Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Why I love Colorado: Reason #528

Last Thursday - blizzard, white-out conditions, 10+ inches:

Last Friday - bright blue sky, over-dressed kids, awesome snow:

Monday (Yesterday) - Frosty's scarf has no neck to wrap:

Monday, March 30, 2009

Praying for Babies

I had other things I wanted to post about today, but nothing is as urgent as the prayers that need to be lifted up for some special little babies.

First, pray for Stellan. Many - thousands - are following Stellan's struggles on his mom's blog, My Charming Kids. Please go there to read all of the details, but basically Stellan is a 5 month old baby with a broken heart. He's struggling and causing other hearts to break all around the world (literally). There were many times before Stellan ever took his first breath that the doctors said he probably wouldn't make it. But he's here, and he's a miracle. Please pray for him now and ask God for another miracle. Also pray for Stellan's family and the scary time they're going through. When I clicked on her blog tonight to see the lastest picture she posted of Stellan, I couldn't help but go straight upstairs and take sleeping Brody out of his crib to hold him close. I just feel sick when I think about how many babies are sick with life-threatening diseases or conditions. I feel heartsick for them and for their parents. Why, God? Why?

Prayers for Stellan

Secondly, pray for my friend Kristina and the TWINS she is carrying! Kristina has been on an emotional rollercoaster in the last week. She found out she was pregnant a couple of weeks ago (her baby boy is 5 months old), then she thought she lost the baby, then she was told it might be an ectopic pregnancy, then she found out that actually it could be one, two, or THREE babies! It was confirmed today that it is TWINS! You can read more on her blog, but God's hand is on these babies. Kristina held strong last week when a doctor wanted to give her medication to "dissolve" the sacs he thought weren't viable, but Kristina had hope that she'd be the 1 in 30,000 chance that they actually were. My heart beats faster just thinking about that. (I hope I have all of those details right, Kristina!) So pray for Kristina, the two babies she is carrying, and the other THREE kids she has at home. What a woman!

And of course, if you want to, you can always pray for these three babies. They're pretty special to me.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I needed to laugh tonight

It's a quiet Wednesday night here at my house. My hubby is out of town, the kids are all asleep and I should be doing productive things but I'm not. Instead, this wave of sadness came over me and I just have felt very down for the last couple of hours.

I hate feeling like that when I'm alone.

So I decided to catch up on some blog reading. I ran across this video on Meredith's blog and she got it from Lisa's blog, which I hadn't read before but now I love it. Starting tonight, she's in my Google Reader. Lisa, if you're reading this, BAM! We're friends.

And now, the video. The warning, straight from Lisa's blog: Do not attempt to drink anything while watching unless you like snorting liquids out your nose. And if you don't think this is funny then I don't know what's wrong with you.

I just watched it for the 6th time and it's STILL funny.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Reality Candy Land

Today we joined up with my friend Kim and her three kids and went on a tour of Hammond's Candy Factory in Denver. It was great! It was fun to show our kids how candy is made. I was especially pleased to introduce my kids to old-fashioned homemade candy since they think everything magically appears at the store.

Cutting candy canes...

I didn't get a shot of the conveyor belt with candies coming out of the production room, but I couldn't help but think of that one I Love Lucy episode... you know the one!

Did somebody say, "free samples"?!

Would you believe this was BEFORE she ate any candy? YIKES!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Unexpected encouragement

It's been one of those weekends that makes me think I should start putting money away for the counseling my kids are going to need years from now, as a result of my horrific parenting.

I know I'm exaggerating, but it's been a very trying weekend. This morning was particularly hard, as every little thing was a battle with the girls. I believe the enemy really targets Sunday mornings, and it sure was the case around here. I was so ugly with my girls, and I'm not proud to admit it. I was so glad to finally be at church this morning, even if I did arrive late. I guess it's no surprise that God orchestrated that Pastor Tom was reading this verse just as I walked in: "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger" (Proverbs 15:1). He followed it with, "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing" (Proverbs 12:18). Ouch. Pretty convicting.

Fast forward a few hours.

This afternoon I decided to take the plunge and go back to the Crocs sale to get Addie another pair. To my delight, there was NO LINE to get in. I learned my lesson the other day and decided this time to carry Brody in my baby sling instead of the stroller. It was a wise move! We had to park a few blocks away and walk along a fairly busy street to get there, and despite the Scripture I heard this morning, I was quite short and snippy with my girls. I snapped at Addie more than once about holding my hand and staying on the sidewalk. I repeatedly growled at Emma to stay on the sidewalk and quit running ahead and climbing on rocks. As we approached the warehouse, an officer who was directing traffic said, "Wow! You've got quite a crew there!" Afterall, I had Brody in the sling and was trying to hold the girls' hands on either side. We probably looked more like a sideshow than shoppers. I laughed with him and said, "Yeah, I'm either brave or stupid!" (And then I cringed... why would I say that? And why would I say 'stupid' in front of my girls? It's off limits!) He laughed and we kept walking.

When we came out some time later, he stopped me and said, "You're strong." I said, "Excuse me?" He said, "You're not brave or stupid. You're strong!"

I really had to think about it, but it really encouraged me. I'm sure he didn't mean it the way I took it, but immediately I felt humbled. I am strong. Why? The joy of the Lord is my strength, that's why. And in my frustrations, I lose sight of that so quickly.

I've been thinking about his encouragement all day.

I've been so irritated with myself lately when I allow my frustrations and pride get in the way of laughing at the funny things my kids do or softening my tone with them. I find I don't want to play silly games with them or have fun, but instead let myself get burdened by being a grown up and having such important things to do, or holding grudges against them for not obeying. Where's the joy? I even noticed over the weekend that the sparkle that used to be in Addie's eyes seems gone. Her sparkle has been replaced with a whole bunch of whining. Am I to blame? I can't help but think so. I'm sure my bad attitude is rubbing off on them, and that makes me so sad. I've got to snap out of it.

Years ago I programmed my phone to display Philippians 4:4 when I turn it on: "Rejoice in the Lord always!" ALWAYS. ALWAYS. Not just when the girls obey. Not just when Gary's in town. Not just if we make it through an entire meal without spilled milk. ALWAYS. The joy of the Lord can only give me strength if I have it! Last week's joy might not carry over to today. I've got to rejoice ALWAYS.

So tomorrow, I'm turning over a new leaf. I'm going to reclaim the joy I feel like I've lost, mostly when it comes to the way I parent. I'll still have to discipline and be the "bad guy" in the midst of it, but I'm no longer going to be expecting it and be grumpy until it happens. If I'm going to be any good at this mommy thing, I've got to rely on the Lord's strength to get me through, and I've got to start by seeking out the joy that is mine through Him.

Habakkuk 3:17-18 says it all:

Though Emma doesn't make her bed
and Addie doesn't make it to the potty,
though Brody spits up
and Emma spits on her sister,
though Addie whines and complains
and Brody cries and cuts teeth,

yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.

(What? Your version doesn't say it like that?)

I have so much to rejoice about; I can't stay in this grumpified state forever. And if I have joy, I'll have His strength! And if I have His strength, I can make it through these long mommy days.

I might even look back and miss it. I hope so.

Friday, March 20, 2009

What happened yesterday?

I've been thinking about it all day, and yesterday is making me laugh, and it's all a blur, and retracing the steps of yesterday is like reading a nonsensical choose-your-own-adventure where you end right where you began and in between you chose a whole lot of wrong ways.

It wasn't a bad day... just kind of nutso.

My sister came up so that we could go to this little sale that was going on down the road. It was a shoe sale. For some little shoes you might of heard of called Crocs. I guess we didn't realize how massively popular this sale would be. Nevermind that on the way I got lost (how, I don't know, since I drive by this place all the time), but when we finally backtracked and found the place, the line to get in was 3 or 4 blocks long. I'm still curious how long those poor people waited before they got into the Crocs warehouse.

Well, with 4 kids in tow, waiting for what seemed could potentially be HOURS was not possible, so we made what was the next logical choice.

We visited the local humane society.


So we lugged the four kids in and window shopped. Oh, those cats and dogs were cute. I mean, if by cute you mean barking, gnarling, lurching-at-the-windows kind of dogs, and scratch-your-eyeballs-out-if-glass-weren't-separating-us cats. This one cat who I complimented on her cuteness, SCRATCHED me through the 1/4 inch opening. I quickly withdrew my compliment and named her Beelzebub. Most of the dogs were those lovable mix-breed pitbulls, so there was no doggy cuddling involved. (Although droopy-eyed Jethro [not a pitbull] was kind of cute.)

But we couldn't leave without introducing our kids to one of the sweet kitties. We carefully surveyed their cages to pick the cat that would certainly be the one our kids would love. Wilma was the winner. (Her information tag said, "Wiiiil-maaaaa!" It made us laugh.) So after Amy had to hand over her driver's license, a blood sample and complete a background check, we earned visitation rights with Wilma. She was sweet for the first 20 seconds and then decided that confinement in her cage was far better than constant attention from 3 girls under 5. Thanks to Amy's devil-cat, CC, my girls think that cats don't "meow" but instead hiss. Seriously. Well, good 'ol Wilma didn't let them down.

And thus concluded our visit with Wilma. And Amy was bleeding by the end of it.

We left and drove by Crocs again and it was still a madhouse.

So we went to lunch at McDonald's. We narrowly escaped pee-fest 2009 since we were packing up just as a little girl wet her pants in a high tunnel, resulting in a 15-foot tall dripping waterfall of urine. Awesome. We reported it to the counter since the dad took off faster than you can say "Lysol."

Eventually we went back to the Crocs warehouse where the line was down considerably. We only waited about 20 minutes (maybe more) before getting into the warehouse where it was a ZOO. If you're local, this sale goes on through Sunday, so maybe you'll want to brave the crowds. Most pairs were $10, but by the time we got there it was fairly picked over. They do restock every day though, so maybe it pays to go early.

But guess what happened? Emma took off her sandal to try on a shoe... AND LOST IT. She lost her shoe among the millions of Crocs in the place. She walked around barefoot for the next 6 hours we were there (it felt like it) and the bottom of her foot was BLACK. Amazingly, we found her shoe just as we were leaving. It was on the stroller the whole time. Super.

In the end we got some Crocs for a good price, although we left with a modest loot compared to the people leaving with multiple trash bags full of shoes. I was so indecisive about what to get, we were tired, it was hot and stuffy in there, people were pushy, kids were cranky... by the end I just wanted out of there. Although I walked out the door with buyer's remorse, wishing I'd gotten different colors or an extra pair or...

All that hassle, and you know what? I think Crocs are ugly!

But the girls love them.

And okay, now I own a pair.

I think we could've bought 49 pairs of Crocs and Gary would've just been glad we didn't come home with Wilma. Or an actual Croc.

Which reminds me, Emma thinks it's strange that they're called "Crocs" when there's an alligator on their logo. She thinks they should be called "Gators." What a nut.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Tooth Fairy Day!

It looks like I returned to blogging at just the right time.

No, not so I could show off our mad St. Patrick's Day celebrating skillz (and I hope that's read with all of the sarcasm intended, because it really was a last minute idea to get all festive... and what isn't festive about green mashed potatoes and sugar cookies? Yeah, mama went all out this year).

Nooo... Emma lost her THIRD tooth!

It was crazy loose yesterday and I was half afraid she might swallow it in her sleep. I kept trying to pull it, but she stopped me every time I had a good grip. At one point she said, "No, Mommy, you can't pull it out today. I prayed to God that I would lose it tomorrow." Um, okay. I didn't want to mess with that, so I laid off the twisting and pulling.

This morning she woke up with it still hanging and we worked it at breakfast. Again, I kept trying to get her to hold still long enough for me to yank it (because it was literally just hanging there), but she stopped me again and said, "No, Mommy, I prayed it would fall out all by itself." I explained that sometimes they need a little help and don't just fall out of your mouth, but then she reminded me that they do. So I eased up, and decided to let God answer her prayers. (Actually, I fully intended to pull it myself if it was still there after work.)

I had been at work for 30 minutes today when Gary called to tell me she'd lost it! When I asked what happened, he said he "spanked it out of her!" (I can almost hear the collective *gasp* as readers across the country read this.) According to Emma, she had disobeyed him and got a spanking for it, and just minutes later, she was cleaning her room, leaned over to pick up a stuffed animal and her tooth just fell out! First she said it landed ON the stuffed animal, but after careful thought, she corrected herself and said that "actually" it had landed NEXT to it. Okay. Thanks for clearing up that important detail, Ems.

Anyway, she's cute and toothless and will be $1 richer in the morning. Or maybe a Chuck E. Cheese token richer if I can't find my stash of fancy $1 coins.

It's almost midnight, folks, and she won't know the difference. Cut the tooth fairy some slack!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Return to Ramblin'

Well hello out there in Bloggerville!




It seems I took an EIGHT WEEK leave of absence. I just about fell over in my chair just now when I realized it had been so long. It wasn't intentional. I'd love to claim that I had some amazing reason for leaving my blog so dusty, but I don't. Unless you count the most adorable three reasons that ever did exist: Emma, Addie and Brody. I've been trying to think of some exciting way to make a grand re-entrance into the blogging world, but I can't. So I'll just ramble my way back in.

You know, one of my pet peeves is when people wear t-shirts of their favorite band or musician to the concerts. Hello, you wouldn't be there if you weren't a fan, you superfan, you. It's just kind of redundant. So it also bugs me when people go on and on about how they're so behind in their blog-reading or why they haven't blogged or how they're going to start blogging again. I mean, obviously.

(But seriously... I have over 800 unread blog posts in my reader, and that's AFTER I cleared out the ones I don't care about. I'm just a bit backblogged. I'm thinking of clearing out and starting from scratch. Yikes. But I've got to get that monkey off my back before I can blog without guilt. See? Here I go again.)

And so... here we go with two funny things my girls said:

First, we went to the Butterfly Pavilion a few weeks ago. If you're not from around here, it's a museum of insects, spiders, bugs and butterflies.

Really not my favorite place, but the kids like it. You can hold a tarantula named Rosie, and that part doesn't bother me.

You can see bugs the size of your head and that doesn't bother me.

You can walk around in a greenhouse with beautiful butterflies flying all around you, and THAT is the part that freaks me out. I pretty much don't like butterflies AT ALL. Or moths. It's really silly, I know. This one time in Jr. High, we had like this complete miller-moth invasion. They were all over the school and a boy slammed one in between pages 84 and 85 of my brand new yearbook. To this day there might be a moth carcass in there, I'm still afraid to look.

Anyway, Emma asked the most brilliant question while we were there. She asked if the "Butterfly Pavilion" used to be called the "Caterpillar Pavilion." Oh my gosh! She is the smartest kid EVER.

We also recently took a trip to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Gary tried feeding our baby boy to a dinosaur, which clearly traumatized him.

(Notice the Addie-tude in the picture above.)

Addie was looking at a skeleton of a prehistoric horse (or something) and asked if it was a zebra skeleton because of the stripes (rib cage). Brilliant! My kids are GENIUSES!


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