Tuesday, August 28, 2007

We are Settling in

Well, we've been in school for two weeks. I think we are getting the hang of it. I am getting up, dressed, bed made, lunch made, breakfast served (x2), and one child on the bus by 8:30 in the morning. A new record for me. And y'all, I even have my shoes on. Gasp! I know it's amazin'! Before school started, it was a good day if I made it out of the bed before 8:30. The joys of stay at home motherdom. My kids slept in, I slept in, it was a win win situation. Now on the days we had Bible Study it wasn't too hard to get out the door by 8:30 or so, but we usually stopped for the essential donut on the way. Back to the shoe issue. I only wear shoes when absolutely necessary. Like really hot pavement, actual street pavement, or going out in public. Even in the winter, I wear socks around the house, not shoes, unless I have to go outside to get the mail or paper and it's wet or snowy, if it is just cold but dry, slippers or socks. So, I have to think each morning to remember to put shoes on before I step outside to get the paper, and wait for the bus. Je will not cross the street to get on the bus by herself. I have to hold her hand until she climbs on the bus. Seriously! She tells me she will do it when she is six. I hate to break it to her, but that is sooner than she thinks. She gets off the bus, and crosses the street by herself in the afternoon. The bus driver is great and they are so careful with the kids, I know she would be fine if she would let me wait in the driveway. It's just that I have to find shoes to cross the street. You never know when you will encounter glass or other icky stuff on the road. We will see how she does on Thursday, when a friend puts her on the bus. I have to make a run to the airport, and need to leave before Je gets on the bus. So we have asked a friend from church to come and stay with her till the bus picks her up. Miss C is a favorite of the girls, and they love having her come, so maybe Je will do better with her than me. She is a retired 2nd grade teacher, so that should help.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

It Never Fails

I've learned that just when you give up looking for something, and go replace it, the original shows up. I found batteries on sale earlier this summer. They were the Energizer double A's with the racers from the Cars movie. I had coupons so I stocked up on the most used batteries in my house. This week I have been looking high and low for them. I have a couple places I keep batteries for easy access and both drawers were double A free. Finally I broke down and bought some more yesterday for the remote control. Today, when getting down the cupcake tree to use at Jo's birthday lunch, I notice three packages of batteries tucked on a shelf. I am pretty sure I looked in that cabinet, but I didn't get a chair. I know Shan looked in that cabinet. He didn't see them either. It never fails.

Happy Birthday Baby!

Four years ago today, I was wheeled into the delivery OR for an emergency C-section at just after midnight. Within twenty minutes you were delivered. I heard you cry and they showed you to me. You were so little, just 3lbs 8 oz. We didn't expect you for six more weeks. I joke that your big sister left signs in my womb, "Pull this and Mama throws up" and "Pull this and Mama's blood pressure spikes". I threw up every day for nine straight months, twice, and it was worth every single time I hovered over the toilet. Well, nine months and 7 1/2 months. It was a scary few days that I don't remember, before I got to see you again, through the glass of the NICU as your daddy held you up for me to see from my wheelchair. I was too sick to walk down there, or go into the NICU to hold you. You were four days old when my fever broke so I could hold you. I woke up that morning and felt a bit better. Finally, my digestive system had started working again, and I could move with less pain. I took a shower and got dressed in real clothes, instead of a hospital gown. I slowly made my way down the long hall to the NICU; I remember wondering if I would have the strength to get back. The nurses let me sit in a rocking chair and hold you while you ate. You had a tube going down your nose to feed you with. It was so hard to let you go back into your crib. The nurses took our picture and gave me one and posted one on your bed. I made the slow trip back down the hall to my room. I went back every time you were scheduled to eat, when I was awake. They encouraged me to let you rest between feedings, since you needed all your energy to grow. I went home a couple days later, dependent on wonderful friends and family to get me back to visit. I went each morning and usually again in the evening, if I had enough energy. Your sister returned from Grandma's when you were 10 days old. She came with me each day to visit you. A dear church friend organized a rotation of people willing to drive us down to the hospital, so you had many visitors peer at you through the windows. When you were 13 days old, they called me from the NICU as I was making the bed. Don't forget to bring the carseat today, she will have to practice sitting in it before she can come home. The criteria for coming home included: weight gain, maintaining temperature by yourself, taking all your feedings by a bottle, and sitting in a carseat for an hour without a problem. They were ready to try the carseat test. I still wasn't sure you'd come home that day, but when I got to the NICU, the nurse told me that the neonatalogist had decided to discharge you that afternoon. I went out to lunch with Nana, Aunt Mindy, and some friends. After lunch, Nana drove Je and I down to the hospital to bring you home. I dressed you in your own clothes. They were so big on you. I look at that outfit now and can't imagine a baby fitting in that outfit. I had a nervous afternoon with you. You took two ounces of formula, every three hours. You must have been unsettled by your new home, because you didn't want to eat. By the second feeding you were starved. You grew, and thrived from there.How long it seemed at the time! You were so little for so long. As I look back it passed as a blink, but that first year was a killer. I remember the first month we had to wake you up every three hours to eat, until you were about 6 lbs. I thought I wouldn't make it to stay away for the 11 pm feeding. Thankfully, your Daddy got up with you at 2. Now you climb in with us occasionally, and don't even wake us up. Where did the last four years go?
Now you are a precious pre-schooler, about to embark on your first mornings away from Mama. You will love your teachers and the other children. You will color, and cut, you will paint and play on the new playground equipment installed this summer. What a big girl you've become! I see myself in you, and your daddy. I see generations of extended family in you. Much of what I inherited from my father, you have inherited from me, so, even though you will never know Papa Darrel, know he is part of you. I wonder if he had unexpressed thoughts as a little guy. I know you don't. And I love you, and all those thoughts.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Back to the Grindstone

Is anyone else finding it difficult to get back to a routine? While this is the first year I have sent my baby off to school each day, I am well acquainted with the school routine. I taught for several years before the girls were born and my husband teaches still. So each August, we have the back to school reintroduction to routine. When summer heat hits, Shan all but forbids me to cook. (I am not joking) He works in the heat all day and when he comes home, the last thing he wants is hot food, so we eat a lot of sandwiches and takeout. When I do cook, I cook large amounts to be had for leftovers, the microwave not heating up the house the way the stove does. So now that he is back at school, he is ready for more regular meals. No problem. I just have to figure out what to cook. The new element this year is bedtime. I have pretty much put the kids to bed whenever it felt right, based on how early they got up, what kind of nap they took, how active they were that day, and how they are behaving. So anytime between 7 and 9. Now Je has to get up in the morning, and is very busy during the day, with no nap. All day kindergarten sucks. So that means she needs to be in bed no later than 8 with 7:30 being better. So that means a bath at 7 p.m. and supper before that. I am pretty much not in a groove to start supper preparation before 6. If I do, its a red-letter day. Part of that is our general inclination is to eat later and part of that is because during wrestling season, Shan doesn't even get home until 6:30 at the earliest and usually its closer to 7. So I need a new routine don't I? I fear it will take a few weeks to get this routine ingrained. It's hard when school starts in August, and it feels like there are still a couple weeks of summer. I never feel like the real school year starts until after Labor Day. The weeks before are just practice. So much doesn't get started until then, Bible Study, Jo's preschool, cooler weather, etc.

Last night at church I was busy visiting away and realized that it was 8 o'clock. On a school night. It never really mattered before, if the girls were up late, they just slept in the next day, and had longer nap. I will have to learn how to think in terms of school nights.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Not Just a Day

I've learned that birthdays in our family aren't just the date, it the week around it. Jo's birthday isn't until Wednesday, but since my inlaws visited this weekend her birthday started Friday night with their arrival. Saturday, my MIL wanted to go shopping for presents. She wanted to get her an outfit and a toy. I knew Gymboree had had some cute things on clearance, and we started there. Vera zeroed in on the cutest fall outfit, a pair of jeans with horshoes on the leg, matching vest and a shirt with a horse running through a pasture on the bottom. Y'all know Gymboree right? They have all the matching accessories to go with every outfit. So we left the store with socks, hairbows, and barrettes to match. Then we hit Toys R Us. Over lunch, Vera decided that she really liked the outfit and thought she would go back to get one for Je's birthday in October. They didn't have the exact thing in little girl sizes as the toddler sizes, but pretty close. She also found a great necklace and bracelet set in the clearance bin that complemented the outfits. Jo had to wear the outfit today. Including the cowgirl boots that she got for Christmas. She loves those boots!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Family Fun

When I uploaded the pictures of the first day of school, I ordered some prints of our vacation. One sequence stands out to me. It is so typically Jo that I laugh whenever I see the three pictures...

"Everyone's going on that, great, count me in, let's get buckled here."

"I don't think so! Get me off now!"

"That's better. Y'all go on without me."

And they did!

Thanks Ne-Ne and Jeff

Thursday, August 16, 2007

We Survived-- No We Thrived!

I promised a post on our first day of Kindergarten.
Here she is waiting for the bus...

When it got here, she got on so fast this is the best picture of her getting on I could get...

Here she is coming off the bus at the end of the day...

And finally telling us about her first day...She came home tired but seemed to enjoy her day. Jo did well also. She colored in her new coloring book, helped with laundry, watched a DVD and when she got restless, we took a trip to Walgreen's to pick up the first day of school pictures I uploaded and ordered online. We stopped for a quick slice of pizza for lunch and ran an errand for Nana. By the time we got back home at 2 o'clock she was ready for a book and nap. She fell promptly asleep and slept till 4:30, when she woke up worried because we were all outside meeting the school bus and she was too groggy to figure out how to open the door. Je went to bed early but was still awake when I got home from Bible Study but fell asleep quickly after that. Jo stayed up a bit since she had such a long nap, but she too slept quickly and they both woke up ready for another day.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Love and Forgiveness

Tomorrow, hopefully, I can blog about Je first day of school and how we fared on the homefront. It was a good day. Tonight I want to ponder what I heard in Bible Study this evening. I am studying, Beloved Disciple with my friend at her church. Tonight, Beth concentrated on the experience John had with Christ in Revelation 1: 9-18. She just cracked the door on Rev. 2:1-5, the letter to Ephesus chiding them for forsaking their first love. She made the point that love cannot exist where unforgiveness lives. We cannot truly love unless we let go of our hurt and anger. I prayed the whole way home from Bible Study. It isn't a long drive but still. I prayed over a situation where I fear I might have a struggle in my future in this area. I prayed that God would have me show love to the people involved, to honor Him through my thoughts and words and actions. I am most concerned about my thoughts and words. You know how easy it is to be unkind when unburdening yourself to a dear friend. And it is so easy to let your thoughts get away from you as you mentally condemn a person or dwell on your own hurt and anger. I pray that I will have a loving spirit in this, and that I will be obedient to God's will in my life. If I am obedient, I leave more room for God to demonstrate His love for me. When I heard this today, I was struck by the relevancy. I am a parent. When my kids are obedient, it so easy to show them my love in ways they interpret as love. Hugs, books, privileges, time with fun activities. When they are naughty, I still demonstrate my love for them in my correction of their behavior, (as I am sure God does for us, in letting us face the consequences of our disobedience) but that love is harder for them to grasp. Me too. The don't see a time out or no TV as demonstrations of Mama's love. I hope that my children can witness me demonstrate love for others even when others have hurt me.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

What to do About Jo

I have obessessed about Je starting kindergarten for a while now, and have the butterflies to prove it. She is upstairs sleeping away but I will be up for hours yet. And the thought occurs to me today, not really for the first time but kinda smacked me in the head, that while Je is off at school, Jo will be here. With me. By herself. Without her best playmate. Yikes! Preschool doesn't start for a few weeks for her, and even then, it is only two mornings a week. The afternoons are covered, she will try not to sleep during nap time. The mornings will be long. I am not planning on accomplishing anything tomorrow. I will give over my day to helping Jo adjust to her new daytime schedule. I got her a new coloring book and crayons, (aren't back to school sales great! Crayons for 20 cents and markers for 78 cents!!) Hopefully that will be a treat. We checked out new books at the library today, and a couple new DVDs. We might even try some computer games for preschoolers. I am sure that at some point, we will make a trip to Nana's just for the distraction. I think now I am more anxious about a three year old left behind than I am a five year old off to school all day.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

WFMW--Getting back my share of the bed

Before you read: insert tongue in cheek and hopefully be amused by post.

I live with a bed hog. I love my husband but he is a toothpick and I am not. Yet I end up with roughly 1/3 of the bed and he has 2/3 of the bed. And when the kids come in the get in on my third of the bed. A couple weeks ago, I found the feather bed that my mom bought me in college. She thought the twin bed in my dorm room was horrible so she decided I needed a feather bed to sleep better. It worked then. It has been folded away in the ceder closet for years and during a recent cleaning spree I found it and decided to try it out. It is twin size and our bed is a queen so I could only put it on half the bed. My half. I am just loving it. I slept so well the first few nights that I didn't immediately notice the side benefits. It provides a natural barrier to encroaching husband. I love to snuggle when I am awake, but when sleeping I want my own space. I don't like to be constricted, restricted, or breath warm air. I have my half of the bed back and right now when it is so hot and just hard to sleep, I am delighting in the space! It is working for me!

Don't worry we are happily married but a girl needs her half of the bed. It's a sleep thing.

So Liberals Think I am Stupid

I was lying in bed this morning with the girls, who got up way too early, and was thinking about a tongue in cheek post I want to write for WFMW. We turned on the news so I could catch the weather. The Today Show did a story on fast food advertising and kids. It seems that parents are powerless in the face of the almighty Mc D. It was so infuriating this morning to see the psychologist from Harmed medical School taking a position that I was impotent before the huge power of TV advertising. It seems to be another instance of liberals taking on the decision power that should rest with me.

My husband and I are going to have to give an answer for the decisions we are making in raising our children. It is our privilege to have these children and our responsibility to make decisions in their best interest. It is an awesome task, and one I am completely unable to carry out without the wisdom of God. I will make mistakes and I will make great decisions and may the Lord be glorified.

This is the comment that I added to the Today Show website in response to the segment. Donnie Deutsch was in the studio with Meridith Viera and psychologist from Harvard Med School was in the segment via remote broadcast. Take a minute and go watch the segment on the Today show website. Click on the link with the Happy Meal! Kids love McDonald's.

I would have to agree with Donnie this morning. As a parent of children in the age group highlighted by the story I know my kids like McDonald's. If they are given a choice about eating out, they often choose that place because they like chicken nuggets and playlands. We have DVR and fast forward through most commercials. We rarely watch live TV but my children still recognize McDonald's. It is my job as a parent to make responsible choices for their diet, and for my wallet. McDonald's isn't always the best choice for nutrition or budget. Eating at home is usually better. I am so tired of liberals trying to take away my responsibilities as a a parent. I know their are bad parents out there who make poor choices for their families, but again, it is their choice to make. Don't take away my responsibility as a parent and make the decision for me. I will be angry about it. The other consequence is that my children will be poorer for it as they will have learned nothing from it. I must teach my children by living a life before them. If I can't make choices and mistakes, then learn from them I can't teach my children how to do that either.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Eau d' Italian Restaurant

Today my house smells like wonderful tomato sauce. Yesterday morning I picked up a five gallon bucket of tomatoes (courtesy of my mother) and a bunch of onions. I went to the store to get green peppers since the ones in Mom's garden aren't doing well. I also picked up tomato paste to thicken the sauce. I made 7 quarts of tomato sauce for chili or spaghetti yesterday and 16 pints and one quart today. They are all in mason jars sealed with lids and ready to store on the shelf in the basement for meals all winter. YUM! I was pretty proud of myself yesterday at 2 pm when I had finished in half the time it took last time and with less than half the mess. Now the house smells productive and I can be joyful in another opportunity to fill my storehouse. Isn't God good that He provides fresh produce and knowledge to use the bounty of His creation? I learned to can from my mother who has long touted the benefits of His providence and encouraged us to fill our storehouses whenever possible against future crop vagarities. Last year we didn't get any tomatoes to make sauce. Fortunately, the year before I had made enough for two years. We will make as much as we can this year to keep us until the next tomato crop.

Thursday, August 02, 2007


I have to say how excited I am! I have had comments before from people I know in real life or people who followed the link from a contest I entered. People have commented on my WFMW posts a few times, but today, I received my first comment from someone I don't know, who just read an post I wrote about what is going on in my life. I haven't really worked very hard to build up a big readership. I am torn on this. I started the blog because I had things to say and it seemed a great avenue to express myself. I only told two people I was doing it when I started. A few more people (in real life) know now, but I haven't really pushed them to read it. I didn't do this for blogosphere fame, but maybe a little notice would be nice. That is just ego talking. I need to remember that I do things for His glory not mine. When I get wrapped up in my name, my posts, my blog, my, my, my, I've blown past the important One. If it isn't bringing Him glory, I need to do something else. That is the standard, not how many hits I get or comments people leave. But do you suppose that it is okay to be glad about the comments? There goes that ego again!

I just realized that one of my best friends doesn't know. I think I was too shy to mention it at first, then I think it hasn't crossed my mind. I will send her the link today! Sorry E! You might want to rethink that BFF label, I don't drink coffee and I forgot to tell you about the Blog! Oh Horrors!

It's Upon Us

Today I am taking one more step on a path of no return. At 1 o'clock I will park my new van, unbuckle my five year old from her carseat, and walk through the doors of a familiar building, sure to become much more familiar over the next several years. I will wait in line, hand over forms and write a check to cover the costs of a year of books and fees for KINDERGARTEN. AHHHHHH! My baby is going to school. ALL DAY! EVERY DAY!
I am excited and anxious. I will hold her hand and show her around the very school where her Aunt NeNe attended, and where Je has been for pancake feeds, and voting (it is our polling place), and Kindergarten round up. I want her to go, but I want to keep her home with me like it has been, forever. Next month I will send her little sister off to preschool for part of each week, and I am sure I will cry tears as I drive away from there. Then I will park the van in the garage and go inside my quiet house and do a little dance. I will have the house to myself for over two hours twice a week! By mid September I will be enjoying my new freedom and the many things my children are learning. I will revel in their growing independence, because they will always be my babies, and no matter what, they will always come home. I do(my mother probably wishes I came a little less!)

But for today, I will be a bit sad, a little weepy for the new milestones we are reaching this year. I will be nostalgic for their infant times when I could put them down and they would stay where I put them until I came back. I don't really miss that time, but I do romanticize it sometimes. I am enjoying my kids everyday. I love seeing them grow into the people they will be. Kindergarten is just one step on that road.