Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Its Not You, Its Me

I never, ever, ever, ever thought I would be a blogger who would "take a break". And then yesterday it just happened...I meant to get PYKM up early in the wee hours while the kids were still sleeping but I decided to do one of Bex's tricks and reward myself with blogging after I unloaded the dishwasher. And I felt so good when the dishwasher was unloaded at 7:00am that I decided to do a few other little things around the house. And then the kids got up. And did I mention Hot Jeff took the day off? And I found it was like almost 3:00 BEFORE I EVEN TURNED THE COMPUTER ON and I was simply amazed at how much I had gotten done.

It was like those people who say the computer is a time sucker were right all along.

One thing the Shrink and I talked about last week were rewards. I told her about Bex's genius little concept and she told me she thinks I don't operate very well without structure and being a SAHM is the epitome of no structure. So I bought myself a day planner with the hours built in and I have started scheduling things like time with Jesus, laundry, dishes, exercise, playdates, drinking margaritas at the pool with Shannon, blogging, Facebook, etc. Anything that has to do with the internet is a reward and I am only going to do it if I feel the kids, the house, dinner plans, etc are in a place where I can take a break. Trust me, I'm not becoming some rigid neat-nick or anything (haha, I shutter at the thought) but just trying to add some balance and hygiene.

I AM NOT STOPPING BLOGGING. I WILL STILL BLOG. THIS BLOG IS STILL ALIVE AND WELL. I am however, going to take the rest of this week off. And that surprises me because I have 2 posts waiting in the wings to be posted. They just need to be edited. And one is funny too (my favorite!). Please still come by and read some of the archives--that's what Fan Favorite Christene does. Some of my favorites are here, here, and here.

I do just need to take one week and focus on my home and family and making some healthy choices regarding them and my lifestyle. Check back this week because I may surprise you and me with a post but don't have any expectations until Monday when PYKM resumes. Also, if I post something I'll throw an update on FB so you don't miss it. OR you cold become a follower and never miss a post! Hooie!

Ok, I'll catch you next Monday! In the meantime, enjoy the archives (feel free to leave me a comment of what your favorite posts are) and tell me what your time suckers are and how you avoid them.

Friday, June 25, 2010

FAQ Friday

How did you come up with your kids' names?

Ok, seriously LOVE this question. Next to telling you my birth stories this is a favorite thing to write about and one that I haven't! Thanks for asking!

I'll start with Samuel since he is the oldest. Oh little Samuel Edward...

When Jeff and I started praying for a baby we had no idea our journey would last almost 3 years. By the time I finally got pregnant I didn't care what we had but deep down I wanted a boy. I had always seen myself as a mother of 2 boys and really couldn't imagine mothering girls.

At our 20 week ultrasound when the tech announced it was a boy, I was thrilled and we started discussing names. I had loved the name Samuel forever and felt a connection to the story of Hannah praying for a son.

On the other hand, Jeff's dad's name is Herbert James (called Jim) and I also loved the idea of naming our son Herbert James and calling him Jack, another long time favorite name of mine.

In the end, we just fell in love with the tune of "Samuel Edward". Edward is Jeff's late grandfather's name; Grandpa Ed was Jeff's biggest fan, fishing buddy and the sweetest man you would have ever met. He died in 2003 and naming Samuel after him in 2006 seemed like a tender way to honor the man who would have adored Jeff's son.

Samuel has ended up being the perfect name for our precious boy. In February, I was even more convinced it was the perfect name when God called Samuel in his bedroom late at night. You may remember the spine tingling answer Samuel gave me the day after he asked Jesus in to his heart when I asked him how he knew Jesus didn't already live in his heart, "God told me", he simply stated.

And finally, in most recent months I have gotten really into the genealogy of the Niles side and have found out that "Samuel" is a Niles family name that was given to many of the men in my line and was the middle name of my grandfather's favorite uncle. How perfect and cool is that?

And now for little Roo...

Emily May Irene Henderson joined us in 2008 and we knew from the moment we heard she was a girl what we would name her. I have known since I was an adult that if I had a daughter I would name her after my Grandma Emily. To read more about Gigi, which you should because she is awesome, click on the label "Gigi". You'll be glad you did.

May is a family name: Gigi's mom was Beryl May, Gigi is Emily May, my Mom is Della May and I'm Jennifer May. When I was a kid I didn't like the name, mostly because I was a kid and kids are difficult and one way they are difficult is to gripe about their names. I was pretty typical. Also, there was a boy in my 4th grade class named Jonathan May and the kids would tease me and say I was going to marry Jonathan and my name would be Jennifer May May. Kids are so stupid.

So up until about a month before I delivered Emily we were just going to call her Emily Irene, the Irene being after Jeff's grandma (Ed's wife). One night Jeff and I were feeling her move and groove in my belly and he said that he thought we should name her Emily May Irene so she could be named after me and carry on the May tradition. It seemed so sentimental and sweet to me that I was surprised it hadn't been more obvious to me before. My Mom was ELATED!

Here's a picture of Emily and Emily when Roo was 2 months old and we took her to Montana the first time. I will never forget the look on Gig's face when she met her namesake for the first time at the Montana airport...it was magical.

Now just for fun I will tell you why we call her Roo...

When she was born Samuel was only 22 months old and couldn't say "Emily" so he called her "Emmy"; we all started calling her that and in a sing-songy nick-namey way I called her "Emmy Roo" one day and it sort of stuck. A few days of calling her Emmy Roo and Hot Jeff shortened it to "Roo" and that REALLY stuck. Now, 2 and half years later if you ask her what her name is, 85% of the time she will tell you "Roo". It makes me smile every time. It also makes me smile when I hear Samaria and Caleb Brown call her Roo (I'm not even sure they know her real name) and when my friends call her Roo. There is something really endearing about it; like they know and love her.

How did you come up with your kids' names? Did you call them their names before they were born or did you have a pet name for them before they were born/a part of you family?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

I Got What I Deserved--I Hate It When That Happens

I want you to know I almost took Bex's advice and offered myself the reward of writing this blog post after I put the laundry away. And later this morning I would like to tell you that I will be waiting to apply sunless tanner until after I unload the dishes but that would be a lie. And while I do think Bex's idea has merit, I only read it like 5 minutes ago and so I feel like I need to let it sink in awhile. Like perhaps...all day.

I have a "when and then" saying with my kids. It goes like this, "When you ____________, then you may_____________." For example, "When you finish your dinner, then you may get down from the table". I think this is what Bex is telling me to do. Oh wise Bex...you will make a fabulous mother to Fatty. I can just see her (with her flawless skin, stylish clothing and flowing blond hair), "Jen, when you finish you household chores, then you can blog". Of course I didn't hear a word she was saying because I was wondering where she got those shoes.

Ok, where was I...oh yes, I got what I deserved.

So you may have read on Facebook this weekend (and if you didn't then you should either friend me or stop blocking my posts) that I got a speeding ticket. A ONE HUNDRED AND NINETY DOLLAR SPEEDING TICKET. I think I'm going to start taking lactating vitamins and then pump and sell my breast milk to pay for it but that's neither here nor there. The thing about this ticket is that I deserved it. I was going 78 in a 60. (Lori DeBacker if you tell your husband that I will disown you. And if you don't' know who Lori is...Lori is my dear friend and her husband is my insurance agent. And former boss. But that's another story. That has to do with an evil woman who hated me for no good reason. But that's another story.)

So there I am, minding my own business on I-5 and traveling 78 mph hour in 60 mph zone when all of a sudden I got pulled over! And when he asked me if I had a reason for going 78 in a 60 I sheepishly said, "no". So he went back to his car and ran my plates and license, where he saw I have a clean-clean record for over 7+ years, and I sat in my car and prayed. I prayed fervently, "Oh Lord, please don't let me get a ticket. I'll never, ever speed again. Please, please, please don't let me get a ticket. Please let the officer have mercy and not give me a ticket. Please, please, please".

The officer came back to my window and gave me a ticket. And although I have said I would never be one of those women who cry when they get a ticket, I cried. Like a baby. Big, huge, crocodile tears fell from eyes and down my cheeks as he explained if I went to court on the appointed date the judge would see my record and most likely dismiss the ticket. More tears. And then a really slobbery, snotty, "I'm sorry I'm crying. I promise I'm not trying to manipulate you. I can't believe I'm crying". Oh how I would love to have his recording of that conversation. We could sit around and drink margaritas and laugh at what a buffoon I am.

As I drove off I thought about my earlier prayer and how God didn't answer it. I sort of smiled thinking how silly it was of me to pray to get out of what I really deserved. I broke the law but didn't have any remorse until it was time for me to face the consequence. Oh my though, when faced with the consequence I sure had a contrite heart!

If I'm being honest, I think I do that a lot. With my family, with my friends and especially with God. And here's the quirky thing: almost always I don't get what I deserve. When I'm pissy with my husband and he calls me out I say I'm sorry and we go on with our day. He doesn't get pissy in return. He doesn't read to me from 2 Corinthians about how love is kind. Nope, he just goes on loving me and not keeping a record of wrongs.

And oh my Heavenly Father...oh I haven't gotten what I deserve from Him. Max Lucado writes that if we never receive any other gift from God other than our eternal salvation that is enough for us to never cease praising Him, calling Him 'good' and thanking Him. I don't have the right to ask Him for anything else yet I do (because through the His Spirit and the blood shed of His Son He grants me access to Himself and even desires to hear my prayers). And day after day He pours blessings out on me, provides for me and my family in measurable and immeasurable ways and ever answers my prayers.

So there in my car, driving a smooth 60 mph, I thanked God for the ticket. Yes, I thanked God for the ticket because He could have reminded me to slow down through an awful accident but again, He was kind, gracious, slow to anger, compassionate, etc. etc. I thanked Him for the reminder that His grace isn't cheap and that His blessings aren't to be taken for granted. I thanked Him that, when it came to my heart and my salvation, I didn't get what I deserved.


A big hearty thank you to those of you who commented yesterday. I appreciate the great advice, blended with "don't sweat the small stuff" regarding the house. Jen R., thanks for the encouragement regarding God's work in my heart.

I have great readers!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Verbal Processing

I'm not exactly sure what is going on with me lately but it seems everything I do I only do half way. And it appears my house is a microcosm of my life. Let me paint a picture:

On my night stand, next to my bed which I rarely make, is 5 books. FIVE BOOKS. All of them are started, underlined, being enjoyed but none of them are finished. It is ridiculous.

In my kitchen, everything is clean but there is clutter. There is a pile of mail that needs to be sorted, the kitchen aid mixer is on the counter and just needs to be put underneath in a cupboard, Emily's lunch box is leaning on the back splash and I have seriously no idea how long its been there--it just needs to be put in a cupboard that is 2 feet away but I just keep looking at it and wiping around it.

In my family room the laundry is clean, folded and waiting for me to put it away. We just keep grabbing clean clothes out of the pile and adding freshly washed clothes to it. A whole week its been stacked there on the back of the couch.

In my heart I feel the same way. I sit down in the mornings to spend time with Jesus and the phone rings or the kids need something or I think of something that has to be done right now and my Bible just sits open in my big, red chair waiting to be read.

The kids and I are in a disconnect. They are seriously pushing my buttons; I mean ganging up on me like nobody's business and taking me down. Lately it seems like a game of who can be more disobedient and it is totally my fault because I'm not following through with consistent (consistent, not constant) discipline. Again, just kind of half way. Insert funny story: earlier this week I told Samuel that if he didn't put his markers away I was going to take him down to China town. His reply: "Is China town a real place?"

I'm half way to the weight I want to lose by my birthday and I cannot, to save my life, get back on program. FOR THE LOVE OF EVERYTHING HOLY PUT THE CARBS DOWN.

I know you're thinking it so let me go ahead and tell you: I'm in a good place mentally. My increased dosage of my crazy pills are doing the trick and I feel sane and balanced. With that said, I am having some motivation problems and am not sure if the root lies with my struggle with depression and anxiety or something else. I'll be the first to admit that I'm pretty quick to label things "Due to Depression" but I sense in my heart that this is something more. I sense this is a Me n' Jesus thing--in a good way. In a "hold your horses" way. I'm not trying to imply Jesus is telling me to not to clean out the fridge, although THAT WOULD BE AWESOME IF HE DID, I'm just processing what's going on in my heart and I think it is kind of manifesting itself in my home. Either that or I am getting incredibly lazy with age.

I feel a stirring. Does that make sense? And how ironic is it that the stirring is zapping me of any energy, vision or follow through yet I still think its a stirring? I'm not sure. I'm hoping the wise Jen Roth will read this post and shed some light on it. Good ol' Bex Mann appears to have the perfect Scripture verse for anything and is spiritually strong beyond her years so I'm hoping she'll leave a comment that spurns direction. No pressure ladies.

If all else fails, Shannon got home last night from vacation and she will at a minimum tell me to get off the computer and go get my house picked up. Shannon is a firm believer that house clutter equates mind and heart clutter and I think she may be on to something. If I'm really lucky she will come over with a bottle of something red and sand my dresser.

One final thought, clutter is clutter and its not hurting anything but I know it is not God's intention to work in my heart and while He does so me get lazy with my parenting. I do know that so will you please pray for me that I will have a good discussion with the kids about some ground rules and then have the patience and desire to follow through. Samuel and Emily deserve that and I need to give that to them instead of the short tempered, quick to swat version I've been giving them for the past couple of weeks.

By the way, the 5th book that is on my night stand..."Grace Based Parenting". A wonderful book by Ted Kimmel that changed my view on discipline and how I want my kids' hearts to look at and realized last night I need a refresher. I lost my cool on them after they dumped water out of the bathtub and while Jeff brushed their teeth I went and got it off the bookshelf. I managed to get a few chapters in last night.

Oh Ted Kimmel, can you move in?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Praying For Your Kids Monday
Adonay ~ Lord, Master

I know last week's PYKM was pretty much just me quoting Ann Spangler's book and I'm going to do it again this week! Her stuff is just so good and her stories relating to Scripture are really powerful, more powerful than anything I could come up with on my own in dealing with topics I'm fairly unfamiliar with.

This week's name and prayer is Adonay, which in Hebrew means "Lord", a name that implies relationship: God Is Lord, and we are His servants.

Spangler writes, "As you pray to Adonay, tell Him you want to surrender every aspect of your life to Him. Pray for the grace to become the kind of servant who is quick to do God's will. Knowing Him as your Lord will help you to discover a true sense of purpose".

You are my Lord; I have no good besides You. Psalm 16:2

Later on in the chapter Spangler writes of the story of Nehemiah found in Nehemiah 4:7-8. Nehemiah was helping to rebuild Jerusalem after it had been destroyed by the Babylonians. He used a rally cry to remind a broken and demoralized group of people of who their God was. Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughter, your wives and your homes (Neh. 4:14).

Spangler then writes, "Thousands of years later, we still face forces intent on destroying us--enemies that eat away at our faith, that corrode relationships and that destroy families. Some of us are bone weary from the struggle, about to give up on the spouse who seems distant, the child who has wandered away, the job we hate, or the prayer that has gone so long unanswered. Let the words of Nehemiah sink into the raw places of your heart where disappointment lodges: "Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome." Now is not the time to give up or give in. Remember whose servant you are. Fight in His strength for your children, your marriage, your church. Do whatever it takes for however long it takes, knowing the Lord is with you."

Lord, I pray for _________ and that he will humbly allow You to be his Lord, his Master. I pray that in his submission and servanthood that he will be great and mighty in building Your Kingdom. I pray You would pour Your Spirit out on _________ and that even while he is young he will begin to understand that You are the One who sustains him; that You O God are strong and You O Lord are loving. Amen.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Most Dramatic Rose Ceremony Ever. Really.

Hot Jeff has discovered the ABC summer hit "The Bachelorette". Yes, Hot Jeff is crushin' a little bit on the adorable, nervous laugher, Ali. He's been getting all caught up on the last 4 weeks in bed on Ruby and despite my attempts to ignore it and read through it I have found myself caught up in the drama. I'm also rooting for Roberto--how seriously sweet and adorable is Roberto?

Anyway, after watching 11 men fall all over this blond beauty for 120 minutes I went to bed thinking about how fun it would be to be the Bachelorette. ABC is flying this gal over the world, hooking her up with clothes and she's the object of affection for 25 hot guys. Granted, many of them are certifiably crazy but it is still pretty fun when she walks in to a room and they all stop what they are doing and APPLAUD!

I began to form my own version of the Bachelorette in my mind, one where the bachelorette is me-- 33 years old and has a stretch marked, post baby bod. I'm going to direct a mini episode for you; feel free to comment and add any other Bachelorette staples that I have missed.

Opening Scene
Me silhouetted on a sunlit beach. I'm jogging and stopping every few feet because when I jog I start to pee. My swimsuit is a black one piece from Lane Bryant and skirted to hide my thighs and hips. Off camera the producer is dangling a meatball sandwich so that I'll run towards the camera.

Voice Over from Chris Harrison
"Jennifer Henderson may not be our typical Bachelorette but America has fallen in love with this 33 year old stay at home mother of two. One woman and 25 men who are all at least 10 years her junior will attempt to find love in this season's most dramatic quest for love yet".

First Scene: Cocktail Party
25 20 somethings are all standing around drinking cocktails and slapping high fives. I walk in through the french doors wearing a shimmering, floor length gown and wearing a front pack with a newborn in it. As the men start to applaud the baby wakes up and they all start to "ooh and aw". Despite never wanting anything to do with children prior to this night they know they are on national TV and the more they suck up to me and the baby the further they will go on the show.

Keith, a 27 year old accountant walks up to me and hands me a blended drink and a warmed bottle. "Can I steal you away?" he asks confidently.

As Keith and I walk out to the dimly lit pool area the camera goes to 3 gorgeous 20 somethings sitting on a leather couch. Max, a 22 year old lifeguard says, "She stunning. She's everything I've ever wanted in a woman". Blake, a 28 year old professional soccer player says, "Her hips are so wide...perfect birthing hips". The 3rd gentleman, Scott, a 27 year old college admissions counselor, nods his head in agreement and simply growls and says, "Cougar".

Commerical break for Slim Fast and Skinny Cow desserts.

2nd scene: Keith and I are sitting on bamboo furniture near a heated pool. I'm nursing the baby and he's playing a tender lullaby on a clarinet. When he finishes he takes my hand in his and says, "I know I just met you but I feel this connection to you. I hope I will get a rose tonight; I want to share my life with you and will be suicidal if you let me go tonight".

As Keith is finishing his heartfelt plea for a rose I put my breast away and hand him the baby. Cut to a confessional of Keith with candles behind him, "When she handed me the baby I knew she was putting her trust in me me. She was letting me know that she felt a connection between us...she felt the spark too. She was essentially handing me her heart".

Cut to me in a different confessional with more candles. My lipstick has rubbed off from kissing 25 men on both of their cheeks all night but my hair is perfectly coiffed. I'm wearing one of their suit jackets over my sleeveless gown. I say, "I handed Keith the baby so he could burp it. I don't really feel anything between Keith and I...I don't think he's genuinely in this for me".

As the camera cuts from the confessional and scans the empty heated pool Chris Harrison's voice comes over and says, "Our bachelorette Jennifer has had a chance to meet our 25 handsome bachelors. Who will she send home to their mothers and who will she give a rose to. Find out next in our most dramatic rose ceremony ever."

Next commercial. More Slim Fast ads and a few diapers and Disney Land ads mixed in.

Scene 3: The Rose Ceremony
I'm standing holding the final rose. I'm biting my lip and twirling it in my fingers. A toddler is clinging to my leg. The camera spans the 25 men standing in 2 rows. 14 of them have roses pinned to their lapels. The camera gives a close up of Keith, who is still holding the baby, and Jack, a 22 year old radio dj, who is wearing a t-shirt under his suit that says "Spank Me".

"Jack." I say with a bittersweet smile. Jack walks forward, "Jack, will you accept this rose?" "You know it" he replies with a wink.

Chris walks in and stands next to me. "Gentlemen, if you did not receive a rose tonight please come say your goodbyes".

Keith walks towards me with tears running down his cheeks and he's holding the baby towards me. "I thought we had something and Junior and I really connected. I wanted to play catch with your kids and take all inclusive vacations with you".

I smile and kiss him on the cheek.

As Keith walks away a large noise is heard off camera and Hot Jeff storms through the doors. "What the hell are all of you doing in my house? Jen, why are the kids still up? The city called me at the office because the neighbors are complaining about the 6 limos lining the street. Dammit Jen, somebody better tell me what's going on here".

The screen goes black and then to a picture of me hugging a dark haired man. There are sirens in the background and police lights flashing in the distance. I have a blanket wrapped around me and I'm crying. Chris Harrison's voice comes over scenes of me kissing different men on different beaches and on top of sky scrapers and in helicopters, "In our most dramatic season in over 9 years Jennifer seeks to find love. Will it be with one of our handsome bachelors or will her husband win her back?" Cut to a scene of me dressed in a ball gown in a gazebo. "All this season on The Bachelorette".

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Go Ahead and Take It Personal

Hi. I'm Jennifer and I'm an awfulizer.

Hi Jennifer.

If I have a stomach ache I assume its cancer and start thinking about who I want to speak at my funeral. If one of my kids complains they have a leg ache I think they have muscular dystrophy and I start planning my life around the Jerry Lewis telethon over Labor Day weekend. When I was pregnant with Samuel, but didn't know it yet, and was throwing up all the time and feeling terrible in the mornings I thought I had become diabetic.

I'm an awfulizer.

So a few nights ago when I read a friend's status update about getting lasik surgery I went to bed wondering if I should get lasik surgery. Of course I came to the conclusion that I should not get lasik surgery because most definitely something would go wrong and I would be blind and Jeff would have to be my full time caretaker and would hate being my full time caretaker and leave me for Ali, the new Bachelorette and I would be a blind old maid whose children are in love with fairy tale characters.

But then my little awfulizer, over-anxious brain began to think about all the possibilities out there that I could lose my contacts or have my glasses broken. Or worse: BOTH! And even though I'm not an end-of-the-world-go-buy-a-bunker-and-100-pounds-of-rice type of girl I began to imagine being in the End Times and on the brink of having my face melted off because I'm a Christ follower and not being able to see because I had lost my contacts or my glasses had broken. And trust me, there is just nothing worse than being as blind as me and not having my contacts or glasses. It is one of the things that get me the most anxious and worked up at any given time.

For example, when going in to surgery a few weeks ago I was neurotic about telling the nurses to have my glasses near by or to put them on me so I could see as I came to in recovery because without them I would never be able to orient. On many occasions I have told Jeff that if I am ever incapacitated and can't speak or move it his sole job to make sure I have my glasses.

Yep, I told you a was a little neurotic.

So...here I am in bed a few nights ago literally breaking in to a sweat thinking about not being able to see should Armageddon befall me. How would I care for my kids? How would I distinguish safety. On and on I went until I finally sat up, turned on the light and said to myself, "You are a lunatic. Go to sleep."

The next morning I got up and made myself a cup of coffee and sat down in my favorite, overstuffed red chair to spend some time with Jesus and read in His Word. I was reading through Isaiah and enjoying the quietness of the house and words before me. I was about to finish up when I flipped back through a couple chapters and randomly started reading in chapter 35. I sat astonished and in awe as I read these words,

Say to those with fearful hearts, "Be strong, do not fear. Your God will come, He will come with vengeance, with divine retribution He will come to save you. Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped". Isaiah 35: 4-5

The Creator of the Universe, the One who was in charge of making sure the sun rose that very morning was meeting me in my living room and letting me know He saw me and was bigger than my fears. He will come to save you. I don't need to fear not being able to see should the end of the world be upon me; the One who has already won the victory will come for me and open my blind eyes.

God could have very easily left me a note that morning that said, "Try leaving crazy in the bottle and perhaps you should bump your meds up to 60mg". I don't think He would have, but He could have. But instead, He sends me this little love note in the form of some random passage written a gajillion years ago by a smelly old prophet to let me know He loves me, He will not abandon me and He sees me. He is El Roi.

When I told my friend Cary the story later that day her voice cracked with tears as she said, "Oh, He is so personal". I hadn't thought of it like that and I absolutely loved that--yes, He is so personal and spoke to my heart and mind exactly in the way that I needed that very morning.

I went ahead and took it personal.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

And the Best Bestie Is...

Last week, as part being-funny on Facebook and part begging-serious I posted as my status update that the title of Best Bestie was up for grabs to the first person who brought me a Diet Coke.

About one hour later my doorbell rang and who was at my door but my friend Janet AND she was holding 2 Diet Cokes! Now not only was Janet holding 2 Diet Cokes she was in her fire fighter uniform and DRIVING A FIRE TRUCK!

Janet gave the kids stickers and trading cards and let them check out the truck. The only thing that could have made the visit any better was if Janet could have stayed and had a DC with me. Alas, she had to go check hydrants in my neighborhood so she dropped and ran (after posing for pictures).
Seriously, how stinking great is Janet? You are all pretty jealous, aren't you?
So without further adieu... I hereby name Janet as Best Bestie. She will furthermore be known as Best Bestie and enjoy all rights and privileges due to that title.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Praying For Your Kids Monday


This week's name of God is jammed packed with information; way too much information for me to provide in one blog post. I really encourage you to buy Ann Spangler's book, if for only for these 14 pages. She goes in to such amazing detail about this name and reading it this morning (after I found my book, of course) I was struck with how complex our God is. We simply cannot fathom with our human minds and hearts His character, His complexity and His awesomeness. This chapter is amazing.

Spangler writes, "The name Yahweh occurs more than 6800 times in the Old Testament. Yahweh is the name that is most closely linked to God's redeeming acts in the history of His chosen people. We know God because of what He has done. When you pray to Yahweh, remember that He is the same God who draws near to save you from the tyranny of sin just as He saved His people from tyrannical slavery in Egypt."

God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you.'"

God also said to Moses, "Say to the Israelites, 'The LORD [Yahweh], the God of your fathers--the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob--has sent me to you.' This is my name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation." Exodus 3:14-15

Again, in referring to this passage, Spangler writes, "The mysterious self-description in Exodus 3:14, "I AM WHO I AM," may convey the sense that not only God is self-existent but that He is always present with His people. Yahweh is not a God who is remote or all of the One who is always near, intervening in history on behalf of His people. The knowledge of God's proper name implies a covenant relationship. God's covenant name is closely associated with His saving acts in Exodus. The name Yahweh evokes images of God's saving power in the lives of His people."

Read Psalm 103:1-13...where LORD is written you can insert Yahweh and sing this praise to the God who fights for you, who fights for your children. To the God whose name forever means deliverance, freedom, promise and power.

Yahweh, I bow before You for the deliverance and redemption You have brought in my life. You continually part seas in my life and in my heart and bring victory over darkness. I pray for _________ today and I pray You will forgive her sin, heal her disease, redeem her life from the pit. I pray You will crown her with love and compassion and satisfy her desires with good things. Yahweh, You are compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love; thank you for blessing _________ and not treating her as her sins deserve. Your love is great for those who fear You. Amen.
Praying For Your Kids Monday
Slight Delay

You see, that's the problem with being me...I can't find my book. The book which I've been referencing for this series. And part of the reason why I can't find my book is because I haven't used it since last week when I wrote PYKM when I was in Montana. I'm almost certain I packed it because I have a vague recollection of actually placing it in my suitcase...

But herein lies the problem, when I went to the suitcase to find it tonight it wasn't there. And yes, you read that right. When I went to the suitcase to find it tonight it wasn't there. You have found me out. I have been home for 6 days and haven't unpacked. Yes, my suitcase and the kids' suitcase is on the floor of my bedroom and I have just been pulling clothing out of it all week long (as I did up all the laundry before I left my Mom's).

And here's another little secret: I have been known to leave a suitcase on the floor until I have another trip.

Wow, I can't believe I just told the whole wide Internet that.

So anyway, where was I? Oh yes, I can't find my book and will look all over for it tomorrow and try to get a fresh, piping hot and wonderfully thought-provoking PYKM up by noon! And maybe I'll even get that suitcase unpacked while I'm looking for it. Now wouldn't that be productive of me. Also, incredibly out of character so I doubt it.

Besides, I'm going to Seattle in 2 weeks and will need that bag and there's really no sense in putting it in the closet when I'm just going to be using it again in 14 days. Right?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Head Ogre Heels In Love

We were a little on the fence about letting the kids watch the movie Shrek. It has a lot of adult humor in it but after some discussion we decided we would let them watch it as the adult humor is over their heads, it has a sweet message about beauty and they would love the 'story' of it. FYI, because we don't have a TV and don't eat fast food we didn't even know Shrek 4 was coming out but have since discovered that little tidbit out and it has helped add to the madness I'm about to describe.

Samuel, bless his heart, is me but 29 years younger and blond. He looks like me, he acts like me, he wakes up like me, he freaks out like me...He's me. He's more introverted than I would ever dream of being (he gets that from Hot Jeff) but all in all--he's me. So it comes to no surprise to me that when Samuel gets in to something he GETS INTO SOMETHING. Like full-throttle-ain't-nothing-stopping-me-now-I'm-buying -everything-in-sight-with-that-on-it. You know his Lightning McQueen phase has lasted over a full year and 2 birthday parties. He's got EVERY Cars car imaginable, a Cars bed, a Cars scooter, a Cars bike, Cars clothes, Cars, Cars, Cars. Up until a few weeks ago Samuel ate, breathed and slept Lightning McQueen...but that all changed when he watched Shrek.

We don't just watch a movie once around this place. We watch it until we have every single line memorized so about 3 days after introducing Shrek to the kids we had watched it about 177 times. That night while I was making dinner Samuel said coyly to me, "Mama, I think I need something soft to sleep with". I began to list the names of the stuffed, soft items in his bed when he quickly stopped me and said, "No Mama, I'm thinking something soft...like Fiona doll".

A Fiona doll? Like the Princess in the movie? The girl? The one with the breasts and wearing a dress? Back. The. Truck. Up. What did you say?

"But not the first Fiona" he corrected, "the second Fiona; the one at the end". "The ogre?" I questioned. Samuel nodded, love filling his eyes.

Not knowing that if I went to any toy store in America I would be barraged with Shrek toys I explained that Shrek was an old movie and I didn't think we could buy Shrek toys anymore. I suggested we find a picture of her online and print it out...big hit. Huge hit. Ginormous hit.

Here she is...

Hot Jeff "laminated" her with contact paper which turned out to be the best idea HE HAS EVER HAD because, no lie, Samuel carries her with him everywhere. I am not kidding you, he doesn't go anywhere without her. I knew there was something obsessive compulsive and creepy sweet about it when I went to tuck him in that night and she was lying next to him in his bed. When he said his prayers that night he thanked God for her.

Oh, it gets better. That weekend Hot Jeff camped in the living room with the kids and he overheard Samuel say to Fiona, "I love you. Goodnight." Jeff whispered to him, "Samuel, what does Shrek think about you loving Fiona so much?" "Don't say that name to me, Dad" Samuel barked.

When Samuel takes a bath at night he props Fiona up on the counter and tells us, "She likes to watch me take a bath".

Have you pee'd your pants laughing yet? Ordered a psych eval on my kid yet? Well here ya' go...while in Montana last week Samuel took his church shoes to Jeff and asked if he would help put them on. Jeff inquired why and Samuel told him it was because he and Fiona were getting married and these were his 'wedding shoes'. He walked around with her all night telling everyone who would listen that he had "married his darling". No kidding.

The next morning he announced to me that he and Fiona had a baby (I can only assume they got married because she was pregnant) and I texted Kara the news, "A mother-in-law and a grandmother all within 18 hours". "Congratulations" she texted back.

Since we were on vacation I got a lot of pictures and wouldn't you know that Fiona is in all of them. Well, why wouldn't she be? She is Samuel's darling after all.

Samuel and Fiona on the Montana/Wyoming border.

Emily, Nana, Samuel and...Fiona

Posing naked at Nana's with their silly glasses and...Fiona.

This afternoon I had a quick follow up with the surgeon who had done my stent and I took the kids as I knew it would be in and out. I made Samuel leave Fiona in the car because it was pouring and I was afraid she would get wet and I would have to deal with a devastated Samuel while at the hospital. We ended up waiting for 55 minutes to see the surgeon because he had "an emergency come up" and when we returned to the car I heard Samuel say to Fiona in an exasperated voice, "Fiona, I am so sorry that took so long. I hope you didn't miss me too much."

I found a Fiona ogre plush doll on ebay and I think I'm going to get it for him. He will go absolutely bonkers over it; all the crazy he has left in his bottle he will just dump all over the floor and roll in it. It should be awesome. I'll try and roll some video for you.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Damsel in Distress

With another rainy Oregon day on our hands we declared yesterday a pajama day.

We brought the rocket ship (the box Ella was shipped in) downstairs from the playroom and Samuel and Emily flew to the moon, played hide and seek and saved the princess over and over from the dangerous, fire breathing dragon who apparently resides in our hall closet.

While unloading the dishwasher I heard them marching around the family room, foam swords in hand. I heard Samuel direct his sister, "We must save the Princess. She's going to be eaten. Hurry, we must find her". They marched in to the kitchen where I was bent over my most favorite of all household appliances. Samuel shouted excitedly, "There's the Princess. She's unloading the dishwasher. Saaaaaave her!"

Yes, please save me from the dreaded duty of unloading the dishwasher and vacuuming and cleaning toilets and folding laundry... and for crying out loud someone get me a tiara!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wash With Like Colors and Tumble Dry Low (A Precautionary Tail)

Typically I don't blog at 8:30 in the morning. Usually I blog at night after Samily have gone to bed and while Hot Jeff reads the paper and I just schedule it to post the next morning while you are sleeping soundly. Bestie Kim likes to read it with her morning coffee so I try to please her by having fresh stuff up in the am. Today though, my home is in post-vacation tornado status and I'm trying to do anything and everything instead of cleaning it. I'm pretty sure the disaster known as post-vacation is covered under my homeowners insurance.

I also needed to get another post up because seriously, how lame was yesterday's post? I'm not even sure telling you about how good it felt to sleep in my own bed counts as a real post. You can stop throwing tomatoes at me...I have a good post for you today. The suggestion comes from Eric the Bastard who I don't think is a bastard anymore. Thanks to our mutual friend, Green-Bean Stir Fry Rachel, we are now Facebook friends and it appears he has stopped breaking up with girls who have black eyes, and breaking up with girls who have black eyes is the sole reason he was a bastard.

Eric the not-a-bastard-anymore read the post about me killing my neighbor's cat and sent me a note on Facebook reminding me of the time my cat Macy got locked in the dryer. Yes, I said dryer. As in the large household appliance used to remove moisture from a load of clothing. Just making sure we're on the same page.

It was the summer between my sophomore and junior year of college and I was still living at home at my Mom's house in Park City. We had some company coming from out of town the following day. Having sworn off summer classes, I was home washing bedding for the guest bedroom. The bedspread on the guest bed was a charming quilt my Mom had sewn; it was thick and cozy and a favorite place for my cat, Macy, to lay. To be ready for company I decided to wash it and hang it out on the line to dry.

Only minutes after I hung the freshly washed, wet quilt out on the line it started to rain. I darted out the back door and rescued the rung out quilt from becoming dripping with the Montana summer shower.

I had just put the quilt in the dryer when the phone rang. Leaving the dryer door open I ran to answer the phone. It was Eric the not-a-bastard-yet calling to confirm our dinner plans for that evening. With the cordless phone I went back to the laundry room and without thought or hesitation, finished shoving the quilt in and shut the dryer door. I turned it on for 70 minutes and turned the setting to "Cotton/Sturdy". I turned out the light and shut the door before sitting and gabbing on the phone.

About 5 minutes in to the conversation I said to Eric, "I hear something. I hear a weird thumping". I sat quietly, listening closer. Me-ooow. Thump. Me-ooow. Thump. Me-oow. Thump. Like a bolt of lightning it hit me what had happened, I shouted in to the phone, "oooooooh nooooooo" and dropped it, sprinting to the laundry room. I flung open the dryer door and madly dug into the quilt. I felt damp fur and gently pulled the limp cat from the inside of the heavy, still sodden quilt. Macy weakly cried as I patted her head.

This would be a good time for Eric to comment and let us know if I hung up the phone or if he had to just sit and listen to me sob and pray that I hadn't killed my cat. I don't remember. I just remember the feel of her clammy fur and how her tongue hung droopily out of her panting mouth.

I rushed outside to the patio in an attempt to cool her down. The rain was softly falling and it was cool for a June day. I sat out there, holding her and crying for 10 minutes or so when I decided to come in and call the veterinarian.

The vet had me do a few home-tests to test Macy's vision and hearing and since she was standing and her tongue wasn't hanging out anymore he concluded she didn't need to be seen. She was walking like it was her 21st birthday but overall she seemed to be coming out of it ok.

I went on to have pizza at Eric's house that night and Macy went on to live another 4 or 5 years, much to mother's chagrin. When she died years after the unpleasant event I had Mom bury her in a Maytag box with a fabric sheet.

This is why I don't blog while the kids are awake...Samuel just cut Emily's hair.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I can't think of a thing to write about. Not one single thing.

We are home from Montana and I feel all lazy and sloth-like. The kids are in bed and I just want to curl up next to Hot Jeff and read a book and enjoy the feeling of my own bed, my soft sheets and my fat cat lying next to me. Oh, the sweet pleasures of being home.

The kids were amazing on the ride home. It took us just under 16 hours to get home which is so much better than the 18 it took to get out there. We stopped so many times on the way there because of my dysfuntional kidneys and stented bladder. My husband is a saint and didn't make me pee in the container I had brought along even once. He never rolled his eyes when I said I needed to stop and he even encouraged me to drink lots of water as it would aide in my recovery. I adore that man and his endless patience and kindness.

Today was a great day of unwinding, getting the house back in order and catching up on emails and grocery shopping. Now that I'm home I'm hoping my brain will move from not blogging to blogging and once again I will lie awake writing posts in my head and arguing with myself about what to write about next.

I may have to use a prompt tomorrow...I'm just warning you. I saved all the ones from last time I was in a funk so I'm armed!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Praying for Your Kids Monday
Yahweh Yireh ~ The Lord Will Provide

(yah-WEH yir-EH)

Ann Spangler writes of Yahweh Yireh, "The Hebrew raah (RA-ah, from which yireh is derived) means "to see". In this case [Genesis 22:13-14], it is translated as "provide". Since God sees the future as well as the past and present, He is able to anticipate and provide for what is needed. When you pray to Yahweh Yireh, you are praying to the God who sees the situation beforehand and is able to provide for your needs".

God first revealed this name to Abraham in Genesis when He provided a ran for Abraham to sacrifice after Abraham had not withheld anything, even his own son, from God.

I remember reading this story after becoming a mother. I heard the story hundreds of times before but my mother's heart came in to play while reading it this time. I imagined Abraham's heart as he headed up the mountain to sacrifice his only son as God had asked of him. Had he told Sarah? Did she know that this was no ordinary trip and that her son would not be returning with his father? I simply cannot fathom how Abraham, and possibly Sarah, felt as God called them to sacrifice their only son, the child they had prayed and prayed for.

In Spangler's book she asks the reader to put themselves in the place of God in this story, to imagine how happy it must have made Him to provide the ram so that Abraham wouldn't have to sacrifice his son. I imagine that as pleased as He was with Abraham's obedience His heart ached looking in to the future and knowing that one day He would provide His own Son as the ransom for the whole world.

God's grace is never cheap. Through the blood of His only Son He has provided for every spiritual, material and emotional need we, or our children, will ever need. May we never take His ultimate sacrifice for granted, may our children always know His redemption was bought with a price and long to obey Him without compromise.

Yahweh Yireh, thank You for seeing my children and their circumstances long before they ever will and long before they can understand. Yahweh Yireh, You long to bless __________ for his obedience to You. I pray You will pour Your Spirit out on him and he will never forget that Your grace isn't cheap. I pray You will help __________ to obey without hesitation and without compromise. Amen.

Friday, June 4, 2010

I Found My Password

Ok, so I didn't really lose my password...I'm just a total slacker.

And since today is FAQ Friday I'll make up a question that suits what I want to write about...

How's your vacation going?

Oh, thanks for asking. My vacation is going wonderful. I didn't realize how much I needed it.

I have this misconception that vacation equates big trip with daily activities that typically include a Disney character. As I've reflected these last few days I realize I have had this misconception and while a busy vacation is a wonderful get-away its typically not all that relaxing. This Montana trip has been SO relaxing.

More times than not, when we come out here Jeff has stayed home. Not because he hates my Mom or Montana but rather because we are coming for 2-3 weeks and he just doesn't have that kind of vacation time to just blow on one trip. So, Hot Jeff is out here with me (spreading his hotness to the friendly folks of the Big Sky Country) and so I don't have that pull of loving being here but really missing my husband. 2 words: huge release.

Another thing is I really underestimated how much recovery I would actually need after my little kidney stone incident. I've been surprised at some of the residual pain/discomfort I've had and how I have needed to take a pain pill or two and watch a movie on Mom's couch. Its been so nice to have the freedom to do that.

Lastly, as I shared very briefly and flippantly a few posts ago, my Shrink increased my depression/anxiety meds from 20mg to 40mg. As you may or may not know, any change in that kind of medicine typically takes 3-4 weeks for the effects to be felt. This week in Montana has been the 4th week and its has been astounding to me to see the change those extra 20mg have made in my heart and head.

Its interesting to me that God allowed my physical and emotional needs to culminate and come to a head simultaneously. During my time on the couch or sleeping in late I've reflected and in turn praised and thanked God for giving me this week of relaxation which has brought my body and heart restoration. I truly feel like "my old self' again and I know the Lord has used the power of medicine and science to bring healing from head to toe.

In the last few weeks of emotional struggle I have felt the El Roi (the God who sees me) so close to me. Not necessarily speaking in a booming voice and giving me "aha" moments every morning but more a of a quiet arm around my shoulders loving me and comforting me. I've felt His Presence reminding me that we all have seasons of silence and struggle, and in my case, even when all circumstances are going perfect and we don't even have a "reason" for sadness or strife. Sometimes the internal strife needs just as much attention as the external.

So that's my last week of internet quiet in a nutshell. Thanks for being patient. Thanks for your funny comments. Thanks for reading my rambling thoughts day after day. Thanks for loving me through this online journal. I take full responsibility for your poor kids who most definitely haven't been prayed for all week long--poor babies.