Saturday, February 27, 2010


Dinosaurs, Trains and Lightning McQueen Cars
No need for real dinosaurs. Puzzle pieces will do.

Lightning McQueen...friend of trains and dinosaurs.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Out of the Mouth of Babes

Children have such
a way of keeping you humble when you want to look so much better. Let me share.
This past weekend we had a houseful of company. The mother of the college student who lives with us was the first to arrive. My aunt and uncle came a few days later.
My aunt and uncle live in a rural town out in the middle of nowhere. For entertainment my cousins and I would go swimming in their cowtank in the backyard or build mudpies in the water sloshed over the sides. Sofistication and snobbiness is not a worry here. My aunt gets me and I love being at her house.
I had not yet met our beloved college student's parents yet and they are from a larger city up North. I was a little nervous to say the least.
Back around Thanksgiving we had worked for a solid month on table manners with our little rug rats. A (then 6-year-old), 5 year old, 3 year old and 1 year old have very little table manners and we were to have an important dinner with my husband's parents and some very important people...includeing the Govenor of Arkansas. Our kids rose to the challenge quite nicely and even without naps that day and having to get dressed up and sit still for a long time, they did better than expected.
Fast forward to this past weekend when our college student's mother arrived. We were sitting at the dinner table with everyone expect for my husband who was working. My children were giddy with excitment at having someone over for dinner and were just plain goofy. I had to keep telling them to "sit still" "don't take such huge bites" "it is our time to talk," etc... when out of the blue my beloved 5-year old very seriously announced, "someone cooked drugs in our house."

I nearly choked on my food. Our college student nearly spit hers out and started giggling. Poor Ben grinned rather nervously and said hopefully, "well, they did!"
So much for first proper first impressions. Children have a way of keeping us humble.
Just so we are clear on this, we have never cooked drugs in our house. We found out last week that the house we sold 4 years ago has been condemned because the renters were cooking meth in their kitchen. Our old neighbors who we still talk to every once in a while told us of the exciting afternoon when no less than 8 police cars came screaming down the street and busted the lab.
I was sorry to hear it. I liked that little duplex that we had owned and after Sparks last night the children requested that we drive by and say goodbye one last time.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Dancing with Insanity

I have a strong belief that God gave us small, wild little beings to care for so that we would know how He feels.
I have four children ranging in ages 17 months to just turned 7 years. Each age and stage has brought something new for me to learn. Each new child has proven me wrong when I thought I had parenting figured out. Now I just pray that I won't be spending thousands in therapy (for my children) because I screwed them up in some way. My husband and I pray daily over our little charges, read, ask questions of other parents and then do our best.
One thing I know: small children and a clean house do not go hand in hand. At least, not with any sort of sanity involved. As someone once said to one of my friends, "I once had grand notions about what I could achieve [as a mom]. Turns out, they were grand dilusions." I used to be a clean freak. Seriously. My sister and I used to share a room together and I think my parents finally realized that one of us would die if they didn't separate us. She had no problem with clothes and what-have-you thrown all over the room and never picking up her side of the room. I sorted my clothes in my closet according to color. I got a little better in college. A little. I think I drove a few roommates insane.
Then I met my dear husband. The first time I saw his room when we were working together at a Children's Home in the Midwest, I wanted to run out of the house. There was no floor to his room. It was a rug of clean and dirty clothes. Peeping out were bright speckles of candy wrappers and empty soda pop bottles. They say opposites attract. We certainly proved that theory. Our first year of marriage was one huge lesson in adjustments, but that's for another blog.
It is fairly easy to keep a house clean when it is just you and your hubby--even a messy like mine. But, when you add children and then pets to the becomes a dance with insanity for an obsessive compulsive clean freak like myself.
I'm rather proud of myself. With the birth of each new child, I have learned to let go of a little bit more in the way of a neat house. I don't vacuum daily like I did when I had just Abigail. Yes, I vacuumed daily. I don't wash my dishes after every meal. I don't dust every few days. Dusting happens when I find I can write "help me" with my finger on the top of the piano. The list goes on.
This week pushed the sanity button to the max. We are expecting a house-full of company. I love having people over to our house, but the last few weeks since Nathaniel's accident have been more about getting back on our feet and enjoying every moment with my little ones than keeping up with the house.
I joined mid-January and it's been good for me, but the clean doesn't stay that way. Two days ago I decided I needed to fold the clean laundry that had been accumulating. It took 6 trips from the laundry room to the living room. Upon the last trip, I found two delighted little boys attempting to scale the laundry mountain. The pile was taller than my 3-year-old (who is just shy of his 5 year-old brother in height). I found it was more fun to see how high we could get the pile for them to jump or roll off of than to fold it. I gave up the notion of folding after watching the two of attempt to add the couch cushions to the top of the pile and joined in the fray. It eventually got folded AFTER they'd gone to bed that night. Yesterday I decided to bit off the flylady challenge of deep-cleaning the bathrooms. Only I chose to do 2 bathrooms in their entirety in one day. Dumb. I know. I gave Timothy (age 3 1/2) the vinegar and water spray bottle and told him to spray the counter tops and door nobs and I tackled the toilets and floor around. (Little boys don't aim well). Nathaniel toddled back and forth between the two of us with his token rag and kept dipping it into the toilet and then climbing the step stool to swish his rag in the sink. Gross. He's a fat pudgy diaper on two legs and was having difficulty maneuvering the step stool. He kept tipping off and smacking Timothy with his sloppy rag.
I finally got the toilets cleaned and turned to inspect Timothy's "work." Vinegar water pooled under the bathroom door and dripped off the counters as evidence that he'd been hard at work. "Look mommy! I helped you. Ishn't it so clean!" He turned to me excitedly and sprayed Nathaniel directly in the face with the vinegar water. Nathaniels' response was to grunt loudly and "run" to the toilet and throw his rag into the bowl in defiance. After rescuing the rag, I grabbed a large beach towel to use as a mop and backed my way out of the bathroom and shut the door. Nathaniel was soaked to his shoulders in toilet water and Timothy walked down the hall leaving wet little footprints in the carpet. I decided that was enough for one day.
This afternoon I was driving cars with Timothy and looked up to see that Nathaniel was not in the living room with us. I walked into the kitchen to find that he had discovered the dishwasher unlatched and had succeeded in pulling it open. He must have thought it was a good time to help empty the dishwasher (he has begun to help with that chore and still thinks it's great) and had succeeded in pulling out several dishes and bowls that were dripping with oatmeal. I had mopped the floor just 2 days previous for the first time since Christmas. Oatmeal was dripping off the cupboard door and onto the floor and dirty little footprints had tracked it from the dishwasher to his little pile about 2 feet away.
I have had people ask me if I get uptight in other people's houses that are messy. I honestly don't. I like being in a place I'm not responsible for cleaning. I can sit back and just relax and have fun in someone elses house. It's their mess, not mine.
I love my children. I love that they have upset my neatness. I love (well not really) to find their little jelly fingerprints on the front of my kitchen cupboards and floor. If I never cleaned, I could even use their little hand prints as a random growth chart! I am glad God blessed me with a messy for a husband. I am glad for a daughter who takes after him and for 3 little boys who are simply being boys. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be as contented as I am today without them in my life.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

New Learnings....Again

I decided to start blogging for a couple of reasons:
#1 I type faster than I write. (many things will never be posted)
#2 I finally got our intenet filter to unblock blogging spots
#3 It's a good outlet for me and I hope to look back and learn some things

The last 3 weeks have been a blur. Nathaniel's accident seemed to bring another wave of stress to our lives. It's been rather quiet the last few months and I've enjoyed the quiet.
A lot of things are put into perspective when you are watching Emergency Personel trying to revive your baby when all you were expecting was to pick him up and carry him to another ER room to await CT scan results.
My heart began to race when I saw his lips turn blue and when the Dr. grabbed him from me. I don't think Luke and I have ever clung to each other tighter than while we were standing there helplessly watching and silently begging God not to take our baby. Just moments before he had been waving in fascination at the CT lights above his little head.
I felt strange to not cry until a couple of days later. People kept commenting on how calm I was. Shaken, but calm. I simply felt numb and thankful.
I did a lot of thinking while sitting for 2 days in the ICU holding my youngest child and wondering if there was going to be any permenant damage.
I've had friends and well-meaning people tell me that if I speak positive thoughts and not believe in negativity that I can make that happen. I've come to believe over the last couple of years (perhaps falsly and that is for God to decide) that that belief isnt' necessarily true. Shit happens to everyone. Buckling your child into his high chair or making sure someone else buckles him in is what prevents falls--not positive thinking. How else do you explain the 11 year old boy in the Sudan who believes (still) in Jesus and loves Him with all his heart, yet was still nailed to a board through his knees by militants who called upon him to recant his faith. He didn't. He praises Jesus as a cripple now. I used to ask why a lot. Why do bad things seem to happen to good people? Why, when we ask God to change a situation, does He seem to be silent? Why, when we work hard in life, do we still fall short of goals and dreams while others "seem" to have it easy? Why do I do and say dumb things that make no sense?
I've been reading a book titled BLUE LIKE JAZZ by Donald Miller. He write about Christian Spirituality from an interesting perspective. A couple of paragraphs in his book caught my eye and I wanted to write them down.
"I know a little of why there is blood in my body, pumping life into my limbs and thought into my brain. I am wanted by God. He is wanting to preserve me, to guide me through the darkness of the shadow of death, up into the highlands of His presence and afterlife. I understand that I am temporaty, in this shell of a thing on this dirt of an earth. I am being tempted by Satan, we are all being tempted by Satan, but I am preserved to tell those who do not know about our Savior and our Redeemer. This is why Paul had no questions. This is why he could be beaten one day, imprisoned the next, and released only to be beaten again and never ask God why. He understood the earth was fallen. He understood the rules of Rome could not save mankind, that mankind could not save itself; rather, it must be rescued, and he knew that he wat not in the promised land, but still in the desert, and like Joshua and Caleb he was shouting, "Follow me and trust God."
Here is a verse that has meant a lot to me in the past few years:
I Peter 4: 12-13
Friends, when life gets really difficult, don't jump to the conclusion that God isn't on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the ery thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining rocess, with glory just around the corner."
(Message Bible)
Disclaimer: So as to not be taken wrongly, I do think there is a lot to thinking and speaking positively. I know if I DWELL on negativity or hurt or anger, that I become more down or depressed. I think that is why it's written in Philippians 4:8 "Finally brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things."
However, just thinking and speaking positively can't be confused with preventing crap from happening to you.