Monday, January 30, 2012

Broken?

You want to know what happened today with Matthew? I took him to the doctor. The doctor took the splint off and...

Wait. First, I have another giveaway going on over at Givin' In A Fishbowl. It's for 25 dollars worth of Sam's Club cards. But you can use them at Walmart also. Or at walmart.com or at samsclub.com so there's really no excuse not to go enter. Unless, of course, you're one of those people who boycott Sam's and Walmart. I'm not one of those people. I have a Walmart a mile from my house. It makes me happy.

So. Matthew. But did you go over to my other blog and enter? Go ahead. Do it. I'll wait for you.

Because who doesn't like free money? Unless you're raising your hand, head over and enter already.





Okay. As for Matthew. The doctor took the splint off and Matthew started limping toward me and saying, "It hurt. It hurt." The doctor said that he was going to order an Xray but that he would cast it regardless. He said that it was very likely a toddler fracture and he may or may not be able to see it on the image. When we got ready to leave, Matthew (the same Matthew who is generally terrified of any new adult and who generally clings to me with wild, crazy eyes if I so much as make him look at a stranger) reached his arms out for the doctor and started crying about not wanting to leave. I can't figure this kid out sometimes. When we got to the hospital, I set Matthew down to check him in and that's when he started running (RUNNING!) around the office. The limp from before, it was almost nonexistent. Still, I paid--probably a boat load of money but that remains to be seen--to have two images taken. Then I carted the kid back to his pediatrician's office.

The doctor looked at the images.

He looked at Matthew who was galloping, leaping, scaling chairs, laughing, squawking, and not crying, limping or complaining, and said, "I think we can hold off on the cast."

Yeah, you think?

It's not broken. At least, not that anyone can see or fathom based on how he's acting.

"What do you think was wrong last week?" I asked.

He shrugged. "I don't know. Maybe he just tweaked it. Or bruised it."

But it isn't broken. So you should go over to my other blog and enter the giveaway to celebrate.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Enough

There are days when I feel like, aside from the overwhelming love of God, I'm being held together by Scotch tape and a dab, here and there, of Elmer's glue. Days when relief comes and I unwind quickly--like a kid who twisted 'round and 'round on a park swing--unaware of the fact that I'd been holding my breath. The exhale is verbose and, when my lungs deflate, it becomes painfully clear that I was falling apart. I apply the glue and the tape, put on my combat boots and keep walking.

See, sometimes God doesn't answer prayers exactly the way we want Him to.

But sometimes He does.

Naively, I thought the fear would disappear once the judge made us an official family. I didn't realize it was an offering I'd have to make on an almost daily basis. "Here, Lord, take this anxiety. It's ugly. It stings and aches and wraps its deceptive fingers around my throat. It isn't much but you can have it." Then, when I foolishly think He isn't looking, I creep up to the altar and take it back. For this reason, I've had to bring a sleeping bag straight into the Holy of Holies. I mostly live there now, practicing a tug of war between who I want to be and what I am. If I walked away, I'd bring the cold, choking fingers of anxiety with me because I'm codependent like that.

I live, almost every day, clinging to the hope that I'm doing right by him. In the deepest part of my marrow, he is my son. My heart knows no distinction between the two boys who call me mommy. But in my head I carry the pressure of transracial adoption. I swim around in a cloud of confusion wondering if faith and love will be enough. I tell him his story. He doesn't ask questions because he's two.

I've told it so many times the knees are almost worn through. He used to insist, almost angrily, that he was in my tummy. I explained quietly that he was formed in his mother's body and that she loves him very much.  Now he says, "I in her tummy. I in your heart." The other day, out of nowhere, he looked at me with his deep chocolate eyes and added, "You were in my heart, mommy!" I couldn't swallow the lump that lodged in my throat. Tears leaked from my eyes as I pulled him into my chest. For now, what we are is enough.

But the weight sits on my chest like an elephant in the room. I will teach this child about slavery, emancipation, and segregation. The daunting task of the white woman teaching the brown boy about his history is not lost on me. I will teach this child that he has four parents and that the situation is and was...complicated. To use a word that grossly understates the details. How I instruct him, guide him, and love him will have to be redefined with passing seasons. But I will do these things and I will do them from the foot of the altar, in the protective shadow of my Savior's instruction, guidance and love.

And every day that goes by where we are simply we--and it it enough--is a day of answered prayer.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

My Theory

Well, I think we've cracked the mystery of what happened to Matthew. We don't know yet if it's broken--and won't until Monday--but we've likely discovered the cause of whatever it is that ails him.

Yesterday, with full splint on, Matthew jumped four stairs. He started one stair short of the kitchen and leaped to the family room. Four stairs. In a splint. With a probable broken leg. He gets this from his brother who will climb up anything and jump off everything.

So here is my theory. I think Matthew jumped down the flight of stairs. He's done it before and I've told him, every time I've seen him do it, "Stop. You're going to break your leg." Sometimes I throw in neck in place of leg. You know, to mix things up. Thankfully, the way it played out, his neck has nothing to do with it. We found him sitting at the top of that flight of stairs so I think he turned and crawled back up. That's when he started complaining about being hurt. I can't imagine that he put any weight on it by walking up the stairs because he screamed bloody murder when he put weight on it at the restaurant. Troy changed his shoes, sitting right there on the steps, picked him up and carried him to the car.

The doctor's guess, a hairline fracture of the tibia. My guess, a wounded toddler--probably a hairline fracture of the tibia--caused by a kid who didn't believe his mother when she said, "Don't do that! You're going to break your leg!"

Thursday, January 26, 2012

How Did This Happen?

We were heading out to dinner to celebrate some good news by using a gift card. I tried to put Matthew's fleece on him and he pitched a colossal fit. I sent him to his bed for timeout. A few moments later, Troy came in to lay down the law and threaten to cancel our dinner plans if he didn't shape up. He then left to continue getting ready. Once Matthew had calmed down, I sent him in to discuss with his daddy whether or not we were still going to go out. 

He walked into our bedroom.

He walked just fine.

He didn't limp.

He wasn't crying.

All. Was. Well.

Troy continued getting ready, I went into the kitchen, Matthew walked down the stairs. 

He walked just fine.

He didn't limp.

He wasn't crying.

All. Was. Well.

A few minutes later I vaguely became aware that he was whining about his foot. At this point he had on rain boots. Troy sat next to him on the floor and offered to change his shoes. After he put tennis shoes on him, Troy picked him up and put him in the car. He didn't whine about his foot anymore.

Until we got to the restaurant. He started sobbing and screaming that his foot hurt. When we asked him to show us where, he pointed to his leg, just under the knee. Troy could not get him to stop crying so I had him send Matthew over to me to see if I could do the trick. When Troy set him down on the ground, he took two steps toward me. He was limping dramatically and looked like he was going to collapse. Needless to say, dinner was kind of a mess. We got him calmed down and he was fine as long as someone was rubbing his leg. Otherwise, he sobbed.

We'd felt all up and down his leg and he didn't seem agitated at all by our poking, prodding and squishing it. But he simply would not bear weight on it. We couldn't remember him doing anything that would warrant such pain. When we got home, I stood him at a chair and asked him to walk to me. He would not. All he would do was stand and scream.

So, obviously, I took him to the doctor.

"Broken until proven otherwise," the doctor told me. He suspects that Matthew has a hairline fracture of the tibia although, no one, including Matthew, can explain how or why. 

When asked what happened Matthew simply says, "I don't know." The doctor checked his hip, knee and ankle. He compared the two legs. He massaged Matthew's entire leg and he never once cried. Then he stood him up and watched as Matthew refused to put even an ounce of weight on it.

The doctor recommended putting a splint on it and examining him again on Monday. He said that often times a child's hairline fracture won't even show up in an x-ray but that giving it a couple extra days might help them to see something. So he wrapped Matthew's leg in some sort of mummy material. "Whoa, that's cool!" I said in an attempt to keep my hyper-sensitive child from freaking out.

He stared down at his leg and then shouted, "I have to show my daddy!" What a typical boy, wanting to show off his wounds. Then the doctor put the splint on and wrapped it in an ace bandage like material. Finally, he covered it in a blue sticky material to keep the toddler from ripping the whole thing to shreds.

I asked if I was supposed to keep him off of it. (All the while wondering how, on earth, I was supposed to do that unless Matthew obliged.)

"Nope," the doctor said. "The splint should make it feel a lot better. If he wants to walk on it, let him." By the time we got home, Matthew was walking--albeit a little funny--all over the place. And, of course, posing for pictures.

Now he's filled with Ibuprofen and sound asleep. Hopefully he'll remain that way and won't be miserable all night long. We'd very much appreciate your prayers for quick healing.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Week 3: Now That's Funny

There's a Peta unfriendly billboard on one of the highways here that says, "There's a place for all of God's creatures...right next to the potatoes." I'm not a vegetarian but even I find that a little distasteful. Still, it did catch me off guard and a slight chuckle escaped my mouth. Then I decided to be slightly offended by the slogan and chastised myself for laughing. I decided that taking a picture of it for this week's photo assignment probably wasn't a good idea.

Instead I found this shot, taken back in November. Matthew had found his brother's mask and snorkel and decided to sport it for a lengthy portion of the day.


I hadn't intended for all of my pictures to feature my children but so far we're three for three. Well, the first photo didn't feature them as much as the aftermath of their destruction.  Really though, how do you see a kid running around in an over sized mask and not laugh?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Bully

There is first time for everything.

Today, I was on the receiving end of a screaming lecture from another mother. It was transracial adoption playgroup day and we met at an Arctic Circle. My sons both love the play area at Arctic Circle and they've both been enjoying getting to know the other kids in the group. This afternoon we munched on corn dogs, bananas and string cheese and the boys played for close to two hours without any drama to speak of.

Periodically, as they played, my oldest came up to me and explained that another little boy--who was not a part of our playgroup--was hitting, pushing and shoving him. This other child was shorter and younger than my son so I said, in a kind of loud voice so that a present parent might have heard, "Well, ask him nicely to stop." This went on another couple of times until, finally, Garrett came to me and reported, "He pushed me again but the adult took care of it."

See, that's how I parent. My child was more annoyed than anything. He wasn't injured. I wasn't going to discipline someone else's kid and I didn't think the offense warranted me tattling on him to his mother. In the end, his parent put an end to the problem.

Not fifteen minutes later, the scenario played out quiet differently. I was talking to one of the playgroup mothers when another mom--again, not associated with our group (Praise the Lord!)--began shrieking. We are talking someone's-bone-is-sticking-out-of-his-arm-or-there-is-blood-everywhere-or-someone-is-having-an-uncontrollable-seizure-in-the-middle-of-the-play-area-or-an-out-of-control-gunman-is-on-the-loose kind of screaming. "Whose is this?" She yelled, sounding like she was honestly about to cry. I looked up from my conversation. She was pointing at Garrett. "Whose. Kid. Is. This?" She howled.

I'll be honest. I was really confused. It was mine, clearly, but the way she was screaming made it sound like this child had just murdered someone. If she'd been pointing at Matthew, I would have been less surprised. My youngest son has a hot temper. He's little and still tries to use aggression to try to get his way. Just last night he hit me in the face with a toy and it hurt like nobody's business. Garrett, on the other hand, is passive. He's a peacemaker. He'd just spent the better part of two hours playing contently with kids his own age and a handful of toddlers, never once losing his patience. The woman I was talking to turned her head. Then she whispered, "I think that's one of yours."

I nodded and muttered sarcastically, "Of course it is."

I made eye contact with the mother. "He. Just. Hit. My. Kid!" she hissed. "He just punched my kid!" Apparently, her first choice of words wasn't strong enough to convey the horror of the offense. My son hadn't just hit her child, he'd hauled off and punched him. Everyone in the play area was staring at her. She stood, fuming. I vacillated between humiliation, disbelief, and amusement like a pendulum crashing back and forth at rapid speed. I honestly felt like this woman was about to put me in time out, call the cops, and spank me all at once. My cheeks turned hot and red. The little boy sat still on the structure, watching his mother. He'd never cried or even complained.

"Garrett," I said. "Come here."

He walked happily over to me. "Did you hit that kid?"

"Yes," he said like it was no big deal. I removed disbelief from my list of places to get off the pendulum.

"Why? We don't hit other kids." I admonished.

"He was being really mean to us and not playing nice." Unfortunately, for this new little boy, my son had finally had it with waiting patiently for parents to intervene.

"Well," I said. "We still don't hit, even if other children are being mean. Do you understand me?"

"Yes, Mommy."

Moments later the mother and her child vacated the restaurant and my cheeks returned to a normal color. It was a tale of two parenting plans. In one scenario, the mother calmly monitors the situation, knowing that her child is not going to die at the hands of a tiny hitter. In the other scenario, the mother blows a gasket and causes a huge scene. I'm sure there are people who are firmly planted in both camps but, as for me and my family, we will try desperately hard not to overreact.

When we got in the car, I explained to Garrett that he is supposed to always reflect Jesus, not just when he wants to. I told him that Jesus would never punch someone. I included an, "Are we clear?"

"Yes, Mommy."

"Good. Because I do not ever want to be screamed at by another mom in a restaurant again. That was humiliating." So, then, I suppose humiliation is where we landed.

Monday, January 23, 2012

I Smell Like Water

When I got home from the pool this morning, The Rock Star was snuggled deep into the covers on my side of the bed. Unfortunately, when I open the garage door to leave, it often wakes up at least one of the children. Usually I come home to find that my oldest is no longer in his bed. Once he was sitting in silence on the couch.  If you think that didn't kind of creep the heck out of me, you'd be wrong. Typically, he's nuzzled up to his daddy. When I walked in the door, I immediately heard the squeals coming from the boys' bedroom. Matthew was wide awake and laughing hysterically at something. I went in to get him and take him to the bathroom.

I was wearing a wet bathing suit, my old team parka, knock-off Uggs, and a towel around my waist. My soaking wet ponytail was a pretty dead giveaway of where I'd been. I smelled like chlorine for ten straight years of my life but nothing (NOTHING!) compares to the bleachy stench of an indoor pool. Even I can hardly handle the scent and I'm fairly certain the chemical singed most of my nose hairs ages ago leaving me practically immune. Practically, but not entirely. When I get home from a morning of laps, I stink. At least it's a squeaky clean kind of smell. If we're looking for bright sides. If we're the kind of people who need silver linings.

Before Matthew climbed up onto the potty, he leaned in, took a big whiff of me, and wrinkled up his nose. He furrowed his little brow, cocked his head to the side, and declared, "You smell like water!"

This made me laugh because if my water came out of the tap smelling like I did this morning, I wouldn't touch it with someone else's tongue. If the ocean smelled like me, all the sea life would be floating belly up. "I smell like water?" I questioned. "I think I smell like chlorine."

He considered this for a moment and then corrected me. "No. You smell like water."

I've showered and applied large amounts of lotion. Yet, I still smell like water. Chlorinated, indoor, pool water. Gotta love smelling like a freshly cleaned bathroom.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Light

My son is not the smartest person in his class. He doesn't always have the right answers. He's not the quickest to raise his hand or finish his writing assignment. According to his teachers, he doesn't consistently count higher than 39 and he needs to practice his sight words.

He excels where his fine motor skills are concerned. He follows directions. His report card reflected zero "fair" and "good" marks, three "very good" marks and about fifteen "excellent" marks. Next to social skills, outside of the parameters of the chart, his teacher wrote "A+". This doesn't come as a shock to anyone who knows him. Garrett has never met a stranger. "He's hysterical," they said. "He's tenderhearted, respectful and sweet. He cares so much about everyone in our class."

I'm not gonna lie, it warms my heart that he's well liked, respectful and funny (humor is important, people). I'm proud of the fact that he nearly ran the report card with straight excellents. But what stands out about today's conference was when his teacher said, "He's such a light."

It's no secret to anyone at his preschool that Garrett is an evangelical Christian. The kid, at five, preaches to everyone. He'd try to lead a tree to the Lord if he thought the tree would listen. We used to kind of apologize for his behavior because, for one thing, we didn't want the entire school thinking we were putting him up it. More disappointing is the fact that, sometimes, we felt like our child needed to exist within the social norm of when it's acceptable to share Christ. He's teaching us that the answer to that is always.

Garrett loves Jesus. He talks about God all the time. One day, during playtime, he rounded up a group of kids, told them they needed to be baptized, and explained that he was just the one to do it. I'm fairly certain an imaginary baptism followed.

Last Christmas he got in a heated debate with another little boy. When asked what he loved most about Christmas, Garrett replied that he loved celebrating God's birthday. When the other child interjected that it was Jesus's birthday, my son informed the student that they were the same. "Jesus is God." Garrett explained. No, the boy had said, they are different. "But they're both God. God the Father and God the Son," my boy explained. Thankfully, the teachers had intervened before the two boys could really get into it. I'd heard the story before but his teachers repeated it to me again today.

"We just thought it was so sweet that his favorite thing about Christmas was faith based."

"Yeah," I replied. "We just need to explain to him that we live in Utah. A preschool in Utah is probably not the best place to get into an argument about the Trinity."

"Oh, but we love him. He's such a light," his teacher responded. I smiled and said thank you. It was a brief meeting so I bit the words off the tip of my tongue. I didn't say what Garrett probably would have. That's God in him. This light you see isn't my son. The Light is shining through him. God the Spirit, the one he didn't mention in that heated debate, is coming through his very pores. And I couldn't be more proud. He may not be the brightest kid in the class. He may not recognize his sight words or all of his numbers. But he is not hiding his lamp under a basket. You hear him proclaim it, but so much more importantly, you see it.


It's an incredible blessing to experience moments like this. This is the same kid who, two years ago, humiliated me at SeaWorld by screaming, "Put your finger down you naughty lady!" It's the same kid who defied me at the park last summer and then created the world's biggest scene when I told him we were going home. We're talking about a child who often has trouble obeying and honoring his parents. He's like every other five-year-old in the world in so many ways. But he knows his Savior and for that I rejoice.

*****************************************************


You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.  Matthew 5:14-16




For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one. 1 John 5:7

Friday, January 20, 2012

How Do I Have a 5.5 Year Old?

I simply do not know how five and half years have gone by. But, just like the quick snap of a finger, they have. My youngest will be three in five weeks and a half weeks. My oldest will be six in six months. There are days when I feel like the only reasonable thing to do is sit in a dark room, clutch their baby pictures, and shed hours worth of bitter tears. But then I remember that this probably wouldn't be the best thing for their emotional well being so I simply grab the nearest plastic sword and join in their pirate adventure. Their baby days are gone. I cannot retrieve them regardless of how hard I try to construct a time machine. Before I know it, the days of sword fighting and toy car racing and nightly snuggles will slip through my fingers.


I interviewed Garrett again. Many of his answers stayed the same as last time so I think I'll start doing it just on his actual birthday from now on. I just love doing this though. Some of his answers crack me up.


1. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE T. V. SHOW? Dragon Tales.
2. WHAT DID YOU HAVE FOR BREAKFAST? Some cereal.
3. WHAT IS YOUR MIDDLE NAME? John.
4. FAVORITE FOOD? Macaroni and cheese.
5. WHAT FOOD DO YOU DISLIKE? Mashed potatoes without gravy. (We are making progress! Now, if gravy is involved, he'll at least eat them without looking like he's experiencing a slow and torturous death.)
6. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE COLOR? Brown and black. 
7. FAVORITE LUNCH? Um...Macaroni and cheese. (He said this like I am the world's dumbest human being since, clearly, I was repeating question number 4.)
8. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING TO DO? Go swimming.
9. IF YOU COULD GO ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD ON VACATION, WHERE WOULD YOU GO? California. (This kid talks incessantly about Hawaii. All the time. Everything is always about surfing, swimming, seeing turtles, seeing volcanoes, seeing coconuts, eating pineapple. In Hawaii. But his destination of choice for vacation: California.)
10. FAVORITE SPORT? Swimming. (You know what they say about apples and trees.)
11. WHEN IS YOUR BIRTHDAY? July 20. 
12. ARE YOU A MORNING PERSON OR A NIGHT PERSON? Morning. Ah well...I usually just stay up all night in my bed. (Riiight.)
13. PETS: Beck. Ollie. Fish.

14. ANY NEW AND EXCITING NEWS YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE WITH US? Uh. No. I'm fine. Nothing really.
15. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP ? The best swimmer ever. (Look out Michael Phelps.)
16. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CANDY? Candy canes.
17. WHERE IS THE FARTHEST YOU'VE EVER BEEN FROM HOME? California. (Maybe whenever he says California he means Hawaii.)
18. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE BOOK? A book where Indians shoot arrows.
19. WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF? Jesus. That he died for our sins and is with us.
20. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MOVIE? Uh. Mulan.
21. WHICH CAME FIRST, THE CHICKEN OR THE EGG? The egg. The egg had to come first because the chicken would have to be born. Right mom?

And, for fun, I asked him the same questions that James Lipton asks at the end of Inside the Actor's Studio.

1. What is your favorite word? Uh. Bathroom. *Giggle* Write it down.
2. What is your least favorite word? stupid.
3. What turns you on? (I rephrased with, "What do you like?") Hot chocolate.
4. What turns you off? (I rephrased with, What don't you like?") Wars. Well, I don't like when bad guys win the wars.
5. What sound or noise do you love? I love music.
6. What sound or noise do you hate? Thud. Thud. Thud. When someone is stomping on the ground.
7. What is your favorite curse word? (I asked him what his favorite bad word was. He responded with) *Giggle* I don't have a favorite bad word. (I told him it was okay to tell me. He wouldn't give me an answer.)
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Be a swimmer and win tons of trophies. (I've never heard of swimming as a profession but I didn't figure that now was the time to get into the fine art of endorsements.)
9. What profession would you not like to do? A soldier because a lot of people die being a soldier.
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? (I omitted the "If Heaven exists" part) Hello Garrett. Welcome home. (Love it!)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Show Me the...

Troy and Garrett have Kid's Club on Wednesday nights. I love that I get to spend time with Matthew one on one. Although, all that is ending on February 1st when I will start teaching the Beth Moore James study on Wednesday nights (CANNOT. WAIT.) and Matthew will hang out in the church nursery. But anyway. Tonight Matthew and I were building a puzzle.

"Where does that bunny go?"

"I don't know," he responded.

"Well, do you see another bunny?" I asked. "Maybe that bunny goes next to the other bunny."

"I see it!" He said.

"Where?" I questioned. He didn't respond.

"Show me the bunny," I said and then burst out giggling at myself. "Show me the bunny!" Cuba Gooding Jr. style. "Show me THE BUNNY!" This parenting thing sometimes cracks me up.

"It's right there," Matthew said, wide eyed. Sorry, dude. Mommy is a total nutcase. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Week 2: Resolutions

Well I already said that I don't technically make resolutions. So of course that popped up as my second photo for these 52 weeks. I did say, however, that I wanted to live more intentionally this year. I thought about taking a picture of my Bible and study books--since I plan on learning more about my God. I thought about taking a picture of the pool--since I plan on getting it in and swimming more laps than I did last year. I thought about photographing my kids, folded up in my arms, but I wasn't entirely sure how I'd pull that off. It would have been one of those really bad pictures where you turn the camera around and hope all the subjects actually end up in the shot. Someone's nose always looks thirty times bigger than it really is. This idea wouldn't have flattered anyone.

Today is Tuesday. The second Tuesday that I have met with a transracial adoption group here in the valley. It's incredibly important to me that both of my boys understand that there are other families that look like theirs. They need to see their faces reflected in other families as well as their own. It has warmed my heart so much to see my oldest playing with faces that look like his and faces that look like his brother. And it has been such a blessing to see Matthew, who usually exists in a see of peach colored bodies, to share time with shades of brown.

I want to be intentional about showing my sons that while we are unique family, we aren't the only ones. I resolve to see more of this...

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Hope

A few days ago my son thought I said dumb-ocrat. I found it hilarious and used that opportunity to poke fun at the Democratic Party.

My Republican husband is watching Huckabee on Fox News. The show is called South Carolina, Undecided and Mike is moderating a forum. At the moment, Mitt Romney is sitting in the hot seat. He just said "...by having free people and their dreams making America what it's always been, the hope of the earth."

America is the hope of the earth?

Oh, Mitt. Really? That's just about the most egocentric statement I've ever heard. Of all the people in all the cities in all the countries on this earth, America (I'm assuming that he is referencing the United States of) is the hope of this world.

Wow. I had no idea we were so awesome and every other country on this planet is, sadly, hopeless.

Look at me go. See, when it comes to making fun of government, I don't discriminate.

I'm Glad I Don't Report To The Direct Manager

My sister-in-law came across the following employment ad.

Job Description:
This is a child care management/personal assistant partnership. Children are 12, 9, and 8 respectively. The position will require a full-time commitment; expectations include but are not limited to the following: 

Childcare Management Duties/Responsibilities: Manage children's schedules, transporting to/from school, doctors appointments, and extracurricular activities.

1. Put the absolute safety of the children first before all other responsibilities
2. Prepare meals for children during scheduled hours 
3. Participate and supervise activities with children, including: games, walks, play dates, playground outings, etc. 
4. Research and plan activities that have substantial child development, social relationship skills and educational value.
5. Order lunches for children during in session school year
6. Coordinate/Communicate with teachers to ensure project deadlines and upcoming school functions are met, in addition to conferences being set
7. Assist with daily completion of homework 
8. Coordinate/Communicate with Direct Manager (i.e. father), ensuring all activities relating to children (school, personal, family, etc.) are noted on family's personal/business calendar
9. Evening meal preparation for Family. 

Personal Assistant Duties/Responsibilities: Specific professional duties include research, correspondence, or other appropriate duties as assigned. In addition to the above, applicant will also be expected to do the following:

1. Interface and grant access to home for service personnel (i.e. cable/telephone, pest control, package delivery, housekeeping services, etc.) and also friends, relatives, and colleagues of Family
2. Be responsible for recurring grocery shopping/meal planning
3. Run errands, dry-cleaning, etc when advised and necessary



I really, sincerely, hope that this position pays enormous amounts of money. It may as well be titled, "Mom Wanted" because that's exactly what this ad is asking for. It is slightly less horrific if there is, indeed, no mother and the father works full time. In fact, that's the only way I could even begin to cope with the ridiculous expectations of the job description.

I mean, seriously. Expectations include but are not limited to being a full time mother, teacher, and personal assistant to the Direct Manager.

And, okay. Hold up. The DIRECT MANAGER?! I don't even know how to punctuate that correctly. I don't know if I'm asking a question or making an exclamation. Who refers to their husband or father as The Direct Manager? This is like a 21st century version of The Sound of Music but without the cheery likes of Julie Andrews and certainly without clothing made of drapes. There's no dancing around fountains or singing about favorite things. The Direct Manager sounds a lot like Captain Von Trapp before he fell in love with Maria--when he was just a stodgy jerk wielding an obnoxious whistle. I'm fairly certain The Direct Manager has a whistle.

I don't have to rehash everything this job includes. It's maid, mother, wife, personal assistant, chauffeur and cook all rolled into one. It sounds a lot like what I do but this is my family. I'm invested in all of them. And even I don't have the child development degree it would take to fulfill the duties of number four.

What makes me the saddest about this job posting is number eight. Coordinate with this man so that he can show up at events and pretend he cares. (It's unfair of me to say that he doesn't care when I don't know this man--or his circumstances--at all. However, when you post something like this to the Internet, you have to know that you are choosing your words carefully. The words make it sound like The Direct Manager is way too busy with his job to take an active role in the lives of his children.) A child feels loved when his daddy can't wait until his next soccer game. He feels loved when his daddy knows when that game is and doesn't have to rely on an alarm on his cell phone.

I know that not every family looks exactly like mine. I know that circumstances are different for everyone. I also know that I don't want my children being raised (and my entire household being run) by someone who isn't even a member of my family. The whole things just makes me incredibly sad for the children, ages 12, 9 and 8 respectively.

Sam's Club Card Giveaway

So it just dawned on me that you can use the Sam's gift card at any retail format of Wal-Mart stores. You still have a few hours to go here and enter for your chance to win a $25 dollar gift card to use at Sam's or Wal-Mart or online at either of those places!

I'll be randomly selecting a winner this afternoon so hurry!!!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Political Parties

Don't forget to go here and enter for your chance to win a $25 Sam's Club gift card. (It can also be used at Walmart.com so if you don't have a Sam's membership, you're still in luck!)
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I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'm registered Independent. I love it because I get to make fun of both main political parties equally. Today I was talking to someone, who I'm fairly certain is registered with the Republican party. In the course of the conversation I ended up saying, "Are you going to pretend to be a Democrat for the rest of your life?"

My oldest son gasped. "Mommy! Don't say dumb."

"What?"

"You said dumb-ocrat!"

Oh. My. Gosh. It was hysterical. Seriously. I can't make this stuff up.

This post is paid for by the Republican Party. Approved by Republicans everywhere. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Fake Kate

We're done having kids. That's what I tell people when they ask. What I mean is that we're not having anymore biological children--for multiple reasons. That chapter of our lives is closed. Not that it was ever really open. I've come to realize that Garrett is some kind of incredibly special miracle child. We're probably not adopting again either. This is more because of finances and emotions and less about not having the desire to adopt again. Some days I'm perfectly content with the size and shape of my family. I love not being tied down to a baby. I adore that, after five and a half years, we're on the verge of being a diaper free family. Other days I see a baby or a pregnant woman and I crave that newborn smell. I envy the tiny flutters of a baby's movements in utero. Tomorrow I'll likely be back to the former. At this very present moment I'm lamenting the fact that my family is probably complete. 

See, last night, Troy found this morphing website. He used a picture of me and a picture of himself. Curious as to what a biological daughter might have looked like, he conceived one for us. It was much less complicated than the actual biological child we have. He showed me.

And I was instantly and furiously in love with a fake person.

How, on earth, could I not be?

Oh. Man. I wanted her. Desperately. Actually, wanted has nothing to do with it. I want her. Our longstanding girl name is Kate Elizabeth and I feel like she fits the title. She's not as loud as her brothers but she's a chatterbox, nonetheless. And oh is she ever precocious. She has a deep appreciation of books and tea parties. She loves pizza and pancakes but, for some inexplicable reason, will not touch bananas. She's more compliant than Matthew but less than Garrett and she digs the silver sparkles of her dress up heels  into the carpet when they try to boss her around. I want to kiss those pink lips, look deep into those big almond eyes, and tell her that I would have loved to have had her.

We tried again, after Matthew. To no avail, as expected. I am thankful, beyond words and measure, for the incredible children that the Lord has blessed me with. I wouldn't trade them for anything. They are my life, my dreams, my entire heart. 

But when I look at Fake Kate, I can't help but imagine her in a pink blanket sleeper, snuggled deep into her daddy's arms while her bigger, protective brothers are cuddled into mine. We are a family of four. A mommy, a daddy, and two boys that are only here because of the power of prayer and my loving, compassionate Father in heaven.

Sometimes, though, I wonder what life would be like if Fake Kate (or a Fake Joel or William or Levi) lived here too.

(And, I mean really, have you seen a cuter, fake, morphed daughter?)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Week 1: A Day In The Life Of Me

A friend of mine started a project last year on Facebook called the 52 week project. Every week, people would post a photo on a given topic. My mom participated. Many of my friends participated. I did not. I figured I'd do the first week and then promptly forget. Plus I'm not really a photographer in the slightest. This year I decided, eh, what the heck. I'll go ahead and give it a whirl. If I forget for a week 32 weeks in a row who's coming after me? The Picture Police? Right. I thought not.

Then I got the bright idea that I'd go ahead and post them here. So, in theory, you can come along on the adventure with me, even if you aren't friends with me on FB.

For the first week of 2012, the theme was "A Day In The Life Of Me" I thought about several different ideas. One of them would feature the laptop with my blog pulled up, sitting next to my three (THREE!) Bible study books I'm working on right now. Proverbs, Covenant, and James, if you're curious. This would be placed on the table with action figures, dirty plates and a dust rag. Hanging from the chair would be Garrett's preschool bag and my cap and goggles. One idea involved the front of our church building.

But then I decided that I didn't really need to stage something when this would work perfectly well...
There now. Those of you who watched that video of Garrett dancing and then promptly forbade me to ever come to your homes because I called the room messy when it, in fact, was not, can now invite me into your house without fear of condemnation. This is the real me.

Alright, in actuality, this is not the real me. This is the real Garrett. This is the real Matthew. The real Lori is still trying to learn that this is okay so long as it gets cleaned up, in the end, by the people who did it. But I'm not there yet. I know moms who just help their children clean up the playroom once a day. I can't handle that. It gives me heart palpitations. I have trouble breathing. My level of anxiety rises. So in our house, the playroom gets cleaned two or three times a day. Often there is a one toy rule immediately following a cleaning. Because I'm not there yet. I'm a serious clutter freak. I'm afraid of the ways this will manifest itself when I'm old and senile instead of just young and uptight. Pharmaceutical medication may be necessary.

Anyway.

There is it. Week one. A day in the life of me. Cleaning and scrubbing can wait 'til tomorrow lunch time. For babies grow up, we've learned to our sorrow. So quiet down cobwebs pirate ships, tool boxes, stuffed monkeys and dinosaurs, dust go to sleep. I'm rocking lying on the floor making my best angry dinosaur voice with my babies way too big boys and babies way too big boys don't keep turn into even bigger boys.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Strange Advertisement

This ad was running alongside my email tonight. Let's take a moment to examine it, shall we?
The way I look at it, this ad is saying one of two things.

1. This girl can get her act together and become a psychologist in just 18 months. This concerns me. I don't want her for my therapist in just a year and a half. Something is clearly going on in her life. Something troubling.

2. I can get my psychology degree in 18 months and help people like this. People who cry when cameras are pointed at them. People who frantically run their fingers through their messy hair. People who wear entirely too much eye liner.

Poor dear is like every emo girl I knew in high school and college all rolled into one. I don't think 18 months would put me anywhere near curing her addiction to eye make up. 

In all honestly, obviously I would have compassion for this girl if I knew her story (you know, if she wasn't just a model posing for a photo shoot) but the picture doesn't make me want to get a psych degree. In fact, it makes me want to throw away all my eye liner and comb my hair.

Giveaway

Click right here. You know you want to. It's not every day that you can get a free gift card just by leaving a comment. Am I right? You know you want 25 free dollars.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Snow!

The Rock Star wanted a snowboard from Santa. He saw it in the sporting goods section of Target and, suddenly, he had eyes for nothing else. It's a training snowboard designed for children and, with a price tag that was less than $20, we just needed to decide if we wanted Santa to bring our son a vehicle of injury, destruction and death. But we're into sports, risk taking within reason, and letting our kids explore, learn, and grow in age appropriate ways.

So, pretty much he had us at, "I want a snowboard."

He got a helmet from his cousin and serious instructions from us that he would be using this injury trap only on very small hills with very slight inclines.

But then we went through the entire month of December with no snow. Christmas came and went. Garrett spent the days after Christmas asking me if he could snowboard down the stairs. Or on the dirt outside. Or if I would pretty please take him to Alaska.

When I woke up this morning there was snow on the ground. There was only one sensible thing to do. We all climbed into our winter gear.


Future snow bunny? Future winter Olympian? Future X Game Athlete? Future boy that gives his mom daily heart palpitations? That jacket, by the way, was originally an 80 dollar item.  Let's just say I got a really good deal. At Ross. I love good deals. I handed them a twenty and it was covered. But let's get this rabbit back on it's original trail...

Or, this snowboarder back on his board.


The first time we put him on the little hill, he fell over. Troy stood him up and walked with him until he got balanced. Then Garrett went a few feet alone before the incline leveled out. I caught it on camera but it wasn't nearly as impressive as his second run.

video

We went to a steeper hill because we also wanted to sled and that wasn't happening at the toddler slope. Garrett spent some time on his keister but impressed us with his ability to balance and stay upright at only five.

We also went sledding. There wasn't much snow so the hill was slow--pretty perfect for the boys, actually. If it hadn't been so cold we might have stayed all afternoon.

In the end Matthew began repeating, "My cheeks cold. My cheeks cold. My face hurts." But not before he laughed and smiled and said, "Again!" over and over.
It's a good thing we got to go out today because it's not supposed to snow again for at least another ten days. This is some kind of bizarre winter. (Has mother nature listened to me at last?)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Happiest Christmas Tree

This is, quite possibly, my favorite video of my son. Ever. I don't know for sure but it's certainly near the top. I absolutely adore his face every single time he sings, "Hee hee." All the joy of Christmas is right there in his silly smile.


I freaked out there for a minute. My happiest Christmas tree has had swollen lymph nodes in his groin for six or seven weeks. Yesterday, I made an appointment for today with the doctor and then busied myself with all the crap (read: leukemia) that he might have. I read about diagnosis and treatment. I read about a portion of my kid's hip bone being removed for testing. I read about bone marrow transplants.

Because I'm an insane lunatic who doesn't just jump to conclusions, I leap to them. I set world records. I make entire mountain ranges out of mole hills.

He didn't have any other symptoms but just the one was enough to make me crazy for a night. Turns out that while I've made great strides in regard to surrendering my own life to the Lord, I'm still at zero station when it comes to the lives of my children.

Praise the Lord, the swollen nodes in his groin (and neck) are small enough that the doctor wasn't concerned. His spleen and liver were normal sized. He hasn't had a fever, weight loss, appetite loss or any other symptoms that would concern the pediatrician.

So I praise the Lord that my happiest Christmas tree is also a healthy Christmas tree. And I say an extra prayer for the parents of children who are not. 

Monday, January 2, 2012

Come to the Party

My son came down the stairs wearing an unevenly buttoned dress shirt and a tie. "Would you like to come to my party?" He asked.

He'd turned on the music in his room, his very messy room, his very messy room that you should totally ignore and not judge me for, and the two of them were dancing away. Troy and I did what any normal parents would do and we joined in. We danced like no one was watching and, well, praised the Lord that really, no one was actually watching because we are the worst and second worst dancers in the entire world. I'm bad. Really bad. My husband might be worse. If that's even possible. Unfortunately, our oldest son got our terrible moves. There's hope for the second born but only if he doesn't watch us and find himself influenced.

Welcome to the party.

video

P.S. I just watched the video and it wasn't that messy. I think most of the stuff wasn't in the shot. All that appears here is a disheveled bed, a stuffed frog, and a stray pair of pajamas.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012

I don't really make resolutions. I feel like that's just setting myself up to fail. But, for 2012, one word keeps coming to my mind. I want to be intentional.

Intentional: Done on purpose. Deliberate.

I want to strive to be a better believer, a better mom, a better wife, a better pastor's wife, a better daughter, a better friend. Not that I think I've been an epic fail at any of these endeavors--but there is certainly room for improvement. 

I want to intentionally share my faith and not shy away in favor of flying more easily under the radar. I want to read my Bible more, pray more, and remember more steadily that I cannot pick and choose which parts of the gospel message apply to my life in 2012. They all apply. Always.

Maybe I'll eat less ice cream. Maybe I'll go on more dates with my husband. Maybe I'll snuggle my boys a little longer at night. Maybe I'll call my friends more. Maybe I'll read a few more books and watch a little less television. 

Maybe, just maybe, I'll try to live like I'm dying.

Because I am. Not today. Probably not tomorrow and hopefully not until the ripe old age of 92. But every day I am one day closer. So I choose today to live intentionally.

Happy 2012 everyone!