11 December 2009

thankful thursday

Yes, it's Friday. Night. That's beside the point, though. I'm chronically tardy and apparently this is no exception to the rule.

So, my Thankful Thursday - I'm thankful it's Friday! (haha!)

We no longer have school on Friday. I toyed with this idea for a couple weeks, tried it out, and now I have more reasons than ever for being glad I chose this route.

At first, my plan was simply to stretch school into a mostly year-round situation, spacing it out and keeping it from feeling like a pressure-gauge ready to go off as the end drew near. A lot of four day weeks mixed with a few three day weeks and some holidays/sick days and you still have breathing space at the end of the required 180 days. Just not 10 weeks of it. This keeps the consistency of school and busyness in balance, in my opinion.

In the month or so we've been doing this, I have discovered another reason I like Fridays off. It gives me a weekday to be a mom. Not in firm, gotta-do-it teaching mode (some days it's very much like that). Instead, it's a day that's not a weekend where only kid play is expected (it's still our library day which I sift into the school-ness of the week, time wise), chores are still supposed to happen, and it's not just "better because Daddy is home" like a weekend. I can take it easy like today, or we can run errands like other Fridays. It varies.

BUT. Mostly, it's just a normal day. Without school expectations. Of course, Little B spent part of the day voluntarily watching several DVD's on Language Arts and Science, and at bedtime he will likely be picking up (again) the book he's enraptured with from his Sonlight curriculum. Learning is everywhere. Even on the day "off."

04 December 2009

time alone

I got some much needed time alone yesterday. Yes, yes, some of it was at the grocery store buying a ton of cereal for 1/2 price since there was a one day special. And yes, the other half was spent getting a filling, complete with my first shot of lidocaine. I survived. Indeed, I felt refreshed for having sat there alone with complete attention on me for a while, not having to tend anyone else's needs. Just mine. Maybe not what I'd call "fun" but it was pretty much worth it for the down time.

Just how desperately pathetic does that make me???? Wait, maybe you shouldn't answer that. . . .

03 December 2009

Thankful Thursday

So, I thought I'd try out my concept of "Thankful Thursday." I don't know for sure if I'll stick with it, but I guess we'll find out. If you decide to join me, please leave me a message and I'll come read yours...


I live at the edge of a lake (I can literally walk to it from a path across the street). I drive across the dam that makes said lake at least once, and often twice a week. The summer we moved in, three years ago, someone "accidentally over-drained" the lake while sending water to another state for a nearly extinct fish. By five feet. The lake started to look a little...sparse. Boats struggled some and many people were frustrated - a fish over the water supply for our own people? Yes, it's our water supply. I understood that frustration.

And at about the same time, our state entered into a drought. A drought that lasted a couple of years. I found myself praying for rain. Thankful for rain. Loving rain. Whenever we would get it, albeit briefly.

Last year, many skeptics spoke of how it would never come back up, it was too far gone, our water supply was never going to be able to meet our (overgrown area's) needs...etc. etc. I secretly laughed. There are always seasons and cycles to life. "This too shall pass," is one of my mother's favorite reminders. I felt it quite applicable in the matter of our water supply.

This past spring, our lake level was more than 19 feet down. Sparse was a kind word. Barren, more fitting. So many times I wished I had my camera to take pictures for my blog. The erosion was more clear each month as the water levels dropped, then the weeds began to grow and grow and cover it up. The signage in various bars no longer stuck up above water, but now the entire bars were growing weeds. The wall that held water back from a walking path was not only visible to a driver on the dam, but we could see the entire wall - and see where it met the ground below. That day I was amazed by just how low the water levels had dropped.

And then the rains began. It rained and rained and rained. And rained. And rained some more. Not many weeks back, there was a lot of flooding in our area. Each time we crossed the dam, we eagerly checked the digital sign showing the current lake level. We watched in anticipation as the numbers climbed, the shore receded, the weeds became tips above water.

A few weeks ago, our gorgeous lake was above the suggested lake level! The aforementioned sidewalk was indeed slightly flooding on one rainy afternoon. The lake was burgeoning with ripples and waves and boats.


I am so thankful for the rain.

30 November 2009

one word tag

I was tagged in a meme by Hannah...it looked like fun, answering everything with one word, so here you have it... (by the way, I did this twice already, and the computer crashed so I have left my answers as they were the last time I answered this!)

1. Where is your cell phone? purse
2. Your hair? desparate
3. Your mother? genuine
4. Your father? fun
5. Your favorite food? chocolate
6. Your dream last night? wierd
7. Your favorite drink? coffee
8. Your dream/goal? overcome
9. What room are you in? kitchen
10. Your hobby? reading
11. Your fear? contamination
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? learning
13. Where were you last night? home
14. Something that you aren’t? punctual
15. Muffins? pumpkin
16. Wish list item? mp3
17. Where did you grow up? georgia
18. Last thing you did? clean
19. What are you wearing? jacket
20. Your TV? gift
21. Your pets? bird
22. Friends? wonderful
23. Your life? busy
24. Your mood? blueish
25. Missing someone? Mick
26. Vehicle? minivan
27. Something you’re not wearing? shoes
28. Your favorite store? Target
29. Your favorite color? grey
30. When was the last time you laughed? today
31. Last time you cried? today
32. Your best friend? husband
33. One place that I go to over and over? grocery
34. One person who emails me regularly? Sonlight
35. Favorite place to eat? Mexican

I'm not usually a big tagger blogger, but today I'm breaking out of my norm. So, I'm tagging you:


Mrs Lemon



. . . . and whoever else wants to play - just let me know you did and I'll come read it!

26 November 2009

thankfulness - my mom

Today marks the end of my little thankfulness series, and I think it appropriate for me to go back to the very beginning of me...being thankful for my mom.

Today also marks the the beginning of my mom - for it's her birthday!
My mom was born the day before Thanksgiving, the 10th of 11 children. She talks about how one of her older sisters had to make the turkey that year and it burned...and one brother in particular still likes to teasingly blame my mom for ruining that Thanksgiving. I have always loved hearing this story. It seems so normal and warm and cozy and precisely what family is all about.

My mother is one of those people who thinks very little of herself - she is always surprised when someone from many years ago remembers her, and not only that but specifically remembers her because of her genuineness, her gentle sharing and ministering, her simple ways of meeting needs, her always, always open home. She is equally surprised by the people who meet her once or twice, then seek her out.

Her support of me in the choices I make is that of a mother who knows when it's time to let her child learn to fly - she never tried to stop me from moving 3,000 miles away from home at 20 years old. When I wanted to get married at 21, she felt I had the right husband and was therefore behind me 100%. (She has often been heard saying she kept me because I married him...)

She has been down many roads in her lifetime. High roads, low roads and in between roads. And she is constant no matter the road she is on. She never pretends to be perfect, and is exactly who she seems to be.

One thing people have never understood about her is perhaps a favorite trait to me. She has been known to lie about her age quite often. But rather than say she is younger, she rounds up, indicating she is older. In her early forties, she'd say she was 45, then it was 50, and so on. She gets a kick out of doing this...but deep down it says something about her. She told me that aging is a privilege. Life is meant to be lived and enjoyed. By saying she is older rather than younger, she is embracing life, not hiding from it. We all got a good laugh several years back when she had to stop and think of what year she'd been born...she'd forgotten her real age!

I like to think my mom has had a large part in shaping who I am. She is a great comfort to me when the going gets tough. She reminds to call on the One who can hear me and answer me best. She loves me so unconditionally.

Happy birthday Mommy!

I'm thinking about having "Thankful Thursdays" as a part of my regular blogging as I've enjoyed this so much. Perhaps some of you will join me!

25 November 2009

Beware: it's an allergy-related posting. But oh, I'm feeling thankful!!

Little B and Miss C cannot have dairy products. There are about 2 different margarines that I can find in a typical grocery store that are safe for them - UNsalted Fleishmann's Margarine (sticks) and some Smart Balance Margarines (tubs) - I have to be very careful to get the right one with this. One way is to look for the word "parve" on the package. I believe there is one other more costly choice, Earth Balance, but this keeps it simple - the sticks for baking, the tub for a spread on bagels, etc.

Baby J cannot have soy. Let's keep this simple: all margarine has soy. That means it's virtually impossible to make baked goods safe for all three kids. Fun, I tell you.

Enter Spectrum's shortening made of palm oil only. No dairy. No soy. Not even cross contaminated with any of the other allergies. Sounds like it solves the problem, right? I should be so thankful. Right?? NOT.

It took two tries - using it in some icing on a cake (gluten free for hubs and baby) and attempting some Chex Muddy Buddies (modified w/sunbutter versus peanut butter, etc) to discover that John apparently had some issues with palm oil. So....not a good substitute after all.

I was feeling forlorn trying to figure how to solve this dilemma. I have a completely allergy safe pumpkin pie recipe and dug for a gluten free/safe crust. BUT could not figure what to use to replace the need for a butter/margarine/shortening ingredient. Forlorn, indeed....

Then, at the grocery store I ran across coconut oil. To be fair, I'd seen it by Spectrum but theirs was cross-contaminated, so could not be used for my family. But this one does not seem to have any hindering factors. It just has coconut oil. AND, since this whole crew of mine can easily and often drink coconut milk, I simply cannot foresee a problem.

Woohoo! Yeah, very thankful. 8-)

24 November 2009

thankfulness - librarian of the year

I've been pondering what I am thankful for today...as in what thing to I tell you about? And today, well, let's just make it a bit lighter, huh?

I love my favorite librarian. She's so much kinder about lost books and late fees than, say, my lesser favorites or my least favorite. We keep a LOT of books out at a time. Little B can easily devour a book a day, and if they are simpler books, a dozen in a week plus some serious re-reading time. I vary...during the summer I inhaled them like oxygen because I could. I knew once school started that would need more attention, being my first year with it. I've enjoyed some since then, but not so many. My husband listens to books on CD since he can't find time to read them. And then there's Miss C, bed time stories, and my nonfiction "wow that looks interesting" books, and any homeschooling books we need at the time (we get what we can from there for our Sonlight and random unit studies), plus some kids movies and science or history DVDs, etc...get the picture? On average, 50ish books at a time are out (rarely less than 30, though I've seen it hit 81), and I am a huge fan of the online renewal that lets me do it twice in row.

Friday is library day. It makes my kids simply pant with anticipation for the new books ("If you only turned in three, you can only check out three" . . . "But MOOOMMMY, I really like this one!"). Baby J, well, he gets a thrill, too, removing DVDs and books from the shelf and stacking them on the floor by his stroller.

And "my" librarian. She likes my kids. She enjoys their love of all things book. She makes sure I know on "those" days (when I can barely contain varying issues (who us?) among sibling treatment, books I don't find appropriate, antsy waiting in line, or me with migraine) that she likes us, that it's gonna be fine, that my kids are always welcome in that library...the list goes on. I seek her out, I wait until she's available if I have a question or need help.

Little B has his own library card. He's uber proud of it, too. But, it's a responsibility. If you have three "claims returned" (missing but you thought you turned it in) books on your card, it gets suspended. Little B reached the point of 2 this summer. And then it happened: a third went missing. Fortunately, it wasn't due yet. I made sure I was talking to her when I wanted to discuss my options...the "least favorite" had been less than helpful or kind (contrary to what the fave had suggested) with another incident and was less than computer savvy on two occasions...so, my fave said she'd renew the book and give us time to find it. She also priced out the now-three books and suggested that if he had to pay for one to keep his card going, to pay for the cheapest. The weeks ticked by. It was due last Friday and we still could not find any of those books to help us out. I asked if she could renew it once more (twice in a row is allowable as long as no one has it on reserve). Alas, someone had it on reserve....but you know what?? She renewed it for us anyway! What a librarian! We got a little more time to find it...(and that person couldn't have had this copy anyway, so why not!?).

Today, a miracle happened. We found the most expensive of the books in the dark caverns beneath the playroom couch. Woohoo! Nothing like cleaning out some corners. Little B was elated - "I'm safe!" Of course, ideally, we could find the other two as well, but at least now he can "claims returned" the current one if need be and not have a penalty...whew...

All that nonsense to say, SHE MAKES MY DAY! When I feel haggard on a Friday, migrained out, PMSish or tired of dealing with a melt-down week with certain kids...I look forward to her kind face on Friday, knowing she likes my kids even when I don't (well, you know what I mean)and will be nice to me.

Oh yeah, I am thankful for my own personal librarian of the year!

22 November 2009

thankfulness - His ways

I'm not sure who reads my blog and doesn't admit it...or if there are even such people out there. It makes me a little nervous because I have this friend whose wonderful blog I just finally had to comment on - and I know people who read it. Therefore I have a quaking fear of someone clicking "cjoy" and finding my blog and saying, "OMIGOSH ... I know her!" If that's you, please just 'fess up, 'kay? I'd feel better knowing who has found my private haven, even if my anonymity is gone. Thanks.

All that aside . . . or perhaps because of it, I have a post that makes me lose face. It shares the deep and the personal and for a while I could not pinpoint why it made me thankful or how to go about sharing it or even if I should. Today I knew how to go about it at last. Please, bear with me....

I've talked about how my husband's job has offered only decreases in pay for quite some time (40% is a pretty accurate number for the most part). I've told you some of the many issues in our home...
Regarding allergies, Miss C's alternative treatments are not covered by insurance; and I assure you our grocery bills are not pretty, even when I can find a stack of coupons (I'm the only one who has no dietary restriction).
Regarding my oldest, we've paid a lot lot lot on therapies for years now...much out of pocket or deductibles and co-pays by the fistful in spite of choosing the better insurance (which has been great for certain docs and referrals, etc).
There are too many things to list or explain. You get the idea, though.

Around the new year, we slowly had to stop paying on our credit cards. Yes, plural. And yes, it was high. Were we reckless? I don't believe so. Mostly it was to counter the cost of the medical and sometimes to help someone else. I cannot regret either of those choices. (And we paid faithfully for many years.)

I mentioned a few weeks back, when I "returned" to my blog, that there was a practical reason we're selling our house...it's called "can't afford it any more" - and we're attempting a short sale (means the mortgage company will take less than we owe just to get it off their hands). We've had it on the market nearly 3 months. We've shown it 3 times now. At a greatly reduced price. That's not exactly hopeful.

That said, we actually truly feel the Lord has led us to this point. In spite of the stress that should completely suck me under here, I cannot tell you how deeply the peace has carried us. We're even at a point where if we had NOT had debt, we'd be in a hole. The difference being that we'd probably have reduced our house payment by 2/3 and therefore not be able to sell and move where He so clearly wants us to go! Interesting how "all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28)

We fully expect that at any time they could foreclose on us. Most days, as I said, this does not bother me at all. I know. Crazy. Especially when about 2 or so years ago, I was heard saying to my husband, "As long as we never lose our house...."

Now, I'm glad the Lord heard me say that and challenged me on it. I'm thankful he is stripping me of it. Truly, figuring out what to feed my family 3 meals a day, day after day, is much more stressful to me than losing my home. I loathe packing and never wanted to do it again. That is a bigger stress. Yes, it's very humbling and I don't want to share it with the world. But then again, I've had so much of that peace, and this sense of thankfulness...I could not quite pinpoint it until today, when I felt a little lower. The gray months of winter that lie ahead don't feel so promising. Then a song began to play in my head from many years ago...

His ways are higher than mine,
Much higher.

Higher, higher,
Much, much higher,
Higher, higher,
Much higher...

Isaiah 55:9
For as the heavens are higher than the earth
So My ways are higher than your ways,
And My thoughts higher than your thoughts.

Oh, how very thankful I am that my God's ways and thoughts are higher than mine.

thankfulness - in the details

I am so thankful for Bananagrams (I won it over at Hannah's blog not long ago). My son and I have a blast with this game. Definitely a must for any Scrabble fan, which I am. Also, Miss C has taken some strong interests in sounding out randomly chosen words when she wanders in while Little B and I are playing it. She's anxious to learn to read and it simply whets her appetite. While looking through a homeschooling catalog, I saw Pairs and Pears which might just be up her alley. Fun stuff!

Oh...I cannot forget - a fixed-again toilet is also at the top of my gratitude today. We've bought new parts once before, then rigged those when they failed repeatedly. Needless to say, I was quite weary of reaching into the lid to make it flush.

And now, I'm going to brush my teeth and wash my face and try to convince myself that staying up late to finish reading The Actor and the Housewife is really not a good idea....

21 November 2009

thankfulness - Miss C

Today I got out to the grocery store...alone. And then I came home, ate lunch, put Baby J down for his nap and left the boys in the dust; I took Miss C to go shopping. Target (yes, again) and Kid to Kid (2nd hand kid's stuff). She never whined, complained, felt annoyed...wait, is this sounding redundant?? She savored every drop of her soy hot chocolate from Starbucks, was thrilled with the clothes we found for her at Kid to Kid (and tried them on like a champ in a chilly dressing room), and when I thanked her for spending the afternoon with me shopping, she squealed in delight and thanked me for letting her come!

I'm so thankful for my Ladybug.
She is strong. Her allergies control her life in a thousand ways and while it can be disappointing, she is amazing through it all. In recent months we've been getting her alternative allergy elimination treatments that have made great strides in her immune system and health as well as healing some of the allergies...we definitely still have a ways to go, but during these last months we've seen so many changes in her. In the beginning, she was quiet, more shy than not, and almost "lethargic" - though not in a medically alarming way, just not very active. "Mousy" may well have been an apt description of her. As the weeks of treatments have progressed, she has become bolder and more chatty (and not just with us), her sparkly, glowing personality has emerged, something we'd only barely seen glimpses of before now. Her skin is prettier, her hair a bit thicker...generally more healthy. It has made me so thankful we found these treatments for her. Miss C's case is especially complex and has required several re-treatments. But she has clearly begun feeling better. And with that, we have so much more of our little girl to enjoy.

Miss C has a gorgeous singing voice (she SO did not get that from me...but her daddy can sing with the best!), her big brown eyes sparkle with humor and can I just say that still waters run deep? The observations this girl can point out startle me sometimes.

She totally made my day today. And my heart is full and overflowing with thanks for her!

20 November 2009

thankfulness -

I slacked - well, my computer's operating system crashed, so I kinda couldn't get online for posting my thankfulness posts. That made me sad. I was so looking forward to them.

However, it's back and functioning and I'm going to do a quick summary of thankfulness for all the days I missed...can't back down on what I'd planned, ya know?

I woke up being thankful for my husband's extra hours at work. Since over a year ago his job has provided a lot of pay cuts, lay offs, and hour cuts. Things are no longer just tight around here...they're cutting off the circulation. HOWEVER. He does have a job still. And the past two weeks he was given opportunity to work a lot of extra hours. Now, when I say a lot of extra hours, I mean he worked over 70 hours in one week. He pulled an all-nighter. He would come home long after I was able to stay awake to see him. The kids and I just kissed him goodbye again each morning - if he wasn't already gone when we woke. Truly, it was a really bad week around here. But those hours were so desperately needed that I couldn't be upset about them. Yes, my thankfulness had some low moments, but overall, thankfulness won. And, as of Wednesday, he's back to working a bit more normal of a schedule, though there's a possibility of another rush after Thanksgiving.

I wasn't feeling very thankful on Monday. Or Tuesday. And only a little bit on Wednesday. Though really it seems that stretched much further than a few days; I can't remember any more. I was struggling very hard with meltdowns (mine and not mine), migraines (just mine...the multi-day kind), missing my husband, not being able to use my computer (just the icing on top, really)....it was one of "those." And in the midst of the fog I was barely surviving in, I kept thinking about my thankfulness posts and how I would need to be able to write something for those days. Because I was determined to be thankful in spite of it all. And so I am. I am so, so, SO thankful that I am not a single mom. Truly. And, I am thankful that in those days I still have Someone supplying me with mercy and grace. Because boy-howdy, I NEEDED it. Too, I was thankful my mom and dad came down to be part of that mercy and grace through my evening. It eased the burdens so much.

In spite of my abundance of grumpiness, this is the day we discovered that the only cost for repairing my laptop was the purchase of an external hard drive. Woohoo! Some networking guys at my husband's office had said they'd try to just restart the operating system and see if that helped...it did! I'm thankful for the lack of repair cost and the new external hard drive which we hope will keep the laptop running a bit easier. That's big in our world. My husband has picked up some extra income testing software and needs the laptop for it. A new laptop would not have been easy to come by right now!

The tears continued, the grumps were in full swing (remember, not all of it stemmed from me), and I just plum wanted out. But, in leaving the house for any errands just draws out the complaints and gripes and overwhelmed-ness that my oldest has been mired in. Stores and Little B have never, ever meshed well. It's been better as he's gotten older, but recently we're experiencing some set-backs (unless we are spending all our time on the Lego aisle...unfortunately, that does not feed us or brush our teeth, or diaper Baby J....you get the idea). So, my efforts to leave the house weren't exactly...positive.

However - by the time John got home, I was thankful for several reasons:
1. On this day my husband did not have to work late. He didn't get home in time for dinner, but he did get home before bedtime for the kids! Definitely a step in the right direction and a strong lift in attitude began for the little people (and consequently, me!).
2. He spent the day downtown in an all-day meeting. When we'd have liked for him to head home, he had to go to the office to chat it up with his boss...well, talk shop. Finally, he headed home. Five minutes into his drive (we were chatting on the phone in my dire need for adult contact and most especially my need to have a real conversation with my love - we'd only spoken in passing or on small meal breaks for too long), he realized he'd forgotten my laptop - it was fixed! So, he turned around to get it.
3. While there, his boss stopped him - he wanted to thank John for his work. And give him a hundred dollars (it was his own money - not company money). Yeah, the tears leaked then. The instructions that went with it were, "Take your wife out to eat." We got take out Mexican since neither of us had eaten yet, but hope to have a time for just the two of us soon!

Last night I went out with my mom to Toys R Us...I think it's just as exciting as when I was a kid looking at those toys in awe! haha! I stopped by WalMart for some cold meds for Little B. And then my mom got me dinner at Captain D's. I want you to notice that the only thing I did for a couple of hours was go to stores and talk to another adult (yes, I talked about my kids, and shopped for them, but they weren't there begging, "annoying", whining, crying or dying to go home). I cherished that time. I needed that time. I was and still am immensely thankful for that time!!

Ah, today. It's here at last. Today I am thankful that I made the decision to take Fridays off from homeschooling (consequently, we'll school year-round, but I love this plan!). I am thankful that the attitudes and meltdowns of a few days ago are beginning to balance out (we're pretty sure that the change in Daddy's hours were wreaking havoc with more than just mommy). I'm thankful for the sweet little lovey kisses Baby J is SO good about sharing with me. I'm thankful the sun is out, the house was a deliciously cold 64 degrees when I woke up, that Little B only needed a few threats to get his chores done and that tomorrow is Saturday.

And a little bonus: I'm thankful to you for reading all the way down here. Even if you skimmed or skipped to get here. Hopefully, the computer will continue to cooperate and I will not have nearly a week's worth next time!

14 November 2009

thankfulness - in everything

Last night I spilled my latte. I was not, NOT happy. In fact, I confess to spilling a few tears after I heard the last of the latte gurgle into the van's dark depths.

To understand this fully you must understand the way my mind works. As you likely can't forget since I talk about it all the time, my kids have allergies galore -the oldest two to dairy, Miss C especially. We have gotten her some treatments that have decreased the severity of her reactions. However. You have to realize the ingrained, gut reaction to any type of cow-by-product spilling or smearing or melting or dripping or cross-contaminating makes my heart pound and my whole being kick into gear - "How can I best clean this up???"

No, my house is far from tidy. Not that kind of cleaning. Just in case you thought I was a clean-a-holic, 'cause I'm SO not.

Since my husband has had a solid week of late nights and will again be working Sunday through Friday super late next week (deadlines upon deadlines that I am actually very thankful for), I decided that to ease my single-parent bedtime routine a little, I'd get everyone ready except for brushing their teeth and take them out for hot chocolate - except Baby J, who I planned to have fall asleep on the drive. He cooperated until we got home.

My son gleefully chugged his entire kid-sized-soy-hot-chocolate before we were hardly out of the parking lot. My daughter has the rest of hers in the fridge to be heated again tomorrow. Go figure. Me...well, I went for a Tall decaf latte. I likenoLOVE plain lattes. With dairy milk. (Soy lattes are gross. I tried. Once.) And I so rarely get them that I was all in a dither over it. But, the hole in the lid was too small to let in air so I could barely get any drink to my mouth. I had decided to wait and make the hole bigger at home. But along the way, I heard the cup call my name and opted for one more effort at a sip - at which time the lid must have popped off because it never made it to my mouth. Rather I heard my van take a deep drink of my latte in the dark of night when I could not see to rescue it.

I pulled over into an empty turn lane but by then the cup had about two drops left. I thought at that moment that I was SO NOT THANKFUL even though it was probably God's way of telling me I wasn't really supposed to order it, that I was just being a glutton. And my heart was racing because I'd just spilled a dairy beverage all over (the mess that is) the front of my van. Technically, it landed in a canvas bag of stuff that was hung between the seatbelts...and all over a slew of papers...and soaked into the carpet. I really didn't feel thankful, except maybe for the roll of toilet paper (I had it in there for our extended colds - better than Kleenex any day!) because it seemed to soak up a good bit of dairy-infested latte.

And that is where my thankfulness began.

"In everything give thanks..." (I Thessolonians 5:18a)

I had to think on it a bit. But I did find things to be thankful for in my lost latte. I was thankful for only ordering the Tall. My preferred Grande would have cost more, spilled way more and caused more dairy-stress. I was also thankful that Baby J didn't wake up until I came IN the house from cleaning up (he was standing at the front door watching me). And, as I cleaned I came across the "foot" to the baby swing I just gave someone; I felt bad giving it to her when I realized that was missing! Besides, a little prompting to clean out the van is always something to be thankful for, right?!

Mostly, I'm thankful that in spite of my spilled latte, it was a pleasant outing with my kids. And, I had an opportunity to say, "Thank you Lord for the spilled latte..."

12 November 2009

thankfulness - homeschooling

As I've mentioned before, we decided to homeschool Little B at the end of second grade. I had never, ever considered it before because I was sure I could not handle it. But by this time I could no longer handle sending him to school each day, only to see him come home in a deep funk full of frustration and anger. Here is a bit of what led up to such a big decision for us:

My son is very sensitive and fairly "high needs." He's also incredibly intelligent. He struggles with the atmosphere a classroom provides and that resulted in a whole lot of difficult days. The first day after spring break probably was pretty typical for him. Most likely, by the time he was asked to do his least favorite assignment ever - log about a book he'd read - he had been picked on and bullied; survived lunch with the intense loudness that accompanies any typical lunchroom, but is especially overwhelming to him; no doubt been reminded to stay on task several times; and was feeling as though he was worthless and couldn't do anything right. His teacher was known to bend over backwards to help him, so she was never the source of his problems, though he didn't understand that at the time.

That is only a tiny taste of what led up to the point in his day when he once again fell apart. I know this sound ridiculous to some, like a lack of discipline to others. But for him, the world truly came crashing down at that moment. That assignment pushed him over the edge and he could no longer handle much of anything after the stressors he'd worked around and tried to cope with all day. Simply put, it was the straw that broke the camel's back.

And so on this day of all days, Little B was yelling at his teacher that he had an escape plan if she wouldn't listen. Now, she did listen - every single day - but logging wasn't something she could waive just for him. I understand that. In Little B's mind, though, he just couldn't handle another day of forced writing about something that was already written down in the book (he thinks that if you want to know, you should read the book...I understand that, too). And he escaped by trying to run away from school.

Why? Because all he wanted was to go home to his bed, away from the source of his stress, and calm down. That spoke so loudly to me. And during the week of suspension that ensued, I enforced the discipline they chose, but at the same time we began talking about homeschooling. The following Monday he was allowed to go back to school, but we withdrew him instead. And I have never looked back.

I am thankful for a thousand things in this. I'm thankful his class had a door to the outside that tempted him because it made me stop and listen really carefully to how I could meet his needs.

I'm thankful I no longer feel building anxiety as I check my email 5-10 times a day wondering if his teacher has emailed me to let me know of his latest struggle in class (she did that at my request).

I'm thankful that though I must toe the line with him particularly on hard days, a hard day homeschooling (and we have them in spades, believe me) simply doesn't compare to even an average day in public school. In fact, on the hardest days of all, I am more deeply thankful that he is at home with me versus sitting embarrassed and angry at himself in front of 17 other kids and other grown ups.

I'm thankful for:

the increase in flexibility,

the decrease in stress,

the increase in time with my son,

the decrease in time spent on school assignments,

the increase in enjoyment of learning.

thankfulness - my husband

I have the most amazing husband.
My thankfulness for him is deep and wide and overflowing.
My words to express them are not even close to adequate.

When he married me, I had health problems that were yet to be discovered - but before our first wedding anniversary, I'd had surgery and been put on medications that caused drug-induced menopause for 6 months or more. Oh, my friends...no woman should go through such a thing twice, and certainly not at 22 years old! And no man should have to live through that twice -certainly not at 22 years old!! What a time that was. He was a college student and working full time, I was working and going through hormone changes that you cannot begin to fathom yet. At the end of those months, we laughingly said we'd survive anything if we made it through menopause in the first year of marriage.

We've learned together to choose the right perspective on so many issues over the years. We have not had an easy life by any standard. Half our marriage so far, he was working on his degree. We started having kids before he graduated. Food allergies dominate meal times. Special needs of varying degrees sprinkle through the house, some bigger than others. Issues I won't even go into dominate our lives right now. But, you know what? They eventually fall into place and we just move on, figuring it out, working through it, and being glad we're together during it all.

I would not trade this man or the life we have together for anyone in the world. He lights up my days. I am happier when he comes home. I want to grow old with him. He's the best kisser on earth. He makes me laugh. He laughs with me. I am completely myself with him. He works so hard to care for all of us. He even does the dishes for me when I get too far behind (without griping, too).

And he wanted to marry ME! I don't understand that...but I sure won't challenge him on it, either. I'm SO thankful for my husband.

11 November 2009


I've been seeing a lot of "thankful" postings on facebook this week. Several people are doing a thankful post every day until Thanksgiving, which I think is great. But, I'm going to do a thankful blog every day until Thanksgiving. My heart is full to overflowing in so many ways, even on the hardest days of all. So, I can't imagine that this will be a difficult task in the least. Indeed, it makes me sad that someone could even think they'd run out of things to be thankful for.

I had a little mental list of the order in which I wanted to state my thankfulness, but in truth I should share my heart each day, not have a hierarchy of thanks.

So, since today is Veteran's Day, I will start by saying I'm thankful for those who have served in our military and fought for our freedom. It is far from an easy job and no doubt few receive the credit truly due them for their service. I am surrounded by those who serve our country and often don't give enough consideration to what they do for me. I live this life the way I do because of them. There is much to be thankful for in that simple fact.

Today, I have planned a small lesson for Little B about Veteran's Day. He just sat down as I typed this and noticed some of the papers at his counter-top "desk" and began talking about Veteran's Day - he told me that today is for celebrating and honoring the people who used to and do work in the military. The music teacher at his school the past few years was a veteran and each year he spent his class time on Veteran's Day talking about his service. I'm so glad he did - it clearly instilled a respect in my son for our military.

I know I am surrounded by people in my life who serve or have served our country - I am honored to know them and thankful for them to the core of my being. They protect our freedom for so many things, not the least of these is the freedom to openly love and worship my Lord.

23 October 2009

pink at 11am

Friday is library day in our little homeschool world. Unless the van battery dies or someone is really sick, we take our regular trek sometime between open and close....I'm consistent like that.

This morning we managed to leave around 11am. I am torn as to whether I like story time or not since
1. only Miss C is the right age and
2. while Little B is content now to sit and read his own books for however long we're there (I took him ONCE as a preschooler...and only once), Baby J is a whole 'nother story these days; plus
3. story time is Fridays at 11:30am at our branch (also known as lunchtime and Baby J's naptime if you get my meaning).
I got in the van convincing myself I could get in and out before it started.

As it turned out, I was distracted and we stayed for story time. It went pretty well and there was even a craft for Miss C to do. Baby J only wailed during the craft part since he was tired of playing with my cell phone. Not bad.

But, I digress.
This is about why I was distracted.
And what time we were leaving. 11am.

As we drove through our small town's Main Street, there were ladies (and even men) wearing bright pink shirts, holding pink pom poms and carrying large signs ("Thank you for walking!") on the sidewalk, cheering loudly as others walked past. The crowds thickened a bit as I got closer the square, and once there, it was full of pink-clad people taking a break - you no doubt know of what I speak.

While breast cancer has never been the cause of death for someone I love, it has certainly touched my life more than once. And on this cloudy day it touched my life once more as tears clogged my throat and filled my eyes. My children wanted to know what the cheering was, why everyone was in pink, what is was all about. I could only say I'd explain in a minute. I had to say that several times since nothing else would come out of my mouth. Instead tears leaked down my face.

I was surprised by how deeply this was affecting me. It made me so proud to be among them, even for a moment. It gave me loving thoughts of the women I've known who have battled breast cancer. And it kept me from explaining to my kids until after we'd arrived at the library. But, explain it I did, slowly and choked up, and loved the compassion on my 8 year old son's face. (I took the time to suggest he not discuss it publicly, because of his age and the personal nature of the cancer.)

As we returned home, the square was drab and lonely, one pink-shirted lady on a bench with a friend, port-a-potties empty and stands being put into trucks. My kids had hoped for another chance to see the crowd and so had I. And I'm really glad I headed to the library at 11am this morning. It was definitely the right time today.

(For those of you who love to read like I do, there is a fabulous fiction novel about a woman with breast cancer - Reconstructing Natalie by Laura Jensen Walker.)

19 October 2009

moving forward

More than a year ago, I posted about my heart crossing a line.

We have not moved yet, but our hearts are still open, ready and willing. Just waiting on His timing.

Once we were ready to list our house, He changed it up on us. Suddenly, John was pulled back into the main office with no return to the remote location in the foreseeable future. He is still in the main office and we drive over an hour every few weeks to attend the Lord's Day meeting we are led to be a part of. It makes for long, long days. Our desire to be closer grows each month.

My heart is so completely toward "College Town" that it beats a little faster when we drive into that area. My love for my current house is so diminished that I find it is simply a place to reside with a tree that I adore in the back yard and a few nice features for creature comfort. My street feels cold as the neighbors have always been too busy with their own lives to get to know us - despite our many efforts. I am now homeschooling, so our initial draw to this area is no longer an issue - it was their amazing school system! God has surely been lining things up and making changes and working in our hearts for a period of time.

And now we're moving forward. We have listed our home for sale, about two months ago. It's for practical purposes - but God surely uses the practical to work out His purpose! Our peace before Him is to move partway between work and church so as to be simple and practical. We'll rent so that if there is opportunity to move again it will be an easier task.

I am eager for the adventure lying ahead, working to be patient in the wait that is now. But, at the same time, I have plenty to keep me busy in the meantime!

14 October 2009

whhhoooooooo * ** ***

cough, cough, choke, cough

Yeah, that's me blowing the dust off my humble little blog. Poor penny...long neglected.

Missed you, whoever is out there still....do I hear an echo? Oh well. No more readers, probably. I'm not even positive if I'll find time to truly revive her. But, I've decided spontaneously to give it a try. Bear with me, push me along, and help me get better, 'kay? Thanks for that vote of confidence!

We're in the midst of our first homeschool year. It is so, so much better than school ever was for Little B. He is thriving, reading like a little professor, soaking up anything he can learn, and loving (almost) every minute. Our hard moments are fewer and futher between. A beautiful thing! His struggles are so much easier to keep in hand and work with. He is halfway through the math curriculum already - so I gave him 2 weeks off; we'll pick it up again on Monday. I have used that time to dig deeper into his Lego Education unit...oh, the joy. School with Legos. It truly doesn't get any better than that. This past week he's written a story about some Secret Agent Lego adventures that he's now revising (those would be the play Lego sets, not the school ones).

Miss C...Oh, Miss C is beginning to thrive in new ways. This summer we began some holistic treatments for her food allergies (NAET). She had reached the ripe number of 12 foods she reacted to, so we were way past time to test the waters here. At the moment, she does not eat the peanuts or milk intentionally (and we plan to wait until she's an adult for that), BUT when she ate them entirely by accident (both were in the same food - leave it at a very hectic week where I blundered in a purchase big time), she never reacted at all! This is my epi-pen girl I stay terrified of rushing to the ER. She is also now able to eat carrots, and we're waiting to hear about honeydew, canteloupe and watermelon. The neatest part is that as we are strengthening her immune system in these treatments, she is beginning to have way more energy, be more bold and outgoing, and blossom like a radiant flower. It's lovely to behold!

Then there is Baby J...going on 2 in a few months, which takes my breath away. So not ready for that. He's added a hefty list of allergies to his little self as well, and we can't afford to treat them yet (my hubby has developed a few of his own...the life we live is...interseting...), but after a year of agony, I have finally got this boy sleeping through the night - by taking out those foods that the allergist said were "too low (on the bloodwork) to really call allergies". Boy howdy, the difference in our lives when the boy sleeps is amazing! I had not slept 6 hours straight in a very, very long time.

Of course, HIS allergies are not at all the same at Miss C's, but my husband and Little B both have some of the same ones that he has...so if you want to know where I've been, I've been trying to figure out what these people I claim as family CAN eat. Dinner anyone?

A new endeavor I have is a book on allergies and what to do when they happen in your family...interesting, large project for a mom with 3 kids and not enough time. But, it's what I know and I do know most of it quite well! And none of the books I have come across really lay it out simply and chase away all the confusion. That is my goal.

Off to chase a few more cobwebs away but I'll return. Really. If you come along for the ride...

04 June 2009

don't let the bed bugs bite

We don't use our master bathroom shower. Mostly, this is because it's too stinkin' far from the water heater and it's rare we can get enough hot water to call it a real shower. I like to be red from the heat - that shower has never provided what I need. The hall bath, on the other hand, comes much closer and if we've run a hot load of laundry or the dishwasher recently, I may be lucky enough to get red skinned by the end.

But that's not the point of my post. I tell you about the shower because we have failed to run water in it for a while. That means the p-trap has no water to prevent bugs from coming in (or odors, but then we haven't noticed a problem with either of these things until a few days ago). This week, we suddenly noticed several centipedes in the late evening. Not a pretty creature at 11pm to say the least.

And when you have left your pj pants on the bathroom floor (as in, next to the tub, not in the room with the potty) for a measly five minutes or so, and you then crawl into bed only to find a centipede IN your pajama pants BITING your butt (well, close to your butt, not on it), and it's too dark to see what in tarnation you've grabbed - it's really not a good thing, my friends. You will not go to sleep right away after such an event, either.

Run the water. Daily.
And don't let the bed bugs bite. It doesn't feel good. I know first hand.
I'm also wigged out by the creatures, quite thoroughly.


21 April 2009

the beginning

So, today we started homeschooling.

Yesterday was the big day of withdrawing him from school and turning in our intent to homeschool. He seemed a bit emotional and cranky and with the huge change I decided to "take a day off" on the first day. ha!

Today went decently well. I don't have official curriculum, so I'm working to cover the topics he's accustomed to in each of the main subjects....reinforcing the math and spelling, etc. For science, I tried a totally different approach - we have the book The Way Things Work by David Macaulay that completely delights Little B...so, I had him choose a topic and write a few sentences on how it works. Later this week, we'll research it online as well as at the library. If applicable he can attempt to build it. He loves to read and will do plenty of that without my prompting, so I'll encourage some history stories and have him talk about it with me. And a friend made him a special writing notebook a while back with a box of "writing prompts" to encourage stories and thoughts on paper...we'll use that as a great tool in the coming weeks as well. As for PE, he's taking Taekwondo three times a week, so it keeps it simple!

Our school system only has 5 weeks left (25 days, starting yesterday), counting this week. I gave myself a few extra weeks to finish our school year when I turned in the form just so we can get a good feel for what works best.

Next year, I will need a good curriculum. I have begun diving into the depths of this new world; I hope I surface with confidence! The options are vast and I want to choose a curriculum that will work well for him. Thankfully, I've got a few friends who homeschool and can offer tips and suggestions.

Miss C started homeschool today as well - she was SO excited that she was ready to start an hour early and did all the sheets I'd printed for most of the week. I do believe I'll need to look further for resources for her. She's hoping to learn to read soon!

Keeping up with Baby J each morning will be my biggest challenge. . .

15 April 2009

new adventures lie ahead

I've been AWOL for a while, mostly gone, rarely here. But, a new adventure lies ahead of me. What it holds, I cannot fathom. I think it will decrease the stress for my son and his struggles every day. I think it will give us a modicum of routine that is a bit less intense, allowing us to address and help cope with some more personal issues as they arise.

Little B has had a very, very hard year. He has been struggling desparately with bullies and stress and anxiety and completely unable to cope with anything by half way through the day, if he makes it that far. Suffice it to say, where we are is the culmination of months of agony for him and therefore for us.

I am almost positive I will turn in our Letter of Intent to Homeschool on Monday, perhaps even tomorrow. My life is surely about to take a change. I need to create a schoolroom from the messy bonus room upstairs, find six weeks of school work that is grade-level appropriate for him, and learn the ropes of what and how. Thankfully I am surrounded by homeschooling friends, but it feels a wee bit daunting for me. Yes, there are 6 weeks left, but the very prospect of it lightens his heart so much that the look on his face pushes me forward. I know it's the right thing.

26 March 2009

birthday bash

Last weekend my Little B turned eight. Read that: E I G H T. I'm not certain how I missed the last eight years because I swear I haven't taken my eyes off of him for half a second, but he is definitely all of eight years old. (And his glasses make him amazing cute which frightens me just a bit.) This sweet boy of mine is . . . just who God ordered. I'm so glad my Lord doesn't make mistakes. I love my Little B in ways that I never fathomed.

So, a week before his birthday we took him and three buddies to play lazer tag. What a fun way to celebrate! Actually, only dads were present, but I hear it was awesome. Definitely worth a repeat, I believe.

Then, on his real birthday we just had my family over. My mom had to work that evening, so she and my dad visited in the afternoon and had some cake with us, then after they left, my brother came over - he hadn't been sure he could make it - and he had dinner with us. (Life is short, eat dessert first!)

But the real birthday bash came around lunch time, just before my parents arrived - Little B was riding his bike and literally bashed his elbow by running into the parked car we had not yet moved out of his way....oops. He was amazing, though, not crying or screaming or complaining while I cleaned the wound. It was quite large and bloody and gross and required a bit of gauze and tape for a couple of days. No stitches, thank goodness. Now, he has a war story to tell and battle scars to prove it. (I think the car won, though...it didn't get hurt.)

16 March 2009


At the end of dinner, Baby J and I were the only ones left at the table as he seemed willing to still eat a bit more green beans and chicken. I wasn't going to rush him, and he was chomping away happily - so long as he was allowed to have a fork or spoon, par for the course with him. Suddenly he shot me a sly grin and covered his face, pausing for effect.


Accomplishment wreathed his face as he peered from behind his hands. And then again. And again. I could hardly contain my own delight so adorable was his look and so deep his pleasure at instigating this game and saying the word without help.

We've played "peek-a" many times this morning and Baby J even hid in the cabinet, sat on an oatmeal container, and pulled the door shut, opening it to play his new favorite game.

Oh the joy!

06 March 2009


I feel like I'm pulling a huge, heavy load of treasure through rocky, uncertain terrain. I know we'll get there, and I know it's so incredibly worth it, and so often I can see the valuables glistening in there, but sometimes it's just...hard.

I have to remind myself that overall we've made noticeable progress, frustrating though it is. But I always feel we slide backward through the winter. Three steps forward, two steps backward. It makes a journey feel so long.

26 February 2009


I drive Little B to and from school each day.
There is a small, hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant that I pass on that drive.
Both directions.
That's twice a day. Actually, four times since I go back home the same direction after dropping him off or picking him up.

So, I inevitably crave cheese dip with jalapenos - twice a day. (I figure if I pass it again in only a few minutes, the initial craving has not ended yet...it just gets stronger.)
It's even better with a Dr. Pepper.
And good company.

Good thing I only have my kids in the car and don't ever stop!

25 February 2009

something new

Sunday afternoon I asked Little B to tell me what time it was. He walked over to the kitchen door and paused. Then opened the baby gate and stepped into the kitchen.

He kept hesitating, so I came to the doorway and said, "Right there, on the stove or microwave."

"I know," he replied. "I can't see it."

I was surprised. I'm not sure why I was surprised since an eye doctor had thought he'd need glasses over a year ago, but I had him step closer until he could see it. He was roughly 6-8 feet from the little digital numbers when he could read it. I took him yesterday for his eye exam. Poor kid. He had to miss almost then entire day of school . . . haha!

After the exam confirmed he needed glasses, we headed to Lens Crafters. (I have used them several times, and I've always been happy. But let me tell you now just how great they are. I have a discount plan for eye care. But they have a Kid's Plan. It is better than my plan; they offer 50% off kid's frames and lenses until they are 13 years old.) And, of course, we came home with them on his face. He's so cute.

And I have to say, he is ecstatic. His two best buddies in class have glasses already. As he experimented with what he could and could not see yesterday, he decided he has "super human vision" now. If he could carry such an attitude through life, he'll do well.

The down side of this showed itself this morning, however. Upon coming into the living room, he look up and commented that the fan sure was dirty. And he could even see the dust particles. . . !

16 February 2009

it's monday again

I think I'm starting to feel Monday in my bones...and it lasts most of the week with little reprieve. I've been in for a long haul recently. And I promise I'm not complaining. It is what it is. I'm just barely hanging on by a thread, though.

So, a funny story about this morning:
I was attempting to do dishes around the 13 month old walker who loves to pull out pots and pans all over the floor...as well as plastic cups and surplus non perishables from another allowable cupboard. I needed to take out the trash - still do, in fact. And when I turned around, there he was digging into the garbage with a handful of spaghetti that he was LOVING. After cleaning him up and moving him out, I discovered he also had found a Dr. Pepper can and was attempting to drink from it. Yeah, moved that away really fast.

Honestly, it was pretty hysterical. And he was so proud. . . .

09 February 2009

the party

Nope. No pictures. Though I did finally download THREE MONTHS of pictures so that I could take a few of the party. Yeah, I'm grand that way.

So, I survived. It helps that only one couple with their three kids and another mom with two kids showed up. Plus my parents. Little B had two friends and Miss C had two friends. One of Miss C's friends was a boy who played with the big boys. Miss C therefore had one little girl to play with. But, that suited her just fine. We had a huge 4-layer cake of which I cut massive slices for those little bodies. Ha. Cake cutting has always been an issue for me. I don't like being responsible for it.

I was a madwoman cleaning and cake-decorating between Friday night and Saturday morning. Things were as good as they were going to get. My husband mopped, I vacuumed. My husband did dishes and folded clothes, I put away the enormous amount of toys littered across the floor.

And, I will NOT have my son's party at my house. While I am not the messiest person I've met, and while my house was in worse shape than usual before this party (meaning it shouldn't have been quite so traumatic to fix it up), I am just not up for that again. Nope. I will now proceed to wrack my brain for something 8 year old boys would love to do.

~Pay for a cool place that allows up to 15 kids (meaning everyone invited can bring siblings and still not meet the 15 people b/c I just won't have THAT many kids to deal with; I won't!) and offers a party room for 1.5 hours.

~Take Little B and 2 or 3 friends to miniature golf at a fun place, then have to figure out where is okay to feed them cake since such places do not offer party rooms that I'm aware of.

~(Chuck E. Cheese is out thanks to dairy issues, which I am JUST fine with!)

~Take our kids and 2 or 3 of his friends to an Aquarium for a few hours...still leaving us with a cake issue. How can you have a party and no cake???

~. . . . . . ?

Yup. I'm tapped out. And one of our guests is severely debilitated due to a brain tumor, so roller skating won't be an option (it would a great choice otherwise, since Little B loves to skate, they have less expensive party packages, and I can bring in my own cake! We'd just skip the pizza.)

All that said, I have 6 weeks and Little B is ALL ABOUT figuring it out. Me too. I want it done and out of the way. He's bummed his birthday falls on a Saturday, though, since he wanted to have his party "early" - ha! I can't justify it. I just can't. I don't think.

Got kids who need me, errands to run and naps I'd rather take. I'm not even spell checking so I can JUST GET THIS POSTED.

Ta ta!

06 February 2009


I am procrastinating badly at the moment.
See, life has been going on full speed ahead, pot holes included. Fun times for another post if I'm up to it. It has left me in denial, drained, blue as a midnight sky, and overindulgent in the chocolate of the house.

But in the midst of that, I have a little girl who is having a party tomorrow for her 4th birthday. The first real party she's had of her own with full blown excitement and sparkle in her eyes. She has asked me for weeks when it would be.

My dirty little secret? I HATE KID'S PARTIES.
Nothing stresses me out quite like figuring out how to plan them, who to invite, and what to do at them.

I know, mom of the year. I loathe them deeply. They are the bane of my existence and I now have three kids with birthdays three months in a row. No reprieve whatsoever. Now, let me give you a word picture of my house:

I am sitting at the kitchen table with my wishy-washy laptop that's a cold weather friend - regularly freezes on me. A mere ten feet away, my sweet Baby J is gleefully basking in the pots and pans and lids strewn around the floor near him; there is also a container with large alphabet letters - perhaps he had soup in mind? My kitchen counters stay piled with the million and one things I need to finish sorting, tossing, filing, mailing, finding homes for.... (I will insert a kudos for me: the dish washer is running and four chocolate cakes from scratch are now cooled on the counter - made with the help of Miss C.)

Through the door straight ahead I see the living room where the DVD is still playing Rolie Polie Olie for the millionth time since it keeps starting itself over. And over. The floor in there was a light case of baby toys and once-folded-clean-laundry that Baby J pulled down, but now that the older kids are messing around, the mess is a bit muckier. (I have refolded clothes so many times I could cry...or maybe that's not really why, but you get the point. They are always on the floor before I can get the job finished.)

Next to that is the dining room turned playroom - the one we've never-no-not-even-once-eaten-in - and Baby J and Miss C have turned it upside down this week while I worried about clean bathrooms and birthday cakes and phone calls from the school and little things such as that. In there, the bins of toys are emptied, the easel has been tipped and therefore moved to an inconvenient nook of the room, the hamster is on the table in dire need of fresh bedding for his cage, and the things that had not yet been reorganized a couple of weeks ago still mightily adorn the top of the "shelves", aka baby changing table turned shelf.

My husband has just called to say he's still working. He was barely able to talk so intent on work was he. As it's been most of the week. I should be thankful for the work. I am. But it's really so much more than that.

My week is not over. I have a house to clean, three kids to feed and a weeping soul. I don't think I'll ask what that crash was in the other room. I really don't want to know. I swore after last year's joint party at Build-A-Bear for the two older ones that I'd never have a birthday party at home again. I am a moron. I cannot believe I planned this. I thought it would be simple enough...only 3 friends (plus at least one parent for each kid, my parents and my brother - not so simple).

I do not want to cook dinner.
I do not know what I am going to cook for dinner. Eggs again? Perhaps.
I do not want a party in my house tomorrow.
I do not want to deal with people, talk to people, be sociable, be nice, be polite.
I do not want to cope with any one's "issues", namely my children's, at the moment.

I want to go to bed.
I want my husband to come home and let me crawl under the covers while he fixes dinner and cleans the house and figures out where the yards and yards of paper chain will be hung.
I want him to remember that Little B especially wanted balloons for his sister as a surprise.
I want him to watch Little B's magic show rehearsal one more time before he performs it at her party - another special thing for his sister.
I want to escape.

And so I have face-booked, read blogs and posted this. And now it's 6pm.
Yeah, they are so having eggs and leftover pancakes.
Except Baby J can't have eggs. He'll have to have another pancake. They have chocolate chips in them.


04 February 2009

miss c

Yesterday, my baby girl turned four.

As some of you may recall, she was not the smallest baby in the ward, and she certainly came with her share of complications that day. We have her arm evaluated each year, and this year's came back with a need to work on a few very minor things. They are things we should be able to accomplish at home, which I am so thankful for. Next year's evaluation will probably be the last unless further issues evolve, which is doubtful. I stand amazed still at how far she came in so short of a time. And her big baby status is gone with the wind - Miss C is a pixie-like little girl, full of tiny giggles and sweet softness. Even in the pictures from one year ago, I see that baby roundness has given way to a small-framed, petite young lady in the making. I cannot wait to see what special plans God has for my daughter.

Since she will have a small party this Saturday, yesterday was made special in several small ways:

Lunch at Arby's - plain popcorn chicken and curly fries are "safe" for her

Birthday Pictures at Target - Baby J got his 1 year pictures at the same time . . .

Dinner of her choice - scrambled eggs and bacon - since I can't have eggs there were also pancakes, but she wasn't having any part of that!

Chocolate Cake - made in the late afternoon since I had not had a chance prior to that; she'll get another one for her party

Surprise Guests - my parents joined us for dinner

Presents - the two biggest things she got were a Melissa & Doug Fold & Go Dollhouse (I had a gift card and a coupon toward that!) and a pair of "pink sparkly shoes" that she'd been talking about for a few weeks. She had a friend stop in briefly at the end of the Christmas Break and as girls do, they compared new shoes! =P Miss C had brown suede-like Mary Janes with flowers, "But Annie had pink sparkly shoes, Mommy!" Now Miss C does, too.

My prayer for my sweet girl this year is that her heart would become ever more open and she would begin to long for the Lord to fill her spirit - even to receive Him as her Savior in this coming year.

26 January 2009

as soon as you make the call

So I was not poisoned by food, I was attacked by a bug - the stomach bug that seems to be rockin' the nation. Oh yeah, it's nasty. But, short lived. At least for most of us.

I was weak but surviving on Friday. Which was good since Baby J has been sick since Friday when he first threw up...as in lots more puking, dehydration and a variation of lethargy and playfulness. He's been holding his food down a bit better since yesterday, but still not perfectly. I finally broke down and called the doctor and he's to be seen in a couple of hours - too many days of throwing up for a little one. Of course, now he's playing his heart out, happy as a lark. Yup. Soooo glad I need to spend a copay on the booger. Sigh.

Of course, Miss C has been a crank pot all weekend with no appetite - and ran 101.3 last night. A dose of Motrin and she was right as rain - just still not eating much of anything and complaining of a tummy ache on occasion. That's it.

Oh, and Little B puked last night. A lot. He's on the mend, too, though. I wish he'd done it yesterday morning so I could send him to school today. He had perfect attendance until today, so he's bummed, but then our regimen of couch time and TV for the sick makes that a lot better.

And in trade? The kids gave me the cold they had last week. Gotta love a good trade.

23 January 2009


On Monday, all three of my kids got runny noses, sneezes, etc - classic colds. The last cold we had started during Thanksgiving break and followed the domino effect - first, Little B, then Miss C, Baby J and finally me. Those were a LONG few weeks as this was also when I had eliminated tons of food from my diet to figure out Baby J's allergies...Oh, and it was SO the cold-that-never-ends, it went on and on my friends; some people started getting it not knowing what it was....

Monday, I dreaded what the week would hold - would it be better to have it all at once and be done or would it take forever to go away and I'd be stuck with three miserable kids for two weeks? Five days later, I'd have to say it's definitely better all at once - after all, they can all get up in the same 1 hour window in the middle of the night (while my husband was working late, no less) and then follow up with a variety of problems: Little B is weathering it fairly well, truth be told - sneezing, dripping nose, and hanging in there, thank goodness. But Miss C was really fun - wheezing at 2am which ultimately took us to the doctor yesterday morning since her last round of wheezing was so long ago that her inhaler was very expired (she's not an asthma patient...yet). I'm just grateful they gave me a sample to get it started and it seems that's all we'll be needing, no extra meds. She's doing much better today. Then there's Baby J He is puking mucous this morning. Oh fun. And he wakes up miserable in the night with some coughing and sneezing. Overall, though, he's on the upswing, too...which means day five and we're well past the worst of it. I cannot tell you the relief that brings me.

Especially since I got food poisoning yesterday. Well, I'm feeling fairly certain it came from Wednesday night's pulled pork at a nearby BBQ restaurant (we had to make an ill-timed trip to W-mart and that was close by). Something didn't set right after that meal and by last night - boy howdy, nothing was set right. My her0, my husband got home right before the fun really began and then he got a taste of my nights in true form: how often Baby J wakes up, how as the morning draws closer he can't be laid back down and so it goes. I told him that over the holidays he let me sleep in and helped a ton around the house (which drew much compassion and kindness and "I don't know how you do it - I'm going out of my mind" scenarios, though he's always very nice about it anyway); last night, he got to see the other side that led up to my double exhaustion every day - the constant waking up all stinkin' night long. I was just too weak to hold Baby J and it made me dizzy to carry him over to his crib. And so, my husband was awake every time the little one was. At first, not so bad. Then, before 4am he could no longer fall deeply asleep and would stand and scream as soon as we laid him down. After half and hour, he willingly fell asleep next to my husband - though a little later he woke up and puked which began that part of the fun. By 5am, my husband just got up. We took turns holding Baby J until he had been sacked out so long he slept in his crib without flinching.

This sleep thing - it's something we're trying to figure out. His tummy is bothering him in the early hours, we think, and have started a little extra meds (per the dr) to soothe it, but since he is a "crib sleeper" versus in our bed like the other two, the early hours of nursing and being moved back to his crib are too much transition. We don't know how to solve it - and giving him his "own" space seems, well, difficult. Which child should he share a room with, etc? Sigh. That's it's own post for another day perhaps.

Today - I'm so weak. So sore. Still not done making potty trips. I really hope my mom can come help out - at least you can't catch food poisoning and the colds are on their way out the door.

14 January 2009

first steps

About a week ago, Baby J started taking a couple steps at a time. Just one or two before collapsing into giggles in my arms. Last night, he made it about 7 or 8 steps before the giggling heap landed. He's so thrilled with his new accomplishment.

This morning he's been exceptionally tired and cranky which made for less productive walking practice which made for less than happy results - he was mad he wasn't making it as far as last night.

I definitely have a third child on my hands. Both of my other kids walked at 14 months. We're a week into 12 months with this one. And yesterday, he tried to climb the baby gate. As in, finding foot holes in the lattice-style gate. He also climbed onto a toy that nearly propelled him over the gate (I did get a picture before moving the toy and the baby . . . patting myself on the back). I can see that my gate choices will be changing very, very soon.

Now, I must get off the computer. I must. I'm spending far, far too much time on it this week and easily avoiding all other tasks. Of course, I'd rather be napping like Baby J, but that doesn't appear to be an option with a nearly four year old on the loose who wants to play a game with her mama.

13 January 2009

on tags and late fees and misc silliness

I forgot to get my emissions and tags taken care of before my birthday. This did not occur to me until Sunday afternoon on the way home from church when we passed a sign that said, "Emissions". It actually startled me! (The mental lapse is no doubt a sign of my aging...)

Yesterday, I made a trip to get emissions, changing locations so I could drive through without taking kids out of the car. Then, I went home to pay for the tags online, hoping to avoid a trip to the DMV (especially since the nearst location was closed on Mondays). But Miss C wanted to sit next to me in the passenger seat (this is a special treat when Baby J is sleeping and I dare not move him and we sit forever with the car running in the driveway). Thing was, Baby J was NOT asleep. He was fussy and wanted out of his car seat. So, I brought my laptop out to the van, let Miss C climb into the passenger seat and put Baby J in my lap where he turned on windshield wipers, accidentally honked the horn about eight times (which made him turn and jump into my arms alarmed but giggling every time), rolled down windows ("Mommy, why is my window going down when I didn't push the button?!?!"), turned up the radio (which also made him turn and jump into my arms alarmed but giggling every time), and tried to play with the laptop I was working on between the seats.

Only partway through the process I noticed the late fee didn't show up so I called to talk to a real person to make sure I was still allowed to pay online since I was, indeed, late. (No need being penalized by the tags not going through and my not knowing it or something. ) The lady gave me a new "RIN" (Renewal Identification Number, for those who have never done this) to log in with and said if I used that, there would be no late fee "today only". I must say, that was a bit like a late birthday present!

When at last I was done, my kids were still having the time of their lives wondering why windows went up and down all by themselves and jumping into mommy's arms with alarmed giggles while she posted her hilarious status on facebook. It was too good of a "status" NOT to post it, you know?

Then, I drug the kids inside as I was completely done with the close quarters.

11 January 2009

my turn

So I turned 33 yesterday. I totally remember turning 30 and posting that on here. I guess I've been around for a while, huh? I'm not really as diligent as some in keeping track of how long I've blogged or how many posts. I do remember when I started blogging and I know I can see a count of how many...but, I digress.

That's what I was going to talk about. I must tell you that I no longer care if anyone remembers my birthday. And it used to be SO IMPORTANT. All I wanted was for a few of my closest friends to remember me on that one day of the year. Now? Uh, feel free to forget, because I forget it myself! I never understood how my mom could possibly forget it was her birthday. I get it now. In fact, we had Baby J's 1st Birthday "Party" (meaning one other couple and us, that's it) on MY birthday. When one of my best friends called that evening to wish me a happy birthday, I was totally surprised that it really was my birthday. Kinda cracked me up. (The irony is that I had about 16 birthday wishes on facebook - not that I minded...heheh!)

No, I had not forgotten all day...but it was not foremost on my mind upon waking. We did have brunch at a favorite restaurant. And we stopped at a garage sale on the way home (yeah, you know you live in the deep south when there are garage sales in JANUARY). I got a new table and chairs at that garage sale; we made it my birthday present. haha. Life is simpler that way.

And the evening was reserved for a wonderful dinner with our friends - surrogate/extra grandparents for our kids (my own family all had other things planned....hohum). Ah well. I saw them today. And we lunched together and enjoyed our Lord together, so that was far better than just dinner anyway.

So, that was my 33rd birthday.
And now, Baby J needs to get to bed, so I'll bid you adieu and see you soon....

07 January 2009


Baby J is one today. A year ago, I was gazing at the sweet round face of a new little person in my life. A little person I have been completely in love with every since.

This morning, I was dozing and holding him at the same time that he was born - 6:30am. I wish I had been more alert - I wanted to think on it and gaze at him...of course, I've done that much of today anyway. He has been extra lovey on me, bestowing so many kisses on my face, snuggling and just being sweet. I cannot believe an entire year has passed. He amazes me and delights me and exhausts me (which I know I've covered thoroughly, so I will spare you another round).

Truly, everywhere I go, people stop to look at his sweetness. They comment on how very happy he is - and they're right. He's a happy boy. He's also mischievous and finds his way into laundry baskets and bins, under the piles of laundry he delightfully unloads from where ever I am folding (or not folding), and has the cheekiest little grin matched with deep, sparkly blue eyes. I am even more enamored now than a year ago, if that is possible.

Happy birthday my little one.

(When I can relocate the cord for downloading pictures, I will show you one...I really will!)

05 January 2009

a recap:

So it's a new year, and I am praying that it's not quite as difficult as the past year has been. Truly, the lows have swung pretty low, but the highs have been wonderful, so it's been a bit of a roller coaster ride.

Baby J has been amazing to add to the family, but the past months have been a trial of needing sleep and tummy agony for him. I do think I've probably solved his issues: eggs. They were the one food that instantly caused the issues to resurface - within three hours! Poor, poor baby. I've double checked that to be sure it wasn't incidental, and I know it's eggs. Man, I'm missing them, too. I would almost give up my beloved dairy for some good french toast, omelets, fried eggs over easy, BROWNIES (even baked into the food it bothers him ...boohoo). We even had an allergy test that didn't show this, so who knows what's really going on with it. I have a couple more foods to add back, but they're not as likely to be a problem. Even dairy - the thing neither of the other kids can have - doesn't appear to phase him. Though after 7 weeks without any type of dairy in my diet, it was a little tough to add in - my body had to readjust! I no longer care for milk. It is hard on my stomach and increases the whole drainage in the throat thing that I'm not a fan of. Not badly, but I never noticed it until it was gone. Now, I'm thinking that limited dairy is a more pleasant thing anyway. I'll just turn into a vegan. It'd be easier!

Of course, nights are not perfect yet, but what with trying to walk and cutting big bad teeth in the back of his mouth, that's pretty normal. "This too shall pass." I must remind myself.

There has been a lot of deep, long-needed healing in my family. Not with one another - we're a fairly close, small family, but many years ago we went through some things and this year the Lord has brought healing and closure and moving forward into our lives. We are so blessed beyond words. His healing can go much deeper than anything we can try to do ourselves.

For the past week and a half, my wonderful husband has been home. I love that man, I really do. He let me sleep in every single day. Well, I got up early once because it just worked out, but that was through no fault of his. And by sleep in, I mean 9:45 to 10am...every time. I have not felt so rested in ages (I'd be up in the night, but the last 3 or 4 hours were uninterrupted, deep, amazing sleep!). In fact, the whole family benefited from a less grogged-out mommy and wife who could hold her temper a bit easier. :) He also did dishes every day and a long honey-do list was man-handled. Sweetness, I tell you. I'm so sad to see him return to work today. But mostly, it's because I just loved seeing his face and talking to him all day long.

Today, I sliced open my thumb pitting an avocado. It bled like the dickens, too. But, it's doing all right and I'm surviving. So typical of me. I tell you, knives and me, we don't get along so well as history has proven.

On the bright side, I opened an early birthday present. No more waiting - at my age, that's not worth it. I'll just enjoy it a few days longer this way. What I got? A most wonderful book on crochet stitches. From my friend, bluehose, who was home for the holidays and when we met up she listened to me whine that the right kind of book wasn't on the shelves at the bookstore. So, she found what I wanted and mailed it to me. Now, I need to go gaze longingly at it... :)