Thursday, December 29, 2011

I forgot to sit weepily by Toby's bed Tuesday night, although it's my custom the night before his birthdays. I sit there by his sweaty little boy-self, mismatched pjs or sleeping in his jeans; and I think, "this is the last night you will be _." and then I cry a little. But this year, we drove all day and then I stayed up, staring resentfully at a giddy Tristan, tearing around my room until the wee hours of the morning.

I kind of felt like weeping when Toby came in my room like 6 hours later, but that was a different thing. Once I recovered from my daily crushing disappointment in being awake, I was so happy to see him, with his hair sticking up and his giant smile. We had a date scheduled for he and Brynn to go to Walmart with his Christmas money, and he was so excited about that that he forgot it was his birthday.

The highest aspiration of his life has been to have a Happy Meal. He had one once, when we randomly happened upon a $1.99 sale, and ever since then he's been planning on the next time. He was going to get one with his cousin, but then he moved away and so Toby picked Brynn to be the other recipient. They used their  OUTSIDE VOICES throughout the meal, to express their excitement in finding their own TINY FRIES BOX! AND APPLES AND A TOOOOOOOOY! I don't know if they ate anything, but it was awesome and totally worth my $7.00.

Then we took their Christmas money from a great-grandma ($25 each) to Walmart and they were hilarious as they looked through every toy, basically. They did awesome, choosing good things they liked and staying in their budgets. In fact, Toby spent about 2 hours and only spent $9. That's me, y'all.

At night, he gleefully climbed into his rightful place on the top bunk, having denied it to himself for over 6 months now. I love my happy little geeky rule-keeper. What a gift he is to me. 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Thursday, December 22, 2011

I'm sitting in a hotel room, where it is quiet, except for the humming of appliances and the screeching of passing seagulls. We  had hotel reward points saved up and got a free room, which we will relinquish momentarily, once the MOG comes back from the jetties, where he is no doubt encountering God in a way that only happens here, by the ocean. I married a mystic.

As for me, I am just starting to feel relaxed. Somehow it takes me a day or so to let go of whatever I'm thinking about. I wrote an article for Moral Outcry yesterday, and then I read a story of a violet-eyed dance-hall girl turned goldminer, and how she found love instead of gold. Sometimes I wonder why I'm not writing books. It seems pretty easy, if you catch my drift. Maybe I'll write an Amish fiction series, about Elisabeth Yoder and the Englischer who saves her Mam's life and captures her heart, but he plays the guitar and has a rare blood disease. And BAM! I'm in.

And it's not like I really have an excuse. Women with much busier lives than me write books. Also, women who write books would probably have never let ^ that  sentence slide. It comes down to discipline and organization, I think. I think about this all the time, actually. How I could get organized and put my thoughts together and find something for the kids to do and then sit down and write something longer than 300 words. But then I just have a snack and do something else.

I will do it, you know, eventually. I take great comfort in the advanced age of many beginning writers, people who had their first book published in their latter years, which is not me- I mean, I am 33. Still a puppy. So soon, very soon, I will collect all of my books about writing books, and my special laptop tray and all of the other stuff I've purchased instead of writing, and I will write a book. And when I do, you better buy it.

Monday, December 19, 2011

I read parenting magazines with this kind of detached arrogance. I mean, I think they're wrong about basically everything, but I would kind of like to know how to make a cake like a pirate ship, and it gives me a little boost of security to hear how some of their jacked-up philosophies are not working.

That's right, I'm a parenting judger. I probably don't judge your parenting, IRL friends, because I know we've all got some pieces of the puzzle. But in a magazine, heck yes I judge. And I seriously doubt anyone has ever done weight lifting and crunches using their infant as weights, for more than like a day. Yeah, you tried it once. Doesn't count. Judging. And after you leg pressed your 3 month old 100 times, you ate a sleeve of Oreos, so quit judging me for judging you.

Where I was going with this, is, one of the things I always roll my eyes at is when a parent (in a magazine) is all like, "What do I dooo? My 3 year old said they hate me and I don't know what to do! Should I buy her a pony?" And I'm always like, "Uh, you're the parent. It doesn't matter what your kid thinks. Be a man, lady." And I have these whole rants in my head about people who let their kids run everything and don't reign them in or parent them, because of their emotional need to be accepted by a FOUR YEAR OLD.

But then today I was super-parenting my way through a loaf of bread and a vat of peanut butter and such and some paper plates, Toby watches me yawn and says "I wish you'd sleep forever so you wouldn't bug me about my computer time." And I'm standing there making a sandwich for the little ingrate, and I am trying to think of what is the appropriate parental response to this. a) drop the knife and go on strike until he took it back or b) burst into tears and lay on the floor until he said he loves me and knows he owes me his LIFE.

In the end, I made some kind of vague comments about how much he'd miss me if I slept forever, and he looked stricken for a moment, WIN for me, until he said, "But I'd need my Webkinz code!" and rethought his plan to send me into hyper-sleep eternally.

One of these days I'm going to go check into a LaQuinta somewhere for 24 hours and watch Dr. Phil and Sandra Bullock movies all day and turn off my phone. Then we'll see how much everyone loves me. And I will take the Webkinz code with me. That'll show 'em.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Day 5:

I don't know if I went in with the wrong motivation... I just know I was done yesterday. It was a good fast, in that I had a difficult week and dealt with it in realtime, instead of my normal mode of dealing with it "later", which may or may not happen. It was totally worth it, because, come on, even if I took a week off entertainment and social media for NO reason, it would be a good idea every now and then.

Now, the MOG and I have done many fasts together, and I, being raised in church and Christian school, understand that breaking a fast is a greased slide to hell. He, being raised in a meth lab (this is a joke), understands grace and forgiveness, and also tends to go on random and ferocious fasts, which he then thinks better of and bails on. I barely ever fast, because once I commit to one, I tend to stay in it, even if I die.

So we rarely fast together these days, since I fear becoming a son of Hell and he has no use for legalism. But we did this one and then when I wanted to quit he said ok, probably because there was some documentary about underwater alien species and the threat of the scuba diver that he wanted to watch, I don't know.

So it's over and now it is CHRISTMAS. Texas next week, woot woot!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Housewife log, day something, losing perception of time

This is Day 4, I think. Wednesday night, as I'm typing this. I am becoming more sure as the days pass that social media is valid and valuable. I would have already argued that before, but now I seem more legit, right? Look at me, all legit.

Valid and valuable. A true form of communication and community with friends who live far away, or for mommies (or whomever) stuck at home without a car, whatever. It's a valuable tool to maintain long-distance relationship. But, like food, the fact that it is good and useful makes it good and useful to fast, too. I am coming face to face with myself, since my favorite form of technological  medicine is taken away. So I have to see I'm bored and lonely and lazy, and I have to deal with that. So, social media is good, and taking a break from social media is good. But I'm not becoming anti-networking, any more than fasting food makes me anti-fajitas.

Holy. Moly. Fajitas. I forgot all about you. My apologies. I will be in Texas in like a week and you will be mine.

I miss my friends. Even my friends who I've seen today. I miss the minutiae.

In other news, we had a baby shower today for Han and JM and baby Fridencrouserschniztel (names changed to amuse the semi-innocent). My attractive single friend Liz and I stepped on preschoolers all afternoon, as they felt the most advantageous location to be directly in the center of the kitchen floor at all times. It was a good party, now baby Friedinheimer can show up any time, as long as the grandparents have enough notice.

Day 4 in the can, 3 to go.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

How many self-portraits can one take of oneself reading in 5 days? Stay tuned!
Day 3: Tuesday night

Tried depriving Tristan of sleep all afternoon yesterday in an effort to provide myself with a less angsty wee-small hour of the morning. It would have worked if it weren't for the 3 other kids. Brynn had a bad dream, and then I had a bad dream about her kicking me repeatedly, (in affection) and jumping in and out of my bed at o'dark: thirty, and then being carried, at first gleefully and then with growing horror, back to her own bed; and then R2 awakening the dawn with screaming for no discernible reason, 3 times, 15 minutes or so apart. All this woke Toby up, who obediently stayed in his room until 8 am, and passed the time by playing drums and practicing his rebel yell. Then Tristan woke up. So. No time for introspection.

Until 8, that is, when I went to my very first therapy session. Do not be alarmed, I am not in a deep depression or a crisis of faith. I've just run into my heart coming and going and somehow life got complicated. It was a great appointment, where she did psychologisty stuff like making me argue with myself until I agreed with Self 1 or 2 and it worked. I actually figured out how I feel and what I should do. Amazing.

So today was productive, what with the emotional relief and then some random sporadic cleaning, because, obviously, no internet. Also, I've started journalling again and I forgot how much I both love it, because I get to write my thoughts on a paper, and hate it, because someday my grandkids will read it and think I was a gripy, grouchy woman. Dear grandchildren: read this blog instead, where I mostly say upbeat things and never complain about your grandfather, whom I love. Oh, wait...

Is this thing over yet? I need to watch some Christmas movies.

Day 3 in the can, 4 to go.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Housewife log, day 2: Planet Your Mom

You know when it hurts? At 4 o clock in the morning, that's when. After I convince Tristan to go to sleep and I am lying awake in the dark, wondering if I'm failing the people that need me, if I'm destroying my body with Oreos, if I'm doing enough, saying enough, being enough. And my escape hatch is right there, a portal to a world full of beautiful things and funny people and people who think I'm funny, and I could click it and hear that I'm okay. And then I'd go back to sleep with a beautiful picture of a wreath made out of burlap in my head that I got from Pinterest and I will make it, one of these days.

But now I am on day 2 of an intentional media fast, and I keep running into my real self. That was the hardest time, that 4 am time, when I alternated between praying and worrying and listening to the rain. I talked to God, but there were no burning bushes, just the rain and the sound of my baby breathing and the ache.

Do you want me to write something funny? I bet you do. Maybe you should go on a media fast. I kid. Don't do it, it's awful. I'm probably growing and all, but at what cost? At. what. cost? Kidding, again. Kinda.

I drove around today, ate too many sweets, spent too much money. (relax, MOG, I just mean too much for me, not what normal people would call too much. what a lengthy disclaimer this is!) Here's what's developing in my mind. I don't think social media is a bad thing. I think it is a great thing. And everybody has their own vices... so I won't say this IS what's wrong with it. So don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. But I am realizing that I use it as a distraction, an escape, a crutch, and that's no good. The other side, where it is inspiration and encouragement and community and relationship in a global way that was never possible before, that's good. So. Can I have my Facebook back?

Day 2 in the can. 5 to go.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Housewife’s log, day 1, Planet of Not Even Pretending To Know Star Trek Lingo:

The 7 of us residing in this house have embarked on a media fast this week, for a variety of reasons. The MOG has multiple spiritual quests, which I am also on, and in addition to that, I recognize that I am struggling with sadness, which typically plunges me into all-day Facebook refreshing and too much TV and movies via interwebs. I think it will be healthy for me to actually deal with my sadness instead of self-medicating via technology. The Artsy-teen-in-residence and all the miniclarks don’t have a choice, because we literally unplugged the internet.

Despite being raised by a techie geek and having most of my relationships and friendships online, I want my kids to learn how to live in an analog world. So maybe this week of misery cutting back will help us relate to each other more in a real way. Don’t be too quick to congratulate me on cutting off the virtual world, because a) this blog is on the internet and b) it’s just a week.

I’m writing this on Sunday night, end of day 1. I definitely feel a little jittery and anxious, and am continually picking up my phone to check Twitter or Facebook, wanting contact with somebody besides my immediate relatives here. I am so used to sharing my thoughts and pictures every few hours, it seems strange to talk to my kids or watch them play without making mental 140 character notes to be posted later tonight.

I’ve read 2 novels today and I imagine I’ll be mainlining some cookies in a minute, so it’s not like I’m filling the empty space with prayer and meditation. I have so many coping mechanisms, I’ve just cut off one, which has been my primary form of community and communication. Maybe I’ll make some progress there, I hope.

Day 1, in the can. 6 to go. 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Every year, the MOG and I battle it out over the appropriate display and duration of Christmas cheer.

He would very happily skip decorating altogether and sit down on Christmas morning with non-seasonal music playing, for a peaceful exchange of gift cards, after which we would independently text holiday greetings to our family members who live 12 hours away. In fact, Richy, I bet you're reading this and thinking how nice that would be. 

If I had the money and the manpower, I would cover our entire roof and every one of our trees in lights. It would look like the Galleria in my yard, and I would have a chuckling life-size Santa on my porch to greet passers-by. Inside, it would be more lights and Christmas music and an 8 foot tree in the living room with a couple of smaller trees, like 6 footers, in various locations around the house. We'd put the trees up the day after Thanksgiving and have presents wrapped and stockings stuffed by the first week of December, and Christmas music would start and play continuously as soon as temps dropped below 70. Couple of dancing Santa dolls. Eggnog fountain. You get the drill. I'd dress the kids up in sweaters with snowmen on them and we'd get our pictures taken. Cookies for the neighbors. And then I'd teach the kids Christmas carols and make them put on a show, which I'd video and put on the internet. And then we'd drive to Texas for a week of reveling and salsa. 

We're lucky we agree on the important stuff, like honesty and Apple products. But every year, it's a battle, because it's cold outside, and trees are expensive, and sticky and poky and needles everywhere and you have to put them in the tree stand and water them and so on. And I always wail and say MY DAD IS DEAD, GIVE ME A TREE, which is the way a mature woman communicates her felt needs. And then we get one and put it up and it's great and beautiful. It's just the process that he hates. I guess. Or happiness. 

This year, the MOG is a cripple of sorts, as his back has slipped, and he looks kind of like a candy cane man from the side, leaning to one side with his hip all jacked out of place. 34 and 33, y'all, and we're all like, kidney stones and back failure. Maybe we should go to a home.

Anyway, we have plotted for days the way to drug him and drag him around, so he can stand long enough to get a tree, and so we executed the plan, arriving at Lowes exactly as he reached the pinnacle of his pain. So maybe we're not the smoothest planners, shut up. Then, Lowes was out of tree netting. yougottabekeedingme. So we hobbled back to the van and drove over to Walmart, who no longer carry fresh trees, and the MOG was strongly considering biting down on his arsenic tablet, and all the kids were like, are we going to get a tree? times one million and R2 was starting to get worried because now we a) ate dinner b) went to Lowes and c) went to Walmart, and he still wasn't getting a tree, which was concerning him very, very much, and he indicated this by pointing as insistently as possible at every Christmas-related item in the store, which were LEGION.

In the end, even though my DAD IS DEAD, I surrendered and accepted a fake tree. And I like it. A lot. It is very, very tall, and I don't have to water it, and it looks great, and everyone is happy. So, there you go.

Now, to pick just the right gift card...

Monday, December 5, 2011

It's December, y'all. That means it is FULLTIME Christmas cheer from now till December 26th. In fact, I started early this year, and the MOG has offered only mild protests to the round-the-clock Christmas tunes pouring from the ol' iPod. He's weakening, see, because of these mini-humans around here. R2 has a black eye from beating his head into the bus wall, in an attempt to communicate frustration, but even with his Rocky face, he is giddy, jumping around everywhere and pointing insistently at the Christmas tree I drew on the whiteboard. And Toby and Brynn are just enchanted, by the music and the decorations and the plans. The MOG and the ATIR (artsy-teen-in-residence) make feeble little Scroogey statements but are silenced by the cuteness. So.

And I have this homeschool guilt that I haven't made Christmas that much about Jesus, although they know the Nativity story and whatnot. But I put most of the emphasis on decorating and family and tradition, and presents, (not gonna lie) and eggnog. But my relevant-slightly-hipster-question-everything-some-things side is all like, "Uh, does Jesus care about Christmas? Like is it His for real birthday and it hurts His holy feelings when I mostly use it as a year-end party for friends and family?" Because I don't know if He cares. You know?

I mean, His birth story is important, it's key to our whole faith. I just think sometime we make Jesus into this petulant man-child, sitting up in heaven with His feelings hurt because we get more excited about football than church. Do we have our priorities screwed up? Heck yes. Does He want to be God above everything? Yes. But is He sulking? I don't think so.

So what happens if I never make Him a birthday cake? What if I try to teach my kids to love Him, and to honor Him all year, and to love people, and to welcome them into our family, and maybe we water down the soup a little so more people can eat it? And we listen to each other, and we learn to honor each other and give gifts that build each other up and celebrate our differences? And what if we sit inside on a snowy night and laugh at the baby dancing, and drink hot chocolate and make traditions, because that's heritage, and history, and family? What if we learn to love like Jesus, to share like Jesus, to lay our lives down for others like Jesus?

I think that might be a party He'd come to.

Friday, December 2, 2011

I've started this Bible-in-90-Days plan, and I'm in Genesis, you know, because it's at the beginning and all that. Genesis is pretty Jerry Springer, y'all.

God made Adam and Eve. They were the beginning, and maybe you've got parents or grandparents or whatever, the stable ones. Maybe some other branch of the family, if you're the Black Sheep Family of the family, I don't know. But you have that stable branch of the family, who maybe sowed a couple wild oats back in the prehistoric era but they've been a model of decorum since then, you know? That's A & E. And they start having kids and all the sudden it is a trashy reality show.

We got some serious white-trash roots, y'all. And they probably weren't even white, considering how we turned out every-which color. Eve was probably throwing up her hands and watching the grandkids all the time, in between visiting the boys in prison and leaving a light in the window for all the runaway concubine daughters. I bet Eve had some regrets, I tell you what. I bet Adam was all like, "You had to listen to that snake..." and Eve was all rolling her eyes.

And then somebody'd get ahead, like Abraham with all his livestock and money and his hot half-sister wife and next thing you know, his corrupt relatives are picking a fight and running him off his land. And then him and Sarai get crazy and start bringing in sister wives and throwing them out and now we got all these Muslims, and then it just gets worse.

Back at Piney Woods Christian School, all of us were safely encased in hideous uniforms and 6-inch-distance rules. We were so square, every now and then a "bad boy" would come to our school to be reformed and try to tell us dirty jokes and we'd all laugh, but nobody knew what the heck he was talking about. "Song of Solomon 8:8", a note passed in class would say, and that was scandalous enough. But Genesis, with all its sex and violence, was allowed. I guess part of the logic is that it never really works out, because people were always getting leprosy and swallowed up by the earth and whatnot. It might be useful in abstinence training, actually. Food for thought.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

In some alternate universe, I'm a genuine multi-tasker. Now the MOG and all my sci-fi geek friends (looking at you, jennerith) are spitting out their coffee and being all like, "That's what you'd do in an alternate universe? What about *insert scientific fantasy concept*? Why wouldn't you do something like that? And besides, that's not how alternate universes work. Gosh." I acknowledge my lack of credible scientific knowledge, despite watching my dad watch Attack of the Killer Tomatoes and Tobor and so much more all of my childhood. I am on the outskirts of this wormhole. (coffee spit break) Okay, so maybe that's not how wormholes work. 

Like today, for instance. I sit down to write a blog about multi-tasking, or something, I've forgotten now, and then I'm off on a tangent about sci-fi. You know what's the worst? Or pretty bad? When you're watching a romcom (romantic comedy, y'all) and there's some part where, you know, magic happens and they find each other again or whatever, and I'm squealing inside my head, "Love is alive! Magic! Flowers! Cusack!" and the MOG is all like, "Pfft. Yeah, 'cause that would happen." This from a guy who has no issue with people turning into mutants from bug bites or people who are part human, part machine or whatever. Ending up on the same airplane after not seeing each other for 20 years: possible. Having spikes inside your knuckles, flying, interplanetary teleporting: not possible. Who's the idealist here? 

So the challenge now, (remembered it! will continue as if I had written the post I planned) is how to figure out how to balance all the things I need to do well, as well as adding in the dietary, exercise and spiritual changes that need to happen, and make them all work without it killing me. It is possible, I know. Once a year or so, I make A Plan For My Life, in Excel, with color coding and 15 minute increments or whatever, or I buy a schmancy new planner, and I think, now, NOW I will get it all together. But then I get all stressed out looking at my chart and wondering where is my cookie/book/facebook hours? I can't live this way anymore! And so, before ever beginning my new plan, I am already suffering from corporate burnout. 

You know what I need? A radioactive insect. Imma go find one. Get ready for SuperHomeschoolBloggerActivistWifeMomAuntFriend! Also, flying! 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Now, if you're a longtime stalker reader of this blog, then you know I come from what used to be a big family before I moved to KC and started hanging out with mini-mega-families. I mean, I am one of 5 kids, and then there are 1000* more kids that have sprung from our loins and our paperwork, and various family members we added over the years who may or may not have any biological connection.

And they are the Yablonskis, them who raised me. Yablonski is a fictional surname my parents made up, probably in a sickly-sweet smelling smoky room with Jimi carrying on in the background. By the time I came around, the only smoke was Mama exploding the green bean pan, and the soundtrack was Michael Card and Twila Paris. I'm glad they got saved, but I think I might have gotten the musical short end of the stick. Anyway, Yablonskis. That's us, the ever-expanding family, with the same joie de vivre passing down the generational lines.

Now I live 700 miles away from them, and for the last 2 years I haven't been "home" for Thanksgiving. So I gather my little crew and friends and neighbors and I try to cook and capture that feeling of belonging, of being known. And it does feel like a holiday, like a celebration, but it's not the same. Sometimes it seems like I am only completely me when surrounded by my mom and my siblings. 

Adulthood. On one hand I am thrilled to be able to drive my own car and have my own family and do all the grownup stuff, but part of me will never stop wanting to be Mouse, the littlest one, watching the big kids and Daddy beat each other over the head with wrapping paper tubes. The littlest one, when the big kids went home and out with friends, the littlest one sitting in between Mama and Daddy, eating popcorn and listening to them talk about their plans to fix up the place.

But life changes, and growing up is inevitable, unless you choose to be a perpetual child, which is a whole 'nother topic. So I will wake up early and I will cook the ham and the pies, and I will be thankful that God has given me children, and time. And I will miss my roots, even as I put down roots for my little ones. And I will be thankful.

*not exact number

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I'm not a medical type. I can hold my own when I need to talk to doctors about my kids, but besides that, I tend to steer clear of medical discussions, unlike my attractive and single friend Liz. She likes to talk about things, and sometimes she makes me faint or puke, while telling an amusing anecdote about a guy's face coming off, or what have you.

Still, the fact is, my life has been kind of a continual Medical Update lately, and so I feel the need to talk about that-time-I-almost-died-yesterday. The only problem is, it is all involving kidneys and other kidney-related functions, and I'm not really wanting to take you all to the virtual bathroom with me, even if you're just talking to me from the other part of the room while fixing your mascara in the mirror. Quandary.

Well. The thing is, I had this minor infection, which I self-diagnosed using the Google (who needs doctors, right?) and so I had started home-remedying myself with cranberry pills and cranberry juice and massive amounts of water and little martyr sighs and such, and then I woke up yesterday with a New Pain. It was kind of like somebody was bludgeoning me in the back and the side with a Nerf Bat, and really using their strength. I consulted Dr. Google and he told me I might have a kidney infection, or possibly a terrible fatal 24 hour disease, something like that. And then it started getting worse, the New Pain. So the MOG and I were off to Urgent Care, and they agreed with my self-diagnosis and sent me home with a prescription for antibiotics.

By this point the Nerf-welders had stepped it up and were practicing easy swings with a real bat. I got in the car but walking was getting kind of challenging, and then it got bad. I started getting nauseated, like all the way this-is-going-to-happen nauseated, and the pain in my side was swelling up, and then the nausea and the pain started increasing and swirling together like some macabre symphony of chaos and then I started thinking I might die. My arms and legs went tingly and then it spread all the way up into my ribs. I couldn't breathe and I started thinking, "Is this what it's like to die? Will I be aware that I'm dying, all the way out?" I was really, really scared. REALLY. In the mixture was an awareness that my spirit was all right, and I was heaven bound and all that, but I was terrified to not be able to breathe or feel my body, or to make complete sentences.

While all this was happening, the MOG was asking many questions, and I was mostly just gasping and praying out loud and saying, "I don't know, I don't know, I'm dying." So he drove me to the ER. Note: even if your whole body is numb, the touchscreen on iPhones still work. So I was googling my symptoms while I was pretty sure it was the end. Not sure what that says about me.

At the ER, feeling finally started coming back and then I realized I was in a lot of pain. I had self-diagnosed at that point and told them maybe my appendix had ruptured, but they weren't terribly concerned. "Tell them you have a high pain tolerance! Tell them you're not a hypochondriac!" says the MOG, while the bedraggled man next to us twitches and waits for pain meds. Our friend Randy came up and chatted with me while I waited, and by then, I was feeling much better and thinking about making a run for it, but I was kind of nervous about the whole thing happening again. Randy says I can't really write a near-death experience book about this, but I'm not so sure.

This is already long. Hours and hours at the ER. CT scan and an IV and telling my story over and over, but by this point I am no longer in significant pain. The doctor tells me it was probably a kidney stone, and I probably hyperventilated because of pain, and it's gone now, and the other infection should be fine with antibiotics. Google backs her up.

I'm glad to be alive, even if I maybe was never dying. Still glad.

Friday, November 18, 2011

You know those friends of yours who are shacking up, and they keep saying they're going to get married, but they have to do this insurance thing first, or renew their lease, or get divorced or whatever, and they're all like, we really want to be married, but, you know... (disclaimer: I don't know anybody in this exact situation right now, and this is definitely not aimed at you and your shack-up hunny. it's just a general example. But you should get married)
That's kind of how it's been with our house. We started trying to buy it last year, I think. It seems like a long time ago. We've been living here for 2.5 years, and we like it, plus we don't want to move, so when it went up for sale with us in it, we decided to try to buy it. Maybe you're all like "Do... or do not, there is no try." Back off, Yoda, it's our first home purchase.

So we were all like, "Okay, house. You're 'the one' and we're ready to commit to massive debt and one city and sure, you need a little nip and tuck, but okay. Let's do this." And then the ladies at Bank of America, Les Incompetents Department, were all like, "OMG my coworker is such a COW and she lost your paperwork and I need you to write it 50 more times and did you see what she was wearing? BTW, your loan will be denied in 24 hours because you didn't sign that document I never sent you LOL." After a few months of that, we fired them and went with another company, and they got it done, so now we're here at the altar, ready to change our Facebook stati to "Homeowned", and I'm a little nervous.

Yesterday was the long-awaited closing date, and we rolled up to Chicago Title in our minivan full of short people and sticky Sonic cups. We took turns, one going in and signing stuff while the other one stayed in the van and made vague threats about "inside voices" and "loss of life".

And I did it, I signed the papers, and now we're waiting for a phone call, because they still have to send your documents around so everyone can laugh at your "salary" and draw mustaches on your driver's license. After it makes the rounds, they call and say "Congratulations! You are now 6 figures in debt and contractually obligated to live in this house until you are dead!"

So, homeowners. Homebuyers. Next time my garbage disposal shocks me, I'm going to look it right in the exposed wire and say sternly, "Knock that off. I OWN you."

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

There's these lines, in blogging, and marriage, and blogging about marriage. I aim to be good at mocking my husband without dishonoring him, and talking about the work of being married without making a big deal about how hard it can be.

Like, when you're married a long time, and you have the same fights over and over again. One of those fights, for us, is about the word "fight". To me, that means we disagreed, and may or may not have raised our voices, and it took a few or more circular rounds of logic and emotion to resolve it. To him, the word means fisticuffs and grenades, blood and guts and police helicopters. Let me clarify for you: when I say we had a fight, I mean, we had an argument. If you had been here, your discomfort level at being in the middle of a conflict would have been: low to moderate. So.

Anyway, that was today. Marital Communication 102: Male and Female Mental Patterns. I say (a) he hears (b), and vice versa. And the plot thickens, as we try to muddle through a) what we're saying b) what we mean and c) what we're not saying, while small people poke their heads through the door to announce successful bathroom exploits or helpful trivia about obscure US Presidents. It's like therapy with the Muppets.

So the war rages on, in quiet tones over the peanut butter and jelly- construction, in short sentences during the Lego-storing, and eventually is resolved. Then it's like, what was the big deal, anyway? Oh yeah, because you totally said (a).

Monday, November 14, 2011

My joy-baby is 1. We're having his birthday party later this week, but his real birthday was yesterday. I've been reliving the days around his birth, and thinking about his birthfamily a lot.

Tristan is such a part of me, I've started forgetting he was adopted. He is thoroughly weaved into the fabric of this family, and he adds so much. We are so grateful for him.

Click here to read the post from his birthdate: we meet: Day 1.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Just quit reading this post now, it's disgusting. Who writes about this stuff, anyway? But this is my life, and what my life is revolving around right now is feces. And that is not metaphorical. Actually, I think I prefer real feces life complications to metaphorical feces. If you catch my drift. Or maybe not. Toss-up.

I've had R2 home from school all week, because of his increasingly frequent violent tantrums, and I feel like I've aged 5 years. Yesterday was the worst. He woke up before 6, screaming like he was dying and then repeated that, plus beating himself up, again, in a literal sense, every 15-20 minutes for the rest of the day. We just spent the day in the ER Monday, and nobody saw anything that should be causing him pain. His pedi thought it was constipation, so I'd been treating that, but things were just getting worse. I called the pediatrician yesterday, panicking like a n00b mom, and when I explained that very little was happening, despite my efforts, she sent us back to the ER.

Now, look. I'm a preemie mom. I'm a micropreemie mom, and I am unmoved by fevers and vomiting and giant goose-eggs on foreheads and sickness in general. I don't take my kids in for easy stuff, and I'm almost never wrong when I think there is something that has to be treated. So taking a child to the emergency room for poop seemed... embarrassing. And of course, once I get there, he sits very still and quiet, like maybe no one will notice him and poke him with needles, so the report probably says, "Mom claims he's screaming, but he's not, so maybe mom is nuts. See: Munchausen." And I always get the once-over, anyway, because he looks like he's been thrown down a flight of stairs, after these fits.

But eventually, many, many hours later, they show me the X-ray from earlier, and basically, he is just full of it. In a literal sense. Like, I didn't even know poop could go that high. They said he's probably in severe pain, which makes sense, with the screaming that only I can hear. So they move us to a different freezing room and many years later, when I am old, they come and do a thing with the liquid and the tubes and they get things moving, eventually. He is fascinated. MALE.

Finally, they send us home with instructions on how to finish the job. It will take 3 days. I'm not looking forward to it, but he slept till 7:30 and has only had one two screaming fit(s) today, so I'm hopeful that maybe we'll get happy R2 back. But first, I need a hazmat suit. And a vacation.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I spent yesterday in the emergency room with R2. I can think of no better way to spend an afternoon, except maybe slamming my hand in the car door, over and over again. I'm not going to write a whole post about it, because I tire of being angsty. It was 7 hours of scans and tests, with R2 alternating between perfect calm and total panic. In the end, we left with no answers. The good news, there's nothing wrong with his shunt.

So that puts me in a spot, saying, okay, then, if there's no way to "fix" him, then I have to figure out how to live with the new behaviors. Today, I suggested that he scream it out before we got out of the van to go in the store. He took me up on it, and alarmed a number of construction workers getting in their trucks. Why were there a large number of construction workers at the Dollar Tree at 9:30 in the morning? I can't answer that. It would not surprise me to find that there are useful construction-related items at TDT, because they have everything. Anyway, he screamed and then he was fine, inside the store. In fact, he was giddy in the store, because it's November 8th and so naturally, every inch of the place was covered in tinsel and stockings. He's all about Christmas, this one. I don't know what to make of this, the "tantrum-on-demand" option, but it worked one time. I guess.

So I'm fairly stressed and emotional and overwhelmed, so I decided to make a craft project. You can tell I was fairly near the breaking point by how involved I got. I'll tell you: I found the hot glue gun, that's how stressed. I scraped most of the Cheerios* off the tablecloth and hot glued $4 worth of orangey fall related items to a wreath. My posse stood around, keeping the conversation hopping, as to why there is hot glue, and how it works, and what if they touched it NOW, and what if they touched it NOW, and if pine cones are nuts and what do I think drawings of cat-men who look like musclebound vampires. That last part was not really related to the wreath.

It worked, to some degree. I now have a happy little wreath on my door that looks like I hot glued items from the dollar store on to a dollar store wreath, but whatever. It makes me happy. Also, it makes me want some ham and sweet potatoes. Come at me Thanksgiving, I dare you.

It's raining now and I'm in my warm house with all my babies, even the screamy one. I'm blessed, and it's a good day.

*Honey Nut Scooters

Thursday, November 3, 2011

They called from the school a few days ago. "Richy's not feeling great," they said, as he screeched uncontrollably in the background. "He's had a few... episodes." So I went up and got him from school, and have kept him home for 3 days because it's obvious he's a little sick. We all have a little cold, but for R2, it sets off this signal in his brain to outscream the sickness, or whatever. He's nonverbal, so it's all silence until it's earsplitting screaming and self-injury. And it's unpredictable, what sets it off, so I decided to just stay home, and not risk the whole lugging-4-kids-out-of-McDonald's-while-people-stare-in-horror, and just let him vent at home.

Today, though, I decided to risk it and we went to Sonic (safe choice) and the library (risky), and he did great, and I was pretty hover-parenty, peering in his face and asking cheerfully if he was happy and good. Then we went to gymnastics and I put chairs by the door, just in case, but he was okay. So we went grocery shopping. Maybe I got cocky, I don't know.

We don't move quickly, the herd. Especially because Toby smuggled a book in and sat down every time I stopped the cart. Still, we were all right, with me being all "Yummy food, Richy! Isn't it great?" And we made it. At the register, a lady said "You've got your hands full!" which is what people say to me every time I go anywhere, ever. And I said, "It's great to have my hands full." and then I was bragging on how good they are. As we finished ringing up, a tiny alarm started ringing on a nearby register, and something snapped. R2 started his whole routine, and I collected kids and groceries and hightailed it for the doors while the entire population of Lee's Summit stopped, like I was in a music video, and stared. It's a horrible, isolating feeling when you know people don't understand.

I drove on, groceries falling off the top and sides while he screamed and pummeled his head with his fist. Toby followed 10 feet behind, engrossed in his Batman book. We sat on the bench in the sunshine while he finished his fit, and people brought us our forsaken bags, and the lady I had been bragging to came out and asked if she could help. It meant something, those kindnesses. It meant a lot.

I'm wiped out, from what was overall a good, peaceful day, overshadowed by the chaos of 3 minutes.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

When I write a post like yesterday's, I'm usually in the middle of regretting it as I click publish. Because I know it's lightweight, and I know the topic deserves so much more attention. On the other hand, I hesitate to be ├╝ber serious, because who wants to read Bummer Blog? Not me.

So now, I feel the need to say more. I don't think marriage is easy. Falling in love is easy. Even having a wedding is easy, compared to actually having a marriage, and staying married. I was practically a child bride, and still, the decentralization of self process was painful, and surprising. Every day, you are choosing to defer, or to "fight for your right" (stop singing).

The MOG and I have been through a lot, considering we are still in our low 30's. Nowhere near mid-30's, we. And we are best friends, and we often thank God that He put us together and didn't make us marry somebody totally lame. But still, it's hard, sometimes. We are very different people, and we have different goals for the hour, or the day, although they're similar for the long run.

I'm independent. I was raised to believe I could accomplish anything, and I still believe that, except maybe Olympic sports, or any sports of any kind, ever. I could accomplish almost anything. So even as a 17 year old, adding a husband to the mix was a luxury, not a need. And I fought for that independence for years, while Richy was trying to figure out how to be a man and a husband. Poor guy, married to a teenage feminist. So we battled for control, and simultaneously had a blast being lovey and making money working for a big corporation. Then we had R2 and life exploded into pain, real, deep pain and we grew up a lot.

7/2004, 3 weeks after the twins
A few years later I had the twins, and they died, and I was at the end of myself and learned how to lean on my husband, to let him be a man and a protector, and everything changed for the better, even in the valley of the shadow of death. Over the years, we've faced obstacle after obstacle, death, sick babies, my battles with feelings of depression, his emotional journeys through ministry and friendship and we've learned how to fight on the same side. We're in this together.

I guess I say all that to say what I tried to say somewhat flippantly yesterday. If you get married, expect bliss. But also, expect to fight for it. Nothing easy is worth it. Who do you want to be married to? Be the other half of that.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

One thing I've learned from being a wife for half my life is how to rhyme, right on time. That's not actually where I was going, but I was totally sidetracked by that wife/life juxtaposition. Unavoidable.

When I think about giving generic marriage advice, I feel all sketchy, because I know that I still have a heck of a lot to learn, like I need to hide the cookies, because then I will avoid exploding in a very minor and short-lived rage upon finding that the one my soul loves has inhaled $3 worth of Oreos in a day. (exaggerations) Hide your snacks, ladies.

But there are some things we've learned and improved, over time. One of the keys to a happy marriage, in our opinion, is to accept the fact that you married a member of the opposite gender, and as such, they will be opposite to you, in many regards. Say what you want, but men and women are different.

So sometime, when your husband is totally not getting the point, and saying things like, "But that's not what I said," take a step back, and remind yourself, he is a man, and his brain is different, and he will very likely never understand that when he said maybe you should go for a jog sometime, he was not saying that you are in fact, disgusting. Even as I type it, it sounds like bull. What else could he be trying to say? Bad example, and not from my real life, exactly.

Or men, when your wife is being totally illogical and not making any sense at all, back up and remember that she is not (stereotypically) wired to operate in a linear fashion. Thank God for her emotions, because if she didn't have them, she never would have been emotionally compromised enough to fall in love with you.

And another thing: there are some things that you will never change. My husband eats cereal in bed. He eats it there because he loves cereal and he loves me, and here we are, all together at last. The fact that I have explained cereal-sounds make me want to puncture my eardrums with a spoon is insignificant to him, so I have learned to put my earbuds in and rock out while he slurps away. Compromise. He has learned that there will be massive teetering piles of books all over our room at all times, and when it gets to him, he makes neater piles, in what he has designated to be book-worthy regions of the room. Whatever.

There are days you won't like each other very much. They will pass. Find a way around the little stuff, and talk through the big stuff. Marriage is worth the work.

There's like a million more things to say, but this is just a blog, not a book, and besides, I'm not really a candidate for Wife of the Year, even though I like my husband a whole lot. Questions? Want some specific advice? Comment, yo.

Monday, October 31, 2011

I've been in a rut, writing-wise. Try saying that 3 times fast. How'd you like them seashells, Sally? Anyhoo. It's just been hard to think of what to write, although funny things happen to me all day long.

One problem is, the MOG has been home for weeks, and anytime that happens he starts getting crazy ideas about cleaning the bathrooms and covering the house in Windex. So he'll walk through, sighing loudly and interrupting my Facebook flow, and eventually he will convince me to join him in his quest for the sanctification of our home, and so I will leave you and take up my broom, and I'll sweep for a while, but then somebody texts me and I forget I was sweeping. Post-text, I'll wash a few dishes, but maybe something diverting occurs and I take to the web to share my joy in being shocked by a wire under the sink or what have you, and then Pinterest happens. 

Moments later, he tromps in from raking or some other manly cleaning activity, with his official work boots and paint-covered jeans, all decked out like a cowgirl's dream, and he is unsettled by my level of activity. So I get up and fold a few towels, but then he catches Tristan eating Cheerios out of my forsaken sweeping pile, and sometimes he has to take a cup of coffee on the porch, where it is clean, to recuperate. 

Chastened, I decide to clean, really clean. So I do some good work, sweeping and straightening and vacuuming. I even clean the kitchen floor, and I take a step back to enjoy one clean room. "MOM!" comes the victory cry. "LOOK AT OUR LEAF FORT IN THE SUNROOM! ON THE RUG! AND LOOK AT THIS ART WE MADE WITH PLAYDOH AND GLUE! ISN'T IT BEAUTIFUL?

I don't doubt that someday, I will have a clean house. I have a few plans for how that might happen. 1) Become wealthy and hire a staff. 2) that's really my only plan. 

Chime in! What are some topics you'd like me to blog about? The brain, she are tired. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

• I have a lazy eye, which means my right eye is really dominant, and I basically don't use my left eye. To sum up, I am not bifocal. This makes 3D movies an exercise in frustration, where things are still slightly blurry and I leave with a headache. Last night I watched Three Musketeers in 3D, which is like... 9? Multiplicationwise. Went to bed with a headache, had weird dreams. (movie review? sure. weak writing around what was a strong book, lots of logic leaps. pretty actors, lots of people getting "sworded" as Toby would describe it. It was still fun)
Also, the lazy eye crosses very slightly when I am exhausted. For celebrity examples of slightly crossed eyes, see Liv Tyler and Reba McEntire. I'm in good company. Or at least pretty company, I don't know them personally and cannot vouch for their character, so quit pressuring me about that.

• Today, in an attempt to glue a pumpkin stem on with Super Glue, (note to 4 and 5 year olds: pumpkins are not bowling balls) I inadvertently got Super Glue all over my hands. Now I am like a mannequin, like a mannequin that's been out in the sun and is kind of crackly and peeling, but definitely not human. In fact, I am typing with creepy mannequin hands as we speak, or as you read, rather. The only speaking I'm doing is "mmm-hmm, sure, yeah, okay." I may have just authorized something truly terrible, only time will tell.

• Tristan is a little bit sick. I took him to the doctor, because he told me he was dying, in baby language in the middle of the night, and she said he is getting some teeth, but nothing serious, and that it's "probably a virus". Y'all, I think I've told you about medical professionals saying "probably". I'd rather they just make something up. "Oh yeah," they'd say, looking at their medical book, "this is definitely an virus, called Poculathenesis. Seen it a million times. Just give him Tylenol every 6 hours." I'd eat that UP.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I'm a friendly cat, born in the South, you know, apt to strike up conversations at Walmart or the doctor's office or whatever. And I can usually always find common ground with somebody, if I try. Every now and then, though, I (probably all of us) strike out. You try one ball, something easy, like a popular movie or whatever, and they're all awkward and they haven't seen it and their friend died while watching that movie, or something awful, or you refer to kids or a husband or a house or whatever, and you just keep striking out.

Today I met a new mom at gymnastics, and she asked me about Halloween, and I said we basically ignore it, and she was all like, can I ask why? And then I'm all awkward because I try to explain in a non-judgmental way, that it's all the death and gore and plastic corpses hanging from my neighbors tree and neighborhoods full of sex offenders. And children dressed like prostitutes or serial killers, with no shame or horror at murder. And the weirdness of panhandling at stranger's doors. I said that really nicely, but it was still kind of awkward. And then she was like, we're being a princess... and a scarecrow and a pirate... and I was awkward in return. And I tried to say, we like costumes, and candy, all year round, but that point I was already the Judgmental Lady, all in her house and judging.

Then somehow she brought up going back to school and working out of the home, and I was trying to be all supportive and stuff, but somehow it sounded like I was saying she worked for fun, like she wanted to get out of the house, and she was all like, I work for money. I don't know. It was just not smooth at all, and I hate that kind of thing, because I can make friends with anybody, usually. I'm surprised she didn't try talking some politics.

And if you trick-or-treat, don't get all offended because seriously, I am a nice person, unless you have animatronic witches in your yard and dress your 4 year old in a Pretty Woman costume. Stop that.

Friday, October 21, 2011

One of my favorite things about blogging is the community of it. I love to say something random, like "There is nothing grosser than wet cardboard", and someone responds and says, "Yes! Yes, that is the grossest thing! I validate your opinion!" On second thought, maybe that's not a totally healthy reason to love blogging. Nonetheless, I love that. I've come to realize that most of what I feel is shared, not normal, per se, but there are more people than just me who would rather have a root canal than talk on the phone for 20 minutes.

It's a fundamental human need, to be understood. I was such a lonely kid, because I was weird, and there were only 60 kids, maybe, in the whole school, and none of them were like me. Eventually I figured out how to find things in common with people, and it got easier after that, although there were strange corners of my brain that only got to be explored when I met random other kids, usually who had been homeschooled by hippies or something, or when I talked to their hippy parents, or my own hippy parents. 

There are those moments, as an adult, that I feel alone in the world, usually because of R2, and his disabilities. There are tons of people that love him, but I carry a special burden, because I'm his mom and surely I should be able to fix him, or at least know what to do. I don't, though. I feel like I'm improvising half the time and phoning it in the rest of the time. Once a month, I get to go to a support group for moms of special kids, and it is always a relief, just to say, this is how I feel, this is how it is, and they say, yeah, that's how it is. And none of us really have an answer, but sometimes, having somebody say, yeah, that's how it is, is enough. 

I'm not saying you can only be friends with people who have similar problems, or that people without significant problems are lame. I'm just saying it's nice to be understood, and that you and I are not alone in our human experience. And that's good. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

In the morning, I have such good intentions. Not every day, mind you. Some days I wake up and think, I'm not going to do a darn thing today. I am going to lay here (or lie here, if I'm feeling all grammatically correct of a morning), and I am not going to get up, even if Toby launches a rocketship made of common household materials, right off my roof. Those days, not such great intentions. And they never work out, anyway, because if Mohammed doesn't go to the mountain, the mountain comes and gets in Mohammed's bed with birthday cake remnants in their hair, complaining about Flash errors, or app update passwords, or reporting unauthorized defecation.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Teenagers are different from kids. Also, they are the same as kids. But different. There's not really any point questioning me, you just have to believe whatever I say, because this is the internet.

But one thing that is different is, teenagers are almost adults, and as such, you can't really write blogs about them, because maybe they don't want their business on the internet, because they look hideous and everyone thinks so. Or whatever. And maybe you think they look great, and maybe you miss being a size 1, but you're an adult, and a relative, so you're required to think that. So.

My point is, I have to figure out how to talk about my semi-temporary 5th kid, because I am adjusting just like I do every time a new person joins my family, but I have to figure out how to talk about all the transitiony (don't question me) stuff, without embarrassing the new addition, who can read already.

It's so weird how kids grow up, and this niece who I clearly remember as a baby is taller than me, and is right on the verge of adulthood, and she's interesting and so smart and funny. It makes me a little bit less panicked about my little kids growing up, because I think I will like them even more as teenagers.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

As of today, I am 33 years old. Well, it's my today, your tomorrow, which will be your today, which makes my birthday yesterday. It doesn't really matter. The point is, I am 33.

I am 33. Can you believe that? I remember my oldest sister (who is not old) talking about a show called thirtysomething, back when I was knee high to a grasshopper, and I remember thinking 30 was ancient. Now I am thirtysomething, and I still have absolutely no interest in watching that show.

I am feeling my age, a little. I've been a parent for nearly 13 years, but my oldest is more like a toddler, so I am just getting a crash course in parenting a teenager with my Teenager-in-Residence. Today we met with the high school counselor to make a plan, and the 50something counselor made reference to "people our age". She backed up and said something about me being much younger, but it made its mark.

You know what, though? It's not that big of a deal, getting older. I am figuring out that I grow every year. I get fatter, but also, in a philosophical sense. I understand the value of time more and more. I know what a year means, what a year of hardening my heart and hiding from the world feels like, what it produces. I also know what it feels like to try to push my boundaries and love people, regardless of whether that is comfortable. When I look back on a year like that, I feel exhausted, but rich. So I want to live that way. I want my heart to expand every year, and when I am old,like 90, I want to be deep and generous and wise and still giving.

I also want to be a gazillionaire.

33. Holy moly.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Sometimes, you come face to face with your humanity. You know? You power through unbearable obstacles, and survive. You struggle and you fight and you win, over and over again, and then are suddenly brought low by something much lesser than the battles you've won.

I have chipmunks, in my house. They, like me, live here. I want them to die. Back when they lived in the backyard, we were at peace. Even when they occasionally made appearances in the sunroom, but bolted back into their secret hellholes, I basically ignored them. Now they've started chilling in the real house, where I live. Today, I saw one run through my kitchen and disappear into the house. Where did it go? I wondered, panicked. Is it in my bed? 

Monday, October 10, 2011

reposting from a year ago:

I didn’t sleep last night. Did you?

I was dreaming about your baby. Is that weird? Did you dream about him too? Did he keep you awake with his kicking? There’s a bag by my bed with three onesies and 6 tiny pairs of socks. I think, even in the dark, I was aware of it.

Read the rest of this post

Thursday, October 6, 2011

I'm starting to get that feeling. It's kind of like a soul itch, to try to put it in words. It's this feeling, this sense that things are about to change, and it used to scare me pretty bad, because I'm not such the fan of change. You scoff at that, because I change my hair color every 6 minutes, but that's different. I used to not like major change. In fact, I think I still don't. But I've jumped enough times now that I know what it feels like to be led by God, and caught by God.

There's kind of an exercise I like to put myself through, though... just thinking about what I could do, would do. I think about taking in foster kids, sibling groups.  I think about adopting special needs kids. I think about adopting a little girl from an orphanage in China. I think about writing a book, about renovating a house, about blowing the lid off of the widespread abortion of special needs children, I think about doing more, being more. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

I feel relatively guilty about not blogging for days. On the guilt scale, maybe a 3, though. Not blogging has to get in line. I have a lot of things to be guilty about. ("Oooh," you say, sitting up straighter, "scandal!") I'm sorry, I have a pretty weak amount of scandal around here. No, I just have this slightly overactive guilt complex.

I've never been analyzed by a professional, although the MOG casts doubt on my sanity on a regular basis. "You're acting NUTS!", he says. "Well, you're MEAN." I counter. Jess: 1, MOG: 0.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

When the MOG is not cleaning the kitchen with dishtowels or eating cereal in my bed, he's usually on the road with a band of musicians and intercessors, praying, preaching and making music. They also make CDs, and every one is a labor of love, love for God and the church. I'm really proud of this album, I think it's so good, and I don't even care if I'm biased.

Go check it out on iTunes and then buy it! Or if you're more analog and you want a physical copy for your 4 year old to stick in your VCR (you said you were analog), then go over to and order one!

Radiant Worship: Boldly Close on iTunes

and share the love! Post or tweet this on your various social networks!
Just released!! "RADIANT WORSHIP - Boldly Close" on iTunes!  // buy it, review it, share the link, share the love.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

I spent my childhood inside my head. There were probably people around, but I was busy being Nancy Drew, or a tragic heroine looking out the car window during a sad song.
(Heroine, that's the word, but I am plunged into a plethora of really weak paperback novels stored in my head, in which one of the characters struggles with a terrible drug addiction until finally deciding to follow Jesus, inside a chapel with stained glass windows and a wise black man. In the rain. More than one book.) 

All that to say, I was imaginative, and often wondered if the rest of the world was real, or if it was only me. If I let myself think about that now, I still get kinda weirded out. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

You know, sometimes life throws you a curve ball. I don't speak sports, but I'm pretty sure that means "something unexpected". And then I have to ask myself, how unexpected can it be? There's a guy right in front of you, throwing a ball. How many variables are there? Excluding meteors or other outside interventions, of course. He throws the ball and it should come somewhere around the bat, and if you are more gifted than I am, you hit said ball with the bat. No mystery.

But life, sometimes life is genuinely surprising. Like death, for example. Death is always surprising. You could be expecting someone to die for years, have the burial plots and sit through the illness and then they're suddenly dead and it's shocking, every time.

Friday, September 23, 2011

I've been in the market for an auto-apology device for about 10 years now. Not an automatic-apology device, like that says, "I'm SORRY if I OFFENDED you," because a) that's not an apology and b) that's not what I'm talking about. I am talking about a device that connects to your motor vehicle and can broadcast apologies to surrounding vehicles, and more importantly, their drivers, who are flipping me off.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

At night, my love came to me, in the dark of night, when I was asleep. "Let's talk of worrisome things," he said to me, while I slept. "Let's talk of aliens, death and doomsday." But I did not incline my ear to him, for I was sleeping. "Kiss me with the kisses of your mouth," he inquired, but I did not incline my lips, for I was sleeping.

When I awoke, my love was gone. Only a pile of laundry and pool of water was left of him, on the bathroom floor. I longed for the one I loved, for he had the keys. I looked for the one my soul loved. "Have you seen him?" I asked the maidens, typing updates on their Facebooks and making spreadsheets. "Have you seen him?" I asked the young men, carrying guitars and speakers to and fro. I ran to the gates of the city and sent a text, "Where are you? I have to get this check in the bank before 2." My love answered me, his voice came to me and it was sweet. "I am in a meeting. Can't talk." I went back to the king's chambers and composed poetry for my king, angry poetry about answering his phone and putting money in the bank. 

My love called to me from the hills, from the mountains where he and his men had driven the chariot and trailer. The daughter of Jerusalem, and the sons, yelled up the stairs, for my phone was ringing, with the ringtone of the one whom I loved. I ran down the stairs, for my heart was eager to tell him of a garage sale, and of the maidens who sold peaches on the roadside, but I missed his call. My love left a message, and he asked of me that I would pay the light bill. 

Here is my love, riding in a white van! How shiny is his head, how even his smile, like a row of teeth, residing in a mouth. I run to the one I love, and I take him into the house, where the sons and daughter of Jerusalem punch him in the stomach, for how can they help but love him? 

He is my love, my friend. He sustains me with Oreos and promises of hours alone, away from him and the children whom I love, for I am weak. How sweet are the promises of the king, how good are his intentions! He is altogether lovely, except the annoying stuff. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

So, about this band. Read part 1 first, that's the way to do things. This one should cover approximately 2001-2006.

After a while, we decided to be rockstars. It was an easy decision, because we played rock and roll music for high-school students, and also because Delirious was running around in silver tuxedos and paisley leather pants and such, and they were worship leaders. In retrospect, we weren't very good at rockstar. I mean, the music, sure. But nobody should have made Hannah wear red leather pants and platform shoes.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Finally. I think all my kids are asleep. No, wait... almost. The last holdout is deciding if he can sleep through me typing, which is pretty silly, considering the sheer volume he sleeps through during the day when the sibling wars are afoot.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Our homeschool curriculum calls for an Exploration Day once a week, when we go outdoors and you know, explore, and then we're supposed to also do other explore-y things. This is kind of an unschooling day, which is my favorite, but I think I'm too undisciplined to unschool all the way. So one day a week of school by life experience is gonna be great. The hangup for me was the outdoors part.

Listen, I love Jesus, but I hate nature.

I know, though, that kids like being outside and I need to try not to pass on my neuroses. So we geared up. They dressed in pants and running shoes and carried Nature Backpacks, which are just their little drawstring backpacks, but, you know, gunning for Mother Nature. I poked holes in a baby food jar lid and so we had a small bug catcher, although I had and have no intention of ever intentionally touching a bug. (Digression: BUG COLLECTIONS? In school? Remember doing those? What a stupid, disgusting, waste of my life. I remember many days avoiding a half-finished board of primarily deceased crickets, staring into nothing.)

 Off we went. I had Tristan in the stroller, and the adventurers strode bravely to the sidewalk. Because our Nature Exploration Walks involve a sidewalk, duh. We didn't get very far before Toby started talking to people. See, Toby firmly believes in educating the public. They need to know a) who he is b) who the rest of us are, and how that relates to him, c) what we are doing at this moment and d) who they are and how that relates to who we are and what we are doing. Everyone. It's kind of like having a brilliant, incredibly verbose puppy.

 We collected a roly-poly, but his life was cut short unexpectedly after being smashed with a rock. Our next roly-poly has been living in the baby food jar, with some grass to snack on, because Google told me they primarily eat their own dung, but grass was another option, so that's the one I told Toby about. They brought in the grass equivalent of a Mormon silo, and I pared that down to just a couple pieces, since we don't know this bug's religious preferences. 

Next we went home and explored the air conditioning, and then we were off to the library to explore the patience of the librarians.

So I did it. Exploration Day 1, in the can. We're supposed to do it once a week. May God have mercy on my soul.

Monday, September 12, 2011

(Cross-posted at Moral Outcry)

I don’t remember the exact timeframe, I’d have to check my blog. But somewhere between 2 and 3 years ago, maybe even 4, I was at an event known as TheCall. I stood in the front row while families told their stories, stories of children they had almost aborted, or children who had been adopted instead of aborted, and I cried. I mean really cried, like ugly cried. My heart was wrecked, and I knew we would adopt.
Eventually, after what felt like a lifetime of waiting, God spoke to my husband, too, and we started the process that led us to Tristan. His birth parents considered abortion, but not for long. They made an adoption plan, and once they met us, they knew we were the family they wanted to trust with their son.
I know lots of adoptive families who have taken the plunge over and over again, some in genuine rescue missions of children the status quo wouldn’t think twice about letting die. And their lives, and our lives, are richer and deeper for it.
In our kind, civilized nation, 90 percent of Down Syndrome children are aborted. That is barbaric. I have hope, though. Because many people are stepping up to the plate, asking God to give them His precious ones, the “pure in heart”. And it is no less holy to open your home to a healthy child.
My hope, my heart, is that the pro-abortion taunts of “Are you going to take the baby?” will be answered with a resounding “Yes!” by the people of God. Yes, we will take the children. We will take the estimated 100,000 children available in foster care and waiting for adoption in the United States. We will take the sick and the strong, or we will hold your hand and help you learn how to be a parent. We will be the walk to our talk. Yes.
That day, in Alabama, I saw a 2 year old boy with his mama. His skin was dark brown and hers was white. They didn’t have genetics in common, but they were a family. And I knew in my heart that loving “the least of these” was going to cost more, and mean more, than I had ever realized. I was so right.
I urge you to take some time to pray and fast, and ask the Lord what He wants for you, in regards to adoption. It might be adopting. It might be short term foster care, or helping a single mother. It might be paying part or all of another family’s adoption fees. It might be some other role, but I’ll bet there’s something. Let’s walk this out together.
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