Monday, December 22, 2008

Five Minutes at the Circus by SonicMoo

While I'm still in a writer's funk and the merry holiday is just a mere 48 hours dear husband has graciously allowed me access to his blog so that I can use him as a guest poster. And as usual, our kids provide a HUGE amount of material! Merry Christmas All!

So the other day my son takes a dump in his undies. Nothing new, besides, why would a 3 and a half year old ever want to actually use the toilet right? Even though his sister was fully potty trained by 2 1/2.

So I clean up and tell him to go upstairs to go get new underwear. Apparently he did not have any upstairs because 5 minutes later he was running around with a pair of my underwear on. No the undies were not too small for him, save those jokes for later...

A hour later with the Z-man running around having to hold up the undies around his waist, he decides it is time for dump #2 for the day. 2 Dumps in 1 day is rare for him, but hey, if you are wearing daddy's undies, why not let it rip right?

Well, daddy's fat a$$ undies were too loose to contain dump #2, so it ends up on the kitchen floor. Trust me, I couldn't be more excited about it myself!

So I scoop the poop and toss it into the toilet. But as I do that, Z-man and the baby manage to turn the dog food and water bowl upside down right behind me. So I immediately turn and clean it up, but I left the bathroom door open, that was a mistake. The baby can sense the door open from across the house let alone see it open 3 feet away from her.

So while I clean up the dog food and water I see them both scheming in the bathroom. I go in and find my electric razor in the toilet along with some of wifey's sanitary napkins. "F"... Luckily I flushed the toilet when I threw in the Z-man dump #2.

So as I fish for my belonging in our toilet, Z-man goes and gets the large Tupperware container of dog food, opens the lid, and starts to pour it on the floor in the puddle of dog food and water on the floor that I did not get to clean up yet. Luckily I stopped that mess before he hit the floor with any additional dog food.

These kids are crazy. And for anyone to say, "yeah, that's kids for you", I say "pfft"... The Z-man is more of a handful than anyone will ever know.

And I kid you not, he crapped himself while I typed this up. Glorious...

Monday, December 15, 2008

I have no idea what my problem has been lately, but I just haven't felt that anything is worthy of blogging about. Lots of stuff happening around here, but I either think it's unworthy or I look at the little Blogger icon and instead go over to Facebook. Yes, I've totally been cheating on you all over at Facebook.

Let me see...what HAS been going on lately? *crickets chirping*

Hmm...I know stuff has been happening here. *Jeopardy theme music humming*

Okay this are some funny videos that crack me up. When my normal mind returns I'll be back.

THE BARKING CAT - you be the judge. Freaky but funny, if you ask me.

And this one ALWAYS makes me nearly pee my pants no matter how many times I watch it. I can't help it that I find other people's pain hil-friggin-larious.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Remember This?

I was watching VH1 this evening, while I slurped down a much too caffeinated chocolate chip milkshake (scratch that: M&M milkshake I mean) and this A-ha video came on. I was all "Oh, dude, I totally remember that" and started dancing around the living room like I was a teenager again. I can easily remember wanting to be that blonde chic in the video. How cool would it have been to be pulled into a #2 pencil drawing and run around with an 80's hunkie guy? *sigh* So here's the video. For all my friends who despise the 80's...look away. Those of you cool friends *wink* may pull on your layered scrunch socks, spray some Aqua Net in your hair and enjoy.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Ever feel like you've ceased to be interesting? Like there's nothing more to you than snotty snail trails on your shirt, endless chore lists, dinner menus and the most exciting thing in your life is when you get to put the kids to bed and scarf a bag of Oreos without anyone whining for one?

I'm especially wondering about my husband. Does he still find me interesting or am I completely predictable on a day to day basis? Honestly, how much mystery could I possibly hold for this guy after fourteen years of knowing each other. We've pretty much run out of new stories about who we use to be. Although, Scott did share a funny story last night about his first experience on a college campus. But I don't think I have any nuggets of nostalgia to share anymore and every day seems to run into the other. Wake up, go to work, do the dishes, make meals, clean up meals, play with the kids, put them to bed, go to bed ourselves, get woken up all night, wake up in the morning and repeat.

And we are kind of at a stalemate in our game as far as creating new moves for each other. Our kids have us trapped and IF we are able to try new things we have to do them separately b/c the other one has to stay with the kids. Scott has recently found Chess as a new hobby, but as much as I want to share this with him...ugh. I just can't find any spark of interest. He tries to pull me into it with his anecdotes of how he totally Knight-forked this dude who's better than him, but all I hear is "I moved my dude here and he moved his dude there and I totally blah, blah, blah, blah." Oops, sorry yo, I zoned out on ya.

We do have one area of interest that we BOTH are totally into. Any of my friends who know me well can probably guess what is and most likely want to stick their fingers own their throats. Ever since Scott and I met we've had an awesome intimate relationship and THANK GOD for that. It's never burned out for us, even three HUGE pregnancies later, that heat for each other is still there. In fact, I can probably count on one hand the number of times I've said "no thanks." Thank goodness for this Essure sterilization thing b/c I'd probably have another kid on the way if not. We can't seem to keep our hands off of each other.

So, I guess we are interesting enough to keep our relationship alive and healthy. I just long for more daily alone time with him. I want to be "friends" with him and have stuff to talk about outside of how many times the kids pooped and what's for dinner. Do you feel me out there? It'll come eventually, I know that. But you know how when you're really fighting a bad cold and it seems like you'll be that way forever and oh my goodness, what if you never had another healthy day again...that's kinda what it feels like. Like I'll never have another day where I won't be bogged down with kid stuff, laundry, etc and adventure is just something in books.

For the time being we'll relish in our stolen moments of quiet togetherness and look forward to when we can date each other again. In fact, we have a date tonight! I secured a new teen babysitter and have a Mystery Guest dinner job at The Cheesecake Factory, so maybe we'll cut out early, fold the seats down and do some "neckin'" in the ultra spacious minivan. *wink*

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

It's beginning to look like Christmas...

The shopping is nearly done, the Christmas cards are addressed and the tree is up completed with a homemade Star topper. We had to put the tree up in our family room in the basement due to the little people roaming our home, so unfortunately our tree topper wouldn't fit on top. Abby took one look at the tree, topperless, naked somehow and asked if she could make the topper this year. "Of course! Do it up, Abby Stewart!" And she did too! She came downstairs about half an hour later with a big red star taped to a circle that was JUST the right size to go around the top of that tree. I was impressed. The perfectionist in me says it doesn't match and now the wetness of the marker has dried and crunched the arms of the star into the center...but the Mommy in me looks at it with great appreciation and will leave it there. Hell, maybe I'll even keep the thing for next year? It was a very sweet blessing to her family Christmas tree and I appreciate it. Hm...I should make sure she knows just how much I love her for doing that.

So I took this pic of our Christmas tree and thought, dang, that thing is skin-ny. I much prefer a live tree, all fat and pine smelly, but my hubby (the worst case scenario guy) doesn't like having a fire hazard in the house with three small children. Plus I don't think he likes the whole let's go cut our own tree and spend an hour trying to get it to stand up straight tradition. *wink* In fact, if it were up to him all together, he'd have not put up a tree this year. But then again, I think if we left it all up to the guys there'd be a lot less of a lot of things. Not ragging on the guys here, they are just more simple.

And here is another tradition of Christmas season for us...the Advent calendar. My mother in law started this for me. We never did this growing up, but I sure do love it now. It's fun! My kids are really big about counting things down, do this is right up their alley.

Okay, Friends, tell me what this is. Is this a reindeer or a golden calf? I have had this guy for years and I put him out somewhere every year, like my counter or up on the entertainment center. For some reason this year, my husband walks in and says "What is that? Am I suppose to bow down to the golden calf this year?" And then my dear father in law comes over last night and says the same sort of thing. Dude, it's a reindeer! Yea, yea...he's a loner and they usually travel in packs or at least a duo. I should have a whole song of gold reindeer, but 1) they weren't cheap and
2) I don't have the counter space for a whole sleigh of deer. So now I'm all looking at my goldenly bright and cheery reindeer and wondering if I should be burning him on an alter and asking for forgiveness for having an idol. *chuckling* Just kidding. I like my reindeer dude and plan to keep him. I think I'll also hit Odd Lots and see if I can find a closeout sale for a friend or two for him. Hmm...or maybe he'll be kindling for us this year?

Merry Christmas, All!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Monkey Test

Somewhere out there in the world, probably even right here in my neighborhood there is an adorable couple just trying their hearts out to have a baby. They'll spend thousands of dollars (all worth it, btw) to get pregnant. All over the U.S. there are teenage girls desperately wanting to have babies of their own just so they'll have someone to love them unconditionally. Scott and I were of the former people. We wanted so much to have a baby as soon as we could and welcomed our second one four years later with happy, open arms. Then we welcomed a third surprise baby two years after that. We have lots to be thankful for when there are so many people out there wanting to have ONE baby and simply cannot.

Well, I'm here today to challenge those people out there who think they want a whole house full of kids. Yesterday was one of those rough days here at the house. At many points in the day all three kids were screaming at one time and we parents were about to flip our lids. We even tried to coax a grandparent to come take them off our hands, but to our dismay came up empty. I just stood in the middle of the kitchen mentally separating myself from the chaos that surrounded me, and it dawned on me that yes, living in this house with three small children is EXACTLY like living with three small chimpanzees.

I'm not kidding one bit here, Friends. They're SO cute to look at. Oh, you just want to hold them and run your fingers through their cute chimpy hair, and then just as soon as they take their mental focus off of the lovey, cuddley moment they are off climbing all over the furniture, breaking stuff, pooping on the floor, screeching at ear piercing decibels, eating you out of house and home, picking at each other, etc. It's just like Wild Kingdom!!

I think that people who want to have children should be required to take the Monkey Test and be licensed by the city zoo to do so. Jack Hannah can drop off three little chimps for you to chimp-sit for a week and if you come out of the experience unscathed in your intentions to have one baby, THEN and ONLY THEN are you allowed to be a parent. I think if someone had given Scott and I the Monkey Test back before we started having babies, we'd have been sterilized. *wink*

And I hear that having a teenager in the house is quite like owning a Silverback Gorilla. Very touchy, almost ominous, likes to lounge and eat a lot, but if provoked can move swiftly and shred you into pieces. So maybe there should be a Part B to the Monkey Test to see if you could possibly be ready to parent a teenager. Unfortunately, I don't think that anything can ready you for that stage of parenthood except surviving the Chimp stage. If this is true, then the atmosphere at our house a few years from now should be enough to make Scott and I qualify for President and V.P of the Looney Bin.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Turkey Is Looking At Me

Well friends, it's here. I can't believe that it's already Thanksgiving! Actually, I can't believe that every single month of this year, and the year before, I say "I can't believe it's already (insert whatever month or holiday it is)!" and add on "Time sure does fly by when you get older!"

I remember when the holidays were there and expected, but they held no real responsibility for me. In grade school and high school it was when I looked forward to not having to wake up so early and not having to go to school. In college it just meant that I got to go home for awhile and be away from my sweetheart for too long. My mom always did all the work: the cleaning, stuffing the bird, making the sweet potatoes, at least until I was old enough to manhandle cleaning the damned slippery turkey. THAT lovely job always landed on me...oh, and peeling potatoes. *shiver* I still to this day HATE cleaning the turkey. And if it were up to me, and probably when my mom (God forbid) passes away...I will stop the tradition of stuffing the turkey. I don't even like stuffing and I definitely hate putting my hand up inside of a dead fowl's cavity to scrape any extraneous veins and bloodclots out. Can't have those in the stuffing, ya know! Anyway, I'd inevitably whine about having to be a girl and do this awful job, and my mom would inevitably tell me to get use to it b/c being a woman means doing a lot of nasty jobs. Truer words were never uttered! Right, ladies?

One year I did whine enough to get the job handed over to my little brother Adam. For a little while anyway. All he had to do was cry real hard with those crocodile tears and my mom let him off the hook, leaving it to me again. *sigh* Yuck! I can hear the squatty little wobbler mocking me from the fridge even at I type this. Keep it up, Bird! No matter how squeamish your pimply skin makes me...I always get the last laugh. Mwa-ha-ha-ha!!!

This year I will not get caught up in the perfectionism that usually swallows me whole and leaves me limp by the evening of Thanksgiving day. I'm gonna clean off the chunks of whatever the kids have thrown around, kill as many dustbunnies as I can find and put my efforts into welcoming my family into a Thanksgiving meal that will be made with gratitude for every morsel and definitely the people who will be eating it.

Off to start my list! If you aren't feeling grateful for much at all yet this season...may this help get you started in that direction.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Rollercoaster of Life

Do you ever feel like your life is a roller coaster? Well I sure as heck do! I go up, I go down, I go through one of those twists in life that makes my head wanna pop off and my stomach lurch. I whiz past all the onlookers with my mouth open in a silent, desperate scream and they just smile unknowingly, or maybe they know full well what horror I'm in but they still can't stop the machine. It's that one spot though that tricks me, that one where the car feels like it's slowed down enough for my hair to come back to place and I can breathe again. It's that spot in the ride where I feel like I did it, I got through the rough stuff and, surely the exit is right up ahead. Then the car takes a dive again and up and down and up and down. *sigh* I want OFF this roller coaster.

I was looking back through old posts here the other day and was surprised by how uneven my daily life is. One day it's heartbreak, the next it's chaotic with kids, the next I'm praising God with everything I have and yet the next I'm complaining about something else. And my prayer journal is the same way! I looked back through it this morning, mostly b/c I didn't feel like writing, and one day I was praising for all that I had in my children, home and husband, the next I was asking for forgiveness for how I treated them. The one thing that remains solid through it all though, in belief and in written word, is that I trust God whole-heartedly with it all. I don't give it to him daily, like I should, but I DO trust Him that He is working for the good of me and my family, and that He loves me more than I know.

So if I believe that and write it - then why don't I live it? How hard it is to walk so closely to Him that I do not waiver like a tall blade of grass in the wind. I want to be there, in that Strongtower, safe and secure with Him and be so strong that I do not live by emotions (that change hourly, sometimes by the minutes here) or be moved by every situation I encounter.

I am weary from this roller coaster ride and want to get off. I want the Holy Spirit to change me and change the perspective of my life. All I can see right now is endless screaming and tension in my house (the kids, the illnesses) and my mind easily runs away with me, thinking I have control and MUST change things for the better. "I" have to get the kid under control. "I" have to get a job to pad the saving account. "I" have to organize the cabinets and clutter around here so my husband feels more comfortable. "I" have to stop spending money and clip coupons and make sacrifices so that we can save the pennies and dollars. "I" have to make sure the holiday go off without a hitch and everyone feels loved. "I" have make things right. And why is it always so much easier to see the speck in someone else's eye and not the plank in your own? I can stand here and spout off to Scott that he needs to "calm down, stop worrying so much and giving us all an ulcer with his Doom and Gloom thoughts." Yet here I sit in the quiet and mutter about how it's all going to hell in a handbasket and I can't change a thing, but I must try harder. this what life is? A series of highs and lows and infrequent breaks in the excitement. If so, how do we as Christians stay even keeled while on this ride?

And then I went to church a few hours after starting this post.

I was so saddened by the fact that I stood there through all the P&W songs, the beginning prayers and such and NOT ONE WORD got through my steely heart and skin. I was SO stressed out and tense that I couldn't even unwind for a moment to enjoy the service. I silently prayed that the holy spirit would move in me because the way I was feeling at that moment was almost scary to me. It was like I was on the outside looking in at the churchgoers and Pastor Steve, and not a part of the body. Now I've been bored before, distracted and just not interested in the message. This was different. I was glaring at these adorable, young, beautiful couples in front of us and trying so desperately hard not to be jealous of them. I kept telling myself to stop and to pay attention to the message, and that they are no different from me on the inside...we're all believers, I'm just one that's more stressed out than normal this weekend.

Then Pastor Steve started to talk about control and how we think we have control over our lives, but we really don't. And then my heart stirred and I started paying attention. I also realized then that I'd been very hard trying to hold back tears of anger and frustration, and when he said the words "we, as Christians, need to let go of the steering wheel and say 'Lord, you take the wheel. I'm not doing a great job here keeping on track. You take the wheel and lead my life.'" The dam broke and my frustrations started leaking out and I knew all too well that I need to do that. I have GOT to stop trying to keep all the pieces together and trying to make everything "okay." It's not okay. It's really crappy right now. Scott's job is not at all secure (though also not lost), our savings is meager (but also there for us), my husband is allowed to freak out and feel out of control too (I don't need to make him feel better, that's the HS's job) and my life is not and cannot be perfect. Life may very well get very difficult for us over the next year, we may even need to be humbled a lot more...but I have that trust in a God who loves and protects and cherishes His children. I have seen God work miracles in lives that were in complete shambles before and He built it back up to better than what it was. So ALL is NOT lost.

And thank you to all of my close girlfriends who are being of great support during this emotional and crazy physical illness time. Neither Scott nor I are ones to ask for help from anyone and I think that is a great lesson of humility for us at this time. Whether it is via Instant Messages, e-mail, a phone call, offering to watch our nutty children or being a prayer partner. I appreciate you!!

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Welcome Sound

We were on the way back from somewhere this morning and Zach was cracking up! All Lilly had to do was look and smile at him and it sent him into rib tickling laughter that even had me cracking up. I quickly thanked Jesus for the Mommy Moment I was having and then grabbed the Blackberry to video it.

It's been nothing but 24 hours, days in and day out of diarrhea, seriously annoying whining, moaning and crying for far too long in this house. We're finally rounding the corner toward better health and I gotta tell you...hearing these two laughing instead of piercing my head with their wailing was like angels singing right there in my van. So I thought I'd share my little piece of happiness that followed SO much crap and maybe you'll forgive me for all the whining I'VE been doing. ;)

And yes, I was being that distracted driver and videoing my kids while driving. You can thank me for the laughs later.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Girl Can Only Take So Much

For the remainder of this post, as I refer to myself please note that I am also including my dear husband. He has been a good help to me during the night shift.

So let's long have I been dealing with someone being sick? Um, Lilly began her battle with the evil intestinal virus two weeks before Halloween and we're now finishing the third week of November. That's FIVE weeks of her or someone else being ill. Let's not forget that Zach started the quick and dirty flu virus with his 24 hour vomit/diarrhea mess, and then Abby got it and then I got it. Scott sprained his ankle and barely got a sideways glance around here due to the kids being SO overwhelming. Now Zach's been sick a-gain for a week or so with only God knows what kind of virus. He's been insufferable to be around during the day and does nothing but whine and moan all night long. It certainly seems like this stuff will never end.

Like cleaning up feces and vomit aren't bad enough, I also have had to deal with the sick attitude that consistently prevails in this house during the past five weeks. If one isn't whining, the other one is and more often than not...two of the three at any given time are whining, crying, moaning, etc. And like dealing with cleaning up the mess AND dealing with the nasty attitudes aren't enough for me, OH, let's add on a truckload of "don't let Mom sleep for more than a two hour span so that's she's really at our mercy during the daylight hours."

Oh yea, I'm quite sure that the two little ones are holding secret Union meetings behind the couch during the day, discussing who takes which shift in the night and when to lay down the ultimate attack of both grabbing at my pant legs and bawling their eyes out.

Do you know what Zach's secret weapon is? He likes to hold his poo now. Yep, so not only do I get the pleasure of plucking the nasty turd out of his pants when he finally can't hold it anymore and washing his dirty undies, I also get the hair raising task of trying to coax the little shister to either actually poo in his undies or go on the potty. He doesn't want to do either. So he stands around holding both his arse AND his front area while standing on toe and doing the loud whiney ballet around me. It's absolutely one of THE most frustrating scenes to endure, esp while trying to be the good, patient and understanding mommy.

Honestly people, I don't know how much more I can take. Nevermind that I'm dealing with my own sickness, trying to keep the house in fair order, clean regularly and keep the finances in check. I can't even get a full, deep prayer in anymore. I tried to sit down and write in my prayer journal this morning. I figured since they both HAD to be up at 5:30 am, despite them both being awake all night long, I might try to connect with Him and get some sustanance. Nope, I didn't get a few lines into my praise and Lilly just had to get under the table, stand at my knees, bang her head on the table over and over and SCREAM until I picked her up. She didn't need anything at all, except picked up, and as soon as I quit what I was doing and did what she wanted, she was fine. *sigh* I'm a hostage.

Someone call for help! Send word to the government that I need some disaster, uh, nevermind. I really don't need any more whiney, useless turds to clean up after. *wink*

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Bible Passage

I know this is a little lengthy, but may it bless your outlook today. I have been getting Scriptures from friends lately regarding not worrying or fearing. Let's face it, I'm seriously struggling with those two things at this point in life b/c I'm watching every penny come and go with the paycheck and bills, and I know just exactly how much "cushion" we have in the savings. It's not a comfortable cushion for me.

So, I can choose to listen to Doomsday CNN every day, get caught up in the penny pinching, worry myself into an ulcer, feed into my husband's fears, grasp and claw at our bank account trying to hold on to every dollar possible. OR...I can do what was it humanly possible to be a good steward of the money we've been given, follow Him and trust Him to provide. I never, ever thought about being poor financially as a blessing and that certainly goes against everything the U.S. culture tells us day in and day out. But reading this story in the Bible today, even though I've read it before, has made me see our "cultural plight" in a new light. I'm also reminded of Scott's grandpa who wore an old worn out belt even though the leather was split and peeling back, and despite the fact that he had a perfectly new one that was given to him as a present, because it was still good and did it's job.

May I be more like that from this day on...thankful for what I have, able to see the good use in things despite their appearance and also wise. I will choose to not fret and worry over things I have no control, but trust Him to purify me, to strip away all that is undesirable and carry my family and I through this storm.
Passage Mark 10:17-31: (emphasis mine)
The Rich Man

17 As Jesus was starting out on his way to Jerusalem, a man came running up to him, knelt down, and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked. “Only God is truly good. 19 But to answer your question, you know the commandments: ‘You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. You must not cheat anyone. Honor your father and mother.'”

20 “Teacher,” the man replied, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.”

21 Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

22 At this the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God!” 24 This amazed them. But Jesus said again, “Dear children, it is very hard[b] to enter the Kingdom of God. 25 In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!”

26 The disciples were astounded. “Then who in the world can be saved?” they asked.

27 Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God.”

28 Then Peter began to speak up. “We’ve given up everything to follow you,” he said.

29 “Yes,” Jesus replied, “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for my sake and for the Good News, 30 will receive now in return a hundred times as many houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and property—along with persecution. And in the world to come that person will have eternal life. 31 But many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then.”

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Proof That You Can Be In Karate AND Be A Diva Too

So Abby's been in Karate now for five weeks. A few weeks ago, when it was warm enough to be outside lounging out on the deck without mittens, scarves and coats, I took video of Abby showing off her moves. She's showing you all the basic moves she's suppose to know in order to move on to the next level. But if you ask all looks exactly the same. Punch right, punch left, punch right, Keeyaw!

What you should take note of is the kick awesome sparkly gown she's sporting while being the karate kid. Who needs a gee when you have a yard or two of purple sequins?! You should also note her amazing patience with Zach the tornado who also has the basics of karate down...punch and be loud. What you see there of Zach is basically how he is 24-7, bar his being sick when he actually slows down to a normal person's pace.

Our kids amaze me.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

This and That

Sorry to have left you all hanging since Thursday!

So let's see...what has been up in Christy's world since I left you with horrid images and emotional scars?

I realized that Lilly's diarrhea has gone on much longer than is normal for a child who is just suffering from teething. So I took her to the pediatrician and he agreed. He felt her up, weighed her and all that checked out okay, so he handed me three small vials of liquid, two pair of latex gloves and about eight tongue depressors. This didn't look good.

So I pony up, figuring that sampling diarrhea into three small vials honestly cannot be any worse than scraping it off of her toosh, legs, sheets, clothes, mattress, my bathrobe and anywhere else her violent spray decided to land. Well...I'm here to tell is worse. I removed the foul diaper, cleaned up the baby and then went to work at the kitchen island. I gagged the entire time, even while holding my breathe. I was sure I wasn't going to be able to finish and was begging Scott to say ANYTHING to make my mind wander away from the foul task at hand. He was no match for the shredded wheat like poo that I had to handle. *gag* So, suffice it to say, I did the deed and transported poo to the Children's Hospital lab for testing. They want to make sure it's not a parasite that we're dealing with, and at this point I'd take a parasite so long as it was a diagnosis that we could remedy! I'm tired of being knee deep in poop.

Then Friday was Abby and my "Girl Night Out" with my Aunt Penny and cousin Sara. Then we had a sleepover at their house and came back the next afternoon. It was super fun! Abby and Sara went to the movies and saw Madagascar 2, which we hear was quite funny. I like my women chunkay! Hee hee! Pen and I had a great time catching up and being all deep and stuff. with Pen is awesome! She's ma girl!

So then we got back yesterday afternoon and Gramma Hartman came over to spend the night. She brought donuts! Woohoo. About 20 minutes after Zach ate part of a donut he broke out in a rash. We all assumed it was an allergic reaction, so I dosed him with some Benadryl. Half an hour to an hour later he spiked a fever and was out of it. Dang it! Can't we get a break?! So all night long Scott and I were up with one or both of them. At about 2:30am they both decided they were wide awake and wanted to get up. So I got up and we stayed awake for about an hour or so, and then after that it was Scott's turn to get up and down with Zach. I heard thirteen times within an hour. Most of that was just reassurance that him just whining and wanting reassurance. Not that it makes it any easier to be woken up for every two to five minutes.

Today has been a slow day. We didn't go to church because we aren't sure what we're dealing with in Lilly and Zach still was fevering and rashy. So we've just been milling around, eating, taking care of our babes and talking economy.

Anyone else thoroughly sick and tired of Obama-mania and Doomsday CNN news? I'm tired already of worrying and hearing about our sour economy and how we're all going to be deduced to scavangers within a few years. I know it's a reality and every now and again it smacks me in the face and I can't help but worry. I know we're doing everything possible right now though to prepare for the worst. I'll expand more on that later. But seriously. What is with the Obama commemorative coins already?! It's like he's bigger than life and I gotta tell's creeping me out. It's starting to feel really end times-ish to me.

So, for now we're hanging out as a family, pulling inward and trying to make sense of it all. Oh, and try to make sense of this! I found this sprouting out of Abby's bathroom sink this morning. She was washing pumpkin seeds in her sink a few weeks ago and apparently one found a home. :)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Minute That Changed Me

Today I have done all the normal things I usually do. I had the morning coffee, I dressed and fed the kids, I picked up carpool and dropped the older kids off at school with a wave, a smile and an "I love you." Then I zoomed over to the preschool to drop Zach off. As I pulled into the parking lot I saw that part of the lot was marked off for a funeral. How sad, right? Funerals always make me sad and cry, even if I don't know the person from Adam's cat. Someone died and that leaves an empty space in this world, and it's always sad for someone.

So I get the kidlets out and start toward the door when another mom shuffles past and murmurs "prepare yourself." I thought she meant prepare yourself for the usual coffin and flowers and such. It must be too early to actually be having the funeral, what with all the preschoolers coming in. They certainly wouldn't be having a funeral until after the kids classes started.

I walk in the doors with the kids and am greeted by two big poster boards filled with pictures of a baby girl. Kaylee, I think was her name. Oh my heavens, someone lost their baby. How awful! My heart sank a little more than usual and I tightened the squeeze on Lilly in my arm.

And then I looked over to my right where something else caught my peripheral sight. It was a little casket...with a little baby girl in it...with a little pink hat on. Goosebumps ran all over my body and my blood ran colder.

She was so pretty and chubby lying there. I didn't look for long but it was long enough to see that. You really couldn't see much difference between her and the baby doll someone had placed in a sitting position just to the end of the casket.

I quickly ushered Zach by the hood of his jacket down the hallway and away from it all, but I felt so numb all over. My mind was moving and telling me to do all the things that we had to do, but my body felt sluggish. Turn left, go to the bathroom to wash hands, hang up the coat, get him to the door. All the while I knew my life had been changed. I just saw a dead baby...and even as I stand here now I don't know how to process it.

I see my perfectly healthy, chubby baby here with Pop Tart goo all over her face and hands, chattering away in nonsense...and know there is another Mom just minutes away from me preparing to put her beloved child into the ground. As far as I am concerned, Lilly can scream her head off and wake me up every twenty minutes for the next year, and I won't be happy about, but I'll be grateful. I'll be grateful for her life and for God putting her in my arms to care for and love. And when I hear someone complaining about how awful their kids are and I want to chime in to say, "yea, but at least they are healthy and alive" or "their lucky they're cute or we'd kill 'em"... I'll remember this minute of my life when I saw a baby who died at nine months old. A baby who did not have a chance to flush a wash cloth down the toilet, or smear jelly on the walls or sing a Christmas song in a holiday program at school or any of the beautiful and chaotic things that kids do.

I realize that this post is polar opposite of the last post where I likened by cherubic faced baby to a werewolf. I absolutely do not recant my feelings from that post. Life with a teething toddler and two older children is sometimes just that awful. But I do think that today I have been changed a little in the parent department. Made more grateful for life, especially the life of Scott and my babies.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Someone Put Me Out Of My Misery

The past 24 hours or so have been complete misery. The kids are absolutely climbing the walls and Scott and I are too. It's like being caged up with four other snarling animals. In fact, I'm pretty sure Lilly is about to sprout fangs, a snout and gnaw on our bones like teething toys. She's wicked mean right now. Srsly. She's lucky I nursed her and created a maternal bond with her b/c if I hadn't I may be too tempted to take her to the fire station and drop her butt off.

Scott and I are stressed to the ceiling too. Scott's walking around bored to tears b/c he can't run or play tennis and I'm dying to get out of the house and do ANYTHING that doesn't involve groceries or kids. Neither one of us can seem to make the children happy for any good length of time, so we both end up lying on the couch or floor with two or more of them bouncing on us while we stare numbly into space. We had a plan to get out together last night, but our sitter fell through and instead we threw emotionally poisoned darts at each other until bedtime and went to bed mad. I love those nights. NOT.

Today has been a smidge better but only by a hair.

Thank God tomorrow is coming soon. School, work, routine...thank you, Jesus!

I do have a personal shopping/errand day planned for Wednesday. The in-laws (hi Mom!) are coming to play with the kids from Noonish til dinnertime and I hope to get some fully needed alone time and Christmas shopping done. I've got a short list going in my head of the places I want to go, but I'd better write it all down and plan. I've done this before...had a few hours to go do things and ended up walking circles in Walmart like an old lady who lost her car in a parking lot, wondering what in the H I was suppose to be getting. Before I knew it, it was time to go home and I'd done MAYBE one thing on my list. I will not do that this time. :)

If I had a glass of something good to drink I'd hold it up and propose a toast to better days, but I don't. So I'll just go crawl back into my corner and wait for tomorrow. Hurrrrry.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

You're Probably Spending Too Much Time Online When...

You open your panty drawer and there are none. Of course Zach walked in just as I was in nude mode and searching the basket at the end of the bed.

Zach: Mommy! What. Are. You. Doing?

Me: I'm looking for underwear to wear!

Zach: (circling to look at my rear) Mom, can I smell your butt?

Me: Uh, NOOO! We don't smell butts in our house.

Zach: (turning circles trying to smell his own butt)

You know it's going to be an interesting day when you're forced to go Commando due to your own laziness.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Well, it's Obama...I guess.

Now, I'm not saying that I didn't partially want Obama to win. I kinda, way back in the cobwebbed part of my mind want him to win, despite his being Democrat, just so I could watch what the hell he's actually going to do. He's a slick one on T.V. Greasy and waaay too slippery, if you ask me. Every time I watched him speak, ever single time, all I could feel was "this is smoke and mirrors." And don't you get that feeling when you're around ANY politician? Yea, somewhat. But this dude just felt a little more quick and slick. Anyone else feel that?

On the other hand, I'm proud that we'll have our first black president. I do hope he inspires the young black men he's been appointed to govern and be a role model for. I hope that he continues to take up T.V. time to relay heart moving speeches to America about making changes in their lives and the lives of others. I REALLY hope he follows through on encouraging young people to give back to the Veterans and give service to America in order to pay for their college tuition. I hope he is a man of his well written for him words and follows through. Although, jerking the U.S. out of this war kinda scares me. I agree we need to get out and soon, but when he said "when I become President, I will end this war" I felt a bit scared. Please, Obama, no knee jerk movements!

And just for the record: I didn't feel 100% comfortable voting for McCain either. I watched his speeches as well and he didn't sway me at all. I didn't feel any passion coming from him only statistics and bashing. So when I voted yesterday, I just voted down my party line. Not because I was mindlessly using my right to vote, but b/c I didn't feel comfortable with EITHER candidate so I just stayed within my conservative rails.

So, he wasn't MY pick for president, but I am a little excited to see what will happen. I will submissively fall in line with the new Commander in Chief and pray for him and not speak ill of him. BUT, if this country goes to the dogs...I didn't vote for him! *wink*

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

There has been A LOT going on around here lately. At least it seems so anyway!

Scott's recovering well from his ankle sprain. He was walking on it gingerly yesterday, but is still wearing the aircast and using the crutches for today.

Lilly's butt is in great working order again, but now her new chompers are causing major grief and a fever. Last night she was at 102.1, but today she's had a reprieve.

Still no progress on the potty training with Zach. This dude just doesn't want to poo on the toilet. I've done everything in my motherly power, right down to begging and bribing WHILE he's dumping in his pants. But his will is really strong. And at the risk of scarring him emotionally I've even tried forcing him to sit on the toilet for extended periods and bending him in half to do so. At this point it's a defeat for mom and I have to resign myself every day from the war. Some people say it's just a matter of him being emotionally ready to stop crapping in his underwear and some say it's a view of things to come (like maybe he'll be 12 and still not pooping on the potty?) Either way, I'm just trying my best to reassure him that it's okay to sit on the toilet every day and trying my darnedest NOT to have a complete psychotic meltdown when I have to wipe big boy poop off of his toosh. Poor Scott had a major offense the other day while on poop duty and couldn't scrub his thumb hard enough to get the stench off. GAH!

I voted today, although not eagerly. It just is what it is at this point. *sigh* Watch and see, I guess.

On the emotional front, for some reason I'm all sappy about missing my Dad lately. Over the years of not seeing him, it's just because life to be numb to not having a relationship with him. A protective measure, I'm sure. But for, oh, I'd say the past six months, off and on I've had this heavy feeling of just wanting to be near him. I got the green light from hubby today to look at airfare prices for tickets out to my Dad's place, but even with a sweet deal of $300 per ticket (plus friggin taxes, baggage and breathing prices) I'm having a hard time pressing CONFIRM. It's just a lot of money for us right now, esp in light of our recent moves to economize our living/spending. So...I wait. Maybe I'll regret it, but maybe I won't. I'm not saying I won't go ahead with going, I'm just gonna wait and pray a little bit.

Trick or Treat was super fun! Scott's parents surprised the kids by coming dressed as clowns. Gramma Sandie was totally unrecognizable with make-up and no glasses and a big red nose, but so much. Abby handed him the candy, took another glance and then said "HEY! WAIT A MINUTE!" and ran after him. Hee hee.

And then my mom dressed up as a witch
and handed out candy at our house.
She loves this holiday. She's already planning for next year. :)

Now it's time to start focusing on Thanksgiving meals and the Christmas Season. I just adore these holidays! It's definitely a focus on the family and friends time.
Here are a few photos of the kids and our beautiful tree in the back yard. It's leaves look GORGEOUS this time of year!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Can I Get a Medic?

I just want some silence, please. Okay, so I did get an hour nap today and it WAS lovely and refreshing and all that. But then I woke up again to the ear piercing shriek of my daughter Lilly and her sidekick brother, whiney-butt Zach. Honestly, if it's not one crying, it's the other. Last night the two of them took turns crying and waking up. So much so that I didn't get to sleep until almost 11pm and then was ready to get up at 5:30am. Wouldn't it be great if I got to sleep a whole hour in that stretch, but Lilly just wouldn't hear of it. I feel terrible that she's most likely in pain, really I do, but dang...a woman needs her sleep! And let's just face it people, at this point, I'm ready to beat somebody up.

And I'm not kicking a guy while he's down, but my dear husband sprained his ankle this weekend. Thanks Wilson shoes! He thinks it was because of the new shoes he just bought, the sole is already peeling away and caused him to roll his ankle while making a hard stop on the tennis court. So he is not in full, butt-kicking order anymore. And God bless him, I know he would MUCH rather be wrangling the kids than have a sprained ankle, so I'm not blaming the guy...just pointing out the handicap.

So. Let's recap. We've had two weeks of rancid, butt mangling diarrhea running through Lilly's diapers, then Zach's quick run with puke/diarrhea, Abby's and my 24 hour vomit sessions and now we get three big molars coming in at one time and a sprained ankle.

We are SO ready for quick vacation from our sick life.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Fall Fun

Somehow I found the fun, crafty Christy and we're all glad to have her back. Last week I helped my friend Stacy pull off a Harvest party for ten Kindergarteners and another fun mom sent in these adorable bug/spider goodies. So I stole the idea and made them with my kids a few nights ago. Lots of fun and yummy, if you like Nilla wafers, icing and pretzels together.

And then last night we carved the pumpkins from Zach's punkin patch trip. Abby did 90% of it herself. I tried to take a step back, unpucker my butt and let her be autonomous with a steak knife, but when it came to cutting the teeth in the punkin's mouth I just couldn't take anymore. She protested and swore she was capable of handling it, but I told her that I COULDN'T. And, of course, Zach didn't do any cutting, but he did jump in there and scoop the guts out. I was sure he'd say no way since he's so goofy about "sticky" things anyway, but he got past it and scooped her clean.

Tomorrow is Trick or Treat! The plan is for the Baker grandparents to dress up in full gear and make-up, show up just prior to ToT, ring the doorbell and try to trick the kids. I can't wait to see this! And my mom is coming up as well. She's trying desperately to crawl out from under this nasty virus that's sweeping across Ohio with a vengeance and hopes to be full recouped for tomorrow. I will get plenty of photos I'm sure.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Learning to be quiet

So, yesterday was quite a day for me. I found myself thinking "why don't I just BE QUIET and think before I talk?" numerous times throughout the day. Ever have those days? My mouth was just running away with me and I am sure I hurt the feelings of people I love. I think my mom may have been right years ago! I must like the sound of my own voice.

In the morning I was crazy, rushing around and trying to get out the door so we wouldn't be late picking up carpool and getting everyone to school. I was doing ten different things at one time - make-up, dressing the baby, feeding the older ones, drinking coffee, e-mailing and trying to pack a lunch for Abby. I had it all ready to put in the bag and couldn't find the bag. So I start yelling "where's your lunch bag?!" over and over. I grilled Zachary, quite sure that he'd run off with it so he could tote around his treasures of the day, but he swore he hadn't touched it. I had us all nuts looking for it and I finally grouched to Abby, "Well, you're buying today. I hope you like stuffed breadsticks because that's what you're having!" *sigh* I know, I know. Not nice. Later I found the danged thing in the dryer. Right where I put it because I had to wash it out and tumble dry it (trying to avoid mold.)

Man, if I just would have remained calm and found another way to pack her lunch, I could have avoided hurting her feelings and sending her off to school having been yelled at for something she did not even do.

And then last night Scott told me something that caught me off guard. Nothing bad, it was just something he was thinking of looking into and instead of letting it sink in or allowing him to point out the positive qualities of the plan, I got defensive, bratty and crossed my arms. I got quiet and did not want to talk about it, knowing full well that if anything came out of my mouth it would not be loving. And I was right. He got me to talking and I shredded the plan without fully thinking it out.

Not only that, I called my husband a liar right to his face and when he tried to defend himself I was shutting him down all over. And then I took one small second to actually think about how exactly the conversation went and what I'D said - he was right and I was wrong, and I was the liar. *sigh*

All in all I can hear God telling me to just BE QUIET. Don't move. Don't talk. Don't decide things based on my own feelings and impulses, but BE QUIET and listen to not only the people around me, but God. I need to make it more of a constant practice to ask God about all things - engage Him more in my daily life. "How should I react to this, Lord? Should I go ahead with this play date today? How can I be a stronger mother? can you guide me on spending our money wisely, Lord?"

I'm sure it would strengthen my relationship with Him and bless my family.

I did fully apologize to Abby for blowing her hair back unnecessarily and I have some work to do with my hubby. He's a forgiving man, but he's getting hit from all sides these days and a guy can only take so much henpecking before he just shuts down.'s to learning to be more quiet in life!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Just sittin' around

So Miss Lilly and I are just hanging out since her goofball, won't poop on the toilet brother needed a nap. She was totally sitting down on the potty and saying "sit, sit" - at least I HOPE that's what she was saying.

As soon as I grabbed the camera though she turned all tipsy and "duh, what does sit mean?" LOL

Enjoy anyway b/c she's too cute, even with a bottle in her mouth.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

I've Crossed Over

*deep breath* Ahhhh! I feel MUCH better today than the past two days. Friday I felt okay, just a little queasy. Until I went to bed that night and my stomach was moving like a dryer tumbling a full load of clothes. It was all I could do to keep from retching. Of course I may have felt better had I thrown it up, but you know how it goes, avoid vomiting at all cost.

And like Scott said yesterday in his guest post (thanks, yo!) keeping horizontal was the name of the game. If I even sat up on the couch I felt the world spin and I had to fight the urge to vomit. I got to lay down in bed and sleep for three hours straight, which felt like heaven. My bed usually does feel heavenly on a regular night. The pillows all cuddley, the pillow top mattress, the thousand thread count sheets and the huge heavy comforter all make me feel like a pampered princess. But yesterday it was a sick bed and very soft place to land. Even though I could hear the kids screaming downstairs my body would not move to help. I felt the urge a few times, like oh, I should go help, but like I said my body just laid there in a cold sweat. Bleh!

Only this morning has the nausea really subsided. I still have some stomach cramps, but for the most part I'm back up and running!

Oh, and Friday night my phone took the big dive. I sent Scott out to get me a new one. My only request was that it has a keyboard on it and maybe, possibly, if it didn't cost extra...a pink phone. Because you can't be TOO girly. :)

Here's what he came back with. And while I'm SO excited to have this pretty, sweet kick butt's a Blackberry. So, from now til the day I switch phones, I do solemnly swear to never ignore my family or friends or become an obsessed Crackberry-head. But check it, what a SWEET phone, right? I guess with our credit/rebate it was the cheaper option from what I was looking for. Go figure! I've crossed over to Blackberry land!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Sick as can be!

Well, Christy is sick as can be today. And by sick, I mean she doesn't want to be vertical, her sole mission in life today is to stay horizontal. Why am I referring to Christy is the 3rd person? Because this is her husband taking over letting everyone know Christy is down and out.

Being the nice husband and knowing that wifey was sick today I got Lilly out of bed this morning. I was greeted by forms of diarrhea that I did not know even existed. Lilly was covered up to her chest in crap. I am not sure how this is even possible considering that she was fully clothed and none of the poop was on the outside of her clothes. As far as I know she does not sleep or poop upside down. Not enough wipes in the world could have cleansed the putrid stench off of her, so I threw her in the bath. I forewarn everyone to steer clear of of Laundry Room right now though.

A few hours later Zachary decided it was his turn to drop a load in his pants. But this was no typical load, it was a loose load and it was equally nasty. The only pleasure I had in this catastrophe was that it dripped down his leg and he hated that. I think it is justice served for a 3 1/2 year old crapping in his pants.

Not sure what is coming out of Christy today, rest assured I ain't asking. But if I had to guess it is just as foul as the other 2 kids.

Abby is fine, thank goodness. I feel fine as well. I think the 5 pounds of pizza I ate last night is protecting me in a layer of grease that is flu resistant and impenetrable.

Been a glorious day thus far. Now I am on the hunt for food.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Oh, the 24 hour bug has bit

At least we HOPE it's a 24 hour bug. I don't know if any of our stomachs can handle much more.

Abby came home from school today complaining of a belly ache. She said her tummy hurt all day, but didn't need to go to the nurse. Promptly after that statement she had her head hung in the toilet. She has vomited thirteen times since four o'clock today. We finally got her to take some Advil and keep it down, so for now the cramping has stopped and she resting.

Bless her heart though. She's been writhing on the couch calling out, "Mo-mmy, Mama, please make it stop!" It's so heartbreaking to watch your baby crying in pain and know that there is little to nothing you can do. :(

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Sweetest Thing My Husband Ever Did

As my dear husband rushed out the door this morning to his never ending list of stuff to do for other people, I realized that we need some alone time again. A flood of memories came back to me, like the first time we met...friends introducing friends. He was a dorm room neighbor of the guy my roommate was head over heels for.

So the exchange was quick and I immediately thought he was cute. And God as my witness, I watched him walk out the dorm doors, down the walkway and when he turned back to look...I flipped him off. WHAT?! Even as I did it I wondered to myself, "Christy, what in the heck did you do that for?! Now he'll never talk to you again." It was totally in jest and he knew it too, but I thought for sure he'd never want to look at me again. LOL And I was partially right, he wasn't interested in me, he wanted my best friend. So began our journey.

Flash forward a few years and we're still in college, Junior year for me. I was living in an apartment with my best friend away from the campus, totally on my own. There was no cafeteria to run to and if I didn't pay rent then I didn't have a place to live. It was awesome! Except, can I just say this now? IF you are going to live with your best friend, split everything down the middle...your half, my half. We thought, in the beginning, that it would be okay to share groceries. It turned out that it wasn't a great idea after all, and most anyone would tell you that. You never go into business with friends b/c someone inevitably feels they are doing more of the work and that they are not getting the fair share of the bottom line. Long story short, I messed up and we ended up splitting our groceries.

I was mostly going into debt there b/c everything I needed had to go onto the credit card and my meager pay from the library wasn't going to cover everything I needed. So the day came when I was flat broke and had no groceries. My side of the cupboards were pretty sparse and I was waaay too proud to ask my roommate for anything. I called Scott in tears of frustration, mostly upset that I couldn't do things on my own. My mom and I were estranged at the time, so there was no option to call home for help. Over the phone, he comforted me and told me everything would work out okay.

An hour later he knocked on the apartment door. When I opened it up, there he stood with bags and bags of groceries on his arms. OH. MY. GOSH. What a sweetheart! He came in and laid the bags on the kitchenette counter and I just started bawling. I was so thankful and so humbled. He loved me. He had taken the time and money to go buy me a whole load of groceries so that I'd be taken care of. I know I fell deeper in love with him at that moment.

I am a very self-reliant person, I think. To a fault almost. I think I can do everything on my own and I've really had to wrestle with my pride over the fact that I am in a submissive place, being a homemaker. Scott is very aware of this fact and consistently assures me that I have nothing to worry about, that he respects me for staying home with our children and that he will take care of us. But even in my own position I feel like I have to take care of it all to the very best and I always fall short. I am constantly running up against this standard I've set in my head. I should be able to do all of "this" AND be beautifully manicured AND be thin AND have a square meal on the table at 5:15pm AND have well behaved children. I should be able to do it ALL on my own.

But the fact is...I can't. And more than that, no one expects that from me but me. It's a false standard that I've set in my mind of what others would expect from me. I also don't believe that God wants me to do it all on my own. I can't. I'll inevitably crash and burn under the weight and heat of list of things to do for other people. There is a scripture reference that just came to mind, the one where Jesus is praying to his Father in front of a crowd of people and is also telling them that "no one comes to the Father, but through me" and then he reaches out to their burdened hearts. All those people who were standing there, all with the same sin and burdens as the rest of us today. And he says "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

I, for one, am going to find rest in that. Do you ever feel like the list is never ending, the demands SO big some times, too much for too long? I know I do. Turn to Him who can give you the rest for your soul. He's not gonna take away the To-Do List, but he will take the heaviness of the yolk you carry and lay his peace on your shoulders so that you can effectively and with clear sight do the tasks at hand. Anything done in only your strength is nothing compared to something done in His strength.

And to Scott, thank you for the blessing you gave me so many years ago in that tiny kitchenette as my boyfriend. And thank you for the blessing of your help, love and protection every day as my husband.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Trip to the Punkin' Patch

Today was Zach's preschool field trip to Lynd's Fruit Farm (aka the punkin patch.)

Yesterday it was nearly 80 degrees outside, sunny as I'll get out and I even turned the AC on b/c it was so warm in the house. Today, not quite as nice. Word has it that the temp dropped fifteen degrees in a matter of an hour and a half in the wee hours this morning, so our trip was a little dampened by mildly wet fifty degree weather. I actually thought it was quite nice. It felt appropriate...kinda like we needed some warm cider to go along with it. BUT, the thirty three year olds and their parents/siblings (Lilly included) didn't catch the seasonal spirit. There were a LOT of red runny noses, purple lips and frosty fingers.

We started our field trip with a field guide named Charlie, who looked like a much more grey Grizzly Adams. He walked us through the gourd patch where we each got to pick out three gourds, and then through the corn field where we picked two ears of Indian corn. Did you know that if you find a completely red ear of corn, you get to kiss any guy or girl (the opposite sex of yourself, he noted) you want? I guess it's true? Our ears were all mottled, so no kissing going on at Lynds for us, at least in OUR group of preschoolers.

Then we all packed onto three wagons pulled by tractors for a bumpy ride out to the Punkin Patch. :)

Overall, it went pretty darned smooth except that we had to wait 20 minutes for our tractor/wagon, the little guy had to pee really bad but refused to go in a porta-potty and the fact that he has an extreme attraction to his teacher, Mrs. Stanley. She IS cute. But, he had a really hard time obeying Mommy b/c all he wanted was to be holding her hand, pulling on her coat or talking to her. He just lit up every time she talked with him or let him sit next to her. Guess he likes the older ladies. :)~ She seemed to really enjoy all the kids when they engaged with her and she's the one teacher who burst out into song while we were all impatiently waiting for our tractor. She must be the fun teacher and why the kids just adore her.

Now I've got a three year old toting around a small pumpkin, two gourds (scratch that. He broke one already) and a couple ears of Indian corn around the house like they are his brand new toys. He's quite happy with them!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Forget the fork. I have fingers.

Today I gave Lilly a fork and was teaching her to use it properly. She totally did it for the first ten times and then as soon as I grabbed the camera she was all "what's a fork?!" She'd skewer the Gerber ravioli (that feels more like an overcooked greasy eyeball) and then decide it was quicker to grab it with the other hand and shove it in her mouth.

It was a good start, Lil, but that smile will only get you so far in life.

Where are the microbeads???

Okay, so Monday I took one FORM pill and eh, I kinda felt full for awhile. It didn't stop me from eating anything though. I waited and waited, thinking that at any minute I'd have to run to the bathroom to expel gel (hee hee), but nothing. So the next day I took two (one whole capsule and the other one I scooped up as much as I could and put the capsule back together) and within five minutes or so I felt FULL. Full, like I had just eaten too much and didn't want anymore food for sure. I felt like that for oh, I'd said about thirty to forty minutes. I ate a small lunch and felt quite full for most of the day. I still snacked on stuff, a few KitKats here and there. But overall, I think it did it's job. The capsules coupled with serious self-control could really help a person lose weight. I can easily see that.

So...I "went" Monday morning and today is Wednesday and I have yet to see any of the gel pass through. Going several days without "going" is not out of character for me, it's just the way I am geared right now. Funny though, when I was working in an office...I was like clockwork! 9am meeting? Nope, that's the poopy time. Sorry. Now that I'm home and not on a strict schedule I could go days on end without going. So goofy! So anyway, yea, I'm still waiting to see what happens when these expanded gel microbeads come out.

And just to clarify for any worrying friends out there...I do NOT think I'm seriously in need of diet pills. I was just trying these out for a friend to see how they would effect me. Totally a guinea pig. And so far, there were NO side effects at all, except that I felt really full which isn't all that bad. I'd have to say that if anyone is really overweight and eating mass proportions of food throughout the day and desires to get their food portions under control, then this capsule (used as a training tool) would help them do that. Just like with anything else, it's a moderation thing.

Monday, October 13, 2008

What is God up to?

I am reading this book called Walking With God by John Elderedge and one story really caught my attention tonight. It made me think of the letter I wrote to my doctor and the fact that I still haven't sent it. Maybe this is why.

What Is God Up To?

I'm sitting in front of my computer this morning, my finger frozen over the left click button on the mouse.

My email program is asking, "Are you sure you want to delete this message?" And I'm not so sure. It's SUCH a good email. It's incontestable. Undeniable. It's long overdue. Someone has ticked me off and I've written what I feel to be is a very honest, straightforward, somewhat shaming and altogether irrefutable reply. I'm about to hit the Send button with the same satisfaction you see on the face of a player who gets to slam dunk a ball he stole on a fast break during the Final Four. This is going to be so good.

Then God says, don't do it.

Don't do it?! Awww. Something in me sinks. The ref just blew a whistle. There's a foul on the play. Dang. It was going to be so good. It was deserved. Why can't I send this? I don't need for God to reply. I know why. The fact that I've found the whole process so utterly delicious tells me why. (You know that delicious. You have these moments too - those conversations you have in your head where you are brilliant and the other person is speechless.) I can sense the Spirit saying, It won't do any good. They aren't in a place to hear it. Let it go."

A long pause. A deep sigh. Things are shifting down inside. I am accepting more than guidance here. I am accepting change. Down in my soul where the juncture of my will and my heart meet. I am accepting transformation. I click Yes and let the whole thing go.

Jesus says that as our Good Shepherd, he is leading us. What an encouraging thought. Jesus is leading you, and he is leading me. He is shepherding us. I can feel something in my heart loosening even now as I consider this. Okay. I don't have to make life happen on my own. Now, if Christ takes it upon himself to lead, then our part is to follow. And you'll find that it helps a great deal in your following if you know what God is up to. True, we may not know exactly what God is up to in this or that event in our lives. "Why didn't I get that job?" "How come she won't return my calls?" "Why haven't my prayers healed this cancer?" I don't know. Sometimes we can get clarity, and sometimes we can't.

But whatever else is going on, we can know this: God is always up to our transformation.

God wants us to be happy. Really. "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full" (John 10:10)

But he knows that in order for us to be truly happy, we have to be whole. Another word for that is holy. We have to be restored.

Think of it this way -- think of how you feel when you really screwed things up. The look on your son's face as you yell at him. The distance that has grown between you even though you apologized. For the hundredth time. How it tears you up inside to indulge in romantic fantasies about someone else's spouse. You want to, but you don't want that, but you wish you could, but you really don't, and why is this going on inside? The guilt you feel when you lie straight-faced to a friend. And they find out. The hours you've wasted harboring resentment. The embarrassment of your addictions. You know what plagues you.

Now, what would it be like to never, ever do it again? Not even to struggle with it. What would your life be like if you were free of all that haunts you?

Oh, the joy, the utter relief it would be to be transformed. That in itself would be more happiness than most of us ever experience. And - as if that were not enough - it would free us to live the life God has for us to live.

My friends, this is what God's up to. This is where our Shepherd is headed. Whatever else is going on in our lives, this is going on. He is committed to our transformation. So, if this is what God's up to, wouldn't it make sense what we be more intentional in partnering with him in our transformation? Part of me wishes I could have sent the email. But the deeper, truer part of me is relieved that God stopped me. It would have hurt that person. I would have regretted it later. It would have created a crisis that would have taken hours of emotional energy to undo. I can't begin to number the disasters God has averted like that - the things he's stopped me from saying, the choices I would have made has he not intervened.

I want to walk with God.

Parenting Stuff

Since going to this "Mom to Mom" class I've been trying very hard to accept my authority as a parent and use it. We've adopted the "obey the first time you are asked" rule in the house, explained it to both kids and are following through. So say I tell Zachary to stop banging the toy against the wall. He gets that one warning and then no more. If he does it again I walk over and get him on the leg with the paddle. We've had a little learning time, but for the most part he's getting it. Should he NOT get it and defiantly tell us "NO", which he's done several times this week already...I tell him to go to his room and wait for me there, I'll be up in a minute. Now when the mom told me this in class I thought, "there's NO way this dude is going to voluntarily go upstairs and actually wait. It's always a fight." But lo and behold, the first time I asked him to...he did it! Someone, somewhere was praying for me. So I then go upstairs with the paddle and calmly ask him to stand up and tell me what he did wrong. Now before, this dude would always say something like "um, maybe?" or give me some kind of nonsense talk. So again I argued in my mind that this would never work. And lo and behold, the first time and every time since he's clearly told me what he did to disobey. Whoa! So then I calmly explain that he was disobeying and that bc he disobeyed he has to be punished. The mom said that this experience is meant to be humbling for them, not terribly scary, so never wrangle them to the floor or bend them against their will. They are to bend over the bed submissively and take the punishment without a fight. Again, no way this side of heaven Zachary B is ever going to willingly bend over the bed for a spanking. And don't you know...this dude has done it every single time. Not always willingly, but I never spank him until he's submitted, bent over and ready. He gets three firm swats on his toosh and then he always turns to me with tears and we hug and love and I tell him that he's still my boy he just has to obey Mommy and Daddy like Jesus says he has to.

Now this goes against everything in my bones. I don't think any loving mom enjoys causing tears from her babies, but I've come to believe that God really asks us to teach obedience and respect to our children. If they don't obey and respect us parents, then what hope do we have that they'll obey and respect any other authority figure, especially God.

I first went through the method of grace based, non-punitive discipline, but frankly Zachary and Abby both just took advantage and could care less if I put them in time out, time in, bedroom time, five step method, etc. My children have responded to blessings, training and discipline with love, and that's just in two weeks. Then I struggled with "is this how God would treat me as an unruly child?" Do as He does, right? My answer is yes, but I'm not prepared to go into a detailed explanation in this post as to why. Just know that I've come to grips with it and it's working for us.

Don't you know, since taking back my authority as a parent and choosing that my house will be a parent-led home and not a child-led has been a little more in order. I'm feeling okay about spending more time with my kids too b/c they are not constantly causing friction. I'm not saying that I have it all wrapped up in a nice package, I'm just starting the learning here. Gosh, the mom of ten who is leading this class said that only in the past few years has she felt like she had a handle on parenting. But so far, it's working and I praise God in heaven b/c just a month ago I didn't think I wanted to do this anymore since I felt like a huge failure at it. Not that quitting is ever an option. *wink*

Oh, and this is working with Lilly too, even at one year old. We couldn't ever leave the dog food and water dishes down, but I changed that when the class leader said your children should be able to live in your home with all of your things out on the tables. She said that this is part of the "training" stages btwn the ages of 1 and 3, when they don't really know the difference btwn good and evil but are able to respond to love and pain. So Friday or Saturday I put the dog dishes down and of course she went right to them. I stood there and when she touched it I said firmly but in a calm tone "No, Lilly." Then she stood up, cried and tried again. This time I flicked her hand and said sternly "No" and redirected her. A minute later she was right back there, just barely touching it with a matchbox car. So I flicked her hand and said no again. Long story short, it took several moments of training, but she got it. The dog dishes have been down all weekend and she's not dumped them or touched them since. *big grin* Yea!! Of course, Zachary at this age...I'd have spent the whole weekend flicking and finally giving up. That boy was relentless and exhausting, such a strong spirit.

So, that's the scoop on the parenting front. I'm encouraged and excited to see how we're doing in a few months. I wish all my mommy friends could come with me to this gal's class. It's been a life preserver in a turbulent sea for me.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Skinny Guinea Pig?

No, folks, we did not get a new pet. I AM the guinea pig here. I've agreed to be the guinea pig anyway.

I have this friend I met through the Gentle Christian Mother's website, though we've never actually met in person, only talked via email. A penpal, if you will. :) This friend is a self-motivated, educated stay at home mom of four and is wanting to try out this new business venture (as if one existing business and being a mom of four isn't enough, right?) that is based in the weight loss industry.

Without detailing ALL the information here on my blog, I'll post a few informational links at the bottom of the post. My friend contacted me this last week and asked if I'd be interested in being a tester for her and try these hot new diet pills called FORM. They are one part of a three part system by 03World, the other two parts are a nutrient shake and fiber bulking agent that helps keep your system in order.

She sent me a few pills in the mail yesterday and I'm gonna try one today. She sent five capsules, but only two survived the mailing. I think I can scoop the microbeads back into one or two of the empty capsules, but we'll see what these two pills do to me first.

Everything I've read about these pills seems to be positive. The microbeads are a hydrogel and completely bioinert (are not absorbed in any way and do not change your body chemistry.) The idea is that these tiny microbeads act with water, swell and cause your stomach to fill, sending a message to your brain that you are full and to stop eating. Basically the opposite of a gastric bypass, you feel full and eat less without surgery.

I'm a SERIOUS grazer. I eat ALL day long here at the house. I usually eat a frozen waffle or a few pieces of toast for breakfast, half a pot of coffee, snacks with the kids, lunch could be anything from nuggets to grilled cheese. My usual sugar crash and binge occurs around 2-3pm when I begin foraging for ANYTHING that might have high fructose corn syrup in it. That sugary bliss goes down with another cup of coffee and gosh, I hope that it's enough to get me through the rest of the evening! Abby comes home around 4pm, we set out a small snack to get the kids through til dinner (a habit that really needs to stop now) and dinner around 5:30. By the end of the day I've eaten way more than I've needed to and a bunch of fat/sugar, and guilt inevitably follows. I'd wager money that if I cut out the snacks and sugar foods, I'd drop the extra fifteen pounds I carry around daily.

So, my plan is to take my usual medication this morning, already having my coffee, wait half an hour and then take one pill with 8 ounces of water. Then I'll wait to see if my head pops off or swollen microbeads come shooting out of my nose. "They" say that it takes two and half hours for the slippery, jelly microbeads to make their way through one's system. At which point, I'm envisioning me on the toilet, my butt being taken hostage by thousands of tiny beads.

Actually, I'm not worried at all. It's an interesting idea and I'll let you all know how it goes. In the meantime, you can check out more info on this pill at these site.

My New Diet Pill

And Sara, she is really so adorable and comical
Youtube video

Stay tuned! I'll let you all know how it goes!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Dragonflies and Lilypads

Honestly, I am very impressed! Abby made this in art class this last week. I didn't get to see the other kids projects to compare, but it doesn't matter. I LOVE IT! This picture doesn't do it justice either.

I asked her how she made it, whether the teacher did any of it. She said that she started with a blank sheet of green paper, chalked the lily pads and water and then stamped the dragonflies on top. She says that the teacher gave her directions on how to do it and this is what she came up with.

I do hope she loves Art. It was my favorite subject in school!