Friday, March 26, 2010

March Madness

I live in Ohio. I grew up in Ohio. After college I packed my bags and moved to New York City. And I'm pretty sure as I stepped on the plane that carried me off to the magical Big Apple, I uttered the words, "I will N.E.V.E.R. live in Ohio again." Yeah, pretty much don't ever make a declaration like that. God always has the last laugh!

Like I was saying, here I am with my cozy little life in OHIO. You may wonder why I hate? Well, if it weren't for it's love of fried foods, it's lack of style (we tend to get what was "in" on the coasts about 3.5 years after things were *actually* in style) there would always be the weather. Blech!

I have declared on multiple occasions that March is my least favorite month of the year. Yeah, I know February is unbearably cold (but its suppose to be... it's February.) August is disgustingly humid and hot. But March? It fakes me out every year!

Its all a mind game. Every year I'm all, "Oh yay. February's over. The Spring line is out at Banana Republic. If they're selling Capri's it must mean its time to wear them!" One day it's warm and sunny out. So nice that I would actually consider digging my Capri's and flip flops out of storage (if it weren't for my pasty legs and gnarly unpainted toes). Then... bam... IT happens.

Take this morning for example. March 26th (thankyouverymuch) there was at least an inch of snow welcoming me to my day... like the big fat mocker that March is. Oh, don't get me wrong, it won't last. Because you see, in three days it's suppose to be back up to 60... where it WON'T stay. All the sweet little flower buds in my front yard? Snowed over! The grass seed Steve planted in the mid-pit of our back yard? Done. So, month of March, you are dead to me! And state of Ohio, you're not much better off.

But until God sees fit to move me somewhere else, I'll just continue to complain about the weather and the fashion. And cross my fingers that April brings sunshine, tan legs and pedicured toes. Perhaps I expect too much out of a month? I'm open to that.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


This past week I've had a lot on my mind and have found myself up during the wee hours of the night (or is it morning?) The other night I was up from 3 am-5:30 am. Funny things happen in your mind at that hour. I laid there for a long time thinking, "Okay... if I close my eyes and fall asleep NOW, I will get three and a half hours of sleep. Ready, go!" Then, nothing. Okay, try it again. Now it will be 3 hours and fifteen minutes. That's still a lot, right?! After nearly 45 minutes of a dialogue like that in my mind, I started contemplating getting up, going downstairs and writing this blog.

But that would mean a commitment to being awake. It would mean I *really* wouldn't get that three + hours (which was quickly drawing close to becoming two + hours of more sleep.) But I'll tell you what, this post was TONS more interesting in my mind (and lots funnier) at 4 am than it is now. I was also worried if I went downstairs I would grab a snack (which is TOTALLY against all things Weight Watchers) and then it would become a habit and then I'd be 400 lbs. in no time.

I was solving all the world problems from my pillow at about 4:15am. My mom is in the throws of some severe health issues. I took some valuable time to pray and ask God for wisdom and intervention. I also tried to figure out all the angles of what could be done on her behalf.

Which brought me to about 4:45. At which point a really important question popped into my mind. (I kid you not, this is seriously the question I pondered for a while):

What ever happened to that candy, SPREES? Do you remember them? I really liked them because there were like 200 in a roll and that roll seemed to last forever. Probably because they were so sour that I could only eat several in the span of an hour. Funny, as I laid there and even now as I type this, my mouth started to water just thinking about how sour they were. But then as I thought of them it dawned on me... I don't think I've seen them in years. But then again, I'm not sure I've thoroughly inspected the candy aisle in a long time. That in turn made me think of another old candy bar called a Marathon bar. Remember that one? As I remember, it was basically caramel covered in chocolate in kind of a long braid shape. I *think* it came in a red wrapper. (Is it normal for people to lay awake at night, thinking of candy they miss? Thus... Weight Watchers!)

Somewhere around 5:15-5:30, I must have drifted off to sleep. I was rudely awakened at 6:30 by my alarm. Tired. I still don't have answers to my candy questions, but the next time I can't sleep I *might* Google and get some answers. But probably not.

Monday, March 22, 2010

R.I.P. Rosey

The other morning, Quinn insisted on NOT wearing his shirt at breakfast. He also insisted on eating his rice krispies with a fork. Whatever! I'm not dying on that hill. A red neck Chinese-Polish-American. Who knew?!

Earlier last week, Olivia came home and a announced that Rosey, the class pet tarantula had died. (I always thought it was an odd class pet, but Dayton Public IS on a strict budget after all.) She said that some guy came to spray for spiders in the bathroom and that Rosey didn't like it and died.

There were LOTS of questions in my mind surrounding that one. Then a few days later some how the passing of Rosey re-surfaced at our house. I asked if she was feeling sad about it? "Nope. Rosey's still in the classroom." WHAT? "So, Rosey's not dead after all." "No, she's dead. The teachers just put a paper towel over her." Hmmm... I thought I'd confirm the story. When we gave Lei'Asya a ride home that day I asked her mom about it. "Did Lei'Asya tell you about Rosey the spider?" "Yeah! She said that the teachers are keeping her in the room."

Well, fact or pre-schooler urban legend, that is the question? Now, we had to get to the bottom of this. The suspense was killing me. (Hey, I don't get out much these days. What can I say?) The next morning I gave Steve his marching orders. "You need to ask about Rosey when you drop O off today, ok?"

I got a phone call 20 minutes after drop off. "Well, it's true. Rosey's dead. Teacher said that tarantulas sometimes dry out nicely and make a good specimen. They're gonna roll the dice."

Now THAT'S quality education for 'ya! Looks like I'm headed for 2/3 redneck children.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Just a casual date

I pick Olivia up from school each day (except for Thursdays) between 11:30-11:45. The problem is, I have to "kill" a half hour after working out each day so that we don't just sit around and wait for O to be dismissed.
THIS is what happens when we just sit. It ain't pretty!
I have enjoyed school pick up a bit more now that the weather is getting nicer. The other moms seems to arrive earlier now too and we sit around and chat a bit. That makes me smile... as the boys scream. Lets just say, its not my favorite 1/2 hour of our day. But the other moms have been making it better.
Last week as I was picking Olivia up, I found out that she and her friend Raine have been planning a play date for themselves. They even sat down during school with paper and some markers and drew a map to our house so that Raine would be able to find it.
So, Raine's mom and I exchanged phone numbers and arranged to take the girls to the park one day this week after school. They also decided to include the 3rd pea in the pod, Lei'asya, in on the date.
Well, thankfully today the weather was perfect! We packed snacks, Polly Pockets and tennis shoes for the date. I even picked up McDonald's chocolate chip cookies for a snack.
It was a really fun time to "spy" on the girls. Lei'asya turned 5 yesterday and Raine turns 5 in 3 weeks. They are both so much *braver* than O. Some is personality, but some is being nearly a year older. I realized how much O really is the baby of the class. And these girls really look out for her.
It was interesting to see how different we three moms are from each other, but you know what??? I really enjoyed getting to know these 2 ladies. I would never even probably have met 2 such women, but its fun to see our friendship budding through our daughters' friendships. I love it.
And not to be left behind... the boys. And where there's mud, there is Turner. THIS is why I rarely take the three kids by myself anywhere. It was a bit challenging keeping my eyes on all three. Thankfully the other 2 moms took an active role in watching the kids; including the boys.
Turner filled the job of pesky little brother quite well. It was really cute. The date's grand finale was the 1/2 hour sit down play with Polly Pockets. All three girls had such a good time together. And there was no arguing or bickering from anyone. Oh Lord, may it always be so!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Brave enough

Over the weekend I returned from a solo trip to Target (can you hear the satisfied sigh from there?) to find Steve and the 3 kids watching old home videos. I didn't even take off my jacket, pulled up a chair and remained planted there for the next hour and fifteen minutes. I would have stayed longer but we had to get ready for our house church to arrive.

You see, we have 4, count them f.o.u.r. years worth of videos we've never watched. I'm not exactly sure why we haven't watched them. We got the video camera about 2 weeks before Olivia was born. I'm sure we have hours of incredibly dull footage of a sleeping/crying O (that's what she was best at... the sleeping/crying combo.) But I'm only guessing at that because in these four years we've gone back and watched them exactly never. But that's pretty consistent with our technologically challenged selves.

Recently I've been losing sleep (literally) over the fact that we have all these mini cartridges laying around our house but have not labeled them nor watched them. I assume in order to shut me up, (I'm good at whining and complaining, not so good on the action/execution part of a plan) Steve unearthed them and began sorting through them.

The result? Pure delight. The kids are getting to the point (especially Olivia) where they really like to see themselves on tv. It really is amazing how quickly you forget what they were like, even a year ago. And I am thankful that we have the footage (even the boring stuff) because I don't want to forget.

Last night we bit the bullet and got brave enough to watch the video from China of us picking up Quinn. You see, it was SUCH an emotional ordeal for the both of us (in different ways, naturally) that up until now, we just couldn't pull off the scab and go back there. There wasn't anything wrong or bad with the trip/experience. It was just so incredibly deep and emotional. Panic attacks, fulfillment of dreams/waiting, painful emotions for Quinn himself. To experience it again on video has been more than we could muster up; until now.

We braced ourselves, and loved every moment of the not so many moments we have on tape. After watching it last night, we realized we didn't really take all that much footage. But the important stuff was there. And it was HILARIOUS to see some of the same behaviors from the very first 15 minutes of knowing him until now.

I wish we knew how to get some of the video up here so you could see it for yourself. But until we do, I want to share one story.

His caregiver was there and when Quinn started to freak out, she gave him a cracker. Kid held onto that cracker for dear life. Not eating it, just holding it. Well after a few moments we got out a sucker. In order to give him the sucker, Steve took the cracker out of his hand. Quinn went ballistic! Oops. Cardinal rule of knowing Quinn #1... NEVER take food from him. Steve quickly learned the rule and immediately gave the cracker back. Too late. Quinn took that cracker and threw that bad boy on the ground. And was pissed!

True to this day, you might see that same event happen several times a day around here. We had a good chuckle as we realized how he hasn't really changed all that much, and it made my heart happy. Sometimes I just don't know what to expect out of an adopted kid. You kinda wonder who he would have been if he had stayed at the orphanage, if he had been raised by his birth parents or joined a different family.

My guess about Quinn... he would have been the kid we see before us. And oh how I love him!

It was odd because I don't often get too sad about missing out on his baby years. Of course I wish we had had those, don't get me wrong. But its not like I have this heartsick feeling about it. It is was it is. But I have to say, watching some of the videos of O and Turner with no Quinn in them and realizing that he, too, was alive but not here made me sad. It made me sad that there are nearly 2 years of his life that have no video. There is no record of what he was doing or not doing. I actually teared up at the thought. More so for him than for me. I know there will come a day when he has to reconcile himself to that fact, and I hate it!

But now, we'll make up for lost time. And with his dad around, there will be plenty of boring/long footage to go around.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Life in the fast lane

Friday night Steve and I had a date. We average a date about every other week. Which is pretty good, I think. The fact that it was on a Friday night made me rather giddy. We usually plan our outings on a week night because, frankly, I feel guilty asking a college student to give up their weekend night to hang with my kids. But we took a walk on the wild side and I bit the bullet and asked for a Friday.

What made it really wild and crazy? We headed down I-75 to Ikea. Just like all the kids are doing! And the naughtiest of all? We bought bunk beds! After months of research, contemplating and financial recuperating (remember that bathroom renovation and kitchen re-paint in Feb. OUCH!) we decided to make it happen.

We hopped in the mini van and were in the car not 20 minutes before the most horrific downpour/thunderstorm of 2010. Actually, its been the ONLY downpour/thunderstorm of 2010. So there we were swimming our way to the Gold and Blue neon sign that just kind of beckons me. While some of the wares at Ikea are along the lines of "disposable," much of what they offer is kinda cool and interesting, if not a wee bit of a pain in the rear to put together.

Steve suggested dinner at Ikea, but Swedish Meatballs for $1.99 was NOT what this mama on the town on a Friday night was after. We bought a few *additional* items while we were on the way to the beds. I can't help it if the boys needed new towels for swim lessons.

After nearly giving himself a hernia lifting the bunk bed box onto the trolley, we headed for the check out (you're wider than you think!) and into the monsoon that had erupted in time for us (and by us I mean Steve) to load all the goodies into the van.

We stopped for a burger (or in my case a salmon burger) at Red Robin. I would recommend avoiding Red Robin... they have a bottomless basket of fries- which is really just a public obscenity. Honestly, there should be a law against a fry basket being bottomless- public indecency perhaps? We had such a fun time watching the end of the UD men's basketball game (even if they DID lose), talking and stuffing our faces.

Its funny how when you're dating you just want to be married and when you're married, you just want to be dating. I love going on dates with my husband, even if its accomplishing mundane tasks in the rain and eating in loud chain restaurants. Who knew I'm living my dream life... but I am! Stay tuned for our next date... bunk bed assembly and pizza.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Defining insanity

The definition of insanity is me cleaning my house! Why is house work such a crazy maker? I mean, didn't I JUST dust all of my furniture and vacuum the other day? And by other day, I actually mean- the other day! (Some peoples' version of other day was when they vacuumed up the pine needles from the Christmas tree, and although that sounds glorious, that's not what I mean.) I'm no clean freak... just ask my husband. But I do like to keep things a bit tidy and without major visible gag me with a spoon kind of dirt. We have lots of people in and out of our home and I hate to embarass myself too badly.

But I SWEAR that a little gnome follows me around and undoes everything I attempt to do (and that gnome has a name: sometimes its Olivia, some days its Turner or Quinn and most of the time his name is Baxter.) Well my gnomey little Baxter friend really hacked me off today.

I just got done sweeping under my dining room table (which is no small feat!) Ihave to use the attachment to my vacuum because we had to get all cute and clever and buy a rug from the Pottery Barn Outlet that has some hand-tied-y woven pieces in it. Whatever, they get caught in the vacuum if I do it the "normal/easy" way. So I have to hook up the attachment, hunch over and get the rug really good. Its okay though because at some point in our pre-three kid days we thought it would be a great idea to pull up the carpets and re-do our hardwood floors. They look great but are a real pain in the rear when you have to clean them. Enter again: vacuum attachment.

All that to say, vacumming is not my easiest/quickest chore. But I have to do it about 3-4 times a week. With 3 little kids and a dog that sheds like no body's business, I'd be embarrassed not to.

So, I had just gotten done with the back breaking, under the dining room table part, moved all the chairs back and was moving on to the living room part (where there is yet another Pottery Barn Outlet rug with tied-on tassels around the perimeter that get all tangled in the regular vacuum... are you seeing a pattern?) when I heard a ripping and tearing noise.

It could only mean one thing... BAXTER.

There he was, shredding all the contents of a stuffed baseball on the previously swept/ mess free dining room rug. Ugh. That means repeat steps one through four. Don't they define insanity as doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results?

Yep. Insanity I tell you. Then I thought back to a commercial I saw the other day at the Y for one of those reality shows on hoarders. Hmmm... tempting. That way it wouldn't matter WHAT my floor looked like. Now THAT is not insanity... THAT is brilliant!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I've been duped

In my quest to live frugally and save a buck, I've made a poor decision this evening. Because I live and love Facebook, I have fallen prey to one of those marketing ploys. Have you seen the rolling/scrolling adds for things like "If your 37 this year, claim your free pair of UGG boots now." Yep, tried that one a few weeks ago and when I figured out you have to sign up for other stuff, I bailed.

Well tonight as we were engrossed in American Idol (btw, I really enjoyed Lee tonight) a message came in on my Facebook saying I could be one of the first 4,000 people to claim my $1,000 Ikea Gift Card. Well shoot, we want to buy those bunk beds and what price is a few moments of my time, so I was in.

As I got into the *survey* I realized that I, again, would need to sign up for a few things. After checking in with Steve, we decided to give Netflix a whirl, as well as some nicely priced coffee. (both of which I have written on the calender to cancel within 2 weeks.) Then IT happened.

The dupe of all dupes. After I signed up for those 2 things, I needed to sign up for ANOTHER 9 (n.i.n.e.) things. Nope. That's where I draw the line. Remember, I just got rid of my home phone the other day and STILL don't have music on my Ipod, like I'm going to sign up for nine Internet services (that are now attached to me like a ball and chain.)

Hey, I'm all for a coupon deal... but there ain't nothin' out there for free. If it seems to be too good to be true... it is.

Oh, and if you're a Facebook friend of mine, sorry if you got the Ikea gift card invite from me, it was part of the requirements. And if you're up for selling your info, good luck on 'ya! As for me and my house, we're going to buy from Ikea the old fashion way- with cash.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Jesus books make me sin

We were on our way from the Y to pick up Olivia at school this morning. The boys have an assortment of books they enjoy on our rides around town. On any given day, one book is the current fave. Lately, the favorite has been Jesus Loves Me. (Mostly 'cuz I'm such a good mom and because they are spiritually advanced for their age!)

Quinn was the first to request "Jesus Bookie" (okay, so they might not be as verbally advanced, but we like to keep our priorities.) As soon as I handed Quinn the Jesus Bookie, Turner began to demand the Jesus Bookie. At which point Quinn began to *more thoroughly* and *more actively* enjoy the Jesus Bookie. Meaning he began waving it around, turning on and off the over head light with it (about 50 times) pretty much taunting his brother with the Jesus Bookie.

The WHOLE time, Turner just screamed over and over again, "JESUS BOOKIE!" Finally, out of the corner of my eye (after nearly 10 minutes of taunting) I noticed Quinn no longer had the book in his hand. "Quinn, what did you do with the Jesus Book? Did you give it to Turner?" After a small glance over my shoulder I noticed Turner did NOT have the book and he was still silently crying at this point. Then there it was, the sliest, orneriest, most sinfully satisfied smile on Quinn's face and directly behind that face/head was the Jesus Book, being used as a pillow. That stinker was NOT going to give up the book.

Finally, I convinced Quinn to give Turner a turn. I bribed him with a chance at the Buckeye book (because, yes, at our house... second behind Jesus books come OSU Buckeye books.) Quinn handed the Jesus Bookie over to Turner and delightfully took the Buckeye book. And instantly Turner demanded the Buckeye book. Doesn't it say something in that there Jesus book about coveting? Yeah, just checking.

On a more *encouraging* note, after we picked up O from school, I made the boys lunch, set O up with a snack only to find some sort of explosion had happened in the dress up box. When I asked Olivia what had happened she answered, "That's okay mom... you can pick it up. Its what you do!"

BTW, what IS the going rate for a housekeeper these days? 'Cuz I'm due some back pay.

Monday, March 8, 2010

just can't get enough

Of these faces!

That's all I got.
Somedays, that's enough!

Friday, March 5, 2010

out with the old, in with the new

Now tell me honestly, does this look like the face of a woman adverse to change?

(Those who know me well are doubled over, wetting themselves as they laugh hysterically.)

Because, yes, indeed my face would appear next to the definition of change adverse.
But its not my fault. I just can't seem to help it.
As of this morning (or was it last night?) at 12am, we no longer have a home phone. Or as some of the young folk call it, a *land line.* As for me... I L.O.V.E. my home phone. I love our number, I love the way it used to roll off the tip of my tongue. I love that the voice mail proudly announced that this was OUR home and that you could leave a message. (I did hate the actual phone. My mom got us a QVC *deal* years ago and it has required a monthly battery change, but hey, no love is perfect, right?)

I was up from 3 'til 4:30 in the morning last night with lots of stuff on my mind. But one of those things was the loss of my home phone. I know its stupid, but I was seriously worried. You see, its complicated. We're not actually getting rid of our number (we need it for our security system... that's FYI to all you burglars out there) but instead, you can call me... I just don't have caller ID anymore, so I can't screen you. We also no longer have voice mail, so you can't leave me a message. I can call in town (for $.04 a minute) but I can't make long distance calls.

So after losing sleep, Steve went up to the attic, blew the dust off of THAT bad boy (yep, that is a vintage, one of a kind, answering machine!) and set it up for me. It's next stop will be the Smithsonian. No worries now!

Except for the fact, that if you know ANYTHING about me you know that I N.E.V.E.R. know where my cell phone is.

And if I do know where it is, its probably not charged.

And if its charged, its probably buried deep in the recesses of one of my 5 bags that I lug around.

So, this is me, coming into the Zero's (aughts, tens... what ARE we going to call this century we're in???) And along side of my cell is our Ipod NANO. We got it in November and have yet to put music on it. It's not that we're stupid (right?) its more like we're intimidated. Or shy. Or lazy. Yeah, lazy. That seems like the best option (ouch, that's not saying much is it?)

Once upon a time I was a hip, youthful 20 something living in NYC... carrying around my tape playing Walkman. ahhhh.. the good 'ole days.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Just call me Gumby

Because this is UD's spring break week, my day started off a bit different (Normal Thursdays are my day on campus thereby getting me out of O's school pick up). Instead of leaving for the Y at 8:30, we were heading out at 9 instead (gasp!) It really felt weird to not the do the *normal.* And then the phone rang at 8:30. It was my friend Susie, whose husband has been out of the country all week, leaving her at home with 3 kids. She invited us to meet them at the local Children's Museum that is only 7 minutes from our house and that we never go to.

My first answer was, "Sorry, we are headed to the Y and my plan was to shower there. So we can't." And then the little voice in my head spoke loud and clear, "You complain all the time that you rarely do things with friends. You are trying to be more flexible. Poor Susie has been with the kids all week by herself. YOU SHOULD GO!"
So I surprised both her and myself by saying, "Forget it, you know what, I'll shower here and meet you there in a half an hour." I jumped in the shower, got the boys in the van and headed out.

And then I remembered the reason we don't go to this museum.

It's HARD to keep these boys in sight. They are so different and they like different things. Not to mention, Turner doesn't obey. Worth a lick.

But he DOES play in water. And he does it with a vengeance. After 3 minutes he was wet from head to toe. And *then* I saw the sign that said PLEASE HAVE CHILDREN ROLL UP SLEEVES AND WEAR RUBBER APRON. Yep, would have been helpful 3 minutes ago.
When the boys were good and wet we moved on. This hands on museum is undoubtedly cool. And has tons of fun activities. And if I came equipped with my own fleet of babysitters (Susie suggested a leash, I suggested shock collars) the museum would be a great idea.
I mean, where else does Turner get to channel his inner construction worker? The problem (Ha!) ackhem, ONE of the problems is that he doesn't stay at any activity for more than 2 minutes. Just enough time for Quinn to warm up to the activity, and he's off to the next thing.

The good news, I only lost one kid. Turner was in a time out on the second floor of the museum(his 4th one of the morning) when Quinn went down a slide that takes you all the way to the lower level of the museum. I was torn. A kid in time out needs to stay in time out... right? But a kid on the loose a whole floor beneath you takes precedence... right? So I actually stood there frozen, paralyzed for about 15 seconds, running all my options through my frazzled head. Thankfully, Susie went down to the second floor and also sent her 4 year old son on a reconnaissance mission to locate Quinn. I whisked Turner out of time out, ran downstairs, grabbed Quinn and we headed back to...
the water zone. It was the one place they both enjoyed and stayed put.
It was also the place where my sons officially became hillbillies.
They were both so wet, I stripped them down to their pants and let them go for another chunk of time. Until they started pouring water down their diapers. I declared water time over, where Quinn declared it tantrum time. He pitched a full-blown 2 year old fit of all fits. Including laying on his belly, shrieking at the top of his lungs and pounding fists on the ground while kicking his feet. (Susie's kids, meanwhile, followed her obediently through the museum, holding hands with each other and basically being cute and huggable.) yep, hate her.
I put him in time out where he screamed and wailed. In the meantime I followed Turner nearby while sympathetic on lookers gave me sad faces as if to say, "Bless his little heart." Ummm... no! Bless my little heart thankyouverymuch! Unfortunately, they missed the tantrum that lead to the time out.
What I determined from this morning's outing? First, only be friends with those who have kids equally naughty as yours. Second, flexibility is HIGHLY over rated! There's a reason I've remained inflexible over these past 37 years... and I like it there. But hey, flexibility makes for great photo ops and funny blog posts. I guess I can continue to give it a whirl.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Guilt complex

I feel like my life can be shrouded by guilt some days. I don't want to walk around with a cloud of oppression hanging over me. I want to walk around in freedom. Freedom to do the stuff I do, not because I feel like I have to or I should, but because I really want to and am genuinely happy to do so.

I recently came across a blog that helped me put some things into perspective. Layla Grace is a blog not for the faint of heart. It is a family's journey of saying good bye to their 2 year old daughter who is dying from cancer. It is gut wrenching, but has also helped me approach my recent days from a different perspective.
Yesterday Olivia asked if we could make cookies. My initial thought/feeling was, "Man, I really don't want to make cookies today." But then my thoughts went to this mom who would probably give her right arm to bake cookies with her daughter, rather than hold her while she dies. So... we made cookies.

But during the cookie making process, I found myself getting frustrated that my 4 year old did not do everything the way I thought she ought.

A few times throughout the process I was able to take a step back and catch myself and say, "It's not about perfect cookies or clean floors. Its about spending this time with Olivia. Enjoy it for what it is." That helped- a little. I feel guilty that my automatic default isn't *enjoy the moment*, but its focused on the mess, the extra work, the details.
Even right now as I type this, I'm feeling a bit under the weather. I would love to take a nap. Not even sleep, but maybe just lay down on the couch. Close my eyes. But if I did, I'm not sure I'd even enjoy it because there are a million other things *I should be doing.* Laundry, emails, phone calls, cleaning, reading, blogging...

The other day at my parents my dad paid me a huge compliment. He said, "The reason you're so slim (which I've NEVER been called slim by him or anyone else for that matter in my whole life) is because you run after those kids all day long." (I didn't have the heart to tell him its actually from all of the lifting and stretching I do to get to the cookie boxes I keep stashed up on the highest shelf so that I can't get to them.) Nice compliment, but its true (not the slim part, the part about running after the kids all day long). I'm not sure I often sit and enjoy the moments. I run around like a dang chicken with its head cut off.
The guilt I might experience during a nap sends me sky high.

Oh, trust me, I know all the self talk! Take care of yourself. Its not wrong to lay down during the day. You're kids are going to be gone before you know it... take time to savor the moment. All are well and good, but REALLY hard to practice day in and day out.

So, I'm trying to get past the guilt. To know there will be good days and bad days.

But for now, after I go stretch and pull for the Thin Mints on the top shelf, I'm gonna lay down on the couch, close my eyes and savor the moment. Then, its back to the headless chicken routine.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

More than I bargained for

Our church, Apex Community, sent me to a *little* conference a month ago. There were about 3,000 people from all over the country and about 30 of us from Apex. The conference was about missional communities. If that sounds weird, its not. Its a fancy word for people who love Jesus living in community with others who also love Jesus and as a result of people living and loving, their neighborhoods and communities are changed for the glory of God.

The conference was really good (and also really cold! It was about 45 degrees in Texas that weekend but they had the air conditioning on the whole time. I didn't quite understand the rationale behind that decision, must have been a guy working the thermostat! They didn't give us comment cards... oh but if they had!)

Anyhow, the whole point of this post is that I came back from that conference all messed up. You see, up until now, I couldn't WAIT to get the heck outta this neighborhood. Don't get me wrong. We live in a sweet neighborhood. It is quaint and charming and neighborly. But it is inner city-ish. There are no other kids here. The public schools stink. And although I have a love for ALL things city (hey, at one time I called both NYC and Shanghai, China home... and loved every second of it) this 37 year old mommy of three was starting to get the suburban itch.

Yeah, I'm talking white picket fence, my house looks like all the other ones on the block, a fenced in backyard that backs up into yours, blue ribbon schools, perhaps even a cul de sac. (The 20 year old version of myself just slapped me in the face and then threw up just thinking about such a life.) But hey, there's a time and a place for everything, right?! And this here cracker has put in her city time... it's time for a break.

But wait a minute. I got back from this conference and started talking about staying put (not necessarily in our house, but... maybe.) Olivia is doing well at her Dayton Public pre-school. We're starting to build relationships with people we would probably never get to know otherwise. We've had a chance to be blessed and be a blessing there. It's only $25 a year AND they are moving to a brand new state of the art facility a year from now.

I started thinking about what happens to the city if lots of resourced Jesus lovers are always moving to the suburbs. Its not enough for me to come into the city once a month and serve the homeless a dinner. Maybe our family can make a dent in God's Kingdom by staying put.

But here's the thing, I don't really want to. I want to go where its comfy. Where my kids will be around people mostly like themselves. Where I have other stay at home moms on my street to be friends with and hang out with. I'm just not sure that's what God wants from me. Shoot.

So, our house is on the market. If we sell, we sell. (If we move, who knows where we'll really end up.) If we stay, we stay. I feel like I'm in a place of total surrender. (Well, maybe not TOTAL, but maybe more like surrender-ish.) Its funny, we've looked at homes in our suburban price range here in the city and there aren't any. If we go $80,000 under we start to see some. Its interesting, if we stay, economically we will live under our means and that would open us up to be even more of a blessing to others. And to me, that sounds really intriguing.

That's the state of our union. I guess the lesson here is be careful of attending conferences paid for by your church (they'll only mess you up) and if you go to Texas in February, take a parka... its cold inside!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Turning over a new leaf

Friday afternoon, after we picked Olivia up from school, we packed up the van and headed north to visit my parents. We dropped Baxter off at a kennel that is a stone's throw off of I-75 and then we kept on trucking. As soon as we dropped Baxter off, the weather turned on us. I guess if I had been at all interested in the weather up North, rather than the Bachelor, American Idol, the Olympics all week (oh my, I do have a problem, don't I? I was going to give up tv for lent but it falls during American Idol and I just can't do it...) I *might* have known we were in for a doozy of a drive and a fierce winter storm. And I also *might* have packed at least one pair of boots for someone in our house hold. But I didn't, so therefore, I didn't.

The normal 2 hour and 15 minute drive took nearly 3 and a half hours. But we made it. I guess in honor of the snow falling, Olivia requested to watch the Radio City Rockettes Christmas Spectacular (YES! We do own it on DVD if you ever want to borrow it) the whole way there. Fun times. And it was a good reminder that there are only 299 shopping days left until Christmas. So let's get on it people!

We opted to not borrow a second pack 'n play for this trip and take an enormous risk by putting Turner in a blow up *big boy* bed. Hey, what can I say? We like to live on the wild side! Steve was a skeptic while I, for once in our marriage, was the optimist. I figured we are looking to buy the boys this adorable toddler bunk bed from Ikea in the near future, so we ought to let him give it a whirl.

After visiting with Bebe and Paw and having dinner we bit the bullet and went back to the little apartment we stay at while in Toledo (same complex as my parents just across the driveway.) All three kids were in the same room and Turner explored his new blow up bed. Once we finished reading, praying and saying all the required good nights, we closed the door and held our breath. We turned the tv on mute and enjoyed (mostly) the giggles and scampering from inside the room. The only thing we required was that everyone stay in their bed. And to be fair, Quinn had it easy, because he couldn't get out. The other two pushed the envelope several times. Turner had 2 harsh disciplines (hey, we gotta lay down the law now or there's gonna be heck to pay once we get those bunk beds.)

After 2 disciplines, Turner got the picture. But all kids were up nearly 2 hours past their bed time singing, laughing, banging and generally enjoying a thrill of childhood. A *sleep over.* And I was proud of our utterly inflexible selves. (Although Steve declared, "I will be angry once it hits 9:00!") I wasn't sure if he meant at them or me.

Night number two went out without a hitch. No one got a discipline. There were still songs and giggles to be had by all, and even a declaration, "Its time to have a little party" by Olivia to her brothers. (I told her right before bed time, it was ok to have a party but they had to stay in their beds and once mommy and daddy said it was time to stop they needed to obey.) Perhaps it was out of sheer exhaustion, but the party didn't last too long.

We hit the road Sunday afternoon in time to pick up Baxter from the kennel and host house church. All in all it was a successful and monumental trip up north. Ahhh... I love it when a plan comes together!