Thursday, February 23, 2006

Operation Special Delivery

Another quick blog today, but I did want to highlight Operation Special Delivery today.

If you know any expectant mothers who have a husband serving in the military and will have to deliver their baby without him, please direct them to the above site! CAPPA (my certifying organization) has started this free service for women who will have to deliver without their military husbands.

Obviously, I believe that having a doula present at your birth can help make the experience a better one even when dad is there. But when the father is unable to be there due to his service in the military, I'm so happy that there is an organization that is offering free doula services to these women! Please forward this address to any pregnant mothers of military personnel you might know. And if you are a doula who wants to serve other women in this capacity, please check out the website and fill out the application to volunteer your services! Every woman deserves a positive birth memory and while no doula can replace a deployed husband, I believe this can help women achieve that goal.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Not much time

I'm getting ready to head out the door to Bible study (we're starting "Captivating" today), but I did want to share this little video my husband got from a friend. Apologies in advance to those who don't have Windows Media Player and can't access this one.

For all the WVU fans who read my blog.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Another random post

Yesterday was a day off for Jason and Deborah (EVERY day is a day off for the rest of us!). It was a pretty good day.

We got the kids' computer up and running and got all of their games moved upstairs, so they spent some time playing around on the computer yesterday. Faith is getting the hang of the mouse, so even she is able to play some of the Winnie the Pooh games. Definitely fun for them! And with the bedrooms cleaned up a bit, it's easier for them to enjoy playing upstairs. Which is good for me, because I much prefer that their toys stay in their rooms rather than in the living room. If it's messy down here, I'd rather it be from my own crap rather than mine AND theirs.

Jason worked on cleaning in our bedroom -- wow! It's really nice to be able to walk around in there again! I need to hit Wal*Mart to pick up some plastic bins for under the bed (or over it in the space above the bathroom). Too many clothes, not enough dresser space. Once we get that done, it will look a lot better. The next big task will be cleaning out the basement. Yikes! It's just scary down there at this point!

Today I have to sit down and figure out some music for L's wedding. I know most of what I'm going to play, but need to figure out something for her processional. She wants Canon in D for her bridesmaids, but is leaning toward something less traditional for herself. She'd like praise music, but I'm just not sure what might work. All suggestions accepted (although they'll have to be quick today!).

That's about it. I need to finish catching up on laundry. Got a lot done yesterday, but still have a bit more to do. If there's time, I'll probably mop the kitchen floor too. I definitely need to clean out my cabinets, but I might save that for when the girls are away at Princesses on Ice. With just the boys, I might have enough time to work on that Thursday.

Oh, and we have successfully eliminated the final binkie! WOOHOO! He still mentions the bink every now and again, but usually follows it up with how he's a "big boy" and "no more binkie." We'll be tackling diapers in the next couple of months (I'd like to have Bubba potty trained by the time we go to Williamsburg this summer). I can't imagine being finally finished with diapers. After almost 8 years of non-stop diapering, it will be a real joy to not have that to do any more! I'm going to have to ask some math person to figure out about how many diapers that would be (especially when you figure that at least one of those years, I had 3 kids in diapers). I think we might have our own landfill after that!

Monday, February 20, 2006

The Older Brother


Rich's sermon yesterday was about courage and one of his bullet points was, "Take courage -- you are LOVED!" One of the illustrations he used was talking about the prodigal son. Growing up in the church, I've heard this story about as many times as one can hear it. Jesus wove a wonderful example of a father lavishing love upon his son.

However, while there have been times of closeness and distance to my Heavenly Father, there's never really been a time of full turning away for me. Even in days when I was barely walking out my faith, I still knew the Father and I still was "at home." So as much as the picture of the Father running to greet his runaway child appeals to me (I remember Pastor Barry preaching about how undignified that action was and how intentional it was that Jesus said that the father ran to meet his son), I don't know that I've ever really had a moment like that.

I'm a lot more like the older son. I've always read it as a whiney, "I want what he has," kind of thing, and I've hoped that's not been me. But I wonder if what the son is saying (and this is what hit me so hard) is, "Why don't you love me as much as you love your other son?" He never left, so he felt like there was never an opportunity for his dad to show him that unconditional, extravagant love.

So at this point in the service, I'm already feeling pretty weepy. Then I remembered a moment with God that I had a few years ago when we were at NH. We were singing "God of Wonders" and I just had this picture in my mind of God inviting me up to this big wrap-around porch with a porch swing on it. It was early evening, and the lightening bugs were just out. Clear sky, lots of stars out. God didn't have anything to tell me, He just wanted to sit on the porch swing and be with me.

I've drawn comfort from that lots of times. It's nice. It's safe. It's relaxing. It's friendly. And that's how I've always seen it -- God's way of ministering to me in the midst of difficult times.

But yesterday, God showed me so much more in that. You sit on the swing so you can really be with that person. Not just co-exist in the same house or field, but actually invest time in the relationship. To take time, not just to receive love from Him, but to express my love and affection for Him as well.

The father loved the older son. It wasn't a matter of loving the lost son more, he was just showing joy at a son coming to him. The older son had so many opportunities to come to the father, but rather than relationship, he chose co-existence. This is what I do! I haven't felt God's lavish love in a long time, not because He doesn't love me as much as others, but because so often I'm not investing myself back into our relationship.

Today I promise to climb into the porch swing more often. Not for myself, but for my Father.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Getting the van legal and a warning

I'm taking the kids to the DMV today. Yes, all four of them (Deborah has the day off today). Yes, I know it's insane. But today is the last day to get the van titled in WV without needing pay for a license in PA and WV. So as soon as I finish this, we're piling in the van and heading down to Clarksburg to get everything done.

Then I think I'm going to run the kids by Wal*Mart. They got a little money for Valentine's day from grandparents, and since they're probably going to be stuck inside this weekend, I figured I'd let them get some little games or movies or whatever to enjoy.

Also, I definitely need to pick up some dishwashing detergent. I didn't realize I was at the bottom of the box til last night when I emptied the last of it into the dishwasher. Nevertheless, it's gone and I need to get more so at the very least, I can keep up with the dishes!

This leads me to my warning. Never use dish soap in your dishwasher. The last time we ran out of dishwasher detergent, my husband had the idea to just use dish soap in there. It's all just soap for dishes, right?

No. It's not the same. When Deborah came down in the middle of the night to let me know that Faith was up crying, we encountered a kitchen floor absolutely covered with bubbles. And my dishwasher was filled to the brim with suds. It would seem that the stuff you use in your sink produces far more bubbly, scrubbing action than your average Cascade Complete.

Buy the product that is supposed to work in the appliance. It's just good sense.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Where are my keys?!?!?

ARGH!!!! I can't find my keys!!!

I hate stuff like this. I have absolutely no idea where my keys are. I used them on Sunday morning to let us in after church, and I haven't seen them since. There are like 4 places where I put my keys. The hook in the kitchen or my purse, where they actually belong, the end table right beside the door where I'll put them when I use the key to unlock the door, or the kitchen counter, where I put them when I bring them through to put food on the counter. I've looked all the places where they might have fallen to from those places and nothing. It would be one thing if these were my old set that were pretty small andcould get lost more easily, but this set is massive.

BAH!!!

I have no idea where they are. Jason left me his set today, but it's just really irritating. I guess this afternoon we'll have to do a major search. Now I have to get the kidlets dressed and out the door for MOPS.

ETA: Found my keys -- now I can't find my cell phone! LOL!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Nice evening

Jason and I had a really great Valentine's evening. He got the kids all wound up and tuckered out by wrestling with them for a good while (which they LOVE!). It's just so awesome to see him running around with the four of them hanging off of him from every which way! Very sexy! And then when I went to the store to grab stuff for supper, he cleaned up the living room for me (he read my blog and is such a sweetie that he immediately helped out, without me needing to say anything!).

We then enjoyed a nice steak dinner and some cheap wine. Sat on the couch for a while watching men's figure skating and then went back to bed. ;-D It was a good night!

I feel much better today. I definitely need to be more honest with Jason about stuff that bugs me. I just got into such a habit of protecting him from every criticism while we were trying to figure out what was wrong that now that he's medicated, I don't always trust that he's going to respond well when I ask him to help out. But I can't expect things to change if I don't talk. So I'm going to suck it up more and be honest when stuff bugs me.

Hmmm... not much else going on. I have lots of oldish pictures (from this summer through about October) that I need to scan and get up either here or at the family website in the next couple of days. Jason has rehearsal for Mountain Angel tomorrow night, so I'll probably try to get it done then. There are some really cute ones of the kidlets that I've got to show off!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

My other common complaint...

I have to let the other folks in the house help out more.

I get so angry that I'm the only one who does anything to help maintain the house. Now, that's not entirely true, but to be honest, it's pretty close. I don't ask the kids to clean up that often, and I almost never ask Jason to do anything. Most of the time I just mumble around and do it myself.

Unfortunately, it leaves me terribly burned out and then NOTHING gets done.

Again, it's a question of balance. I know upkeep in the house is primarily my job, given that I'm the one who is here most of the day. I think what frustrates me is if I don't finish something, it simply doesn't get finished. Say I put away most of the clothes, but leave a couple things on the bed after folding laundry. Instead of going in the drawer, they get piled on the counter. Now, I sorted the laundry, washed the laundry, put it in the drier, brought it upstairs, folded it, but if I don't get it in the drawer, it ends up on the dresser or on the floor and gets dirty again. That's one thing. I'm sure there are others. Little stuff that gets primarily done by me, but then isn't finished or helped out by other folks.

Unfortunately, I never mention these things until I'm exhausted and pissed off and then I just yell and nothing changes. And then 2 or 3 weeks from now it will bug me again and I'll explode again. And everyone tunes me out and the cycle continues.

Well, since it's Valentine's day, I'm not going to bring it up today (right now I'm more interested in getting the bedroom looking like some place remotely romantic instead of the garbage heap that it looks like now), but I think tomorrow night I'm going to have to turn off the TV and sit and TALK to Jason. The stuff with the kids is just about me giving up some perfectionist ideology and just asking them to do more. They're usually more than willing to help out -- I just need to give them more opportunity to do it. The stuff with Jason is more about me talking to him rationally rather than emotionally. Freaking out is unhelpful for both of us -- talking (and I know it's going to have to be more than once) when I'm not in the middle of the situation might be more helpful. And I need to be forthright -- not beat around the bush. Ugh. I'm such a girl about stuff like that!

As for Valentine's day, no big plans here. I think we'll probably grill some steaks and maybe grab a bottle of wine. No doubt some "adult" activity, but beyond that, no plans. We're not much for Valentine's day -- as an adult it's always struck me as more of a kids' holiday. We did get the kids some little candies. Next week Jason is taking the girls to see Disney Princess's on Ice and I'm going to do something with the boys. I know that will be fun!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Buckle down day

I was reading my friend Grace's blog (see Freezer Cooking at the right) and she mentioned cleaning out her pantry. Which reminded me that I'm severely behind in cleaning. So as soon as I finish this, I'm off to tackle the living room.

This is yet another part of balance I have to figure out. When everything went down all at once with our two best friends, everything else just stopped. I haven't cleaned, I haven't fixed good meals, I haven't really invested with the kids (although I caught that one a little earlier and spent some good time with them this weekend) -- I just stopped everything and only worried about that. Of course, now I'm paying the price of only doing one thing, in that my living room is looking absolutely frightful!

I know that I probably need to get back into FLYLady. I was doing really well with that for a while, and everything felt a little more balanced. But even when I did that, I had a really hard time only working for 15 minutes at a time. I'd get into a project and then be irritated that I couldn't finish it. I'm sure I spent a lot more than 15 minutes clearing out clutter. Which I'm sure is why I abandoned it, because something happened and I couldn't keep up with the pace I had set.

I wouldn't think of myself as a perfectionist (I definitely believe in a "good enough" for lots of things), but I think I am. But I'm a different kind of perfectionist. I'm the kind who, if I can't do it excellently, will just not do it at all. I'm not a great house keeper (no one is ever going to walk into my home and want to copy how I do things!), so I'll let it slide to ridiculous levels of clutter. Why do I do that? Why can't I settle for "good enough" in more areas of my life?

More to pray about, I suppose!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Ack, I forgot!!!

I'm gonna' be an aunt again!!!! Phil and Jessica are expecting again! WOOT! Very early in the pregnancy, but I'm totally excited. They're moving back here in June, so we'll get to be around them and the babies (Jacob is 9 months and just started walking -- Heaven help them!). Super cool. I love that the cousins will grow up in close proximity. That will be awesome!

Woohoo!

I'm totally taking credit for Rich's current blog thoughts. Not the pope hat (although I do love it and look forward to him leading worship in that one!), but the stuff about hearing God speak. I grabbed him on Monday after worship rehearsal and told him I'd like to hear about his journey toward a balance in his Christian walk. I knew he grew up in the Presbyterian tradition and then went to Oral Roberts University. I see him as a pretty balanced guy and our backgrounds are pretty close (I grew up Lutheran and ended up in a Foursquare church for a while), so I hope to learn from his journey (especially since we probably tend to err on the side of cold, hard, logic). Anyway, anyone who is following my journey, if you feel up to it, read his blog for the next week or so, because it seems to be tracking pretty strongly with questions I asked him earlier this week.

In other news, my friends had their baby last night. It was a little boy. Two of their kids stayed with us, so we're all pretty drained here, both physically and emotionally. I can't even begin to imagine what they're going through right now. I thank God that they were able to see and hold this baby.

I was also able to IM with my other friend about some of my concerns about meeting with her and her husband. I feel a lot better after "talking" to her. I know that things are still likely to be a little strained there, but I think we understand one another better now (at least to some degree).

I've been totally slacking in my quiet time. Not the quiet "read a devotion and pray and journal" stuff, but actual QUIET time, without any distraction or noise. I want to hear God, and I know that it's hard to do with all of the noise. Must quiet myself. Tonight for sure.

All righty. I'm off to watch the end of "Curse of the Were-Rabbit" with the kids, and then off to bed with them! And then off to bed with me!!!!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

What's my obligation?

*sigh*

Why can't things be easy once in a while?

No miracle has come through for our friends, so they're going for an induction tomorrow. I'll either be watching the kids here or attending the birth with S & A. Either way, I expect it to be a pretty difficult and sad day. I'm so incredibly sad for this couple. I know that God sees their desire for another child -- I don't understand why they continue to experience loss in this realm. I know that God can work this for His glory, but it just feels like such an incredible burden for them to have to bear in the meantime.

Anyway, in a removed way, I'm trying to help my friends sort through all of this.

Our other friends are experiencing a lot of marital discord. I was drawn into it in an unhealthy way, participated wrongly, asked for forgiveness and am trying to extract in a more loving manner. But it's not going well. They invited Jason and me over on Saturday. Despite being a little iffy about it (I'm sick of pretending everything is okay when it's all crap), I had said we'd think about it. Well, Megan & Justin wanted to go out for a date night and I had already told them that we could watch Lydia whenever they wanted. Told J that this morning and her reply was, "Oh fine. Bye."

BAH!!!

Ultimately, I need to sit down and read Boundaries again. We've had a pretty boundary-free relationship this far, and I need that to change. But I'm not sure what healthy boundaries look like. I don't want to leave her high and dry at the time when she most needs me, but I don't know how to have a genuine relationship with her when I have to have a fake relationship with her husband. And with that pretty much being how it is, I feel really stuck. I want to talk to her about that, but at this point, I don't want to add any more to her load. But I also don't want to pretend that things are okay-ish when they're really not. I don't know. It's just all very frustrating.

God, please show me how to be a good friend. Not a garbage dump, but a good, healthy friend. Teach me how to be more like your Son who could give and pull back in a perfect balance. Give me discernment for knowing when and how to address issues that need to be addressed and to know when it's not something that needs to be said. Conform me to your likeness. Amen.

Friday, February 03, 2006

By the way...

Thanks to the Steelers Fanatics blog, I've finally found the full "Here We Go" video. Hope you enjoy it as much as the kids and I have!

"HERE WE GO!!"

She's brilliant!

I hate bragging about my kids. Well, maybe I don't hate it, but I don't want to be one of those parents who has to compare her kids to everyone else's to make sure she's a good mom. I know what areas I'm good at, and I know what areas need work. And I know that a lot of how stuff goes is just a giant crap-shoot in the end.

But I do have to brag on the eldest for a second. This child is just such a sweet, smart little girl. Jason went to a parent teacher conference yesterday, and her teacher told us that Deborah is very gifted. They did a reading test and Deborah scored WAY over all of her classmates. Where most kids in 2nd grade read about 90 wpm aloud, Deborah was reading about 140 wpm. And doing it with inflection. And comprehending what she read. Now, I knew she was a good reader, but I didn't realize she was that far ahead in her reading! I'm just so proud of her!

Her teacher also said that she excels in math as well. I don't know that she's way advanced there, but she's having no trouble with it. I'm sure if we pushed her a little more, she wouldn't have any trouble learning her multiplication tables. I know Jason is certainly interested in that!

But what really thrilled me is that despite being bored in school, Deborah still has a great attitude and doesn't disrupt the class. How wonderful! I don't know if this is directly a result of our parenting, but it makes me happy nevertheless. It's so wonderful to know that she's not choosing to misbehave in her boredom.

So Mrs. B is going to get us information about getting Deborah tested and enrolling her in the advanced program. I'm really excited about it for her. And for me, a little!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Random thoughts

First and most importantly, Happy Groundhog Day! The real groundhog (Punxsutawney Phil) has declared another six weeks of winter (and given today's date, that's probably good! *wink*). Which, if it's as mild as it's been around here, should be a total breeze. I believe French Creek Freddie also saw his shadow, but IMO, only Phil's prediction counts.

We had MOPS today. I haven't been in ages, so it was good to go and connect with the other moms. I really wish we had something like this here in Fairmont. I feel like our facility is perfect for that, but no luck getting anything going yet. Hopefully soon. Our topic for today was balance. Interesting -- this is definitely something I need more of in my life! The speaker identified four "wheels" -- physical, emotional, relational & spiritual. I feel like they were all near empty, but I think that I'm starting to see what I need to reinflate them each. (Well, except for physical -- I really need some low-impact aerobics to start doing before I can get back into Tae Bo. When I start that, I always feel terrible because I can't do it!)

I've got a rancid headache today. No coffee yesterday (all other forms of caffiene are apparently worthless to my body), so I feel pretty comfortable laying the blame of this one at withdrawl. Got some joe this morning though, so hopefully tomorrow I'll be feeling a bit better.

The H kids are here today. S & A are in Morgantown for an ultrasound. On Monday, there was no heartbeat, so I've been trying to exercise that big faith and pray for a miraculous regeneration of this little one. This would be their fifth miscarriage since Faith was born -- 4 of them in the 2nd trimester. Please God, allow them to experience a miracle now. Let your glory be manifest in this little one's life! Let us all be amazed and awed by your restorative power!
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I'm a wife to an amazing man, and mom to four incredible kids. I'm a Christian woman who sometimes struggles with doubt. I'm a musician and a writer who is sometimes afraid to play and write. I'm trying to be more authentic every day.
 
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