Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Point Me to My Pillow

What do you get when you take a houseful of early risers, stir in a cranky, teething toddler, add a touch of printer screwup, pour on a "honey, I forgot to take the garbage to the curb," whip up a banana bread, dab on scrubbing the stains out of cream-colored grout, mix in a "Toddler's Nap on the Go," throw in some homeschooling, errands, a creative project, push-up ice cream pops in the car... followed by car seat dismantling and scrubbing (like I needed more laundry), playing outside with the sand box, which leads to supervising three children washing sand off, cooking up a homemade meatloaf (which was YUM! by the way!), packing hubby up for a wedding weekend away, running and emptying the dishwasher TWICE, dodging refinancing offers from the mortgage company and cable "bundle" packages from the internet company, and planning for a field trip with the preschool?

Umm, well, you get a pretty worn-out Family Manager.

And then I found out my Farmer's Market is only open on Saturdays. {frown}

I need a cup of tea, a tub of bubbles, a great book, and a week of peace. Did I mention my husband is going out of town to attend a wedding?? Yeah, he'll be gone for the preschool fieldtrip, the Farmer's Market opening, the dance recital I can't go to now, and a new preschool friend's birthday party. Maybe I can settle for a single night's dreamless (please, God) sleep.

Good night,

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

You Are What You Eat

I am so excited because our Farmer's Markets open on Thursday!  Last autumn, as many of you probably know, I read a wonderfully eye-opening book about the food we eat.  And while I hesitate to agree with them 100% on the humans-aren't-carnivores issue, I am in FULL agreement with them on the health of the foods we put into our bodies. I cannot wait to get locally-grown produce and family-farmed meats and dairy and eggs!! YAY!


Now, many of you will roll your eyes at this post, especially those of you who knew the horrors of the animal-to-food cycle already – and if you did, SHAME ON YOU!!


I, however, was completely naive to the goings on in the factory farms. Oh, was I in for a very rude awakening! If you still do not know of what I speak, I highly recommend you get a copy of the book I read, The Skinny Bitch (thanks Corey and Mom for the book!). It will tell you all you need to know. It will also advise veganism, but I leave that to your own discretion. I am personally going with humanely-farmed and humanely-slaughtered meats and poultry, organic dairy, and cage-free eggs. You can also check out this guy: who is right on target with would say if I had all day to put it together. But really, he already said it, so why reinvent the wheel?


Okay, so now you are whining (uh-huh, whining) about the cost of going organic and cage-free, and I gotta tell ya, we have had a huge budget increase in the grocery area, but really, people, you are either going to pay for it in your food or you are going to pay for it in health costs down the line. Would you rather change the stuff you put in your body or fully finance a doctor's yacht? Okay, that was a touch sarcastic, but I am trying to make a point.


My point is this: the food we eat now is garbage. Animals should be treated humanely as they are raised and slaughtered for two basic reasons: A) we have a moral obligation to treat all living things with dignity, and if you aren't buying that, here's another one, B) the crap (yes, crap) the animals go through shows up in their meat, so stress hormones that are at high levels during the slaughter are in the meat you eat in your kitchen. Now, I don't know about you, but I have enough problems keeping MY hormones from killing me; I don't think I want the cow's and chicken's, too!


Oh, and if you are thinking, "our government is addressing this, so I am okay" – think again! Check these links out: Hmm, does that photo of the cow being restrained for stunning look calming to you?? this guy used to be a slaughter worker. Now, he is a vegetarian. Hmmm. older article, but still happening! The system is not fixed because consumers are placing their trust with governmental agencies who are big on promises and low on follow-through and truth.


Okay, I am climbing off my soapbox now. Got laundry to do. No surprise there.

See ya at the Farmer's Market!


Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Dining Room Table Unearthed!

We have had a relaxing weekend, but we have stayed pretty busy... of course, we have 3 children under the age of 10 in this house, so how could we not stay busy?? Today, we got quite a bit of off-and-on drizzle, so we spent a good deal of time indoors. So, I decided to tackle The Dining Room Table That Was!

Our dining room table got covered with stuff for two reasons: Dania could not reach up here so stuff we didn't want her to touch went upon it; and some stuff doesn't have an immediate "home" when it comes in the door, so it gets parked on the table. Because of this, my husband commented last week, "What dining room table?? We don't have a dining room table, we have a craft table!" And he was right.

Well, today, I unearthed it! I can see the beautiful wood, and I can almost claim it to be cleaned off! Certainly by the end of Tuesday, we will have our Dining Room Table back.... At least temporarily.

Once I get The Dining Room Table cleared of all that stuff, I am going to spread Quin's quilt out on it and turn it into The Craft Table once more. Only this time, it will have a higher purpose: to get Quin's handmade quilt finished so his room can be decorated once and for all! He has been so patient!!

Clearing the dining room table was painful to The Toddler Who Doesn't Like to be Ignored, but we endeavored to persevere - and we are more than halfway done! Also, the eldest child entertained herself today, so we saw very little of her, and The Toddler Who Doesn't Like to be Ignored considers her older sister to be her Back-Up Mommy... so she was really having a rough day!

Well, Praise God for the energy and diligence for all I accomplished today! Tomorrow can start without that headache hanging over me!

I hope each of you who reads this post had a wonderful weekend.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Gambling in Alaska

Are you a gambler? Do you enjoy playing the odds? Is gambling legal where you live?

Anyone can gamble in Alaska. With his life.

Have you seen the many shows on The Discovery Channel about Alaska?? I think this was Alaska Week or something, but I am still amazed at the things people do for "fun"... or whatever you'd call it.

Not being a gambler at all myself, the idea of putting my life in the ante is a tad radical. Somehow, various people find value in discovering if they can survive in the Alaskan wilderness - whether their danger comes from a "mock" accident or a hypothetical scenario. Avid explorers drop into near-freezing water to see how their bodies react to the cold (umm, the body gets really cold, really fast), fling themselves down snowy hills from the back of snowmobiles to determine how to find shelter in the dark, dark, dark Alaskan night (by building an igloo - okay, that was cool info), and cause an avalanche to bury one of their team - on purpose - to demonstrate how someone buried in an avalanche is rescued (this one set my claustrophobia on high-alert!). These fiascoes were only the tip of the iceberg, pardon my pun.

"Powerfully beautiful" and "cold, wet wind" are descriptions given by these brave daredevils. The scenery may have been awe-inspiring, but none of the many feet of snow, vast wilderness, or cracked glaciers that look like mountains in the videos increased my yearning to travel to Alaska. Not even in a planned vacation. Can you say, "brr!"?

Hmm.... I wonder if all transplanted Alaskans are born gamblers...?
Predictably at home, safe and warm,

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Hole-Punchers and Vanderbilt

Yup. The name pretty much says it all. My day started with my eight- and five-year-olds deciding to experiment with the art supplies. My son put his finger in the hole-puncher and my daughter punched a hole in it. Commence wailing, bleeding, and panicking.

"Quin got cut" was the first explanation. Then, "Calysta used the hole-punch on my finger" and "He told me to do it" and "No, I didn't!" Sob, sob, sob, bleed, bleed, bleed.

Yeah, well, 12 minutes later, the bleeding isn't slowing with the crying, so the our Pediatrician's office advises us to take a trip the to Vanderbilt Children's Hospital Emergency Room. Really?!?! Jack that panicking up a few notches, folks, and off we go!

About 3 1/2 hours later, we are on our way home with a $75 bandage. Mmm-hmmm. An ER trip that results in the doctor washing the cut out with WATER and putting a gauze BANDAGE on my not-so-smart son's finger.

The good news is that there was no need of stitches because the damage wasn't deep enough to warrant them, and stitches would deform the finger more than letting it heal would. Also, since our shots are up-to-date, we needn't worry about a tetanus shot either. Joy! Happy boy! So, almost two hours of cartoons later, we left with little more than expensive peace of mind.

And having had no breakfast myself before the incident, the lack of food and adrenaline crash left me completely wrung out. I am sooooo ready for bed.

My children clearly cannot be trusted with art/office supplies.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Life in a Minivan

Okay, today I decided to clean out the minivan. Yeah, I know, I was feeling energetic.

So, we had too many toys, too many books, too much trash, too many empty water bottles, too many half-eaten bags of snack, and too many CD cases. Why is my old wallet still in the car... empty? Why do my children think the floor is the trash? Why does my toddler have 3 socks under her seat... and none of them made a single pair!

There were crushed Goldfish, stale graham crackers, smooshed Junior Mints, and Jeepers! people, did you know that french fries do not mold? We haven't eaten at McDonald's in almost a month, and that french fry still looked exactly the same!! What are they made out of??? Glad we gave those up, I can tell you that!

Well, we finally got it cleaned out, vacuumed and put back together. 412 trips into the house with miscellaneous stuff, 208 jaunts to the garbage can with often unidentifiable ick, 39 trips around the van with the vacuum cleaner cord, and 583 halts to keep The Disappearing Toddler from ingesting coins or lip balm.

I have no plans to let any of my children ever step foot in the minivan again.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Early Bird

The early bird may get the worm, but he can have it if he just lets me sleep! Another restless night and early morning toddler alarm started the day for me today. Dania was in full-cute form, though, and was impossible to ignore!

As we tickled and snuggled our way to complete wakefulness, the sun (and older children) arose to greet us. So, naturally, I flung food into hungry mouths at the speed of light, tackled mountains of laundry, conquered the retail Superdome, shoveled some lunch, convinced the toddler to take a siesta, educated the second-grader, restocked hubby's favorite restaurant salsa, and narrowly escaped sunburn at the homeschool park day. All before dinner.

Now, the little ones are nestled all snug in their beds, and I am fading fast. Sunshine, fresh air, early start, busy day.... sure makes a sleepy mommy. My least favorite thing about bedtime? Once I fall asleep, my next conscious thought will be that it is time to do it all again.
See you tomorrow,

Monday, April 21, 2008

Consider it all Joy!

I have spent the past few days with a renewed spirit for love and peace in my home. God has been showing me some areas that I need to work on, and I have asked Him for His help. He is so faithful! I have had a marvelous few days!

God advises us in the Bible to "consider it all joy," and oftentimes I fail to appreciate all I have with my attitude and actions. For the past 5 days, I have been slower to anger, quicker to smile, more likely to stop what I am doing to have a snuggle or a conversation with one of my children, and overall putting forth more effort in enjoying my life.

To some of you, that may seem sad: that I have to put forth effort to enjoy my life. However, with three children, the house, the laundry, the errands, the homeschooling, the preschool run, the cooking, the illnesses, and the lack of sleep, it had caught up to me. I had found myself struggling through each day rather than rejoicing in it. Well, no more!

Tonight, I am using my blog to Praise my Lord, my King, my God, who in His omnipotence and faithfulness has granted me the patience I prayed for and has refreshed my spirit! My family thanks Him, too!

May God bring each of you comfort as you read this post, and may He ease any troubles you may have. We can do ALL things through Christ, for He gives us strength. As you finish reading, please join me in prayer for my mom: Heavenly Father, we lift Pam up to you tonight, that You would lay Your healing touch upon her and heal her back. We have faith in Your power, and we join together in prayer for Your child. You are a Healing God. We praise Your name, and we thank You for Your healing! It is in Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.


Sunday, April 20, 2008

From Frost to Sunburns

When I moved to northern Florida as a young adult, I remember people saying, "If you don't like the weather, stick around: it'll change." Since living in Tennessee, I have found the same conditions. We moved here from Orlando to be near family and to enjoy a change of seasons, and Middle Tennessee sure delivers the changes. We just didn't know the changes were so frequent and dramatic!

Last year, we had an unusually late freeze that killed a bunch of our poor plants. Then we had or Spring rains and tornado scares. That was followed up by a very dry and hot summer that killed almost all of our grass and much of our other plants. Then we actually had precipitation during the winter that brought snow for the kiddos to enjoy!

Last month, I pulled out everyone's summer clothes and began to wash them because the weather turned warm. The next day (with the summer clothes still in the process of being laundered - have I mentioned that laundry never ends???), it was downright cold. Pull out those fuzzy socks, people!

This past week, we covered our Japanese Maple tree to protect it from frost. Today, my family is suffering from sunburns. Yep. Gotta love Middle Tennessee.


Saturday, April 19, 2008

Stumping the Pediatrician

When my first child was born, I was stupid enough to believe that a Bachelor's Degree in Child Psychology and Development plus 6 years of nanny experience had prepared me for anything motherhood could throw at me. Oh, the ways God has rearranged my thinking! Little did I know that my jaunt through parenting would include a trip to the pediatrician that would end with my toddler stumping the pediatrician.

That's right, the last time we visited our family pediatrician and inquired about a particular concern, he actually said, "Hmm… well, that is a new one. Let me know if that proves to be true and we'll figure out how to treat her." Right. Just my luck. I have brought one of my many issues to the doctor, only to have him scratch his head in confusion! What is the issue, you wonder? Pinworms. Yep. Nasty things that school-aged kids get all the time, but one-year-olds? Apparently not so common. And the real kicker? She isn't old enough for the medication commonly prescribed, so we had to figure out how we were going to handle the little buggers.

As if HAVING a pinworm problem isn't enough to make you shudder and scrub the top layer of skin off yourself and your unfortunate offspring, add to that the uncertainty of treating the vermin! Well, two days after finding one of these repulsive freeloaders on our poor dirt-munching toddler, we finally have medicine in hand. Commence full-scale sanitation!

Yeah, I remember having pinworms as a school-aged kid, but I remember being very embarrassed about it. Silly me, I have absolutely no recollection of my poor mom sanitizing the entire family and home. Yep. Talk about egocentrism.

Remember my lamentations about laundry? Yep. God has a sense of humor. Oh, the joys of motherhood! (I started to write "parenthood" here, but really, who is dealing with this? Yeah, exactly.)


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Where a Kid Can Be a Kid!

Yeah, you already know what this entry is about! We went to Chuck E Cheese's today for a friend's birthday. It was fantastic! The kids had a mahhhvelous time - and so did the adults!

The place was practically empty, which made following The Disappearing Toddler much nicer since we left The Puppy Leash in the van (come on, people, it is Chuck E Cheese's! she's practically safe here!). Calysta's favorite part was making little plastic cards with her photo on them - they resemble club membership cards. She made a cool dozen, easy. Quin's favorite part was... umm, well, Chuck E Cheese's. He just really gets a kick out of the freedom to roam and play and play and roam. He literally bounces around, looking intense rather than joyous. It is odd, but it is Quin's way. Dania's favorite part was putting the tokens in the slot! Mommy was so proud the first time she did it: excellent fine motor skills, you know. Finally, after the third or fourth time she put tokens in and abandoned me to play the game alone, I had caught on to her game.

All was going well until (dun-dun-dun!)... Chuck E made his appearance! Calysta hit the deck, Dania clung to Mommy, Quin reluctantly gave him a "five" and Chuck E happily moved on, noticing his less-than-impressive welcome at our table. As Chuck E moved on to torment different unsuspecting playmates, Calysta came out from under the table and Dania went back to her food and her feet... (we've already covered my medals for Mother of the Year, remember?)

So, a fun time was had by all... And I was thinking (dangerous business, I know). I think the slogan should be "Where YOU Can Be a Kid!"

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A Fly On Our Walls

Today was just a regular day here at our house. The girls and I took Quin to preschool this morning, then went to run some errands. We had a little time after our errands and before Quin's preschool let out, so we took a jaunt over to the local park. We hadn't been there before, but we like it better than our park in our town.

We ran into a friend and met a new one at the park, and we wandered all over the many different play areas. The best part of the park was when Calysta said that she wished Quin was with us. :-) They sure love each other.

Well, after we picked Quin up, we headed home, with a trip to the library drop-box on the way. Dania took a nap, the big kids played outside, and I got to read the last 2 chapters of a book I had been reading for a week. After Dania's nap, we had a snack and played some more, followed by more time outside. And Quin is getting GREAT at riding his bicycle without the training wheels! He just takes off and does such a great job! And he is sooooo proud!!!

We took dinner out of the freezer and heated it up (thank you, once-a-week-cooking!), ate, then went back outside. (In case you couldn't tell, we had fantastic weather today.) We weeded some of our weed garden to allow for more strawberries - it appears we are going to have a great crop of strawberries really soon! Bring on the fresh fruit! Also, it looks like our blueberries are going to make it - many on the way - and the raspberry vine is still hanging on.

We stayed outside until it was almost dark, then packed up and came inside, where the kids bathed and had snack and got into bed. Overall, it was an uneventful day. We enjoyed the outdoors and the weather and each other.

Quin's preschool evaluation is Friday, so we will be taking him again - Daddy gets a reprieve! Tomorrow, we are going to Chuck E Cheese's for a 5-year-old birthday celebration. I will probably have LOTS to tell you tomorrow night! :-D

So, it was a good day. And now that everyone is in bed, I realize that I am tired, too. Off to bed with me....

P.S. We fixed the comment problem - if you have tried to leave comments but couldn't without logging in, it is all better now. Comment away!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Laundry and Taxes

Okay, so a great majority of U.S. citizens are frantically filing their IRS forms to pay their taxes. I am frantically separating whites and colors. In our house, the laundry is like Uncle Sam; it is always there, and there is no ignoring it. The laundry multiplies exponentially when it goes into the various hampers in my home, so I always have laundry to do. Sort of like your taxes. No matter how many taxes you pay, there are always more taxes waiting for you. You cannot escape taxes, much like I cannot escape laundry.

We full-time moms lament frequently about the woes of clothes. I tell my family regularly that if they would all just walk around naked, I could catch up on the piles of dirty clothes in this house. Sadly, or fortunately, depending on your perspective, they have yet to try it. Therefore, I shall stay mired in the depths of laundry for eternity… or at least until my children are old enough to do their own.

And so, before I turn in for the night, I must first transfer wet things to the dryer and dry things to the basket and the basket to the bedroom, where it will be dumped, sorted, hung, folded, and assigned to various living quarters. Assuming all the socks actually match….

One of these days I am going to find a hamper that doesn't reproduce.

Happy Tax Day!


Monday, April 14, 2008

Naps, Beautiful, Lovely Naps

For the first two weeks of my youngest daughter's life, sleep was not an issue. We thought we had struck the jackpot. Around the 2-week-old mark, though, everything changed. Colic in the evenings (thank you, God, that it wasn't all day) and reflux issues reared their ugly heads in our newest angel. At this point, I made the executive decision to sleep with baby propped upon my chest while I lay propped on pillows on our couch in the living room. Dania and I slept this way for a couple of months while the doctors tried to regulate her reflux with medications. Eventually, her body fixed itself, and we were back to bed, but the damage was done. The child wanted to sleep touching her mother.

Now, if you know anything about my parenting of the first two children, you will know that sleeping with Mommy was not much of a problem for me… I desired it. However, wanting to co-sleep and creating a Mommy-sweater were two different issues! Anyway, I endeavored to "wear the baby" (attachment parenting phrase for holding baby in sling or in arms), even at night. Which leads us to our more recent weeks….

Dania is a strong-willed child who is incredibly smart. She keeps us laughing in this house, and we are pretty sure she is going to be a spoiled brat because it is difficult to get too angry with her when she is being so smart and adorable! So, moving on to sleep, Dania is still not sleeping all night long. I know, she is 18-months old. So, I started working on this a few weeks ago, gently teaching her to put herself to sleep (while Mommy hums, sings, rubs her tummy, and lays beside her… I know, doesn't seem so independent, does it?). We made great strides with very little fuss (the 2 times I let her fuss too much ended badly – bloody nose and throwing up – so I don't do that to her anymore). Now, we have moved on: we are now working on not waking so many times in the night. That is also going well.

Which brings me to my point: When your toddler has had sleeping issues almost since birth and you haven't slept a full night in almost two years, naps are wonderful, beautiful, NECESSARY things. Today, we didn't get one. Can you tell???? This entry is scattered and disconnected, and I am struggling with completing a thought! Yes, today, Dania fell asleep on the way to pick Quin (my son) up from preschool, so she wasn't sleepy enough on the way home to take a nap at her normal time. Then, she didn't take a nap at our recovery time (this has happened before, but she will usually let me put her down for a nap around 4, which saves us the headache of a crabby toddler all evening long), so we just suffered through. And of course the weather didn't cooperate, so I couldn't take her outside. So I didn't get that quiet time that I desperately need each day....

Okay, this is really a mess, but it would take too many dead brain cells to fix it, so I am going to cut if off and post it as is. Naps…. Lovely things.

Good night,


Sunday, April 13, 2008

Mr. Coffee, 3M, Luvs, and Husbands

How many times a month do you visit a large chain department/drug store such as Target? Well, here in Spring Hill, Tennessee, we have moved up in the world: we now have a Super Target! I know, my sister Corey is bugging her eyes out now because when she came to stay with us back in 2002, we had to (this killed the city girl) "go into town" when we needed stuff not found at our spiffy new Kroger grocery store. Now, though, we have a Publix, CVS, Walgreen's, Tractor Supply, Dippin' Dots, Pizza Hut, Papa John's, Dominoes, Wendy's, McDonald's, Taco Bell… well, you get the idea. We have arrived, as it were.

Okay, so today I needed a couple of odd things that were not all grocery items (sorry, Publix), so our family took a trek over to the Super Target (and we went while everyone else was in church, being the heathens that we are). We strolled through just about every aisle in the place, primarily because hubby apparently doesn't get out much. We slobbered over electronics, ga-gah-ed over housewares, and lingered over video games. Ultimately, we got the 3 items on my list, but we also ensured the job security of every employee working there today. Yes, we impulse-shopped to beat the band.

So, when we get home and I unpack the inevitable impulse purchases, there is a spring in my step as I set up our new Mr. Coffee to drip some wonderful ulcer-killing brew for us to enjoy while I put away all of the random stuff (stuff that naturally belongs in many different places in our 2-story house) that we didn't even intend to purchase in the first place. You may be thinking about reminding me how impulse shopping kills a budget, but have you ever been in a new Super Target before?!?! Jeepers, people, it is a marketing success, all the way! And you know this has happened to you, too.

This, my neighbor says, is retail therapy. And, yes, folks, it is fun and effective. It might not actually be cheaper than a therapist, but it sure puts a smile on my face for a couple of days - at least.

Okay, signing off.


Saturday, April 12, 2008

Walking the Toddler

Okay, I have finally done it. I have succumbed to the insanity of trying to keep track of The Disappearing Toddler in public places, and I have purchased The Toddler Leash. Yes, I, who used to judge parents whose children were restrained by such archaic methods, have attached said yoke to my wandering offspring. The good news is that 'they' now make them look less "harness-like" and more "backpack-like."

So, yesterday, I strapped The Puppy Backpack onto The Disappearing Toddler and set out on foot in… the mall (gasp!). I am pleased to report that it went very well. She loved having The Puppy Backpack on and walked quite confidently beside me for at least 15 minutes. Her confidence grew with each step she took, and that, of course, meant the "wandering offspring" instinct had engaged. As she crawled between racks in the department store, meowing, I valiantly attempted to convince her that the mall was NOT the place to be a kitty, gently tugging on the "leash" to encourage her to GET UP OFF THE DISGUSTING MALL FLOOR BEFORE MOMMY GETS OUT THE LYSOL.

All in all, she did very well curbing her wandering instincts, but the kitty emerged again in the Food Court… gross. Whereupon, being Mother of the Year, we ate our food without disinfecting our "kitty." - I should probably make the doctor's appointment now and save myself the surprise later when my child develops a strange case of Ewww in a day or so, huh?

I did, however, learn something about our offspring that has nothing to do with them and everything to do with me, the parent: with three children, I have gotten so used to their gear that I have designed my plan of attack around it. For example, diaper bags and purses are not separate items in my house, but one unit. Therefore, my "purse" is large and cumbersome… which isn't a big deal when at the mall with a stroller! So, we left the diaper bag/purse in the car and put necessary items in pockets. Umm, well, we didn't have a pocket big enough for a diaper, so of course, The Disappearing Toddler required one of these desperately while in the mall. Oh, and by the way, strollers are also useful in Food Courts for managing the many beverages and foodstuffs that must be carted to – of course - an inside table of the Dining Court depths.

Overall, a productive and not entirely painful step in my journey as a parent. And I even learned something – again, because I am apparently a slow-learner (refer to previous post for "deranged" note) – if you are dumb enough to judge another parent for his/her choices, God will give you an intimate understanding… by blessing you with a similar scenario that will lead you to make similar choices. Thanks, God, for yet another opportunity to appreciate how little I know about parenting! (smile)

Have you walked your toddler today?


Friday, April 11, 2008

Parenting and Children

Well, today's "thought" has been revolving around parenting, the most important job anyone could ever have. (If you question the importance of parenting, think back to the last time you saw or met a person, whether child or adult, who really irritated you with his/her ridiculous behavior or bad attitude.)

Okay, so now that we are on the same page, let me say that you are never prepared to parent your children. While some people have tons of experience with children before becoming parents, still others have never interacted with children prior to the birth of their first child. And yet, no one is ever really fully prepared for the full-time, hair-raising, no-sleeping, spewing, diapering, teething, weaning, biting, screeching, temper-tantrum-throwing, potty-training, runny-nose-wiping, back-talking, I'm-not-eating-that-and-you-can't-make-me-nutrition-coaching, sibling-mediating, money-draining, mess-making life that is a parent's every waking (and often sleeping) moment. (Really, this is the stuff of nightmares. Stephen King's got nothin' on a full-time mother of multiple children!)

Parenting is also the most rewarding job a person could ever be blessed with having. The problem is that God gives us these little people when they are wee-bairns and we fall in love with them while they are sweet and innocent.... Then they stop being sweet and innocent along the way, and you can't send them back! (insert sarcasm) And God, in all His infinite wisdom, has not updated our knowledge base to make us capable of successfully dealing with this attitude shift (not to mention that by the time this happens, we are also well into parenting and a bit deranged). So, we struggle along the way with a kind of trial-and-error parenting, and we get no real feedback about how well we are doing until our blessed offspring are nearly grown... at which point, I might add, it is just about too late to do anything substantial about it.

Well, this rant has absolutely no conclusion since I am still in the throes of parenting. I am just amazed lately by the people our children can become if we aren't absolutely cognizant of our parenting choices along this journey. It is almost daunting to look at your child and imagine them a decade later. We can only hope that we are making appropriate choices more than 50% of the time and praying 100% of the time.

May God Bless you... and your parents,

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Insurance, anyone?

Okay, so here begins a new day... I am going to post a blog. (Shelly, this was all your idea, so if it stinks, let me know, and I will go outside and bury myself in that weed garden.)

Today, we are going to the dentist, and I am thinking (as I fill out the paperwork they were nice enough to mail to me in advance of our first apoointment) about insurance. These days, people feel scared if they do not have insurance. And there are so many kinds of insurance to have!!

There is insurance for automobiles, uninsured drivers (yes, you have insurance that covers you if someone who DOESN'T have insurance hits your car - but, isn't auto insurance mandated by our state... do NOT get me started!)... umm, okay, where was I? Oh, there is also insurance for rental property or homeowners (but if you live in a flood plane, you need additional insurance for floods), boat owners, and business owners have all sorts of insurances. THEN, we have health insurance... just in case something big and bad happens. We also have vision insurance, dental insurance, and prescription drug insurance plans. Let's not forget life insurance, short-term disability insurance, and long-term disability insurance.

I think I heard recently from some company trying to sell me IDENTITY THEFT insurance. So.... if you are shelling out dollars upon dollars each month for all these insurance plans that protect you from life's "what ifs," you almost have to ask yourself... am I really saving money???

The answer is simple. Most people in the prime of their lives with normal seasonal illnesses and no major surgeries are spending money on peace of mind. The select few who are actually saving money by having all these insurances have enough to worry about with all their issues... and those people should give a great "THANK YOU" to the rest of the world - since people who do not need their insurances this year actually saved them money by offsetting the insurance company's risk and expenses.

Well, that is my "thought for the day" - yes, I usually only have one thought each day. :-)

Gotta go pay my insurance premiums...