Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Moving

So, in a couple of weeks, we are moving into a 3 bedroom apartment. We are downsizing and I cannot wait. Yes, I realize it's going to be an adjustment, but by doing this, we will be completely out of debt in a year or so. I am so excited. I can honestly say that any problems we have ever had in our 11 year marriage have always been directly tied to finances. Not disagreements on how to use the money, just general stress when there is not enough to go around. This past year has been very rough financially. God has provided in miraculous ways! If you look back on it, there is no other explanation for it. Our lives have become a testimony to Malaciah 3:10. If you bring the tithes into the storehouse, God will open the windows of heaven of blessings. It has been amazing. God has also provided us this opportunity to move into an apartment. He has opened all the doors necessary. We had a lease purchase agreement on this house, which our landlords have let us out of. Not only let us out, but with their blessings! And other little things, like the fact that we got a ground floor apartment in the complex. And, they were running a rent special that should have ended November 30th, but it got extended until we needed it. We will actually be paying about the same in rent as we paid for our 2 bedroom apartment 7 years ago! And other things too...we needed two double beds (one for the boys room and one for the girls room) and we had one friend who has one in her attic and Adam's dad has one at his house too! It has been amazing. We are so excited.
So, the plan is...we take possession of the apartment on December 19th, but we don't have to be out of the house until December 31st. So, we will begin making trips on the 19th, and moving the bulk of the stuff the weekend after Christmas. I know it will be crazy, but it will be worth it in January. We begin saving money immediately and we are both really looking forward to it. We were just at a point where we could either continue what we were doing and probably never be completely debt free (at least it would be a long time) or we could bite the bullet for a year and be done with it. So we have opted for the latter and are continuing to pray that God will bless our efforts and our sacrifice.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

My Love/Hate Relationship with the Christmas Season

Now, just to be clear, I absolutely love Christmas. Celebrating the birth of Jesus, the baby boy who changed all of history, including my own personal life - what could be better than that?! Also, three of my four pregnancies, I was pregnant at Christmas. I looked at Mary in a completely different way after the first one. I saw her fears and tried to imagine what she must have felt like. I know how overwhelmed I felt with each pregnancy and can only imagine how overwhelmed she must have felt. I love Christmas. I love the Christmas Eve service we have at our church. I love the Christmas decorations! I love the way my house looks decorated! I love all that Christmas means and all the different ways there is to celebrate it.

Okay, that being said...I hate the Christmas season! Now, I also understand that some of my hatred comes from working retail. I get to see so many people complain to me about things that I have no control over. People threaten never to shop my store anymore...um, okay...would you like directions to another store? Again, I would say 99.98% of the complaints are things I have no control over and no way to fix.
I hate dealing with Christmas decorations. I love the way it all looks, but I absolutely hate doing the decorating. Again, part of this comes from the fact that three of my children are 5 and under and can destroy anything that crosses their paths. I know it will get better. But for now, it's so stressful and not fun. For example, we pull all of the Christmas stuff out of the attic and Adam and I head down stairs to get the tree up. Everyone helped put the tree up (it has to be artificial this year because we are moving the day after Christmas - that's a whole other blog entry) but, while we were putting the lights on it, the kids went back upstairs. In the ten minutes we are putting the lights on, the two little ones proceeded to shred the styrofoam that our breakable Christmas decorations were in. Yes, it looked like it had snowed all over the room. So, while Adam finished the tree, the kids and I cleaned the room. I was furious by the time it was over. We are also keeping the decorations to a minimum this year since we are moving. So, when I come down from cleaning the room, I am met by Zoe, my nine year old, complaining that this wasn't going to be a good Christmas because we can't put lights on the outside of the house. I was trying to ignore her, which she was making very difficult. Then, Sebastian is crying because Adam won't give him scissors and let him cut paper. At this point, it's almost 8:00pm and I am about at the end of my rope. So we sent every one of them to bed at 8:00pm. I couldn't take it any more. Ahhhhhhh...decorating for Christmas...
So, that's my love/hate relationship with the Season!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

More Lessons from Me

Part of my job at Target is to go through all the applications that we receive and separate them into "potential" or "turndown". Pretty sure those are self explanatory. We get probably 50-75 a day, so this can be a huge task. They come from people who come in and fill out a handwritten application (which I then get to manually enter into the computer) or people who come in and fill them out on the computers in our store or from people who fill them out online. Not too long ago, I wrote an entry about Lessons for Shoppers, so today I am going to write some lessons from Human Resources.
1 - If you are filling out an application, please actually read the application. Different words have different meanings. The words "Country" and "County" are two different words. I cannot tell you how many applications I have gotten where the address line says Country and the applicant will put whatever random county they live in.

2-Please realize that there are certain things on your application that will send you directly to the turndown file. We are a retail company that is open from 8 am to 10 pm, except during the holidays, when we are open until 11 pm. If your availability is Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 2pm - 5 pm, you are probably wasting your time filling out the application. And, you're wasting my time making me read and file your application. Especially when it comes to holiday staffing, we are looking for the people who can work the most often. You need to be able to work at some point during the weekend.

3-Be open on your application. If you have some sort of criminal record, please put what it is on your application. If I see you have a record, but in the explanation area you put "I would rather explain this to you in person" or "I was at the wrong place at the wrong time", I'm going to assume that for the first one you need to come up with a creative way to spin whatever it was that you did or for the second one that you still haven't owned up to the crime you committed, so you are going to be turned down.

4-Once you have filled out an application, if you would like to call to check on the status, do so during the day. Saturday night is a very busy time in the retail world and is probably not the best time to call to see about your application. Odds are the person you need to talk to about it will be there during the day and available to at least look it up. At night or on the weekends, even if the person is there, he or she is too busy to go look up an application. Also, please don't call every twenty minutes or we will be tempted to turn you down just so we don't have to deal with you.

5- Once you have been hired and come for orientation, please check all your paperwork and make sure your name, address, any other pertinent information is correct. It takes like a second to fix it at orientation and like 6 weeks to fix it after orientation. Don't know why that is, but it is. And, yes, it's very important that it is correct. The last people you want to aggrevate is the Department of Homeland Security.

Anyway, that's about it. As the Christmas season gets going, we begin hiring seasonal people and these issues come up more and more. Just some helpful information!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Our Weekend

So, our weekend was really good. Friday night, my Mom kept the three little ones (Zoe spent the night with a friend) while Adam and I went to dinner and then to Lifeway. Lifeway is not a kid friendly store at all, so when we're alone we actually go and look at books and music and stuff. We went and ate at Ruby Tuesday. (I had a real hankering for this since I had to cancel our lunch, Trudie) It was really good and then we headed to Lifeway to just look around. It was a nice relaxing evening. Saturday, we started cleaning things out of our house and we got the boys room completely cleaned out and reorganized. So much better. The girls rooms will be next, but they are not nearly the mess the boys room was. The boys room tends to be the abyss of broken toys. Toys get played with and broken and some how wind up in the boys room never to be seen again! We also got all the summer clothes cleaned out finally and drawers and closets reorganized for winter. Ahhhhhhh.... Saturday night I had to work and Zoe spent the night with another friend (this is not usual practice, but she enjoyed it).
On Sunday, we went to church and had such an awesome day! The Spirit was so alive in the service and the sanctuary was packed! Our new pastor brings so much energy and excitement and the Spirit moved in all the services! It was amazing!!!
Now here we are at Monday and rolling along into another week. My work schedule is starting to pick up since the Christmas season is upon us, so I will be working more. The money will be nice, but I'm not really looking forward to it. But, I do like my job.
So, I am going to go get Annabelle down for her nap and try to get some cleaning done before the big kids get home!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Rain, laundry, errands (maybe) and a date tonight!

So that about sums up my day. I am in the process of trying to get all of the laundry done today so I don't have to do it tomorrow! I am now on load #4. I only have 3 left! Anybody got any ideas on how to get people not to get their clothes dirty? Because, this time next week, all of these will be dirty again! :)
I'm thinking I will not run my errands since it is raining. What a perfect day to fold laundry and nap since I haven't had a good nights sleep in two nights. On Wednesday night, Sebastian woke up in the middle of the night complaining about his ear hurting. A little love and tylenol and he went back to sleep on the couch with me. Not the most comfortable place. (yes, I took him in and he does have his first ever ear infection...he is also on antibiotics for the first time in his life. The doctor called him an antibiotic "virgin".) Anyway, last night, we woke up at 1:45 am because he had slept on his arm in a funny position and it was asleep and tingling. So he was crying, which of course woke Jude up since they share a room. Sebastian was inconsolable, so I settled Jude into bed with Adam and brought Sebastian downstairs for the second night in a row. We made so much noise that the cats started meowing because they thought it was time to get up. Which made the dog bark. (the cats sleep locked in our laundry room...the rest of their lives they are outside) So I get everyone settled down..Sebastian on the couch with me and the dog asleep in Adam's chair. Then, I see Annabelle come in the living room. Great! Of course, she thought it was time to get up as well. I finally conceded. I was so tired. All I wanted to do was go to sleep. So I turned on the hour long Dora Saves the Snow Princess, put Annabelle on the floor with a pillow and blanket and laid on the couch with Sebastian. Everyone was asleep before it was over, thankfully. So, I'm going to try to get a nap today. This morning, Adam had no idea any of this had gone on! How does he sleep through this stuff?
Tonight, my mom is going to keep the kids so Adam and I can go to dinner. I'm so very excited. We are never alone, so this will be fun. And, we will probably do the errands I was supposed to do today while we're out tonight. Then I won't feel guilty about not leaving the house in the rain today.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Earth will keep spinning...

So, to be perfectly honest, I am disappointed in the election results. I'm bothered by the fact that the most powerful man in our nation does not view every life as valuable and worth saving. I am also concerned about how much I am going to have to pay in taxes and a list of other things. But, I also totally know that God is in control. This is not the end of the world. Would I rather have a conservative in office? Yes. Would I rather have someone who is going to control government spending? Yes. Would I rather have someone who is going to limit government control in the lives of the people? Yes. Was I super excited about McCain? Well, um, no. (Of course, if I probably could have won if I had gotten 75% positive coverage in the main stream media. I'm not going there...onto a different subject...)



But, the reality is that God was not surprised by the results and ultimately He is in control. Life will continue on. So, while I am a very conservative person and disagree with the president-elect on just about every "hot button"issue, I am now going to commit to praying for this man. I cannot imagine the pressure of such a position. I cannot imagine how overwhelmed he must feel. No one person can fix all the problems in America (let alone the world, which is, for some reason, what people expect from the President of the United States) so he is going to need the help of the Almighty, whether he realizes it or not. So, I am now pledging to pray for him and to try not to complain too much. (Notice I did not say I wouldn't complain at all!) God is in complete control and He loved all of these politicians enough to send His Son to die for them too. So, I guess the least I can give them is some respect.

Oh, on another note, two of my friends who were running for state offices both won their elections. And, while I couldn't vote for either of them (one was in GA and one was in KY) I would like to offer my congratulations to these two fine men! How exciting!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A Diva, Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, and a Princess

Halloween was lots of fun! Zoe was a Diva, complete with purple hair and a microphone. Sebastian was Optimus Prime and Jude was Bumblebee. Annabelle was, of course, a princess - with pink snow boots. We just went around our neighborhood, which is really big and full of kids. We came home with so much candy! We now have five full buckets of candy. Three filled with chocolate type candy and two full of fruity type candy. You absolutely cannot mix chocolate and fruity candy or it all starts to taste like chocolate. And anything with peppermint in it gets thrown away because it taints all of the candy.


We had lots of fun. Our neighborhood is also very hilly so we all started walking and by the end, I was carrying Annabelle and Adam was carrying Jude. So we were all exhausted by the time we got back to the house. But we had so much fun!!


Zoe's Diva
Annabelle's Princess - notice the snow boots-her choice!

Optimus Prime and Bumblebee
(they had masks, but they couldn't see in them)










Sunday, November 2, 2008

Finally back on line...

I've finally got my internet back up at home! Yay!! So, let's see...in the last month, what have we been up to? Well, we went on our first family camping trip. We went with our dear friends and we had lots of fun. The kids did really well - all 9 of them! Yes, we went into the woods for a night, with 2 nine year olds, an eight year old, 2 five year olds, a four year old, 2 three year olds and a one year old. But we had a great time. We decided that the next time we do it, we are going to stay two nights because the time we spent setting up and taking down was too much for just one night.
Then, last weekend, I had our choir retreat weekend, which was so awesome. It was just what I needed when I needed it. It was so refreshing. Thursday night, all day Friday and Saturday morning. It was great. We had a couple of guests that came and it was such an amazing time of just singing and praising the Lord. Also, last weekend, our new pastor and his wife and baby son moved here to Chattanooga.
Today was the 80th anniversary of our church so we had a big special service this morning. It was also our new pastor's first Sunday at our church. We are so excited about what God is doing in our church.
So that's what's been going on for the last month. I'm sure there is more, but I will catch up as I think about it.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

My first "wedding" cake


So, it was actually for my friends marriage recommitment ceremony, but it was the first one I had made that was supposed to look "wedding-ie". It's white cake with white icing, covered in fondant and accented with ribbon and artificial flowers. I haven't quite mastered edible flowers yet. But, I was pleased and they loved it!


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Movie, Soccer and the rest of this week

Friday night, Adam and I went to see the movie "Fireproof". It was amazing. The story was so moving and I think anyone who is married or thinking about getting married one day should go see it. The longer you are married, the easier it is to let things creep in and get between you and your spouse. Sometimes they are very little things that can totally destroy your relationship. At the very least, this movie reminds you to intentionally love your spouse, even when you don't "feel" like it. It is so easy to take them for granted...that they'll always be there, that you're both so confident in your relationship that you don't ever need to work on it. So not true...marriages are crumbling all around us and we have to fight to protect our marriages! I can remember when I first got married and I heard people getting divorced over money. I truly couldn't understand. I thought it meant they were fighting about how to spend their money or how to save their money. While that might sometimes be the case, now after 11 years of marriage (in November) I have learned that sometimes the marriage crumbles due to the stress of money issues. We all go into marriage with preconceived ideas and some marriages end simply because the marriage can't live up to the expectations. When you couple the stress of money and kids with the influences in the outside world, it takes both people truly committed to keep the marriage in tact. Not too long ago, one of my friends was celebrating their 16th wedding anniversary. She told me it was her anniversary by saying, "God in His great mercy has helped us stay married for 16 years." What a true statement. It takes both people and God to make a marriage work like it is supposed to. And, if you truly study the role of a wife and the role of a husband in the Bible, it is pretty much contrary to the way the world views men and women and their roles in the home. But, I have also found that my marriage only runs smoothly when both of us are aware of our duties as man and wife and trying and praying to follow those roles. (Okay, here is where everyone says DUH! God's plan is God's plan because it protects us and makes our lives so much easier! But, while His plan is always simple, it's not always easy!) Anyway, Adam and I ordered the Love Dare books from the movie and I cannot wait to get started. The movie alone had an impact on our marriage, so I'm looking forward to seeing what 40 days will do.
Onto a much more shallow subject...On Saturday, Zoe had a soccer game. She is doing so well this year! It's like something has just clicked and everything is coming together with her game. Her foot work has improved greatly - she kicks with both feet! And, she is getting faster too. She is also a lot better at anticipating things during the game. Last week, she scored three goals and this week she scored two goals! She really enjoys it too and she has a good coach this season. Also, her Daddy works with her just about everyday outside. It's so neat to see her play and play well!
This will probably be my last blog entry this week. Starting tomorrow, my week goes into hyperdrive. Tomorrow night is church. Thursday night, I have the Ladies Extravaganza at the church. This is where some of the ladies host a table and decorate it and we get together and have dinner and a speaker. I'm hosting a table with my friend, who is coming in from Alabama. During the dinner, Adam has to meet with our new prospective pastor who is coming in for the weekend. Then, Friday during the day I will be decorating a cake for a friend's marriage recommitment ceremony. That night, I will go to one building at the church to set up the cake, then go to another building to meet the prospective pastor for a few minutes. Then, we go back to the other building and go to the recommitment ceremony. Saturday morning, we have the big service day at the church. Then a soccer game. Then from 2-5, we have the big fundraiser at Zoe and Sebastian's school. Then, Sunday morning the prospective pastor is preaching in view of a call. At four o'clock, I have a meeting with the music ministry and the new pastor. Sunday night, we will vote on the pastor and then head to AWANA with the new pastor to await the vote. So, we are pretty busy this weekend, but I am looking forward to every bit of it!
Then, next weekend - we're going on our first family camping trip!!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Friends

Sometimes I look around at my friends and I am amazed at all of my friendships! God has truly blessed me with some of the greatest friends and I love how different they all are. God uses each one of them to teach me new things and stretch me, most of the time without me even realizing it! I am going to talk about two of them. I have other friends, but these two are the ones I have regular communication with and the ones that know me best.
The first one - this friend lives five hours away from me, but we talk very often. She is a working mother of two and loves being a professional. She is the friend who drove the three hours to visitation when Adam's mom passed away and just hung out with me for like four hours. I didn't even ask her. She just called and said she was on her way, dropped her kids off at her in-laws house and came. It was so touching and meant so much. We were friends in college, but not that close. In 1998, I moved to Mississippi, away from everyone I knew, for Adam to go to law school and she moved to Tunnel Hill, IL for her husband to go to school. Our friendship deepened and grew through that experience. We talked on the phone for hours and our friendship grew. She now lives in Memphis and we only get to see each other about twice a year, but we continue to email and call each other and I love her like a sister.
The second one - this friend is a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom of five (with probably more coming in the future). She is the most organized and creative person I know. She convicts me daily with how she cares for her family and home. She is my "natural" friend - if she saw how much processed food was in my home, she would probably faint. Well, not really, because she knows me very well. She is the opposite of me in so many ways. She nurses her babies for at least a year, I count down the days when I can put a bottle with formula in my baby's mouth! (judge me if you want to, I don't care...I've had four babies and they all have felt loved and are healthy, so I can confidently say that I absolutely hate nursing without feeling like a bad mother) She soaks beans during the day to cook for her family for supper. Me, well...I'm all about frozen beans and peas. Just the other day she was talking about how long brown rice takes to cook and my response was, "It takes no time in the boil-in-a-bag!" She homeschools and I am enjoying my two big kids school experience. (It works for us right now. I've stopped making definitive statements. The quickest way for me to guarantee that God will call me to homeschool is to say something stupid like, "I'll NEVER homeschool." Nope. I think I'll stick with "School is working for us right now.") She has her kids on a chore schedule. I get my kids to help out with housework, but it is definitely not organized at all. They watch almost no TV, we watch some TV. She is so creative. She makes clothes and purses and does neat stuff to teach her kids. Not to mention that she has their family finances in such order that I think she could probably fix just about any financial crisis a fortune 500 company faced. She is the person (apart from Adam) that I have been completely transparent with. She knows all my personality flaws and still loves me! She never judges me. She responds with love and with practical things to try to solve the problem. She is the one who came immediately to my house just to sit with me when Adam's mom passed away and he had already headed home. She showed up at my house with chocolate (always a necessity) and things to do in the car for the kids since I would be driving the three hours alone with the three big kids. Then she kept Annabelle from Friday to Monday so I could go to the funeral without having to worry about a 2 1/2 year old. Then, when Adam and I went to Texas, she kept Annabelle from Thursday to Monday and even kept the boys as well that Sunday night because our flight got delayed and I didn't have anyone to keep the boys! (remember she already has 5 kids of her own!) I know I can call her with any crisis and she will come running. She and I are so different, but it makes our friendship so much fun!
BUT, one thing I have in common with each of these ladies is our love for Jesus Christ and our determination to instill Christian values in our children. We strive to love our husbands and our children so that they see Christ in us. We all love a great Christian praise song and can always talk about how a particular sermon impacted us. Or how something we read in the Bible taught us something new. I love these women as sisters (and we are sisters in Christ!) and I am thankful to God each day that He has brought these amazing women in my life. I am thankful that He loves me enough to bless me with such friends.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Information for Shoppers

So, I have now worked in retail for a year. (I never thought I would be there a year) Well, I actually worked retail while I was in college, but it was at a very small Christian bookstore, which was a completely different experience than this year at Target. So, I have done lots of different jobs while at the great big bullseye, and I am now ready to write about some of it. I realize that not everyone has had a job in retail, so there may be somethings that the average shopper doesn't know. Well, I am judging by some of the people who came through my line during my 5 1/2 hour cashier shift the other night.

1. Get off the phone. I understand there are emergency situations where this is not possible. But, please don't stand there and have a personal conversation while checking out. You can't possibly pay attention to what is going on and talk at the same time. It is so much easier to fix a mistake before the transaction is closed. Once you hang up and look at your receipt and realize that the item you thought was 29.99 rang up for 49.99, it is much harder to fix and involves more people.

2. Get ready. It should come as no surprise to you after you have stood in a check out line that at the end of it, the cashier is going to expect some sort of payment. If you're paying cash, get it out. Unwad the dollar bills and, if you absolutely have to make exact change, get it out of the bottom of your purse. (By the way, there is not actually an award for paying with exact change or getting an even amount back, I promise.) If you are paying with a check, write out what you can. The name of the store, the date, your signed name, etc. If you're paying with a card, get it out. If it's a debit card, know your PIN. If you aren't sure of your PIN, run it as credit card, don't try different PINs, it slows everything down and I am being scored on the speed of the transaction.

3. Keep your children out of my space. I too shop with multiple children and I seem to be able to keep mine out of the cashier's area. So can you. I'm pretty sure you can keep them from jumping up on my conveyer belt and scanner area too. If they jump up there, I at least expect you to make an attempt to get them down. I don't think that's unreasonable.

4. If I offer you a store credit card, please realize that it is only because the computer has prompted me to do so. I don't personally want you to have one. Feel free not to share your credit history with me or why you think the card that earns you points at Disney World is a better idea. A simple, "No thank you" or "Not right now" will suffice. I am secretly hoping you say no anyway, because it takes more time to fill out the application. But I have to ask, because there are secret shoppers and I got in trouble for not asking before.

5. Just because I have on the appropriate colored shirt and a nametag does not mean I have been thoroughly trained in every area of the store. I will do my best to help you or try to find someone who knows the answer to your question, but you cannot look annoyed if I don't know the answer right away and you for sure cannot be rude. Do you really think I am going to try to move quicker if you are rude and insulting?

6. Sales Tax is more in Tennessee than it is in Georgia. We don't have an income tax. If you purchase a dress for $19.99, it's going to cost you $21.84 in Tennessee or $21.19 in Georgia. I have no control over it. Do you want the dress or not?

7. Any kind of return policy that we have implemented (which, is implemented at the corporate level and the girl making $6.50 an hour at the guest service desk is not just being unreasonable) is that way because people try to cheat and steal no matter what you have in place and it is the best system that corporate could come up with to keep the least amount of people to steal and cheat. Please take the online survey and complain to corporate, but no amount of cursing at me and calling me names that I've never even heard before will override my computer system.

8. Last, but not least, the check out line is not the appropriate venue to share your political views with me. I don't want to hear your views on McCain/Palin, Obama/Biden, the environment, abortion, creation vs. evolution, what the US should do about their dependence on foreign oil, etc. Just because I am a cashier does not mean I am not educated and am not informed on all of these issues. I don't have time to actually teach you why you are wrong or to discuss why I agree with you if you are right, so it's best just not to share.

This is definitely not an exhaustive list, but it hits the highlights. In the movie "Men In Black", Tommy Lee Jones makes a great statement. "A person is smart. People are stupid." There is some definite truth in that statement!

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Cake I Made Today





This is the cake I just finished for a surprise 40th birthday party tonight! It's just white cake with buttercream icing. She wanted a lot of black on it...Hope they like it!
To entertain Annabelle and Jude during the decorating, I gave them each their own icing to play with. Don't worry, it's not the same icing I used on the cake! :) They had fun squeezing it onto their plates and, obviously eating it as well.


A Little Venting

Sometimes I feel like I am going in twenty different directions at a hundred miles an hour. This week, on Monday after Adam got home, I got to go out to a movie with my mom for her birthday. This, of course, was fun, but involved getting supper made for the rest of the family before I left, so it was somewhat stressful. Then, Tuesday, the kids get home from school, we quickly did homework for Wednesday, get everyone dressed and head to the soccer field. Adam meets us there, then I go to work until 10:30pm. Wednesday, I met a girl at my mom's house (my oven is broken right now) to teach her to bake a cake. We had to bake actually two big cakes so it took about four hours start to finish. Then, Wednesday night, we have church. Once again, get everyone dressed and in the car and meet Adam there. Adam and Sebastian get finished before everyone else, so he takes Sebastian home and I get the other three after choir. Now, we're to Thursday. After dropping the kids at school (once again getting everyone dressed and in the car) I head to the church to take care of some choir stuff. We're there until around 11, when I'm supposed to meet Adam for lunch. I get to the restaurant and he calls and says he is stuck at the closing he was attending. Can I just wait a few minutes? Sure. It's a mexican restaurant so I'll take the kids in and we'll eat chips and salsa till he gets here in 10 minutes. So, I go in with my two kiddos and we sit down. I decided to go ahead and order the kids food so they can be eating. Forty minutes later is when Adam arrived. (Not his fault at all and he did call a couple of times in between) But, the kids were already done eating by the time he got there. I waited till he got there to order, so then we ate. The kids of course were a little restless, so the end of the meal wasn't near as fun as the beginning. Then we head home for nap/rest time. The kids get home from school, we get everyone dressed (again) and in the car (again) and head to soccer. The good news is that I didn't actually have to work so I got to stay at soccer. I told Adam that I needed to go to Sam's to pick up something for the cake I am making for tonight. Then, he says, well the kids won't eat till late if you do that. Yada, yada, yada. Fine. I'll go in the morning. Then, once I am already at home, I realize that Sam's doesn't open until TEN! UGH!!! So, now I have to try to finish the cake before tonight. This morning, Adam says he'll take the two big kids to school if I will let him work a little late tonight and meet us at Parents Night Out. Okay. So, I will get to get all four kids dressed and in the car (again!) plus the cake because it is going with us tonight. I will so enjoy Parents Night Out tonight, I cannot even begin to tell you!
Now, I realize that there are people who do way more than I do. But, I am really tired this week for some reason. And, our soccer game is at 9 am Saturday. Adam will go to work in the morning and meet us at the field. Which will mean I get to get everyone up, dressed and in the car everyday this week! And then do it all over next week! I can't wait till Fall Break!!!

Monday, September 15, 2008

My Views on My Children and the Size of My Family

Okay, I have been doing some deep soul searching and praying and discussing with my husband and now I would like to articulate my feelings on family size/number of children. My dearest friend has a "quiverfull" view of her family size and our discussion on the matter made me step back and think about what I truly believe and why I believe it. I truly admire her for her convictions on this matter and how she sticks to those convictions unashamedly in a world that doesn't share this position. Girl, our discussion really made me nail down what I believe and why and, you're so right about there being an enormous freedom in that. I will also put a disclaimer on this that these are MY thoughts and I think each family is unique. God's plan for me is not the same plan He has for everyone, so please don't think any of this is meant to be preachy or judgemental. This is just where I stand.

Okay, so I have friends who have two children who say their family is complete and they just knew their family was complete after two children. I have other friends who say the same thing after four children. Then I know people who are my mom's age who say they wish they had had more than two children, but that's just what everyone else did, so they did too. I really would like not to look back with regret when I have grown children and some grandchildren. I know I might have some regrets, but I am trying to avoid as many as possible.

Anyway, I have never felt that "my family is complete" feeling. I don't know what it feels like. I have heard it's kind of like how you knew who to marry. You just know. Okay, so I don't have that feeling. I seem to waffle between wanting another child and not really ever wanting to think about having another child. Admittedly, these moods tend to be dictated by the behavior of my four little ones, but anyway.

So, after this discussion with my friend, I began praying about this and reading the Bible trying to decide what my feelings are on this issue. I prayed that my decision would not be swayed by fear or what other people might think or anything other than what God's plan is for MY life. So here it is...

I think that children are blessings from God. He has blessed me with four precious and special children and I am grateful every day for them. (Maybe not every moment of everyday, like right now as I am arguing with my fourth grader about whether her homework answer is correct) And, three of those four times, I was not asking him for those blessings! He knew exactly what I needed and when I needed it, no matter what I had planned. There is no way for me to articulate the joy these four little ones have given me. The little things - the unprompted "I love you"s, the funny things they say, the feeling I get when I teach them something new. All of those things have intrinsic value that simply cannot be measured. I am so thankful for them and I know that God has entrusted them to me when they are still His and He is still in complete control.

I do believe in birth control. Not all forms of birth control, mind you. I am firmly against anything that causes the abortion of a fertilized egg. I believe that life begins at conception, the moment the sperm enters the egg. If I am to actually take a stand on this issue, I have already ruled out the most popular forms of birth control - pills and IUD. I realize that birth control pills have medical purposes too, so please know that I am still talking about me. There's also the little thing that two of my children came about while I was on birth control pills (this is before I knew what they did - I thought they only prevented ovulation) so I also have a teensy bit of distrust for them.

I also think that my family can be complete without any type of surgical procedure. In my small section of the world, vasectomies and tubal ligations seem to be the norm. Where is the rule that in order to be "done" having children, I have to let a doctor physically and permanently alter me or my husband? I'm not completely against these procedures or anything, but I don't understand the rush to have these done. I'm not saying I will never have one of these procedures done, but I am still very young, I think. I know someone who opted to have a hysterectomy simply because she was tired of having periods - she was 31 years old at the time! I don't understand.

I do trust God about the size of my family, but prevention does not mean that I don't trust Him. I trust Him with my life too, but I still take precautions against illness and other things that could impact my family. And right now, another baby would negatively impact my family. Right now, I am trusting God and using my practical side (which is also in His image) and deciding not to increase my family size. For me, there is such a peace with that. I am doing my part with this decision and if He decides to bless us with another baby, then He will provide everything we need. I also think that one day I will want another child. But, for now, I am resting in His promises to provide all my needs and that He always has my best at heart.

Again, I am not posting this to offend anyone in anyway. God makes families in all sizes and shapes and colors and He does this according to His will. He is such a good and merciful God and I am just trying to discern His will so I can always be right in the center of it.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Lessons from Miss Spider

As you can imagine, with four kiddos, I am very familiar with just about anything on the wonderful television channels of Nick Jr. and Noggin. One of these shows is Miss Spider's Sunny Patch. Couldn't they have come up with a longer name? Anyway, yesterday on Miss Spider, all of Miss Spider's kids had something going on at the same time. A violin recital, some sport game, web surfing, a play and a race. All at the same time. Well, the dad (don't remember his name) fell and hurt himself, so he couldn't help Miss Spider. So, Miss Spider still promised all her children that she would be at each event. Of course, in her rushing around to get every where at once, she sprained one of her ankles (don't think spiders actually have ankles, but I don't think a lesson on arachnids were what the writers were going for here) and couldn't get to all of the events. In one way or another, she actually let down each of her children because she didn't get to see any of the things they were doing. The kids learned that their mother was simply a spider and not a super mom.
But, it got me thinking...how many times do I promise my kids something and not deliver? I try really hard not to promise to do something and not follow through, but my kids are also the children of someone who is just a flawed human. I'm not perfect, by any stretch of the imagination. But, on a deeper note, how often do I promise things to God and not follow through? I think I would be embarrassed to actually type the answer! Why is it so hard to be consistent in my relationship with Him? I don't have a hard time maintaining my human relationships, why do I do it with Him? My dear husband has taught me many things, but one thing is that if I decide to do anything, I will fail. If I say, "I'm going to have my quiet time each day...or I'm going to memorize scripture..." or any number of things, I'm going to fail. I can only do it with God's help. So, to maintain a regular prayer time, I have to PRAY! God designed it so the only way to keep a relationship with Him is to depend on Him to give me the discipline to keep the relationship! He is amazing!!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

My Not-So-Productive Day

So, today has not been my most productive day. Yesterday, however, I got four loads of laundry washed, dried, folded and put away. I also cleaned the house from the weekend. This was after a meeting at the church and a trip to the store. So, this morning when I woke up with the beginnings of a cold (not a sinus infection, and, no I am not pregnant-I seem to always get an unexplained sinus infection at the beginning of each pregnancy) I decided today would be a bit less productive. I am feeling a little better. Jude and I took a brief nap and it was nice. Well, he played his DS while I cuddled with him and napped a little. But, now I have decided that since I am feeling better, I think I will make some rice crispy treats for the kids when everyone is home. We have soccer tonight and I have to work, but it's looking like rain, so maybe we won't have to go to soccer.
The boys have these little flashlight headbands, you know that are elastic and strap to your head. Well, this morning, Sebastian gets out of the car and I am looking at him walking into school with his backpack on his back and the flashlight on his head. I so wish I had a camera with me. It was so funny. That boy definitely marches to the beat of his own drummer. He is so precious.
Other than that, life was pretty slow here at the house today, which was very nice. I don't have very many days without a real agenda, so I have enjoyed it.

Monday, September 8, 2008

More about the Pastor

So our church has been without a pastor for a little over a year. So last night was the "big announcement" of who they are bringing before the church to be our new Senior Pastor. Then he comes to preach and we vote on him, but odds are he is our new pastor. I cannot tell you how excited I am about him! He is 32 years old and about to have his first child (like, this week sometime). He has such a powerful testimony and I cannot wait to meet him and his wife when they come hopefully the first week of October. Their names are Robby and Kandi and they are from New Orleans. It is so exciting! I love the idea of having someone so young in our church! I'm so excited!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Real Quick Entry and More Later

So tonight at church they are announcing who our new Senior Pastor will be. Well, they are announcing who will be coming to preach "in view of a call" and then he comes and we meet him, listen to him preach, drill him with questions and then vote on him. But, odds are that he will be the new pastor. Our church has been without a pastor for a little over a year, so everyone is very excited about the announcement. So, I will post later about the man. We are very excited!
On a personal note, I joined the mentoring program at our church. This is where they pair up one woman to mentor and one woman to be the mentoree. Well, I found out this morning that my mentor will be Pam R. and I am very excited about this! She and her husband are two people that my husband and I greatly respect and I am so looking forward to getting to know her better and to grow spiritually together!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Good Times with Good Friends

So yesterday was a good day. We took the big kids to school and then ran errands for most of the day. While I was driving around, I happened upon the campaign headquarters for McCain/Palin in my city. I didn't even know it was there. So we went in and got two bumper stickers and a yard sign. They didn't have yard signs with Palin's name on it yet so we'll go back and get one with her name on it later. The ladies in there were so nice - they gave my two little ones cupcakes! Then we did a little grocery shopping. I really don't like doing this with any kids. It costs so much more when they are with you! But, it had to be done.
Then we came home and I mowed the backyard. If you've never seen my backyard, this is about an hour to an hour and a half project. It's big and the grass is thick. But, I do some of my best thinking while I am mowing. It's time that is pretty much uninterrupted. My kids play outside while I am out there so I know what they are doing, but they don't talk to me. So I was able to sort out some pretty important stuff that I may or may not blog about later. But, it was really nice to be able to think it out.
Then, last night, our dear friends came over for pizza and cake to celebrate Annabelle's birthday. We had lots of fun! They have five kiddos, so just our two families together is 13 people. When we get together, we have four adults, two nine year olds, an eight year old, two five year olds, a four year old, two three year olds and a one year old. It's a bit of a zoo, but lots of fun! Annabelle had a Backyardigans cake that I didn't make, but it was good and she was delighted. We had already given her all her presents so we just had fun. It was a great night with good friends!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

RNC Speeches Last Night

I want to start this post by saying that if you live in the United States and are over the age of 18, please make sure you are registered to vote and that you GO VOTE! No matter who you vote for, please exercise this right that you have just by living in this great land. It is a right that can be taken away, so please be grateful for it and go vote!! Okay, that's my PSA for the day.



Secondly, if you don't want to know my political thoughts, then stop reading. I'll warn you that I am a pro-life conservative Christian who thinks people should be allowed to own guns if they want to (after all, the first thing Hitler did was disarm the people...is that really what we want?) and I think we do have a responsibility to care for the earth that God created, but I still believe that man was created above the animals and plants. So, if you don't want to hear about it, you should probably stop reading.

Okay, last night I watched some of Romney's speech, and all of Huckabee, Guiliani and Palin. What a great night to be a conservative Republican! It was so much fun! I liked Huckabee's speech and his story about the desks and the veterans was very touching. Then the camera shot over to a veteran wiping tears from his eyes...very moving. Adam and I both teared up. I thought Huckabee did a good job.

Guiliani was so great too. He comes across as just a good ole boy from the Bronx. When he outright laughed at the community organizer thing, it was so funny. I think instead of trying to come up with things that Obama has done to try to prove he has experience, they should just say, Yep, you're right...he has no experience...but he has great ideas on ____. Of course, he will have to articulate some ideas instead of just saying he doesn't like what Bush is doing.

Anyway, Guiliani had the crowd all riled up before Sarah Palin even stepped onto the stage.

So, then her family came in and took their seats. All the kids, including the future son-in-law, and Todd Palin came in and sat with Cindy McCain. It was endearing as they sort of passed the baby around. The daughter had him first and then Cindy and then Todd. Eventually, the littlest girl got him and there was a precious shot of her licking her hand to smooth his hair out. It was great.

Palin's speech was so great. It was funny, inspiring and exciting! She has a plan to cut our dependence on foreign oil (this is different from Obama's plan to cut our dependence on the Middle East for oil, since we get our oil from various sources-Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, Russia, not just Saudi Arabia.) which I think is great. We need to drill AND work on other types of energy. I agree with her that we can't just do nothing until we get the technology to do the other kinds. She just sort of touched on the pregnant teenage daughter thing, but then went on about the rest of it. Good for her. The focus needs to be on other things. The daughter has no bearing on her ability to be VP, just as Al Gore's son had no bearing on his being able to be VP.

All in all, it was a great night and a great night to be a Republican! I am actually excited about voting in November!! GO MCCAIN/PALIN!!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A Good Day and Some Funny Stuff

Today started out really well. I was a little nervous that Sebastian wouldn't want to go back to school after the long weekend, but he got up and was ready to go. Then we hit our first snag...today was purple day. The first two weeks, every day is a different color and they are supposed to wear that color. Well, the only purple shirt that we have that isn't a girl's shirt is a Veggie Tales shirt that the boys sleep in. So, Sebastian's first protest was that he didn't want to wear his pajamas. Okay. So I explain to him that the shirt isn't actually pajamas, he just sleeps in it sometimes. Well, then he said, "I don't wear purple. I'm not a girl. Girls wear purple." He assumed his position that means, "I am absolutely not budging on this issue." So, he picked out a blue striped shirt and I told him he could take the blue shirt with him and, if no one else had on purple, he could put the blue one on. This is after I told him, "Cole...Jake...(insert any name of some of the kids in his class) will have on purple." Well, he seemed content to just take another shirt with him. So we all got in the car and headed off to school.
While we are still sitting in the car rider line, I look in my rearview mirror to see Sebastian has already changed out of the purple shirt and into the blue one - all without unbuckling his seatbelt! Houdini! So, the next arrangement was that he wore the blue shirt and took the purple shirt with him. Fortunately, that was fine with him and he got out with no problem. When he got home, he immediately informed me that no one else was wearing purple and he told me he should wear the blue one. He's a funny kid.

On to Annabelle's birthday...we went and had lunch with Adam and got to see his new office. He didn't change jobs, but his firm moved into a new office. It's really nice and I got to meet some people I hadn't met yet. Then we went to Applebee's. I really like Applebees, but it's not large family friendly, so we never go. But, since it was just the four of us, it was fun. Then I took Annabelle shopping to pick out some presents. She got a big baby doll (who she named Carly) a new stroller, some baby bottles, sippy cups and a big pink ball. I also got her a cookie cake. We are having a little party for her on Friday night with some friends, because tonight I had to work and Zoe had soccer practice. But, Annabelle had a special day and she enjoyed telling everyone she met that she was three years old today!

Happy Birthday, Annabelle!

I can't believe that Annabelle is three years old today! Time goes by so fast. It seems like just yesterday on one hand, but I also can't remember her not being in the family. I am also so that her middle name is the same as Adam's mom. I had no idea that his mom would have so little time with her. Annabelle is a funny kids, with some great facial expressions. She is very very verbal and has no trouble telling us exactly what she wants and thinks.
Here are some pictures.

Happy Birthday, Peanut!

Annabelle and Grandmother


Mid Sentence


My Big Three Year Old

Monday, September 1, 2008

Labor Day

How long were your labors?
Child #1 - doctor told me to go to the hospital
Child #2 - fourth trip to the hospital, contractions 2 minutes apart
Child # 3 - Tons of contractions
Child #4 - More contractions

How did you know you were in labor?
Child #1 - 2 1/2 hours (way too short, horrible experience)
Child #2 - 11 hours
Child #3 - 9 hours
Child #4 - 21 very long hours

Where did you deliver?
Hospital for all of them...

Drugs? Epidural for #1 and #4 (I got tired in hour 18) and natural for #2 and #3

C-section? Nope. Almost on #2, but everything settled down.

Who delivered? My doctor for #1 and #2, a nurse for #3 (doctor showed up 20 minutes later) and an on call doctor for #4

I got this from this site...
http://rocksinmydryer.typepad.com/shannon/2008/08/laborious.html

Friday, August 29, 2008

The First Week

Well, our first real week of Kindergarten is over now. He had a great week! He really enjoys school and is learning so much, so fast. He couldn't write his name when this week started (he does have a really long name) and today he wrote his entire name legibly! I am so amazed at it all! Every day he comes home with different stories and telling us all about what he did each day. He really enjoys it. This morning, he did give me a little resistance about going to school, but once we opened the door to get out of the car in the car rider line, he got right out and went in happily. But, he is proud to be learning how to write his letters. In fact, tonight, we were at Target and there was a Spiderman book to practice writing letters and Sebastian CHOSE to get that book over a toy! When we got home, he went immediately to writing in his new book and took it upstairs with him to bed! Sebastian is my child who never really wants to do anything like that. He's very smart, but, up till now, if you asked him if he wanted to learn to write or anything like that, he would say no. But, he is really enjoying it and I am so thankful to God that this has been such a smooth transition into school.

I rarely talk about anything close to being opinionated, but I have to say that I am so thrilled at McCain's VP choice!! A pro-life, homeschooling, mother of five!! And she has lived her pro-life stance. She brings an excitement to the ticket that wasn't there before and I am so excited about it. What a historic election! This is going to be an exciting two months!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A few pictures

Okay, please bear in mind that we had been outside playing soccer and stuff for an hour or so when these pictures were taken. But, I still think they're good pictures! Thanks, Mrs. Bonnie for the pictures!
Annabelle

Annabelle and Jude in the back of Daddy's truck


Adam, Zoe and Me


My whole family


Sweet Sebastian

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Our weekend

We had a pretty good weekend. Not really a lot going on, but it was nice. My Mom and Bonnie came over for dinner on Saturday night and then we saw them again on Sunday at church. So we got to see a good bit of her and pictures of her two grandsons. It was a good visit.

I am still learning about contentment and depending on God for everything. And being thankful for everything. God is definitely right now providing my family with everything we need, and nothing we don't. It's kind of hard to go into right now since I'm not sure who (if anybody) reads this, but we are learning about what we need and what we want. Definitely not an easy lesson at all, but we are learning. Maybe one day I'll be able to share it openly.

But, for today, I'm just going to be grateful for the food I have, the house I have, the drive-able cars we have (and own) and my kids. I'm grateful for the fact that Sebastian is loving school and so is Zoe. I'm grateful for the one-on-one time I am getting with Jude, like today when we cuddled on the couch and played his Nintendo DS game. And I am grateful that Annabelle is completely content to play Barbies or babies in our playroom that is really a dining room with no furniture in it. I'll just rest in the fact that God is continuing to meet our needs and not giving us anything that we don't need.

Friday, August 22, 2008

One more thing out of my comfort zone...

Okay, so I am admitting to being an "un-fun" mom again here, but I generally do not participate in any "construction" that goes on at our house. I don't forbid castle/fort/tunnel building in my living room at all, I just usually don't participate. The couch cushions, blankets, pillows, etc. all over the place just tends to frustrate me more than anything. But, today, the three little ones (Zoe was at school) were trying to build a tunnel between our couch and coffee table and, for what ever reason, couldn't get it to stay up. So, I went in there and built them a very complex tunnel that they had to actually maneuver through. They had so much fun in it. For a few minutes, all three of them were playing, going around the coffee table and through the tunnel over and over again. Sadly, I was so busy playing that I didn't grab the camera, so I have only mental pictures of it. I know that may sound like such a little thing, but it's not something that I do everyday.

After that, we headed to the airport to meet my mom's dear friend, Bonnie. How to explain how I know this precious woman? She and my Mom met while I was in the fourth grade in Mississippi and they worked at the same school. She has a daughter my age and a son that is my brother's age. Our families just clicked and the following summer, we moved to Memphis, TN when they moved to outside of Columbus, OH. Every summer after that (that was 1985) until 1995, we met for a week at a state park in Kentucky and just had a blast. From 1996 until now, my Mom and Bonnie take turns going to each other's house. So, last summer, my Mom went to OH and so now Bonnie is here. We always look forward to her visits and they are so much fun! Now her daughter is in California and her son is in Ohio with his wife and two sons, so our families don't get together anymore. But, we are so excited about her visit!

The great thing about this weekend is that I don't have to work. So, we're not sure what we're going to do yet, but it will be fun.

To Christine, have a great trip!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Sebastian's Second Day of Kindergarten

Yesterday was Sebastian's second day at Kindergarten. He did great and was very happy to go back. When he got home, he came running off the bus and came in the door with his backpack. He then said, "Oh, I have stuff to give you." He gave me all of the papers from his backpack! I was so proud he remembered to give me his stuff, even after the bus ride home.
So, while the two older ones were at school, the two younger ones and I got to spend the day together. First, we went to my Mom's house and finished painting her bedroom for her. Zoe and I had helped her on Saturday night and so I went over and finished it for her. It looks so good!
Jude and Annabelle were so good while we were there, but, of course, they were dying to paint something. So, when we got home, I let them finger paint. Okay, here's a little bit of total honesty. I never let the kids paint. We color a lot with crayons, markers and color pencils, but no painting. I just hate the mess. So, I was totally out of my comfort zone. But, they loved it. We even learned about mixing the colors to make more colors...red and yellow make orange, yellow and blue make green and red and blue make purple. They had so much fun!!
So, I felt like a good daughter and a good mother....





Annabelle's Creation (Mommy did the suns)

Jude's Creation

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Fun at Coolidge Park

Annabelle playing in the water

Sebastian


Jude


Today seemed like a good day to take the kiddos to Coolidge Park. So, we packed a lunch and headed downtown. The weather was perfect and since school has just started, there was no one there except us and one other family! The kids had a blast and, finally, after all summer, Annabelle played in the water! She typically doesn't like any water to touch her face, so the spraying water fountains at Coolidge Park aren't her favorite thing. But, today, she had so much fun actually got wet. We all had fun.

Monday, August 18, 2008

My Sweet Zoe


I thought I would write about Zoe. (actually, her name is supposed to have two dots over the "e", but I can't figure it out on here) How do I describe Zoe? She is a petite fourth grader with freckles across her nose and cheeks. She is a perfect mix of me and Adam. She has my sensitivity and Adam's negotiation skills. Every answer that we give her is the starting point for discussion. Well, to her, anyway. Fortunately for us, she is only that way to her parents, not to other authority figures. She loves school and always performs well. She has lots of friends. Her official stance on boys is still that she doesn't like them, but she is now noticing ones who are cute or funny. It's so strange to think about her liking boys, but I know that day is most definitely coming.

She is still very spiritual and very deep and is very aware of God and His love for her. She is one of the most helpful children I have ever met. She loves being a big sister and helps me in so many ways. She is the one who buckles the boys in the van so I don't have to climb in the backseat. So very helpful! She loves to cook and all things that go with cooking - chopping, cleaning, all of it. She says she wants to go to culinary school someday. I would love that! What a neat skill to have!

Zoe is also very musical. She loves to sing and to do drama. She has a very good voice with excellent breath control and a hint of vibrato. She can develop into a really good singer when she matures some. She is not afraid at all, either! She has stage presence. I can't wait to see what is in her future. She is destined for great things, without a doubt. And, it could be anything, really...from a doctor to a stay at home mom or anything in between. She amazes me!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Ahhhh...Friday

So, I had nothing planned for today. I thought I might take the kids to a playground or something. I even called my friend to see if they wanted to join us. Well, since her family was in the middle of passing around a stomach bug (no thanks!) I decided we would just do something ourselves. Well, Sebastian has meloscum spots around his eye and one of them appeared to be infected. So I called the doctor to see if the antibiotic cream I already have at my house would be okay to put on it. No, the doctor said they really needed to see him. Oh, and my pediatrician is on vacation and the other doctor that I like leaves at 11:30. So, could I be there by 10:40? Um, yeah, sure, I replied, having no idea what time it was. I got off the phone to see that it was 10:15! And none of us were dressed! So, I quickly dressed both boys and Annabelle and headed out the door. Called Adam to tell him where we were going and off we went. We signed in at the doctor at 10:35. Amazing!
A little background now. The last time we were at the doctor for Sebastian was the pre-kindergarten physical, complete with four shots, a finger prick and peeing in a cup for the first time. A traumatic experience. Well, when the doctor came in, he had a complete meltdown! I was trying to hold him still just long enough for her to see his eye. Bless her heart! She finally looks at it and then tells me to give him the cream I have at home and a prescription for more, if I need it. Yes, I had to spend $35 for her to tell me exactly what I had asked on the phone.
Anyway, after the traumatic experience at the doctor, I took the three kids to McDonald's and let them play in the play area. I NEVER DO THIS! My kids were saying in amazement, "We're going in? We get to stay?" That's not to say we never eat out, we just usually pick it up and take it home. So they had so much fun.
Now I need a nap to recover from the screaming and kicking five year old I was wrestling.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Annabelle-isms


Annabelle, the almost three year old, is such a funny kid. She has no idea that she isn't as big as everyone else in the house and she can come up some funny things. I just thought I would record some of them...


"May Out" - this means Mom's Day Out

"Miss Queen" - this is my friend, Christine (who asked me not to ever correct Annabelle!)

"Bastian" - this is of course, Sebastian

"Pink Juice" - this is a water/Splenda mixture (all fruit juice upsets her stomach) in her pink sippy cup

"Batman cereal" - this is Cinnamon Toast Crunch, which at one point had a Batman advertisement on it

"Wiwwie" - this is her best friend, Lily

"I died" - this is heard numerous times while she is playing the DS. It's funny because she is not frustrated at all, it's more just a factual statement.

"Don't cook it" - this is in reference to her waffle, which she likes to eat straight out of the freezer! Yuck!


She also is constantly singing and talking. She can sing every word (clearly) to the beginning and the end of Backyardigans. She sings every word to Jesus Loves Me and Jesus Loves the Little Children, Deep and Wide, You Are My Sunshine, several of the High School Musical 2 songs and the Hannah Montana theme song. (Remember, she lives in a house with a nine year old too)


She has a million facial expressions (thank her Daddy for that) and she is extremely prissy. She plays babies and barbies for hours and loves to dress up and wear high heels. Any unoccupied pair of shoes is fair game and she will have them on in no time. She also really likes breakfast food! She is still a peanut, but most mornings usually consist of two waffles and at least two bowls of cereal. She would probably eat more, but I usually cut it off there and try to find something to distract her. She will eat waffles at any time of the day.


She still amazes me with how verbal she is and how much she likes to sing. She will pretend anything is a microphone and will stand in our computer room and perform and perform. It is so fun to watch her. And, she is a total mimic, which at times is very humbling because she mimics me and how I parent.


She is a true joy!


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

All About Sebastian




Sebastian is now gone to Kindergarten. He did great! I cried, but he didn't. His teacher came out and met them in the foyer of the school and took him back to his class. He was ready. I was going over some general instructions, you know, like stay with your teacher, listen to your teacher, here's your milk money, stuff like that. And he said, sort of in a frustrated tone, "I got it, Mom." And then when we got there, he said, "Okay. When are you leaving?" So I left my first born son at his first day of school. Real school. I know how fast time really flies once they are in school. So I know his little life is about to start zooming by. Next thing I know, he'll be going to fourth grade, just like his sister.

He will ride the bus home today. I wasn't going to let him, but he was most excited about the bus ride and Zoe will be with him. So, I will see him at 3:45 or so this afternoon. I know he will do just fine. It's just such a huge chapter in his life, so I thought I would take some time and just write a little about him.

Sebastian is a sensitive and artistic child. He is my child who always notices the colors of the sunset or how bright the stars are at night. We'll all be getting out of the car and he is one who stops and stares at the sky. Everyone else is too busy getting out of the car and getting all the stuff to take into the house. He is my child who, whenever he hears music playing, will always stop to listen or sing along or dance. He did this even as a baby. I can remember seeing him run into the living room from the kitchen when he heard a song on the television. He loves to pray anytime and is very thankful for everything. He sometimes even thanks God for things he didn't get to do that day. He is the child who runs around in circles and then stops just to get a hug. He will always share anything that he has. If I give the kids treats, he will always share his, even when they all get the same amount. He is tenderhearted and caring and very passionate. And by passionate, I mean he is either hot or cold. It takes a lot to make him mad, but once he is mad, he is mad all over. And, when he is happy, he is happy all over. He loves to draw and color and cut things out. He loves anything that has to do with drawing and art. So I cannot wait to see where this takes him. I can't wait to see what kind of adult he becomes.

Well, just a few more hours. I can't wait to see what kind of day he had!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Well, she's gone...

Zoe has left for her first day of fourth grade. She was very excited once it finally got here. She was a little sad last night, but this morning she was gabbing away and very excited. So it's all good. I think she was mainly sad about having to get up and going early and summer being over in general. But, truth be told, she gets bored here too. The first few weeks of summer were spent with me trying to convince her that we don't go somewhere fun everyday. Some days are just going to Wal-Mart or get the oil changed in the car and to the bank. I think she thought we were going to parks and museums and lots of fun stuff everyday. Um, well, we don't. Some days we stay here and clean and do laundry! So I think she will be very happy to get to go to school.
Tomorrow morning is when Sebastian goes for the first time. He is excited for him...I've got all his supplies ready to go and I just have to put them in his backpack. I am going to take him in the morning and he is going to ride the bus home. He has been so looking forward to riding the bus for the last year so I'm going to let him. Zoe will be with him, the school is less than a mile from our house and she drops them off in our driveway, so I think he will enjoy it.
I will write more tomorrow once I drop him off...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Sebastian's Birth

Sebastian's story probably needs to start the first week of April 2003, six weeks before he was born. I was working full time (at a sedentary job) and I started noticing a few contraction-like feelings. I called the midwife I was seeing at the time and asked to be seen. I went into the office and had to convince her to check me. She said I probably wasn't having contractions and that everything was probably fine. I told her that I really wanted her to check me just to make me feel better. Sure enough, I was dilated 2 cm at 30 weeks. (Why do they doubt the Mommas?) I was then transferred to the doctor at the office and put on bedrest. No more working, no more trips to the mall or Babies R Us. I actually had to take a note from my doctor to my boss (who was the CFO of the company I worked for) that had the words "cervical dilation" on them. Could she not have just put pregnancy complications? Anyway, I had Zoe, who was four years old and she went to daycare every day. So, I would lay on the couch all day and save my "getting up time" for when she was at home. I wasn't on strict bedrest, just no unnecessary walking and climbing stairs. Every time I would walk more than just a little bit, I would start having contractions. So I laid on the couch and waited. And waited. The first week was pretty fun, just laying around, but the other weeks were very frustrating. I was very tired of laying around. I was told that anytime I had six or more contractions in an hour I was to go to the hospital. We went four different times. We had no family around, so two of those trips required friends to come to our house to stay with Zoe, only to have us return home a few hours later. While I was grateful because I didn't want a baby too early, but I was very frustrated.
On May 13, I was having very regular contractions that were actually pretty strong. I called Adam around 12:30 pm and told him to just meet me at the doctor's office. That way, when they sent me home, he could just go back to work and wouldn't have to drive all the way to the house. We headed to the hospital closest to us. I got into triage, where I actually proved that I was in labor (duh) and thought we were getting ready to move to a room. Well, then we found out that there were no available rooms at that hospital and we would need to do downtown to the other hospital. Okay. No problem. Adam will drive me to the hospital. Dr. said absolutely not. I was 5 cm dilated and contracting every two minutes. No way was she going to let a woman in active labor go in a car in 5:00 traffic. An ambulance was on its way. Great.
So the ambulance comes and I am in the back with the male EMT and the female EMT is up front with Adam. The poor man is trying to ask me questions and having to stop every two minutes for me to deal with a contraction. I was strapped to the guerney, so dealing with the contractions was pretty difficult. We finally made it downtown and were put back into triage. While we were there, Sebastian's heartrate went down into the 50's and the medical staff panicked. The doctor on call began to massage Sebastian's head to try to stimulate his heartrate! Big ouch! Finally, my doctor arrived and they shoved a consent form in Adam's face to sign and wheeled me (& Sebastian) off for an emergency c-section. Adam said that was the scaredest he has ever been. It was such a whirlwind for me. While we were in the operating room getting ready to put me completely under, his heartrate came back up! My doctor just watched him for a minute or two and then decided to let me go to a labor room without the c-section! It was at that moment that I was suddenly aware that I was stark naked and cold and begged for a blanket. They brought me one of the warm ones and it felt so nice.
So, I was sent to a labor room and allowed to just labor at my own pace. At some point, a doctor from the high risk office came and did an ultrasound to determine his weight. He weighed in at 6 pounds, 1 ounce on the ultrasound, so they said I could go ahead and have him. (Like they could have stopped it?) I didn't want any pain medication so Adam and I just labored as best as we could. It actually wasn't bad until transition so I was pretty content most of the time. While we were waiting, our friends Curtis and Shawna came by to visit. This is when we realized that both of our cars were at the other hospital. So, Curtis and Shawna went all the way back to the other hospital, took one of our cars to our house and brought the other one back to the hospital where we were along with McDonald's for Adam. (which he ate in the hall) So I labored on until around midnight. I was 7 cm dilated and my nurse decided I had somewhat stalled. My contractions had almost stopped. So about 12:40 am (May 14) my doctor came and broke my water. My contractions intensified greatly at that point. So I asked for an epidural because I was scared and starting to lose control. Transition. I also started throwing up as just additional proof of transition. That poor nurse held that plastic thing and let me throw up. Of course, I hadn't had anything to eat since that morning, so I didn't throw up very much.
The doctor comes to give me an epidural and starts talking to the medical staff about my blood work. The problem was, since I had been transferred from another hospital and almost had a c-section, in all the confusion, I hadn't had any blood work done! So, he says, no epidural for you! Which was fine because pushing was eminent. I had the most incredible urge to push and it hurt really bad. I looked at Adam and said "SH--! This hurts!" Well, I never, ever curse. EVER. I can still see him running across the floor in his sock feet to get the nurse and yelling, "I think it's time! She's cursing!" Sure enough, she came in and told me to try pushing. That felt so so good. Two good pushes and he was out. Since he was exactly 36 weeks, the NICU team was there too. He came out screaming and peed on my OB. He was born at 1:20 am and his APGARs were 10 and 10. He was completely healthy. He weighed 6 pounds and 11 ounces and was 20 inches long. Not a preemie. Totally healthy. And, the recovery after a natural childbirth was so much easier and faster and I felt so empowered!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Fourth Grade

So, the first day of school is almost upon us. (Tuesday is Zoe's first day and Wednesday is Sebastian's first day) I can remember with great clarity what the first day is always like. Even though you have met your teacher and perhaps seen the class roll, so you know who to expect when you walk it, there is still the fear of the unknown. All you really know is the rumors you have heard about this teacher, which usually came from the kids older than you. So, you still have to once again figure out how he/she runs her classroom, what his/her expectations are, etc. and it's all nerve wracking, especially when you are nine. I think back to fourth grade. I was still in Mississippi in fourth grade and we were not self-contained, which meant I changed classes four times and had four different teachers. Fourth grade was when my English teacher tried to make my left-handed self write with a right handed slant to my letters. For some reason, she thought I was never going to make it in the world if I didn't slant my letters to the right. Maybe if she actually knew how very little any one writes in cursive any more. I think my only cursive is my signature and who cares what that looks like?
Fourth grade was also where we had the very first "All About Me" class for the girls and boys separately. While that conversation has already taken place in our home, I wonder if that is coming for her as well in school. Of course, our discussion included how that particular thing is reserved for your husband and how it's not just a crazy rule God made up, that it is actually for your protection. Everything can get really complicated really quickly when you go outside of God's will, especially in this particular area. At least some of the talk seems to have gotten through, because when our cat gave birth to kittens earlier this year, Zoe was ready to scour the neighborhood looking for the boy cat who had impregnated Katie so she could fuss at him for not being there for her during the birth. It was pretty funny, but at least she got what I was telling her, right?
Anyway, I know that this year will bring with it more issues to deal with, even though most issues we have so far have been very mild. They usually have to do with the way girls are friends with each other. All the drama and pettiness. How do I tell her that adult women are that way too and typically it is a recipe for disaster to try to get three women friends together? For some reason, even as adults we do better in even numbers.
But she is so different from me. Her experience will be different. She has a faith in God and an understanding and awareness of spiritual warfare that I never had until I was an adult. Definitely nothing we have done as parents, but lots of prayers for her and trying to point her in the right direction. After all, this entire time in their childhood is spent just trying to get them ready to leave the nest, right? To be able to function independently of us and to rely on their own faith and strength in God. I am praying that I am doing that for Zoe and the other children too.
So, Zoe, as you head off to fourth grade, I pray that you will have a fabulous year filled with fun and learning a lot! I am enjoying watching you turn into a person with real opinions and values and I cannot wait to see what God has in store for you. I love you!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Zoe's song

Last night we went to an event at our church called "The Studio" which is a forum for different artists to read their poetry, sing their songs, etc. It's sort of a coffee shop setting and it was a lot of fun. We heard from three songwriters, a novelist, a couple of writers and a singer. It was such a neat night.
We took all the kids with us and they pretty much played in the playground area at the BX, which is where The Studio was held. Anyway, the kids were in and out of the area where we were so I'm sure Zoe knew what was going on. We didn't get home until after 9:30 so we didn't really talk about what it was all about, we just came home and put the kids to bed. So, while she was in her bed last night, she wrote lyrics to a song! She said she prayed that God would give her some lyrics to a song and He did! She brought them down to me this morning on a piece of paper, so I typed them up. I just had to share :

Zoe's Song...
You are the Creator.
You made us with Your magic hands, so bright, so clean, so perfect.
That’s what You are to me.
Your love, Your love, Your love is overflowing me.
Your love, Your love, Your love is like a hurricane.
And it never stops.
You are full of love,
You are full of grace,
You are full of everything.
Your love is clean, Your love is bright,
Your love is like no other kind.
Your love has been with me all this time.
Your love found me when I was lost.
When I was down Your love helped me up.
When I was hurt, Your love comforted me.
Your love, Your love, Your love…


I am so amazed at her and her deep understanding for God's love at such a young age. I sometimes think she understands it better than I do. It is amazing.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

So what about today...

Today started as an ordinary day. Then my mom called and said that we needed to get down to her office as soon as possible. Here in our city, there is a HUGE consignment sale every year. Well, that sale is just not my thing. I can't stand all the people everywhere, picking through mounds and mounds of clothes and then standing in a line that wraps around the building - just not my thing. I realize that if I really wanted to be a frugal shopper and make our money go further, that I would probably do consignment sales, but it's just not my scene. Anyway, so my Mom calls me today and says that everything that isn't sold at that sale is donated to her work. (She works at a non profit home for troubled teens, which also has a house for young mothers, so they get the baby clothes too) Her work also has a thrift store that they run. The guy who runs the thrift store told my mom that everything was being sold for a quarter a piece! So she says that if I come down and look through the stuff, she'll get us some lunch. So, I loaded up the kiddos and headed over there, not really expecting much, but thought I would give a shot. I got so much stuff and I only spent $10! (I got forty different things!) I got two brand new Strasburg dresses for Annabelle, plus some other clothes for her. And I got Zoe a lot of new clothes too. Plus three pairs of shoes (one for me, one for Zoe, and one for Annabelle.) I was so excited. I couldn't believe it.
Then tonight, we took Sebastian to meet his Kindergarten teacher! Her name is Ms. Burroughs and she is a brand new teacher. I'm not sure if she's a brand new teacher to the profession or just brand new to the school. I just don't want to run her off! Not really, of course. I know he will be fine. He is very excited and I can't wait to see what this year holds. He will go for his first day next Wednesday. And then his second phase in day is the next Wednesday. Then he starts full time on August 25. I really can't wait.
Zoe starts back next Tuesday. We go tomorrow morning and find out who her teacher is. She is somewhat apprehensive about it, but I know she will be fine once she finds out who is in her class and who her teacher is. I am excited about fourth grade too. I can't wait to see what she is going to do. It is really amazing to watch your children grow up and become people. Zoe has her own opinion and her own sense of style and they are completely different from mine or Adam's! It is so neat to look back and just see how much she has changed and grown, not just physically, but spiritually as well. She memorizes Scripture, she reads her Bible, she asks questions that I would never have asked when I was her age. It is amazing. God has blessed me more than I ever deserve.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Last week and weekend

Well, our week was very busy last week. My brother, sister-in-law and their two children came last Sunday afternoon. On Monday, we all went swimming at Harrison Bay. Tuesday we went to Coolidge Park. On Wednesday, we took Jeremy and Ashley to the airport to fly off to Vegas for a friend's wedding. Their nine year old daughter and Zoe stayed with my Mom for "cousin camp", which is a yearly tradition where the two girls spend time with Nana each summer. So, Jaxon, the four year old, came to my house. We had a lot of fun. Jaxon is five months younger than Sebastian and 7 months older than Jude, so they play really well together. We had some minor wrestling injuries, but really they all get along. Jaxon did really well, he got a little sad each night at bedtime, but I tried to keep him busy during the day so he didn't have time to think about it. On Thursday, we had Mom's Day Out and it was Water Day! So there were some wading pools and a water slide for the kids to play on. Then, on Friday we went to the mall and played in the little play area and had lunch, which was fun. Friday night was the Back to School Beach Bash at church, where there were two huge water slides and water games and ended with National Treasure 2 on a huge outdoor screen. It was so much fun! All of the kids loved it - Annabelle liked the huge slides! I couldn't believe what a little daredevil she was.
On Saturday, Adam's Dad and Jacob came to visit. Saturday was Adam's 33rd birthday! Happy Birthday, sweetie! So, Saturday dinner was roast, mashed potatoes, green beans and a delicious cheese bread followed by Snickers cake. There were 12 people at my house! My family of 6, Nana and GG (my grandmother), Tristen and Jaxon, and Ben and Jacob. I made 5 pounds of mashed potatoes and there were none left! We had lots of fun.
On Sunday, Ben and Jacob went to church with us. (Jeremy and Ashley got in late on Saturday night and left Sunday morning) Then they came home and had lunch. It was a really good visit with them too. It was the first time they had come to Chattanooga since Adam's mom passed away and it was good for everyone.
So now, we're back to normal. Tonight we go to meet Sebastian's kindergarten teacher and I am so excited about it! I can't believe he starts school this year! And tomorrow morning we get to see who Zoe has for fourth grade! How am I old enough to have a fourth grader? Wasn't it just yesterday when she was starting Kindergarten too? It goes by so fast!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Memories

I thought this was neat...

1. As a comment on my blog, leave one memory that you and I had together. It doesn't matter if you knew me a little or a lot-- or just from blogland-- anything you remember!

2. Next, re-post these instructions on your blog and see how many people leave a memory about you. It's actually pretty funny to see the responses. If you leave a memory about me, I'll assume you're playing the game and I'll come to your blog and leave one about you.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Jude's Birth

Jude's birth story starts on Monday, July 19, 2004. I was having some pretty powerful contractions Monday night. They were timable and I was having to breath through them. I called the doctor on call who told me to try to take a bath and lie down and see if they would stop. If not, come on in. Well, they stopped. So I went to sleep and actually slept really well. So, Tuesday morning, we got up and went on to work at Park Structures. I didn't mention to Adam that the contractions had started up again. I didn't want to send off any false alarms. So we dropped Zoe and Sebastian off at daycare and headed to work. We both worked downtown so we rode together. I dropped him off at his office and went to mine. While I did my work, I continued to time the contractions. I kept track of them on a purple steno pad on my desk. Around lunch time, I decided they were regular enough and I was uncomfortable enough to call the doctor. I called her and she said I could come by and she would check me. I called Adam and we headed to the doctor. I told my immediate supervisor where I was going and that I would probably not be back for awhile. We got to the doctor about 12 noon and she confirmed that I was indeed almost 5 cm and that I should go home and get my stuff and meet her at the hospital. We got home and, since Adam was suffering from a sinus infection, he had a fever. So, he took a nap while I labored along, periodically stopping to breath through contractions. He took about an hour before I woke him up and told him to come on! He still felt terrible, but we headed to the hospital. I called my friend, Janice, who was going to pick up Zoe and Sebastian, our moms and Kim and Christine. My Mom headed this way (she lived in Memphis) to relieve Janice when she got here. Adam's family would come the next morning. Kim and Christine came to the hospital and walked the halls with me while Adam tried to sleep off his fever. Finally, we were left to labor on our own. Around 10:30 pm, I was seriously deep into transition and Adam's fever broke finally! It was perfect timing because that's when I needed him. The nurse came in and I told her that I wanted an epidural. While she was in the room, my water broke. The nurse left the room to go get the epidural and call the doctor. While she was gone, I felt an incredible urge to push and I couldn't stop it. The nurse came back in as I was pushing Jude out! She scooped him up off the bed! Then she called the doctor, who arrived about 20 minutes later to stitch a tiny tear I had. By the time the doctor got there, Jude had been cleaned and I was holding him. The Nurse Practitioner, who went to our church, had already checked him out and given him apgars of 9 and 9. He weighed 6 pounds, 9 ounces and was 20 inches long. My sweet little man, Jude-a-licious!