Sunday, September 30, 2007

If I Cry, Will That Make the Shaking Stop?

This could be long.

And, rambling.

I'll try my best to stick with the facts and only the facts.

Tonight #2's soccer team had a special session planned with a professional soccer coach. We had received an email last week that it started at 4pm today. We showed up to the field at 4pm only to find out that the coach had told the girls, (#2 did not hear this, she is usually the first to leave), after their game yesterday that anyone who wanted to come early to practice could come at 3:30pm . So, when we arrived at 4pm everyone was already there sitting and talking in a huddle. The assistant coach came over and told #2 to "take a lap around the field because she was late". I then asked what time practice was and he said they changed it to 3:30 pm and "we probably should have sent an email".

Do you think?

Well, I told him that she was not late and he explained the lap around the field was not punishment, but he wanted her to warm up before the session started.

Fair enough.

I then stayed in my van and chatted for a few minutes with the only other mom on the team who talks to me (my former neighbor) and we were both a little ticked at the change not being communicated to us. The assistant coach came back over about 5 minutes later and asked if I had seen #2.

Uh. No. She's supposed to be with YOU. I started to panic, I looked at the porta potty, but she wasn't there. Then it dawned on me.


That's when the shaking started. The coach looked near panic and I raced in my van, gravel flying as fast as I could drive, praying she was safe the whole time. Finally I saw her.

Then, I really started to shake.

She was dribbling her ball all alone, sobbing. Can I be honest with you all for one moment? I nearly lost my mind. Literally, I felt myself shutting down and every ounce of self-control drain from my body. I tried to speak gently to her and comfort her and she was so upset my heart was breaking while my blood was boiling. Every motherly instinct inside of me was on full alert and I was good and prepared to go back to that soccer field and make a scene. May I add that this was just the straw that broke the camel's back? The head coach's daughter, who thinks she is the next Olympic hopeful, has been mean to #2 all season. After this episode she told one of the girls that #2 is "so uncool" and poor #2 was standing right there. #2 doesn't want to tell the coach because she thinks she'll get in trouble. It has been misery for most of the season, which is precisely what I ranted to the assistant coach (Coach M) when I drove back over to the field to tell him we were leaving.

Yes, I pulled the psycho soccer mom routine. It wasn't real pretty, folks.

I also told him that 8 year olds aren't supposed to be so stressed out and that the pressure they feel is ridiculous at this level of play. I said I couldn't wait to go back to intramural where the kids can just play soccer and have fun. I told him that being on this team has been a nightmare and I have to beg her to come to practice because she thinks she isn't a good soccer player. He said the entire "lap" incident was his fault and he could understand why I was upset. He apologized and I must say, was surprisingly agreeable and calm.

I, however, was anything but calm. #2 decided she would dry her eyes and stay for practice after Coach M said she was a very important part of the team and he is glad she is on the team. I had to leave for a bit, just to get away. I drove over to K-Mart with #3 and vaguely remember looking at shoes and then rushing back to the field to be sure nothing else happened to her.

I shook the entire time. My hands trembled when I called and relayed what had happened to The Husband. He was shocked that they had not kept an eye on her and let her get so far away. The "what if's" were too tragic to even consider....

My former neighbor emailed me tonight and said I should probably let the head coach know what happened on my end to be sure that the story didn't change. I had already emailed him and referenced the issue of our daughters. I am praying for wisdom and a "gentle answer to turn away wrath....."

In the meantime, I can't seem to stop thinking about it and feeling guilty that I should have been watching her run her lap instead of talking. I've just gotten accustomed to dropping her off and leaving and I never thought she wouldn't stay with her team and her coaches. I am sick when I think about it. I do thank God I didn't leave the field because at least I was able to drive quickly and find her because who knows how long it would've taken the coach to locate her? And, I would not have been there to comfort her. I thank God for that, too.

I have so much anger over this entire ordeal I don't even know where to go with it besides whimpering to God to help me calm down. There has been problem after problem with this team and the coaches. I do not want #2 to think that this is what playing a team sport is all about. Or, is it? Perhaps, I need to lower my standards. Except, that just sounds so wrong to me.

I just don't know.....I do know I want to stop shaking. It's been hours.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Chestnuts Anyone?

We have a plethora of chestnuts covering our yard! We had walnuts, too but those are a major pain in the behind to harvest and get any meat out of them (not to mention you could permanently maim yourself in the process). The Husband cannot stand walnuts due to a traumatic childhood experience with some Waldorf salad.....but, anyhoo.....

If anyone would like some chestnuts, despite them being on the slightly high maintenance end of food choices that are available, please let me know...there are still bunches on the ground, but thankfully The Husband cleared away most of the little prickly things that grow around the nut that makes you think and sometimes say naughty words when you touch one of them unexpectedly. They really hurt...even for about 20 minutes afterward! Those were the things #1 and I were stepping on during our baby squirrel experience.

Leave me a comment and I'll try to get you some...we're not big nut lovers at our house, although I am going to attempt chestnut stuffing and freeze it for Thanksgiving! Why couldn't it be an apple tree? Sigh.........

Friday, September 28, 2007


Now that everything is over and he has no terrible disease, I can tell you all about what The Husband endured and I sort of even got his official permission to blog about it (he was kind of drugged out on a hospital gurney, but he smiled and nodded when I asked)!

Last week, he had to get a routine physical to get his CDL license and the tech found blood in his urine. They said he needed to see his urologist right away. Well, if you want to invoke trepidation in The Husband, just say the word "urologist".

So, he dutifully went last week where they said it could be nothing or it could be kidney stones or cancer. Still not worried. I wish I could tell you how funny he was getting his prostate checked, but I did not get authorization to put that story in print and he knows my MOST EMBARRASSING STORY EVER and could possibly use that against me some day. So anyway, they checked his .....uh- hmm.....prostate and other things and sent him for an MRI. They wanted to perform one last test that would involve putting a scope with a camera (cringe) up his urethra. This was to make sure there is no cancer in the bladder. He had the option of just getting a "local" and having it performed in the doctor's office, or his choice, having it down at the hospital under anesthesia.

Yesterday we arrived at the hospital and #3 was with us while the other 2 were at school. I needed to do the driving. Well, for one thing The Husband did not realize until we were driving there that he would need an IV. The Husband does NOT do needles well. He passed out during a blood test last year. My tough, former Marine husband just turns to mush at the thought of it. I really thought for a moment he was going to change his mind when the realization hit him.

He did fine, no passing out but he was kind of funny to be around. They let us go back to see him before they wheeled him into surgery and he looked all glassy eyed and glazed over and slow. I asked him what drugs they had given him (I thought maybe they were trying to relax him) and he said none! I think he was traumatized from the IV and didn't want to make any sudden moves....including blinking....that could cause anything to remind him that there were tubes inside his veins. It was hard not to laugh. You know, giving birth 3 times and all.

We received a good cancer, no nothing, just sort of a fluke thing that can happen. He goes back for a follow-up in year. The funniest thing that happened the whole time we were there was the look on #3's face when The Husband was allowed to get up and get dressed and he accidentally "mooned" #3, who's mouth dropped to her knees when she saw Daddy's bare bottom sticking out of his hospital "dress". She was like, "Whoa, Daddy put some underwear on!".

I am thankful for the peace that surrounded us the entire time. I knew everything would be alright. God is good and He is faithful to give us what we ask for, according to His will. We asked for peace and healing, however God wanted to work that out. He's so big and He's so good!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Jumping In With Both Feet

It has been an interesting week, (I should say year), at our house. I have spent every day this week at the girls' schools helping in some way or another. I was struck this morning at my complete change in attitude about public school. I was so judgmental. Then, I started thinking about other things/people I had judged only to realize I was wrong about that also. God revealed something to me that I want to keep in mind for the future.....I tend to judge people and situations that I don't understand. Things that I only have a limited knowledge or experience of tend to bring out a negative side in me. Hmmmmmm.....that started me thinking.....but, anyway, that isn't even what I'm writing about today.

The elementary PTO was a little scarier than the middle school PTO. I have my theories on that one (all of which could be wrong, so I won't get into them). They were more reserved, less friendly and quite curious it seemed of the new mom who is chairing the talent show committee and helping to update the PTO web page (that would be me). The middle school moms just seemed a little more easy going, but I wasn't at an official meeting, yet, so we'll see if they are that easy going at their meetings!

I really, really like being involved at school. At first, I was afraid I would be a square peg in a round hole. Now, after seeing how all of my kids have been adjusting (there's been a few bumps in the road, but we handle them as they come) I can't believe the last school year was spent yelling, crying and begging to do schoolwork at home. I didn't like it and neither did the girls. Thankfully, God's grace got us through that season just like His grace is all over us now.

The girls are jumping in with both feet, too. #1 had an interview yesterday for yearbook committee. One hundred kids applied and they chose 30 for an interview. They will only be choosing 9-12 people for the actual committee. I do hope she gets on it. She also plans to join the Leo Club and volleyball team. Yay #1! The other girls have been making friends, in fact we found out that #3's favorite friend in her kindergarten class lives a block away on the same street that we do! I met her mom the other day when we marched up and knocked on the door for the sole purpose of getting to know them (I'm not usually good at that). She was very nice and I ended up in a meeting yesterday with her for parent volunteers who help the kids learn to write stories.

I'm starting to feel comfortable at their schools, like we belong.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Hersheypark Happiness - Plain and Simple Style

We shared a little Hersheypark Happiness with the Plain and Simple Family this past Sunday. We just love them. Even though the park was crowded time just flew by since we were there with friends. Sunday was the last day of the regular season so I'm even more glad we squeezed a trip in.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Not So Scary After All

Hmmmmm........ could it be that it wasn't the PTO that was so scary, but me being so insecure? I went in this morning and just tallied magazine orders for 2 hours, quietly chatted and shared a few laughs with some other moms who were just there to help make our school a better place. No one was gossiping or scowling or trying to throw her weight around.....we just did accounting in a friendly atmosphere!

What in the world was I so worked up about?

I'm Off to Infiltrate the PTO

This is the day I will make my debut in our school district's PTO. Just those 3 little letters cause butterflies in my stomach and images of women who have known each other for years scowling at me, "the new girl". I feel like I'm going to a high school reunion of sorts with all the popular girls that never talked to me.

I know I'm being ridiculous, but women can be tough. I've not always had very good experiences helping in any of my kid's schools, even when they were in Christian school. It seems like one big competition to me. But, I'm going to step out of the boat and help with a magazine order at the middle school today and attend the PTO meeting tonight at the elementary school. My goals now compared to 6 years ago have changed. I used to want to make a run for PTO president and show everyone that Christians can be fun, too. I had my agenda and a big chip on my shoulder. Now, I just want to get to know some other families and serve the school, no strings attached. If I allow the Holy Spirit to guide me and be an encouragement to others I think I might enjoy the PTO a little bit more this go round!

Monday, September 24, 2007

If You Love Something, Set It Free, If It Comes Back, Set It Free Again

We made a new friend on Saturday! The Husband was in his workshop/garage and this little guy ran right over to him. #1 came in the house shrieking that "Daddy has a flying squirrel on his back" and as I ran upstairs this picture of a bloody, scratched Husband with a rabid squirrel hanging off him was all I could imagine.

#1 can be a little over dramatic at times (and, I have NO idea where she gets that!).

We all passed him around and I called the people at the Hershey Zoo. I think the guy I talked to had his hand over the phone laughing and snickering at me the entire time. Our conversation went something like this:

Me: Hi, we found a baby squirrel in our garage and we aren't sure what we should do.

Zoo Guy: Well, we recommend that you put him back where you found him. They do best that way.

Me: You want me to put him back in my garage?

Zoo Guy: (laughing) No, don't put him in your garage. Put him outside.

Me: But, what if a stray cat gets him? He's just a baby. Should we feed him something? How do we know if he's starving to death? How can we find his mom? Should we call a place that specializes in this sort of thing? He really likes us. He keeps running to us to pick him up. He seems cold.

Zoo Guy: Well, you can bring the squirrel here and we'll give him to The Naturalist (that sounded too close to "The Terminator" for me).

Me: What will The Naturalist do? Just let him go?

Zoo Guy: Probably. Yes.

Me: So, if I let him go here, he'll probably have a better chance of finding his mom instead of giving him to The Terminator....I mean, The Naturalist who will take him far away and let him go in a strange place?

Zoo Guy: Yes. His mom should have taught him to forage for food by now. It would be best to just let him go.

Me: Do you think if he can't find his mom, another squirrel mom will help take care of him? Do squirrels do that....are they like....pack animals and help raise each others' kids?

Zoo Guy: (silence for a moment) Uh...maybe. (And, then the man finally wised up and said what I needed to hear to get me off the phone) Probably, yeah.

That's basically the just of the conversation. So, #1 and I attempted to let Chipper go (yes, we named him) and every time we set him down he came running back to us and tried to crawl up my leg. After several attempts, I just couldn't take it was becoming more like a part of the family as each moment passed. The Husband and #1 took him to the back of our property where there are lots of trees and let him go. They drove away quickly on the lawn tractor with #1 sobbing.

We prayed for him to be safe from cats, hawks, snakes and the cold. While in the woods, they did see him pick up something and start eating, so that was a good thing. I am secretly hoping he comes back and we can have a "pet" squirrel that lives in our backyard and comes to visit us. We'll feed him nuts and call him Chipper.

I can be so juvenile sometimes.

Friday, September 21, 2007

A Tale of Two Closets

It is that (dreaded) time of year again when the seasons change and I must haul out no less than 4,218 Rubbermaid tubbies full of clothes to see what fits from last year and what could fit from the older sister's outgrown pile. As I have been doing this very sporadically for the last week or so, all I am ending up with is a giant pile for Goodwill or consignment (which was what led me to the horse shirt post because we actually (gasp) have to BUY fall/winter clothes for #2 and #3).

We have clothing issues at our house, people. Three children, all completely different body shapes and proportions. Clothing styles from 5 years ago just aren't going to work for #2 and #3's fashion savvy. I can't say I blame them, really. Even I was wondering what I was thinking with all the fleece, poofy pants and Catholic-school looking jumpers. Poor #1.

In fact, this morning #1 and I frantically searched her and my closet for something "cool" to wear with black pants because she has been negligent in bringing her dirty laundry to the appropriate authority (GAS). Her and I can share some items, but this morning we weren't doing so good...we settled for a wrinkled green t-shirt from the bottom of her drawer and I plan to discuss her laundry habits with her when she gets home. She, like me at her age, just crumples things into unorganized piles in random drawers and has no idea what fits or where it is. I'm a little afraid to go into her room without a good supply of blood pressure medication because I always leave trembling and ranting that I will NEVER buy her another piece of clothing again!

Believe it or not, #2 used to be the difficult one to shop for. She is very trendy and used to be really picky. Family members stopped buying clothes for her and sent gift cards instead, which once again required blood pressure medication or Valium because #2 is the most indecisive person I have ever met my entire 37 years on this planet. Nowadays she wears pretty much anything I suggest for her and she can still fit in pretty much everything from last year. Thank you, Lord.

My challenge - #3. This is the child who would go to school naked if I let her. Everything gives her a "wedgie" and she will only wear her special 3 pairs of socks (with fruit designs on them) with one pair of brown and blue sneakers. EVERY day. She only wears skirts and dresses, short sleeves are a must. #3 always tells me she likes to be cold. I forced a pair of capri pants under her dress last week when it was chilly and the neighbors probably thought I was pulling her fingernails out. She does not want to take dance lessons because she doesn't like tights. I am praying for her deliverance from jeans demons. So, if you see her in flip flops with her Christmas dress, please keep praying! I told The Husband the other night.....this strong willed personality of hers is going to be a good thing one day. Right, Honey? Please tell me I'm right.......Honey?....

Thus concludes my tale of 2 closets.....I guess it should be 3 closets really.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Morning #1 of My Muffin Top Elimination


Coffee tastes much better with a bagel and not so good with a Dannon "Light and Fit" yogurt.

There are 2 exercise shows on Lifetime at the perfect time between the kids leaving for their different schools in the morning.

I weighed in at 174 pounds today. Goal - 150. (I'm trying soooo hard not to laugh....that sounds absurd to me....twenty-five pounds.....with Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up.....hahahahahahaha).

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Kiss That Muffin Top Good-Bye

That's it! After shopping for a simple shirt with the children and getting comments like "Mom, pull your jeans up, it will help cover your muffin top", I have decided to start seriously exercising! No, not just jumping on the trampoline for a few minutes each day playing with the kids, really exercising. Oh, how I long for the days at Golds Gym when I felt so strong and the jeans that used to hang on me barely zip up now. I have been using that as an excuse for many months now. I really like going to the gym, and since I don't have the time or money to go now I guess I can't really enjoy exercise. And, life is too short to do exercise you don't really enjoy. right?

As Mr. Moseby would say, "Pish-Posh".

Let me tell you, I am the queen of excuses when it comes to taking care of myself. It's too expensive, I'm too busy, I have my period, it's toooooo hard, I would rather eat ice cream, the planets aren't aligned today, blah, blah, blah, blah........

Enough already. I know short of surgery I'll probably still have a bit of a pooch even if I lose 30 pounds, but my muffin top days are drawing to an end. I can feel it. And, honestly, I'm SO SICK OF THINKING ABOUT IT!!! I just want to do it so you never have to read another post from me about having to lose weight. It is an addiction and if I would start to take my health seriously I might actually, by the grace of God, be able to do this.

I'm back on the weight loss wagon. Again.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

My Pop

We all have those memories we prefer not to go back to. They are just so bad it makes you sick to your stomach.

Well, five years ago today I lost my Pop (GAS's hubby of 52 years). It was sudden. It was devastating. He collapsed from a stroke around 7:30 am in the morning at their house and I got the call shortly afterwards to come to the hospital about an hour away. The only time I allow myself to think about it is on the anniversary of his death. I prefer to spend the other 364 days of the year remembering how loving and kind he was. I like to remember leading him and GAS to the Lord around my dining room table shortly after #1 was born. I relish the memories of him packing up paper and plastic grocery bags full of cheese steaks, tasty cakes and sticky buns for me to take back home to Florida after my visits to PA. He and GAS walked me down the aisle at my wedding when neither of my parents were there (that's a whole other story for another time). I feel like we are honoring him by taking care of GAS and providing a loving home for her.

Well, the day he died I felt as if I aged ten years. When we arrived at the hospital he was unconscious, but the doctors were hopeful. That lasted about an hour. By lunch time we were discussing living wills and by mid-afternoon I was sending The Husband to fetch #1 from school to say good-bye. Mercifully, he drew his last breath when we had left to get the kids a bite to eat that evening in the hospital cafeteria. With the exception of #3, who was only 10 months old asleep in a stroller in the corner, the rest of us missed my mom and cousin screaming and collapsing in the hallway when he died. I felt like a part of me died with him, yet I worshiped and danced and praised the Lord that he had surrendered his life to Christ and was healthy and whole in the presence of God. We had a beautiful memorial service with a slide show to Mercy Me's song, I Can Only Imagine.

Throughout the years I occasionally asked God if Pop was really in heaven. Despite, surrendering his life to Christ he did not really attend church, but he prayed to Jesus every night. It's one of those questions that kept me awake at night, but I felt like it was more of a tormenting from the devil then anything else.

Today, as the question entered my mind, as I remembered his death 5 years ago, guess what song played on the radio! Yes, I Can Only Imagine. God spoke to me in volumes. Pop is "surrounded by His Glory". Thank you, Jesus!

While this day is marked with sadness of all I feel we have missed in the last five years since he has been gone, I know I'll see him again one day when I, too will dance before Jesus!

I put a picture of us under my Pic of the Week; however, it stretched us out for some reason and looks kind of ridiculous. But, you get the idea...he was making me laugh!

The Response

After praying and reading my comments from the previous post here is the response I sent to #2's teacher this morning:

Hi Mrs. S,

First of all, thank you so much for your kind response. With that being said, I have no major concerns about the reading time. Perhaps, if she feels uncomfortable with the subject matter (mostly anything about witches, haunted houses and ghosts is the biggest concern) would she be able to read on her own in a different part of the classroom? I trust her judgment. #2 and I are able to discuss what she read about when she gets home and I’m okay with that. And, I want to reassure you that I don’t plan to be the “high maintenance” parent that questions everything you do the rest of the school year! You have our support, this just happens to be one of those things that as a Christian family, we feel we should not participate in….everyone has their own convictions on the subject, and I appreciate that you are willing to work with us!

I’d also be happy to help with the classroom party if you need volunteers. Thanks so much!

Monday, September 17, 2007

I'd Like to Poll the Audience, Please

Okay...I'm going to show you the emails and then discuss the dilemma. This is what I wrote to #2's 2nd grade teacher this morning:

Good Morning, Mrs. S,

I just wanted to drop you a quick note as October approaches to let you know that we don’t celebrate Halloween; however we enjoy all sorts of fall activities and anything like pumpkins, scarecrows and harvest-related items are fine. If you feel there are any class activities or projects planned that conflict with that, please let me know. And, if you have any questions or concerns regarding this, please let me know!

Thank you for doing such a great job teaching #2….her reading had already improved so much since school started! She really enjoys it now and looks forward to her quiet reading time in the evening.

Have a great day,

Mrs. oH mY wORD

This was her response this afternoon:

Hi Mrs. oH mY wORD,

I am so happy to hear about #2’s reading at home and the improvements that you have seen! She has been working very hard here as well.

Thank you for letting me know about Halloween. What would you like me to do if we have a Halloween read aloud? I have many Halloween books that I display in the classroom and read throughout the last two weeks of October.

As for our party, we can have a “fall” themed party so that should be fine.

Let me know what you think.

Thanks, Mrs. S.

Sooooooo, now I don't know what to do! As soon as I read this I got in the shower (I do my best thinking there), but the only solution I got was to ask for my friends' 2 cents. I am so conflicted with the idea of compromising everything we teach the girls by allowing them to sit through stories about things that are not Godly. On the other hand, it sounds like "read aloud" time is a mere 10 minutes out of the day and I don't want to be all legalistic and high matinence. I fought this battle once before when #1 was in first grade and she spent nearly the entire month of October in the library reading by herself while her class did all sorts of Halloweeny activities. That was the main reason I had decided public school just wasn't for us. Things are very different at this school and I certainly don't want to isolate #2, but we also teach them to stand up for their convictions and not "conform"........ARGHHHHHHHH.....wouldn't a devout Jewish mother do the same at Christmas time if the teachers start reading stories about Baby Jesus? What about the atheists who have let their minority, a small, small minority change the entire education system as we know it?

Tell me, please....what would you do?

Horses, Horses, EVERYWHERE!

Has anyone with daughters noticed the new "trend" overtaking the the girls clothing departments? Besides High School Musical. It's horses. For the love of HORSES!

Now, don't get me wrong. My girls like horses. They like to RIDE horses, not wear them emblazoned on every piece of clothing they own, which may be their only choice by the look of things. I noticed it first at Sears, then JC Penny and then, finally, my favorite store that never lets me down, Kohls. It's bad enough trying to get #3 to wear anything besides shorts, tank tops and flip flops, but there is no way this kid will wear something with horses on it. Soccer balls, yes. Troy and Gabriella, yes. Kim Possible, yes. Horses, NO, NO, NO!

I need a breakthrough. And, a Lands End catalog.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Has Anyone Seen The Husband?

.....'cause I sure haven't! His new job has been quite an adjustment (we are blessed and praising the Lord, though!)....he leaves in the morning between 4:30-5:00 AM and the only times this week we have crossed paths was at Middle School Open House, Elementary Open House, church and church....each time in separate cars and spent a total of 3.17 minutes having an actual conversation. He has worked an average of 13 hours a day. Seriously.

I can't help but wonder if this is going to be a permanent thing? Can I tell you it's doing nothing for the romantic side of our relationship....we are strictly on survival mode, only essential information is exchanged that is necessary for our family's day-to-day existence. I miss him! We won't even get to see him until Saturday night because he's helping to lead an ATV trip for church and he'll be out the door again by 5am tomorrow morning!

Last year it was so hard to get used to not working together anymore after 6 years of owning our restaurants. But, that was when he was gone a mere 9 hours a day, not 14 hours including round-trip travel time! I don't just call him my best friend because that is what a wife is supposed to say, he really is! We have fun together, encourage and inspire one another.

I'm feeling a date night coming on.......

Only #2!

I have to laugh, but also thank God for the gifts He has placed in my children. #2 stayed home from school yesterday and today with strep throat. So, you would think she is laying around on the couch watching TV or sleeping, right? No, she is cleaning out my car. Earlier she read for a while while I have been working in my "office" (it's really a corner of my bedroom) and she came and asked me where the trash bags are.

One of her gifts is "helping". She will scoop cat litter as her sisters run screaming from the room. I am so thankful for (and inspired by) her willingness to serve, even when it is behind the scenes! We both decided this will be our last season for soccer and she is thinking about what she would like to do next. I've suggested dance, gymnastics, indoor soccer, piano lessons and she doesn't seem thrilled about any of them. But, when I mentioned taking her down to help at the Food Ministry her eyes lit up and she asked when we could go. I guess "training up your child in the way they should go" means a variety of different things that may not always be the "norm". I hope I am always sensitive to that and never force them to do something that just isn't how God wired them.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I'm Not as Nice as I thought I Was

I am reading John Maxwell's book, 25 Ways to Win With People.

It has been an eye opener. I've tried to be encouraging in the past and pray for God to give me a more compassionate (vs. a critical) heart, but as I have begun reading this book I started to take a good long look at the way I talk with people, including my own family members. Now, this is not to say John advocates shallow, insincere praise where it is not due, but he is very purposeful when looking for the best in people and then acknowledging it. Many times, I've thought wonderful things about people and never followed through with it for a variety of reasons. Too busy, too distracted, here's one....too embarrassed. Yes, it can be embarrassing sometimes to say something affirming to someone who may be slightly intimidating or .....annoying......but, God made EVERYONE in His image so there is something to be recognized as significant in each person He has created. Yes, even that lady who makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up should be encouraged and affirmed just as much as my best buds. In fact, sometimes those are the people who need to hear it the most because no one else ever tells them anything positive.

Especially as a mom, I want to be able to be more specific in my praise and encouragement. Even more specific with it than I am when I give a 10-minute dissertation on how to correctly clean and organize the playroom. I plan to choose my words even more carefully from now on and sometimes even choose not to say anything at all (boy, is that a tough one!).

Monday, September 10, 2007

Do You Ever Not Like Yourself?

I've been feeling the "blahs" lately. No idea why. Just sort of feeling like I'm on cruise control. I'll say something and be like "oh that was dumb" or I'll be like babbling, literally just babbling to God in this strange way like something is terribly wrong and I need to know He is still listening. I honestly wondered today if I am starting to go through some strange early menopause hormonal breakdown. The whole day I just kept wondering why I feel like my life is on cruise control. It's not bad!! I mean I could use to lose a couple pounds, but that's nothing new. We're through the adjustment period of school and everyone is doing well. Coaching my soccer team tonight though nearly sent me over the edge, particularly one little girl who would do everything I was telling her not to do until I finally benched her for the night because she was pushing kids on the opposite team when they didn't even have the ball. I could cry when I think about having to go back there next week. The parents are all pretty snooty (from my former neighborhood) and, quite honestly, I'm sick of being so nice to them. Let's just get the next 3 weeks over with and then we can move on. I used to ADORE coaching soccer. Nope, not so much this year. I love coaching my own daughter and maybe 1 or 2 of the others that actually listen to me. Perhaps I'm having some sort of subconscious identity crisis like I can't relate to people anymore, and I just don't know where I fit in other than the safety of my own home.

Oh ....where is Dr. Phil when I need him??!

I keep thinking it may have something to do with getting prayed for yesterday at church, several different people kept praying for me to have joy (I didn't say a word to them about anything), and imagine that....I feel like the joy is being robbed from me a little bit each day for no reason. Thank the Lord I know my feelings are not real and HIS JOY COMES IN THE MORNING. I'm holding onto that promise.

I had a dream last night about my upcoming high school reunion that I probably can't even afford to go to and maybe that's contributing to why I feel all in a funk. When I have a frustrating or bad dream it seems to affect me the rest of that day. In the dream I was arguing with the people who were planning it that $120 per couple was too expensive and why should I have to pay for open bar if I'm not going to drink anything and isn't it about trying to get as many people as you can from the good 'ole class of '88 together? And, then this thought hit me today. I don't have to go to my 20-year class reunion. Oh my word! The freedom in that! If I don't want to waste money on an open bar and spend the night with maybe the only other 20 people who will show up because everyone else thought is was too expensive, I. don't. have. to. go. I would like to, but not at that price!

SO, please don't worry about me...I am dog bite is healing nicely and we had a lovely middle school open house tonight. I'm just not liking my Eeyore-like attitude right now. And, I'm just trying to figure out how to shake it, since honestly, there is nothing really wrong!

I just want Melissa back, (and, now I'm really worried when I start referring to myself in the third person)!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

My Fun-Filled and Agressive Dog-Filled Weekend

We had a great weekend, beginning with a "Going Away" party for Susan on Friday night at our house. We played games, prayed and hopefully showered her with memories and a few gifts to take along with her to her new home.

And, of course no evening with Susan and Peter would be complete without several hours of playing Nertz until my eyeballs were burning from trying to stay awake and my sides hurt from laughing (all the while Edmund and The Husband were playing X-Box a few feet away).

Then, early Saturday morning after I dragged my tired self out of bed, we watched #2 play her first soccer game and THEY WON!!!!! Do you like how I cleverly colored over her team jersey so as not to reveal the identity of the team for security purposes? Do you also see why travel soccer is so darn expensive with that cute little Nike logo on the shirt, shorts and socks? I was a little disappointed for what we paid that we didn't get any matching Nike underwear. Maybe next year.

My last picture for the weekend is the dog bite I received from my neighbor's nasty little cattle herding dog.

We are trying to pray for the right way to handle this situation. The dogs are allowed to go wherever they want, including on our property! They poop here and they have gotten up close to us and barked and even growled at The Husband. On Saturday, the kids and The Husband threw a ball out of the trampoline and I went over to get it from The Neighbor who seems kind of ....introverted......and he smiled and tossed me the ball and as I turned (the entire time on my side of our property) his dog ran over to me and with no warning BIT ME ON MY LEG. I was so shocked all I could squeak out was "it bit me" and The Neighbor yelled at it and took it inside. He never asked if I was okay or apologized or anything. Can you believe this?!! So, The Husband and I were so worked up (especially over the thought that it could have happened to one of our kids who are now terrified to go outside of our fence) we could not even go talk to him for fear of grieving the Holy Spirit! The Husband was using words like "hang", "kill", "pieces"....things that would not help us to build any bridges with our already aloof neighbors. Alas, I am not the first neighbor to be bitten by Cujo, the little girl who lived here before was bitten which is why we are going to calmly and rationally go over and ask him what he plans to do, so no one else gets bitten. Electric fence? Leash? Wooden fence? Death by lethal injection? I'm not so sure I really care....I just know that I may not be so nice the next time they come across the property line.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Just in Case You Are Wondering....

I've been trying to change my music playlist for about a week now....I hope you are not totally sick of hearing Jeremy Riddle sing Sweetly Broken (I know I'm not!). As soon as I stop getting error messages and "timed out" responses, I'll try to mix things up a bit!

Who is the Real Genius Here?

I'm getting a little bit....okay.....MAJORLY annoyed with my ridiculous dog's (The Other Woman) behavior again. This time it is because she rings her little bell to go outside so I walk over to the door to let her out. But, then she won't go out (perhaps she wants me to roll out a red carpet and escort her?). After doing this about 4 or 5 times, as my footsteps turn to stomps, she will finally go outside. A few minutes later I hear her ringing to come back in. Of course, I ignore her because I kind of like her out there. When she starts to bark I finally go to let her in but she runs away from me and won't come in. She will repeat this process until I am red in the face and yelling at her, "I'm going to chop you up into little pieces and make you for dinner if you don't get in the house right this minute, Young Lady"!! I don't have time for this!! She'll finally walk back in and about ten minutes later she'll ring the bell to go out again. I promise you that she looks over her shoulder and smiles (sneers) at me. I think it is her attempt to drive me out of my mind so that she can become "Head Woman" of the house and have The Husband all to herself.

I'm pretty sure had she taken this she would have scored at least a 150.

I have NO IDEA why I have a dog. Except that she is kinda cute. Sometimes.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

God is the Glue

Over the last few months we have been transitioning in many different areas of our lives. It is all for the good; however, it has not been easy. We've had to trust God for provision and timing. He has been the glue that holds us together some days when the stress from caring for 3 kids, an aging grandma, The Husband's job situation, and a house that still isn't unpacked from moving sends me into a tizzy! The cool thing about it is that He had spoken things into my spirit at various times that I held onto and continue to do so to help me remember His hand is in our lives.

The most recent of these times being this morning driving #1 to school. Last night while watching her worship the Lord at our Youth Building the Lord gave me a picture of her bending down planting seeds in the ground. Her hands were getting dirty, but she did not want to wipe them on herself. She sort of shook the dirt off of her hands and stood up only to see a lot of dirt and no flowers. She sadly looked away and when she looked back there were flowers as far as the eye could see! I felt like I needed to tell her that some of the stuff she is enduring at school and on the bus is like getting her hands dirty, but she is planting seeds and God is going to bless that and bring forth LIFE all around her, (meaning spiritual growth), as a result of her obedience. She just has to remember not to get the dirt in her head or on her heart and to take it to the Lord daily and ask Him to keep her pure. So, I dropped her off after we discussed this and I prayed for her. As I was driving home, the David Crowder Band song called Wholly Yours came on and the first part of the song goes like this........

But a certain sign of grace is this
From a broken earth flowers come up
Pushing through the dirt

Pretty cool, huh?

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

I'm Just Curious

How many of you shop online and if you do, what do you buy? I seem to go through spurts of doing it and I just bought 313 pictures off of Snapfish for $45 including shipping. They usually get here in about 2 or 3 days. I have been very lazy about printing off pictures since we've gone "digital". I still like to put a paper copy in the photo albums and I hope to one day start scrap booking again when my grandkids are in college.

I also recently bought curtains and a clock radio online only because I had gotten so sick of going to Target, K-Mart and Kohl's from school shopping I just couldn't make another trip. It is just so easy and I can shop at midnight without having to park under a streetlight and check my backseats.

What do you buy online?

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Hmmm....Maybe All that Homeschooling Paid Off....

I got this over at Like I Was Saying's blog....I'm a little bummed that I appear to lack logic, but shocked that my other scores were so high! My brother was always the "smart one" in our family! I'm sure it lacks the accuracy of an official IQ test, but it was fun to try this!

Your IQ Is 115

Your Logical Intelligence is Below Average

Your Verbal Intelligence is Genius

Your Mathematical Intelligence is Above Average

Your General Knowledge is Above Average

Monday, September 3, 2007

A Little R & R at OC, NJ

What I Adored at OC,NJ

The beautiful blue skies
The sand between my toes
Sharing a bucket of Curly's fries
The sound of the surf
The wind in my hair
Holding their little hands on the boardwalk
The best pizza ever at Mac and Mancos
The brilliant sunset on the water
The refreshing feel of the pool on a mildly hot day
A black and white shake at the Custard Hut
The quiet of the morning as I spent time with the Lord
The hugs and squeezes and tickles all weekend long

Now...let me bore you with all the pictures! Indulge me, please!

This was out on Uncle G's boat....#3 decided not to go because her tummy hurt (I think she may have been a little sea sick just sitting there before we left). She stayed home with Aunt T.

Here they are wearing their new purchases trip to the shore is complete without a t-shirt or sweatshirt!

The Husband is more into the sand castle building then the kids are!

Those really are the girls and my tiny faces.

This picture reminded me of the New York stock exchange. It sounded like it, too. It was really taken from the top of the Thomas ride platform on the boardwalk.

This is the gazebo that overlooks the bay at my aunt and uncle's condo. We were watching the boats before heading out for a night on the boardwalk.