Thursday, January 31, 2008
A couple of weeks ago we walked over to the Providence Mall after church to eat lunch in the food court with our friends A2 & M2. During the walk over the husbands noticed a couple of oddly dressed individuals. I was too busy talking a mile a minute to Amy to notice other people.
But later I noticed. Boy, did I notice!! In order to get back to street level from the mall Amy and I (with Ellie in the stroller) took the elevator. The guys, plus Mia, took the escalator. I've never been so glad my boys weren't with me.
Apparently there was a "le@ther c0nventi0n" going on at the nearby convention center. And by le@ther I'm not talking c0wb0y b00ts or H@rley D. jackets. I'm talking Hello, Jerry Spr*nger!! kind of le@ther!!
As Amy and I waited for the elevator we observed several people. One man was dressed in a le@ther military officer's uniform. Think German WW2 only all le@ther. A woman was dressed, ...well.., think prison guard meets Fredrick's of H0llyw00d. YIKES!! It was bad, but a nervous-laughable kind of bad. And then the elevator doors opened. And I didn't want to laugh any more. I wanted to cry and share the Word.
A relatively normal looking man walked out holding the end of a long chain (at least I think he was normal looking, I didn't really pay much attention to him). The other end of the chain was attached to a le@ther collar around the neck of the woman walking a few paces behind him. When I saw her everything in me screamed and wanted to share truth right then and there. Not just because of the coll@r and chain. It was far worse than that. Her le@ther skirt had buckles as though her legs were bound up. She walked with her hands clasped in front of her as though her wrists were tied (they may have been I'm not really sure). Her entire demeanor was one of subjection and enslavement to the man in front of her.
Even now my heart aches for her and I feel sick to my stomach. On the way home Joel and I discussed the various individuals we had seen. Thankfully my boys were oblivious to what was going on around them. I would have hated to try to explain to Will why the woman was wearing a chain!! But more than that I told Joel I felt sadness for those people.
I mean, if they are willing to go out in public dressed like that, what are they willing to do in private?! And if they are willing to participate in such extreme activities you have to believe it's because they think that lifestyle will fill the void in their hearts. That it will bring them happiness or satisfaction or fulfillment, even if only for a moment.
I know it won't and I know the One who can bring satisfaction and joy and fulfillment. His name is Jesus and his love neither humiliates nor enslaves. His love serves and heals. As I observed so many people so obviously bound by their sin and desires this scripture leaped into my mind:
"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom to captives and release from darkness for the prisoners." Isaiah 61:1-2.
Jesus quotes these verses in Luke 4:18-19. "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."
My prayer is that tall beautiful woman (and others like her) will find the one man, Jesus, who can give her the peace and fulfillment she craves. That she will allow Jesus to set her free from a life of sin and captivity. And then she will experience healing and wholeness in ways she never dreamed were possible.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
I know that it has been some time since you last heard from me and I'm sorry. There have been many developments in the past month, I don't know where to begin.
Emily is now three months old and we finally have a team of people working for her best interest. We have met with a Physical Therapist, a Nutritionist, and a Speech Therapist. We have a meeting next Tuesday to discuss what her daily routine is going to look like and each one of them have given us something to work on in the mean time.
The major problem Emily has had since she came home from the hospital has been her feeding. We have been struggling with the bureaucracy, trying to get the nutritionist here as soon as possible. We met with her today and we finally have a game plan to help her with her feeding. She agrees with us that the problem is more than the food that she is eating. She has suggested, and we have agreed, that she needs a second opinion about her digestive track. We have changed her food two times in the last week and there has been a difference in her bowel movements, but not in her pain during the feedings. We will be making an appointment to see a specialist sometime this week. This requires a trip to the Cincinnati Children's Hospital in Ohio (about 2 hours away) but if it gets us the help we need, it will be worth it.
For now, the nutritionist has given us a prescription for a feeding pump which will allow us to feed her over a longer period of time. We will be able to put her to bed at 11:00 pm and she will get the equivalent of three feedings through the course of the night, ending at 9:00 am. Because she will be getting the food over a longer time, it will give her body the time it need to digest it at a steady pace instead of getting a stomach full at once. We will also be able to give her less food at the other three feedings, making her stomach less full and thus less irritable.
God willing, we will receive the pump tomorrow and can begin this process tomorrow evening. I can't begin to tell you how excited I am that I won't have to get up at 1:00 to feed her. Most of the time she is more awake for this feeding than I am! Dawn won't even have to get up to do the 5:00 am feeding, so she is excited also.
Things are getting better, albeit very slowly.
Last week we had our three month appointment with the pediatrician. I basically bombarded the doctor with questions. Having seen the Physical Therapist and the Speech Therapist in the mean time, they asked me questions that I could not answer and she was the one who could tell me all the answers.
Emily has a large bump on her head where two of the bones meet and there is a fear that they are not growing together correctly. As with everything else, it may be too early to tell, but if there is something wrong, we need to be proactive about it. So, we can add one more doctor to our long list of doctor appointments. This one is a Plastic Surgeon! She is three months old and is considering plastic surgery. She is going to be one beautiful baby! On a similar note, she has a birth mark on her neck that seems to be getting bigger. It looks like a bruise that keeps on growing. The doctor said that they usually get bigger before they get smaller, but because it is on her neck, it may be interfering with her head movement. This is another case for the plastic surgeon. Since we are already going for the head, we will have him look at this also. Our appointment is on February 21st, so we won't know anything till then.
So...Dawn and I are glad that things seem to be coming together, but as always, only time will tell how things are really going to progress. She still isn't taking any food from a bottle, but we are working on it and by the grace of God, she will gradually improve in this area. One good thing is that because all her food is taken
through the tube, her formula can be paid for by the insurance company. I don't know the reason, but at $7 a day, I will take the savings. As it is, we are getting bills from doctors almost daily. For such a little woman, she sure gets expensive.
I guess that is all for now. I am sure there is something that I forgot, but I have given you plenty to pray for. Our biggest concern now will be meeting with a doctor in Cincinnati and seeing what they can discover about her. Our hope is they can come to some conclusion about what the REAL problem is.
Thank you for all your continued prayers and support. There is no way we can thank you all for the love and prayers that seem to be continually coming our way. God is good and we know that Emily is going to have the best life she can because we are continually being blessed in so many different ways.
All for HIS glory,
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Reason #1. The children had finished their breakfasts and were playing downstairs while I finished my breakfast and puttered around trying to muster up motivation to tackle the day. In the middle of my mustering, Ben came upstairs and said, "I pooped." If you have an almost three year-old boy wearing diapers you know those words are seldom followed by a pleasant experience. Especially if the same boy pooped FIVE TIMES yesterday. Yes, I counted. 'Cause I changed all but ONE of those.
So, off we went to his bedroom to clean him up. Keep in mind he still had on his fleece footie pajamas. First, I laid him on his bed (he's WAY to big for the changing table and the bed is much better for my back than the floor), then I tried not to gag as the smell hit me square in the face. Oh, the smell!!!
Next I unzipped his pajamas and pulled out his legs. At this point my thought process went something like this: "My hand is wet. Why is my hand wet? Did his diaper leak again? OH.NO. IT'S POOP. ALL OVER HIS LEG. AND MY HAND. I'M THROWING AWAY THE PAJAMAS." Then reason kicked in, and my frugality. "I can't throw away the pajamas. They're Land's End and cost almost $40. UGH! I've got to clean them out."
Keep in mind I'm a veteran at this. I've got three kids four years old and under. I've been peed on, spit up on and puked on (multiple times and while first trimester pregnant!). I've used my own hand to wipe away snot and to catch vomit. All that for going on five years, and rarely do I gag or get squeamish. But today I was gagging.
I wasn't the only one. You know the smell is bad when the four year-old says, "Can I spray the stuff Daddy uses to make the room smell better?"
After taking a moment to compose myself, I carried Ben down the hall to the bathtub where I proceeded to rinse him off. I'll spare you the remaining details but will say that I ended up using some of my Bath & Body Works shower gel to clean his legs. He still has the faint scent of Velvet Tuberose. Which is fine with me!
After getting Ben cleaned up, dressed and rinsing out his pajamas, I decided to reward myself with another cup of hot tea and read a few blogs. Not long into this reward my cousin called.
Reason #2. I spent an hour on the phone talking to my cousin who lives in Kansas. Let me explain further. Cassie had her third daughter right after Christmas. She's home on maternity leave with a one month-old and a just-turned three year-old. Going back to work was looking really good to her today!
Reason #3. After getting off the phone I realized it was lunch time.
Reason #4. My mom called as the kids were finishing up lunch. Half-an-hour later we hung up. That was a short conversation for us.
Reason #5. I had to put the kids down for their naps and eat my lunch.
Reason #6. I'm writing this post, during which Ben has gotten out of bed 3 times and Will has woken up from his nap which means I'm interrupted every other sentence.
I'm sure if I waited long enough I could justify staying in my pajamas all day. But since I wrote about encouraging our husbands yesterday I probably should wrap this post up, go shower, wash the dishes, wash some laundry and cook supper. (sigh..) Staying in my pajamas sure sounds like the better idea.
Monday, January 28, 2008
We put incredible amounts of pressure on ourselves and our men to create perfection on that one day of the year, February 14. Why do we expect a year's worth of romance in that single day? Flowers. Chocolates. Jewelry. Love Letter. Dinner out.
All that on one day? Really?! No wonder the poor man starts sweating bullets just thinking about it. That's a lot of expectations to live up to, and, fess up now, aren't they usually UNSPOKEN expectations? 'Cause whether you've been dating a month or married a decade aren't you really thinking he should know what you like by now without having to be told?
Don't get me wrong. I'm no Valentine Hater. I enjoy flowers (I'm a classic roses girl), chocolates (Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, if you please), jewelry (I've been thinking about some real gold hoop earrings), love letters (who doesn't), and eating out (On the Border!) as much as the next girl. I'm just wondering if it isn't all a bit too much for our men to live up to.
After all that effort to please us, what do they get in return? A woman who's disappointed that he didn't know she wanted lilies instead of roses, the Lindt heart instead of the Hershey's one, the ruby pendant rather than the sapphire, the 3 page hand written letter in place of the store bought card he spent an hour picking out, and don't even get her started on the restaurant he chose!
I'm thinking that our poor men deserve a break this year. Maybe, just maybe, a Valentine's Day with NO EXPECTATIONS. Yep. I said it. (Women across the country just declared me a traitor to the Sisterhood.) But, stay with me here, what would happen if you expected nothing from your man?
I'm not talking about where you say you expect nothing, and you think that you expect nothing, but in your heart-of-hearts your really do expect him to take a little initiative and, if nothing else, pick up a card and bouquet from Wal*Mart. You ladies all know what I'm talkin' 'bout.
And while we're working hard to expect nothing from our men, maybe we can focus our thoughts and hearts on encouraging and lovin' him. After all, if you are thinking of ways to show him your respect and admiration it's gonna be a lot harder to think about how he's not romancing you.
And, since we women typically start nurturing our Valentine's expectations on February 1st, maybe that's when we should start focusing on our men. And, since those unspoken expectations have a way of thinking he's planning to surprise us later in the month, maybe we should extend our No Expectations while You Love on Your Man Challenge to the end of the month.
I'm just saying, maybe, it would be something worth thinking about. While you're thinking you could, if you are so inclined, pop over to Revive Our Hearts and take a look at their 30-Day Husband Encouragement Challenge or even their 31 Days of Praying for Your Husband.
And when you've finished thinking and reading maybe you could leave me a comment saying how you plan to participate in No Expectations while You Love on Your Man Challenge so the rest of us could learn from your excellent idea.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
"Give a man a cookie, and he will eat it all up." Ben, 35 months.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
4 Jobs I've Had:
1. Wife/Mom/Housekeeper Extraordinaire (maybe not the extraordinaire part)
2. Pampered Chef Kitchen Consultant
3. Tour Guide at Slater Mill in Pawtucket, RI
4. temp. receptionist for an insurance underwriter's company
4 Movies Watched Over and Over:
1. You've Got Mail
2. Sweet Home Alabama
3. Remember the Titans
4. Princess Pride ("Twue Wuv!")
4 Places I've Lived:
1. Rhode Island
2. Arkadelphia, Arkansas
3. Cherry Valley, Arkansas
4. Highfill, Arkansas
4 TV Shows I Watch: I don't watch tv. We gave it away back in the fall.
4 Places I've Been:
1. Asia: Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong (airport. Hey! It counts!)
2. Texas: Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, El Paso
3. Ft. Lauderdale, FL
4 People who e-mail Me Regularly:
3. JC Penney
4. Toys R Us
4 Favorite Things to Eat:
1. Mexican Food (On the Border, anyone?)
2. Sonic Burgers
3. McDonald's Fries
4. Fried Catfish and Hushpuppies
4 Places I'd Rather Be: (It goes without saying that these trips are taken A.L.O.N.E.)
1. Kentucky - to visit my friend, Dawn and her baby girl, Little Miss Emily Rose.
2. Houston, TX - to visit my friend, Michelle.
3. California - to visit my friend, Alicia.
4. Washington State - to visit my friend, Barbie (she's mentioned here.)
4 Things I Look Forward to This Year:
1. Potty training Ben (Please, God!!!) and potty training Ellie (Oh, please, please, please!!!)
2. My niece, Addison Lee being born in March.
3. Taking a vacation with my little troop that does not involve going to see other relatives.
4. Funding our 3-6 Month Emergency Savings Account.
4 People to Tag:
1. Alicia, cause I enable her addiction to blogging every chance I get.
2. Julie, cause I'm sure her answers will be interesting.
3. Sarah, cause she doesn't have enough to do already (Ha!)
4. Leslie, cause this will be a good way to catch up on the decade I missed.
Friday, January 25, 2008
Once upon a time in a land far far away (Arkansas) there lived a handsome boy and a pretty girl. In the fall of 1993 the boy and girl, let's call them Joel and Stephanie, each embarked on a pursuit of valuable knowledge and life long social networks at one of the greatest institutions of higher education the Land had to offer, Ouachita (pronounced wash-i-taw) Baptist University.
Shortly after their arrival at the Great Institution of Higher Learning (also referred to as OBU), Joel and Stephanie became friends. The beginning of their relationship was so momentous for each of them that neither remembers it. Despite an unmemorable beginning, these two enjoyed a fun filled friendship for three years. They attended movies together (but not on a date!). Worshipped at church together (First Baptist Church of Arkadelphia). And consumed countless questionable meals together at the Land's Cafeteria of Wonders (known as Walt's to the locals).
As the final year of their educational career loomed on the horizon, both Joel and Stephanie devoted their last summer of freedom to learning art and music humanities, economics, and business. Each felt this investment of time and energy during the lazy days of summer would yield great benefits in the years to come (in other words, Joel wanted a light class load during his senior year and Stephanie wanted to graduate in May).
Lest you feel sorrow and pity for our hard working hero and heroine, let me assure you they took time from their studies to indulge in much needed rest and relaxation. Bike riding trips on the walking/cycling path were taken. Star Wars (the originals!) and other videos were watched. A weekend trip to Lake Ouachita was enjoyed. And just before the summer ended, Joel decided to make Stephanie his girlfriend. A night momentous enough neither has forgotten!
Their final fall semester at OBU included a wide variety of educational and social activities for Joel and Stephanie. Weeknights found them, with two other couples, hard at work studying in the library (Right! Are you buying the studying part?). Weekends found them, along with the same couples, at competitive sporting events (also known as soccer games), where Stephanie cheered Joel on from the sidelines; or at theaters viewing emotionally intense cultural films (any one remember Eraser?); or at Taco Bell consuming large quantities of inexpensive foods similar to those eaten by the people of Mexico.
As the fall semester drew to a close our young couple began to discuss the future of their relationship. It was decided that each would spend the Christmas Holiday break praying about a potential marriage between them (Joel's prayers were along the lines of "should we" while Stephanie's were more along the lines of "please let him decide yes!"). Upon returning to OBU a few weeks later, in January 1997, our couple agreed that God did indeed want them to marry.
And so, approximately two weeks later, Joel gallantly helped Stephanie onto his white steed (OK, it was really into a white two-door Olds Calais) and whisked her off for a night of romance. Their destination was a restaurant known for serving small deep fried crustaceans (Red Lobster. Don't you just love the shrimp?!). After indulging in far too many cheese biscuits the couple began the half hour drive back to OBU.
Their route home required them to drive passed DeGrey State Park and lake. As they approached the entrance to the park Joel slowed the car and turned. Within a few short minutes he parked the car at the edge of the lake and set up a CD player. As the couple slow danced by the edge of the lake they started to shiver violently from the cold temperature and brisk wind blowing over the water. Joel quickly decided the time had come for him to ask THE life altering question; Stephanie said yes; and a ring was placed on her finger.
And so began the brief (four months!) engagement of Joel and Stephanie on this day eleven year ago.
PS. I love you, Sweet! Thank you for deciding God said "yes" and for finding the courage to ask.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
One of their after-bath rituals is called "Towel War." Usually it's the little guy that initiates (he's still trying to be top dog). He will run into the bedroom, rip off his towel and cry TOWEL WAR! Then he swings his towel at Brother. Who obliges him by doing the same. Within a few minutes the little guy is generally running screaming for cover (that would be me).
Neither Joel nor I remember teaching the boys this little game. Apparently hitting each other with towels is one of those things included in the male DNA. I do think it's in the male DNA because I don't see Ellie willingly participating in this activity.
It's pretty funny to watch. But I can just imagine what it will be like in 10 years when they've learned how to actually snap the towels. Heaven help me! I bet they won't be running to me for cover while nekked then though. = )
I've noticed several other regular commenters have similar "no reply" email addresses. You can't imagine how frustrating this can be when I want to thank you for your comment or ask you a question and I can't.
After my conversation with my friend I realized there may be others, like her, who don't realize their email address says "no reply" and their blogs aren't listed. Let me just say that if you've left a comment on my blog and not received an email in reply it's because your address says "no reply."
So, please, please, please, go to "New Post" or "Customize." Then "Dashboard," "Edit Profile," "Show my email address" and if you blog make sure you've checked "show my blogs."
If you aren't a blogger (you know who you are!) but you've been leaving comments around Blogville, you may want to consider letting the world read your profile and setting up an email address bloggers can respond to. That way we know who you are if you aren't a real life friend.
If your email address is your name consider setting up a separate account. I have a gmail account just for blogging. Gmail can be configured to forward to another address if you don't want to keep track of separate accounts (though I like not have my blogging stuff mixed in with my family stuff).
OK, that's my piece of bloggy advice for the day. Could you do me a favor and just check to make sure your settings are what you want them to be. Thanks. I appreciate it. = )
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
1. Budget. Write down everything and decide ahead of time how much you want to spend. By everything I mean according to categories. Take for instance Food, Household/Toiletry Supplies, and Gifts (the 3 main areas we moms control).
2. Food: I've split my food into two envelopes or budget categories. Groceries and Eating Out. The idea being if I have grocery money left over at the end of the month I can use it to eat out (if Joel will go along with that idea). = ) The biggest way to succeed with food is to have a menu. I plan by the month. Then I shop for the entire month's non-perishable and meat ingredients in one trip. I have to go back every 7-10 days for milk and fruits/veggies but I find this system still saves me money. I figure the fewer times I'm in the store each month the less opportunity I have to spend money. For more of my thoughts on menu planning go here and check out Stephanie's Mommy Brain in the Kitchen (you'll want to scroll down passed the recipes).
3. Household/Toiletry Supplies. Again, BUDGET. Make a list of everything you will need to buy and how often. Then go once a month to buy those things. The key is to plan ahead and train your family members to write down for you BEFORE they are out of an item. (Let that teenage boy go without deodorant for a couple of weeks and I bet he won't forget to write it down again!) = ) Buy items like toilet paper and paper towels in bulk. I put haircuts in this category. To save money here I buzz Joel, Will & Ben's hair. That's $15 * 3 every 6-8 weeks that stays in my pocket. = )
4. Gifts. BUDGET. I know I sound like a broken record but it is the key to controlling your money rather than your money controlling you. I just did our 2008 budget and itemized this category. Last year I didn't itemize and a few gifts caused me to be "creative" with my budget to pay for them. By itemize I mean write down every single gift you will need to give this year and how much you want to spend on it. Now add up the grand total. Can you live with that amount or is it a little on the ridiculous side. You may want to consider taking some people off your list. If you just can't take a person off, can you spend less on their gift. Take for example children's birthday presents. You may have a perceived social obligation to give a gift. Does it really have to be a "nice" one or will a small gift bag from the Dollar Store be sufficient? (J.-I'm not thinking of E. on that one but a couple of other kids on our list.) = ) Also consider if you and your husband really need Valentine's, Birthday, Mother's/Father's Day, Christmas gifts. Right there is a small fortune. Consider alternative ways to celebrate these events.
5. Electricity. As SAHMs we are home a lot of the time. At least I am. I try to keep the lights off as much as possible. Part of this goes back to my Dad charging me a dime if he found my bedroom light on and me not in the room. I've trained myself to turn the light off when I leave a room. Those half cents add up to pennies and pennies to quarters which can buy you a soda pop at Walmart! I'm not advocating living in the dark. I'm saying if the sun is shining, why is the light on? The same goes with the TV and the stereo/radio. If no one is in the room, why is it on?
6. Heat/Air Conditioning. I rarely set my heat above 68*. Lately I've been trying to keep it as close to 65* as possible. Put on sweaters or a fleece jacket. Wear slippers or shoes. Tell your kids to do the same. You'll be amazed how much money you save. At night our heat goes down to 62-64* (depending on which of us sets it). And no, your children will not freeze. My guys wear fleece pajamas and sleep under flannel sheets and a light blanket. And my house has terrible insulation. Only recently have I checked them at night and not found them sweating. For air conditioning I wait as long as possible to turn it on. For heat and air my rule of thumb is to allow myself to be slightly uncomfortable. Once you start turning things down/up you'll be surprised at your new level of comfortable.
7. Determine what is a need, convenience and luxury for you. For example, we have been using only one vehicle since Thanksgiving (the reasons are a whole other post). Joel's office is about 15 minutes from our home. I have no commitments outside my home but on days I want the van (for a play date or doctor's appointment) I can take him to work and pick him up with only slight inconveniences. So we are finding that a second vehicle is really a convenience for us, not a necessity. Also, decide what conveniences are worth paying the money for. For example, I can buy a 5 pound bag of baby carrots for $4.99 or a 1 pound bag of regular carrots for $0.79. To me it is worth the extra $0.20 a pound to not have to peel the carrots. You may not think so.
8. Consider giving up foods that have little to no nutritional value. Soda pop. Chips. Cookies. Juice. You get the idea. These items consume a lot of money and give your body nothing. If your family will protest to0 much at their sudden disappearance then start weaning them off. Buy less and less each month until they've reached "Treat" status rather than "Hafta have" status.
9. Family Activities. Free activities are everywhere and I'm not just talking about going to the local park, though that is a good one. Check into what the local library offers. I can obtain a free or discounted pass to about a dozen different museums, zoo, etc. through my local library. Also, visit the website for the museum you are interested in touring. MOST in our area have free admission once a month or even once a week during off-peak hours. These free times are usually funded by company sponsors and may not be heavily advertised.
10. Write down your short term financial goals for this year and a few long term goals. If you keep these goals in mind then you put your "sacrifices" and inconveniences into perspective. Our goals for 2008 are to 1. finish funding a ira/mutual fund retirement account (we committed to investing a set amount so we could get a lower fee), 2. build up 3 to 6 month emergency savings in a mutual fund money market account. Longterm goals include paying off our mortgage asap and increasing our retirement savings.
I know all of this stuff seems like a few pennies here, a couple of dollars there, but it all adds up in a hurry. Slow and steady wins the race. Before you know it you'll have accomplished your goals and you won't even remember that dinner out you "sacrificed."
***Edited to add. If you are my friend that prompted this post, I expect to be rewarded with a comment. = ) Go ahead. You can do it. = )
Monday, January 21, 2008
They did really well with sitting still and quiet and were totally engrossed in the movie. William wants to know when we can go back. = )
As for a review of the movie it's cute, entertaining, and not offensive. There wasn't anything I cringed at my boys seeing or hearing (can't say the same for the previews and pre-show entertainment!). The movie has the usual Veggie humor of puns and word play ("I feel flushed!"). While there is a Christian theme throughout the movie it is subtle rather than overtly stated. If you are looking for a good, clean, uplifting movie to take your children to see, look no further.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Each devotion is based on a scripture passage. Joel reads the scripture, then the devotion, and then they take turns praying. (Ben's prayer is almost always the same. "Thank you, Jesus, for this food.Amen.")
Every third night Ben chooses "God is with You" from Psalm 121. Every third night. For months. Will gets really annoyed with this. But I think it's cute.
What's even more cute is that the boys can now quote the entire Psalm AND the "Psalty Says" devotion. Word. For. Word. How incredible is that? Scripture memorization without even trying. It just goes to show they are able to do one of my goals for 2008 - memorize a whole Psalm each month.
And Farley McFirefly? He's the character in the devotion for Psalm 121. He lights up a tent for a little boy afraid of the dark. Then he reminds the boy that "God is always watching over them, so they didn't need to be afraid."
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Sunday, January 13, 2008
My friend, Charity at Cardiff Central has a link to a great article about being a MOP. You can head there here. I think the author is right on the mark. (Be sure to come back and tell me what you think of the article.)
Saturday, January 12, 2008
Every Saturday morning Joel cooks chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast. Every Saturday. In fact, that's how the kids know it's Saturday and Daddy's staying home.
Ellie always gets her pancakes before the rest of us. She just can't resist that stack of golden yumminess. By the time we sit down to eat our pancakes she is covered in chocolate.
In case you've never had chocolate chip pancakes, imagine regular pancakes with chocolate chips in them. And we all know what happens to chocolate when it gets warm... it melts. Thus the mess. But that's not the funny part.
The funny thing is watching her eat the pancakes. She has perfected two different techniques. Here are her instructions if you care to try a new way of enjoying pancakes.
First there is the "Hole Punch:" Hold the pancake in one hand. Search for the chocolate chips. Poke the chips out of the pancake with your index finger. Eat the chips. When all the chips are gone, and Daddy won't give you another pancake, then you eat the plain pancake.
Technique number two is more of a "Chomp" method. First, search for the chips in the pancake. Align the chip portion of the pancake with your mouth. Then chomp. Repeat until all the chips are gone.
Naturally these techniques require eating with your hands and will result in a huge mess. If you try this at home I strongly suggest wearing a bib. It should go without saying that syrup is NOT applied to the pancakes. I also recommend having a wet wipe or wet cloth handy when you're finished. And try to keep your chocolate covered hands out of your hair. Unless you go in for the Alfalfa-look.
Friday, January 11, 2008
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
Oh, the irony!
Joel suggested, now that I can bring Frankie upstairs, that we send Sweet Sally back to her makers. I asked him which arm he'd like to send with her. Not that I'm a violent person or anything.
Those are all words I heard around my house Sunday night. No, we haven't been invaded by the Roger Williams Park Zoo. (Though if you're ever in the area it's a nice zoo to visit.) The kids and Joel were on "An Adventure." From time to time Daddy will ask, "Want to go on an adventure tonight?" This usually means they all wander around the house pretending to climb mountains or trees, swim rivers or lakes, evade man eating wildlife or hunt for something special. Sort of like a safari without all the travel.
The boys LOVE taking "Adventures" with Daddy. Sunday night was no exception. They even pulled out the toy binoculars, flashlight, watch compass, and lantern they received for Christmas (camping was one of their gift themes this year and here's why.) The flashlight was especially helpful in seeing the bats hanging from our dark bathroom ceiling.
By now you maybe wondering what clothespins had to do with the adventure. Nothing. Other than the boys. As I sat in my room I heard peals of mischievous laughter coming from the boys' room. I went to investigate, as any good momma would do. I found the boys chasing each other around their bedroom. Each held a clothespin in one hand. Clothespins that they used to make donkeys at church on Sunday. The poor donkeys are now legless.
Will informed me they were trying to pinch each other's tongue or tummy with the clothespin. Ben said, "It huwts." When I asked how he knew Will again piped up that he (Will) had tested it on his own tongue and he agreed it hurt. But that didn't stop them from gleefully trying to pinch each other. Later Will walked into the hallway with a clothespin clipped onto the end of his finger. "It hurts." Reeeally. Maybe you should stop then.
I don't know why it would surprise me that my boys are clipping clothespins on themselves and trying to pinch each other with them. After all, their Daddy, the same man leading them on "Adventures" through my living room, also built "guns" with wood, clothes pins and rubber bands a few years back. Before we had children. To shoot rubberbands at his friends Mike and Andy.
With such a fun Daddy leading my boys on the adventure of life, I'm thinking a day will come when I'll wish we could go back to just clothespins!
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
Anyway, Sarah at Oh the Places You'll Go! has tagged me to list 5 weird things about me. I'm not at all weird so this will be tough. = ) Kidding. Totally kidding.
1. I've named my new laptop, Sally. Do people name their computers?
2. I have a large freckle on the tip of my nose. It fades during the winter but in the summer, when I've spent a lot of time outside, it really stands out again.
3. I only give birth to babies on a Tuesday and it must be close to a holiday. I know I've blogged about this but I can't find it. Will- day after Memorial Day, Ben -day after President's Day, Ellie - Tuesday before Labor Day. Even the baby I lost in November would have been due close to the 4th of July.
4. I sleep with earplugs. I never used to be a light sleeper until I had children. Now I'm a terrible light sleeper (when not medicated) I was waking up 5 or 6 times a night until I started using earplugs. Amazing! I can still hear the kids (sometimes) if they cry at night but I no longer hear the refrigerator, creaking floorboards or popping vents. Yeah for a good night's sleep!
5. I grind my teeth at night. It used to be so bad Joel would wake me up trying to pry my jaws apart.
This was fun. I tag Joel, Alicia, and Julie. Share your weirdness with us!
Monday, January 7, 2008
I know that it has been a while since we have sent out an update, but there has not been much change with Emily and we have been a little busy.
First, I would like to mention that Emily got her feeding tube changed to the button last week. I would like to say that things with her feedings have changed, but the change is small. She has the ability to push gas out a lot easier, but she is still having trouble with gas. It takes about 45 minutes to an hour to feed her and she is crying for the better part of it. With the button, it is easier for her to push out the food, so when she cries, everything that she has just eaten, comes right back out. It gets a little frustrating!
We are supposed to meet with a nutritionist, but with the holiday season, everything is being delayed more than we would like. We feel that if we changed her formula or something about the way she eats, she would be better off, but we won't know what to do until we meet with her.
Other than feeding time, she is a joy to be around. She is a happy baby and is content to lay on the floor and stare at the ceiling for hours. She loves the ceiling fan and will continue to keep her eyes fixed on it even while you are moving her around. She doesn't like to sleep when things are going on around her, so putting her in her crib is the best way to get her to sleep. Even then, she sometimes lays in bed and stares at the mobile or the wall.
A few weeks ago, my parents and sister came in for a visit. It was an enjoyable visit! They all got to spend some quality time holding Emily and giving Dawn and I a break from the routine. We even got to go out for dinner, which was very nice. I would say that Emily was on her best behavior for them, but they got to see her at her worst also. If you spend enough time with her, you get to see the good and the bad. Again, it is mostly around feeding time when she is at her worst...then again, there is bath time also!
We had a very relaxing Christmas. We didn't go to Rhode Island as we usually do, for obvious reasons. We started a new tradition with Emily. We read the first two chapters of Luke as a family and focused on the true meaning of Christmas. Although we know she didn't understand, we explained to her (As we will every year) why we celebrate Christmas and how God gave her the best gift she will ever receive when He sent His Son in the form of a baby in a manger. The story does not stop there, but continues to the cross at Easter, which will be one of our next traditions. Most of the day was spent relaxing and watching TV. We are huge LOST fans and we bought the third season on DVD and have been watching it over the past week. We are looking forward to the new season which starts at the end of January...
Speaking of January, can you believe that it is almost a new year again. It was this time last year that Dawn and I were discussing our going into the mission field for two years. We would be there right now if Dawn had not gotten pregnant. It is amazing how things can change so quickly. Dawn will be going back to work in a few weeks and I will be a stay at home dad. This will be the temporary situation until I can find the job that God is preparing for me. We would love to stay here in [Kentucky], but we are willing and able to go wherever He leads us.
Dawn is not really looking forward to going back to work, as you can imagine. The hardest part will be working from home and having me and Emily in the next room. If Emily is crying, Dawn's motherly instincts will kick in and she will want to intervene. I am fine listening to her cry much longer than Dawn is; especially when putting her to bed.
As I prepare to depart, I would like to thank all of those who have contributed to the "Hoodies for the Homeless" as it was called. I was able to gather and purchase 67 hooded sweatshirts and I will be delivering them to the homeless shelter by the end of the week. I reached my goal and it was only through the help of a multitude of people. I appreciate all you did and I am sure that the people who receive them will appreciate the gift also; as well as the warmth it provides.
I hope you all had a great Christmas and are preparing for a joyful new year. Feel free to reply and let us know how your Christmas was.
We love you all and appreciate all your continued prayers and support.
As we begin a new year, I have taken some time to reflect on the past year. Bear with me as I do some reminiscing… At the start of January 2007, Mike and I thought we had our year planned out. He was about to begin his last semester of seminary. We were going to apply to the International Mission Board in May and by December we would leave for a 2-3 year assignment abroad. Little did we know that God had something else in store for us.
On 1/31, we found out that I was pregnant. After 3 ½ years trying to conceive, we had just about given up. Needless to say, it took a few days for the shock to wear off for both of us. We thanked God for the way that He would knit this child together in my womb. And we quickly began dreaming about who he/she would be. Who would he/she resemble? Would this child be smart, funny, athletic and more importantly would they grow to know and love God? Would we be good parents? We trusted that God knew what kind of life he/she would lead and that He would equip us to be the parents that we needed to be.
Well, the pregnancy had very few complications (unless you count the first trimester when I spent much of my time hugging the bowl or my misery during the HOTTEST summer ever in Kentucky history - at least it felt that way to me!). When we thought about how each part of our child was being formed in the womb, we could not help but praise God, the Creator of all things. God is so incredible! He designs each one of us personally as if we are clay in His hands. He cares about each and every one of us right down to the number of hairs on our heads. I am not sure why he cares how much hair is on my head, but I am thankful that He cares enough about me to consider every last detail. As my belly grew, we anxiously awaited the day that we would get to meet our daughter (we didn’t know what we were having, but Mike and I suspected all along that it would be a girl).
Along the way, we certainly had our share of fears. We both were terrified at the thought of parenthood. We knew it would be the toughest job that would ever come our way. And the idea of actually giving birth would keep me up at night (OK it really was the huge stomach and the inability to find a comfortable position, but still it was a scary prospect). We clung to the promise that God would not give us more than we could handle. And we knew that no matter what happened, He would be with us.
I can still remember waking Mike at midnight to tell him "it was time". He stared at me as if I was trying to be funny and doing a terrible job. I woke up at 11 wondering if my water had broken & had already talked to the doctor. So I convinced him that I was serious and we really did need to go to the hospital. Thus began the 21 hour wait for Emily's arrival. I will admit that when she finally arrived, I was a bit dazed and definitely exhausted. When they told us that she was not breathing, I think I stopped breathing too. It felt like an eternity had passed before they got her breathing and put her in my arms. I only got to hold her for
about 5 minutes before they took her to the nursery to keep an eye on her. At that point, I was given some heavy duty drugs and the rest of that night was a blur.
The next morning, the nurse came to take me to the nursery to see my baby girl. I was excited and I remember chatting with the nurse and Mike as I tried to make my way to the wheel chair. The next thing I remember I woke up in bed with a lot of people staring at me. Apparently I had fainted! So Mike went by himself to see her while I rested and had some breakfast (just about the first thing I had eaten in 36 hours!). Not long after Mike came back from visiting her in the nursery, we were told that Emily was going to be taken to a children's hospital. She had some seizures overnight and wanted to get her to a hospital that was better equipped to handle anything else that might come up. On her way out, they took her by my room. So I got to spend about 5 more minutes with her before she was taken across town.
This began a six week journey in the NICU. This was certainly not the experience I had expected for the birth of our first child. When I had fears about labor I worried about the pain I would experience and the possibility of a c-section, but never imagined that my little girl would have such problems. But this was the journey that God had chosen for us long before I ever got pregnant. He was not surprised when Emily was not breathing at birth. He knew that she would spend 6 weeks in the NICU and that she would be diagnosed with cerebral palsy. He also knows exactly what she will turn out to be.
As we have adjusted to parenthood and Emily's diagnosis, our dreams for her have changed a bit. It is not that we don't expect great things for her, because we certainly do. The thing that has changed for us is that we will more thankful for everything that she will be able to do. We now dream of feeding her without pain and discomfort and then one day feeding her by mouth so she can let us know what tastes are her favorites. We dream of hearing her talk and one day saying “Mom” or “Dad” or “I love you”. And we dream of seeing her walk. We are not sure if she will ever be able to do these things; so if/when they happen, we will be especially thankful!
Every day we thank God for blessing us with a beautiful little girl; for counting us worthy to be her parents; and for giving us strength to get through each challenge. He certainly did not give us an easy road to travel (not that parenthood is EVER an easy road), but He has been with us through so many trials in the past and we know that He will be with us for every challenge in our future. We are excited to see what He has planned for Emily’s life. We are anxious to see what kinds of challenges she will overcome and the lives that she will touch.
This year we have gotten some mixed reviews from doctors. Our meeting with the neonatologist made us feel like she would not accomplish very much in her life. They evaluated her skills in the following areas: cognitive, communication, motor,
social-emotional and adaptive development and rated her below average in every one. We met with a therapist who works with visually impaired children and she was very impressed with Emily. She said that she did not expect much based on the report that she read (written by the neonatologist’s office). Then we met with a neurologist and he told us about how her brain can “re-wire” to compensate for the damage that has been done. So he is optimistic about what she will be able to do. The bottom line is the doctors CANNOT predict the future. They have no idea what she will or will not do. God has already determined what Emily’s future will hold and we trust in Him not the “words of wisdom” from well-meaning doctors. Luckily Emily has no idea that some have set limits on her already. As she grows and develops, Mike and I will encourage her to work hard and push herself to reach her highest potential. We will teach her about God, who loves her and created her in His image. We will let her know that with Him there are no limits to what she can achieve.
So this year we have been blessed beyond measure. We have a beautiful baby girl who brings us joy each and every day. We have loving families who have offered support in so many ways. We have great friends who have prayed for us, cried with us and laughed with us. And we have an incredible church family that has shown us love in countless ways. The year did not turn out the way we planned - it was so much better! We cannot wait to see what God has planned for us in 2008.
In HIS Strength,
PS-Enjoy a couple photos of Emily. We have been trying to catch some of funny
faces on film!
Sunday, January 6, 2008
Saturday, January 5, 2008
One day PC just gave up the ghost, so to speak. So for a few months we used Joel's work laptop to check our email. I got a lot more work done in those days without a computer to distract me. I shared our computer situation with our friends one day and they kindly shipped us the laptop you see in the above picture. My excitement knew no bounds.
Unfortunately about two months later the screen on the new-to-us laptop died. Everything else worked fine, you just couldn't see anything. So Joel pulled the old monitor from PC out and hooked it up to the laptop. Since he was hooking things up he also connected the old keyboard, and external DVD writer and some other memory do-hicky. And thus Frankenstein was born.
As the year has passed and I've gotten into blogging and taking digital photos poor Frankie has gotten slower and slower. I'm talking beat-your-head-against-the-wall slow. In addition to showing his age (is the slowness due to computer arthritis?), the monitor has a short in the electric cord so just bumping the desk causes the monitor to turn off. You can imagine my frustration.
Well, God heard my prayers, pleas and whimpers (not to mention cries of frustration) and last month He provided enough money to pay off our equity loan (Hallalujah, Praise the Lord, Amen & Amen!) with enough left over for a shiny new laptop for ME!!!
Without further ado let me introduce Sally. Isn't she pretty? And fast. Oh so FAST, FAST, FAST!!! I'm looking forward to spending many happy hours with her. = )
Thursday, January 3, 2008
Yes, I said, 15. As in BELOW freezing.
I believe I'm plugging in the electric blanket tonight. Cause that is just plain ol' cold, I don't care where you're from!!!
me: Why are you in my bed?
Will: Cause my belly is full of food and poochin' out. See?
me: Yep. It's poochin' out. So why are you in my bed?
Will: If I lay in your bed it will make the food go away and my tummy won't pooch out.
me: Re..al..ly. Let me know how that works for you.
About five minutes later:
Will: It worked! See? My belly's not poochin' out.
me: Well, how about that!! It did work!
Later at lunch I informed Joel we have an amazing bed and given the amount of time we've each spent in the bed in the past week we should be rail thin be now. Rails we are not so there is some debate as to whether this miracle actually works for big people.
But for little people, momma and daddy's bed is an miraculous place. (It should be noted that my children DO NOT sleep in my bed so being on my bed is a treat.)
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
"There's no way I'm smarter than a dog." Repeat ad nauseum.
I think what he meant was there's no way a dog is smarter than me but who wants to nit-pick about details? = )
She currently says:
buh - brother
sop - stop (said emphatically to one of the buhs)
coo - cookie (the girl has got a sweet tooth!)
miw - milk
da - Daddy
ma - Mama (this has many variations depending on how insistent she is)
daw - down (generally when she wants to go downstairs where the boys are playing)
bw - bow (for her hair)
Once she really starts talking I'm going to need earplugs during the day. Between Ellie and William silence will soon be a valuable commodity around here.
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
Fall into Reading 2007 for me ended up pretty mediocre. And that's putting it mildly. Pathetic and sad are other words that come to mind. I had such high hopes! I even had a fairly short list so I thought I could get it done. Nah. Didn't happen.
I have read several books this fall but only these from my list:
A Charlotte Mason Companion: Personal Reflections on The Gentle Art of Learning by Karen Andreola. I haven't technically finished this book. I only have about 2 or 3 chapters left so it shouldn't take too much longer. What I have read has inspired me and scared me for our home schooling journey that will officially begin Fall 2008. I'm planning to write a full review once I've finished.
A Chance to Die (Amy Carmichael) by Elisabeth Elliot. Technically I haven't finished this either. It was a Christmas present from my mother-in-law so I haven't had a whole lot of time to read it. What I have read is pretty challenging. I'm definitely going to be searching for Amy's books and others from the bibliography. I'll also be writing more about this book after the chaos around here is over.
Lies Women Believe by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. This one I skimmed through. It is one of those deep books that you really need to own so you can mark it up. I borrowed this book from a friend so I couldn't write in it. At least I don't think she would have appreciated my scribbles and I'm not sure I'd want her to see all my issues. She's a close friend and hear's enough about my baggage on those rare occasions we're at Applebee's for hours AFTER they close. Anyway. I'm going to have to buy it because O, man! Am I ever thinking some lies!!
I'm hoping to make another list and keep it on my side bar. Maybe if I see it everyday then I'll be more diligent to accomplish my reading goals.
Anyone who didn't participate in the challenge have some suggestions for my new list?