Monday, November 30, 2009

Adios NaBloPoMo

Today is the last day of NaBloPoMo. Most days it wasn't too much of a challenge to get my act together and put a blog together. There were days where I forgot until evening but most days I was okay. Then there were Sundays. Sundays are like insane Energizer Bunny days for me. I contemplate coffee just because I know it would help me get through the day. I have a pretty much hate-hate relationship with caffeine though so, in the end, I don't go with coffee. Sundays look like this: sundayschoolhourfollowedbyservicefollowedbyrehearsalfollowedbyalittlefootballbreakbeforeIhavesmallgroupbiblestudy. Whew. So yeah. You got Simple Sundays. I hope that was alright with you.

Farewell NaBloPoMo.

I'm just glad I didn't have to move during the month of November this year.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Simple Sunday

My inlaws are here for a visit...


The girl in the background with the alien face, that's me. Yeah.


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Nine Months

Dear Matthew,

I know you aren't a 309 pound offensive lineman. I know you probably won't grow up to be 6' 4" and I know you're not from the other side of Memphis. But yesterday, when I was watching The Blind Side, I couldn't help but think of you. I couldn't wait to get home to listen to your squeal. I couldn't help but wish and hope and pray that one day we could be just a little something like that family.

It's hard for me to believe that you are nine months old. Hard to believe that you've been with me as long as you were with her. That's not to disqualify all that she did, not to minimize her pain--both physical and emotional--in any way, not to forget the immeasurable love she has for you because she carried you and cared for you for nine long months. And because while she carried you, you grew in my heart but now that you are with me, you grow in hers. But to know that you have been being loved and cared for and carried in my arms for nine months gives me a sense of peace and confidence that when you finally spit out what's on the tip of your tongue, when you finally say, Mama, you'll mean it.

I won't forget the way you smile with your whole entire face and that grin--and those eyes--remind me of her in such a good way. I'll never fail to remember the way your two teeth peer over the rim of your bottom lip and your bubble gum tongue suctions to the roof of your mouth before you let out a series of squeals and your body rumbles with an all encompassing giggle. You crawl with your right hand in a fist and no one has any idea why. It's as though you're hiding a prize inside but when we pry your fingers up from your palm, we find nothing. Still, you crawl along with your left hand wide open and your right hand balled into a tight fist. Maybe it's indicative of your personality. Perhaps you'll be open and honest but always ready to sucker punch someone who crosses you. Or maybe, maybe it's nothing at all...

You're letting go of things and standing now for several seconds at a time. And you do it with this ridiculously nonchalant look like, Yeah. I'm standing. Jealous? And we're all, "Not really. Go ahead, walk. You know you want to." And you respond with this sudden fall to your butt bottom and a grin, Not right now. I'll walk when you aren't looking for it. So expect the unexpected. So I raise an eyebrow and say, "Kind of like the past nine or ten months?"

Oh are you ever a mama's boy. This month, suddenly, your sun started to rise and set because I tell it to. Your world spins because I think it should. You are glued to my hip, my legs, my lap, you'll take whatever you can get. It's incredibly annoying. And I wouldn't have it any other way. I adore you. I'm glad the feeling is mutual. You really like to kiss me. You're idea of kissing is opening your mouth as wide as you can, slamming it onto my lips, and drooling like a St. Bernard. Your kisses are the sweetest, sloppiest, heart melting smooches ever.

Just a couple of days ago you celebrated your very first Thanksgiving. You slept through our meal because we ate around 2:30 and you sleep from 1:30-5:00. You love your crib and even if you aren't sleeping for that amount of time, you're perfectly content to play with blankets and toys and hoot and holler and babble. But Thanksgiving. When you got up you ate mashed potatoes and yams and I didn't even care that all you had was starch. I wasn't even worried about how it was all going to go straight to your hips. Happy Thanksgiving--live a little.

You can't wait until you're big enough to play with your brother. Literally. You can't wait. So you don't. You climb him, yank him, slobber on him, grab him, mush him, mash him, spit up on him and hassle him. Sometimes it drives him crazy. Sometimes he wishes you were two months old or two years old but nothing in between. But always, always, he kisses you on the head before your nap and says, "Good night, Brother Man, see you next time." Or, "See you soon, Little Buddy." And always, always, he wants to be reassured that you'll be here forever.

And always, always, I want to be reassured that you'll be here forever. Your brother wants bunk beds. He wants to have to climb a ladder to get to his bed. I told him that if you get to be with us forever, if you get to stay in the very place that you belong, the two of you could have bunk beds when you get a little bigger. Matthew, I know that you can't choose. I know that you don't get to tell the judge that you want to stay with your brother and your daddy and your mommy and your doggie and the cat you want so desperately to touch but who eludes you. I know it isn't up to you. But I want those bunk beds, too. I want to come in late at night, climb the ladder and kiss your brother. Then I want to kiss your beautiful face, the one that smiles all the way from your mouth up to your eyes and back again. Always. Always. I want to be reassured that you'll be here forever...

Friday, November 27, 2009

Because I Love My Husband

Last night my mother-in-law took our Christmas card picture and my father-in-law danced around her like a big dork in the hopes that he could get both boys to smile at the same time. We got several pictures that we liked and we narrowed it down to three.

We asked them their opinion. We emailed my mom and asked her for her opinion. We decided I would put it to a vote on my blog. Then, after we worked on our photo online at Costco and added two other pictures to the layout, we ordered it with one of the family pictures. And completely forgot to wait for my mom's opinion. And completely forgot to put it to a vote.

Tonight I started blogging about something else and Troy had a conniption. "I thought you were putting it to a vote on your blog." I was confused. On account of the fact that we already ordered it. Apparently, he just really wants you all to vote. Which is totally cool with me except for the part where, if you choose one that we didn't go with, my heart might break a little. But I'm willing to risk it because I love Troy and it seems that he's got his set on a vote.

So, we have Picture A:


And Picture B:And Picture C:





Alright. Obviously we weren't considering the third one. We just, you know, thought it was funny. But anyway...please vote. My husband has his heart set on it. And I love him.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thankful

I'm thankful.

I'm thankful for spending 28,000 (and counting) because you can't put a price on a nearly nine month old. I'm thankful for his babbling and his giggling. I'm thankful that he started standing on his own two days ago because, even though that makes him one step closer to walking, it means he's growing and developing and thriving. I'm thankful that he's a mama's boy and he actually wants to be with me all the time.

I'm thankful that it takes me twice as long to make dinner because I have a constant little helper. I'm thankful that he wants to help me. I'm even thankful for the constant, "Can I stir that? Can I help wash that? Can I help with that, too?" At least he's helpful. I'm thankful for my three-year-old. Thankful for his tender heart. Thankful that he adores his family. Thankful, so thankful, that he's been fully potty/poop trained since the summer. Now to start teaching Matthew how to use the toilet. Just kidding.

I'm thankful for my husband. I'm so thankful that he does the dishes every night. Thankful that he loves his boys. Thankful that he often spends nights at a meeting or visiting with someone because his heart is on the things eternal. Thankful that he loves me without condition. I'm especially thankful that he remembers to put the toilet seat down every. single. time.

What are you thankful for?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tagging

I've been painstakingly going through all my posts and updating their tags. Though it's been out of control time consuming, it's been hysterical. I love reading the things Garrett tried to pull when he was younger. I found this post. The video at the very end serves as a reminder of how much The Rock Star could speak when he was almost two. Let me tell you that the difference between the conversational skills of 23 month old Garrett and 40 month old Garrett is approximately 180 degrees.

My favorite part of this post is the following sentence. I know adoption isn't easy. I know that I'll hit a lot bigger bumps than this along the way but come on already, give a girl a break. I wrote that on June 26, 2008. There had been a weird mix up in our paperwork. It took like a day and absolutely no money to fix. So, when I read that I knew I'd hit bigger bumps along the way, I burst out laughing hysterically--maniacally, even. Oh Lori...if only you'd known.

Anyway, it's been interesting going back through them all. And organizational. I love me some good ole organization.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Needle Boys

Yesterday I took the boys to get their H1N1 booster. I'm not entirely convinced that it was necessary since, you know, they've already had it but whatever. A month ago, when I took them, I thought that all hell was going to break loose when a needle so much as thought about approaching The Rock Star. I didn't warn him. I didn't mumble a single, solitary word about what was going to happen. I merely pointed at Garrett discreetly and told the nurse to do his first. I plopped him down on my lap, turned his attention to a Clifford book that was hanging on the back of the door, and gripped him tightly around his middle. He's already apprehensive about the doctor and given the fact that his mother is a recovering needlephob and his dad won't even consider therapy for his own irrational fear of being pricked, he would certainly come by his own fear honestly.

She came in from the side as I kept his attention on the wall. When she pricked him, he didn't even flinch. She put a Band-Aid on and it was then that I said, "Garrett you just got a shot." He dissolved instantly into a puddle of tears.

He wailed, "I did?!?!?!"

"Hey," I replied, "Stop crying. You already got the shot. Now you have a cool Band-Aid."

He stopped as quickly as he'd started, laughed hysterically, and said, "I do?"

Of course, Little Buddy yowled like a wounded coyote when he got his which prompted The Rock Star to ask, "Why does it hurt Buddy and not me?" I replied with some nonsense about how shots hurt babies because they are little but they don't hurt big boys.

When I called yesterday to see if they had the vaccine in, Garrett heard my conversation with the nurse. I hung up the phone and he asked, "Does Little Buddy need a shot?" I said yes. "Do I need a shot, too?"

Me: Do you want one?
G: No!
Me: But it doesn't hurt and you'd get a cool Band-Aid.
G: Oh. Okay.

We walked in and as we sat waiting a much bigger boy pitched a royal fit when he found out he was getting a shot. It sounded something like, "NONONONONONONONOIdon'twantashot!Mommynonononononononodon'tmakemewahahahahhahahahahaha!" The Rock Star turned his attention away from the fish and toward the boy. I could see the wheels turning. I could tell he was trying to figure out why he was making such a scene. Just as the boy began to scream, "I DON'T WANT A SHOT THEY HURT SO BAD--" I spoke loudly over the top of him.

"Come here, bud." Garrett climbed up on my lap and I made him say his abc's and count to nineteen and anything else to keep his attention away from the much bigger boy screaming about how much his shot would hurt. I figured if Garrett really heard him, it would throw my ridiculous fib about shots only hurting babies right out the window. I kept his attention on me as the much bigger boy's mother declared, for all the waiting room to hear, that kids that get shots also get ice cream. I kept his attention as all the other mothers shot her dirty looks and as all the other kids began pleading with their moms for the same reward. Thankfully, we were called back right after that.

The Rock Star sat on my lap, we flipped through the same Clifford book we'd seen a month ago. His sleeve was pulled up. The nurse moved toward him with the needle. She punctured his perfectly chubby little arm. He didn't even look up from his book. Not even for a second. "You're all done."

"Okay." He said.

Troy told him how proud he was and said, "See, they don't hurt."

Garrett retorted, "Well, it did hurt a little."

Huh. Really? Coulda fooled me. I'm sure this won't last long. I'm sure kindergarten shots will send him right into a fear of needles that is somehow lying dormant in his DNA. For now though, we are so proud of our little trooper. Matthew, however, wailed like he was being dismembered by a pack of rabid wolves. Ah well, you win some and you lose some.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Visitors

My father-in-law will be here from today until next Tuesday. My mother-in-law comes in on Thursday and leaves with my father-in-law. I think. That's what my mom told me anyway. After I told her the completely wrong dates and she referenced an email from my mother-in-law that said otherwise. I blame my husband. As long as days are approximate, he's good. This isn't the first time it's happened although the last time it happened a friend of Troy's called to make sure he was going to be at the airport to get him. I had to run around the house like a crazy person because I thought he was coming like two weeks later. I'm going to bypass my husband from now on. I thought my mother-in-law was coming Wednesday and that they were both leaving next Monday. I did have today's date right. 25% isn't so great though. Although, as Troy pointed out, it's a decent batting average.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Brothers

We tried to do a jammie photo shoot with the boys the other day. Let me just say how utterly impossible it is to get a three-year-old to stop making goofy faces long enough to snap a picture in the fraction of a nanosecond that an eight month old is actually sitting still.

We got this.
And this.
And then the goofy faces started.

And Matthew crawled away. So we took a picture of Garrett.
He came back looking like he was humoring us.
Then we lost them both and they started acting like, well, brothers.

The little one climbed all over the big one. The big one giggled. The little one looked proud that he'd pinned his brother in a fit of laughter.

They wrestled some more.

The little one had no idea that the big one could throw him off in an instant. The big one didn't because he loves his baby brother. And because he was having fun.

That's the way with brothers.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Bottom

There are so many things I miss about The Rock Star's baby speak. I miss that he used to call juice (or any other liquid in his cup) Biss and that even that evolved into Bissy Biss. I miss the way he said ceblahblahblah for cereal. I miss that he used to say Hockit Tockit instead of hot chocolate. I can't believe I'm saying this but I even miss the way he said, "What dat noise?" I miss the way he used to call my mother "Gigi" even though he said it like a Frenchman running a brothel.

Nothing, however--nothing--could prepare me for what my son did this morning. He said bottom. Maybe you remember that I treasured the fact that he was hanging on to his baby word for his bum. Seemingly nothing gave me greater pleasure than when he said boggin. I could lie and say I didn't feel my heart break a little tiny bit in my chest. I didn't cry simply because I want to encourage the development of his language skills and he was looking right at me. I asked him to repeat it, hoping and praying that he would cling to the baby word just to pacify me. "Bottom," he declared.

Bottom. My baby is all grown up. Bottom.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Sentences

I often find myself saying sentences I know I've never said before. Sentences I didn't think I'd ever say. For example, last Sunday at my rehearsal, I said, "Stop hiding toys on the ladder and stop taking baby dolls to the bathroom!" A combination of words I doubt I'll ever (and hope I never) say again.

Just this morning I chastised The Rock Star. "Don't throw bugs at your brother!" It's not that this is a sentence I thought I'd never say--I have boys after all--it's just that I didn't think I'd say it until the boys were considerably older. I have an image of them, seven and just ten maybe, throwing dead spiders at one another. The little one gets mad because he's losing at Battle of the Bugs and he throws a punch. The older one, still slightly bigger--though not for long--flies at his little brother with both fists. The smaller ones runs into the house for safety. When I question what happened the sentence starts with, "We were throwing bugs at each other." And I reply, "Don't throw bugs at your brother!"

But at 40 months (to the day) and nearly nine months, I didn't think it was a sentence I'd say. Of course, the bug in question was a giant plastic lady bug but still.

No, I will certainly not endorse fist fights between my two sons. It's just that I'm also not stupid. Wrestling matches and the occasional punch are inevitable.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

More pictures

I've been meaning to show you all this onesie that my friend, Michelle, gave Matthew back in September. Giraffe. It's cute right? What you probably can't see is the writing underneath the giraffe.
Let's take a closer look...Priceless! I absolutely couldn't have possibly put it any better. When I put him in it I am reminded that there isn't a price tag hanging off of Matthew's arm. It doesn't matter. I'm also reminded of Kevin, Michelle & Karsie and I say a prayer. Sometimes they sound like what Garrett prayed this morning.

G: (climbing into the car after preschool) Mommy, is baby Tarsie still in the hospital? (He asks a lot.)
Me: Yes. She is.
G: Is she getting a shot right now?
Me: Probably not right now.
G: Is the doctor making her better?
Me: Yep. Do you want to say a prayer for her?
G: Uh-huh. (pause) Dear Jesus, thank you for this day. Thank you for Tarsie. Thank you that something is going on in her tummy. Please put your hands on her and make her all better. Amen.

Um. I didn't pick up the phone and called Michelle right then to relay the prayer to her. I'm not that proud of my son's prayer and his tender heart. I certainly wouldn't have felt the need to share it with Michelle. Oh, okay, I did.

So, in other The Rock Star news, he's decided that he is completely independent in the bathroom. Regardless of what kind of business he does, he doesn't want any help. Problem is, when he does serious business, he takes his clothes completely off. Often his pants end up on backwards. It's not a big deal. Except when I forget to fix them and we go out in public like this. It might be worse when I don't realize it until we get home.

And then, finally, a poll. Please watch this video and then tell me if he appears to be happy. Sometimes it's hard for me to tell...
video





Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Random Wednesday

I'm down on our desktop computer, which is buried in the recesses of the basement, because I can't get our wireless Internet to work upstairs. So I started looking at pictures that we have stored on this computer. We didn't use the laptop at home until we moved to Utah so all pictures prior to that are on the one in the office. I've selected a few random shots, for your viewing pleasure or...whatever.

Three years and three days ago, this is what my firstborn looked like.
Um. I've had several people at our church tell me that they cannot imagine what I looked like pregnant. Well, this is what I looked like just seconds before we walked out the door to deliver our baby. I felt gigantic and, really, I was. For me. I mean nine months of gestating a son was certainly the biggest I'd ever been. But I look at it now and I see why so very many people hated me.

I get it now. I'm issuing my formal apology. Back then, I swore to everyone that I'd be huge with the next one. Well, the day Matthew was born I was quite a lot smaller than this. If there is ever another biological one, I promise to be bigger. I also kind of sort of maybe promise that there won't be another biological one.

This is what I looked like two days after Garrett was born. You know, in case people at the church were wondering what I looked like just after giving birth. I'm smiling because I'd had the good sense to get an epidural.

This is our cat when he was just a little kitty and we were all, What the doo da day? How the heck do we have a cat? What do you even do with a cat? We hate cats. Don't we? I think this was still when we were calling him a her. Because, yes, we were just that stupid when it came to cats. I mean, it was pretty obvious when we got our dog that he had...ahem...some business. With Oliver it was just so hard to tell. We felt pretty dumb when the vet said, slowly, as though that was what we needed, "This is actually a male."


And to wrap up this completely random slathering of photos, I urge you to tell me how any home is complete without one of these. No really. Go ahead and try. I'm fairly confident I won't believe you.

I think it might be as futile as if someone attempted to convince me that the Obama Administration's decision to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other Al Qaeda terrorists in the civilian justice system in Manhattan is a good idea.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

New Names

The Rock Star has preschool on Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 9:00-11:00. He pretty much loves it and he's learning sooooo much. Today, when he climbed into the car and I dug through his bag to see what kind of papers he'd brought to me, I found a little piece with a drawing of an animal on it. Above it read: My Indian Name.

Not very politically correct but I still laughed.

Me: Garrett, did you pick your name or did your teachers give it to you?
G: I picked it.
Me: Did they give you a few choices or did you just come up with it off the top of your head?
G: I dust come up wit it off the top of my head.
Me: (laughing) Okay Happy Monkey.

I called Troy to tell him that our son's Native American name was Happy Monkey. He asked me to have Garrett give Little Buddy his own name.

Me: What is Matthew's Indian name?
G: Um. Quiet Spider!
Me: (into the phone) Matthew's name is Quiet Spider.
Troy: Quiet Spider?
Me: Yeah. I think it should be Noisy Spider but whatever.
Troy: Or Barking Spider.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Mouse In The House

The other day our cat left us a gift. When Troy went to let the dog out in the morning, he saw a dead mouse waiting for us at the bottom of the stairs. Neat.

Fast forward a couple of days. Troy was up at men's retreat when I saw a mouse skitter across the floor and underneath my refrigerator. Double neat.

I shoveled the boys into the car and went straight to WalMart to get traps. I have a serious fear of setting those cheap wooden ones. It's not that I'm a total girl, it's just that I like all of my fingers and I don't really feel like losing one in the process of setting a trap. Oh, okay, I'm a total girl. So I splurged and got two slightly more expensive traps that advertised in big red letters that they were easy to set. The traps had teeth that resembled ferocious jaws. These will be effective, I thought.

I filled the food wells with peanut butter and I put one trap behind the refrigerator and the other on the floor of the pantry behind my big, heavy, wonderful KitchenAid mixer. You try finding two spots in your kitchen where it's safe to have a mouse trap. Two spots where your curiously stupid but lovable golden retriever won't wander for a tasty lick of peanut butter thus amputating a chunk of his tongue. Two spots where your cat won't reach his tiny little paw and retract it with a trap hanging off. Two spots where your eight month old won't grab at the interesting new toy thus losing a few digits in the process. And two spots where your three-year-old won't step for the sole purpose of getting a cool new shoe--and losing his big toe.

I checked the traps constantly. Nothing. Late that night, as I sat watching the end of a movie, I heard the snap of a trap. I waited several minutes and then checked the trap behind the refrigerator. It was still set. I opened the door to the pantry. The trap was sprung and lying on its side. Shining a flashlight into the small darkened area I saw a little mouse jerk its head.

It's not dead! I said, audibly. Loudly. Apparently, easy to set does not necessarily mean easy to kill.

Using tongs I pulled the trap out. The mouse was frantically thrusting its upper body around in an attempt to free itself. It was pinched in half but I couldn't detect any blood. It stared at me. "Help me!" It seemed to cry. And all I could think about--all I could think about--was Remy from Ratatouille. This wasn't a rat (thank heaven!) it was just a little mouse but still. When it looked at me with those little eyes and wriggled its nose it very well may have opened its mouth and whispered, "Why? Why have you done this to me?"

Again with the audible part, I said, You have to kill it. You have to end its suffering. And I began to sweat uncontrollably. I considered leaving it for my husband to deal with but then it wiggled its nose at me again. I used the tongs to carry the trap out to the garage and I got a gardening tool. Okay. You just have to hit it. Hard. And fast. You can do this. But then the logistics of the trap confused me. There was a big plastic piece in the way of my clean shot to the mouse's skull. I was afraid I'd hit the plastic piece and the trap would go flying with a live mouse still inside. I decided to take the trap outside, open it (with the gardening tool) and see what happened. If the mouse ran away I would just cross my fingers that it didn't end up back in my house. If it was paralyzed, I would have easy access to the entire mouse and I would hit it, quickly, with a hoe.

I released the trap. That mouse ran faster than a speeding bullet and I'm not even kidding you. It was as though those stupid jaws had somehow managed to miss its spinal column entirely and all it did was merely pinch the dumb mouse for awhile. Into the snow it ran and then disappeared into the dark. Au revoir, little mouse. Please don't come back into my house.

It's been two days and we haven't caught another one. But I think I'll let the cat take care of them in the future. He does a much better job than the traps.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Simple Sunday

Hi. These are my two teeth...
Hi again. It's me, mommy's little truffle.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Camping Out

My husband went up to men's retreat this weekend. Even though they are staying in the same posh lodge that the women stay in, Troy kept referring to it as "men's camp". The Rock Star was devastated that he couldn't go. To try to keep him from bawling his eyes out, I promised him a camp out of our own. He ran outside to show me where we would pitch the tent. But, uh, it was 28 degrees last night the baby monitor needs to be plugged in.
I pushed our love seat across the hardwood floor and draped a blanket over the top. In no time at all we had ourselves a tent or, as my brother and I used to call the ones we made, a fort.

I asked him what he wanted to do on our camp out. He wanted hot dogs and he wanted to roast marshmallows. This involved a trip to the store. When we returned we had hot dogs, pickles and potato chips. I certainly realize that this isn't a well balanced meal but it's not often that The Rock Star and I have camp outs while daddy is gone.

He requested marshmallows. But I decided to take it a step further.

We have a gas fireplace. We don't have a fire pit or any other good way to roast marshmallows. A candle had to suffice.

They didn't work quite as well as I'd hoped. Either they didn't brown or they caught on fire. I quickly learned that the best way to "roast" them was to let them burn for a very short amount of time. They were going inside of s'mores anyway so I wasn't terribly concerned. The only time I actually allowed him to hold the stick by himself was for the two seconds it took me to take this picture. I was slightly worried that the sugary puff would catch on fire and he'd shake it like mad and send it flying.

Nothing much better than when your brother goes to bed and you get to eat s'mores with mommy.

Yum. What's not to like? Graham crackers. Good. Chocolate. Good. Marshmallows. Good!

When the s'mores were gone and our tummies were full of sugar, we brushed our teeth and The Rock Star headed into the tent. I turned out the lights and read him books by flashlight. He was out cold by 8:45--over an hour after his bedtime. But sometimes--sometimes--bedtimes are meant to be broken.

Then I snuck out and watched TV with the volume turned way down low. I don't think he knew. ;-)

Friday, November 13, 2009

My Prayer

I remember lying in our bed. My fists tightly clenched the pillow my face was buried in. I sobbed, baptizing it in anguish and despair and expectation. I remember begging God for my baby. Father, hear thy child's call! I cried out in grief filled distress. Humbly at thy feet I fall. My body ached and I acknowledged my sin. I recognized anything and everything that might have been standing in the way of blessing. Prodigal confessing all. Eventually, sleep washed over my afflicted soul. I beseech thee, hear me!

I remember because it was a night of wrestling, confession, and confusion. My tears, it seemed, could have flooded the earth. I cannot adequately describe the emotion that exploded that night--but I remember. How could I forget being on the losing end (always) of a wrestling match with the Lord?

Last night Garrett woke up before I ever crawled into bed. It was 10:30 and I was watching TV. Troy was in the office working on something for church. Suddenly I heard Garrett crying in his room. I flew up the stairs and opened his door. He stood, disoriented, blanket sleeper clad, in the middle of the bedroom. I scooped him into my arms and quickly closed the door so as not to wake the sleeping baby. He put his head on my shoulder and I carried him down with me so that I could finish the show. I flicked off the light and, as I collapsed onto the couch, he cuddled into my body. When the show was over I shut off the television. Moonlight poured in through the open blinds on the back door. Tree branches, raped of their leaves by the autumn, swayed in the wind and cast their shadows across the carpet. My son breathed heavy, his chest bumping into mine as he slept. So much bigger than yesterday. So much bigger than the day before. So much bigger than the tiny baby they put into my arms after a 25 hour labor. So much bigger, wiser, better than the baby I beseeched the Lord for.

It was peaceful, quiet, and late. The fire, and my child, warmed me and kept the chilly fall air at bay. Leaves swirled outside the door and Garrett sighed with content--safe in his mother's arms. I sighed with content--safe in my Father's arms, soaking in the joy of answered prayer.

Psalm 6:9 The LORD has heard my cry for mercy; the LORD accepts my prayer.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Hope's Fulfillment

Let us sing alleluia here on earth, while we still live in anxiety, so that we may sing it one day in heaven in full security...We shall have no enemies in heaven, we shall never lose a friend. God's praises are sung both there and here, but here they are sung by those destined to die, there, by those destined to live forever; here they are sung in hope, there in hope's fulfillment; here, they are sung by wayfarers, there, by those living in their own country. So then...let us sing now, not in order to enjoy a life of leisure, but in order to lighten our labors. You should sing as wayfarers do--sing, but continue your journey...Sing then, but keep going. -Augustine of Hippo

I came across this quote this morning while I was reading part of Kathleen Norris's Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith. I was first introduced to Norris in college and, while I hardly agree with all her theology, I can't read her without being riveted to her words and moved by her poetry--and I've only ever read her prose. And I agree with enough of her theology to wholeheartedly recommend her books--at least The Cloister Walk and Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith. Especially (especially!) The Cloister Walk. I think the former is a much easier read than the latter although, my life is certainly richer for having read them both.

But the quote. I keep trying to pick out my most favorite part but I'm having a tough time. All of it is pregnant with words of peace. I think that this is the line that captivates me the most: here they are sung in hope, there in hope's fulfillment...

As I watch friends (both real life friends and those I call friends because they share their life with me through this thing called blogging) go through horrible trials and as we wait in hope for a positive end to our own situation, I sing Hallelujah and I long for eternity in hope's fulfillment. I long for an everlasting life spent in the presence of my redeemer.

Hebrews 12:2-3 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Mama's Boy

If you looked up mama's boy in the dictionary the definition would be Matthew. It's not that he doesn't adore his daddy. He does. It's not that he won't go to other people. He will. It's not that he screams all the time if I'm not around. He doesn't. But good grief and give me a break is that kid ever a mama's boy.

He wants to be with me constantly. He'll go to someone else but the moment I walk up it's all tears and "oh how I've been tortured" and reaching out to me and did I mention the tears? Giant ones, produced so immediately that I'm getting this kid acting lessons for his second birthday and just waiting for the day he wins an Oscar and says he owes it all to his strange obsession with his mommy.

At home it isn't enough to spend his entire existence standing between my legs, following me wherever I go, demanding to be held. Oh no. When I hold him, he often tries to climb into my body. He just isn't close enough to me if he's merely in my arms. Apparently, he needs to open my chest cavity and cling to my rib cage.

I make him entertain himself quite often because I don't want a baby who can't ever be put down. But, I'd be lying if I said I didn't find it endearing--albeit incredibly annoying. There is a part of me-- the part that threw The Rock Star at the nearest passerby any time he acted like this because I just didn't want to have myself a ridiculously shy, finicky, picky baby--that wants to tell him to toughen up and stop being such a baby. There is, however, another part of me--most of me--that thinks this bond is amazing. This part of me wants to hand Matthew to the judge, watch him dissolve into a mess of snot and tears and Oscar winning performance, and then raise my eyebrows and say, "Really? Really?" Then, perhaps Matthew could let out one of his piercing screams. It sounds like a lot of loud yelling but it is translated to I want my mommy and I want her right now and I want her never, ever, to put me down. EVER! They are somewhat famous around here because, well, they could wake the dead and I'm only mostly kidding. Anyway, perhaps he could let out one of his banshee shrieks. Then, I could look at the judge, smile, and say, "I rest my case."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Santa Brings One Thing...

When The Rock Star sat on Santa's lap last year, he asked for a green hat. My mom was with me. We had no idea why he had suddenly gotten the notion that he needed a green hat. I thought, for sure, that he would be sorely disappointed on Christmas morning when he opened an anti climatic hat. I'll just tell you that it wasn't the first time I was wrong.

Santa, being the jolly guy that he is, also brought Garrett a kiddie drum set. He opened the hat after he got his drums and he was still incredibly happy.

This year I asked Garrett early what he wanted from Santa. I just thought that, in the event he asked for Barbados or a big screen television, I might need time to talk him into something else. He replied that he wanted a nummy. I knew what he meant. Last year, mall Santa gave him a candy cane.

Me: You want a candy cane?
TRS: Yeah.
Me: Anything else? You can ask Santa for one other thing.
TRS: A pirate boat.
Me: But you have a pirate boat.
TRS: I want another one.
Me: Oh boy.

I set to looking on the Internet to see what kind of inexpensive pirate boat Santa might be able to concoct in his, uh, toy shop. Today, I walked through WalMart while Garrett was at preschool. I wasn't finding much, let me tell you. Thankfully, it's not my problem. Thankfully, Santa could deal with it.

I had to go to a different WalMart once I picked Garrett up because I heard that there were turkeys for .40 cents a pound (thanks Heather!) but they were out of them at the WalMart that I went to first. So, Garrett, Matthew and I stopped by the one closer to our house. As I walked through the store, The Rock Star got sidetracked.

And he fell in love with a toy. Crocodile tears rolled down his face when I told him no. So I told him to put it on his Christmas list. His sobbing stopped. "Can I ask Santa for it?" I told him that he could only ask Santa for one thing and so he would have to choose between the beloved toy that had worked its way into his heart or another pirate boat. For him, the choice was easy.

This is going to seem like a total non sequitur but Garrett loves the trash man. He asks, almost every day, if the trash man will be coming. He sits in the front window and watches and waits and waits and watches. It's peculiar. Anyway. He's obsessed. The kid will drop everything and run to the window if he hears a trash truck. So is it any wonder that this is the toy that suddenly stole my three-year-old's heart?


Last year, I wondered if Santa thought it was weird that my two-year-old asked for a green hat. If mall Santa's everywhere had lists of bizarre things children ask for, this one might take the cake.

Santa: What would you like for Christmas, little boy?
TRS: A trash truck.
*********************************************************

Speaking of The Rock Star, someone who started reading this blog after Garrett had been renamed asked how he came by his nickname. I used to call him The Dictator because, well, he acted like one. However, last May, he wandered into my bedroom and emphatically yelled, "I'm a rock star!" I blogged about it and a reader suggested that maybe he got it from Sid the Science Kid on KPBS. Though I hadn't realized it at the time, that is exactly where it came from. He continued telling us for quite awhile that he was a rock star. He loves music and anything having to do with drums or guitars so it just seemed to fit.

Monday, November 9, 2009

What Are You Thankful For?

Last night was our church Thanksgiving potluck. We had an amazing turnout. The "official" count was 162 which was more than we had in church yesterday morning. It was delicious and not only did I fill my belly with turkey, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, and more, my three-year-old gobbled (ha ha--I crack myself up) it all down also--which was a real testament to its tastiness. Except the mashed potatoes. He gagged three bites down because I made him. My incredibly strange son still hates mashed potatoes.

After our meal, we had a time of worship and sharing the things we're thankful for. The Rock Star was frolicking around near his dad so my husband stooped down and stuck the microphone in his face. Without warning or prompting of any kind, Troy asked Garrett what he was thankful for. I held my breath, fully expecting that he'd say toys or candy or something even more horrendous like his epic toots.

With a sweet little voice, my firstborn replied, "Jesus."

Troy smiled and said, "What else?"

The Rock Star paused for a few moments and finally replied, "My whole church."

Good answers, son. Good answers.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Simple Sunday

Just a couple of pictures for your viewing pleasure.


Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Couch

We have a couch and love seat in our formal room*. They are off white and we bought them with money that my grandparents gave us when we got married. We splurged and paid for some kind of stain proofing thing on account of the fact that we knew we wanted kids. We use them but we don't use them often. They look fairly new. Yes, I'm knocking on wood as I write and imagining a post in the not too distant future where I talk about how one of my two boys has just ruined my couch.

Anyway.

Despite the fact that I rarely use the furniture in the living room, it's a wonder that I had wonderful snuggle times with both my sons during the last 30 hours. I just put Matthew down in his crib. He fell asleep while he was drinking his bottle which never happens. I carried him over to the couch and laid down with him on my chest. His arms were pulled in tight underneath his body. His hair tickled my chin and the smell of Shea butter filled my nostrils. A trickle of formula ran from his mouth, which was slightly agape, and down his chubby cheek. He sighed. I sighed. The moment was good.

"MOMMY!" The Rock Star shrieked from the back door. And then there was some kind of catastrophe involving a three-year-old, a dish towel, and a piece of wood outside. Matthew's eyes flew open, his head popped up off my chest, and his signature grin spread across his face as if to say, My, what a good nap. I'm ready to play now. I carried him up to his crib.

Last night, Garrett announced that he'd made a bed for all of us. Troy was supposed to curl up on the love seat while Garrett and I shared the couch. I laid with my head at one end and Garrett had his head at the other end. I tickled his bare foot with the back of my index finger. He giggled. "Come here," I said to him and he curled into my body with his head balanced on my shoulder. As we talked he let out a series of rather loud toots**. I laughed. He laughed. He sat up and looked into my eyes as I chuckled.

"Garrett, do you know who else toots like that?" I asked him, prepared to throw my brother under the bus.

"Yes." He giggled.

"Who?" I asked, pleased that he knew of whom I was speaking.

Garrett paused and, through hysterical giggles replied, "The Prospector."



The part he is referencing happens at about the 4:24-4:44 mark. So you can fast forward to that point if you don't feel like watching all the Toy Story 2 bloopers. In any case, I completely cracked up. He collapsed back onto my shoulder and shook with deep belly laughter. The moment was good.

I'm glad I have that couch--and, of course, the boys who snuggle with me on it.

*When you have two boys under the age of three and a half, nothing is formal.
**Yes, we call them toots. I mean, we didn't until we had kids but now we do.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Little Bill

We've been trying to have more diversity in the things we let The Rock Star watch. Sure, Little Buddy is only eight months old now, but one day he'll identify with the things he sees (or doesn't see) around our house. Little Einsteins is good because there is an Asian and an African-American on it. Another great cartoon that Garrett has fallen in love with is Little Bill. And, really, how could you go wrong with Cosby?
Little Bill loves a particular superhero called Captain Brainstorm. In one episode, Little Bill wants to be Captain Brainstorm for Halloween and has to come up with things around his house that will help him put the costume together. When he gets stumped he says to himself, "There's got to be another way."

Let's just say that this is Garrett's new catch phrase. I hear him saying it really frequently. This morning, as he tried to shove his feet into shoes that are way too small I heard him exclaiming, "There's got to be another way!"

Do any of you have suggestions about other cartoons/movies/music/etc that would be good for us to have around to broaden the cultural identities of both our boys?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Final Barf Installment

Wow. Thank you all for your advice. I even got some emails offering other helpful--and sometimes not helpful--solutions. Of course, the best piece of advice I received was from my brother who used to torture me when I was throwing up as a kid by saying things like, "Hey, do you want a big, giant, juicy hamburger with a slice of pepperoni pizza on top?" To this day, when I get the stomach flu, I have visions of the greasiest foods pounding through my head and I blame my dumb well educated brother.

So, anyway, here's what he had to say:

Hold your breath, starting with ten seconds, and increasing in ten second increments until you reach one minute. After that, gargle some saltwater mixed with minced garlic. Hop up and down on one foot for 8 seconds. And lastly, hop on a plane bound for San Diego. Drive east on Interstate 8 to El Cajon. See our apartment. And then, you're cured!

Good golly. After all these years of wondering how to make it stop the answer is saltwater. And garlic--which will taste delicious mixed with vomit. Then I get to hop up and down and fly on a plane. It just doesn't get better than that when my stomach is busy doing the tango with the rest of my internal organs. Oh boy.

And now, if you'd like, we can move on from talk of barf.

What should we talk about? Hmmm...yeah. I got nothin'.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The One In Which We Discuss All The Barf

Because I don't think anyone who works for Child Protective Services reads my blog and because the child in question is not mine, I wanted to bring your attention to this comment which was left on yesterday's post:

When Kyle was two, Jason and I both came down with a horrible stomach flu. We were so sick that we never even changed his diaper the entire day! I was eight months pregnant with Neil to top it off. What a fun day that was. We just locked the doors and hoped for the best. Obviously, Kyle lived through the day. He probably ate dog food or something, because I sure don't remember getting up to fix him anything to eat!

It made me chuckle. And then laugh. And then guffaw some more. The child being discussed--the one who ran around in a soggy diaper and possibly survived on dog food--is my cousin. Kyle is now 21. He is alive and well. This is how I know that The Rock Star will be okay even though he basically took care of himself yesterday. At noon, when he asked me for a hot dog, I had to talk myself into it for a half hour. I considered giving him step by step instructions so that he could do it himself but there was a knife involved so I decided against it. Finally, I closed my eyes and held my breath while I pulled it out of the package and stuck it in the microwave. If smells could kill...

But seriously, Aunt Vicki, why didn't you call my mom or your mom or the plethora of other relatives who lived near you so that you could hurl in peace, without the help of a two and a half year old? 19 years later I'm feeling very sorry for you.

I also want to know, how, in the world, I didn't throw up a single solitary time when I was pregnant with The Rock Star. Seriously. If I didn't remember almost every second of giving birth to that kid, I wouldn't believe I'd ever actually been pregnant. Maybe I had a case of pseudocyesis. Maybe he's not even real. He could just be a figment of my imagination. Because the fact that I never chucked--not once--during pregnancy is just, well, honestly, it's impossible. I did put my head in the toilet at a Coco's and then laid on said Coco's bathroom floor but I never produced a bit of regurgitated food. Therefore, I was never pregnant.

Also, the fact that I didn't throw up at all between the summer of 1999 and the spring of 2003 is unimaginable. I'm either blocking something out of my memory or Point Loma Nazarene University was like the probiotic for stomach ailments.

So, this last time, I almost passed out. I stood up from the porcelain throne and the world spun uncontrollably. I saw starish like twinkles. I collided into the bathroom sink. I considered the emergency room and the blessed relief of an IV drip. But seriously, I'm much too cheap for that. Troy would likely have had to pry my lifeless fingers from the toilet seat before I'd let him take me to the ER on account of vomit. Then we'd just bypass the emergency room altogether and head straight for the morgue. Here's the thing. I almost passed out. I pull muscles. My lower back always hurts something awful. I lose, on average, about six pounds. I gain it all back in a New York minute, in case you were concerned. (How many of you are singing Don Henley now?) Generally speaking, I throw up for about six to eight hours and, in that amount of time, I typically puke between 18-30 times. Obviously, the last 15-27 times are nothing more than bile, stomach lining, bones from my toes--I don't know what. But I feel like that is excessive. I feel like that is not normal. I used to get some kind of stomach bug once or twice a year. Since having kids, it seems like it happens more often. I think I've had it three times this year and we still have two months to go.

This time, I tried eating ice chips but I just threw them back up. At the seven hour mark I was so dehydrated that I didn't care anymore. I poured myself a cup of green Gatorade. (I hate green Gatorade for the sheer fact that I always drank it when I had the stomach flu as a kid. Green Gatorade tastes like the stomach flu to me. It does.) I drank it in small sips, knowing that those small sips would be staring at me in approximately 15 minutes. But they never came back up. Granted, it was the seven hour mark so maybe I just got lucky. Or, is it possible that my stomach malfunctions and it can't get out of some kind of cycle of yakking? Is there something in green Gatorade that calmed it? Do any of you have any kind of stomach flu cure that I could try next time? Because, you know what, this is ridiculous. Oh, and hey, I wasn't totally cured when I drank the Gatorade. I just wasn't throwing up anymore. There were still, uh, other things going on which suggested that something was still wrong with my innards. I wouldn't be sharing that with all the Internet world except for the fact that I am desperate for some kind of home remedy/medical study for which I would be paid heftily for my services/miracle and I thought you might need all the facts. I'll do anything next time. I'll eat dirt. I'll do thirty push ups followed by eleven hundred crunches--because my stomach would probably feel as sore as it does when I've finished throwing up 25 times. I'll turn around eight times, throw tarragon over my shoulder, spit three times into a sippy cup, and then swallow a dime if you promise me that it will help.

Seriously.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Uhhhhgggghhhh!

So. First we had swine. Then Garrett threw up a couple times. Obviously, you know what that means. I felt okay until about 6:00 last night. By 6:45 I was yakking. It was one of the most violent stomach bugs I've ever had--and that's saying something. This morning I felt like I got hit with a truck so I asked Troy to take the day off. He informed me that he would be taking the day off, not because I needed him, but because he, himself, is sick as well. We've never been sick like this at the same time. We had to take our baby to a friend's house because there was just no way that either of us could take care of him. (Thank you, Christy! You are a lifesaver.) The incredibly weird thing is that we are both running fevers. I do not run a fever with a stomach bug. I have no idea what is going on in our home but it's gross. I have that feeling that we will never, ever, eat again and never, ever, be able to leave our house again.

Okay. I've fulfilled my NaBloPoMo requirement for the day. Now I'm going to try to sleep some more.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Not Working

I blame the time change. It has Little Bud extremely discombobulated. I know it's only an hour. I know we didn't move him from Salt Lake City to Japan and expect him to just go with it. I know that 60 minutes shouldn't make such an enormous difference. But it does. 60 minutes means he's up an hour early, wants to take a nap an hour early, and then wants to go to bed at night an hour early. That is the only explanation for why he was ready to go to bed last night at 6:15. Nothing I tried would deter his tears.

As I bounced him on my lap, and his screams got louder, I asked Garrett to play Ahboo. It almost always works. So, Garrett got his face up by his brother's, smiled, and said, "Ahboo. Ahb--Ahboo's not working." And he said the last part as though he'd been trying it for three months without any success.

I turned the baby toward me and tried it. Nothing. That kid wanted a bottle and he wanted his bed. Like I said before, I blame the time change.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween

So Garrett requested a monkey pumpkin and Daddy did his best. The boy was happy. It met his approval.

Matthew is just getting over a raging cold. He wasn't the happiest camper in the tent when we went to the pumpkin patch. He wasn't terribly interested in the pumpkin we brought home for him. He did pound on it like it was a drum for a minute or two before dissolving into tears and pleading with me to hold him.
Yesterday I took the boys to a local shopping center to trick-or-treat. I've decided that, next year, I am going to inform Garrett that he is to say, "Trick or Chocolate." Because, really, if you don't give chocolate, you might as well be tricking. At one establishment, Garrett had a choice between several pieces of candy. Miniature Hershey chocolate bars, Milky Way, and other various chocolate pieces lined the bowl. Thrown in, for good measure, I'm sure, were single Starburst squares. When the bowl was lowered and Garrett was faced with the big decision, he plucked out a single yellow Starburst. A. Single. Yellow. Starburst. Yellow! I've failed him. Not next year. Next year there will be a lesson in how to appropriately choose candy.

This year, the boy begged us to let him be a knight. Um. Okay. Sure, dude. So, without further ado, I give you The Rock Star as The Knight.
And it just so happened that when Garrett was 15 months old, he was a dragon. Well, naturally, I couldn't pass up reusing the dragon costume. So we had a knight and a dragon. I give you Little Buddy as The Dragon.

The dragon has two eyes, one just decided to be MIA from the picture. When I put Matthew into the costume, Garrett grabbed the tail and asked me if it was the dragon's...um...member. Except he didn't say member. He said the correct word. And I explained that it was actually the tail. Silly me, I kind of thought the spikes gave it away.