Friday, May 30, 2008

thanks Ben

I am starting to believe that you should just expect bad things to happen. So then when the good things happen you are pleasantly surprised. But wouldn't going around expecting bad things to happen be the equivalent of being a pessimist?

I want to be a noodle salad person. I really do. I know lots of noodle salad people and I wonder how they do it, what with their plastic forks and picnic grins. I want to just eat the salad with them and sit on the boat and watch the geese. But the relics of sin and destruction and hell keep the noodle salad just out of reach, for me at least. I am jealous of people who see bad things happening to others but just keep truckin' along, thinking, "No, that wouldn't ever happen to me. I did everything right."

But what keeps the noodles in the noodle salad fresh with mayonnaise and mustard is the idea that that heartache must have been deserved by the people experiencing it. It's a natural human reaction, the wanting to point fingers and find a reason why the terrible happened to Bob instead of Tom. How it's happening to Bob because God knew he could handle it, and it will make Bob into a stronger person, yadda, yadda, yadda. Tulips in Holland and all that jazz, yo. And how if I continue to follow the rules, it won't happen to me.

The longer you live the less it all makes sense, no?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

peace

Unfortunately, "IA" does not stand for Iowa, in my circles. It stands for "imperforate an*us". No but*t hole. Do you know how much I needed laughter two nights ago when my fellow IA mothers beckoned me to their chat room and we talked and talked and talked? One mom said, "Well, we blame my son's IA on the Erin Brokovich plume-cloud a few miles outside of town, but only when we're not blaming Hitler." I don't know why I laughed so hard I almost cried. My drink was in the computer keys. Sometimes you need people in the same situation you are to show you that there is laughter in everything. Next Tuesday - same time, ladies! Thank you!

I took Lulu and Ash to the best store on the planet today but 2 hours later they were threatening to break every item within a 4.8 foot radius. I spent 1.5 hours in there choosing my stuff. I was starting to get annoyed with the children and the checker was wrapping my stuff up and told me, This really isn't a store for kids; they are being really good."

I have been reading "Ruthless Trust" by Brennan Manning, thanks to Thirsty Girl. Girl, you don't know how much getting that book in the mail meant to me yesterday. So, thank you. I have unlined most of the first 24 pages. You know me well!

I have a hard time trusting God with my life and the lives of those I love. I am learning I have to give the reigns back to him, sometimes as much as 86 times a day. And it does not mean I have failed because I have to give it back up. It means that I am learning and growing.

I have been exhausted these last few days. I am finding that reading blogs less and being outside in the sunshine more is good for me. It is good for you, too, I daresay. I will post a funny video tomorrow. In the works: repainting the kitchen cabinets, and repainting the outside of our house! Gray, brown, green? I was alerted to a man in our town named Pablo who paints the outside of your home for $1 a square foot. Scott told me he is not willing to hire an illegal immigrant to do his house painting because that is illegal. I told him he is awfully presumptive, and he told me that when someone is offering $1 a square foot they are not able to get work anywhere else, so it's a safe assumption. It was a funny conversation. Anyway, house color. I will need your opinions shortly.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

shock

Do you remember Angie, Audrey Caroline's mom? Her little nephew died last night from SIDS. He was 10 weeks old. Please, everyone, let's come together and pray for this sweet family - Greg and Nicol Sponberg. Their baby's name was Luke.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

for the ia girls







a small rant - or, why I hate Obama

The noon cath didn't go well either. I started crying, and not the pretty kind of crying either. The sobbing cry. So we both cried. I told her I don't like to see her hurting and when I see that, it makes me cry, too.

This is tough shit. I hate it. I hate that I have to dread the next cath. I hate that I have to think about getting her a Mitroffanoff (a hole in her belly where I can just put the cath directly into her bladder) soon, because as soon as crackpot Obama is in the white house you can bet your lily white buttocks "social medicine" isn't going to pay a cent for that procedure. There's a reason why I hate the idea of socialized medicine, it's because we will pay more and get less. A good, hard-working middle class family. It's us who will be directly affected. And you, if God forbid your kid gets cancer and you have to wait 3 months for life-saving treatment. Won't sound so good then, will it.

Anyway, back to Lucy. It's stressful and I hate it. And I am trying to find the good in it. Off to eat some marshmallows and read a book.

**edited to add: you ever notice how you ask someone why they support Obama or social medicine and they really can't tell you? This has happened to me now, more times than I can count. It's either, "Oh, I'm not going to chagne your mind," or "Oh, change is good," or "Oh, well, if you have a brain tumor you would die anyway in a society with private health care,". No well-thought or cogent responses. It is beginning to REALLY frustrate me. THINK, people. THINK.

Monday, May 26, 2008

scary prayer

So yesterday I was sitting in church marvelling at the worship leaders with their "o" faces and wondering how they did it. I mean, how they looked so trusting and happy and, well, emotionally open.

Then I had decided that sometimes for me, being in church feels just like I'm attending a Daughters of the Revolution meeting and they're about to find out I'm a Yankee.

Then the preacher preached, and it was the preacher who likes to yell. Sometimes that turns me off, but yesterday he had good things to say. He usually does. He was talking about materialism, and Scott and I gave each other knowing looks when he said that we shouldn't buy things, thinking others will covet them. "I know everyone is coveting the Queen Mary, but they'll just have to deal," he told me as we walked out of church. The Queen Mary is our burgundy Oldsmobile 88.

So, yeah, I don't have a problem with materialism. I do think I'm sort of odd man out in that way, because I know others struggle with that way more than I do. But I DO struggle with giving my family up to God. I keep wanting to keep them happy and safe, and it really is a daily thing for me to say, "Use me and use my family to best serve your purposes."

That's a scary prayer, y'all. But in that prayer is the only peace I will know in this world, does that make sense?

I've noticed that I have more questions about God when things are hard with Lucy. Things are hard with Lucy right now. I could use your prayers. The catheterizing isn't getting any easier.

I've been trying to go off of my antidepressants but it's not working. I'm going back on them. I'm happier and more well-rounded and frustrated that I'm on them when I'm on them, but I'm also just happier.

Just happier.

Friday, May 23, 2008

don't read this if you're in a good mood

I'm restless tonight; trying to make sense of Maria Sue Chapman's death. I watched an Oprah about parents who had lost children and it makes Lucy's stuff seem inconsequential. But then there I go again, telling myself that what I am going through is not bad because someone else has it worse. I always have to classify my sadness or tell myself that it's nonexistent because it could be worse. And then I really fear the worse and find myself paralyzed in the moment.

I just read the blog of a friend who said everything I can't right now. I am just sad. The longer I live and the more I see the stark contrast between my sweet son's Swedish fair skin and white hair in the sunlight as he plays, and news of another bombing or death, the more I long for heaven, for home. The longing becomes so acute there isn't a word for it. It's in my blood.

Today, while reading a book, I came across something: "The opposite of faith is not doubt. It is fear." I know that's what has grip on so many of our lives, but how could it not? How could the mere thought of being mortal NOT turn my insides into diahrrea? How can any of us walk through our days, enjoy anything or not worry about what is to come when we could be handed devastation tomorrow?

It all seems like a cruel, cruel trick. And we are the unwitting participants.

usually i hate litigation

Sue the state of Texas for everything they're worth, baby. Is this an outrage or is this an outrage?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Dear Lucy

Dear Lucy,

Some day you will read this and it will probably be when you're mad at the world about one of your medical issues. Did you know that I'm mad, too? I'm mad I have to watch you hurt, and there's nothing I can do about it?

I love how, after every cath, you just seem to bounce back. Sure, it takes a little while and you need to be cuddled, but your resilience is something that resonates in the core of me. If you can be strong, I can be strong, too.

Yesterday your Nina helped hold you down while we did the cath. I told her that I am just plain sad. She said she was, too, that she had a heavy heart about it all. I'm not much up for social interaction or getting out of the house. Right here with you and Asher and your "Daddy Boy" feels the safest.

You keep looking at us, wondering why we are holding you down and why we don't just stop doing what is so obviously hurting you. Some day you will understand, sweet daughter of mine.
Maybe today is the day, many years from now, that you hold a printout of this little journal and read about my struggles in caring for you. I struggle only because I love you so and, quite simply put, it's hard to watch your sweet little pixie of a face contort in pain. I hate it. Maybe at the moment you're reading this, you have a child of your own. So you know what I'm talking about.

Anyway, we'll do this all again at noon, and you'll wonder again why I'm hurting you.

I suppose there's a secret I can share with you. Do you know long ago I told your dad that one medical thing that really gave me the willies was a catheter? Before I had you and your brother that was what I was most not looking forward to. I even went so far as to tell him, "I'm glad we don't have to do that to her."

Well, there surely is some sort of cosmic brand of irony in your messy and unorganized, willy-nilly and fancy-free mom having to do these medical things to you - sanitizing and washing and being accurate. And the only reason I'm willing is because it is my heart that beats in your chest, and your little eyes that help me see the world with more clarity and less reserve.

Simply put, I do these things because I love you.

Mom

car cleanout

What's in my car after the cleanout:

2 unused catheters
1 old sippy cup with some milk in it
8 Barbie stickers on the window
1 unused pregnancy test
1 pair of flip flops, size 11
2 purses
4 pennies
1 McDonald's sack
1 pediatric colostomy bag
1 issue of Reader's Digest
1 bib
1 lipstick in the middle compartment, for applying while on the run from the Fuzz

Join Shannon's car clean-out!

no words

Incessantly Googling Steven Curtis Chapman's daughter's death, as if that might give me more information on WHY it happened. Keep them in your prayers.

I am dyeing my hair as we speak. Anonymouse always has such cute hair so I scammed her hair color. We don't see each other THAT much so hopefully it's not a faux pax. I don't think she would tell me if it were.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

jack them up

I know no one is probably reading this, seeing that I have started to post 400 times a day, but it helps me to get it out.

I watched this PBS thing last night about teenagers and the internet and it was enough to make me want to get out the bundling bag. Hey, remember that, in the Patriot? When Anne's mother puts Gabriel in the bundling bag?

This morning was not very good. She screamed and cried when we had to do the catheter. I've started to notice something. I start to shut down when she gets so upset. Scott and my mom looked to me to comfort her, and it seems that I am simply unable. I don't know what to do for her. When she was 4 months old and the nurse was teaching me how to take care of her colostomy, Lulu was screaming so hard we thought she was going to blow an arterial gasket. The nurse asked me, "Don't you want to comfort her?" I told her "no", because I know that that doesn't work with Lucy. It just makes her more pissed off and out of control.

I think I also shut down because I hate to see her in pain and there's not a whole damn lot I can do about it. I hate the feeling of utter helplessness and loss of control.

A commenter on my last post brought up a good point. When one child in your family has special needs, the child who doesn't gets a little less attention. That has definitely been true lately. And Ash also gets less because he is just so dang quiet. Today we went to a few stores and I parked him next to some shirts. He was happy as a lark. About 10 minutes later I looked over and saw a black shirt over his head, little white arms flailing. Just flailing, no sound.

Scott was the little brother who didn't need much attention. He was, in fact, a self-punishing child. Sometimes his mom would go into his room and see him sitting on the edge of his bed with his photo turned the other way. He explained to her that he was so disappointed in himself he didn't even want to look at his own photo. He grew up to be a slightly passive-aggressive teenager with bad acne. When you've spent so long being good, he explained, you start to want to be bad just so you can get some attention. Not out and out bad, but bad enough to get some negative attention.

Riiiiiiiiiight.

I am totally and completely going to jack my children up.

Good thing I'm blogging it all for posterity.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

more or less

So because I feel guilty about everything, I thought I'd share with you my latest guilt over being happy I wasn't pregnant when I was feeling sick.

I have friends who want to be pregnant, right? It seems like everyone in the world is trying to get pregnant. And here I sit, happy that I'm not, for the time being. My mom was asking me today why I feel guilty about that, and what's with the guilt? Honestly, I don't know!

I really think today that I could be fine with 2 kids. Or maybe when Lucy and Asher are 65 and 67 we will think about trying for another one. But really, it would really be ok if we just had two. And it wouldn't mean I was less spiritual or anything of that matter. And my mom made the point that some people keep on having kids and kids because it fills something in themselves, validates them somehow. (Duggars, anyone?) But there I am judging. Maybe the Duggars just like to have se*x.

So, anyway, I don't know why I am so psychotic about this number of children thing. One of my good friends from childhood has two boys and is pregnant with her 3rd. And she and her husband will probably have 5 kids and some days I feel like 2 is a good number. And then I wonder why I can't handle my children as gracefully as it appears she handles hers on her blog? Maybe she really feeds them Jim Bean for breakfast and swears at them before their naps, but I really, really sincerely doubt it.

So, have you ever felt guilty for not wanting more kids, or am I just a psycho? I keep trying to find reasons why I might not want more kids and make them legitimate. But sometimes it just comes down to knowing what you can handle. My mom made the point today that we could try for another when they are 5 and 7 - that is 4 years away and I would still only be 33.

Anyway, yeah, I felt guilty for doing a little dance when I wasn't pregnant. Because the morning sickness feeling and thinking that I was pregnant was killing me.

I always like to name future children in my head. Did you know we seriously thought about naming Asher "Moses", and when I recently heard that a friend named her baby that, I got just a tad bit jealous? And then I wanted to have another boy and name him Moses. Is that rational, or is that rational?

Discuss.

Monday, May 19, 2008

tomorrow

Did i tell you that my bo*obs are really sag*gy? Like, "golf balls in tube socks" saggy. And did I tell you that I took Asher with me to Kohl's to help me find some new bras? And he grabbed a Wonderbra and gnawed on it for about 2 hours?

I was too cheap to buy any bra, so instead we have a welcome mat, 2 clearance shirts, and an Ariel nightgown for Lucy.

I am really nervous about tomorrow morning. We learn how to catheterize Lucy. We will be putting a catheter in her bladder every four hours from here to eternity. It makes me sad.

That is why this post made me happy.

nasty smells

Last night I was ready to lovingly welcome my husband back home. I forced myself to make some lasagna, even though the flu bug from hell was making it hard.

What took me by surprised was the stench that accompanied him when he walked in the door. I first noticed it when we were working on the computer together after the kids were in bed. He smelled just like everything Dracula hates. I tried to tell him in the politest way possible that he reeked. He got this fake hurt look on his face and pulled his shirt up over his mouth. Only, it wasn't just his breath that reeked, I think it was his WHOLE BODY.

Our bed is up against a window, and I spent the first half of the night wondering if i should vomit or vomit. It was awful. My stomach was just tumbling around itself and I has my body the opposite way of Scott's - that is to say, my head was up against his feet. The window was wide open and I had my face pressed up against the screen. By 2 AM I couldn't take it any more and went to lie on the living room couch.

Scott took a shower at 3 AM to rid himself of the smell, a smell he honestly couldn't smell on himself. I swear to you, it was atrocious. It was coming out of his pores. I went to my neighbor's house this morning and asked her to come and smell my house. I told her the entire thing smelled like garlic and she claimed she couldn't smell anything different. She told me I was probably pregnant and she would get me a test. Well, considering that I am the pregnancy test queen, I took one. Negative. So pregnancy is not the culprit. I almost told him to just work from home today, because I didn't want him to be embarrassed when his coworkers told him he smelled like a trash truck.

He says he supped on a steak and some vegetables the night before. Just how much garlic do they load onto a steak in the middle of St. Louis, anyway? People, it was BAD. I can still smell it in every room of my house. I called my mom to tell her about it and she told me, "Well, you don't always smell things accurately. Remember in Cincinnati when I ordered us all pizza and you swore someone had peed in their diaper?"

My cousin often takes her dogs on walks in public parks. She'll pick up the dog's doo in a little brown paper bag and then dispose of it at home. One time she asked me to reach under the passenger seat for something, while telling me she couldn't understand what the smell in her car was from. I reached under and got a handful of dog poop.

Tell me your nasty smells stories.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

what would happen to Walter?

I was thinking of titling this post "I am drunk", but decided that by the time you reach the end you will realize that I am.

I think I need to stop trying to find God so much and let Him find me. On Friday I prayed that he would show me that He's real. 2 hours later I ran into a woman in Marshall's who had written a book about dealing with a special needs child long-term. She also told me that struggling with who God is is one of the most basic tenets of building a strong faith.

Do you know how long it's been since I've heard that? I wanted to hug AND kiss her, but I refrained and just hugged her instead.

Last night and this morning I've felt my human frailty acutely. We went to the zoo yesterday and I didn't drink enough water. That coupled with too much pizza and strawberry soda and mixed drinks led to a date with the toilet at 3 AM. I slept fitfully. Scott was gone overnight and the prospect of dealing with the kids alone for more than 24 hours has laid itself out like a bad episode of Quantum Leap that won't end. I mean, how many blasted times can Sam Beckett make out with someone he doesn't know and feel bad about it? Did I tell you that Quantum Leap is Scott's new Netflix obsession? Oh, the things we do for love.

This morning there's so much to get done. Cards to write, dishwasher to empty, clothes to wash, mulch to place, a lawn to mow. I need to think about what's going to happen for dinner and start praying about Lucy's Tuesday appointment. Having a special needs child I think has pushed so much of this questioning to the fore of my mind. I hate to see her suffer, and I hate to know that there's only more coming. And when you extend that thought, maybe today is the sweetest day of all the tomorrows we'll know. And then I'm get so panicked and upset and my heart starts to race and the bastard anxiety picks me up and hugs me again.

I've always thought of God in black and white. But you know what? He's technicolor. And He will find me when I relax and let Him do the picking-up. You ever read that book, "You are my I love you?" We got it when Pipsylou was a baby. A few lines:

I am your dinner; You are my chocolate cake. I am your bedtime; You are my wide awake.

(Wow, I really am drunk.)

Anyway, the whole book is about what the baby and the mama are to each other. The baby runs away and the mama always catches him in her arms. She is just in love.

I was reading that the other day and thinking that that is what God feels about me. Sometimes I think it's easier to think He doesn't exist because then I don't have to deal with His raw power and what the implications of that power are in my life. It's scary to be vulnerable and to know that He holds everything I adore in the palm of His hand.

You know those people who say, "I was at the brink of ending my life and then something whispered in my ear to open my Bible and I opened it and read the verse that changed my life?" I was hoping for something like that and ended up reading about demon-loving pigs jumping into the sea. Then I tried again and happened upon James:

James 1:4 says,
"Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."

I was thinking that as much as I don't feel anything from what I read everyday in the Bible, it is my responsibility to do so. It is my responsibility to keep persevering, even when I feel like my Bible and I are on the tilt*a*whirl at Disney Land and there is nothing to hold onto. Maybe God wants to know that I'm hanging on, in spite of, or even because of, the not knowing.

It was suggested to me that I haven't willed myself to God completely; that I'm still holding on to something. I suppose that could be true, but I don't know what I'm holding on to.

It sort of reminded me of going to visit a Pentecostal church with a friend once. There was a deaf 80-year-old man at the front of the church who had been praying and praying to be able to speak in tongues for 2 years. He had tears falling down his wrinkled face and he was on his knees. And again that night like 106 other Sunday nights before that, God's supposed answer was "No". This church believed that to get to heaven when you die you needed to have received the holy spirit and speak in tongues. I went up after the service and asked the Pastor what would happen to Walter if his Buick got pulverized by a semi on the way home.

"Well, since he has not yet recieved the gift of tongues, he would not be able to get into heaven. There seems to be something in his life he has not yet given up to the Lord."

I walked away after thanking the pastor for allowing me to visit, knowing that if I stayed in that spot I would have drop-kicked him in the balls.

I wanted to follow Walter out to his car and tell him God had already called him "son", but I didn't know sign language and my ride was waiting.

Isn't the ultimate paradox of Christianity that when you think you've finally become spiritually mature and start parrotting it about the place, you really aren't? That "fruits of the spirit" verse from elementary days popped into my head:

Galatians 5:22-23
22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Those things are the things that will show me that I am growing spiritually. Not head knowledge, not giving because I'm supposed to give, not attending church because it looks good for me to do so. I sort of think God would rather me not attend at all if that's the only reason I'm attending.

I was watching Asher this morning, and he was lying in his little bed for his morning nap. Feet propped up on the crib slats, he was creating a musical rendition of "Pajama Time". He would babble, then point at the pages with little chubster hands while giggling at some joke only he and the mattress shared. He wasn't worried about where his next meal was coming from or who was going to change his pants or where his mom was.





At what moment along the path to adulthood does that childlike faith vaporize? I sensed that Walter had it; that he had kept it all those years.

That faith, it is my heart's desire.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

waiting

Last night we laid in bed and talked about God. He doesn't feel his faith, I don't feel mine. I sobbed into the pillow. I want to feel.

Is it all about feeling, though? Do I always feel like I want to love and cherish Scott? Do I always feel like I want to get up at 3 am to wipe a runny nose or change a diaper?

I feel like walking away from Christianity would be walking away from logic. There is too much in the Bible that makes sense, and too much that doesn't, for it not to be true. Who ever heard of a homely, wild-haired, unpopular man who tells everyone there is no exclusion policy, only that they must believe? I mean, come on. Everyone is welcome. What kind of a government would use that particular brand of man as a ploy to keep people down? I just finished reading the gospels and the thing that struck me is that God doesn't exclude. All this talk of illegal immigrants and racial tensions and people unworthy of what they want. But Jesus never excluded. All were welcome. The only thing they had to do was make a choice.

We laid there, the synapse in our perspective brains firing, running down length of nerve fiber to create speech. My eyes registered the window blinds in the dark as my heart began a reluctant race. I got a panicky feeling once again, thinking that all this might just be chance. That none of it means anything. Not you, not me, not the woman who lived 700 years ago. Maybe the only importance any of it is given is the NOW. The singular importance my life has is that it is now. Nothing more.

But if we go that route, why the human need for spiritual permanence? Why can't we just be ok with the end being the end? Why does there have to be more? People dying from cancer, losing children, running into a mugger at the 7-11. Don't you think they'd rather just meet the end, not hope for more life? Why?

OK, it's evolutionary. So. For what purpose? The scientist tells me it's so that we will have a drive to live, to fight to stay alive. But ultimately, why? Why, if it means nothing in the end?

I told Scott last night that I either need to get on this Jesus wagon fully or step off and go the other way. One way or another. I am tired of the flux, the limbo. I am tired of proclaiming myself a Christian but not fully embracing it.

He's tired of trying to understand the Old Testament. If God is perfect, why did he have to change his tactics with the Israelites? Why such fire and brimstone giving way to grace overnight? It implies a primary mistake. If you have to change directions you went the wrong direction in the first place.

Why can't we just be like other Christians who accept it at face value, who nod their heads and give their tithes and who don't question? So many facets of modern American Christianity nauseate me. High definition screens, colored stage lights, new cars. A stolid detachment from the things Jesus valued. "Your Best Life Now!" and "The Purpose Driven Life!" Books to make us feel good and sit on our coffee tables and not much else. People so adamant about being right that they squeeze the very life out of the people they were instructed to make disciples of.

We pray, then read. Acts this time. My mind wanders to the new shoes I bought. Ah, try again. This time I fall asleep.

I have gone to the Bible studies, the womens' luncheons. I have served in many capacities. I have given money. I have read 9 million Bible study books. I have prayed for passion and mercy; I have prayed for Him to show me.

Yet all I hear is silence and the ticking of a clock.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

endless

Frumpy mothers everywhere are looking upon me with undisguised disdain, as I have clearly violated the honor code.

I spent $60 on a pair of summer shoes, well, $59.95 to be exact. I have shopped and shopped for a pair of shoes I LIKE in size 11. Nothing. Nothing in 5 stores. I am tired of searching. I am tired of having to settle for the white jellies or the fuscia Adidas knock-offs because no one carries my size. So I bought these from endless.com. Free shipping BOTH ways, no tax. I ordered them online last night, got them today at 1:30. Pretty nice, if you ask me. You could hypothetically order shoes every day of the week, if only to try them on for your own selfish gain.

Today my sister in law and cousin came over with their 6 children. There were so many photos that I decided just to upload them to the web album. There are also some from Easter and Ivy's baptism. Two white firemen were ridding the fire hydrants of winter goo, so the kids got to play in it. I took them all on a "fairy adventure", something that has become a bit of a tradition whenever I see them. We walk all around the yard with our "pointers" (unsharpened old-school pencils), searching for fairies and other various nature things. It's fun.

Jess cut my hair 2 or so weeks ago and I forgot to post pictures. I did NOTHING to it today and it still looks cute. Thank you Jess! I love it!!!!!!!! If you think it looks ugly, could you say it nicely? That would be nice.

A post coming on white guilt.

Anyway, the photos. Click on the picture.

fun

Sunday, May 11, 2008

say what you need to say

**turn up your volume to hear John Mayer's song - GOOD!**

All of my life I have been so concerned about hurting others, about stepping on toes. Writing in a public forum has been a fascinating exercise in stretching the limits of not caring what people think. Whenever someone disagrees with what I write or something I say in real life, I automatically sense this old feeling overtaking me. An unworthiness that tells me that they are right and I am wrong. No further debate is necessary and I must apologize. If someone tells me something I have said or done has hurt them, I automatically thrust myself into the monastery where the monks hand me my whip and I begin the flagellation. I am one of them; afraid to show my face to the sun because my very skin is unworthy of stealing the resource.



I was telling Scott on the way home that I believe the secret to true happiness in this life is to let go. Let go of everything you hope your life to be. Let go of everything you aren't. Sunlight staccattoed its way onto highway as we sped down the midle of it, hand in hand. I relinquished the remnant of my fear to words:



"I don't know that I fully believe God when He says He loves me, just me. The me I am when I yell at my kids and forget to pray and make people sad and disappointed. I don't know that I believe I'm worthy of His love. I am unsure if I've got any value beyond the 'being what other people want me to be' part of it."



I have felt so compelled these last weeks to tell this story, say these thoughts, do everything I do because this journey is mine alone. Not because I am seeking approval, in big ways and in small ways. Even something so elementary as confidence in self must be wrought from the Hand of the heavenlies.



God asks me to say it, say all of it. He wants to know me intimately, to know that I am comfortable in my own skin. I am loved by Him regardless of how unlovable I feel. I am loved by Him regardless of how much control I try to wrest back from Him daily, in a struggle that croaks out to me, "The more you fight Him, the more you have to lose!"



The comments made by an anonymous commenter did, for awhile, upset me. They upset me because at my core I am so afraid of offending others or making them hurt. I want to say that other people are right and I am wrong. I want to be worthy of their forgiveness. I know I'm moving forward because it hit me that I told my story in the way my eyes perceived it. The old me was so timid and scared I would have deleted the post. Sounds so silly, but that's what I would have done. And those small defeats turn into big ones; the ones where you're afraid to stand your ground when questions of morality and virtue arise. If someone goes around specifically looking for a reason to be offended, they will surely find it in this world. This is not my burden to carry when I know I've done nothing wrong - not on the internet, and not in real life.



I can say what I need to say, I can do what I need to do. Before the old has bent my bones I can make the most of this life God has lent me, before the pressure surely sets in not to say it, to bog myself down with the desires of others.



I was talking on the phone with a friend who had had a miscarriage. I told her that it was ok to just be, to be ok with not being ok. To realize that the situation is shitty, and to sit and soak in the silence and be 98% sure that God has turned his back on you and let the tears hit the jeans. Don't be afraid of just sitting and being worthy of His presence, cause He made you worthy. No one, nothing else. HE DID.



And because He did make you worthy, you can do it:

Say what you need to say, baby. Say what you need to say.

troll!

Dude, I have my own troll! Same person from the other day. Apparently I am a bigot because I mentioned that someone was hispanic, and I mentioned a big black woman in describing someone else. Will my troll be back? Let's all take bets!

preparations

Our mother's day gifts this year (thank you ALISA, for the idea! $1 a piece!) I also made one for both Scott's moms, our grandmas, and my lovely neighbor. We had an assembly line set up.







Cupcakes for the party at my parents' (made from scratch! See post below to grasp the enormity of that feat):




Gifts for Ivy's baby dedication and my mom:




Scott hard at work putting my new patio glider together (am I 60 or what, and can you tell what his love language is? He HATES putting stuff together.):



In the midst of all of this medical uncertainty with Lucy, I sometimes forget to find the blessings. Hope you find yours today.

Friday, May 9, 2008

rescuers


I swear I do not make these stories up.

Today, at 9:30 AM, I was to meet my friend Rachel at the mall for another famed playdate.

We met, and I told her I needed to run to the Children's Place for some onesies in 4T. I ended up getting 8 of them, as Lucy's 3T Gerbers are threadbare, full of poop stains, and generally nasty. She needs them or else she gets really self-conscious about her colostomy bag, so I was thrilled to find cute ones on double clearance.

We went back down to the indoor playground where Rachel, Liliana and Addison were waiting. We all played for about an hour and a half, then Rach and I decided it was time to go. The kids were having a grand ole' time getting high on the hand sanitizer, but even drug-induced fun must end at some point, right?





I couldn't find my keys.

If you know me at all, you know I am highly unorganized. I go through life, I guess you could say, like I blog. I just do whatever I'm thinking of, and usually it involves doing things in very unorganized and impractical ways. Hey, I'm creative, though, does that count for something?

"Don't you put your keys in the same place every time?" Rach asked. (Rach's house looks like the Taj mahal. Seriously. Sometimes I wonder if they actually live in it, or if they really live in a secret little compartment underneath their model-home house, much akin to the Bat Cave. I secretly like to imagine that their Bat Cave is really dirty. I bet it's not, though.)

"No, but today I SWORE I put them in my pocket, and I think they fell out!"

Rach followed me all the way through the mall to JCPenny. Asher was crying in the stroller, and halfway there he banged his head on a stone outcropping. I said "Dammit!" loud enough to turn some heads and took him out of the stroller. When we got to JC Penny, I searched in the bathroom for the keys. Then we went out to the parking lot where I searched around my car. Rach, the awesome friend that she is, offered to stay and help me look, but I knew her 3 year old and 5 month old probably weren't going to enjoy that too much. I told her to go home and I would call her.

1 hour later, I am still searching for my keys. I have retraced my steps 3 times, going back to the Disney store, the Children's Place, the playground, the restroom. Nothing. I call the mall office because I was unable to actually find it physically. They tell me no keys have come in. I go back to the Children's Place, hoping the keys have materialized, nothing.

I'm starting to get really (irrationally) annoyed with the kids, who by this time are hungry and tired and ready to go home. While we are out by the car, I yank Lucy back to the stroller and tell her, "Do NOT let go! The parking lot is a very dangerous place!" She just looks at me with big eyes and holds tightly with both hands to the stroller. I, feeling like the world's biggest jerk, take both kids to the food court, where I tell Lucy she can have anything she wants.
"Candy! I want candy for lunch!" We settle for Chinese. She eats 2/3 of it and I pick at the remaining food, while I try to figure out what we are going to do. Asher is asleep by now, one shoe on, one shoe off. He sort of looks like I picked him up from the ghetto.

We go to the cookie store, where Lucy demands the Snow White cupcake (the saleslady had to rip her ovaries out to get to it because it was in the front of the display case):

Assuaging my guilt, I shell out the $2.99 it costs, and get a cookie slathered in frosting for myself. We spend another hour looking around the mall for my keys. I call my parents, by this time in tears. They tell me they will be more than happy to come and get me, should I have no luck in the meantime.

I decide to call a locksmith and have them unlock my car. 20 minutes later the guy is there. It takes him 8 minutes, and I owe him $39.99. Rachel calls, asking if I've had any luck with the keys. None. My parents call, I snap at them to call me back, because I am busy looking for the keys. Both kids are crying. People are walking by, wondering why I am not taking better care of my obviously exhausted children. I'm beginning to break down.

I call Scott, tell him the situation. He tells me that those keys are expensive, I tell him that that's not helping, and I "need a little grace here". I call my parents again, tell them to come and get me.

Then the welcome wagon arrives: my parents, and my aunt and uncle who I forgot were in town, as well as my cousin. They all pile out and it begins to look like Crime Scene Investigations is on the scene. At one point my dad has the car seats out of the car and on the ground in the parking spot next to the car.
This big black lady is obviously waiting for the spot, but there are 9 billion more all around the parking lot. My dad tells her that there are plenty of other spots, and she says something really rude back to him. Asher is screaming by this point because I am not holding onto him. My cousin suggests that we take Asher and go retrace my steps all around the mall one more time.

Afraid that by the time we come back my dad will be lying in a pool of blood on the pavement from a single gunshot wound inflicted by Attila the Hun, I heed my cousin's advice. We start retracing our steps again. (I got to the mall at 9:30 that morning; it's now 2:45 pm.) We go into the bathroom where a Hispanic woman is cleaning the stalls. She obviously does not know English, so I ask her in Spanish if she has seen any keys. She says no. We leave, and Tam points out a little enclave full of business offices. I ask her if we should ask in there, thinking they would just send us back to customer service. We decide to check in there anyway, and THERE ARE MY KEYS!

I told the woman I wanted to buy her flowers; I think she thought I was a nutball. Whatever. MY KEYS! We traipsed back out into the parking lot, where someone else is waiting for the spot next to my car. SERIOUSLY, people! Can you see we are busy here, cleaning up Rachel's conundrum of the month?

Here is the nerd crew in action (my uncle looks to be trying some sort of Abbey Road impersonation):









Seriously, who are these freaks taking family pictures in the mall parking lot?




Suddenly my uncle notices movement in my dad's minivan. "Um, Ron, there are people in your minivan," he says. "Oh my gosh!" My dad says, and he runs over there and knocks on the window. These women inside didn't really look like their profession was ripping people's minivans off, what with their wooden necklaces and denim jumpers. Their minivan was the exact same model and parked 3 spaces down. By this time we are all hysterically laughing. My mom, laughing so hard that she is crying.




We got the kids all packed up, and they're napping now. Before my dad shut his car door he looked over at me and said, "Hey, Rach! Thanks for inviting us! It was fun!"


Do you know, neither child had had their diaper changed since 9 AM? Don't judge.


Some day it may be you, covered in soy sauce and cookie crumbs, rummaging through the mall for your keys and getting disparaging looks from old ladies and Hannah Montana wannabes.


I just hope your rescuers are as cool as mine.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

mother's day ideas

I KNOW I'm not the only harried mother trying to figure out what to get my mom, mother in law, and Scott's stepmom for mother's day. I always freak out, wanting it to be the perfect thing. I don't want it to be something they alerady have, but at the same time, they all have everything they could possibly need. This makes it a hard task.

I was thinking of creating an herb garden for each f them, but I don't know if I realistically have the time to run all over town getting the supplies with a baby and a toddler in tow.

I've done personalized books, photos in frames, candles, lotion, blah, blah, blah.

Scott keeps saying, "Whatever happened to a thank you and a card being enough?"

Anyone have any great ideas? I'm sure we could all use some inspiration.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Enough

Yesterday we went to visit my grandma. I don't like to visit my grandma.

I was trying to figure out why, and it's because my grandmother is dying. I see glimpses of her every now and then. In between the confusion and bones jutting in irregular shapes beneath the skin on her face and frustration with a wheelchair that holds her body captive, there she is. I want to scream at everyone around me, "There she is, don't you see it? Don't blink! You'll miss it! Treat her differently. I love her." But even saying these things out loud would never be enough. They wouldn't bring her back, how she was.

I see a shadow of recognition cross her face, and then it's gone. I want to shake her, to tell her again what it felt like to be 6 and walk through the park with her. To eat her molasses cookies. The days when she would play dolls with me and cuss in Norwegian when she couldn't get the clothes to fit. I want her to remember. I want her to know that little Rachey grew up and had babies. I want her to embrace the fullness of that fact, that I'm a mother now, too. I want her to know how much I love her, how much I have always loved her. But she doesn't even remember who I am. One day she thought I was a man.

She's not an old lady in a nursing home, one of those other women with rheumy eyes and matted hair and a penchant for cornering you in the hallway and asking you uncomfortable questions. The workers don't see that. They don't know her dad committed suicide in the hay loft after finding out that both he and his wife had terminal cancer. They don't know her mom died that same year, that all of this happened while she was pregnant with her first babies, twin boys. She did it alone. Her resolve was enough.

They don't know she's struggled with depression and OCD but has managed to stay a positive person in spite of it. I understand the darkness that she has felt. I remember being 9 or 10, listening to her sob in the mental ward of our local hospital. I held her hand and cried, too. I didn't know what else to do.

It's uncomfortable sitting there with her. It's uncomfortable answering the same question 37 times as the sun sets and leaves behind sadness. I fight the futility but it seeps up into my bones. My muscles begin to form their own thought. They have had enough, and will my body to leave this place.

I think of how many others who have lingered here, on this same cushion, trying to coax memories back into being.

They float toward the ceiling, evaporate.

A smile flirts on her lips as we watch my children play.

It is enough.

end up here?

Let's see, what shall we talk about today? Babies? Church? Marilyn Manson and his group of hapless followers? Let's talk about all of them.

I want another baby. I keep trying to figure out if I am just being "I want more" about this, but I don't think so, not really. If you are a parent you know how wonderful and draining and exhilarating and exhausting being a parent is. And if you are a parent like I am, you want more of it. My friend Kiki was right - the older Asher gets the more I feel like I could handle another baby. Not now, but sometime.

I met a friend today for a playdate. An aside - why do we call it a playdate? So we don't feel guilty about not making our kids the center of our time together? Weird! Anyway, I told her when she asked that we would probably have another. Before now I had always said I wasn't sure I wanted to have any more children. Scott is silently plotting his vasectomy. I do think at this point he'll just have to get out the butter knife and down some Tylenol before he does the job himself, because I'm not signing up for that just yet.

Then I asked my friend how a mutual friend's pregnancy was going, and she told me that friend lost the baby at 16 weeks. And then I don't want to be pregnant again.

Church. We've been going to our current church for 2.5 years. I get frustrated because it is definitely a megachurch. We're talking 1000 plus people that go there. I'm never sure if I am going to even see anyone I really know every time I step foot inside. That is annoying. The only way you can really "plug in" (I know, that's a really tedious, non-descript word that 'non-demoninational' churches use for everything) to the church is by being in a life group. If you happen not to really "connect" with those in your life group, you're sort of screwed.

As much as Kiki and I gave the church we grew up in a hard time while we were growing up in it, there is definitely something to be said for a small church that takes care of each of its members in a personal way. The pastor knew you. I keep thinking that if I died while attending our current church the pastor wouldn't even know who this person was, lying in the casket. Is that really how it's supposed to be? So disconnected that you don't even know the pastor of your own church?

There are people who go to my church that read this blog. I know lots of people love the church. And I love certain parts of it. But there are parts that really bother me, just like anything else. No church, outside of heaven, will be perfect. I can hear our Catholic brethren silently cheering me on to join the Catholic church.

So anyway. Scott likes to just come to the church and leave. He's not, oh, howdoyousay... real "relational." His idea of a good date night is 3 hours of watching National Geographic (no talking) and sex (also no talking). Wait, that's men in general. So, anyway, I'm the kind that asks everyone and their dog how their dog is doing. And he's the one doing silent hand signals and looking annoyed in the corner, trying to just get out the door to the safety of the parking lot.

How did we end up together?

Saturday, May 3, 2008

risk

I really want to share something with you, but in doing so, I open up vulnerability and so much of myself that I'm not ultimately sure I want to. (This is coming from someone who considers a birth a family event - like, "Hey! Get Grandma from the nursing home! Bring her boyfriend, too! What? Oh, sure, they can leave their dentures behind! Do they want to help name the baby after finishing their game of Biblical Parcheezi in the delivery room?")

Do you ever feel like you'd be released from some type of bondage if you just let people know your struggle, but in letting them know it, you risk too much?

drive-bys

Maybe I'm just extra hormonal, and maybe it's just me.

Do you have a blog? If so, does it annoy you when people drive-by and leave their opinions without signing their name?


Anonymous said:

Sorry- just need to comment here...Physician's Assistant's are NOT doctors who could not pass! That is so rude and insensitive! There are a multitude of reasons for becoming a PA rather then a doctor! Let's see here, no malpractice insurance, more time with patients, less pressure, less school, less student loans, etc...
Just my 2 cents about bringing children to doctor's appointments...while the ultrasound lady probably could have handled it much better then you describe. Having children in the room while she is doing a serious test is a huge distraction and it puts them in a precarious position. Her job is to take care of you, the patient, and give you the highest standard of care possible. That is very difficult to do even if your children are well behaved. With something as important as an ultrasound to eliminate findings of breast cancer- they need to focus and make sure they do a thourough job. How would you feel if you were the person performing a test and you didn't get all the correct pictures because you had to make sure a child wasn't pushing a button or something?
I know your children are well behaved, but you really should consider a babysitter for these types of appointments. You and other stay at home mom's can trade for instance. You watch her kids when she goes to a doctor's appt and vice versa. It's important for you to be able to focus on what's happening with you at those times.


Anonymous, that wasn't me saying a physician's assistant was a doctor who didn't pass. That was Lyndsay at the front desk saying that. So perhaps you should tell her that was rude.


I'm not sure it's entirely feasible that I drop my kids off at my neighbor's each time I have a doctor's appointment, or each time one of them does. I'd be pawning them off on my neighbor approximately 6 times a month. And she doesn't need to go to the doctor as much as I do.


I have a pretty good idea of who anonymous is, and it annoys me even further that this person wouldn't sign their name. The only time I haven't signed my name was when I did a drive-by on a popular blog. And the author totally called me out on it. I have never done that again.


One thing that annoys me about blogging is that I put it all out there and then sometimes people drop by with some comment, don't even identify themselves, and then vanish into the night. No fair! Go ahead and disagree, that's great! You probably thought of something I never thought of. But please, for the love of TGI Friday's, sign your name!


Do you comment anonymously?


I like to call this one "Asher: 0, Oatmeal Spoon:1"


Friday, May 2, 2008

bits 'n pieces

Last night there was a howling wind and tornadoes touching down all around us. Scott, in his infinite daddy wisdom, told Lucy that if the tornado came near, we would go to the basement and he would cover her up with a "protective towel." All night, we heard. "Daddy, the pornado's coming! I need my towel!" I kept imagining Ron Jeremy and Jenna Jameson swirling around in a wind funnel that was bearing down on our house.




***************







Yesterday, May Day. I took Jess' lead and made these cupcakes from SCRATCH! First time I have done that, and let me say, they were WORTH the extra effort! Lucy helped decorate and we gave them to the neighbors. They were gone within 5 minutes.


************


We watched "Maxxed Out" last night. Very enlightening, also sort of annoying. They had Dave Ramsey on, but he only talked about how in debt people were. They cut out anything he said about actually having a budget and not living beyond your means. I have been told by so many friends that even though they have big beautiful houses they are never satisfied. Why do I think any earthly thing is going to give me happiness? I see it all around me; people wanting more and more and more and still not being happy. Why do I want to follow that trend? I am not saying that having a big house is bad. I am saying that never being content is bad. Very bad.



We were both annoyed by the way the documentary made the "victims" of credit cards out to be nonthinking, well, victims. Some people just wanted more than they were able to afford, and they got slammed by the companies that way. Some people were either mentally retarded and taken advantage or seriously unable to pay basic bills like light, heat and food, and the cards preyed on that. I really do think there are two different categories of these people. I have a HUGE problem with companies taking advantage of the second group of people. I'm not sure though, as the documentary suggested, that government intervention to take care of the poor victims is really going to solve the problem.


The documentary made a point that the credit card companies really are creating two tiers of people in our society. Heck, it's already happened. The people who don't live beyond their means are paid money for having money in the bank. The people who are living paycheck to paycheck are fined for not having enough money in the bank in the form of overdraft fees, etc.


One man in the documentary (a pawn shop owner, ironically) said that the only way to protect people was to have the government put more regulations on credit card companies. (Of course he wants that, Scott pointed out. It would generate more business for him, right? And he's just the earlier version of the credit card company.) Anyway, I was starting to agree, but then I began thinking about it critically and realized that I don't want any more of my money going to a corrupt, bloated government that can't get many things right in the first place. Give that more power? No thanks. They also investigated George Bush's relationship to credit card companies. MBNA was his top contributor.



We are NEVER late on our payments except on accident. One time Citicards tried charging us $39 for that. I called them up and said we would pay it but just cancel the card, as that was ridiculous. They said they would waive the fee. We are considering just not even having credit cards, after watching this documentary. What do you think? The only reason we like them is the rewards money we get from our purchases. The whole system does seem to be pretty screwed up. I used to think that people who just lived off of credit cards got to enjoy their nice new stuff and just never had to pay it off. I had no idea there was such an industry for collecting agencies getting really nasty. They showed several families who had a member who had committed suicide because they were in so much debt. I geuss it's just a side of it I never thought of.



*******


What is wedding gift ettiquette? We are going to a wedding in June, but there's a shower in May. Does that mean two gifts?




******




My cousin came over yesterday afternoon and we went to Target. I was losing my patience with Lucy. Usually she is really good, but yesterday afternoon she just felt like being naughty. It is so hard being consistent. I am so sorry for being judgemental of anyone who lacks consistency in their parenting!!!!! Sometimes you are just T-I-R-E-D!


Thursday, May 1, 2008

beat

We have been going, going, going this week. Either church, or someone's house, or having someone come here, or errands. Nothing big, just normal life. I am BEAT.

It seems like I get in a bad mood when I have too little socialization, and the same when I have too much. I'm like that monkey in the end cage at the zoo; he freaks out if you look him in the eye too long and he also freaks out when no one pays attention to him. Just throw him some old peanuts and call it a day.

Anyway, I'm realizing that some days it's OK for us to just stay home and not do anything social. I don't like myself when I get in a bad mood and the kids get the brunt of it. In fact, for the three of us, it's actually good to stay home and blow bubbles in the backyard, or go for a walk to Target, or pretend that mommy's a rhinoceros and ride her all around the house. I start to resent the fact that I don't have any time to do stuff around here except when the kids are asleep, because we're always gone. And by the time Scott gets home, I'm a frustrated mess. I know, it's my own doing. Lucy and I went to a different church last night, a church that has Cubbies. (I LOVE Awanas!) We followed our neighbors there at 6:00 and weren't back until 9:30. Not much time to be with Scott and she was a wreck by the end of the day.

I hate that whenever there's a down moment I feel like I have to be DOING something. I can't just sit there and read a book or write a letter. It has to be laundry, or dish washing, or some stupid project I don't really need to be doing. When did I lose the ability to just BE? I'm thinking the ability left around the time I became a mother. Before then, I could sleep at the drop of a hat; didn't have a problem with just sitting.

What is your schedule like as a stay at home mom? Do you like it? Want to make changes?