Monday, December 29, 2008

"...Christmas future is far away, and Christmas past is past..."
Looking at the Christmas decorations still up and the tree still lit. The recycle bin overflowing with cardboard packaging and powdered sugar still being found in remote kitchen corners. Christmas was different for our family this year. I did all the baking and treat making I usually do, but wasn't able to ship it out. Most of our family were unable to travel due to the snow, so we celebrated with our immediate family.
This was odd for me. I made a turkey dinner, we played carols on the radio all day. We watched some children's Christmas specials and read books, the children played with their toys. I cleaned up wrapping paper and packaging and all of those twistie ties!!! My 7 yo son, hoping to show us in one action, how responsible he is, found a great place to put his treashured legos and bionicles away. He's been putting them away every day now! Yeah! It isn't, however, enough responsiblity to prove that he should have the privilege of staying up late like his 12 yo sister. Oh, man!
He was told, however, to keep up the good choices and privileges will be awarded as appropriate.
His happiness abounds even today.
The 'holiday season' is still upon us. Children are still on vacation from school, DH has extra time off work. Treats still fill the kitchen counter. Another party is scheduled for the near future. There is still something fun and inviting to look forward to. We are in the lazy, after Christmas, before New Year stage. Sipping the homemade hot cocoa and playing another midnight game of Monopoly.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Let it Snow

Complain, grumble, whine, stomp, mope. That's me, about the snow. It is piled up all over the place! Walks and drives have been shoveled and re-shoveled. It's blowing off the roof tops, and they are still covered!
I am tired of being stuck in the house. I am sick of cooking and cleaning it up. I am tired nearly to death of the laundry resulting from forays to play in the snow.
Someone pointed out the beauty of the snow. How it covers everything and makes it look so clean and fresh.
Okay. I can buy that. It looks clean and fresh - but what is underneath? A bunch of icky muck. Of course, with this much snow, by the time we see the end of it, it'll be spring and new growth will be evident.
This is what I have been seeing at home this week. I may have been 'stuck' at home with my children all week, but much good has come from it. For one, there has been much consistancy in dealing with discipline issues. Discipline has been lax at our home for a few weeks. Ever since the newest was born and the holiday season began, our routines have been disrupted. The children's behavior had become out of hand. It was so easy to see that these children had been undisciplined. This week, I have been able to be consistant with the praise as well. I made it very clear to one of the older children that it isn't just the bad choices that I notice. I also notice, look for, and really hope to see when good choices are made.
God's word tells us that those who refuse discipline are fools. That calamity befalls their lives. It tells us that those who choose to live by God's word (obey your parents...)will be blessed. It works. A couple of rough days have given way to better communication and good choices. On the parents part as well as the kids!
They sure got on me when I threw a tantrum. Foot stomping and all! They let me know what I did wrong and how I should have acted instead - and why!
Yes! They hear us! and they understand!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Family

Our family is greatful to you. Everyone that prayed, brought meals, provided gifts of baby clothes, diapers, wipes, etc., and those that kept our children, believing it would be for two nights, and keeping them nearly a week instead.
Without the support of a family like ours, and the grace of God, it is easy to see how people can fall into the depths of dispair and give themselves over to hoplessness.
We, as always, have much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving Holiday. Specifically we are thankful for the local body of Christ, comeing together and serving our needs physically and spiritually. We are thankful for our newest son's health, and for the wisdom provided to doctors and nurses working with our baby. We are thankful for the kind, gentle nature of the Nurses in the NICU. We are thankful that the price of gas has gone down, as Daddy made many trips back and forth. We are thankful for a generous and selfless grandmother that flew, last minute, half way accross the continent to help us out at home. We are thankful for another selfless grandmother and aunt that hosted Thanksgiving for the family so that our 'zoo' wouldn't have far to travel for festivities.
God is good in so many ways. That He touches people's hearts to serve one another without selfish ambition is a blessing. It has taken my husband and myself a while to accept this kind of gift graciously. We have begrudgingly accepted help in the past. We moved on to sheepishly asking for help when it seemed there was no way we could do it ourselves. We have since received the blessing of helping others with the attitude of love and kindness, because we wanted to serve Jesus Christ and see God receive glory. It is easier now to set aside pride, and allow God's glory to shine however He sees fit. Not easy - easier. Pride still creeps in, whispering that even the bible says to 'stand on your own two feet.' Oh, the king of Pride and father of Lies does know how to twist God's own words!

Home at Last

Benjamin Timothy entered the world with dramatic flair November 17th, 3:29 pm, weighing 7 lbs 8 oz and measuring 19 in. long.
He managed to get the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck a couple of times. Some how, that umbilical cord was a freakishly long specimen. I have never heard of any statistics in regards to the length of an umbilical cord. I didn't know it was important or interesting for any reason. Apparently, it is.
With each contraction during hard labor, the umbilical cord was pinched off and Benjamin wasn't getting any oxygen. His heart rate would fall significantly during the contraction while the looped umbilical cord was strangling him. You know how we always hear, "Don't push yet! Wait!", this time the doctor said, "I know you aren't fully dilated yet, but we have to get this baby out, so start pushing." I did, everyone helped. Every nurse on the floor that wasn't busy was in the room, and Benjamin finally made is entrance. Once he was out, umbilical cord removed, he let out a lusty cry and seemed to be fine. Apgar scores were great, his color was great. Everything was great. Then, before he was 24 hours old, he was yellow. No wet diapers at all.
The local hospital doesn't have the resources to examine all the possibilities, so they call a transport team. Just before the transport team is leaving for a NICU in another city, Benjamin eliminates his entire bladder. All over the place.
His respiration was an issue while he was being given a feeding tube, and he vomited everything that went down the tube. Now we have respiratory issues along with digestive issues.
The respiratory issues also resolved themselves. He went to the NICU anyway. We spent 5 days there. The current diagnosis is 'We don't know'. We'll check up in six months to make sure the entire digestive system is in working order. Aside from that, we are working on fattening the little man up. He seems agreeable to this plan.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Fat Chick

Yep. I'm a fat chick. Rather a large girl. That's me.
People have been kind, "Oh, you're not fat!" "I've seen fat, that's not you!". Thank you dear friends. I feel so good about myself for a few minutes when you say those things. Then I climb a flight of stairs, or catch a glimpse of myself in a window reflection, or actually notice how large my underpants are when folding the laundry.
I confessed to someone recently why I am fat. I hadn't planned on sharing that with anyone. Ever. It seemed really stupid. It still does.
The fact is, I am fat now, and I don't want to be anymore. I want to be healthy. I want to be confident that no matter where I find myself, I will always fit entirely on the chair, that the arms won't get stuck on my hips and cause embarrassment when I try to get up. I want to be able to use the public restroom without the stall door brushing my belly fat! I don't want to have to turn sideways when going through a turnstile at the State Fair.
I want to practice soccer drills with my kids and ride a bicycle more than half a block!
There was a time when walking, running, lifting weights at the 'Y', and swimming - in a swimsuit - were fun. Now those things all sound like horrifying punishments, meant to humiliate.
Okay. Here it is. Do I really want anyone on earth to be able to read this? If I never lose all of the weight, will this haunt me forever? Sigh. Okay God. I AM listening, I just don't like it. I don't really want to do it. I'm doing it. I'M DOING IT!
It's because men are stupid. Gee whiz. HE notices everything. Men are not entirely stupid, but some of them, at some point have done something stupid.
In my brief history, more than one adult, married, and seemingly 'Godly' man has proven himself to be more than stupid. As a teen and young adult, these men have pressed upon me their lustful desires. Now, they did not actually touch me or force me to do anything. They made their thoughts plain, and allowed me to say 'no way!', but without any consequence on their part. Who was I going to tell? Who would believe me? Who would care as long as nothing 'actually happened'?
Here I am, wondering what it is I am doing to invite this behavior. Am I walking a particular way? Is it my clothing? (my parents have always encouraged modest dress, and, honestly, I don't feel comfortable in immodest clothing anyway!) Do I look at people in a way that is inviting? Is there some smoldering, come-hither look that I am completely unaware of shooting from my eyes? What could it possibly be?
Do I have an aura of helplessness? Of neediness? Do I laugh to readily at a joke? Is it wrong to shoot out a joke of my own? Do I listen too well? Not well enough? Am I putting myself in these situations?
I though so, for a long time I thought so.
Then, I go married. I thought "I don't need to encourage men to notice my physically any more, so I'll put on weight. That'll stop their problems. Men aren't attracted to heavy women!" So it began. Then it continued. What began as a defense became a habit. A way of life. An issue all on it's own. Guess what I found out after a divorce. There ARE men out there who like fat women. Or they don't care what shape the woman is. Certain kinds of men are out there. Some how, I am a complete loser magnet.
I found one that isn't a loser. He's great. He's supportive of me and loves me. I'll tell more about him later.
I know now that the shape of my body isn't going to stop a stupid man from being stupid.
I am headed back to the 'Y'!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Oh, still pregnant?

Truly. Really. People say that. "Haven't had that baby yet?" Can they be serious? Hasn't anyone figured out how inane a question that is? How boorish a person sounds asking that? ACK!!!
I am four weeks from my due date. I get to induce a week early. WooHoo! Yeah!
I look huge. Someone asked me how many are in there.
I usually smile, and when asked what I am having reply elephant, hippo or whale. It's really so much better than what is running through my mind. Things that I should be asking forgiveness for later.
I'd like to look blank and say "Why do you ask?" I just can't do it, though. Most of these people are nice and mean well. They don't say thoughtless things all of the time. It's just a thing to say to an obviously uncomfortable, waddeling, shuffeling, swollen, bleary eyed, huffing and puffing pregnant person.
Next time you see a woman in said form, instead of asking a lame rhetorical question, ask if you can get her something to eat and a cushy place to sit. Offer to tie her shoe and run some errand for her. Go get the laundry out of the clothes drier, put the dishes away from the bottom rack of the dishwasher, clean the bathtub, get the dustpan out and clear up that pile that is growing in the corner because she can't get back up after bending down to do something!
Show up at her house at 7 am and offer to get breakfast for the kids so she can lay in bed another hour since she's been up every 20 minutes to Pee!
When my children are grown and I have the opportunity to change my ministry tactics and technics, I am going to help women that are pregnant and have small children. No one does it any more.
Even grandparents back out. They are too tired and frail. They don't have time. That isn't a grandparents role. I am retired. I've done my time.
I spew you out, you tepid and defiled experienced ones!
You already know how to do this stuff!
c'mon, now! Don't sit back and watch us fall on our faces!
Help us to get it right. Help us to be enouraged that this time will pass and we may end up missing it.
Help us to want to make these years memorable for good things!
Come alongside and teach us, encourage us, love us.
Sigh.
crumb. Those are MY shoes on the kitchen floor. Just a minute, I'll *grunt* get them *grunt* oops. *ungh* I seem to be stuck. Hey. The kitchen floor is kind of comfy...

Saturday, October 11, 2008

A Really Rude Dude

I'm calling my oldest son in for dinner when my neighbor waves me over. She's telling me how much she dislikes a particular boy in the neighborhood. She has heard him using foul language and terrible, awful, no good, very bad remarks toward her children and others. Neighbor has decided that her children will not associate with Rude Dude, and she was counceling oldest son to steer clear as well.
I am listening with interest, as I, too, have heard the Rude Dude's mouth in action. I don't like it either. Rude Dude and Oldest Son used to play together some, mostly riding bikes together, until recently. I am getting ready to offer a little council to Neighbor in how she judges Rude Dude. After all, he is a child and we have no idea what his home life is like.
Then she tells me 'I told your son to stay away from him because he is mean and has a yucky mouth. Your son told me - well, he doesn't know God, you know."
My momentary shock...
I am ecstatic! Oldest Son DOES listen and retain! Even the good stuff!
After all, how can we judge someone by God's measuring stick, when the someone doesn't have any clue what that measuring stick is, or how to be measured by it? We can't! We aren't even supposed to try!
Way to go Oldest Son!

Friday, October 3, 2008

It's Getting Spiritual in Here

I've been vague so far in my posts about the driving power above what I believe and why I believe it. It isn't my intent to sermonize, and I won't preach.
God is my God. Jesus Christ is my redeemer. The Holy Spirit is my guide, the giver of wisdom.
I will elaborate in future posts!

Encouraged to be Discouraged

Do we still encourage each other?
It's hard to tell. I hear, and dole out so many "you are right to feel that way..." and "who wouldn't be (whatever emotion it is) about that..." comments, that I wonder how effective they are.
They really are effective. The effect is that the hearer has confirmation that their dejected, downstrodden state is normal and that there isn't any hope otherwise. The effect is that there are so many influential people (e.g. parents, grandparents, child care providers, teachers, etc.) that remain convinced that their circumstance merits a state of discouragement, and that they/we must continue to plod along in said state.
Since when to circumstances dictate our character? Better, when should they? Isn't it more true that our circumstances show our character? Why don't we encourage one another rather than commiserate?
I am not great at having the 'right' thing to say when someone is feeling discouraged. I am sure trite phrases won't help, so I avoid saying anything at all. When I have had a terrible day, week, whatever, and I am in tears and don't see how I can continue with current circumstances, the last thing I want to hear is "This too shall pass" or "You'll laugh about this later"
AAAuuggghh! SHUT UP!!!
How about an offer to help with something. Anything. 'Can I get you a cup of coffee?'. Not that the coffee solves the problem, but that the listener is willing to continue listening is a relief! Maybe 'It is discouraging when things don't come out the way we hoped they would.' This is an empathetic statement. It does not in any way validify a tantrum or a continuation of a downtrodden attitude.
It is also not a bright yellow smiley face demanding perky replies at every 'how are you?'!
Encourage, people! Yes, things can get better. What if they don't? Isn't attitude more important than the circumstance?
Author Dave Branon shares about two rollerbladers, whose favorite route is a long hill. One would say "are you ready for the hill?" Just before pushing their way to the top. One day, the other rollerblader said "could you please not say that? You make it sound like a huge mountain and that discourages me."
Every hill is too high if we think we have to climb it all at once - and if the people around us keep telling us it is insurmountable and that is all there is too it!
Take the hill a little at a time, and remind one another, that we have accomplished something, and we are about to accomplish something else!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

An Atypical Day

This out of the ordinary day would have been typical so many years ago, or, perhaps, in another culture.
Hubby did outside work and I did inside work. The sun was shining, the temps were in the high sixties, partially cloudy. The only hint of autumn, the turning leaves on the deciduous trees around the area.
D.H. took two boys to the PeeWee football game today (Whew!). I breakfasted with daughters and baby boy. We enjoyed one another's company for a while, then on to laundry, dishes, general clean up.
I decided to rearrange the counter tops a bit, do some deep cleaning in the kitchen, and - hang on to your hats - bake a pie! Really!
In between helping Daddy with out door work, kids did some school work. We are a home schooling family, and fit the work into our schedules all over the place. The kids actually requested to do their classes today - probably because they are online.
We noticed today that the 3 year old boy is the helper with the most. He has stamina and sticks to the task, whatever it is. In fact, for the past two hours, he has been the only kid out there helping!
Dad has barbequed some pork chops and I have prepared vegetables inside (Hee,hee). We are getting ready to sit all around the table for dinner together. AAAhhhh....

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Big Date

Yes! D.H. and I went out to the fair for a concert without children last night! We double dated with another couple. All the children were at their house, and we hired two sitters for the evening. There was pizza for the kiddos, we ate some before we left. We ended up running a little behind schedule as my hubby was kept late at work. The men sat up front and the ladies took over the back. Mr. Other couple was driving. His style was adopted to get us there in a timely fashion. I am afraid I ruined his plans.
Being pregnant, pizza freshly in tummy, and sitting in the back seat are not a good mix. Dear, darling, wonderful friend, Mr. Other couple pulled off to the side of the freeway for me. I got to lean over a barrier wall and lose it in the blackberry bushes below.
Upchucking on the side of the freeway is not something I have ever imagined myself doing. Now I have done it. I hope I don't need to do it again. And it may be a while before I enjoy another slice of pizza. Ew.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Batteling Corsets and Girdles

PeeWee Football at 9 am Every Saturday Morning! WooHoo! Who can say no to that? I'll tell you who. Anyone that isn't a parent of a PeeWee Football player. Six games into the season, and nary a relative has arrived at a game. My PeeWee has invited everyone. Really. If you have met him in the last six weeks, he has invited you to a game.
Moms, Dads, and sometimes reluctant siblings rise by six to get a hearty breakfast into said PeeWee and get the child outfitted before heading out the door. PeeWee has to arrive at the field an hour early for warm up and roster check.
In this family, Dad's work schedule included Saturday. That means Mom has the privilege of out fitting the little footballer.
Oh my.
Have you any idea how many pads come with the uniform? There are pockets and slots everywhere on the pants, including a pair of mesh undies with slots. Correction. These are not 'mesh undies, MOM. It's a girdle!' oh. that's much better. My big, bad, shoulder padded, football playing boy is on the field wearing a padded girdle.
After having inserted the pads backward and in all the wrong places, my 7 year old instructs me to please lace up his pants. silence. Laced up pants? It makes the stretchy pants go all around the pads and still close in front, keeping everything in. Sounds like a corset.
There he is, on the field wearing a uniform with skulls and crossbones on it, wearing a girdle and a corset.
Now the shoulder pads. Does the jersey actually fit over the shoulder pads? And how does one remove the helmet from little PeeWee's head without actually detaching the ears?
We managed to get everything together this morning. Arrived at the field closer to on time than really late, still good. Warm ups begin. I sink down in my folding chair, which suddenly seems incredibly comfy and cozy, when PeeWee approaches.
'Mom. I need you to take me to the bathroom.'
!!!!!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Heart Failure?

Ladies Bible study, and Chapel Automotive Ministry are what we do on Thursday evenings.
Bible study ran over some. A lot. Okay, I was home about an hour later than usual. My husband was already in bed. Not terribly unusual as he gets up before dawn for work.
I went about the usual business, chasing monsters in their underwear around the house to get them into bed. I was feeling so good about being a helpmeet to my husband. I had taken all of the children with me to biblestudy, I had actually cooked dinner, dishes were done, the coffee pot was ready to brew a fresh pot in the morning, the dog was let in and fed, the children had their jammies on and their teeth were brushed. Not only that, they were fighting over who got to read the bible story before bed. What? Fighting over the Bible isn't good?
At any rate, I began to hear some irritated moaning and rustling about in bed. I began to feel irritated. What? I thought. Can't deal with a little noise while 5 other people get through the evening rituals? So, my helpmeet attitude flew out the door. Ick.
Finally, I get into bed, and D.H. tells me that he is in excruciating pain. The kind that gives a person sweats and nausea. I call the Nurse's Hotline, and he gets upset that perhaps I am calling an ambulance. I give the nurse all of the info, she says it sounds like it could be cardiac arrest, I suggest you take him to the hospital! ACK! Triple ACK!
My mind begins to race. Get dressed, get the kids up. Who shall I call to take the kids? Should I call Gramma? Honey, we need to go to the hospital!
He says, I just want to go to sleep.
What? sleep? you might be having a heart attack?
I'm not having a heart attack.
The nurse said you might be having a heart attack!
I'm not having a heart attack.
Honey, your high blood pressure. This isn't good...
I. AM. NOT. HAVING. A. HEART. ATTACK.
oh.
I need some sleep.
o.k. but, if it isn't a heart attack, what is it?
sigh.
what?
I think I am passing a gall stone.
I see.
I had a donut today.
one donut?
yup. just one donut. and a maple bar. and a cream filled.
that's three donuts.
nope. it's just one. maple bars and cream filled don't have a hole in them.
ummm...
yeah. can we go to sleep now?
Can you sleep throug the pain?
I am very willing to try.
This morning, he was gone to work when I woke up. No one has called to tell me that Hubby was rushed to the hospital.
I'm feeling that helpmeet thing come on again.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The First Post

Is the first post like the first pancake?
Today was incredibly exciting. We trekked to the thrift store, bought shoes and pants for a couple of the children and watched the venus fly trap eat a few flies.
The venus fly trap part is the most exciting to me. We live in an area that is actually known, for 30 miles in each direction, for it's summer time fly infestation. It is now mid-September. The flies should be gone. It is still warm here. Lovin' the extra sunny, warm days. Not so much with the extended play program for the flies! I detest swatting them on the walls and ceilings where they leave nasty 'splat' marks.
My husband bought this great gadget that looks like a tennis racket, but is electrified, so it actually fries the little critters. Great, right? uh, nuh. They smoke and give off a foul odor. It's almost worse than the splat marks.
So...as my darling ducks in a row (you believe that, yes?) and I were shopping for bare essentials at Fred Meyer (I bet yoy believe that, too!) my 12 year old spotted the pitcher plant, and next to it, the venus fly trap. Home they came, and oh the fun that ensued! Our fly population is down by half in a mere 24 hrs! Hurrah! Victory is mine!