Monday, December 27, 2010

older and older

My cousin died on Christmas day.

It breaks my selfish heart. He's come to our house immediately after Christmas for the last two years. My kids started asking if he was coming this year as soon as we put up the tree. And I now know the answer to that question.

It is not the answer I would like...

He was a sweet boy/man. I have always loved him and his family.

We lost his mom just after Christmas, almost 2 years ago...and I was devastated. We lost another cousin at almost 30. Charlotte was born on his birthday. We lost another aunt in February, in 2006. I've lost 4 people in about 4 years. People who have been intregal to my life and childhood. People who I had hoped to be intregal to my children's lives.

Life has no guarentees. None.

We've been sick for 2 months. One virus after another. I'm tired of being sick. I'm tired of my kids being sick. I'm tired of getting no sleep. I'm tired of being in lock down from it. I'm tired of having to trudge on and pretend that I am not sick, so I can be a "good mother".

But in the face of this loss. I am glad that my kids are sick. I am glad that they get into my bed snuffling and sneezing, wretching and hot. I get to hold them. I get to make new memories with them, even if they aren't what I want. Because don't we remember fondly our mothers petting our hair when we felt awful? And even the yucky sicknesses are a gift.

I'm tired and I feel old. I am sad, and cannot stop the tears. I am struck over and over again, at how fragile and un-perfect life is...it makes me want to tie my kids to the couch and snuggle them until they cry for mercy. I realize that there will never be enough hugs, there will never be enough words said...there will never be enough time.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Carol Cluster #25: Christmas in a Nutshell

This is the number one thing I was looking forward to posting in this series.

Linus tells Charlie Brown what Christmas is all about:



And to keep to the carol requirement.

My most often favorite carol.

O Come, O Come Emmanuel:



I don't typically like Sugarland...but, I loved their arrangement of this...

Christmas Carol Cluster #24: Away in a Manger

Away in a Manger:



I've just spent entirely too long looking for a perfect version to post of this carol. This is the one.




Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Carol Cluster #23: Good King Wenceslas

LOOOOOOvvvved this song...

If you knew me in high school...I am sure you were annoyed out of your skin listening me to sing this version...what? You don't hear hardly any words? Right you are...that would be why I was so annoying... :D

And frankly, I love that they are showing the LP on this one...as it should be listened to.

Please Enjoy Good King Wenceslas by Mannaheim Steamroller!


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Carol Cluster #22: 3 Ships

I Saw Three Ships Come Sailing In:



I NEVER figured out why this was a Christmas carol...but I always enjoyed it.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Carol Cluster #21: The Holly and the Ivy

The Holly and the Ivy:



I need a candy cane in my hand...ever so slightly sticky...walking where it is miserable cold...looking at Christmas decorations...



NOW it's Christmas...

Monday, December 20, 2010

Sorry

For the record, I have been very prolific elsewhere. I got an article published in a local magazine, you can read the article here. And I have written over on Just a Little Bit Downsy.

In fact, just today I was mulling...

But January "should" normalize. I hope. I hope that you are listening to the Carols...I do love them and am sharing my Christmas heart. I am not just randomly posting...

Just a Little Bit Downsy got an incredible opportunity for Christmas, and so I took it...but it has taken away from my reflection times...

I hope to write about all the kids and be more balanced...I did post an tiny collection of Amelia-isms...

I look forward to being back...

Amelia-isms

I know there are more, but I gotta get these down before I forget!

When she saw some horses in a field in their winter blankets to keep them warm:
"Are those horses wearing capes pretending they can FLY??"

The next two are her singing Christmas songs along with the radio and CDs

"Pissing on the Earth!"
"Whoa, baby! I think you mean 'Peace on Earth!"
"Yuh, that's what I was singing!"
Oh, dear!!

"O, O Santa, sing praises to the King! O, O Santa, Let your praises ring!"
Santa? Oh! You mean "Hosannah"?
I'll fix that one next year!! Santa can totally sing praises this year. Actually, it's kinda a cool thought...

Christmas Carol Cluster #20: Bleak Midwinter

In the Bleak Midwinter

Loreena McKennitt

GORgeous!!

And that's all there is to say about that.

Christmas Carol Cluster #19: The Angels Cried

Allison Krauss and Alan Jackson...slow but really thought provoking....and pretty.

The Angels Cried:

Christmas Carol Cluster #18: Bing

I heard the DJ's talking on our local Christian Radio Station, last week. The Fish plays Christmas Music exclusively from Thanksgiving until Christmas. ANYWAY, they said that Christmas music was a cultural education for many kids...that they only listen to their own brand of music all year, but they listen to jazz, big band, ballads, carols, etc over the holidays...and I started thinking...that is probably true for most people...so break out all the genres!!

On that thought...BING, baby!

Joy to the World:


and for good measure White Christmas:

Christmas Carol Cluster #17: Amy Grant

Christmas wouldn't be complete without addressing Amy Grant.

I use to like Tennessee Christmas...but I can't get on board anymore since there are no scratches on the record...stupid CD's...


I used to think I was quite the alternative rocker listening to Emmanuel...but I still love it!!


And I have surprisingly found that I adore Little Town:

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Carol Cluster #16: Carol of the Bells

So I know the Trans-Siberian Orchestra gets a lot of play now...and it's about the only version of Carol of the Bells you hear...but I have to say, George Winston CANNOT be topped.

The Carol of the Bells...the right way. :)

Christmas Carol Cluster #15: Mary, Did You Know?

ADORE this one...it may be getting so over done that people are missing the power of this song...but I still get all choked up over Mary kissing the face of God....it is SUCH an amazing thought!!!

Mary, Did You Know?

Christmas Carol Cluster #14: What Child Is This

Martina McBride does an AMAZING job with all the Christmas carols, I've heard her do....Here is my favorite of hers and been my on-again-off-again Favorite Carol for years... Greensleeves is one of my very favorite musical pieces...

What Child is This?


Enjoy!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Carol Cluster # 13 "Two Fer": Allison Krauss and Yo Yo Ma

Allison Krauss and Yo Yo Ma. Bliss...here are two beautiful duets with them...

The Wexford Carol:


and

Simple Gifts:

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas Carol Cluster #12: Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring

Doesn't get much better than this.

Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring:

Christmas Carol Cluster #11: Ave Maria

I adore Ave Maria!! And I simply could not decide.


Celine Dion's Ave Maria:



Charlotte Church sings Ave Maria:



Bizarre, but gorgeous. Ave Maria by 98':



Andrea Bocelli. Ave Maria:




Fantasia's Ave Maria. Probably started it all.

Christmas Carol Cluster #10: Sweet Little Jesus Boy

And the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree. Please bask in the richness of Natalie Cole's voice...and one of my favorites:

Sweet Little Jesus Boy:

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas Carol Cluster #9 an ALBUM: Nat "King" Cole

As much as I hate to be any part of predictable. The Christmas season gets kicked off with Nat King Cole. He can make me smell, egg nog, cinnamon, candy canes, and fuzzy jammied babies in the middle of a Georgia July!

So in honor of the Christmas Album to take all Chrismas Albums, here's Nat crooning:

The Christmas Song:


O Holy Night:


Silent Night:


O Come, All Ye Faithful:


I'm not sure if I am more in love with his voice, or the fact that while he has the most amazing voice,as he sings, he's not "trying too hard". You truly get to enjoy the songs and HEAR the words!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmas Carol Cluster #8: Jane, Jane

I don't know if this is really a Christmas song...but I loved singing this at the top of my lungs on my spring horse...at 4 I figured that if it was about "The little bitty baby born, born, born in Bethlehem..." then it was definitely Christmas...so I'm gonna run with it. :)

Peter, Paul, and Mary's "Jane, Jane":

Christmas Carol Cluster #7: Breath of Heaven

Love this song...and this is a beautiful arrangement!

Breath of Heaven:

Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas Giveaway over on Just a Little Bit Downsy!

Hey! Just a Little Bit Downsy and Band of Angels are doing a 12 Days of Christmas giveaway! 12 giveaways over 12 days! Get over there and get in the giveaways!!!

Today's

The explanation and kick off entry!

These will have lots of incredible items, good for people who have kids with special needs or those who just want to learn how to be better friends to those who do!! :)

Christmas Carol Cluster #6: Hippopotamus for Christmas

I'd never heard this song before about 6 years ago. From Ethan's bosses' wives...they treated me to an improptu chorus of this and I about died..seriously one of the funniest thing I'd ever heard...

I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas:

Christmas Carol Cluster #5: Chipmunks

Because we have been in lock-down with sickness this entire weekend, and watched a million hours of kids movies, I thought it would be an appropriate time to post this stand-by:

The Chipmunks Christmas Song:

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Christmas Carol Cluster #4: God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

I loved both of these carols for as long as I can remember, but heard this arrangement a few years back and fell in love.

Please enjoy this beautiful, but bizarre pairing of Sarah Mclaughlin and The Barenaked Ladies:

We Three Kings/God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen:

Friday, December 3, 2010

Christmas Carol Cluster #3: Jingle Bells

Ethan is still morally opposed to Barbara due to her political activism, but this is too much a part of my childhood for me to part with her over that...

Please enjoy Barbara Steisand's Jingle Bells:


And feel free to imagine a little kid experimenting with how fast it can actually be sung...and turning purple with the experimentation on how many breaths of air was required to sing the song. :)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Christmas Carol Cluster #2: The Little Drummer Boy

When I was little one of the things that bothered me the most was going to church and singing The Little Drummer Boy with No Drums, I thought it was a real disappointment.

I have since married a percussionist and then gave birth to a little percussionist, and The Little Drummer Boy will always hold a beloved spot in my heart. This year it is officially Gabriel's favorite carol.

I will say though as I was hunting a fun version to post, there is a disturbing lack of arrangements on this one. Which is just pitiful when you think of all the brilliant percussionists that could have a go at it! I would just LOVE to see Cake have their way with it!! So, consider this a challenge all you musicians, PLEASE play with The Little Drummer Boy! :)

Gabriel's favorite version:
Bob Seger's The little Drummer Boy:


I got tickled by Jimi Hendrix playing it at a concert:

Here is the "original" that I remember most from my childhood. Although it's not as good as when you could hear the white noise emitted from the record player!

A celtic band has a little fun:

And highland pipes and drums for a kick:

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Christmas Carol Cluster #1: One Small Child

To kick off the Christmas Carol Cluster. This is my 2nd All Time Favorite Christmas Carol.

Evie did it, but it never made it to YouTube or her CDs from the records.

But, love Ali Matthews. In hunting this particular song, I found her and am going to have to buy a CD now. :)

One Small Child

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Christmas Carol Cluster!

For December I am going to be posting YouTube videos of my favorite Christmas Carols, every day! I challenge you to do like-wise. I think that Christmas Carols don't get enough attention!! So starting tomorrow, get ready for some joy! :)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Unexpected Thanksgiving

Charlotte was exhausted and generally snarky for Thanksgiving. I did A LOT of walking. 2.5 miles up and down some impressive hills of my husband's family's home.

This was not how I planned to spend my day.

I am so thankful for this unplanned detour. I got to enjoy some incredible sights. I saw some errant Queen Anne's Lace that did not receive them memo that it is not the season for flowers. I saw some absolutely gorgeous fall colors. I saw a full rainbow. All the colors and a complete arch, cast against a dark sky. Making it all the more beautiful. I got to soak in the unseasonable warmth with a luscious breeze.

It's been a long time since I got to take such a lovely hike. It really ranks up there with the magic of my childhood "milkweed storms"...

I highly recommend an unexpected detour if you can catch one. Recharge on God's gifts of silent and often hidden beauty. Soak it in and save it for a rainy day.

I am especially thankful for the Unexpected Thanksgiving this year! It was lovely!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Because I am Generous and Flippin' Brilliant

I am sitting here having had a terribly brilliant moment and feeling guilty for you, my lovely mamas, for not having shared it!

So, here it is:

American Girl Dolls are very loved over here...and while Santa brought them a couple of years ago, Santa is struggling to pay $30 a pop for clothes for the dolls. I have skirted the issue the last couple of years...I have bought Target and other knock off brands. I have bought hand-made clothes from places like Etsy and Ebay...

This year I was a little stymied. My girls REALLY want the formal ballgown-like dresses for their girls. So I decide that I'm going to make them. So I am thinking about sewing at 11:00 at night and am really having difficulty getting excited. Plus, I've going to have to figure out crinoline, etc.

Then the brilliance strikes.

Wait for it!

The over the top baby clothes that are really too formal for church, but you eye at the stores and at consignment sales...and either you buy and it sits in the closet, never worn. OR you pass it over, because you totally know you won't ever put this on your kid. But you WISH you could. HERE IS THEIR USE!! I bought several at my consignment store for $3 to $6 bucks each and I'm cutting them down. Yes, you heard right. I am taking in the waist and the sides of the bodice. That's it. And if you can find a formal jumper, all you have to do it take up the shoulders and sew the sides together. VOILA!

I have found that the ideal baby size is 0-6 months. Any larger than that and you are dealing with a LOT of fabric...and you also may need to hem the bottom...again, more work. Turn them inside out and safety pin the sides where you want them...then dig out the thread and go to town! I plan to use the machine, but have hand sewn an entire outfit for Gabriel (during his Davy Crockett stage), and I assure you a doll dress is totally do-able.

And you are a ROCKSTAR! And your daughter has an entire formal wardrobe for her doll and you spent less than $20 bucks.







Totally fantastic, yes??

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Charlotte's 21 Factoids

And here is my littlest's 21 Factoids:

1) Charlotte the littlest...but she is NOT a baby.
2) She has chosen to be Not a Baby because she has no time to be one.
3) Charlotte has chosen to take FOREVER to talk, because she doesn't have time to ask, so she'll just get it herself already...
4) She loves Dora, Diego, and puppies.
5) She is PETRIFIED of cats. Terrified. It is bizarre!!
6) She adores babies.
7) She adores dolls.
8) She is super serious.
9) Which makes her smiles particularly adorable
10) And her giggles as precious as gold
11) She will clean up after herself or her siblings without being asked
12) She mothers anyone who will let her
13) She is my only true introvert
14) Charlotte loves to be worn in carriers
15) She will pull down the back of my shirt to kiss my back and massage my neck, when she is hanging out in the carrier.
16) She is my only baby who waddles like a baby as she runs every where, arms pumping
17) For as busy as she has been, she has not self-weaned like her siblings yet...
18) Charlotte likes to color and eat crayons
19) She is disinclined to wear clothes.
20) She likes to pick out her diapers...and often chooses the practical white ones.
21) Charlotte is my last baby...and I wish she was more of a baby. But I love her crazy little old lady ways. :)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

21 Factoids on Amelia

My factoids on Amelia:
1) She talks ALL the time!!
2) I mean ALL the time, LOUDLY!
3) She uses scary long words properly (Oh, yes, this is the girl that was referred to Early Intervention because she took too long to talk. And then talked poorly, for too long...WHATEVER!)
4) Amelia loves to dress up
5) If she cannot be in proper princess attire, then she wants to wear dresses.
6) If she cannot wear dresses, then she will wear leggings or tights...she despises jeans
7) She adores headbands
8) She thinks chap-stick is awesome, and cannot WAIT until she can wear make-up
9) Amelia is ALL about imagination
10) I am pretty sure she thinks Entirely in Italics
11) Amelia is obsessed with size and age and what you can do accordingly due to each
12) Amelia is Tweedle-Dee to Gabriel's Tweedle-Dum
13) She loves any doll that she can dress wildly...
14) She dislikes tennis shoes and prefers anything sparkly
15) She lives for eating 5-layer burritos at Taco Bell
16) Her dream is to eat "in" at fast food restaurants...drive thru's are just not glamorous.
17) Amelia loves and fights passionately
18) Amelia is an inborn care-taker
19) She loves her siblings with a deep and powerful love
20) She is a candy fiend
21) Her beloved is Elephant, who has a middle name, last name, wardrobe, and idiosyncrasies that rival only her dramatic self! :)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Gabriel's 21 factoids

It told you that I was going to use the ideas I did with Elise with my other kids...I loved the 21 annual factoid list and decided to do each one.

Here is Gabriel:

1) Gabriel prefers his name to be whole with adults and at home. But goes by Gabe at school, because he is sick of being called Gabrielle.

2) Gabriel tends to work better when he's had projects or chores or exercised...I've only just figured this out...and I'm going to utilize it. It's like he "gets on a roll".

3) He is disinclined to wear winter clothes. Sleeves and jackets annoy him.

4) He loves mythological type stories. Percy Jackson, Harry Potter, and super heroes.

5) He reads in spurts. Constantly, and then it's like pulling teeth...I think it falls under the #2 item, too.

6) He has grown so much that he is wanting to check his height or hand size against mine every few hours. It is SO annoying. I'll be trying to cook and he'll ask if he's taller and try to measure...even when he checked that morning...BUT he is only like two inches shorter...he's 5'6".

7) Gabriel loves pasta and asked if he could move to Italy. I told him Americanized Italian is probably better, because there is more cheese. He wants to go anyway. For the food.

8) Gabriel makes a bigger mess in his bathroom than I can wrap my brain around...DAILY! And he doesn't see it...it's crazy!!

9) Gabriel has an amazing ear for music. He can fake knowing how to play the piano at the drop of a hat. He can play some songs, really well...Coldplay...and can pick out others very quickly, but cannot yet read music. He is excellent with Percussion at school band, as well.

10) He loves his sisters more than anything, despite an in born need to harass them all day.

11) He loves skanky cheap candy that nobody else will eat.

12) He would choose fruit over candy any moment in the week.

13) He is my only child with my brown eyes. And if genetics continue, before he completes puberty, his eyes will go to a hazel green/brown.

14) Gabriel is currently wearing the jeans size I wore when I got pregnant with him...

15) Gabriel yells and screams at video games, G-rated racing games...and I usually have to cut him off...so he doesn't give himself an aneurysm.

16) Gabriel still believes that if his shirt actually fits in his arm pits, it is too small. Because for so many years, I have bought big so he won't out grow it before the season is over!!

17) He likes the idea of cheering for sports teams and enjoys wearing their paraphernalia, but has yet to watch an entire game.

18) Was diagnosed with Reactive Airway Disease and has more ear infections than I can even count.

19) He has been to urgent care and emergency rooms more often than any of his sisters combined. Including Elise.

20) He was my only NICU baby, at a whopping 7lbs 12oz.

21) I am SO thankful that he is my boy. He has eased me into every parenting stage and I am incredibly thankful for his mild personality...even when it makes me nuts.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Okay, I'm Back!!

Wow. I just want to say how hard it is to commit to writing EVERY SINGLE DAY! Sometimes I don't want to write. Sometimes I am tired. Sometimes I can't write...and I stress over committing and doing what I said I would. By day 6, I there were no more inspired posts...just dragging myself along by the back of the neck, much like my life is many days.

Now back to normal writing. Sorta. Except now I am trying to get other people to be brilliant. It's an easier job, I only have to write other people's thoughts...which is cool...

If that would apply to you, I'd love to hear from you, too!

I feel like I've done a disservice to my other kids, so I decided to apply a few of the ideas that I had for Elise to them..but not today, today I approached about 30 people with the request of writing for my big November idea...and my fingers are twitching...

I did want to say that I've missed you and am looking forward to being a more balanced woman again...I have decided that being a hybrid mama has perks in it's balance...it keeps everything in perspective in it's own right...I don't get tunnelled down only one path...

So, few "Isms" to prove that I'm back:

Amelia: "Look how much taller Elise is now that that she ate all that macaroni!"
Elise: "Yes! So taller!!"

Amelia: "See how tall my legs are? Maybe I'll get married soon."

Amelia: "I wasn't at your married day because I was with the doctor at the hospital, right?"
Me: "No, you didn't exist yet."
Amelia: "Well that's just not fair."

Amelia: On Disney Princesses on Ice "All that magic was like magic."

Amelia: "I'm sick, so I get purple medicine and then movies all day will make me better."

I promise legit "everybody" posts now.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Eeep! Another chance at a free Ergo Baby Carrier

Here's another chance to win one of my FAVORITE baby carriers!!

Momsmilkboutique.com is celebrating 7000 Facebook Fans!

Enter HERE!

R.I.P Thomas

This one is for me.

Amelia has officially put behind her one of my favorite baby mis-wordings.

Thomas.

She, wierd child that she is, adores hummus. She begs for it for 3 square meals from the moment that it enters the house.

She used to call it Thomas. "May I please have Thomas on my crackers?"

Then she started realising that it was wrong, and would request clarification...now she is correcting herself... I'll miss eating Thomas for lunch. :(

When she started remembering to correct herself, she renamed one of her Sunday School classmates, too.

"I played with Aubrey and Calin and Thomas...I mean Hummus..." *giggle*

*sigh*

I guess it would have been wierd to go to middle school like that, but it was fun while it lasted...

:)

31 for 21: I am writing...just not here...

I entered a challenge for Down Syndrome Awareness, where you blog everyday of October because it is Down Syndrome Awareness Month...I was really torn over where to post it...because it is my everyday life...but because if kinda fit more my special needs blog, I decided to register that one...so I am writing prolifically, just not here.

Here: at Just a Little Bit Downsy

If you are curious:

Day #1

Day #2

Day #3

Day #4

I'll be there, mostly, for all of October.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Mother-ease AIO review and giveaway winner!

Stacythemagnificentmommy was the winner! Congratulations!!!

I used Random.org to generate the winning post. #30 has been contacted!

Thank you for playing along!

My next review and giveway will be for Envibum Products! I am looking forward to that one, so stay tuned!!!

THANK YOU!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Amelia-ism

I don't feel great. I am not officially sick, but I have that not-myself-I-might-be-getting-bad-sick-soon feeling...But I've been dragging myself about because I have to...and to Amelia there is only one way of being sick. Fever and vomitting.

This morning in the car:
"Mommy, are you still sick?"
"Yes."
"Are you going to throw up?"
"I surely hope not."
"Well, if you do, then Daddy will say, 'What did you do to the car?!?!?!'"

When I called and told Ethan, he assured me that he would care more about me than the car. FWhew! :)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Look Like Me?

Ethan is convinced that the only grandchildren that will carry on his family name will not look like him. Ethan is convinced that his grandchildren will be of some mixed heritage...and they will not be carrying on the light eyes that are in our family...No green, no blue, only chocolate.

Gabriel doesn't see skin color. At all. Most of Gabriel's friends will not be checking "Caucasian" on the ancestry portion of their performance testing. Which would not be surprising if we lived in say, Miami, but in our area of Georgia, that's really saying something. We have very few minorities here, and so proportionally, he should only have 10% minority friends if you went by the law of averages...but Gabriel's friends are Indian (both kinds!), Asian, Latino, African American, bizarre mixes like African and German...he has a few very snowy Georgians, but statistically, that is more the 10% portion...

When you ask him about new friends, he describes them in terms of what they do, how tall they are, what they talk about...he has never once told us of their skin color...once or twice, he spelled their names...but I have never been sure who I was looking for at a school function. And times come when I am shocked to see a child with "white" skin.

I've met his friends and spent time with them, and they are really good kids! They are the ones that are still sweet and polite, even in 7th grade. I genuinely enjoy talking to them, they have creative and enjoyable minds. They are fun to talk to and great fun to watch interact...They are a pleasure.

I don't often talk about Gabriel on this blog, but he is growing into a person I love spending time with. Oh, don't get me wrong, there are bumpy evenings, ones that make me crazy and wonder how much longer til I get to be an empty-nester...but over all, I really love spending time with him...

He is a sweet boy. Whatever immature choices that he may make in school, that does not extend to his friends. He doesn't take the easy way, he sees with his heart his kindred spirits...and I am thankful for it.

My grandchildren may have beautiful dusky skin with their daddy's chocolate eyes, but I believe that they could not help but have the familial characteristic of treasuring their friends...holding on through thick and thin...and trekking against the expected...It is fun, and proof that skin is nothing but something to hold your bones in. :)

I don't know what he'll do with his life, but I know that he will make the right choice. I also know that he will enjoy it no matter what, because of the company he keeps!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Amelia-ism

Amelia purchased a super-pack of Cinderella Polly Pockets even though she already had a Cinderella Polly Pocket because the super-pack had more pretty clothes, a carriage, and a Prince Charming...Resulting in 2 Cinderellas.

Conversation over-heard between the two Cinderellas:
"Oh, Hi!"
"Hi!"
"What's your name?"
"Cinderella."
"Really? That's my name, too!"
"Wow! Nice to meet you!"
"Thanks! Are you my mother?"
"No."
"Are you my sister?"
"No. I'm your cousin."
*GASP*
"OH! ARE YOU THE ONE WHOSE HAIR GOT VACCUMMED OFF???"
"Why yes, I am!"
"Well! Your hair still looks beautiful!"
"Oh! Well, thanks!"

hahahaha!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

National Day of Encouragement

Guess what today is? It is the National Day of Encouragement. Wikipedia confirms it, and Let'sEncourage.com tells that it was originated by some high schoolers that felt like discouragement was the single root of most problems. They banded together and made it a state day in 2007 for Arkansas and then George W. Bush later signed it as a national day.

I personally tend to agree with it being the root of many problems and I read about it at a friend's blog...and REALLY regret that I didn't know about it before hand...as I would have REALLY liked to send notes on to a few people...

BUT, I dare you to send an email or go ahead and be late and send out something tomorrow to encourage someone you love or a thank you to someone who has helped you through a dark time or two...whether they knew it or not!

I'm marking this day on my calendar for next year and I hope you will too...

And another challenge.

Friday, September 10, 2010

6 years and counting

Elise has been cancer-free for 6 years.

Really, does anything else need to be said?

God is so very good to us and we seriously don't deserve it.

And as I say every year, between her birthday and her "Off-Therapy Day" this is by far the more valuable celebration of the year. We were blessed with her birth, but we were aware of the blessing when we got her back to keep.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Ergo Giveaway Contest

I ADORE my Ergo. You got to hear me talk about my carrier addiction back when I was discussing how practical some of the natural choices were...

Well, if you have a child under 90 lbs who thinks that they need to be carried, you need to check out Ergo Baby Carriers...and a great way to do that is a nice little store that is actually here locally is Heavenly Hold. She has a rental program to try out carriers and see if they are for you, too.

And she is doing a giveway for one of the new Ergo carriers here. And as they have Tiffany Green as one of this new products colors...of course I am drooling after it...

Go check it out!!!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Up and Running...Time for Your Input for Real!

Just a Little Bit Downsy is up and ready for your critiques and thoughts...Be nice, but be honest!!

Thank you!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Missions

I had every intention of becoming a missionary. Preferably international. I really felt like I had a call. And then I had several tweaks to my life.

Now more than 12 years later, I found myself wondering how I could have mis-read my "calling" so completely. And I feel like I now have some answers...

I still am called to be a missionary.

I am called to tell my kids about God's Love and the salvation He offers.

If you could look back over your life and put your finger on your input that God used to save someone...even if you weren't The One Who Prayed The Prayer with them, wouldn't you look at that thread that got woven into the master plan, and say wow...God used me to help save them...WOW!

Yet, as parents, especially as stay-at-home-mothers, we apologize that we don't witness to strangers at the Kroger or Tanzania...while we probably ought to do that as well, the impact that we can have on our own kids should be embraced! What a mission field!!

I am called to support new Christians!

As missionaries, part of their job is to support and connect new converts...what do you think you ought to be doing in church?? Shouldn't we be talking to new members and visitors? Why do we think they've come to church? Shouldn't it be a place of family? Another mission field!!

I am called to reach out to those hurting/struggling/searching!

Missionaries often use their jobs or their unique experiences to reach out to those hurting, searching, struggling...look at your family, your church, your co-workers, or in my own experience, new parents with babies/kids with special needs or diagnosed with cancer!

I am called to challenge/pray for/reach out to good people that we live with day-to-day!

I have a very dear friend who attended a Christian school daily, a strong church weekly, and had many Christian friends...many of which, including myself, assumed that she was a Christian...but, no, she wasn't...I have had the pleasure of talking to her again, and she shared with me her good news...and I wasn't really surprised. It hit me really hard, that it DIDN'T surprise me and I have no recollection of asking her.... what if she had slipped through the cracks due to assumptions!?!?! Thankfully, she never slipped through God's cracks, He knew, loved her, and saved her...but we do a disservice to her? Did we forget to love her/ask her in a search to find the blatantly "unsaved"?

We should take advantage of any mission opportunity...we should not miss those mission fields in our own paths...we should not look for the grand opportunities at the expense of the the daily opportunities with those we know and love.

We are on the mission field. 24/7. I didn't miss my calling due to choices in my life. I just misunderstood where the Mission Field is... It doesn't have to be Downtown, Across the Country, or Outside of Our Home Country...It has to be in our own homes, with our friends, with the opportunities that our days afford us...we simply never leave it...The circle is never too small or too large...

So. This time I'm listening, Lord...I get it...show me again...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I need input..new blog?

Okay. God's been elbowing me again.

So I am thinking about a new project. A Down Syndrome/Special Needs Blog.

Elise's Blog as it were:

There are a lot of websites out there with all kinds of technical information out there...I can find it fairly easily and so can most parents...But after the initial blitz of information, I find that I, and most parents that I talk to, LOVE to hear about what other kids are up to...those who are older, and "been there, done that" and those who are "peers", fighting the same fights. It makes it not so lonely.

At first I contemplated just a stream of consciousness type of blog...day to day struggles/triumphs, reflections and useful links...maybe even thematic...

After today...(Long Story) I am considering that maybe a weekly question/answer type of thing for "outside" parents...those with typical kids, but who want to know what "we" are going through, how THEY should interact, what they should tell their kids, what they ought to ask but don't know how to...

What do you think? Good idea? Bad Idea?

If you are a Typical Parent, and you would like to see something like this, what would YOU want answered? If you don't feel comfortable asking "out loud", please email me: underwater9800@yahoo.com I promise not to get offended. I REALLY want to know what goes through your heads.

If you are a Special Parent, what do you wish you could tell people when they look at your kids cross-eyed? What do you wish they knew? What could they do to make things easier for you? What could they do to make things easier for your kids? Please email me, too!! I know what is in MY head, but I am not the only one fighting here...we need to support each other...and we need those around us to know more.

Please help me work through this!! Thanks!!

And regardless where you fall on this subject, please pray with me, that I "get it right"!

Mother-ease and their AIO Review!

At the very end of June, I was approached by Mother-ease Cloth Diapers, about doing a review on one of their products. They'd seen me on the boards at Diaperswappers.com and saw that I had a blog, would I be interested?

Um, ya think??

As you may have noticed, Mother-ease Cloth Diapers is my very favorite fitted. They are almost indestructible. I call them prefolds on steroids. They are made of natural fibers (cotton using a polyester base to boost their staying power) and they can be washed in any detergent, and have a "hearty" factor that has yet to be rivalled by any other diaper I have used. They can be "boosted" to increase absorbency, but even alone, they hold quite a bit. As a matter of fact, they are the only diaper company that I have looked at that actually tell the absorbency amount of their diapers and doublers in ounces. When I've asked other companies about absorbency, I get vague "I don't know"s.

Mother-ease is a Canada-based company, that has very green standards they have placed on themselves and they don't farm their products at any stage to China. To me, that alone speaks to quality.

I will say, I was a slow convert to Mother-ease. I was initially convinced by another company's products to cloth diaper. They were "just like" disposables, they had velcro tabs and were put on the same. They came in bright colors, and were ever so cute! As I continued cloth diapering, I found myself reaching for the less violently colored diapers because they didn't show through the baby clothes as much. And I started questioning my "stash" because the velcro started pilling and rolling, and I knew that they would not last through Charlotte's diapering career...then I started having the dreaded micro-fiber stink. If you have ever used micro-fiber in cloth diapers, you know exactly what I mean. They smell pretty good out of the wash but once your child messes it, there is an un-holy and inappropriate stink to the mess. In the morning, it could just about knock you down! So I started lurking on trading boards and reading reviews...and I saw an advertisement in a natural parenting magazine for Mother-ease...and started considering what a friend had mentioned almost a year ago about the diapers that she used. She had said that she used them on 5 kids. FIVE!! Same ones!!!

Well, the dipes I was using were not going to make it through one! And then summer hit, and Charlotte, being the sensitive thing she was started having issues with heat and allergy rashes.

Between the stink and the heat, I jumped at some "bald" Mother-ease second hand. Bald means there are actually spots where the cotton has fallen out of the polyester netting...but the elastic was still great...as was the absorbency. The covers have slits in the sides that allow for airflow as the child moves. The name on one of their covers is AirFlow covers...and they live up to their name. And there was NO stink. NONE! So I got a few more...and a few more...and then traded and sold almost all my "starter" diapers.

I fell in love the retro fluffy butt look. I loved not having to worry about the bright colors coming through the fabric of whatever they wore. (Although, there are some super cute colors and prints!) The one size diaper and the size large Sandy's and AIO will still fit Amelia at age 4 and just over 36 pounds.

Now. I said I was reviewing the AIO. AIO stands for All-In-One, there is no need for a cover...you put on the whole thing and take the whole thing off as a unit. It just doesn't get any easier. (Even easier than disposables, because there are no midnight diaper runs or make-shift towel diapers...yeah, I'm talking to you, 'Sposie Users! ;) ) Mother-ease uses a side snap closure system which, at first glance may be more intimidating that velcro, but it is GREAT for toddlers who strip and is genuinely nice for "wigglers". (Those kids who squirm the entire diaper change!) This is because you know what snap is the perfect fit, and it doesn't matter whether you have the diaper lined up right, you just have to get the snaps in the right places! They can squirm themselves silly...no problem.

The large is supposed to fit 20-35 pounds. This claim is certainly true. Charlotte was 20.7lbs when I got the AIO...Amelia is 36lbs, and both can wear it. It's a little snug on Amelia, but in a pinch, it certainly can be used. I have found in comparison, that the AIO runs a tiny bit smaller than the Sandy's, which are cut very similarly. Amelia wears the large Sandy's very comfortably (and probably will be able to for several pounds longer).

I have used the AIO for 4 weeks now and have nothing to say that isn't good. They tend to take a little longer to dry, but that is the same for all AIO diapers. I'd have to say, I even think the elastic is even more forgiving to fat little legs than almost any cover or diaper I have used, I have not gotten ANY red marks, even when they were twisted and put more pressure on her than they should.

I got out without an extra diaper yesterday, and Charlotte wore her Mother-ease AIO with a bamboo liner for more than 7 hours...between being out and about (car-line for the older kids) and nap time. Now, I wouldn't recommend this, they need to be changed FAR more frequently, but it held up! NO LEAKS!!!! Wow! If I wasn't impressed before, that would make me buy more!!

My only criticism is that I have a friend that won't buy white...won't. And so refuses to try the Mother-ease AIO, I hope, that perhaps Mother-ease will decide to make them in some of their colors and prints for people like her! :)

I admit, I was so in love with the All-in-One diaper from Mother-ease that I probably would have done my own giveaway...However, Mother-ease Cloth Diapers will be providing a gift-certificate that you can use to purchase your own All-in-One or you can choose to use it on a cover, Sandy's, One Size, or you can put it toward a Wet Bag, Diaper Pail, or Swim Diaper. They have so many GREAT choices!!

If you want a chance to win a certificate with this great company, then here are your options for entry. Canadian friends you are absolutely welcome to enter! (Be sure to include your email address in each entry!) I will close the giveaway on September 30. I will alert the winner as soon as possible. This is my first one, so bear with me as I learn!

1) Go check out the Mother-ease Cloth Diapers website, come back here and comment with which of their products YOU would like to try!

2) Fan Mother-ease Cloth Diapers on Facebook. They often do sales, links to giveaways, and new product information! Come back here and comment that you did so!

3) Blog about this giveaway, and come back here and comment with a link to your blog entry.

4) Follow my blog! :) I am hoping to do more reviews and hopefully giveaways...but mostly, I'm just a mom in the trenches with you!

*These are my own thoughts, Mother-ease did give me an All in One diaper for review purposes, but I was in no way compensated for this review.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Amelia-isms

Apparently she used "air quotes" for the first time this week with my mother...it was used with "my mama said"...complete with a head tilt and hip cock...I would have paid money to see this...as it is, I can only giggle at the thought...and imagine it! :)

Overheard her singing: "I have a dream! It's my dream! GO GET YOUR OWN!" Disney and Barbie would be so proud.

Told me one morning: "Today, I am not Amelia. Today I will be Sass!"

When asked where we went: "We went to Nemo's place!" The aquarium was being referenced, I got all tickled with the idea that we were hanging at Nemo's apartment...

When asked how old she was: "I'm four. For NOW!" After all you don't want someone to get the wrong impression.

:)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Happy Breastfeeding Week

I like my kids. Really, REALLY like my kids.

I HATED being pregnant. I appreciated that it got me my heart's desire, but I really didn't enjoy it. I liked the small link that allowed me to guess at their personalities...but it generally annoyed me. My friend likes to say that having somebody INSIDE her causes her to despise being touched outside. She gets "touched out, from the inside". I'd say that's fairly accurate for me, too.

I really enjoyed breastfeeding. The uninterrupted snuggle time, the perfectly happy baby, the "rock-star-ness", the gift of the moment, a snapshot of babyhood. The opportunity to kiss them as much as I liked...

I am not in any hurry to wean Charlotte, because she enjoys it so much. Don't worry, she'll undoubtedly cut herself off before she goes off to Kindergarten. ;) But, the other kids self-weaned earlier than this. She is all "big kid" in almost every aspect of her life, she is hyper-self-sufficient...to the point I don't know that I like it, in all other areas of life, and has been for MONTHS...but she clings to her by-herself snuggle and "snack" time. It's her 1/2 hour of snatched babyhood. So we linger a bit longer.

It is Breastfeeding Awareness Week. And I just thought I'd take a moment to say how nice it is...and how sad I am that this is the last one.

Gabriel was all business and cut himself off around 6 months...there was too much going on to see...

Elise hung in there until right at 16 months...this the baby with Downs, who "wouldn't be able to be breastfed". Yeah, okay.

Amelia did her little all and nothing bipolar nursing until 11 months...one month on, one month off (all expressed in a bottle)...so wierd...

Charlotte is 17 months...and adores it...we'll see how long it takes to cut into her big girl plans...that get bigger by the day! :)

I'll leave you with this:
"A little child born yesterday
On mother's milk and kisses fed..."
Homer

Happy Breastfeeding Awareness Week!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Lost while Looking Stuff Up...addiction?

"You don't know what that is?/How to spell that?/Who that is? Then you ought to go look it up..." Typically not a bad idea...but for me it is...go ahead, make me, and kiss me goodbye for the next few hours. It is, seriously, like turning a junkie loose in their addiction.

I have learned TONS of fun stuff because I went to look something up and read half the "R" encyclopedia...Or "T" or "M" Or "C-Ch"... :) Oooh, and then you occasionally have to cross-reference, and read more...and the next thing you know, you have 6 encyclopedias out and don't know where the day went...

I have discovered CRAZY cool words because of similar situations involving the Dictionary.

I admit, I have picked up a dictionary or encyclopedia for fun. On purpose, to look up nothing in particular.

Oh, and the internet? I hit all the hyperlinks. That lead to another, and another, and another.

The funny thing is, I do the same thing in church. I have learned to cut myself off [occasionally]and NOT FOLLOW ALONG in my Bible. Because I don't follow along. For one I read too fast, and then I want to know what happened before, and then after, then one thing leads to another and while I started off in Matthew, I wind up in Leviticus. It never fails. I do love it. But I am really torn. Does the "fun reading" in the Bible give a good example? Or listening? OR is both listening...and it's just God talking? But what OUGHT I be doing? I genuinely would like my kids to do both, so I don't know what I should do...I'm still trying figure that one out!

Next thing I'll know, I will read that it is a sickness on one of my chomosomes. And who knows what other diseases I will discover through those hyperlinks??? :)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Please pray with me!

I was catching up on the blogs I follow and I found this. I beg you to pray with me for this family! And I encourage you to be watchful and prayerful for your own children. It does happen.

All Doll(ed) Up: Breaking the Silence

Purple Giggles

This is NOT the deep blog update from my lovely now-four-year-old's birthday...these are the giggles and things I learned this weekend.)

1) Some people just don't like purple food. They just don't.

2) Toddlers love purple food.

3) Slip-n-Slides are MUCH cheaper than I anticipated! ($5!)

4) I should have bought a Slip-n-Slide at the beginning of the summer (See #3)

5) Apparently Ice Cream Salt is integral to the making of ice cream

6) Table Salt CANNOT be substituted for Ice Cream Salt (see #5)

7) If you don't have #5, and try #6, the best you can hope for is very cold ice cream milk.

8) If you got an energy saver refrigerator, and your ice maker is not making enough ice...the trouble shooter list in your manual on it responds "Ask not your ice maker to make more ice...ask yourself if you should really be using that much ice!" (Well, I took a little liberty, but the sentiment is the same!)

9) We are the rednecks our neighbors feared...exemplified by the plastic pool, blow up pool, Slip-n-Slides and 20 half-naked kids racing around...

10) It is the simple things that are the best fun! This was a Great Party! :)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The "crunchy" vocabulary...

Those who try to live more "green" or more naturally have been called many things..."granolas" or "crunchy"or crazy and weird...I find myself more on the fringes of this group than I ever thought I'd be.

For a long time I thought that things that were engineered were usually better, because the "kinks had been worked out" of their naturally occurring brothers. You know, like roses with no thorns, or corn that withstood their natural predators like bugs.

I find myself swinging further to the other direction the older I get. The corn that gets sold by the dude who grows it out in his backyard tastes SO much better than the corn that you can purchase at the local Walmart, that has been tweaked to last forever and withstand plagues...probably 'cause it tastes bad and the bugs don't even want it...the granola you make in your kitchen with real-live oats is scrumptious compared to the odd puffed-rice?-granola made by cereal companies....and don't even get me stuck on my homemade bread rant!

When I had kids, I found a bunch of stuff that was so cool and practical that nobody that I hung with had ever heard of...but I just thought it made my life easier...Gabriel liked to nurse in the night, so I just brought him into the bed with us and let him snack to his heart's content. Nursing him was cheaper and ready-to-go, far easier than formula and free to boot. He would get angry when he was hungry, so I let him eat when he wanted. He drug his feet potty training, so I'd try, and if he wasn't ready, I'd give him another little bit and try again later. I did the same thing with food. He loved to be carried, so when he got monstrously big, I carried him around in random carriers. Strollers tend to be made for the average height woman, which at 5'8", I am not, so they weren't comfortable for me. I'd end up hunkered over like the hunchback of Notre Dame. I hunted the holy grail stroller for years, 4 kids and almost 12 years later, I have finally found one, but still find myself carrying my kids in carriers, because they like it, and they are only little for so long...

Come to find out, these practical choices have names in the crunchy community! Co-sleeping, breastfeeding, nursing on demand, potty learning, baby-led weaning, baby-wearing, and the list goes on! There are some parents that are verging on militant about these choices, and while I agree, I think that if they just touted the easy factor, many parents would consider them!

My gateway drug to the natural parenting path was baby-carriers. Gabriel was a giant baby. Really. He was 20 lbs at 4 months, something that took all the rest of my girls more than a year to achieve. He was a whopping 33 lbs at a year, Amelia is almost four and only just hit 35 lbs in the last 6 months. People would look at him in the mall and ask why he was not in school, and I would respond, "Tell the nice lady you're THREE!"

I lost much of my baby-weight with Gabriel fairly quickly, but never did get back into many dresses or shirts because in carrying him around, my arms and back got such a work-out that I bulked up and had to wear larger for my new-found muscles!

As he got bigger, but was still such a baby, I searched for ways to carry him, that would relieve my straining arms and back. And I discovered a frame backpack. Like the kind you carry babies in as you hike long distances, up and down mountains! AH! I felt so blessed!!!

Then Elise came along, SO tiny at under 6 lbs! She was a pocket baby. She ADORED to be carried! But I had Gabriel still who needed attention, and I had to get housework done! So I found a cheap baby-sling and a nicer version of the Snugglie carrier that I used with Gabriel. His old one had huge leg-holes that she oozed out of! And I carried her everywhere!

Along comes Amelia, and I have 2 kids that still need attention, and Elise who is practically a baby at 4 years and who needs help at every turn and I got a double stroller. It met the needs fairly well, but there are many places that DO NOT accommodate a side-by-side double stroller...or a stroller at all...so I went hunting AGAIN for a baby-carrier that would alleviate the complications...and I met a girl that sold me a FANTASTIC sling that she made and about a year later, I met her again while Gabriel was swimming on swim team, and she had the most amazing baby-carrier! Which I promptly started researching...and found a whole "underground" community with HUNDREDS of baby-carrier options!!! I found that it was called "baby-wearing". Huh. Funny, I just thought I was carrying my kids around because it made my life easier...and gave them special time with mommy even as I ran through my life at 100 mph!

The girl I met that introduced me to the carrier addiction was named Katie and we had parallel kids and got along like a house afire! She later introduced me to cloth diapers and we are fast friends...kindred spirits. She, too, utilizes many more natural options, but does it because it's easy. My favorite recent discovery, was "un-paper towels". WHAAA? OH, you mean RAGS that you use to clean or dry stuff or whatever you'd use paper towels for that you just wash and reuse???? hahahaha! Like I said, most of this stuff is just practical!!

So, along comes a Spider...I mean Charlotte...(Oh, yeah, Elise fought us for a large chunk of my pregnancy that we were having a spider, not a baby, because we told her the baby's name would be Charlotte, and she was big into Charlotte's web at the time...) And this crazy baby decided to have crazy reflux issues and sensitivity issues and....well, let's just say every time we turn around, she is struggling with something. I wore her for MONTHS around the house, because she needed to sleep upright due to the reflux. She nursed constantly, because it soothed her angry tummy. She has skin sensitivities that would have driven us to cloth diapers whether we had wanted to or not...we are being bullied into more natural detergents because her skin struggles with that, as well. I am beginning to wonder if she has my trouble with preservatives, too. (I break out in hives.) She has had some crazy diaper rashes that we are still trying to sort out...that only respond to allergy medications...so, we are trying to figure that one out now...who knows where that will push us...

Ethan tolerates all this, as long as I take care of the hard parts...which is really no big deal. He's not all on board until he sees the easy factor of something...and then he goes along with it, with gusto. When we can go somewhere we couldn't have with a stroller, then he is all about the weird baby-carrier! :)

So, when we put in our garden, it's not because we are making a political statement, it's because home-grown tomatoes are SO yummy!!! You might want to consider some of the natural stuff you roll your eyes at, because, sometimes, it just makes sense!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Saved by the Crown

Amelia was saved from another visit to the urgent care last night by her cheap, plastic princess crown.

Really! It was crazy! God literally used a dollar to save us $164.37 (I know this, because it is what we paid for the chin visit.) AND lots of pain and blood and crying!

Amelia came racing to supper again last night. It was spaghetti. (Maybe I'll feed her only what she drags her feet to.) We were outside on the deck and She Tripped, and I saw it happen in slow motion! She went down, and as she did, I realized she was going to hit her head on the brick step edge! Yup, sure enough, that is EXACTLY what happened! I grabbed her up so fast and started looking for the gash. No blood, but as my dad pointed out, that is not necessarily proof of no injury. Sometimes it takes a bit...so then I look again for the white angry hole...still nothing! SO I grab her hairline and look it over! STILL nothing! I then move her crown fearing that it had jammed and tore her head open...and I see tiny granule looking things IN HER HEAD. I automatically assume that this is the crumbles of brick. I bring her in, again, expecting blood to start coming. I take off her crown and brush at the granules...I ended up having to stratch them out one by one...and as I do this, I realize they are shiney, and that there is no other damage visible! I further realize that there are only four granules and the bite marks caused by them are perfectly spaced!

She had fallen on to the step EXACTLY on her crown frame. The teeth in the crown to keep it placed in her hair, had broken off in her scalp, and the crown had absorbed the entire impact!!!! So, she has bite mark of 4 tiny holes and her head is a little tender. That's it!!!

God the King protected his princess with her crown. Cool, huh? :)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Amelia-isms June

"Pocohantas is not a fox, she's a two-man!" (Human!) On why Pocohantas was not in the animated Robin Hood.

"I thought you said I could have a twirly pony-tail! Where is the rest of it? It's just tiny. All my other friends in dance class had big pony twirls!" On why her braids weren't very thick after being braided. (Poor baby has fine hair!)

We went into a natural and vitamin store...the essential oils were a bit strong...and Amelia started yelping about how "all the smelling" hurt her nose! I told her to go ahead and plug her nose. When I looked over, she had both pointer fingers up her nose...to the middle knuckles. I asked her what she was doing, she said, very innocently, "plugging up her nose"! I really didn't realize that pinching your nose against odors was a taught skill! :)

Monday, June 21, 2010

I am H-A-P-P-Y!

We had VBS this week. I was a "snack chick". We bagged snacks and handed them out. It was awesome. I loved it. I will be signing up again.

I was not Elise's shadow. I always worry. She was single-handedly responsible for a little girl refusing to come back to VBS a few years ago. She hit her. But this year's shadows were wonderful. They kept her safe, they kept her from running away, and they kept her from running anyone else off. They let her "lead" music once or twice from what I understand...they took mountains of pictures. They presented me with those pictures, developed, on Friday...and I teared up, and I still cannot look through them without tears in my eyes.

Friday night was the big program, and we were late as usual. But the girls raced up to go sing. Amelia was front and center. Everybody was singing and signing all the actions to the songs! But not Amelia. She was overcome with an inability to sing...or smile...and sat, while everyone else around her, ironically, stood, sang, and signed "I am h-a-p-p-y...", sucking her thumb and scowling! There was nothing to do but laugh over it, and hope that next year might be better...or that she would at least be in the back! :)

Elise on the other hand was overcome with a desperate desire to get to the front and sing, sign, and smile...AND dance! She was such great fun to watch. The joy oozing from her pores was contagious and gave my heart peace, that she does know God better than we think! :)

Daddy's Super-Hero Cape

I posted for my father on Father's Day...and really anguished on what exactly to post on Ethan. I try to use my blog for stuff on the kids, and keep private private. He doesn't much like being the star...

BUT, as Father's Day is about celebrating Fatherhood, I had really wanted to shake out his super-hero cape for all to see. So this is the one thing I decided to share...

Ethan loves his kids. Loves having them around. Loves them all thundering through the house. Loves the crowd hanging out in the bathroom watching him shave. Loves them hanging around while he does stuff he has to...He drags Gabriel everywhere, and looks forward to dragging the girls around, too.

Elise has STUFF. There is no denying that. I am okay with most of it. The physical stuff can be exhausting, but is handle-able. I have teased Ethan that if I left him in charge of all her medical stuff, it would be akin to leaving a city boy out in the Sahara and asking him to get home...he agreed, and I made him a "cheater" slip to keep in his wallet if the unthinkable ever happened. Behaviorally, she is like a giant 2 or 3 year old. She is doing better, but that's just fact.

But, the thing I struggle most with in conjuction with Elise, is when little kids make their public confessions of faith or get baptized. (Please understand that I rejoice with them and their parents!) When I realize that they are the same age or younger as Elise and they "get" God, I cry. And cry. And cry. I have not figured out how not to. I was never a cry-er. I never cried until Elise. And now I cry through hymns, prayers, Bible verses. I think it is because God used Elise to make me vulnerable, and open to his prodding...I think that may have been a tiny part of his plan in using Elise...

Ethan's super-hero cape is this: He truly believes that Elise gets God. She prays. She really does and we can't understand a word. She prays and prays and prays. Maybe she is praying in "tongues". I am sad that we don't know what's going on in her little heart or head...and I worry that she does not understand God's grace. And I lament not being able to talk to her about all that God has done, that I cannot answer questions...But Ethan is confident that Jesus is who is taking care of that part of her spiritual life...And says He will do a MUCH better job than us anyway! I am thankful of this confidence. I am hanging on the coat-tails of this faith. And I appreciate the spiritual maturity it takes to have that faith and be confident in that hope.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Dandelion Babies

My poor girls all got my hair. Gabriel got Ethan's thick and smooth hair. It is beautiful, and it behaves.

My hair gets fuzzy and I get a weird halo of broken curly baby hair...it looks like a dandelion coronet. And rather than the beautiful princess hair they could have been blessed with, the girls all have that crazy crown of fuzz, too. I do feel for them...especially since I have to fight with it daily, too.

I was giving it some thought the other day while my internet was down...and started thinking about dandelions.

They are my favorite flower. Honest. Very favorite one. I like the little yellow ones. I like the funny green pods they curl into for the nights. I like the fuzzy white ones in the day. I like the tiny parasols that the seeds make floating away making wishes... I love the glowing halos in the sunset. I adore the negative of the flower skeleton against the color of the dusk.

But ask just about anyone else, and they are weeds to be pulled out...but I just wanted to say, I believe that they are flowers for those who still appreciate the tiny things...the simple...the pure. Dandelions are jewels for children. Dandelions are crowns for girls still believing they are princesses. They are sustenance for action figures. Dye for little boys. Unending opportunities and wishes for children.

Dandelions are hope. Dandelions are prayers.

Dandelions are the flower of the daily joys. Dandelions are daily health, they are books and quiet moments, they are sunshine and umbrellas, they are no hospital visits, they are playing at home, and coloring pages and cleaning cars. They are doughnuts when you weren't expecting them. Hot chocolate on surprise snow days. They are Popsicles on hot summer evenings. Dandelions are everyday life...and God's everyday miracles.

Father's Day

My Daddy read, recited, and sang these to me and my brother as we were growing up. He prayed over us. He blessed us with his love.
http://www.metrolyrics.com/for-baby-lyrics-peter-paul-mary.html

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Numbers%206:24-26&version=KJV


This is something that I am stealing from myself from last year...because I am afraid that I cannot top it. Pure, unadulterated truth, really cannot be improved upon.

Dear Daddy~

Happy Father's Day! I appreciate you. I am thankful for my childhood. I am thankful for how you treat me in my adulthood!

Thank you for knowing a little of EVERYTHING! Thank you for asking questions to make me grow curious. Thank you for answering questions to quench that curiousity!

Thank you for the boat, "bears" in parks, and the nights reading. Thank you for stories of when you were little. Thank you for letting Mama stay home with us. Thank you for being excited yo see us when we visited you at work.

Thank you for an incredible musical education. Thank you for Peter, Paul, and Mary. Thank you for Bach. Thank you for Alan Parson's Project. Thank you for Allison Kraus. Thank you for Time Life Music 1954-1969...

Thank you for Garrison Keillor. Thank you for The Shadow. Thank you for Mrs. Pollifax. Thank you for Tom Bodett.

Thank you for letting me run with you when I was 6 to the horse farm. Thank you for letting me run with you when I was 13 at the Union Terminal Run. Thank you for buying me running shoes. Thank you for buying me bikes. Thank you for the "roller rink" in the garage. Thank you for buying rollerblades! Thank you for encouraging me in swimming.

Thank you for the hours in the library. Thank you for paying my overdue book fines.

Thank you for sending me to King. Thank you for letting me escape from King. Thank you for sending me to UTC. Thank you for letting me change my major 2 weeks before my junior year and not getting angry.

Thank you for listening calmly when we told you about Gabriel. Thank you for helping us get through school. Thank you for helping us get our feet under us.

Thank you for loving Elise for who she is. Thank you for never losing hope in all her medical trials. Thank you for watching Gabriel during them. Thank you for providing a haven for him through that time. Thank you for expecting the best. Thank you for spanking Elise and expecting her to behave. And loving her even when she doesn't. Thank you for sacrificing your cat. :)

Thank you for watching my kids...all of them...for me to run errands and date my husband. Thank for getting a boat down here to be with me and my family. Thank you for moving docks and paying more to be closer. Thank you for paying inflated dock fees to stay close to us. Thank you for buying chips and pink hot dogs for us to eat on our visits. Thank you for getting fishing nets for Gabriel. Thank you for making memories with my kids.

Thank you for times with my little girls and all the memories that you will make with them.

Thank you for always being there for me as a cove that I could anchor in rough winds. Thank you for your time.

Happy Father's Day! Thank you for being a happy father! Thank you for being my daddy! Thank you for being an invested grandfather. Thank you for being a good father-in-law.

Thank you for listening to God and allowing him to shape you beyond your past. Thank you for being a father easy to honor.

Love,
Tiffany