Sunday, November 30, 2008

"Not Me!" Monday!

It's that time of week again, and I am going to be prepared! I'm hoping Mck Mama will host another blog carnival of "Not Me!" Monday, and chance for all of us to be brutally honest by confessing what we have "not" done. If you want to join in, click the button above and see what this craziness is all about!

This week it is not my goal to be in the first 100 "Not Me!" posts on Mck Mama's blog!

On Thursday I did not get mad at my BFF and get equally catty with her when she griped at everyone for leaving the whipped cream out after having pie. I did not think that she was unjustified because she had just as much responsibility as anyone else to put it away. And I did NOT tell her to drop it because I had paid for the whipped cream in the first place! That would be catty! I am not catty! Nope, not me!

I did not make my son sit in the car, while his family and friends went sledding, because he had lost his hat. I am not a mean mom who expects my 10 year old to be responsible for dressing himself properly for the weather/activities at hand and applies logical consequences unbendingly. Certainly, not me!

I am not such a dork that I was giddy as a schoolgirl at the ballet. I did not THREE times wrongly proclaim, "This must be the dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy!" because I was SO anxious to see it. My musical memory did not fail me in recognizing the song those three times. I'm sure my own mother does not think I'm a dork. Of course, by the time the actual "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" came along, I was not completely embarrassed to the point of keeping my mouth shut. Certainly, that was NOT ME!

I did not edit this post to add: It is not 1:40 am. And I do not have to get up to walk with my husband at 5:45 am. And I have not spent the last hour and 40 minutes reading "Not Me!"s. And I certainly did NOT post a very long embarrassing story on this complete stranger's blog! That was certainly, NOT ME!!

It has been a great week and I'm so glad that I didn't do any of those things! What did you not do?

We Have a Winner!!

I signed up online at my favorite radio station for a contest for tickets to "The Nutcracker" ballet. And, I WON!!!

This afternoon my mom, my daughter, my daughter's best friend and I went to see the ballet. It was SO much fun. I don't know what I enjoyed more, watching the ballet or watching my daughter watch the ballet! She's such a girly girl, I knew she would love it, and she did!

So, I was a winner, and so was the ballet!!!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Ten Years Ago.

Hard to imagine, but ten years ago I became a mother of twin boys! Here's their story:

Since we had experienced several years of infertility before being able to concieve our daughter, we went back to the doctor sooner than we wanted for fear that conception would again take a long time. I remember distinctly the drive, telling my husband on the way that I had a "gut feeling" we would have twins. It was asuch a strong feeling I told everyone. It was, "If we have twins... this" and "If we have twins... that" for months. Four months to be exact. On the fourth month of clomid, my period was late. My husband brought an HPT (home pregnancy test) home from work. I took it and the line was very dark for a positive! I suspected twins.

At an ultra sound at 7 weeks, I told my feltility doctor about my gut feeling and asked him to double check for twins. He did, but that day we only saw one heartbeat. Ok, I must be crazy! When I told my best friend, she told me that the ultra sound was wrong, that God had told her I was having twins. Ok, SHE's crazy! Three weeks later I was released from my fertility doctor to see my regular OB/GYN.

At my first visit the nurse (a friend of my mother) offered to do an ultra sound just for fun. Much to my surprise, because I believed the first ultra sound, we saw 2 sacs, 2 heartbeats, 4 arms, and 4 legs. Even though I had been feeling that gut feeling for months, I was shocked.

Later in my pregnancy an NST (non-stress test) showed that Twin "B" was not doing well. And my OB hospitalized me for observation for the duration of the pregnancy, a whole 3 LONG days!

On November 28 the nurse woke me at 6 am to tell me that Twin "B" was going downhill and that he needed to be born right away. Since they didn't expect he would tolerate labor they prepped me for a c-section. At 8:03 Twin "A", Thaddeus Russell, was born. And just one minute later Twin "B", Timothy Allen, entered the world!

They were born at 34.5 weeks gestation weighing 4 pounds 10 ounces and 4 pounds 4 ounces respectively. Timothy had very low blood counts, but after 2 units of blood, he turned around quickly and we waited for them to learn to feed and to grow.

I can hardly believe ten years have passed already. They are active, healthy, growing, fun, artistic, athletic, caring, helpful boys! And, we are SO blessed to have had 10 years to love on them! Happy Birthday, boys!!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

"Not Me!" Monday.

I'm beginning to really like these "Not Me!" Mondays! Mck Mama started them and you can click over to her blog to read a carnival of "Not Me" posts. And post your own if you choose.

Today, I am not making Christmas cards that I started over four years ago. I do not procrastinate that long in making and sending greetings to my friends and family. It has not been 6 years since I mailed a Christmas card to anyone. Nope, not me!

I am not getting excited about Christmas, and I have not procrastinated on our Christmas shopping. Of course, I have my act all together and have got all my shopping done. I would never wait until the last minute, nope, not me!!!

This past week I did not wait until Wednesday to send birthday party inviations out for a Saturday birthday party, that was NOT ME!!!

Adding one more. I could not have been third on the "Not ME!" list last night. I did not get distracted by talking to my friend because I could not come up with any "not me's", and so go to bed without posting and missing my chance. Not Me!

I hope you had fun this week! I'm sure glad I didn't do all those things! I'm also SO glad that we truly did not have any more poisoning scares this week! Praise God!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

"Small Fryday" Contest on Saturday!

Hey, anyone out there? Mck Mama is having a contest on her BLOG. My understanding is that she wants to drum up some HYPE because later on she wants to raise some money for String Of Pearls. Now, before you say forget it and move on, let me just say how much the SOP organization means to me personally. SOP is an organization that gets families through an unfavorable prenatal diagnosis, prenatal hospice. At this very moment my sweet niece is being helped by SOP. They are helping her get through the remainder of her pregnancy, arranging funeral details, getting together momentos for her to remember her sweet Mason, and they will stay in contact with her for the next 2 years.

So, no, Mck Mama's contest this minute has nothing to do with money, but it's getting the word out, and it couldn't be for a better organization in my opinion.

OK, I'll admit, I'm also hoping to win today's contest for some filters for my camera!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday Five.

Five things I'm grateful for...
1. Healing from past hurts.

2. My friends who let me be a huge basket case without laughing me out the door!

3. My husband, the love of my life, who puts the toilet seat down every single time, who loves and accepts me warts and all!

4. We had no more incidents of possible poisonings with our 3 year old this week, although he has already figured out the new child safety locks we put on the cupboard.

5. Answered prayer. I learned this week that God is most definitely moving in one of the marriages that I have been praying for. Which brings me to..

Five things I'm in prayer for...
1. The same three marriages as last week. Marriage is SO important and it seems to me that marriage is under constant attack from the enemy.

2. Wisdom in parenting a very challenging 3 year old, and patience, patience, patience!

3. Friends who have been laid off or whose jobs hang in the balance of this tenuous economy.

4. Angie's friends who are trying to adopt.

5. Twin girls in Cambodia who God has laid on our hearts to pray for, and who if given the chance we would love to adopt into our own family.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Monday, November 17, 2008

"Not Me!" Monday.

It's that time of week again. I do look forward to being completely honest with you about the things I did not do this week. This little carnival was started by Mck Mama over at my charming kids. You can click the button above to read all about it.

This week I did not have a horrible week. My babies threw me a birthday party to beat all, if you remember.(I did not turn 39!) Two days later I did not allow my 3 year old to go into the baby's room thinking "They've already gotten into and used everything in there, so it should be safe." I did not go check on them a few minutes later and find that they had been into the baby's prescription Pulmicort, and emptied 4 respules, somewhere. I did not panic and start crying and pleading with my 3 year old to tell me what he had done with the medicine. I did not call my husband in a panic and I did not call poison control in the same panic that my babies may or may not have ingested those respules. I did not feel like a complete failure as a mother. Nope, Not me!

The next day I did not try my very best to make sure that my 3 year old was with me every minute that he was awake. When I went upstairs to make breakfast I did not find 7 empty bubbles in the package of 12 hour extended release Sudafed, with one slighty wet, sticky pill on the shelf next to them. I did not go into hysterics. I did not call my husband again screaming and crying unintelligibly. It did not take him 10 minutes to decipher what I said and tell me that there had only been one pill left in the package. Again, not me!

Later that day when I took the baby to the pediatrician to have a rash checked out, I did NOT spend more time talking to the nurse about the 3 year old's sudden naughty streak than I did about the baby's rash. I did not cry on her shoulder in utter desperation. I did not feel better when I left the office, despite the diagnosis that the rash was viral and there was nothing we could do for it. I'm a great mom and I have it all together, so that was definitely NOT ME!

We did not subsequently put a lock on the outside of the 3 year old's bedroom door.

And the next day with FOUR adults in attendance my 3 year old did not find the key to my daughter's locked bedroom, open her door and find super glue for her fake nails and try tasting it and get it on his hands. It did not make me feel better that 3 other adults could not keep a better eye on the 3 year old than I could. Oh, actually, that's true, it did not make me feel better!

That concludes this week's "Not Me!" post!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Friday Five.

I just now decided to devote Fridays to FIVE things that I am truly grateful for, and FIVE things that I am in prayer for. I don't really know how many readers are out there, but please feel free to post a comment if you want to join me.

Five things I'm truly grateful for...
1. My husband. I know that I am hard to live with and he puts up with me so well, but he's also faithful, kind, serving (I could learn a lot about being a servant from him!), hard-working and gentle.

2. My children were not harmed by ingesting Pulmicort respules today. This may come up again on Monday. But, I really praise the Lord that Pulmicort is not harmful if swallowed.

3. My new friend. She knows who she is and we had an incredible time smashing pitchers and being real this week. And an incredible time recapping our thoughts tonight. Did I mention she has an incredible voice? No, well, she does!

4. New life. By that I mean babies!! Baby Stellan. Baby Gage. And other new babies born to friends recently. There is nothing like the sweetness of a new baby, and they are all miracles!

5. String of Pearls. This organization is walking alongside my niece as she journeys through the unthinkable journey of Trisomy 18. They have taken a huge weight off me personally, by doing the things that I would have been doing for my niece in the midst of grief. Not to mention what they are doing for HER!

Five things I'm in prayer for...

1. Three friends whose marriages are in very serious struggles.

2. My son struggling in school and at home with focussing and accomplishing the tasks set before him. And the wisdom to deal with him.

3. Three friends who have been suddenly, surprisingly diagnosed with cancer.

4. One friend who lost twins at 22 weeks in August, and her struggle to grieve the loss. Also, her decisions about the future.

5. The empty rental across the street from us. I caught myself the other day, as I saw a car driving slowly past, judging the unseen people in the car just by the kind of car it was, and hoping they wouldn't be my new neighbors. I instantly felt such conviction of my attitude of only wanting neighbors that would fit my mold of what neighbors should be. It was only last year that my daughter's now best friend moved into that same house, and only a few months ago that she accepted Jesus into her heart. What kind of opportunity to share Jesus with someone else would I miss if I had my own selfish way. Lord forgive me for my fear of reaching out to people who may not be just like me. Fill that house with people who need to see your love through me.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Being Totally Honest.

A friend of mine commented to me about how great it was that I could have a sense of humor about the "Product Testing" that took place the other day. She herself is a first time mommy to a 18 month old. I remember those days and I knew that I needed to be completely honest with her.

My reaction the other day, without even thinking of it was to grab the camera. I knew I would find a scenario just like it was. I was able to chuckle about it even as I was snapping pictures. But, I did also feel overwhelmed by the mess, a tidge angry at my 3 year old son (he's been doing a lot a misbehavin' lately), and mostly frustrated with myself for not doing a better job at monitoring these little guys. And just in case you're wondering, their consequence was to take a shower with me without bath toys (tough, I know, NOT!). All in all, I remained calm, and took it in stride. But, it hasn't always been that way. I haven't always been that way.

When my oldest was about 18 months she got into some nail polish. She got it everywhere: on herself, on her clothes, on the furniture and on the carpet. It was the darkest hot pink you could imagine. I was LIVID. Really. I became so angry with her I was afraid I was going to hurt her. By the grace of God, I made some acceptable decisions. First, I removed her from my presence. I put her in the empty bath tub. Second, I called in backup. My husband came home right away to help. Third, I stayed on the phone with another adult to keep myself accountable and busy. By the time my husband got home with 3 large bottles of nail polish remover, I was calm enough to help clean up without doing harm.

That wasn't the last time I got angry with my kids. Anger is a problem for me. I've made some mistakes, but I recognize when it's time to call for help and remove myself from a situation to calm down. That in and of itself is the grace of God. And it has been a constant struggle for me to curb my anger, to deal with it constructively and in a healthy way. I can't tell you how many times I have fallen on my face before the Lord and asked Him to take this from me. God is faithful. He is helping me to find grace and mercy when I want to be angry. He is teaching me self-control. Do I still blow it? Yes, absolutely. Many times I have had to ask forgiveness, both from God and my family. It's humbling to go to your child and say that Mommie's behavior was wrong, that it was not how Jesus wanted me to handle it, and ask their forgiveness as well.

I know that anger is not everyone's struggle, but I didn't want my friend to be mislead by thinking that my sense of humor in Tuesday's situation was anything other than the grace of God present in my life. And that it has literally taken me years to get to the point where I could chuckle about it even while feeling frustration.

Being a stay-at-home-mom is a huge job. And sometimes it can be overwhelming. I'd hate for anyone to look at my life and think I had it all together (I'm cracked, remember?), especially in an area in which I struggle so much. There are also tools to help. I've been able to learn some great skills for parenting from The Love and Logic Institute that have changed me and the way I parent.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Wordless Wednesday. But not quite.

"Happy Birthday Mommie! We had a party in your honor!!"

When my 3 year old asked to go play with his baby brother after nap, I thought I could get a few minutes to myself, or maybe even get a shower. A few minutes later, I heard the water running. I asked why. To wash my hands Mommie! I asked why again. He came to show me. I asked him to show me what was on his hands. He brought me vaseline and baby powder. I grabbed the camera on the way to the baby's room.

I call this Product Testing. AKA: TESTING your patience with these PRODUCTS!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Cracked! The Past and the Pitcher.

Angie shared on her blog, Bring the Rain, how God told her to smash a pitcher. Then He told her to glue it back together. If you haven't read it, it is most definitely worth a read. But, as with much of her blog, I recommend that you have tissues handy.

I shared the link with a new friend and we decided to spend a day together and smash some pitchers. I have to say, there aren't really words to describe it, though I will try.

First came the shopping. We hit several antique stores with a budget in mind and an idea of what we were looking for. In my mind I wanted a pitcher that represented everything I always wanted or strived to be. Beautiful. Elegant. Simple with just a hint of fancy. Substantial. Useful. Affordable. Just when it seemed I would never find what I was looking for (trust me I saw plenty I liked, but my budget was much smaller than the $85-$300 range I was seeing!), I looked up among all these expensive pitchers and saw one I really liked. I couldn't see a price, so I maneuvered it carefully off the shelf. There was no price (you could say it was priceless)! My friend was sure it was as expensive as the others on the shelf. But, I was determined to know if this was the one. I couldn't let it go without knowing. Then came my little miracle for the day. The saleswoman approached me and asked if I wanted to purchase the pitcher. I told her I needed to know the price. And yes, I sent up a little prayer that it would be in my budget. I was becoming attached to it as I carried it around.

She came back showing me a chip and discounting the price from $45 to $30. She even told me I could display it this way so the chip wouldn't show. No, I did not tell her that my intentions were to smash it to pieces that very aftenoon, and that the little chip would be completely insignificant in light of what I was going to put my pitcher through. We laughed quite a bit about that chip! I even had thought of trying to return it in its newly rendered state, but I digress. I bought the pitcher thanking the Lord for providing the right pitcher for the right price.

When you think of a pitcher as an analogy of yourself, of your best self, letting go and letting it fall, knowing that it won't ever be right or whole again isn't as easy as you'd think. Sure, my friend and I were having fun, posing, taking pictures, laughing. But, I almost backed out. I almost kept my pitcher whole. I wanted it to stay beautiful and useful. In order to make this analogy real, I had to let go. I did.


Broken. Shattered. Pieces.

That's me. My best self. That's all I have to offer. I am worthless. I am broken. I am dust.

And then Jesus found me.

He took these pieces and He put them back together.

As my friend and I pieced our pitchers back together we talked. We shared with each other the brokeness of our lives. For me, it is my parents' divorce when I was 6 years old. It is my brothers' alcoholism that began shortly after that. It is the homosexual relationship I had in highschool and college. It is the infertility that rocked my marriage, that crippled my sense of womanhood. It is the loss of 3 precious babies early in pregnancy. It is the broken family relationships due to my faith in Jesus. These things and so much more.
I pieced my pitcher together. One piece at a time. Working this way and that. Sometimes I had to push and shove hard to get a piece in that didn't want to go in. Sometimes there were gaps. A few times I broke it more trying to get it back together the best I could. (and Angie, if you read this, despite your warnings of the wrath of the glue gun, I got a blister!)

Now my best self is cracked, broken, with gaps and holes. When my pitcher was whole it could hold water. It could hold water and never let it go. Now my pitcher doesn't hold much, if any. The water flows in and it flows out. There is no stopping it. It can't be contained and it can't get stale. The hardest hit places, the point of impact, that's where the water flows the most. The water is the Holy Spirit. I can no longer bottle Him up in my heart. He just flows out of me. Through the very places I hurt the most.

When you look at my life and you see the gaps, you see the imperfections, and you see the holes, I hope you will also feel the Holy Spirit flow over you from those very places. I'm not perfect. I'm not whole.

Praise the God of the Universe, I'm CRACKED!

"Not Me!" Monday.

It's that time of week again! Time for true confessions under the guise of "Not Me!" Click the button above to see Mck Mama's Not Me Monday, and join the fun. If you post your own confessions, please leave me a comment so I can check your blog out!

I am not growing my 3 year old, blonde, son's hair out to look like Big Mac's because I think it looks SO cute. I would not copy a hairstyle from one of my favorite blogs. Nope, not me.

I did not go antique shopping, and spend $30 on a gorgeous pitcher for the express purpose of smashing it to smithereens and gluing it back together in a horrible fashion with hot glue. I did not laugh at the lady who discounted the pitcher because it was chipped. I did not get this idea from another of my favorite blogs and I will not post the entire story sometime this week. I most certainly did NOT blister my finger on the hot glue. Nope, NOT ME!!!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Brook-a-lee's Blood Drive.

Last year my friend, Kelly, gave birth to twins around 29 weeks gestation. Aubrey and Brooklyn were born October 16. Brooklyn had a known heart defect that required surgery and the combination of that problem and her micro preemie status was not good. Brooklyn had surgery but died of complications on November 30.

This year in memory of precious Baby Brooklyn, Kelly is hosting a blood drive. Her goal is to get 46 donors that will represent each of the 46 days of Brooklyn's all too short life. I'm sure that we, together, can get many more than 46 donors nation-wide to show that Baby Brooklyn's life inspired others to help save lives. Please, join me this month in taking time to go donate blood in memory of Baby Brooklyn. And, if you do donate, please, leave a comment here, so that Kelly can see how Baby Brooklyn's life has a lasting effect on others.

By the way, did you know that it only takes about a tablespoon of blood to save a preemie's life?? A TABLESPOON!!!

Monday, November 3, 2008

My Own "Not Me!" Monday.

It appears that Mck Mama will not be having a "Not Me!" Monday today, but that isn't going to prevent me from doing my own. Feel free to join in with your own "Not Me's".

I did not volunteer to be "Fred October" for the youth group's annual scavenger, "Hunt for Fred October", nor did I come up with the idea of dressing myself as a punk rocker with a mohawk. I did not spend 2 hours using way too much gel and hairspray to get my shoulder-length hair to stay in a mohawk shape. I did not spend $46 to buy leather dog collars, black make-up, and Goth jewelery for one night of fun. That would be wasteful. And I did not save the packaging to be able to return the dog collarsafter wearing them once. That would be cheap. Nope, it was not me.

I did not go out in public dressed this way. If you saw someone in Cold Stone that looked like this, it was not me! I did not sit here for an hour waiting for kids to find me and ask me if I was Fred. Nope, not me!

I did not stay all night at the Lock-in, because I am not a night person. I did not thouroughly enjoy playing games and watching movies with the youth. I was not afraid to watch "The Village" with the kids, because scary, thillers do not give me nightmares.

Despite what anyone tells you, I did not fall asleep at the Lock-in and wake up late for my choir rehearsal. In my rush to pack my things I did not overlook the teens that were still crashed out on the floor. Consequently, no one slept until 10 and no one was late to work. I was not the last adult to leave and I did not rush out leaving a HUGE mess. Furthermore, I did not try to pass the blame onto another adult who left me sleeping when he left at 7:45, just 15 minutes before the Lock-in ended. Incidentally, choir rehearsal was not the committment I skipped out on in my previous post about obedience. I did not use said skipped choir rehearsal as my excuse for being irresponsible. Definitely, NOT ME!

Whew! This not me stuff is very freeing!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

In Memory of Chuck Foster.

My dad's cousin, Rosalie, is a dear friend of mine and a fellow mother of twins. Through e-mail and phone calls her sense of humor and caring spirit got me through the "fog" years of infant and toddler twins. At one point I felt compelled to fly out with my MSC (many small children) to meet Rosalie and her husband Chuck in person.

Yesterday, I was shocked to learn, that while on a business trip to China, Chuck passed away. The cause of his death is as of now, unknown.

The memories I have of Chuck are few, but sweet. On my visit with Chuck and Rosalie I found Chuck to be a sweet, kind, gentle man. Each night he and Rosalie sat in their living room with the lights turned down low and enjoyed a cup of tea and each other's company. During my visit I was welcomed into this quaint ritual with open arms. It was just a time to reflect on the joys of the day, and be.

The last time I saw Chuck was at a family reunion. He was in the process of building a car from a kit, a little 2 seated roadster of sorts. It was his "baby" and he had a wonderful time sharing pictures with the family.

I am shocked at his sudden passing, and deeply grieved for my dear Rosalie. I know Chuck will be sorely missed by his family and friends.

May you rest in peace, Chuck. <3

I spoke to Rosalie on the phone just after posting this. She, understandably, is hurting deeply. But, she said something to me that bears repeating: Always say "Goodbye" as if it is the last time you will see each other, and say "Hello" with thankfulness that it wasn't. These are words to live by, and something that she and Chuck practiced. My deepest sympathies and love to you, Rosalie.


I strive to be more like God (as in godly), but I often see just how far I fall short of that. When I tell my kids to do something, unless otherwise stated, I mean NOW! Don't give me excuses, just get on it. And if you don't, you better watch out because the consequences are sure to follow. How unlike God am I! I'm not nearly as patient, merciful, helpful or grace-giving.

Back in January, God told me to do something (I won't tell you what because that's between Him and me, and not what this posts is about). I didn't do it, the opportunity passed. Then again in September, God said to me, "I want you to [do this]." I discussed it with my husband, telling him what God had told me. We decided that "Yes," we would obey. One thing led to another and life happened and we put it off and put it out of our minds.

Yesterday, God got serious with me. He made obeying Him quite easy. I almost missed it because I had committments to keep in other areas and I just about let that keep me from what I knew needed to happen. It's times like this that God gets out his baseball bat. I called my husband and in essence told him that this is the day we would be obeying the Lord about that thing. He agreed, yes, it sounds like God has out his baseball bat and is going to apply it to our heads if we don't wise up! I can easily picture myself with my kids in a similar situation, screaming, "I HAVE HAD ENOUGH!!! You WILL obey me NOW!" God isn't like that. He's saying, gently, "I have waited, but I see you need me to make it easier for you. So, here is the perfect opportunity for you to do what I asked. Do you see it? Will you obey now?"

So, finally, we obeyed. I gotta tell you, it was the greatest thing! It left all my expectations in the dust. There was peace, there was joy, there was blessing!!! Woohoo!! And, on the other hand, there was a teeny, tiny bit of regret. Wishing that we had obeyed sooner, because we could clearly see how much our obedience meant to others. And, had we obeyed immediately it would have spared someone else these weeks of worry and waiting. I won't focus on the regret because, perhaps this was how it needed to happen in the first place.

Thank you, Lord, for making it so easy for us to obey by opening the right door at the right time and gently (baseball bat in hand in case we got thick headed) guiding us to walk through it. And, Lord, if you don't mind, next time my kids are slow to obey, would you give me the same grace for them that you gave me? <3