Thursday, December 13, 2007

Seriously?

I know I already wrote once today, but we just got back from the library holiday party and something is on my mind.

The librarian pulled out a snowman puppet. She said, "Do you know what this is?" Of course all the kids shouted, "SNOWMAN!" at the top of their lungs. With that understanding, nodding, I-hate-to-correct-you-but... look on her face, the librarian answered, "That's right, children. It's a snowperson."

SNOWPERSON?

Seriously?

This PC stuff has gone a little too far if you ask me. I was shocked that while we sang "Rudolph" she wore a blinking red nose. Couldn't that have hurt someone's feelings if say, perhaps, their nose was red from coming into the cold and they felt badly about it? Come on.

Snowperson. Pfffft.

Wisdom of a 4-year-old

Tuesday was a humbling day.

For the last month or more, my friend Kim and I had been planning our MOPS Christmas brunch which was Tuesday morning. We had the perfect speaker scheduled, we planned all the appropriate ice breakers and games, we had gotten gifts for all of the moms who would be attending, we had all the Christmas music ready on the iPod, we had a "Christmas past" slideshow ready to go, we had a delicious caterer all lined up (which we splurged on out of our budget), and on Monday, some of the leaders showed up to help us turn our ordinary meeting room into a Christmas wonderland. I even bought a new Christmas top to wear that morning. I was excited. (No, not a Christmas sweater with snowman and holly and snowflakes and sleighs all seen through a windowpane carefully embroidered onto the loose-fitting sweater. No. It was plain red and it was classy.)

And then it started snowing.

And snowing.

And snowing.

And the snow started freezing.

And freezing.

And freezing.

The first phone call I received Tuesday morning was from our speaker, Joanne, who was hesitant to say she just couldn't make it afterall. I had not slept well that night, praying that the snow would not hinder our morning plans, but sure enough, it was slick out there. I couldn't blame her one single bit for not wanting to make the 1-hour drive up to Boulder. Afterall, when I looked outside, I was hoping my own sister wouldn't attempt it from an hour away either, so it wouldn't have been fair for me to expect Joanne to risk her life. A lot of cities betweeen here and there were on accident alert, her girls' school was on a weather delay, and her husband was out of town. I cringed as she told me the news, but really, I was relieved for her, and would probably have made the same decision myself.

The next phone call I received was from the mom who coordinates our childcare workers, two of whom had called to cancel due to the weather. We're already short on workers, so this was bad news.

I called my co-coordinator and we tried to figure out what to do... cancel or go ahead with whoever comes, even if it's just she and I?

The next phone call I received was from one of our group leaders who said that all but one of her 14 moms would be coming. Things weren't looking good.

We hemmed and hawed, and cancelled the meeting twice only to call it back "on" again. By the time we'd finished making and receiving calls, we left very late, and were just sick that now, we were going to be late to our own meeting.

Emma tells me some funny jokes lately, and the "joke" on the way to the church on Tuesday morning was, "Mommy, have you ever seen a car ice skating? Funny?" (Um, yes, Emma! I have! And no, NOT FUNNY!)

It turns out that by the time everyone trickled in, we had 30 of the 50 moms we expected! We couldn't believe it. It was a bumpy morning, and we winged a lot of it, but there was still a sweet spirit of moms who just wanted to be together and get a break. One mom said, "No amount of snow is going to stop me from 2 hours of free childcare so I can be with friends!"

We might not have played the games we planned, the slideshow didn't work, we missed our speaker, and I didn't wear my new red shirt. I think I was in protest that my morning just wasn't turning out right. But you know, the morning still pointed to Jesus, and that's what we wanted.

When we got home, I was helping Emma wash some sticky candy cane off of her hands (a normal candy cane, mind you), when she said, "Good morning God, this is your day. I am your child, show me your way."

I immediately got choked up and asked where and when she learned that, to which she didn't have an answer. I wish that she had come into my room when I woke that morning to tell me that. It might have changed my whole attitude. I wasn't mad that Joanne couldn't come (disappointed that I didn't get to hang out with her? Yes!), or that the slideshow didn't work, or that there weren't as many moms as we planned. I was disappointed that we were so indecisive that it caused us to be late, and disappointed that I didn't get to wear my new shirt. (How petty, I know.) I was mad that there was so much snow and that it seemed to be the catalyst of a whole morning of change. But do any of these things matter? Not really. When I looked at it, I realized that I was upset and disappointed about things that I had planned. What God planned had still happened.

I'm ashamed to say that I didn't once stop to pause and pray about things that morning during all of the chaos of the morning. I prayed for all of our moms' safety and I prayed for Joanne's drive before she cancelled. Amidst all of the decision making, I do remember having a constant dialogue with God, along the lines of, "Why did you have to make it snow so much? Should we cancel the morning? What if moms get in accidents? What will we do with the filler time? Will the caterer be able to get there, God? Can we freeze the left over food?" I never once said, "Good morning, God. This is your day. I am your child. Show me your way."

I'm relieved that God redeemed the morning, and even my attitude that day. One mom even said it was the best meeting so far. (Was she just being nice?) But I think it's because God showed up and took over, especially because we were clueless. By the time Kim and I got there, the meeting had started, they were getting food, the music was on and everything was fine. I learned that I'm not in charge. God is. Maybe he just needed me out of the way that morning so he could do his thing.

- - - - -

By the way, Joanne had a running dialogue of her prep for the meeting the day before and then her decision not to come on her blog, if you want the "other side" of the story. I truly, truly think she made the right decision, and am glad she didn't risk it. I just feel badly for all the work you put into the morning that never was, Joanne! Can't wait for next time...

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Casa Bo-need-a-Tums...

If you're not from around here (Colorado), you have NO IDEA what my title means. In fact, sometimes I think I'm so clever (and find I'm the only one) that maybe you're a Colorado native and still met my title with a blank stare. I forgive you, although I hope I at least get a courtesy laugh after you hear my explanation.

Well, here's one for the baby book of milestones: our girls experienced Casa Bonita for the first time on Thursday night. (Disclaimer: we tagged along with Gary's college group. This was not our idea.)

For those unfamiliar with the tourist trap that is Casa Bonita, let's just say you don't go there for the food. Got it?

{insert courtesy laugh here}

My sister Abby heard we were going and said, "Enjoy the flavored cardboard, Ang!" And well, it's not far from the truth. I don't have much to say about the whole experience, except that the food was just as bueno as I remembered. The sopaipillas are the only thing that redeemed our meal for us, and yet, Emma wouldn't even try it. Is that any reflection of the trust she lost while consuming her entree? Come on, Casa Bonita. Even a four year old with (in)discriminating taste knew better than to move on and try dessert. And you lost her at "chicken fingers!" Unheard of! (She really missed out... those sopaipillas were good. Oh, and when I first typed sopapaillas I misspelled it and my auto-dictionary recommended "capillaries." Wow. Now that would have made for an interesting dessert.)

I'll let pictures tell the story of our evening. And next time you're going to Casa Bonita and you think to invite me, just remember that I probably have to sort my paperclips that night or catch up on my dictionary reading. Or something. Anything.

Addie LOVED the capillaries.


BAD picture, but both girls were into the bad guy (Black Bart) vs. good guy show. Sorry, all you Casa Bonita fans, I missed getting a picture of the giant fake gorilla.


Ooooo... the fire juggler. After this he dove into the water with the fire, which Emma informed me was dangerous.


And now... the backside of water! (That's a little Jungle Cruise humor... anyone?)


Here's Emma waiting for the puppet show... that we missed.




There's Gary and Addie down there!


Awww. You can see how happy the girls are.


Do you see Gary back there trying to distract the diver? I didn't even know he was in the picture until later. Silly boy.


There was mariachi music too. I think I really captured it.


Picture I didn't get: Emma and Addie being scared in Black Bart's cave... a little too scary for them. Plus, the girl behind Gary was a tad bit inebriated, and we later saw her being kicked out of the restaurant and running through the parking lot.

The best part of the whole night is that Gary came away with 8 or 9 tickets from the arcade, and the girls thought those were their prize. They were thrilled! So the next day, they were happy to give me a ticket for juice in the morning, a ticket for a bagel, and a piggy back ride cost 2 tickets. We had so much fun! They could earn their tickets back to reuse if they were good. So Casa Bonita wasn't a bust after all! Thank you, Casa Bonita, for supplying me with golden tickets!

Lookin' out for ya!

I just entered to win this awesome prize package from Parents - and I think you should too. It's easy. Just click here and leave a comment to be entered. Even if you don't need all these toys, they'd make great gifts or even make a great contribution to charities who are collecting toys right now.

Also, you should visit my friend Joanne at The Simple Wife, who is giving away some cute little zippy purses.

Come on. You know you can't resist free stuff!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

For the birds

There are two things to share with you that in my opinion, are for the birds.

First, are these candy canes:


They might taste good, but here's what they do:



Yes, it's funny, and I expected all of the looks and laughs the girls got when we went to Target, candy canes in hand yesterday. What I didn't expect was the amazing, technicolor diaper this morning:

Ha, ha! Scared you, didn't I? Well, don't doubt for a second that I wasn't poised over that diaper, camera in hand. I didn't take a picture in the end (pun intended), but I was so tempted. It was the most vivid green I've seen in a diaper. We're not talking baby-food-peas-for-lunch green, we're talking Grinch green. What's worse? Her rear was stained a nice shade of aqua. Again, I had the camera in my hand, but thought better than to take a picture of her colorful caboose. So unless you're up for the blue tongues (which the girls loved, mom didn't), these candy canes are for the birds.

Also for the birds... today's craft project. In a moment of feeling crafty, I had the idea to make a garland to put on our trees outside. The girls LOVED it! We created an assembly line, and they got to pick which items they'd push down the string. We had bowls of popcorn, raisins, cheerios, and cranberries to choose from. The girls loved pushing their train all the way to the end, and coming around the table to get back "in line."



When we were done, we put it in a tree in the front yard, and they're VERY excited to see if the birds eat it. I told them it's our Christmas present to the birds. It was a success, and we'll definitely do it again whether the birds eat it or not. So this project is literally... for the birds. And we loved it!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Missing Joshua

Today - tonight - I'm really missing Joshua.

I don't know if it's because I'm cold and I know how quickly those tiny bodies warm you up, whether they're still inside or snuggled up on your chest.

Maybe it's because today would've marked one month exactly until my due date. I'm sort of dreading January 3rd.

Or maybe it's because when I look around me and see Christmas all around my house, I feel the sting of how different things would've been right now. Actually, Christmas would likely not have been up yet. Or it might've been "in process" for a week or more. But just the other day I got the house all decorated in one fell swoop, probably because I didn't have a swollen belly limiting my mobility. When I stood balancing on the arm of the couch to decorate the tip-top of the tree, I could feel the betrayal of what should have been. I hung up the stockings in their normal places, but this year, the gap in the middle seemed awfully big. I had planned to get Joshua a stocking in case he arrived early, but instead four stockings dangle there. I fought back tears as I hauled all the boxes back downstairs, knowing it would've been Gary's job. My neighbor is due just 2 days before I was and came over while I was hanging garland outside. She said her husband won't let her decorate for Christmas, and like a dummy, I asked why. She's too pregnant. Of course. I couldn't fight the tears, and I think she felt bad, but I was supposed to be too pregnant also. (Um, although I would've decorated to the hilt anyway!)

I sat down at the computer tonight to do a few MOPS things, and before I knew it, I was sifting through emails I received in the days after we learned the news that our baby had died. I don't actually know how long I was reading them before I realized what I was doing. It wasn't until I couldn't read for the tears blurring my vision that I snapped to it and came back to the present. I could read them over and over again though, partly because I'm so touched - still - by how much love we received by our friends and family, and partly because I feel like it's all I have of him - my baby boy. It just still seems so unfair. I have pictures, footprints, handprints, and MY hospital bracelet (he didn't even get one and I just wish he and Gary would have), but those letters and emails from friends is often what affirms to me that this DID happen. It happened to us. We didn't read about it, we went through it. I know that sounds dumb and like I must be losing my mind to even need to type that out, but sometimes it truly feels like I just heard about it happening to someone else or read it in the paper or saw it on the news... when that isn't the case.

Emma was teasing Addie today with the crust from her peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and I told her that she just CAN'T do that because Addie is allergic to peanut butter and it's dangerous for her. With the "why" that followed, I explained that Addie could get a bad rash, or make it hard for her to breathe. Well, Emma's smart, and said, "If she stops breathing, she will die! I don't want Addie to die!" I quickly eased her panic and said she won't, that we just need to be careful. She said, "Joshua died already and I don't want Addie to die too. But if she does then she can be with Joshua." I'm not sure if that was supposed to make me feel any better (!), but I just reassured her that Addie isn't going to die. And then I tried not to cry.

I don't feel sad for Joshua, in fact, I'm a little jealous. His little life sure has changed my perspective on heaven, that's for sure. Instead, I'm sad for me and for Gary and my girls, that we never got to know our little Joshua. Someday, baby boy, someday...

- - - - -

Glory Baby, by Watermark

Glory baby you slipped away as fast as we could say baby…baby..
You were growing, what happened dear?
You disappeared on us baby…baby..
Heaven will hold you before we do
Heaven will keep you safe until we’re home with you…
Until we’re home with you…

Miss you everyday
Miss you in every way
But we know there’s a
day when we will hold you
We will hold you
You’ll kiss our tears away
When we’re home to stay
Can’t wait for the day when we will see you
We will see you
But baby let sweet Jesus hold you
‘till mom and dad can hold you…
You’ll just have heaven before we do
You’ll just have heaven before we do

Sweet little babies, it’s hard to
understand it ‘cause we’re hurting
We are hurting
But there is healing
And we know we’re stronger people through the growing
And in knowing-
That all things work together for our good
And God works His purposes just like He said He would…
Just like He said He would…

BRIDGE:
I can’t imagine heaven’s lullabies
and what they must sound like
But I will rest in knowing, heaven is your home
And it’s all you’ll ever know…all you’ll ever know…

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