Monday, September 29, 2014

Sound bites

If you were a fly on the wall, this is what you'd hear at our house:

Child, staring at the open fridge, aghast:  "MOM!  This is a food graveyard!"

Child, looking at his grades:  "I'm getting 'B's, Mom!  I'm an A+ man!"

"If Papa hadn't played for the White Sox, I wouldn't be standing right here before you!"  True statement.

Boy, when prompted to say something kind about his brother (said seriously with no hint of irony):  "Well, he threatens to hit me with his sword, but he never does!"

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Facebook

Facebook.  If you're not a teenager, you might have a love/hate relationship with it.  If you're a teenager, you basically hate it, because it is just for old people.  I am an old people, so I fall into the first category.

On the one hand, it's great.  It connects you with old friends, family members, people you see on a daily basis, people you haven't seen since high school, and people you never knew much or cared about in high school anyway. You get to see pictures of everyone's kids and grandkids, dogs and cats.   It also keeps you abreast of the teensiest detailed news from basically everyone you've ever known (who clipped her toenails today?  got it.  who is really ticked off that The Bachelor is not actually in love with the girl of his dreams? check.)

But on the flip side, it is a total time drain, it promotes drama and inflammatory statements and comments, it lends itself to gossip, and it might make you feel superior or inferior to your friends.

It also presents you with all sorts of tricky situations.  Friend or unfriend the person who is flooding your feed with cat videos  - that is the question.  Tis nobler to block all posts from the neighbor of a former coworker you spoke to for 5 minutes once at a party.   And what about that persistent friend who constantly invites you play FarmVille or Candy Saga or Criminal Case?  Is is acceptable to block all such requests??

And then there are the many links that you know cannot possibly be true.  Has your friend ever heard of snopes?  Should you be the one to inform her of its existence?

Or how about - "Name a city without the letter "a" in it" Truly?  And the post already has 58 comments?  Why oh why would I fall into that black hole?

And my personal favorite kind of post:  "Repost if you love Jesus.  Ignore if you don't" (and all variations of the sort "Repost this prayer and God will rain blessings upon you in 18.5 minutes").  Really.  Really??  If I repost it, God will wait 18.5 minutes and then shower me with blessings?  Is my love for God dependent on my Facebook postings?  I know I love Jesus. I don't need to repost something to prove it to myself or God (or all my friends).  And are God's blessings so finite that he might not deign to bless me unless I repost?  How demeaning to the God of the universe!

So why oh why, do we continue to post and read?  I use Facebook because I do like to see pictures of my friend's kids, and hear their big news announcements (we're pregnant!  we're moving!).  I smile when I read about an answered prayer and I pray when I read about a tough situation a friend is facing.  And I even like to hear about the little things.  Thanks for sharing your life with me!  I like to know!  I can skip the drama and Farmville, but your baby rolled over?  Yes!  I'm celebrating with you!

Cheers, Facebook friends!  I'm so glad the internets keep us connected! :)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Oh, how the years go by!

Two teenagers in the hooooouuuse!  My second-born child turned thirteen today.  It's hard to believe it has been 13 years since his birth.  I brought him home to an 18-month-old daughter and life was crazy.  It was good and sweet, but full.  It seems like a lifetime ago.  Now he sounds like a man and is taller than me.  He is on the threshold of young man, and it was just yesterday that he was a babe-in-arms.  Oh how the years go by!  We had a birthday dinner for him today, and nary a birthday can pass without this story being brought up (click on the link if you'd like to read about it).  

This weekend has been busy.  I've been home (which I've come to treasure now that I'm working), but busy doing all the chores I can't seem to find time to during the week.  How ever do moms work full time?  I truly think they are super-women!  I am working to find the balance of working three days and taking care of my family.  I'm finding my way with it, with the help of my husband and kids.  This evening, as I was pondering my oldest son's birthday and entrance into the teens, I lay down and cuddled with my youngest.  She, who turned five this summer, still enjoys a cuddle and a back rub.  So there I lay with her, listening to the greatest lullaby CD ever made (click here to purchase any of the three volumes - you will not be disappointed, whether or not you have children), rubbing her still- tiny back and curled up next to her, overwhelmed with the changing times.  I am easily overwhelmed, you know dear reader, but truly!  Here she is, the last of my babes, already a big girl at five, and I have two teenagers now,  on the cusp of being young adults.  And oh!  My heart was heavy!  Life is good, and this older-child stage is actually quite fabulous!  But - the babies!  Those years of having little ones underfoot have passed by so quickly.  It didn't feel so at the time, but the saying "The days are long but the years are short" is so very accurate.  

And the years continue to fly by.  We're going to blink and the kids will be traipsing off to college.  Life is changing every moment, and if you know me, you know change is a wee bit (read: incredibly) hard for me.  But I take comfort in the fact that these children, given to us for a short time, are their Father in heaven's.  That He loves them more than I do (that seems near impossible!), and cares for them in every stage.  We are raising these children with the chief goal of getting them into heaven.  And though my heart sometimes has trouble catching up with the rapid pace of their growth, I know that with each day they are growing stronger in their faith and closer to their Savior.  And how can I be mournful when I remember that?

Saturday, September 20, 2014


"I love the sweet smell of hot peanut butter!"

"Take the plum out of your shirt, please."  (You can guess who said this - it could be cross-blogged under the title "Phrases I never thought I'd utter)

"I don't need to take a shower!  I took one two days ago!"

One of my boys was struggling with some friend issues. While we were driving home from school,  he was lamenting about how this friend wasn't being nice to him.   I was listening to him pour his heart out, when I heard my 5-year-old daughter pipe up with "Maybe you should just draw him a picture!".  Repeatedly, she happily chirped her sage advice as he continued his lament.  Finally, I gently suggested that drawing a picture might not solve this particular dilemma.  But I suppose it wouldn't hurt to try!


I saw someone wearing a banana clip the other day.  I felt like you all needed to know this.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Happy Fall, Ya'll!

Fall is here!  There is a bite in the air, football is on the TV, apples are 58 cents a pound, and I wore leggings, boots and a sweater over the weekend.  I love the crisp air and smell of burning wood when I step outside.  If only winter didn't follow it, Fall would be perfect!

This weekend we made a whirlwind trip to the city where my middle son spent time in the NICU.  Every year they have a NICU reunion, and this was his 10 year reunion.  We haven't been in five years, so it was wonderful to go back.  All the kids enjoyed the bouncy houses, the carnival games, the fair food, and the free sno cones and cotton candy.  It was a kid's dream come true.  And it was all free to us!  We spoke to one of his nurses while we there (though we never crossed paths with his neonatologist, unfortunately), and I couldn't help but ponder how different things were just 10 years ago.  My son had just come home from the NICU after a seven-week stint there.  He was on oxygen, with a feeding tube and an apnea monitor.  Life was scary and challenging.  But this weekend -  I watched my son run and jump and laugh.  He is a healthy boy now - not fully without medical issues, but healthy and strong.  And oh-so-happy.  I wish I could have had a glimpse back then of the boy he is now!

Unrelated to Fall:

This morning at church, our pastor referenced Constantine (the Emperor) in his sermon.  I was holding a certain little boy who heard the name and whipped his head up and looked at me.
"No", I whispered.  "He is not talking about the scary Muppet Frog."

Thursday, September 11, 2014

On (or near) this day in history

Sept. 8, 1995:  I vividly remember it was a beautiful day in St. Louis.  I recall swinging at recess with my fourth graders, enjoying the start of my first year of teaching.  And later that night, I went out to dinner with my boyfriend, who, a few short hours later,  became my fiancĂ©.  I was so giddy with delight when he proposed that I neglected to answer his question right away!  But here we are, 19 years later, and I still say "Yes!"

Sept. 11, 2001:  I was very pregnant with child #2.  I had an 18 month old toddling around the family room as I sat riveted in front of the TV, weeping and praying.  I was praying for the victims, the families of the victims, and those responding to the disaster.  And I was also praying, selfishly, that my baby would not be born that day (he waited 10 more days).  What a sin-filled world we live in.  Come, Lord Jesus!

Sept. 11, 2014:  Today.  Today, I met with a dear woman, a veteran early childhood teacher, a generous and kind soul. Before school started, I had reached out to her, asking her to share any wisdom and tips she might have to offer.  She invited me over today, and we had a lovely afternoon together.  She had made me a beautiful basket, filled with items she collected and bought - items I will undoubtedly use time and time again in my classroom.  She is a wonderful mentor, and I am blessed by her knowledge and friendship!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Hairy Situation

Last week, I chopped off 12-ish inches of my hair.  Well, I didn't do it, because that would have been disastrous.  I can barely style my hair, much less cut it.  My wonderful, talented friend and stylist cut it.  I had decided to donate it to Locks of Love, so my friend gave me the ponytail when she was finished.  

I ran several errands after my cut, so I just took it with me to Meijer and sent it off while there.  Before I put it in the envelope, I took a picture:

Horrifying, isn't it?  I texted the picture to my husband, who promptly told me it looked like a dead animal.  I fully agreed!  It was creepy and weird (and full of hideous split ends!).  And it felt very strange to mail it off - kind of like I was sending a part of me away.  I hope the people at Locks of Love are able to snip off those wretched ends, pull out the numerous grays and make something of worth with what is left.

And within in two days, the other females in my house got their new 'dos as well.  My little daughter has a short bob she loves (almost as much as I do, due to the significantly fewer tangles she has now.  Did I ever tell you, dear reader, about the rat's nest she acquired in her hair while we were in Yellowstone?  I thought not.  It could have warranted its own zip code). My older daughter cut several inches off and had bangs cut.  She looks so much older, which I have mixed feelings about!  They both look beautiful, in my largely unbiased opinion.

All three of us are feeling much more carefree with fewer tresses.  Less is more!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

A Little R & R

My husband and I just returned from a glorious long weekend away, just the two of us.  Our time was filled with beach lounging, reading, visiting wineries, eating (too) well, shopping, and general fab-u-loso relaxation and enjoyment.  It was wonderful.  I love the time with just my husband - time to finish our thoughts and sentences, time to sleep in with no alarms rousing us too early, and time to simply enjoy each other's company.  I rather like my husband's company, so it was perfect.

It would be easy to want to remain in that world forever.  Except - I also missed the children!  So it was also glorious to return home to our brood (and trusty and generous grandparents) and be squeezed and kissed and hugged and loved.  Our children are so dear - to see their faces after being away for a long weekend warmed my heart immensely.  It was oh-so-wonderful to be away with my husband, and it was oh-so-wonderful to return home to our sweet babies.  Life is good.

In other news, I just found out that September 5-7 is Redhead Days.  I have no idea what this means, but I'm thinking a parade and cake are in order.  Yes?