Thursday, April 25, 2013

True love

Yesterday I blogged about my experience over my 40th birthday weekend.  It was amazing, to say the least.  That post was focused on being intentional with my words and actions, as my friends and family were to me.

This post is about my husband.

As my 40th birthday approached, he asked me, "What would you like to do for you birthday?"  In my usual fashion, I deferred slightly, saying something along the lines of "I don't know", or "what do you think?"  He, in his usual fashion, took the reigns and wowed me.

Our children were in a production of Sleeping Beauty on Saturday, my birthday, so almost all of our family had decided to come up to watch the kids perform, as well as celebrate our birthdays.  Did I mention my husband's birthday is the day before mine?  So - we had a house full of people coming on Saturday morning, as well as a small gathering of friends coming Sunday night.

Obviously, the house needed a good clean.  I had done much of the cleaning and food prep during the week, but some things simply must be left to the last minute (such as bathrooms - I have THREE boys. If I cleaned the bathroom two minutes before guests arrived it wouldn't be last minute enough).  I had planned on doing a lot of the heavier cleaning on Thursday, leaving Friday open to hang out with my husband on his 41st birthday.  But I woke up on Thursday with a fever and sore throat, rendering me worthless for any of the chores I had planned.

So yep - you guessed it!  My husband spent his birthday scrubbing toilets and showers, mopping floors and cleaning windows.  All while I lied on the couch, feeling guilty (a certain specialty of mine).   He ordered me to remain there and get well so Saturday wouldn't be ruined by illness.  I took it as easily as I could.  It was very hard to watch him do those icky jobs on his birthday.

I felt well enough to go out to dinner with him Friday night to celebrate his birthday, and it was wonderful.  A little wine with my Tylenol turned out okay after all.

Saturday morning I was greeted by smiling children with breakfast in bed.  I was also given an agenda for the day.  My first stop was a massage that set the tone for the day beautifully.  Mellow and relaxed, I headed for parts unknown (save the address) and ended up at a restaurant with my parents and sister.  It was reminiscent of the past as the four of us had lunch together and laughed.

After lunch was the show, and then off to dinner at a local family style restaurant.  My husband toasted me with lovely words that warmed my heart.  I was surrounded by our family and it was perfect.

And as you read, Sunday night was the gathering of friends, and their lovely words of affirmation.

My husband could have given me a pair of diamond earrings.  Or a trip with a girlfriend to a day spa. But he knew me well enough to give me what would mean the most to me:  time with my family and friends, and words to lift me up.  He planned in great detail ways for me to feel pampered, loved and cherished.  He took time and effort to prepare a weekend for me that would remain in my memory for days, months and years to come.  He showed me his love for me in his words as well as his actions.  Thank you is a pitiful return for what he gave me that weekend.  I give thanks to God for His gift of this man in my life.  He has blessed me beyond my comprehension.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

If you have something good to say, say it!

Last weekend for my birthday, I was showered with love.  Family and friends took the time to love me through their actions and words.  Some might have stepped out of their comfort zones to express how they feel.  All took a moment to think about me, and our relationship.

It was humbling, to say the least.   My husband created an opportunity for some friends to tell me what they appreciate about me.  In front of all the people gathered.  It was equal parts moving, terrifying, hilarious and touching.  My first inclination at almost every turn was to say "No, no, no!  That isn't true!  I'm not a good mom, wife, singer etc.  (except for deal finder - I AM good at that!).  It was incredibly hard for me to just say thank you and not refute all their loving words.  It was a spectacular experience for me.

And it made me realize - I need to be more intentional with my words and actions.  If I notice something nice about a friend, family member, Walmart cashier, I need to say it!  When I think to myself, "I should get together with so-and-so", I need to arrange it!  If I value a personalty trait in someone, I need to tell that person that I do.

Life is speeding along (re: my 40th birthday) and time is too short to just keep sailing along.  I truly want to emulate the actions of my friends that birthday party night and seize the moment to build someone up.  I can't adequately express how the words from friends and family buoyed my spirit.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Sleep Study

"I don't know how to go to sleep!  I never learned how!" my six-year-old son has said at numerous bedtimes.
"Ha!" I would think to myself, "Not know how to go to sleep?  That's so easy!  Lay down and in 2.5 seconds you're out!  Or drive a car for long distances!  Or read a boring book - or any book for that matter!  The options are endless!  Not know how to go to sleep?  I've never heard anything so crazy!"

Um, this kid speaketh the truth.  He apparently has some issues with going to sleep.

And his issues hit about midnight last night.  I see him inches from my face as I try to pull out of my sleepy stupor.  He is bemoaning his inability to go to sleep and suggesting he sleep at the foot of our bed, where our feet are currently residing.  I gently tell him to go back to his room, turn on his dreamlight (best $30 spent evah!), say a prayer and drift off into la-la land.

I roll back over and drift immediately back to sleep (re: my amazing ability to fall asleep just about anywheres).  Moments later he returns.  I suggest he might be having trouble sleeping because he is currently standing in my bedroom, but he is unhelpable.  This goes back and forth several times until he suggests I sleep with him, and out of exhaustion, I acquiesce.

This is never a good idea, and you think I would know this by now!  I curl up next to him and close my eyes, portraying what sleep looks like (I am an actress now, remember?).  After a few moments I open one eye to check his status.  He is staring back at me.  I sigh and try to get comfortable, though I am lying on several stuffed animals and I am pretty sure the sheet has popped off the top corner, meaning I am sleeping on bare mattress.  After quite awhile he is still and I am freezing, since there were apparently not enough covers for dear old mom.  I sneak off the bed as quietly and gently as one can do when in bed with a child and a zoo full of stuffed animals.  He immediately sits up and reports he is still awake.

After soothing him some more, I finally head back to my bed and slip under the glorious grown up covers, completely free of all teddy bears and hedgehogs.  A few minutes later I hear my dear son hit up his father on the other side of the bed.  Maybe he'll have more luck with daddy?

Daddy made an effort to comfort him as well, while I stayed snuggled in, waiting.  I'm pretty sure my husband said something like "I am dying a slow and painful death", but that could have been my own thoughts - everything is fuzzy.

A little before 3 my youngest daughter comes in, probably having awakened during all the non-sleeping goings on.  As I tucked her back in, I noticed my son was still half sitting up in his bed. I didn't hear from him anymore after that, though, so I am hopeful he finally drifted off.

He has school today, so I am sure he is doing great!  Attentive, get the idea.  Something tells me he might not have any trouble falling asleep tonight - I hope!

Thursday, April 18, 2013


I was at the sink, washing my hands, when BAM!  I was suddenly swept back to 2004.  Without a warning, memories came flooding back.

I had been standing in a public restroom at the children's hospital where our third child spent the first seven weeks of his life.  I was there with him for a routine visit, one of many we make each year.  I was thinking of finishing up, driving home and picking up my other kids from after school care.

But suddenly, my thoughts were hijacked to another time, another era in our lives.  The recollections were strong and intense:

The fear of losing our son.

The joy of being surrounded by our family.

The drone of the breast pump.

The intense respect for and confidence we had in our son's doctors.

Our son's sweet, chubby face - the biggest baby in the NICU.

The warm summer air and walks outside with my husband.

The sounds of our other two children, clamoring to get a peek of him - at his bedside or through the NICU window.

The ventilator, oxygen, feeding tube, IV. . .the older children called him our cord baby - we called him our miracle child.

The incredibly skilled nurses, who always wore their rings on a necklace to keep their hands free of any harmful germs.

The beeps and whines and alarms of all the monitors.

The scent of the soap, as we washed our hands time and again each day.

It was a scary time, no doubt about it.  It was filled with joy and peace too, but my goodness, it was scary.  Yet my memories of that summer are always and only positive and happy.  We were surrounded by family daily, hourly and knew our son was in good hands, both the doctors' and his heavenly Father's.  Our son is now a healthy, happy, almost-nine-year old, and looking back to that time only makes me smile.  God answered our desperate prayers to watch over our son, and as He is wont to do, He answered them more generously than we could have ever imagined.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.  Matthew 6:34

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  Philippians 4:6

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Gross Margin

Whilst discussing math topics at dinner this evening, my daughter said to the table:

"I'll bet no one knows what number a gross is!"

Surprising myself (and probably my husband as well), I answered correctly.

But this did not sit well with a certain boy at the table.

"I think it's 2", said he, "because number 2 stands for poop and that's gross!"

Monday, April 8, 2013

Run, Forrest, run!

Today marks an epoch in my life.

I ran for six minutes.  In a row.  Without collapsing.

Yes, you read that right.  Not six miles, not sixty minutes.  Six.  Minutes.

I know to all you fitness-types that is laughable.  Six minutes is your warm up.  Six minutes is how long it takes you to run to the gym to actually begin your workout.  But for me - it's a big deal!

I have tried running many times, all without success.  Back in high school, my best friend and I "ran" on our school's fledgling cross country team.  We had to run a mile after school each day.   What I actually did was run a few seconds, walk, complain, run a few seconds more, wait for death to take me, and repeat.  I never did actually run the whole mile.  And I was super skinny back then!

Several times since, I have attempted to run again.  I tried the couch to 5K program on my ipod.  After several days, when the little voice in my earbuds told me to "begin running", I began thinking unkind thoughts toward running and exercise in general.

It is no secret that exercise, sweating and general fitness are Not My Thang.  But for the last eight or nine weeks, I have really integrated working out into my life.  Thrice a week I go to the Y for a class, and while I don't exactly anticipate it like I would, oh say, a plate of cheese fries, I don't exactly mind it.  It is just part of my week now.  And I can't tell you happy that makes me! Not only is my 40th birthday and my goal looming in the very near distance, I sincerely want to be in better shape.  I want to be able to hike and not bring up the rear - with or without a child near me as my excuse.

I don't think a marathon will ever be in my future, but by golly, I ran six minutes.  Maybe next time it will be ten.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Every good and perfect gift is from above

I last blogged a week ago today (about potty language, as it were).  What a glorious week it has been!  My oldest son was confirmed and received his first communion at the Easter Vigil on Saturday night.  He was surrounded by his family as his father laid his hands on our son's head.  What a beautiful, emotional moment!
As we approached the altar for the confirmation, my heart was overwhelmed with love for the people in our congregation.  We had just witnessed several baptisms and as we all sang Hallelujah, I imagined all of heaven singing Hallelujah to welcome these new children of God.  Now here we were, approaching the altar, 19 strong (missing one daddy who was at the altar and three little ones who stayed home with a babysitter).  So nineteen family members surrounded our son as he confirmed his faith.  God's blessings are too plentiful to even comprehend!  Oh, how He loves us!
The rest of the weekend was filled with family fun, conversation, food and Easter festivities.  As we did two years ago for my daughter's confirmation weekend, we had a huge Easter egg hunt and Egg Roll competition. We were given a beautiful, sunny, warm day amidst lots of late winter chilly days, so we were able to be outside much of the weekend.  It was perfect - all of it.
As if all this was not enough, we spent the last three days with family at an indoor water park and a museum.  The kids had a blast with their cousins and we all enjoyed each other's company.
Regular life seems hard to adjust to now after so many mountaintop experiences!

"Every good and perfect gift is from above. . .: James 1:17a