Thursday, May 29, 2008

Extra Credit

I have realized that I fell short on my curriculum design in my last post. I've added an additional section for extra credit. It outlines as follows:

1. When using the bathroom, please use the toilet to pee in. Please do not pee in the trash can just for fun or for reasons you "don't know."

2. Before peeing in the toilet, please lift the seat.*

3. Please aim your stream of pee DOWN into the toilet. For reasons women cannot understand, your pee often ends up here:

4. The wonderful modern technology of toilets allows us to NOT have to live with the smell of our bodily waste. PLEASE FLUSH when you finish.

*In our home, because I do not like sitting on a wet toilet seat am outnumbered, I lift the seat when I am done, so this shouldn't be such a challenge to all of my men.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

crucial school curriculum

You know, I'm fairly new at this homeschooling stuff. In the last couple of weeks I think I have seen a gaping hole in early elementary curriculum. But don't worry, I'm up to the task - I've adapted and added my own content.

We've had to cover three major lessons - simple but important:
1. Do not drink your pee.
2. Do not pee in the corner of your bedroom so many times that mom has to rip up the carpeting and the tack strip because it is so saturated with pee. To avoid confusion when discerning that point, do not pee in your bedroom at all.
3. Do not stand on the top railing of the playground in the backyard and pee into the grass.

If I ever write a curriculum someday, I'll be sure to include this unit study.

p.s. girls' weekend anyone??? help!!!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

sweetly broken

I was given a gift Friday night.

My friend Ashley gave me the honor of witnessing her baby boy come into the world.

She allowed me to be there to say hello and goodbye.

Ashley found out on Thursday afternoon that her baby no longer had a heartbeat and most likely had passed away somewhere around 16 weeks gestation.


My love for my friend drove me to making a meal and arranging for meals for the days to come. That is all I could do - because I couldn't do anything else to make it better.

After dropping off dinner for her family, I just had to go visit her at the hospital while she was laboring. I know that no words take away the pain, but I was hoping that having a friend stand beside her in her grief would strengthen her to get through the agony of labor and delivery of her son who would not be coming home to nurse and be cuddled.

Ashley and I laugh a lot together. I am so grateful that our friendship is deep enough to cry together too. She was my very first friend when we moved here and has since become a confidant, a mentor and encourager. She is a woman who practices what she preaches and is genuine, loving, generous and wise. When I peeked my head in her hospital room door, she saw me and said, "My friend!" She didn't know I was coming down to see her, and I didn't know that I would be staying for her long night of labor.

As we chatted, I sat on the doctor's rolling stool at the foot of her bed and started to rub her feet and legs. The tears came in waves for both of us. I noticed the baby warmer waiting with receiving blankets draped over it. The instrument table was set up, covered with green hospital drapes to be unveiled for delivery. The monitor screen showed the peaks and valleys of her contractions.

I quickly noticed what was missing. There was no "woosh-woosh-woosh-woosh" of a baby's heartbeat from the monitor. In fact, the plugs where those cords would be attached to the machine remained empty and the graph at the top of the screen was blank.

I have no answers. Only questions. I don't know why God allows tragedies to happen.

I do know that when we walk with Him through valleys with a broken heart, wholly surrendered, that He uses circumstances for change in us and in others.

Ashley labored seven more hours while I just sat and rubbed. Her husband Brian read scripture and prayed with her. He was an emotional rock for Ashley to rest upon. Her nurse Alicia was amazing. She had the perfect balance of sympathy and care. Ashley's brother arrived and some dear friends from their church added to the mix. We laughed, talked and prayed.... and waited.

It seemed that her labor wasn't progressing. She seemed anxious about that. Alicia kept assuring us that delivery would probably be a whirlwind and happen quickly.

She was right. When her visitors left so that she could get her next dose of labor inducing medication, her contractions finally kicked into high gear and she started focusing on the end.

Soon the end arrived. With one push their little boy was out. Oh, so small. He weighed only six ounces. More tears, but relief that it was over. As Brian comforted Ashley, I quietly walked over to the warmer to see the little guy. His face was quiet. His eyes were still fused closed. His hands and feet were so TINY, so detailed, so perfect. His hand was smaller than my fingernail on my little finger.

Precious. I feel honored to have witnessed this intimate moment with my friend. Please keep her and her family in your prayers.

"For you created my most inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." Psalm 139:13-16

Thursday, May 22, 2008

stopping time

It's snowing this morning. This morning of May 21st, 2008. I missed my 6 a.m. date with the treadmill today because I was up consoling my sick, teething baby boy for nearly three hours last night.

Usually, I would be annoyed by having to be up in the middle of the night. I'm a girl who is totally dependent on my sleep. But as I sat in the rocking chair with his hot little body molded to mine, listening to him wheeze and push out an occasional croupy cough, I realized that this is the first time in his entire 11 months of life that I have had the privilege of being called to a middle of the night snuggle.

Now that's a good baby, a healthy baby, a good sleeper - call it what you want. Don't get me wrong, the full nights of sleep have been something I'm fully appreciative of, but I am struck by the time that has slipped by. I know the grandparents are reading this saying, "Just wait, you won't believe how it feels in 25 years." I'm sure I will experience this again and again along the way of this journey called parenting.

In the midst of my mid-night mothering, I didn't even know about this. Many of you know of my heart for orphans and adoption, so I have read much about this family's journey. But these sweet girls prompted Chapman to write a song titled, "Cinderella" that is about cherishing each moment with his daughters while they are little. He has an older daughter too, so he has perspective on how quickly the time goes by. And they never would have guessed how short their time would be with little Maria Sue. Tragic.

So, it's snowing again today. Another day indoors. As the big puffy flakes fall, I'm declaring a game, reading, coloring, fun day. So, in our pj's, you'll find us on the living room floor enjoying the time.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

time of our lives

Whenever I collect to many pictures to post individually, I put them to music. Here are some from the last couple of weeks. As spring is blooming (even though it snowed today!), we have been outside a lot. Our pop up camper is out of storage and in the garage, we've been to the zoo, the park, playing golf and digging in the dirt to prepare the flower beds.

Take a peek!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

LOVE is a verb

Today My Man and I celebrated our ELEVENTH wedding anniversary. I am lucky to call my husband my best friend and my soul mate. There is no one I'd rather be with than him and I can confidently say that he feels the same way about me.

We met just over 13 years ago at our little college in an Indiana cornfield. We were both Communication Studies majors (what can you do with that degree?) and had many of the same classes together. We had different groups of friends, but our paths crossed enough that I would call us acquaintances. We were heading into the home stretch of our senior year, looking graduation in the face and he called me one Friday night in January and said, "I'm going to a movie, do you want to come?" Hmmmm... what was I to infer from this question? Was this a date? Was there a group of people going? If I didn't go, was he still going to the movie? I accepted and the 25 minute ride to the theater was spent getting past our surface knowledge of each other. Kenyon immediately asked probing and personal questions about my family and spiritual journey. Looking back, one might have thought a job interview was in process (the high ranking job of his wife was not to be filled by any lesser woman!), but we had easy and interesting conversation. After scaring the crap out of me at the dollar theater seeing "Seven" (sidenote: scary movie.. first date... couldn't hold hands or grab an arm... how awkward is that???), we went out for 50 cent ice cream and he was a complete gentleman and paid for the entire date!

And then he didn't call me for two whole weeks.

I thought it was just a casual night out. I thought since were seniors, he wasn't looking for a serious relationship or any relationship at all. I thought he just wanted company to go see a movie. I pretty much didn't think any more about it.

But after two weeks of casual encounters at classes on campus, he called again and asked me to go to dinner in Indianapolis. I accepted, thinking that even if nothing became of it, I enjoyed my time with him and hey, no one has ever known me to turn down a dinner out! Halfway into the hour-long drive, he tells me we are having dinner with two of his best friends from home who go to a neighboring college. No big deal, he's just known them since he was five and they know his family and have met every girl he's ever dated. No sweat.

When I got the thumbs up from them, I actually got follow up phone calls and actions that I would consider dating interest. Fast forward a couple of MONTHS and I was politely asked for a kiss... yummy.

I remember the day our relationship went public. We were weeks away from graduation and I was standing with several friends in the lobby of our communications building among A LOT of other peers and here comes Kenyon through the crowd with one red rose - for me. Man has guts... check. Man knows romance... check. My cheeks were red, but my heart was won. Needless to say, I think from that point on we spent every possible moment with each other before graduation.

We took our diplomas and went our separate ways. We had only been dating for about 5 months (I'm including the two weeks he didn't call me), so I went back to a job in the Chicago area where my family lived and his first job was in Buffalo, NY. I'm sorry, did I hear that distance makes the heart grow fonder, or the phone bills grow bigger (days before cell phones and email), or the plane tickets more frequent? Yes. Yes to all of the above.

Fast forward nine months and I was surprised with a gorgeous princess cut diamond surrounded with sapphires, set in platinum. Surprised is a bit of an understatement - I thought he was kidding and told him to "shut up" (until he whipped out the BLING). I hugged him and cried a little bit - translation - yes!!!

Funny side note, while I was on the plane coming to Buffalo, Kenyon called my mom and dad (separately, they're divorced) for their blessing. My mom was gracious and asked at the end if Kenyon had called my dad yet. When he told her that Bob was next on his list, she said, "good luck." Uh-oh. My poor dad didn't see it coming. He thought Kenyon was calling to check on my flight. When the real purpose of the call came out, my dad told Kenyon that he thought I was too young, that we hadn't known each other very long, that I probably didn't know what I really wanted out of life, he wasn't sure I'd say yes, "but you can ask."

Can you imagine how he was sweating through his proposal? He actually turned off the phones at his apartment when I arrived so my dad couldn't call me and talk me out of it!!

We had a short engagement and we had a beautiful wedding exactly one year after we graduated from college. Since then, we have lived in six dwellings (two apartments, four houses), three different states two different time zones. We've had six different dogs (not all at once), one cat, four awesome boys and a partridge in a pear tree. Here are a few snapshots.
Below is a picture from our honeymoon in Naples, Florida.
Here we are in our very first apartment in Buffalo, New York. We'd been married a couple of months... we look experienced, don't we???

Here we are 11 years later. We got away Friday night to Stein Erikson Lodge for a five star meal and sleep romance. Thanks to our friends Albert and Jessalyn for staying overnight with our rowdy crew!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

another sign summer is coming

Hunter and I took our long, nappy heads to the hair dresser today. Hunter's hair is so thick and grows so quickly that when it's long we can't do anything with it. My hair was in the world of the eternal ponytail. Aside from the family photo shoot above, I pretty much throw it into a wet ponytail after a shower each day. Not anymore! My awesome hairdresser had strict orders to CHOP IT OFF!!!

We're ready, now where's summer again???

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Playing and Paying - Part 2

I've had some time to think about this post and the comments I made implying declaring that I dislike anything associated with pain or hard work. I must eat my words here.


I had natural childbirth FOUR TIMES.

Yes, by choice.

Yes, IT HURT (in its own category of pain).

No, my labors weren't necessarily fast.

Yes, I was in the hospital where needle-happy medical-types were at my service.

And as I reflected on these seemingly two contrasting choices in my life - working out and hating it, and giving birth naturally and loving it - it started to mold my opinion of the former and help me approach it from a different angle.

When I'm running on my treadmill, the screen on the treadmill breaks the program up into segments of about 60 to 90 seconds long. Usually, something changes after each segment, whether the speed or incline (incline kicks my B-U-T-T).

Don't contractions last somewhere in that ballpark of time? (Amanda and Carrie, don't answer that, I know that high levels of anesthesia interfere with your concept of time.)

I now just see each segment on my treadmill as a contraction. I focus only on the one I'm on NOW and not the many more until I'm completely done. Because let me tell you, when I'm 12 minutes into a 40 minute run, I'm ready to jump ship and head straight for the Oreos and remote control.

Or maybe get pregnant again, just so I have an excuse not to run anymore. (just kidding honey!)

The only difference is that after giving birth, I have a sweet new baby in my arms.

Even at this rate, I won't see my sweet new butt for months!

t-ball punks

T-Ball season has started and Hunter and Sauce are on the same team (by request - makes my life a lot easier) - the Astros. They have only had one practice and haven't taken their new caps and jerseys off since Monday night.

Sweet Hunter, always aware of where Mom is on the sideline.

Sauce - totally focused on the ball

And here we have a glimpse into my time at t-ball...

Keeping him away from the bats and balls

Or serving as monkey bars for him to climb all over - he sure is cute though!

a must read!!!

Beth at I Should Be Folding Laundry did an awesome summary about comments on blogs - you must take the time to read this.

More fun from the world of testosterone coming soon...

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

please sir, may I have some more?

I guess I'm a glutton for punishment. I could go on, but suffice it to say that all the males in my life are driving me to the looney bin today. To offset my desire to run away and never come back frustration, I thought I would take a moment to write all the things I love about my men both big and small. I'm starting with the tantrum thrower biggest frustration of the morning:

What a great birth experience
CUTE towhead
Says "wuv you too mom" out of the blue
Has got the dance moves
Says "will you pway with me?" as I tuck him in each night
Puts all his clothes on by himself, but backwards

Works SO hard to keep up with two older brothers
Passionately loves his baby brother
Gets excited to be included in anything - little or small
Is a great cuddler, "can I sit in your wap?"

What a helper
Is creative, inventive and a dreamer
Passionate about whatever he loves
Doesn't get down on himself when he's not the best at a sport
Not too cocky when he is really good at a sport
Genuine when praying
Genuine all the time
The first to be a friend to anyone

Best birth experience
Smiley baby
Good sleeper
Adaptable to his brothers' crazy schedules
Gives huge open-mouthed kisses
Snuggles when he's tired
Huge belly laughs at his brothers
Loves the church nursery

My Beloved:
Loves me more than anyone else
Is nearly always the first one to say he's sorry
Works SO hard to succeed
Works SO hard to provide for his big family
Plays hard with the boys
Shares his passions with those he cares about
Is very responsible and proactive with our finances
Is a genuine and life-long friend to those who return the investment
Is fascinated by and thoroughly involved in the birth of each of our children

What a smile!
Contagious laugh
Says "Cameron heart Mom" all the time
Likes to be hugged and cuddled
Is so caring with his brothers
Works hard to be good at what he is passionate about
Is rarely jealous
Learns quickly
Often does helpful things without being asked

Jack: (the dog, yes he's irritating me too)
Friendly to any dog and person he meets
Loves me the most
Plays and makes us laugh
Makes me feel safe when Kenyon is not home
Looks intimidating in the yard when the kids are outside without me

OK, I feel a little better. Not to mention that while I was writing this, Rufus lost tantrum-steam in his room and fell asleep - naked.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

a long week

Sauce looked out the window on this morning of MAY 1ST and said, "Awwwww! What's wrong with summer?"

Yup, a balmy 24 degrees and two inches of snow greeted us. That was after I thought I was going in to wake my sweet baby boy at a little after seven and found him happily playing in his crib COVERED IN BARF (I spared you a picture of this one). The poor thing got sick sometime in the night and had it from head to toe and if that was not enough, he had a poopy diaper that could be recorded in the history books. Still, nothing bothered him as he greeted me with a smile. After nursing and a light breakfast, he waved "night night" and went back to bed for a 4+ hour nap.

I can't wait for the rest of the boys to get it too!

It is the end to a long week - my beloved has been at a sales meeting in Las Vegas since Monday and will not be home until tomorrow night. I'm sure it's been long for him too, just in a non-barf filled, non-snow covered different way.

About Me

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Messy and wonderful perfectly describes my life as a wife and mom of five. I'm passionate about advocating for orphans by telling their stories and encouraging adoption and orphan care. My schedule is messy and wonderful as I am charged with four sons and one daughter. We love living in our little mountain ski town. We do a little camping, a little skiing, a little hunting, and a lot of laughing and loving. Life is dirty and loud around here but we wouldn't want it any other way. Okay, maybe a little less dirty!

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