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


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.