Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Has to be done

Sorry to all of you who will be offended by this, but I have to post this website.
View it without children present!

If you are pro-choice and have never seen exactly what you support, you owe it to the 49million+ babies whose deaths you supported to watch the video.

If you are pro-life, ask yourself this: is there more I can do to help teens and young women who feel like abortion is their best option? Don't give the pro-choice folks a chance to appear as if they are the only ones who care about these women... let's not forget the mothers of these unborn babies.

For those of you who will watch it, be warned: it is real, and it is graphic.

You should also check out:

May God have mercy on us all!

P.S. for those who may feel I am unfairly biased in my opinion that others should know what they support, let me remind you that I am the mother who took her children to a chicken farm to show them how chicken gets on our plate. If you support it, you should educate yourself about it. It's really the least you can do.

We're Baaaaaaack!

Whew! We made it up to the mountains of Virginia and back again... all in one piece, relatively speaking. Dania is officially a car-sick kid, much worse even than her big sister, and that was an unpleasant discovery. We naturally brought home more than we brought up there; we were visiting the grandparents, after all! We went up healthy - for the most part - and had several illnesses while we were there. I am quite certain the grandparents are ecstatic over that turn of events!

After much unpacking, laundry, frig restocking, and new-toy-home-finding, we are relaxed and comfortable. There was food, games, food, piano-playing, food, movie-watching, food, skiing, food, and visiting. With food. I think my mom is afraid we don't eat right. The woman was either feeding us or cleaning up the kitchen after feeding us! Well, it was darn good food, so I'm not complainin'. In fact, I am a little depressed that my vegetarian mother can make a better beef roast than I... a challenge I shall accept!

All in all, we had a great trip, and we are looking forward to more winter visits! Next year, Dania will don some toddler-sized skis and take a turn down the bunny slopes!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Showed Up on Christmas!

Dearest Husband,
It was incredibly thoughtful (and sneaky) of you to spend time - on your own (while I was taking care of our children) - picking out just the right gifts for the children and I (after we agreed on the gifts I had chosen). It warms my heart (and burns my biscuits) that you would care enough about each of us (or want to show me up) to demonstrate your love (and competitiveness) in this manner.

The children are ecstatic over the gifts you got for them (and barely care about mine now that they have opened yours first)! I just love my gifts (though they make the ones I got for you seem insignificant). I thank God for you (though you may suffocate in your sleep tonight). You are truly a gift (one that cannot be returned) and I am grateful for you in my life (that one's usually true).

Your loving wife.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Peace at Christmastime

It is amazing.... All the shopping, the errands, the wrapping, the planning, the gathering.... To just sit here this morning with my children and watch a movie.... The peace I am given this day, the day before a holy day, the day that comes before the culmination of all the shopping, errands, wrapping, planning, and gathering.... When we wish for peace on Earth, do we even understand what peace is? Many of us do not.

To me, obviously, peace is, in a very shallow sense, quiet and stillness and ease. How many of us might wish for world peace but have no true concept of the meaning of it? Does the war in Iraq really touch us, the majority in this country? Does hunger truly have us in its grip? How about cold? Heat? Are we without clothing or blankets this winter? Many of us are not. And many of us will never know that reality.

So... Peace at Christmastime may sound like a fairy tale. To many of us, a quiet morning with our families is enough, though we may half-heartedly wish for more. But to those out there who know, really know, the value of peace, the true meaning of the word, simply by its very absence in their lives, I am compelled to remember you, to pray for you, to wish for peace in a whole-heartedly thankful sort of way. Because while I do not deserve my blessings and this life of relative ease, neither do you deserve a life without it.

May God have mercy on us all, and may He bless every soul who suffers with His grace and compassion.

Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 22, 2008

9 degrees?!?!?!

Seriously.... 9 degrees?!?!?! We are looking forward to a high temperature of colder-than-freezing today. And I have some errands to run! Aaak!

Have I mentioned yet how much I dislike cold weather? I am your typical curl-up-in-the-sun cat, so this polar bear nonsense is quite infuriating... and irritating... and not even for the birds! Most of them have flown south! I should've followed them while I had the chance....

Okay, so later, when I get back home to my house with heat, I will be blessedly aware of how wealthy I am.... Just to be able to come in out of the cold, into a beautiful home with heated air, put on some hot cocoa or coffee or tea, and get snuggly under the covers on the sofa... maybe with a movie for the family... Yeah, I am spoiled. I am also a whiner, apparently.

Enjoy your day! Hope you are in the above-freezing range....

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas is Officially Here!

We had our first Christmas celebration last night, and it was such fun! Thanks to all our friends who brought food and hung out with us as we began our Christmas fun!! We played games, ate, drank, and were generally merry... and the kids had fun, too.

We are really looking forward to the next few days as Daddy is home until the new year. Then we will have a family Christmas Eve celebration, followed by our traditional cozy Christmas morning at home. Then, we are off to the mountains to enjoy some Christmas fun and family gatherings with my side of the family. Really looking forward to that!!! Hopefully, the weather will cooperate... though, cooperate is a matter of perspective, I suppose.

Have a great Pre-Christmas few days, y'all!

Friday, December 19, 2008

A Better, but Busy, Day

Today, the children had fewer meltdowns, though it could have been due to the play dates we had scheduled. It was, therefore, fairly easy to keep them on track. All in all, not a bad day. We had some friends over, so the house was noisy, then we took Grampa to dinner - Happy Birthday, Grampa! After dinner, we ran through the grocery store as a family, then headed home to decompress and hop in bed.

A little housework, some Baker Girls on CD, and I decided to take their advice.... They said to Leave it There... so I did. I walked away from the remaining housework and sat down with a book I have been meaning to read as soon as the littlest bairn was tucked into bed, where I enjoyed a trip to Biblical times with Queen Esther.

Yeah, I have no real problems.

Blessed beyond measure,

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Children Unite!

My children all got together last night while I was sleeping and decided to up the ante. They agreed to sabotage all of my good intentions with back-talk, whining, defiance, and drama. And that was just for breakfast.

My day started with my husband grouching at me about something that doesn't affect him, followed by the Mommy Sweater attaching herself to me over my morning coffee and clinging for dear life. Not to be outdone, The Boy decided to refuse to do his math. That's it. He just wasn't gonna do it. So there. (yeah, he did his math) As if that wasn't enough to turn Super Mom into a blubbering idiot, The Princess, aka The Eldest Child, spent a laborious hour writing sentences for her spelling words, because "it's too ha-a-a-a-ard" to write a sentence using words like "kitchen" and "throw." Uh-huh. Sure.

Well, more whining continued throughout the day, interspersed with moments of blatant defiance and dramatic flair over things as simple as picking up their own messes or putting on socks to go outdoors.

I love my children, I love my children, I love my children.

So, I survived the day, thanks be to Jesus, and headed off to my small church group meeting, which was salve to my frayed patience and comfort to my tired mind. Outmaneuvering a houseful of children bent on Mommy Destruction: Phase II is sure taxing. Some cocoa and Christmas music does a Mommy good.

Tomorrow, I will be waiting at the bottom of the stairs with the whip and chair!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Cabin Fever!

With all the wet, cold, yucky weather we have been getting, the kids and I have been stuck inside a lot. I feel like I am getting cabin fever! In an attempt to keep the finances on track, we are staying in, but I REALLY want to go out and do something!! Aaaak!

Dania is climbing the shelves to get to new and different toys (put there so she can't reach them, mind you).

Calysta is being bossy and snotty to her brother (listening to her mother, for sure).

Quin is being obstinate and refusing to be cooperative (trying to be a little man and in charge of his own destiny already).

Mommy is trying to hold it all together (piece by piece, one finger-hold at a time).

And Daddy just comes home and laughs at us (after all, he is with other people in a different environment all day)!

I sure hope we can survive the winter - is it spring yet?

How about now?


Oh, well, Christmas will be a bright spot, and January will bring renewal as our home and homeschool get a thorough cleaning and organizing!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Attitude Adjustment

When you can listen to your children interact and hear all your parenting mistakes....
When you can watch your children play pretend and witness everything you've ever done wrong....
When you catch yourself reprimanding your child in the very tone you are reprimanding her for using....

It is time. Time for a much-needed attitude adjustment.

Our children learn what they experience. Mine have obviously been experiencing a bad attitude a little too often.

Children speak what they hear. Mine have clearly heard too many nasty tones recently.

Children are what we make them, to a large degree. I refuse to go on shaping them in this most negative way.

One thing you may already know about me is this: I am passionate about things I believe in, but not unwilling to focus on my own shortfalls. I try not to focus on other people's splinters while walking around with a plank in my eye! (that's from the Bible, just in case you wonder where you had heard it before)

Clearly, no one - save Jesus - is perfect. But without trying to be better, none can be all that s/he is designed to be. I intend to be better. I intend to give myself - and my family - an attitude adjustment.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Ice Cream Day

Yes, I realize it is cold outside. I understand it is December. I even acknowledge the chilly drizzle falling from the sky. But we wanted ice cream cones. And our favorite ice cream was on sale. And it was on the grocery list, so we didn't even impulse-shop!

We had ice cream cones for lunch! Really, people who only have dessert after a meal are just packing additional calories onto an already-met caloric need. Let me explain. You need 300-400 calories for lunch. So, you eat a sandwich and some chips - maybe some soup and crackers. You ingest your 300-400 calories. Then, you want something sweet. You want a treat! SO you eat a 200+ calorie dessert. Ummm, do the math, people! That dessert destroys your weight worse than eating the dessert in place of the meal would!

So, my kids are happy to have a mommy that believes it is okay to eat an ice cream cone for lunch every once in awhile. After all, we are only as old as we feel, as young as we act, and as responsible as we have to be!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Nap-free is the way to be!

From Minivan Moments
Well, most days!

Dania is now taking fewer naps! Mommy made that executive decision after many months of dealing with a miserable toddler for an hour everyday after her nap. Mommy's opinion is that naps should improve the child's disposition, not wreck it! So, after many months of pre-dinner nightmares, we have banished the nap. And it is not altogether unpleasant, actually.

I certainly can use the middle-of-the-day break from my busy little imp, but the constant struggle to put to sleep, followed by the inconsistent amount of nap, wrapped up with one hour of post-nap whining sure put a constant damper on the day. Then, when Dania started to show signs that she could stay up all night after having a lovely afternoon nap, Mommy took drastic action!

We are now in our second week of fewer naps (about a nap every two or three days is working), and the Crankmeister's disposition during the day is much improved. And Dania is going to bed at a decent time each night with very little fuss. And Mommy is very surprised that the nap is not as missed as she thought it would be! In fact, our days are downright happy!

We visit the Pediatric Otolanryngologist (ENT) in a couple of weeks, so we may find a solution to the sleep issues, but for now, this is what works. So, for us, the day has come. Naps are not part of the plan. At least not right now.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Homeschooling and Parenting

In general, intelligent parents do some sort of homeschooling every week. We teach our infants and toddlers skills they will need, and we talk to our preschoolers about letters and numbers. We help grade-school children with homework, and we answer endless questions about absolutely everything. All of this is home education.

The usual vision of the homeschool varies significantly, from children seated around the kitchen table writing in workbooks, to kids in various stages of hands-on activities throughout the house. Sometimes it looks like a tidy, orderly arrangement, and other times, it seems to be chaos. One thing is certain: no two homeschooling families are alike!

We do things somewhere in the middle most days. We have some orderly lessons at the table, but we throw in mud play in the backyard and spontaneous trips to the museum. Sometimes we do math first, other times we read, and still others, I start with our Bible lesson.

The reason I am writing about this is that I stumbled on a woman's homeschooling blog yesterday and she made some valid points, mainly that the average non-homeschooling family has some preconceived ideas of what homeschooling looks like. I have been truly blessed by my family and friends in their complete acceptance of what I am doing for my family. But even I realize that oftentimes, their ideas of what happens around here are fuzzy at best.

So, I want you all to know that I am a normal homeschooling mom. And what that looks like varies from day to day and week to week. But one things stays the same: I teach my own kids. I teach them math, science, reading, and writing. I also teach them manners, anger management, relationship science, nutrition 101, and basic housekeeping. In short, I am a parent who is entirely responsible for what my children grow up knowing. And if you ever find yourself thinking, "I could never do that," then say a prayer for me. 'Cause most days, it is more of a challenge than I let on!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Can I stay the same age....

... even if my children still get older? My son turned six yesterday, and it is amazing, to say the least, that my children are now 9, 6, and 2!! How did I get so old???

I remember being nine. I may not remember much about 6 or 2, but 9 I remember. I remember thinking my parents had it all together, grown-ups still knew almost everything, Barbies were still cool, my town was so big I couldn't comprehend its size, and summer was all about playing outside until dark, which was past normal bedtime.

Looking back, I realize I had a completely distorted view of what growing up would mean! I thought I would feel different inside somehow. In a lot of ways, being a grown-up is really just about making right choices when you want to make wrong ones, like doing the laundry when you want to watch television, making dinner when you want to order take-out, and picking up the Bible instead of the latest suspense novel. Being a grown-up is about being responsible.

Of course, being a grown-up also means you can go outside instead of cleaning up the kitchen, eat an ice-cream sundae for dinner, go to the mall on a rainy day to window shop, or stay in your pajamas all day. Being a grown-up is not so bad. It just doesn't feel as different as I expected it to.

My life is good. In fact, it's great. Can I just stay here?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

When Your Kids Make You Proud...

Yesterday, I received an invitation to help the Nashville Rescue Mission provide Christmas dinner for some homeless men, women, and children who would otherwise go without a warm meal at such a special time. I did two things: I decided that our family could afford to feed 6 people (less money than taking us all out to McDonald's), and I explained the Mission to the children and asked if any of them wanted to help. Here's where God moved my family.... You ready for it?

My son brings me his only dollar. Yeah, I asked him, and he said it was the only one he could find. And he gave it to me for the Mission. {sniffle}

My oldest child, my first-born, brought me $4. She said she wanted to feed two people. On her own. {sniffle, sniffle}

I promptly wrote a check. God is so GOOD.

As if that is not enough, the oldest brought me the rest of her money this morning and said she wants to feed more homeless people Christmas dinner. She then says, "Well, I am only going to buy Littlest Pet Shops with my money, and I don't need any more of those." Counted out, she is providing Christmas dinner for 5 people. All by herself.

I think I will be writing another check. Thought out, my 9-year-old is more generous than her parents. When was the last time I drained my wallet to help someone else?

That, my friends, is the true spirit of Christmas. May it be with you this year, as well.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanks-Giving!

Here it is, the day before the BIG day, the eve of the day we all actually plan to eat far too much food and lie around on the softest pieces of furniture we own, all while watching grown men in tight pants beat each other up on fake grass to get a pigskin ball. Oh, and the parade! Let's not forget that we also watch giant "balloons" and floating stages in a parade with too much commentary. And why do we do this every year? Got a minute?

Okay, so a very long time ago, some oddly-dressed ancestors who had come to this slab of land we call America in a big boat (or several) decided for one day after the Autumn harvest to practice what they preached - and they put aside their differences with the Indigenous Americans (they weren't in India, by the way) and shared a day of "Thanks Giving" for all their God (or Spirits, if you are one of the Indigenous Americans) had blessed them with to survive the coming winter months. Just gives us the warm, fuzzy feeling we look forward to all year.

Well, that is the watered-down version of the story anyway, the one we actually want to hear so that we can continue to celebrate what is actually said to have begun as a victory party following the horrible massacres of innocent men, women, and children that took place so frequently that President Washington finally suggested we just celebrate once per year rather than after every killing spree. Got any warm fuzzies now? Me, neither.

Tomorrow, when you sit down at the table to pig out with family and friends, take just a moment of your day to recognize the lives lost at the hands of the people we celebrate once a year. And celebrate instead that we, as a nation, have been blessed, and that we, as a people, can neither ignore nor repair the damage done. But in learning from the past, we can endeavor to never repeat such genocide.

The food is wonderful, and I wouldn't suggest we give it up. The parade is beautiful, and we should enjoy the wonder of it with our family and friends. And football... well, okay, I could do without football, but I think my husband's head might explode if he had to endure an entire day with all these people crammed together without the solace of football! But isn't it about more than all that?

This year, I thank God that I am free to speak openly about my beliefs, that I am free to disagree with my governmental authority (unless the investigation of "Joe the Plumber" gets pervasive), that I am free to educate my children at home, and mostly, that I am free to worship my God.

What do you give thanks for this year?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Hairs on Our Heads

Dania got her very first haircut yesterday!

Mommy was playing beauty shop with Dania and noticed how ragged some of the shorter hairs were on Dania's head. Mommy asked, "Do you want a real haircut?" Dania said, "Yeah."

Mommy trimmed a bit off the lengthy back layers, then shortened up some bangs in the front (Dania hates having her hair in her face!), and Viola! first haircut!

From Fall2008

By two years of age, the other two had already had several haircuts, but Dania's hair is just different - much like the child, herself. So it strikes me a bit odd to get excited about her first haircut when she is talking up a storm and using the potty! Oh, well, there are certainly no two alike!

Makes me think... The Bible says God knows the number of hairs on our heads...Does He also keep track of when they get a trim? (and was He more aware of my daughter's hair condition than even I was?) Does He know how many times that number changes, like when you have a baby and all your hair falls out? Oh, to be considered so special that even the hairs on our heads have importance!

May God show you today all the ways He cares about you.
We are Loved. And that is enough. In fact, it... is... everything.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Rain Washes Away...

...the remnants of Autumn...
...a layer of dust that had settled upon the earth...
...and my energy.

There is nothing quite like a cloudy, rainy day; but it takes its toll on my perkiness. My eyes want to drift close, my mouth is in constant YAWN, and my brain feels sluggish. Oh, to have nothing to do on a day of rain! Too bad it didn't work out like that for me....

The laundry needs doing, the children need teaching, the dishes need washing and putting away.
The toddler needs watching, the floors need a sweeping, and I'd rather watch movies all day!
The rain is the cold kind, the drizzle-all-day kind, and that kind of rain is just so draining.
I wish I could spend the whole day in pajamas, but then I'd have to do some 'splaining!

Hope your day is filled with all the energy mine is lacking!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Dora... We Meet Again...

Oh, barnacles, the Little One has discovered Dora The Explorer! Rats! My sweet Puddin' walks around asking to "watta Dowa" on the "teedee" daily. She is adorable with it, though, because, unlike my anti-social older offspring, she actually interacts with the program! Isn't that the whole point of the obnoxious show? (actually, the older children recently informed me that they do not like the way Dora talks to them - I think they feel insulted!)

Anyway, though Dora the Explorer is not my favorite children's program, it is cute to watch Dania clap her hands with Dora, call out the Spanish words, and sing the songs! And let's not forget that during the episode, she is not climbing Mount Mommy to fiddle with my earlobe or scaling the pantry shelves in search of a "nack."

Ah, well, could be worse. She could be addicted to The Wiggles. {shudder} I never could get into that group.

Have a fabulous weekend!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Full House

One thing I have learned after having my third child: when kids come over to play, we hardly feel the addition of another person! There must be some magical chaotic setting that the third child initiates that just doesn't go away, because when other children are added to the mix, the chaos factor hardly rises at all.

Yesterday, we were blessed with a playdate with a friend as well as a playdate with a cousin - at the same time! The friend is 8 and the cousin is 1, but we all had fun, and the house was good and full! We played dress-up and "house," because naturally, when two little girls get together in a house with dress-up clothes and toddlers, "house" is the required game of the day! Plus, there was a tea party!! During the upstairs tea party, the little ones stayed downstairs with me, where I gave the 2-year-old a bowl of Sponge Bob Cheezits and bid her "share" - which she did, quite happily! (I have already learned that the 1-year-old cannot yet be trusted with a bowl of snacks!)
From Family & Friends 2008

A full house is so much fun, and when they all went home, our house was still full and we still had fun, but our day was all the brighter because of the time we spent with friends and family.

Have a blessed day!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Crisis at Christmas

Okay, Christmas is coming... and the goose is too skinny this year. Seems like every where I turn, a family is struggling to put food on the table. Every other person I talk to is looking toward a meager Christmas. Maybe the focus is all wrong....

I am not trying to diminish anyone's anguish over financial struggle; I do know what they are feeling. However, I wonder if all this struggling could be a symptom of something bigger....

Faith is bigger than finances. Family is better than bow-topped presents. Hope is fancier than a fully-trimmed Christmas tree. Love is richer than Santa. And Jesus is the reason for the season, anyway.

"Away in a manger, no crib for a bed...." Jesus, too, had financial woes.

"The first noel, the angel did say, was to certain poor shepherds in fields where they lay...." Poverty doesn't remove you from God's sight, neither does it keep you from His blessings. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven. (Check out Matthew 5)

"Hark how the bells, sweet silver bells, all seem to say, 'throw cares away'." Let us turn to the music of the season, and let our hearts be directed toward Him, the babe who came - to die so that we may live.

God is bigger than your budget woes, stronger than your housing needs, and more compassionate than your boss. Why not turn to Him this Christmas? It's His Holiday anyway.

In Christ,

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Cold Snap!

Time to break out the bread bowls of stew, the lib balm, the fuzzy slippers and cozy fleece robes, and the throw blankets for the sofas! This morning, the weather turned colder - much more in keeping with the season, for sure. The snap in the air, the take-your-breath wind, and the gray skies tell me Ol' Man Winter is on his way. The poor toddler braved the dropping temps with Mommy this morning, and she was having difficulty covering her face and holding onto her blowing hair! Yup, it was sure "win-ny!"

Yesterday, my daughters and I went to see High School Musical 3 with some close friends, and we were all alone in the theatre! I LOVE HOMESCHOOLING! Heehee! It was a good movie, another wholesome family film, and we happened to take in the "sing-along" version, which displays the lyrics for every song on the bottom of the screen. My only complaint in this film was that Gabriella's dresses sure got dangerously short since the last two! But, overall, a catchy, fun, innocent-enough movie. Seems like maybe the ending was their way of telling us goodbye from all the seniors, who happen to be all the main characters. We'll see what that was all about when the next one comes out, I suppose!

Anyway, I hope everyone is having a lovely Autumn. I am looking forward to baking some apple pies and drinking some lactose-free egg nog! Have a Blessed weekend!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Deodorant, Mood Swings, and Zits!?!

Oh, may the Good Lord help us, I think we are entering the pre-pubescent years! Calysta started needing deodorant under her arms about 2 weeks ago, and last weekend she had mood swings from - that other place - and YESTERDAY, she developed a not-so-subtle zit on her face! Where did my child go??? The teen years are bearing down on us!! Aaak, puberty, here we come!

After the mood swings, we promptly purchased a parenting series that we had known we wanted to try when the kids got to this level. Now, we are impatiently awaiting that package in the mail while we deal with zits! I have to buy my child/preteen a book about the changes her body is going through, and that book is going to talk about s-e-x and where babies come from! ... and believe it or not, Calysta still believes the simple answer from when she was 3: that a Mommy and Daddy pray to God for a baby, and He can give it to them!! WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?!?!?!?

Okay, deep breath, calm down.... If anyone has any advice on how to deal with this from a conservative standpoint, please let me know! I believe in honesty, so I will not lie to my child, but I also believe in preserving innocence whenever possible and for as long as possible.

So, I guess now we have body hair to look forward to.... *gulp*Aak!

Graying by the minute,

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Politics in America

Yep, I'm goin' there. Buckle your seatbelts, folks, here we go....

Americans in general seem to be remarkably undereducated about the structure and function of our government. The United States President is an individual who is in the forefront of our minds, so he makes a convenient scapegoat for all of our problems and gets credit for the good times. I am here to tell each of you that there are three branches of government in our great country: Executive, Legislative, and Judicial. Each branch has equal weight in the running of the country, but each has a different role. Allow me to inform you:

The Executive Branch of the government consists of the President and Vice President, as well as other executive departments and independent agencies. This branch of the Federal Government is responsible for enforcing the laws of our nation. Did you catch that?? They ENFORCE the laws.

Okay, the Legislative Branch, also called Congress, consists of the Senate and the House of Representatives. This branch of the Federal Government is responsible for making the laws that will govern our nation. Did you catch that one?? They MAKE the laws. You getting this??

The Judicial Branch consists of the Supreme Court, the Courts of Customs and Claims, the Circuit Court of Appeals, and the District Courts. This branch of the Federal Government is responsible for interpreting the laws and ensuring that the people's rights are protected. Most people don't seem to care enough about the judges in this country, but they have a very critical role: protecting the rights of the people and interpreting the laws. We don't give this enough weight in our political agendas.

Okay, so now that I have given you a basic third grade education on the structure of our Federal Government, let me say this: The people in positions of power today do not have an immediate impact on our lives. It often takes years to feel the impact of the decisions made by the Executive and Legislative Branches of government. For example, the economic crisis we are in right now was caused by decisions made in 1999. Was George W. Bush the President in 1999?? Nope. Were all the same people in charge in the Congress in 1999?? Nope. So why are you blaming the PRESIDENT????!!!

In addition, the President is NOT responsible for making laws you don't like. The President is NOT responsible for the banking decisions that crashed our economy. The President can ask Congress to do certain things, but the Legislative Branch is responsible for their own actions. They CAN AND DO REFUSE!!

Do I sound angry? You bet I'm angry. Millions of people elected a man for our future president BECAUSE HE'S BLACK!! Millions more people voted Democrat because they blame President Bush for the economy!! People who have no basic understanding of how the government works are making decisions for our country and it TICKS ME OFF!!!

Whether Obama makes a great or awful President will not change my opinions on this, either, so those of you who might be getting ticked at me because you think I am just angry because "my" candidate didn't win, you couldn't be more wrong. People are admitting to your face and on national television that they voted for Obama because he is BLACK. I thought we were supposed to be color-blind! Oh, that's right, only white people have to be color-blind. Black people can further their racial agenda as much as they want. We white people just have to tolerate it. How would the black people in this nation take it if white people all around them got on national television and said, "I voted for him because he is white" or said directly to their faces, "yup, I voted for him because he's white?" They'd SUE US!!! Why are we letting black people be prejudiced at the same time that they sue white people for being prejudiced?????!!!!!!

I worked for the State of Tennessee once upon a time, in an environment that was predominately black. I was treated like a second-class citizen by the black women, and I was discriminated against. I was urged by my superiors (white people) not to sue the institution when it decided not to pay me. I took their advice, but sometimes I regret it. We need to stop all forms of bias. Not just from whites, but from ALL Americans. This is ridiculous.

Folks, learn your facts about how the government works. And stop tolerating reverse discrimination. This country is getting out of hand, and we don't know enough about how it operates as a people to keep it from destroying itself. I believe that we all have a right to our own opinions, and while I may not agree with everyone on who is the best choice for government office, I at least want to see people making their decisions based on something honest and not something superficial (especially not based on ignorance).

That's my rant for today. If you are offended, then you are part of the problem.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Farm Fresh Chickens!

Today, the children and I went to a small family farm. The family is a homeschooling family like us, and they are in the early stages of building their farm. So far, they only have chickens, but in time they will have eggs, beef, and fruit.

The family invited us to visit their farm to see them process chickens - so we could see how chickens go from "wing" to food. I knew this would be touchy for the kids, but it was a great learning experience, so we went. Plus, my kids already have a deeper understanding of what we eat than the average American child in the twenty-first century. So we went.

The hardest part for the kids was watching the chickens bleed out, so we distracted them during that part. The next difficult moment came when the guts were removed from the chicken's belly cavity. But the whole operation was done by the family in a humane manner that preserved the dignity of each of God's creatures.

I can certainly see how many people exposed to this type of thing infrequently could decide to be vegan, but my faith in The Bible tells me that God intended these creatures to be nourishment for our bodies. When we were given charge over the earth, we were to care for the animals and plants in it so that they would provide for our needs. It is a tough thing to see, but in my opinion, we are all far too detached from our food anyway. We don't see God's beautiful design when we ignore the facts of the circle of life. We can't appreciate God's infinite wisdom when we refuse to acknowledge the creatures who gave their lives for us to sup.

I cannot say it was easy to cook the bird I brought home. I would be lying if I told you none of us thought twice about eating it when it was plated. But I can assure you that our supper prayer was quite different tonight. We had a much greater appreciation for the sacrifice that was made on our behalf than we do when we purchase Styrofoam packages of meats at the grocery store.

Our homeschool is more than facts and figures. Our homeschool is life, God, family, and love. We learned a lot about those things on that small chicken farm. I just hope the kids continue to eat chicken! {smile}


Tuesday, October 7, 2008


We took Her Highness, the brand-new 2-year-old, to McDonald's to play at the PlayPlace (courtesy of Granna and Papa). We walked into McD's to order, then she turned around and spied the PlayPlace... "Yay! Climb!" She gushed with excitement. Still, though, she sat sedately like the big girl she is on a hard bench in the PlayPlace area and ate her "buwbuw" and "fies" and her solitary "kickin" nugget from her Sissy (burger, fries, chicken). When she finished with her lunch, she asked if she could go "cyime!" I instructed her to take her shoes off first, so she plopped her diapered tush onto the floor in front of the shoe cubby and removed her new sneakers, then added them to the cubby and ran off to play. It was a really good time for us all. Sissy and Quin helped her get up to some of the harder spots, and Dania refrained from eating the petrified french fries in and around the play equipment (although it wasn't as bad this time as it has been in the past).

Dania's new favorite word is "Awesome!" She speaks in sentences, undresses herself, mostly dresses herself, and is overall too smart for her own good. She has lots of tantrums, but that is to be expected with all the things she wants to do but cannot. Overall, she keeps things interesting!

Bye for now,

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Happy Autumn!

So, it is October, it is Autumn, it is chilly!! We are preparing for the little one's second birthday this week. She will turn two on Monday, and we will have family and friends over to celebrate with us on Sunday evening. She is so social, I didn't figure we could get away with not having her favorite people gathered together in a party. Plus, she requires all birthdays be accompanied by cake.... already a Mommy's girl!

Yesterday, we saw the Pediatric Endocrinologist. Usually, that is a fairly routine visit... she looks good, let's get some blood, no change, same meds, good to go. However, yesterday I mentioned that we had done the sleep study since we saw her last and she has sleep apnea.... I mentioned the snoring that had started me thinking she was suffering from sleep apnea way back when, and she informed me that in rare cases of children with Dania's type of hypothyroidism, the thyroid is actually in the wrong spot in the neck and blocks the breathing while sleeping in a way that causes that snoring. She doesn't think that is Dania's issue because those children do not usually present with the snoring issue until between 2 and 3, but she wants me to talk with the Pediatric Otolaryngologist in January about the thyroid in addition to the possible tonsil obstruction.

On a lighter note, Dania's new favorite thing to say is: "Sissy/Quinny NO TALK-A Mommy!!" She says that when the kids are talking to me when she wants to talk to me. It is hillarious, even though I try to make her understand that they are allowed to talk to me, too.

Though it may seem like the elephant in the room that no one is talking about, I am going to continue to restrain myself on this blog - I will not talk about the politics raging in our nation right now. "You're welcome." {smile} I get a bit upset about all of it, and many of us would be on opposing sides, and this blog is just for fun. Not much fun if I offend a bunch of you, though, is is? So, I will leave that with this: VOTE!! Liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican, Man or Woman (especially Woman!), take your RIGHT to vote seriously. (of course, if you aren't on my side, it's okay if you don't vote - just kidding!)

Okay, so off to make breakfast for the boy. I'll write again soon!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Weekend of Fun!

Well, this weekend, we spent a lot of times with family and friends. We stayed close to home, almost at home all weekend, but we had a nice time. It has been awhile since I updated, so I thought I would let you all know how we are doing and what we are up to.

Dania is talking in sentences, teething, and throwing things all over the house (including at me if I make her mad). Calysta is getting closer to those lovely teen years with every day. Quin is working hard (and having fun, of course) through Lego Indiana Jones. (We love those Lego games because there is no blood... the violence is with Lego characters, and they all just break up into Lego pieces when they "die")

We are planning for upcoming birthdays, and we are studying history and architecture. This week or next, we hope to take a field trip to a neighboring town and check out all their old buildings and such. They have something called "I-Spy: Franklin on Foot" which is a walking tour (possibly self-guided with a packet from the town - that part isn't clear to me yet).

Ben is practicing for a race that he and two friends are entering at the end of October... they will be running, biking, and "mystery event" in a local park (not a kiddie park, a nationally preserved nature park). He is getting pretty excited about that. We have to remind him that he can stay home and not exercise sometimes. :-)

Okay, that is all I have in me for tonight. We had the neighbors over for dinner tonight, which was delightful, but we got fitful sleep with the teething toddler, and I did my two-week downstairs clean this morning, so I am worn out.

Good night.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Life Lived

I have taken quite for granted that I would have the time
To embrace all my tomorrows, when, truly, they aren't mine.

I haven't any promise from God, in all His grace,
That I am due a future, not on Earth, in any case.

The days that I've been given, up to now, this very day,
Are intended to be cherished, and not just passed away.

If I am to be faithful to The One who calls me His,
I plan to make some changes: to live, not just exist.

And so, to each of you out there, "hearing" my heart's wish,
I hope that you will value a meaningful life lived.

Let this not be a heavy day; let guilt not weigh your heart;
Just reach into your soul and find the path on which to start.

It's marked with love and kindness, with a sharing of your lives;
And a life that's filled with real love is a blessing in God's eyes.
~ Angela M. Varela
Sept. 14, 2008

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Wow! We're finally back on track... sort of.

Well, my beloved Grampa Brown was laid to rest in the Arlington National Cemetery last month, and my baby sister has been married off. We are back from our travels, done with all of our preparations, and plodding through homeschooling. We are finally unpacked, getting a handle on the "fit in the housework" game, which has become very challenging, but learning a lot about how homeschooling works in our home.

This past week, we visited our City Hall, where the kids got to see photos of all of our past mayors, tour the courtroom, see where our city approves or denies permits, and talk with a police officer about the role of the police in our community. There was a lot to see for such a small city (land-wise), and we were able to share with everyone in the building our delicious homemade muffins. The kids seemed to get more curious about government and our city after this visit, so the field trip definitely paid off!

Dania has begun to speak in 2- and 3-word sentences, and she is as adorable and obstinate as ever! This morning I caught her standing on the tray that holds the chalk for the chalkboard easel. Yep, she's a climber. Quin and Calysta have joined a homeschool swim group, in which they are the least capable swimmers, so we have spent a lot of time at the pool trying to improve their strength and stamina. They are really improving, but Quin will probably stay at the bottom of the class because he is a full 2 years younger than the next youngest kid. He tries, though, and the instructor doesn't mind working with him.

Well, Dania is napping and Daddy took the big kids to the pool, so I need to stop postponing the cleaning that needs to be done. I'll write again soon!


Sunday, August 17, 2008

Time... Where does it go?

Time is like the baby's socks... pieces of it slip away without notice until one day, you are looking for it specifically, only to discover it has disappeared! I have just a few minutes to spare, so I thought I would update the site.....

We are homeschooling again! Quin is in Kindergarten, and he is doing fantastic!! Calysta is in the 3rd grade now, and she is really taking to her schoolwork better than last year! Hurray, Summer Vacation!! The baby/toddler/distraction/destroyer is just meandering about trying to be in the middle of everyone's business. She likes to "write" and "read" with the big kids. I figure at this rate, she'll be in kindergarten next year!

Anyway, we are preparing for our trip to Virginia to watch my baby sister get married! We will also be attending the funeral and memorial service for my grandfather who passed away last month. I have been working on a tribute video/slideshow that will be shown at the memorial. It has been a bit time-consuming, but very rewarding. I feel as if I have gotten live his life with him a bit before I am forced to say good-bye. I am honored to present it to my grandmother when we get there!

Whew! So, that is all for now. All the children are nestled in their beds, and I have to put the finishing touches on the slideshow while Her Highness is sleeping. School again in the morning! OH!! And I get to write a speech for my baby sister's wedding now, too, thanks to the matron of honor's public speaking issues. {ahem} Ah, well, that, too, will honor me. If I can just fit it into my week.... take the car to renew the tags, pick up necessities at Costco, launder and pack for 5 people (including formal wear for a wedding and a funeral), pick up formal dresses from seamstress, finish The Boy's Star Wars ships, take books/videos back to library and Blockbuster, not to mention the usual daily stuff like school, dishes, laundry, etc.

Sometimes, I really resent the need for sleep - it seems like such a wasted way to spend 7 hours a day. And it isn't like I enjoy it... I don't even get to be aware of doing it! It is just done when I wake up! Hours later than it was when I fell asleep. Where does the time go??

Good night,

P.S. If you have already looked at The Boy's Room slideshow in a previous post, check it out again... there is an updated picture at the end. And here is a photo of our new pet, Muchi.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Spit Shine!

The Disappearing Toddler needs a new name. Well, yes, she does still like to run off in all sorts of public places, but she has a new... um, hobby, you could say. She has recently taken to spit shining herself. And others. If you aren't paying attention. Yup, she spits into her hands, then "washes" herself. And others. If you aren't paying attention.

You know, if you have kids, you're already aware that dealing with the seepage of their bodily fluids is part of the package. However, I can tell you with no small amount of experience here that being spit shined by my toddler is still disgusting. Really, really icky. Really. Icky.

Any tips on how to abbreviate this favored past-time?? She really likes it. Her family, however, not so much. Well, for now, we are telling her "no" and putting her away from us. We'll see how that pans out for us.

Gotta go. She is now fishing pieces of stale snacks out from under the entertainment center. And eating them. Yuck. (although, she is informing me that it was "Nummy!")

Mom of the Year,

Thursday, July 31, 2008

A Must Read - For Everyone!!

I just finished the most amazing book: The Shack. This book was not only a great read, it was poignant, inspiring, and life-changing. If you have not heard of the book, check out their site: If you have heard of it, but not read it, PLEASE reconsider!! This book sat in my house for several months before I was convicted enough to read it, and when I read it, I was really hooked! I couldn't wait to get back to the book each time I had to put it down (which was often since I have three children, all of whom were ill during this time).

I am not going to tell you much about the book; I am just going to tell you that it will change how you think about God... in a GOOD way. In a let-out-that-breath-you-were-holding way. In a kind of "Oh, Thank You, Jesus!" kind of way. Seriously, this book could be the difference between really knowing God and just thinking that you know God.

One thing I have said for as long as I have considered myself a Christian is this: I refuse to dictate what God can or can't, will or won't, do. I will NOT put God in a box. Boy-howdy, am I every glad I had that part figured out before reading this book! {smile}

Okay, enough about that.... Just go get the book and read it!! And the best deal is on while you are there, get more than one. Trust me. You can buy two for slightly more than the cover price, and you will want the extra one (at least!) when you finish the book! (or, you can do the book club thing and have a spouse or friend or family member read it at the same time!!) Just get the book!!

Well, I have uploaded some photos of our latest home project, The Boy's Room, to a web album. Check it out:

We'll chat again soon,

Saturday, July 19, 2008

A Matter of Perspective

You know, I used to believe that I would never get married. I have been married for 7 years now. I used to wonder if I would have children of my own. I have been blessed with three. I once thought that if I went to college, I would fail. I got my Bachelor of Science degree in 4 years with a 3.7 GPA. When we moved to Tennessee in 2000, I had no friends, and I wondered if anyone would want to be my friend. Now, I have more friends than I have time to appreciate. I once believed that I was an invisible member of society. Then I became a Christian, and invisible was good - I want people to see Jesus when they look at me, not Angie.

Last weekend, as you know, my dear grandfather passed away. It was said to be peaceful, but it was -and is- painful for the rest of us. Since my grandfather served this great country in the Navy for many years, he will be honored with a special burial at Arlington National Cemetery next month. Since that day is several weeks away, my neighbors (dear friends), presented me with a touching gift last night: Willow Tree's "Hero" figurine. [Well, I should mention that I have begun collecting the Willow Tree series (which really means that my friends have been gifting me with them because I adore the style) since I was given one from an employer several years ago.] (check it out) Of course, I cried (poor Greta). It couldn't have been more perfect.

And it all got me thinking. All those things I think about myself are my own perspective. Maybe everyone thinks poorly of themselves. Maybe we are that way so we don't become egotists. Whatever the reason, I never saw myself as a valuable part of my world. Until now. I am forced to admit that, no matter my opinion of myself, it is the opinion of those closest to me that counts. Because, really, it is all a matter of perspective. And if I was half as worthless as I sometimes think, I wouldn't have such special people in my life. And those incredible people I am blessed to call friends wouldn't care enough to pick out the perfect gift to celebrate what my grandfather means to me. Certainly, I am not perfect. But I am blessed. And that is enough.

May your friends enrich your lives as well.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Saying Goodbye

There is no easy way to deal with saying goodbye to someone you love. If they have had a good life, a long life, it gives you little solace in the midst of your pain. Those who leave us have no knowledge of what life is like without them, of how much they are missed, loved, appreciated. When someone we love is taken to "a better place," there is some comfort in that, but our hearts forever lack the fullness that their life brought to ours.

Even knowing that the time is drawing near, as a loved-one "gets on in years," doesn't quite prepare us for the moment it all becomes a reality. Death. We call it many things: passing away, leaving this world, going home to Jesus, the eternal sleep. Those words help us deal with what has happened, but they do not shadow the harshness as much as we may wish them to. Death comes to us all. Our time here is limited, some more than others, and I remain grateful for those people I have been blessed to know. People who have helped to shape me into the person I have become. People who have taught me about love, friendship, family. Life. But... death. It, too, comes with this life we embrace.

My darling grandfather, a man who was also a father, husband, cribbage lover, golfer, Hershey's guy, the maker of the best KNUCKLE sandwiches.... He is with us no more. He is with our Lord, God Almighty, in Heaven. Feeling no pain, no hunger, no thirst. Just joy. Eternal Joy. There is peace in that. There is peace in penning this entry - in hopes that it honors his life. My memory of him is precious. Sharing him with you may not bring him joy where he is now, but it brings comfort to me to do so.

Grandpa always called us granddaughters "twinkle toes." He stashed chocolate in his basement and let us have at it. He gave us nickels to play his slot machine and taught us how to play ping-pong. He played many card games, and would teach us cribbage if we gave him half a minute. He laughed a lot. He was charming, always using words like "gal" as a true old-fashioned gentleman would. He had a favorite chair, which of course was pointed at the television (he was a man, after all). He and my grandmother raised four children, and lost one to breast cancer. I don't think Grandpa could make himself more than a sandwich if he had to, but that was the generation to which he belonged. He was our grandfather, an honored patriarch of the clan, and he mattered to each of us.

God took Grandpa Home last night, and I can only pray that He has His arms wrapped securely around my grandmother as she is forced to say "good-bye" to her lifemate. Grandpa lived a good long while, for sure, and he was no babe when we lost him. Oftentimes, though, the pain of losing someone is not alleviated by the number of years we have with them. Sometimes, their time on Earth just makes that much more of an impact on the world when they leave it.

We miss you, Grandpa. We love you.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Electric Lime, Dazzle, and Toothless

This weekend, we finally conquered The Boy's room. I picked out the colors based on the quilt that I am working on, which The Boy picked out eons ago. So, since we have this reversible Outer Space quilt in the works, and The Boy loooooooves Star Wars, we decided on a Star Wars/Outer Space room. We already have a rocketship ceiling fan, and he has 2 space pictures thanks to his Aunt Joyce.

So, the colors. I picked out the blue first. The one that worked was called Dazzle. I liked it but was worried about the whole room being that color, so I picked out a second color from the quilt. It turned out that Electric Lime was just the right shade. I know, Electric Lime! It is just what you are imagining, seriously. What is totally awesome, too, is that The Boy's toy bins and throw blanket are ALL in those two colors!! What a treat! Well, it is once it is all put together. We have one green wall, two blue walls, and one half-and-half wall (which will sport a running shelf across the dividing line on which to display Star Wars things and such). Honestly, I was really concerned about what I was envisioning, as I am sure you are as you read this. BUT, it looks absolutely amazing! It is the coolest little boy's room I think I have ever seen!!! And I did it!! Well, to be honest, the hubby helped paint it, but I mean, I picked everything out and orchestrated the design, which scared the you-know-what out of me (I mean, really, people, did I mention the colors?!?!). SO, hats off to Mom on this one. I still know how to make my little boy smile his giant grin! The Boy was thrilled throughout the transformation, but putting it together for him tonight really made it real for him, and he was ecstatic!

On the subject of The Boy, I should also mention that he lost his first tooth tonight... in a ball of sticky rice... that he apparently swallowed. :-P He is now a cute, toothless wonder that will be embarking on this new and embarrassing stage of childhood known as, "please don't make me smile in that picture; you know I look ridiculous with all these holes in my mouth" - oh, the joys of childhood! We'll let him see how much fun these days are after his adult teeth come in and he realized that they are too big for his face, and then he'll probably see that toothless is not so bad after all.

Okay, I am signing off now. It has been a long and busy weekend here. (you should try painting with three small children - one of whom never had her umbilical cord properly severed... I should sue!).

Blessings and good night!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Happy Independence Day, America!

Well, it has been a long, relaxing weekend so far. We celebrated our nation's independence in the good ol' American way: with the grill, the neighbors, and some flashy stuff up in the sky. Lots of flashy stuff.

We learned the year after we moved in here that we need not travel to see fireworks. We need only plant our bottoms in our front yard - far enough out to get a good 360 degree view. Yup, the fireworks are plenty, and on all sides of us. This year, our city even had their own show... which was just down the street, so we got to see those over the trees as well.

Only problem we had was Dania. She started off crying and begging them to be over. "No, pop! Done! No more, pop!!" Sob, sob, sob. So, being the Mommy, I took her inside to watch television, which we had to turn up pretty loud to drown out the sounds of the "pop!" Eventually, she settled down to sleep, but she did cry out in her sleep later, "No, pop!" Poor dear.

Anyway, we are thankful to have such a wonderful thing as independence and freedom. We may not always agree with the choices of everyone in this great country, but we have the freedom to disagree. We have the freedom to do things our way. I have the freedom to work or not, breastfeed or bottle-feed, spank or not, educate at home or in public or private institutions, buy a home or rent, drink water or beer or Kool-Aid, and vote for my values and opinions. We have freedom.

Thank You, Lord, Most High, for all You have blessed our great nation with, but mostly, I thank You for the vision You gave our ancestors long ago... the vision of freedom. For everyone.

Thank you, Founding Fathers, for your vision and for your efforts. You started something wonderful. Something we can all be proud of. Something we can all appreciate. Something we should all be thankful for.

Happy Independence Day!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Happy Anniversary to Me!

Okay, so for seven years I have succeeded in Operation Allow Your Husband to Live. Now, we are about to embark on our eighth year, and I have to be honest with you.... God has a sense of humor. When we, in our infinite wisdom as young people, choose a mate based on our own ideas of what we think we like, God chuckles and lets us tie our own hands. Then a couple of years into the marriage, He is still chuckling as the very things we loved about our spouse are now Absolute Deal Breakers. Okay, that is perhaps a bit harsh, but still, you have to see the irony.

So, pat yourself on the back if you have managed to get through even a few years of marriage. We are currently at the marital stage I'll call Roll Your Eyes and Shut Up, which seems to be full of small disagreements which we have both learned cannot be reasoned out, so someone eventually just rolls his eyes and the other has to shut up. Isn't this fun?? I think the next stage might be Throw The Good Dishes Until He Pays Attention, but at least we have graduated Your Wife is a Doormat and Your Husband is a Couch Potato. That stage sucked, frankly.

I will be strongly urging all of my children to seek a spouse only after they have established who they are as people.... It is really more difficult to grow up married - especially since you have no idea who your spouse will become when s/he is all grown up! (I cannot begin to count the numerous occasions in which I found myself in the shower - the only place I have any privacy - crying out to God: WHAT WERE YOU THINKING!?!?! NO DIVORCES???? 'Til death do us part is a hint, right???

So, anyway, since marriage is God's plan to grow us spiritually, I can with complete confidence state the following: If your marriage doesn't change you in ways you cannot begin to plan for, you are destined for an unpleasant confrontation at The Pearly Gates. God has a sense of humor. A twisted sense of humor, but a sense of humor nonetheless.

Happy Anniversary to ME!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Thank God for Attachment Parenting!

Okay, so God probably doesn't whole-heartedly buy into the full version of attachment parenting when it causes families to neglect other areas of their lives, but in its pure form, attachment parenting is God's idea: to "train up a child in the way he should go" is, in essence, to respond to each child's individual needs. That is what we practice in our house, and have practiced with each of our three children.

I firmly believe that my dedication to attachment parenting is what led to my discovery of Dania's sleeping problems. Think about it.... If I were a "normal" mother, I would have put my child in her own crib in another room from the first day of her life. I would have probably let her "cry herself to sleep" when she had difficulty sleeping. I might even have let her scream in the middle of the night with the assurance that she would learn to put herself back to sleep. However, because she sleeps in my bedroom, and because I did not force my need for a complete night's sleep upon her, I discovered that my daughter might have sleep apnea.

The Vanderbilt Sleep Specialist called today with the results of the sleep study. Dania DOES have sleep apnea, though not a severe case, and she will need to see a pediatric E. N. T. to discuss a possible tonsillectomy. Then we will follow up with the sleep doctor depending on the outcome of the ENT.

My baby has breathing issues an average of 2.5 times per hour. She spends too much time in light sleep and not enough time in dream sleep. She gets small decreases in her oxygen levels each time she sleeps. None of this is good, but I am pleased that I was concerned enough to visit a doctor - even against my husband's advice. Mommy just knew something was off.

So, while Dania has some stuff still to go through before this is resolved, I can say that I am glad we aren't failing to discover this problem until much later in her life. I am very glad that God made me the parent that He did. He is completely in charge, even when we cannot begin to understand how. And knowing that His plan was in place even before Dania was conceived, I feel less exhausted than I should considering how long it has been since I slept straight through a night!

I wish you all pleasant dreams and a peaceful night.... Dania and I will be sleeping soundly soon enough!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Middle Ages

I have begun to learn an unfortunate truth: The Middle Ages are not the period in time that our teachers stuffed our brains with, rather they are the years between becoming an adult and becoming empty-nesters. For those of you in your thirties and forties without children of your own, this will all be slightly above your ability to comprehend, but feel free to read it... Then go on about your business, but know that some people are dealing with The Middle Ages very differently than others.

In The Middle Ages, you have smallish children. Children who are still quite in need of your daily attention and care. Children who inevitably require feeding, clothing, bathing, disciplining, teaching, the occasional trip to the doctor, an ow-ey washed and bandaged, a hug to make it better, and many more surprises in life.

In The Middle Ages, you may also have aging parents or grandparents. In my family, we have a history of starting our families while we are quite young, so I grew up with all of my grandparents and a great-grandparent. We are now down to the aging grandparents on my side of the family, and we are really struggling through this time. When we lost my husband's mother to cancer, it was a terrible, painfully heart-wrenching time. But it was not an aging process. It was cancer. I cannot begin to imagine people who deal with aging parents while raising young children.

The Middle Ages are fraught with tension as parenting collides with respectful attention to the aging. Does anyone really handle these years well? Is there any one way to deal with them? All we can do is persevere, knowing that there are no absolutes, but rather that we are dealing with people. People with emotions, needs, desires, memories. People who deserve to be honored, both the young in their ambitious trek to fulfill the ultimate goal of adulthood and the aging in their inevitable walk toward something infinitely more peaceful that what they leave behind.

I ask only that God grant me the peace and wisdom He promises to all of us if we but ask. I will need wisdom in my actions and choices from this point forward, and in balancing the two seemingly opposing worlds of mother and child. I will require the peace for what is to come. For no matter how many times the platitudes are spoken when someone passes, knowing my dear loved-one is in a better place does not ease my pain in the missing of them here on Earth.

May God be with us in our Middle Ages.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Flash! Boom! Rain, Rain!

I taught Dania a new phrase to calm her when it storms: "First it goes FLASH! Then it goes BOOM! Then it goes RAIN, RAIN!" (of course, this is said with Happy Enthusiasm!!)It helps tremendously, and she is too cute when she does the sounds herself. Ever since we were first introduced to the Panic-Stricken Puddin' that appears during a storm, we have learned that she becomes quite frantic when the thunder and lightning get really bad. The Mommy Sweater becomes a Mommy Necklace, specifically a CHOKER! We even have to sleep this way sometimes. Since we live in Middle Tennessee, I foresee many of these days and nights in our future. Today was one of those days. Tonight might be one of those nights.

By the way, there is absolutely nothing like a charcoal grill. GOD BLESS THE PERSON WHO INVENTED A WEBER!!! Tonight, we got a little smarter. Once we had the coals going, we grilled a bunch of stuff for later in the week. (we got this idea by combining my neighbor's multi-day grilling request and my cooking-for-the-week plan) Our dinner was perfect and the chicken for later was Yummy!!! Thanks, Hubby!!

Okay, so enough pleasantries. My mom is having her back surgery on Monday, so thoughts and prayers to her. Also, I just found out about a past church friend who is having a lumpectomy for precancerous cells in her breast in July. Please pray for healing and recovery and God's will for them. I know she is probably scared even though it sound like they caught everything really early. We'll pray for wisdom for the doctors and peace for Susan and her family.

Thanks for stopping by!
See ya soon,

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Busy, Busy... Bizzy?

When I was a nanny to these adorable twin preschoolers in Florida, I was tickled every time one of them got dizzy. She would always say, "bizzy" instead of "dizzy." It was so cute!! Well, around here we have been really busy... and I have been bizzy as well.

Monday, I had a very bad morning that culminated with a trip to the doctor. The doctor diagnosed me with an inner ear issue. It was making me incredibly dizzy, nauseous, and lightheaded, plus it was affecting my vision at random moments. He seemed to think it would take a few days of bed rest to get over it. Lucky for me, though, things calmed down later that day, but if I am not careful, I get woozy again. It has been a strange couple of days.... While it is nice to have the excuse to lay around and relax, it is also difficult to get the regular chores done that way. Every time I try, I get lightheaded and have to sit back down.

We did have our garage sale, and we are finally free of all that stuff in the garage and in the house. It is really nice to be rid of the clutter, and a bonus to have that money to put away for the boys' college education.

I found out that my mom will be having her back surgery on Monday. Please pray for her. We want wisdom for the surgeon, peace for Mom and Dad, and a rapid recovery. I really wish I could be there to help out, but I have come to the conclusion that dragging my three kids up there would not be real conducive to Mom resting. :-)

Oh, and I have discovered the joy of... SCRAPBOOKING!! I always knew if I ever tried scrapbooking that I would be completely hooked, and I was right! I love it!! Right now, I am going to work on one album that will probably take me several months. We will see how I feel about my new hobby once I get a completed project. (and we'll see if my hubby lets me live to scrapbook another day!)

Well, that is all for now. I need to grab a snack and lie down for a bit. Walmart really took it out of me today.


Thursday, June 5, 2008

Summertime... Right?

The kids are having a really difficult time understanding that it isn't officially summer yet. It is pool weather, we are sweltering in the sun, we are getting sunburns, school is out, but... it isn't summer. I think I am just going to lie next time Quin asks... "yes! It is finally summer! Isn't that great?!?!"

We have a neighbor with a daughter really close to Dania's age (Shiloh is a few weeks older is all), and they love to play together. Well, Shiloh's mother is showing me up in a big way this year! If I was a keep-up-with-the-Jones' kinda mom, I would be waaaaaaay behind. :-) A few weeks ago, I put some sand in an under-the-bed plastic storage box for the kids to play with. Shiloh got an awesome sand and water table that I drooled over for 2 years. Yesterday, I put water in a larger plastic storage box, which Dania climbed into and used as a pool. Shiloh's mom brought out a beautiful, colorful, inflatable, shaded toddler pool today. Hmmm.... I can't tell if it is third-child syndrome, or if I have just gotten creative in my old age, but it is sure making me laugh!!! :-)

Tonight, we single-handedly annihilated the mosquitoes in our neighbors' yard. They were landing on us like crazy, so I ran in and got the Avon Bug Guard, and while I was spraying it on myself and the kids, the blood-sucking buggers were aiming at untreated skin. By the time we were all sticky with bug repellent, the mosquitoes were nowhere to be seen. Go, Avon! We didn't see another mosquito.

Since I am soooooo not ready for the garage sale on Saturday, I am going to sign off now and price-tag some more stuff. Ya know, this should be a piece of cake. I am doing the right thing by decluttering, but darned if I can get it all organized enough to make Saturday morning easier. Time will tell, I suppose. (this is a lot of work for a few dollars, but we wouldn't do it if it weren't for those beautiful boys who need to go to college!)

Anyway, have a great rest of your week!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Today at Vandy.... and Beyond!

So, Dania had her follow-up visit with the Endocrinologist at Vanderbilt today. She looks great!! They always wait for the results of the labs to refill her prescription since the results determine the dosages, but they are very confident that Dania will be weaned from the meds between 2 and 3 years of age! YAY!! Not that taking the little peach pill bothers anyone, but we are sooooo grateful that God has decided to answer our prayers for healing!!! THANK YOU, ALL OF YOU PRAYER WARRIORS!!!

Anyway, we had her blood drawn, which was a nightmare because of the other screaming children who completely stressed her out, but she was a trooper as usual. We then dashed over to the mall to reward the kids with some retail therapy, then home again to rest... well, for a little while. Then we went outside to play with water - that was fun. After which, the kids were blessed with the ICE CREAM TRUCK!!! The idiot Ice Cream Truck that drove through our neighborhood at 4:45pm. Yeah, so I get to choose: Meanest Mommy Ever? or Ruin Their Dinners For Sure? Hmmm, difficult choice. (yeah, we went with the meal-wrecking sweet treat) Dania even got a Popsicle.

Oh, and Dania has finally grown again!!! The doctor showed us that she had dropped down 2 growth curves, but she has since jumped up one. She is now up 1 pound and at least 1 inch. We are a little more relaxed about her size now. She is still small - just under the 25th percentile for both height and weight, but all the doc's say she is just small. Healthy, but little. (this must be how American moms who adopt Asian babies feel!)

Dania got a new pair of pretty white Stride Rite shoes today at the mall. She was steadily trying on the display shoes and trying to walk out of the store in them while I was trying to pick some out for her! She is such a shoe junky!! She showed them off like crazy to the neighbors tonight, to which they all oooohh-ed and ahhhh-ed like good little trained adults. (Yeah, she's a bit on the spoiled side on this block.)

I am going to try (yes, I make no promises) to take some summer photos next week. Since we are now only homeschooling, the burden of "school" pictures rests on my shoulders, and I would rather send out photos during the beautiful summer, then at Christmas, so that is my plan. Pray for me. Have you ever tried to photograph a monkey, hyper dog, and a melodramatic preteen rock-star? Well, that is about what it feels like when I try to take pictures of my lovely children. Two was basically manageable. Three is downright Vodka-inspiring!

Anyhoo.... that is all for tonight. Just wanted to say "hello" from Tennessee. We are having a massive garage sale this weekend, so you may not hear from me again... okay, at least not until after the sale. :-)

Have a blessed week,

Monday, June 2, 2008

Wow! It's June!!

Now that we are no longer schlepping up to preschool three days a week, we have so much more time!! I really anticipated this post-preschool time, but even I hadn't realized how much time it was sucking from my schedule! During the past week, I have spent that bonus time on the house... well, the time that wasn't taken up with the many treks outside we are taking now that all the kids are out of school. I have been getting caught up on the things around the house that have been waiting for months to get done. The next step is Quin's Room!! We have to plan it out first, but we will be painting it soon, then once the bedding is done, his room will be finished! I can't wait!!!

We will be having our garage sale this coming weekend, so that will get rid of half the mess in the garage, YAY! It is kind of a hassle to have a garage sale with three kids, but it has to happen.

Hubby got his Dad's Day gift early since we caved at Lowe's yesterday and picked up the Weber grill he has been wanting. No more propane!! We are grilling for dinner tonight, then off to the pool, where, by the way, the older children have finally mastered the doggy paddle and the underwater swim!! Praise the Lord!!!

Well, I am at a loss for what to write today, and Dania is sleeping, so I am going to go get ta' steppin' on somethin'.... probably the kitchen.... or the laundry.... which is always lying in wait.

Have a great day!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Happy Memorial Day, All!

Well, tomorrow is Memorial Day. It is a day to remember those who have risked their lives to maintain our way of life here in America. It is a day to remember the families who have lost loved ones in the fight - to honor their sacrifices in true American spirit: by celebrating what they have fought for - our freedom.

We may disagree about religion, politics, taxes, education, and our fundamental values, but that is the beauty of our nation: we are free to disagree. Thanks to all of the many men and women who have gone and those who continue to go out into the world to fight on our behalf. We are indebted to each of you as we sit comfortably in our homes with television, computer, air-conditioning, refrigerators, telephones, running water, electricity, and easy access to food. Your dedication to this great nation inspires me, maybe not to join you on the battlefield, but to be true to the American Dream - to live in loving compassion in this world, working hard, helping others, speaking kindly, honoring differences, and loving one another as Christ loves each of us.

May each of you say a prayer for those soldiers in harm's way right now, a prayer for the families of those fallen soldiers, and a prayer for the men and women who have come safely home from war. From our lips to God's ears, let's light up the prayer lines this Memorial Day and remind ourselves of a sacrifice being made on our behalf.

Now, go grill your hot dogs and play catch with those youngsters!

God Bless,

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Hello-o-o-o! Anybody Home??

My mortgage holder is about to make me nuts! These people, who own our loan, who are as intimate with the terms of the loan as we, the borrowers, are, keep contacting us to refinance. Yeah, you're thinking, "so what?" I'll tell you so what! They write us letters telling us how much we can save on our monthly payments if we'll just pay $2000 closing costs and, oh, increase our interest rate. THEN, they call me... they tell me they have a great offer for me on a refinance interest rate that is gonna save me lots of money. Yeah, okay, tell me about it. She puts on someone who can help me (so the person who called me can't actually tell me about the great deal she called to offer me?? that was my first clue), and this guy gets on and asks me if we have any plans for a refinance. Umm, so I tell the guy, "gee, we're always willing to see what the new rates are to see if we can save some money." So he ASKS ME WHAT MY CURRENT RATE IS! When I tell him, he pauses and then says, "well, we can't really beat that right now. Can I help you with something else?" Like these people didn't just CALL ME to offer me some GREAT DEAL that isn't better than my CURRENT RATE which they should ALREADY KNOW!!! ARRGGGH! Does anybody out there have a brain?!!?!

And if that isn't bad enough, my bank offered me a free savings account that I signed up for, after which point, they began charging me monthly maintenance fees. When I called to inform them that that wasn't going to fly, they informed me that I was not authorized to make any inquiries or changes on the account because it was set up in my husband's name. Umm, my name is on the account, they take money off of our joint account and my debit card, but I cannot make changes or inquiries?!?! I can set up a new account, add something, give them more of my money, but I cannot ask about my money or take my money away. Point me to the nearest shotgun, I have some doofuses to put out of my misery!

Oh, and we had the sleep study Monday night. It went well and not well at the same time. What was great was that Dania had all of her issues for them to see: she snored, she was restless frequently during the night, she talked in her sleep, and she woke up and wanted to nurse twice. What was not so great was that the wires and electrodes on her actually made her a little more likely to awaken during each restless period, so needless to say, Mommy got almost no sleep. Then, they woke us up at 5:20am to take all the stuff off (like, people, we are here because we aren't getting enough sleep, you couldn't wait for a decent hour to wake us up!?!). By 6:30am, we were home, and by 8am, we were delusional from exhaustion. We have finally recovered by now, though, and are doing well. Well, other than the banking and mortgage nincompoops making me insane.

May God grant me patience in dealing with incompetence, wisdom when making future banking decisions, and serenity, dammit, just because I am overdue.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Tonight's The Night!

Tonight we go to the sleep lab. Just Dania and Mommy. And some strangers. And some cameras. And some electronics hooked up to wires hooked up to Dania. Should be a nice restful night away from home.

Dania got up early, as usual. She took a somewhat short nap, though, so we are going to have to travel up toward Nashville early or she will fall asleep on the way up. That would be bad. We'll probably meet Daddy up by his office and have dinner, then be on our way. We must park in the stadium parking garage (yeah, we'll be sure to arrive before dark), and be checking in by 7 or 7:30pm. Then we have to have lights out by 10p and they will wake us up at 6:30a. Like I need one more person whose job it is to wake me up before 7am.

Well, here's the rundown of what we can expect, physically:
electrodes on head and forehead, affixed with washable gel;
electrodes on sides of eyes to monitor REM sleep blinking and movements;
electrodes on chin to monitor face muscle activity;
electrodes on chest for heartrate;
electrodes on each leg;
band of some sort around chest; and
band around waist/abdomen to measure breathing.
She has to sleep alone, and there will be some sort of cot for me to sleep on.
No nap after 2pm, for obvious reasons, and no caffeine after noon. Darn. She'll miss her bedtime cup of coffee.
Oh! And no acrylic nails. For Dania. I need to take those off....
(these are generic instructions, obviously)

That should put her right to sleep, dontcha think??? Well, they say that some people have trouble, so if Dania doesn't tolerate it, they can put as much of that stuff on after she is asleep as she will allow.

It should be interesting, considering we are going there because she doesn't sleep well, and they are wanting her to sleep from 9 or 10pm until 6 or 6:30am. Hee hee. Riiiiiight. They'll see.

We have been cleaning and doing laundry, but I still have some packing to do for tonight. Dania has broken out in hives every time she has stayed in a hotel, so we are bringing our own pillows, blankets, sheets, etc. We are also bringing snacks, sippy cups, breakfast-in-the-car foods, and books for bedtime. Hubby informed me this morning that I get all the crap jobs. Yeah, no kidding. Sometimes, quite literally!

We'll let you know how it went tomorrow. I know you are all going to be wringing your hands on our behalf!! :-)
Have a restful night,

Saturday, May 17, 2008

My Day Started All Wrong....

This morning, not only was I up before 7 am again, but I actually waited until my husband was done with his run and his shower to start the coffee. Then the unthinkable happened: my coffee pot broke. AAAAAAKKK! Noooooooo! The pot is sputtering and hissing, and I look over at it in confusion (I have already been awake for 1 1/2 hours at this point, so the fact that I even heard it and noticed something amiss is a miracle!). The coffee seems to be bubbling up under the decanter on the hot plate. Hmmm. I took the pot by the handle and lifted it off the burner, and proceeded to wipe up some of the spill and ascertain the origin of the mess. At this point, I realize that the coffee is still dripping off the decanter, but I have wiped it clean. Not good. Aha! There is a crack! A crack! In the decanter! WHAT?!?! I spin around crazily for half a second contemplating how to proceed as I watch in a panic as my life-giving force is draining out of the pot and onto the counter. Oh! I grab a couple of cups and begin salvaging the coffee that's left in the cursed decanter before it can all drip out (because, of course, the crack is at the bottom). Then I rig the cups under the drain on the pot to get the rest of the blessed brew out of the machine before I turn the thing off to stop all that hissing and spitting. Add some creamer, sit down, and Whew! Crisis barely averted!

Thanks to a neighbor, and lifesaver, we have a borrowed pot while we search for the receipt of our new coffee maker that should be replaced by the manufacturers, thank you very much! My children were dangerously close to seeing what happens when Mommy doesn't get to satisfy her one guilty pleasure. It wouldn't have been pretty.

May you all have a crisis-free weekend.

{Angie's Note: of course, this is written mostly in jest. I realize people have real problems.}

Friday, May 16, 2008

Long Time, No Write

Whew, has it been that long since I posted something?? Sorry about that. I know you all missed me! :-)

It has been a busy week, and mostly I am sleep-deprived. The unspoken law of families with multiple children is apparently that at least one child must rise before the sun each day. It never fails. I need to find out the code for that command so I can break it!

Well, Quin is officially a kindergartener now! We are all done with preschool. We had graduation and his preschool program. Yes, I actually teared up at the graduation... surprised me, I can tell you that! Clearly, I am frightened about homeschooling to be crying over him finishing preschool! (just kidding, calm down)

His ceremony was cute!! The best part was watching the other parents' reactions to the Tutti Ta song. I guess, unless you've worked in preschool, this is not part of your repertoire. It is a good one, though, and every preschooler loves it!! (Beck, does Cameron still do it for you?)

Anyway, the whole preschool turned out for the program this morning, and it sure was cute!!! Our class sang a cute little Spanish song, "Mi cuerpo hace musica!" It was adorable!! Especially the "cha cha cha" that their little waists (cinchuritas) did! They did a great job, but the place was packed, and we high-tailed it out of there as soon as we could.

The smallest and most demanding of my children has been playing "I'm not going to sleep and you can't make me" games this week, so I am a little strung out. Thanks to Hershey's Bliss chocolates, I have still managed to let her live. :-) Yes, chocolate is my whiskey.

The weather has been unseasonably cool. That's due to global warming, I'm sure. {insert smirk} The kids are enjoying playing outdoors a lot, but we are having to dig into the stacks of pants we had packed away, so the laundry is a disaster. Have I mentioned yet that laundry is the bane of my existence? No? Hmmm....

Well, this is a ramble, I am sorry to say, but I felt like posting an update from our house. We go to the sleep lab on Monday to get Dania checked out, but we won't really know anything for about a month. We'll let you know how it goes.

Blessings from our house to yours,

Sunday, May 11, 2008

What is a Mother?

Today is the day that we celebrate mothers. Mothers who get too little sleep, too little privacy, too little quiet, too little appreciation, too little pay (yeah, like NONE!), too little praise, too little education, and too little societal support. Oh, and we get lots of crying, explosions of bodily fluids, tantrums, teething, whining, arguing, sibling rivalry, yelling, and messes.

We are an underpaid, under appreciated necessity, and we are too often overlooked as functional members of our society. Honestly, my husband does less at his job than I do at mine. That is obviously not the case in all households, but it is in ours. Working a full-time job was a breeze compared to what I do now!

It isn't easy to be a mother, but it is a lot harder to be a bad mother with rotten kids, so I will do what I can to keep my kids from being rotten. Sure, they'll need therapy for something horrible I have done or will do to them, but they will be the product of my constant, conscious efforts. It may not be everything, but it is all I have to give. And I know that one day, when my time on this earth is done, I will get to heaven and God will smile upon me and say, "well done, good and faithful servant" because I tried to do the best I could with what He gave me.

As women, we need to band together. We need to support each other's dreams and goals and efforts. We need to stop building ourselves up on the backs of those we have knocked down! This disturbs me tremendously, how vindictive and catty we can be as a gender. We are supposedly the gentle, quiet, supportive, emotional gender, but we are so horrible to one another! Suburban women are taking stimulants to keep all their balls in the air so they can lay in bed at night knowing their kids go to the best schools, wear the best clothes, take all the best lessons, and attend the best dance/karate classes. COME ON, LADIES! Motherhood is tough enough, let's not make it harder! There is no race, there is no competition, there is no everything! YOU CAN NOT HAVE IT ALL! It is a MYTH!!!

I worked as a childcare evaluator once upon a time, and we used a evaluation tool devised by a group of experts over a period of time. One of those experts was known for saying something like this: "for every good thing you do, you give up something good." In other words, you may have a benefit for something you are doing, but there will be something you have missed by doing it. I may spend a lot of time with my kids, but my house is neglected. Hmm, let me check my priorities....

Just think about what you are doing. That's all I am saying. Don't let the world tell you what your family should do; don't let the world or the media or your neighbors measure your success for you. (Can you tell peer pressure wasn't a big problem for me in my teens?)

God loves you for YOU. He didn't create you to be Wonder Woman or SuperMom, just the best YOU that you can be. And He also didn't create us to be judge and jury of every other woman's life choices (outside of dangerous or child-hazardous situations, butt out!)

Okay, exit soap box for today. Have a blessed Mother's Day. And don't forget to bless yours.