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.

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