Thursday, October 29, 2009

We are family

It's not where I go or what I do,
It's who's beside me that matters.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Lovely laughter

As I was talking with my dear friend Sandra on the phone this morning, my little Luke climbed onto my lap and said, "I'm Naked Luke!" Indeed. He was wearing nothing more than his pajama top! As Sandra was laughing herself to tears over Luke's announcement, I noticed that Naked Luke had some contraband that begged a question... "What are you doing with that sucker, Goof Ball?" Sandra was pausing for a breath when he said, "Sucking." Indeed. Sucking. And Sandra was back to laughing herself to tears... I'm so glad there's no stopping a good laugh between friends - not even 1,100 miles.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


This year has brought about a considerable change in my appearance. The first was the most noticeable - I changed my hair color. Instead of highlighting it with shades of blond and copper every 12 weeks, I decided to dye it back to my natural brown. I hadn't seen my natural hair color since I picked up my first bottle of Sun-In when I was about nine years old. I was curious to see what it would look like and I was tired of the highlighting expense and efforts.

I also started growing it long, instead of constantly maintaining my cute wedge with monthly haircuts. Again, I was tired of the expense and effort.

Most recently, I even gave up my blow dryer and straight iron! My hair is naturally wavy, so I decided to stop fighting its natural tendency and picked up a curling iron to work with it.

Surprisingly, I have found that all the effort and expense of altering my appearance left me with something less appealing than what I was born with. I look and feel better with brown wavy hair.

The other thing is my face... I started taking Accutane in March. Accutane is working wonders for me and allowing me to scale back on the frequency and amount of make-up that I wear. This time last year, I would only have left my house without make-up if the house was on fire!! These days I'd go anywhere without it. I could write entire posts about how much Accutane has changed how I look and feel... But, for now, I will just sum it up by saying that I frequently wonder how I could share the fabulous benefits of Accutane with complete strangers who are suffering from acne. It is that good.

So... As I've gone through this back-to-basics all-natural approach to my appearance, I've seen a parallel to my life. In all things, God knows what he's doing. He was right about my appearance, and I wasted time, money and emotion trying to get a different look. He also knows what he's doing with me. With my life, marriage, kids, family, finances, social status... I'm wasting time, money and emotion every time I cover up who I really am and try to be something else for others. I am losing the potential for sincere friendships when I pretend to be something I'm not or withdraw out of insecurity. Just as I found with my physical appearance, the pretend me is less appealing than the me God designed me to be! There is a high cost to being inauthentic.

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalm 139:14

Fall fun... and foliage

The weather will only get colder, so we have taken every opportunity to play outdoors. We've hit parks before and after school, and have enjoyed outdoor birthday parties... Regretfully, all of our recent soccer games have been "rained out", even on gorgeous days (fields were too wet from rain in the days before).

The boys call this the "great cliff".
It's actually part of a water feature of a nearby subdivision!

On our back deck... These are the pictures I was taking when that pesky bird flew into our house!

Riding ponies at our friends' birthday party... I find it funny that their first experience riding a "horse" was in the middle of a subdivision just up the street! No country boys here.

Playing at a park on the way home from school... Hard to believe this was just yesterday. Both boys are sick today. Not so smiley and happy right now...
Did you know that hedge apples are known to keep spiders away? They are also good for bowling, if your park slides
are too wet to play on!
Playing in our front yard while waiting for Daddy to get home. I'm trying to decide if it is more fun to be this age or to have children this age. Either way, it is pure bliss!

Friday, October 23, 2009

To do's

A note Zachary just gave me:


1. Et brefist
2. Pla Wii
3. Get dresd
4. Et lung (lunch)
5. Pla
6. Go tric or tret
7. Go to slep
8. Wac up

When I inquired about getting into his costume and eating dinner he merely replied, That's all part of trick-or-treat. (Duh, Mom.) Then he pondered his to do list and said, I need to add one thing...

Et cande

Rockin' the tatts

Bet you didn't know this about us. We're tattoo enthusiasts. In the suburbs. In argyle. During the week of our school book fair and parent/teacher conferences.

Last night Zach and I had to run up to school to pick something up. There were quite a few people coming and going. Many were looking at me out of the corner of their eyes, and sometimes I even looked back at them after we'd passed and found them staring at me. Zach and I just laughed. A lot.

As we were standing in the doorway talking to Zach's teacher, I finally said, "Don't you just love my new tattoos?" As I held my arms out to her, she could clearly see what she couldn't from a few feet away... They're just sleeves! She laughed out loud and said, "I was trying to process that... Thinking, 'I don't remember ever seeing the tattoos. Have I never seen her in short sleeves before?'"

We lingered around the kindergarten classrooms for a little while, looking at the art on the walls. Parents kept gawking and I kept smiling and offering friendly hellos. A friend spotted us and came over raving about them, asking where she could get some. One of Zach's other teachers overheard and erupted in laughter saying, "When I saw you earlier I thought, 'Wow! Zach's mom has some serious tattoos."

I do.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Our funny day

Would you agree that kids say the funniest things? Yesterday morning Zach walked into the kitchen and proudly announced, "I just did 35 push-ups!" Luke replied, "Now try some push-downs."

Later in the day, Luke and I were taking a few pictures on the back deck. I'd left the back door open for all of two minutes... All of the sudden I heard what I thought was a squeaking noise coming from the kitchen. Annoyed that the dog had another of the kids toys, I headed inside to scold him and found a bird flying into the living room! Not knowing what to do - and having images of this thing dive-bombing my three year old - I called our vet, who referred us to Wildlife Rescue. I felt this was kind of urgent - you know, with the dive-bombing and all - but the Wildlife guy acted like it was no big deal. He said I'd need to use a net to catch him. To that I said, "What if I don't have a net? Is my only other option to hit him with a broom and kill him?" Wildlife guy responded with, "Well, I can't tell you what to do, but I'd try the net." As if on cue, Luke grabbed a fly swatter and shouted "I CAN'T WAIT TO KILL THE BIRD!"

I've laughed myself to tears several times thinking about what the Wildlife guy must have thought. First me with the broom comment and then my sweet little boy sounding like a serial killer in training.

Even though I was afraid of being dive-bombed, I already had the camera in hand and a blog post to write later. Of course, pictures were in order!

For you PETA folks, I wouldn't have called Wildlife Rescue if I didn't want to rescue the poor thing. Killing was never my desire, but the Wildlife guy didn't give me any other suggestions on how to get him out of the house!!! Thankfully, I had the bright idea to throw open all the doors and the little fella went back out the way he came in.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Fall tradition

One of our favorite fall activities is a trip to the pumpkin patch. We came to this particular one as a family when Luke was a newborn, and the kids and I came again last year with Zach's preschool. They'd remembered everything and could hardly wait to get there! It didn't disappoint...

We ran, jumped, slid, launched gourds, climbed, scooped corn, did superhero moves, rode trikes, played pirates, tromped through the haunted house... and took loads of pictures! It was a wonderfully perfect fall day.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


I think about Jack pretty much every day. I first met him when he was just a baby, and so often thoughts of him come to mind as I watch my own children. I weep for the emptiness and grief his family is going through... Missing him dearly.

As my boys had pumpkin races, played pumpkin tag, and jumped pumpkins this morning... I thought of Jack. As we pick out Halloween costumes, bake our traditional Thanksgiving apple pie, and eagerly anticipate this winter's first snow... I will think of Jack.

As I am reminded that we are not promised another tomorrow here on earth, I hold my family closer... And pray for Jack's family and hope that as I shed a tear, they shed one less.

Remembering Jack.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Truly refined

About ten years ago, a woman told me that I was so "prim and proper" (ahem... uptight!) that I made her nervous. I wonder what she'd think if she could see us now...

My youngest

My bright idea... A pudding eating contest.
"He's cheating!"
And the winner is...

Showing off their plates... I guess Luke has decided to carry the "prim and proper" torch for our family. He refused to eat "like a dog" (no matter how funny it was at dinner
the night before!).

Monday, October 12, 2009

Not me Monday!

I have been reading MckMama's Not Me Monday posts for some time, but have never participated. Since I actually did (not do) a few things that are worth a laugh (or gasp!) in the last week, I thought I'd share.

I did not breeze through three days of a full house with little friends over Monday thru Wednesday before school, only to completely lose track of the day of the week by Thursday.

I did not wipe a booger with my bare hand from my son's nose and proceed to wipe it on the bottom of my shoe after soccer practice.

I did not make a doctor's appointment for my son on Tuesday, only to cancel it via voicemail early Thursday morning.

I did not put Luke down for a nap at 1pm on Friday, only to realize at 1:47 that he had a 2pm eye exam. I did not pluck him from his cozy bed, prop him up (while half asleep) in front of the toilet, redress him and buckle him into the van sans shoes to head to the eye doctor. I did not arrive only two minutes late. And I did not put his shoes on after we checked in.

I did not drop part of a Klondike Bar on my bed... because I would never eat a Klondike Bar late at night or in my bed!

As Bryan worked on Saturday, I was not completely exhausted. I did not allow the kids to play unsupervised for an hour while I did not repeatedly shout "be quiet" from my bed. My children did not completely destroy their playroom.

I did not allow the entire house to fall down around me over the weekend.

Last night, we did not spend an outrageous amount of money to take our kids to the movies instead of just renting Monsters Vs. Aliens at Red Box for a buck. We also did not pay extra for 3D. And I did not sneak snacks and bottled water into the theater in my purse.

This morning, I did not draft my first letter as Co-Room Mom to our classroom parents, saying that our Halloween party would be next week (wrong) and that we needed all donations by Thanksgiving (also wrong). And thank goodness my Co-Room Mom did proofread the letter and notify me of the things I did not get wrong.

I obviously do not need to get more sleep. I do not need to prioritize. I do not need to pay closer attention to detail. And I do not need to take a peek each day at the calendar and perhaps set alarms. Kleenex would not be helpful on the soccer field either.

Hope you've enjoyed a laugh at my expense... Would love to hear what you have and have not been up to!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Catch, Dad!

I snapped these pictures about six weeks ago... My how the weather has changed! Before long, our outdoor activities will involve snowmen and sledding. With temps already in the mid 30s, it feels like we're skipping right over fall.

I can still hear the laughter. Zach and Bryan had such a great time playing catch... and eventually one-on-one baseball that night.


A week ago I read this story of how a mother was mistreating her child while shopping.

The writer ends her blog post asking for suggestions about what more she could have done to help. The comments have been blocked (you'll see why when you read her follow-up post)... She received a lot of feedback - much of it from people who work "in the system" throughout the United States.

Best tips:
  • Have your local CPS number programmed into your phone.
  • Get a good physical description of everyone involved.
  • Listen closely for names, ages, and any other identifying information.
  • Listen at checkout to see if the cashier calls them by name.
  • If they paid by cash or check, you could even ask the cashier for their name.
  • Watch the family leave the store, getting the license plate number as they leave.
  • Call CPS right away with all the information you have.
  • Do not hesitate to call the police when needed.
This update came a few days after JMom's original post... God never ceases to amaze me.

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Psalm 34:18

Friday, October 9, 2009

A matter of heart

Over the summer, our small group met once a month for something social, but we did not do a study. We resumed studies in late August, but Bryan and I missed the first two meetings. So, he and I have not had any "God" talks in quite some time. Although we had to miss the first two meetings of our current study, I've kept up with the reading and have made notes all over in the margins of my book.

As Bryan settled in for a football game last night, I crawled into bed with my book - Crazy Love by Francis Chan. (He was watching in the bedroom.) While I read, I struggled with some of the "black & white" points of view I felt the author was writing from. I expressed my thoughts out loud several times, and each time Bryan engaged in discussion with me. Bless his heart - if he'd have tried talking to me during Grey's Anatomy we'd have had a problem! What a great guy he is to let me interrupt the game... I love having discussions like that with him! I feel so close when we connect like that.

Anyway... When I hit page 88, Francis Chan clears up my black & white concerns. He writes:

"His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3). His grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9). I'm not saying that when you mess up, it means you were never really a genuine Christian in the first place. If that were true, no one could follow Christ."

"The distinction is perfection (which none will attain on this earth) and a posture of obedience and surrender, where a person perpetually moves toward Christ. To call someone a Christian simply because he does some Christian-y things is giving false comfort to the unsaved. But to declare anyone who sins "unsaved" is to deny the reality and truth of God's grace."

So often we hear unbelievers use "the hypocrites in church" as their reason for not believing. I agree that there are people who claim to be Christians when they truly are not, but on the flip side, there is no such thing as a "perfect" Christian. Sin alone cannot be the determining factor. The heart must be. For if our salvation is based on our sin, we are all lost forever... If our heart is focused on Him, we will certainly fail at times, but his grace covers and redeems.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Revolving door

We are not the family who is on the go all the time. We do not have a revolving door of house guests, go on or host frequent play dates, and we do not overextend ourselves with extracurricular activities. However, you would never know this by looking at our schedule this week...

Monday: Have a classmate over all morning. Take my two boys and the classmate out for lunch, then drop the bigger boys off at school. "Homeschool" Luke in the afternoon - lots of art! Return to pick up Zach after school. Take exhausted and crabby kids to the grocery store to pick up stuff for dinner. Stop at the eye glass store with the kids to get Zach's lens replaced. Wait forever. Head home - on edge the entire time because they are just so crabby. Put them in front of a TV show while I grill steaks... Everyone gets nice again. Dinner is fabulous - I splurged on fillets. Neighbor stops by just as I'm about to put the kids to bed. I let them stay up dancing to Michael Jackson songs for every one's amusement.

Tuesday: Have a different classmate over all morning. Take my two boys and the classmate with me to the dermatologist. They kids were AWESOME. Return home for a couple hours of playing, feed all three boys, take the two bigger boys to school. Put Luke down for a nap while school's in session. Return to pick up Zach after school. Slave over delicious potato soup for dinner. Grandpa stops by and stays for a couple of hours. We always love when Grandpa visits!

Wednesday: Have the same classmate from Tuesday over again today. This time no doctor's visit - we'll play at our house. Feed the three boys by noon. At 12:20 arrive at another friend's house to pick up her 2 1/2 year old daughter. After picking up this sweet little friend, head over to a park near school to park in their lot and WALK the two bigger boys for "Walk to School Day". (As mentioned in a previous post, we live too far for 2 and 3 year olds to walk all the way.) Drop the big boys off at school, then walk back to the park with the two littler kiddos. Play for a while, then head to our house. Hang at our house till school is over. Return with the two little kids (in the van this time) to pick Zach up. Drop our little friend off safely at home right after school, then rush home to change into soccer gear and eat a little something before practice. Pick one of our teammates up on the way to practice. Watch the big boys practice while Luke and I chat and color. After practice, play at the playground for 30 minutes, then head home, dropping our teammate off on the way. Return home -- with only my two children -- around 7pm. Squeal over getting to see Daddy. Play a little. Bathe the kids. Put 'em to bed. Phew! I already need a nap.

Thursday: So far no plans for company, but we'd be happy to have them if duty calls... Take Luke to the pediatrician at 10:15am. Pray that the doctor is not running super late (as usual) and that we can get a decent lunch (I think I will pack a picnic so we don't eat fast food) and get Zachary to school on time. I dream of naps on Thursday afternoon. If it rains (which forecasters are currently calling for) Bryan should be home from work. A girl can dream... Pick Zach up after school. No plans for company on Thursday evening, but who knows who might pop in.

Friday: Relax at home all morning. Eat breakfast in shifts if we feel like it! No plans until I have to drop Zach at school. Then Luke is scheduled for an eye exam at 2pm. We'll probably grab an ice cream after his eye exam, and then it will be time to pick Zach up from school.

Wow... All that for a non-on-the-go family! Honestly... I'm a little amazed that I'm doing this. I never would have guessed that I'd be capable of doing so much - and actually enjoying it! I still love being a school mom!!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Aging like a fine wine (although I don't drink)

When I was in my late 20s, I frequently heard women say that a "woman's body and appearance start changing dramatically around age 35". Through age 34, I believed that only happened to those women. Then, a few months after my 34th birthday, I noticed a significant shift in my monthly cycle. At first I chalked it up to post baby/post nursing stuff, but then realized it was a much bigger nuisance. I went to see my GYN. After some testing to rule out other things, the doc determined that I have PCOS. Nice... He put me on birth control to control it and regulate my cycle. I wasn't happy about taking meds, but really needed it.

This past January I started seeing a dermatologist for my acne. After many failed attempts at treating it in the past, my new derm suggested Accutane. It's working wonders and I couldn't be happier to take this pill! Between the birth control and Accutane, I'm taking two pills a day.

Then allergy season set it and a friend suggested I try Zyrtec. Nothing else has ever worked for me, but I figured I'd try one last hail mary. It's been great! Three pills now.

About a month or so ago I went to see an urgent care doc... Since I've spent most of my time between June 2002 and August 2007 either trying to get pregnant, being pregnant or nursing, I have not bothered with a general practitioner. My OB/GYN is wonderful and treated anything I happened across during that time. But now I've officially dropped the OB part of his title when I refer to him. No more obstetrics for me. He's my wonderful GYN, and it was time to find a regular doctor!

I went to see my new GP on Friday. Bless her heart, she was so nice to me. She said that I have to start exercising - not for my weight, but for my heart. I'm officially old enough to have to think about my heart. Bone loss too. Did you know that many women begin to experience bone density loss at age 35? So, she recommended I add a few more pills to my daily routine. Calcium with Vitamin D and Fish Oil. The Fish Oil is great for cholesterol, but also helps safeguard one's mental capacity -- we're talking Alzheimer's! I'm taking fish oil, in part, to fight Alzheimer's. The Calcium with Vitamin D is obviously for my bones, but it also "supports breast health" - just read the label. Those two supplements add four more pills to the routine. We're up to SEVEN.

Fifteen months ago I didn't take one. My how things change with 35.

I find it ironic that children go to all those well visits and get all those vaccinations when they're young. Then we take those years off from age 18-35. And then annual physicals, vaccinations, and vigilant blood screenings becomes routine again.

I'm seeing my dermatologist tomorrow. In addition to my monthly Accutane visit, I'm getting a complete body mole check. The screenings just don't stop!

And you know what... All of this seems normal to me. Well, all the pills make me laugh out loud... But what a gift to be living! And to have all this stuff for prevention.

I do not use a pill box, but this one is huge...
If I were to use one, it would probably need to be this size!

For those of you innocent under 35's... Enjoy the nights that you can just drop into bed without so much as removing your make-up. My bedtime routine takes a little more effort these days. Forget one pill and I might be sniffling, breaking bones, forgetting something, getting pregnant (if Bryan hadn't had that now pointless procedure - sorry, Honey), or acne-ridden... And let's not forget that "breast health" benefit of Citracal. One last thing - don't believe the "odorless" promise on the fish oil label. They stink. I haven't taken it yet - going back to the store to see if another brand is actually odorless.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Playing doctor

The other day Bryan and I were listening in on the boys as they played doctor. Luke was the patient, Zachary the physician.


Zach: (very calmly replies) "You're going to need an alientologist for that."

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Laundry room fun

I walked in on this the other day...

"Look at my muscles!"

At least someone's having fun in the laundry room.