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 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 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 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 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 much for relaxation.

Monday, August 06, 2007


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

Save a Life