Monday, December 21, 2009

The Touch of a Master's Hand

I heard this poem today and thought it was beautiful. It is not one I had heard before but it definitely struck a note with me this evening. I am going to be out of town for a few days but expect loads of pictures when I return (wee... I have my camera back). We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and hope that the new year brings new hope and continued blessings to you all.



The Touch of the Masters Hand

Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer
thought it scarcely worth his while to waste much time on the old violin,
but held it up with a smile; "What am I bidden, good folks," he cried,
"Who'll start the bidding for me?" "A dollar, a dollar"; then two!" "Only
two? Two dollars, and who'll make it three? Three dollars, once; three
dollars twice; going for three.." But no, from the room, far back, a
gray-haired man came forward and picked up the bow; Then, wiping the dust
from the old violin, and tightening the loose strings, he played a melody
pure and sweet as caroling angel sings.

The music ceased, and the auctioneer, with a voice that was quiet and low,
said; "What am I bid for the old violin?" And he held it up with the bow.
A thousand dollars, and who'll make it two? Two thousand! And who'll make
it three? Three thousand, once, three thousand, twice, and going and
gone," said he. The people cheered, but some of them cried, "We do not
quite understnad what changed its worth." Swift came the reply: "The touch
of a master's hand."

And many a man with life out of tune, and battered and scarred with sin,
Is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd, much like the old violin, A
"mess of pottage," a glass of wine; a game - and he travels on. "He is
going" once, and "going twice, He's going and almost gone." But the Master
comes, and the foolish crowd never can quite understand the worth of a soul
and the change that's wrought by the touch of the Master's hand.

Myra 'Brooks' Welch

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Jealous

My husband is in Germany and my brother is at the Colts/Broncos game. I am jealous of both. My ears would be miserable at the Colts (I wore earplugs at the last Colts game I went to and still had mega problems) so I am trying to use that as incentive to not be AS jealous of the stellar seats my brother has his hiney in right now... but it is not working. The history making game is overriding all logic.

Tomorrow Mr. Wonderful comes home. I. Can. Not. Wait. I miss him and am ready for my best friend to be home again! Our kiddos miss him and are ready for their daddy to be home. I am ready to not feel completely touched out at the end of every day (kids are way too clingy when one of their parents disappear for 2 weeks). Ready to be able to do something or go out by myself with out small children. And ready for the best hugs ever :)

I am tired and am thinking about taking a nap. I have taken naps with the boys nearly every day and my house is a mess. BUT I don't feel bad... they are wearing me out and I am more than willing to admit that I would be a horrible single mom. I don't know how single parents do it! They have lots of respect from me. But tomorrow will be spent cleaning. Wee. And going to a Christmas party. Woohoo. And picking up my very handsome and incredibly missed husband. Yipee!

But right now, I am just jealous of MW beautiful scenery and new experiences and my baby brothers killer seats at the Colts game (oh yea, I am a girl and I am a HUGE football fan... GO COLTS!)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Santa Claus is NOT coming to town...

Well, maybe he is coming to town but he doesn't drop packages off at our home.  I have been considered the odd one out with this since our oldest son had his first Christmas and we announced to our families that we really had no intention of doing Santa. "What! No Santa!?!, That is just mean" or something like that. I don't think they actually *think* we are mean but it was a big part of both my husbands and my Christmases. But as I got older, I realized there were some very distinct things about the big jolly guy that I just didn't like.

The first and foremost reason I don't do Santa is because, as a Christian family, we celebrate the birth of Jesus on Christmas. This isn't to say those who do Santa don't or that Christmas is only a Christian holiday (I realize we kind of hijacked it anyway). So, in essence, I don't want Santa to take away from why our family celebrates Christmas (and as a season, Advent).

Also, I don't tell my children things that are untrue intentionally. This is just my opinion but I want my integrity to be as consistent as possibe in their lives. I know... this seems overboard and I think this is what my family thinks is interesting. But I try very hard to not let my children believe things are true when they are not (and we don't discriminate against just Santa, we don't pretend other holiday characters are real either). When we talk about Santa in our house, we talk about it as a story about a man who delivers presents to children on Christmas Eve night so they can open gifts in the morning (and we will be introducing SM to St. Nicholas this year too as a way of teaching him how Santa came to be). It is just like any other story to us. We haven't gotten into the whole... some children believe this story is true and you shouldn't ruin it for them yet though. Super Muscles is nearly 4 and still completely oblivious to Santa and other peoples holiday traditions. I just don't really see a valuable reason to be dishonest with them. My husband doesn't really think its overly harmful for them to genuinely believe (and neither do I necessarily but I still don't feel comfortable doing it) but he is respectful of my opinion on the matter.

And here is down right honesty from me... I don't like entitlement and I think Santa is one way our society has taught children to be entitled. Again, not every family does this. This is just what I see as I step back and look at the holiday festivities as a whole. I don't want our whole Christmas season to be about what the kids want from Santa. I don't want every trip to the store to be about what they want or NEED. Or about lists and I don't like telling kids to be good because Santa is watching (they should be obedient to their parents whether they think Santa is watching or not... right?).

I also want my children to know who they get gifts from and to learn to show appreciation for the things they get from others'. This is why we put from mommy and daddy on their stockings and gifts. And I want to focus on giving to others who have so many more needs than we do.

So there you have it... many of the reasons we don't do Santa.

Ah, but Santa is not the only fun to be had on Christmas. We are making our own traditions as we go along. And we are enjoying learning how to make Christmas meaningful in a way that is not typical but suits our family.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Do people care if you are "real"?

I was talking to a friend about Christmas letters the other day and we were having a bit of a back and forth trying to figure out what people want from them. Do you sugar coat life so you have an upbeat letter? You obviously can't focus on all the problems because that would be just... downright depressing. You can sprinkle in trials and try to keep it upbeat but I don't know if people want that either. And this has gotten me going down a path of thinking about what people want or expect of us.

I think so many times, people really don't want us to be "real" in life. They ask us how we are doing but they don't actually care. Telling them about the good things leaves them uncomfortable and telling them about the bad does the same thing. Maybe in a different way but you either seem prideful or pitiful at the end of the conversation if you do either of these. But people sure talk like they want the real story. I don't understand it. Why even ask someone how they are doing? I find that there are only a few people in my life that genuinely want to know how I am doing. The friends who want to know struggles and successes and everything in between I am realizing are so rare and precious. I am glad that I have a few people in my life who care. And I guess I will try to stumble awkwardly through the multiple situations where I try to guess how much the people who don't care actually want to know.

I miss my husband... a lot. I mean, some people make good use of a break from their spouse and don't miss a major beat but I feel pretty lost without mine. I am SO tired taking care of the boys alone. They are proving to be challenging in new ways since their daddy left. I appreciate Mr. Wonderful a lot. He is an involved and caring partner and dad and I can't wait to see his sweet face on Monday. We got a postcard from him today and Super Muscles was beside himself excited. I am hoping I can push through the next few days without getting too bummed. I feel very overwhelmed and upset tonight. Just a lot going on and we usually cuddle up in bed and talk about stuff every night.

I think I need to stop before I reveal too much that you all don't REALLY want to hear ;) I am off to bed because I feel like I haven't slept in days or something.

Oh yea, my thought process is totally not coherent tonight and I don't even care... so there!

Monday, December 7, 2009

I am going deaf, could you PLEASE speak up?

I am so frustrated with not being able to hear anything lately. I feel like I am constantly saying "huh", "what did you say", "I am sorry, I didn't catch that" and I feel like people think I am rude. I am not rude, I just can't hear you. I can't hear my own kid most of the time unless I am looking directly into his face and he is within a few feet of me. I can't hear some soft spoken people no matter how hard I try to focus. I can't hear conversations if there is too much background noise. I just plain can't hear. Generally I have the pleasure of being around people who understand this about me but sometimes I feel like such a freak. I was at the Dr. office today with my kids and a lady was trying to talk to me. I have no. idea. what she said to me. Something about her granddaughter and she is two... and this was with asking her to repeat herself. And she just looked at me like... "what is wrong with her?" I am just feeling a little defeated today. A little uncertain about what all this means for my future. Hoping that getting fluid out of my ear and my allergies under control really will improve my hearing at least some. But mostly, I am feeling a little sorry for myself today. And that is okay for now because I will be over it in a little bit and I will keep plugging along trying to get help. But for a few minutes I am going to let myself be sad about it.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

I got good friends :)

I have been at home with the boys, alone, for almost a week now. I miss my husband terribly. He is such a help to me when he is home. And I get more sleep when he is home (usually). But I want to say thanks to everyone of my friends who is helping me make it through the two weeks of single momhood right now. I have had a friend keep my big kid over night so I could get some things done that he really couldn't go with me to do. Someone let me borrow their DVD player since ours isn't reading discs right (movies have been a saving grace at some points of the week). I have had play dates and dinner dates that have occupied a couple of evenings.  Friends who are like local grandparents for my boys took us out a couple of nights. Lots of help from friends at a Christmas White Elephant Exchange (sorry S that Super Muscles ate one of your nuts and put it back into the cup...). I just have fabulous friends so thanks for making my first week at home with the boys a bit easier. I look forward to spending more time with many of you next week.

This morning was a rough one for us. I took the kids out because Super Muscles was having a kind of hard morning. I thought he needed something to do to keep his mind off of daddy being gone. So we went to Lincoln Square and walked around and looked at all the things the vendors were selling. It was nice. UNTIL... I let him go into artmart to play with the train tables. He did fine until after his 10, 5, 2 minute warnings we had to go home. Yea... screaming banshee. "I DON'T LIKE YOU MOM!" (I totally thought teenagers were who did that). So I told him that I was taking the baby and going to the next place and he followed along screaming at me like I kicked him or something. He made a big scene. I know he doesn't really dislike me... most of the time. I think he is just super frustrated with his dad being gone and doesn't really know how to express it appropriately. He is, after all, only 3 yrs old.

Then I took him/them to mcdonalds for lunch so he could play and get good and tire for a nap( i know.. we did mcdonalds twice in a week... don't judge me for my actions when the husband is away). And he was fabulous, again, until we had to leave. This time it involved him screaming "NO" at me and crossing his little arms in defiance. He would. not. budge. So i picked him up and took him by the shoe thing. He laid on the floor and refused to help get his shoes on so I put them on for him which resulted in more screaming. I stayed calm but he just got worse and worse and worse. After the shoes, I told him to go get his jacket and hat and the "I DON'T LIKE YOU MOM" thing started again and he hit under a table and wrapped his arms AND legs around the table post. I found his jacket, pryed him off the table and forced it on him. Then, like at the mall, I walked away and told him where I was going and he followed after me screaming and carrying on. "I am NOT leaving McDonalds NEVER Mom!". He waited on the side walk then refused to get into the car after I got his brother into the car. So I picked him up and stuffed him into his car seat and told him if he screamed at me or spoke to me disrespectfully again we would be stopping the car and finding a bathroom for a spanking. He sat quietly for a few blocks and Just. Like. That... he was done. "Mom, it is okay. I am happy again". WOW.


So hopefully he got his crazy grumpy stuff out of the way for a little while and we will have some better days. It just amazes me how he was just done. What must be going through little minds during scenarios like that? I am so glad we had a better afternoon and evening and am praying for his sweet little self. Things are probably just so confusing to him right now and he is being easily overwhelmed. So just keep my 3 yr old in your thoughts.

 A random picture of Heidelberg since I don't have my camera. MW sent it to me today.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

I am alive!

Yep, believe it or not... I am still here. We have gone 3 whole days without daddy here and we are still doing okay. I only half say this in jest. It has been mostly good but I have had some rough moments with Super Muscles. Tuesday after his nap, he spazzed right out. "I just miss my daddy, you need to take me to Chicago so I can fly over the ocean to Germany and see him" (Ps... kids are smart). He asks about his daddy constantly and it has been a struggle to get him motivated to go to sleep without seeing daddy before bed. He is getting up numerous times asking to sleep in my bed, to brush his teeth again, to go pee again, to hug his brother, to call his dad (who is WELL into dream land by the time Super Muscles goes to bed) and the list goes on. It is a bit frustrating but I also understand he has no real concept of time and having Mr. Wonderful gone for so long is stressing him out. I wonder if he feels abandoned. I keep reassuring him that Daddy will be back though. And as long as we stay pretty busy, he is doing okay.

I sent the camera off with MW so I don't and won't have any recent pics of the boys for a couple of weeks. That makes me sad but I figured my husband would like to document his trip.

My head has been hurting since Tuesday morning. I think all this balloon business is making me have a persistent headache. I get dizzy and light headed when I blow balloons up with my mouth so I am drawing a logical conclusion that this is why I now am having issues with a slight headache for days on end. At least it isn't too bad. I just need to plug through 3 weeks of this silly looking treatment to see if we can get my right ear unclogged for another hearing test. Praying it works. I also need to call my ENT... i can't find the copies of my last allergy test so they need to send for copies (pain in the butt) or I will need another allergy test (which is more like crazy itchies on the arms). I am thankful today that we are moving in the direction of figuring out why my hearing is so bad and hopefully finding a better solution for my allergies.

Now.. I am off to try and nap for a little while while the boys are in bed. I am one tired mama this week! Having no break from my children has been a bit exhausting. I am glad that Mr. Wonderful is getting such an awesome opportunity though. Praying he does well and missing him like crazy in the mean time.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Ears and planes and stuff

I finally had my long awaited ENT apt today. I found out I have pretty significant hearing loss in my right ear (considered moderate). This is really not a surprise to me. The good news is that some or maybe a lot of the hearing loss is reversible if we can get fluid out of my ears and keep it out. So for the next 3 weeks I have to blow up a balloon with my nose, hold the air in the balloon and swallow (otovent). I have to do this 3 times a day. It opens up my Eustachian tubes and will hopefully allow the fluid to drain out of my ears. It hurts though :(. The negative pressure makes my ears pop like crazy and it is not a good feeling. I hope I can get used to it to do it for the next 3 weeks. Sadly this is an OTC thing so my insurance didn't cover it. It was not an expense that I needed but I had to get it in order to ultimately figure out what is going on with my ears. I had a tympanogram done along with my hearing test and, as I already knew, I def have fluid behind my eardrum in my right ear. Normal tympanogram is a bell curve and mine is a flat line which means my ear drum doesn't move... at all. This is because there is fluid pushing against it. No matter what has been done in the past, the fluid comes back so while I hope this helps and gets me to a point where we can tell what my actual hearing is (unhindered by the fluid), I know it is no long term solution. The idea is to get a good, factual, non fluid filled hearing test and to try and figure out how to control my allergies (thinking allergy shots since nothing else has worked) and ear infections so that I no longer get fluid behind my ears. The tinnitus and other odd sensations I have in my ears are put on hold until we hopefully, at the very least, partially correct my hearing and get my allergies under control. Not sure if that makes sense but... that is the plan anyway.

In other news, we sent Daddy off to Germany for 2 weeks today. It was sad. I miss him already. SM misses him already too. I don't think the baby has noticed his absence yet though. He is gone through the 14 of December. He will be hanging out in the beautiful city of Heidelberg and doing research at the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics (its up in the forest and overlooks the city... he is a lucky boy). Anyway... he is working in Astroparticle Physics there... doing fancy research. He will be boarding his plane in about 40 min or so for the 9 hour flight across the ocean. I hope he does well with the time change. He is going to be dragging for a couple of days probably but they do have a couple of days before the real work begins. Anyway, 2 weeks alone with the boys is kind of scary for me. I have done many weeks with just the big kid and a week with both but this seems extra hard. I pray I am pleasantly surprised by how it goes. If you want to get together with us... let me know. I think the main thing I will need to do is keep Super Muscles busy busy so he is well behaved and sleeps well every night.

My Aunt is having her baby... RIGHT NOW. Well shes in labor at the hospital. Maybe she isn't pushing the baby out just yet... Can't wait to meet him or her (yes its a surprise :))

Friday, November 27, 2009

Crazy shopping adventure.

I will admit that sometimes my life seems kind of like a circus. I have lots of random things happen to me and my family gets into some strange things and I have a scary past but this is really one of the more bizarre things that has happened to me in a long while.

Last night at about 10:30, my friend and her family picked me up to go to Tuscola to hit Tanger Outlet. We were going to go to this midnight madness sale and get gifts before we hit the crazy Chambana stores at 4. We got into the car and discussed which way we were going to go to get there and we decided on going down Windsor to Neil and through Savoy. I don't think that is at all the quickest route but there was mention of this way having no traffic so we thought it would take the same amount of time. Little did we know that as we were driving down Dunlap we would smell smoke.

J's sister, E, said "I think I smell smoke! It smells like a house fire!" We all look back and see the smoke and see a small orange glow coming up from trees in a neighborhood. We all decide we can't just drive by! So we go find the fire and when we get to it... sure enough it was a house.

The adrenaline just started to flow. I dialed 911 and explained where we were but didn't know the street name since it was dark. E goes to knock on the door as I follow to try and figure out the address. People in the home open the door and when E tells them their house is on fire... I kid you not, the man said "No, its okay we have a fire in the fire place. All is well" E sends us back to look closer and I am yelling... "NO! The fire is on the roof they need to get OUT of the house (still on the phone with 911)". So E knocks again! The dispatcher is trying desperately to get the address even though he'd already sent trucks in our direction. So I run to the front and E had finally convinced them to step outside and look at the house. The flames, by this point, were much larger. And the adult residents (and guests) could not believe what they saw. They get everyone out. I am asking EVERYONE the address. Finally a girl who was maybe 10 and terrified fumbled out the address for me to give to the dispatcher. Im standing at the door and I see a guy STILL in the house. I am yelling from the door "Dude, your house is on FIRE! GET OUT!"... um, he was saving his PS3... no, no, I am not joking.

We instruct them on what to do and I hug some scared little girls and try to calm them down while I get them into the car (they were dressed for bed... no shoes, clothes that were not weather appropriate). I just kept saying "it's okay, you guys are safe and thats what is important. Calm down and get into the car so you can get warm".

We move the van and wait for the fire department to make sure they get there. Then... we left. Soaring on an adrenaline rush for the next several hours of shopping. We did score some awesome deals. There were some stellar prices on Melissa and Doug toys at Osh Gosh.

But, wow... any number of events could have happened to make us passing by that fire unlikely. We had originally planned to leave a bit later and we generally wouldn't go the way we went. I am so glad they are safe though. What a scary way to end Thanksgiving but I hope they can celebrate the fact that no one was hurt. I think one of us will drive past there in the next few days and see what ended up happening to the home and see how we can help. We tried going by when we got done in Tuscola but we just couldn't see anything. It was pitch black. The fire was out but it looked like the addition to the home was destroyed (at least the roof looked to be gone).

It does make you reevaluate your own issues though. Sometimes something happens that makes you think... "So what I had to get a new stove because I had an oven fire... my family is safe and my home is fine. The only inconvenience that REALLY caused me was some money." And, in the long run... money just isn't important. So thankful for the safety of my family and for the safety of their family today. And a bit shocked at what transpired last night.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Please take time today to be thankful for all the blessings in your life. I am sitting in my bedroom watching two of my biggest blessings play and laugh together. I am in love :)

We are spending the day with some friends doing a completely non-traditional Thanksgiving meal (please don't worry about me though I have plans for turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, rolls, etc tomorrow). We are going to have roast today though with our friends who have families very far away (like in other countries far) and I can't wait to spend time with them!

Also... going out for crazy girl shopping at about 11 tonight. Should be a fun time.

Spending time with family, friends and girlfriends today means I will have plenty of reminders of all I have to be thankful for.

Again, Happy Thanksgiving. Go love on your family and friends!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Operation Christmas Child

Super Muscles made his first Operation Christmas Child box this year! I think he had a lot of fun. We chose a boy who is going to be roughly SMs age (2-4 yrs old). This was Super Muscles decision but I think he really wanted to pick toys he would like for his friend. So we ended up with rescue vehicles and lots of CARS stationary inside the shoe box. I documented the process for all to see. This year we also did the online pay so we can track our box to see what country it goes to. In a few weeks when we learn of its destination we will pray specifically for our friend and his country. I plan to go online and help SM learn about the country the box has gone to and look up any recent major events. He is very excited to see where his shoe box gift goes!



Slobber Rocket had to check to make sure the box would pass inspection ;)

We have also been talking a lot about traveling since Daddy is going to Germany for 2 weeks. He leaves on Nov. 30 and won't return until Dec. 14. I know Super Muscles is at the age right now where this will greatly affect him and his behavior. Please keep us in your thoughts as I deal with the two boys by myself for 2 weeks. I am hoping to go visit some friends out of town those weeks though so that it kind of keeps his mind off of everything.

Oh and our new stove has joined the family today. I am really upset about having to spend the money on a new stove but I am glad to have a 5/10 yr warranty so hopefully if something like this happens again we won't run into the same problem.

Friday, November 20, 2009

My stove caught on fire

My stove caught on fire.
I put the fire out with a fire extinguisher.
Now my stove is ruined and I need a new one.
I am angry.

Quigs saved my life though... and watched my kids while Mr. Wonderful and I did a chemical clean up in our home. She also let me use her shopvac so the chemical clean up was easier than it could have been. She is the best.

I wish money would fall from the sky.

We lost our volleyball game.

I am going to bed and hopefully I will wake up in a better mood tomorrow... though, my house still stinks so it might take a few days to regain my "good moodness". Please bare with me if I am a total crab for a few days.

The. End.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A sister and what she's taught me

I feel like I always apologize for not writing enough. I have these great plans to write 3-4 times a week and I need to. It helps me focus, gets things off my chest, and it is a non-kid related outlet for me.

The biggest news I have lately is that I spoke with my half-sister on Saturday. It has taken me a while to talk about it though. I enjoyed the conversation and hearing her sweet voice. It was so strange to talk to a girl who is related to me but who I have never met. My sister but all I have is this one hour conversation and a hand full of emails. I have no clue what is going to become of this. I am scared to pursue it and be disappointed and scared to pursue it and actually gain a sister. Both terrify me. We both have so much baggage and I worry that we will, indeed, be complicating one another's lives more than helping.

The conversation confirmed in me that I want to adopt children. D's adoptive parents provided her with a life her parents never could have given her and a life that I did not have the chance to have (not that it is a bad thing but a reflection on our conversation). Her mom and dad adopted her, my half brother and their other sister who were all born addicted to drugs. They also adopted 3 other children and have 3 children. She has a big ole family! Knowing how she became adopted and what her parents must have gone through, they are some very selfless people. And if we could provide a safe family for children that wouldn't otherwise have that... that would be a dream come true for me. I feel more and more pulled to adoption everyday. I feel less and less sad about not having anymore biological children everyday.

I also learned that my feelings about my father are not limited to just me. I always felt alone because I was the only girl in our family. Yes, my brothers felt similar things but a guys relationship with their dad and a girls is quite different so how we internalized what had happened to us has been very different and I have spent a lot of time feeling alone about it. Talking to D showed me that I am not alone in how I feel. She feels the same way and even verbalizes it similarly.

I have a nephew who she put up for adoption. I am proud of her for this. It is SO hard on her and she misses him everyday but I think she did what was absolutely the best for him. And I am confident he will be trying to find her in about 17 years to learn the complete picture of his story. My siblings and I have all been curious and gone back and tried to find information about our family and origin. It is so natural to want to know what happened and if there is more to the story. It is so natural to want to be bonded to your siblings even if you didn't grow up with them. Her son's birthday is right in between my sons and nephews birthdays. Just a couple of days before Jrs. So I have added a February birthday to the mix of celebrations. I will always be praying for this little guy and that he grows into a good man. I am also praying that he meets his mom one day because she loves him very much and did what she thought was best for him.

I have learned that people who are abused often go through a time of really blaming themselves. I have done it, she has done it, many of my friends that I have made recently have done it. There is nothing to blame on yourself when you are a victim of abuse or abandonment. Nothing any of us did makes us deserve these things. It has nothing to do with us. Grab that truth and hold it tight. You didn't do anything to deserve abuse or neglect or abandonment. It seems like once I finally got a real handle on that, I healed a lot. The wounds are still there but they are scabbing over and scarring up and this truth is a big part of that.

I do really look forward to talking to her more. Hopefully it will be less awkward next time that it was on Saturday. We both felt a bit guarded and strange about it all. There is a reason things are happening this way, I know there is.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Not alone

You are not alone. I just wanted to tell you that.

I have been learning lately that no matter what I have experienced. I am not alone. And I mean this apart from my beliefs.

I have met so many people lately who have had similar childhoods to mine. Or who have been struggling or struggled with very small children (FTT). Or who have suffered from and are fighting through PTSD. And I am gaining strength and a voice through them.

So... don't feel alone. And if you do, find someone to share your burdens with. You might be surprised where you find a bond with someone and how that bond can help you heal.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I hate war, like really... hate it.

I have spent a lot of time in my life pondering war. I don't get it. I am unsure that I will ever get it. But war has shaped me in many ways. Both of my brothers have been to Iraq. My younger brother has seen things no 21 yr old should ever have to experience. And has done things no young man should ever have to do. I hate it for him. I hate seeing him struggle with his anger since coming home. I hate knowing that things that we don't even take a second thought to scare the hell out of him and put him on guard. I hate how his personality has changed so much. He has changed in just a couple of years more than anyone I have ever witnessed. I hate that things on the side of American highways can freak him out if he doesn't know what is under them. He hates it, I hate it. War sucks. Fighting people, killing people, dodging bullets and bombs.... it sucks.

Please pray for my brother. He is fighting some big demons right now. I am so proud of him for knowing he needs help and seeking help. Pray for his wife to be patient with him and supportive. I know its hard for her. Seeing the man he was and the man he can sometimes be now... I am sure it is so scary sometimes. I love this guy so much. I really do look up to him and value him immensely.

Lord restore his mental health so that he can function again and enjoy things again. Begin healing the wounds he carries around with him. I am not going to pretend he will forget what has happened but please bring that guy he was back to his family. We miss the funny parts of him. I don't even recognize this serious person he is now sometimes. We miss our class clown who has and gives the biggest, safest hugs ever.

This is why we honor veterans and this is why we need to focus on them constantly and not just on one day of the year. They make huge sacrifices for our country. They are brave and strong and confident on the battlefield but they come home broken. I have not met a soldier yet who hasn't come home broken. They need our support and love.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Recovering

I have been a bit busy tending to a very bored and cranky 3.5 yr old over the past few days. Thursday night before I put him to bed I noticed that he had some spots on his hiney. I took a picture (poor kid) and showed many of my friends and diagnosed him with Chicken pox. Next morning, diagnosis was confirmed by the spreading of said bumps down his thighs a bit. Called wonderful Nurse Jenn (Dr was out of town) and she gave me instructions to keep him home until he is all scabbed over. Boo! He aslo had some respiratory gunkiness and congestion. He was vaccinated in 07 so this has been extremely mild chicken pox. BUT we have to keep him home until all his sores crust over. All this to say I have been spending a ton of time entertaining this little person who hates being stuck home. Anyway, we are on the road to recovery. Hoping that by wed all sores will be scabbed over so we can GO somewhere and play! The baby is a bit snotty and congested as well but seems to have, so far, skipped the chicken pox.

In a few hrs, after nap time, I plan to take the boys outside for some fall pictures and playing in the leaves. Hope to share some pictures later on and get back into the swing of blogging. I feel a bit... neglected when I don't give myself time to write... even if it is about the mundane and boring.

Pray for Stellan! He is in surgery RIGHT now. Little babe needs lots of love and prayers right now. He is very ill.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Approaching God

I am in two studies right now on the book Crazy Love. I really like this book, what can I say. We just started the study at church yesterday and we get to see the videos meant for the group study that are not part of the online videos you can see if you do an independent study of the book.

So in the video yesterday Francis Chan talked about taking time out before you pray to visualize and approach God. How the first time he did this when reading Revelation 4. And when I go back and read this passage I get the sense that John was seriously stretching to formulate into words what he had experienced being in God's presence. And what would you say if you were in Gods presence? What would be the first words you would say? As we discussed this last night it is so hard to come up with something to say to the Creator of the Universe. To the Great Physician, the Alpha and Omega, the King of Kings. What is there even to say? And I said it last night I can only think of Thank you. Thank you for loving me, I am not worthy. Thank you for transforming my heart. Thank you for challenging the way I look at the world. Thank you for healing my heart and continuing to heal my heart. Give me desire to pursue you. Give me the same passion for others that Jesus had.

And I go back to how do you even approach someone clothed in Glory, Majesty and Splendor? It seems so unreal to me that God cared about his creation in such a way that he gave us a way to communicate with him and approach him. And that doesn't even touch the Sacrifice of Jesus. It is hard to even figure out what to say when you think about this. Perfect, pure, holy Jesus takes on wickedness/sin and receives punishment for all of humanity in order for us to be joint-heirs with him in heaven. It makes no sense. It IS love. And what do you say to that? What is your response to that?

Revelation Song is a song written to express what coming into God's presence must have been like for John (yet another humans attempt at explaining it but it IS beautiful). It has been racing through my head for weeks and the more I am challenged to really think about what all this means in my life, the more this song grips me. The more this song reflects my heart.

"Jesus your name is Power, Breath and Living Water.
Such a marvelous mystery"

I think that is where I am at today.

Monday, November 2, 2009

It's November and I am feeling thankful

I had started out writing a different post but it was going nowhere fast. Sometimes that happens to me. Quite often actually. Yea, I know I talk a lot but writing can be difficult for me.

We have this one day a year when we gather all of our thoughts and tell our friends and family how much they mean to us. Or maybe we don't even do that. We might just tolerate them for the day to have a giant meal together. Whatever the case may be, we only set aside one day to be thankful for what we have in life. And I don't want to do that because I am keenly aware most days of my life that I have been amazingly blessed. So there is an order to this but past God and my family, order ceases to be important. I am going to start this list but I am anticipating it running for a few posts because I get very long winded about things that are important to me. So today I think I will tackle the most importants in my life and continue on tonight or tomorrow or something.

1) I am thankful to God, the creator of the universe and everything good in my life. So very thankful for coming to see myself with a value that is centered in how I am seen by Him. Thankful for a relationship and Salvation and the chance to share my beliefs with others. Thankful for an example of a perfect father when I have never known such a thing in my own childhood. Glad and enjoying feeling loved for who I am and challenged to become a better woman. Wanting to become more and more transformed by Gods unending love. Words are hard to even come by to adequately explain the deepness this thankfulness runs. It is just so hard to even think of what to say that doesn't sound trite or small. And I think that is just how it is. Too big and too amazing to explain or summarize or fit into a small paragraph or even several books. I am trusting you know the deepness of my thankfulness though.

2) I thank God every single day of my life for my husband. He is a good man with a kind spirit. Soft spoken and often times... silent. But he is strong and decisive. Optimistic and genuine. He puts us all first all the time. He takes a back seat to meeting the needs of our children and my own needs and rarely ever whispers a complaint. He is hardworking and has an incredible amount of integrity. He gives the best hugs ever :) He loves his kids like nothing I have ever witnessed before with my own eyes. He is focused on his goals and I never doubt his abilities to accomplish them. He is my best friend and generally knows what I will think or how I will react before I even figure it out for myself. I love him dearly and he compliments my personality beautifully. He is an example of how God has worked in my life and I am so greatful that he stuck with me through all the things in my life I had to work out. And he loves God! and strives to show others' that love.

3) Sweet Super Muscles... this boy is brilliant and kind. He is learning to use humor in his every day conversations and finds himself extremely funny. And that makes me laugh... a lot. He doesn't make friends too easily but he is a devoted and sweet friend. He tries very hard to be a good big brother. Sometimes he fails at doing the right things or making good decisions (esp when it comes to his brother) but he nearly always wants to make it right. He is sensitive in many aspects. Sensitive to noise, sensitive to feelings, sensitive to his surroundings and it makes him beautiful. Difficult to understand sometimes but so much of what makes him unique comes from how sensitive he is. I learn so much from my sweet 3 year old every single day. Patience, genuine kindness, playfulness.... he teaches me so much. Being a parent has forever changed my priorities and its all been for the better and it started with the first time I held Super Muscles in my arms.

4) Slobber Rocket. A whole lot of boy in a tiny little package. He is such a happy little boy. So willful and strong. He learns to get what he wants when he wants and has wasted no time in learning how to move. He is incredibly snuggly and is a really great nurser (love this about him because he is very likely my last nursling). He is such a little miracle. He teaches me daily that health and life are precious. I learned from his birth that nothing is a given and that my children and family and other people I love dearly are not always going to be here so I have to love the heck out of them while they are here and can know how I feel. Watching him and his brother grow up next to one another is a complete joy and we are so blessed to have this little person in our lives.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Well, it finally happened...

Previously I had said we don't really do Halloween. Well, we didn't. I mentioned that I had nothing against it but that up until now my son (approaching 4 yrs old) had no interest in being around people in costumes. Well, that all changed after he got a glimpse of a few Halloween cartoons this year and saw what dressing up and knocking on neighbors doors was all about. So he asked about it and I decided that if thats what he wanted to do... well, so be it! And... he did famously. Slobber Rocket has been sick so it was just me and Fireman Super Muscles tonight. We spent 3 hrs out in the cold in a neighborhood by Urbana High School (our neighborhood gets NO trick or treaters... serious) and at the trunk or treat at a local church. He loved spending some one on one time with me. It is not as frequent of an event as I would love for it to be. We made new friends. We ate hotdogs and chips and had lemonade (BIG treat for Super Muscles as we don't drink juice or koolaid). It was quite fun! COLD but fun.And check out the mummy on this guys window!

I have also, for some reason, been asked to share some pictures of myself. Not sure why anyone would ever want to see pictures of me when they could look at my adorable children but here are a few anyway from this morning.
And the most handsome, sweet husband and dad around with our big boy.
And lastly... me being stupid in a picture because I am not known for taking serious pictures :)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pray for Stellan

Sweet Stellan is very ill right now. Please pray for him and his family. This sweet boy is going to spend his first birthday in the hospital tomorrow with lots of pokes and doctors trying to figure out what is wrong with him. They need wisdom and guidance from the great physician. Check out updates at Mckmama's blog.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Glad to be poor

Have you ever thought about how blessed you are? I mean, truly blessed to be living in a country where the very poor people still, for the most part, have food and shelter.

I have been thinking about poverty for a while now. Technically, my family of 4 live at the poverty level in the United States. We have lived at this level (considered poor) ever since I got married.

But what does that mean? In the United States that typically means that you don't have stuff that is nice as other people. Not that you don't have stuff. Not that you don't have a home or heat or food. Not that your kids have no clothes. It simply means you have donated furniture or someone helps pay your rent or your kids wear hand me downs you get off of freecycle. It means you rely on friends at church to help pay for your car repairs or you take a bus. But it doesn't mean you can't survive or that you are allowed to die.

So how poor am I? I don't have money after I pay my bills and buy food but I have a warm home, food, clothed children, TV, phone, internet, can sometimes go out to eat, have gas to take my children to free local things. I have access to many resources to help us get things we need when we need them. Like having my home weatherized and new windows put in so my gas and electric bill isn't $300+ a month in the winter (my house is just shy of 900 sq ft to give you an idea of how ridiculous the efficiency of our house was). And I can apply to have my heating costs lowered in the winter. And I could find a couch to sleep on or a shelter if I didn't have access to these things or could not pay for my home any longer. I could also go to one of the multiple food banks and get bags of groceries or walk into any number of churches in the area and ask for food if I had none. People, that is blessed!

So today I want to say that I am blessed to be poor in a country where poor means still able to survive and live and be loved. I am blessed to be raising my children somewhere where being poor doesn't really affect them. To my knowledge my near 4 year old has no earthly idea that we have very little money because his needs are met.

And I hope people consider this over the next few days. I want people to think about how they can help end hunger in other countries where poor means not eating. Where poor means cardboard boxes for walls in a home. Where poor means millions of orphans and people dying by masses of preventable diseases and of AIDS.

I also want people to think about how they can help the poor in our country feel loved and cared for. It may be as simple as donating clothes so people don't have to worry about how they will clothe their children. So there is no deciding between clothes and food. Or maybe donate to free clinics for low income people (Frances Nelson Health Center for my local friends) so they don't have to worry about debt if they have a chronic illness or end up seriously injured. Give to Salt and Light or other food banks so that groceries become less of a worry.

I am learning that none of us can do it all but all of us can do some. And a whole bunch of little things turn into a huge impact in our communities. So please find places to use your talents. Maybe you have nothing to give. Maybe like my family it is hard to help fund worthy causes with money... well, go volunteer! Time is just as valuable for many organizations as money. In fact, your volunteered time might as well be money as it lessens the need for paid staff which takes money away from the important functions of your chosen organization. I hope everyone reading this can find a way to make the world a little better. Every small action helps, it really does.

Monday, October 26, 2009

I could eat this baby up...

Getting rid of stuff, accepting stuff

I have been getting rid of lots of stuff lately. I think we have nearly gotten rid of half our possessions over the past 2 months. Half our toys, half our clothes, quite a bit of furniture... we have been feeling overwhelmed by stuff. And in our tiny house that was suffocating us a bit. Mostly me... because no matter what I did, I could not keep my house even remotely clean. I would just move one pile of clutter around to another pile of clutter. That is kind of how it goes when you have 4 humans and a giant dog living in one 900 sq ft house. And I have gotten rid of lots of stuff that has made me a little sad. And this latest cleaning frenzy is no different.

I recently got rid of a lot of baby stuff. I mean, a ton of it. Swing, exersaucer, clothes, crib sheets, tiny shoes and blankets... and it feels good. It feels good after I shed a few tears about not having any more small children for quite some time. And not having any tiny babies ever again. I am thinking this has made me totally cherish the ages my kids are right now though. I know I will never have a little bitty nursling again or put tiny sized nb cloth diapers on a tiny sweet newborn again. And I knew it pretty much as soon as I had Slobber Rocket. I knew I was not going to intentionally put myself or my child through another experience like that again. So I have been savoring the babiness of SR and enjoying the things that just whiz by so fast during this first year. And I am praising God that Slobber Rocket is healthy. So, yeah, its been hard loading up all his small belongings to give to other people. But I know that some very sweet children are gong to put his tiny little clothes to good use this winter and that makes me happy. And when we do move in a couple of years and beyond that when we adopt more children, we will not have any additional "stuff" complicating our lives. I am hopeful and excited to move forward and I think this has been a good step for me.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Trying to figure it out

I was reading a friends blog today. It is a private blog so I can't share it with you but it really spoke to me. You see, she laid it ALL out there for her friends to read. I mean a whole past of abuse, horribly awful treatment. And how she came to God through it all. Basically it was a very detailed testimony. In such detail that most people don't, won't or can't give.

I put myself in the can't category. Right now, I can't talk about all that has happened to me with that much courage. I mean, I can explain that I had a rough childhood. That I have lived through many forms of abuse. That I grew up in poverty. That the men in my life have never been able to have a normal functioning relationship with me (not that I knew it was abnormal until I was much older). I can explain those things. But ultimately I want to help people. I think my life and past has the potential to help people find their voice and refuse to continue living in the past or continue being abused. I think the fact that I grew up to marry a very good man when statistics show that I should be in yet another abusive relationship is powerful. And I can attribute it to my relationship with God. With seeing the value He had in me. And discovering my own worth through that. But I can't quite share so freely yet. I am too scared. Horrified to hurt people who don't know everything and just plain terrified of messing things up. So I know it makes no sense. I know writing is therapeutic so writing it out and dealing with it will help. I spent a lot of time in therapy doing just that. Fleshing it out and forgiving. Finding my voice. Learning to stand up for myself. Rediscovering confidence.

I made promises to myself when I was a little girl that I would never get into relationships like I saw my mom in. And a sweet 14 yr old walked into my life my freshman year of high school and I kept that promise. And that sweet 14 yr old has never left my side and has helped me through such massive hurdles in my life. That is a miracle. Maybe some people take not being abused for granted because that is a normal functioning relationship but I never knew that until I started dating my husband. My normal included seeing my mom choose abusive men and gaining an attitude that she deserved or had somehow earned abuse. And now I look at my mom who is SUCH a sweet and good person under all the baggage, struggle to keep it all together. I am not even sure that she knows what happiness is anymore and it makes me so sad. And maybe she reads this blog... it is certainly possible. I hope you don't take offense to what I am saying Mom. I love you and I wish you would seek help to deal with your past. I know it would make a huge difference in your life and in your marriage.

But the point is, I can't dive into it yet but I hope one day I have the courage my friend, JD, has shown. I am not ready to be that vulnerable yet but I know God has in store for me to use my past to help others. He is breaking down the walls and grooming me for it. I feel such a strong pull to women who have been through similar things and a love that I can't really explain. It is powerful. I can see it in some people's faces without ever talking to them. And I know I am right. Now... to get to a point where I can help.

Monday, October 19, 2009

I hated christmas...

Until I had kids.

Christmas music drives me batty. Esp when we start practicing it in September. I don't like the hype and craziness... in fact, my son doesn't even know who Santa is. He looks at Santa and asks if hes a snowman and he thinks reindeer are Christmas decorations but he really has no idea of the fantasy land of Santa Claus. And I am okay with that. I am fine to not string lights all over my house and to not have a tree this yr because we will have a 9 mos old who is a step away from walking (I know, he is crazy!). I hate when toys are out for sale in October.... well I did, until I decided to shop early this year.

Most of Christmas still drives me crazy and my kids will never celebrate it in the same way as many children (including cousins). We don't "do" Santa and I never plan on doing Santa with them. The reasons are many and pretty complex. Mostly I want Christmas to be about giving to others and not worrying about what we are receiving. I don't want my children fixated on what an imaginary fat man is getting them. I am also a pretty firm believer in always telling my children the truth so creating a fantasy land about a make believe man... well, it creeps me out a bit. Those are just a couple of reasons. I am sure a "no Santa" post is going to be in the works soon.

So I don't get excited about MOST of the commercial things that happen with Christmas but I do love to give gifts and to pick out gifts for my children. I mean, it is a complete joy for me to find the right gift to give them. My boys do not get many new things. And when I say this... I mean it. We are in a stage of life where the money is not abundant. Grad students aren't paid very much and... oddly enough, stay at home moms don't get paid at all. Pretty much all of our money is delegated to bills and food. So we do cherish the times we can get the boys gifts. Christmas and their birthdays are the only days they get new toys or clothes. Every other day of the year I find free things for them (yay freecycle!). I mean, don't get me wrong... I get Super Muscles a .97 car at walmart here and there and I am pretty certain even with loads of money I would not often buy them new things and extravagant gifts but this is where I am now. Super excited to be able to give them new, unused gifts at Christmas. But it takes a few months of planning to pull it off. So, I officially started my Christmas shopping this month. And, I like it. I have enjoyed finding good prices on the things I wanted to get for Super Muscles. I found a stellar price on the clickstart and some games that I had been wanting to get him which even left a little room for some other small gifts. I got him a book about dinosaurs that I can not wait until he opens. By then, he will probably be able to tell me about every dinosaur in the book (he is seriously into dinos right now and knows many of their names and characteristics). And slowly but surely collecting the Cars characters diecast cars to put into his stocking is fun. I have been getting them right in front of his nose and he basically has no idea they are for him. We take them home, I hide them and he never thinks about them or asks about them again. It cracks me up.

But above and beyond giving gifts that I am enjoying is trying to figure out and make our own traditions. One thing I plan to do every single year with my boys is to make up shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child. Now I started doing this when I was in middle school with my Sunday School class at church. Every year we would have a party. We would all get money from our parents and go shopping for our things for the shoe boxes then go back to our teachers house and eat and wrap the gifts and just have lots of fun together. I have great memories from this. Eventually I plan to give the boys allowance and have them save back 10% of their allowance every week to use on this project at the end of the year. So that when they do their shoe box, they are making a personal sacrifice to give to a child who is in need. It will also be a lesson in budgeting ;) I really hope that they enjoy this tradition. This year will be SM first year choosing gifts for his box. I am still thinking on meaningful traditions for our family. I would love to do something with Advent but am not sure what yet.

If you have any fun holiday traditions, would you share them with me? I love learning about new traditions and seeing the cool things my friends do with their children.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

What to do, what to do...

I have mentioned before about my bio father and finding info about him. I have recently found an easy way to contact him and my young half sibling. I have decided to completely ignore the fact that I know my young siblings information because I don't feel it is my place quite yet to contact her. She is too young for me to go telling her things I am not sure she knows yet. It would be selfish and cruel (though she is an age I feel she could make legitimate decisions about how she feels). Anyway so that doesn't play into this scenario at all. I guess I am wondering if I should contact my bio father. I wish I could explain it simply but I can not and it won't make sense to many people or maybe it will???? I am not sure.

Anyway, he left my family when I was very young and I have only seen him for a short period of time when I was 5 or 6 and not since. He contributed to getting my older brother involved in a lot of bad stuff, helped him to see and experience a lot of bad stuff. Put my mom through some horrible things. I have 2 half siblings who he also put through some tough stuff. I could go to the depths of it all but will sum it up by saying... he started a trend in mine and my brothers lives of bad people being let into our lives.

Then there is... me... I feel so hurt and I am not sure if I want to open myself up to more hurt. I also don't want to open my family to hurt of any kind. I am good. I have a good life with a good husband and amazing children. I struggle sometimes with my past but it is mostly just my past. I am not so sure I am ready to open the floodgates of my past. But the truth is... I am curious. Curious to know if there is any regret or heart ache. Curious to know if he thinks about us and how we are doing. Wondering if there is any pride in what we have done with our lives so far. Mostly fear though. Why would anyone want to contact a person who has only hurt them and those they love? That makes no sense. And maybe that is where I rest for today.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

I can brag on him...

And I will!

Today was a fabulous day made even more wonderful by my amazing husband. I do kind of like him. If you get sick of hearing that, I don't know how to help you :)

We had a cpr/first aid class at church today for nursery and child care workers. I organized it and it was really one of the first things I have organized by myself. I am not typically someone who likes to take on a project by myself but this needed to be done and it wasn't too complicated so I did it and I think it went pretty well. We had 9 people take the course and the EMTs who gave it were awesome. Seriously, they were such nice guys. I like EMTs and Paramedics a lot... my father in law and step mother in law (wow, mouth full) both work in this field. So I did kind of bond with them a bit. They are crazy underpaid people who pour a lot of love into their work. But we got lots of great ideas on some things that have needed to happen for a while and I gained a bit of confidence along the way in planning an event (not saying I love doing this, I prefer to help where needed but it was pretty cool). Slobber Rocket got loved on by some sweet girls who watched the kiddos for us. So it was almost like a child free morning/afternoon.

THEN I came home to a CLEAN house. Not that my house was dirty. But Mr. Wonderful deep cleaned. He told me to thank the Fighting Illini for sucking it up on the football field because he just couldn't watch the turmoil on the television. Mopped floors, clean counters, windows open, house smelling wonderful clean. And I went to see my Super Muscles and asked him how his day was and he exclaimed "Me and Daddy went to the Library Mom!" Oh and my heart melted. I just love that guy. He is so good to me and the best Dad I could have ever hoped for my children to have.

Sadly, we had to pay 75 cents to air up the tires on our car. When did they start charging for AIR? What is that about... and 75 cents at that! CRAZY. And we hit every light red on the way to a friends house for me to meet up with my friend. Minor inconveniences. I will never understand how lights are synced so you can be going somewhere and hit EVERY. SINGLE. ONE red.

Then we left our kids with the daddies while we went to a memorial service in honor of babies who left their families far too soon (miscarriage, still birth and infant loss). It was beautiful. I am really honored she asked me to go with her and experience it with her. I am pretty sure I cried through the whole service but celebrating and remembering all those sweet angels was good for my soul. And I really and truly think this event, held annually, is so healing for the families of these babies. If you have dealt with a loss of this nature and live in the Champaign Urbana area, I would definitely suggest checking out the Empty Arms support group. They meet the first Thursday of every month at Windsor Road Christian Church.

And then to a friends house to meet up with our amazing families for dinner. All of our children were happy and fed by their daddies (except slobber rocket... apparently Daddies don't make milk. Go figure!) and we got to enjoy grilled food and great conversation with some really cool people.

On the way home we didn't hit many red lights and Super Muscles seriously gave me the laughs with his non-sense. He was so slap happy and the things he was saying were hilarious. "Mom, we gotta stop at Arby's, Burger King and McDonald's real fast for some dinners... HAHHAHAHAHAHAHA" Then I would laugh and he would say something else completely goofy or silly. It was great. That kid cracks me up continuously.

See... a perfect day in so many ways. I am so very very thankful for my husband on days like today. The things I got to experience today would not have been possible without him and the fact that he did extra just cause he loves me... well, that's just hot ;)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Pumpkin time!

So, I love to bake with Super Muscles (and cook and play and dance...). Today was WET and dreary in central Illinois so I told SM if he took a good nap we could bake something afterwards. Then when he laid down for a nap I went on an epic search for something to bake with him. Something pumpkiny but not altogether unhealthy. I found a recipe for pumpkin apple muffins that sounded delicious but when I looked closer at the directions... WAY too much sugar, WAY too much oil, not enough pumpkin, no wheat flour... so much wrong with it! So this is what I came up with:

Pumpkin Apple Muffins w/walnuts
Ingredients:
1 c Wheat flour
1.5 c All purpose flour
1 c brown sugar
1.5 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 can of pumpkin
1/2 cup of apple sauce (unsweetened)
2 c finely chopped peeled apples
1/2 cup walnut pieces

1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray a muffin tin or put liners in

2. In a medium bowl combine flour, brown sugar, spices, baking powder and salt. In another bowl combine eggs, pumpkin, and apple sauce. Stir/mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Fold in apples and walnuts. Fill muffin cups 2/3 way full.

3. Bake at 350 for 25 min.

yummo!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Project Linus

Oh good golly... isn't he just a sight for sore eyes? Happy, smiling and fever free for approaching a full day! My sweet boy is back to his sleepless, grinning little self. What's that? You like his blanket? Me too! So much so I thought I would tell you about it.

That blanket was a gift from the hospital on Monday evening. My flaming hot little boy was put through a lot to get all the tests done that needed to be done. And when you have a temp of almost 105, they make you be naked in the ER. So this sweet tech went and got a snugly soft blanket to cover Slobber Rocket's cute little butt cheeks :) We couldn't let him snuggle in it until today though since he has had a fever (no blankies for fevery boys). But this is about what it looked like as we explored his new blanket for the first time today.

So the blanket comes from the central Illinois chapter of Project Linus and more specifically from a bunch of sweet people in Provena's Auxiliary (community volunteer group) who make blankets for sick children that come into the hospital. Not that my 8 month old understands this but it means a lot to me that strangers are so kind to people/children they don't know and by extension to parents they don't know.

If you happen to be looking for a way to volunteer some of your time, you should consider this! They take any kind of handmade blanket and they will go to children in the community who need them. Not just sick children (that just happens to be why my kiddo got one) but to kids who have been through traumatic experiences or would need a comforting item for other reasons. Such a simple thing but to children who are old enough to understand, it means a lot. To parents of all children, it means a lot.

Anyway, just wanted to let you know about an easy, fun way to make hard times in peoples lives a little better.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A much calmer day

Today has been a much better day for my little babe. He is feeling a lot better. Temp is being well managed and may be finally going away. Only time will tell. He has only been med free for a couple of hours but still no temp. So I am hopeful. His heart rate was also much slower today and he is looking much better and there is some resemblance of that happy little boy I had just 5 days ago. He is still very wiped out though. His immune system has had its turbo boosters on for a good long while.

We went to see the ped today. Basically we wait and see. We hope it is either a virus or a bacterial infection. Since he is seeming better, the basic assumption is that he turned the corner from a very nasty virus or the mega dose of antibiotics is helping. He is to take 10 days more of antibiotics. Since he is so young, we do not want to risk missing an infection in his little body. If the fever persists over the next 2 days, I am to take him back to the dr and we will begin testing for more rare illnesses. We are still unsure if he has any abdominal issues because of how aggravated he has been over the last 24 hrs with people touching him. Sometimes diagnosing babies is a crap shoot since they can't exactly talk ;) Anyway, I hear sweet baby laughs and a goofy 3 yr old in the living room so I am trusting that my baby boy is finally on the mend. Continue to pray that we have seen the last of this fever/illness.

He is still sick and he had a bad day

Slobber Rocket is on day 5 of fever. Yesterday we took a trip to the dr and it really turned into a bad day for my sweet 8 mos old. Fever on top of motrin was 102.7 when we got to the his office. Doctor found some tenderness in his belly so sent us to the ER to have lots of tests run (around here that is the fastest way to get test results, though I am not sure if this is true everywhere). We got there and his temp was up to 104.8 and they took him right back to a room so they could get lots of medicine in him before he had a seizure. Yea, it was loads of fun people. Enough medicine for a 2 yr old, a shot of hard core antibiotics, blood draw, many rectal temps, catheter, xrays and 3 hrs later... they found all tests normal. So I don't know what is going on with him yet. Or if it is just a very bad virus that for some reason or another no one else in our house picked up. It did take about 2.5 hrs to get his temp down to normal enough to let us go home. At the 2 hr mark it was still too high. We take him back to see the ped today. I am pretty sure they wanted the ER to do a cat scan on his tummy organs but they didn't yesterday because its a "lot of radiation for an 8 mos old" and the ER dr. didn't seem to find the same tummy tenderness. I am guessing that is because by the time the ER dr got there my poor baby was too afraid to lay down out of fear of being hurt that he screamed and tensed up and kicked and... well I am sure you can picture how he behaved when we let another person touch him. It was miserable. So we were sent home and told to keep his temp down until we could see our ped and determine where to go from there. Last night was good though. He slept all night with no fever. This morning he is beginning to get a fever. It is still very mild. I am debating whether or not to give him motrin just yet. His fever yesterday got so out of control despite following all the fever rules. But if it is just going to remain a mild fever... I don't want to put so much medication in his body. Anyway thats all I got right now. Gunna go snuggle a baby and I have to call the ped soon.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sick baby, no blogging

Slobber Rocket has been sick since Thursday night. He has some kind of virus. I was sick Thursday and Friday too but felt much better yesterday morning. SR on the other hand is still spiking those pesky fevers. So, that is where I have been. Cuddling a sick, sweet little boy and nursing him around the clock to make sure he stays hydrated. This is the first time he has had a fever but he is hanging tough. VERY tired little boy and I am sure you all know how he never sleeps by now so this is a huge change and even a hurdle for my little active boy. He is resting now and Daddy and brother are at church. It is almost like a morning to myself so far.

I am missing the combined service at church and I love them so that is sad (it is a service done in Chinese (Cantonese) and English. Our church and the Chinese church who share a building with us do this a few times a year). I also have a big week/weekend coming up so I really might be scarce. I will try to write a few days just because I like to come back and see what I was up to at any given point in time. Gearing up for a big 5 hrs cpr and first aid class this weekend. I still have people to contact about this that I was going to call at the end of the week but being sick kind of squelched that. Just kind of a lot to do. And Mr. Wonderful's prelim is coming up on the 14th so he is busy preparing away for that.

We have a busy month this month. Out of town birthday parties, making a baby shower gift for my aunt (SO excited to welcome a new cousin into the world soon!), crafting and baking with Super Muscles, play dates, making holiday plans, one last cookout before it is TOO cold, softball and volleyball, church... It should shape up to be a good month. If anyone has some easy craft ideas for fall/Halloween. We don't actually celebrate Halloween... little known fact. But we do make spiders and decorate pumpkins... etc. I find nothing wrong with Halloween just so everyone knows... we just don't dress up and go trick or treating. And if the boys want to when they are older, they can :) At this point, Super Muscles is still to afraid of costumes and loud noises to even worry about it. We went to a fall harvest party on Halloween last year and he hated it :( I am sure when they start school it will be something they want to participate in.

So that was almost a totally useless post. One day I will tell you all about how we don't "play Santa" and then you can explain to me how to make my near 4 yr old not tell his cousin... kay?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Where did my sweet boy go?

Oh my word y'all! Where did my sweet 3 year old go?? I can not seem to find him lately. Right now some impostor is in Super Muscles bedroom throwing a giant temper tantrum because he got into trouble for being disobedient. He is literally chanting angry phrases at me through the closed door. I am so sad :( I KNOW that consistency is the most important thing to remember when it comes to discipline so consistent I am.

The same things happen in the same order every single time he is in trouble and yet he still screams no at me and throws his body weight to the floor when I physically move him to his room to finish his craziness. Then he screams like I ran over his foot with our car. Then he yells at me. Then, its all over and he says hes sorry until... five minutes later. Rinse and repeat. I feel like he is in trouble more than he is not some days. And I know this so I try to let more things slide or to ignore the smaller things. Meh... It will get better. I just have to keep teaching him and having patience with him. So today I am going to cherish the cuddles before nap time and ignore the fact that he got out of his bed 999 times and hardly got a nap. And I am going to remember the funny things he said ("I just made a spectacular shot mom!") instead of the mean things he just spent 7 minutes yelling at me. He loves me and in a few minutes I am going to go give him a big hug and let him know that no matter what... I still love him too. Always. And it will get better. And on to another chance to make good decisions we go.

Pray for me... I feel like I am getting sick. My throat is hurting and my ears are aching. I took some medication earlier (to know me is to know that is a mighty rare occurrence) to hopefully push off discomfort.

Wow, I am completely unexciting today. Until another time...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tuesday tidbits

I was told today that I was so lucky for having both a boy and girl. Um... okay? Apparently Slobber Rocket gets confused for a girl a lot. i am not sure if it is because he is so small or still in tiny gender neutral clothes but I had to correct her and inform her that I am indeed blessed to have 2 BOYS.

Why is having 2 boys bad? Or 2 girls. My friend and I talked today about how there is almost some strange expectation to have 2 kids. period. a boy and a girl. to have a perfect little family. And it made me feel sad for this woman's children because she was acting like I was lucky and she was not. Or I was blessed and she was not. But, we are both abundantly blessed by having two (I think she has 3) boys. Did I mention that I love having sons? If I forgot to do that... I enjoy my boys immensely.
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I read an interesting discussion today on a friends facebook page. It initially started as a discussion on infidelity in a marriage on one girl (who I don't know personally) said this:

"Fidelity is in danger everywhere - in marriage, but in so many other places. Consider this: when faced with a problem in a church, very few people have the fidelity to that community to stay and work (continuously) to stay in communion with one another. Instead, they survey their many church options and think, consumer-wise, "I'll just leave. God would want me to be somewhere that really meets my needs." B.B. via facebook

Wow... that is all I can say. I have long thought this because of something a professor who was affiliated with BCM told me and Mr. Wonderful once. He started a conviction in both of us about our role in church and how it is not a passive one where we go to have all our "spiritual" needs met. Then when I saw this... it reaffirmed in me that same conviction. Church really isn't about what "they" can do for "you". It is a mutual relationship. A body of believers and you. How you can minister to one another. And that includes the church goer/YOU! We are called to serve not just go somewhere to get warm fuzzies. If you are uncomfortable in your church, maybe God is calling on you to spur change or to start a new ministry or to get involved in leadership! I don't think God is very pleased with church shopping anytime we get uncomfortable, hurt or upset.
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Crazy Love by Francis Chan is amazing and heart changing. It is a hard read. A convicting read. A slow read (all that processing and self-examination). But a fabulous read. You should check it out. You could join the discussion at Bloom if you want. I am half way through this seemingly thin books but it has taken me a couple weeks to get this far. Challenging... in a good way.
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My husbands prelim is coming up on Oct. 14... won't you think about him and/or pray for him between now and then. He will do fine but there is a lot of preparation to be done between now and then and this decides whether or not he stays in grad school to pursue a PhD or leaves with a Masters. It also means me with the boys a lot over the next couple of weeks. I am so proud of him and can't wait to celebrate him passing his prelim in a few weeks.
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One last thing... I have the coolest Grandma (Honey) ever. Seriously, she remembers everyone in my families birthday and always sends us a card without fail. This impresses me because she has 8 kids, 16(I think) grandkids and the great grandkids are piling up oh and all our spouses and stuff too. I bet she has a very marked up calendar and I love her for it.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Loving Well

There are often times when you evaluate things in life and the negative is pointed out. Generally it is a means of improving what is going on. At least, that is how it works for me. I critically evaluate aspects of my life or activities I have planned or communities I am involved with to see how I/we can become better. For me, church is just no different. Lately I have been in constant thought about how we could do things better at our church. I have a big heart for evangelism and for community within our church. I actually recently took a survey evaluating how our church does with reaching people in our community (the actual community not within the confines of church) and sharing Gods love with them and it discouraged me a bit. I will preface this by saying, I am VERY critical because I really want to be doing two things in my church... period. Loving God and loving others. Really, that is what life is about. So when I saw that we weren't where I thought we should be in this area, I was a bit upset. I know I go to a small church and this is something that takes time to build and I am enjoying the challenge of helping to build it but... it just seemed so hard and I was down about it.

But this week, my heart changed from overly critical to brilliantly thankful. You see, I go to a church that loves one another very well. We go through pain together very well. We pray for one another very well. We help one another... very very well. And while there are things that need to get better for us, we definitely have this loving one another down. I have had meals brought to me and friends stay with me (one of my friends literally sat with me and let me cry all day cause she is cool like that ;)) and ladies pray for me and pastors talk to me and people babysit for us (yielding 11 straight hours of sleep for a baby that rarely sleeps more than 4 hrs at a time... I have no clue what or how she did it but I thank her) and I have been a part of that with so many of my dear church family. And while I realize that we have work in some areas in our church... something Francis Chan said on a video yesterday sticks out. We do want to fall hard in Love with Jesus and to show that Love to others' but God calls us to do that within a community. I am so thankful I am part of a community that loves one another very well. It has been an encouragement to me this weekend.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Long week but I am healing... again

Ever just feel emotionally spent? I mean, just tired of carrying the burdens of life? Tired of the weight of the past? I think I have done a lot of healing in the past 6 or so years from my past but sometimes I still have entire weeks or a month here and there when it all comes rushing back and I am dealing with it all over again.

Then I remember, I am weak. I remember, it is not my power that has healed my heart in many many ways. And it won't be my power that ultimately gives my soul rest.

How do I know this? Because I tried on my own for far too long. And I was a miserable person. I was a mean person. I said things to other people that no one should say. I acted out instead of finding the calm in the situation and finding a solution. I was depressed. I was angry. I was tired. I was... a mess. Not many people know me from then. Mostly just my family and a few high school friends. My husband knows me from then and I often don't know why he chose to stick it out with me. I am so thankful for him. I really was a miserable girl who was often times less than what he deserved. But I was hurt and broken. I had to figure out how to stop that pattern or I was going to end up doing the same things in my own life or worse, to my own children.

After getting into a tearful argument with Mr. Wonderful in college and trying to give him back my engagement ring (oh yea, it was bad but he would never let me go no matter how I treated him)..., I just needed help. I had no clue where to turn because I felt so abandoned. So I just started praying. And crying. And pleading with God. I so needed rest from the demons that ruled my life. I started seeing a counselor who helped me find tangible ways to handle anxiety and stress and I started working on forgiveness. I really felt like, for the first time in my life, I was doing what God intended for me to be doing. I was healing and I was asking for help. I was forgiving people I never imagined I could forgive. People that really really hurt me. People that really really hurt my brothers. And it gave me freedom. I slowly stopped being ruled by my past and started owning my present and future.

Then there are weeks like this when I am reminded of all those demons again. Where I can talk about it and cry about it but it is SO emotionally draining. I feel like that scared little child again. But now I am keenly aware that I have a Heavenly Father who will not abandon me. Who is working on healing the scars if I just allow it. And... I have two beautiful sons who need a mom to let God work on her heart. So, I am going to do that. I love my family too much to let the past rule any part of my life.

Monday, September 21, 2009

And Ima makes... 6... yikes

We have a little house guest this week. Her name is Ima (E- ma) and she is an 11 week old mutt. And she is making our house even more crazy than it already was. I thought 2 adults, 2 children and one dog was bad but now we have 2 dogs playing like puppies to throw into the mix. Though I am glad we decided to keep her at our home rather than checking on her a few times a day at her house. She would have been horribly sad being so young and away from her people for 5 days. But, we have gotten even LESS sleep than normal since Saturday. I didn't even think that was possible but with the whining and chewing on things shes not supposed to and needing to go out to tinkle. Its been a long few days. Her mommy and daddy are in Sri Lanka for a funeral and they had to leave town very quickly. Anyway,... the kids are enjoying the new house guest for the most part. The baby gets angry when she chews on his pants (which always drag around behind him since hes so short :)). But otherwise... Super Muscles tells her "Ima girl, you are my best friend". My house is a stinkin MESS with 2 dogs in and out of the wet nasty yard 30 times a day (I so don't miss that part of puppy training). I have swept but have yet to mop the kitchen and laundry room since it is still so muddy out.

The Colts play tonight. I am excited! Going to a good friends for some HD and food. Glad Mr. Wonderful has a by this week in softball so we can watch the game :) How many men have wives as interested in football as them? I think he is pretty lucky.

My birthday is Saturday. I am SUCH a birthday freak. I love love love birthdays. Not many people share my enthusiasm though. I will be happy on Saturday solely because I love celebrating my own birth. Oh and since my birthday is on a Saturday, I think I *might* get to sleep in :) What could be better?

I played volleyball for the first time ever on Friday. Apparently I didn't do too bad. I still say its a good thing my first game was against our church's other team. I didn't feel too stressed because I figured they were the best people to play my first ever game with because they would help me along even though they were competing against me. Volleyball is a pretty reactive, intuitive sport though. Hopefully, as I learn the rules... it will be even better. I am enjoying playing sports again. I am super competitive and have missed competition very badly.

SM made me mad this morning. He got into my purse and secretly ate a sucker (well half before I busted him) that I was saving for a time when I needed it for him. Hes on his bed right now for being disobedient and sneaky. I threw all the candy in my purse away (1.5 suckers). This is the second time in a week he has snuck food. It kind of weirds me out and scares me a little. I hope this does not become a habit.

I ordered Slobber Rocket the cutest shoes on the face of the planet. Hopefully I picked the right size. His little feet are tiny but he is in desperate need of some shoes to protect his little feet now that he is up and moving so much. He crawls, pulls to stand, cruises, kneels, squats... all at 7 mos old. He is setting me up for a heart attack. no doubt. We spend a lot of mondays at Dodds on the concrete watching Daddy play softball so some extra protection for his feet will be welcome.

Scatterbrained today... I know.