Monday, February 27, 2012

What I'll be doing today

Monday should entail my big girl at school, my little girls at preschool for the morning then picked up by a babysitter to be home for the afternoon and me at work.  It's all so perfectly planned.

What I'll actually be doing today is nursing a recovering Gracie from a stomach bug.

We got home yesterday afternoon a little after 3pm.  We were at church all morning then at a birthday party in the afternoon.  Understandably, the kids were tired and Lily had skipped her nap.

I got the little girls settled on the couch to watch a movie and rest a bit.  I had to fight to keep Lily awake. Then Gracie told me her throat felt like it needed to throw up.  Sugar overload perhaps?

Around 4pm Gracie did start throwing up and did so until 10pm.  First her stomach contents emptied, then she was throwing up bile, then dry heaving.  The first few times I still wanted to attribute it to sugar (cake, cupcake, rice crispy treat, M&M's...she usually eats the topping or frosting of these items, but still a lot of sugar).  But when she kept throwing up and her body was heaving so violently, it seemed a lot more like a big.

Miss Rose threw up once last week (or was it the week before?) from overeating.  But it was one and done and she felt better the next day.  Gracie is very mellow and not feeling well at all today.

Oh, and right now Bean has Miss Rose at the doctor.  She's been complaining of a sore throat for a week. I kept her home on Thursday to try to rest and get better.  Over the weekend she was hit with a cold and she is still complaining about her throat.  Poor kid said she was waking up all night to blow her nose.  I don't think she has strep based on how her throat looks.  She's a hard kid to read because she has allergies and deals with those symptoms so often the line between allergy and infection is very fine and hard to distinguish.  Our pediatrician can be a little cranky and likes to give parents and "F" for our diagnosis.  Our neighbors see him too.  He treats our kids well, but his bedside manner leaves a bit to be desired!

If she doesn't have an infection, Bean will be taking Miss Rose to school.  But she could end up home with us too.

For once, Lily is not the sick one.  Yet.  But she doesn't really like how her sister is getting more attention and every time I was holding the puke bucket yesterday, she'd decided she wanted to sit on my lap or get super close to me. Gracie really needs space around her and Lily LOVES to get in that space, and she knows exactly what she is doing.

So I'll be pulling Lily off Gracie all day.

Oh and I'll be trying to work from home today.  I have a big project that requires a lot of reading and note-taking , which is perfect for doing at home, IF the kids will stay occupied.  I contemplated still taking Lily to school but the time, effort and gas required to get there just didn't make sense.

I honestly don't know what I would do without a job that is supportive of my family and where I have the ability to work from home.  I don't know what I'd do without a husband who hoards his time off, so when he needs to go in late or leave early, he can.

I am fairly certain I have worked from home almost as much as I've been in the office so far in 2012.  Lily has been sick, Miss Rose has been sick and the list just goes on.  This week it's Gracie.

I'm ready for warmer temperatures, more moisture in the air and less illness.

Signed,

One Tired Mama

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

self-portraits

Lily is very into technology.  It's not because I'm into technology or anything.

She can work my iPhone very well and has since she was 2.  She has an uncanny ability to find the songs she wants to hear in my music based on the album covers.  Lily also loves the computer and has learned how to look at photos in iPhoto and open Photo Booth and take pictures with different filters.

The product is precious.  She often calls Gracie over to take pictures with her.

This particular day they asked for lipstick to take pictures in, and of course I obliged.  Hence, lots of kissy lips from Gracie.


















I just love how Lily lays her head on Gracie's shoulder.




This is my favorite.  The colors, the looks on their faces.  The only thing that would have made it more perfect is if Miss Rose had been home and in the shot.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Happy Birthday Mr. Man

Grown-up birthdays are sometime awesome.

Sometimes not.

Usually the availability of funds is the deciding factor.

Bean's birthday was this past Saturday.  It wasn't a bad birthday.  But it certainly wasn't all I had wanted it to be.  I didn't even manage to get the girls to make him cards, even though I kept intending too and we talked about it a few times.  It just didn't happen.

We had a day full of kids and dogs.  Errands and everyday life.  Bean is an easy-going guy and I think it was harder on me than it was on him that the day wasn't full of special surprises and treats.  He's kinda an all or nothing kinda guy.  Either we go all out or it's just another day.  I just don't work that way though.

We've been really focusing on "acting our wage" one of Dave Ramsey's mottos.  Last week I realized how truly humbling that is, but good and necessary.  Christmas, Valentine's, Birthdays have been about the kids.  We feel blessed to have the ability to make these days special for our children and truly that is enough for us.  In the past I might have run out and splurged on something for Bean, but not this year.


On Valentine's Day, because I can't just not do anything, I made a huge pizookie for us to share.  A pizookie is basically a pizza cookie with ice cream on top.  BJ's makes them in little personal pan sizes.  Looking at the baking dishes I do have, I went with using a pie tin.  We really enjoyed it! And realized it was WAY too big for us all to share.

 It looks good enough to eat raw, huh? (Salmonella, what?)

I used chocolate chunks for fun. But next time I might use mini chocolate chips.
They ensure that you get chocolate in every bite. And I'm all for chocolate.  



Come Bean's birthday I told him I WOULD make him some sort of dessert whether he liked it or not! He chose another pizookie.  We were using a gift card to go out for dinner, so made the pizookie for lunch.



What's better than one giant cookie, smothered in ice cream and five spoons? I wish I'd snapped a picture of the feeding frenzy, but it all went down so fast.

I'm blessed to have a husband that loves his family more than anything.  And just spending the day together, even though it involved him taking one girl to the doctor and then heading out again later on errands, is enough of a birthday for him.

Monday, February 20, 2012

just write {friends}

On Tuesdays, I like to link up with Heather and Just Write.

Best friends are the best therapy.  And I have the best friends.

Two best friends, I've had since junior high. Oh the things we have been through in life together.  Now though, our life pathways don't intersect as often as I'd like.  Distance separates me from them, and adulthood, jobs and families too.

But when our lives do intersect, intersections we usually schedule, it's like not a day has passed.  Us, our interactions are the same as they were in junior high, high school and college.  Times when we saw each other almost daily.  Talked on the phone.  Spelled out words and messages to each other on our pagers.

Sometimes when I make a statement or observation about my life, they are quick to remind me that it's always been that way or it's nothing new.  Which centers me once again. To remember that the challenges, the personalities, the ins and outs, nothing is truly new under the sun.  It just manifests in different ways.

There are days I lament their lack of presence in my everyday life.  In ten years of living in our hometown, they in our college town, I wonder why I haven't developed similar friendships.  I've tried.  I've targeted women, thinking "we could be good friends."  But it's just not the same.  I wonder if my friendship-maker is broken.

I hope and pray that my girls have friends like these.  My maid and matron of honor in my wedding.

Every girl should be so lucky.

That's me on the left (Note the awesome puffy bridesmaid sleeves of the mid-90's.)




Sunday, February 19, 2012

we've had some birthdays

I've mentioned one, or one hundred times that we have a LOT of birthdays from the last week of December through mid-February.  Not just our nuclear family, but family on both sides as well.

But, three of our five birthdays fall within 23 days.  Miss Rose, Lily and Bean are now a year older!

First up was Miss Rose.  She really wanted a birthday party with friends this year, not just family and not just an outing.  We decided upon a few laser tag games and then arcades & pizza at Chuck E Cheese--two locations next door to each other.  Three friends from school, three friends from church and her cousin ended up coming.

I have a small problem, thinking I can do pretty much anything on my own if necessary.  I'm independent and self-sufficient and not much phases me.  But it's impossible to be in two places at one time and some things, including a dual-location birthday party shouldn't be attempted solo.  I learned this the hard way.  Thankfully one of the kids parents stayed and ended up helping me out a bunch!  (Miss Rose loves her sisters, but wanted a party without them, which is why Bean wasn't there).

The gang before round 2 of laser tag

Pizza & Oreo cake

On her birthday, Miss Rose wanted to take donuts to school to share with her class.  We talked her into donut holes and it actually ended being easy, cheap and fun!  Bean went to a donut shop that makes sprinkled donut holes as well as glazed and it cost less than $10 to have 2 donut holes for each student.



In December Miss Rose & Gracie got haircuts at the salon.  I was contemplating getting Lily's hair cut, but I decided to wait a bit longer.  She was very curious though, so after many inquiries, I finally told her that maybe she'd get her hair cut when she was three.

Well, she latched on to that very quickly and anytime her birthday or her hair was mentioned she said "I get my hair cut when I'm frwee."  After hearing this MANY times, I knew I had to make good on my remark, even though I didn't intend to do it so soon.

Before


So the day before her birthday, Lily got her first haircut.  She has the straightest hair of all three girls so far and I decided to have a little fun with bangs and a bob!  It was very special to have our friend Kara cut her hair.  I've known Kara since she was a kid (and I was one too!) and she's been cutting my hair now for years (even though I rarely make it in more than twice a year).


After
She is cute.  And she knows it.

FINALLY we celebrated both birthdays with family.  But really it was Lily's party.  I've noticed at 3, kids have a true understanding of their birthday and parties.  Lily wanted a Tinkerbell party.

I obliged and managed this cake, which turned out really well.  I made 1 layer pan and then baked the rest of the batter in a 4-cup Pyrex measuring cup.  It puffed up and created the perfect shape for Tinkerbell's skirt.  We already had the doll, so it was easy.



That morning at church one Lily's Sunday school teachers gave her a handmade tutu that was green and pink---perfect for her party and to match the Tinkerbell crown she picked out at Party City.




This is mid-birthday song.  Lily was SO excited she was jumping up and down while we were singing.  You can see she is mid-jump in this photo.  I regret not having a video camera out while we were singing.  Miss Rose had a collection of cupcakes with candles.


All my kids cousins, both sides!  And it's not a party until someone is in panties and sparkle shoes, right? 




I adore looking back at pictures from my kids' birthdays and seeing us together.  I realized I hadn't taken any photos with them, so after they were bathed and ready for bed we snapped a few.

Mama and her January birthday girls

Daddy's girls

We can't leave Gracie out. 

I look at these pictures and I am overwhelmed with how blessed we are and how much love I have for these precious daughters. They are more than I could ever have asked for.

Poor Gracie really struggles with her birthday being a few months after her sisters.  When you are young, it just doesn't seem fair that they are getting parties and gifts and she isn't.  I know as she gets older though, she'll appreciate that ALL the attention is hers, come April 5th. 

This post is already long enough, so I'll save my few photos of Bean's birthday until next time.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

What I don't want to talk about

I don't want to talk about this.



I don't want to talk about the fever my sweet girl has, with no other symptoms.  Except the tell-tale drool and extra saliva, indicative of a sore throat. 



I don't want to talk about the 2012 log I started today, tracking back a fever she had a few weeks ago that I didn't want to talk about.  (ironic that it's on a page labeled "fashion".  I have no time for fashion in my life!) 

And then a bad cold the week after that.

And now this.  The temps aren't as high as they were last year before her surgery, but it seems that perhaps we only had a two month respite from this.

But I don't want to talk about it.  I don't want to talk about the car problems my mother in law has been having and how Bean didn't get home until 9:45pm last night after waiting with her for a tow truck.  I don't want to talk about discouragement and loneliness.  I don't want to talk about how I was up with Lily in the middle of the night and then laid awake for an hour, mad.  And praying.  

I don't want to talk about how the tonsillectomy wasn't a sure thing.  We see the specialist again next week and that's what they will say I'm sure.

I DO want to talk about how the problem this week with my mother in law's car is related to a recall and after much time and many phone calls (and a great honest auto repair) it's being towed to the dealership and will be fixed for free.

I DO want to talk about how no weapon formed against us shall prosper. (link

I DO want to talk about the healing I will continue to proclaim for my girl, until I see it to completion.

There's a lot I don't want to talk about today.  But am speaking scripture over my family.  For the word of God is powerful and that's the power that we need right now.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

just write {just love}


It's hard to think of something else to just write about, besides love.  It's a day of love, commemorating love, sharing love.  It's also a day of stress and scrambling to prepare Valentine's if you have school-age children.  My preschoolers don't go to school on Tuesdays, their Valentine's party is tomorrow so thankfully I didn't have to do it all last night.

My big girl, the tomboy, rough and tough gal, playing baseball with the boys instead of softball with the girls, she asked me last night if I had any heart earrings.  Which I don't.  And today she was wearing a long sleeve purple shirt with a heart on it.  Lately she's been wearing a black band tank top over the long sleeves because she doesn't want the heart to show, although she's okay with the purple.  Because it's one of Justin Bieber's favorite colors you know, and she's a fan.  No tank top over it today though, she rocked the heart.  She may not be a "girly-girl", but she is a girl, expressing it in her own way.

My little girls, well, they are girly girls.  The littlest picks it up from the middle.  They got new shoes from mommy and daddy this morning.  Just simple little flats I picked up from Ross.  Gracie has been wanting flats with no straps, which praise God I found.  Lily's have straps but they are super cute.  Gracie wanted to wear a skirt, her new favorite clothing item and of course Lily needed to wear one too.  Lily only has one skirt, which thankfully was in her drawers.

And my man.  The sole testosterone in a house of women.  What a good man he is.  He serves and sacrifices.  He loves and gives.  Oh how he is loved by the four women in his home.  I know we don't appreciate him enough.  He didn't have the greatest example of a husband and a father.  But he has broken the mold he came from and been molded into that of his Heavenly Father.  I see him growing even more into the shape of his Father, and I am humbled.

Oh I love these four so.  Fiercely.  Tenderly.  Strongly.

And I think

He loves us
Oh how He loves us
Oh how He loves us
Oh how He loves

 His love, their love, our love.  I want to love like He loves.




Saturday, February 11, 2012

things you should read

I love words.  When I first learned to read, I was one of those kids who drove my parents crazy by reading every street sign, store name and pretty much any word visible from my seat in the car.  I inhaled every book possible.  My grandparents had a closet full of books they had saved from when my dad and aunt were little and by the time I was in junior high, I had read them all during my time at their house.

Words move me.  I considered majoring in English at one point in college.  Because I love to read and I love to write.

Here are some words I've read this week that I think you might enjoy.

Heather gives us all a free pass, reminding us as moms that whatever we do today is enough.

Someone shared Katie's post, Joy or "Just Wait?" on Facebook a few days ago and I was so glad I clicked over and read.  Parenting is the hardest best thing we do.  Too often we focus on how hard it is, how tired we are, how much we want a break, all the hard stuff.  Not only do we spout it ourselves, but we influence others--you know, misery loves company.  Instead of the "just waits" until it gets worse, it gets harder, it gets more challenging, we should share the joy.

Ann's words always cut to the quick.
No one enters into the real joy of the Lord in spite of the hard times —- but squarely through the door of the hard times.

Read about When Winds Blow & Love Tries to Hold on.  And read a few more of her posts too.  You won't be sorry.

Sometimes God confuses us.  Sometimes we are frustrated by things that are difficult.  But we can make that choice to push through the difficult parts of our relationship with him.  To know him and to be  known.  To seek him with all our hearts and find him.  My college professor wrote Choosing to Know and I think you should read it.

What words have you read recently that spoke to you?  Or maybe you wrote something that you want to be heard.  Share in the comments.  I poured my soul into just hang on.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Feeding kids in the car? You'll thank me for this tip!

It's inevitable. Getting McDonald's for your kids is sometimes a sanity saver. Is their food the healthiest? Of course not. But I'm realistic and when I'm in control of what they eat there, it's not the end of the world.

And I'll be honest, a great excuse for my vice, my poison of choice, my dark mistress: Diet Coke. With extra ice of course. I think McDonald's must have some secret machine that mixes their sodas because the amount of carbonation is perfection.

A hot crispy French fry is much better than a cold soggy one. And eating on the go happens.

I rarely order Happy Meals for my kids, much to their dismay. 4 piece chicken nuggets, cheeseburgers and small fries are only around $1 each in my city. A Happy Meal is a rip off for us because we don't usually order drinks for the kids. Or we order 1 large one which they share.

Which leaves us with boxes of nuggets, fries and they want ketchup.y sister in law taught me this trick, for which I am eternally grateful.

At the window ask for as many small bags as you have children. Tear off the top of each bag, leaving it around 6 inches tall. Or 5. You experiment.

You now have the perfect vessel for their food and the ketchup can be mostly contained. I usually split a fry between kids so this is perfect.

Try it next time. You'll thank me and il pass on your gratitude to my sister in law.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

it's been a week (just hang on)






I've been challenged this week to stay sane and not lose my mind.  Nothing huge, just little things that add up. More and more I realize how dependent I am on routine and predictability.  I am realizing that because when things come up or change is when I struggle the most with being joyful and remaining positive.


Through it all though, I just keep seeking God.  Seeking God and sweating.  Those are the two things that keep me sane when I feel like things are out of control.  And truly, they aren't that out of control, but it certainly can feel like it.

Last night in my women's Bible Study a friend shared this scripture, particularly in The Message version.  I love how the word of God comes alive in a new way when you read it in a different version.  Lately when a verse or passage strikes me, I look it up in several different versions.  The other night I wrote down every adjective used in the various versions of Ephesians 3:20

Back to last night.  Many of us are familiar with Jeremiah 29:11, "for I know the plans I have for you..."  But the verse prior and the few verses after have such richness too.

This is God's Word on the subject: 
As soon as Babylon's seventy years are up and not a day before
I'll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. 
I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. 
When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I'll listen. 
When you come looking for me, you'll find me. 
Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I'll make sure you won't be disappointed.
I'll turn things around for you.
You can count on it. 
Jeremiah 29:10-14, selected phrases

How good is that? The Word of God is always so good.  

My friend pointed out how it says "not a day before."  We wait a long time sometimes for God to answer prayer, for his promises to be fulfilled.  We pray and want to give up or change our prayers because it seems like God doesn't hear.  

It's hard to wait.  To be patient.  To be obedient.  To persevere, knowing you are doing the right thing.  This applies to so many areas of life.  Even parenting.  We stick with our rules and our methods and sometimes it seems like it just isn't working...but usually it is, we just aren't seeing the fruit yet.

But God never disappoints!  He always shows up.

And even though I'm still struggling through the mire of my own mind this week, I am thankful for the Word of God that revives my soul.  It helps me hang on just a bit longer.

Monday, February 6, 2012

just write

I'm linking up here to just write


I pray a lot.  Daily.  I have almost my whole life.  


Sometimes they are quick prayers.  Other times, heart-wrenching pleas to my heavenly Father.


I've prayed for many things.  For myself, my family, for friends, for others.  I've prayed for healing, for favor, for guidance, for God's will.  I prayed for a husband.  For babies and their health in my belly and during delivery.  We prayed for the right home for us and my parents.  For Miss Rose to get into a particular school.  All prayers that were answered.


There have been prayers that haven't been answered too. Or at least not answered in the way I desired.  Paths we sought that were dead ends or the end seems no where in sight.


Prayer is a vital part of my life.  I've been reading a great book on prayer, The Circlemaker.  And my pastor spoke on prayer this past Sunday.


In my 30+ years of faith and prayer he posed a question that I've never pondered before and it made me stop and think.  It was in the context of talking about how God likes specificity in prayer.


"If Jesus were here, standing in front of you, what would you ask him for?  Not something vague like blessing or favor, but a specific thing?'


I've prayed for specific things before.  But what if Jesus were here? What do I really want?  What would I ask him for, with faith believing he would answer?


This scenario really gave me pause.  It caused me to do a little soul-searching.  To refine my prayers.  To become more specific and less vague.  Trusting that if what I'm praying for isn't what God wants for me, he will change my heart as I pray.  But the only way to find out is to pray for specific things. 
And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.  Matthew 21:22
Some of the things I thought I might ask for, after further consideration, changed some.  
I'm going to be more bold.  To be more specific.  To keep praying.  To be persistent.  
My kids really want a dog.  We had a dog for a few days, but it was used to living with other dogs and had a serious case of doggie depression.  They haven't given up the idea of having a dog though.  
The past few days my 4 year old has renewed her passion about getting a dog.  She keeps saying "TODAY can we get a dog?"  Guess what my husband and I have been doing? Looking online at dogs.  Her persistence may pay off.
She's an inspiration to me.  May I have her persistence when it comes to my prayer life.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

birthday central & other tidbits

We are in the middle of birthday central.

From the end of December to mid-February there are 8 birthdays, and my sister-in-laws sister had a baby on my dad's birthday in mid-January too, making the count now 9.

Three of those birthdays are in our own family.  Miss Rose turned 8 on the 26th and Lily turned 3 on the 28th.  The weekend prior Miss Rose had a birthday party that involved laser tag, Chuck E Cheese and a lost kid, who no one knew was lost.  We celebrated this past Sunday with family and the main emphasis was Lily even though it was for Miss Rose too.  Lily chose Tinkerbell for a theme and I must say I rocked the Tinkerbell cake.

Bean started up another class that meets on Tuesday and Thursday nights.  I am so proud of him for working on completing his degree, but these are long evenings.  The girls have been cooperative though and it's gone smoothly.

Sunday we will go to church in the morning, to our nephew's 4th birthday in the afternoon and then to a friends for the Super Bowl.  We will all sleep well that night!

I don't think I've had a full week (which for me is 3 days) in the office since the New Year started.  I've had to leave early or stay home multiple times.  Last week I picked Lily up on Monday morning with a fever.  Bean came home in the afternoon so I could go back to work  Bean stayed home Tuesday and I stayed home Wednesday.

Whatever virus she had with a fever last week turned into a nasty cold this week and I had to keep her home on Wednesday.  There were 5 kids out in her class on Wednesday.  Thankfully the other girls are healthy and hopefully Lily will improve enough to go to school on Monday.  Too much activity causes coughing spasms, which make her vomit phlegm.  Can't have that at school!

Me...always trying to embrace the day.  I like when the days are predictable.  Lately nothing seems predictable.  My babysitter was really sick on Monday, but thankfully my sister-in-law took the girls for the afternoon.  But it meant extra time in the car for me.  Wednesday I drove to the same part of town 4 times.  I'm spending my life in that minivan lately.  Good thing I like it.

So I get to the end of the day and I can't wait to zone out.  I go to bed anticipating my morning cup of coffee.  I am blessed.  And I am tired.