning started out typical, well, typical enough for our house--baby ransacking the fridge and dropping a big bowl of chicken and mashed potatoes, only to shatter on the kitchen floor. After cleaning that up, and making notes to pick up childproof locks for my refrigerator, I decided to focus on doing laundry that day. My children were running out of clean clothes that fit them, and it was getting harder to convince my three year old, that his pajamas, doubled as an outfit.

My baby had been sick for a few days, and his cough seemed to worsen. I've become pretty adept at distinguishing a viral illness, which typically needs no antibiotics, from a bacterial one. This little skill of mine transpired over the last five years of child rearing and many co pays at the doctor for viruses that "run their course." (I come from a long line of self-diagnosers, though I don't encourage this) So, I decided to make an appointment for my son, and booked the only slot they had, 1:15 that afternoon. The second I hung up the phone, I remembered that I had booked a dentist appointment for my daughter at 2:30, at an office 45 minutes away. Perfect. I couldn't cancel that, because those dental appointments usually take months to reschedule. So I proceeded to cancel the doctor appointment, but then convinced myself, I would accept the challenge, and just try to make both appointments.

I loaded the kids in the van. My daughter was so excited for her first dentist appointment, she could hardly wait. We headed towards the doctor, and I looked back and noticed that my baby had fallen asleep...what to do, what to do. Ah, the dilemmas of motherhood. Do I wake my sleeping child, only to torture him at the doctor's appointment? Sounds like a fun time to me. I quickly make a U-turn and decided to forgo the doctor, and to reschedule later.

I figure now I have ample time to make it to the dentist, so I stop for some gas and a cup of Joe. First mistake. I could not have foreseen the massive traffic I was going to run into, that would make me late for yet another appointment. When I realize the time, I step on the gas, and maneuver in and out of lanes, just scathing numerous accidents, only to make it to the dentist about five minutes late. I look in my rear view mirror and see my daughter's gleaming smile, as she squeals for joy. (Obviously, her first trip to the dentist) For the fifteenth time that trip, I answer her daunting questions of what color toothbrush she'll get, and what flavors of toothpaste the dentist will have. As I go to unload my waking baby, I rush to unbuckle his cookie crusted carseat, and accidentally step my flip-flop into a pile of mud on the sidewalk. Perfect. (Wave to the cameras, honey.)

We rush up the thousands of stairs (Aren't any offices on the first floor?) and walk inside the sweetest, most quaint dentist office, you'd ever see. The waiting room alone could keep my toddler busy, with it's bounty of toys and activities. Finally, something goes right. As I swing my massive backpack/diaper bag around, I say my name to the receptionist. The sweet, young girl was a bit of a soft talker, so I have to read her lips in order to understand what she is saying to me. What? I say. It's as if time slows down, as I read her lips say to me, "I'm so sorry, I tried to call you."
"What do you mean, you tried to call me?" I reply as I dig my fingernail into my hand.
Long story short--this particular pediatric dentist is especially elderly, and apparently inadvertently picked my daughter's dentist day, to be rushed off in an ambulance.
"Will he be okay?" I ask. She whispers, "I just don't know." I send my well wishes and head out the door. Perfect.

See what I mean? Mama TV--you'll laugh, you'll cry...mostly cry. Everyone knows drama is always the perfect ending to a show, my show that is. But wait...the saga continues.

I head home with my sick baby, and disapointed daughter. My husband gets home from work after a four hour commute, due to incredible traffic. This night was supposed to be a date night for us. We decide to just put the kids to bed, and go out at around 9 p.m. to Barnes and Noble for some quiet magazine reading and coffee. Who needs fine dining, when you can read a book, uninterrupted. My kids surprisingly go down to sleep easy, and the plan takes action. (All this, to build up to the finale.) My parents stay with the kids as my husband and I head to the bookstore.

As we pull up, the store looks surprisingly busy for this hour of the night. We walk in only to discover it is "Harry Potter Night." Perfect. The new book is being released, so they are throwing some sort of loud, costume and contest party. I couldn't believe my eyes.(Did I mention how much I dislike Harry Potter?) Hundreds of people dressed up like witches, sorcerers...Harry Potter. There are no seats let alone even enough room to walk through the aisles. I feel my heart rate increase as I pop a squat in the corner of the autobiography section. Ahh...a nice quiet evening to end a chaotic day with the kids...perfect.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Sincerely Sunday

Unsatisfied

The last few years, I've struggled to find satisfaction in myself and who I am. I've always known I'm a good mother and wife, and am completely confident and satisfied in those roles, but satisfaction in myself as a person, I sometimes didn't have. I've felt as though I wanted more, and needed more. I can remember saying to my husband at times, "I want more, I need to be more than this." It wasn't until I heard some of "A Purpose Driven Life," and got a whole new perspective on satisfaction, that I realized what it means to be truly satisfied.

See, the world tells you to want more, have more, be more. "Be all that you can be," "Get more for your money." Get a bigger TV, bigger car, bigger house. These things in themselves aren't necessarily bad. But what they promote is dissatisfaction, and a life of always wanting more. This may seem obvious to you all, but I know with me, I didn't necessarily realize it was happening, but little by little, it was. I started out completely confident and actually honored to be a stay at home mom, and little by little I started to see it as a "just" kind of job. I was fooled by the world's standards and I wanted more.

"A Purpose Driven Life" talks about how God created us with a void inside, one that only He can fill. The truth is we have dissatisfaction because we are looking to the wrong things to fill us. No matter how much money, possessions, or degrees we have, it is not humanly possible for us to be satisfied. At least not with those things.

He designed us to want Him, and even if we don't know it, He designed us to need Him. Ever feel like you just don't have enough? Think you need to be more? I know I do. All the time. We need Christ. Only He can satisfy.

Does this little sermon mean I'm truly satisfied? Not even close. I know it's easy to write, not as easy to do. Almost daily I fall into the thoughts of wanting more and being more. It's not until I come out of the fog I'm in, and remember to spend time with Him, that I realize where I'll get true satisfaction. We can all try to fill ourselves up on achievements and things, but trust me, we never will. We weren't meant to.

If you can, check out this song from Hillsong United.

Save a Life

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