Some kids want ponies…

We’re driving down the road in the (smokin’ hot) minivan when we pass it.  As we drive by, Sloan’s head whips around so far and so fast that I wonder briefly if he might be part owl given his ability to crane his neck to ungodly angles.

“Oh. my. gosh.  Mom.  Did you just see that?  Did you seeeeeee that?!  Wow!” he exclaims (and when I say exclaims I mean screeches to the point that my ears start to bleed).  He’s now all but sitting on his knees staring out the back window.

“What?” I ask.

“That yellow car.  Did you see it?”

I rack my brain.  I vaguely remember us just passing a yellow sports car.  “Yeah, I saw it,” I said.  “What about it?”

“I saw a Transformer head peek out the top.  It looked right at me!”

“Oh really?” I ask, highly amused.

“Mom – it was Bumblebee!  It really was mom.  I saw his head stick up out of the front of the car and he looked at me.  That was totally Bumblebee.  Totally Awesooooome.”

Upon arriving home, he sat in front of his bedroom window for a solid thiry minutes, “just in case Bumblebee comes to our house.”  And for days afterward, he reminded us that somewhere in the greater St. Louis area, a real life Bumblebee was on the loose.  “I wonder if Optimus Prime and Star Scream are in our city too?” he asked on more than one occasion.

A few days after the momentous Transformer sighting, Sloan came tearing into our bedroom where I was folding clothes laying down for a few minutes.  He had the phone in his hand and wanted to call his dad, who was out shopping for a new car. 

“Mom, can I puh-leeze call daddy and tell him to buy that yellow car we saw the other day.”

“Honey, I don’t think daddy is looking for a little yellow car – he needs a bigger car.”

“Aaawww…I really want him to bring that car home.  That way I could have my very own for real Transformer.”  And with his head hanging low, he moped out of the room.

Some kids want their parents to buy them ponies…mine – he wants an honest to God Transformer – and we won’t give it to him.

We’re so mean.

The Minivan Mom Runs

I ran track in high school.  I don’t really know why.  I wasn’t that good at it and running has never been my favorite thing.  I enjoyed the comraderie and I was a sprinter so the running I had to do was in short bursts – much better for a girl who’s brain starts cussing her out once she hits the half mile mark.

I also enjoyed the boys. Mmmm…the boys.   Come to think of it, it may have been the boys that kept me coming back each year for another season.  I enjoyed running as long as I could exercise my flirting skills.

Ahem.

Actually, I started my track career as a high jumper, something that I had at least a little natural talent in, but had to quit when I developed a stress fracture in my back.  But rather than quit altogether, I decided I would just become a runner.  Only I quickly discovered I wasn’t exactly a runner.

I’ve always longed to be able to say I’m a runner, though.  When Lee and I were first married, we met a crazy older couple who told us that running was a great way to strengthen a young marriage.  They were training for their second marathon together and convinced us to train for a half marathon.

So, in our love struck foolishness, we agreed and began running.  And we quickly learned that trying to train for a race together would likely be the demise of our marriage.  We’re both highly competitive, but one of us is naturally a better athlete than the other.

I’ll give you one guess as to which one it is.

My husband is a super freak when it comes to athletics.  He’s all, “I hate to run.  It’s so hard and boring.”  Then he pops out and run 5 miles in 40 minutes while barely breaking a sweat.  And quite frankly, it infuriates me.  The only plus was that since I was stuck running behind him most of the time, I got to stare at his backside while he ran.  Bonus for me…but still annoying.

So Lee dropped out of the training after a couple of weeks and decided he didn’t need or want to run a half marathon.  I, however, stuck with and got up to 8 miles when I hurt my foot, had to take a break and never started up again. 

Fast forward seven years.  I was once again duped by a friend into running a marathon relay.  My friend convinced me that it would be easy.  Four of us would divide a marathon and would accomplish the race that way.  “You can have the last leg,” she said.  “It’s the easiest.”

L to the I to the A to the R!  The final 6.3 miles was all up hill.  I nearly died, folks.  Did you hear me?  I NEARLY DIED!

One week later I found out I was pregnant (surprise!) with Landon.  And when complications with the pregnancy arose, I stopped running…and never started up again.

Fast forward to today.  I have lost all the baby weight from three children.  Go me!  But there’s one problem.  Areas of my body are soft and squishy where once they were much firmer.  Not cool

Combine the squishiness with the fact that my husband has decided he is going to run a half marathon in April and is already up to running 3.5 miles after only a couple weeks of training and I’m chomping at the bit to dive back in.

I may hate running, but I’m not one to sit around and let my husband show me up.  Competition – it’s what killed the cat.  You thought it was curiosity, didn’t you? 

So, I started running again this week.  I did a mile on Monday (I was heaving with embarrassing aplomb) and today the goal is to do a mile again – just a little faster.

And so, here I go.  I will be chronicling my adventures in running here in an attempt to spur myself on and to find comic relief in what I believe to be the very un-funny process of running.  This has the potential to go one of two ways – I fall madly in love with running and experience the “runner’s high,” (not likely) or I fall flat on my face (figuratively…and maybe liturally) and learn once and for all that running is not for me.

Because the temps are significantly below freezing right now and the only thing that sounds worse to me than running is frostbite, I will have to do the dreaded exercise on a treadmill for awhile.  Awesome.  Now I get to have an audience as I galump along. 

When it warms up, I will hit the road.  Now if I could just find some cute boys to surround me while I run, that would help…

This is why daddy is so much fun

Nearly every evening, our home is filled with delighted shreeks, hysterical giggles and the occasional tears – and all of it is caused by the man that our kids call “Daddy.”

He’s a good daddy.  He knows how to love his kids.  Even if he’s exhausted, if they come to him with big eyes and ask him to wrestle, he will almost always say yes.  Particularly if Tia blinks her huge blue eyes in his direction.  Usually I have to scrape his heart off the floor so he can answer her.

The wrestling is loud, it’s crazy and it’s rough.  He doesn’t hold back – not even with the girl.  And when she cries, he reminds her that if she wants to play she has to buck up and be tough.  And she will take a deep breath, brush the tears off her face and dive back in.

And it’s not only wrestling – there’s also tickling, some hide and seek and a good deal of chasing.  In short, it’s good, good fun.  I leave you with evidence.

What about you guys?  How do your kids have fun with their daddies?

One more week

For one more week, I get to tell people that I have a six year old, a three year old and a two year old.  Then it changes when this girl turns four:

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For a couple of months now we have been threatening to make her stay in bed all day long on Feburary 2, telling her that we were going to make her stay three forever.

Then we realized she didn’t get the joke and she was genuinely concerned that we  weren’t going to let her turn four.  This was proving to be devastating because, you see, for Tia four is a stepping stone.  It’s a stepping stone to five and when she is FIVE, my friends, the world will be her oyster.

Because at FIVE she gets to climb the rock wall at the gym.  She’s going to be sorely disappointed the day after her birthday when I tell her she’s got 364 more days before that momentous event.

For now, though, I get to say she’s three.  My adorable, sweet, fun little three year old.

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Incidentally, it still freaks me out when I’m recording birthdates and I have to write down that I had a baby in 2006 AND 2007.  What were we thinking?!

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Just one more week…

 

*all photos were taken by this awesome gal, who also happens to be my sister-in-law. 

My view from here

The kids are with my mom this afternoon. I have a small chunk of time in which to be productive but I don’t know where to start. So I’m writing a blog post. And I’m convincing myself that it’s necessary – that it’s work. Because that’s how I roll. Some people, when they get overwhelmed, get hyperfocused…but me? I get flustered.

 This is me, flustered. 

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If you’ll notice Tia’s coat is stratigically placed to cover the dishes in the sink, which it seems pointless to have done since I just told you the dishes are piled in the sink.

*sigh*

Yesterday, as I surveyed my disaster of a home (a home that had, incidentally, been spotless just days before) I felt entirely overwhelmed.  So I sent out an SOS on Facebook.  Because that only seemed natural.

The responses I got ranged from funny (cry publicly until someone decides to help you out, drink heavily and let little magical elves come in and do the work) to poignant (hang in there because time flies and pretty soon you’ll be old, the house will be empty…and it will still be a mess.)

But one response really struck me.  It’s nothing ground breaking – I’ve heard this before and I do know it, but my friend Tina’s word were so sincere and true that I wanted to share them with you.  She said:

“Although we spend most of our time like a pet mouse running round and round on a wheel never seeming to get anywhere, I have seen the fruit of seasoned mothers with older children, reared with responsibility in the love of Jesus. It gives me hope that I will reap much fruit for my labor – it is just not quite harvest time.”

Isn’t that a great word?

Yes, my house is a mess and it will always be a mess.  Yes, there are drawers and cabinets that are literally bursting they are so full.  They practically scream at me to unload and organize them each time I pass, and yet they also remind me that they hold the treasured possessions of my treasured possessions.  And right now my work is to pour into those three tiny lives.

Yes, I can better manage my time so that I can get a few things done at a time (something that goes almost completely against my personality, I should add.  I like to knock it all out at once, not do a little bit.  It’s sort of an all or nothing approach that’s not all that condusive to managing a home with small children…I’m working on it.)  But really, in the end, will it matter if my house is immaculate?  Do I really want to sacrifice the quiet moments when I am pouring into their hearts and ministering to their spirits just so the laundry can be properly put away?

No, I don’t.  And I don’t say that just because I hate putting away laundry.  Well…maybe I do.

Today, I choose to put aside the gloom and flustered-idity (mm-hmm, that’s exactly what I said) of my circumstances. Today I choose to rejoice in the few moments of solitude and go about my work joyfully, despite the fact that there is more than I could ever hope to accomplish.  Today I choose to enjoy the moment and not wish it away.

And I encourage you to do the same.

(Although, if I’m being honest, I have to say that I’m kinda holding out hope that magical elves do appear in my house armed with Comet and a toilet bowl brush…but that’ll probably never happen.)

Now, I’m off to accomplish the one things that I can do in my short amount of time and it really is something I must do.  I’m going to take a shower.

And empty the dishwasher.

Yay me!

In which I get all political again

I know, I know…politics-ugh.

But it’s worth noting that I am extremely proud of Massachusetts for their historical election yesterday.  That was an election that affected our entire country and I know I am joined by many when I breathe a sigh of relief that the balance of power has been shifted.

I do not believe that any one party ever deserves to have such a majority in Washington.  I know those people were voted into those positions, but there should be limits on how much weight one party can carry.  Because when the balance is too lopsided, the American people suffer.

I don’t like being bullied.  I don’t like being told that this thing which we are doing is what’s best for you when I know for a fact it is not what’s best for me, my family or my neighbors.  I don’t like being painted as uncaring or selfish because I am opposed to a universal health care bill that I am certain will fail and will leave us further in a financial rut.

It doesn’t mean I don’t grieve for the families who don’t have health care.  It doesn’t mean I think the system we have now is squeaky clean and doesn’t deserve a face lift.  It doesn’t mean I’m heartless.  All it means is that I don’t think that universal health care will work and I don’t support the bill they are trying to pass.

President Obama came into office promising change and hope.  I did not vote for him, but I desperately wanted to believe him one year ago.  I wanted to buy into the ideal that he set before us.  I wanted him to succeed.  I really did – because if he doesn’t succeed what does that mean for our country?

Unfortunately, I believe all that he set before us were nothing but ideals.  His inexperience in leadership has shown itself in epic proportions throughout this first year of office.  He’s a master orator.  He’s appealing.  He’s young, energetic, handsome and seems like a fun guy to be around.  But he has some growing to do in the area of leadership.

I don’t want a dictator.  I want a leader who’s going to listen to the people and truly do what’s right.  You can’t please everyone, I know this.  But when a vast majority of the people are opposed to something, it’s time to step back, take a breath and reassess what you’re doing.  That would not show weakness – on the contrary, that is leadership.  It’s time to step up and quit being a mouthpiece and truly lead. 

And so, with the historical election of Scott Brown, my prayer is that Washington will receive the wake up call that was issued to them yesterday.  We the people won’t be bullied.  We won’t be told what’s best for us-especially when it pertains to the care we receive from our health professionals.  We are smart, we are educated, we know what’s right and we won’t passively walk into an inferno.

The government was never meant to be a giant wheel turning and manipulating the country into what they believe to be the perfect ideal.  Our government has derailed big time – they are too big and too involved.  It’s time to step back and give us back the freedoms that the founding fathers intended us to have.  We the people want Washington’s support.  We don’t want them dictating our lives.

Wake up, Washington.  I am middle America and I am tired of being pushed around.  It’s time for everyone out there to put their big boy pants on and be the leaders that they promised us they would be.  I will be waiting in hopeful anticipation.

I am an idealist, but I have very realist tendencies.  We’re in a fight right now and it’s a fight we must win, for our children and for the generations to come.

And thus ends my political rant.  I will now commence talking about New Kids on the Block and my children.  Sighs of relief heard all around.

To the ladies of the ’80′s…you’re welcome.

Tonight I am taking a walk down memory lane.  I’m travelling back to a day when life was simpler.  It was filled with scrunchies and oversized tie-dyed Esprit bags.  There were high tops and units belts, Trapper Keepers and jean jackets.  Can you see it?  Can you hear Whitney Houston belting out “I’m Your Baby Tonight?”

I am a child of the ’80′s.  I give you evidence:

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Ah yes, the ’80′s.  That iconic era when the music was good and the styles were horrific.  I was a young child of the ’80′s so my exposure to the glory of that time was slightly sheltered and limited.  I was a teenager of the ’90′s.  An entirely different era altogether.  I’ll reminisce on those days some other time.

You are on the edge of your seats in anticipation, are you not?!

But alas, my memories of the ’80′s and all they entailed almost always include the two girls that lived down the hill from us and served as frequent babysitters for my brother and I.  These girls were ’80′s personified.  They had the hair styles, the clothes, the perfume (Ex.cla.MA.tion!) and the music.  Their rooms were decorated in hot pink, black and turquoise.  They wore their hats sideways, their bangs shalaqued into a perfect, budding rose atop their foreheads.

And they loved…The New Kids on the Block!  Oh yes they did.  The original boy band. The men who paved the way for the likes of N’Sync, The Back Street Boys and that other band made up of boys…   Radical!

These girls gave me oversized pins for my jean jacket and school bag so that I could carry around Jordan and Jonathon, Joey, Donnie and Danny everywhere I went.  They let me watch the VHS tapes that they purchased at the concert and I oohed and aahed over their wicked dance moves while my teenage idols squealed with delight.  They let me look at the polaroid shots they took on that “magical” night. 

I lived vicariously through them out of necessity because when I went home I was only allowed to listen to Leslie Gore.  I mentioned I was sheltered didn’t I? 

And tonight, I am remembering those days.  I’m remembering them through the music…the beautiful, glorious, terrible music.

Seriously, the New Kids weren’t very good.

But the were just. so. awesome!

And so I give you all this moment to step back in time.  You can thank me later…or now.  You can thank me now if you want.

You’re welcome.

Words just simply cannot express the hysterical glory of those videos.

More Things I Never Thought I’d Say

This time last year, I posted the first edition of Things I Never Thought I’d Say.  This is the follow up.

“Please don’t wipe your boogers on your brother.  In fact, please just don’t even pick your nose.”

“Guys, quit kissing each other.  Brothers and sisters don’t kiss like that.”

“If you’re out of toilet paper, let me know…please don’t wipe yourself with the towel.”

“Are you eating one of the dog’s treats? Gross!”

“No, honey.  I’m sure you don’t have the spotted mountain fever.”

“I know you’re mad, but you need to fix your face and shape it up.”

“You can kiss your wife like that someday, but you may not kiss mommy that way.”

“Why is my underwear on your head?”

“Don’t forget to wipe and flush.”

“I’m glad you’re having fun, but daddy’s saw is not a sword.”

“You found a slug? Oh great. No, he can’t sit at the table with us while we eat.”

“No, I don’t think that girl is looking at you because she wants to marry you.”

“What’s that sticking out of your diaper-Did you put something in there?”

“I think he just swallowed a penny.”

“I digged through the poopy diaper and I found the penny!  Yeah!”

“I’m going to bed at 8:30 tonight.  I don’t care if it’s Friday.”

“Because I’m the mom and what I say rules.”

“Hey! There’s one mommy and three kids – you guys are going to have to give me a break.”

“You NEVER cut anyone else’s hair. EVER. Never-ever-ever-ever-eveeeer.”

“Honey, if you’re naked and your brother is naked, please wait until you’re dressed before you start wrestling with him, okay?”

What about you?  What are some things you never thought you’d say?  Do share!

Haiti Relief: How You Can Help

The pictures and projected death toll numbers coming out of Haiti are staggering.  As many as 50,000 feared dead and more than 3 million stranded or injured on an island that was known for poverty before the earthquake hit.  But relief and aid is on the way and for that I am grateful.

 

You’ve no doubt heard or seen of the numerous trustworthy and reliable organizations that you can donate to and know without doubt that your funds will be used well and fair.

 

Organizations like the Red Cross have already sent in teams to help with medical needs and to distribute much needed water and supplies to the survivors.

 

You can also give to Compassion International and World Vision, both of whom already have teams set up in Haiti and are quickly assessing the needs and distributing care and funds where needed.  Both of these organizations are stellar, are prepared and will effectively use the funds they raise for the relief of the island of Haiti.

 

There is one other organization I’d like to make you aware of if you’re still undecided.  I’ve written about IsleGo Missions before as they are an organization founded and run by my aunt and uncle out of Orlando, Florida.  For a detailed description of who they are and what they do, read my previous post or visit their website.  My aunt and I communicated tonight about what IsleGo is doing to respond to the tragedy and rather than try to reexplain what she told me, I’ll just paste her email here:

 

 ”As to Haiti, yes IsleGO is taking donations, people are already sending them. Dusty has a huge network base and we also have a partner in Haiti, a hospital that is about 30 miles outside of Port au Prince. This afternoon we sent 40,000 baggies of rice. Each bag has enough to feed one person, in the bag there is rice, spices and nutrients and all they have to do is boil water for have food. We are working on another 100,000 bags to get ready for delivery within the next few days. Dusty is already getting info on putting teams together by February. Anyway, to answer your question, yes we are taking donations. Thanks for asking. Checks can be made payable to IsleGO Missions.”

 

There is a link on the IsleGo site that leads you directly to PayPal if you would like to donate that way.  If you would rather send in a check, leave me a comment and let me know and I will get you the address, or you can contact Dusty and Corinne Cooper personally through the IsleGo site.

 

No matter what organization you choose to donate through, I urge you all to give something.  This is a massive devastation and it is within our power to help those who are suffering desperately.  So I implore you to click on any one of the above links and take a few minutes to give out of the abundance with which you have received!

 

May you all have a blessed weekend.

Brain dump

With the temperatures warming up to a balmy 42 degrees, I am snapping out of my rebellion against all things weather.  We took the kids sledding at the local park again the other night.  I’d love to share pictures or video to document, but I brought the digital camera without the media card inside it and the video camera had roughly 45 seconds of battery power.  Awesome.  Go mom!

But I can paint a word picture.  I’m better at that anyway.  I have to say that snow is a huge perk to cold weather because sledding is good fun.  And finally, Praise be to God, Tia realized what fun it could be.  Within about 15 minutes she was sledding down the hill by herself laughing the whole way.  It’s a pretty steep hill so the sled gets to moving which means her laugh was a combination of terror and delight.

Sloan brought a neighbor friend with him and they were practicing boy law by competing for who could be the loudest and could say “That was awesome!” the most.  I think they tied.

Then there was Landon.  I wasn’t sure about how he would do.  He’s a little guy…a little guy who loves sledding!  He would plop himself down face first on the sled, curl up in a little ball and bark, “Push!”  And Lee and I, like Pavlov’s dogs, would comply.  We’d run beside the sled about half way down the hill to keep it from picking up too much speed, then we just let him bounce the rest of the way by himself.

He came up with a grin every time.

In the words of my six year old, “It was tooooootally aaaaawesome!”

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With colds and fevers circulating around our house, we’ve had a couple of rough nights sleep.  There is nothing worse than having to get up in the middle of the night when it’s freezing cold and stumble out to the kitchen to get water and medicine for a crying child.  So last night, I decided we were going to be prepared.

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Before bed, I rubbed down everyone’s feet with Vaporub.  It works wonders.  I don’t know how, but it does.  I plugged in mentholated vaporizers in their rooms and they were all asleep by 7:30.  And I went to bed knowing that I was prepared thereby ensuring that I would maximize my own sleepage (should be a word).

And nobody woke up.  They all slept through the night. 

It’s amazing what being prepared will do!

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My heart hurts for Haiti.  Pictures like this one bring bitter tears to my eyes.  (The picture is graphic and it involves children- I just want you to be prepared.)  Lee and I talked with the kids today about the earthquake and how we can help them as a family.  Sloan remembers the small earthquake we had here a couple of years ago so he kind of gets what happened. 

We told them that we were going to be sending some money in to help with the clean up and rebuilding and suggested that they think about what they could give from their wallets.  We decided to give them the freedomt o give as much or as little as they feel they need to give. 

I’m interested to see what they decide to do.

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Today is my nephew Eli’s 7th birthday.  We love that little boy – particularly Sloan.  He and Sloan are two peas in a pod.  I wish we lived closer just so those two could spend more time together.

Happy Birthday, Eli!

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I’ve run out of things to say.  Shocking – I know.