Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas

I just want to wish all my blog readers a very merry Christmas. I hope it brings rest and peace and celebration. Toward that end, I encourage you to click on my friend Brandy's blog (over there to the left) and read her post called "God is for you." It draws into clarity what this whole Christmas thing is all about, and I want to share it with you. God bless each one of you and thanks for reading.

Monday, December 15, 2008


I was talking to my brother on the phone tonight, and he put my six-year-old nephew Will on the phone to say hi. I hit the jackpot; he was very chatty. We talked about Christmas, what Santa might bring him, that we would see him next week, etc. Then the following conversation occurred:

Will: All our presents are wrapped and under the tree already.
Me: They are? That's great, but don't open them or anything. You have to wait till its time.
Will: I know. I'm not really thinking much about those presents. I've been thinking about something else that's way more important than that.
Me: (surprised) You are? What have you been thinking about?
Will: (with wonder) Jesus! I just can't stop thinking about him. We are doing a Christmas program and I just can't stop thinking about Jesus and all the songs we are singing...
Me: Like what kind of songs?
Will: Songs about the baby Jesus!
Me: That is so great, Will. I'm sad we can't see you in your Christmas program.
Will: Well. You can come if you want!

We are going to Will's house five days too late to see the program. But I will be considering the thrill in his voice when he was talking about Jesus, and how much more he's thinking about that baby king than he is the presents under his Christmas tree. Today I'm taking a lesson from a six-year-old, and trying not to be distracted by material/earthly things. I want to be like Will, not able to stop thinking about Jesus. Wanna join me?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Today Katy started calling me Mommy instead of Mama. Very upsetting development. I tried coaching her back to the other way, but she was having none of it. (She can be a bit pig-headed, not sure where she gets this.) This is way worse than the Elmo fiasco though. Mommy is big girl talk. I dread the day I become just plain old MOM. This is the day I will officially be old.

Brynn did something really cute today that I just have to share. This morning before preschool, I overheard her giving Katy a "who's who" lesson on the nativity. "This is the baby Jesus, and this is a shepherd--he takes care of the sheep." That kind of thing. Then she said, "And this is the pretty angel--her name is Chorus." I tilted my head and gave it some thought. And I couldn't help but giggle when I connected the dots. Figured it out yet? She has almost certainly heard a version of the account that reads, "and there appeared in the sky an angel chorus..." That's good stuff, people.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


As of this morning, Katy is saying Elmo correctly. Please observe with me a moment of silence as we lose more and more of the sweet babytalking. Sigh. It happens too quickly. Never again will I see her walking around the house calling, "MO-mo! Where are you?"


I am stressed out. I hate that because I am usually way into all the Christmas hoopla--baking and decorating and shopping and the whole nine yards. But I am just worn out this year. I don't know if its all the traveling, or just how crazy things are going to get with our schedule starting in about two weeks, or the financial strain so many are facing... but I am really feeling overwhelmed. And I hate that, because Christmas is my favorite. I need to read Luke 2 before I sleep tonight and try to get some perspective in the chaos. I may also make some lists. Things are manageable when I pace myself. Theoretically.


I went into a store the other day with both of the girls, and a woman held the door open for our little parade to pass. I thanked her and she said, "I know what its like. You're doing manual labor right now, honey. This is the hardest time physically, but the real hard stuff is yet to come." Now, I appreciate her helping me get inside and I like that she validated the fatigue I experience all the time. But why not leave it at that instead of tacking on the gloom-and-doom pronouncement of future difficulty? Why do moms do this? Think about it and you will realize how often people offer you empathy in a situation and follow it up with a grim-reaperish, "Just wait." I'm not going to do this anymore. I'm going to offer encouragement and then shut my mouth instead of bumming people out. Every day is hard enough as it is, without adding the burden of tomorrow.


I miss Christy. I was putting up decorations and came across a gift she gave me a couple of years ago. It's this cool, old-fashioned sign made out of painted boards that says "Sleigh Bells Ring," complete with jingle bells. We had seen it while flipping through a magazine and both loved it. The next thing I know, she & Josh gave it to me for Christmas. If I remember right, Julie and Chris gave her the exact same one that year. Anyway. It was weird hanging it up in its usual spot this year, but not as weird as it would have been to put it back in the box. If that makes sense. So since I have Christy on my mind, I decided to share something I wrote on her facebook wall (now a memorial) a couple of weeks ago...

I've been thinking about you so much, Christy. Maybe its the holidays coming and all the memories I have of special times with you at this time of year. I was thinking about the time we (stubbornly!) went shopping on Black Friday when no one else wanted to brave the early hours or the crowds... it poured all day! We were cold and wet! I remember you were shopping for your new family, the inlaws to be. You so wanted to get them gifts they would love, but you didn't know them very well yet. We ate lunch at Fridays and had mexican-type appetizers. I was craving it because I was newly pregnant with Brynn. My doctor had grounded us from travel that year for Thanksgiving because of some complications I was having. I was so bummed about that at the time, but now I am so thankful because we never would have had that day together otherwise. What a sweet gift from God that is to me now. Yay for complications--seriously. Love you, Sweet. Miss you.

Friday, November 14, 2008


I have had a lot of heavy posts lately. Not lately really, because I haven't posted in a while. But when I have, they have been heavy. I don't how to transition back to kid stories, so I guess I'm not going to. Kid stories are coming, but without a nice transition. So I apologize in advance for the abrupt changes in tone that will likely characterize this blog for a while. I remain constantly entertained by the sweet quirkiness of life with my kids, and yet my mind is mostly occupied by more serious matters of loss and faith these days. I want to write more. But you, oh reader, should brace yourself for literary whiplash. Soon.

Friday, October 17, 2008


By now most of my blog readers probably know that my dear friend Christy Hildebrand died last Saturday unexpectedly. I feel like writing something to show you how wonderful she was, and how much she meant to me, but I think I will share something she wrote instead. Less than a week before her death, she wrote the following note on facebook. I believe she meant it as a testimony and a thank-you, but now I think it was the grace of God at work prompting her to write it. I can't tell you the peace it has brought to her family and friends over the last week, even as it was read at her funeral two days ago. I loved Christy dearly, and am so thankful to have been her friend. Take a few moments to read this, and you'll begin to see why...

Dear readers,

As many of you know by this point, the last two months have been some of the most difficult days of my life. But I cannot simply walk away from these days now that I am almost completely better without reflecting on what I have learned - or was just reminded of: 1.) Christ is in me and I am in Him. I simply would not have gotten through this ordeal and be this joyful on the other side of it apart from this truth. 2.) God has revealed His love for me not only by sending His one and only Son to die for my sins - which absolutely was enough - but continues to reveal this love everyday through my family, my friends and even my doctors:-

My husband Josh is my husband for a reason. I firmly believe now more than ever that he was selected especially for me by our Heavenly Father. Josh has lived out the vows he spoke to me on the day we were married 4 1/2 years ago in a way that I didn't even know was possible. He has prayed for me, loved me unconditionally, been there at every moment I needed him there, taken care of my physical needs, helped me to understand and deal with my emotional needs and has done his best to keep me smiling and laughing through it all. I pray he always knows how true my love is for him and how grateful I am for the love he shows to me every single day. I am quite the lucky girl!

My mom, Julie, is my mom for a reason. I also firmly believe now more than ever that she was also selected especially for me by our Heavenly Father - just as Mary was chosen to be the mother of Jesus. God knew even before I was created that I would need a very special mother - and boy did he pick the right one! My mom has helped me clear every hurdle I have ever faced in my life. Some we jumped and cleared without difficulty and some we jumped, smacked into the hurdle and fell down. But anytime we fell, we fell together. And everytime we fell together she was always there to pick me up. My mom has also prayed for me, loved me with a love I cannot even understand, been there every time I have called for her, taken care of my physical needs and has cried with and for me. I pray she always knows how strong my love is for her. She is truly my best friend.

Kyle, my brother, and Chris, my stepdad, are also in my life for a reason - they make me laugh! God knew I would need that from time to time :0) Anytime I feel like there is no smile left in me, one of them ALWAYS proves me wrong. I love my brother more than he probably knows and I know he loves me. I am happy that God has bonded us strongly together as brother and sister and enjoy the times we get to spend together. I also love my stepdad. God brought him into our lives over 10 years ago and I know we needed him as much as he needed us. We have grown a lot as a family over the years and I am happy to have the relationship that I have with him today. I pray it grows even stronger as the years continue to go by and as we all continue to learn and grow in Christ.

My friends - way too numerous to count or list! God has given me great friends from all over the world. My friends have prayed for me, visited me, cared for me and have made themselves available to meet my needs even when it wasn't convenient for them. I pray that I can truly express my gratitude and return the love they have so generously poured out on me.

My doctors - Dr. Jeffrey Neal, Dr. Paul Nichols, Dr. John Harrison, Dr. Charles Rose and others I'm sure I'm forgetting (or don't even remember that have taken care of me). God has put together such an amazing group of doctors for me and they have come together to treat me in the best way they possibly can. These doctors, the ones whose names I listed in particular, have a love for me that I don't understand - I'm just their patient - but I feel it each time I have a conversation with any of them. I am so thankful for their care and concern and feel truly confident and blessed that God carefully selected each one of them for me.

3.) In the words of Geoff Moore - "It's good to be alive." I came as close to dying as I think I ever have and although I am confident of where I am going when I do - the fact that I didn't means that God still has work for me to do here on Earth. What that is...I have no idea. I know a good part of it is to continue in ministry with Josh and spread His word. But, I feel like there is more. What? Not sure. But when I figure it out I'll sure let you know. And, maybe I'll never know. That's OK. I plan to live my days learning and growing as much as I possibly can and living each day as if it were my last. August 5th, 2008 could have been that last day. It wasn't and I am grateful for that. I now have a perspective on life that I have never had. It was a wonderful lesson to learn.

Love to all,

Monday, September 1, 2008


I was laying in bed a few moments ago reflecting on the day when I realized it was September 1st. I mean, I knew it was, but I remembered. My dad died on September 1st, 1983. I was 12 years old. I did some quick math and counted 25 years. That is a crazy long time for him to be gone. I've lived twice as long without him as I did with him, and yet I will still name that loss as one of the most defining events of my life.

I stared at the green light on the baby monitor blinking in the dark and thought about the sermon I heard yesterday in church. Our pastor spoke about Jesus as the healer, how that was so much a part of who He was that He sometimes healed people without being asked and without any demonstration of faith on the part of the needy one. It was a great sermon, but I confess it really would have rattled my cage 15-20 years ago. How does He decide who to heal? I just don't know, and once in a while something rises up in me and wants an answer to that question. When I was 11, I sat in the bottom of my closet for a year asking God to heal my dad, and believing He would. I was so surprised when dad actually died because I always thought God was going to change it, that there would be a happy ending somehow.

I still don't know why He didn't heal my dad, but I'm grateful tonight that about 10 years ago, He began to heal me. Deep in my heart I was bitter and angry, and I mistrusted God's intentions toward me. But then I heard some teaching about Jesus' encounter with the widow in Nain. How she was walking by with her dead son in a funeral procession when Jesus saw her and was so moved by her pain that he raised the son up right then and there. She didn't ask Him to do it. She didn't demonstrate any faith in Jesus. There's really no indication in the passage that she was aware of Him being there at all. Which of course she wasn't... if you've ever buried someone you love, you know how the world stops turning and other people cease to exist. There is only the immeasureable, white-hot pain that is all you are in that moment. Of course she didn't see Him. But she passed Him, and it was as if He couldn't help Himself. He just intervened, powerfully. It's an amazing incident really. And the teacher concluded (not just from this passage) that healing was an integral part of who Jesus was. He'd never known suffering in heaven, let alone death. It was His nature to heal and restore... she concluded that any time He chose to act in a different way--withholding healing--it could only be for some greater glory to come, almost an act of restraint on His part. This was the beginning of healing for me. It was the first time I could see that God was still good and compassionate and loving, even though He allowed this to happen to me. Now I can say honestly that I'm not bitter anymore. I don't doubt God's goodness. I believe.

25 years feels so strange; there is a sadness and a longing for all I never knew about him. But there is joy in what I do know: my dad loved to fish and shoot guns. He liked tomato sandwiches with butter and often asked me to bake a potato for him when he was sick. He liked football and Hogan's Heroes, CCR and Simon & Garfunkle. (I love all of those too, except Hogan's Heroes!) And he was a good rescuer for a daughter dreaming scary dreams in the night. One of those nights he let me sleep in his bed (mom was working), and I fell asleep listening to him tell a story about his grandpa while a black & white movie played in the background.

Tonight I am thankful for the 12 years I had with Dad. And I'm thankful that in Christ, the hardest things we have to walk through in life are not for nothing. He's not just slapping us around... but working something in and through and around us that is so big, and so ultimately good. I'm thankful that those hard things are for maturity and growth and grace and perseverance and faith. And faith and faith and more faith. He can redeem anything--any mess, any family, any anything.

I write this for myself, to mark what to me is a profound day. But I hope it encourages someone reading who is also on a hard path... to keep trusting in spite of the circumstances, and believe God for the good, because he promises to bring it. And He is faithful.

Monday, August 18, 2008


I just dropped Brynn off for her first day of preschool. I was feeling emotional in the car on the way when Jim called my cell. I immediately felt a huge lump in my throat. Isn't it funny how you can be right on the verge of losing it, and all it takes is a nice gesture to send you right over the edge? He called to talk to Brynn and wish her a good first day of school, which was so sweet I cried all the way to the by-pass.

Outside her room, we hung up her back-pack and stood in line waiting for 9am. I thought about how I smashed her finger in the stroller out in the parking lot and forgot my camera. No Awesome Mom awards for me today. I wished she knew even one other child in class but reminded her how good she is now at making new friends. Then I thought about baby-talking and dandelions and started to feel that lump in my throat again. How many clover bouquets have I put in tiny vases? And how many more will there be? Will they just disappear one day like the baby-talking without even saying goodbye? And then the door was open and her teacher was saying, "Good Morning Brynn." She didn't want to go at first and I held her for a minute. "Give me a big, strong one... okay, now you're ready." Somehow I smiled, then off she went, and I saw all our mornings at home together go with her right through that door. And right now all I can think is, I'm so glad she still calls it puh-sketti.

My mother-in-law will sometimes say wistfully, "Where does the time go?" I don't think anyone really knows where it goes, but I might know how. Not fast, like we always say with the benefit of hindsight. I think it actually goes like the turtle in the storybook, very slowly. A little bit every day, down some invisible drain. You don't feel it much, which is what makes it so dangerous. Because you could go for years not noticing, not paying attention, and then realize a whole huge chunk of it fell away when you weren't looking. When you were doing the dishes, cleaning the house, running the never-ending errands, or working on other things. Or maybe it slipped away while you were actually taking care of the child... because we can really lose a lot in the routine and the hard of it.

But here is the thing that makes the first day of preschool easier on this Mama: I know I'm not missing it. I'm just not. I'm so thankful for the words of older, wiser moms in my life... who let me know very early on that the biggest mistake I could make in this adventure would be to wish it away. To wish they would just be walking or talking already, or be potty-trained or good cleaner-uppers. But once a milestone like that comes along, you can never go back to the way it was before. I think if we could just grab onto this truth as moms it would make the hard days so much easier to navigate. Though I fail a lot, I have determined not to let these times slink away unnoticed. The first time Brynn pronounced "excited" correctly instead of saying "upcited" made me so sad, because I knew she would never say it the baby way again. So I pasted upsided tenderly into my mental scrapbook and started looking around for the next precious thing. Because no matter what the mothers of teenagers say, I know there are more to come. Maybe those moments just become better hiders as the babies grow up.

And so on Brynn's first day of preschool I renew my promise to engage these hard milestones, to feel them (even the hurt of them) and find the joy in the growing and the growing up. All the while pondering these things in my heart. So if you see me this week in the hall outside Mrs. Ballard's room wiping my eyes... don't worry. That's just me, not missing it.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Restaurant Stuff

Brynn: (very serious) Mommy. I have some delicious food I made just for you.
Me: Really? That's great, where is it?
Brynn: (holding up her pointer) One minute.
She leaves, and comes back with a tiny basket of food.
Brynn: This is a orange-grape sandwich. It's in a basket because I couldn't carry everything.
Me: Awesome.
Brynn: (producing another item) And here is some yummy, yummy corn.
Me: Thanks. That looks great.
Brynn: (handing me food in a pitcher) And this is a grape-pizza sandwich. It's so good.
Me: Wow, thanks.
Brynn: (clasping her hands) What would you like to drink?
Me: Um, diet Coke. With lots of ice--don't forget the ice.
(She returns with the cup of diet Coke.)
Brynn: Anything else?
Me: I don't think so, but thank you very much.
Brynn: (turning to leave) C'mon, Katy. (It is now that I see Katy is tagging along behind, holding a purple plate in one hand and a skillet with the lid on in the other.)
Me: Are you teaching Katy how to make food?
Brynn: Yeah. Me and Katy are servers. We're serving food. We have to go now Mommy. Eat your food, okay?
Guess they had other customers.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Poor, sad little blog. The insane busyness is coming to an end, and I will give you some attention soon.

Please stay tuned, readers.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Rant #1

So yesterday we got a flyer in the mail inviting us to a church--a Baptist church. (We are Baptist.) I read the front of the flyer and thought to myself, Impressive. I always like to see a church willing to spend money in order to draw in new people, particularly those who are lost or unchurched. My enthusiasm, however, would be short lived. I flipped the mailing over and saw a couple of phrases jumping and waving to me from the top of the back page:

King James Bible

Old-Fashioned Baptists

Okay, really? On a mailing that went to every house in my neighborhood and probably most of the county? Let's be honest, Church Who Sent the Flyer. You don't really want me to come to your services. In fact, you told me so quite explicitly. Because while I do own a KJV Bible, I primarily use the NASB or the NIV, and you've indicated that is a dealbreaker. Why? Why do you care what translation I use to study God's word? And what does "old-fashioned Baptist" even mean? That you are Calvinists? (Not likely.) That you don't dance? That there is an age restriction? I noticed you have a youth minister on staff and must confess I find it ironic--good, but ironic. Do you require the KJV in high school Bible studies? Are your teenagers "old-fashioned Baptists?"

I've got hang-ups too. I have opinions and feelings about what I like and don't like in church and worship--everyone does. But I hope to always find myself in a church where those feelings are being challenged, where I don't like every single song every single week and I really do have to deal with the diversity that is the body of Christ. Most days I have a pretty positive outlook on the Church. But some days I think we are nothing but a fractured bride waiting at the altar for her Groom, with a sad explanation about why our hands are at the other church where they read from the King James and our legs went to the late service because the music is more contemporary. Yesterday was one of those days for me.

Please join me in praying that we--myself included--can get over our personal preferences, especially when clinging to them is costing us precious fellowship with a large number of God's people.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Food for Thought

"The question is not whether we are good at theology, or "balanced" (horrible, self-conscious word!) in our approach to problems of Christian living. The question is, can we say, simply, honestly, not because we feel that as evangelicals we ought to, but because it is a plain matter of fact, that we have known God, and that because we have known God the unpleasantness we have had, or the pleasantness we have not had, through being Christians does not matter to us? If we really knew God, this is what we would be saying, and if we are not saying it, that is a sign that we need to face ourselves more sharply with the difference between knowing God and merely knowing about him." -- J.I. Packer, Knowing God

Thursday, July 3, 2008


After six weeks on craigslist and two yard sales, I finally sold our double stroller. I think I can hear the sound of our attic junk items settling into a bit more wiggle room. Hallelujah! It's finally outta here!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Highlights ~ July 2

As we were driving away from the church tonight we saw a woman walking alone.

Brynn: Mommy, why is she walking all by herself?
Me: I think she's probably walking for exercise, Honey.
Brynn: Do you think she went to church and someone forgot to pick her up?

I love that Katy is starting to figure out so many new things. We have a large bin in our living room filled with all our kitchen toys... mixer, toaster, coffee pot, pitchers, tea set, plates, cups, and every kind of food you can name. The girls play with this more than anything else. Brynn is the master and can really put together some impressive looking dishes. (If you ever come over, be sure to order the apple tea or the grape soup. You will not be disappointed.) But now Katy is following in her footsteps. This morning she found me in the back of the house and handed me a green pan with a hunk of broccoli in it. When I took it from her, she clapped her little hands with excitement. I think she knew she accomplished something. It was kind of a big moment for me too... still a sweet childlike action, but quite a step up from just wandering around the house with a plastic banana hanging out of her mouth. It happens very fast, doesn't it?

Monday, June 30, 2008

Brynn's prayer

Driving through Louisville yesterday, we passed an accident scene. It was over, mostly cleaned up, but cars were lined up in the shoulder and folks were still standing around with the police. Brynn asked what was going on and we told her there had probably been an accident.

A few miles down the road...

Brynn: We should pray for those people.
Me: What people?
Brynn: The people on the side of the road.
Me: Oh. Yeah, that's a good idea. Right now?
Brynn: Yes. I'll pray. (folding hands, looking at her lap) "God. Thank you for those people, the ones we saw on the side of the road. We think they had an accident, or maybe they were driving too fast or did something wrong when they were driving... like driving too fast or throwing something out of the window, like a sucker stick or Diet Coke or a tissue. Amen."

Saturday, June 21, 2008


I kept a friend's 11-month old little boy yesterday. It was around 4pm, and Jacob was on my lap clapping and bouncing as I did the Itsy Bitsy Spider. Enter Brynn, wearing her apron and looking serious.

Brynn: Mommy, its not play time right now. It's breakfast time.
Me: Oh. Good, I'm hungry.
Brynn: (arranging plastic food on plates) What would you like for breakfast?
Me: Eggs please.
Brynn: No. How about strawberries and toast?
Me: Okay, that sounds good too.
Brynn: What would you like to drink?
Me: Diet Coke.
Brynn: I'm very sorry, Mommy, but we don't have Diet Coke.
Me: Well, what kind of restaurant is this?
Brynn: (after a moment of consideration) Chinese.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Family Vacation

We left early Monday morning and set out for an adventure in Indianapolis. Every time I tell someone where we went on vacation, I get the wrinkly nose and the cocked head and the skeptical "Really?" Yes, really! Indy is a great place to go for a couple of days with kiddos! The children's museum there is one of the largest (if not the largest) in the country, and it kept our girls entertained for over five hours. We dug at a construction site, sent billiards into a crazy maze of gears and pulleys, served ice cream in a real (use your imagination!) ice cream shop, rode the carousel, dug for fossils, toured an awesome dinosaur exhibit, and learned about all kinds of things. Jim and I really enjoyed it as well... Jim was fascinated by the train exhibit, and I loved the amazing sculpture of blown glass that started in the basement and went up to the fourth floor.

We had a bit of an adventure finding our hotel, but that was only because Indianapolis is very much like another city I know, in that the streets change their names at nearly every intersection. Always fun. We eventually found it, and didn't even have an argument in the process. (Remind me to write about The Times Square Fight sometime.)

We had dinner at the Old Spaghetti factory--my choice. This is one of my favorite places to go in big cities (I love the spinach-cheese ravioli), but I'm starting to wonder if it is mainly the quirkiness of the decor and the promise of spumoni that makes me think this is such a great restaurant. Our server was not so nice, and flat lied to me when I asked if the salad was romaine. He said yes, it was. The lettuce in my salad was white, people. White is the definition of iceberg lettuce, not romaine. I do not like iceberg. It is, as my friend Liz calls it, "the polyester of lettuce." Also, there is not one other item in this salad. Just a heap of white lettuce on a plate and dressing on the side. Not my fave. But the entree was delish and the lamps were cool, so it I guess it was good. I'm just wondering if maybe I've built the whole Spaghetti Factory experience up because of how cool it was to sit in the bed seats or on the trolley car when I was a kid. Must give this further study.

Tuesday we went to the zoo. Brynn's top three at the zoo (in order) were 1. getting popcorn, 2. seeing the elephants by the waterfall, and 3. the Enchanted Mill water play area. I liked the lions, the giraffes, and a ham of a polar bear who did everything but stand on two legs and beat his chest in his efforts to entertain a very appreciative audience. Jim liked the meerkats and the butterfly habitat. Katykins has not shared her favorites with us, but I would guess the elephants or the polar bear based on her squeals of delight and clapping hands.

Back at the hotel in the late afternoon, we went swimming. This was a monumental event for our family, as Jim is not a fan of getting in a pool for fun. In fact, I don't think he has been in a pool since we were engaged 15 years ago--wow. But after seeing how much Brynn loved it last summer, he decided he would try to get into it. So we bought him swim shorts and pool shoes and prepared for a fun family swim. It was a beautiful outdoor pool (which I prefer to the indoor variety), and not another soul was in sight so we had it all to ourselves. Brynn was super nervous when we first got in, but was kicking across the whole length of the pool with her floaties and a kickboard by the time we forcibly removed her from the water to go inside. We had a blast, and I feel safe saying we have converted Daddy to the joys of swimming. Yes!

We went out for dinner again that night and finished by splitting an extremely decadent dessert four ways. Yum! Wednesday morning we wandered around Circle Center Mall downtown for awhile. We shopped a bit and had a snack in the arts atrium which sits above a major downtown intersection. Then we piled into the car again and headed home. I admit I was bummed when it was over, and even more bummed to see Jim head back to work yesterday. It's good though. It couldn't have been that great a time if you're not disappointed to see it come to an end, right?

I hope you all (okay, the three of you reading this) have as much fun on your summer adventures!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Tidbits 6/12/08

My mom and stepdad (and their little dog too) came for a visit earlier this week. Though it was only a 24-hour thing, it was lots of fun to see them. It's been quite a while since Ronnie was able to come with mom, as their little canine can be a bit high-maintenance and he usually stays home to care for her. We weren't sure how Dawson (our lab wannabe) and Chrissy (miss high-maintenance) would deal with each other if they had to share space. And our space is not that big. But it went realy well, and no dogs were freaking out overnight. They joined us for our church picnic (the parents, not the dogs) and we had a great time eating too much food and enjoying a cool breeze under the trees while oodles of children blew bubbles and chased balls down hills. Good times.

I work in Mom's Day Out program at a local church. It's about 12 hours a week and really a good fit for us right now as I am trying to stay home with the girls. Today was our last day for about a week and a half. I was putting out the blankets the children sit on during their rest/movie time, and came across one I thought might be Ryan's but wasn't sure. I didn't spot a name on it at first, so I held it up. "Ryan, is this your blanket?" He smiled sweetly and nodded. "What you do," he explained slowly and carefully, "is look for the name Ryan." Huh.


Since the girls and I are off next week, Jim has taken a couple of days and we are going on a little mini-vacation... to the Indianapolis Zoo and the children's museum. We are very excited and hoping to all be healthy when the time comes. Jim is dealing with a sore throat/cough thing right now, and we are praying it doesn't make its way through the house over the next few days. Our first family vacation! Look for stories in about a week or so.

I stumbled onto a cool blog called Stuff Christians Like. It made me laugh and it made me think and then it made me laugh some more. If you think you might be offended by a harsh/sarcastic look at the silly things Christians get into, do not click the link. And please do not email me if you find something there you don't like. I've only read a few posts so I can't speak for the content on the whole site. But if you DO decide to check it out, you must start with the one about the sidehug. It's funny cause it's true, people!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Katy did not swallow a battery.

I decided to spare you the agony I endured for hours last night by telling you the end of the story first. I'm nice like that. Our tv remote has lost its back, the part that covers the batteries. So two AA batteries are always exposed and occasionally pop out, particularly if a 1 yr old finds the remote and bangs it up and down a few times. Now I am a diligent caregiver to my child, so I try to keep it up where she can't reach it. But that thing sees a lot of action so sometimes it gets left down low. This happened last night (my bad), and Katy found it.

She and I were the only ones home, and it was quiet. At a particular time I saw the remote with both batteries intact. Maybe five minutes later she comes toddling into the kitchen to turn in a battery. I take it and go to put the whole thing up, out of reach. But when I find the remote, it is batteryless. Obviously the other one fell out on the floor. I search. I search some more. It is nowhere to be found. I look at my child. She is calm, grinning, not choking. Not only is she not choking, but she never made so much as a peep during the time when I know this thing came out of the remote. Still, its unsettling. But Katy is a hider. There is a purple pacifier somewhere in this house right now that we have been searching diligently for for about two months. She just walks around and drops items in the most random places. Baskets, shoes, toyboxes, etc. So I try not to panic, and keep looking. About this time, some guests (expected) arrived and I had to shift my search into low gear. When Jim returned, I pulled him aside to fill him in.

Me: She couldn't have swallowed it, right?
Jim: No.
Me: But how do you know?
Jim: She chokes on milk.
Me: You're right. She looks fine.
Jim: Yes.
Me: But where is it?
Jim: It could be anywhere. You know how she is.
Me: Maybe.
(he almosts leaves it)
Jim: But?
Me: But it is a battery. I mean, a penny would be one thing. If she got it down, she'd probably be okay until she, you know...
Jim: Right.
Me: But is a battery.

He goes for the flashlight. He does a very impressive search of the general vicinity. This should make me feel better, but the more it doesn't show up, the more I think she had to have swallowed it. Even though I completely agree that she couldn't have swallowed it without choking, which I would have heard. Our guests weigh in, saying there is no way she could have swallowed it. "Triple-A, maybe," one guest jokes.

Dude. That is so not funny. I do a quick mental check to see whether or not we have any AAA batteries in the kid zones. I think we are good.

We have a fun night with our friends, and eventually they all decide to go play football out in the street. I have to stay inside with the kids (sleeping) anyway, so I resume my search and call Julie. She knows I'm nuts and can generally talk me off a ledge or two. Some anxiety sufferers have drugs. I have Julie. I have a conversation with her that is similar to the one I already had with my husband. She doubts Katy could have swallowed it, but wonders about Dawson (our dog). Now I have something new to freak out about. You should know that I was belly down on the floor for this entire phone conversation... phone propped to my ear while I searched under everything in my kitchen with a flashlight.

Me: You know I prayed that I would find it.
Julie: Good.
Me: I asked Jesus to just please throw me a bone on this one, and let me find it tonight.
Julie: Good.
Me: Because He knows how I am, you know? He knows I'm just going to make myself sick worrying about it, even though I know everyone is right that she couldn't have swallowed it. But every month in Parents magazine, there is a little blurb about some mom who "learned the hard way" about some home accident or choking/burn/laceration danger, and the unthinkable happened... because she was just SURE that could never have happened at all. I have to be diligent! But I prayed and hopefully....
Julie: What?
Me: Oh my gosh!
Julie: What? Did you find it?
Me: (near tears) Its about two inches back under the stove. This is right where she handed me the other one. She must have dropped it.
Julie: Good! Katy didn't swallow a battery!
Me: She didn't! Woohoo!
Julie: Now you can sleep tonight.
Me: Yes. I found it. All is well.

And that is the story of a lost battery and a mom's worry and an answered prayer and a restful night's sleep. The end.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Memorial Day

We had a great day yesterday. Jim had to work for a few hours in the morning but was home around 10:30. We went to McDonalds for breakfast, one of our favorite cheap family things to do together. Then we went out into the middle of nowhere to pick strawberries. I have actually never done this before, but I needed some for a salad I was making and it sounded like a lot more fun than picking them up at Kroger. Brynn had the time of her life. I can't count the number of times she yelled from her spot down in the patch, "Mommy, are you having fun? This is SO much fun!" We need to work a little on quality control, as I ended up throwing out probably half of the strawberries she picked, but it was worth it. I think we are doing it again next Saturday. I will definitely not forget my camera next time.

The only glitch in our day was a potty emergency we became aware of as we were pulling away from the farm. We are nearly 30 minutes from home. We tell her we can stop at Subway in Wilmore for her to go, but then we make a critical error. Since she is no longer saying anything about it, we share a look and decide to head on home, confident she can make it. Five minutes later she is near tears. "I can't keep it in!" Taking charge, Jim says, "Make a right." Well, the right is a little sketchy but I do it anyway. We get about half a mile down a wee country lane and he says "pull over." I pull over. And by pull over, I mean stop in the lane I am in, because there is nothing even resembling a shoulder anywhere. He gets out and gets Brynn out. He mutters something about holding her over the grassy area outside his door. And by grassy area, I mean dense foliage no doubt covered in poison ivy. The spot we picked... let's just say the Amazon is less leafy.

It is important to know that Brynn is easily freaked-out in unusual potty situations. If we are at Fazoli's, and the seat is one inch higher than she is used to, or there is any kind of stain or mark within five feet of the toilet, she will balk and often decide to wait till we get home. So the whole time we are on this adventure, I'm pretty skeptical that anything is actually going to be accomplished.

I turn and peek out Katy's window in hopes of seeing how the scene is playing out, but they are out of sight. I hear a little shriek followed by the sound of shoes on gravel. Then Jim is sighing and buckling her back into the car. "Mommy, I'm going to wait until we get home. I don't want to go pee-pee in the grass. That's yuck." I assure her this is the right decision, that most girls do not enjoy peeing outside. Then Jim had a question.

Jim: "How do girls do it?"
Me: "Do what?"
Jim: "Pee in the woods or wherever?"
Me: "They squat."
Jim: "Oh." (long pause) "Cause I couldn't figure out how that was gonna work."
Me: "Right. Well, it's not easy."
Jim: "It's easy for guys."
Me: "Don't get me started."

You will be relieved to hear that she made it home in time. I did not have to spend the rest of the holiday scrubbing her car seat, and for that I am grateful.

Jim worked outside in the yard for a while and I cleaned up the strawberries and made my salad. How delicious are fresh-picked strawberries? So good! We also squeezed in short but glorious naps. (Grown-ups love naps, don't they?) Then we spent the evening with friends, grilling out and laughing a lot. The rain mostly held off, so the kids could play outside and get some exercise. All in all, it was about as good as a day can get without being on vacation. I hope yours was a good one, too.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Fun news!

I'm going to be a bridesmaid! I didn't know you could do that at 37 but as it turns out, its whatever the bride wants. My friend Raye is getting married at Christmastime, and I could not be more excited/honored to stand with her. Fun times!

Also, additional motivation for me to get skinny by December. Good timing, as I've been slacking in this regard.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Report on a Bad Day

It began normally, with children tugging me from sleep and a groggy/blurry walk to the kitchen to find breakfast for little people. Our only plan for the day was to stop by the doctor's office at 11am (to get drops for an eye infection) and then have lunch with a friend. Standing at the front door holding Katy, the diaper bag, my purse and the keys, I realize Katy is minus her paci. This will not do, so I drop everything and we begin an intense paci-hunt complete with a song Brynn and I made up recently entitled "Going on a Paci-Hunt." If you'd like to try it at home, you can sing it to the tune of "Going on a Bear Hunt," only you stomp. A couple of verses in, we locate the paci, and I gather my bundle once again and scoot Brynn out the door in front of me. As soon as I heard the door click closed, I knew what I had done. The keys did not make it back into my hands. Unwilling to accept the truth, I put everything down except Katy and smash my face into the front window, searching the living room. Yes. There they are. Sitting on the bookcase mocking me.

This is how our day took a turn at 10:15am. I start dialing Jim on his phone, but can't reach him. I leave a message on his boss' machine, knowing it will do no good as this phone is rarely answered or the machine checked. But I do it because I need to do something. In fact, I will do it again a few more times over the next several hours. I call my friend Julie to complain, and to see if anyone is home at her house since she only lives about half a mile away. She listens sympathetically to my complaints, but no one is at her house. So we wait. And I keep trying to reach Jim. He is a greensman at a golf course, so he is difficult to reach. You can't hear a phone or even feel one vibrate when you are operating machinery or riding a tractor, which is why he never called back. Oh, and because his phone was accidentally on silent instead of vibrate. (So glad I didnt know this at the time.)

We wait on the porch for three hours. That's not a typo, folks. THREE hours. Because I kept thinking he was going to call in the next few minutes. Also, I didn't have many options. All the friends I could think of who were available to come help did not have car seats. And those who were available who did have car seats would also have children in tow to occupy those carseats. And mine of course, were locked in the car.

Did I mention it was raining? It was raining. Just a light drizzle, and not the whole time, but still. If you have a 3-yr old and a 1-yr old you might be able to imagine what those three hours were like for me, on a porch, trying to keep them entertained. My little Katy tried to eat inappropriate items (grass, rocks, dirt) every time I set her down, so I held her and pretty much wrestled her like an alligator for much of this time. Brynn fared much better, playing in the yard when it wasn't raining and raiding the diaper bag for activities she could do on the porch.

At 1:15, I lose all hope of rescue and decide I must think like a single mom. A single mom would call a locksmith, no question, because she would have no choice. The thing is, we can't afford to spend $50-75 when we are not in danger and Jim will be home at 4:30. So I can't do that. But my kids are hungry and I know Brynn is going to start mentioning the potty any minute. My only plan: we walk to Fazoli's. It's a little less than a mile away, which is not bad except that it is still raining a little. I can't imagine what a sight I was... carrying Katy (20lbs) on one hip with my purse and diaper bag piled up on the other side. I almost gave up when it started raining harder and even turned us back toward the house, but Brynn said, "Mommy, we can do it. It's not raining that hard and we have our hoods up." And she was right. Though she may have changed her mind when we were almost there and she wimpered, "Mommy, my legs are getting so tired." She was a trooper.

At Fazoli's, we found a restroom and changing table and FOOD! I don't know when I have enjoyed ravioli and breadsticks so much, to be honest. We were ready for a rest in a place that wasn't cold or wet. My plan was to just stay there for a couple of hours until Jim got off work, but then I decided to call Julie back to see if anyone was getting to her house before Jim got off work. And the good news was, someone was on their way home at that moment. So we walked over there, and the girls were able to nap until Jim picked us up at 4:30. He was a little worried when he got home and couldn't find us even though the car was in the driveway. Felt really bad about the phone thing too... turns out he had 29 missed calls. Look at me, I'm a stalker.

It was one of the worst days I have had that didn't involve serious illness or death. I pretty much tried not to break down all day long, but at the end of it I could see a lot of blessings... answers to the prayers I was muttering all day long. 1. Brynn's positive attitude. She could really have made it a lot harder on the Mama, but she did great. 2. It could have been pouring. In fact, it did start pounding rain after we got to Julie's house. I do not know what we would have done if that had happned earlier. 3. My sweet husband felt so bad about the whole thing that he took us out for mexican that night. And in case you didn't know, mexican food makes everything better. 4. Someone arriving home at our friends' house. The only thing harder than entertaining two preschoolers at a fast food place for hours is doing so on a porch in the rain. Thankfully I didn't have to do the former.

Oh, I almost forgot. The moral of the story is: Keep a spare key in your diaper bag, Mom.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


We were driving through the country on the way to pick up Jim from work...

Brynn: Mommy. Can I be a farmer?
Me: Sure, baby. You can be whatever you want.
(pause: 3-yr old thinking)
Brynn: Can I be a bird?
Me: Well... you can pretend to be a bird. But you can't really change into one.
Brynn: I don't want to pretend.
Me: Well. God made you to be a little girl, exactly the way you are, just how He wanted you to be. So you can't change into a bird. But don't you think its fun to pretend?
(pause: 3-yr old thinking)
Brynn: No. I want to be a real bird. And fly.