Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Preparations

I'm going to decorate for Christmas. Eventually. I have a wonderful husband who has commented a few times that he's going to go to storage to get all 7 boxes of Christmas decorations... But so far, life has intervened. One day it was raining. The next, he was exhausted and just needed to take the day off. And then we're fighting the clock with moving out of our other house and needing to load up the dumpster at the new house... They're coming on Wednesday the 20th to pick it up. There is still sooo much to do.
I hate moving.
Back to Christmas, Lowell and I had a great family moment a few days ago where we sat down and taught the kids how to make snowflakes. They folded the paper and learned how to make the cuts and shapes and were sooo excited when they opened up their masterpieces! We made big snowflakes, little snowflakes, snowflakes with only hearts cut into them and a whole bunch more. We're going to hang them from the ceiling. We also have a calendar Chloe made at school and some reindeer food that we're supposed to spread on the ground Christmas Eve. Jillian also made a glittery snowflake out of popsicle sticks that has a little picture of her face in the middle of it.
We've done a little bit of Christmas shopping but nothing is wrapped yet. And honestly, I don't know what I'd do with it if it were because we don't have tree to put anything under!! :)
We did make one major family Christmas present purchase. We bought a new TV. We got a flat screen that only weighs about 40 lbs. I mention the weight because the TV that we had weighed almost 200 lbs. It was big, but it was impossible to move and sooooooo cumbersome.
Our church is having Christmas Eve services on both the 23rd and 24th. We are attending the service on the 23rd at 5pm and then we're going to stay and work the toddler room for the 7pm service. Christmas Day will be dinner - we've invited our neighbors from the old house over. I'm looking forward to it because it really doesn't seem like Christmas to me unless the house is full of people. Our neighbors don't like turkey so I'm going to have to adjust my menu a little... I'm thinking either ham or green-chile chicken enchiladas.
I still have family presents to make and mail too. Really hoping that gets done tonight. Just sooo much to do.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Our Move

Its Ugly Christmas Sweater Day at work tomorrow... I'm going to go to Goodwill sometime this afternoon and see if I can get appropriately outfitted. I'll have to post pictures of the event! :)

We took possession of the house we're leasing (possibly buying - its a lease/purchase option) yesterday. Very exciting day. I suppose I need to take pictures of it too! But I'll clean it up some first. We're going to be moving over the next couple of weeks. The kids are sooooo excited! They saw it for the first time yesterday and got to pick out their rooms and play in the huge yard. When we got back home, they set about drawing sketches of how they want their rooms to be painted and decorated. So far, I have a Star Wars themed room, (bet you can't guess who that is!) an underwater room (Chloe) and a garden room with flowers, bugs and rainbows (Boogie). I have my work cut out for me and I think I'm going to get very familiar with the paint/stencil section of Lowes!! :)
Lowell is taking the next couple of days off work so that he can help with the major cleaning and moving and then I'll be able to move in car loads over the next week or so. We have to be out of our current house by the 3rd. Christmas is a strange time to be moving, but I've very excited about having a nice clean, new house and getting to decorate it!!!! :) Yipee!
More than anything, I'm soooo thankful for the outdoor space. I can't wait for you to see it! There are chicken coops in the backyard because the previous owner raised fighting chickens. Nathan is very excited about tearing them down. He and Daddy starting working on them, and Nathan is showing a lot of skill at using a hammer and screwdriver... :) And he just likes to destroy things.
While moving, we're downsizing our belongings and we're going to buy furniture that fits our new space over time. This will be exciting.. Lowell said we can go yard sale-ing together and search for deals. I love that kind of shopping! :) And we're going to be looking for artwork and decorations to fill up wall space instead of using a lot of furniture.
We will definitely need a sectional and book cases. We have a TON of books. The house has a family room and living room so we're going to use the living room as a computer room/library. :) I am really looking forward to having all our books in one place and displayed and accessible!! Our bedroom also has a sitting area where I'll be able to have a scrapbooking room!!! Yipee!!! That will be AWESOME!
Some of our belongings have been stored since we left California - non-essentials like tschotskes and scrapbooking stuff. It will be almost like Christmas to unpack all of our things finally!
While there are a ton of exciting thing happening, and while I'm soooo thankful for our new house - - I hate moving. I'm soooo ready to be stable and stuck and plant roots. Lowell and I have joked that even though this house is a modular, we might buy it just so we don't have to move again!!!! :) Either that or we're paying someone to move us next time.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Blessings

Last night was my last class. As in, last. Final. No more. Complete.
And its sooo not real. I have finished all of my coursework for my masters. All I have left is 700 hours of practicum. And I have a couple of leads about sites.. Now I just have to secure on within the next week or so. Then my counselor's exam is in April and well.... I'll have my masters! :) It seems soooooo unreal! And there's more!!
Yesterday was one of good news! I also learned that we have secured a house to rent!! Yeah! :) It is a larger house - with a huge fenced yard!!!!!! I am soooooooooo thankful!

In our life there is another hurdle that we're struggling with currently that God has been showing Himself so faithful.. I am thankful each day for how His hand is moving in our lives and I am soo thankful for my husband. I love his dedication to taking care of us. I love his sense of humor and his commitment to having a house full of laughter. I love how responsible he is about going to work every day, even if he's only slept 1 hour. (fyi - I could NOT do that! and he does it almost weekly.) I love his words of encouragement and how much he appreciates and loves his family. He really, really loves us. And that is about the most wonderful thing in the world.
I'm just thankful. I'm blessed and I'm grateful.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Bad News

I was disgusted today by the news. Twice. The first time was this morning watching the weather before going to work and then hearing the little captions about the upcoming stories! My kids were in the room for heaven's sake!!! They don't need to hear about a man going on trial for slitting the throat of his precious baby boy.. Or the teacher who is being indicted for selling crack at school.. Or the latest sex scandal in the Catholic church.. Holy crap!! As I scrambled for the remote I caught a glimpse of Nathan's face paying close attention to what he was hearing... That boy is so anxious to understand, to learn and to get info -- he soaks in all that he can. He reads over my shoulder when I'm on the computer, he listens to my phone conversations and asks, "Why'd you say that?" "What does that mean?" And when we're watching cartoons or movies, he wants to know what the characters are thinking - why they're feeling ____ - and whats going to happen next.
So, of course, he was paying close attention to the news. And my heart sank.
My little boy is innocent. Well, as innocent as I've been able to keep him for the past 8 years... And I don't want to shatter that. I don't want him to have nightmares about bad men or scary teachers. I don't want him to have adult concerns and fears... But dang-it I need to watch the weather!!!! Even using the internet for the weather, there are always blaring headlines about missing children, mass murders, executions, etc....
The second time was at work, checking the news from the last couple of days... A grandmother in Virginia threw her granddaughter off a six story mall walkway. Three little boys in Michigan, all brothers, are missing and the police suspect that their father was involved in their disappearance... Local teachers are bracing for how to tell their students that three boys in their school were murdered. And by their father no less... WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH PEOPLE!!?!?!? Some days I am so overwhelmed by the... evil in the world. Its disheartening and depressing.

Does anyone know of a news page that has local weather options that is more family friendly??? I currently use MSN and, as an adult, really like it -- but not now that I have eyes following my media choices... Any suggestions?!!? Thanks!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Bad Attitudes

I have a bad attitude today. I'm grouchy and I want my own space. I don't feel good and I'm tired. I feel drained and angry. I have blown up at the kids because they are making messes and getting rowdy... But, honestly it wasn't really their behavior that was getting to me -- it was that they were infringing on my personal comfort. I wanted to stay on the couch where its warm, or watch my tv show, or not have to clean up the kitchen for the 19th time today... Frankly today, I just don't want to be a mom. And yet, I am one. Like it or not, my home is filled to the brim with three little energetic bodies that beg to be talked to, played with, praised, guided, fed, etc... They don't understand that Mom feels yucky or selfish or just needs a break - all they know is that Mom's grouchy. I don't want to be a grouchy mom... Unfortunately today I don't really want to fix my attitude either. I just want to be selfish and have my space.
How can I justify that when I spend so much time reminding my children to not be selfish?
Nathan and Jillian have been fighting soooooo much lately. Nathan can't handle how Jillian likes to change the rules of games so that she can win. He can't handle how she always wants to get her way and how she 'never' wants to play Star Wars with him. I am having a very difficult time with Nathan as he's going through this stage -- he blames his failures on everything or everyone else -- usually he blames Jillian. If he gets in trouble, its because of Jillian. If he gets tagged in the game, its because Jillian didn't play fair. If he finds that a toy have been left on the ground and has gotten broken, its either because Jillie put it on the floor or because she went into his room and stepped on it.
Poor Chloe is stuck in the middle, being called to choose between her siblings. Who will she play with? Who's game will she play? What does she do when the other two are mad at each other and can't get along? She likes to play with Jillian because she's a girl and they like to play similiar things... But she also gets frustrated with Jillian's difficult personality. And, lately, Nathan gets left out in the cold. I will admit that sometimes its his own fault - he throws a fit when it isn't necessary and then no body wants to play with him....
Ugh. I'm just tired. And grouchy. And now Nathan is left outside playing by himself because they were playing hide-and-seek tag and Jillian got him. Can I pull the covers over my head and hide until this stage is over?

Friday, November 26, 2010

An Uncommon Thanksgiving

Today is Black Friday. I'm not shopping. I really don't have the money to go and hit all the stores - even if everything is on sale. I think I'm going to be shopping at yard sales, thrift stores and the like this year... And that's okay with me. I already got something for my husband and for Nathan that I'm excited about! :)
Yesterday I worked. It was a good day - productive and fun. And I was blessed by the volunteers to be able to take home 5 plates - enough for my whole family!!! So, we actually got to eat Thanksgiving dinner yesterday after all! :) The kids enjoyed their little feast and I loved that I didn't have to cook at all. The only part missing from our feast was the pie. Today I'll be stopping by the store to get a pie crust and tomorrow we're going to make pumpkin pie. Then our Thanksgiving will be complete!!! :)
I really do have soooo much to be thankful for.... A lot of the things I'm grateful for are listed on the side of my blog because I want to maintain an attitude of thankfulness all year long. Recently however, I've been extra specially blessed by my church family, my boss, and my Moron. I'm thankful for you!! :)
My children went around the table and shared what they were thankful for last night: Jillian said, God and then added her family and friends; Nathan said food; and Chloe said her daddy.
Before we sat down to eat, we went to look at a place to rent. My fingers are crossed that we are able to move into this place -- I think it would be great because it has so much more space - outside and inside. I'm confident that God will provide something for us, whether its this place or not. My one thought is that I'd like to move soon so that I can decorate for Christmas. :) I'm looking forward to decorating... and I'll post pictures as soon as we move/decorate! :)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Turkey Day

I can't believe its almost Thanksgiving. It doesn't feel like it... I'm sure thats a combination of weather, being far from family and because I have to work Thanksgiving day.... We are going to celebrate on Saturday. I'll be cooking... But I haven't shopped yet. Is that a bad thing?? :)

Family Bed

I picked up McDonalds tonight on my way home from work. I was just exhaused and couldn't bear the thought of cooking dinner after the day I had. Found the house to be in a relatively decent condition and my husband asleep on the living room floor. Threw the bags on the table, got the kids to clean up a little and then told them to help themselves. I tried to lay on the couch and not think about how bad my back hurts when I heard a little voice... "Mama... Will you play a game with me?" I really wanted to say no... And then I realized that I also really wanted to say Yes. I wanted to have the energy to play that game, so I got off the couch and sat on the floor to play a very silly game of checkers with my youngest. Then I was surprised by my older two who came out to the living room to give me a "spa day". Nathan put lotion on my legs, Chloe painted my fingernails and Jillian brushed my hair. Then the kids decided they wanted their fingers and toes painted too. Even Nathan. He got clear. I felt very special and I told them so. I'm not sure how my boss is going to react to my bright gold, sparkly fingernails tomorrow but, when I tell her who did them, I bet she'll smile. I have that kind of boss.
Side note about my boss: She is also very understanding of the fact that life happens. She is so approachable and understanding. She's awesome at what she does and very smart -- and she manages to make her employees feel welcome in her office. I'm blessed!!
Now that the spa day is over, I cleaned up after "dinner" and got the kids ready for bed. We've got a family bed going on for some reason tonight - I'm on one side of the king sized bed, Nathan is in the middle, Chloe's on the other side and Boogie is horizontal at the foot of the bed. I'm typing and kids are reading. Chloe is reading through the her little Bible (Did I mention how lucky I am??!?!?) Jillian is flying through Dr. Seuss books and Nathan reads chapter books with ease.
Both of my girls are sick. They've got a cough and a stuffy nose. It really doesn't affect them so much during the day, but at night it is miserable. Its sad to hear them coughing during the night..
Well, this family bed thing worked for a little while -- Nathan has left to places unknown and Jillian is now crying. She says its because she wants to go to school, but Mom thinks its because she's tired. She didn't get her toenails painted at the spa day because she climbed on my dresser to reach the shelf in my closet to get the nail polish to begin with. Then she wasn't able to read out loud because it distracted the rest of us.... Such drama for a 5 year old... :)
I love my little family!! :)

Friday, November 19, 2010

At the Zoo


Updates

I am almost done with school. But the end still seems sooooooo far away. Its Senior-itis. And its a bad case. :)
I have three options for my practicum as well as a lead on a new job. The job is working with families of youth who have behavioral issues. It would allow me to have a flexible schedule and to make my own hours but would also push me further into my field of choice because I would get to write treatment plans and progress notes.
And Lowell and I have begun looking for another house. We simply must get out of this HOA... It is stifling and limiting and we are just ready to be free from it. The kids are sooo ready for some more outside space and Lowell is just dying to be able to actually work on something at home. And I'm looking forward to a larger house. Right now, if one or two things get out of place, our living room looks like a bomb went off in it simply because its so small. I called about one house this morning, so now we just need to see if we get a call back, or if its already been rented. Fingers crossed! :)
The first quarter of school is over -- Nathan got 6 As and 1 F. Granted, he didn't deserve the F -- he just didn't turn in a couple of assignments in social studies and because there were only 4 assignments in the quarter that were graded, he got an F. Talk about a devastated little boy. He would have gotten an A because all of his papers were perfect and that would have given him both Honor Roll and The Principal's List. It would also have made him the only one in his class to get this distinction.... The report cards came home over 10 days ago and he's still bummed about it. I've told him that as far as I'm concerned, he achieved his goal, but he's heartbroken. Apparently at the beginning of the year, each student set goals for themselves and, in May, if they've achieved their goal each quarter, they received something from the school. Now Nathan is disappointed again because he knows he won't be eligible for this reward. (The goal he set for himself was Principals List all four quarters.) I'm so proud of him for setting his sights high and for working so hard to achieve his goals... I want to encourage him in these things - I don't want him to be disappointed about how hard he worked. On the other hand, I'm sure he'll be more apt to turn in assignments this quarter... It just seems like a lot of responsibility to place on an 8 year old.. I didn't get a note in his backpack that he didn't have assignments turned in... It all comes down to me having to check the online gradebook and keep up on it. Ok sure, in my free time, I'll do that too... Aggravating!
And, makes me feel a little mom guilt because if I had been checking, I would have been able to get him to turn the papers in (they were already done in his binder) and he would've achieved his goal. Ggrrrr!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

*smile*

I was used by God today... Someone told me on facebook that they were encouraged by something I posted and that God used the words to touch them.. Thats a good day. :)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween and a Little Boy's Heart

Halloween is over. We have three very large bags of candy in my pantry. Like we need candy.
Chloe and Jillian really had a good time trick-or-treating; they ran from house to house and were enthusiastically announcing what kind of candy they got from each house. On the other hand, Nathan was very subdued and used the time to talk to me about things on his heart.
He began with, "I don't think I have a very good life."
Talk about stabbing a mother in the heart. Quick prayer -- Lord, please help me to deal with his feelings. To not get defensive and to acknowledge that his feelings are legitimate. And to provide encouragement that will turn him to the Truth...
So, I asked him to tell me more about his feelings. He said that he was upset because his dad sleeps a lot and I am busy all the time - either at work or doing homework or trying to catch up on sleep. Again, stab. Mom guilt splattered all over the place. Deep breath.
I'm sorry Buddy. I don't want you to think that your dad and I don't have time to spend with you. What do you think we should do about it?
He didn't know. He just knew that he was feeling lonely and sad.
For a long time, we've been working on teaching Nathan thankfulness. He has a tendency to look at the negatives in life and to immediately think that if one thing is wrong, the whole she-bang is bad.
So, I tried to turn it around. What is he happy about in his life? What is he thankful for?
He can't think of anything.
Lord, please don't let me get frustrated!!!
So, I took a new approach. I told him some stories about the chidlren that I deal with on a daily basis... The ones that are bruised and scarred by their fathers. The ones that are screamed at every day by their mothers who don't know how to parent - or who are so devastated themselves that they can barely hang on. I told him about children who come to me after living in their cars, after living on the streets and after being abandoned by the ones who are supposed to love them.
He was quiet and took it all in.
I asked him again, what does he have to be thankful for?
He said, "I get it Mom."
And then he smiled. And rang off to ring a doorbell.
When he came back he held my hand and we walked toward the next door...

Homesick

I'm stuck. I don't know what I want. I love Arizona's weather... Until Christmas time. Then I want snow and cold and well, Christmas weather. It is absurd to me that they sell fake snowmen in the stores and that people actually put them in their yards next to the cacti!!! How does that even make sense?!?! Anyway, I've been feeling kind of homesick lately.
Home is full of family and friends.. Home is where you can't go to the supermarket without seeing someone you know. Home is warm summers and cold winters. Home is full of memories of my childhood and the beginning of my relationship with Lowell...
Where is home for us as a family? What qualities are needed before a place can be home? And what can we live without? We've been in Az for 18 months and it doesn't feel like home. We still refer to Cali as home - Lowell and I do, and so do the kids. They have talked about going back home to see their friends and they've talked about missing family there. Lowell misses his network of friends as well as the scenery and the seasons. I miss having a real Christmas. And going to grocery store and seeing at least 2 people that I know. And driving by all familiar sights. And knowing that I have memories attached to places and people. I don't miss the stress associated with having the family there however. It amazes me how much less stressed I've felt being here. Distance is good for some relationships!
On the other hand, there are family members who we haven't seen in almost 2 years, and if we stay here for my internship, it will be at least another 2 years before we move back there. The kids will be 11, 10 and 8... Will they want to leave all their friends here to move back?? And, maybe by then, this will be home...
So many unknowns.
I honestly think I would feel a lot more comfortable here if I had some friends. It sounds pathetic to say that I don't have friends, but honestly, I just don't have the time!!!! I have work, school, church... And I'm definitely meeting people at these places but I'm not in one place long enough to create relationships that transcend their point of origin. I wish I had a couple girls I could call and talk to or share with or laugh with...
Maybe after I finish my classes and I'm only working one job.

Home (california) is also where stress lives. There are family members there that create lots of stress in my life. Some memories that are triggered are less than fantastic. Some are downright excruciating.
Phoenix doesn't have those because we don't have much of a history here. Grand Canyon is full of happy memories -- my bottom east girls!! Those are some of my favorite memories of all time... But there are no roots here to grab onto when the wind begins to blow and times are tough.
But I guess that's how it is with family... Good and bad.
There's no way to avoid stress or negative memories and I just don't feel ready to put myself smack dab in the middle of them again. And yet, I want to go home. Maybe the answer lies in time.. We'll definitely be staying in AZ until I finish school. Maybe by then, I will have dealt with all the memories and the shame and fear that is linked to some of the people and places and I'll be able to go home without the added stress. Or possibly, by then our roots will have begun to grow here.

I am so thankful for the rock solid stability of my husband. It seems like, just by virtue of who he is, he's able to stand firm in the midst of life's tornados. Circumstances that would have left me both uprooted and, well, not in kansas anymore. Regardless of what our address says, I know my home is with him. And I'm very thankful for that.
I recently had a co-worker ask me how I've managed to stay with the same person from age 15 to almost 30... She made the point that, as people, we change so much during those very developmental years and how was it that we both ended up headed in the same direction. My answer was that although Lowell and I have definitely changed over the years, we've simply made it a priority to support each other, to make decisions together and to put our relationship above our individual desires and dreams. And honestly, I feel like I've accomplished more of my dreams with him than I ever would've without him. And I think he would say the same thing. We build each other up and believe that the other is capable of great things.
Whether in Arizona or California or Tibet, I'm so thankful that my home is filled with love and support.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Pictures



























I love taking pictures of my children. I love taking pictures in general, but I am definitely blessed with beautiful children so why shouldn't I use them for muses?!?!? :) They are not all enthusiastic about the process... Nathan in particular wasn't thrilled about the idea of taking a few hours to pose and smile. Here are some of the shots I got that day...








Tuesday, October 26, 2010

No Guilt - I Promise!!

While its not exactly a plea for attention, I am definitely missing the comments that my friends used to post. I know that everyone is busy, but it makes me feel disconnected.
This is my only connection to my friends and so I get lonely without little comments from you guys!!! I miss you!!!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Boogie the Turtle


I am soooo in love with my little Boogie!

She is passion and fire and spirit all rolled up into this little ball that is Boogie. She can get soo angry and she will cross her little arms, and furrow her little brow and squinch her little nose and stomp her little foot... And then she will explode with exuberance and sprint down the hall and throw her entire body into this full love slam hug that is accompanied with this "I LOVE YOU MAMA". And then at the same time, she will break out in tears that she misses her sister, she misses her brother, or... my most un-favorite time - when I allow my temper to escalate so that I snap at her with a tone of voice that she says scares her. These moments I regret and get Mom guilt and hate and wish that I could take back. Those moments, she just cries and cries.... But as soon as I take her in my arms and apologize, she's right back to loving me again with that passionate, beautiful,100% devoted heart. And its just gorgeous.


I laughed so much tonight sitting in the Lounge at BK watching her fight with the door... It is so unfathomable for me that she is so little that she actually has to fight with the door to get it open. I can't even imagine being that weak! :)


And then there's her social butterfly status... Some mornings when we drop Chloe and Nathan off at their school, Boogie will bust out into tears because she "misses her guys". Sometimes this fit will last all the way to her school... As soon as she sees one of her friends or one of her teachers however, its over. The door to my car flings open, she's grabbing her lunch and running out the door. "Bye, Mom!" I rarely get an 'I love you' or a good-bye hug because she's so excited to see one of her school friends.


She is also passionate about her opinion. She knows what she wants and exactly what she doesn't want.


I've watched her as she is enthralled by the new Taylor Swift video on CMT... Her little body moves and sways to the beat but her eyes don't ever leave the screen... She is a lover of music, just like her mama. She frequently tells me to "Turn it up" and she will sing out lyrics to worship music, the latest country hits and even some songs that Daddy (or other media) have exposed her to. Like "I like big butts". It was exciting the first time I heard that song come out of my 5 year old's mouth. Or "Take me down to the paradise city where the grass is green and the girls are pretty...." Its amamzing how quickly they learn and how short the exposure needs to be in order for these things to get stuck in their brains.


And aggravating how easily their silly little songs get stuck in my head. :)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Pressure.

I have to fill out my practicum application. Its 21 pages. And I'm avoiding it.
I have been avoiding it for 3 months now.
And now I've learned that I have to submit this application 16 weeks before I begin my practicum... That creates a problem because I am 8 weeks away from finishing my classes. So, I either have to take 8 weeks off and just work or I have to find a way to make an exception.
Honestly, I was REALLY happy for the break! I need a break soooo badly.
But Lowell doesn't want me to lose my momentum. I have 6 months to complete my 600 hours of practicum. And I will need to take my licensure exam in February. And, assuming that I pass my test, I'll graduate in May.
Then I'll have two years of internship. I know I've shared this with everyone before, but it helps for me to remind myself that there is an end to this process. It has taken soooo much longer than I thought it would. I wasn't expecting a two year internship process but at least I'm close to graduation.
Now I just have to fill out this application. Today.
And find a new job where I can do my practicum. Within the next 2 weeks.
No pressure.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Feelings

When my children are angry at me, I welcome them to come and to come to me and tell that they're angry. Chloe hates to do it. She absolutely just feels terrible when she comes and tells me,
"Mom, I'm angry at you." She told me the other night that she feels like she needs to apologize - she feels like she needs to be sorry for being angry at me and I said, "No, Honey, no! You came to me and told me, 'Mom, I'm angry. I don't like what you told me to do, but I'm going to do it anyway.' Thats exactly what I want you to do!!"

I welcome and I applaud the times that they are willing to share their heart with me, the times they are vulnerable with me, to be transparent... They are willing to have a heart that is self-controlled enough to express their anger, to express their feelings and still be obedient. That is such a blessing.

Those are the spirits that I am trying to cultivate - that I am praying for my children to grow up with. Children that are not ashamed of their feelings, not afraid to experience the emotions that God has given them.

But at the same time, to have the power over those feelings that we are commanded to have. To be able to capture their thoughts and to be able to realize that sometimes what they feel is simply not true. Sometimes when they feel alone or when they feel like no one likes us or they feel like somethings not fair - They need to realize that sometimes, its simply not true. Instead of being truthful, it may either be their sinful heart or Satan whispering in their ear...

It doesn't make our feelings wrong.

I want my babies to learn early the power that they have over those feelings. over their thoughts, over what they choose to believe about life, about their family, about God, about themselves.. And I am sooo thankful that I am witnessing progress. That God is giving me a little glimpse into what is going on in their hearts. Apparently, something is going right!

All I can do is pray for continued mercy that things keep going right. That I keep making the right choices and leading my children in the right path.. And that maybe I can learn some of this self-control as I'm teaching and leading them.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Stress and Its Causes

I had a seizure yesterday. I believe this is only the latest in a string of episodes that are symbolizing my body's need to rest and recuperate. I've also been hiving a LOT lately.

All things considered, I've been very blessed because my emotional state hasn't gotten out of control. Usually, when I get really stressed I get weepy, easily angry and overly critical of myself. I guess I'm all of those things on a normal day but the symptoms are exacerbated by stress.

My stress of late has been comprised of many low level stressors that, when combined, lead to the overwhelmed feeling. When I get a little stressed about money and a little stressed about a disagreement with my husband and a little stressed about some regret I have from 2 months ago (or 6 months ago, or 15 years ago) and then I get a little stressed about how stressed I am and how I know that I'm overreacting and how unhealthy it is... And then, because I'm stressed, I might snap at one of the children and then I'll stress at how I'm "screwing up" my kids and how they'll remember their childhood as horrible, and then I get stressed about how they aren't getting along and how there must be something that I need to either do or stop doing.....

That little snapshot is just a fraction of the chaos that exists in my head each day. There are thoughts that lead to other thoughts and worries that lead to others and regrets that foster other regrets... And then I find myself almost completely immobilized by irrational fears about how people view me, how extraordinarily, incredibly, uncommonly imperfect I am. Uncommon is the most important adjective in that list because, in a way that is almost indescribable, I believe that my screw-ups are worse than those of others.
I'm not sure that is completely accurate either... I believe that the consequences for my actions are more severe than those of others. I've been told that this is narcissistic. I don't mean to be egocentric, but for some reason, I believe that in order to be accepted, I need to live up to a higher standard than what I hold others to.

I'm definitely a perfectionist. And I definitely don't want to teach my children this trait. I am working to teach them that mistakes are ok and even an accepted and sometimes desired occurrence.
I'm seeking to teach them "In order to live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong." And, at the same time, I'm attempting to learn this lesson myself.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

My little Mariposa

Chloe... My beloved Chloe...

I got a text message at 7:05 Tuesday morning from the kids' school.. We leave for school at 7:05 am. School was canceled for Nathan and Chloe. So, dressed and ready to go, already sitting in the car, I told them the news. Nathan was thrilled! Jillian was happy that she could still go to her school. (Preschool and kindergarten are at a different campus) Chloe was quiet... After thinking about it for a minute she said, "Maybe I could go to school with Jillie and help in her class." I honestly didn't know if that was an option but I told her we could ask Jillian's teacher. "But Mom," she said, "I have to go to school! What about Bales??!?" (Bales was the school they went to before the charter school) I just laughed!!! How adorable is she?? She just wanted to be at school soooo badly!

So we asked Jillian's teacher and, Chloe spent the day as a teacher's assistant for Kindergarten.

Tonight while Nathan and I were reviewing his spelling words and I was cooking dinner, Lowell was talking to Chloe... He held her down and tickled her and then, when she got away, she strutted back toward her room saying, "Do you know how to treat girls?????? .... Not like that!"


So fantastic.. She's awesome! :)

Chloe has also been promoted to the Honor's math program. She's doing amazing. She rarely misses more than one or two questions on anything she does and is soooooo adamant about doing the right thing. For example, she lost one of her 'tie' shoes a couple days ago. The school rule is that the kids have to wear shoes with laces.. So, Chloe's only options were to go to school with one 'tie' shoe or with two shoes that buckled. She was frantic - absolutely convinced that she was going to get in trouble. I had to practically drag her out of the car; she had to take two breaks to calm down on the way into the class building, and she after I spoke to the teacher, she took another break in the bathroom to calm herself down. Of course, the teacher wasn't upset and she didn't get in trouble... She is just sooo concerned with doing things the right way that she couldn't stand going to school without the proper dress code.

I see a lot of me in her... I was a complete perfectionist as a child and I was also very conscientious about following the rules. I don't want her to take the perfectionism as far as I have... I want her to be flexible and able to make decisions about when its okay to bend the rules. Because of this, I'm glad I streched her that day but it was hard to watch her suffer. Thankfully, she was completely back to normal by the time I picked her up. And she could even admit that she had overreacted a little about her shoes.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

When the Cat is Away...

Interesting things that happen while I'm distracted with homework or while Daddy is sleeping:

The cat has new spots added by a permenant marker. Apparently he didn't have enough spots before.

Water Parks spring up in our kitchen. There are slides made out of big round postal mailers, pools made out of Tupperware and diving boards made out of rulers. The Littlest Pet Shop crew in our house had the hook up!

At least 25 little toys migrate to my closet and are left in various stages of hidden-ness under my dresser.

My two beautiful girls abscond with at least half of my jewelry and I never can find all of it again...

Everything that we worked to clean up comes jumping out of "Where It Goes" and lands squarely in the middle "Where I Dropped It".

The girls' bedroom magically turns into a TV News Station complete with weather board and roving reporters.

A very hungry horde of homosapiens comes into my kitchen and devours, well, everything. And they don't clean up after themselves.

Also, things I would never have dreamed of saying before having three children:

Nathan, Stop eating the shopping cart!

The ferret is not a frisbee.

Why is the cat in the dishwasher?

If you can make dirt angels, you're not sick. Go to school.

Clean is different from dirty. If the room is still dirty, it can't be clean.

Jillian cannot be trusted with the toad.

What surprised me the most, was how closely I had to pay attention to what I was saying because without it, I didn't even notice how strange these phrases actually are. They've become so commonplace and so normal in my everyday vernacular that I don't think anything of them.. Thats even more reason for me to take the time to remember and appreciate them. :) And to understand why I receive so many knowing smiles from other moms and outright stares from those not blessed with children!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Burger King and the Army

I'm sitting at Burger King tonight working on my homework because we don't have internet at home right now. This BK has a WiFi lounge next door to a children's play room. The playroom doesn't have slide or any of that crazy stuff but it has video games and fun chairs. In the dining room, I noticed there were 4 soldiers dressed in khaki camo. Chloe came over and said, "Mom, look, there's soldiers here!" I said, "You're right. Would you like to go tell them 'Thank you for serving our country'?" She said that she was too shy and so she decided to ask Jillian to go with her. I watched from behind the glass as my two baby girls went up to the four soldiers and I got to watch their faces light up. One of the soldiers, the one I would guess to be the oldest, talked to the girls, thanked them and gave them one of the patches off of her uniform. Then another one of the soldiers pulled off two of his patches and gave them to the girls. They are from 1st squadron, airborne from the Army. I don't know if that's the correct way to write it, but that's the information the girls could remember. I was very proud of my "shy" girls and also very thankful to the soldiers who took the time to make my babies' day! :)
GOD BLESS OUR SOLDIERS!

Monday, September 20, 2010

45

Thats the magic number... The kids' school is participating in a fundraiser that asks the students to sell cookie dough and other desserts. Of course, my kids brought home their packets and were all abuzz about the prizes they could earn by selling these goodies. Of course, the prizes they wanted required them to sell around 100 units. Each. As in, 100 apiece. And these things are not cheap - we're talking $15 for a batch of cookies!

I tried to discourage them from getting their hearts set on the big prizes but at the same time, I didn't want to stop them from dreaming big dreams... So, I decided we'd try it. We set a goal and we went after it.

The school set a separate prize for the students: if they sold 15 items, they would get to take a limo ride to Peter Piper Pizza. Thats a big deal for my 8, 7 and 5 year olds! So 45 batches of cookie dough was our goal. I took the catalog to work and sold 15. The kids were then responsible for the remaining 30. Saturday morning armed with an insulated water jug full of water, dressed in their school uniforms and tennies we took off throughout the neighborhood.

We went around on Saturday before night church (we went because I invited a girl from work); Sunday after morning church (we went again because I worked in the toddler room); and then Tuesday evening after work/school. The story is actually much longer than what I'm writing here, but the result was...

46 batches of cookie dough!!!! Fantastic and unbelievable! I was sooo proud of my babies - they worked sooooo hard! I have already told them that I'm going to take the day off of work when they go in the limo because I'm going to go to take pictures. I really hope they remember this, and learn the value of hard work.

And I also hope they don't want to do this again any time soon. :)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

200th Post

I've been looking forward to this post for awhile now; wanting to hit this ceremonious number... Today is September 11th. I don't know how it will ever be possible to say that date again without pausing and remember where I was when I heard the news... Lowell and I were in bed and he flipped on the news, saw the impact and woke me up. We watched, spellbound, as the news anchors tried to describe what was going on. I went to work that day, as usual but couldn't shake the fact that it seemed so wrong to be going about life as if things hadn't somehow shifted - as if this terrible thing wasn't even happening. I watched people come in and get their hair done, their nails painted... And I couldn't understand why they weren't at home glued to their TVs watching the horror. I didn't have a macabe interest in the devestation, only the undeniable feeling that life was somehow changed and that something special had been lost.


Today I watched the same phenomena. There were cars on the freeway with American flags on them; the flag at Walmart flew at half-staff; there were multiple memorial events around the valley; and people standing around in Walgreens were talking about where they were 9 years ago today. Not everyone seemed to remember. The flag at a nearby church was flying at full height and there were many people who appeared to be going on about their day as if there were nothing special about 9/11. I watched the History Channel - the only place I could find information about the terrorist attacks, other than the internet. I learned a lot about that day that I didn't know and came to respect the heroes even more. I also felt a rekindled anger at those who had taken the lives of more than 2700 Americans. And a continued awe for those who serve our country today in response to the threat that is on the horizon.


At the end of the day, I decided it was time to appreciate that I am an American - free and safe tonight because of those who fight so valiantly. Feeling sad and mouring the losses of that day are totally understandable, but I think the appropriate way to respect the memories of those we lost is to not take for granted what they died to protect. Tonight I took the kids outside, they rode their bikes in the street and then we walked down to the park where they played. They ran, laughed, chased and just had a wonderful time being children until the sun set.


A very fitting end to my 9/11. I'll never forget or stop being thankful. Rest in peace.

Moments


Jillian made me breakfast. I love this little act of service that Chloe and Jillian have begun preforming. :) So sweet.



Chloe spent most of the morning doing gymnastics in the living room accompanied by songs from YouTube.



Nathan spent the morning outside in the
beautiful "fall" air (It was around 78 degress this morning) doing whatever it is that boys with huge imaginations do when presented with unlimited free time and a large yard of sand. I watched him as he knelt down in the sand, moving things around and then he would get up and move to another place... Then he picked up a large rock and threw it at some of the weeds.. Then right back to the original place where he jumped up with a punch into the air "Yes!". I have no idea what the celebration was over, but it certainly looked like fun.




Creepy is a huge fan of the new organizational tool we've made in the girls room. We've put all their stuffed toys in a box by their bed. He believes this is his personal smorgish board of things to run away with. He is especially fond of the Barbie box. All of his stolen treasures can be found either under my bed or under my dresser.




Last night our cat feel asleep under the step stool. We watched "Letters to God" and had popcorn. Nathan decided to sit on the step stool and drop popcorn kernals onto the cat. Later, after the step stool was moved and the cat was still in the same place
, Jillian went to pick him up. "Mom, can I still hold him even though he laid eggs?"



On the subject of Boogie, she also has her first loose tooth. And Chloe has one too. They're excited about loosing teeth at the same time. :)



Nathan got results from a test yesterday. He scored in the 91st percentile in reading comprehension and the 75th in language and math. He was upset because he wasn't reading the report correctly -- he thought he didn't do well. I was very proud of him!!! :) Such a smart boy!!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Joy

Bring The Rain

I can count a million times
People asking me how I
Can praise You with all that I've gone through
The question just amazes me
Can circumstances possibly
Change who I forever am in You??

Maybe since my life was changed
Long before these rainy days
It's never really ever crossed my mind
To turn my back on you, oh Lord -
My only shelter from the storm
But instead I draw closer through these times
So I pray

Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings You glory
And I know there'll be days
When this life brings me pain
But if that's what it takes to praise You
Jesus, bring the rain

I am Yours regardless of
The dark clouds that may loom above
Because You are much greater than my pain
You who made a way for me
By suffering -Your destiny
So tell me what's a little rain?
So I pray

Holy, holy, holy
Is the Lord God Almighty

Updates




I just wanted to show some new pictures of my beautiful kindergartener. She is sooo excited each morning to go to school but her teacher told me that she cried twice today. She said that once she missed me and once she missed Daddy. And when I told her that we were not going to stop at Walgreens to get snacks, she broke down and started crying again... Thursday is a tough day around here.
I still haven't gone back to work and I have to wait a couple more days until I can see how the new medicine will affect me. So its back to work on Monday and working on my anxiety level until then. I'm currently making a list of the things that are making me anxious in order to get a grip on what is going on in my head and to make a plan of how to address them. Because of this, I was not able to go to school tonight either. That will mean that I have more work to do this week... I going to attempt to be disciplined and work on my homework tonight after dinner so that I use the time that I would've spent in class still doing classwork. Lowell is sleeping because he's going to work tonight. Overtime. Its definitely a blessing but also makes for a long week for him. I'll be praying for him to get rested tonight and to be okay for the rest of the week.
Tomorrow we have something special planned... I'll post tomorrow after we get it. :)


Monday, September 6, 2010

Not Feeling Very Well

The first week of school is over for my babies. They were EXHAUSTED by Thursday night! But the enthusiasm hasn't burnt out yet! :) We had a Wednesday night Open House at Chloe and Nathan's campus because the construction on the school was finally finished. Both of their teachers said they were doing just fine (after three days! :)) and that neither of them were talking a lot with their neighbors. This was an area of concern with Nathan last year, so we wanted to check up on him and Chloe is sitting by her best friend - I wasn't sure that was going to be a good idea. I'm proud of both of them and their maturity. Open House also gave us a chance to talk to Mrs. Grundy - Nathan's teacher from last year. I was bummed that Chloe didn't get her for a teacher; she was fantastic! And after speaking to her Wednesday night, I learned that she was bummed to not get Chloe as well. We're not going to try to move Chloe into her class because of Chloe currently being with her best friend Abbi, but I might push to have Jillian in Mrs. Grundy's class - I think Jillie will thrive on the discipline the Mrs. Grundy requires.
Thursday also signified the end of my second week of my newest classes. I'm taking Psychopathology and Research Methods. Research methods is about as interesting as it sounds, but psychopathology is awesome! Its being taught by my favorite professor and its my "in person" class this quarter. Both of those factors really help with keep my level of interest up, but even without those things the subject matter is really cool!! Psychopathology is all about studying mental diseases - how they're diagnosed, what they look like, a little bit about how they're treated... All the "nuts and bolts" of what I've been wanting to do. This is what most people typically think of as "psychology". (I've used a lot of quotes in this post... hmmm, interesting...)
Anyway, this coming Thursday will be the beginning of week 4 - the halfway point, for my classes. As of right now, I have 13 weeks of school left. I've been really looking forward to the end of school and yet, now that I can see a faint light at the end of the tunnel, I'm beginning to freak out. I am scared of the practicum and internship that comes after school... I'm used to classes and homework and tests and projects. I don't feel prepared for what comes next. Usually when I acknowledge a fear or something that I'm stressed about, I don't experience the physical symptoms that can come with large amounts of stress.... Not so this time.

I've been miserable for about three days. I keep having what seem to be panic attacks or more like symptoms of attacks that last for long periods of time; I feel sick to my stomach, I get really hot, I feel like jumping out of my body, my neck is soooooo tense, I'm frustrated and upset and on the verge of tears... when it gets really bad, I can't breathe and have a hard time just being in my own skin. Sleeping or just laying still are the only things that seem to make me feel better. Conversely, I think not doing my homework or not cleaning the house are what makes me feel like this... So today, I worked with the kids and cleaned the house. And I've been working on my homework. I still feel crappy although not as bad as yesterday... It doesn't seem to be getting any worse but it is still very difficult to sit here and read my textbook... I have a hard time concentrating and I just feel horrible. I don't know what to do about it except for just keep pushing through. So that's what I'm doing... I'm going to clean up a little and then get back to reading and attempt to write my paper. Hopefully I'll make it through. And then I'll take a nap and pray that I feel better tomorrow.

Monday, August 30, 2010

First Day of School 2010

The day was filled with lots of excitement; there were no tears but lots of traffic. The school parking lot and the road up too the school was a complete zoo!!!! There aare around 700 cars that have to make their way around the school to drop off their children... Its is quite a catastrophe but they are going to make some tweeks in order to smooth things out. I'll be doing the dropping off and Lowell will be picking up.

Reports from the day:
Chloe: In the morning, we colored a little bit and in PE we learned a new game called Blob Tag. I get to sit by my best friend. Her name is Abbi. My teacher's name is Mrs. McNett. She's nice.

Jillian: When we started, we had a morning meeting that was fun. And in the afternoon, we had a little recess and we played Octopus. My teacher's name is Mr. Pieper and he told us the rules on the first day of school.





Nathan: We made name tags and put them on. Then we went to Spanish where we played a fun game to help us remember everyone's name. We took a tour of the school and we went to lunch. My teacher's name is Mr. Yanke. He's very nice and he has a drum set in his classroom.





I am very proud of myself for how I handled the morning. No tears at all. Honestly, I didn't feel sad. Lowell was asking me how I was feeling and I didn't really know how to explain myself... He did a very good job of articulating the moment... Lowell said that because we've done a good job of appreciating our kids while they're young and because we've taken time to really be in the moments, we're not sad.. We aren't "mourning" the loss of their childhood; we're excited about the next stages. He was absolutely right. I am looking forward to all the new experiences and challenges that come with having three school-age kids... I have such a smart husband! :)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Night Before

Well, its finally here. Tomorrow is the first day of school. I can hear Jillian and Chloe laying in bed right now saying "First day of school!!" from Nemo. They are very excited. Tonight we got their backpacks loaded and ready to go. They tried on their uniforms and started talking about all the fun that awaits them tomorrow! I'm really happy that they're excited.
I, on the other hand, am feeling something less than excited. I've come down with a cold and I'm not looking forward to getting up at 5:45 in the morning and attacking the morning rush... I'm sure I'll feel better about it in the morning, but right now, I just want to sleep.. And breathe. And swallow without hurting. I hate summer colds. I've been fighting this one off for about a month and its finally gotten the upper hand. I can't imagine why.. I'm just soooo busy!
Saturday the kids had a sleepover. Jillie and Chloe slept over at their friend's house and the brother of that same family came over here. Nate and Nathan both love Star Wars and were perfectly content to play with each other all evening. I hardly heard a peep out of them. The girls also had a good time. Jillie didn't cry and they both loved how the dad pulled mattresses off of the beds so that they could all 4 sleep on the floor together.
Before the sleepover, I went to church for a Toddler room volunteer meeting. Nathan went with me. I was asked to step up as a Volunteer Lead for the latest service. This means that myself and another lady will be running the service. I'm comfortable taking on this added responsibility because it doesn't require me to do any additional work during the week, only on Sunday when I'm there, serving already. I'm looking forward to the first week of three services - September 11th.
I'll be taking pictures tomorrow morning with the kids because I've taken the day off of work. Now that I've come down with something, I'm really glad that I did. Maybe after a midmorning nap, I'll be able to tackle some homework... Here's hoping!!!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Freedom of Speech

I'd like to be sure that I am clear -- This is not me. This is an editorial article that was published in the West Valley View, our local paper on August 27th... I bet they'll get a lot of responses from this one...
"Women Voters Created a Mess"
I, like many others, look with sadness to the so-called "celebration" of the right to vote for women. Since suffrage was passed in 1920, we have experienced six major wars and many minor ones; two major depressions, eight recessions and other downturns; multiple major riots and civil disturbances; a flood of millions of illegal immigrants that threatens to turn our country into a Third World slum; the "sexual revolution" and "feminism" that have spawned the emergence of "lesbian and gay rights"; the massive spread of atheism and denial of the existence of God; the Democratic Party assuming the role of the C0mmunist Party USA; and the first black, Muslim, Marxist president.
All of this combined with some of the crazy letters we read from women letter writers, lead me to think the date should be a cause for mourning. I will tip back a cold one and hope my campaign to repeal suffrage is successful; till then, with tongue in cheek, Probst!"
-- William Russell, Avondale AZ

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Precious Relationships

I love to be on the computer because it is my link to my social world. My social circle here in Arizona is comprised of friends that I love but never get the chance to spend time with; new relationships that are still in that not really comfortable getting-to-know-each-other phase; and those who are situation specific - such as co-workers, the ladies I volunteer with at church and those who are in my masters program. Unfortunately, this collection of "kind-of" friends doesn't frequently allow for those moments of joy and comfort that are so present when I'm with "real" friends.
Because I don't have these precious "real" friends anywhere nearby, I take advantage of the fact that most of them have blogs! I will say however, that it isn't enough. I often find myself checking blogs two or three times a day to see if they've been updated because I'm just desperate for some sort of link with these ladies that I miss. They are all precious Daughters of the King and my Sisters in Christ...
Britty is my wonderful MRE who lives in Colorado. She's beautiful, special, sooooo thoughtful and such a easy person to share life with. She's so selfless and kind and funny. She is my very best college friend!
Diggie is my little blessing from Texas. It is impossible to think of Digila without smiling. She is exuberant, friendly, understanding and just a joy to be around.
Moron is my.. well, moron!! :) from California. Moron has been my BFF since forever. She's the one who knows everything about me, knows all my stories and the one who I share all my "inside jokes" with. She is honest, practical, totally organized, goofy, beautiful, thoughtful and so special!
These ladies bless me by taking the time to share their lives on the web so that I can stay connected with them even though miles separate us.

I have other friends who have touched my life in precious ways that have not gotten on the blogging bandwagon yet... My communication with them is even more limited than with those who's lives I can read about. Stacy, Katie, Michelle, Abby, Rachel...
One reason is that when I try to call someone I haven't spoken with in an extended period of time, I begin to question whether or not we'll still have anything in common or if we'll have anything to talk about. I start to think that my life is completely boring and all I have to talk about is my children, so am I sure these people really want to hear about my kids? I suppose I should take the approach of creating a list of questions that I want to ask that person, and then call them to get information about their lives! This strategy may work... Even with a strategy in place, maintaining a relationship with the women in my life has proven to be an anxiety riddled experience.
I have no explanation for this fact. Anyone who has known me for any period of time knows that I am a very social person -- I love people and I feel lost without them. Solitary confinement would be torture for me. Left alone, I talk to myself, to the TV, the computer, the cat, the ferrets, the wall, etc...
When I have spoken to the ladies that I've lost contact with, almost universally they have expressed that they aren't good at maintaining contact either. What is it about us that we let these relationships go? I doubt that fear plays a role in their difficulty with maintaining contact as it does for me, but instead that they lose contact with friends because of the general busyness of life...
Honestly, I'm a busy woman - I have three children, a full time job, I'm a full time student and a housekeeper too. I volunteer at church every Sunday, read my Bible every day, I have class on Thursday nights until 10... I cook, clean, take care of 4 pets, pay bills, study, write papers, blog, read stories, etc....... But there is still time everyday that I take for myself. Some of my "me" time is spent driving to and from work when I listen to my radio and worship God. Some time is spent with kids: reading, talking, snugging, playing etc. But a big portion of my time is spent with the TV. I know this and I acknowledge it... On average, I'll bet I spend 1.5 hours watching TV each night... hhhmmmm...
Well, whatever the reasons, I don't want these precious relationships with these fantastic woment to be lost. I want to maintain them and even begin creating new ones. I love the people that God has brought into my life and I miss them dearly! So to you women -- you know who you are -- I love you! And if you get a chance sometime soon, call me -- I'd love to catch up! :)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Recent Blessings

My friend from work got in a car accident yesterday. She is okay, but understandably shook up. I praise God that no one was hurt.

We got together with some friends last night for an "End of Summer" bar-b-que. There is no better way to spend an evening than with bar-b-qued food, friends, kids swimming and lots of laughter. We swam, ate, played pool and just enjoyed each others company.

Our church that just recently moved into a new building has already outgrown our new surroundings!! We need to add another service! Isn't that fantastic?? Now we'll be attending church at 8:15, and volunteering at 10:00. There will also be an 11:45 service.

On a related note, Nathan has decided to volunteer with me in the toddler room. He has been such a blessing, making friends with the children as well as doing an AWESOME job helping clean up. He likes volunteering so much that he wants us to volunteer for the third service too. :) We'll see. Honestly, I'd like to find something that we can do as a family, but its not likely with a 5 year old.. It all comes in time, I suppose.

This week we've been to the kids' new school two nights and we'll be going back again tomorrow for Open House. The kids all found out who their teachers are going to be but they have yet to see their classrooms. Tomorrow night we'll be going into the classrooms and meeting the teachers one on one. Chloe doesn't have the same teacher that Nathan had last year and neither of them have many of the same children in their class. This will be a year of lots of new friends and all new teachers.
Three new teachers.... because my baby is starting school. Wow.
This weekend we're going to buy uniforms. I'll be sure to post pictures!

My husband made me laugh the other day. (He does most days, but this little moment I wanted to share) We were talking in the living room and he said, "Sshhh, quiet. I think I hear music.... Like a Jeep." The funny thing is that he was completely serious and didn't find the humor in his statement. I just love my husband!!!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Cravings

Nope, not pregnant. That's what everyone thinks when they hear that word.

Nevertheless, it is the word the most accurately describes what I've been experiencing. I am craving roasted marshmallows. I want the campfire, burned on the end of a stick taste of those gooey summer delicacies.

Marshmallows, I can do. Campfire in the middle of the city however is not so easy. So, I improvised. I learned that if I turn a burner on high, stick the marshmallow to a meat thermometer and quickly touch it to the burner, it will catch on fire.

Doesn't it look delicious?????

Moments

My next door neighbors are going through the excitement of having teenagers who are entering the realm of dating... And I am looking at my future life through their days and, frankly, I'm nervous!! I have been praying for a long time that Christ decides to return soon, but now my prayers for rapture have taken on a new sense of urgency! I just want to be raptured before I deal with teenagers!!!!
I'm only partially kidding! :)
Right now my babies dream of what they're going to be when they grow up, how successful they'll be and yes, of having families. However those dreams are paired with laughing at Phineas and Ferb, watching Barbie movies and playing Roblox on the computer. They build blanket forts and practice gymnastics in their bathing suits. They chase crickets and love to jump on my bed... They're still kids. And I cherish that so much and yet I can see time slipping through my fingers.
My son still wants me to hug on him. He doesn't mind that I kiss him or tell him that I love him. However, things have begun to change... In public, he doesn't want me to call him "Bug". That's his nickname but now he's embarrassed when I call him that at church. Wow. Peer pressure already. Chloe and Jillian are still in where I can love on them unabashedly... And I am taking advantage of it!
I know that the day is coming soon when they will be embarrassed to be seen with me. I won't be able hang out with them and when I ask the question, "Who wants to come with Mom to the...", they won't jump up and down at the opportunity to have "Girl time"...
The adage says that the two most important gifts that parents can give their children is roots and wings.
I believe this.
And so I'm working each day to make my children independent and self-sufficient. I've also heard the saying that when a mother has children, it is as though her heart has grown legs and is walking around outside her body.
I also believe this.
It is a painful process to encourage these little people that I love so desperately to grow away from me.
Blessedly, I am sooo proud of the little people they are becoming. And I am so thankful that I am here to enjoy the journey with them. And that is exactly why I am not excited about how swiftly the time is passing by.
I regret every time that I don't take advantage of the time I have with them.. The times that I lose my temper, the times that I'm not engaged in their lives, the times when I feel like they're an interruption to whatever I'm doing... At night, when they're sleeping in their beds, I sit up and regret the moments that I've lost; the opportunities to pour into their lives that I missed; the chances to show them how much I love them that I won't get back... And I wish I could turn back the clock on the day. Obviously I can't, but I can work on making sure that tomorrow, I don't have as many moments to regret and more moments to remember and savor.
Moments like these... Jillian laying right outside the front door waiting to go swimming



Chloe playing "Paid Programming". Not even kidding. They are demonstrating the power of OxyClean (Shout carpet cleaner) on our stained floors!

Jillian making her penguin do the "funky, funky" dance


Nathan as Alfalfa

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Connections

We decided to change our cell-phone carrier. We are going to have different phone numbers and so I will contact everyone with our new contact information. Please comment if you don't get my new number. We don't have a home phone and so my cell is the only way to speak with me.
I'm very excited because the new phone number comes with a new phone! Yipee!! I'm getting a Motorola I1 tomorrow but it will probably be next week before I learn how to use it! :)
I also made a new friend a couple days ago... God put me in a situation where I spent some time with a neighbor who, before this, I had only waved at. She is the mom of one of the boys on our street and I knew very little about her. By chance, I went over to see how's she was doing and ended up in her living room listening to her story. She's in pain and suffering. I was upset that I live so close to her and yet never knew what was going on behind her doors. And I was humbled that she trusted me and shared her heart with me. She is a mom trying to do her best to raise her s0n and struggling through marital issues. I'm humbled that God used me and, honestly... strangely, a little scared about becomming friends with her. I can't explain that feeling. I don't know if its fear or selfish or what it is... I want friends and I want to be connected here in AZ but I shy away from those connections at the same time. What is the matter with me???
Regardless of my own issues, I am so grateful that God placed me in the right place at the right time so that I could offer her some comfort and I pray that I am just as willing to be available the next time.

The Family Who Reads Together...

We went to the library today. Summer hours mean that the library is only open after 5 on Tuesday and Thursday. Because I have school on Thursday, Tuesday is the only day we can go. We came home with some real scores! :) Jillian got "Rabbit and the Moon", "The Pigeon has Feelings Too" and my personal favorite, "Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed". Chloe got a Magic Treehouse book as well as "The Nine Lives of Rotten Ralph" and (because she said 'It will be good for school, Mom!') "George Washington, Father of the Nation". Nathan got "High-Altitude Spy Planes", "Attack Helicopters: Apache" and "Writen in Bone: Buried Lives of Jamestown and Colonial Maryland". These are the books that my kids choose for themselves. And I LOVE it because they want to learn!!!!
I got a couple of John Sanford novels too but I don't know if I'll be able to read them. I spend so much of my free time on the computer and when I'm reading, I try to read my Bible. I've gotten a whole lot better at reading The Word every day and honestly, on the days I don't, I really miss it. It feels like my relationship with Christ gets... distant. It really is like missing a friend - like going a few days without talking to your best friend. I never appreciated it when other Christians talked about how much they enjoy spending time in the Word until just recently. And now I don't want to spend a day without giving God a chance to talk to me through His Word!! I don't want to miss out on what He has to say to me!!
Today I read 1 Corinthians 4. This passage begins with the idea of how God is the judge; it is not for man to judge. I've read this passage before and heard it preached on... Today however something new struck me. Paul says, "I care very little if I am judged by your or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself ... It is the Lord who judges me." (4:3-4) The rest of the paragraph encourages believers to remember that whatever we've been blessed with and whatever we've achieved, we are no different from anyone else. All that we are and all that we have is a gift from Him - a merciful gift from our Almight Savior so it is impossible to boast in our own strengths and accomplishments! "For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk, but of power." (verse 20) We have been given much because we are called to make a difference for Him - not with our lips, but with our lives. And through Him we have power. So thankful am I!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Sickness and school time

Wow. I don't have a whole lot of experience with headaches but I certainly got initiated with them yesterday and today. I had a migraine hit hard yesterday and it hasn't gone away yet. It hurts more in the light, it hurts when I move, and my stomach is upset... And its miserable!! I'm stuck at home today - I called in sick to work which is something I HATE doing. Especially when I heard the I wasn't the only one that called in today. I can get up today and work a little but then I get so sick to my stomach that I have to lay down on the couch again. And I knew that I couldn't lay down at work. So, I'm trying to get something done because I am here at home, but I also want to rest enough to be "good to go" for work tomorrow. I'm catching up on some shows that I've DVR-ed and I'm spending a lot of time on the couch.
I learned this week that I only have two papers left in order to finish my current two classes. On the other hand, I also learned that both of these papers, (one of which is extremely long) are due on Thursday. This Thursday. Like 3 days from now Thursday. So, I'm thinking that I'm going to feel well enough to write some papers today.
My kids are not suffering from any illness whatsoever. They are creating forts out of the empty boxes that I've collected for us to pack with. Jillian's fort is in her room, Nathan's is in my room and Chloe's is in Nathan's room. Lowell is going to take a couple of days off next week to clean up the garage, go to the dump and help get things started for moving. He's going to help me do some major cleaning and I'm going to pack and get somethings organized. And I'm sure we'll be doing more purging. I love purging. :)
I put two boxes in each of the kids' rooms today and they are filling up the boxes with things they are willing to pack at this point. We only have 6 weeks until we move and since they'll be starting school on the 30th, they won't be at home very much. All three kids will be gone all day. Jillian goes from 8 to 3:30 and Nathan and Chloe from 7:30 to 4. Jillian and Chloe are really looking forward to starting school but Nathan is hesitating. He's completely interested in spending time with the computer and not with school books. And he says that he doesn't like being away from his mom and dad for all the time he's at school. In the morning he complains that he doesn't want to go to school. As soon as he gets there, however, he's completely excited to see his friends and spend time learning new things.
Lowell, I'm sure, can't wait for school to start. This will be an opportunity for him to sleep for 6 hours uninterupted for the first time in months. I won't have to worry about the kids being bored or unsupervised. We've already gone shopping for their school supplies and they aren't getting a new backpack this year. All that's left is getting uniforms for everyone. As soon as we all get uniforms, I'll take a picture of my little school-uns. :)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Compliment

Chloe gave me a great compliment last night...
Most nights we read a Bible story together before bed. I ask the kids questions about the stories that we've read and make sure they're retaining the information... They take turns answering and fight over who gets to answer the hard questions. Last night we talked about Moses and the Red Sea. At the end of the story, there is a question for the kids to think about and pray about. Last night it was, "Can you think of a time your family was in trouble? How did God protect you?" Chloe's response was, I can't think of a time when I family was in trouble... So, I mentioned some times that we've had car issues or money issues or health concerns and how God has met our needs. Chloe thought for a moment and then said, "I don't notice when we have troubles." That is a fantastic compliment because it means that we're hiding our stress from our kids and insulating them from adult concerns. I want them to be free from the pressures of life until they have to be responsible for them. Right now, my kids worry about their homework and their friends. They memorize their Bible verses and they have problems with their friends. But they don't see that Mom and Dad are dealing with larger issues. Honestly, Lowell and I are not struggling -- we are very blessed and aren't being hurt by this recession nearly as badly as some of our friends and family... But during this time where there is added stress, my kids are not being affected. That was my goal, and according to Chloe - we're succeeding!!! That is fantastic! Thank you Mari!
(My nickname for Chloe is Mari because "butterfly" in Spanish is mariposa)

Friday, July 30, 2010

Update

Now and Then On the way home today, I was eagerly anticipating being able to use my new laptop! The shock and the upset over losing my old one has been lessened as I've fallen in love with my new one... That being said, I am still anxious to take some other measures to see if I can, in fact, recover the documents and data off of my old hard drive... I'm not throwing in the towel yet.
As for catching up on my homework, yesterday was productive but not enough to get me completely caught up. I still have my "major" paper to start over and another three papers to write. I was completely amazed to realize last night that I only have 2 weeks left of these classes and then I will only have 3 classes left... only 8 weeks of two classes and 8 weeks of one class... And then I'll be done with course work!!!! Done! All I'll have left is practicum... And then I'll apply for internship, take my licensure exam and.... Wow. It seems like it might actually be really happening. :)
The weather has been fantastic here! We are deep in the heart of monsoon season and we've been blessed with tons of lightning and thunder. We've had rain to play in and to cool the mugginess. The kids haven't been swimming much this week; our neighbors have been gone. The kids have been entertaining themselves mainly with the computer and tv... I'm excited for school to start again, but I'm not looking forward to the battle that I know will ensue on the first couple of days that I start dragging kids to school. Nathan has already said that he would rather stay home and play the computer instead of going to school. Well, no chance of that Bud! I've talked to him about it and I've stressed about what kind of mother that makes me...
Lowell's promotion has been put on hold because their company has voted to go union. I have no idea how long it will take before they will negotiate all of their new working conditions and salaries so that is a bummer. Additionally, they have told Lowell (because he's a supervisor) that they are going to be letting a couple more people go. One of them is a friend of Lowell's. Again, with the addition of the union, I don't know how soon this will go through, but I know Lowell doesn't like having information that he can't share with his friend.
Nathan has a birthday party to go to tomorrow - it will be his first time bowling! The girls are going to get together with the younger siblings of the birthday boy, so I think I'll have a houseful of kids tomorrow. Usually we yard-sale on Saturday mornings, but I think tomorrow will find us going to Walmart for a birthday present and dropping off my car for its much needed oil change.
We are still hurtling toward October when we will be moving. I am still purging and packing slowly but surely. I've packed a lot of books and almost all of the little knick-knacky things. I've gone through the kids rooms as well as the clothes, kitchen, games, linens and scrapbooking stuff in order to get rid of things. I still need to go through the file cabinets and the movies... And I'm sure there will be more things to get rid up as we get closer to the day. We still don't know where we're going... We are still thinking Tonopah for the most part but after that, things get fuzzy. There is the possibility that we could apply for a mortgage and buy something or maybe rent and still consider our options. Long term, Lowell and I are talking about staying here for two or three years and then possibly moving back to northern California once my internship is completed. I could teach at the community college there and still have my own practice. And Lowell would be ecstatic to be back in the type of landscape that he loves. He misses the trees and the mountains... He is doing remarkably well with the heat here however!! Very different from the last time we lived here! :)