Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Because You'll Forget

You put notes like these on his lunchbox.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Thanksgiving Fiesta

This year I had FUN at Thanksgiving dinner. The food was delicious. A lovely girl made my favorite dessert, chocolate sour cream cake, which I made myself sick with by eating an unhealthy amount.

My sister and I dominated a game of spades against a so-called expert. And let me say this about my relationship with my sister. We can butt heads sometimes because, well, we're sisters. As Dr. Cail would put it, we've been fighting for commodities since she was born. But our connection runs deep. You just can't replace the bond you have with two girls who grow up together. And if you catch us in a goofy mood together, watch out. I can have more fun with her than just about anyone I know.

Well the goofy moods hit and by the end of the night we were putting on cognito and entering the Texas Hold Em' tournament. We lost but put up a good fight, sneaking each other chips under the table when one of us got low.

The night was topped off by hilarious stories from my lovable and impressively bearded brother. I just think the world of that guy.

All in all it was a great time meeting new people, hanging out with precious family we don't get to see very often, and lots of PLAYING!

And look, Sarah Palin was nice enough to join us for our poker game.
Really. Click on the picture and zoom in. It's scary.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Future As He Sees It

Last weekend Silas and I snuggled in a camping chair outside my mom's house. I love how at home he is receiving affection. Totally relaxed, unhurried, not a care in the world. I told him about how one day he's going to be a man and talk like Daddy and have a wife and kids. And I asked him if he would still let me hold him and kiss his cheeks, although they would be all pokey. He assured me he would.

Then his eyes rimmed red and filled with tears. I asked him what was wrong and he wept and proclaimed, I really want YOU to be my wife when I get big!

I comforted him by explaining that one day he would meet the girl he would marry and that right now she is little just like him and Mommy prays for her mommy and daddy to love her and teach her to follow Jesus and how to be kind and loving. He looked off into the distance and the subject dropped.

Until church Sunday morning. During the service I could feel him looking at me so I looked down and saw his eyes red and wet, chin quivering. He declared again, I've been thinking about it and I really really just want YOU to be my wife and nobody else! I cringed at his volume and anger level and decided to not to choose this battle. I patted his leg and told him I'll be your wife, buddy, I will.

I chuckled and watched him look forward and blink heavily. He needed a few moments to let the intense emotions subside.

He's going to be quite the catch someday. And I'll cherish it while he feels the same way about me.

Silas came in and saw this picture up so I told him I wrote the story about him wanting me to be his wife. I asked if he still wanted me to be his wife and he said Yep. And Daddy can have that girl you were telling me about at Guggy's (my mom's) house. They can live in a house close to us. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


She was so cute for cowgirl day, I can't even tell ya. 
I sure like being her mama.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween 2011

We had a blast!

Silas could've kept up with a group of teenagers. He was a pro. 
He was also quite heartbroken to wash his face when we got home.

Mash was too cute for words. Today when I laid her in bed for her nap she said "I gonna sweep, wake up, you paint cupcake my face, go say twick or tweet get maw M.M.'s. Ok?"

The whole posse.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


If my future self were to look back at the fall of 2011, this is what I would see:

First of all, me not having a desktop which means difficult access to pictures which means very infrequent blogging. This saddens me.

The four of us living with an awesome couple from our church (Bob n Chells as Madison refers to them). It's been great for us, actually a huge blessing, but sometimes I wonder what they're thinking when Silas throws his 18th fit during dinner or I have to text Chells to let her know Silas vomited and didn't make it into the throw-up bowl (see below). We're nearing our third month of waiting for our short sale to close. It will be at least another month. Me no likey short sales.

The four of us passing around sickness for the past two months. At the moment I am freshly over strep, Silas is miserable with a stomach bug, Madison's just done with her stomach bug and Brian is fighting a cold.

Our family driving around in our new minivan. It's pretty sweet. Silas thinks it's the coolest thing since sliced bread. We said goodbye to Grease Lightening and the Geo.

My extended family taking a great camping trip which involved canoeing, a train ride, bike riding, and being surrounded by beautiful nature.

Brian enduring the most stressful stretch of work his job has given him yet.

Me discovering Pinterest. Scary.

Me and Silas having special days every Monday. Mash goes to school and Silas doesn't. I only have one more year with him all to myself so I'm squeezing all the goodness out of it I can. We love our special days.

Madison talking up a storm. Especially about elephant butts. More on that later.

Silas wanting to know everything possible about nutrition. He can tell you the protein, carb, vitamin, and fiber content of most foods.

Madison and Silas wanting to ride bikes 24 hours a day.

Me being reminded about who and what I live my life for. I'm learning on a deeper level that it's not things. And it's not a house.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Rear View Mirror

One Sunday morning we were late to church. Oh wait, that's been every single Sunday for the last four years.

But something special happened on this morning.

Brian was driving and juggling listening to me analyze why he made us late and the kids screaming various demands and grievances in the back seat. He would reach back trying to reach Madison's pacifier and tell Silas something to the tune of "If you touch her one more time, you know what will happen!" as the car swerved slightly with all of his movements. I critiqued the morning's timeline and picked at my face in the mirror before my "we're late" ritual of putting on my makeup in the car. I think he was flinching his jaw and imagining scenes from "Throw Mama from the Train" with me replacing the character of "Mama" but I would have to verify that with him.

Brian tried the old futile method of achieving silence, turning the radio up. Way up. It didn't work. I joined his efforts and tried distracting the kids. I heard sirens in the distance and said Listen, there's a fire truck! They didn't care. I resumed my analyses and picking. A long while later I looked over at Brian and saw colored lights reflecting on his face.

I gasped when I saw the police car in my make-up mirror. "Oh no, we're being pulled over!" Then my heart sunk because I've come to learn the following law of nature: being late + being distracted = Brian speeding excessively. Kids, turn on the charm when he gets to the window.

Much to our surprise when Brian rolled down his window we heard through a loud speaker SLOWLY STEP OUT OF THE CAR AND PUT YOUR HANDS ON THE VEHICLE!

My jaw dropped as I watched Brian slowly exit the car and assume the position. More commands followed from the speaker. STEP TO THE BACK OF THE VEHICLE! Then the officer got out of the car. WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU ARE DOING SIR? Brian stared in confusion. He began screaming at Brian. The quiver and intensity in the officer's voice made it evident he was pretty shaken up. Then things became clear. I'VE BEEN CHASING YOU FOR MILES! WHY WOULDN'T YOU PULL OVER? I could hear Brian try to explain, My kids were screaming in the back seat and my rear view mirror was pointed down to - THERE IS NO REASON FOR ME TO HAVE TO FOLLOW YOU FOR THAT LONG WITH MY SIRENS AND LIGHTS ON! THERE'S NO EXCUSE!

I was thinking to myself, Actually, sir, there is a perfectly good reason and my husband just gave it to you. The radio was blaring and all mirrors were pointed at the children.

But thankfully my husband had more sense than me. He listened as the officer vented more feelings of flabbergast and then apologized repeatedly and agreed that there was no excuse.

Then I saw the officer head to my window. Keep in mind I wasn't feeling too sharp that morning. I was staring at his face, watching his eyes with hopes that he would look back, notice the kids in the back seat and have mercy. After waiting a while he raised his eyebrows as if to say "Hello?" and motioned for me to roll down my window. I jumped to it and saw him revel in the glory of my radiating picked-at, no make-up having face. He asked to see my driver's license (still trying to get to the bottom of why we were trying to run from him). I set the bowl of cereal I had in my lap on the floorboard then grimaced when I looked back and remembered Brian had packed the diaper bag. Fat chance he thought to grab my wallet.

I smiled sheepishly and started explaining. Well you see, my husband packed the diaper bag yadda yadda yadda. He didn't buy it. All I could think of was to offer to have him follow us back to our home and I would get it for him. From the back seat Silas fervently (and repeatedly) asked Why is the police man angry at Daddy?? Mommeeeeeeeeeeee, WHY?? 

After a few minutes of asking the same questions and getting the same answers the officer gave up. Maybe the kids worked their magic. Maybe it was Brian's humility. Most likely it was my stunning beauty but regardless, and much to our amazement, he let our little circus act off with a warning.

Laughter replaced the bickering and we were all smiles when we showed up before church ended.

Lesson learned:
You really should point your rear view mirror at the road, not on your darling little angels.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Healing of Our Marriage

About 3 years ago, Brian and I started really going to church.  I don't like that phrase because we ARE the church so how can we go to ourselves. Maybe I should say we started being the church or being a part of the church, the body of Christ.

Whatever you call it, a big part of it is living our lives in the open. Letting others know what we were doing, thinking, and feeling and letting God use them to POWERFULLY remind us of who He is, who we are, and grow us up.

This has led to us dealing with stinking death in our marriage.

It's too difficult to squeeze into a nutshell but it has involved us getting to a place where we don't love each other very well and aim much of our efforts at our own interests and stay angry when our interests aren't served. When this goes on for a long time, you start to not like each other as much. Which has been heartbreaking because we've always really liked each other. Wrap this and much more up and put it in a pressure cooker of very young kids, remodeling our house, then selling our house and moving and you've got a glimpse into our discombobulated mess. I've come to find out our marriage is vulnerable to brokenness just like everyone else's.

This was on our favorite vacation ever, Miami.
 I didn't know it at the time but Silas was a tiny dot growing in my belly.

Recently I decided I wanted to write about this journey we're embarking on. I want to remember all of it - the hard parts and the awesome parts. Because I serve the best and most faithful healer, and because Brian and I have our hearts set on honoring our covenant and each other, I have hope and anticipation for what's to come. Years from now, I don't want to forget what He's brought us through. And since there's no use hiding the light, I'm gonna put it out for all (3 of you) to see.

Let's begin with the first installment.

I've been called to

For the previous 13 years, I've been honing my skills of manipulation and control. My motto: I want Brian to do a certain thing/be a certain way and I'M GONNA MAKE IT HAPPEN. That may involve hour long explanations on my needs and his shortcomings, staying angry, silent treatment, or just good ol' emotional distance. 

Instead, I've been called to this: Lord, this is yours. I'm going to stop messing with your creation, get off the potter's chair and let you do your beautiful work in your time. I give it up. I set it down.
I trust you.

What does this look like in real life? Right now it's alot of shutting my mouth and praying. Sometimes this happens in mid-argument or even mid-opening statement. I can feel the gentle whisper from my Father, "let go." I'll suddenly get quiet and close my eyes. Brian is usually confused. And because I've hurt him with the silent treatment in the past, I'll tell him I'm not shutting down but I have to stop talking and pray now. And "praying" in these instances doesn't always look the same. It has involved screaming about how bad this hurts, asking for healing for both of us, asking for healing for Brian and not me because I didn't do anything wrong!, or feeling so overwhelmed that I just close my eyes and climb into my Father's arms and rest my head on his shoulder (like my children do to me when they're spent) and stay there for a while.

I don't have huge amounts of clarity or insight yet and that's ok. I've just begun to dip my toe into the waters of change. Things are actually still pretty messy, unclear, and unchanging most of the time. But it is already beautiful. The way my Father gently leads me. The way he has spoken to us through others. The little signs of new life starting to sprout in our marriage. Really cool sprouts we've never seen before.

It's looking like he's much better than me at being in charge.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Bad, the Ugly, and the Good

Today was a hard day. Tonight was even worse. I'm out of town with the kids which means no daddy and I've been sick. Bad combo.

The kids were in the bath after we'd made it through dinner and clean-up time and I was sitting in a little chair reading a book while they played in the water. I peeked over the pages to find them scrubbing each others backs and I let down my guard a little. (I'd been in constant drill sergeant mode for a while). I smiled and thought I guess they are kinda sweet.

Six seconds later a soaking wet wash cloth flew from one of those sweet hands knocking my book out of my hands and onto the floor, instantly soaking the entire thing. They giggled as I jumped up yelling noooooo! and frantically tried to salvage what was now a saturated sponge.


Fastest washings and dressings they have ever gotten.

I did stop once to apologize to Silas and told him I'm really tired and my job of being a mommy has been hard today. But mostly they just got fireball eyes if they tried to put up anything resembling resistance.

I laid the little one down in her pack n play and warned of the dreadful things that would happen if she decided to climb out (which she conveniently learned to do a few nights ago after Daddy left).

This is where the good started to creep in. I was on my way to make my 5th trip downstairs for yet another essential bedtime item when Silas called out to me, Mommy I got my blanket and I'm already in bed. I'll wait for you here until you're done with Madison.

Umm, who are you and what have you done with my son? I ran into his room and kissed his cheeks. I needed that Silas. Thank you.

I finished putting Mash to bed which involved apologizing for being grumpy and her saying I agive you in her tiny voice and hugging and kissing me.

Then I climbed into bed with Silas to read him a story. He looked over at me, our noses almost touching, and said When you were a little girl did GuhGuh (my mom) climb in bed and read to you?

Yes, she did.

Well, when I grow up I'm going to snuggle with my kids and read them a story too! Pause. His chin starts to quiver. But I try to think about what kids I will have and I can't see them and I don't know their names! But I want to know their names!

I stared at his little profile and was taken aback by his desire to know his future children.

Did you know your kids will be my grandkids and I will be their grandma?

He looked at me and smiled and said And Daddy will be their grandpa??


His chin starts to quiver again. But...who will be their mommy? They will need a mommy.

I told him one day he will find a girl who loves Jesus and is kind and gentle. And she will be his kids' mommy and they will be a family.

He smiled and looked up at the ceiling imagining the future. (He later added that his kids will be Parker and Preston (his cousins) but that he really wants free (3) kids because he wants to have a baby like Madison too.)

So here I am, laying in bed typing so I won't forget this. I find myself asking if this is really happening. I know it's been true of every human in the history of mankind but are my little children really going to one day not be little children? It's strange that something so mundane, commonplace, and experienced by an incalculable amount of parents before me seems so impossible.

And finally, I'm praying that my Father would help me to choose grace tomorrow. To stay in the love as I parent. To let go of the ever available anger and irritation. Because I know your heart is for us to love each other. And wherever their future spouses are, will you give them parents that love them well. That teach them to love well. Thank you for leading me. Your love is better than life!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Moving is Stressful

Snuggling with my kids is not.

It's a little treasure I've discovered.

This has been an ordeal filled with seeking God on where he wants us and WAITING and releasing the anxious sickness in my stomach on a minute by minute basis. But the sweet moments of calm have come after talking to brokers and realtors and storage facilities and a stressed husband on the phone all over blaring episodes of Yo Gabba Gabba and kids loudly taming their toy horse while taking breaks to fight and/or plead with me for food all while I try to do laundry, pack our belongings, scan documents, and get our damned printer to work (pardon my French).

In these moments I find myself panting and wanting to steal Mash's pacifier, curl up in a corner with it, wrap myself in a window curtain and rock back and forth.

And this is the point I often scapegoat my children as the source of my angst and unleash waves of irritability on them. But there's been grace on me. I look across the room and see little stress balls.

Come snuggle with me!

They never turn me down.
I let my eyes close and listen to Elmo's world while their soothing closeness lifts the heaviness.

Who knew they possessed such powers?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Little Launch Take Two

Remember this?

Well this happened on Monday.

She sure loved it.
She didn't even cry when her owl backpack made her fall backwards.

In other news, time has begun speeding up at an exponential rate. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Happy Late Father's Day

To my man. My partner. You stay in the thick of parenting with me. You give me breaks. You play with the kids. You flow with compassion and patience. Your presence is missed so much when you go on business trips that we have to make a countdown of days until you return.

We love you.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Pic of the Day

Ann Geddes, mullet and pj's style. 

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Mash's Day

Two years ago today I had one of the best days of my life. 

Surrounded by my husband, mother, sister, and aunt, I birthed a little girl.

For the rest of the day she laid on my chest and we slept. There was no where else in the world I wanted to be. I can still remember her scent. The sweet noises she made as she learned to nurse. 

That night in the quiet dark hospital room felt like a holy moment. It was just the two of us (nevermind the sleeping husband and hospital staff that came in every half-hour). I drifted in and out of sleep but every time I woke I felt overwhelmed with peaceful gladness as I fed and changed her, and wrapped her up to hold. I can still feel the stillness of the room as I told my Father thank you with tears streaming down

Two years earlier her brother plowed the way through my selfish heart and formed a mother out of me. This time there was no shock or surprise. I had already given up my rights.
I was ready to simply love. 

Since that day she has carried with her the gift of joy.

She blesses me more than I could ever deserve.  

Friday, May 13, 2011

Home Remedy: Learning to Live with Scorpions

For those of us blessed by the unavoidable company of scorpions, I've compiled a list. Not a list of extermination techniques (which I've lost all faith in) but a list for those more advanced in the grief process. Those of us who have made it to the stage of acceptance.
These are my methods to make their company more bearable during what I call the "high season."
The season when the spawns of satan storm your home and war is declared.

1. Always shake out your bath towel before you dry off. 
2. Always check the sheets in your bed and under your pillows before you get in. 
3. Never leave clothes on the floor. If you do, assume there is one in there when you pick them up.
4. Wear gardening gloves while sorting laundry.
5. Don't sleep under air conditioning vents.
6. Keep a pair of flip flops by the bed in case you have to walk at night (through the minefields).
6. The most important tip is this: When several run-ins leave you feeling frazzled and doomed, remember the times you've been stung. You survived. It was painful but not life-threatening.
The following self talk helps: "I am bigger than the scorpions. I am strong.
I will not live my life in fear. Low season will come again."

Taking steps to avoid interaction with the evil creatures as well as mentally putting them in their place is the way to peaceful co-existence. 

My heart goes out to those with severe infestations (those who put their beds on cinder blocks and surround the cinder blocks with sticky traps so they can sleep safely). 
Maybe you could accidentally leave your fry daddy on when you go out of town for the weekend.

And a disclaimer: The previous advice is given for those living with non-poisonous scorpions. Also, it is very dangerous for an infant to be bitten by any type of scorpion. 
Consider sending them to Grandma's until they're two. 

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day Gifts

The thing I love most about my son is that he is so much like me. Passionate and sensitive. Always thinking. Always questioning. He's a kindred spirit I connect with on a deep level.

The thing I love most about my daughter is that she is so different than me. Carefree. Almost always cheerful and affectionate. She's a light cool healing breeze to my soul.

Thank you Lord for these precious people. I see you in them.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Story Time with Silas

Everyday when I put Silas down for a nap he gets a story. (unless he got down from his room during nap time the day before, then he misses out. It actually keeps him pretty motivated to stay in bed!)

Silas tells me what the story will be about that day and I take his inspiration and run with it. The first story started something like this: We were jumping on the bed and it crashed through the floor and went down, down, down through the white stuff to the bottom! 

Hmm, interesting. I can work with this.

I begin the tale: Me, you and Mash were jumping on the bed and it crashed through the floor and went through the white stuff (what the white stuff is or 30% of his content I'll never know) and landed in a dark cave in the Land Down Under. Then we saw a dog walk up to us. He said Welcome to the Land Down Under! And we said WHHHAAAT??? A talking dog?? And he said What do you mean a talking dog? All animals talk in the Land Down Under! He told us his name was Mr. McGruff and showed us the door out of the cave. We looked around at beautiful rolling green hills and valleys. Then we decided we were all VEEEERRRRRYYY sleepy and we were worried that we couldn't get back home (the trick here is leaving suspense for the next day's story). Mr McGruff overheard our conversation and said Let me show you the way! He led us to an elevator with a big button that read Our Home. We piled in the elevator and Silas pushed the big button. We went up up up and when the door opened, we were in Silas' room. His closet was the elevator! 

They're very short and they always end with me letting out a big fake yawn and everyone napping. And I've found that 4-year-old standards are quite low so even on my tired lame story telling days he has a big smile on his face.

But it's really fun to let our minds run free and see what we can think of. Along the way I usually find a way to slip in valuable subliminal messages about things like bravery, forgiveness, or him protecting his sister.

Sometimes we go to the Land Down Under where we might ride a tiger over the hills or Silas and Mash might swim in the upside down swimming pool for KIDS ONLY. 

Or there's the Land Up High where Grassy the flamingo lives and the clouds are trampolines and you have to slide down a giant blue swirly slide to get back to Silas' closet. 

Or Daddy drives too fast and we fly out of the car and roll all the way to Cowyifornia and let the waves chase us. Or we jump too high on the bed and crash through the window and roll to Oklahoma and ride horses with cowboys (rolling places or falling through floors are his plot lines of choice).

Looks like all that imagination propaganda from my early years is finally paying off.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Pic of the Day

My little 40-year-old.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Beauty Sleep

Brian and Mash after their Saturday nap.

I thought they looked scrumptious. 

Especially this one.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Turning 4

My oldest child, 
the one who is incredibly relational and wants to know what everyone and everything is experiencing,
the one who wants desperately to follow rules but has the strongest will I've ever witnessed,
(besides my own)
the one that makes me cry out to Jesus for help because it takes so much to parent him,
the one who loves tractors and machinery,
the one who holds the door open for me and Mash and anyone else who needs help,
the one who loves to hear stories about my childhood,
the one who has the gift of affirmation and I see the goodness of God in every day,

yeah that one,
he turned 4.
I love him.

Recently someone told me that children start school when they're 5.
Say what? There's gotta be some sort of mix-up. I thought I had at least another decade.

The news has left a seed of panic in my heart.
And I promised myself I wouldn't do this. I wanted to be a mom who celebrated the different stages of my children's lives. A mom who didn't mourn her children growing. 

But that all feels like a load of crap now that I realize that one day he will be a tall hairy man with a deep voice and he probably won't love it when I squeeze his sugar buns! The horror! He won't squeal with delight when I chase him and act silly. I won't look down and see his sweet little hand in mine when we cross the street.

My nail-beds haven't been the same since.

With that said, I am quite optimistic about the tall hairy man he will become. 
And I'm certainly looking forward to mothering him through the years.
Who knows, maybe he'll still hold my hand every once in a while. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

My 29th Birthday

Brian is upstairs giving Mash a bath as I type this.

14 hours earlier:

I woke up this morning, poured myself a bowl of cereal and sprinkled on some fiber (things don't move like they did in the early twenties). I was showered with love by a few birthday calls. With a smile in my heart I got the kids and myself ready to go into town.

I picked up my boo from work and we all ate a delicious lunch at Chick-fil-A. They gave me these cards. Silas sweetly showed me the special care he put into all the different colors he used just for me. And one of my favorite things is when Brian draws me pictures on special occasions. The ones from our childless years are pretty impressive. As you can see, he's had to scale down a bit. It looks like even started to misspell my name, poor guy.

After lunch I took the kids shopping and then we came home for naps. Well, Madison at least.

Later we ate dinner around the table and Brian prayed thanksgiving for me being born and being the mother of our family. Then I watched Biggest Loser while Brian spent at least 2 hours making me a home-made chocolate cake with home-made chocolate frosting. The 2 hours were courtesy of the monkeys he had sitting on the counter helping him. (And just to be clear, I never refer my children as monkeys as if it's a sweet nickname. I mean literal monkeys - stinky and squatting, making screeching noises, sticking their fingers in things, bouncing, and swatting each other.)

They lit candles, sang happy birthday, and we ate the best cake that's ever touched my lips. When everyone was quietly eating Silas looked me in the eye and said Mommy I love you so much. And happy birthday too!* These unsolicited affectionate moments from my kids happen from time to time and they stop me dead in my tracks. We hugged and ate some more.

After the cakefest I started doing lunges and squats, my new regimen after eating sugar or carbs (because of recently discovered blood sugar issues) and as usual the kids joined me, giving us huge belly laughs. We haven't caught it on film yet but when we do I'll share the hilarity.

(Important note: the lunges got the little girl's bowels moving).

Then we all snuggled on the couch while I opened my email and facebook to see so many well wishes for my birthday. I felt full to the brim with love.

Madison and Silas played by our legs in between the couch and ottoman. It was at this point that Madison looked at us and quietly said "poo poo." She was naked. Brian asked me if I thought she was bluffing. We were so comfortable and full of cake and milk. I replied, well it could be real because she isn't around anything related to poop. But we lazily looked back to the computer and kept reading.

A few minutes later Madison squeezed in between Brian and I and held up what she had in her hand. For a split second I thought it was a chunk of chocolate cake. Brian thought it was a mini Baby Ruth. Then realization washed over both of us and we understood that she was handing us a perfectly formed little baby turd. Out of shock we screamed which made her jump and the turd rolled out of her hand and onto the couch where it rested against my leg. Brian kept his wits about him while I yelled 'She wasn't bluffing!" We frantically gave the children a once over but they still had chocolate on their faces and a few body parts and we couldn't tell the difference between that and the feces. Then I saw the pile on the (thankfully hardcover) book Silas was standing on. No question as to what that was. It was squeezing out from in between his toes.

He followed my gaze down to his foot and saw the horror for himself. He started screaming and jumping. I was torn because the turd was still on the couch (only 5 seconds has elapsed at this point) being wriggled with every panicked move we made. I grabbed the tissue paper from my gift bag and grabbed the poop like they do at the donut store and wrapped it up for later. No time for a trip to the trash can. Then I swooped up my boy and carried him like a baby to wash his foot. And the chocolate cake while I was at it.

Later I laughed while I scrubbed the carpet, book, and couch with disinfectants.

And now I'm back at the computer writing this while Brian finishes washing the turd wrangler.

Despite the poop attack, today has been a better than usual birthday.
Ordinary but filled with love.

* Just to keep it real and prevent any idealization of my life from my future self or anyone else, Silas shocked me (and earned himself a spanking) this morning when I told him it was my birthday and he pointed his finger in my face and yelled repeatedly NO ITS MY BIRTHDAY! IT'S MINE!
He had himself a little Smeagol moment.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Mad Puzzle Skills

I bought this Candyland puzzle at TJ Maxx for $1.00. 
Full of optimism, I opened it up and we got to work.

This was the end result. 

One year olds only eat and hoard jigsaw puzzles. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Our New Kitchen

That hopefully won't be ours for long!

This is what we accomplished with $500.
(and hours of hard work with a dash of child neglect.) 

Before and Afters

Here's a closer look:

The only thing left to do is convince my grandma to trade her white dishwasher for our black one. 
It will have to pass a strict inspection though - she's one tough cookie. 

Saturday, February 26, 2011

When you wonder what this time was like...

You tickle Madison's tiny little body and Silas' soft skin at least 50 times a day.

You find it nearly impossible to spank your daughter. You know the time will come soon enough.
You play "Dynamite" by Taio really loud and dance like a white girl with the kids.

You try to discipline to teach and not to control.
You lose your temper and you hate it.

You sincerely pray for peace and patience every morning.

You're teaching Mash odd body parts like armpits and eyebrows.

You're teaching Silas addition (if we put in 2 eggs, how many more to make 3?)

Mash says "Ger go" (there you go) and Silas says "Wudsed?" (what you said?)

You look at Brian in the thick of kids melting down and flash him "I love you" in sign language.

Then you give each other "I love you" high fives and like it that you're still dorks.

Other times you get angry and think he should parent more like you. 

For the sake of your family you consider checking into a hotel (or mental hospital) once a month during a certain wonderful week.

You love the attentiveness and budding musicality in Silas.

You see the deep intelligence and affection in your daughter.

You long for silence and it feels like gold when you have it.

You try hard.

It really is hard. 

You have moments when you want to run away.

You seek your Father and he reminds you of who you are.

Brian's feedback after reading this was You should add 
"that's what she said" after the third line from the bottom. 
He gets me.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Home Remedy: Biscuit Can Phobia

One day I took a biscuit can to school for my 7th hour high school cooking class. When I took it out of my backpack I thought it was interesting how swollen and round it was. But I proceeded to peel the wrapper and wait for the thump. The thump never happened.

A biscuit bomb went off in my face.

I never opened a biscuit (cinnamon roll, crescent roll, etc.) can again.

But that all changed one night when I was home alone with the kids and I needed to get dinner started and eat or I was going to bite the head off a kitten in a low blood sugar rage. It was in this desperation that I found freedom from my phobia.

Oven Mitts! 

To this day I put on my mitts and hold the can as far from my face as possible. Like magic the fear subsides and I open my eyes and peel the label like a sane person.

I know someone out there can use this.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Full House

Our house occupancy doubled last weekend.

These beautiful people are staying with us while they close on their first home.

The old guy is my brother. That girl is his gal who is kind of awesome (witty, patient, loving - pretty much way out of his league). And lets not forget about their two little guys, Stink and Chunky.

Silas is having a grand old time showing his best buddy all of his toys and going on adventures. 

Mash likes to rub Chunky's head and asks about him the minute she wakes up. 

Doubling the amount of tiny ones has added lots of noise and messes but also priceless laughter and quality time. It warms my heart to come home and see their cars in the driveway.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Pic of the Day

Effective Time Management

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Home Remedy: Getting Little Kids Dressed

Ever found yourself in the circus of dressing your children before you leave?

This used to be my version:

Run upstairs to get a shirt and pants and chase down the 1 year old. Find the underpants of the 3 year old and engage in mental battle to get him to wear this pair with the dinosaurs on them. Realize the 1 year old's shoes are also upstairs and go back to get them. Chase her down again and get her in your lap and look around for socks. They're in her sock drawer. Cry a little. Go get the socks and continue the circus repeating similar steps for the 3 year old. Leave the house what seems like (or actually is) 2 hours later.

Here's the remedy:

Gather everything you need in one spot before you attempt contact with the children.

Genius huh?

Now they play while I run around grabbing clothes, socks, shoes, diapers, underwear, hats, jackets, and anything else they will be wearing and throw them in a pile. Then I catch a little one and have them in my lap only once! No more chasing over and over. No more getting angrier with each article I have to go find.

One day I hope to have children who dress themselves. But right now my sensory kid (more on that later) and tiny dancer need my assistance. And I've been leaving an average of 10 minutes earlier with this new method. That's worth something!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Curse of Good Parking

I took the kids to Wal-mart the other day and we happened to score a killer parking space. It was crowded so this pack mule was pretty pumped.

When we got done shopping and back to the car I unlocked all the doors. No key-less entry here, we're all about character building (wink!). I told Silas to climb in his seat. He did while I unbuckled my rabid chimp from the front of the cart and and took a deep breath to brace myself for the struggle about to ensue. As I carried her to her seat I started in with Tactic 1: Distraction. Mash, did you see Kahlua (my mom's horse) at Guh Guh's house? What does Kahlua say? (I make loud horse noises and make my body shiver like a horse). She giggled but then started to realize that I was strapping her in and started shrieking. I quickly moved to Tactic 2: Brute Force because her tiny body was escaping and undoing all of my progress. I laid my body across her to hold down her arms while I buckle her in (still shrieking). She had tears streaming down her cheeks and I felt guilty because we'd been running errands all day and I knew she was craving play.

So I start playing peek-a-boo through the window. Now she's laughing. So hard that I keep doing it and start laughing pretty hard myself. Then Silas begs me to do him so I look at him and do more peek-a-boo's followed by Mommy's gonna get you! in my annoying talking to children voice.

I notice that my hair looks like a crazy lady in the reflection so I stare at myself and fix my ponytail.

I unload the groceries.

I place the cart precariously between the four corners of the cars around me and watch for it to roll. It stays. Good work Angie.

I play a few more BOO!'s for good measure.

I tell Mash how funny she is through the window.

I stand up, exhale loudly, mumble Man I'm beat, and smile when I remember it's about to be nap time.

I hike up my pants past my muffin top to conceal the previously revealed plumbers crack.

I pick my wedgie.

I shut the trunk

That's when I finally notice a man in a truck with his windows down who's been watching our little side show for the last 10 minutes while waiting on my parking spot with a line of 18 angry cars behind him.

People. Never try to wait for a parking spot that belongs to a mom with kids. I didn't even feel guilty. Like a huge dork, yes, but not guilty. That was just bad decision making.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Traffic Lessons

When Silas was younger I told him that he had to be careful around cars because they would hit him and he would be smashed like a pancake.

Over time the warning evolved. This is what people hear if they're walking near us in a parking lot.

Mommy I don't want to get smashed like a pancake. Cause you will pour syrup on me and eat me. And then I will be poop and I will go in the toilet. But it's ok Daddy said if I'm poop he will turn to poop and come with me down the toilet. Will you turn to poop too Mommy?

Somewhere along the way the point got lost.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Christmas O'10

There was indoor four-wheeling

and quality family crafting time. 
See the shockingly cute baby on the left? That's cousin Macin.
Snuggling with her will raise your blood sugar.
Mash scored a big pillow in the cousin gift exchange. Cousins were jealous.

On Christmas morning they ate candy. 
When I handed Mash her first gift I thought I heard her say Mom, you had me at candy. 
She wouldn't let anyone near her for about 20 minutes as she guarded her stash.

Silas walked like a cowboy with his Sheriff Woody gear.

I like this picture of Silas and his Aunt Kristin. I call it "Locked Gazes."

The finale was in Houston where we held playground Olympics. 

And my children were loved on even more.

The biggest blessing for us this Christmas was seeing the kids form special bonds with their great-grandmothers. Talk about incredible women. What a blessing to be able to spend unhurried time listening to their stories and be on the receiving end of their love.