Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Sweet Henry


no photos yet...

Henry James Graves was born at 11:18 am today at University Hospital in Little Rock. He weighs 6 lbs and 1 oz, and he is 19 inches long.

Both Angie and the baby are doing well. Henry is on a little bit of oxygen with a nasal canula because he had some fluid in his lungs, but he has been screaming his head off, so no one thinks he will need the help for very long. Angie should be released sometime Friday, and we should hopefully be home in Fayetteville sometime Friday evening.


James

Exciting times!!!!!!

James and Angie and big brother Charlie are going to welcome Henry into their family sometime this morning! You'll remember that their first son, Jackson, fought an amazing fight with many congenital birth defects and passed away at 4 months and one week of age. James and Angie thought they weren't going to be able to have children without some type of ART, as it took 2.5 years for them to get pregnant with baby Jack. Well, Charlie arrived, and when Charlie was 9 months old they got pregnant with Henry. So cool, huh?



James said he would email when he got a chance so I will update you when he arrives!



Pray for the whole family!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

a good story

Two months ago I first noticed a lump at the base of my right bre*ast, but didn't think that much of it since I'm still nursing. I tried massage, heating pad, lots of nursing, less nursing, and still it didn't change. I know bre*ast cancer is nothing to mess around with, and because of my family history (my grandmother had it in both br*easts and eventually had to have a double mastectomy at the ripe old age of 54), I decided to make an appointment.





I made an appointment for a week ago with the doctor's office. I was out running errands anyway and thought, "Hey, if they have any cancellations, I could just hop over there and kill two birds with one stone." When I spoke to the receptionist, she said that no doctors had an opening, but a physician's assistant did. I asked her what a physicians assistant was, and she sort of mumbled something and then finally said, "Well, most of them wanted to be a doctor but they didn't pass!" She said it really quickly, as if saying it quickly would make it less true or less embarassing.





Against my better judgement, I saw the Physicians' Assistant, who resembled Paris Hilton in a lab coat. She felt around on my boob for about 2.3 seconds, then looked as if she was really thinking hard. She finally came up with a quasi-medical term that sounded usable: "Hmmm...you're too young for a mammogram, so I'll request an ultrasound." Then she smiled triumphantly, as though she had just discovered a clean, renewable energy source.





Today I had the ultrasound, and I brought the kids with me. We waited in the lobby for 35 minutes before someone finally came and rescued us. The kids were PERFECT the entire time. They ate goldfish and Lucy intermittently drew pictures of the Bachelor (I let her watch it with me last night - BAD MOM!) and yelled random questions about the doctor and my boob.





No "good morning" or "hello, how are you" or anything of the sort. The minute the ultrasound tech saw the double stroller she mumbled,"Well, I don't have room for a big stroller." She turned around to me and said all huffily (as though I hadn't heard her the first time), "Well, I certainly don't have room for that enormous stroller. It's so BIG!"





"Hmmm. Well, could we just park it outside the door and leave the door open?"





"I can't leave the door open!"





She continues to get huffier and huffier and asks some poor woman named Angela to "babysit" while I'm on the table. Angela just sort of looks at her with a blank stare and I tell them both, "Listen. That's not necessary. I will just take them out of the stroller."





"No! You can't do that! I can't have them running around the room."




Me, starting to get annoyed. "Well, what should I do with them then?"





I half expected her to instruct me to throw them out the nearest window or feed them to a wild pack of scavenging dogs, but she finally aquiesced and told me she'd just have to move her chair so they could fit beside her.





Apparently it's a crime to be 29 and reproducing.





She instructed me to put the gown on, and as soon as she came back in the room she said, "I thought I clearly told you to put the gown on with the opening in the front." I had put it on the opposite way. I really wanted to say, "Why are you being so mean to me?" But, in usual pushover form, I just sat there and waited for her to finish.





"Now, WHY are we doing this for you?"





"I found a lump."





"You're so young - usually it's older women we do."





"Well, it runs in my family, and I know firsthand it's not something you want to mess around with."





She sighs, takes more pictures.





All the while, Lucy is just watching, transfixed, and Asher is yelling, "Mama, Mama, Mama!" because the honkin' ultrasound machine is blocking his view. Then we hear a crash. Asher is absolutely sprawled out on his stomach; the only thing we can see are his Converse high tops because the rest of him is under a chair. The tech drops the transducer and just looks at him. I tell her to please move so I can get around her to pick him up, and she still just sits there and looks at him. (Really, could I MAKE UP a story any better than this, even on an LSD trip?)





I ask her again to please move, and she finally swings into action and picks him up. "There's blood all OVER the floor! Wipe it up!" She says. I, being a mom with a bleeding child and all, and more concerned about him at the moment, ask her for a tissue and hold it to his nose. Of course at this point he's screaming his guts out, and now Lucy is screaming, too. "It's not a bloody nose! It's not a bloody nose!" Every time we use that phrase, she screams louder.





"You didn't strap him in!"





"Actually, I did. I check it right before I came in here. He was playing with it; he must have figured out how to unstrap it."





She just looks at me, then says again, "I can't believe he wasn't strapped in!"





At this point in time, I just want to smack her across the face. Then I remember what a friend told me recently about never assuming anything about anyone. Hey, her brother could have just died last week, or maybe her dog got hit by a car. Maybe her husband's leaving her or every time she sees children she is reminded she never was able to have kids of her own.





I breathe a deep sigh, ask her if we are finished, as I think I'll just take what we've got and go.





"Oh no, I need to take more pictures."





There we are, the 4 of us. Asher is on the table, desperately trying to nurse on the boob that she is scanning. She keeps looking at him like he's the most recent strain of the Ebola virus newly escaped from the CDC. I'm thinking that maybe she keeps mentioning his bloody nose because she's never actually SEEN real red blood before.





Come to think of it, maybe hers comes out blue:



Monday, April 28, 2008

Christian Children's Fund

You know I've written about my struggles about giving 10% off of the top of Scott's salary, before taxes, to God. Lately, it's become more and more of a joy. I have seen God take what we have given back to Him, turning it into more than I ever could have dreamed.



I think my church has the idea that we should give all 10% to it, but for a variety of reasons I don't feel like going into here, we decided through prayer and careful consideration to give to all different sorts of places. God's kingdom is not limited to the walls of our local church. You know what? It's fun. And I've felt the spirit of generosity even increase since we began.



I know there are many who will read this who give 25% or more, and they're thinking that 10% is awfully stingy. Hey, baby steps, people. Baby steps.



Anyway, I've really wanted to share with you our newest little adoption. This is Anabel:



Anabel is 3 and lives in Mexico. She has 2 sisters and a brother. Her family makes $1500 annually. Previously, she only ate rice cakes mixed with dirt most days, so her hair was beginning to fall out and she still didn't have any teeth. She is now being taken care of by Christian Children's Fund, a fabulous organization that Scott researched the heck out of before he started sponsoring a child 8 years ago. Funny thing, I started sponsoring a child of my own right out of college from the same organization. Wichit is 16 and lives in Thailand, and Denis is 13 and lives in Brazil.


Can I just tell you how wonderful this has been for our family? Not only do we get to directly see the benefit and impact that our money can have for the good of other little children around the world, but we get to have a direct relationship with these kids, too! Wichit has taken a liking to Lucy. He always begs for more stories about her and told us in his last letter that he was going to be praying nonstop for Lucy. A kid who spends most of his day working in a rice field for $0.30 is praying diligently for my little fruit-snack addict. It's just pretty sweet.

Lucy and I love to send stickers. We had tried to send stickers to the boys, but I'm not so sure that teenage boys have much use for stickers. So I explained to her that we were going to start sending money to a little girl who didn't have a nice house or lots of food like we did. She was SO excited, even forgoing candy at the store so she could give the money to "the l'il girl". MELT MY FREAKING HEART!

I want to teach my kids from an early age that giving, to and beyond the point of sacrifice, is what God desires of us. I think Christian Children's Fund is an EXCELLENT way to do this. It's hands-on. It takes kids beyond their own desires and has them empathizing and thinking of others with far less than they have. It makes them more appreciative of what they have.

With your welcome packet you receive a photo of your child along with all of the information about their family and the Child Development Center they are a part of. The way CCF works is that each child's family must come to the center and apply. They must show that they will be good stewards of whatever they are given. They are taught how to properly care for their children, and the children are given education they otherwise wouldn't receive as well as vaccinations and good, healthy and well-balanced meals.

I just can't say enough about this organization - I feel like I'm writing a review. I just wanted to put this out there; I've talked to two friends who said they had never thought about it but it sounded like such a fun and neat thing to do with your kids. I am so excited about sponsoring Anabel!

CCF has proven to be the best organization as far as fiscal responsibility goes. You can view their reports here. Whenever you send a gift above and beyond your monthly gift of $24, you recieve a thank-you letter from the child as well as a receipt signed by the child that shows you they received it. This was really important to me. Sending the child's family $50 can be equivalent to sending them 2 weeks' salary. It's really humbling to be able to make such a difference in their lives.

Anyway, there you have it. I am so excited to watch Lucy's little heart open up with love for little Anabel.

You can search for a child here by age, country, and gender. It's so fun to have your kiddos be a part of it, too!!!!! We have really been blessed by it.

And as a mother, to know that our small amount of money and love is blessing a little person whose mother wants only the best for her but has no means to provide it, that's just so cool.

Monday, April 21, 2008

lodging and a slew of colo*stomy bags

I am supposed to be listing things on Ebay. Instead I need to share something with you I have hesitated in sharing up until now. (No, I'm not pregnant.)

The other day, I was standing in the shower letting hot beads of more than uncomfortable water hit my back. Sometimes I need the heat and the pain, just to remind me that I'm still mortal and He's still God. I was beseeching him, something I thought only Job and Moses and the prophets did until that moment.

"Make yourself real to me. Make yourself make sense to me. Not the Whole of You; I don't deserve that. I would never understand that. But make it make sense. Some part of it."

That day, I got an email from my sweet, sweet friend Alyssa. Her little daughter Sydney was stillborn in November. In trying to find a purpose, a reason for Sydney's short life and death, Lyss was on a mission - she wanted to touch someone else's life. Sometimes, in the midst of loss, the most you can do is suck in some air and place your foot on the solid concrete. You're not even sure if you're going to make the next breath, but you trust that the involuntary biology of your body will carry you through. This is how Lyss has been coping these past months.

She and her husband, Ian, had this dream. They were going to replace all of the floors in Baby Gray's house. He has some type of allergic condition that makes him break out in painful, bloody rashes all over his body. He's only 10 months old.

It's not that we couldn't live without $100, or that the project couldn't have been done without us. I don't have the hubris to believe that to be true. I do believe, though, that God was showing me something in some cosmic sceme of Pay It Forward. But before He was going to show me, He needed me to take the step, to trust.

"May God bless you tenfold what you have given to this family," she said to all of us in an email.

A 17 hour car ride away, my 96 year old grandmother sat in her nursing home, window open, curtains fluttering in the breeze. She sat on the edge of the bed, hands restless. From that vantage point, her aged eyes could see clearly and perfectly the spot on a hill where my Grandfather's body lay, firmly entrenched in the cold North Dakota ground.

Led by a faint whisper, a sudden stirring of the soul, a desire to make tragedy and death mean something, she fished a pen out of the bottom of her nightstand and wrote a check. A check that dropped itself into my mailbox the day after I sent my check to Lyss. This is especially poignant because my grandmother doesn't just go about writing checks. She's a child of the depression - have you ever met someone who could make a Solo cup last 8 months with constant daily use?

She said she just felt "led", a term I had formerly thought only cheezy prosperity gospel gurus like "I-can't-stop-smiling" Joel Osteen used.

The amount?

$1000. Tenfold. Enough to cover lodging and a slew of colo*stomy bags, and enough to convince my tired heart that something more than random chance is at work here. Testing God is tricky. Testing God is exciting. You never know what He's got up His sleeve for you. 10 years ago, I never would have dreamt he'd show me his power through money for a pallet of wooden flooring and a bushel of colo*stomy bags.

I'm grateful for it.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

trivialities

No worries, kidlets. No knife to my wrist here. Every once in a blue moon I have to feel sorry for us, then I'm out of it. I'm officially out of it. I have to be - we leave for Cincy on Tuesday. Just can't figure out whether or not to take Asher with us. He is nursing, so my boobs might explode if we don't take him. Thoughts? If you really don't care, you can say that as well.


Friday night I was feeling restless, so I did what every good mother does - I took my preschooler to Big Lots at 9 pm in the pouring rain. Big Lots, for the love of Pete. I told her I had a stomach ache in the rug aisle. In the bra aisle she declared: "Mama, those are for your boobs. Should we just go ahead and let your poop go in the toilet?" Laughter from other shoppers. Red-faced me.

Did I tell you about our trip to the grocery store the day before? I had to go to the bathroom so badly that I was passing gas every 3 seconds. The really bad kind where you KNOW you have to poop and you're just trying to put it off. The kind that, if you do it too much, buys you a prescription for full-time Depends by age 35. Anyway, we went into the nappy bathroom, cart and all. I was NOT about to take both kids out of the cart, and I was NOT about to leave the cart outside of the stall in this God-forsaken excuse for a restroom. This lady who could have passed for a genuine gypsy gave me disapproving glares as I kept ramming the damn cart into the side of the stall and cussing under my breath. Both kids were laughing. I was not. Until now - I'm laughing now, at the memory of it.

Did you know that these are the memories that make up the days that make up our lives? These are the things that take up the space that fill up the air that we breathe. You can find wonder in them, or you can let them pass. But then you miss the magic. (Cue Disney theme music)

You can always find magic in a 9 pm trip to Big Lots, or in polishing off an entire box of Zebra Cakes with your 3 year old in the back seat of a very well-loved Oldsmobile 88. You can delight in her giggles as she realized this is a colossal no-no, and if daddy knew, he would surely punish the both of you.

I had the camera attached to my fingers the entire weekend. I just discovered macro mode. Oh, macro mode, if Scott kicks the bucket, will you marry me?











I must have hit something because the photos I took today in macro mode are all grainy. Anyone have any idea why?




You win a hand-written letter if you can figure it out. (The assumption being that that is a prize.) Peace out!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

unspoken

I spend some moments thinking, "Dammit, what's my freaking problem? Why do I think about that?"

It hits me at the oddest, most obtuse moments. Reading an essay on Natalie Grant and her new perfect twins in my MOPS magazine, bathing Lucy. Looking back at her singular carseat, seeing two identical bobbing blond heads in the toy aisle at Target.

It cracks at my heart and I want it to stop doing that. I don't want to feel that any more. I wonder what he would have been like. Blue eyes? Brown? Would his birth defects have proven to be fatal after birth instead of before? A raw dance of life and luck.

It's not like I can forget about it, either. Every time I change a colostomy bag or check on surgery sores it's there, staring me in the face. It tells me I failed. It tells me what I did wasn't enough.

Last night I had a tedious dream in which Hillary Clinton was my perinatologist. She advised us to terminate the "remaining fetus", and when we explained that 3-year-old Lucy was already here she said, "TERMINATE ANYWAY!" in that screeching, bat-like voice.

I woke up with a trotting heart.

Some days I want to scream to the world, "I'M A MOM OF TWINS, TOO!" But I don't think that anyone really cares. And some days I want to scream to the world, "WHY COULDN'T SHE HAVE JUST BEEN BORN NORMALLY? WHY HER?"

Friends tell me I've been quiet. I get this way right before a surgery or test trip; wrapped up in an itchy coat of regret and silence. Wondering what the man in the surgical scrubs will tell us this time. Last time as he told us the prognosis, I watched a dangling string on his shirt. I willed myself not to sieze both it and him, delivering a threatening whisper: "Don't tell me what her life will be like. You can't know."

Will I cry? Will we sit together quietly? Will Scott wipe my tears with his shirt sleeves and tell me it will all be ok? Sometimes I see moisture in the corner of his eye, too.

Will he, equally unable to digest the information, burp up only apology?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

happy decimals to you

Dear Pipsylou and Asherbear,

Congratulations! You're 3.17 and 1.25 years old today, respectively.

Tonight, Lu, you're staying with your Nina and Papa, and the house is so quiet without you here. You kissed my leg haphazardly (you do everything in this fashion) and were out the door faster than I could say, "Hey! Give me back my Dr. Pepper Lip Smacker!" You are a go, go, go kind of girl. You love new adventure and you love new places. You are such a little dear; always wanting to make sure that everyone is included and talking my ear off at all hours of the day. Yesterday you followed me around the house saying, "Say, Mama? Let's talk about something, shall we? Let's talk!"





Yesterday I dressed you in a nylon windbreaker suit that looked as though it belonged on a child 14 years ago. It is THAT 1990's. I love it because it was free; you love it because it is pink:






My favorite things to hear you say are, "Mama, I wanna watch a lilbit Dora," followed by, "I had a great night!" You say this every morning, and every morning I smile as the words pass your lips. It wasn't so long ago at all, girl, that you were a snuggling little 6 pounder. I keep exclaiming to everyone now that you're such a little GIRL. I don't know why I'm bowled over by that fact, but I am. And I'm also bowled over by the fact that you have an opinion. Your favorite opinions are the ones that somehow slip by your internal monologue machine: "Mama, your bottom is real big."



Ashy man, you certainly are a Mama's boy. As long as some part of your body is touching some part of my body, you are ok. I love that about you - so daring and adventurous and everything a boy should be, but only if you are within sweet, sweet sightshot of mommy.

Your dad wondered aloud if you are indeed a tad bit slow in all areas developmental. SHAME ON HIM! Doesn't he know that all babies born into this family do things on their own time? Your voice is so low that we are guessing you will bear the nickname "Moose" in your high school years. You will also play football and sport a crew cut. You laugh and smile all the day long. When you nurse, you must be holding something. While I think it's sweet you play with my hair, it sort of hurts. Nugget the puppy is a suitable replacement:



I love the two of you with a passion I didn't knew existed before you arrived. Sometimes that passion comes out in the form of overcooked macaroni and cheese because I'm so busy kissing your sweet heads. Sometimes it comes out in badly fastened diapers because I'm too busy blogging to concern myself with such earthly troubles.

Thanks for putting up with me - and happy decimals, kids.

Mom

Ruhiyyih

Lots of thoughts about God and faith, and "oh my gosh what if none of it is true" are stewing around in my head. One of the things that really helps my soul when it's crippled and wondering why the bad people and things always seem to win is watching people who have converted to Christianity as adults. I love it.

I love it, because it gives me a perspective I don't have. I was "born into" Christianity, a family who taught me that I am a sinner and it is only through Christ that I can be redeemed. I do often wonder what the implications are... could I ever look at other religions pragmatically, or even objectively, when I've been painted with a certain ideology from a certain age?

I'm also fascinated with people who claim Jesus Christ as their soul's savior but who find their heart's mission in passionately rectifying global injustices as well.

Ruhiyyih is one of those people. She is going on a trip to Gulu, Uganda this summer to work with a relief organization. She's going to be helping those people we always hear about...people who could only DREAM about knowing the freedoms and luxuries that we enjoy. I figure if everyone who reads this could donate $1, we could really help her!

I've experienced the glow of generosity lately in my own life with others' selflessness in helping with Lucy's hospital bills (a post I'm getting to), and I want to be involved in it on a larger scale. In a larger way.

Join me, won't you?

Other ladies joining in the cause: Rach, Jess, Stephanie, Tiburon.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

What makes you weep?

We notice that the mind is a restless bird, the more it gets the more it wants, and still remains unsatisfied. The more we indulge our passions the more unbridled they become. Our ancestors, therefore, set a limit to our indulgence. They saw that happiness was largely a mental condition. A man is not necessarily happy because he is rich, or unhappy because he is poor.

- Seneca


Scott and I had yet another conversation tonight where I told him I wanted to move and he told me he didn't. Problem is, all of my friends are moving to a bigger and better house, the American way, yeah? And I feel like I'm getting left behind in the dust.

"All I want is one more bedroom and another bathroom! Is that too much to ask?"
"And then what?"
"What do you mean, 'and then what'?"
"Well, what will you want after that? You're suddenly all materialistic. You never used to be that way, and it was refreshing. I'm wondering why now, all of a sudden?"
**gnashing of teeth** "Well, you're obviously not going to want to move any time soon and you'll keep making dumb excuses as to why we can't, so I'll be just fine." (I sulk away, thinking that if I asked any of my friends with a bigger house if I was being unrealistic or out of line, they would DEFINITELY agree that I needed a bigger house.)

Some of the happiest people I know live in the smallest houses. Our best friends growing up, I loved their house. I loved going there. I loved the traditions they always had, I loved their mom's Swedish pancakes (she is like a second mom to me.) I loved it. There house felt big, and full, and wonderful. I was SHOCKED when I found out that house that seemed so big in my child-like eyes was only, in reality, 1050 square feet.

I felt like crying tonight, after my conversation with Scott, until this duly-placed phrase settled in a sticky corner of my heart.

"Rachel, what makes you weep?"

What makes me weep? What the hell? Who are you, and why are you asking me such a lame-ass question?

What makes me weep??

So I thought about it - what is it that makes me weep? What is it that stills my heart's rhythm to a sad stoccato; makes me realize this world isn't right?

Is it the dream lost, that sacred dream I have of wiping down granite countertops with a new microfiber dish rag? That dream of a bath tub with happily working jets, of hallways romantically lit with in-the-ceiling lighting? Is my wish expensive Berber carpeting that graciously holds my bare feet as I walk to my children's separate Pottery-Barn colored rooms, complete with their own vanities and baths?

What is the dream? Why do I want to weep?

If truly, my only dream is for a bigger house, for something better, for the American way, I have lost my own way. I have become a disgrace, truly, to everything my own God, my own religion, calls me to.

If you are ready to comment and tell me that I really am not out of line in wanting more stuff, I ask you to stop. I'm not out of line? I'm really not? Is that because I am really and truly not out of line, or is it because if I am, than you are, too?

The things that make me weep, make me sad down to my core, are not the things that I don't have.

The things that make me weep, make me sad down to my core, are the people who still don't know my Savior's love.

If I spend one more minute thinking about how I need bigger and better, Lord, bring me back to this place. Tomorrow, when I am back on wanting to accumulate more wordly posessions, I beg of you this. Ask me, gently, and again:

"Rachel, what makes you weep?"

Let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself said, "I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.
Hebrews 13:5

Monday, April 14, 2008

a chiropractor - who knew?

So I went to see a chiropractor today. HE took x-rays of places he thinks are out-of-whack and will do the adjustments tomorrow morning. He also said he thinks I have an estrogen deficiency because of my pink tongue and no periods for 4 years. Doesn't everyone have a pink tongue? And if you have an estrogen deficiency, don't you have trouble getting pregnant? The past two times I have gotten pregnant when Scott looked at me. The chiropractor told me progestin-only pills are hell on the liver and that I should think about stopping them. He recommended a book called "Potatoes or Prozac?" about health and getting off anti-depressants. He spent two hours with me. I'm excited about this health thing, because he is excited about it. I mean, he was REALLY excited about it. So excited he got into my personal space, but I didn't mind.

I don't get that excitement from the MD. I get an upped dose for the Prozac when I go to the MD. The chiropractor was horrified when I told him the psychiatrist gave me a prescription for Abillify. He told me it is for people with deeply psychotic episodes, and that it is terribly addictive.

He gave me articles about the link between sugary foods and childhood cancers. He encouraged my continuing to nurse Asher, but only if I feed myself good foods at the same time. My friend Jen has been touting this line for quite some time, but I have been a bit resistant. Sorry, Jen! I've come around I believe!

The good doctor told me stories about people who have suffered from pain for years. He teaches people about good nutrition and the body's natural ability to heal itself. He said he recently had one lady come in who had struggled with infertility for years. He got her on a vitamin/supplement regimen and she became pregnant 6 weeks later. Women with multiple miscarriages stopped having them. I don't know why I'm surprised. Why are we surprised when we put trash into our bodies and expect them to perform at optimum function? He told me my body is showing signs that my liver is under strain. My poor liver. Ready to be done with Zoloft, I'm sure.

I've just had an achey body since I was about 16; that's when the depression started. I was amazed that I've never seen the correlation until today. He told me that as much as my body seems to be out of line, I really don't seem to be hurting as much as he thought I would be. I'm ready to feel better; body and soul. It's time!

Scott claims that soon our house will be covered in patchouli and wind chimes will be everywhere. The kids had 2 pieces of hemp bread each at dinner. I'm not kidding.

Off to read my novel...

Sunday, April 13, 2008

bird feeder crafts







It was a wonderful weekend - you know, the way weekends are supposed to be?





We allowed Lucy to go to a restaurant on Saturday night looking like a Bavarian prom queen extra from the set of Brokeback Mountain. Scott wondered aloud, "Are we bad parents for letting her go dressed like that?" I responded that we're not bad parents, we're fun parents. Hey, that stuff doesn't matter, right? She thoroughly enjoyed the attention her outfit got. Did I mention she wore a Disney Princesses nightgown over the entire ensemble? (Rach, are you proud of me? I thought of Hannah!) We rented a Redbox movie, then came home and put the kids to bed. It was "Elizabeth", and it was excellent. Then we made out, after the end credits. OK, I lied. We just went to bed.
We just returned from Target, where we pondered the bird feeders. Yesterday Scott and Lucy did a bird feeder craft. (Oh my goodness, watching your husband do crafts with your 3 year old is enough to MELT YOUR FREAKING HEART.) He is so good. I swear, something has just switched on in him and he is SO great with our kids. I love it. Not that he wasn't great before; he just seems more engaged or something. They clamor for his attention.
So, back to our avian friends. They apparently don't like peanut butter and sunflower seeds stuck to a crapper paper roll. It was sort of heartbreaking to her Lucy say, "Where are my birds?" every time she sat at the kitchen table, so we decided to remedy the situation. Anywho, we were looking at these bird feeders, and at the same time we said, "Hey, Lucy! Look at the pretty red bird on this one!" It was 5 bucks. The one she liked was 20. We are so cheap they should make a movie about us. Hey, who really needs a $20 bird feeder?




I am going to go take an Alka-Seltzer for heartburn and read my book. Ooh, it is SOOOOO good. If you haven't discovered Elizabeth Berg, you need to! This one is the one I'm currently reading - her latest, I think:
p.s. Do you think my plan on stopping to seek out sad things to read has been a good one so far? I do.

baby shower fun

I feel I must clarify something. I'm not talking about reading someone's blog and finding out something sad has happened in their life, and then relinquishing the blog as something I read every day. I'm talking about purposely looking for blogs that focus on something that has happened to the writer and reading just because of that.

Yesterday I went to a wonderful friend's baby shower. It was so much fun. She has a basketball to show for it - you know the friend, the friend who doesn't gain any weight and looks like she could be a pregnant model? Yes, Megan is one of those. Anyway... someone asked about how Lucy was doing and I ended up telling about the upcoming tests, and then someone asked why she needed those, and then someone else asked what happened to her, and out came the story.

The lady next to me was about 18 weeks pregnant and said, "Oh, on Monday we get to find out if its a boy or a girl!" "NO!" I wanted to scream. "YOU DON'T FIND OUT IF IT'S A BOY OR A GIRL! YOU MAKE SURE ALL THE ORGANS ARE THERE AND WHERE THEY'RE SUPPOSED TO BE, AND THAT THE BRAIN IS ENCLOSED BY BONE, AND THAT THE KID HAS A FUNCTIONING POOPER! YOU DON'T CARE ABOUT GENDER, DON'T YOU GET IT?"

But instead I nodded and said, "Yes, that will be fun to find that out!"

I'm such a downer for baby showers. Don't invite me to yours.

Friday, April 11, 2008

tragedies

Jan states it so much better than I ever could. I've been struggling with this lately. I am just like that woman she describes who can't let go of tragedy.

What is our responsibility, as Christians, in this land of blogs? The problem for me is, with my soft heart and obsessive tendencies, I go overboard. WAAAAAAAAY overboard. I click on one blog, which leads me to another, and another, and another. Cancer, car accidents, aging parents. SIDS, abductions, children with severe medical needs.

In some ways, the internet is a great thing. It allows us to connect. In others, it's not. When I'm feeling down or depressed, I can google "child died of cancer" or "just lost my baby" and find 1,000 blogs.

Meanwhile, my children play by themselves and dinner is not ready.

And my heart is black and heavy. And while I nurse my black and heavy heart in front of the computer screen, my children decorate the furniture with hot pink markers. Don't believe me? Just wait until my camera battery is re-charged.

I am making a commitment to do NO blog-stalking for a week. Join me?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Why

Why does my son have croup again?

Why does my house always seem messy, no matter how much I clean?

Why do alot of Christians view questioning as a sign of weakness or immaturity?

Why does Lucy seem to prefer my old Strawberry Shortcake dolls over her new toys?

Why didn't I discover these books earlier?

Why are moms afraid to admit that their parenting style is not perfect?

Why is my hair oily again when I just washed it yesterday?

Why isn't illegal immigration being treated as the crime that it is?

Why am I unable to pull away from really, really sad websites?

Why do I keep thinking I need to lose more weight?

Why do I love Target so much?

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

ah, Oprah

Oprah scares the living piss out of me because she is smooooooth. I wonder how she can condemn murder? What if murdering another person is that person's "right"? And Oprah, God is "jealous" means that He doesn't want any other gods before Him. He wants you to worship HIM alone!

(Video is cheezy, but informative. And those chicks rock, standing up to the goddess on national tv?)

p.p.s. I've been saying, "She creeps me out" ever since college, just so you know...

Why does the website look like a cheezy 80's Maybelline ad?

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Audrey

Please join with me in praying for Todd, Angie, and their daughter Audrey, who they plan to deliver tomorrow. I just see so much of myself in her words. I know she would appreciate your encouragement.

Friday, April 4, 2008

You knew it was coming...

A shout-out to two girls I met online when I was first pregnant with Lucy! Chelsea did the wonderful blog header. Isn't it cool? Thank you so much, Chels!!!!!

Asher was starting to look like Fred Phelps: The Early Years, and that's not the sort of look I want to perpetuate, so my good friend Jess took the scissors to him. She did this while he was crying uncontrollably. I am amazed. Before:








After:

















I LOVE it!!!!!!!





Lulu got a trim-up, too.








I adore this photo of Lucy and Ella:



Gypsy Ella with fruit snacks close at hand!


Thursday, April 3, 2008

you

I don't know if God wants to take it away or if it's the way I'm meant to be

this needing

to take your pain -

tears hit my lashes as I reach out to you through qwerty and asdf

i wonder if you know that i felt it once too

that surge of adrenaline and heat - melting, white-hot pain i didn't think i could survive

but there it was, refining, refining, refining

all the way...

when He is done, friend, you will be
polished

gold

how you will shine

tears hit a dusty keyboard and i press enter

hoping that my melancholy, sent into the ether,

makes you feel less

alone.

stranger danger and heifers

I don't know why, but I'm somewhat obsessed lately with knowing whether or not we are having a 3rd child. I don't have the desire for a newborn any more, like I did after I had Lucy. I don't look at my friends' newborns and think, "I want one of those again!" I hold the baby, then give him or her back to mom. My cousin told me the other day that they are going for number 4. Before we had Asher I would have gotten the baby bug again just hearing her say that. This time? Not so much. The first year really isn't my favorite - and the thought of another pregnancy makes my head want to fall off.

I made an appointment to get an IUD yesterday, but the lady was a witch and said they couldn't get me in this week, and even if they could, I would have to go to one appointment where I Talk To The Doctor, and then another appointment where I actually get it in place. This annoys me.

Why do I keep going to the cattle barns for my OB care? It really reminds me of the cattle lots in North Dakota. Just a bunch of pregnant heifers sitting around and some older ones, too. They move 'em in, move 'em out. Other friends who have gone to this practice love it. Me? Not so much. It could, quite possibly, be the bitter taste I got in my mouth after our first OB told us we could "Terminate on Monday and try again." Nah...

Hmmm... something I've been wondering - at what point do you start teaching your children about "Stranger Danger?" It's hard, because I don't want to take away her innocence, yet I want her to know that not all people are friendly and have good, lollipop-giving and puppy-petting intentions. Scott and I were talking about this on our little anniversary getaway (a whole 'nother post, indeed). How do you keep your childrens' innocence intact while still giving them a discerning spirit?

If only we didn't have to think about this, huh?

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Ways I am cheap.

Do you guys love Google's April Fool's Day jokes? Check out the blogger home page...the Google Webblogs is the joke this year it looks like.

I was reading a blog where the blogger was wondering how to save money. Here are some things I do - I can pinch a penny until it screams for mercy - a fact of which I am right proud.

- Shop at Aldi. CHEAP food. Most of the stuff I like better than the regular store; other stuff I still go elsewhere for. I hate coupons and I also hate decisions, so this is doubly good for me - just one kind of each sort of food.

- Sell stuff on Ebay. At one point I was bringing in about $300 a month just selling stuff around the house (wedding dresses included) or going to goodwill and picking stuff up to sell.

- Keep a gift drawer. Whenever I am out and about and see a good deal on a child's toy or a little something I think a friend would like, I buy it. You wouldn't believe the stuff I've found!

- Buy coats and shoes for your children that are not gender specific. Lucy loves her Diego shoes, and I'm sure Asher will, too.

- Redbox. Redbox, Redbox, Redbox.

- Feed your kids BEFORE you go out to eat. Allow yourself either a soda or a dessert, and that way you can still feel like you can tip well.

- Keep wearing your jeans, even if they sag. (wait, that's just me.)

- Buy as much as you can on ebay. I often go into New York and Company, try what I want on, then buy it on ebay for pennies on the dollar. I feel as though I've somehow very lamely cheated the system.

- Drive old, piece of sh*t cars. Laugh when people pass you expecting to see an old lady in the driver's seat. These cars are good because you don't have a car payment and you don't care if your husband loses the mirror after accidentally running into a gate.

- Buy boxed wine. Your friends will be highly impressed. (OK, I'm kind of kidding. I hate boxed wine.)

- Do cheap things with your children. We have an awesome little farmstead her that is free, and Lucy and Asher and I often walk to Target. We get one drink and share it. Or, if Lucy keeps seeing things that she wants, I tell her she can pick ONE thing. She has fun trying to figure out what she is going to get.

- Go to the library instead of buying books.

- Read the Bible about contentment. That always puts it into perspective for me.

I love that doing these things allows me the opportunity to stay home, and gives us the opportunity to still live a comfortable, debt-free life. I challenge you to try one from my list. Now, if you've read this, can you give the rest of us a tip to try?