Saturday, March 29, 2008

$354.70 reasons to stay home

My girls spending time with Gary's folks in California: PRICELESS.

Time alone with Daddy: PRICELESS.

Waving goodbye to them as they drove away: PRICELESS.

One-way ticket to California because it turns out I can't stand to be apart from them: $354.70.

And that's why I'm sitting here at home still. Definitely some price gouging going on that targets heartsick moms. It hardly seems fair.

So, Gary takes the high school kids to Southern California every year for Spring Break. I think this is the 12th year. Way back then, it started as a small trip with maybe a dozen kids and staff combined. I don't know the exact numbers this year, but let's just say that they've gone from taking 1 15-passenger church van to taking a Greyhound bus AND the church vans. I think one year there were over 70 kids going. Imagine! This year, everyone fit on one charter bus, but still, that's around 60, right?! Anyway, they drive through the night and wind up at Gary's folks' house. Gary's parents are amazing and take all of the furniture out of their 1900-square foot house and put it in the garage, and the kids all sleep in sleeping bags like sardines in every room of the house AND camp in tents in the backyard. It's really a sight to see! His parents? Oh, they sleep in the van parked out front. Oh, and they COOK for everyone.

Anyway, our church sits between two school districts, with two different Spring Breaks. Gary was gone last week for trip #1, came home last Thursday night and left Friday night for trip #2. But before he left for the first trip, he suggested that maybe he could take the girls with him for the second trip and I could have a week alone.

NO. Not on your life.

I didn't even consider it.

But then I mentioned the preposterous idea to a few friends who only met my "can-you-believe-he'd suggest-such-a-thing" story with wide eyes and comments like, "And you're doing it, RIGHT?!" Um, no, actually I'm not.

But then I started thinking maybe it could be fun. So fast forward to yesterday as I packed a big suitcase for two little girls going without their mommy to California. I was so busy packing, marking off my checklist, bathing them, getting them ready... that I didn't have time to be sad. I did, however, give them a million chances to back out should they want to stay home with Mommy instead.

"If you stay home, we can go to the POOL tomorrow!" ("Emma loves the pool," I thought. "THAT will get her!")

"Mommy, if I go to California, I get to go to the beach."

Smart kid.

So we met Gary at the church where the vans were loaded up and packed with kids ready to go. (The second trip is smaller, only about 20 kids, so they all fit in the two church vans.) We did the great carseat swap, threw their suitcase in, exchanged big hugs and kisses, and off they went.

I was a complete basketcase.

I followed them down the road, prepared to wave and follow along for as long as I could since that's our tradition when Gary leaves for trips. But as they raced through the, ahem - ORANGE - light, I was left behind. My sobs picked up. What was I doing? Why wasn't I with them? I tried to catch up, but I hit every light along the way, and kept catching glimpses of them going around turns or going through another signal I'd never make. All I wanted to do was WAVE and blow a kiss. I followed them unsuccessfully probably 20 minutes down the road before my gas light came on. I decided to be rational and stop for gas (for those around here, I was at Eldorado Springs before I gave up), lest I be caught stranded on empty far from home.

So I succumbed to the fact that maybe God just wanted me to let go and let Him be in control. Fine. But maybe, just maybe I could fly out to California and beat them there! I cried all the way home.

With a new mission in mind, I raced home only to find that a ticket there would cost $354.70. Again, I felt the Lord smiling and shaking His head and figured He probably wants me to enjoy this gift I've been given and trust that my girls could survive a week without me (and have FUN doing it).

So here I am. Saturday night. It's quiet in the house and has been all day. And you know what? Amazingly, I've not shed a tear all day. I was a little sad when Emma was busy having so much fun that she only had time to say, "Hi Mommy. Bye!" on the phone earlier, but I'm doing just fine. I have to figure out what I'll do this week and NOT feel guilty for it.

Cleaning, shopping, crafting, movie-watching, sleeping in, reading... why did I think this was not a good idea?

Oh yeah, because not seeing these little faces and giving them all the hugs and kisses they can stand just about breaks my heart. But I've been praying today that when they come back, they'll have a refreshed, re-energized and READY mommy and that they will have a bunch of stories to tell me.

Besides, $354.70 can buy a lot of cute, new maternity clothes! (Kidding, Gary!!!)

We have a winner!!!

I'm so, so sorry that I didn't draw a name when I said I would! Things got a little crazy over here in the last few days... more on that later.

I could date this last Wednesday and pretend I did it on time, but I won't do that, like some cheaters I know.

I really wanted Emma and Addie to help me draw a name because they would've thought that was super fun, but it didn't happen, and they're not here right now and I've just GOT to get this done!

So, without further ado...

The winner is Christi! Send me your address (my email is over there ---> in my profile) and I'll pop the book and gift card in the mail. You'll love it! We've never met, but I totally consider you a friend too. :) I hope someday we meet!

Thanks for all the fun comments, everyone. Gosh, you offer a prize and lurkers come out of the woodwork! I was giddy with anticipation all week knowing I'd get to give a prize away, so I hope to do it again sometime. In the meantime, enjoy, Christi!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

It's 11:42 p.m.... what are YOU doing?

I was just sitting on the couch, waiting to switch my laundry, eating some Ben & Jerry's Phish Food and watching American Idol on my DVR. (Sounds like a good night, right?) I won't spoil it for anyone who hasn't watched it yet, but during AI, my thoughts went something like this: "Whew... Good (pregnant? wha?)... not surprised... whew!... BIG whew!... really?... REALLY?... Seriously?... Mmm-hmmm... Whew!... Yeah, that's probably right." (Okay, maybe not so much in that order. I can't remember my thought process or the order in which the contestants were deemed "safe.")

And then WHAM! I realized I didn't do the drawing for my 100th post prize today! Doh! Even after I reminded myself several times. Tsk, tsk. I can't do it without my little munchkins helping me, so look for it tomorrow.

I will say that I have LOVED all the comments. And lurkers, I'm so proud of you for revealing yourself. Several of you made my day! (Heather H. and Heather (K.) W. especially!!! It was heck-a-cool to hear from you.)

By the way, baby must love Phish Food too, because there was a whole lot of kicking going on. And so I'll keep on eating Phish Food (even at 11:42 at night) because every kick is a huge relief to me.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Out of Order

Don't forget to post a comment on this post for your chance to win a prize!

I just realized that my blog will drive my sister CRAZY in the next few days, because it's not going to be chronologically accurate. If you're an order-freak like her, just take a deep breath and keep reading. Everything will be alright. (I still need to post about my New York trip from a few weeks ago, Amy! Can you handle it?!)

I forgot to throw the memory card in my camera when I packed up to stay at my folks' house for Easter (can you believe I did that?!), so I have no Easter pictures yet. As soon as my family emails me some, I will post them.

What I do have is pre-Easter pictures! (Are you cringing yet, Amy?) We dyed eggs at my Mom's house and went on an Easter egg hunt with my MOPS groups. So fun!

Addie was particularly animated while we were dying eggs.

Kenzie was a egg-cellent spectator.

I got some cute pictures of Addie at the Easter Egg hunt, but Emma was moving a bit too fast for me to capture. In fact, we kept taking eggs from her basket and rehiding them because she was a little too good at finding the eggs and RACED from egg to egg. Addie, on the other hand, had to proclaim that she had found an egg each time. I think by the time it was all said and done, the score was Emma: 153; Addie: 7.

Of course I had to do a little photo-shoot when we got home. Of course I did. :)

Monday, March 24, 2008

He is Risen!

He is risen indeed!

I have to insert here that I had this post ready to publish from my parents' house yesterday morning, but when I logged on to their computer, it wouldn't let me! I was really bummed. But I'm posting it nonetheless, because the resurrection should be celebrated every day. I hope this extends Easter for an extra day for you!

Today seems the perfect day to share one of my favorite videos. I can rarely watch this (or simply hear it, for that matter) without getting teary and getting goosebumps at the end. It's been a favorite of mine for years.

Have a wonderful Easter!

I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which
Christ Jesus took hold of me.

Philippians 3:10-12

Friday, March 21, 2008

Celebrate with me!

Things to celebrate...

Spring is here at last! A quick glance in my mom's garden proves that winter doesn't last forever. Granted, it's likely that these little blooms will be covered by a dusting (or a wallop!) of snow within a few weeks, but it's a sign that warmer days are ahead.
I love spring, don't you? The newness and freshness of everything coming back to life around us is encouraging after a long, cold winter. It reminds me just how faithful God is and how His mercies are new every morning. New life is just around the corner! You've probably heard that this Easter is the earliest it will ever be again in our lifetime. (Some mumbo-jumbo about the moon and other mind-cramping calculations...) I just really think it's timely to have the beginning of Spring and new life coincide with Easter and the miracle of Jesus' resurrection and eternal hope. Now THAT'S reason to celebrate!

I'm having a... oh, how I wish I could tell you! But truly, I can't. Our "big" ultrasound was scheduled for yesterday, but upon arrival we were told that the machine had just broken! Ugh! Sorry to say though, even if we had found out, I wouldn't break the news here. I was planning to hide the "girl" or "boy" news in an egg to be discovered during our annual Easter egg hunt at my folks' house on Sunday. That way, I wouldn't have to decide who to tell first! But alas, the greatest of plans have gone awry. We've rescheduled for April 7th, so stay tuned...

This is my 100th post! I started this blog two years ago. You would've thought I'd have hit this milestone ages ago. (Actually, you're not surprised and that's okay.) To celebrate, I'm doing a give away! Don't you love it?! All you have to do is leave a comment here on this post and I'll draw a name from all of the comments next Wednesday, March 26th. Here's what you will win: Living Simply by Joanne Heim and a Starbucks gift card!
Friends, this book is amazing. Ever since reading it back in November, I've gone back to reread parts and have implemented several ideas she suggests in her book. I'm not exaggerating when I say this book is life-changing and life-challenging. Now... I know that several of you already have this book. If I draw your name, you will have the option of "Door Number Two." Yes, I have a back-up plan. And do not worry your pretty little head, because it is worthy of standing alongside Joanne's book. And yes, you still get the Starbucks. (How did I know what you were thinking?!)

So! Move along now. Leave a comment and tell me what YOU are celebrating today. Everyone has something to celebrate. I might just draw your name and then you'll really have something to celebrate! And lurkers, don't be shy... come introduce yourself!

Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Top o' the morning to ya!

Happy belated St. Patrick's Day!

We don't go all out in our family for St. Patty's Day, but we were sporting our green. I heard a conversation on the radio about some confusion that only the IRISH get to wear green on St. Patty's Day. What?! I had never heard that! Maybe that's how it originated (they never did get down to the bottom of it), but I love that everyone joins in the fun and wears green.

It was fun to go to the doctor yesterday (routine baby checkup) and see nurses and doctors and patients alike in green. Even Gary wore a green shirt yesterday, although he said it wasn't intentional. Uh-huh, sure Gary. You know you were just enjoying the St. Patty's Day fun.

We woke up to near-blizzard conditions yesterday (not really, but it was windy and we had about 3 inches of snow when we woke up, with another 2-5 in the forecast), so I bundled up the girls when we got home and gave them spray bottles filled with colored water. We started with green for St. Patty's Day and eventually experimented with every color. I can't say I was too thrilled to give them yellow...(or brown, which they requested! Yuck)! But this kept them entertained for hours. Yay!

Some of the snow had melted even by the time we got home, and continued to melt throughout the afternoon. What a change to look out this morning and see nothing but our bare grass and blue sky! And a predicted high of 51!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Whoa... she's on a roll

I know. Two posts back to back after a weeks-long hiatus.

Actually, I meant to add this to the last post, but don't want it buried. It's VERY important. (Okay, so it's only mildly important.)

And actually, I meant to post this back when I first read it and kept forgetting.

Have I kept you in suspense long enough?

This will be disappointing for those who know this little tidbit already, so you can just click out and check back for something more interesting tomorrow (or the next day. No, tomorrow).

Okay. When I get your comments, my little heart goes aflutter and I feel so loved. Sometimes when I leave a comment on other blogs, I get an email back from them and feel doubly loved! Because of how giddy those email responses make me feel, I thought I could start doing the same thing and replying to your comments (you're thinking, yeah, because you're so good at blogging regularly as it is), but there's a problem. Unless you provide an email address when you sign up for your blog account, I can't email you back. Here. Read this. It explains it very well, and it's funny to boot.

So, if it lets me, I'll respond when I can. Won't that be fun? But don't have hurt feelings if I don't do it every time. I'm good at these great ideas that I don't always stick with. But I'm going to try! Especially if you're new to my blog. Or a lurker who gets all brave and decides to comment. That's REALLY an honor to me.

Oh, and lurkers! There will be a really good reason to de-lurk two posts from now! So don't go too far!


Hi! Remember me? I'm the girl who not long ago promised to be a more consistent blogger. I won't make that promise again, but I am going to try to be better. Don't you just LOVE visiting those blogs that have a new post every other day - or better - EVERY DAY?! If you're one of those bloggers, your consistency does not go unnoticed. In fact, you're so good at frequent posts, that I tend to stalk you and probably check your blogs 2 or 3 times a day in hopes that you've posted again. (Joanne, Kelly, Kathleen, others who don't know me...) Okay, so I don't see myself posting every day, but I'm going to make an effort to be a wee more regular. (Ha. Funny pun for those who know me well!)

I first want to say thanks for the great comments after my last (depressing) post. It is really a relief to know I'm not alone in this hard journey and that everyone has those days when you feel defeated beyond belief. Each of your comments was invaluable to me and encouraged me in some seemingly dark days. If you've not gone back to read the comments, I urge you to do so. It will reassure you, like it did me, that on those days you feel like you're spiraling out of control that there's someone who can relate. I wanted to comment on them individually, but it would take too long!

After that post, I really was down in the dumps for a few more days (wait, weeks - both girls had croup back to back!), but thankfully a few changes around here helped me to snap out of it. Gary's folks came into town for a visit, which is always a nice change in routine. Plus, as a bonus, they are far from a burden to host. They are easy as can be and SO helpful. My girls adore them, so I'm sure it was a nice break from their grumpy mommy as well. After just a couple days here, Gary and I zoomed off for a getaway in New York City while they stayed with the girls! I know! Isn't that great?! I won't share the details yet - my next post will be about our trip. We were home for just a few days when Gary had to go out of town again and the girls and I had a few days alone. So, all that to say, forgive my blogging absence. I've been a bit preoccupied.

I do have to share one funny thing as a postscript to that last post. Gary was talking to Emma about her behavior a few days after I wrote that, and she had the gall to share this little morsel with him: "Daddy, I just LAUGH at Mommy's spankings." Alrightythen! Probably not a good thing to share with your parents! (Although true - my weak spankings have no effect on her.) We laughed hard (apart from her) and had to make some little disciplinary changes. I won't get into it here because I realize the topic of spanking is controversial, but maybe that gives you some insight into frustrations that were revealed in my last post! Such a funny girl. She quickly backpedaled after that and said that no, they DO hurt. Uh-huh, sure.

In other news...

Addie FINALLY went potty on the "big-girl potty" last week. About time! For months we've had her sitting on the toilet with no luck. Of course she chose a morning I was in a hurry and running late to try again. After 10 minutes I got impatient and stepped away for a second to help Emma with something, and that's when I heard the tiny tinkle! (Sorry for those who aren't moms yet - I'm sure you couldn't care less about this!) I popped my head around the corner (I hadn't even left the bathroom) and she was grinning ear to ear. Stagefright! Of course! She wouldn't ever go because I was always right there! And really, that's the key. She'll go if I don't watch. So last night I decided we might be ready for Pull-Ups because she understands the concept now of keeping her diaper dry (and I didn't want to make the mistake I did with Emma - we used those dang Pull-Ups for like six months. Hello! They're pricy!). When I came home from the grocery store last night with her first package of Pull-Ups, I had her close her eyes and put them in her arms. She squealed, "'ella!" (Cinderella) and hugged them and said, "Thank you for my surprise, Mommy!" She thanked me another 5 times before the night was through... so cute!

In baby news... I'm now 19 weeks along and everything is fine. We find out what we're having next Thursday, so stay tuned!


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