Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Night Lights

Charlotte apparently is her mother's girl...She has slept horribly for what feels like forever...but on her daddy's suggestion and her grandmama's encouragement (weeks ago) I finally got her a night light last night.

She slept all night. I didn't have to get her up to feed her between 1 am and 6:30ish. For her, this is shocking. Really. She doesn't go for longer than 2 hours between snacks. I am hoping that this was not a one night wonder.

I was addicted to my night light. I have only recently parted company with some version, my bulbs are burned out. We have had little plug-in ones "to light the way to the bathroom"...since we got married. We had a while with a fica tree with white Christmas lights...it was beautiful til one night Ethan lept from the bed and wrestled it to the floor because "it broke into our house". Now, we've had incidents that SHOULD have woken him up, but no dice... I will say the fica never looked quite the same.

I have an Active Imagination. (Code=random things scare me and these things are worse than they need to be) When I was little I would stare into the dark and imagine that all the spots floating in the dark were really the molecules of our world...and I could just see better than anyone else...come to find out, I couldn't see anything better than anyone and I was just blind as a bat. But I couldn't go the bathroom by myself at night for years because I could see panthers slinking up the hallway at me. Or snakes. Or wolverines. Or whatever Marty Stafford did Wild America on that week.

I got a night light when I was tiny that was a little praying girl, it is still in my old room at my parents house. I remember HOURS laying there looking at her. Usually comforted. Sometimes I laid there imagining that she was changing facial expressions and moving...sometimes I was convinced she had a mustache or was whispering to me...but fascinated by shadows and how everything looked different in the dark.

One of my favorite books was Bedtime for Frances and really identified with her fears in the dark...still do on a certain level.

I wish sometimes that we could see why God does things. Sometimes, I am SO thankful that we don't know why, because we wouldn't willing go along with his plan...to walk willingly, blindfolded is sometimes the best I can do. "Thy word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path"(Ps 119:105), not blinding daylight, a night light. We see enough in our life, before and in front, to know God loves us and will be with us. Not enough to know what God is about to ask of us...and frankly, that's a good thing. Sometimes the shadows are scarier, sometimes the things throwing those shadows are. But it is always better to be looking at the Night Light. Always.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Dreaded Christmas Letter

I actually am sending the Christmas letter...and thought after all my whining, I would post it. I still hate that it doesn't begin to do justice to our family's year...but next year, I am taking a family picture during the summer and doing a photocard!!! I mean it this time!!!!
Merry Christmas
2009

Dear Friends and Family-

Really, if your life has been like ours, it is almost a shock that it is Christmas again! This year has FLOWN!

We’ve had a lot of changes this year...not the least of which is that we added a 3rd girl to our family. Charlotte Abigail joined us this last March. She is a very busy 9 month old, cruising around the furniture, and wanting to walk something awful! She is one of those babies that wants to be big, yesterday. She has lots to do to keep up with her big brother and sisters!

Amelia is a very talkative 3 year old. She is a little old lady in princess skirts. She wants to clean and take care of everyone. She dresses up to go to the grocery and takes her job as a sister very seriously. She is definitely our girl, as she has a complex explanation for any question you may ask.

Elise is taking over the world at school. She is 7 and in first grade. She is thriving and doing great! She is in typical kindergarten reading class and centers. As expected, she is loving reading and doing very well! She got to try out soccer this year, thanks to Top Soccer…and we’ve decided to stay with Miracle League Baseball, apparently her fearlessness does not extend to other soccer players running at her to take her ball!

Gabriel is loving his first year in middle school and is enjoying band! He started out with trumpet and proved his work ethic and got to move to percussion!!! He is loving it! He is wrestling again this year and enjoyed his summer on swim team. Gabriel got his first jobs this summer; he took care of several of the neighbors’ dogs and thoroughly enjoyed his first paychecks! He is growing like a weed, and we worry that we won’t be taller than him much longer!

Ethan was elected chairman of the Forsyth GOP two days after Charlotte’s birth and he is working hard to make a difference in our local politics. You can’t complain if you aren’t doing something!!!

Tiffany is still wrangling kids and loving it! She is looking into teleporting to shorten the wait time in car-lines…We wish…but she does like spending time with the kids…a continuing benefit of her job as a stay-at-home mom. She started a blog: http://www.tiffanyselephants.blogspot.com/ to chronicle the entertaining stories that are our life!

Merry Christmas! May all the blessings and miracles of the season be yours! Luke 2:20
“The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.”

Much Love,
Ethan, Tiffany, Gabriel, Elise, Amelia, and Charlotte

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Santa Thoughts

Santa died this weekend.

Well, He didn't, but one of the coolest examples of Santa did.

Santa went to our church. His secret name was T Blue Sanderson. He was Santa. He looked like Santa, the full Santa beard and hair, all year long...he had the Santa laugh....but more importantly, he had the Santa heart and corresponding smile. I am not going to say that I knew him personally, but I have had the pleasure of seeing him interact with many kids at our church over the last 6 years...

Now, I have heard all the arguments of why you, as a parent, should not DO Santa...that it is all a lie, and that we will devastate our kids and scar them, when they Learn the Truth....I don't know that I agree...We have chosen to do Santa. I feel that it is an easy segway into why Christmas has become what it has...it ties the presents and some of the holiday traditions to The Real Christmas. We have taken the tack, that Santa is what he was originally, a man that is celebrating Jesus' birth. That he is so overwhelmed of the Gift of Christ from God, that he gives gifts to children so they can understand the gift of Christ. That he is celebrating Jesus' birthday by giving out gifts to kids since he couldn't give to Jesus. I don't use the Big Bad Santa watching you and only giving presents if you behave...I only use Santa wanting to give to be like God...we all should, after all!

T Blue loved the kids. He never lied to the kids...he only ever committed to "seeing what he could do" if they asked for something...he told the Christmas story at Church, he sang in the choir every Sunday, he was a loving adult that was at church every Sunday.

Gabriel got into a fight "for" Santa in 3rd grade because "He IS real. I KNOW because he goes to OUR CHURCH!" Gabriel chose to believe for longer because we didn't trap him in the magical north pole nonsense...Elise showed me one of her first "memories" thanks to T Blue/Santa. She saw him coming out of the choir practice room during the summer at VBS, and she starts and said, "Christmas! HoHoHo! Tree!!!" I had no idea that she remembered Christmas, and that she had those memories and was so excited to see Santa in the summer was a very precious discovery for me.

Amelia got to see Santa at church. I am regretful that Charlotte will not get to see Santa being a committed Christian man. That was after all the greatest gift that T Blue gave to the kids at church! That is what I always hoped my kids would see Santa as...overwhelmed by God's Gift!

Christmas Letters

I am writing my Christmas letter this morning. I have never written a Christmas letter, well, I've never finished or sent it out... I have sent out Christmas cards. I have sent out Christmas pictures. I have sent out Christmas carols. I usually get half-way through a Christmas letter and realize that I cannot possibly cram my life into one page. I then take it apart and add and take away information and don't like it. In a fit of Christmas spirit, I usually send a Christmas carol.

I would send a carol and the Christmas Story every year. I feel that as a church and a country that we try to "update" the Christmas story to the detriment of that Christmas story. I think that we are losing the simplicity of the gift of Christ. I am sad that my kids don't know the Christmas carols! I am listening the 24/7 Christmas music on our local Christian radio station, in an effort to teach my kids the songs that I love so much!

I challenge you to listen to the Christmas carols...hear the Christmas Story with your "kid ears"...let your mind be blown by the size of God's gift to YOU! Listen to God's Christmas letter, He sends it out every year...and every year, it's the best one I receive! :)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Teas and Traditions

I went to a Christmas Tea last night that had no tea. Well, sort of, they had sweet iced tea with the meal. I went for fun with friends and came back touched by God. Isn't that cool when that happens? Sometimes it is exhausting, but it is always a blessing.

Kerri Pomarolli (http://kerripom.com/) was apparently sent to talk just to me. She said so many hysterically funny things, that I found funnier than most of those around me. She also said some profound things that you don't hear at church, but you should. One statement that was particularly profound was "Jesus died to save you from you." He did didn't he? As in a quote my momma is fond of, "We don't sin because it is our sinful nature. We sin because we like it." Gets you to thinking doesn't it?

I love tea. I love the myriad options, blacks, greens, herbals...it just about makes your head spin just thinking of all the options! I like it cold, but I adore it hot. I like the flavor. I like the scent. I love the time honored rituals. I love the history, the story of it, the idea that thousands of women have made it in exactly the same way and found peace it it. I like that you can't drink it fast. No matter what you have to do, no matter what the rest of your life looks like, no matter what is happening, you can't drink it fast. You have to let it steep. You have to sip. You have to breathe. And that allows you to think. And listen to what God is whispering to you. Try it, even if you have to do it over iced tea.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Hand-me-downs, Greta, and Elijah

I love hand-me-downs. I am no snob. I think they are wonderful. My kids wear them with pride and and are just as excited with a trash bag full of clothes as a bag from the local kids' store. Usually more so, as they can try them on while watching a movie in our living room.

I am a huge fan of "deals". I love "steals". This has been installed in me since childhood. My dad would stop the car to "rescue" something from the side of the road, his favorite bike was from a dumpster, and we would roam thrift stores and proudly display our finds (and tell what we paid if complimented)!

When I had Gabriel we were still in undergrad college. He grew so fast it was ridiculous! He was a hefty 20 lbs at 4 months. An insane 35 lbs at 1 year. (Amelia is only just 34 lbs now.) I couldn't get into my pre-pregnancy clothes, not because I didn't lose my tummy weight, but because I bulked up in my arms, chest and upper back in muscle from lugging him around. Needless to say, he raced through baby clothes sizes. He didn't have time to wear anything out until he was 5. (People would ask if he was starting kindergarten while sitting in his stroller at the mall. He was 3.) We could barely keep him in clothes. (Now mind you, both sets of grandparents bought for him, and would have, if we asked, but we tried not to.) I often would raid the 25 cent bin at Goodwill.

I was going to a Bible study for mothers when he was about 1 and 2 months. A lady named Greta asked me one night if I wanted her son's clothes, she had a few things that she didn't need anymore. A swing and 3 boxes of boy clothes. The swing was an answer to prayer. Gabriel LOVED it. The clothes boxes, however, contained a miracle.

Do you remember the story of Elijah and the widow? Elijah asked a widow for some bread and she said she didn't have enough food for herself and her son, there was a famine going on. He said if she would bring him a small loaf first, she would have enough for herself and her son until the famine ended. And it was so. God provided. Daily.

The "Greta Box" was the same way. I cannot tell you how many things came up that I NEEDED for Gabriel. If I needed something, I would check the box. It would be there. For 2 years. From shoes, to Halloween costumes. Now, if that is not a Elijah thing, I would like to know what is. God used the Greta Box to create miracles just for us, over and over.

As a matter of fact, hand-me-downs are such a presence in our lives that it prompted a funny story.

I loved the series "Life Goes On". I watched it and loved it through college on re-runs. Little did I know that it would touch my life so compellingly. I bought Season 1 from McKay's a while back to enjoy. I revved it up one day and Gabriel, (happy to watch ANYTHING on TV) joined me. It took about 15 minutes, and he turned to me and said "You know, that guy looks a lot like Elise. Does he have Hand-me-Downs, too?" True story!!!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

waiting

Okay, so I am up. It is 10 til midnight. I want to be asleep. I want to be in bed. I want to trust that Charlotte will stay asleep. She has not been so much...she tends to believe that she needs to nurse ALL. NIGHT. LONG.



I am not one to randomly medicate my kids. I did tonight. I gave her some ibuprophen. (Motrin, to those who did not grow up in a medical professional family). Why? I don't know. She's crying. She's not sleeping. Something's wrong. Does something hurt? Head? Teeth? I don't feel so hot. I don't know if I am sick or tired. But as I have said for years, I am sick and tired of being sick and tired. So, I am hoping that the ibuprophen fixes something. I am hoping that if it does, that I can figure out what it fixed. Hmm.



I love to nurse my babies. Here are 10 of at least 20 reasons why I like to:



1. It's clean.

2. It's free.

3. It does NOT involve me getting up to make a bottle in the middle of the night.

4. It allows me to cuddle my baby while NOT cleaning my house (although, I can vaccume while nursing...really!)

5. I get to know personality...whether they are social, lazy, business, pleasure, personal schedulers, or "Oh, I forgot, I'm starving!!!!!"

6. I get to sniff baby hair.

7. I don't have to remember to pack a bottle, it doesn't spill in my bag, and I don't find bottles with funk growing in them.

8. I am necessary.

9. It's a miracle.

10. The busy-to-grow-up baby, has to snuggle and stay put for 10 minutes...



There are more, but I am having a hard time putting my words together to make sense. And she has just started whining again. *sigh* I need to go feed her and put her BACK in bed...I may end up giving up and keeping her with me, if she would just snuggle and not insist on eating all night, I really wouldn't care.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Santa

My kids like Santa. Well, more the idea of him. Gabriel happily went to Santa. We have cute pictures of him smiling on his lap. He would make lists and give them to Santa and send them in the mail. We had them sent to Grandparents and the saved them for me. I still have them, of course.

Elise wasn't sure that he was safe...and it got progressively worse. And Amelia is bald-faced terrified. I am curious to see how Charlotte will view him.

I found a lovely montage on You Tube. Enjoy. I will follow up with my beliefs on Santa later this season.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7WUsoc9t4FI

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I'm Telling

Real quick one:

Gabriel used to go "tell" on me. When he was tiny, around 18 months until he was about 4ish. (It left around the time Elise came...) If I did something he didn't like, if he got in trouble, disciplined, or forced to do something he didn't want to do, he'd run off to the bathroom and rant with "the Baby in the Mirror". He'd go into the bathroom and chat with his reflection in the mirror on the shower door. He'd share babbling brook stories, where he would go on and on and on. Or he'd run in there and tell That Baby what all terrible things his parents were doing...it was a hoot to stand out in the hall and listen to what he'd say...I wish I'd had the presence of mind to video record him doing it. I tend to forget to get out the camcorder because I am so caught up in enjoying my kids...got to start remembering!!! Old Me is going to be mad at Young Me...

So the moral of the story is, if you need to vent, there is always the rear-view mirror "friend" waiting to hear what you have to say...go ahead, get it off your chest! And you'll never have a more sypathetic listener!!

The Psychology of Dolls and Rocks

I took Psych 101 like everybody else in college...and then continued through Abnormal Psych, where I was terrified to see that perhaps I wasn't "normal"...and then through all sorts of education classes where they throw popular studies at your head, assuming to change your ideas and beliefs...they failed miserably...

However, I LOVE it when psychologists do studies where they conclude, with shock and fanfare, the same thing that generations have know for thousands of years!! My favorite example of this is that (can I get a trumpet fanfare?) boys and girls are different! *gasp* I know that knocked you right off your chair, right?

At this time in my life, I am wading through girl toys...Charlotte is loving baby dolls...Elise and Amelia liked them, and really enjoy playing with them now, but they didn't start out massive fans like Charlotte. I am afraid this may bode that she will be even girly-er? Ack! But I like to think that it just means that she is very mothering and nurturing...I guess we'll have to watch this one over then next couple of years...

Gabriel is my boy! He played with rocks and worms and sticks and dirt. And was tremendously happy! I loved watching him! I had forgotten boy butt, you know what I'm talking about, all squatted down with his pants falling down, just a bit, and digging in rocks, until today...my friend's boy is about 6 months older than Charlotte, and he is all boy. He spent about 20 minutes moving rocks around in their drive-way this afternoon. It made me feel all warm and fuzzy!

I am reminded of a classic Gabriel story: He spent an ENTIRE morning digging and collecting worms, he would put them in his yellow plastic bucket...every once an a while he'd get them out and show them a good time in his matchbox cars. After SEVERAL hours of good fun, he got tired of them, put them all in his bucket, held them up to the sky and yelled, "Birdies, DINNER!!! Come and GET it!!!" And here I thought we'd have to house them all for weeks. Huh, didn't see that one coming!

I love my kids and enjoy the differences between them. They have different personalities, but they have a lot of basic programming...next time some one tries to tell you that boys and girls aren't different, invite them down to a real play-ground to watch the girls go through soap-operas and the boys break stuff...who needs studies when you have kids playing? For that matter, feel free to eavesdrop on any kids' conversation if you are in need of either a good laugh or insight for life. Free therapy either way...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Safety Pins and Laundry

I cloth diaper. You'd think with all the laundry I do, I would check my sanity at the door for having signed up for this. I LOVE it!

I have tried several different systems. There are some that are cheap, there are some that are pretty. There are some for Mommies (fun prints) and some for Daddies (quick and easy).

I genuinely like laundry in general, which is good. If you have more than one kid, you know that laundry isn't like addition, it is exponential. I like it because there is a concrete "done" factor. You start, you finish, clean clothes, magic. It smells nice, it is warm. It feels good and reminds me of being five. Kinda like home-made bread.

But I particularly like diapers. They are like baby socks. Tiny and limited to babies. I feel like I am handling Charlotte's Babyhood. I was genuinely depressed when Amelia potty trained. Mind you I was thrilled that she got teeny tiny panties, (which I also enjoy folding, little girlhood) and we got a measure of independence...but it is exiting babyhood. It is a beginning, but it is an end. I love my kids at every stage, and look forward to each and every one. But I mourn every one, too. (With the exception of the sleeping-only-two-hours-at-a-time one.)

I started cloth diapers on Amelia when she was a little over 2. A friend tried them and they weren't too bad...not like when I tried them on Gabriel with cheap dipes from Walmart...suffice it to say, it wasn't great...BUT there are so many more options! Since starting cloth, I have had NO blow outs. I have also not had near the allergies or the rashes. They are cheap compared to disposibles. They also have the added bonus of the cute fluffy butt!

I love being a mommy. I like my job. I like the every day stuff. I like being there with my kids. I think my conclusion is:

Laundry Soap and Bread Cooking Smell = Security, I guess. Mommy's there.

What's yours?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Kissaluvs

Again, bear with me.

I desperately want to try the Marvel one size by Kissaluvs. I think they would make a great over-night diapers. Plus, way cute prints! The prints remind me of MY childhood!

great dipe store!

www.DiaperShops.com

This is a great site with great diapers....and forgive me, but I'd love to win some new dipes....Kickin' it old school...CLOTH!

If I'd known that htings had changed this much I'd have gone to cloth 4 kids ago!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Southerners and the C-C-C-Cold!

I'd like to defend Southerners...as a Southerner by choice and through my Papa, but a Yankee by childhood....you can't adjust to the cold in 12 hours!!! Up north, they have this thing called fall, during which the temperature drops slowly over days, if not weeks...down here it'll drop by 25 degrees in an afternoon!!!!!! Nobody adjusts well that quick! If they say they do, they are lying and have a stash of long underwear and coats!!

I, furthermore, would like to address the ability for a southern town to shut completely down on the mere mention of snow. Now, I know y'all prideful yankees scorn this. After all you can drive 10 minutes of 3 feet of snow falling. This, despite your confidence, does not come from mad driving skills...this comes from the salt trucks and tire chains. In fact, if you don't believe me, check out the sides of the road for stranded vehicles when it has snowed pretty good down here...they are almost all displaced yankees. Down south, we have no snow equipment (at best, we get sand dumped on particularly bad spots) and we actually get a day or two off and get to enjoy the beauty and fun of snow, and then go back to work in normal driving conditions. Up north, you get NO time off, snow is not a novelty, nor a reason for smores over the gas range. So who is the more pitiful here?

I rest my case.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Sleep

So I got the kids to school today. On TIME, no less. While this wouldn't be news in and of itself on a usual day, this morning we woke up 3 minutes before we usually leave for school. And I got Elise to school with a few minutes to spare.

It helps that Elise's dinosaur t-shirt was clean....and that she would happily live on crackers. She thought today was shaping up fabulously with it starting out like that!

Gabriel got to exercise his legal rights of staying home by himself and getting ready...he was pretty pleased by the results of the morning panic, too.

That said, I slept for about 6 hours last night...how luxurious! The last couple of weeks I've been limping along on virtually none. The girls were all dropped with a virulent virus. Gabriel and Ethan dodged it completely, and I got it in my lungs....no real divergence for me in the winter.

When I took the older girls to the pediatrician, I got blown off as to what they had because they got the symptoms "out of order" for the H1N1. When Elise went to the Endocrinologist and the Oncologist annual visit, they concluded that she had probably had it, as it was the only virus with these symptoms that proceeded to cause joint pain additionally. And, since when did getting sick run exactly the way you would like??

The joint pain was why Elise went to the pediatrician. Elise is either asleep or running. There is not much in between for her. And when she takes to shuffling about and complaining that she "hurts", you know that things are not right!

Amelia rocked a nasty temperature for about a week, and has declined eating. She is a skinny toddler and post this virus is looking epidemically waif-like. She has lived exclusively on Go-Gurt and it has gotten to the point, I would probably let her eat anything she asked for it!

Charlotte had a "quickie" fever and has progressed to the whining and pitiful stage and is in the holding pattern there.

This has hit us just after some friends lost their second child to cancer. Their oldest girl had cancer when Elise did. She didn't make it. At the time they thought she had a reasonably combat-able kind of cancer. Since then, they have discovered that she had ATRT, an incredibly aggressive form of cancer...that is also genetic. They have since had a son, Grant, who is Amelia's age, and another daughter, Annette, who was born in October 2008. Annette presented with the ATRT before her first Christmas and didn't make it to her first birthday.

After watching them fight twice...and lose, twice. The average flu just seems more like an answer to prayer...Grant does not have the genetic marker for the cancer that took his sisters...thank God. I am thankful that they have a dear baby to cuddle as they struggle with yet another brutal loss. But, I find myself angry at God for making them go through this valley once again. With loss again. I honestly believed that God was going to give them a miracle this time around, even up to the last. I am thankful that they are such godly people...I am thankful that God has wrapped his arms about them. But I am still flummoxed that God should ask this of them, again.

Yearly, I as I celebrate Elise's remission anniversary, I am struck by my blessings...and fight a bit of "survivors guilt". I got to keep my girl. Many do not. There is NO reason that I should get this blessing over someone else. By the time her birthday rolls around, I have spent countless nights pondering what Hayley or Maddy would look like if they had lived. What would their parents be doing to celebrate? If the girls would have grown up friends? If I would be as aware what a gift of GRACE each birthday is...among all my children. If I would be as thankful of colds and viruses...the lack emergency room visits, the lack of petechiae, the lack of panic. Knowing that Elise is 7, that she is on the developmental level below her 3 year old sister and that she may never move out, is worthy of praise and celebration...


That said, Elise is big into cooking right now and asked to make "brown cake" this week. She stirred and measured and glowed with pride. Who would of thought that cooking could be that cool?

We've had minimal Elise disasters lately...only ball-point pen incidents...sofa and Suburban...no really good ones. It's probably because she is recuperating from being sick...it's been fairly boring.

We are still waiting on her Thyroid results...but are expecting somewhat boring results.

And, as we have discovered, sometimes boring is good!

Friday, October 9, 2009

SICK

We are just the tiniest bit shell-shocked right now...we are battling a pretty impressive round of flu/cold/yuck! I promise to be back...it's going down the line. Elise brought it home and Amelia was the next to fall, but with much more drama...higher temps and more stuff with it. Charlotte got hit with it yesterday. I admit, I've been expecting it. Apparently, along with having Elise's eyes, they share the "pre-temp" temp. Their body gets super hot without running an internal fever....which eventually catches up.

We have been a pretty pitiful bunch. However, I have watched some dear friends fight worse lately, so I am actually thankful that this is all it is...

Praying thatGabriel, Ethan and I dodge the germs...

Talk to you soon, I promise.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Let's Give People More Credit....

In the last days, it seems so many people, in so many places, fuss about how nobody helps each other. I have always said, that yes, people can be selfish, but they will give if they are not forced to or griped at...and I have seen it in my life, and I have witnessed it in others'...that said, I've seen several sporting events where young people have given moments to others...I am sorry to say, I have forgotten what the last one was...it was a basketball game where a team deferred to another in honor of a players' death, I believe? This one is so cool and wish I could embed the article, but please follow the link!
http://highschool.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=991712
There are some good young people out there and I am pleased to bring it to attention!

I would also like to applaud the dad for making his son work for his success and teach him a work ethic...and not just railroad the school into making them take him because of his disability!!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Thanks!

Thursday, September the 10th, was 5 years since Elise completed her Chemo treatment. It has been 6 and 1/2 since we quit mourning the Downs and started celebrating it. Love and thanks to CHOA at Scottish Rite for being incredible and being a part of our miracle. And, most especially, thanks to God for giving us what we didn't want to protect what we treasure. AML survival rate with Downs 98% compared to 30% typical. Yay, God! Thank you for Elise, twice! I still think this is a bigger annual celebration than her birthday! Thanks for celebrating with us!

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Math in My Life...and some God Stuff!

Seriously, this post has no bearing on my life whatsoever! I am just sharing some interesting factoids...
I am the same age as Ethan's brother.
Ethan is the same age as his brother's wife.
Ethan's birthdate is mine reversed. 12, 21
My sister-in-law and myself were both "supposed" to be boys. My name was to be Jeremy (Ethan's first name is Jeremy) and Jenny's name was going to be Matthew (her husband's name). Both sets of parents DID eventually get their sons, with the appropriate names!
My sister-in-law's birthday is EXACTLY 6 months, to the day, from mine.
Both of my sisters-in-law are named Jennifer.
I have overlapped pregnancies with my sister-in-law and 2 of my best friends.
I have received 2 dear friends by marriage.
I have the same freckle/mole on my arch as both my mother and my son.
My daughter that stretches me the most, favors me the most.

Now for some God Stuff:
God prepped me for Elise. There is no other way to see it! I had planned to do something in medicine. So, I shadowed lots of surgeries, including 2 that Elise ended up having. I was pre-Occupational Therapy, which included LOTS of volunteer hours in both Physical and Occupational Therapy. I volunteered at Orange Grove in high school, which was a school specifically for profoundly handicapped people/kids. My favorite little boy was Downsy. I taught swimming lessons to a little Downsy boy while I was in college...the ONLY reason for it, was that his parents wanted him to be more comfortable in the water, not to panic. When I finally changed my major in college (2 weeks before my junior year started) it was to education, with an excessive interest in special ed. I accidentally got a minor in Spanish. I got my first job due to that very minor. My next job was in a special ed/inclusion suite in 7th grade Social Studies. I always went to the IEP meetings.

SO here I have a Downsy, my very favorite disability. She has had surgeries, that I have been fairly comfortable with, and perfectly familiar with. She has spent LOTS of time with the very therapies I had planned to make my career. I will have to attend ALL her IEP meetings...and I know what my basic rights are, I know what teachers are thinking. I know what to fight for and I know what to watch for.

And do you know what? Some people don't think God has a plan!!!! I just think that if that is your belief, you haven't lived long enough yet! :)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Bless you!

Super quickie today. School starts back on Monday, so I'll be better about posting!

We were on vacation, so there are a few fun stories in that....but one I don't want to forget is:

We turned the water off at the road so something didn't go wrong and flood our entire house...as you may know, when your water is off for a bit it gets bubbles in it and when you turn it back on it spits and gurgles and smells funny...Well, when we turned it back on, Amelia was the first one in the bathroom for a potty trip and washing hands. She came out with a funny look on her face, with water splattered all over her face and chest...She sidles up to me and says, "Ummm....the sink sneezed at me! Tissue?"

As for the rest of the fun, I'll see you on Monday!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Funny Bunny and swimming

Charlotte has 2 bunnies that she LOVES to lick and chew on. Her favorite is white. Great. I have considered dying it with the gentian violet. It would be darker, and the way things are going, it may get purple eventually anyway...

She had it at Gabriel's swim meet. CLUTCHED tightly, the whole time. There was some banter about what its name should be. The final product wound up to be "Yack Rabbit". Due to her constant state of reflux merged with what I found to be a brilliant variation on Jack Rabbit. Katie and Ethan get credit...I love it!

At the self-same swim meet Gabriel qualified to go to state. YAY! I will let you know how that shakes out. He qualified to go on 2 relays and Backstroke. Backstroke should be good. One relay will probably be last. Seriously. Gabriel is 5th fastest in Freestyle, and because of it is on the B relay...so, they got lapped in the qualifying...state does not look good. To his credit, he swims all out, and doesn't grouse at his relay team...who are holding him back like a milstone. I am saying this in fact, not ugly. I promise. But it is frustrating for me for his chances! This whole year has been frustrating on how it has been run in general. A fun swim team is not fun, when it appears that your kids are hamstrung when tiny things could be tweaked for higher success. I think we will look around for other options for next summer...

Sunday was Amelia's Third Birthday Party! She had a "pincess party at the pool"! She had a grand time! She got 3 swimming Cinderellas...and she was equally happy each time she opened one!!! She gave one to Elise and one to Kelby (one of her "BEST friends!") for HER birthday...and will end up getting something else later...Elise was thrilled, and I probably would have suggested it, to avoid fights in the bathtub. She is such a generous baby. I love seeing qualities in my kids that I am praying for! I get so excited! God is good.

You can only do so much as a mother...all the rest involves prayer and God. Which is good, because I still wake up sometimes shocked that I have kids. Really. I love my babies. I am thrilled that they are mine! But I struggle with the oddity that I don't feel any different than when I was 10. I am 23 YEARS older, but I don't feel that much has changed in the core of who I am. I sometimes feel that I should buy a baby doll and have a tea party...which is why I love having girls (shocker for me)...'cause I get to keep playing! I supposed about the time I am shocked at how another 25 years have gone screaming by, I can enjoy more dolls and tea parties with grandbabies... :)

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Mark Twain and Norman Rockwell

I LOVE living in a Small Town. I do! We had our annual 4th of July parade today. It was followed up by a Turtle Race, no kidding! AND you know the best part of the Turtle Race??? It was BYOT (Bring Your Own Turtle)! We'll be hunting turtles this next year...the winner was the champion for the last 3 years running! His "trainer" was offered to get paid off to NOT compete him next year by several folks! Second place was a turtle the size of a siver dollar that was ordered off the internet by an enterprising young lady...how's that for 21 century meeting 18th century...ha!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

But I Promise!

When I introduced you to Gabriel, I had mentioned that I was proud of his commitment despite his lack of natural ability in wrestling. He didn't have the competitive-ness/aggression that you really need to have in spades to excel. This summer, he has pushed himself so hard in swimming practice. Then will sit all relaxed in the "bull pen" waiting for his races like he is waiting for his turn at the concession stand. This is not my personality. When I waited for stuff like this, I was so tense that I was just shy of sick. I find myself wondering how he does it. COULD he do better if he got himself psyched up? Or does he just know that if he does his best, there is really nothing stressing will change? I wish I knew what was in his head!

All this said, he is having a really good year in swimming. Unfortunately, so are quite a few other kids. There are kids in other swim teams that are posting times that make you wonder if they has 'roids in their pixie sticks! The times are half what many of our kids are posting, Gabriel included. His backstroke is still pretty strong, but he'll have to push himself to fight for 10th, he really has no chance at contention higher than that. This situation caused our coach to reconsider going to the District Meet, and scratching State. Maybe "throwing" their own meet in place of.

This caused me pause. I don't like my kid to fail and feel badly. It is one thing to lose slapping at someone's feet, but it is another to be LAPPED. But don't we have a RIGHT to lose? Today's society is trying to take the competitions away because we don't want them to lose and feel badly about themselves. But don't you need these emotions to drive you and test your mettle? Don't you need to fail to pick yourself, brush off, and get back up? Perseverance needs practice so you can do it when it matters, doesn't it?

I find it odd that society pushes our kids into being adults in language, sensuality, dressing, and things seen in movies, shows, and experiences. BUT we refuse to let them try and fail...we would rather give them an inflated sense of self...so they are shocked when they get out in the real world and aren't the amazing prodigies that they thought they were...

So, soapbox aside, I was proud of Gabriel this week. I told him what the coaches were contemplating...so he would know why and to see what his reaction was. He said, "But WHY?" He "promised" that he "would work his butt off in practice" and do anything I said, if I would "let" him go the district/state. I reiterated that he would not probably have any chance placing at state. He said he wanted to go anyway, that is what he was swimming for all summer...So, I am proud of his perseverance...I am proud of him wanting to "stay the course" and finish what he had started.

Anyone can start something, but character is shown by who finishes, despite everything. I was thankful for the glimpse of Gabriel's character.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

My Elephants- #4 Bad Baby at the Lake

My fourth child, third daughter, is Charlotte. She is a bad baby.

Now, don't get me wrong, I adore her and she can be very sweet! However, she doesn't like being a baby! She is dying to be big. She hates reclining anything, she wants to sit UP, thank you very much! She was 2 months old when I dug out a Johnny Jump Up, which she loves! She is 3 and 1/2 months old now and hates her baby car seat. She was trying to stand before she had full head-control!

Charlotte gets happier as she gets older. At this rate she will be at her most placid when she owns her own business!

We have battled colic AND reflux (not just spitting up, but full-fledged poltergeist throwing up)! I didn't know you could have both. There is a light at the end of the tunnel with the colic....for which I am thankful. I slept sitting up with her on my chest for about the first month...then we discovered swaddling...the tighter, the better...verging on child abuse...but it makes her happy!

We are currently fighting thrush. Nystatin is all very well and good, but there is this natural stuff called Gentian Violet...VIOLET is its name for a reason!!!!! It is the most violently purple stuff I have ever seen!!! But it works unlike anything I have ever used! It is magic!!! In less than 12 hours, it cleared up 80% of the thrush. We have some holdouts on her tongue, for which I am using Nystatin...as it works better when your child does spit up constantly...because, you know, spit-up comes out through your mouth....and it will pick up said purple coloring as it comes through!!! It was funny...she would grin all toothless through dark purple lips and you could see her purple tongue...she chews on her hands...so all around her mouth and on her hands were all purple, too. She looked like she had hypothermia!

I will admit, I was hoping for bookend boys. Or even bookend brown eyes and it isn't looking good...But I am smitten. She is even more intense than Amelia. I have been told by so many mothers that the kids got more easy-going as they went along. Not here. Sometimes I wonder if my kids have gotten more opinionated down the line because they have to compete on some level with the older ones. Truly, none of my kids are without very definitive ideas!

She looks remarkably like my other kids. If you hold up baby pictures of Gabriel, Amelia and Charlotte, it is shocking how much they look alike. But Gabriel turned out chocolate and Amelia golden...who knows what coloring Charlotte will end up, I admit now I am hoping for red hair...For all she looks like the others, she does favor Elise. (To the point, during my sleep-deprived early months, I wanted to run genetic testing on poor Charlotte. I was afraid we had missed Downs again!) I think she may be the missing link between the kids...it is interesting how that should be...

Charlotte is even more of a pocket baby than my others. She isn't the biggest fan of strollers. She likes being worn in carriers that put her in the thick of the action. I think she likes deluding herself into believing that she is an adult.

This last weekend, we went to our Sunday School's Annual Summer Beach Day. It was grand! Gabriel had a fabulous time, of course! Water, Jet-Ski, Swimming, what is there not to like??? Amelia loved it, was a little fish and actually got angry when I took her on her boat ride. She wanted to keep swimming! Elise did better than I thought she would...LOVED her motor boat ride!!! Charlotte was a bit of a surprise. She is a solar-powered baby. She loves the sun, really! She had to be in it for jaundice, and through that we discovered if she was having a nasty day, take her out!! She calms down nicely! She also loves water, she kicks and coos in the bath and the swimming pool. At the lake this weekend, however, she had to wear a life-jacket. So she squawked a bit. BUT she calmed down pretty quickly. She ultimately ended up SLEEPING in her life jacket, floating in the lake. I am so not kidding! I was holding on to her a little bit and making sure she was safe, but she was not really being held much at all...She fell ASLEEP! It was so crazy, there were people everywhere, boats, motors, kids splashing near her, and she is sleeping in the water...it was utterly bizarre!

So, I am very curious to see how she turns out! I need to make sure she gets her water and sun...and she likes to read...She is a lovely girl trapped in a misleadingly tiny body...I look forward to her escaping the baby shackles!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

My Elephants - #3 and Fabulous

Amelia is my third. She is also the oldest, somehow. She is such a tiny woman. She is my daughter, she is my mother. She is very needy. She is very giving.

She was a bit of a pendulum when she was a baby. She would be super social. She would need to hide in an upstairs room to regroup. She would be the perfect breast-feeding baby. Then she would turn around and demand to receive bottles exclusively.

As she has gotten older, she has continued to passionately pursue her whims. She is the most stubborn toddler. She is passive-aggressive, she will go toe-to-toe. It really is amazing how she can so embrace such extremes.

She loves her brother and sisters. She worries them and mothers them. She takes Elise's worst and she supports her and accepts Elise's advice. She loves sharing her room with Elise. She looks forward to Gabriel coming home from sports or school with an enthusiasm bordering on a concert groupie. She adores Charlotte. She mothers her and fights to take care of her...she elbows me out of the way to wipe up her spit...she would probably change her diapers if I let her!


Amelia is funny, she likes to clean! She gets upset when things are messy, sticky, or spilled. She loves to unload the dish-washer. She loves to sweep. I am actually in the process of looking for a real, workable short broom. They used to be everywhere...now I can't find any! But I figure if she thinks this is a good time, then I would love the help! :)

She is very intense and always has been! She loves hard and fights hard!

Amelia will make a great woman...I look forward to her taking over the world. She has the personality for an incredible leader. It gives me great peace, that she thrives in caring for others, because, realistically, Elise may need her in the future.

She is very resourceful. If given the opportunity, she will go from person to person asking for things. If you listen carefully, you will notice that she will couch the requests differently for different people. The request is no different, but the way in which she asks, is tailored for you. She used to sidle up to Elise and tuck her hand into the crook of Elise's elbow and say, "Come on, Elise! Help!" And Elise is putty in her hands. They'll go pick out snacks and then eat them under the tables!

She loves to read! She loves the outside! She needs sunshine. If it is overcast or we stay inside for too long, she gets snarly. (Much like her Daddy and Charlotte!) We HAVE to schedule outside time in this house, or the walls will close in!

I laugh sometimes and say she is not my child! I am not a pink, frilly, dress-up ball of emotions. She loves to dress up! She will gladly suffer blisters and bloodied feet for cute shoes. She will hobble around and wear uncomfortable things to look beautiful! "I NEED princess shoes!" Is a regular refrain from her. She much prefers skirts and dresses to any other clothing choice! I had to go out and buy some pink and purple play clothes to sell her on shorts for the playset! And let's not even get into what I have to do to get her into sneakers!! And she always notices what you are wearing, and compliments you on the little touches! I, on the other hand, would be happy if I never had to look at a dress again! Jeans are my uniform of choice and I would rather be beaten than be uncomfortable! I can only get Amelia into jeans if she gets to wear crazy shoes and jewelry....or a skirt over top! It is hard to wrap my mind around!

Elise eased me into being a mother of girls. Amelia sunk me into all my fears! But, she is an amazing girl. I have come to appreciate the skills that make up a woman. It can be scary...the emotions that pour from her tiny frame can terrify me, but I can see why God made the extremes...beyond the entertainment factor...it can be an amazing force that accomplishes so much...and wraps around you and supports and gives with such an openness! I am still not looking forward to her teenage years, but by then, I hope to have had more experience with the emotional rollercoaster that is my Amelia!

Who will she become? I cannot say. I am looking forward to discovering more about her. I can, however, guarantee that it will not be boring. I can guarantee that she will put her all into whatever she chooses. And I know that I will be stretched as a person because of it! AND she will look fabulous doing it, Dahling! :)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

My Elephants - #2 and the lake

Wow, okay! Elise. So if you've met her you will never forget her.

Elise is my first introduction to girls. Ironically, she is bigger than life and still doesn't fit the whole "girl" mold. Maybe God knew I needed something bigger to fear and enjoy. I definitely got a closer look at God through her, and let me tell you, He is more than you ever could imagine!

Well, I had an eventful pregnancy. We passed all the screenings and I had 2 ultra sounds with her. One to confirm the pregnancy, and one to check her sex and make sure she was growing...in retrospect, they should have caught some stuff...knowing what I know now, however, I am thankful that they dropped the ball. The knowledge is different with a baby in your arms than as a bundle of medical theory. I had preterm labor. I got to spend time in the hospital and I was on medicine and bedrest to keep her in to cook. I spent time high as a kite and trapped on the sofa watching movies...not a great time...whatever you may think while at work, there are worse things.

The short version is that they thought everything was normal. They were wrong.

Elise has Down Syndrome. They didn't know that. She also had some serious heart defects. They didn't know that either.

When she was born, she came out scowling at being ripped out. She was ANGRY at being born, and ran her lip all out. She didn't look like her brother. BUT maybe it was because she was a girl...my brain knew better, but I didn't want to think any further. But when the doctor came to chat with us, I wasn't surprised...devastated, but not surprised.

Me being me, I did homework...ALL the homework! I read everything. I mourned the normal. I didn't realizw how much I counted on normal. I never made plans for my kids...I looked forward to meeting them and seeing what they would become, but I saw a truly limitless future for them. Their opportunities were to be lessened ONLY by their choices.

I finally accepted it. Just in time to discover that she would need heart surgery. She was in Cardiac Failure within 3 months. She was scheduled for open heart surgery within 3 and 1/2. During the open heart surgery, we discovered just how much needed to be repaired. She had more and worse holes in her heart than we knew, she was operating with half a heart. It was repaired. We were blessed. Because of the surgery, she was put on a diuretic. She had a couple of runny pants and was dehydrated and turned blue. She was rushed to the emergency room. That day, we learned that she had virtually no platelets. The platelets are the clotting agents in the blood. It was an indicator for cancer. She was less than 5 months old and was in a pre-cancerous condition. It was coming, we just didn't know when.

We watched it for a full year. She was diagnosed with the pre-cancerous conditon March 6, 2003. She was diagnosed with AML leukemia February 26, 2004. She never "presented" in her bone marrow. She presented in the form of "liquid tumors" in her sinuses. If we had not caught it, it was weeks away from her optic nerve. If she had not had the heart problems and the corresponding medication, we would not have had the blue baby incident. If we had not had the blue baby incident, we would not have known to watch for the cancer. If we had not been watching the cancer, she probably would have lost her eyesight and her cancer would have been a lot further along. The sinuses can regenerate, the optic nerve does not.

AML is an aggressive form of leukemia. Typical kids who get this have a less than 30% survival rate. Kids with Down Syndrome have a better than 98% survival rate. In less than a year, we went from struggling with the Downs, to "YES! We have Downs!!!"

We are almost 5 years from the end of her chemo, it will be official in September. The mark from being in remission. YAY, GOD!!! The 5 year mark is a big mark!

Because of the Chemo, she had a internal line port for the chemo to be delivered. Because of the line, Elise did not take a true bath for 8 months. She wasn't a big fan of baths to begin with, and after dodging the bullet for so long made baths a nightmare. We are only just to the point that she realizes baths CAN be fun!

We went to the lake today and played on my parents boat. I actually talked her into going tubing (VERY slowly). We got thrown off, she and I. Shockingly, she got back in the lake to swim before we left. What a change. That's my girl though. You can't buck that girl off of life! She has lived with more gusto than anyone I have ever met. She lives with a joy that is unquenchable. She dances and parties for no other reason than the opportunity to live life. Everything is a party for her! I feel humbled to have the opportunity to live with her. She has given to me, more than I could have imagined.

I still have sad moments when I am tired. I was hit pretty hard when a girl at church who was younger than Elise went to the front of the church and gave her profession of faith. I honestly forget that she isn't where she should be.

Elise is tiny for her age. She is 6. She is head and shoulders shorter than her peers. She is probably on a 2 to 3 year old level of speech and thought. She can do more than a typical 2 year old which is what leads to problems...many scrapes get short-circuited by physical limitations...many of which she doesn't have. (We refer to it as the good idea/bad idea factor.) I am thankful for every milestone she hits...there are a lot of "Wow, good job, don't ever do that again!" moments where I am thankful for the what was done, but not happy with the consequences... :)

I look forward to seeing what she ends up accomplishing. I am sure it will be more than anyone will expect. She is a carrier for miracles...so I am beginning to recognized them more quickly! There are more daily miracles than I could have ever fathomed...for which I am ever more thankful...

Boring is good. Boring is a miracle...but you don't get that until you get to dance through the valley of the shadows.

I look forward to seeing what else she has to teach me.

I read somewhere that the term "touched in the head" (defined as crazy or not all there) was based on the belief that the imperfect came as a protection. That those who were not whole had been touched by God without the "veil" drawn between...and the consequence was a barrier between them and everybody else. We could not comprehend God in all his glory and the intimacy would overwhelm us...so those who could and had, were kept separate from others by a disability...There are many days that I absolutely believe that! Elise sees God more purely than the rest of us....I look forward to seeing how she professes her faith...I am sure it will be joyful and a throw-down party! YAY, God!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

My Elephants - Let's Meet Them #1

I have had some fun stuff on the kids lately, and so haven't really introduced my crazys properly! So, since everybody is behaving themselves (sorta) I thought I'd do a who's who batch this week...

Gabriel - This is my oldest, he is my ONLY boy...thank God gave him to me, I think I'd have thrown up if I had had a girl first. (I was scared of them!) He is also my only chocolate-eyed baby! He is the baby that you prayed for...he was so EASY! He slept through the night within a month, could be taken anywhere, he was happy with everyone, and would taste anything...it actually became a bit of a parlor trick: here, eat this...He is still very laid back, but this quality is now slightly worrisome. I am now praying for a driving passion that he will fight for!

He is a top-notch swimmer! He is doggedly persistant in his practices. He doesn't like to miss them. Amazingly he was for his wrestling season (not his strength) too. Very proud of that!

I enjoy him very much! Gabriel is a reader, but surprisingly, not a writer. (Somehow I always thought they came hand-in-hand.) We are currently working through the Eragon books together. (I'm glad he made me, I actually like them!) I set him up a blog to practice writing...I guess we will see if that one works out!

He did phenomenally well with his Robotics Team this winter. I was so impressed how he worked under pressure, very calm and assured! He was very worried about not having an opportunity to do it again this year...but discovered that he will recently and was thrilled! I look forward to seeing what he'll get to do this year in middle school!

He was disappointed that he didn't get a baby brother this last go 'round. But he realized that he will eventually get brothers when his sisters marry, this last week! He now wants to get involved with his sister's choices and get guys he likes into the family. You should have seen his eyes when he thought about it...it was too funny!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Helpful Friends

Love my new banner! My friend Lynn did it! Don't you love knowing people who can do anything?!?

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Syrup and Nursing

These are just funny stories that I thought you'd get a kick out of! Sunday night giggles!

Elise is faster than you could even fathom when it comes the pantry and fridge...which is ironic when you consider how little she will actually eat. She likes crackers, oatmeal, yogurt, and cake. Everything else is a little trickier to get her eat. She also loves to look at cook books. She'll ooh and ahh and make "yum" sounds. However, if you actually tried to get her to eat any of it, she'd turn you down flat!

Anyway, I was feeding Charlotte and Elise broke into the kitchen...she didn't make as much noise as usual and I guess I got a little too comfortable...Until she came into the living room...shiney! Buck naked. Oh! I came over to her, concerned, of course. The level of concern sky-rocketed when I drew closer and a stout smell of syrup wafted toward me! I started crying inside when I took her into the bathroom to clean her up and found syrup smeared all over the sink. and door. and floor. and door knob....and in all sorts of nooks and crannies. I put her in the tub to go assess the damage elsewhere. I went to the kitchen and found about 3/4 of a bottle of syrup all over the kitchen...all over the table, chairs, and an American Girl doll...as I look up I see that the windows appear ripple-y, she had carefully wiped each window pane with it! Thankfully, Ethan was home, and he scrubbed Elise down. It took me the better part of 2 hours to get the kitchen unsticky. Surpisingly, it only took about 1/2 hour to clean the doll, and she really is not the worse for her body spa treatment. This is why we get these dolls...we HAVE to be able to save them from our girls!

Later the same day, she came to me with her hair wet and told me that she had taken a bath! (Again, if you knew what an ordeal it was to give her a bath, you would know how utterly bizarre this situation is!) Her hair was wet, nothing else. I asked her if she had washed her hair in the sink or the toilet. She shrugged and said she didn't know. Gabriel sniffed her and said she smelled like the blue goo in the toilet. Rats!!! After THAT bath, she celebrated by eating half the cake on the counter!

Needless to say, I am a little more jumpy when Elise breaks into the kitchen! When Charlotte is busy nursing, or having "baby snacks", I have started trying to let her watch Tom and Jerry.

Amelia likes to quiz me about what "baby snacks" Charlotte is having. Milk wasn't enough answer for her. I have just started listing off what I've eaten during the day. For whatever reason, she finds this amazing! "Baby snacks" is much easier to discuss in public than Gabriel's description. He referred to it as "letting the baby bite your nipples". (He also called bras: "the little T-shirt you keep your nipples in." ) Nursing really is a crazy wierd thought to toddlers...it is quite odd for anyone, I guess. A bit of a miracle really. And yet another awareness raised by toddlers...Love them, don't you? Funny AND useful! HA!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

big!

SO! Today is the day. Gabriel just noticed a girl. Not to say that he hasn't been overly aware of girls since he was an infant.

Just so you know about Gabriel and girls...He blacked his eye when he was about 2. He walked into a support column BECAUSE he was busy gawking at the Victoria's Secret Poster/Display. Yeah, really.

Okay, back to today. This is partially hear-say. Gabriel went to a dance recital dress-rehearsal for a friend (she's a girl). Really just because he was curious. He got into the car with the girl, and this is the reaction. He looked at her and starts looking really hard and says "Wow! You look nice! Hey! Have your eyelashes always looked like that? You look really pretty!" This was all said while he looked closer and closer, finally ending about 2 inches from her face. (Her mama is laughing in the rear-view mirror.) Notice the shock. This was apparently so impactful that he came home and told me about it! "She looked really pretty, Mama! For dancing, I mean. She had all kinds of make-up on. She had stuff on her eyes and face and lipstick on. Her hair was all slicked back, but she was really pretty." Oh, save us! Is this the beginning of the end?

Elise managed to break her bed today, from jumping on it. I hope I can fix it...

There we have it, Folks, the 2 ways we grow up. In one day...Can't we slow them down? Keep them our babies, just a tiny bit longer?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Bread

When I was little my momma made EVERYTHING from scratch!!! Dried fruit, yogurt, stews, you name it! Let me tell you these are some serious shoes to fill! I loved the smell and the sounds of her cooking, but I really wanted to read books more than I wanted to read recipes.

My folks are vegetarians....so when I married a serious meat eater, the little I had learned about cooking was worthless, because I had to learn to "cook southern"...meat; fried; scary, odd-looking veggies; etc. I was treading to stay above water as far as cooking. I started teaching and came home so tired, that cooking made me sick just to think about it. I took the easy way out, Hamburger Helper anybody? Gabriel was happy with that!

As I had Little Miss Picky-Picky (Elise), cooking became even more of a labor.

I am only just now getting my kitchen legs. I have finally figured out how to make meals and not just food.

My MOST favorite smells and sounds of the kitchen were when my momma baked bread. It was the only thing my mother made that caused me to leave my beloved books. I loved kneading and EATING bread!

When I was pregnant with Elise I wanted bread, the more homemade (*expensive*) the better. So I decided that I would try it. I failed miserably! I threw away every batch I made. They were gross. I even went home and got my mother to tutor me. Still didn't take. I gave up.

My friend makes it. I was so jealous. She shared her secret. Her bread-maker does the first half...mixing...then she does every thing else. Apparently, I have a mixing disability. I used her secret...and it was fabulous! I felt like I ought to swing my legs from the counter while eating it so hot that jelly melts.

Maybe my mother can start to believe that she hasn't failed with me...there is hope! Maybe my kids won't die from nutritional deficit!

Insights

When Gabriel was little, somewhere between 18 months and 2 years, I caught him sitting on the couch pulling at his hair, really hard! As I watched, he would tug and tug mumbling to himself...finally I had to ask, "Gabriel, what are you doing?" He responded with, "It's stuck! It's stuck! It's STUCK!" "What is stuck?" "My HAIR!" I told him, of course it was stuck, it was supposed to be! God made it that way. I admit, I wasn't sure what I was expecting...but when he says "Oh!" and turned to keep playing, I got so tickled! He was worried when he didn't know God had it planned...as soon as he realized that God was taking care of it, he was at peace!

We should take notes!

Speaking of taking notes...This weekend, we took a whirl-wind trip to Cincinnati for my cousin's graduation...8 hours each way between Friday evening and Monday morning. We decided that the big girls should stay with their grandparents so we didn't all pull our hair out. We were discussing my aunt Linda and Ethan's grandmother, both of whom we have lost in the last few months. Elise over hears us and pops out with "Where Mamaw?" Ethan's mother tells her that she died and is living with Jesus now. And Elise looks at us and says "Oh! Yay!!!" It really should be that way, shouldn't it?

Monday, June 1, 2009

Gabriel's First JOB

Gabriel is very excited tonight! He has been hired for his very first paying job outside the family!

He "landed" a dog-sitting gig for a neighbor and church friend! He biked over tonight to receive instructions. He brought a tiny notebook and wrote down all the info! I was impressed! He may grow up to be responsible after all! After all the 10 year-old stuff lately, it really does give a certain measure of peace.

Speaking of jobs...Amelia is working Elise pretty hard lately...she will beg Elise to come and help her do pretty much everything! Elise has been pretty cooperative and will collect as many potty gummies as Amelia asks for, telling me it is for her. She also scaled the toilet to get the jelly beans off the shelf for her this week. I am thankful for their camaraderie, I just wish it wasn't based in illegal activity! :) (All the candy in weird places is due to potty training...Sorry, I know it's kinda icky. But anything to get her out of diapers, right?!?)

Charlotte is still the rock-star. Both girls adore her and want to play with her all the time. I am to "make her happy" ASAP. Gabriel is such a helper, too. He will collect her and talk to her until I can get to her! How lucky am I?!?

Dryers

Maybe I should devote an entire blog to Elise...but, a friend blogged about the frustration of the things that get caught in dryers. I could so totally relate! I have washed several hundreds of chapsticks, gum (argh!), crayons and colored pencils (did you know that they melt in the dryer, only to harden/transfer on the dryer walls to transfer/ruin even MORE loads?), the key chain computer memory sticks (sometimes they can dry out and work again!), kleenex (worse than cat hair), and so very many lovely things...

Elise compulsively runs away, so we keep key bolts on all the doors to the outside! I worry when we go to other people's houses because she CAN get out and see what there is to see around their neighborhoods. She left my in-law's house a while back to play on someone else's swing set 2 blocks over! Nausea and fear. Now quite a bit OCD about her whereabouts! So when I don't hear her for a while, I will call around and see what she is up to...usually nothing good! Several months ago, I went looking for her. I called her...no answer. I called her again, and I hear a tiny "yes?" It was not in her room, the basement, kitchen, bathroom...of course I start to panic a little...I call again, she answers again...It seriously sounds like it should be the kitchen, but she's not there. I call her again, and I hear a knocking...seriously could not figure out where it was coming from! Maybe she got inside the walls, I begin to wonder! (If it could be done, it would be her!) "Elise? Are you in the kitchen?" "YES!" I hear knocking again, it sounds metallic..."Elise, are you in the dryer?" "yes." "Would you like out?" "YES!" So, she put herself in the dryer. I check there now in my list of places when she goes missing!

Friday, May 29, 2009

First Elephant

Yesterday, and what determined that I needed to start "elephant-ing" was the girls "cooking". I was listening to them playing on kitchen floor on the other side of the island...heard Amelia telling Elise that she was going to make her a cake...banging, water sounds, stirring ensued...when I come around to see it...Elise is IN the pot with small amount of water splashed from a sippy cup nozzle...while Amelia is stirring her feet and singing...I didn't realize Elise WAS the cake! :)

I started snickering of course and posted a quickie on Facebook...when I peeked again, it was to see Amelia with one foot in a sauce pan (Elise is now naked in the stew pot, with all of her clothes in around her feet) still stirring (to make sure it doesn't stick?) around Elise...Elise sees me and tells me that she is having a bath...to which Amelia responds, "NO! Making a CAKE!" I can only assume that perhaps Amelia is a side dish?

I would absolutely kill to hear what is going on in their crazy heads! Amelia can sometimes tell you, usually with no holds barred...that why I love 2 year olds so much!

Elise is a melancholy entity...I hope she can one day get her explanations out...that she won't ever give up...she is so funny and does such fun stuff, I call her my Firecracker! I fear with every passing year that her fire will go out...thankfully she has not so much as dimmed! I look forward to the day when she rolls her eyes and tells me what she thinks...and I will have to smother my laughter and post it!

Explanations!

So, when I thought of the title for my blog...I knew there would be some explantions...especially when my mother was perplexed!

Sticky Elephants is a 2-fold title.

All my kids have experienced an obsession for elephants! Currently the two bigger girls have "loveys" that are pink elephants. Gabriel knew all sorts of facts on elephants way before he even knew his ABC's. So, my Elephants are my kids.

Also, I decided to blog to make sure I didn't forget all the stuff that my brain is crammed full of! As we all know "Elephants Never Forget". So this is MY elephant lovey! All the boring, "sticky", everyday stuff that I will want to remember...and will treasure even when it makes me want to pull my hair out now! I want to be able to look back and laugh...and you will probably laugh now...so enjoy!