Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Many Ways Motherhood has made me a liar (thanks Jules--I stole your idea-again!)

Remember when you had no children and were the perfect parent? All the things you said you would never do (or that your children would never do?) When you rolled your perfectly made up eyes at the screaming child in line in front of you at the grocery store and the frumpy, harried mom with him or her? I used to be that person-well, I've never been one to be "perfectly made up" but you get the idea.

Here are things I said I (or my child) would never do.

1. Wear boots with shorts. But come on, it's cute!

2. Yell at my child. Need I say more?

3. Co-sleep. Does it really matter? If we're all sleeping?

4. Drive a mini-van. My last two vehicles have been mini-vans and I can't imagine driving anything else.

5. Go out of the house with a child (especially a girl child) with "ratty" hair. Have you seen Haley's hair?

6. Make a big deal about Halloween. I don't necessarily think it's an evil holiday, just not my thing. So, this year I'm having a party (That I can't afford) and making costumes for my kids. **eyes roll**

7. Breast-feed past 1 year. Hmmm, Haley is what? 21 months old now?

8. Give them candy. But how can I eat candy if I don't share? That would be wrong, right?

9. Drag my kids along with me on shopping trips. Ummm, if I want to shop what am I going to do with them? And unfortunately, I love to shop. I did tell Harold though that a 3rd child would save him $$ because I would not be able to shop as much (that, my friends, was not a lie!)

I've learned that in parenting there are very few "black and white" issues. There are so many shades of gray Crayola could make a whole box of 96 just of those grays. It's very frustrating. Some things (that children do) are not right or wrong, they might just be annoying. Or they might be funny (but wrong). Parenting is so much guess work, especially with the first child-the guinea pig. (I've already written her a letter of apology that she can read when she's older). The middle child we think we've gotten it right til we realize that he is suffering from loneliness (he has to have his own room while the girls get to share-what??? I thought kids wanted their own room!) and feels ignored.
And the third child...forget about it. By now we've given up on every parenting ideal we had in the beginning. She eats off the floor (we do draw the line at the pile of dirt we are sweeping up) and plays with bugs. She runs around outside with a droopy diaper and all of her clothes are stained. She climbs things, she falls in fires (ok, "only" once but still...) She's a mess. We're doing the best we can. But we've learned not to make judgments of other people's children or their parenting capabilities. Because there but for the Grace of God go I. I'm so grateful God is watching out for my poor children while I fumble along doing a mediocre job at best!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I'm just sick...

There is a story out of Corpus Christi about a mom (Hannah Overton) who had several children and was fostering (in the process of adopting) a special needs child. This child died while in her care due to salt poisoning. There was some question as to whether this was her fault because she had fed him something high in sodium (somehow to treat his eating disorder-this mixture was supposed to help him to feel satisfied, something never achieved in normal circumstances with this child). Some even suggested she had forcefully fed the child this mixture (but there was no evidence to support this theory by the prosecution). The child then exhibited flu-like symptoms and just seemed "off". She treated him (like any mother would-who rushes her child to the ER for "flu-like" symptoms?) and then when her husband got home, I think an hour later or so, they took him to an urgent care place. Then, the dr's put an IV in him with...you guessed it! Salt! How was she supposed to know it was salt poisoning if the dr's didn't?

Her children were questioned (these are young children)and their words twisted and used against their own mother. His mosquito bites were and bruises were pointed at as evidence of abuse (this was a young boy-they get mosquito bites and they fall down and get bruises on their legs...). At any rate, how can salt poisoning be first degree murder!? Who uses salt to intentionally kill someone? So, this mother of small children is now in prison for life without the possibility of parole.

Now we have this story: A man shoots his grown son (with a gun-which is actually an intentional weapon-unlike salt) and kills him. He gets 3 years. Give me a break!

Note: I guess if you are looking for the positive in this situation, she has started a prison ministry and has helped several women come to know Christ (this is something I've heard and have no reason not to trust the source) and it has caused people to begin questioning what is going on in our local judicial system.

Update on Haley

I've had several requests for an update on Haley's burns. She is doing great! Her left leg (the least severe ones) is completely unbandaged and just has some little pink spots (nothing really rough or anything) and her right arm is healing nicely. The only reason we're keeping it bandaged is to keep the Neosporin on it (because she is so active there is no other way to keep the meds on it to keep it moist and healing)
Now, her right leg...that was the worst of the burns and they are doing much better too. They do have some "lumpiness" in the skin which has me a bit concerned for scarring. Hopefully if she does have some it'll be temporary. They are no longer weepy and nasty looking-just a healthy pink color.

I'm thinking it's time to switch to vitamin E on some of the burns-to help w/ scarring. Thank you everyone who kept her in your prayers! Her healing is wonderful! Thank You God!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Who I Am

I am Rosemary's granddaughter
The spitting image of my father
And when the day is done
My momma's still my biggest fan
Sometimes I'm clueless and I'm clumsy
But I've got friends who love me
And they know just where I stand
It's all a part of me
And that's who I am

I'm a saint and I'm a sinner
I'm a loser, I'm a winner
I'm am steady and unstable
I am young but I'm able

(excerpt from Jessica Andrews' song)

It's not often that I relate personally to a country song (at least not since I was a broken hearted teenager dealing with angst and needing to have someone understand-even if it was a country singer). My life is pretty good-no cryin', lovin' or leavin'...no tears in my beer. But this song just really started running through my mind over and over and had me thinking how we are the sum total of all we come from and all we experience. I am a firm believer in "NO REGRETS". When you go through something (whether it's a bad choice you make or something incredibly sad) it's part of who you are.

And you can never use one word to describe you all of the time. Every person is a dichotomy in some way or another. We are all saints and we are all sinners. We all spend time as losers and time as winners. At times we are steady as rocks and at times we are more like quicksand. And that's who we are.

I started thinking also about who I come from. I am so much a part of my parents and my grandparents. All of those people shape your life in some way. My grandparents spent a lot of time with me that made a big difference. I believe every child needs someone to love them and want to spend time with them. Parents "have to" because it's their job. I knew my grandparents wanted me with them for the pure joy of having me there. That is really special!

I remember the time I spent with my mom (especially before she re-married) as some awesome girl-time! We drove down the road going to and from the lake singing Hank Williams Junior songs. We went to garage sales (although this was not as "cool" as I got older...but even then she told me how I could tell the other kids where I got my clothes from without lying-"Just say your mom got them for you") Thanks mom, for that. For understanding that while I appreciated the clothes, I also was a kid, amongst kids (who can be the meanest people ever!)

For my dad...who never made me feel like a "step-child". He was the dad he "didn't have to be".

There are so many other people who shape who we are but those are the immediate ones and the most influential...

These days I get so caught up in being a mother and a wife that I sometimes forget I have other roles in life. I almost feel that if someone doesn't know I'm a mom then they'll think I'm nobody. (The rare occasion that I don't have my children with me I feel the need to announce to people that I do have children!? What's with that?)The thoughts this song brought to mind just help remind me that I am not just one thing. I am so many things all combined-and THAT'S WHO I AM.

And you know what? As I have gotten older I like who I am!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

My Favorite Moment

I wasn't sure what I was going to title this post or how I would handle it...it's not really a joking matter, and yet I just kept thinking of Johnny Cash and his song "Ring of Fire". Then, I remembered my friend Jules and her "favorite moment" thing that she has promised me she loves when other people do...so I decided to put this under that heading.

My baby girl, during our camp out this weekend with Lindsay's scouting troop (American Heritage Girls), fell into the campfire ring. Blessedly, she did not fall into the flames. However, she did get some horrible burns. I cannot even describe the horror from the moment I saw her wobble and go down til the terror, pain-stricken screaming subsided.

Now, let me explain why this is under "favorite moment". Because I'm sure it seems quite the strange way of categorizing a moment like this. (And then I will update and even have some pictures of my pathetic little bandaged baby) We were camping with a group of families that I didn't know all that well. I knew they seemed nice and I like visiting with most of them that I've had the opportunity to visit with. The minute the screaming (from me, our friends we shared the campsite with and Haley) ensued people just surrounded us with love and support. From physically helping us to get the burns cooled down with water and cold, wet cloths, to holding me when I felt like collapsing to taking us to the hospital so we would not have to drive in our emotional condition to (ESPECIALLY) the prayers that surrounded us (from beginning to end and still going). The support and love was phenomenal!!! That is why this is a favorite moment. So often, these days are so busy and harried that we don't take time to put ourselves out and be emotionally and physically available to others. We often don't even know our neighbors (because everyone pulls directly into their garage and shuts the door behind them and hides behind privacy fences) and we just-as a general society-are not close-knit. In this world that we are accustomed to it was so awesome (literally awed me-that is not just valley girl talk ;) ) to have so many people converge on us and take care of us. It reminds you that there are still people who love and care for others just the way Jesus told us to. That is my favorite moment. When that realization hit home.

Now, Haley is doing just fine. !? Go figure! She seems to be in very little pain/discomfort. It's weird how "normal" she's being today (this happened just 24 hours ago-9pm on Saturday night). Pretty much our biggest problem has been keeping her calm and clean. She has wanted to run, jump and roll in the dirt! Needless to say we have to change her bandages more often than most would have to! She is our little Taz and must have a very high pain tolerance. This morning, when asked where her owie was she told us it was this teeeeeeeny tiny little (not worth mentioning) scab on her thigh!? Really?? And then she found an even smaller scab on my hand and had to kiss it for me! She is amazing in her resilience! We will be having a follow-up appointment with her pediatrician tomorrow (hopefully early on) and they will tell us what to do from this point and check it...I would really appreciate continued prayers for Haley. That her scarring would be minimal-or better yet, non-existent!

And for the pictures:
Poor baby...

Being Haley...(a little drugged up though! ;) )

before the incident! I don't know if she thinks she's Johnny Appleseed or what...

Sittin' in her chair eating grapes! :) But first you gotta pick the stems off (she's a little obsessive about things like this-she takes it very seriously)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Art of Being Cheap Miserly Frugal

In these times of financial hardship (recession) it's becoming increasingly difficult to get by-especially when you are committed to living on one income. Living on one income is not an easy task. There are times when I feel tempted to throw in the homeschooling towel, send the kids down to the (free) public school and go to work. I could definitely make enough-even with my limited earning capacity-to pay for daycare for my youngest and clear a little bit of profit. But, if I do that I will not be happy. For our family, in this time it is God's will that I stay home with my children and torture homeschool them! I truly believe this. (**Note: I do NOT believe that this is God's will for every family or that every family is supposed to homeschool--Nor do I believe at all that it is a sin for children to go to Public Schools or PRivate school!!!! Please do not think I'm saying that.)

So, I am left with the responsibility of making the money go further. That is my earning power if you will. (I "earn" money by saving it) Sometimes I don't do so well-usually when I've tried so hard for so long not to spend frivolously and then I start getting a bad case of the dt's and end up on a spending binge. Now, before you think I buy all manner of things for myself that are totally frivolous and fluff...I don't. I generally stick to the children's department-that is my drug of choice. I also stick to sale/clearance racks. So, I guess I should say that my drug of choice is children's sale racks. The only problem is that usually I save us so much money we're broke.

My husband dreads the word "clearance" like some men dread the news that their wife is having an affair. When I say "Honey. Look, this was on clearance" He gets this terrified look on his face.
At this point I've lost him. He loses all sense of how exciting the kill is. He (like most men) just does not get the thrill of the hunt. It's not that I bought something but that it was less than it originally was!

Back to frugality...There are many resources out there, such as www.miserlymoms.com (which goes along with a book called Miserly Moms)and www.hillbillyhousewife.com. Now, some of the tips in these lovely ladies' books and websites are wonderful and helpful. Others...I just can't go there. Such as making your own sanitary products. And keeping the, ahem, used ones in a bucket in the bathroom (the bucket would have vinegar and water I believe). Ummm, ewwww! I can just see me greeting guests "And if you need to use the restroom, don't mind the bucket...it's my monthly time" SmileyCentral.com
Not a good thing to greet your guests with.
That is just one example of the extreme(ly gross) ideas in some of the resources for saving.

Another thing that I will not do is make a list of every possible food I ever will think about buying and keeping track of the price at each store. My time is worth something, right? (Besides, who can do that with 3 kids with you in the store??)

Some that bear thinking about:
1) Taking your lunch with you rather than eating out. If you're going for an outing that you know will have you out during a meal time take a meal with you. It's also healthier.
2) Coupons combined with sale items.
3) Arranging your errands so that you don't waste gas on your trips out.
4) Budgeting of course.
5) Cooking and freezing things in advance (ie-making your own "convenience" foods)

This is just the beginning of getting back into some of these mindsets for me-and my family. We did it for a while and then got caught up in life (and honestly, a little bit of the "Keeping up with the Jones'" mentality) and let it go...now we are seeing where that got us. I don't know how the Jones' are doing, but we do not enjoy debt.

Space Center Houston!

Pretty soon y'all (whoever reads my blog that is-not that I've had many comments lately, so if you are reading and not commenting...please soothe my insecurities and post a quick comment!) are going to wonder if we are ever actually at home for homeschooling! I am beginning to wonder that same thing. It seem as if we should call ourselves "vanschoolers" or "roadschoolers". We have been very blessed lately to have opportunity to go to so many great activities. I am so tired, but I do feel like I have been providing my children with some awesome exposure and opportunities.

Yesterday was a homeschool day (meaning it was closed to the public) at Space Center Houston. We left at 4am to get there by 9am **Yawn**. It was a full day of fun and activity (and chasing Haley) and learning. They were good about their opportunities for hands on activities! We missed out on a few things because of time restraints but we were the only ones that knew about it-the kids didn't even know they'd missed anything. We went with some friends of ours who shared the cost of gas and were there to help with driving if I needed it. So, we had a van-full! But, it was a really good thing!

Here are the pics!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

What Could Be Better...

than a field trip to a chocolatier on a Monday morning?

It was an awesome field trip. It was really more than I expected. I figured the kids would watch some chocolate being made and then get to eat a little something. But, Miss Anita (the chocolatier) talked about history of chocolate (how the Aztecs discovered it and used it) as well as the different stages of it. They got to taste some cacao powder (I think that's what it was) which had a definite negative response! :) So, when she handed them some actual chocolate she had to encourage them to taste because it was yummy! They then got to take the chocolate's temperature (to make sure it was still warm enough to be liquid-y and work with) with a laser gun that zaps it and has a temp read out (of course the boys all thought that was great!) and dip a large pretzel and put sprinkles on it. What a treat, huh?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

New Dating Rituals

So, I've already admitted that my hubby and I very rarely get the chance to go out sans kids. So, maybe this new thing we saw last night isn't so new...we went to Olive Garden (yep, on a Saturday Night) and were told it'd be 35 mins wait, ok. We can do that. (No sense going from restaurant to restaurant where the wait just keeps getting longer, right?) More than an hour later as we were walking to our seat finally we had made a few discoveries.
Apparently, last night was homecoming or some other fancy dance thing. (I'm a little out of that scene) so there were scads of teenagers milling prancing around. Some of these teenagers succeeded in looking very grown-up and to some degree sophisticated. Others, succeeded in looking like HOOKERS! My hubby and I had to push our lower jaws back into place more than a few times and push our eyeballs back into the sockets. Some of these young girls looked like street-walkers. And the amazing thing to me...surely their mothers saw them leaving the house like that...and allowed them to continue walking! Ok, maybe there is nothing really new about this. When I was in school I definitely tried to push the envelope of propriety sometimes, but my mom (thanks mom!) reigned in my attempts at trying out what I was sure was being grown-up and sophisticated. I now know that there is nothing grown up or sophisticated about all of your parts hanging out for the world to see. And if I wasn't sure of it before...I am after last night. Some of the dresses were so short that I just watched (kind of like you watch a wreck about to happen-you don't really want to see but can't tear your eyes off of the ensuing carnage) waiting for a stiff wind (we do after all live on the coast! Stiff winds happen often!
Now, here's the thing that really seems to have changed. These high school "couples" appeared to be very studious at not being a couple. The boys walked 3 steps ahead of the girls they were with (hello, isn't that the height of rudeness?) and both the boys and the girls spent half the time TEXTING! I don't know, maybe they were texting each other? When we were on dates (back in the dark ages) you usually went with someone you liked and you talked or held hands or something. Today's teenagers (now I sound really old) can't hold hands because texting requires both hands I guess.
I was heartened to see a couple of old-fashioned couples towards the end of our wait though. Couples not holding cell-phones but hanging on each other as if they couldn't get close enough...Now, to me, that is the picture of a healthy teenage relationship!

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