Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Macaroni Mess

Matthew just learned the hard way that we do not throw half a bowl of macaroni and cheese over the table and down into the family room.

He learned the hard way that a lot of it gets stuck on the wall.

He learned the hard way that more of it messily plops to the floor.

He learned the hard way that while the dog will eat some of it, most of it will land on top of his hairy back and stick there.

He learned the hard way that when I see the mess, the best idea is not to look at me, laugh, and declare proudly, "I feeding doggie!"

He learned the hard way that while it might take a toddler just a few moments to throw macaroni all over the house, it takes him much, much longer to pick each piece up and put it in the the trash.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


My parents have a very sensitive smoke detector. It's just outside the bathroom door and anytime anyone takes a shower she has close the door behind her when she's finished or the steam will set it off. With some degree of regularity, someone forgets to lock the steam in the bathroom when he leaves. Every time we stay here, the smoke alarm goes off.

On Thursday morning, the food was cooking, the house was clean, and a fire was crackling in the wood burning stove. For reasons I'm still slightly unsure of, the stove suddenly began billowing smoke from all of its nooks and crannies. It had something to do with my dad turning on the house fan. Several of us were in the kitchen. My mom kept trying to find the source of the alarm, checking the microwave, the toaster oven, all the different timers she'd set. I figured it was the smoke detector being screwy again. We soon realized that the entire family room was filling with smoke.

My dad turned off the house fan and began opening windows. Let me be clear, THERE WAS NO FIRE (other than in the stove, where it is supposed to be). There was only smoke. A lot of smoke. We all opened more windows and began fanning the smoke out. A minute or two later, my dad turned to go down the hall. That's when he noticed my son, fighting the "fire" that wasn't.

When he'd noticed the smoke, Garrett had run into the front yard, turned on the hose, pulled it up to the front door, and was spraying water through the screen and into the house.

The clean house.

The house that was eagerly awaiting guests.

The house that was not on fire.

Maybe we have a firefighter in the making.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Plans For The Day

I can't wait to tell you the story about my oldest son and his recent fire fighting stunt but it'll just have to wait because I have to go take a shower. My mom, sister-in-law, and I are all going to go have a shop 'til we drop kind of day.

There will be lunch.

And some kind of delicious drink from some kind of coffee shop.

And shopping.

Maybe tonight I can tell you about how my five-year-old likes to put out fires.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


I am thankful.

That I have a husband who loves me.
Holds me.
Gets me.
And two boys who are so much more than I deserve.

I am thankful for good parents--then and now.
For a brother I wouldn't trade for anything.
For grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins and inlaws.

I am thankful for good friends.
Friends who laugh and share and converse.
Friends who pray.

I am thankful for food.
The ocean
The mountains
The valleys. Yes, even the valleys.

I am thankful for
The Way
The Truth
The Life.
My Jesus
My Savior

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Can Anything Good Come From Nazareth?

I had a great lunch with a friend the other day.

We talked about Jerusalem and, well, everywhere else. Samaria. Even Nazareth. Because can anything good come from Nazareth? (John 1:46)

We talked about Utah and, well, everywhere else.

It's not easy being called to minister in Utah.

But He calls.

We answer.

Ministry is hard. But it is ever so sweet.

There were several new faces in church on Sunday morning. Jerusalem would be easier. But Christ has come to Nazareth, to Samaria, to Utah. We will preach the good news.

He saves. And I am thankful.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

National Adoption Day

Today is National Adoption Day. A day to advocate. A day to remember.

I remember.

I remember meeting his mother for the first time. I remember flying home to Utah and knowing that my heart was back in southern California, with my unborn son.

I remember seeing his face for the very first time. I remember how head over heels in love with him I was with just one look.

I remember feeling like my soul had been thrown into a blender. I remember trying to breathe and knowing that my heart had never hurt like that before. I remember memorizing his face, terrified that he'd be taken away from me, knowing that I couldn't forget a single detail.

I remember so many moments of those painful fourteen months. I remember sobbing over my child and begging the Lord to do whatever it took for Matthew to have the very best life possible. I remember the judge officially giving my son our last name.

Nearly three years after we first met Matthew's mother and a year and a half after we legally adopted him, I cannot imagine my life without him in it. Adopt [uh-dopt]: to rear as one's own child, specifically by a formal, legal act. But sometimes I forget that I didn't give birth to him. The heart pains involved in Matthew's adoption far exceed the labor pains I felt with my first born. (Granted there's no epidural for adoption--that may have helped tremendously.) I find myself wondering if he got a certain trait from me or his father before realizing that if it has anything to do with either of us it's purely nurture.

A few weeks ago, Matthew had his hands folded. Troy and I both cross our left thumb over our right so, naturally, Garrett does as well. Matthew was in my lap and I looked down at his hands. Left over right. I know he got that from his first parents but it made me so happy. He's just like us, I thought.

And he isn't. I know that. He's curly haired, nearly black eyed, and incredibly stout. But watching nature and nurture unfold is simply incredible. He will tell you that his name is Matthew and that it means gift of God. Not long ago our five-year-old nearly started crying in the car. "I want to be gift of God!" We explained what his name meant, To Watch or Strength of the Spear--like a guard. His middle name, John, meaning God is Gracious. "I want to be gift of God!" He said again, more emphatically.

"I gift of God!" Matthew exclaimed.

"You are both gifts from God," Troy explained. "But Matthew's name actually means that." Of course, they are both my incredible blessings from heaven.

Adoption is such an absolutely miraculous gift. So, today, on this National Adoption Day, I remember.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Home For the Holiday

I haven't been in San Diego for Thanksgiving since a few days before we moved here. (I haven't been home for Christmas either.) The first two Novembers that we lived here I cooked and we hosted my inlaws. Last year we went to Oregon. Thankfully, my inlaws have a Thanksgiving that is very similar to what I grew up with. The menus are nearly identical. I'm so glad that I didn't marry into a family that ate bizarre things or omitted the green bean casserole (oh the humanity!). These last three Thanksgivings have been wonderful.

This year, I get to go home. Most of my extended family will be there. I can almost taste the mashed potatoes, marshmallow covered yams, and green bean casserole. I can almost smell the turkey cooking. I'll wake up in my old bedroom, the one that still has a few glowing stars on the ceiling--leftover from my early teenage years.

Garrett is counting the days until our trip in sleeps. There are two sleeps left, to be exact.

And then I'll be home for the holiday.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Q Is For...

Both of my boys were, in my opinion, late talkers. The Rock Star only said about twenty words before he turned two. However, by two and a half he was speaking in paragraphs. One man shows. Novels. Non stop. The Little Buddy talked even later than his brother.

But now, he too, pretty much won't stop talking.

Last night I sat with him and we worked on vocabulary words. I showed him a picture and he told me what it was. On one side is a letter and on the other side is a picture and a word. I would say, "A is for..." and show him the picture.

"Ant," he would supply.

"B is for..."


And so on. There were some pictures that stumped him. He calls the orange a ball every time. For some strange reason, the J flash card has a picture of jeans. Really? Not J is for jam. Not J is for jug. Nope. J is, obviously, for jeans. So every time we go through the cards, Matthew tells me that J is for pants. I say, "Very good but these are actually jeans which are a type of pants."

Last night, when we got to Q, I laughed out loud. "Q is for..."

"God" Matthew exclaimed, stabbing a finger directly onto Washington's face.

I don't know if Washington's long hair reminds my son of Jesus or what but it sure made me giggle.

"It's a quarter," I explained.

"Oh," he nodded. "Co-dah. Not God."

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Snuggle Time

Matthew places his two chubby hands on my cheeks. He pulls my face right up to his and gently puts his lips on mine. He makes a loud smacking sound well after the kiss is over. "Nuggle," he says, because he does not yet pronounce s's at the beginning of words. He wants me to climb into his bed and hold him tight.

I do.

This child, conceived in my heart, wraps his arms around my neck. I press my cheek to his and we stay that way for a few minutes. I try to leave and he refuses to let go. With his arms still firmly around my neck I begin to stand. His small toddler body lifts up, he hangs on. "Doh go, Mommy!" he whispers. "Nuggle mo-ah."

Unlike his brother, he won't fall asleep while we're cuddling. At some point, I have to go. "Matthew," I say, "it's time to go to sleep." He whimpers.

"I love you."

"Lub ew," he says through tears.

I pull the door mostly shut behind me and stand there for a moment. 

My whole life, it seems, is in bed behind that door. One miracle that I never thought I'd have and another miracle that I thought I was going to lose. It strikes me. I love them with a consuming passion. 

But God, He loves them even more.

Monday, November 14, 2011


My youngest child has taken to calling both his father and me, Maudy. At first it was reserved for Troy and I assumed that, what with being around me all day, every day, he was just wired to say, "Mommy." And that, halfway through, he realized he actually wanted his daddy and changed the name accordingly.

Troy would, rather ineffectively, say, "Buddy, I'm DAddy."

Then, Matthew just started calling both of us Maudy. He still refers to us as Mommy and Daddy most of the time (or Mama, Dada, Mom, or Dad) but several times a day we get the more universal moniker. The way he says it is absolutely adorable and I would so get it on video if I had a clue when it was coming.

The other day, he switched it up on us. Toddling into the room in need of assistance, he looked at me and said, "Dammy, hep me."

I'll take Maudy over Dammy any day of the week.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


I was head over heels in love with Troy and we were barreling toward marriage but if I let myself think about one subject in particular, I nearly broke out in hives. Troy was a pastor and had been since before I knew him. I pretty much figured he was going to be taking those pesky submission verses to heart. He'd never lorded over me before but that was my working definition of the dreaded word. To be lorded over. Ruled with an iron thumb. Stripped of one's former identity.

I wasn't that kind of girl. Submission was for weak minded women who wanted to be rescued. I was strong. Willed. I never backed down from a fight. I was bossy and assumed that, at least 50% of the time, I outta wear the pants. I didn't want to lose my identity somewhere under my husband's thumb.

One day, with trepidation, I brought up the subject with my fiance. And he took me through the verses, in depth.

Ephesians 5: 22 "Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord." Yeah. I didn't much like that one. At that point, at the tender age of 21, I was still working through the part about submitting to the Lord. And He's perfect and His will for my life is perfect. Submitting to my husband, a fallible man? Preposterous. But Troy just kept right on going.

Ephesians 5:25, 28-29 "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her...So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church." Hmmm. It was, at the very least, getting better. At least my husband was also expected to love me as Christ does. What a tall order. What a much, much taller order than simply submitting.

I remember Troy explaining submission and defining his role. "If I love you and respect you, I will never lord over you." He went on to explain that he chose a strong-willed woman. He wanted a wife who would challenge his thinking, debate, and stand up for her thoughts and feelings. He said that if we had a disagreement, we would talk about it, argue about it, whatever, and that if and when we reached an impasse, after careful prayer and consideration, he would make the final call.

It's never happened. Not in eight years of marriage. Oh sure, there have been times when, in the heat of an argument I've yelled sarcastically, "Fine! I submit to you! You're right. I'm wrong!" (This, by the way, is not submission. These, by the way, are not my finer moments.)

I can only think of one time when I said, honestly, "You decide. I submit to you." Troy didn't have to leave his ministry in southern California. He didn't have to take the job here. We went back and forth and around in circles. I prayed and prayed and never felt that God gave me an answer. So I made the decision that, since Troy is the one with the master's degree in exegetical theology, he needed to make the call. Because, without a clear word from the Lord, I never would have chosen to leave my life, my family, everything I'd ever known. He felt that the Lord was leading us here. I submitted to that decision and loaded my life into a U-Haul.

In eight years he has never told me to submit to him. Not once. That would defeat the purpose. My heart has to be willing for it to work.

To submit means, literally, to put under. To my 21 year old self this looked like an identity squashing at the very least. A heavy boot descending upon all that I was. To my 30 year old self, it looks like deep and abiding covenant love. It looks like protection. To put under as in, a protective arm around me. He will defend me to anyone every time. Christ gave Himself for the church and Ephesians calls my husband to do the same for me. I trust him. He takes the blame. He's held responsible. He gives his life for me, maybe.

This is submission.

I wonder what the world would look like if we lived Ephesians 5:21 "Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ."

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Volume of Poop

I was going to try to write some thought provoking post on submission. That'll have to wait. In the life of a mom with young kids there are things that take precedent over writing about the biblical principle of submission.

Things like poop.

Dude. The day when I am no longer dealing with diapers simply cannot get here soon enough.

We've been putting Matthew in Pull Ups during the day and a diaper at night. This works well. Troy and I are very trained to take Matthew to the potty once every hour or two. I pretty highly doubt that he's actually trained but he is learning to hold it until we remind him to go--most of the time.

Unfortunately, the kid really enjoys pooping during his nap. I cannot find a single, solitary reason for this because few things would gross me out more than pooping myself in my sleep.

He had a really bad diaper Pull Up a couple days ago. It was everywhere. On his pants. From his waist to the back of his knees. It was nothing compared to the one I just changed.

Poop was E.V.E.R.Y.W.H.E.R.E. And each of those letters represents it's own sentence. It was that bad. On his pants. On his shirt. On his back up to his shoulder blades. On his legs. On the new bath mat. On the tile. The entire upstairs smells like a fecal matter factory. I don't think that's actually a thing. I hope it's not.

I sort of whimpered the entire time I was cleaning my child. He's almost completely verbal now. "Can you please start pooping in the potty? You need to tell mommy when you have to go poop," I explained. He nodded as though he understood. I'm sure tomorrow he's going to poop himself again.

You just don't realize, before you have kids, the astounding volume of someone else's poop you're actually going to be dealing with. There are so many things about my babies that I am going to miss.

Their poopy diapers are simply not one of them.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Sometimes I get to wishing that I could have the first year of Matthew's life back.

Then I look at this...
And I am reminded that it wasn't all stress and anxiety and tears and fear.

Thank you Bethany, for taking this picture.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Vikings and Dragons

The Rock Star is still obsessed with knights and dragons and castles and swords and shields and vikings and damsels in distress. He wanted to be Hiccup from How to Train Your Dragon for Halloween. Except for the shaggy brown hair, he was pretty much a dead ringer. He's just so scrawny. He could have been any old viking but, as we collected candy from the local shopping complex, kids continued to say, "Hey look, it's Hiccup!" Of course, he had his sidekick, The Little Buddy Dragon.
The best part of our trick or treating adventure was that Carl's Junior handed out free small fries instead of candy and Jamba Juice handed out mini smoothies. It was also the first time in all of Garrett's years of life that Troy was able to join us for the entire adventure. Usually he comes for a few minutes before returning to put the finishing touches on our church's Harvest Party. This year the party was held on Saturday night instead.

The funniest part was when a little boy walked by and said, "Look, a dragon!"

The mom replied, "It's a dinosaur."

When they were out of earshot, both Troy and I said, almost simultaneously, "It's a dragon."

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Am I Normal?

Let's start out by saying that I have no idea what is going on in the background of this picture.
It looks like an album cover gone horribly wrong. Or a bad poster for a youth production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats. All that aside, The Rock Star said the most hilarious thing following his face painting at his friend's birthday party.

While the kids watched their friend open presents, my son scratched his face. I assume he got a bit of orange paint on his finger because, with a look of horror, he questioned, "Mommy! Am I normal?" He was frantically pointing to the spot he'd scratched. I think he was wondering if he had scraped off all his face paint, thus returning to normal.

Of course, not wanting to miss my opportunity, I replied, "Honey, you are definitely not normal."

Friday, November 4, 2011

Polar Bears

Yesterday morning, while we were still in bed, The Rock Star came in. He started telling us about a dream he'd had. Apparently, in said dream, we were camping. A polar bear started chasing us and Troy and I hid Garrett in the bathroom at church. We hid Matthew in one of the Sunday school rooms before hiding ourselves (TOGETHER!) in another room off the sanctuary. Because, logically, it makes total sense that we would hide our children separately while we cowered together. As Garrett was explaining the dream to us I was trying to sort it all out in my mind.

"Garrett," I said, "Did you really dream about a polar bear chasing us last night?"


"No. I mean, did you seriously have a dream about a polar bear?" I inquired.


Troy, confused by the inquisition, asked me why I was interrogating our first born. "Because I had a dream that a polar bear was chasing us."

I'd dreamed that we were living in Alaska. We had a house as well as a research building. The man I was married to was, apparently, working on some kind of bear documentary. I think it was supposed to be Troy but he was about twice as wide as Troy, half again as tall as Troy, and looked very much like Yukon Cornelius. Except, well, not made of a weird clay substance.

In the dream, there was a polar bear stalking my son and me. The child was, evidently, a combination of The Rock Star and The Little Buddy because he was about two--Matthew's age--but decided Caucasian--like Garrett. In the dream, I was desperately trying to protect the child from the bear but the bear was always one step ahead. I'd run into a room. The bear would be waiting. I'd run from the house to the research den. The bear would be waiting. I simply could not get away from the menacing presence of the giant animal.

I'm no dream analyzer but I think I have mine figured out. Still, how bizarre is it that my five-year-old son dreamed something very similar? Is this normal? Are we a family of freaks? Wait. Don't answer that.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Shake It

Sometimes, what happens at the retreat doesn't always stay at the retreat.
This year, a couple of the girls got the bright idea that we'd all have to do something humiliating to receive our notes of encouragement. See, we have a basket that I take up (you can see it in the bottom left hand corner of the photo). It's full of blank note cards. Throughout the weekend, the women have the opportunity to give and receive notes of thanks, encouragement, and friendship. On Sunday morning there were a lot of notes to be distributed and it was decided that we would do goofy things in order to obtain what belonged to us.

Someone had to perform I'm a Little Teapot.

Someone else sang a song and pointed to various body parts.

A group of people performed a preschool song.

And then it was my turn.

The night before, a group of ladies had been playing Imaginiff. They were short a player so they wrote in my name. Then they had to choose which 70's dance I would be. One of the options was Shake Your Booty or Shake Your Groove Thing or something. The next morning they asked me if I could, in fact, shake mine. Turns out, I can. Independently of the rest of the my body, even. Although not particularly well when I'm not quite four days post biopsy. Not that the biopsy was in my butt. Um. Wow. This post has gone to Hades in a hurry.

Moving on.

In a nutshell, I declared that I could shake my, er, booty.

Naturally, an hour or so later, when it was time to collect my mail, the group decided that I needed to get my, uh, shake on.

So I did. And there are several pictures on Facebook to prove it.

On Monday night we took the boys to Chili's for free kids meals. The server brought us a large quantity of coasters which Matthew thoroughly enjoyed lining up and then declaring, "Yook! I made puzzle!" They were promoting 'Rita Fest and one side featured a picture of a margarita. On the flip side it says, SHAKE THAT THANG.

What with attending the Beth Moore conference in August, where all of us learned that thing is, indeed, pronounced thang, and then my shaking mine at the retreat, I think the Chili's slogan pretty much sums up women's ministries this year.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

He's So Funny

Garrett: Mommy, I don't think I'll get married when I turn 21. I think I'll wait a minute.
Me: Okay. How come? (Not that I've ever wanted my son to get married at 21. I just figured there was a reason behind his sudden decision.)
Garrett: I just think I'll wait for a minute because when a guy gets married, the girl always starts talking about babies. (Oh my goodness! Where is he getting this? I mean, it's probably mostly true but yeesh!)
Me: Oh. Okay. And you don't want babies?
Garrett: Of course I want babies! But when a girl wants a baby and God says, "Not yet," she cries all the time. (It might be time for me to amend the story I tell him about how he came to be. Maybe from now on I will say, "God told mommy to wait and mommy was the pillar of strength, stability and faith.)
Me: ...And you definitely don't want your wife to cry all the time?
Garrett: No. I wouldn't like that.
Me: Well, it's alright with me if you wait a minute after you turn 21 to get married.
Garrett: Okay. Good. How about 22?