Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Further Ranting

I'm just boiling over today, mad at the whole world:

1. This house is freezing. It's insulated terribly with gaps and crevices for the wind to blow through. Everyone dresses in layers at night and has several blankets on their bed.

2. The kitchen is always a mess. I've cleaned it up this morning, but by the time lunch is over, it'll be a mess again. At meals, I am too busy being a waitress to put anything away or even have my own lunch sitting down at the table.

3. Reagan's training cup was MIA last night. Brian and I were very perplexed because it hasn't been known to remove itself from the kitchen of its own accord. This morning I was told it was in the bathroom on the floor behind the shower. Seriously? Why? Why would someone throw a cup on the floor behind the shower where a special effort was needed to reach it?

4. All of the disasters that go on in the bathroom when 2 little girls are supposed to be using the potty and washing their hands. Like the yards of wasted toilet paper on the floor, water everywhere and wet sleeves. With 3 girls and myself, the potential toilet paper usage is huge. I think we're going to go to cloth wipes. I made a quilt. I'm sure I can sew these things together.

5. Little children who stand and scream at each other outside a napping child's room. Why? Why would they do this?

6. Little children who have a new big girl bed and refuse to remain in it without severe, repeated penalties. Her independence is not worth my sanity, is it? Three years old is old enough to be in a real bed, isn't it? THEN WHY WON'T SHE STAY IN IT? Why does she insist on pulling up the rug, and whatever else crosses her mind when she's supposed to be in it?

I'm stopping here because I'm coming up with more and more things and I'm not feeling any better about it. I feel like I'm locked into this situation and there is no escape for years and years. I know that things aren't always going to be this bad, but honestly, I can't see beyond right now. I have a 4 year old, a 3 year old and a one year old. It's going to be like this for a while.

Downright Mean

What can I do about a girl who is just plain ol' mean? Who is mean-spririted just to be mean? Is this a birth order problem? Is this a personality disorder? Is this a result of my less than stellar parenting? That's my biggest fear; that I am directly responsible for this hateful side of my child that barely tolerates me, at best.

I can already report that spanking her into submission is futile. Period. I need a better way to deal with this than the current method. It is the constant back-and-forth between the girls that I cannot stand. One kid is mean, the other whines and tattles, I get angry and do what I do, and the cycle begins again. Enter into this equation the homeschooling that is about to take place, and I picture myself gnawing on the end of a gun. Is this what I have to look forward to for the next 20 years? Because to be honest, I just don't have it in me. And to lay it further out on the table, I don't want it in me. I don't want to scratch and claw my way through survival.

What else can be done?

Monday, December 08, 2008

I Made This!

In case there was some person who was remotely interested and did not see this on MySpace or Facebook, I made these:








I'm very proud of myself because I came up with the idea all by myself, and quite by accident, too. I had purchased 2 hangers when school started thinking that I would paint them and put the older girls' names on them and hang them low so they could be responsible for their own jackets and bags. Weeks came and went and I finally painted them. I also purchased a stencil to paint letters and flowers. Painting went well. Stencil-painting on Darcy's, not so good. It was really quite ugly and there was no way I was going to hang that up on the wall and say I made it.
So they sat on my table blocking the path for me to finish my quilts. I finally decided this weekend that I wanted to finish Darcy's quilt that was started in March, but I was working a system of getting my area cleared off and cleaned up so I could work. I bought an extra rack so I could toss Darcy's screw-up in the trash, but didn't know what I'd be able to do. The stencil wasn't going to work, what could I do? So I got out my stamps.
Stamping was good, except the ink didn't interact well with the paint. What to do? Finally a light bulb went on. Why couldn't I cover them with paper and embellish like a scrapbook page? So that's what I did. I went through my scraps and found ones that would fit and work with the colors already painted on. I finished Lily's and Darcy's and instead of taking the extra back, I made another one for Reagan.
I am so proud of myself because I did it all by myself. And the girls thought they were beautiful, too.
Yea me!



Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Rusty Yates Is Back In The Saddle Again

I have always felt sympathetic toward Andrea Yates and now, as a mother of several small children, I have an overwhelming amount of compassion for her. I can't imagine a worse scenario than the one where you come out of a postpartum-induced haze to learn you have murdered all of your children. I stand by my opinion that the kindest thing that could have done for her was to leave her to her delusions. Let her believe she "saved" her children.

Over the summer, I experienced a time where I felt my body and mind were betraying me. I was violently angry, deeply depressed, and extremely volatile. I was behaving in ways that way back, in my rational mind, I knew weren't "right". Something was very, very wrong. There were some days where I wondered what I might do if I made it to the edge. But I didn't know where the edge was and where I was in relation to it.

Brian didn't know what was wrong with me and didn't want to make the situation worse and upset me further by suggesting I see a doctor. I finally came to that conclusion myself after I had a massive, sobbing meltdown at a Bible study surrounded by women I hardly knew. I don't know if there could have been a more out-of-character sign than that.

But Rusty Yates knew. He knew there was something wrong with that poor woman. She'd been treated by doctors and been hospitalized for psychotic episodes relating to postpartum depression. He knew. And because he knew, he is more culpable than she will ever be in the deaths of those children. His job as her husband was to protect her. Instead, he left a psychotic woman alone with his children and she drowned them all. Then, he divorces her.

Now, here we are, all these years later and he's "celebrating" his new baby on Good Morning America. The proud father has also emailed pictures of the new baby to his former wife in the mental institution. "[We talk about] kind of how things are going and we talk about the kids. I mean we talk. It's like she and I knew our children better than anyone, so we'll reminisce a lot about our children," Rusty said.

Is he freakin' kidding me? This takes cruel to a whole new level.

It makes me sick to my stomach that GMA thinks this is newsworthy. He magnaminously "doesn't blame his wife for what happened" adding "she feels a lot of guilt over what happened." Too bad he doesn't feel any guilt over what happened.

I could go on, but I am literally sick to my stomach. Here is the link to the article. The comments are pretty interesting, too.

Rusty Yates is back to business as usual with only a slight delay as his former wife now finally has all the help she needs.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Better

I think things are getting better. I'm not sure, really. I don't feel so overwhelmed, but I don't know if I'm doing anything differently. This is Brian's last week of school for this quarter so he'll have more free time. Or at least things will be back the way I remember them.

Brian's younger brother got married this past weekend and Lily was one of the flowergirls. Everything was so nice and it made me a little sad that Brian and I eloped and didn't do any of those things. No multiple bridal showers. No bachelorette/bachelor parties. No rehearsal or intimate rehearsal dinner. No bridal portraits. No surprising the groom looking stunning; Brian cinched me into my corset. No reception. But hey, no bossy mother telling me what to do, either, which was one of the main reasons we eloped in the first place.

I am already making plans and lists for Thanksgiving, probably my favorite holiday. My main concern now is exactly what all I'm going to make for dessert, knowing we will have limited room in the refrigerator. When I was growing up, my mother put on a feast that lasted for 3 days. I almost wish I could say I'm exaggerating for humorous effect, but I'm really not. But I loved it. It worked because we had out of town guests that would arrive on Wednesday and leave on Saturday and all we would do was eat.

This is my favorite season of the year. Thanksgiving, my anniversary and Christmas all rolled into one. A close second is Easter through Mother's Day.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Things I'm Talking About

I set down to write a big, whiny post about why my life is so hard at home, hence the title. I was going to cite specific examples, taken from this day alone. How in the world can I possibly get anything accomplished because every time I leave the room disaster ensues? But then I was reminded of something I read this morning in my Bible.

Do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord, no matter what happens. Remember the great reward it brings. Patient endurance is what you need now, so you will continue to do God's will. Then you will receive all that He has promised. Hebrews 10:35-36

I realize that many of my problems are a lack of preparation and planning. My dad has a saying, "Your poor planning does not constitute an emergency on my part." This has become the story of my days...poor planning becoming an emergency.

I want to focus on these areas so I may start logging where I have planned adequately and things have gone well or when I have failed to plan and execute adequately and the ensuing results. Also, maybe a a list of completed items to show to myself, if no one else, that I am not a failure all day, every day.

Contentedness v. More Discipline

I believe I have finally come to the crux.

My husband assures me that I am not a failure every single day, all day, as I believe. I made him promise which in this house means you cannot lie. Period.

But I look around and see all the things I know need to be done and don't get done. Except monitoring my children in some meaningful way makes doing things even in the next room difficult with their blood-curdling screams piercing me like a needle to my brain. I do not tolerate that well. Mama doesn't really like a lot of noise. The general, run-of-the-mill housekeeping does not get done regularly until I am completely sick of it. That takes a long time. In order for me to be effective at home and clean well, I need to be alone, or at least mostly so.

I do "waste" a lot of time doing what I am doing now. Absorbing myself in my online universe where some people have better lives than me, others have worse, some people have great ideas, or I just find something fascinating and I Follow.That.Rabbit!

Needless to say, I feel much guilt about the state of my affairs.

But is this guilt justified?

Am I being convicted of a lack of discipline?

Is it okay to not get laundry done again? Not cook supper again? Not do school again? Not to read my Bible again?

Do I need to develop more discipline or learn to be content with what I can manage?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The 101st Post

I've seen it done on other blogs. It's not a bad idea. I'm going to do it here.

One hundred one things about me:
  1. I am named after my grandfather.
  2. My mother, my oldest daughter and I all share a middle name.
  3. It's Kaye.
  4. I am 5'10".
  5. I wear a size 11 shoe.
  6. Buying shoes is hard.
  7. I love shoes.
  8. My parents have been married nearly 34 years.
  9. I am the oldest of 2.
  10. My brother is 9 years younger than me.
  11. Today, I am 31 and a half.
  12. My parents still live in the first house they ever owned.
  13. Brian and I have moved 7 times since we've been married.
  14. That includes out and back in after Hurricane Rita repairs.
  15. We have been married nearly 6 years.
  16. We met on the internet.
  17. My friend, Kellie, suggested I place an ad on Match.com.
  18. We married nearly a year to the day after our first date.
  19. Eloped, really.
  20. To the Caribbean.
  21. On a cruise.
  22. My mother didn't speak to me for 2 months.
  23. We were married on a Sunday.
  24. I was barefoot in the sand.
  25. It rained that day.
  26. They said it was good for fertility.
  27. We have 3 girls.
  28. All born within the first five years.
  29. The oldest is Lillian Kaye.
  30. We call her Lily.
  31. She was 3 weeks early.
  32. She weighed 9 pounds, 11 ounces.
  33. Fifteen months later, Darcy Suzanne.
  34. She was 2 weeks early.
  35. She weighed 8 pounds, 9 ounces.
  36. She was born during our Hurricane Rita evacuation.
  37. In another hospital.
  38. In another city.
  39. By another doctor.
  40. Third, Reagan Elizabeth.
  41. Also 2 weeks early.
  42. She weighed 9 pounds, 7 ounces.
  43. All babies delivered by C-section.
  44. By 3 different doctors.
  45. In 3 different hospitals.
  46. In 3 different cities.
  47. I was also a big baby.
  48. I weighed 11 pounds, 3.5 ounces.
  49. We expect there will be a 4th at some point in time.
  50. In college, I was an English major.
  51. I didn't finish.
  52. I lived with my parents for 5 years after I didn't finish college.
  53. I slept on a folding camping cot the whole time.
  54. So long, that sleeping in a regular bed made my back hurt terribly.
  55. Now we have a TempurPedic.
  56. In the real world, I discovered I was good with numbers.
  57. Especially numbers associated with dollars.
  58. I want to be a forensic accountant when I grow up.
  59. Except I'm already grown up and a stay-at-home mom.
  60. Pre-SAHM, I was an executive assistant for engineers.
  61. I loved my boss I worked with in Abilene, TX.
  62. He gave me free reign to do what I needed to do.
  63. I just didn't love Abilene.
  64. I love magazines.
  65. Especially Texas Monthly.
  66. My guilty pleasure to read when I'm stuck somewhere are celebrity magazines like People and US.
  67. I love Beverly Hills 90210.
  68. And E/R.
  69. Also NYPD Blue.
  70. I watch/listen to them on DVD while I work.
  71. My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving.
  72. I love the food you can't/don't get any other time of the year.
  73. Fall and spring are my favorite seasons.
  74. I do not like cold weather.
  75. I love the beach.
  76. Except I don't get real excited about the water.
  77. Unless it's in a pool.
  78. I love to lay out in the sun by the water and feel the wind all day.
  79. A pool on a beach would be the best thing ever.
  80. I am very fair so I burn.
  81. I used to think I was olive-complected.
  82. Before I was married, I used to spend my days off alone on Galveston beach.
  83. I miss those days.
  84. I smoked Marlboro Lights for 8 years.
  85. It's been 5 and a half years since I quit smoking.
  86. I don't start again becasue of the effect it would have on my girls.
  87. There are many days I miss smoking.
  88. I have 3 tattoos.
  89. One is a peach.
  90. I like fine jewelery.
  91. Especially diamonds.
  92. My birthstone.
  93. I am a Taurus.
  94. Another of my tattoos.
  95. Once I was engaged, I stopped reading my horoscope.
  96. I am extremely emotional and get my feelings hurt easily.
  97. Most people don't know that about me.
  98. I love brownies.
  99. And Coke.
  100. After years of never having any "real" hobbies, I now have several that I have no time to do.
  101. I have been a Christian since I was 8 years old.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Praying For the Patriarchal "gods" To Fall

A blogger whose discussions on grace-based parenting and the patriarchy movement really cause me to think and at the same time, soothe my heart, has written something new including links to articles by Michael and Debi Pearl. Be sure to read the articles. Here's the post: Praying For the Patriarchal "gods" To Fall

I don't know how I feel about some of this. I'm still taking it all in. I will always be fine with people making decisions based on the Lord's voice in their lives. I don't think one person can ever question another person on this topic. We can never know what the Lord tells each of us to do. Even Brian can't know what the Lord tells me to do. However, I will always resist being told by others what is right or required. Time and time again, the Lord has shown me to seek Him, not rely on answers supplied by others.

Vision Forum was referenced in the articles and in the post itself and I do have an opinion on that group. Quoting from an email I sent to a friend: I find that much of the literature from Vision Forum perpetuates the fallacy that a woman's only value is in bearing children and waiting on her husband. I don't see VF offering freedom in Christ to mothers. I see them selling more of the lie that we have no business doing anything that doesn't revolve around being Holly Homemaker.

Not that those things aren't important. Of course taking care of your family is an important role for women. I would even say it's the most important role for women. But it's not the only thing, and I don't think we should limit ourselves to only one way to accomplish it. Women are useful and gifted for much more. Gifted by God.

I, for one, am not going to tell my daughters otherwise.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Personality Test Analysis

A while back, I took at personality test and was mesmerized by the results because they were absolutely accurate. I want to celebrate the person I am, instead of the person I wish I were. Anyone who reads this will have great insight into how I think. I encourage others to take the test. It's definitely eye-opening. Feel free to post your results in a comment! The following information gleaned from: http://www.mypersonality.info/

As for me:

I fall under the category of ISFJ (Defender) personality type:

I-Introverted (79%)
Introversion is a preference to focus on the world inside the self. Introverts tend to be quiet, peaceful and deliberate and are not attracted to social interactions. They prefer activities they can do alone or with one other close friend, activities such as reading, writing, thinking, and inventing. Introverts find social gatherings draining. (I am advanced enough to do activities with one or two friends, but usually not many more than that. I do value my time alone and look forward to my opportunitites to not speak at all.)

Introvert Characteristics:
Energized by time alone
Private
Keeps to self
Quiet
Deliberate
Internally aware
Fewer friends
Prefer smaller groups
Independent
Not socially inclined
Enjoys solitude
Thinks before speaking (This would be an area I could work on.)

S-Sensing (74%)
Sensing refers to how people process data. Sensing people focus on the present, they are "here and now" people, who are factual and process information through the five senses. They see things as they are, they are concrete thinkers. (This seems an interesting contrast for me. I do find myself trying to solve the problem at hand, trying to discover what we can do now to prevent problems down the road.)

Sensing Characteristics
Concrete
Realistic
Lives in the present
Aware of surroundings
Notices details
Practical
Goes by senses
Factual

F-Feeling (68%)
Feeling refers to how people make decisions. Feeling people are subjective and make decisions based on principles and values. They are ruled by their heart instead of their head. Feeling people judge situations and others based on feelings and extenuating circumstances. (This seems opposite to the "sensing" aspect. Maybe this addresses issues that can be solved subjectively. I guess these type of people would be considered "tender-hearted". I am definitely interested in hearing everyone's story.)

Feeling Characteristics
Decides with heart
Dislikes conflict
Passionate
Driven by emotion
Gentle
Easily hurt
Empathetic
Caring of others
Warm (Another area that could use some work. I definitely feel all the above apply, but I have a hard time getting the information across because of the warmness factor.)

J-Judging (58%)
Judging is the preference outwardly displayed. Judging does not mean "judgmental". Judging people like order, organization and think sequentially. They like to have things planned and settled. Judging people seek closure. (This is absolutely accurate.)

Judging Characteristics
Decisive
Controlled
Good at finishing (Ummm, not good at finishing.)
Organized
Structured
Scheduled
Quick at tasks
Responsible
Likes closure
Makes plans

About the ISFJ - The "Defender":
ISFJs are traditional, loyal, quiet and kind. They are very sensitive to other people's needs because they are very observant. They have rich inner thoughts and emotions. They value stability and cultural norms. They are very adept at giving attention to detail. They do not seek positions of authority. (It took me a long time to learn that it was okay to not want to be the boss and to further realize that every good boss needed a good assistant.)

"ISFJs are characterized above all by their desire to serve others, their
"need to be needed." In extreme cases, this need is so strong that standard
give-and-take relationships are deeply unsatisfying to them; however, most ISFJs
find more than enough with which to occupy themselves within the framework of a
normal life." - ISFJ Profile (TypeLogic)

"modest, not confrontational, easily hurt, observer, prone to crying (I really dislike that about myself--it helped me see that I did not belong in the big corporate world. Most people do not realize that I am a crybaby at heart. I try to be very careful who I allow to see me that vulnerable.), not spontaneous (Who can be spontaneous with 3 children? Everytime we are, disaster ensues!)" - Jung Type Descriptions ISFJ) (similarminds.com)

"ISFJs have a rich inner world that is not usually obvious to observers.
They constantly take in information about people and situations that is
personally important to them, and store it away. This tremendous store of
information is usually startlingly accurate, because the ISFJ has an exceptional
memory about things that are important to their value systems. It would not be
uncommon for the ISFJ to remember a particular facial expression or conversation
in precise detail years after..." - Portrait of an ISFJ (The Personality Page) (This is alarmingly accurate.)

"The primary desire of the Protector SJ is to be of service to others, but here "service" means not so much furnishing others with the necessities of life, as guarding others against life's pitfalls and perils, that is, seeing to their safety and security." - The Portrait of the Protector Guardian (iSfJ) (Keirsey)

"At work, ISFJs contribute loyal, sympathetic, consistent, and considerate
service to others. They are know for their kindness and for their willingness to
go to any length to help those in need. They take the practical needs of people
into account when they do their work, and their strong follow-through skills
allow them to carry out organizational goals. They do at least what is expected
to them and oftentimes more, without attracting attention to themselves. They
are painstaking and responsible with detail and routine, and feel it is important to have the right things in the right places at the right times." - ISFJ - The Nurturer (Lifexplore)


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Organizer Update

I actually sold one of my homeschooling organizers. I am very excited because my customer seems to be pleased with it as well.

Using the organizer helps me to see what might be more helpful and I've had some ideas. On the weekly pages, I have little monthly calendars that show the previous and next month at a glance. Using my own organizer let me know that it would be helpful to have the current month on there as well, just as a quick reference. All future organizers will have this feature.

The biggest inovation will be the future right/left handed books. I have found that the current way the book is laid out is problematic for a right-handed person who will more than likely do most of their writing in the Lesson Plan blocks. After writing just a bit, your hand backs up to the rings, and I for one, find that very annoying. Yes, you can remove the paper because of the awesome binder status, but I don't want to do that unnecessarily. Better to have an organizer that functions on all levels.

I am thrilled with how this has turned out and am actually considering putting some together for next summer and hitting a conference or two...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Rope's End

I guess I'm tying a knot and hanging on. I am frustrated, aggravated and annoyed at a level that can't possibly increase. I feel lazy, unmotivated and uninspired to do most of the necessary things that need doing. There are other areas that I am motivated in, but I can't seem to transfer that motivation from one area to another. It's like I've become a man and my brain has suddenly, without notice, compartmentalized. This is not good.

I am so grateful for the hands-on approach Brian takes to fathering. There are very few things that he absolutely does not do. One, breastfeeding. We tried it once. Okay, not really. But he truly does not cut little fingernails. Everything else is fair game. Which is why it's so hard for me to be selfless when Brian is overloaded. He's the selfless one. Not me.

What can I do to alleviate this feeling of isolation and aloneness? I am not going to hide behind a mask of "fine" when everything is not fine! If I try to talk to someone, will they really listen or is it too much when everyone has their own problems? And...can I be as honest in person?

I am struggling with the girls (Could they fight and scream a little more over more asinine things?) and the things that have my attention distracted from them (because the computer does not scream or injure Brian's computer and does not demand food) and overcoming my hamster feeling (laundry again?). Do I just need to accept this is the phase of my life? I don't want to accept it. I want to move past this and be a better __________. But I don't know how. And I'm not real happy with this phase of life, to be honest.

I'm thinking I need a real, live therapist. Someone I can actually verbalize with. A friend would be better because there might be this exchange of ideas that would be mutually beneficial, but I'll take what I can get.

I also want to know how to get the squirrels out of the attic. Seriously, I hear the squirrels rolling their nuts around up there...that can't be good.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Part 3-Our Quiver, Or What The Lord Has Done

We were finally allowed back to our house after Hurricane Rita, but it wasn't liveable and wouldn't be for months and months. I was a stay-at-home mom with a toddler and a newborn feeling both out of place and in the way, living in a garage apartment belonging to kind friends. I was withdrawn, sad and depressed.

Before moving into the apartment, we had spent 2 weeks with our friend in Houston and another 3 weeks living with my in-laws, soaking up their hospitality. Thankfully, Darcy was an easy baby. Unlike Lily, when Darcy ate in the middle of the night (after the first few days), she did so easily and went back to sleep quickly. We were so hyperfocused on our housing crisis, that we didn't have much time or energy for infants requiring much attention.

After life settled a bit and I was able to contact my doctor, I had an IUD inserted. I needed birth control that would work without any interference from me. I had found out the hard way what happens if you miss a few pills. I asked my doctor for a recommendation and the Mirena IUD is what she suggested. Brian and I read the phamphlet and decided that this would be good. I was in no way prepared for the pain of having it inserted. It was excruciating and I wondered if the thing was ever going to get in. But once it was in, it was wonderful. I loved it. I never gave a thought as to how it worked, and frankly, I didn't care. I just didn't want any more kids. Ever, really. I just hadn't convinced Brian of it yet.

We were finally able to move back into our house and we were so thrilled. We had had new wood flooring put in, and our kitchen completely remodeled. There was brand new living room furniture and new bedroom furniture. The end result was really, really nice. Brian had done much of the work himself late at night and on weekend, and there was much blood, sweat and tears in it.

Six weeks of finally being home after 6 months of being gone, Brian gets a call. They want him to go to school to become a nuclear inspector and move...up to the Metroplex.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Sunday Sundaes

I found this trolling the internet: Sunday Sundaes

I like this guy; I think I'll keep tuning in. I want to think about what I'm doing and be deliberate. I want to be purposeful.

Posted using ShareThis

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

At My Funeral...

I have decided that when I die, I want "How Great Thou Art" sung at my funeral by a real-deal soprano who can hit the high notes, Sandi Patty style.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Surrendering The Secret

There are statistics that report nearly 50% of women of child-bearing age are heavy with the secret of past abortions. Even God-fearing, Christian women. They remain unhealed and deeply burdened because of the shame of the act itself and the fear of sharing such a secret.

LifeWay has released a Bible study called Surrendering The Secret: Healing the Heartbreak of Abortion by Pat Layton. Melinda on Traveling the Road Home is offering the complete study in the giveaway that keeps on giving. Melinda thinks all churches should have this resource and I agree. That's why I am participating.

I remember seeing an advertisement for this study on the back of my church-provided devotional book just this past summer. I was surprised because no one ever talks about abortion, let alone offers a Bible study focused on the women and offering healing. I thought it was great, but I doubted that any church would offer it and even if they did...I doubted if women would even go, the stigma is so huge. It's a problem.

However, I want to be part of the solution.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The Voice of My Teenage Angst

The other day, I heard a song that hurled me back to my freshman year of high school (1991). That song put music and words to that year's personal angst. That song was Bonnie Raitt's "I Can't Make You Love Me".

I was heartbroken over a boy that I liked that didn't like me. Who started dating my friend during this. When I heard that song, was I ever reminded of that unhappy time.

The passing of time will give perspective.

I found out about 12 years ago that guy is gay.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Choosing Joy

It's been a tough day and it's only lunchtime.

There is milk spilled in the kitchen waiting to be cleaned up, my plant is leaking coffee and needs to be cleaned up. The children are clamoring for the next course of their lunch.

The truck needs some work done and Brian is in the middle of an outage, the bane of my existence, and does not have the time or energy to work on it. To that load, add his classes, attending soccer practice so I can work and helping out with Awana.

Everyone has been sick, with fever and runny noses.

Month-end is busy for me and my bookkeeping gig.

Honestly, I could roll into a ball and just spend some time crying on the floor. In fact, I've already spent some time crying over my frustration today, but from now on, I'm going to choose joy. I want to watch the Lord work and see how He gets me through it. I know there is no laundry pile bigger than my Lord. I am here for a purpose and the Lord has a plan. I want to help that plan, not hinder it.

So....here goes. I am choosing joy today. I was inspired seeing another person choose that, too.

Anyone else?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Part 2-Our Quiver, Or What The Lord Has Done

The first days of being a stay-at-home mom were a trial by fire. I was not good at it and I didn't enjoy it. I was not bathed. I did not cook. I did no laundry and did not clean. I struggle through pregnancy and could barely manage to haul myself around. I did not go anywhere. I was miserable.

Despite the bleeding, the baby was doing well. I was getting big and uncomfortable and desperately wanted Brian to agree that we could stop. I thought 2 girls 15 months apart was a sign from God To.Stop.

During this pregnancy was the first time I ever heard anyone talk about not using birth control and letting God determine the size of a family. I thought that was lunacy. Just complete and total stupidity. What kind of stupid, half-baked man's idea was that? I was just sure those remarks had come from a man; no woman I knew would think up something that asinine. And even if she did, it was her body to be ridiculous with if she wanted. I was so pissed off about the very idea of it, that I couldn't even be rational.

Darcy was born during the evacuation from Hurricane Rita. In another hospital and by another doctor. After a few days in Wichita Falls and then 2-3 more in Bryan/College Station, we were invited to stay with a friend in Houston until we could get back home permanently. It was just he and his wife, and she was working overseas so he was all alone rambling in their big, lovely home. We accepted, arriving on a Tuesday. Tuesday night found me in the ER with contractions 5 minutes apart and no way to get in touch with my doctor. I already had a C-section scheduled for Friday (didn't look like that was going to be happening) so the on-call doctor agreed to put me on her schedule for Thursday morning.

We had nothing for a baby except the carrier. Brian had the foresight to go by and pick up the carrier we had lent on our way out of town. I know that was God, not Brian. Brian's strong suit is not in those types of details. That is my area and being so overwhelmed with everything else, it never occured to me to get it because it never occured to me that we might need it. We stayed with our friend for over 2 weeks. It was very difficult knowing that we were imposing on him, but so very grateful to recover in a home, instead of a hotel, our other option.
After 3 weeks of being gone, we were finally able to return home and deal with the mess that was our house.

Unlike Lily, Darcy was born without any problems at all. I was told by both sets of grandparents and Brian that she did something the baby nurse had never seen in 25 years of nursing: she pushed up on her arms and picked up her head and looked around. As soon as I was brought into recovery, she was brought in to nurse. Like Lily, she latched on immediately and ate well. This is a picture of me in the recovery room, holding her for the first time. Yes, I am aware I look scary and my hair is a train wreck.


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Part 1-Our Quiver, Or What The Lord Has Done For Me

I find it so fascinating to compare where my life has been to the place where I am going. The Lord is doing mighty things to me and for me, and subsequently, to and for my family. This is not the first time I have touched on this topic of childbearing. I originally discussed it nearly 2 years ago, but my views have changed from even that perspective. Previous post here.

(I keep typing and deleting and typing and deleting. As much as I want to simplify and focus on one issue at a time, I just can't. It is not just one issue for me. It is multi-faceted and it seems impossible to separate them.)

After years of believing that something like this would never happen, miracle of miracles, I found someone who wanted to marry me and have children. And I was able to have children, which was contrary to medical information I had received as a teenager. Not only was I able, but together, Brian and I were so fertile, we had 2 children within 15 months of each other and before we had been married 3 years.

Lily, our oldest, was born 3 weeks early via a scheduled C-section after the doctor gave me the option of being induced and attempting a normal delivery or a section. Multiple ultrasounds indicated that she was well in the 9 pound or more range and there may have been some question as to my ability to get her out. I didn't see the need to go through hours and hours of labor just to have a section in the end. I opted to cut the middle man.

Knowing that the number of children most doctors believe I could safely deliver would now be limited to 4 because of that decision, would not have affected that decision. Realizing that choosing a section would more than likely mean I would always deliver by C-section, would not have changed that decision. I was not misinformed. Having the information would not have changed my mind at that time. It is only recently after honest reflection of my heart and secret motives, then and now, that I am able to see things more clearly.

I refuse to feel guilty or believe I made a "sinful" or "bad" choice. I will allow that I didn't make the "best" choice because I allowed fear to motivate me and there are consequences in that decision. Both good and bad consequences. I had a beautiful, healthy baby who weighed nearly 10 pounds, 3 weeks early. She is still a blessing from God, no matter how she got out or how many follow her.

While I didn't feel a conviction about my C-section, it was after dragging myself to the NICU and seeing my precious daughter for the first time (the next day) and hearing of all her problems over subsequent days, that the Lord began to change my heart toward breastfeeding. That is something only He could have done. Jesus Christ Himself could have come down from heaven and told me it was better for the baby and I would have politely told Him I didn't care. I thought nursing was gross and I didn't want any part of it...I didn't care how good it was for the baby or who thought it was a good idea. I was not going to do it. Period. But after seeing my little daughter in the NICU with this problem and that problem and feeling inadequate to help her, waiting for experts to tell us the next thing to do or expect, I made the decision to give nursing a try. The neonatalogist had come to speak to me and tell me how the baby was doing and asked me if I was going to breastfeed. She suggested that I get a pump and try it, and if I didn't like it, I could stop. How freeing to me! I didn't have to sign on for life...just try it. In my mind, I began to wonder how I could keep something from her that might help just because I thought it was gross.

The first time I pumped, I felt like a humiliated fraud. For nine months, I had vehemently denied that any child of mine would have access to this chest and here I was, attached to a real live milking machine. I was surprised the first time I actually nursed her. None of the many, many, many breastfeeding advocates I'd come across told me it was going to feel like I was attached to a bear trap. How could something with no teeth hurt me so much? Lucky for Lily, she was a champion feeder because I gave her 10 seconds to figure it out or I was done trying. it took her 2. I nursed her for 4 months which was 4 months longer than I intended the day she hatched. The Lord was good to me knowing my heart on the matter. I have heard many mothers tell of trouble breastfeeding and the hurt and agony and inadequacy when they are unable. The Lord made it easy on me. She latched on quickly and well and He gave me so much milk, I could have fed the whole nursery. What a blessing.

Darcy was conceived after I missed 2-3 birth control pills while tending to Lily who, at 6 months old, was hospitalized for RSV.

What a shock. I was a working mom, and I loved working. But, the older Lily got, the more we talked about my staying home. I wanted to be there when she was sick. (And since she was in daycare, it seemed like she was sick all the time.) I didn't trust Brian to take her to the doctor and get all my questions answered. The part I really hated was the smell of other women on my baby. Except staying home just didn't seem possible. Early in my pregnancy with Baby#2, I started bleeding and was put on bedrest until the bleeding stopped. No one knew how long that might be. That was my first day as a stay-at-home mom. The bleeding stopped the day after I quit my job. I cried for most of the next 9 months.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Hesitant

I want to put forth my thoughts on the quiverful thinking, but my thoughts don't and won't just stop there. They spill over into many areas and to cover it well, I think I have to tell my story, and I'm hesitant to do that.

I'd have to explain my original thoughts concerning children.

I'd have to explain how it feels to have a broken nurturer.

I might have to explain my newfound freedom in trusting God and knowing there is nothing rational about that.

There would be a lot to explain...and I'm more than hesitant. I'm scared. I'm scared to put everything out there to be judged or condemned by whomever might pass by.

But maybe it's necessary? Maybe it would help?

Saturday, September 06, 2008

A Topic Never Broached...

Quiver full.

I don't tend to shy away from discussions. I am definitely interested in and love hearing about people's explanations of how they come to decisions. Especially decisions that could have only been influenced by the Lord. I want to know how things worked out and the end result.

I found a very nice discussion on the quiverful movement and thought I'd link to it here. It's a blog post written by a mother with 6 children and you might be surprised what she says. Her post has over 300 comments and commenting is now closed, but commenting is open here. I would love to hear what anyone stumbling around my blog thinks about this topic.

Let me place this disclaimer: Those who were around for the homeschooling discussion, be assured this discussion will not follow the negative turn of that one.

Thoughts on Contraception and The Quiverfull Movement.

Who's gonna start?

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy

Last year we didn't do anything. Actually, I take that back. I waddled around, waiting to birth the elephant we named Reagan. It was all I could do to haul myself out of bed in the morning and tend to the "big" girls throughout the day. Lily didn't go to preschool, Darcy wasn't old enough and we barely darkened the door of any church. We had no discipline to do so and no interest.

Now, Reagan is 9 months old and I'm lumbering around with her on my hip. Lily and Darcy just started "school" Tuesday and are going twice a week. Class starts at 8:30am so I must get up by 5:30am so everyone can be fed, dressed and washed before we commence our day. I actually like getting up that early so I can what I like to do in the morning before I get started: wander around. I like to wander around the house and get some coffee and look out the window. And then check my email. The problem with getting up early is that I'm a night person who likes to stay up late. 5:30am comes mighty early when I don't go to bed until midnight. I'm working out the kinks.

Once I drop the girls off at school, it's just me and Reagan. Tuesdays I plan to run errands. This week we ran about 5 errands, including going to the grocery store. It was nice only hauling around one kid, instead of a busy infant and 2 very busy preschoolers. Today was my "house" day. I didn't get much done around the house since I made a phone call to a friend who is leaving for a long journey soon. I'm not beating myself up, which is huge. When she returns, she will most likely have her hands full and won't have the luxury of long phone calls for a while. I can mop next week.

Tuesday and Thursday nights, we have soccer practice which Lily really seems to enjoy. There do seem to be several girls on her team who have played before and are excellent for this age. However, I'm certain that my daughter will also be excellent when she has played for 2 or 3 seasons. Practice starts at 6:30 and we decided it would be better to eat supper first, instead at nearly 8pm. We eat at 5ish and hope that dinner is more or less digested before practice. We all watch Lily practice and it thrills my heart to hear Darcy yelling, "Good job, Lily!" When we get home, Brian bathes them, they have a snack before bed and we do our devotions. The other night, we had everyone in bed, bathed, devoted, and snacked by 8:15. Not too shabby.

Wednesday nights are Awana. The "big"girls will be doing that and I think they will enjoy it. Brian is even going to be volunteering with Awana as well. I will not. That's just not my thing. I don't know what I'm going to be doing instead. They offer a prayer service or something, but passing by last night, it looks like I'm going to be the only one there under 65. Then I think I could volunteer in one of the children's programs...how bad could it be? I think I'd rather stick my finger in my eye. I don't know...maybe I could get to know another mother whose kids/husband is in Awana and she doesn't feel the call to help.

I am starting our first "official" year of homeschooling, even though it is actually pre-kindergarten and Lily just turned 4. We are working out of a kindergarten math book and so far, it seems to be going well. Lily always wants to know why she can't keep "playing" with the manipulative of the day. Today we'll have our first lesson on blending letters to make actual words. I don't know how that's going to go, but I am looking forward to it. I have also written activity "plans" for the days they are home with me that correspond to what they are working on at school.

It seems like our evenings are full to the brim, but I am loving the feeling of chaos, to be completely honest. I like that we have someplace to be and so therefore, I've got to be efficient. I am definitely making progress and can see what areas I still want to focus on. Before, we had no real direction or purpose. We were just doing this thing or that thing, but now we must be purposeful, because our time is limited. I like that I am thinking along those lines. Even though we have more to do, I feel like I am operating under more peace and grace than before. I am thrilled, thankful and anxious to show my girls the same thing.

Definitely An Illness

I missed the premiere of the new 90210.

Lily has soccer practice on Tuesday and Thursdays at 6:30pm. By the time I remembered it was on, it was 9:30pm. *insert sad face here* I am Jack's broken heart. So far, I cannot even watch it online. What kind of crummy show isn't available online to watch? We are so dark age here on Park Street that if I want to record it, I'll actually have to set the VCR and get a video tape. Are VCR tapes even sold anymore? I am not completely sick about it. Although, if Luke Perry makes an appearance, I may just die. Or at the very least, be very, very ill. Very ill.

All good shows should come on at 9pm. I have children! It doesn't get quiet here until 8:30. Someone should pay attention!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A True Confession

I am anxiously awaiting The New 90210. I wish I owned all 10-years worth of the original on DVD. I have none. *insert sad face here* I love.love.love 90210.

Overheard From My Children

My girls say things that cause me to go into hysterics or clench my teeth and sigh. I'm going to start keeping track. The first is a little anecdote:

A couple of months ago, I loaded all the girls up and took them to meet Brian. They were all heading away for the weekend, but I didn't want to tell them they were visiting their grandparents. So I told them I was taking them to the gypsies. Lily was absolutely horrified. Not that she knows what the gypsies are, but she was nearly hysterical. I, on the other hand, thought it was hysterically funny. (Don't start.) Another time on the road somewhere else, Lily asked where we were going. I heard Darcy's sweet, little voice barely above a whisper telling Lily, "Gypsies! We're going to the gypsies...Gypsies!" Again with the hysteria, Lily's and mine. It's now a semi-funny joke to everyone when we saying "We're going to the gypsies" and Lily stands there with her hands on her hips demanding to know, "Are you kidding with me?"

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"Mama, your kitchen is a mess. Do you want me to clean it up for you?" Apparently, the health department lives here in the form of a mouthy four-year old.

"Why don't you take a shower?" And the hygiene police.

"Mama, you look like Mr. Snee from Peter Pan."

Garbles

Eyeball beans

Pack-pack

Sunday, August 24, 2008

More Housewives Analysis

I finished reading the book this morning. The authors make some good points about depending on God, finding contentment and the fact that "women's work" isn't lesser work.

However, I don't find much practical advice in getting from malcontent to content. Just that I should be there. Or maybe I wasn't looking hard enough.

They dispel the necessity of finding a block of time daily to spend with God. On its face, I find that to be poor advice. I don't know if I can/would seek the Lord in bites. I find spending that block of time is a necessary part of my day, Well, only if I want my day to go well. When I start the day off with the Lord, it seems that my patience goes a little further and I'm more focused. I'm more kind and I can find joy in my "hamster wheel" tasks. I believe the Lord understands when we've been up 13 times a night with the baby and then had another one of our blessings throw up, as happened to one of the authors. I don't find it to be a "mandate". However, it's something that acts as a blessing and an encouragement as I go through my day.

There are days I don't spend time with the Lord. But before I just decide I'm "too busy," I need to evaluate my lifestyle. When my laziness becomes a habit preventing me from rising early, then maybe my guilt is actually conviction for a misuse and poor stewardship of my time. But if in the execution of caring for my children, I need sleep because I have a nursing baby, that's another thing altogether, and I believe the Lord is there through it. But we can't expect to survive on "bites" while we have children at home.

One thing I like is a quote from page 64:

We must remember that when we view other women-- other families-- we are only outsiders looking in at the part of life they are willing to show us. Or perhaps, in the case of the unfortunate parent with the "crashing and burning" toddler, we see them on a bad day. We can only see a small percentage of what real life is like for them. We can't see the whole picture, nor are we invited to. Our own families and our own lives should keep us plenty busy without the need to speculate about the ups and downs of others. (Emphasis mine.)

I'm not going to live my life from a list. I'm certainly not going to depend on the Stacy McDonalds and the Jennie Chanceys of the world to dictate to me what I should be doing as a wife and mother. I accept their book for what it is: an opinion and nothing more. I stand by my opinion that God has a plan for me and is refining me.

I'm okay with that.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Passionate Housewives Desperate For God

I am reading Passionate Housewives Desperate For God. It's been a tough read for me, and I can't quite figure out why. Is it because I truly disagree with what they're promoting or is it because I am weighted down with conviction?

If I were to be honest, I think it may be some of both.

At this point in time, I am only giving it a surface read. I'm not reading it with my Bible out, checking references. I am trying to get the gist of it. I think the authors make some interesting points. Although, I don't know if I'm willing to read it again without the chip on my shoulder. Perhaps I should start over and read it with my Bible and an open mind.

However, those ladies seem to be in a different place in their lives than I. I want the phase of my life where I judge others for their decisions to be over. I definitely want judgment of my life to be over. I am tired of comparing myself to what other moms/women/families are doing and not measuring up to some pre-conceived notion. I admit that the pre-conceived notion is often one of my own conception, but it's based on a comparison of lives I am ill-equipped to emulate. I can't copy the housekeeping regimen of a friend who doesn't have children. Or even the regimen of families that have older children to help. I must accept my limitations. Or at least the idea that I may possibly have limitations. It's a process.

I guess the good thing about the book, even if I'm not in complete agreement with the authors, it's causing me to think, reflect and contemplate my own life and what God wants from me. And maybe that was the whole point.

More Babies

While getting dressed this morning, I was given the once-over by my oldest daughter. It always makes me uncomfortable when I see her looking me up and down because I know some question is going to come from it that I'm not going to like. This morning's embarrassing question was regarding my lack of breast pads. Why wasn't I wearing them any more? It actually started out with her wondering where the round, soft things were...

I explained that since I wasn't nursing Reagan anymore, I didn't need them.

"When are you going to have another baby?"

I reminded her Reagan is still a baby.

"But we like babies."

I assured her there were plenty of babies in this family.

"I think we should have 5 babies."

Two more babies would be a lot more work, I said.

"I could feed one and Darcy could feed one."

Is she serious? Then she reports that when she's a mama, she wants to have 5 babies also. Over breakfast, she decides she and Darcy will have their babies at the same time. Unfortunately, Darcy doesn't agree that 5 is a great number. "I want one baby and one husband," Darcy said.

I must be doing something right for Lily to think it's so glamorous to have a bunch of children.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Homeschooling Organizer....Complete

For my immediate need, my homeschooling organizer is complete. I have the binder I want to work with, which is not a cheap piece of flimsy, ugly junk. Oh no. This is a very cool binder with an interior pocket, three tabs and a elastic cord that keeps it closed and together. I have ordered some additional tabbed dividers that have pockets. I expect those to come in handy.


The first tabbed section contains a set of 2-page calendar pages so that I may prepare my monthly lesson plans. I like to see everything for the month at one time. When I look at the calendar as a whole, I can visusalize (or actually write down) other commitments and plans. That will help me to be more efficient in my planning. Clearly, I have not had time to write any lesson plans. I did order books this morning so I should have a plan before long. Also, I need quiet to plan and think and that is in short order 'round here.




The second section is my most important part. The weekly plan. My most crucial point was to have everything in one place. When I look at the week, I want to see everything planned in one place: school, obligations and meal planning. I don't want to have to work out of a home planner for meals and appointments and another for school. In this life, the two have to work together and so they need to be together.

(Because this is my handiwork on display and not some professional outpouring here, I want to identify there are columns on the right side for a To Do List and Meals.)

The difference between other organizers and this one is in the way it can be customized to fit each family. For our family, at this time, I can easily write up lesson plans for both girls in the space provided. Large families could implement a separate tab for each child. I have another tab that has a set of 2-page calendar pages and this is where I will plan my menus for the month. We are now buying many of our groceries in bulk from Sam's so as I plan the menu, down the side, I can begin my list.
I think there would be a market for something like this among the homeschool crowd. I also think it could be tailored to families that don't homeschool. At any rate, I'm excited... I am currently working on a name and trying to figure out how to keep from getting sued for copyright infringement.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Calgon, Take Me Away

Break Update
I have heard that the more time someone spends away from home, the more time they want to be away. I think there is some truth to that. After my weekend away, I remember thinking I could get used to hanging out with my friends until the wee hours, experiencing a tour of food pleasures, and sleeping until my bladder, not my children, wake me up. No laundry, no responsibilities. All that to say...my weekend was nice and quiet. No Dr. Laura and only one meal alone, but it was peaceful, nonetheless. I would have liked one more day for some solitude and time for thinking after all my socializing was complete. I don't know if I can get the thinking done that I need to do at home. Too many distractions, even when all's quiet. I certainly came home with some insight and perspective I hadn't really had. I realized I am not a bad mother.

Blood Test Update
My bloodwork shows that my thyroid is not rotting out of my head. It is plugging along, doing its job well within the normal range. I'm sure that's a good thing, just not the answer I wanted to hear even though it's the answer I expected.

Clifford the Big Red Dog Update
I was sad to hear of Issac Hayes' passing. I guess he won't be auditioning for the voice of Clifford in Clifford the Seriously Big (Bigger Than A House) Red Dog. I thought I remembered Barry White being dead also, so I don't know who is going to take Clifford to the next level...maybe Brad Garrett? I'm not married to the idea of a singer doing the voice, just a voice that's as big as the dog.

Rocky Mountain Update
I had opportunity to investigate the trend line of "club attire" while on my break. I don't recall seeing any Rockies. They must be passe. I do recall seeing lots of high-heeled shoes. I love heels. Although, where I went was not strictly "country". I did not see any key-hole shirts with orange and teal zig-zags. Mens' clothing is remarkably unchanged from my former days of bar-hopping.

Excellent.Useful.Product.
The ideas are still churning on how to make my binder organizer the answer to everyone's organizing questions. I found some very cool binders and dividers while on my break that I think will work perfectly for this project. I want to market my idea to all moms who could use a hand in keeping it all together in one place. That's the goal of this. Everything together, customized to each mother's needs, not just homeschooling. Brian is going to be out of town for the next couple of days so I'm going to utilize this time to get my organizer finished and ready to be hole-punched. This thing is going to blow Amy Knapp's (the best I've seen to date) out of the water. There won't be any need to buy the whole thing every single year. Just supplement with the sections you need.

Close To My Heart Scrapbooking Layouts
For the last year and a half, I have been attending a Close To My Heart scrapbooking club. Every month, we make at least 2-2 page layouts using paper, stamps and embellishments from the most recent catalog. The "club" is apparently the brain-child of a Director who probably makes a ton of money from this venture. She has several groups that meet like this every month and club members commit to a year and are required to purchase the club kit every month ($15 + tax). We learn new techniques and most of us buy much more than our required purchase. Every month, some new benefits from the windfall as "hostess". Last year when I was the hostess, my "party" had over $400 in sales and I got a substantial amount of stuff...free.

The only problem is that I have a ton of layout pages that I don't really like or aren't going to use. I've made them and I'm proud of them, so I'm not going to throw them away. I think there is a market for completed scrapbooking pages and my research shows that everyone seems to like Close To My Heart. Beginning this week, I think I will start posting the pages I don't like on eBay and see if someone else likes them better.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Deep Thoughts

Rocky Mountains
After watching the very fantastic Pure Country yesterday (that I own), I wondered something. Are Rocky Mountains still the top choice for girls glamming it up with their Budweiser and George Strait and line-dancing? Wait...do they even play George Strait at country bars anymore? You'd think I'd know the answer since I live in the "Cowboy Capital of the World". I am definitely too old to be going to those places. I am now "in my 30s". So, I'm sure Rockies are probably out. Maybe cowgirls are wearing pockets now...thankfully, they seem to have given up those awful button-down shirts that had the little keyhole cutouts at the neck. Orange and teal zigzags do not go together, I don't care who you are.

Clifford the Big Red Dog
Seriously...Clifford is enormous. I think he's bigger than a house. Lily received a Clifford movie for her birthday and I had no idea how seriously massive this dog is. I thought he was just a big dog...like the labs from next door that threaten to consume my children if they dare step foot out the back door. Nope. The next-door dogs are mites compared to Clifford, the Dinosaur-Sized Canine. I wonder how he can actually hear when the other dogs are talking to him. Maybe they could rename this program "Clifford the Seriously Big (Bigger Than a House) Red Dog". Then people would know what to expect. Also, the voice of Clifford the Seriously Big (Bigger Than A House) Red Dog does not go with that dog. I think Barry White should be doing the voice for Clifford. A dog that is 3 stories tall should have a big voice to go with it.

Excellent.Useful.Product
I think I need a more marketable name for what is going to be the best homeschool/family organizer ever. Last night, I picked up the 24 lb. paper, a funky cold medina binder (with stripes, my favorite) and some funkytown tabs. Once I print out the pages, I will send it with Brian to work to have holes punched in it. You know there isn't a hole punch in this house. Then it'll be time to put it in the binder. No more boring yellow and no more FlyLady on the cover making me feel guilty. I did have to buy new printer cartridges, but I needed those anyway.

Blood Tests
I had some bloodwork done last week to see if there might be a medical reason as to why I am literally losing my mind in exhaustion, moodiness (although "moody" doesn't begin to cover what I am feeling) and The Fog. I was told the results would be in by today. When I called, I was told that the doctors are out of the office until Friday! Hello! I am waiting anxiously to find out if there is actually something wrong with me. THIS IS IMPORTANT!!! I am actually hoping my thyroid is rotting out of my head. At least then there would be some documented medical reason to this madness.

Break
Oooh, I am looking forward to this weekend as I am going away! Brian is staying at home with the children and I am going to remember that I am more than a mother who receives no privacy, even in the shower. I will get to spend 6 hours in the car...not talking to anyone! I can listen to all the Dr. Laura I can stand. I can drive the whole way with the windows down. And when I get there...I can eat every meal out...and alone. I'm having sushi. But I'm going to bring Brian a surprise when I get back...maybe 2.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Getting Organized

I am, what some people might refer to, as an organized person. I asked Brian and he agrees this is true. I am detail-oriented and like to have a plan. Unlike some people, I am not obsessive about it. There is one area to my life that I am obessesive about: finances. In that regard, everything must balance to the penny (I am not kidding about this!) or I will find it. I am the type of person who actually reads and analyzes the Statement of Benefits from the insurance company and I reconcile our checkbook to the paper bank statement. I am good with numbers and more importantly, I like them. Well, numbers associated with money. I'm not a fan of algebra or geometry.

All that to say, I am working out the organizing kinks for the fall. Both of the older girls will be attending morning preschool 2 days per week and Lily will be playing soccer this fall. Also, I plan to start Lily on some structured learning this year on the other days and want to work within the confines of an executable, written plan. I am making my menus a month at a time now so that we can save money by buying everything in bulk that we can. In addition to keeping my plans for her education accessible, I also need to maintain the household by tracking all other details. I am in desperate need of some way to keep it all straight. I have certain ideas about what I want in a "planner" and in May, I found a homeschooling-family organizer that I didn't hate. I was thrilled to see that it was published by the same people who have published the family organizers I've used for the last 3 years, even though the homeschooling version didn't do everything I wanted. I knew I could make it work.

But alas, Amy Knapp's Homeschooling Organizer has left a bitter taste in my mouth after not publishing a new one for the 2008-2009 school year and also not responding to my repeated emails (okay, two) asking begging for the new one to be made available after information on her website promised that they would be made available at the end of July.

So I have created my own organizer.

And it will live in a binder.

Very few people know how I feel about binders. Brian knows. Here is a quote from him, "Yeah. Binders. She doesn't like them. At all."

Why don't I like binders? Because they represent a collosal waste of time. Punching holes in paper to save in a binder wastes time. Oodles and oodles of time is wasted punching holes in paper that could be quickly saved by throwing into a file folder. There has never been an office where I have worked that I did not try with all my might to get the binders under my immediate jurisdiction outlawed. Binders facilitate c-r-a-p being saved that would be better served in the trash.

As a rule, I do not like binders. However, for this purpose, I see the need and therefore, the benefit of them. Binders allow information to be added and removed as is necessary. Amy Knapp's Organizer is spiral-bound. You may not permanently add any whole pages of new information and any removed information is permanently out. The set-up is a weekly calendar spread out on two 8.5" x 11". On the left page, there is an area for lesson plans and grocery/supply list (which is removable) and the right page is the weekly calendar column, a column for a To Do List and a Menu column. Before month-end, there is a two-page spread of the next month's calendar for pre-planning, I guess.

Before I started using the homeschooling organizer, I never used the two-page calendar provided in the other organizers. Now, I need about 2 or 3 copies of it. The binder will allow me, with tabs(!), to have and utilize a two-page calendar for menus and another for my lesson plans which I write a month at a time.

I am taking the best of two good things (Amy Knapp's Homeschooling Organizer and FlyLady's Control Journal) and making them into one Excellent.Useful.Product. I have (with Brian's help) already created the template for the actual organizer. FlyLady's idea to keep important information handy is a great one. Before, I had a planner and a Control Journal that I never used. Now I'll have my Excellent.Useful.Product and everything is right where I need it.

To complete it, I'll just need to get better, heavier paper that can stand to being manhandled, kidhandled and momhandled. And a funky binder. I cannot continue on with my boring yellow binder. I'll splurge and get a cool, funky binder.

Excellent.Useful.Products could be tailored to any family...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

What Joy (?)

I'm doing a Beth Moore Bible study on faith and the impact in my heart has been HUGE. It's causing me to think and examine my heart and God in an entirely different way and the results are astounding. It's funny; I initally decided to do the Bible study so that I could meet people. Instead, I've met God.

This morning, however, I was getting my daily dose of Stuff Christians Like and I read this. The short version is that we should stop "shining up our scars" to make things look prettier. He discusses the prodigal son in his post and makes a point to say we don't celebrate because things are perfect, but in that we have hope and healing in Jesus Christ.

I thought this was all good. I don't tend to think that I hide my scars. I like to believe that I am a "real" person; what you see, is what you get. But I have my sanitized list of things I am willing to disclose. However, for my study homework, I am supposed to read Romans 4 regularly throughout the duration. This is the chapter discussing Abraham's faith. I stumbled across verses 6-8 and was literally stopped in my tracks.

6 King David spoke of this, describing the happiness of an undeserving sinner who is declared to be righteous:
7 "Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sins are put out of sight.
8 Yes, what joy for those whose sin is no longer counted against them by the Lord."

I began to wonder how and why I could easily skim over the part that infers I should be JOYFUL because my sins and disobedience were no longer counted against me. In theory, this is definitely something to be joyful about. What gives? Maybe it's a sense of entitlement. Maybe I've forgotten how astounded I should be by God's mercy....to me.

I am starting to realize one of the points of the Bible study...God is bigger than I realize. He's bigger than people because I know hearing about some of the things I've done would turn hair white. And He is able to just easily put it out of sight. He no longer counts that against me. THIS IS HUGE. I can only speak for myself, but it would take Someone absolutely mind-bogglingly powerful to put my past out of sight. And yet, He can and is able to do it. I don't want to miss the significance of that. Some sin can land you in prison, get you socially ostracized forever, ruin your marriage, but they ain't nothin' but a thang to God.

The Tie-In
What if I need to show my scars and disclose more than my approved sin list so that I can attest to God's power and encourage others that He is mighty enough? Involved-in-my-life enough? I want to revel in the joy that is mine because my disobedience is forgiven. I want to properly grieve for my sins, but rejoice in God's mercy. I don't want to take God's mercy or forgiveness lightly. And that might mean examining my scars again with a joyful heart knowing that God is bigger than whatever wickedness I could dream up and implement.



Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Hidden Star Quilt--Update

I have been furiously working on my newest quilting project. Here is the opening discussion. I did buy the new sewing machine and am glad to see that there was actually a real difference in quality of my sewing. My teacher remarked last night had I not used the new machine for this quilt, it is likely that I would have become so frustrated that I would have quit the project altogether.

Nearly 30 hours of class time (if not more) and even more hours of work at home have gone into this project. It has been challenging in a way I did not think possible. Challenging, but good.

Pictures of completed blocks:


This is the first block...the Log Cabin. I made 8 of these and thought they came out really well.



This is The Variable Star. My first attempt with triangles. I was not a fan.


This is an appliqued peony. This quilt has 4 of them. It was extremely time-consuming doing the decorative stitching. I think the effect is really nice. Probably worth the effort even though I didn't put the block together exactly the way I was supposed to. I improvised. The block name: The Peony.

This block has an appropriate name: The Contrary Wife. This thing was a pain. Ever little piece of fabric has been cut and sewn together. Although some secret triangle paper made this block bearable.


This was absolutely the hardest block to do. I may never do another Eight Point Star. Ever. This thing was incredibly tempermental and I did not have any sympathy for a high-maintenance block. (I also figured out how to turn the chair to avoid the shadow of the armrest in my pictures.)



The Cross and Crown was the only block that we did not work on in class. We had to complete it at home. I am very proud because not only did I cut the pieces and sew them by only reading the pattern in the book, I also solved a problem without the aid of anyone else.



The complete quilt top without borders. Excuse the mess of my den. It was 2am, after all, when this picture was taken. I do like how I took this shot from a distance and you can very easily see "The Hidden Star". Before starting this project, I was very anxious about how well the Star would be seen. If the wrong fabrics are chosen for the Log Cabin blocks, the Star will not be as distinct and the Log Cabins will look like book ends and not part of a larger pattern.
The next phase will be to do the borders. Because I need a great deal of length on the sides, I am going to do some exotic things on the borders. Well, exotic to me. I am anxious to get this thing finished and on our bed. I've got several other quilt projects down the pike.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Death Of My Blinkies

I am sad.

Mother's Day weekend, the weekend my husband so selflessly took all 3 of our children away so I could have time to myself, I spent hours and hours looking for blinkies to decorate my blog. I will not say exactly how many hours were spent because of the embarrassingly high number.

And now they have been deleted.

All of them!

I just wanted to replace the one that said I was the Mother of a 3-year old since we celebrated a birthday on Tuesday. Alas, I deleted the entire element off my blog page instead of the html code. I really liked the C-section one with the zipper. I just don't have the inclination to mess with it further. Maybe I'll just list the books I'm reading instead. I'm sure everyone is interested in that. *insert eye roll here*

A Bottle Of My Tears

I stumbled across this last week and it so perfectly exemplifies what I go through in my Christian walk. I like to put God in His cosmic corner where He is far too busy to notice that I AM DROWNING HERE!

But He does notice, doesn't He?

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The Trials of Potty Training

It's fairly assured that Darcy won't be wearing diapers when she gets married, right?

We are now on the 5th panty change so far today. I honestly think she's doing it on purpose because she wants to wear diapers. I can not compete with this child's will. My paitence is being tested to the outermost limit.

If she wants to wear diapers so bad, I think I'll just let her. It's certainly easier on me.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Moral Superiority or Why It Might Be Okay Not To Homeschool

One thing I have been convicted of lately is my feeling of moral superiority. You know what I'm mean...the feeling that the decisions we make for ourselves and our families somehow make us morally superior to those who choose differently from us. It is excruciatingly prevalent in the homeschooling community. Many stay-at-home moms suffer from it.

It's the thinking that we have somehow tapped into God's plan and it's the only plan for lives. Not just our own lives, mind you, but all lives, everywhere. It's assuming there is only one way to do things. I don't believe God lives in a box who always does the same thing, in the same way, every time, for the same purpose. And this kind of thinking usually manifests itself in those "gray" areas. Areas in which the Bible may be open for interpretation.

Having felt both sides of the issue, I'm almost certain our moral superiority starts out unintentional which makes it all the more difficult to recognize. It is clearly a heart issue that can easily be exacerbated by segregating ourselves to groups of "like minds" where the eventual, possibly unintended outcome is the complete exclusion of "unlike minds". Where do we go from there?

All that to say, I don't believe everyone should homeschool. I sincerely believe that people who are interested and want to go that distance, should seek God's heart for their family. He can change our hearts; I know that from personal experience. So far, homeschooling feels like running a marathon on a treadmill or something else terrible and never-ending. Starting out is painfully difficult, especially if you don't know anything about teaching children or how they learn. Stuff they teach you at college when you become a teacher. It's not easy because you are inundated with information and resources. It requires a committed conviction and discipline. Maybe that's why we feel morally superior. We feel certain we are getting points up there for our sacrifice when our "sacrifice" is just a different means to the same end. We have freedom in Christ to teach our kids anyway we want.

For our family, though, it does seem like the best route. People certainly get bogged down in the reasoning though. There are numerous reasons and the whys and why nots of it all have already had their day on this blog. The point is that God moves us differently to different things, for different purposes. Even to homeschooling. Especially to homeschooling. Some homeschool because the quality of the education. That's not my reason because I believe an involved parent in the public school process could achieve the same results. I want to protect my children from bad people and bad influences. All the badness, really. But if Amish children who are protected from all infleunces, even VeggieTales, can get gunned down like animals in their one-room schoolhouse, then it's clear I really have no control. But homeschooling lets me feel like I do.

I even think it might be okay for my girls to go to college which is a change of pace from a previous post back in October 2006: Should We Encourage Our Daughters To Go To College? Read that post and you'll see my thinking has done a 180. Brian says education is it's own reward. At the time, I disagreed. Now, I know I want to train my daughters to seek God's voice and direction. I don't want to presume to know God's plan for their lives. I can only attest where He has guided me to and where He has guided me from. I can only carry them so far at which point they become responsible for their own actions. As a parent, not only is it our priority to equip them to make godly decisions by training them in the way they should go, it is our whole raison d'etre. Our families are our primary ministry grounds. But not the only one.

When we speak of training children up, I think a key component gets missed from that oft-repeated verse. In its entirety: Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6. It's easy to miss the part where the child actually goes, but what else could it mean? I want to be able to look myself in the mirror and know that I did everything I could do to put them on the right path. More importantly, I want God to know it, too. I want to feel confident that they will choose their paths well. In the end, it's up to them. It's naive to think that if I could only follow the checklist, I would get the intended result, and conversely, to believe that Christians who have trouble with their children didn't do enough. Simply put, there is no checklist, and as the saying goes, "past performance is no indicator of future returns." With God, I will never be able to do enough to ensure that our kids turn out godly. Works just can't.don't.won't. cut it. I'm just trying to figure it out and to think I somehow have a lock on it because I read a book, is just moral superiority.

What if, just to shake things up a little, I allow my daughters to seek God's guidance in choosing a husband? Or career? I absolutely want to be an integral part of every part of their lives. But I don't want to live their lives for them. I definitely expect to have input into these very important areas. I do not want to force my choices onto my children. Having made plenty of mistakes up until this point, I feel uniquely qualified to give advice on many topics. I am fostering a relationship now which I hope will encourage them to seek my counsel later. In the meantime, I am teaching them right from wrong and to listen to the Lord's voice.

But I'm not going to feel morally superior because this is the path we've taken. The Lord is showing me that not every issue is black and white.

The list goes on...

I have been incredibly smug in projecting His directions to me onto other people, even if it's only deep in my coal black heart. How presumptous to assume that I know God's best for everyone! If I were honest, I would have to admit that I struggle to know God's best for myself and how that relates to The Big Picture. I have a general idea, but should consult Him on the day-to-day. Lots of times I don't. There have been occasions I didn't even seek God on some of these issues. I heard about something and it sounded pretty good to me. Is is possible as a morally superior Christian, I make things harder on myself than they need to be by choosing difficult, unnecessary roads?

The Bible is clear that we are all differently gifted (check out Romans 12:6) and I know He is a God who is in the details. So why would He do something so plain as to be predictable? If He's anything, God is completely unpredictable, which is part of His charm. Besides, if God's best was the same for everyone, all the time, every time, we would never need to seek Him and that would make Jesus's place in all this, unnecessary. I already know that's not the case. I could just consult the checklist and move on to the next item.

But there is no checklist.

There's only God and only me. And that's it. And in the end, that's all that's going to matter anyway. I have to wonder if some of the benefits of these fine ideas get cashed out in this life when I harbor the sin of moral superiority. Which, after all, is just pride dressed up fancy.

Monday, May 26, 2008

My New Quilting Project

Since I am taking another quilting class, I am working on another project. The first quilt was technically a "lap quilt" for Darcy, and it's still not finished. The top is finished, it's been quilted, and I only lack putting on the binding. I want to finish it, but since I am in the middle of this class, I have to stay caught up with my current project. Having never sewed before, I really have to work diligently to keep up with the rest of the class.

This is a picture of what I am working toward. Of course, with my own stylishly selected fabric. It was very ironic when I went to pick the fabric for this quilt. With the first quilt, I was overwhelmed and didn't know where to start. I hadn't even decided what to do with it. With this quilt, there was no hesitation. A quilt for our bed. The hardest part was picking fabric that Brian wouldn't hate. He didn't have to love it, just not hate it. There was even a point in time during the selection phase that I wished I had more fabric to choose from!

Modern, whimsical fabric for this quilt:


The completed log cabin square:

It might look a little off; that's because it's sitting on top of another square.


One completed sashing (of about 60):

(Goes in between the squares.)


I should have taken a picture of the new sewing machine I want. I was having a terrible time with my other one (Wal-Mart special, $100). I thought it was my sewing. The lady that teaches my class kept saying it wasn't me and I didn't believe her. Then she brought a Baby Lock for me to try. Okay. I agree; it isn't me. This machine weighs less than 13 pounds and has 66 stitches, and it's electronic. I am hooked. Except Mother's Day and my birthday have already rolled by before I found out about this Baby. The lady who owns the store offered me a part time job to help cut kits. If I became a permanent, part-time employee, I could get a Baby Lock for wholesale. Wholesale! Not only would I get a discount on the sewing machine, but 25% off my fabric and they would pay me also! Except we don't live in the town where the store is located. But I'm going to talk to her again tonight what exactly she's needing and see if I could make it work.


I am having a flashback to about 11 years ago, when I came home from college and had to get a job because I had left school and was back home living with Mom and Dad. I started by applying at Kroger and by the time it was all said and done, I had 4 jobs and was working 90 hours a week. Someone would offer me a job, and I would try to make it work. What a crazy life that was.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Stuff Christians Like

I love how the blogging community works. You read one blog and then check out the blog of another person who left a comment on the first blog and before you know it, you have a "she told 2 friends" Breck-girl bloglist.

That's how I found this blog and now I am passing it on: http://stufffchristianslike.blogspot.com/

It is actually based on a popular Wordpress blog, Stuff White People Like. I had never heard of it or read it and can't comment on it, but this one is funny. The author highlights things that go on in the lives of Christians and our churches and for the most part, sheds a humorous light on them. Recent posts include a comparison/classification of Bible translations to GI Joe characters and a full on discussion on why many Christians have taken a "secret blood oath against the city of Las Vegas".

Definitely worth a look for a laugh.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

There is an ongoing battle at my house when the Hallmark Holidays come around. I can't speak for all women everywhere, but I love it when my husband takes the time to be thoughtful and deliberate, no matter the holiday. We've only been married for 5 and a half years so I can still remember when he was full of surprises, probably because he was wooing me and didn't have a job to divert his attention.

I don't like making demands on what I'd like to do for Valentine's Day (Hallmark holiday he'd rather not celebrate), our anniversary (holiday it's acceptable to celebrate), Mother's Day (Hallmark holiday) or my birthday (acceptable holiday). I really want Brian to take the inititive and come up with something fun, amazing, different and romantic. Also, I would like for him to arrange for the babysitter as well. Surely, that can't be too much to ask. What is he really doing at work anyway?

Brian really balks at celebrating Mother's Day. He sees it as some further government ploy to exercise control over his life. Who is the goverment to tell people when to celebrate mothers? And furthermore, I am not even his mother. Telling him, "Fine, we won't celebrate Father's Day. No ties or barbeque implements or special meals for you," doesn't phase him a bit. Why is that?

Why is it that fathers (even my own father) say it's okay to forget Father's Day, but not Mother's Day? [Except for Brian. He doesn't care about either one.] Is it because those guys realize that Mother's Day is important to mothers, even if they don't think they're important? And what about Father's Day? Why is it okay to skip that day? My husband doesn't care if we celebrate Father's Day, my dad said we didn't have to, even the pastor at church Sunday said during the Children's Sermon that it was okay to forget Father's Day, but not to forget Mother's Day.

What is the deal?

There are many days I feel unappreciated, etc., and dinner out on the day designated as Mother's Day doesn't do much to alleviate that feeling. Brian watches the girls all the time so I can do things away from home. I take quilting and scrapbooking classes, do accounting work, get my hair and nails done when needed, meet my friends for dinner or coffee. Maybe I'm just an ungrateful person who wants it all.

Even though Brian thinks government sanctioned Mother's Day is stupid, he took all 3 kids to visit his parents...alone. I stayed in Mudville so that I could have time to myself....at home, alone. And it was wonderful. I don't think this has ever happened before. I got to eat by myself at restaurants while I read a magazine. I didn't have to talk to anyone or referee the meal. I spent 3 hours at the fabric store picking out fabric for my new quilting class and getting a lesson on binding. Saturday, I slept in until 10 or so and then went to the used book store and the grocery store. Sunday, I made special coffee and my favorite blueberry muffins...just for myself. I had lunch with a friend who is expecting twins. I never even turned the TV on.

It was wonderful. I think we should do this every month.