heart in the clouds

Friday, December 19, 2008

Don't Hurt Me, Doctor!

Monday about 3:30, the babysitter calls to say Zachary has a low-grade fever and is complaining that his right ear hurts. We don't take any chances since the febrile seizure (read...we are OCD about fever prevention) so we took him to the twilight clinic that evening.

One of the intern doctors was seeing patients...don't know his last name, but his first was Craig. He was really nice and very good with Zachary. He explained that he had to look in his ear and Zach was all up for that, just kept telling him that his ear hurt.

As soon as Dr. Craig started to take a look, Zach panicked a bit...he started saying "Don't hurt me, doctor." Each time he said it, he got a little louder. Dr. Craig's first mistake was saying he would not hurt the boy. (Word of advice: don't tell a kid something will not hurt, when you just aren't that sure!) He kept having to get a bit of wax out and each time, Zachary flinched a bit more. The final time, Dr. Craig must've really went for it, because Zach started trembling and clenching his fists and yelling "YOU HURT ME! YOU HURT MEEEEEEEEE" followed by sobs and bucketloads of tears. I just held his head against my chest and wanted to cry with him.

The doctor felt really bad, but he wasn't finished. He told Zach that he'd still have to look in there. Zach was pretty adamant that he didn't do that, but finally relented. Bingo, ear infection number one of the winter. And now...mommy has the illness that caused the baby's ear infection...oh joy!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

"I don't love you; I'm mad at you; Don't touch me!"

Yes, those words all spewed out of my child's mouth a few days ago...all of them at once, followed by him laying prone on the bed waiting for my reaction. Now, what horrible act on my part caused this? I'm still not really sure, however; it must've been me telling him to be quiet and lay down as it was time for sleep.

I have to admit the first time I heard him tell me he didn't love me, I cried. It had been a long day and I needed the unconditional love of my child. So that reaction has been my demise. Now, anytime I ask him to do something he doesn't want to do, he pouts for a few minutes then says "I don't love you." He's said it a lot the past few days. I don't want it to hurt my feelings, but it stings every time he says it. Although, my reaction now is far from crying. I've resolved to either tell him that's rude, ugly, etc. or to not react at all and just say okay, so you say.

I hope this habit ends quickly as I am getting more and more perturbed by it each day.

It has made me stop and think about my reaction to my heavenly Father when he asks something of me. I do tend to grumble and gripe and occasionally I don't feel love for him. I know that won't be a popular thing to say, but sometimes human emotions can be raw. How many times has he beckoned me to read my Bible a little longer, pray a little longer, treat someone nicer, give more sacrificially, love more unconditionally, be less judgemental and on and on? My reaction is probably more often than not one that nonverbally tells him I don't love him. He must be frustrated with me. Man these kids teach us so many lessons!!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Crowns, wannabe princes and an ode to cokes

So my dentist made the very unpopular decision that my back molar needed a crown after the umpteenth crack and/or chip. (I blame this all on the other dentist, whom I will not name, who didn't treat this tooth right years ago). Anyway, I knew it was going to be rough because they can never get me numb. They will give me all the novocaine the law will allow and my entire face will be impalpable, but my jaw will still feel the drill! Needless to say, I am the ideal candidate for sedation dentistry, which by all means is a very nice way to nap through a procedure and then the rest of the day! So the actual procedure was painless and I had a great peaceful nap, but then the tooth started hurting like crazy. Every couple of days I called the dentist and they said it had been a very deep filling and thus, would be sore for several days. By the end of week two of my jawache, I'd really had enough so they brought me in and sure enough, the sucker had come loose and my bite was off. It wasn't too bad, I went sans drugs for that adjustment, but it still hurt like he double hockey sticks for a bit. That was Thursday, this is Tuesday and it's FINALLY subsiding to a tolerable level. Then they call this morning and say my perm crown won't be in until a week later than originally planned due to the lab's vacation time. So I get the perm crown on January 13; I tried to postpone it till January 20 so I can be numbed from the pain of two events...the crown and Obama's innauguration, but no luck!

Anyway, lately Zachary has turned into a gripier version on himself. For those of you who don't cohabitate with him, I know this is very hard to believe since he's so stinkin happy everywhere else. But trust me when I say, I'm SO ready for the wannabe prince and terrible twos phase to end! I don't want to fast forward his age, just his behaviour! God blessed me with a very independent-loving, determined, persistent and overly stubborn bundle of joy. Those traits can be very good, but even he doesn't know what to truly do with them yet.

This morning he wanted a bar (his plea for anything that is rectangle and comes in a wrapper...granola bar, fruit bar, etc.) I let him pick it out and try to open it. He couldn't get it all the way open, so allowed me to intervene. Only , when it opened he stomped off and said "No, Not THAT one!!!" I was dumbfounded since it was all his idea and he picked it out. So I took a bite to show him it was fine....wrong action. He freaked on me and ran into the corner of kitchen cabinets and began crying and yelling no, that he wanted a banana or candy or whatever he could think of to scream. I just watched and tried to plan my distracting technique. I thought "hmm, he LOVES the camera...hmmmm." So I went to get it and then started taking pictures of his tantrum as he laid prone on the floor. Well, that didn't go over too well and he just looked up at me red-faced and bawling and started screaming at me not to take his picture.

I just left him to his fit and went about getting ready. He pretty much carried on this way until we got to the baby sitter's and his yogurt magically ended the tantrum. I didn't try to brush his hair though; I didn't want to press my luck. I left my camera card at home or I would post a pic of the tantrum on here...so he could look at it later when he raids my computer haha. Oh well, I can always add it later! God love him, he's just so TWO!

So I'm swearing off cokes this week...yes any carbonated beverage is a sworn enemy this week. I don't need them, as evidenced by my nearly 6 pound weight loss yesterday on water alone...WOW is that even possible? Here is my ode to the carmely-colored, fizzy beverage.

Oh the joy I have felt
When at first your fumes I smelt.

The sound you make when I open the can
is more satisfying than any well-conceived plan.

Your glorious taste on my tongue
reminds me of when I was so young.

The sadness I feel when I drink the last drop
is worse than when I got stopped by that cop.

We will meet again, you and me
but on a less-frequent basis, you will see.

For I am not fond of feeling puffed up
so with you no more will I sup.

You've taken up residence too long and I'm kicking you OUT!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

My Bizarre Bengals

This is the first installment of my bizarre bengals...heck they probably need a blog to themselves. This one is dedicated to Aggie, the smaller of the sisters. I catch her nearly every morning staring at herself in my bedroom mirror....even in the dark. I think in this photo she was trying to hide her obsession by looking a tad snobby! (or the flash bothered her, I dunno!)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Never-Ending Duck Loop

Someone on facebook triggered a memory from the weekend through their status post and I thought I should probably blog it since it's cute and I'll want to remember it.

Zachary has been learning to play Duck Duck Goose. You know the childhood game where kids sit in a circle and someone is "it" and they walk round and round the circle tapping the kids on the head saying "duck, duck, ....Goose." Then the "Goose" has to get up and chase the "it" kid around the circle. If the "it" kids makes it back to the empty spot in the circle without being tagged, the "goose" kid becomes the "it" kid and the game repeats.

Well, if anyone knows Zach, they know of his notorious reputation for hating sleep. I've never seen him willing fall asleep anywhere. He usually fights it with all his being. If you see him start to drift off, he starts to move his body in some way to wake himself back up...or he asks to go potty, drink water, sing a song...all the age-old toddler, sleep avoidance tactics...EVERY time.

Lately, he's been using the DDG game as a sleep aversion tactic. He'll be laying semi-still and quiet and all the sudden, under his breath, nearly inaudible he begins saying "duck...duck...duck...duck...duck........duck.....duck...............duck." Finally I say "GOOSE! Now hush and go to sleep." He'll say..."not yet, mommy...duck....duck...." At that point, I just have to kiss his little head and leave the room, which rarely ends the sleep aversion. The only thing that ends it is complete exhaustion. I'm surprised the kid sleeps at all.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

He's gonna be a rocker, I just know it

Zach is so interested in music and it seems his favorite thing to listen to is anything with a lot of intensity in drums/guitar/bass. So yeah, he may be heading for a future of guitar attachment and riding buses from town to town haha.

Seriously though, there are very few "kiddie" songs he likes. He's very content to, and even asks to, listen to the radio or my CD collection. He's especially fond of some groups I followed around and hung out with in college (Cross Canadian Ragweed, Mike McClure Band, Stoney Larue, etc.) This would make my friends in these bands happy I'm sure...a two-year-old fan club member. It just cracks me up. I am thoroughly grateful that we don't have to spend long hours listening to Veggie Tales and Barney - it's definitely a perk.

Yesterday morning we had to sit in the car in the driveway of the babysitter's driveway so he could finish listening to a CCR song. He was jamming in the car seat, bobbing his head, kicking his feet to the rhythm and moving his fingers for some reason...either the air guitar or the air piano...whatever. It was entertaining and he was enjoying it so much. He also yells for me to turn it up loud...to the point that I cannot hear him talking. I try to oblige him as much as I can, but I think if we got it loud enough for him, it would damage his ears for sure. I'll try to go find the song he was listening to....

I'm a techno idiot today apparently...I can't figure out how to post a song on blogger grrrr. It's Wanna Rock & Roll - CCR.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Nursery Files

I wonder if the nurseries of other churches are as challenging as ours? In a big church, there are a lot of children, which requires a large number of volunteers. Ideally, everyone who has children volunteers in the ministry in some way. If that happened, you probably wouldn't see frustrated, burned out children's workers. Most ministries have fewer volunteers than participants and children's ministry is certainly no exception. I think it's really great to see people volunteering who don't have young children, it's quite remarkable if you think about it.

Being able to leave your child in a fun, safe place with interactive volunteers whom you trust is a luxury for certain. I "teach" the creepers Sunday school class at my church and I love "my" babies. We have a great time blowing bubbles, finding suitable art projects and singing songs and I'm blessed with responsible ladies who rotate in each week to help out...Darlene, Terri, Michelle, Kathy and Abby and Rachel...you girls are awesome and I'm never worried that you won't show up without calling or trying to swap dates if you have conflicts.

However, we've had a problem lately with the reliability of the workers who relieve us in time for us to go to choir/church service. Sometimes they just don't show up..or only one of the two does. They don't call to let anyone know or try to find a replacement. Not all of them do this, but take yesterday for example...NO ONE came. Thankfully I was not scheduled to sing on praise team and Michelle and I were able to stay. Three times in the last month, one of us has had to stay for church because of a no-show. Usually I didn't find out about it until afterwards because when one of the workers comes, I leave to go sing.

I guess I'm just venting a little because I certainly don't mind taking care of the kiddos. I love them like my own when they are in my care. But, I have other obligations too that require me to rely on the responsibility of others to remember when they are serving. I didn't think that was asking too much, but apparently it is.

Pretty much everyone who reads my blog (that I know of) takes their responsibilities very seriously. The ones who need to hear what I'm saying will never read this hahahaha, isn't it ironic?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

What's on my belly?

I had a lot of fun today and got 40 pages done in Zachary's digital babybook. I'm using Blurb.com software and it's awesome! I spent the day at an all-day crop with our church's Stepping Stones scrapbooking group. They cut and glue and maneuver photos on paper; I do it all on my computer. It's still fun to sit together and talk about our lives and look at each other's photos...even though I'm doing things different than they are doing it.

After David took Zachary to gymnastics and gymboree without me this morning, they stopped by the church to bring lunch and eat with me. Zach was looking at my laptop screen and saw a picture of himself. It was taken just after he was born and he was in his birthday suit with an oxygen sensor taped to his belly by a gold hear sticker and the plastic doo hickey they put on the umbilical cord area. There were also bracelets on his ankles and a wrist. We asked him who was in the picture and he said it was Zachary. Then he said.. "I a baby on your puter?" But then he just stared and stared at the screen and started to ask what was on his belly. I explained about the heart sticker and the doo hickey. He was still concerned and kept looking under his shirt at his belly button and asking me what was wrong with it on the puter.

It was really cute, but even after we dropped the subject, he kept walking over to the computer to stare at that photo; he just seemed so confused.

When I came home, I showed him all the pages I'd finished and we came to one where I was feedin him from one of those tiny bottles they give you at at the hospital. He was wrapped in a blanket with a little knitted hat on his head. Zachary was staring at this photo asking me what was on his head...I told him about the hat and he said:

"NO, what is coming out of my head?" He was talking about the bottle haha. It was too cute!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Blog Neglect

I've neglected my blog for more than a week and it's just unacceptable to me. So many things have happened where I've thought, "I really need to blog about that." Then, I totally forget, run out of time, etc. It's awful, because I get frustrated with other people for not paying their blog the attention it needs and here I am doing the same thing!!

It's probably that I've just been so daggone busy the past 10 days, but I'm not going to make excuses. I did get around to taking Zachary's fall pictures last weekend which was a huge accomplishment. It seems that every time I planned to do it over the past month, he always ended up with some kind of head wound that prevented me from doing it. There was the mosquito bite that swelled up his entire right eye for several days and then he got bounced out of the inflatable slide by the big kids at Trunk R' Treat. I guess with little boys the list goes on and on and it will for eternity :) But FINALLY, his bodily harm and injury schedule cooperated with Mother Nature and we had 15 minutes of perfect sun on Saturday afternoon. Here's a few of those shots.

Well, that's all for now, until I find something more philosophical to say!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Trying to stay positive about the next presidential administration

I used to be intensely political and I guess I still am at times, however; I get more and more frustrated by the process as time goes by and the world becomes more liberal. I'm not a right-wing extremist and I've actually agreed with a few liberal points of view here and there. But usually I end up on the moderate to conservative side of things. I am sure there are some who would say I am VERY conservative on a few issues and well, that's fine with me. It's who I am; it's what I believe and I'm not apologizing for it. It's my right thanks to the sacrifices of so many people's lives over the years the United States has been a country.

I don't see how people can be so naive as to think that one person can actually fix all our woes in this country. Some politicians seem to have a cult-like following and there's just so much misinformation out there, I don't' see how people can follow that blindly.

I never vote for someone I have not read about, no matter what party they are affiliated with. I do take recommendations from trusted friends, but ultimately I am the one responsible for my decisions and I try to be as informed as possible. I will admit that occasionally I've gone to vote and been unaware of a few questions or judgeships at stake and I've picked randomly and I am not proud of it. I think you can only be so prepared. I really have a hard time leaving something blank, but I've committed to do that if I don't know anything about that particular question, position, etc.

I also don't apologize for basing many of my voting decisions on whether or not the candidate is pro-life. I know sometimes that's an unpopular way of sorting candidates, but I don't care. It's important to me and that's my right to do it. What I can't stand is how some people think their opinion is someone more important than mine. Did our soldiers fight harder for one opinion or another? NO, unless you consider that opinion to be democracy and free speech which covers all other opinions on either side of ANY issue. We ALL have a right to that and should not be demonized, criticized or ostracized for voicing it!!

Even though I'm not overly excited about either candidate, I will go to the polls tomorrow and vote for Sen. John McCain. I do not agree with everything he says, but the other option makes me cringe at the thought of this country heading toward a more socialistic form of government...dare I say communistic in some ways based on my understanding of Obama's ideas.

I think we need to take a good hard look at our constitution and decide to actually live by it. I don't believe we need bigger government; we need bigger people who take responsibility for their place in this world and for their families and who rely less on what the government can "do for them."

Hmmm maybe I'll write in Ron Paul; nah, that'd just be like voting covertly for Obama.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

What's in the music?

I should preface this blog with an apology to myself for being blogabsent for the past 10 days or so. I was involved with the Judgement House production at our church and a couple days, I spent 15 hours at the church! It was worth it though and it's been another amazing experience. God really showed himself to me and to so many others through all the volunteers. Everyone was so flexible and adaptive. I enjoyed it so much.

Now to catch up a bit. Sometime last week Zach began asking me a question I just couldn't figure out. Everytime we got in the car, he's start saying "What's that mommy? I would try to figure out what he was talking about, because he wasn't pointing at anything. I would say you mean that building, or that car or whatever I thought he might be wondering about. He kept saying no and then pointed up. I thought he might be talking about the music so I asked him "You mean the music?" He said no, what's that? UGH, I thought OH he wants to know what song it is, so I told him. He just got more frustrated and finally said "What's in it, mommy?"

I was stumped for a minute until he said "drum?" Holy cow, he's asking me what instruments are playing in the song. So we listened and I rattled off a few and he was completely satisfied. This continued with a few more songs and I mentioned I thought I heard the piano in one song. He said "no, I don't hear the pano in this song." I listened closely and he was right, it wasn't the piano. This has been going on now for almost two weeks almost every time we take a ride somewhere. I'm proud of him for being so curious and observant. He's really amazed me. It shouldn't really surprise me though. Since before he was born, he was going to choir and worship team practice with me, hearing all kinds of instruments and having several of his own. I don't think he's ready for anything he can destroy just yet; although I doubt he would.

He's never even tried to bang on a piano. Even when he was really little, he'd climb up on the piano bench at church and just play one note at a time, looking at us after each one to see if it was okay. He still does that. Sometimes he plays the lower notes a little louder, but he never bangs the keys. Maybe he'll actually play an instrument someday. I know he loves music just like his mommy :)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Escaped certain death in the bathroom!

Once my heart pounding subsided, I realized the humor of the situation I got into last night. I also realized the blessing. After MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) at church last night, I made a little side trip to the bathroom by the gym. When I was leaving the stall, I unlatched the door and began to open it. It immediately fell off its hinges and barely missed my toe, but then the walls came crumbling down...literally. There are marble walls that divide the stalls in that bathroom and marble panels that hold the doors as well. When the door fell, the marble panel attaching the door to the stall divider went crashing forward. It fell perfectly between the sinks and broke into several pieces. I ran out the bathroom door and The other steering team members who were still there came to see what had happened. They heard the crash from the gym.

I realized I hadn't washed my hands in all that excitement, so I went back in the bathroom to do that and survey the full extent of the damage. Somehow the stall door had wedged itself under the marble stall divider, fortunately for me that stopped the wall from falling on me! I washed my hands and got out of there before the whole room collapsed!

We found one of the custodians still at the church and told him he needed to go in the women's bathroom but didn't really tell him why. All the sudden we heard him laughing hysterically. It was pretty funny, but I couldn't see the humor until my heart rhythm normalized! It may sound silly, but even in that I can see God's protection and I'm so thankful for it.

I quickly told the other girls that this only happened because Judgement House is next week and that's the bathroom they use since the other bathroom is across the hall from one of the main scenes. It makes me excited in a way because Judgement House is obviously going to be very good if Satan is using the lamest of all tricks to mess it up!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Calling all bats to Lamont Drive

Yes,it's true. I'm sending out a warm invitation to all bats in the Lexington area to swarm Lamont Drive tonight. There's a serious problem over there and we need your assistance. Don't worry, your payout will be large as there are millions of mosquitoes for your dining pleasure! Sometimes you just have to declare all-out war on the venomous little punks and call in the big guns...BATS! Bats are likely the most effective natural mosquito control out there.

You see, the mosquitoes on Lamont Drive have been dive bombing my son long enough. They will no longer prevail. The last straw was the evil, blood sucker who decided to bite Zachary at the outside corner of his right eye. This caused the eye to swell shut for about 24 hours. Today he can open it about halfway, but it's still pitiful.

The skeeters may think they are going to win this one, what with humidity and rain forecast for today. But just wait, your time is coming and you will not win this one. The first round of shock and awe will be coming in about an hour thanks to Cutter Bug Free Backyard spray and don't worry, if any of you survive the first round of attacks, my son will be wearing some natural bug spray we found last night at Whole Foods; enjoy the smell, we got it just for you! Then tonight, the bats will swoop in and finish off any of you stubborn lingerers. This is your warning - you serve no good purpose in the environment and you must prepare to die!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, October 13, 2008

I wanna go to Christmas!

Me too! We've been talking a lot about our Christmas travels to come this year and Zach just can't understand that we have to wait two months to leave. I know how he feels; I'm excited too and I want to go right now and spend time with the fam. He keeps saying "I wanna go to Christmas!" It's like he thinks Christmas is a place and in a way, he's right.

Christmas is a magical place, almost a fantasyland, when I get to be with my family. Since we live so far away, it's something that I look forward to with all my being. It only happens in even-numbered years. Aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins...all come from across the country to eat, laugh and pray together. It's pure bliss. Yes, sometimes the traveling is rough and it takes a long time to get where we are going and then when we get there, we still have to travel from place to place. We have to pack up stuff, mail presents, eat crappy road food, pray for no snow/ice on the roads and ultimately sleep on all kinds of uncomfortable beds, couches and floors. But somehow none of that really matters and it doesn't bother me to hear the old version of Rockin Around the Christmas tree a thousand times.

So yes, Zachary, mommy wants to go to Christmas too, but we still have to get through Judgement House, Kentucky Baptist Convention and Thanksgiving first....whew!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Grandma's WHAT?

It's becoming ever-clearer that I have to mind my words with much more caution than ever before. With a fledgling English-speaker in the house, word pronunciation and diction are becoming more and more important. Take for instance our little "misunderstanding" on the way home from the babysitter's on Wednesday. I mentioned my mom in conversation to David and from the back seat, Zach begins to yell that he wants to talk to Maw Maw NOW!! He loves, loves, loves to talk on the phone and who am I to deprive him, so I told him I'd call her...the rest of the conversation went like this:

Me (under my breath to David): I wonder if he'd protest if we just called Granma (his mother) instead?
David: not sure what David said because I got an earful from backseater;
Zachary: Granma's DEAD?
Me: WHAT? How did you get that?
Zachary: She not dead?
Me: NOOO, granma's very much alive.
David: no words just laughing profusely inside his mouth, lips tightly closed so it sounded quite evil.
Me: Umm, I said inSTEAD honey, not DEAD!!
Zachary: Her dead, granma not dead?
Me: NO, we'll call her in a second so you can ask her.

David's mom got a big kick out of it and assured him that she was very alive. Whew!

Monday, October 6, 2008

"The Fireman took my Paci!"

We tried to wean Zach off the paci again last night by telling him they were gone and we didn't know where they went. He asked about several locations in an earnest plea for us to find the silly sucker. We stood firm and told him they were gone. He actually went to sleep without it, even though he told me he didn't want to be a big boy; he wanted to be a baby and have his paci. He slept pretty good until about 3 am, when he called out for his daddy. David went to him and of course Zach asked for the paci. David convinced him it was truly gone and then offered to stay and sleep with him. They both went to sleep and without the paci!

I walked into Zach's room this morning after I got dressed. He appeared to still be asleep, but then opened his eyes and started crawling toward me asking about the paci again. I stuck with the plan and told him they were gone. He was deep in thought for a few seconds and then said "The fireman take my pacis? I said umm, the fireman took your paci's? just to make sure I heard him right. He shook his head yes and said that is what happened. I decided to go with it and I said. "Yes, the fireman took your pacis so he can give them to babies who need them." He scrunched up his forehead in deep thought again and then said. "No, I don't want babies to have my pacis." So I told him the fireman would just keep them then and he seemed pacified by that for some reason.

He must've had some colorful dreams about firemen. He's had a good bit of experience with emergency personnel - firemen breaking us into our house on Christmas day last year when we locked ourselves out (they came in the big engine and in full gear, 4 of them), we later took them a cake for their efforts and they let Zach wear a firehat and sit in the truck; and then there was the night he rode in the ambulance after his febrile seizure. We took cupcakes to those guys and they let him play with the sirens and sit in the ambulance driver seat. So, I guess it's not too out there for him to conjure up this story. Is it?

Friday, October 3, 2008

Shout out to Entree Vous in Nicholasville

I know they will never read this, but I had to give a quick shout out to the people at this awesome meal preparation joint. Ever since I got the "go gluten free or die" label, it's been a challenge on the cooking side of life. It's gotten a lot easier, but the convenience has been slower to arrive. Enter Entree Vous; the chefs there are so nice and patient. Whenever I want to get something for my freezer that will make my life easier and healthier, they have taken as much time as I needed to go over ingredients and tweak dishes to make them safe for the gluten free gal. We probably get one or two meals (which makes 3 or 4 for our family) from them each month. They really know their stuff and make sure I only get/use ingredients that are safe for me. They are even making me a crustless cheesecake special this week! I'm so excited :)

Oh and yes, I posted twice today haha lucky for all my many readers; they get a double dose...again, I must remind you that it's national sarcastic awareness month :P

If God made you a singer, you have to sing!

Lately everytime we head for church, Zachary has been asking me if I have to sing. He's talking about worship team because we have to be there early to practice and I usually send him off with this dad to play while I practice. When I tell him yes, he usually says "No, I don't want you to sing." It's a good guilt trip after a few sad, puppy eyes and sniffs. But then he always goes off and has a good time with daddy and he's fine. He just likes to make me feel crummy for a little while, I suppose.

It occurred to me that maybe by not addressing the question with more than a yes, I was missing an opportunity to bestow almighty wisdom on the kid..yeah that's it and it's also sarcastic awareness month.

But seriously, the last few times he's asked me I have said, "yes, I do. If God makes you a singer, you have to sing. If God makes you a preacher, you have to preach. If God makes you a teacher, you have to teach." And, so on. It's so true though, you just have to use the talents God gives you and it's important for kids to learn that as early as possible.

I hope Zachary will be a singer - he can already hold a tune pretty well as he walks around humming Twinkle, Twinkle and Jesus Loves Me. It's sweet, but if God doesn't make him a singer, He will give him another talent that He expects Zach to use for his Glory.

Monday, September 22, 2008

You need a band-aid?

At one of the lowest points of last week I actually allowed myself to cry in front of Zach. I'd been trying to protect him from the stress I was going through, but sometimes that's pretty tough to do. He was so cute though, he was just blankly staring up at me, speechless. Then he said "Mommy, you sad?" I told him yes, I was sad, but I would be okay. He kept staring at me and I could just see the wheels turning in his head before he uttered "You need band-aid, mommy?" That made me cry more, not because I was so sad really, but more because of the empathy I saw pouring out of my child, offering me the only thing he knows helps fix a boo-boo. I told him that yes, I needed a big band-aid. He said he would get me one and then I stopped him and asked if he would be my band-aid. He looked at me in total confusion and just said "umm, no; I can't do it, I not you band-aid." We all giggled a little at that, especially since he didn't realize that is exactly what he was for me that day - my band-aid.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Life is such a roller coaster

I think in the last two weeks, I've experienced just about every emotion possible on the human spectrum. I went from being a little surprised and even scared when I found out I was pregnant on Sept. 8, to complete joy and uncontainable excitement when the digital test confirmed that YES we were pregnant. I think that was the 7th positive I took and I finally believed it. I believed it enough to tell everyone I possibly could and even put up a photo of that test on facebook for the world to see. The next few days were spent over thinking the new baby and exactly how our lives might change in May next year. Those few days were so full of positive energy and congratulations.

I started to have some strange feelings over the weekend; like something was wrong with this pregnancy. I had some cramping that I don't remember having with Zach that early on. I tried to focus my mind elsewhere and not worry about it too much, but then on Monday afternoon, the spotting started. I called the doctor, who ordered a blood test to see where my hcg beta levels were. I took another pregnancy test that night and it was negative. My heart sank. This was such a new experience, I've never miscarried before and I was scared. As the bleeding became heavier and the cramping became worse, all I could do was cry and pray. The beta level came back at 11, not good, but still showing some sign of pregnancy. My doctor said she was 95 percent sure I was having a miscarriage, but she wanted to retest my beta (today) to make sure it was going down. She said she didn't want to give me any false hope, but that strange things have happened and she didn't want to give me a script to speed up the process if the level wasn't going down. So now I sit waiting on the phone call that will tell me what I already know in my heart; my baby is gone. I know some will say "wow you were only five weeks, it's only a bunch of cells." But I believe it was my child and it's such a hard thing to imagine your child dying, whether you've held him/her or not.

I've cried so much and felt comforted by stories that have come in from friends admitting they've gone through the same thing - some of them more than once. I know they feel my pain. It was hard to go to church last night, even though I thought I'd find comfort there. Some people hadn't heard the bad news yet and came happily congratulating me and I could see the uneasiness on their faces as I told them I lost the baby. I don't know what else to say to anyone; I don't want them to feel bad, but I don't want them to believe something that isn't true just so they won't feel bad if that makes any sense.

I'm a writer; it's what I do so I think that putting my thoughts down in written form helps give me clarity when I'm going through trials and that's what this is, a trial. My heart will choose to say Blessed be the name of Lord; you give and take away but my heart will choose to say Blessed be the name of the Lord. I know he has a plan for me amid all this. I remember standing in church last Sunday morning and the invitation song was the Potter's Hand. I've sang this song more times than I can remember and I suppose just glazed over the words that God so obviously pointed out to me that day. I almost lost my breath a little when I sang "I know for sure, all of my days are held in Your hand; crafted into Your perfect plan." I think He was preparing me even then for what He knew was going to happen the next day.

I'm not saying this is easy; it's one of the hardest things I've ever gone through, but I know God is holding me up. I think the thing that is the worst is that it's not just a quick blow; it's an excruciatingly long process and it feels like you just keep losing the baby all day, all night, for days.

Don't worry if you don't know what to say to me, just pray for me and give me a hug if you get an opportunity. We just want to be in God's perfect plan and we will and hopefully that will include one more child at some point.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Potty Training Rewind

Holy, Holy, Holy...last night Zach told me he actually likes to go pee pee in his pants now. We'd come so far and were having minimal accidents and then he just decides to go on strike. Now last time I checked, toddlers didn't have the option to join a potty union so he's going to have to submit to his leaders at some point.

I mean really, we've been at this (at his leading) for more than 8 months now. And yes, I did buy the entire "Potty Training in Day" system. That lady is insane...seriously insane if she thinks my einstein is going to submit to that crap. It would give the parents too much leverage if kids actually potty trained in a day. What a false sense of hope that book shoves in our face?!? I'm sure there are those rare kiddos that actually get it in one day, but come on!!!!!!!

The conversation went something like this when I got to Linda's to pick him up yesterday afternoon.

Me: Zach how did you do on the potty today?
Zach: I pee pee in my pants!
Me: Where does the pee pee go?
Zach: In da potty, mommy!
Me: That's right! So, why are you putting it in your pants?
Zach: ummmm, becuz
Me: Because why?
Zach: ummm, becuz I like go pee pee in in in my pants! I like the pee pee in pants, yeah...I do!
Me: Ewww, that's gross; you like to be wet?
Zach: ummm, yeah, I do!! (followed by jumping and turning in circles).
Me: that's just nasty
Zach: naseee?
Me: yes, nasty! You need to keep your pants dry all day, like you did over the weekend.
Zach: Ummm no, I don't; I like pee pee in....my pants!!!

I realized at this point, I'd lost the battle for the day and there was no point in continuing. Now he won't poop in his pants, he thinks that's gross, so at least we have that. But gracious!

Speaking of potty training rewind - last week we took Zach to the pediatric GI clinic. He had been constipated once and I asked our pedi about running the celiac blood panel on him just to check; not because he'd been constipated, but because of my gluten intolerance and the possibility that Zach inherited that. He referred us to pedi GI and that's where the fun started.

We waited TWO HOURS in the exam room waiting for what I thought would be a GI specialist to come in and discuss bloodwork for Zach. Well all we saw was a nurse practitioner. Granted, NP's do know A LOT and sometimes take more time with you than a doctor, but considering our wait in a speciality clinic, I expected to see a specialty doctor! She came in lecturing me about the seriousness of celiac disease and the strictness of a gluten free diet, which DUH, I know; I've been doing it since March. She asked me if I really wanted Zach to have that label...well yes if he has it, I want to know. Anyway, the constipation came up and she wrote down "stool witholding" on his chart. I said he hadn't been doing that; he'd actually only gone one day without going. The rest of the time, he asked to go and he did it in the potty.

She told me that "despite what other people think, it's still potty training if your child can tell you they have to go and you say 'okay honey, let me put a pull up on you and you can go in it,' that's still progress and the child showing you they understand." WHAT THE HECK?? There is no way I'm rewinding all of it and telling him to poo in his pants even if he does tell me he has the urge. That was the lamest thing I've ever heard. I know I'm a first-time mom, but give me some credit; that is complete bull. I wonder if her school age kids still ask for poo poo pants when they have to go. WHATEVER! :)

I was going to write some really philosophical analogy, but I just can't lol; I can't lol.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Vote for me in November!

Yes, the rumors are true. After all the frustration of trying to figure out who to vote for, I've taken matters into my own hands. I'm running for President of the United States. Check me out:

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Daddy Book

There's a really cute Dr. Seuss book called The Belly Book. It basically talks about all kinds of bellies, human, animal, big, small, etc. Zachary loves the book and we read it often at bedtime. He gets a chuckle out of talking about bellies period. Yesterday morning after he woke up, he wanted to come lay in bed with me for awhile. So we laid there while David was getting dressed, when Zach pointed to David's belly and said "Daddy belly!" David patted himself on the belly and we talked about how we'd read the Belly Book the night before. Zach sat quiet staring at David's stomach for a few seconds, wheels turning in his mind as usual. Then he said, matter of factly, The Daddy Book! haha we all go such a good laugh out of that. Funny thing is ...David's been going to the gym for months!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Bed pictures

Although we still don't have the wagon canopy complete, I'm putting up a few big boy bed photos. We threw up a down comforter to get a feel for how it's going to look, but it wasn't nearly big enough.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Not cute enough?

So yet another story surfaces today about the Chinese not telling the whole truth about something. Yesterday we found out that the fireworks in the opening ceremony were "digitally enhanced" for the television viewing audience...read FAKE! Now today a story surfaces that the 7-year-old girl whose voice was deemed the best was not allowed to sing the national anthem for the ceremony because she was not cute enough. That's just freaking ridiculous. I saw a photo of her and she's a sweet, innocent looking child. But the chinese officials said her teeth were crooked and they thought the national audience would understand what they had to do. So....they chose a "prettier" girl and made her lip-sync to the "ugly" girls voice. OH MY GOSH, that just infuriates me. The "ugly" girl said she understood and it was an honor for her voice to be used in the games...WHATEVER. Imagine that poor child's self esteem struggle. Imagine how crappy that must've made her parents feel. I don't know about you, but if someone ever tells me Zach's not cute enough for something, Nelly bar the door!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Moving up and moving on...the big boy bed

First of all, shout out to Ralph Goreham - one of THE most talented carpenters in Lexington. Soon I'll have a picture of his final product to show you guys. He's done his part, now I just have to finish his masterpiece.

Zachary loves everything to do with cowboys and horses; he has been to the Boot Store one time and that was to get his John Deere cowboy boots. His memory is so good regarding that experience that he can point to the Boot Store when we drive by and talk about his boots. He loves polo shirts because they have "horsies" on them. He rides, feeds and pets his two rocking horses. He has a cowboy figurine that he sometimes puts by his plate at mealtime so he can "feed the hungry cowboy. Maybe I've sort of forced him into this obsession since I decorated his nursery in retro western flair. But I was honestly just trying to avoid the obsession some kids have with Pooh or Barney or any other animated character... and so far, it's worked!! Regardless, when making the decision to move out of the crib into a big boy bed, I've tried to be very "extreme makeover creative" about the whole thing. Of course, I've tried to avoid the extreme makeover prices.

We decided to go ahead and go with a full size bed to maximize the time Zach uses the bed. I saw an ad on craigslist.org about a guy in Lexington who said he could build anything a person could describe from a drawing, a picture or just a description. I ran several ideas by him, but we both finally agreed on a covered wagon bed. Yes the bed looks like a real covered wagon! He built the bed and delivered it within 10 days! Amazing! The stain even matches the current furniture in the room. He made everything but the cover, which I'm trying to figure out right now. We'll have it all together soon. The bows that hold the cover are removeable so it's sort of like a playhouse on top of a very sturdy bed. I'm not going to post a picture until it's completely done...ooh the suspense for my millions of readers hahah. It's actually only 2 or 3, but that's not why I write the blog.

The day the bed moved in, we were trying to get Zach all hyped up for the move and he was really playing into it. He loved climbing up in the bed. You could just see the cautious excitement in his eyes. Yes I almost cried. Geez, why am I such an emotional girl?!?! I KNOW this should be a great moment for all of us, but where did my baby go?

He resurfaced about 1 am when he sat boltright up in bed and started screaming for mommy. I think he was just totally confused as to where he was and he forgot he got a new bed! Thankfully we had enough forethought to make it a full, so daddy slept with him the rest of the night. Since that first night, he's done incredibly well once he finally falls asleep. There have even been a few mornings when I've had to wake him, which if you know us, is an extremely RARE event. I think he probably needed to move out of that crib months ago; he was just too cramped. A lot of my friends warned me that he would constantly be getting up and running around the house or to our room, but the funny thing is he hasn't gotten out of the bed at all. I'm not saying he never will (I hope he eventually gets up himself to go potty), but for now I'll take this!

I've been really sappy over this whole ordeal and maybe I made it a big deal for me too, not just for Zachary, so that I could handle it better. I know children are a gift from God and that He is just entrusting us to take care of His children for a little while here on Earth. Knowing that doesn't make the giving up process any easier. I've been basically giving him away since he was born:
  • giving him to the nurses to run all his tests and clean him up right after birth;
  • giving him to the doctors to stick needles in him;
  • giving him to nursery workers at church so that I can worship;
  • giving him to the babysitter because I have to work;
  • giving him to himself because he wants to be more independent;
  • giving him to the occasional weekend night babysitter so I can nuture my relationship with my husband;
  • and now, giving him to the natural process of growing up and needing me less.
Wow, it's hard isn't it? I think it's rough on me and I don't even know the details of Zachary's future. Think about how hard it was for God to give his only son to the thing he hated most - sin. Think of how hard it was for God to give his pure and only son to those guards who beat him beyond recognition and then nailed him to cross. Really think how hard it was for God to turn his face away from his one and only son as he took all of our sins upon himself. Think about how unimaginable it was for God to watch his only son be buried in a tomb and to watch the people's hopelessness around Him. Some may say "well, yeah but he knew the future, he knew that he was resurrecting his son three days later to give the world more hope than they'd ever known." But honestly, even if I knew my son would live victorious, I could never hand him over and watch as he was beaten and killed. I could never say "well, it's okay, he'll be fine in a few days." I never truly understood all of that until I had my own child, and he's not really even mine; I'm really just God's babysitter.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Sometimes you just have to take a stand!

I realize we are at a pivotal era in parenting and our discipline methods are becoming more and more important, but they certainly aren't getting any easier. You know the old cliche phrase "this is gonna hurt me more than it will hurt you?" Well, it's true and it doesn't always relate to corporal punishment, which is something we avoid at all costs anyway.

Saturday started off normal enough, Zach snuggled, errr, played in our bed for about a half hour before we got up and then we all went downstairs to make "moatmeal." Breakfast passed without a tantrum..yeah we were doing great! I needed to run to Walmart for a few things and Zach wanted to go with me. Usually telling him it's time to get dressed to go anywhere starts a tirade, so I decided to use walmart as a bargaining tool. I told him if he got dressed quick, he could go with me. Amazingly, it worked. He was dressed in warp speed and all we had to do was brush the hair, which takes all of two minutes max to untangle his little curls. With the mention of "fix hair," Zach went into all-out tantrum mode screaming "NO I NOT FIX HAIR NO MORE." He went about the house hitting the walls, yelling at the cats and kicking anything in his path.

So I thought if walmart bargaining worked on the clothes, maybe it would work for the hair. Wrong. I told him he would only go to walmart when he let me brush his hair. He continued screaming and kicking, etc. I thought okay, if I pretend to leave, he will know I'm serious. I walked out the door and the crying did not stop. So I walked back in and told him one last time that he could only go to walmart after his hair was brushed. Screaming continued and I told David I was sorry he had to stay and deal with it, but I had to take a stand. So I told Zach I loved him and I'm sorry he could not calm down enough to go to walmart and then I walked out the door with confidence - on the outside.

As I got into the car and began to drive away, I started crying a little. I hated that I had to leave him there and that he was sad. I wanted to run back in and scoop him up, but I fought the urge and hoped it would show him that I mean what I say.

God must've seen my inner struggle and decided to plant someone in my path at walmart who would understand my plight. When I rounded a corner, there was Alecia Ward. We said our hellos and then she asked the predictable "how are you?" Usually I just say "fine," even when I'm not. But for some reason I just got honest and told her that I'd just had to take a stand with Zach. I explained what happened and she affirmed my decision and like any good, experienced mother would do, told me it had to be done and the sooner he realizes I mean what I say, the better. We didn't linger, we both had things to do, but I walked away feeling confident in my decision and knowing I'd done the right thing. I was thanking God for placing someone there for me who would understand and empathize a bit.

When I got home, Zach was calm, but very red-eyed. David said he'd cried for close to 30 minutes of the 40 I was away. He had to sit on the stairs (our time out spot) for quite awhile because he was being aggressive with David, hitting, kicking, etc. It was so sad, Zach came up to me with tears still in his voice "Mommy, (sniff, sniff, sniff) I wanna go walmart with mommy." I explained to him that I'd had to go without him because he wouldn't let me brush his hair. He just said "yeah." I did scoop him up then and tell him how much I love him, but that we still needed to brush his hair. He reluctantly let me.

It makes me think of the fits I throw when I don't want to do something I know God wants me to do. They may not be manifested in screams, kicks and the like (or maybe they are) but it's the same struggle with our human desire to sin. I'm not talking about "awful" things either, but even gossiping, impatience, gluttony, selfishness and on and on. It's all the same to Him and sometimes he has to take things away from me to prove a point - an opportunity, a friend, etc.

I love the verse "train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it," Proverbs 22:6. I wonder if that applies to more than just people young in age. Perhaps it applies to all of us as God's children and he's constantly training us up. I know He is still training me and sometimes, more often than I'd like to admit, He has to take a stand too.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Electric Stove-top Burners ARE hot, yes sir!

Last night was a lesson for everyone in my house (well, not the cats; they just aren't teachable). We had to run by Lowes on the way home and then I needed to put the finishing touches on supper before serving it. Zachary loves to help make mashed potatoes so I invited him to help me. I had taken the pot off the burner and turned it off and drained the potatoes. I had everything ready and he pulled up his chair.

He was a little too close to the burner for my comfort so we scooted down a bit and I warned him that the stove was still hot and he was not to touch it. He said "hot" and shook his head that he agreed to leave it alone. This is usually not a problem as he's really good about leaving dangerous things alone once he's warned of their disaster potential. Plus, he was standing right beside me, right? What could go wrong? Never ask yourself that question, by the way.

Things got a tad chaotic because I was also steaming fresh green beans in the microwave. The microwave beeped and David came over and reached around Zachary into the microwave to retrieve the beans, which were still too hot to remove. He started to move them and realized he was about to spill them everywhere so he tossed them back in the micro. Well, I was distracted and apparently so was Zachary, so instead of continuing to help me mash the potatoes, he decided to try out the burner. He had to lean over quite a bit to reach it and his little hand was probably on there less than half a second, but it FREAKED me out. I dropped the potatoes, splashing them across the kitchen floor, as I scooped up Zach. He wasn't even crying...yet. In an instant I had his hand under running water, I couldn't bring myself to look at it because I was too scared what it looked like. We held his hand there for awhile and he did start to cry and talk about how hot the burner was...REALLY? DUH! Mommy TOLD YOU IT WAS HOT, dangit. FYI, don't say dangit or any other "curse" word in front of your children; they repeat those words incessantly. I can't get him to say kangaroo, but he's mastered dangit...sigh.

I sent David upstairs to get the Dr. Sears baby book...BUY IT, it's great...and we decided to take a look at the burn(s). It wasn't nearly as bad as I had imagined. In fact it hadn't even broken the skin. I filled up a bowl with tap water like the book said and I submerged his hand in there. It was easier to keep his hand in a bowl than under the running tap. We called the pediatric triage nurse, who probably knows us very well by now. I'm surprised he even had to ask me all the usual information haha. We determined that we could treat the boo boo at home and this morning, it's barely visible. Last night I really thought the slight blisters were going to become a problem, but whew, they aren't.

Zachary will NEVER help me make anything near the stove in the future, and even if I asked him, I doubt he'd agree to come anywhere near that thing. I'm amazed that it did so little damage and so thankful he's okay. Oh and we did salvage the potatoes, most of them anyway.

Friday, July 18, 2008

I no wanna go bed

I'm wondering what exactly children have against sleep. I mean really; as an adult I LOVE sleep; I desire sleep; I look forward to it sometimes with all that is within me!! My son, on the other hand, abhors sleep and will do anything in his power to not enter into peaceful rest of dreamland.

We were on such a great roll before we went to Kansas City. For so many nights, he'd been so easy to put down (and after nearly 2 years of night wakings, you get used to the all night sleeping really fast!). We'd take a bath, read books, sit in my mommy's lap for awhile and then say night night and I'd leave the room and it was perfect. No tears, no whining, no refusing to close eyes. Then we went on two cross-country trips in a month. The first was to Texas and he recovered faster than we ever expected. The second trip was to Kansas City. Now there's not really a lot different about either trip in terms of sleeping arrangements; he slept with us on both. We've never really been co-sleepers, so it was like a special treat...for him. I'm not really into getting kicked in the ribs at night or head butted in pre-sleep stupors, but it worked for a short time.

We've been back for almost 2 weeks and we've had ONE...count it, ONE...night that ran as smoothly as the nights before our trip. We haven't changed the routine...bath, books, songs, bed, but Zach's obviously changed his position on the bed part. It's taken roughly 2 hours each night to get the little monster to bed, which feeds a cycle of sleep deprivation, which feeds a cycle of increased tantrums, which feeds a cycle of sleep deprivation...

I'm patient for about the first hour and then I just get so agitated that I want to bang my head on the wall; last night I gave in and banged it on his door while telling him to HUSH and CLOSE EYES. AGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHH I'm sure that made him feel safe and secure and enticed him to sleep eh?

I haven't given in; once he's in bed, he's there and I don't pick him up again. I don't let him in our bed unless it's after 5:30 a.m. I do try to stay in the room until he's really drowsy and seems asleep and I do tip toe out the door. But, he must have sonar in his ears because he can hear the slightest creak in the door and he's sitting up screaming again. David and I have been standing outside his door trying to reassure him that we are "right here." It finally works, but it's just exhausting. I'm not a cry it out mom, so I really don't want anyone telling me I should just leave him alone to cry. He could outcry me anyday.

I was talking to a girl at Gymboree yesterday who apparently lets her 13 month old cry it out for an hour or more without even checking on her. I just cannot see the logic in that and it doesn't happen at my house. I'll let him go a few minutes, then I'll go in and lay him back down, calm him down and leave again. That's what I've always done and it eventually works, but it doesn't usually take 2 weeks WOW. I'm just so tired. I really have a lot of respect for moms who can handle more than one baby/preschooler; I don't know where you get the energy unless you have at least one naturally good sleeper.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Summer Lovin' Oh my

Even in his brief 2 years4.5 months, Zachary always has been a relentless little flirt. I keep thinking down the road to when he experiences the harsh reality that girls will not always chase him around and kiss him. I'm not sure when the cootie stage starts, but it's going to be tough on him I'm afraid!

Last night, we were attending our church's independence day picnic. Most of the huge inflatables in the central Kentucky area were on the church property for the kiddies to amuse themselves while the grownups tried to relax...yeah right. It was a mere 89 degrees when we arrived and Zach didn't care; he wanted to play till he dropped. The first few times on the big slide, his daddy accompanied him and then Arynn Greenfield took him a few times. Finally he was semi-ready to go it alone or as he says "Zach self!" So we let him go through with a few older kids and then came Samantha. Sammie is one year and 8 days older than Zach. They met in the obstacle course slide and then became inseparable. Each time one of them would finish jumping or sliding, etc., they would find each other and walk hand-in-hand to the next attraction. At one point in a long line, I saw Zach wrap one arm around Sammie's waist...he's not shy.

I had to laugh though when Zach was holding Sammie's hand with his left hand and picking his nose with his right...oh how ticked am I that this photo was not in focus, not a good time to play with a new lens! They two cuties held onto each other until the party people deflated all the rides.

Arynn stole Zach away again right before the fireworks started. It was a little bittersweet because it really was the first time he got to experience "big" fireworks and I didn't get to share that first with him. I realized that it's not the first time some other girl will win out over mommy UGH! She brought him back toward the end of the show, so we still got to watch a few together. He was completely unafraid and very nonchalant about the whole ordeal. Funny from a kid who's still freaked out by the vacuum cleaner!

Monday, June 9, 2008

The last piece of the puzzle

Photo: Back row - Jeffrey(25), Daddy(59), Michael (26); Middle row - Lori Beth (almost 32), Aimee (me, 36); Front row - Frankie (almost 7) and Angel (4). There were so many cameras; I think we're all looking at a different one!

So the trip to Texas was hot, but that's not going to surprise anyone. Driving down there always brings a lot of memories to my mind as I think about the ones who have gone on before me. I think about my Ma and Papa, Pawpaw, Nanny B. and aunt Adelyn, among others.

I also think of the of the dozens of folks who are still there, whom I just don't get to see enough. I no longer have to wonder about the people I haven't met and that is a tremendous load off my mind. I finally got to meet my brother Michael and his little boy Mike. I was a little nervous about the meeting; I won't lie. But, I started thinking about the whole experience and trying to imagine it from Michael's perspective - he was actually meeting 4 of us for the first time; seeing our brother Jeff for the first time in 4 years and seeing our dad for the first time in 10 years. Most of the aunts, uncles and cousins hadn't seen Michael since he was a little boy. Needless to say, I bet he had a lot more to be nervous about. I have to say I'm overwhelmed by all of it, in a good way. The Sunday we all got together was so laid back and relaxing even though it we were outside in 98-degree heat. The tree canopy at my aunt's house was very comfortable and we all sat around catching up and enjoying each other.

I didn't have any real deep conversations with Michael, but it was a very good start to our relationship and I'm just so glad it worked out this way. I wish he wasn't going to the Middle East at the end of the month, but I assured him we'd be praying for him the entire time. He'll have e-mail access and so we'll be able to continue corresponding that way until he gets back.

Another positive is that Zachary and Lil' Mike sure became fast friends. Lil' Mike was driving Bella's princess car around the yard when we got there. Zachary climbed right in and they took off until the battery went dead. They had a blast. They are only about a year apart, Lil' Mike will soon be four. He even got Zachary to play in the sand box. If you know Zach at all, this is a minor miracle as he HATES getting dirty. He played for awhile and then made me take him inside as he was repeating "mommy, keen me up, peas." haha

I just think a lot of healing took place last week and I truly believe that God does work all things together for good. My mom was praying that for all of us and well, when she prays, things happen. Sometimes I think she has a more direct line to the heavenly throne than most of us.

I also got to spend some quality time with my dad for the first time in a LONG time. It seems like the last few times we've been around each other it's very rushed and there's always a slew of people around to distract us. The Friday night we got to Texas, we headed down to my dad's house and just hung out for several hours with him, Frankie and Angel. His wife was at work so it was just all of us. We really did enjoy ourselves and I had a chance to really speak openly with my dad about my attitude of forgiveness and acceptance of my brothers and sister and even him. I just know things are going to be better with this attitude. No, I can't forget all the pain but I can choose not to dwell on it and choose to make things different on my part from now on. I want to have a relationship with him and ALL my siblings and I think the week was a great start for all of that.

Each time I go home to Texas or Oklahoma, I just get more homesick afterward. It really sucks.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Firsts and lasts ; Texas and Iraq

Yes, I spent the majority of last week laying in a hospital bed with pancreatitis and it totally stunk! Worst pain I have ever felt and I'm really glad for good drugs, kind nurses and some amazingly smart doctors. They still aren't completely sure what caused it...could be that I accidentally ate gluten, could have been a side effect of the CMV virus, could've been a left over gall stone from my surgery last fall....but no one knows for sure. Maybe it was a combination of all of it. I don't want to dwell on that experience in this blog because frankly I have much more exciting stuff coming down the pike and well...I'm sick of being sick and I'm determined that is the last bout of sickness for me for awhile. I really appreciate all the prayers, visits, phone calls, flowers and meals from my sweet friends. I hope I can repay your kindness in some way in the future.

So on to the more exciting stuff - my brother. Tomorrow, David, Zach and I are heading down the road to the motherland. For those who don't understand that means TEXAS people :) the land where I was born and where the majority of my family still resides. The road traveled is nothing new, we go to Texas all the time, but this time it's different. I'm going to meet my half-brother Michael for the first time. He's 26 and he's always lived in Washington state so it's never been "convenient" for us to meet. Also, I held a grudge against him for way too long for something that isn't his fault at all.

You see, when I was 10 years old, my dad cheated on my mom and as a result the woman he cheated with became pregnant. My dad thought the right thing to do was leave us, marry her and raise that child. The situation caused so much pain in my life and so much bitterness that at times I really hated them all. Then God broke my spirit and I realized I had to forgive my dad and even the woman who I felt had broken up our family. They had two boys together and then they divorced and she moved the boys to Wash. I met my younger brother Jeffrey when he was 17 (he's 25 now) and I'm really glad we've met. I wish we were a bigger part of each other's lives and I'm working on that.

I'd always asked my dad about Michael when we did talk, which is not often, and he'd say he didn't know how to reach him, blah blah blah. I never pushed the issue because of a multitude of reasons. I knew he was in the Navy and that he'd been out on several cruises, most of which my dad never even knew what ship he was on. Over the past several years, I've had a strong desire to connect with him and I just didn't know how. My brother Jeff is on my myspace friends' list and one day I noticed someone on his friends' list that looked like him and the name was right so I sent a message to Michael and told him I'd like to get to know him. He said he would like that. He also told me he's about to be deployed to Iraq and this time he will be on the ground. He mentioned that he wanted to get in touch with my dad, whom he hadn't seen in 10 years. His mom now lives in Texas so he was planning to spend some time there before he ships out. I worked it out so that we could be there during that time and my sister even jumped on board and is bringing her family down from Oklahoma to meet him as well.

I'm so excited, nervous, anxious, happy and sad. I wish we were meeting under different circumstances and that he didnt' have to go put himself in harm's way shortly after. I want a chance to really know him and I don't want him to get hurt fighting for our country. I'm so proud of him at the same time for doing this. He's got a 3-year-old son that he has to be away from so much because of duty and honor to this country. I guess I'm scared too; my mother lost her brother in Vietnam and I don't want to lose a brother in Iraq the same way. I know it's different because I haven't even been a part of his life the way my mother was a part of her brother's life, but still I've prayed for him for a long time and I do love him as strange as that may sound to some.

Another interesting part of this puzzle is Michael's mother. I never saw her, not even a photograph, while I was growing up. I honestly believe God was protecting my eyes because had I seen her, I would have a picture of someone to fuel my hatred. My childhood ended when I was 10 because of what she and my dad did to us; that's how I felt. I had to watch my mother go into a deep depression and I had to take care of my younger sister A LOT. It was tough for a young child, but we got through it and we're all closer because of it. Not too long ago through the Myspace maze, I saw her but the first photos I saw included photos of her recent baptism after she was saved. Now I firmly believe God shielded my eyes as a child to prevent deeper hatred and bitterness and I firmly believe he allowed me to see her for the first time under the veil of His grace so that I could forgive her. What a mighty God; a God so sensitive to our needs in THIS moment. For He knew when I was 10 that it would be 26 more years before I'd see this woman and that it would be in a situation where I could not hate.

So this weekend will complete the mystery, the missing puzzle piece in my family. All six of my father's children will hopefully be in one place for the first time. I hope he is able to sense the awesomeness of that moment. Ages 5 to 36; 3 girls; 3 boys - same father, three different moms. It's really my hope and prayer that one day we'll all be bigger parts of each other's lives. I'll post after all this goes down :)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Tyson, what a tangled web we weave

Okay a lot of people know I lean to the natural and organic side of things and call me alternative, granola, crunchy, or just plain weird. I'm very opposed to antibiotics and hormones in our meats, eggs and dairy products, heavy pesticide use in vegetable crops, ANY artificial sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup in ANYTHING (that's right any diet soda or soda with HFCS is evil :)), etc. There's a megaton of evidence to support my leanings and I don't apologize for them whatsoever. I also don't push them on others, but I do explain myself if someone asks or wants information as to why these things are harmful to our families. I try to be a very educated consumer and most of the time, I get it right. So maybe it's me I should be more frustrated with, but today I'm frustrated with Tyson and their deceptive marketing.

A couple years ago when we decided to stop buying those frozen, boneless, skinless chicken breasts at the grocery store, it was hard to stomach the price of the chicken I know is more healthy and safe. But we made it work, bought from local producers in the warm months and then from Whole Foods in the winter months when sustainability wasn't a valid option if you wanted chicken. Then last year I saw it...Tyson's "ALL NATURAL" frozen, boneless, skinless breasts!!! I thought we'd hit the jackpot and I picked up a bag and felt very good that I was buying a product raised without hormones, without antibiotics that contribute to antibiotic resistance in humans, etc. I should've known then that it was too good to be true.

The USDA approved the labeling and marketing for Tyson on this product and more recently retracted their approval saying they can either stop labeling the chicken antibiotic-free or remove the ionophores (antibiotic-like substance) from its chicken feed. Now if you want to research ionophores and how they are just a smoke screen for antibiotics, feel free that's not what this blog is about. But I guess since Tyson is not injecting antibiotics into the chicken's body, they feel they can claim "raised without antibiotics," I call BS! I also learned that Tyson injects their chicken eggs with antibiotics, but they this:

“The claim we’re making is ‘raised without.’ And our consumer research would say that ‘raised without’ in the consumer’s mind, is from hatchery to when they buy the chicken in the store,” said Dave Hogberg, senior vice president for consumer products at Tyson.

A federal judge has ordered Tyson Foods to withdraw advertisements claiming its chickens are “raised without antibiotics that impact antibiotic resistance in humans.”

Two competitors said the ads were untrue because Tyson injects it eggs with antibiotics and used antibiotic molecules in its feed.

Tyson maintained that its claim was truthful, and intends to appeal the decision....of course they did.

Another thing about this "all-natural" chicken: it could be injected with up to 15 percent salt water. It could contain carrageenan, a seaweed extract allowing the chicken to hold on to the salt and water during processing.

Also, the fine print on the back of a chicken package labeled "100 percent all natural" could show that the chicken contains up to seven times the extra salt of nonenhanced varieties. So if you're aiming for a low-sodium diet, forget these babies.

So there's my rant for today. Tyson, I'm DONE with you and I guess it's back to sky-high chicken prices....the sky IS falling little guy :)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

My sister loves me :)

Yes, my sister really loves me and it shows in ways that most people wouldn't recognize.

We live far apart - roughly 800.44 miles. We talk almost daily and I've never felt like the physical distance has created much emotional distance between us. In fact, we have to actually talk a lot more to keep up. We vent to each other A LOT! Throughout my recent health ordeal, I've vented and cried and even sat silent with her on the phone. We used to do this thing when I first moved to Kentucky and Party of Five and Beverly Hills 90210 were still on the air and not in syndication; we'd call each other and literally watch the shows together, like we used to do in person and make comments, laugh so on. It was a way to stay close and still enjoy the things we had in common together even though we were not physically together. It meant a lot to me, although I'm sure other people didn't quite understand our "wierdness." Whatever.

I have helped her with marketing and promoting a now defunct candle company - why those things never took off I still don't know; they were the BEST candles ever and I'm not just saying that out of sisterly bias. So we moved right into marketing a new business venture for her - a children's consignment sale called Adorable Affordables. It's been very successful in the first two installments and we still have a way to work together on things across the miles. God bless technology...really!

It's these little things I've learned to appreciate the most. But this most recent act of love on her part is so sweet. She knows I've struggled with gluten intolerance/celiac disease and that I just really don't like to cook. She on the other hand, loves to cook and plan menus and she's very good at it. I told her, jokingly, it was her job to find a way to make a gluten-free cake that tastes like her wedding cakes. She's taken me seriously and really started to research it. But it's gone beyond that; she is out buying gluten-free products and taste-testing them for me...awww, right? She left me a message today about buying a Thai product that was gluten free and how good it was. I was just really touched that she's doing this for me. For those of you with gluten intolerance/celiac disease, you realize how tough the taste battle is sometimes with gluten free products and to know that your family is supportive is just exceptional.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

He Nose How to Embarrass Me Now

Yes I realize some of you may think I misspelled a word in the title of this blog. But you'll figure out why I'm so punny today.

I always wondered at what age our honest-to-a-fault children begin to embarrass us in public by the comments they make. I don't have to wonder anymore. Last night at Zachary's Gymboree class, Meghan and her daddy walked in and Zachary stared at the daddy and then very matter of factly said "mommy, NOSE" and pointed straight to the guys big nose. I was like oh, that's right that's his nose. I thought that would be it. But Zach was still pointing and still saying "nose." At that point, Meghan's daddy said "Yeah, I have a big nose." I was pretty mortified because I couldn't get Zach to stop staring at his nose. Finally he began pointing to David's nose too, whew.

The bad thing is we had to stay with these people for another 45 minutes and it was awkward to say the least. I guess it wasn't that bad in retrospect, however, it was a very hot-cheeks moment at the time!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Great, I'm raising a potential burgler

What's that passage about raising up a child in the way he should go and when he's old, he will not depart from it? UH OH, we are in trouuuuuuuuuuuble! The other day Zach picked up a business card laying on the table and said he wanted to "hold it." Well he immediately walked to the front door and started swiping it between the door and frame by the door knob. I was watching him and thinking "surely not, he couldn't know that."

So here's the conversation that followed:

Me: Um, Zachary what are you doing?

Zach: I unlock it.

Me: David, get in here and look at what your son is doing.
Zach: I unlock it, daddy.
Me: Zachary we unlock the door with a key, not a card.

Zach: silent and still swiping.

Me: Zachary?

Zach: I unlock it.

Me: That's not how you unlock it.
Zach: Mommy, you do.

Unbelievable, right; then it hit me. We locked ourselves out of the house on Christmas day and to make a long story short - I ruined a credit card trying to break back into the house and then the firefighters tried to use the same method before finally getting us back in. I couldn't believe he remembered that! He did get to go to the fire station a few days later and give them a cake we made and they in turn let him be a little fireman for awhile and sit in the truck. They even gave him his own hat. So I guess we all glorified breaking and entering! Go us!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Storms a'plenty

Apparently someone thought we haven't been through enough in the last several months. I tried to blog about this twice already and I just couldn't type it because it made me cry. It probably still will but it'll be good to get it "written" down. Writing always helps me sort my thoughts.

Last week, I was finally starting to feel better - no fever, getting some energy back, and so on. Well Wednesday, Zach's babysitter called around noon to tell me Zach had a low grade fever. I thought "oh great, he's getting another ear infection." She called again at 1:30 and said it was 102 and asked if she could give him tylenol. Obviously I said yes and then I called the doctor. They didn't have any open appointments so they told us to take him to the Twilight clinic at UK. We got there about 5 and his fever was back up, but higher - 102.8 this time. The intern checked him out and said he probably just had a cold. I insisted it was his ear; but she said she didn't see anything. So, we went home. I got his fever down to 101 and decided I could let him go to bed.

About 3 hours later, David and I were getting ready to head upstairs to bed and I heard Zach. I thought he was crying, but it sounded strange. I went in his room and saw him shaking, choking, eyes rolling back in his head. It was my worse nightmare; I've always worried about something happening to him in his sleep. I rushed over and grabbed him out of the crib. I was crying and talking to him and I couldn't get him to open his eyes; he just kept shaking, arching his back and gagging. I screamed for David and told him to call 911. Zach finally came back and then he was so confused and he just screamed and cried.

Thankfully the ambulance house is only a couple blocks away. They got there so fast. As I was walking down the stairs, I felt my legs go limp and I just had no strength in my body. I was holding Zach and trying to climb into the ambulance. The EMT took him from me so I could crawl in; it was very difficult. I have never felt that before. We finally got in and they strapped him down. He was so scared and then we had to take his blankie away and strip his clothes off. They took his temp and it was just over 104. The EMT tried to assure me that it was probably just a febrile seizure due to his temp and he probably had an infection of some kind. Zach finally calmed down and was listening to the sirens. I started asking him if he remembered seeing ambulances on the road and he said he did and then he said "doctor." Whenever we see an ambulance we always tell him it's taking someone to the doctor. David followed us in the car and said he kept up with the ambulance until about Southland Dr. then he got caught at a light. He still wasn't far behind.

We got to UK and the EMT had to carry Zach inside. He didn't understand and kept reaching for me. It was so hard not to just grab him. I finally got him back once we were inside and down the hall. They immediately gave him more Tylenol and weighed him. He'd lost half a pound this week; he's down to 28 lbs. even. He did so good even though we were all so scared. We were taken to the peds area of the ER where they gave him ibuprofen because his temp wasn't dropping fast enough. They attached one of those oxygen sensors to his big toe, which he hated, but endured.

The resident came in and looked in his ears and said he thought he had an ear infection. (Hmmm didn't I say that about 5 hours earlier hmmmmm). But, they wanted to dig some wax out and then let the attending say for sure. They did a strep culture and made him move his head all around. At first he wouldn't move his head, but the nurse said he had to so he could buy his way out of a spinal tap. I got very insistent to Zach that he do what she said and he did, whew. Once his fever was down, he was having a good old time in the hospital bed laughing and being himself. He kept saying he was sleepy, but he refused to sleep. Finally about 2 something, they discharged us with a prescription for omnicef that they insisted we fill on the way home (thank God for 24 hour pharms) and instructions to call the pediatrician in the morning. Zach stayed awake all the way home, eating cheerios and looking at the lights. I don't know why he hates sleep so much sometimes.

Thursday morning we called his ped. and got him in there before noon. He felt pretty certain it was a febrile seizure, but got us an appointment in neurology for Friday morning. The people in neuro were so nice to Zach and he passed his physical exam with flying colors. The neuro said he wants to just take a "wait and see" approach and not expose Zach to unecessary radiation through a CT scan and not irritate his scalp for an EEG. He said if he has another one anytime soon, we'll reevaluate. Good thing is that since he was older than two when he had the first seizure, his chances for having another before he's three or four is about 30 percent. We're just supposed to try and make sure his fever never gets above 101.5 to try and prevent it. They also wrote us a prescription for a gel that will stop a seizure that lasts too long should we need it.

I think we're finally getting back on schedule and starting to get caught up on missed sleep. Now, I'm a worry wart anyway, so this has really shaken me. I have a hard time leaving him in his room alone. I wake up with every cough or similar noise on the monitor. I thought I was going to have a heart attack the other night when the cat hacked a hairball at 5 a.m. I thought it was Zach. I've had to really work hard and just putting Zach in God's hands and trusting Him to take care of my little baby. It's the least I can do when I think about all the trust God has in me to raise this little boy. It blows my mind that He, the God of the universe would trust ME to take care of one of his children; that He would trust any of us to do that is wild and humbling at the same time.

I really feel like Satan has lodged a very pointed attack on our family's health in the last 7 or 8 months. It's unreal how many maladies we've endured: my gallbladder rebellion; David's stroke; gluten intolerance; weird blood tests, englarged spleen and now my baby's first febrile seizure. I mean, attack me and David all you want, but stay away from my son. That's what I've been feeling all weekend. I've been asking God to just bind Satan from our home and from our health and to just make him leave us alone. I know He can do it; I believe it and I will not underestimate His power to give us victory over all this mess and give Him all the glory for it.

One of my favorite passages in scripture is 2 Corinthians 4: 7-18:
7 Now we have this treasure in clay jars, so that this extraordinary power may be from God and not from us. 8 We are pressured in every way but not crushed; we are perplexed but not in despair; 9 we are persecuted but not abandoned; we are struck down but not destroyed. 10 We always carry the death of Jesus in our body, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who live are always given over to death because of Jesus, so that Jesus' life may also be revealed in our mortal flesh. 12 So death works in us, but life in you. 13 And since we have the same spirit of faith in accordance with what is written, I believed, therefore I spoke, we also believe, and therefore speak, 14 knowing that the One who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and present us with you. 15 For all this is because of you, so that grace, extended through more and more people, may cause thanksgiving to overflow to God's glory.

16 Therefore we do not give up; even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day. 17 For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. 18 So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen; for what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

I know this is a long long post already, but the past few months make me take refuge in Christ through a song I hear often on the radio as well. It's Bring the Rain by MercyMe...so here's the lyrics just to vie for the super long post award in my blog.

I can count a million times
People asking me how I can praise You with all that I've gone through
The question just amazes me
Can circumstances possibly change who I forever am in You

Maybe since my life was changed
Long before these rainy days
It's never really ever crossed my mind
To turn my back on you, oh Lord
My only shelter from the storm
But instead I draw closer through these times
So I pray

Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings You glory
And I know there'll be days When this life brings me pain
But if that's what it takes to praise You
Jesus, bring the rain

I am yours regardless of the clouds that may loom above
because you are much greater than my pain
You who made a way for me suffering Your destiny
So tell me whats a little rain