Saturday, October 31, 2009

There Will Be a Special Place in Heaven for Jesus-lovin' Liberals

...and it is going to be a nice, BIG place because I just found a whole passel of them.

Burnside Writers Collective is an online magazine "presenting an alternative to franchise faith". Even their description gives me goosebumps. It is hands down my new favorite website. Next to mine. Um, hello.

Now I gotta say, if you think Glenn Beck is "right on" and President Obama is the anti-Christ then you're probably not gonna love this site. However, if you liked Blue Like Jazz and/or The Shack then you will most likely really, really enjoy some of the essays BWC publishes.

If Burnside Writers Collective is the Burnside Portland Burnside as I infer it is then you can pretty much count on it becoming my Mecca and me flinging myself on their steps and staying there until they publish me. Or until my husband drags me by my ear back home and insists I stop this nonsense that the kids are begging for hotdog wraps (which I made tonight and my children now rise up and call me blessed).

BWC is where I read about Pete Gall, author of My Beautiful Idol, which I cannot order off of amazon fast enough. Two reviews that sold me read, "St. Augustine invented the confessional memoir. Modern examples are shorter and funnier (think Anne Lamott and Donald Miller). Now comes Pete Gall, who somehow gathers the messiness of his life into an enduring account, one both poignant and whimsical." -- Philip Yancey, Author "[My Beautiful Idol] is a delicate reminder to denounce all that dazzles that does not look like Jesus. It is an invitation to say no to all other lovers and counterfeit hopes, and to put our faith in the God that is blessing the most downtrodden people of this world, the God whose Gospel is good news to the poor." -- Shane Claiborne, Author & Activist.

So hats off to you Burnside Writers. You get the very first post under my new "Things I Like" label. You're welcome.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Got Me Thinkin'...

These are our friends Jeff and Kara. Kara is my Wednesday bff and Jeff is one of our church's worship leaders. Kara blesses my socks off every time I talk to her and Jeff is bringing sexy back with his eyewear and mad guitar skills (Jeff is unknowingly giving credibility to my 15 year old argument that eyewear on a man is dead sexy). And you shouldn't worry because Kara knows I think her husband is hot, because I tell her, it may however come as news to Jeff and make our next meeting awkward. For the record, I think Shannon's husband Drew is hot too but no one thinks Drew is as hot as Drew does so it kinda loses its potentency with him.

Anyway, I digress. It was Wednesday and Kara and were hanging out, covering 186,000 topics in a 2.5 hour time span (it really is dizzying) and her 2 year old son Caleb did something he shouldn't have and she told him to stop and he told her 'no'. Gasp. I know. My kids never do that. I judged her harshly over it to her face AND behind her back. Ha!Ha! What I DID do was marvel at what she said to Caleb, now lean in because it was short and sweet and you'll miss it if you're reading two blogs at once, "Caleb. I don't tell you 'no', I say 'no thank you'. Please don't tell me 'no'." I tried not to act impressed but instead played it cool like I-always-talk-to-my-kids-like-that but 2 things jumped out at me...

1) Keep it simple. I have a tendency to talk and talk. And if you think I'm bad...well Hot Jeff puts the lecture in lecture. I was reminded when I heard Kara to just keep it short. They are little and they don't have the attention span for a dissertation on behavior. You moms of older children, well have at it; this is your God-given moment to make your kids miserable. I recommend doing this while in a car when they can't get out!

2) My kids are going to talk to me and to each other the way I talk to them. When I ask Samuel to pick up his cars and he says 'no' I can't really blame him when just 10 minutes earlier when I was making lunch and he asked me to play Candyland and I said 'no'.

I remember when Samuel was 11 months or so and started getting in to everything. His pediatrician said instead of saying no I should distract him with other things. Clearly that pediatrician is on crack because when you're nursing a baby and your kid is trying to sit on a lamp shade you are not going to DISTRACT him with any thing other than your voice at a decibel he has never heard before. I do, however, like this idea of adding 'thank you' to the end of 'no'. Its polite but practical.

Polite: good. Practical: good. Polite AND practical: Very Good.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

She May Be Pure Evil...

My Mom and Jeff have been saying it since they laid eyes on her: "She's going to give Samuel a run for his money". There's something about her shining blue eyes, her sweet dimples, her angelic little voice, the way she clobbers her brother... Screech. Back up. The way she clobbers her brother? Yeah, little M may not be as sweet as she comes across. In fact she may be totally aware AND plotting the way she comes across just so she can be evil and get away with it. In fact I'm pretty sure she's smarter than all of us.

One more thing: she's not even 2 yet and she threw a tantrum today that rivaled Samuel's. It was quite impressive. It started with screeching, went to arms banging knees and then full out throwing herself on the floor. It was a dandy.

And she's not even 2. And I already have a strong-willed child. And it is going to be a long life.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

How We Celebrated

One of my all time favorite TV moments is from The Bachelor. Yes, I said The Bachelor. Andrew Firestone, heir to the vast Firestone fortune, was this particular season's bachelor and he was on one of the early dates with one of the women who get cut super early and then cry on national television because they thought they really had a connection with him after spending 45 minutes in a crowded room watching him look at other women's breasts. They were doing that get-to-know-you thing and he asks her what her favorite restaurant is and I kid you not she replies, "Olive Garden" and then he gives her this you-did-not-just-say-that-to-Andrew-Firestone-look and THEN she says, "What? You don't like Italian food?" And it is, and forever will be, one of my all time favorite TV moments and it probably goes without saying but she got cut that night. And seriously, just writing that and remembering that made me laugh so hard I snorted.

Yesterday I called Jeff AT WORK to ask what he would like for his birthday dinner. And being the sweetheart that he is he says, "whatever is easiest for you". So I press him and press him again and finally he says, "tacos" which I knew is what he really wanted because he loves tacos and he always asks for tacos on his birthday. Which I suppose begs the question of why I bothered to ask him in the first place. I guess I just wanted him to know I was thinking about his birthday dinner a whole day early. Which makes the following even more unbelievable.

At 4:00, precisely when Jeff was getting off work and heading home for his delicious birthday dinner that I had not even begun to prepare, he called. And I said, "I'm sorry but I haven't started dinner yet!" And then I gave a REALLY GOOD excuse: "I've been working all afternoon on your birthday cake and now my wrist hurts". Tip: All good excuses involve you doing something nice for someone and now being in pain as a result. And then, to add insult to injury to my pathetic excuse of wife-dom I said, "We can have leftover spaghetti or go out. I'll even let you choose". I will pause and give you a moment to choke.

Precious Hot Jeff, who by the way, is broke out literally from his head to his toes because of an allergic reaction to a new medication and is pretty much miserable from the itching and burning, chose the Olive Garden as it is quasi-sophisticated enough for a birthday dinner yet the kids could have macaroni and cheese. Someone please call the Pope because this man deserves Sainthood.

Here we all are, after dinner and back home celebrating Daddy's birthday! Before you go wondering why I'm such a crappy wife and didn't throw him a big bash let me explain. Jeff told me like 6 years ago if I even THOUGHT about throwing him a 40th birthday party or any other th party he would NEVER throw me another party for as long as I live. I'll let you in a little secret: you can get me to do anything for you by threatening me with not throwing me a party (I love a party in my honor) or by telling me you won't cry at my funeral.

40 DOES rock. Just ask Hot Jeff. This is the birthday cake that will make my right wrist require a cortisone shot and the reason why I didn't make my darling husband a birthday dinner of tacos.
Damn you electric guitar cake and your perfectly piped icing.

I just love that Emily looks so flippin' hilarious in this picture. It is also, coincidentally a picture of my 3 FAVORITE people in the whole wide world!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Happy 40th Babe!

Today is Hot Jeff's birthday and not just any birthday but his 40th birthday! Remember when 40 sounded old? 40 no longer scares me; when I look at Jeff and see his health, vibrancy, maturity I think 40 rocks! To honor Jeff on his birthday I am making a list of reasons why I love him. Feel free to make a gagging gesture and roll your eyes but its my blog and that's how I roll!

1. He's dead sexy.
2. He loves Jesus.
3. He's a great daddy.
4. He's loyal.
5. He makes me laugh. Really hard. All the time.
6. He works so hard so that I can stay home with the midgets.
7. He's a great balance to me.
8. He thinks I'm funny. And for the record I love anybody who thinks I'm funny.
9. He genuinely loves the Niles clan.
10. He unloads the dishwasher.
11. He's generous.
12. He's always trying to better himself.
13. He prays with his kids.
14. He reads books to his kids every night.
15. He's a partner.
16. He's spontaneous.
17. He's fiercely protective over me and the midgets.
18. The kids and I are his favorite people and he tells us that regularly.
19. He learns from his mistakes.
20. He's not afraid to cry.

I love you, Jeff. Here's to 40 more!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Praying for Your Kids Monday
Controlling Their Temper

The animated Disney film Beauty and the Beast has made itself in to the Henderson movie rotation. In one of the scenes the enchanted clock, candelabra and tea pot are giving the Beast advice on how to woo the heroine, Belle. After a few little tips they say in unison, "You must control your temper". A short temper isn't attractive, even in the movies.

Whether you're the parent of a two year old, notorious for their tempers, or of a teenager you have likely seen a tantrum out of your little darling (jamming ear pods in and slamming a door constitutes a tantrum!). Heck, just last week I behaved so badly towards my husband as a result of anger (he was right; I was wrong and it made me so angry I could have bitten myself) that I'm convinced my Mom should pray this prayer for her adult child this week!

Proverbs 17:27 says, "A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered."

It isn't easy to control our temper in a society where value is placed on self and we grow up feeling entitled to everything but this is exactly what we must teach our children and pray for our kids. Controlling one's temper is hard, a discipline that must be nurtured by the Holy Spirit.

Lord, I bless ________ with an even temper. I pray You will lead and guide him through Your Spirit so he will have a life long desire to have restraint and be a peace maker. I pray __________ will have patience and wisdom and know how to use his words to bless rather than curse. Amen.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Just So You Know

I have not gone all Sylvia Plath on you; I know my last post was heavy but that's not why I haven't written anything since. I haven't written anything because I'm having the most busy week EVER. In between life and preschool I have been working very diligently on my new laundry system which really isn't a system at all its just more of a nut up and put the crap away but it seems to be working. I have also been making my bed every day. Today was the third day in a row and I suppose there is something to what everyone says about a made bed setting the tone for the whole house because before I even knew what I was doing I was at Target buying a new lamp for the family room. And when I told Shannon that I think she had a Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally moment and she got all teary and told me those were her favorite words "new lamp at Target".

I've also been preparing a message I'll be sharing with a group of moms in the morning as well as getting ready for a hot weekend away with my husband who will be turning 40 on Tuesday and I want to get him away before he does turn 40 to have a whole lot of sex because when he turns 40 I'm sure he'll be too old to do it anymore. Oh yes I just went there so if you're shocked just get over it.

Finally, the other thing that has taken up some time this week is getting my water shut off. Yep. The city of friggin' Salem TURNED MY WATER OFF. Now, in their defense, I did forget to pay them. In my defense, why don't they have a decent pay online system like everyone else in the civilized world? To be honest, I almost ALWAYS forget to pay the water bill. This in itself, you would think, would be enough to make me remember but it doesn't. And they always send me very courteous little reminders and then I remember to pay them and we all live quite happily together. Well this month they sent me a very courteous reminder and it sat in Harriett for well over a week and on Tuesday I came downstairs and was going to rinse a yogurt container and there was no water. So after a few moments of pacing and cursing under my breath I called and paid it over the phone. They said they would send someone out "tomorrow" to turn it back on. Oh no you won't be out here tomorrow, how do I turn it on myself? Well they told me but I am apparently very turn-my-water-back-on challenged and had to enlist the help of my dear friend/neighbor to help me. One hour, one large wrench and one phone call from her husband impersonating my husband and we had the water back on. And all of this left the 3 of us wondering, if you can turn your own water back on then why does anyone ever pay their bill?

The drama of all of it left Samuel nearly peeing his pants with excitement so I didn't even bother to tell him not to tell his father about it and sure enough as soon as Hot Jeff walked in the door that afternoon Samuel nearly tripped over himself running and saying really fast, "Mama forgot to pay the water bill and they turned the water off and we had to open a heavy lid outside and Nick turned it with a big wrench and I had to run in to the house over and over and tell Mama if the water was on and it wasn't and then it was and there were spiders in the water hole but Mama said I didn't have to be scared and let's have macaroni and cheese for dinner.

So there you have it. No head in an oven, just a busy week.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Broken promises.

I suppose I'm not the only one who has ever been disillusioned by broken promises. Mine came from my dad a few days ago and try as I may I haven't been able to shake the disappointment.

My dad has never been a part of my life. He and Mom were never married and he pretty much split when it came time to take any responsibility. Due to my good relationship with his side of the family he's been "around", albeit indirectly and from a distance.

In the last 10 years he's attempted to be a bigger part, much to no avail. And although I have been reluctant, I have been willing but it always falls through because of his issues, is chemical dependency and his utter inability to keep his word.

Last week was no different. A random phone call asking to come over that evening for a quick visit. A time was set. He called minutes before that time to say he was running late. Then a half hour passed. An hour. Two hours. Three hours. After keeping my kids up past their bedtime and tired of looking at the clock we all went to bed.

4 days have passed. No phone call. No explanation. No excuse. Just another broken promise.

I won't even get into the range of emotions I have experienced over the last 4 days but will say I have landed on sad. Sad for him. Sad for me. Sad that I'm done trying and sad that he doesn't know how to love.

The night that it happened my sweet, sweet Shannon sent me a text that said, "Remember how much your heavenly Father loves you". In the last 4 days I have pulled that text up on my phone and read it countless times. I knew God was here with me but I couldn't hear him; I wasn't feeling silence per se, I just didn't hear a clear voice.

Until tonight.

And it came in the funniest way.

Samuel's devotion tonight was about God keeping His promises. God spoke to me through a preschooler's devotion. My God is so cool.

God is not a man, that he should lie,
nor a son of man, that he should change his mind.
Does he speak and then not act?
Does he promise and not fulfill? (Numbers 23:19)

And so when He says, He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds*, I believe it. I take that promise and wrap it around me like a blanket and I let it comfort me and soothe old wounds like a salve.

And when He says, A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling*, I claim it. I grasp my stake of hope and I pound it in to the ground of my heart.

Friends, I get your emails and I read your comments: I know I'm not the only one hurting. I'm not the only one who is disappointed. I'm not the only one who feels like they got taken. Again. So if you're reading this and you're ready to give in or give up: hold fast.

To everyone who's hurting
To those who've had enough
To all the undeserving
That should cover all of us
Please do not let go
I promise there is hope
Hold fast
Help is on the way
Hold fast
He's come to save the day
What I've learned in my life
One thing greater than my strife
Is His grasp
So hold fast*

In my distress I called to the LORD;
I called out to my God.
From his temple He heard my voice;
my cry came to His ears.
2 Samuel 22:7
*Psalm 147:3
*Psalm 68:5
* Mercy Me's Hold Fast

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Praying for Your Kids Monday

When I turned the internet on yesterday the first thing that popped up was "the news" stating that another 11 children had died from the H1N1 virus. Maybe you're like me and you've become a bit immune to the fear mongering of the media, nevertheless, when it comes to kids getting sick I always tune in. Yesterday wasn't any different; I clicked on the headline and read the what to do's and what not to do's for the 100th time.

When it comes to our children's health it isn't always easy to trust God. We want to control the things about our kids, especially when it comes to their well being. Now please don't misunderstand, I am NOT suggesting we don't take our kids to the doctor or any of that weird stuff. What I am suggesting is letting go of the fear that can sometimes grip our hearts about our kids getting the cold or flu or infections or God forbid a life-threatening illness.

Remember this verse: "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future" (Jeremiah 29:11). Hold this verse close, memorize it so when you're giving Tylenol to cool a fever or rushing them to the ER for stitches you can calm yourself, and them, with the promises of a loving Father. He has plans for them.

Maybe there is someone reading this right now and the swine flu is the least of your worries. You are living the unthinkable: your child has a serious disability, illness or life-threatening illness. You may wondering if that verse applies to your child because what's happening right now doesn't seem like "plans to prosper". While I can't imagine your pain and fear, may I suggest this verse does apply. In the midst of your sorrow and your child's struggle, God is there. Your child's earthly future may be uncertain but his eternal one is secure. God has sent His mighty Spirit to be with your child; to comfort, to bring peace, to promise hope.

For those of you live in fear of what "may happen" to your healthy children: let it go. God keeps His promises and He has plans for them. His plans may look different than ours but He is good and He is in control.

God, I confess that I want to control the health of my children yet I know there are some things that are out of my hands. I place ___________ in Your competent hands and rest assured that You have plans for her. Thank You for being a God who keeps Your promises. Thank You for being a God who has sent a Spirit that casts out fear and replaces it with hope. Thank You for loving __________ even more than I do; I bless her with good health and long life so that she may serve You and be a part of building Your kingdom. Amen.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Diss

On Monday I celebrated my 200th blog post. By myself. And I sang that Celine Dion song "All By Myself" really badly and really offkey. And I drank too much wine and drunk dialed an old boyfriend.

You all too busy to give me a little love over here on I work my fingers to the bones to give you stupid crap to read and you go and let my 200th post just go by like its some regular ol' post. And to be clear, it was just some regular ol' post but come on people!

Bestie Kim? You have been with me from the start. Where was the love? Lori DeBacker? This flippin' blog was your idea. You are like my agent and where were you? Oh, finding out what the gender of what your new grandbaby is going to be? Puh-lease. Paula Deen? You know I love and worship you and not even you could bake me a Gooey Butter cake from to commemorate the day? You could have had Jamie and Bobby make it; I would have known it was coming from your heart.

I love cake. Cake makes me happy. Really happy. When I was pregnant with the midgets and had gestational diabetes I couldn't eat sweets and I used to dream about cake every night. Chocolate cake, yellow cake, wedding cake...doesn't matter. Just love cake. I would have loved one of you to make me a cake in the shape of a "200" just like they do for sitcoms when they tape their 200th episode. We could have stood around it and taken pictures and then posted them on here. We would have also posted the recipe for the cake because I'm sure it would have been delicious and everyone would have been asking for it.

To ease my pain I found this cake on the internet and I'll pretend that one of my readers in the South made it for me but just couldn't logistically be here with me to celebrate. And I don't know who in the heck that old guy is but I'm sure he's lovely and well deserving of having his face on my 200th blog post celebration cake.

It doesn't matter how many times Hot Jeff and I have said we're not going to do some awful, terrible parenting thing (like fast food or cheetos) we somehow end up doing it anyway. Our kids have some sort of magical, mysterious power over us. Case in point: since they have both been sick they have been...oh I can't believe I'm going to say this...sleeping with us. Now as you know, Samuel often sneaks in but Little Emily is in a crib so this is all our own fault. We were well intentioned; we wanted to monitor her fever and we wanted to listen to her breathing-- it seemed only natural to put her in our bed with us.

But last night she was just fine. Still a little puny but no fever. So I put her to bed, in her own bed, and said I would see her in the morning. Well a few hours later Samuel had a bad dream and found his way to the "big bed" and then Roo started crying and Jeff and I felt all soft hearted and tender and WEAK and we went and got her.

So there we all were in one bed all snuggly and adorable and Jeff fell asleep within, oh lets be generous and say, 15 seconds and left me to whisper-yell, "Samuel. Emily. Stop wiggling. Samuel. Emily. Be quiet. Samuel. Emily. Go to sleep." And FINALLY Samuel fell asleep and then the snoring duet with his dad started. The loud, harmonious snoring: HUUUUUUUUUUUUMMMPPPPPPPPPHSSSSSSSHHHHHHHHZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ. Back and forth, back and forth between the two Henderson men. I'm certain the Egyptian locust plagues sounded just like what I experienced last night.

Then there was Emily, who when she isn't running a 104 fever was pretty squirmy and still totally impressed with the awe of the big bed and she sits up and then lays down, then sits up and then lays down and... Sleeping with Emily is like sleeping in a dryer. With a log. With a trip wire. And I say trip wire because when the dryer finally shuts off and the log lays in one place it feels like there is a trip wire on her and you're afraid to scratch, or fart, or cough or BREATHE in fear that you'll trip the wire, she'll wake up and the dryer with the log in it will start up again.

The longest night in my life had been reserved for the time Bug and I decided to snow camping. In January. In Montana. We were in college and lacking all good sense. We hiked in to some remote little snowy spot and tied our tent down to trees because the ground was TOO FROZEN to put stakes in. And when the sun went down and we went to bed the longest night of my life, up until last night, took place. I remember waking up shivering, looking at the clock and thinking it had to be almost morning. I looked at my watch: 10:00. 10:00! I had only been asleep for 30 minutes. And that's how the whole night went: me waking up every 30 minutes, thinking it was almost morning but really it was only 30 minutes later than when I had last woke up.

Well last night took over on being the longest night of my life. 12:00. 12:30. 1:00. 1:30. Oh so dreadfully painful it went on. At one point Emily woke up randomly screaming and she didn't want water but was trying to say something that sounded like she wanted water and I hear from Jeff's side of the bed, "What's that? Timmy fell in the well?" It was pretty funny and reminded me we need to keep our senses of humor when our children start taking ganging up on us in our very own bed.

She's in her own bed tonight, as is Samuel, and Jeff and I are prepared to listen to them scream it out. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, we're so mean. Cry me a river; she's not sick anymore.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Hot Jeff's Best Quote EVER

I have started this post over 3 times now because I can't find the perfect way to start it. There is really no "perfect" way to start other than just saying it: in 1989 Hot Jeff was in a Bon Jovi video.

Ok ladies, gather yourselves and come on back.

I don't exactly remember when or how Hot Jeff told me this but I know it had to be a while ago because it took me hours of scouring the internet to find a VHS copy and I spent a small fortune buying it and then having it shipped to me from some unofficial Bon Jovi fan site on the East Coast and now you can find a copy of it in a matter of seconds and pay more to ship it than to buy it. can just see it on YouTube or Singing Fool. Now, just wait...don't get all antsy, I will post the link in a minute. First, you must see this, the still frame:

Um, yes, that is Jeff on the right. And yes, he is shirtless. And yes, he has a mullet.

So the other night we were laying in bed watching "The Office" on Ruby and after it was over we were looking at some funny stuff on YouTube. That's when Hot Jeff pulled up the infamous Bon Jovi video that we hadn't seen in years and years and that's when he said, (you've waited so patiently, just one second it comes...) "How many senior tax auditors do you think there are out there that have been in a Bon Jovi video and made a movie with Kevin Bacon all in the same year?"

And at that very moment all I could do was snort but if I could have uttered words they would have been these, "If being an unrecognizable extra in a bar scene is 'making a movie with Kevin Bacon' then yes, 1989 was a very big year for you".

Here's the link, you sorry sack of groupies you. In the left corner there is a counter, Jeff's "scene" are seconds 35-40; that what's-his-name-Jon pretty much hogs the rest of the video.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Dr. Emerson Eggerichs’ book “Love and Respect” is a well written book filled with practical advice for husband and wives; unfortunately, I found the book to be a little too “clinical” and desperately hard to get in to and get through.

A few positive things about the book is that Dr. Eggerichs does a good job using God’s Word to outline his principles and he gives practical tips on how to provide a woman love and a man respect. As a wife, his bulleted points were very helpful and practical. Applying them to my husband, I found them to be spot on.

Lastly, despite the book being sort of a difficult read for me, I enjoyed the book’s foundation that we ought to love and respect one another because of our love for Christ; not just our love for our spouse or for our desire to have a better marriage. Sometimes in a marriage it can feel as though your spouse “doesn’t deserve” love and/or respect but the author does a good job of showing the reader it isn’t about the spouse so much as it is about honoring Christ.

The best part of this book is the Appendix in the back that gives bulleted questions to ask yourself and things to remember of “what to say, do, or think to practice love and respect in your marriage”. I found this chapter to be the most helpful, practical and stimulating.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Praying for Your Kids Monday
The Flip Side

So I don't know if I've written about this or not but I have a 3 year old living with me. And let me tell you ladies, he's every bit of 3. And I tried donating him to science but science doesn't want him so that leaves me to figure him out and pray him for him. Mostly I spend my days praying he would just leave crazy in the bottle and most days he's dumped crazy all over my kitchen floor long before 7:30 am.

And so since it appears he's not going anywhere anytime soon and won't be 4 until April I've started doing a little something Sensei Jen Roth told me about and that is praying for their "bad" habits. And maybe your kids don't have bad habits and if they don't then you can skip this week and do some canning but on the off chance you have a child that has a bad habit or two then listen up.

Jen suggests taking one of your child's "undesirable" qualities and praying that God will turn it in to a strength. For example, if you have a bossy child, pray that God will take it and transform it into godly leadership; that people will be drawn to your child and he will point them to Christ. Both of my kids are strong willed so I pray that God will take it and transform it in to an unwavering devotion to Him and that they will always be strong in their convictions.

So this week you get to formulate your own prayer but I encourage you to be bold in your asking; God loves to transform hearts. As you pray, remember this verse, "And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ, right up to the time of His return, developing that good work and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you" (Phil 1:6).

Saturday, October 10, 2009

More on the Subject of Laundry

I am really sorry to be so obsessed with laundry these days but I think laundry is trying to kill me. A slow, suffocating, smelly death.

It isn't so much the washing and the drying that I don't like. It is the putting it away that I find so hard. Impossible really. And oh how I love pulling clean items out of appropriate drawers but it just seems so futile and never ending and I've never been good with futile and never ending.

My back-of-the-couch system has served me well for many years and then I got all hoity toity and bought those blasted baskets and instead of putting laundry away quickly and efficiently we're just becoming more annoyed because inevitably what we need is on the bottom. And there is nothing worse than finding a clean pair of undies on the very bottom of the laundry basket and then scraping the back of your hand on the basket all the way down and all the way up because you're trying to not do disturb the folded piles. Has it really come to this?

I have the perfect solution: everyone put their own laundry away. Only problem: my kids are 1 and 3 and Hot Jeff hates putting laundry away almost as much as I do and I can't really nag him about it because I don't like unloading the dishwasher and he always does that job for me. You see my problem here?

It dawned on me the other day that my house would be tidier and I would be happier if I was more organized and had better systems in place. So I need you to give me your best laundry system. And don't tell me to get a laundry sherpa because I already tried that. I called all over Nepal trying to find a laundry sherpa but apparently they are so busy being sherpas they don't really need to market themselves as laundry sherpas. They were also quite put out that I would even try to hire someone to be a laundry sherpa, called me a typical ugly American and hung up on me. Sherpas can be so testy. I didn't think the idea was unreasonable at all. If you're willing to carry my load of crap up a mountain then why not carry my laundry up my stairs? Actually I think the idea is rather genius and I'm thinking of sneaking a bunch of Nepalis over here for the sole purpose of becoming laundry sherpas for lazy housewives like myself. If you're interested shoot me an email and I'll get you on a waiting list.

Well that last idea was just so brilliant I'm going to end on it. And I'm serious about giving me your best ideas for a laundry system. I'm also serious about wearing disposable clothing and just drinking margaritas all day so keep that in mind too.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Long and Overdue Post

This is Cho.

Cho was our 1999 Honda Accord that we sold in August. And now you know why this post is overdue: yes I said August. I just had to blog about Cho though because it would be totally not like me not to blog about Cho. I name my cars so it should come to no surprise to you that I would blog about them.

My very first car's name was Elvis. It was a blue Chevy Spectrum and it rocked my world and the world of all my high school girlfriends who didn't have their own wheels. I got it in high school with settlement money from a car accident in which I was a passenger. Ironically, Elvis died when a car hit me head on because some idiot waved me on from a side road and like a retarded college student that I was, I went and the car traveling in the lane next to him, the car I couldn't see, hit me as I turned into the opposite lane. I know that is hard to follow, especially with all the poorly placed commas, without a diagram but trust me that Elvis was totaled and I got 2 black eyes out of the deal. Best part of the story: I was heading to my boyfriend Eric's house to pick him up to go to a hockey game (there is just so much wrong with that scenario that I'm just going to leave it alone and let you all question me in your comments about why I was picking him up and why for pity's sake were we going to a hockey game?). So anyway, 1 totaled car, 2 black eyes and 3 nights later Erick broke up with me after a NewsBoys concert. Yes, he broke up with me while I had 2 black eyes. And that my friends is how Eric got the name "Eric the Bastard".

My next car was Margarita. A white, hatchback Hyundai that drove me from Montana to Oregon. A few years later she died and I sold her for $60 and bought a VCR with the money. 'Nuff said. Well except for that Jeff and I love to tell the story how we sold a car and bought a VCR with the money.

Next, the turd brown Ford Taurus my Mom gave me as a quasi wedding-you-finally-graduated-from-college present. I named her "Sin Wagon" after that great scene in "Grease" where Sandy says, "You expect to just stay here in this, this...sin wagon?"

At last that brings us to Cho. Cho was the first car Jeff and I bought as a married couple. It was our first "big" purchase. We initially thought we would call him Silver Bullet but then we went to LA for a Beaver game and stayed with our friends Cho and Margaret. Cho is absolutely THE WORST DRIVER ON THE PLANET and drove the LA freeways like he was running from cops. No lie. When we got home, Hot Jeff suggested we name the new Honda after Cho and I was all for it!

And here is why Cho gets a whole blog post devoted to him. Because he was the greatest car to ever be made. Great gas mileage. Ran like a dream. Never needed any work. I really believe I would have driven Cho well into eternity if only he would have had side air bags. You see, not having side air bags + 2 kids in car seats always left Hot Jeff a little uneasy. We had known since Samuel was born we wanted a Pilot. After driving Cho we knew we would never buy anything other than a Honda and the Pilot was an obvious choice. Well, actually the Odyssey van was the obvious choice but in the 10th grade I made a pinky promise with b-f-f Traci that we would never drive mini vans and well you just can't go back on a pinky promise. So again, Pilot = Obvious Choice.

It was the day after we sold Cho to a nice young chap named Travis that I got all nostalgic. I called Jeff at work all crying and said, "Cho was the first car we bought as a married couple. We parked Cho in the garage of the very first house we bought. We brought our babies home from the hospital in Cho. Oh I CAN'T BELIEVE WE SOLD CHO". And Jeff said, "Babe, I'm at work". And I was all, "I know you're at work. Sniff, Sniff, I called you" and then he was like, "No, I'm at work. Can we talk about you crying over a car when I get home or when I go to lunch?" and I was like, "I CAN'T BELIEVE WE SOLD CHO". And again I say, I can't believe that man stays married to me.

A few days later we bought THE Pilot, who you all know as Harriett and who Samuel still really bitterly calls Sally, and pretty soon I found myself saying, "Cho who?"

No, no, I'm just kidding. I'm not that fickle. I will always love Cho. I BROUGHT MY BABIES HOME FROM THE HOSPITAL IN CHO... I will always love Cho but here's to new cars. When Hot Jeff got home from work the evening of the phone call he reminded me that we had all sorts of new memories to make in a new car. What a sweet husband. He was right.

Here's a picture of me with Harriett right before I drove her off the lot. She's a beauty.
We've had her a little over a month now and no one has thrown up in her yet; I figure there's still time.
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Every now and then Samuel sneaks in to bed with us.

Every now and then he brings a balloon.

This is my life people. You can't make this stuff up.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Dear Blog Readers,

I bet you think I don't love you anymore, don't you? Or that my fingers have fallen off. Or that I no longer speak in full sentences. Or that we got our cable back and I haven't been able to turn away from the TV long enough to feed my children let alone write on my blog.

None of the above.

Just busy.

Don't ask me "busy with what?" because I won't be able to tell you. I have no idea where my time goes but I'm thinking it must be the same place where socks go from the dryer. And where calories go when you break a cookie in half.

I will say this about my time: yesterday I spent too many hours cleaning my 3 bathrooms. 3 bathrooms in which I allow, I mean allowed, to let Samuel pee in. 3 year olds with a penis should not be allowed to pee inside. In fact, I don't even know if they should be given any type of liquid that will transform into pee. Perhaps only solids and then if they still have to pee it can only be done outside. What is it about a 3 year old penis that is so hard to control? You hold it, aim, and pee. That easy. Apparently not. Apparently a 3 year old penis is much like a fire hose turned on full blast and it gets a mind of its own and there is just no use even trying to tame it because it is going to put out that fire and any fire within a 3 mile radius.

And the whole time I was cleaning bathrooms I was thinking I should stop cleaning and go blog about cleaning but then I realized if I did that my blog wouldn't so much be for you to read but for me to get out of cleaning bathrooms. So I finished cleaning them and I'm blogging today while the kids nap. And trust me, there are other more productive things I could be doing like putting laundry away but I was afraid you were beginning to think I didn't love you anymore. Or that my fingers had fallen off.

One more thing on laundry. You know I pile laundry up on my couch, right? If not, read this. So the other night I went and bought 2 laundry baskets with the intent of folding the laundry and putting it right in the basket(s) and then bringing them upstairs to put away. Genius plan. Well when Jeff got home there were towels folded on the couch and he commented (in a sweet way, not a patriarchal way) "what about the laundry baskets" and I had to tell him they were both full and sitting at the base of the stairs. Sweet heavens. If you are not rolling your eyes right now you should be. I am rolling mine. I cannot imagine living with me. I really cannot. That man is a saint.

And yes, the laundry is still in the baskets AND on the couch because I had important things to do today like shop for a shirt for Samuel and have lunch with Maryanne. And let you know I still love you and my fingers haven't fallen off. Man I am good to you. What sacrifices I make.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Praying for Your Kids Monday

Spiritual Warfare

I have never been as convinced that the enemy uses our kids to attack us as I have been this week. And sometime when my sweet baby Samuel isn't running a 104 degree temperature for the 4th day straight I will tell you all about it but suffice it to say I had a lot of "ministry type things" going on this last week and one thing I didn't get to attend and the other I wasn't 100% at. The good news: God is bigger than me and "my" ministry is really just Him letting me play and His work was done regardless if I was there or not and to Him be the glory.

Nevertheless, it is true: the enemy is out to destroy us and our kids. Anyone who tells you different isn't paying attention or is trying to put a sugar coating on it. Ephesians 6:12 tells us "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." Ladies, we need to be praying for our kids. We need to be lifting them up daily to our Heavenly Father and we need to be praying for God's mighty protection around them. I can promise you this: God hears your prayers and they release power from heaven.

You serve a living God who is powerful and has already won the battle and if you need a verse to memorize this week make it this one: "You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world" (1 John 4:4).

Elohim, strong and mighty God, You have already won the battle. You are greater than anything in this world and with the blood Your Son shed on the cross You have defeated death and evil. I commit ___________ to You and I pray You would put Your Heavenly angels around her. I pray You would protect her spiritually, emotionally and physically from any evil. I praise You for Your unequalled power. Amen.