Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government will be upon his shoulders. And His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6
Wishing you a joyful and triumphant Christmas season! May your time with family and friends be sweet, and may we all remember the reason we celebrate and can stand in awe of the manger.
Oh, come let us adore Him!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas Program

My two older boys were part of the children's Christmas program at church this week. Here are some pics for you to admire:
Goliath sings his heart out

Have you ever seen such an angelic face?

Goliath made a terrific Joseph
(although he complained often about the "silly" hat
Baby Jesus's daddy had to wear)

I like to think the barnyard animals that were present
at the birth of our Savior were more reverent than
Little Middle's cow.


And this......
THIS is Baby, playing peek-a-boo with
his performing brothers between the chairs.
(This picture was taken right before Baby scaled the
seats across the aisle and tried to make a break for it,
laughing hysterically the whole way.)

Friday, December 14, 2007

...And For You, Geeding!

It has been a crazy day. I can not over-emphasize the chaos. It was the final day of preschool before Christmas break. I should have known we were in for it when we realized first thing this morning that January lesson plans were due TODAY. Somehow my rock star co-teacher and I managed to do a month's worth of lesson plans, put on a Christmas party, stuff 11 gift bags for our kids, and keep our heads from exploding all in ONE DAY. I am exhausted.
While I wait for my blood pressure to come down and gather my thoughts, I will direct you here. My old college buddy Keith runs this crazy blog, which is truly a bunch of nothingness. Kind of like Seinfeld online. He's giving me blogging advice--crazy stuff like "you should post at least once a week"!!--but he must know what he's talking about because BON is one of the top blogs in the country. Check it out...

Friday, December 7, 2007

This One's For You, Kandice......

It has been brought to my attention that I am doing a poor job at keeping up with the blog. So, just in case you're one of those who is faithfully checking in, here's what we've been up to the last few weeks:
1. I gave my testimony at our church's Thanksgiving dinner. I totally get why Moses felt like he needed Aaron, as I am no public speaker myself. But my prayer has been that God would "enlarge my territory", so I had to take advantage of this opportunity. Perhaps I will post what I said on 3littlecowboys sometime soon.
2. Hubby went out of town and I came down with a delightful flu/strep throat combo Thanksgiving week. My mom and sister saved the day when they drove from Houston to Dallas and back in one day to collect my kids so I could rest. I spent 3 yucky (but quiet!) days in bed.
3. Hubby and I traveled to Houston for Thanksgiving. We ate a delicious meal, spent sweet time with our family--including my brother, who made the trip from Nashvegas--, and made a quick departure when all 3 boys came down with pink eye. In spite of incessant handwashing and sanitizing, Nana caught it from them. Sorry, Nana.
4. The moment we returned from Houston, we began decorating our home for Christmas. I was so happy to see our pre-lit tree we bought last year!!! The boys love decorating the tree. When it was all said and done, we had very few ornaments on the upper half of the tree, and several branches were sagging because they held more than one ornament. I wanted to "fix" it after the boys went to bed, but Hubs reminded me that it will only look this way for a few short years. We left it as it was, and they are so proud.
5. I had visits with both my ob-gyn and my oncologist. Hormones (or lack thereof) are taking a toll, but I have been assured that there's nothing wrong with me that is not wrong with many other women, though they may be 20+ years my senior. Supposedly the right combination of medications can make me cheerful and whole again. We're working on that. I will be scheduled for a CAT scan in January to begin the cycle of searching for returning cancer. My oncologist kissed me on the head.
6. We had visits from two of our favorite families in Abilene. It was a fun day of eating and catching up. Happy Birthday, Jared and Tyler!!!
7. Our family was asked to light an Advent candle during the Hanging of the Green service at church. If you've ever taken a 2-year-old to "big church" you know where this is headed.......
I let Baby read the hymnal, sit with assorted friends, and even fed him goldfish (although I have a rule that the kids can NEVER eat in church) to keep him quiet. It was finally our turn to light the candle, and when I picked him up to walk to the stage, his shoe fell off. I carried him down front with only one shoe on, and the whole time he was yelling, "SHOE! SHOE! SHOE, MAMA!!!!" Serene and holy we were NOT.
8. Baby moved to a big boy bed. He is SO proud, and when he woke up after the first night in it, he said to me, "I big, Mama." I cried. We loaned the crib--which has been used constantly for nearly 6 years--to some friends, and I cried. Babyhood is no more at my house!
9. We got a new oven. That's the good news. The bad news is that the new oven is bigger than the old oven. I spent 2 days this week at home listening to the sounds of new cabinetry being manufactured in my garage. Everything I own was covered in sawdust.
10. After a little holiday hiatus, the lady who cleans my house came back today. The sawdust is gone and I am happy.
And there you have it. Thanks for the gentle nudge, KC!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Halloween '07


I sort of forgot about posting Halloween pictures. Sorry 'bout that. Here they are, better late than never.




Boba Fett, Yoda, and Scary Dragon Baby




"Cute costume, it is........."




Carving this year's "Jack"

Checkin' out the loot!





Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Happy Birthday, Baby!

Dear Baby,

Today you turned 2 years old. This birthday is bittersweet for me. I am excited to watch you grow and learn--you are changing every day! At the same time, I know you are the last baby I will have, and my sentimental mama heart mourns the end of your babyhood. It will just be a matter of months before we put away the crib for good, we say goodbye to diapers (well, that's not so sad), and we trade in the car seat for a booster.

Your vocabulary has increased at an alarming rate recently. There is nothing you won't say! We asked you all day how old you are. At first you would say "two" and hold up your little fingers. After a while, though, you got bored with it and started saying whatever number came to your mind. "Baby, how old are you?" "Fwee," you answered. Or "sebben." Or whatever.

It must be such fun to be you, as the world spins at your direction. You are funny and easygoing (most of the time). I would love it if you would eat something besides dry cereal and mac & cheese, though. Sometimes I think you just refuse to eat--no matter what it is--just to see if you can get a reaction. It amuses you if Daddy or I insist that you consume the food we put in front of you. Your refusal infuriates us, but your grin is irresistible. You did not have trouble with your birthday cake, though!







You are a lover! You remind me of the theme song from "Cheers"...sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name. You're the guy who knows everyone's name! You will run to the ladies at church and hand out hugs freely. They eat you up! Nothing feels better to me than wrapping you up in my arms and receiving a big, wet kiss on my cheek. Every morning before Goliath leaves for school you ask for a hug from him. You have a sweet heart and you love people.
On this day two years ago, I had no idea why God sent you to be part of our family. All I knew, from the moment I laid eyes on you, was that you were wonderfully made and I was privileged to be your mommy. I still feel that way. My beautiful infant son has grown into a full-steam-ahead toddler. You stretch me, you melt me. You make me want to be better than what I used to be. You have brought great love and laughter into our home, little man. You will always be my baby.
Love,
Mommy







Thursday, November 8, 2007

1 Corinthians 13 (For Moms)

I can read bedtime stories til the cow jumps over the moon, and sing "Ten Little Monkeys" until I want to call the doctor--but if I don't have love, I'm as annoying as a phone that rings all the time.
I can chase a naked toddler through the house while cooking dinner and listening to voice mail, I can fix the best cookies and Kool-Aid in the neighborhood, and I can tell a sick child's temperature with one touch of my finger, but if I don't have love, I am nothing.
Love is patient while watching and praying by the front window when it's 30 minutes past curfew.
Love is kind when my child says, "I don't like you anymore!"
It does not envy the neighbor's swimming pool or their brand new SUV that we can't afford, but trusts the Lord to provide every need.
Love does not brag when other parents share their disappointments and insecurities, and love rejoices when other families succeed.
It doesn't boast, even when I've multi-tasked all day long and my husband can't do more than one thing at a time.
Love is not rude when my spouse innocently asks, "So....what have you done today?"
It does not immediately seek glory when we see talent in our children, but encourages them to get training and make wise choices.
It is not easily angered, even when my 15-year-old acts like the world revolves around her.
It does not delight in evil (is not self-righteous) when I remind my 17-year-old that he's going 83 in a 55-mph zone, but rejoices in the truth.
Love does not give up hope. It always protects our children's self-esteem and spirit, even while doling out discipline.
It always trusts God to protect our children when we cannot. It always perseveres, through temper tantrums, rolled eyes and crossed arms, messy rooms, and sleepless nights.
Love never fails. But where there are memories of thousands of diaper changes and painful labors, they will fade away.
Where there is talking back, it will (eventually) cease.
Where there is a teenager who thinks she knows everything, there will one day be an adult who knows you did your best.
For we know we fail our children, and we pray they don't end up in therapy, but when we get to heaven, our imperfect parenting will disappear.
When we were children, we needed a parent to love and protect us. Now that we're parents ourselves, we have a heavenly Father who adores us, shelters us, and holds us when we need to cry. And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Vocabulary Lesson

Last night, the kids' choir rehearsal came to a screeching halt so that the director could explain to Goliath that we "proclaim" the Savior's birth, not "complain" it!

Monday, October 15, 2007

New Year, Fresh Start

Today is my birthday. This day each year is special, but it seems that the older I get (and the more kids I have) it is less significant and not as celebrated. Not so this year. This morning dawned dark and rainy, but I feel as though the sun is shining through every window. Knowing that had things gone differently, this birthday could have very well been my last--or I might not have seen it at all--has changed me. God not only spared my life but gave me a new outlook as well. I am grateful for the time I have and I intend to spend it well. I am so thankful for my family: my 4 guys love me and gave me a reason to fight to get well. I am blessed with the greatest friends a girl could ask for. I may not understand why God allowed me to endure the trial of cancer, but I understand that the lessons to be learned from my experience are a treasure. It is my prayer that the coming year will be filled with "ah-ha!" moments, when I catch a glimpse of the Father's amazing plan for me, side-splitting laughter, and tremendous love.




P.S. Here are my 3 little cowboys, picnicking in the backyard last week:




Friday, October 5, 2007

Brunch

I ate lunch with my son this morning.
No kidding. I am trying to make the most of the few weeks I have left before I return to work, so I took advantage of the 2 little boys being at school today to have lunch with Goliath. Only, it was really brunch because kindergarteners eat lunch at 10:30. In the morning. It's silly.
We worked out the plan before he left for school this morning. "Mommy, I want a Chick-Fil-A chicken sandwich with no pickles and some french fries and a lemonade." No problem. Except when I got to Chick-Fil-A at 10:10, they were still serving breakfast. I explained to the lady working the drive-thru intercom that I was having lunch with my 5-year-old son in 20 minutes and all he really wanted to eat was a chicken sandwich. The lunch kind. She checked with the manager, and they whipped up a special-order chicken sandwich just for me.
I would have been slightly embarrassed, but the look on Goliath's face was more than worth the extra trouble. We had a delightful brunch (although I only sipped a sweet tea, having just finished breakfast), and as he kissed me goodbye and headed to the playground, he said, "Mommy, that is the best chicken sandwich I ever did have. I love you VERY MUCH."
And I melted.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Achievement

Sometimes I wonder why God gave me 3 sons. I always imagined that I would have at least one daughter, who would grow up to do "girl stuff" with me. We would shop, get pedicures, bake brownies.....Instead, I am the mom of 3 boys. They are ALL boy, if you know what I mean. They are dirty and sweaty and love bugs and lizards. I have managed to persuade them that Target is "cool," but that's about as far as I get.

Anyway, yesterday I went to Target with Goliath and Little Middle in tow. They were delightful, so I offered an impulse-buy treat. Want to know what they picked? They each came home with a box of Bertie Bott's Beans. That is, Harry Potter jellybeans. They have a few regular flavors (blueberry, tutti-frutti, cherry), but most of the box is an assortment of grossness (is that a word?) that my boys found hilarious. It includes earwax, soap, earthworm, vomit, booger, black pepper, dirt, grass, pickle, rotten egg, sardine, and sausage. After the kids went to bed, Hubby and I were looking at the beans. I dared him to try one, and he promised to do it if I would, too. I am embarrassed to confess, but I ate a booger-flavored jellybean. Ya'll, it absolutely tasted like what I imagine a booger might taste like. It was so disgusting. Hubs had a sausage-flavor bean, which he promptly spit into the trash.

I tell you all THAT to be able to proudly say THIS: I encouraged a wary Goliath to try a vomit jellybean by telling him about my experience, i.e. I did it and I survived. "Wow, Mom!" he said. "You really ate that? You're just as cool as Target!"

Friday, September 28, 2007

Still Sick

And on and on it goes....
We are still sick. In 7 days, we made 4 visits to the pediatrician, sometimes doubling up on kids, and spent a small fortune at the pharmacy. Today, when all 3 kids should be in school and I should be enjoying the quiet, I still have Baby at home. He is suffering from croup and pink eye--both highly contagious. When I'm not holding him or watching Baby Einstein with him, I am sitting on him, hoping he will be still enough to get at least one drop in his eye OR we are reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear on the floor of a steamy bathroom, OR I am frantically gathering up everything he has touched so it can be laundered and/or disinfected.
Luckily, he is in a pretty good mood so we could make a Target run this morning. That always makes ME feel better.......

Monday, September 24, 2007

When It Rains, Water Leaks....

We have a water problem. Actually, we have several water problems. As if we didn't have enough to worry about.......
A few days ago, Hubby asked if I had noticed the water on the floor in the laundry room. Of course I had, but I assumed that someone spilled something and "forgot" to clean it up. He pointed out that the water was around the doorway in the garage as well (our laundry room is opens into the garage) and suggested we should call the landlord. Good call. The hot water heater is leaking and must be replaced. Until we could get the plumber out, we rigged up a very fancy means of catching the water:



Here it is up close. Yes, that is a piece of a toy train track. I KNEW those would come in handy some day!



The new water heater is in a box (which promises to be a fun tunnel for the boys later on), waiting to be installed.



We also have leaky faucets in our master bathroom--in both sinks AND in the shower. All of those must be torn out and replaced, leaving us displaced and sharing a bathroom with the kids for a few days. Sigh.


Finally, the water main in our front yard is leaking. There is a pool of water in one spot in our yard, leaving a muddy mess.



The mess will get worse before it gets better, as the solution is to dig a trench across the front yard in order to reach the underground pipes and replace them. Of course, the boys think this will be GREAT fun! :)


Friday, September 21, 2007

Worst-Case Scenario

Q: What is worse than a mommy who is recovering from surgery?

A: 3 brothers who have a stomach virus, bronchitis, and an ear infection, respectively.

Q: What is worse than 3 sick brothers?

A: A pediatrician who prescribes for a 3-year-old a steroid which "may possibly make him hyper."

That pediatrician is probably lounging in her quiet house this evening, laughing to herself every time she thinks about me.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Results

"This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us--whatever we ask--we know that we have what we asked of Him." 1 John 5:14-15
God has heard us and answered our prayer. I saw my oncologist today and was declared to be CANCER FREE!!! During Surgery 2 (2 1/2 weeks ago), the only cancer to be found was in the remaining ovary, which was removed as part of the hysterectomy. There were no cancer cells in any of my lymph nodes or on any other organs. No further treatment is necessary: no chemotherapy, no radiation. Dr. M only requires an exam in November, and scans every 6 months after that. He advised me to walk out of his office and walk back into my life, and to tell my children that their mom will live to be an old lady.
There is much celebrating going on in our four walls today. Make no mistake--cancer will always be part of my life. But today I was transformed from cancer patient to cancer survivor. My mom and I were talking on the way to DSW Shoes this afternoon (doesn't every survivor need a great pair of shoes?), and here's what we agree on: Even if the results were different...if I had gone in this morning and learned my body was ravaged by deadly cancer cells and there were only months left to live on this earth...God would still be God. He would still be good, still be loving, still be merciful. He would still be in control of my life; He would still sit on His throne.
I have seen the power of God today, and I will never be the same.
"Shout with joy to God, all the earth! Sing the glory of His name, make His praise glorious! Say to God, "How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power!"...Come and see what God has done!" Psalm 66:1-5

Friday, September 14, 2007

It Takes a Village

It is quiet this morning. Hubby is at work, and all 3 boys are at school.
My sweet friend Wendy, who is SO cute and a crafty type, created a book of "Comfort Scriptures" for me. Every page is a different scrapbook-page background and a scripture that gives God's promise to those who are sick, weak, weary, and troubled. So many verses seemed to jump out at me, but here's one that was particularly special (obvious adjustments mine):
"Because Allyson loves me," says the Lord, "I will rescue her; I will protect her, for she acknowledges My name. She will call upon Me, and I will answer her; I will be with her in trouble, I will deliver her and honor her." Psalm 91:14-15
I claim this verse not just in relation to my illness, but for my day-to-day life. Here's how the week has gone, and how the Father kept His promise: Mom went home and Hubs went back to work. Still unable to do virtually anything, and still in pain, I definitely needed rescuing! So I started making phone calls. The end result? A beautiful orchestration of different people meeting very real needs. God sent Hope, Jennifer, and Bethany to cook for us. He gave us Kelly, who has provided Goliath his own personal school bus (complete with a juice box each afternoon) and a new friend in her sweet little girl. He nudged Theresa, Heather, Cassie, and John in our direction to help with endless hours of childcare so that Mommy can rest. He opened the hearts of my fellow teachers/friends, who gifted us a clean house! There are so many more who continue to call or come by just to check on us, or make grocery runs for the milk we're always out of, or show special affection to our boys, or minister to us in a million other ways. There is no way I can feel anything less than loved and honored!
Now...a special shout out to our friends in the Houston area. Many of you we don't even know, but we are well-acquainted with the gifts of grace and love that you've given to us. The tangible ways you love us turn up in our mailbox almost every day--cards, small gifts, flowers, notes of encouragement. The things we don't see--when you are loving on our family there, or when you are on your knees praying for us--matter even more. Thank you.
It has been 2 weeks since Surgery 2, and we are still waiting on pathology reports to confirm or refute what Dr. M did not find. I will see him for follow-up on Monday. Please pray that he has those reports in hand when we walk in. It feels like my whole life is in a holding pattern while we wait.
May your weekend be blessed with beautiful weather and time well spent with loved ones. My boys are goin' fishing!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Staples, Blood Clots, and an Office Visit

Well, I've put off blogging as long as I can. After yesterday, I feel like I have something to write about beside pain meds and restless nights.
Yesterday, I had an appointment in the oncologist's office to have the staples removed from my incision. My mom and I dropped off the 2 younger boys at their first day of preschool (another post for another time) and headed into Dallas. The office is just behind the hospital where I had surgery, so we knew where we were going and were blessed with good traffic, and arrived 20 minutes early. We ended up waiting over an hour. Don't you HATE that?!? Apparently, the staple-removal case before me was rendered immobile after surgery and getting her set up took quite a while. Unfortunately, all that waiting gave me plenty of time to watch the people coming into the office. Now, obviously--it you're there at all, you're in a bad place. Duh. But the women I saw...well, here's a sample conversation that I overheard:
Lady 1 (already waiting but spotting a friend): Mary Alice, how ARE you?!?!?
Lady 2 (just arrived and signing in): Well, Wanda, I'll tell you. I'm not that great today. I don't have any PLATELETS.
Lady 1: What?!? What happened?
Lady 2: I've switched chemo meds again. And the new drug has messed up my blood, and I've had to have 3 units of blood. Each unit takes 2 hours to give, plus another hour-and-a-half between units for testing and typing. I'm in here today for more testing and I'm so worried that I'll have to go back to the hospital.
Lady 1: Tsk, tsk. What happened with the D-drug?
Lady 2: Oh, the D-drug was just terrible. I couldn't get out of bed for days. I had no energy. I just couldn't do ANYTHING.
Lady 1: You know he (the doctor) isn't here today.
Lady 2: Yes, I know he's still on vacation. I heard he's having a fabulous time. I'll tell you, after each blood unit, I would stop by Krispy Kreme on the way home. I would buy a dozen donuts and eat every single one!
Lady 1: ha ha ha
Lady 2: Harold would say, "Honey, are you hungry?" And I would tell him, "No, not really." Then we would drive through Krispy Kreme anyway. They were delicious.
Both ladies laugh like this is the funniest thing they have ever heard. I'm certain that they are both wearing wigs. I am depressed.
When the sad surgery case finally was done, it was my turn. I don't mind saying that I was pretty worked up about having staples removed. The doctor had told me in the hospital that it wouldn't hurt a bit, but I was not buying it. While the nurse was prepping to take the staples out, my mom mentioned to her that I had been experiencing leg pain. Well. That one sentence threw the entire office into a tizzy. Marilyn and Vicki and Jerri Ann went nuts. Other assorted nurses and assistants were rushing in and out of the room, looking worried. One of them pushed on my feet. "Does this hurt? Does this hurt? Does this hurt?" I wanted to punch her in the nose. Someone finally explained that they were concerned about blood clots, a common and serious occurrence after surgery. They paged the doctor, who ordered a doppler scan for my legs that had to be done TODAY. Nobody cared that I had 3 children who needed to be picked up from school in a timely fashion. They removed the staples and sent us on our merry way back to the hospital.
I had to be re-admitted to the hospital as an outpatient case. When the clerk asked if I had been to Medical City before, I almost laughed. Been here? I just left here! This whole time, Mom was making frantic phone calls to Hubby to try to make a plan for retrieving the children. There was more paperwork, and we were sent upstairs.
No waiting. I couldn't believe it. It is so irritating to me that the medical community seems to have no real sense of timeliness! But that precious sono tech let us right in, and we were done in less than 30 minutes. The rules are that a physician has to review each scan and sign off on it before the patient is allowed to leave. I think the tech felt sorry for me, because she said, "I'm no rookie, and I can't see anything here to worry about. Ya'll go ahead and go, and if I'm wrong, we'll call you." Hubs had to get the little boys from preschool, but Mom and I made it to the elementary school to get Goliath, with a few moments to spare for Chipotle chips and guac in the car. Still no explanation on the leg pain, though.
Oh--in the middle of the frantic office visit, I did ask about the pathology reports. No sign of them yet, so we are resigned to more waiting.
I'm good at some things--like making up preschool songs, baking goodies, and loving my family. But I stink at being a cancer patient. All this laying around and not doing anything useful is really getting under my skin. I do realize how important resting is, and I'm doing my best...really. I miss my life, and if you're in my life, I miss you.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Home

Just a quick update...
I am home. The doctor released me this morning, and I spent most of the day resting in my own bed while my mom and my brother took the boys to the zoo. When they got home, they seemed just as glad to see me as I was to see them.
I am in "recovery mode" now. I am tired, physically and emotionally. I am glad to be back where I belong, where the healing process will be somewhat easier. Thank you again for your prayers--they matter. I will update more in the next few days....

Friday, August 31, 2007

Update from the family

While we are scared to be messing with the blog, my wife's outlet for all purposes, I felt it necessary as I want the world to know what God has done.

The surgery was a great success. The doctor informed us that he was unable to locate any further Cancer, and that there was no evidence of any spreading. This is I believe a great miracle from God, and I can do nothing but praise him for this. He did multiple biopsies and we will not have the results until the end of next week, but until then, my faith is strong that we will once again have the response we have asked God for.
How can we ever thank so many who have prayed and provided for us? The Prayers, gifts, calls, and unbelievable outpouring of love have humbled us and blessed us beyond anything I would have ever imagined. I have never witnessed the spirit of God move so much in my own life, there is evidence of it in my every footstep. I thank God for my wonderful wife, and I thank him for the wonderful friends and family that are so faithful to us. I wrote a poem that I would like to add to this post for everyone to read. I just want the world to know how awesome my wife is, how proud of her I am, and how much I thank God each day for her!
Thank you all once more... hubby....

There is a Tree in my life
when I found her she was the answer to my prayers
the fruit I had tasted had left me empty, lacking in so many ways
but the fruit she provided replenished me, it healed my wounds
falling down, lacking in faith she is always there for me to lean against
she has fruit and strength for more than me,
ever faithful, ever enduring
ever loving she strengthens us all
when I waver, when confusion surrounds me
she is there standing firm and her branches point the way
there is nothing my tree cannot do,
multitudes seek out her wisdom
only I can see what I wish to say
how much she means, how amazing she is
who can ever be like her? she is the tree of the ages, blessed by God as she blesses others with her resolve, with her ever enduring faith
she carries the thorn for us all
yet she stands firm, and my tears provide the nourishment she now needs
Love is when another’s happiness is essential to your own
and I am broken

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

What Tomorrow Holds

You've heard the old saying, "I don't know what tomorrow holds, but I know who holds tomorrow"? Truth is, I don't know what tomorrow holds. It is Surgery 2 day. It will be long and filled with unknowns. It will be a sterile operating room and a small waiting room filled with anxious loved ones. It will be friends and family waiting for news and it will be me, asking for a miracle.
Where will God be tomorrow? He will be in every aspect of my day. He will be with my medical team and in the surgeon's hands. He will sit with my husband and our parents in the waiting room. He will go with me into surgery, and cover me with love and grace no matter what the outcome.
"Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9
"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10
I love this song--"Uncreated One" by Chris Tomlin (so sorry that I don't know how to post a video except to link to it). The refrain is my prayer for tomorrow and the days that follow:
O Great God, be glorified
Our lives laid down
Yours magnified
O Great God, be lifted high
There is none like you.
One more thing before tomorrow: THANK YOU. You know who you are. You have prepared meals and fed my family. You have been to the grocery store for diapers and dog food. You've brought books and magazines to help pass the long hours in bed. You have made phone calls and sent e-mails and written cards. And most of all, you have prayed. Words are inadequate to describe the great outpouring of love we have experienced these last few weeks. Our church family, our friends, our family, and people we don't even know...thank you for ministering to us. We continue to ask for your prayers and anticipate a time that we witness God's answer!

Monday, August 27, 2007

First Day of Kindergarten


Today opened a new chapter in Goliath's life as he ventured off to school for the first time.
He was excited! He didn't seem nervous or anxious at all. The whole family went together to drop him off, and for once the little brothers were seen more than they were heard.

Goliath worked hard yesterday on a drawing for his new teacher. He colored a firetruck for her, then folded it up and put it in an envelope with her name carefully written on the outside. He carried it in his new backpack and gave it to Ms. L first thing. She properly admired his talent and welcomed him to kindergarten!


He took his seat at his little desk and went to work on a raccoon picture. He barely glanced up and mumbled "I love you, too" when we left. He came home with a backpack full of papers and an hour's worth of stories--who he played with, what books they read, and best of all: he wants to go back tomorrow.







End of Summer

Today was the first day of school, which will be a whole separate post. In the spirit of the end of summer, here are some random summertime pictures of the good times we've had. Enjoy!

Happy Father's Day!

Hangin' at the pool with our friends

Little Middle at the water park
Baby at the water park

The Star Wars exhibit at the museum

Look what I can do!

Cool Baby

Playing in the sandbox

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Something to Be Thankful For

I was going to post about the events of yesterday, which included telling my children that their Mommy has cancer. But TODAY...I have something to be thankful for and it seems much more cheerful to share that instead. So....
Goliath starts kindergarten on Monday. No child in the history of the world has been better prepared for kindergarten: we've talked about it until he probably wants to skip it entirely. We draw pictures (hanging on the kitchen wall), we play at the school playground, and we even wrote a song. The time is finally here!!! I have prayed for Goliath's kindergarten teacher for a while, asking God to send the perfect person to meet his needs and make this all-important year a fantastic experience. Today, we met that person and I believe God answered prayer. We went to "Stop & Drop" at the school. The idea is to drop off your school supplies and stop to meet your teacher. His classroom is PERFECT for him--everything I imagined it would be. His whole face lit up to see his name on the bulletin board, labeling his locker (which I didn't have until the 5th grade), and identifying his very own desk! He loved the blocks, the books, the helper chart, and even the big tree in the corner. Ms. L talked to him exactly at his level, made him feel welcome, and we left there "just a little scared but lots of excited" about our new adventure.
This mama is so grateful to serve a God who cares about kindergarten!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Job

Hubby and I were reading the Bible last night, sort of randomly (do you ever do that? Just flip through and wait for God to throw something at you?). In my flipping, I ended up in the book of Job (appropriate, huh?). Job 33 tells of Job's friend Elihu offering "advice." Some friend. What struck me was not so much the verses I read, but the commentary about them in my trusty NIV Life Application Study Bible. It says this:

"Being informed brings a sense of security. It's natural to want to know what's happening in our lives. Job wanted to know what was going on, why he was suffering. In previous chapters, we sense his frustration. Elihu claimed to have the answer for Job's biggest question, "Why doesn't God tell me what is happening?" Elihu told Job that God was trying to answer him, but he was not listening. Elihu misjudged God on this point. If God were to answer all our questions, we would not be adequately tested. What if God had said, "Job, Satan's going to test you and afflict you, but in the end you'll be healed and get everything back?" Job's greatest test was not the pain, but that he did not know WHY he was suffering. Our greatest test may be that we must trust God's goodness even though we don't understand why our lives are going a certain way. We must learn to trust in GOD who is good and not in the goodness of life."
I want to trust the goodness of God, and know that at the end of the day, He is still sovereign. I want to rest peacefully, assured that He is taking care of things even if it doesn't seem that way. I want to have huge faith and live this life in such a way that I only point to Him.
Surgery 2 will be on August 30. Please pray that the next few days will be time well spent with those I love most!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

No Mistakes

I wish I could say I wrote this, but I didn't. My grandmother--a great lady and one of my best friends--sent this to me via e-mail. It spells out my heart and is worth sharing.

My Father's way may twist and turn,
My heart may throb and ache,
But in my soul I'm glad I know,
He maketh no mistake.

My cherished plans may go astray,
My hopes may fade away,
But still I'll trust my Lord to lead
For He doth know the way.

Though night be dark and it may seem
That day will never break;
I'll pin my faith, my all in Him,
He maketh no mistake.

There is so much now I cannot see
My eyesight is far too dim;
But come what may, I'll simply trust
And leave it all to Him.

For by and by the mist will lift
and plain it all He'll make
Through all the way, though dark to me,
He made not one mistake.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Diagnosis

August 7 has come and gone, and I am resting at home. When the doctor said I would need to take it easy for a while, she wasn't kidding! I am 8 days out, and still unable to drive a car, load the washing machine, or pick up Baby. Each day is a little bit easier, and full recovery is in sight.
Or was. After I had surgery last Tuesday, the doctor made her rounds to my room on Thursday morning. My mom was with me at the time (she and Hubby were taking turns sitting with me and staying with the kids), and we heard only 6 words: "I have bad news. It's cancer."
It was like watching a movie in slow motion--I remember thinking that surely the lab had mixed up results (similar to how the nurse had mixed up room numbers the day before and had tried to deliver a newborn baby to me for nursing!!!). Now, nearly a week later, I still feel like that: this MUST be someone else's life.
I saw a gynecologic oncologist this morning. He is listed on D Magazine's top gyn-onc list and comes highly recommended by my own doctor. We liked him fine, but he sure wasn't the down-home, how're-the-kids-doing, come-by-and-say-hi type we are used to! He had received and reviewed the final pathology report from last week's surgery. In discussing my "case," which by the way, seems to be very interesting to the local medical community, he admitted that it's not at all black and white. The cancer seems to be "middle of the road"--not the worst type, not the best. The pathology showed the tumor had spread to my bladder, but they don't know how aggressive or to what degree. The only way to find that out is through another surgery, which will take place 2 weeks from now (just DAYS after Goliath starts kindergarten). After the operation he will know exactly what is going on and how best to treat it.
If there was ever a time I could identify with Job, it is now! I absolutely can not wrap my mind around what God could possibly be thinking in allowing me to have cancer. I am comforted in knowing that "Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts" (Isaiah 55:9). It is so hard not to worry, though--especially about the precious boys God gave me to raise. What I want most in these next few weeks is normalcy. The ability to run my household, play with my kids, and do all the other things that make my life what it is. I do NOT--WILL NOT--want to be defined by this sickness or let it change the kind of wife or mother I desire to be.
As I travel farther down this road, I will do my best to keep up with blogging with the hopes that my journey will be helpful to someone else. In the meantime, thanks for reading and for praying.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Dinner Conversation

Last night, Hubby was kind enough to cook up a big bowl of spaghetti for dinner. While we were eating, Little Middle was showing off by reciting his ABCs and 123s. To add to his performance, Hubby asked him if he would sing a song. "Sure, Dad" said my 3-year-old, "but I can only sing it under the table." So he left his chair, sat underneath the table, and gave us his best rendition of "Thank God I'm a Country Boy." When the song was over, I asked him to come back to his chair and finish his dinner. There was silence, then his small preschool voice called out (with a slight country twang), "I'm stayin' in this hole, and I'm dyin' in this hole."

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Long Time No Blog

You may have noticed it's been a while since my last post. You may even be wondering what's up? Here, in compact form, is an update on the last 3 weeks:
3 weeks ago, Hubby was out of town on business. I woke up, started my day like normal, and felt a shooting pain in my back. It started at my shoulder blade and went all the way down to my waist. In true form, I took 2 Motrin. The pain intensified and started moving around through my rib cage and up toward my heart. I went online and googled "heart attack symptoms." The pain got worse. I called Hubby in tears. He called a friend from church, who showed up at my house within 15 minutes, loaded me and the boys up, and drove us to the hospital.

Long story short, at the end of a 14-hour stay in the ER, the doctors couldn't say what had caused the excruciating pain. They DID say that the scans they had ordered had revealed a ping-pong ball size mass on my left ovary. They wrote a prescription for a painkiller and sent me home with instructions to call my ob-gyn.

The following week I saw my dr. She read over the report, looked at the pictures, and said, "Honey, that's no ping-pong ball. That's a peach." She ordered blood tests to check for "tumor markers" (a frightening term that indicates elevated levels of certain proteins where tumors may be present), and promised to call me with the results.

I waited four days. When she called, she reported that the test results were fairly normal. I breathed a sigh of relief. Then, she went on to say that she would be consulting with a gynecologist-oncologist to get his opinion on whether or not surgery would be necessary. She is familiar with me and the pace at which my life requires me to run, and agreed that if surgery could at all be avoided, we would not do it.

Less than 24 hours later, surgery was being scheduled. The oncologist apparently was of the opinion that something that has grown from nothing to peach-size in less than a year (since my last check-up) should be removed asap. He also advised against further testing or doing a biopsy pre-surgery, on the chance that a needle would puncture the growth and possibly leak cancer cells. Yup. Let's not go there.

That brings me to today. Surgery will be on August 7, and suddenly it seems like every detail of my life points to that date and the recommended six (!!!) weeks of recovery time that follows. Plans are being made for my mother to come and stay. I have had to call my boss and say I may not be there for the beginning of school. I am overwhelmed at the thought of all that needs to be done before then: school shopping, house cleaning, lots of meals in the freezer. I do not know what the future holds. I do not understand why God allows what He does. I do not have a real grasp on what this means for me or my family. Here's what I do know: I serve a God who loves me and is as unsurprised by this as I am taken aback. My God had each and every day of my life mapped out long before I was born. He knows the number of hairs on my head, each thought that I think, and He promises to be with me no matter what. He has a plan, a purpose, for what I am going through, and He only waits to see what I will do with my circumstances. Will I wonder and doubt and question His sovereignty, or will I trust His plan and rest in His arms?

"I will lift up my eyes to the hills--where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth."
Psalm 121:1-2

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtAjrNqEsoM



Monday, June 25, 2007

Mail

Goliath loves to get mail. Every day he offers to get it from the mailbox, and then shuffles through looking for his name. Well, today is his lucky day! He got his very own mail. And not just any mail...Goliath got a credit card offer! It's irresistable, really. 0% introductory APR. No annual fee. Pick your own payment due date! AND, this particular credit card supports the American Kennel Association. He has the option of having the family beagle to adorn his card. I'd be surprised if he doesn't fill out the application this very afternoon with his special blue Crayola and mail it right back. They'll have to forgive his penmanship, however. He is a phonetic speller and his letters tend to run 3-4" in height. Wonder what kind of a credit limit a kindergartener can get these days?

Saturday, June 23, 2007

We Should Adopt Eric Carle

Baby is going through a phase. It has nothing to do with eating or throwing tantrums or wanting Mommy. It is what we refer to as the "Brown Bear Blues." Having brought 2 other little boys through toddlerhood, we should have anticipated it more. But the first time Baby brought Eric Carle's Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? to me, I was caught off guard. I obliged him with the catchy tale of colorful animals, and that's when it started: I handed him the book and he handed it right back to me. Oh, mercy. No matter how many times we read it to him, he brings it back for more. We read Brown Bear at least 10 times a day! We have even enlisted Goliath's help: he can "read" the book and Baby will sit on his lap (cute). There is only one possible diversion that ever works. What is it? Eric Carle's The Very Busy Spider. Sigh.





Monday, June 11, 2007

Car Conversation

Overheard in the car on the way to drop Hubby off at the airport:
Goliath: When I grow up, I am going to have 3 children and I will name them Goliath, Little Middle, and Baby, just like us!
Little Middle: Well, when I grow up, I am going to have 6 children, and I will name them all Hot Dog!

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

If you live in the DFW area, you know it has been raining here for a long time. Like, 11 days. The clouds finally broke on Thursday afternoon, and it was sunny most of the day yesterday. I am all for bad weather, don't get me wrong. Clouds, thunder, and rain make for a very cozy day...IF you don't have 3 little people running around. The first couple of weeks of summer vacation have not been too fun. So, yesterday, on the first sunny day in nearly two weeks, I was inspired to really have fun with the boys. We pulled the old tent out of the garage and set it up in the backyard. The boys stocked it with pillows, blankets, and flashlights, and we were set for a campout! After Baby went to bed, Goliath, Little Middle, and I settled down in the tent to watch Toy Story on the portable DVD player. We were snuggled up and I reveled in that sweet time with my two older kids. I kissed them goodnight, assured them there were no witches or monsters living in our backyard, and fell asleep on my air mattress (I'm too old and snobby to sleep on the ground if I don't have to). At 11:30, I woke up to the wind howling and the sound of thunder. Just when I was wondering if I should wake the boys so we could go inside, it started to POUR down rain. Luckily, we had had the foresight to put the rain tarp over the tent, but STILL....The storm lasted about an hour, and only Little Middle woke up briefly. When the rain was down to a patter, I managed to fall back asleep, only to be woken again at 3 a.m. by another storm. This time, Little Middle wanted to sleep with me, so we hunkered down on the twin-sized air mattress. Goliath never moved, but woke us up at 6:30. He was absolutely cheerful about our adventure, and clueless about what had really gone on during the long night. Needless to say, I sought shelter in my warm, dry bed and slept until 9:00. I think I will look for other, less sleep-depriving ways to be a Fun Mom.


P.S. This picture was from last week, when we were on Day 6 of rain. Goliath and Little Middle had had enough inside, so we gave in and let them play outside in spite of the weather!


Thursday, May 31, 2007

End of the Chapter

First, I must apologize because this post is a backtrack. I have wanted to write about Goliath's graduation from preschool, but it's been nearly 2 weeks since it happened. Part of me is sad and I feel like maybe if I don't write about it, it won't be true; and part of me wanted a picture to go with the post and I can never download them off the camera. I've been waiting for help.


So...two weeks ago a sweet chapter of Goliath's life book came to a close. He has attended preschool since he was 20 months old. This past year has been so much fun to watch him truly blossom socially, mentally, and spiritually. During the graduation ceremony I was thinking about how much he has changed in the past year. It doesn't seem that long ago that I was feeling unconcerned, like I had plenty of time left with him at home. Watching him march in with the other 5-year-olds to receive his preschool "diploma," however, I was panicky...this is IT, and come September, our lives will never be the same. Then, those precious little ones sang a song about how much God loves them. I was in tears (of course), but quietly reassured because I know that my baby will go to kindergarten knowing that he is loved. Loved by his mom and dad, but more importantly...he is loved by God.


He received a Bible of his very own as a graduation gift. He has been very interested in looking at the pictures and reading stories. I pray that as a new chapter of Goliath's life unfolds, he will learn the truths in that book and claim them for his own.





He is an amazing blessing to us, and we are PROUD
parents!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Happy Anniversary


Happy Anniversary, babe. Thank you for being my partner in this crazy life and my best friend. I miss you and can't wait for our date tonight!

Tomorrow morning if you wake up
And the sun does not appear
I, I will be here
If in the dark, we lose sight of love
Hold my hand and have no fear
I, I will be here

I will be here when you feel like being quiet
When you need to speak your mind, I will listen
I will be here when the laughter turns to crying
Through the winnin', losin' and tryin', we'll be together'
Cause I will be here

Tomorrow morning if you wake up and the future is unclear
I, I will be here
As sure as seasons are made for change
Our lifetimes are made for years
So I, I will be here

I will be here and you can cry on my shoulder
When the mirror tells us we're older
I will hold you
And I will be here
To watch you grow in beauty
And tell you all the things you are to me
I will be here

I will be true to the promise I have made
To you and to the One who gave you to me

And just as sure as seasons are made for change
Our lifetimes are made for years
So I, I will be here
We'll be together
I will be here

Friday, May 25, 2007

Laugher is the Best Medicine

My kids crack me up.
They think nuns are gnomes.
If you have an itch, you must have fleas.
All the lobsters in the tank at the grocery store died, and they had a ready explanation: A fox must have come in to the store in the middle of the night and eaten all the poor little lobsters.
Goliath is convinced that his grandfather is bald because he pulled out each little hair, one by one, in order to get a new hairstyle.
I'm sure I laughed before I was a mom, but I can't really remember much delightful, belly-aching, hold-your-sides laughter like what I have now. The best part is, they don't even KNOW they are funny!!

Friday, May 18, 2007

No Rest for the Weary

Before we had the boys, we slept in on Saturdays. We took naps in the afternoon. We were well-rested.
I have not had a fully restful sleep in over 5 years. It comes with the kids. I've gotten used to it, and being tired usually doesn't bother me much. Last night, however....I stayed up late because I had the bright idea to bake homemade cookies for the boys' teachers for end-of-the-year gifts. When I made this brilliant plan, I did not calculate how many cookies I would need. 3 kids, 2 teachers each---that's a lot of cookies. I started baking at 1:30 in the afternoon and Letterman had started his monologue before I was done. Turned out Hubby wasn't feeling well and there is a known stomach bug going around, so I opted to sleep on the sofa. THEN there was an especially-funny rerun of "Everybody Loves Raymond" on, and I just had to finish it. It was pretty late when I finally crashed. I had been asleep all of 20 minutes when Little Middle woke up crying. I got up, soothed him back to sleep, and returned to my sofa bed. I slept for maybe another hour, and I was awakened by a noise. It took me a minute, but there was no mistaking a middle-of-the-night chirping bird outside the window. I lay there for 10 more minutes willing it to be quiet, but no such luck. So, at 1:00 this morning, I was standing out in my front yard in my pjs armed with a golf ball out of the toy box. I listened, took aim, and threw that ball as hard as I could into the tree where the stupid bird was singing. It was pitch black outside and I couldn't see a thing, but it was very satisfying to hear that ball thunk each of the tree branches on its way down. I managed to find it in the yard and threw it one more time for good measure. It thunked down, rolled out into the street, and all was quiet. I went back and tucked myself in on my sofa and slept soundly until my alarm went off.
I am going to bed early tonight...hopefully the bird learned its lesson and will sing to someone else.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day

"She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her. Many women do noble things, but you surprass them all. Charm is deceptive and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised." Proverbs 31:27-30
To my fellow moms...may this day be spent close to your family doing all the things that make you happy. Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Trials and Faith

So...today was the day of Baby's big hearing test. Up until recently, I was blissfully ignorant of the many things that can result from simple ear infections. On 3 separate occasions, he failed ordinary hearing tests. The audiologist told us his hearing was "questionable" at best and some hearing loss from constant ear infections was possibly permanent. No mama wants to hear that her baby is anything less than perfectly normal, and this mama's heart was scared and hurt. For weeks now, I have kept a close eye on my youngest son, desperately wanting undeniable proof that the audiologist had him all wrong. Instead, God gave me snippets of proof...an animal noise here and there, a silent nod or shake of his head in response to a question, a precious "Mama" or "Dada" when he wanted to be held. No doubt he was not profoundly deaf, but could he hear just as well as a "normal" child? Would there be speech delays? Would there be learning difficulties later on? I had questions and needed definitive answers.
Very early this morning, we arrived at the hospital and Baby's ENT examined him. Right off the bat he discovered that his ear tubes needed to be replaced (they've been in less than 6 months) and that Baby had a severe ear infection. We gave permission for the re-do of the surgery, of course. While we waited (anxiously), I alternately prayed for good results and questioned God. "Lord, WHY am I sitting here again?" A pillar of faith I was not. After what seemed like forever, the audiologist came out to deliver the news: Baby's hearing is fine. He hears normally at all levels. He doesn't even have to do a hearing test on his next office visit!
From there we went to the recovery room where I got my baby back. He was totally out of it from the anesthesia, and I would not trade those precious moments of holding him close for anything. I was gently reminded that my children are really not mine at all...they belong to my Father. He has the absolute right to do with them as He pleases to fulfill His plan for each of their lives. It is not for me to worry about their hearing abilities or their little friendships or whether they will only eat Tonka Truck fruit snacks for days on end. It is for me to be the best mommy I can be to them: provide for their physical needs, love them without condition, teach them what they need to know, and show them what it means to walk with the Lord.
I am grateful for good results, and I am seeking to be more faithful.
Until next time...

Thursday, May 3, 2007

On My Heart

Just a few Scriptures that have been on my heart lately...
Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever. For great is your love toward me... Psalm 86:11-13
Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23
See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands. Isaiah 49:16
Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation. He is my fortress, I will not be shaken. Psalm 62:5-6

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Appliances



It's a bad time to be an appliance in our household. Last weekend, our vacuum cleaner broke. By broke, I mean there was a horrible smell, we shut off the power, and there was literally a cloud of smoke (or was that dust?) in the room.

Yesterday, big storms rolled through Texas. As I was drifting off to sleep last night to the sound of the repeated tornado and flash flood warnings, I was thinking to myself how glad I am we were not one of those neighborhoods affected by power outages. Apparently, our neighborhood is on the "shut off the power after the rain stops falling" list. I woke up at 1 a.m. when the electricity went off, nearly broke my toe trying to find the TXU phone number using my cell phone for a flashlight, and laid awake until it came back on at 3 a.m. During those 2 angry hours, I contemplated how really angry I would be if all the food in my refrigerator went bad.

Good thing the food was saved, because as it turned out, the power outage shorted out my hair dryer. I will wake up tomorrow armed with a prayer that nothing else goes wrong and a brand new hair dryer.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Our New Addition

It was an exciting weekend around our house. For the past while, Goliath has been working above and beyond the regular list of household duties, taking on several jobs that used to belong to his dad. They include taking out the trash, vacuuming the toy room, and cleaning up after the dog outside. (I graciously offered some "mom jobs" i.e. dishes, laundry, packing school lunches...but somehow I'm still doing all those myself!) He has been collecting a modest allowance, which he was saving to get a pet. He REALLY wanted a pet of his very own, so we agreed that if he could pay for it, he could have it. We did not anticipate that he would save so much money so quickly!

Anyway, Saturday was the day. There were some limitations to what sort of pet he could choose: no dogs (we have one), no cats (don't like 'em), and nothing slimy/reptilian/beady-eyed/bug-eating (icky). Hubby was reminding him of Mommy's pet rules as they were leaving for the pet store, and I heard him come back in calling for me. "Mommy, what kind of pet do you like?" he asked. "Well, I guess I would like something cute and furry," I said. "Then that's what I'll get because I love you, Mom!" Awww.

An hour later, they're back with a guinea pig. My brother and I both had guinea pigs when we were kids, so that was great with me. Goliath named his new friend Lenny ("Wonder Pets" anyone?). Lenny is all black except for one white front leg. He is cute, and Goliath adores him. We set up the cage in his bedroom, and Goliath has been taking good care of him. Lenny chews on stuff, plays with his toys, eats lots of carrots, and is gradually making himself at home in his new home. So far, the only problem has been Baby discovering that he can climb on a chair and open Lenny's cage. We will be making a trip to the hardware store this week to buy a lock!




Thursday, April 19, 2007

School Lunches

Sorry I haven't posted in a while. It's been a combination of a couple of things: a) there's nothing really exciting going on, and b) if there were, I wouldn't have had time to blog about it anyway!
If you know me or you read my profile, you know that I teach preschool part-time. It's a good arrangement, really...I get out of the house and do something I love, yet I'm still close to my boys, and the boys go to school at half-price tuition! (Stuff like that really matters when you have as many kids as we do.) We have school on Mondays and Fridays, so Sunday and Thursday nights are prep time. That means loading up backpacks, gathering nap mats, and packing lunches. The task of making school lunches is daunting to me. It ranks right up there on my list with scrubbing toilets or folding laundry. I hate deciding what everyone will eat and I'm always wondering if the teacher will think I'm a terrible mother if I send a cookie for dessert or a CapriSun instead of bottled water?!?!? To complicate matters, Goliath can be described as a picky eater. For the first 5 years of his life, he would not eat sandwiches. Or pizza. Or corn dogs on a stick. Think about it...what else IS there for a kid to eat? Chicken nuggets: check. Hot dogs (minus the bun): check. Fish sticks: check. That's about it.
Almost overnight, though, his tastes have changed. Suddenly, it's, "Mommy, can we order pizza tonight for dinner?" "Mom, I'll make myself a turkey sandwich for lunch." "I want a bun for my hot dog, please!!!" This pleasant turn of events has opened up a whole new world for me on Sunday and Thursday nights. Tonight, I made 2 lunches that were identical: PB&J sandwiches, carrot sticks, Cheetos, and gigantic marshmallows. It was so much easier! Now, if I can just get Picky Eater Baby to try something besides strawberry yogurt and fruit snacks...

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Happy Easter

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died
My richest gain I count but loss
and pour contempt on all my pride.

See, from His head, His hands, His feet
Sorrow and love flow mingled down.
Did e'er such love and sorrow meet
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small.
Love, so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.


Happy Easter!


Saturday, April 7, 2007

Small Miracle

Most of our friends and family have prayed us through the last 9 months with our baby. He suffered constant ear infections, had tubes put in, stayed sick, and endured trial-and-error cocktails of assorted medications. Two weeks ago we saw our ENT for what I hoped would be a final visit. Baby has been surprisingly healthy for a couple of months; I prayed for a clean bill of health and a release form. Instead, I got an audiologist telling me that Baby's hearing is questionable at best and the doctor recommending an invasive test requiring general anesthesia. Since then, I have been a wreck. Our friends and family are praying again, and I spend a great deal of time following Baby around the house, listening hard for any intelligible word or a sign that he comprehends what I say to him. Tonight, while he was eating the head off of a dinosaur chicken nugget, I was chatting at him about animal sounds. "Baby, what does a chicken say?" I am so used to him not responding that I almost missed it: "Bock bock," said he. "Baby, what does a cow say?" "MOOO." Never before has a chicken noise sounded so sweet, and I doubt that the moo of a cow will ever again bring me to tears. This precious communication does not mean we are out of the woods, but it is definitely an answer to this mommy's prayer.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Oh, To Be a Carrot

Little Middle is 3, and a birthday means a trip to the doctor. We went yesterday for a well check-up. Our pedatrician is wonderful, and her office is as fun and comfortable as it could possibly be. Each treatment room has large murals painted on the walls in kid-friendly themes. We particularly love the Clifford room, the Curious George room, and the hot air balloon room (where I have spent HOURS with Baby's infected ears). Yesterday the nurse put us in the Peter Rabbit room, which has the unfortunate tale of Peter's disregard for his mother's instruction painted around the room with illustrations. We have been reading the same book at home recently, with Easter coming up, so the boys were thrilled.
Dr. B came in and examined Little Middle, proclaiming him healthy and growing. Just as she was leaving, he leaned over and said, "Dr. B...can I tell you a whisper? When I grow up, I want to be a carrot." I am praying he was temporarily swayed by Peter Rabbit's presence and that he aims higher than that when the time comes. In the meantime, our reputation at the ped's office continues to grow...