Monday, December 31, 2012

I have a long-standing tradition of not making New Year's Resolutions. It's probably similar to the way I will only play a board game I'm pretty sure I'll win. Risk management? Fear of humiliation? A deep seated fear of disappointing my inner child? You tell me. Send it to my fake email address: pleasesendmeadvice@gmail.com and I promise to never read it, unless later today I'm pretty bored and actually create that address. Anyway, I don't usually make them but I've done lots of new things this year, so maybe I'll give some resolutions a swing.

Imma throw a caveat up in here, though. I have had extensive commitment training. I could probably get a framed diploma in Making Commitments and hang it up on my wall, and then I could travel the nation teaching conferences or something, except that I've gotten totally paranoid and now obsessively avoid making commitments so I won't possibly break them. Listen, therapists, I know. Send me a coupon for some free couch time, I'll tell you all about it. All this to say I am going to make some "resolutions" that are "goals" and not "commitments". Capisce?

First off, I am going to take on this year without fast food idea, even though we're still in a medical crisis with R2 and I don't know exactly how to process crises without cheeseburgers. "Easy!" you cry cheerfully, "Boca burgers at home!" and to you, I make a fart sound. You have brought me to this, to using the word f**t for the first time ever, possibly, in 7 and a half years of blogging. I have a sort of plan that will be an actual typed plan for My Year Without Fast Food, and more about that in 2013, but I'm gonna take it one month at a time and might even totally quit, who knows. The omniscient God, that's who.

Secondly, and connected to that one, I plan to get in some kind of routine with the shopping and the cooking of the foods, real food, moving gradually away from so much processed stuff. Meal plans and what-not.

Third, I'm going to work on routines and consistency all over the place. It might be like a Consistency Expo up in here. This one contains personal and family spiritual growth and schooling and stuff, it's an umbrella.

Fourth: I'm gonna stay on the exercise train, even though my trainer has abandoned me for love, fame and fortune in LA. I might have to experiment with various programs at the YMCA and maybe even become a Silver Sneaker, or even work out on my personal exercise equipment that I have acquired from roadsides and thrift shops. End story, I am gonna be the hottest senior citizen in water aerobics.

Less internet/more kid hugging
Less rock and roll/more worship
Less unbelief/more "help my unbelief"
Less talking to friends/more listening to friends
Less internet/more writing a book
Less isolation/more inviting people over

And a jillion others I have to work through in the ol cabesa. Lots to work on, and I'm not wildly optimistic about nailing most of this. Still, seems like a good range of stuff to swing at, stay tuned.

oh and PS: Thankfulness! I'm working on a daily thankfulness idea.
You people know I'm crafty. Remember the rainbow cake? I know, impressive. It is never more clear that I am an eternal optimist than when I casually approach a craft or baking project. So when Toby expressed desires for a "Mario" party, I was like, "Piece of cake!" or something else like that that translates, "Denial!"

Birthdays are a big deal to me, it's important that my kids feel like they have a special day. It's been a tough couple of months and I am trying desperately not to be in the dark night of the soul, especially on a kid's birthday, so I did what any crafty, engaged parent would do, I went on a party supplier's website and made plans to buy some licensed character schlock the day before my precious child's birthday party. Mario party, check. Except the local one ended up not having any of actual party supplies, just an endcap with a few Mario stickers and notepads and stuff. So I bought some of that and a blue tablecloth, because I don't play Mario and it seemed like blue and red stuff matched with what I have seen out of the corner of my eye while I am neglecting my children. I bought some star balloons because that seemed like a thing and then the cashier girl suggested drawing eyes on them to be like, you know, those stars with eyes in the game or whatever and so we ended up with a blue tablecloth with Mario stickers and pretty cute star balloons. My sister and bro-in-law and their kids were in town for a visit, so that was already a fun party, built in. 

Then a Very Exciting Thing happened: a birthday coupon came in the mail with Toby's name on it. Party: redirected. If there is a free Happy Meal happening somewhere, this kid is not going to pass it up. So his best friend and his sister and cousins piled in the car and we had a Very Exciting Happy Meal Experience, and then we came back and they got to play video games while I effortlessly sculpted these Mario mushroom cupcakes. The top ones are the prototype I got from the interweb, the bottom is my skillful interpretation. I know, it's what I do, thank you. As I was realizing that once I again, I was qualifying for a Pinterest fail blog, Toby walked by and excitedly said, "MOM! Those look perfect!" I tell you what, there are reasons to keep this kinda guy around. 

I think, in the end, he was totally and completely happy with his party, and I am thrilled that we made him feel celebrated. 

So, Toby is seven. I am so thankful for his humor, his flexibility, his alarming intelligence and his kindness. He gets better every year. I'm just gonna need time to slow down a little bit.









Thursday, December 27, 2012


Look, I’m trying to write this heartfelt Christmas post but my head is all like glub-glub-glub and sleeeeeerrrrnknt and stuff. According to WebMD, I will be dead within the hour. I think I have a cold, and those are rarely fatal, to my knowledge. Also, I am a woman, and as such, am obligated to carry on. So here I am, traipsing on like a brave soldier, like a Kardashian with a broken ankle, still wearing 6 inch heels. I hope this is inspiring.

Today I went grocery shopping with my cold. Feed a cold, they say. Luckily the MOG was working from home, from our room, actually, where he has temporarily? moved his desk and large books about Ephesians or something, so that he can talk to me while I’m sleeping.
Him: Type type type type type,
Me: sleep sleep slee-
Him: Say things, lots of things
Me: offer barbed input
Him: “No, that’s not it.”
And so on. Anyway, he was in his “office” and so after some brief negotiations involving diapers and sandwiches, I was sent out on a solo mission to retrieve food. The thing about having a cold is that you feel drugged even when you aren’t drugged. I mean, your nose is all slornkty and your brain is all like slo-mo and your legs are all like clob clob clob. You know.

So I drove and all the world I was beholding was new, like, was there always a stop sign there? Where is that road I drive on every day? And then I got to Walmart and I was all like, okay, you brain, okay. Enough of this, time to sharpen up and do some efficient shopping. So what would be the practical first- I’ll just wander over here and then it will come to me, what I am shopping for. Diapers. And Bread. And wipes. U-turn. And Milk. And Kleenex. U-turn. Wandering, wandering, sneeze a little. U-turn. I got the food, I got all the food. I got so much food that 2 separate people made jokes about just coming to my house to eat. Feed a cold.

And then I got a cheeseburger, possibly my last for a year, and I was driving home when I remembered that I was supposed to be working out, right that minute, right when all I was stretching was my stomach capacity. Feed a cold, that’s what they say, and I am dedicated to my health.

Oh, and Christmas was good, too. More about that after the sleerknting is over. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

I've had the opportunity lately to listen to a LOT of Christmas music, and I have formed many opinions. The great thing about opinions is that not a lot of people have them and so it's super important that I share mine. In years past, when we were limited to removable media for Christmas tunes, the MOG used to forbid Christmas music prior to December 1st. So my Amy Grant Christmas and Mannheim Steamroller and whatever else I had back then would stay in my pleather CD case until my priesthood head permitted me to celebrate our Lord's birth. But now I have a phone with the internet and Steve Jobs has made a way for me to celebrate any old time with all of the recorded Christmas music ever known to mankind. SO I DO. The only problem is that having constant access has made start to get a little skeptical and maybe even hostile toward the songs of the season.

Christmas Shoes is on the top of my Carol Dooky List for sure. The only thing that could even make it legal would be if it were based on a true story, because otherwise it's just emotional manipulation, on the holidays. A simple Google search would give me the true story/eye-poking answer, but no, I will not even give it that much dignity. I could sit here right now and try to think of a super sad story with a soldier and a dog and a wreath and a package that is mysteriously mailed after his death and a young widow who finds out she's pregnant and MISTAKEN IDENTITY AND CHRISTMAS EVE and you people would sob till you puke but WHY? why would I do that? That's what  I mean.

Sometimes it just seems like some singer on the b-side of their album of life, if you catch my drift, decides to make a Christmas album, which is great. But then they decide that Christmas would be better with more tin whistles and high-pitched keyboards and acting, with lot's of yahoo's and giddyup horses! and other vocal sound effects, like we really believe Cher is recording this whole thing in a one-horse open sleigh, like she's out in the snow in an all-black mesh catsuit with a Santa hat. Call me a skeptic, but I'm not buying it.

And this Santa Baby number... this is supposed to be kind of... um, sultry, right? I mean, the lyrics indicate that the singer is not a child and that she kinda sees Santa as a sugar daddy, if I'm reading it right, and I AM. Now, let me disclaim here by saying I am a straight female, but still, I think I have a pretty good read on what is perceived as sexy or seductive. (Quit being awkward, I'm acting normal) And the original version, the Eartha Kitt version, pulls that off in a 1950's way. So who had the idea, what slightly inebriated middle aged male in a Marketing department had the idea to redo it with this nasal... holy moly y'all, I was off googling this and it's MADONNA. Irony. Anyway, it's this awful, nasal New Jersey Fran Drescher version and who finds that attractive? Who, in all of humanity? Don't tell me, it's gross.

Speaking of marketing geniuses, how bout "Christmas comes this time each year" as a repeated lyric. Just say it over and over, Beach Boys, because I am constantly asking myself, when IS that pesky Christmas? Is it an annual thing, or what? And WHEN? I don't want to be blindsided by this holiday. Guys. I'm a housewife and I can sit here for 10 seconds and come up with "Christmas is a time of cheer," "Christmastime is finally here," "I can't wait to have a beer,". All better choices.

I'm sure once I publish this I'll think of 80 songs I hate more, like the CARPENTERS with Merry Christmas Darling. There are lots of good ones, but who wants to read about that? Just stay tuned for the episode where I smash my iPhone in a fit of righteous anger and all the children ask what happened to Christmas.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Here's the way it went down. I wrote this whole post about Christmas and I don't know, Karate Kid and... shoot, now I have to go look it up, that's how meaningful it was to me. Oh yeah, I talked about Life kicking you in the guts. Maybe I'll run it tomorrow, that part was pretty good. But ultimately, I was kinda thinking, "This'll do." which is not a ringing endorsement for something I'm putting on the internet.


The thing with putting stuff on the internet is, you never know what will happen. It's unlikely that a post I consider filler will somehow randomly get viral and go all over the webs and be attributed to Abraham Lincoln or something, but it's not impossible. If you hang out on Pinterest, and I do, then you've probably seen something like this graphic over yonder and so then you know what I mean. Anyway, I hesitate to post filler because I'd hate for that to be the thing that I get known for ripping off from Plato.

As I was finishing up, though, I remembered this one Christmas when I went rogue and so I went looking for the link to that story and it was super, ├╝ber weak. So I thought, hey! I could retell that story. And that's how this all came about. 

See, the man that I love, affectionately known as the MOG (man of God), is not really a cheery elf when it comes to holidays. He might have been better before he married me, when we were 7 years old, but I am CRAZY about Christmas and so maybe it's just a counterbalance kinda thing. So every year before the Year of the Fake Tree (last year) there has been the Festive Annual Christmas Tree Fight. Christmas 2007, we were relatively financially constrained, as usual, and I did some internet shenanigans and won a $100 gift card. It was a rent.com thing, for anyone who was getting concerned. And, as per usual, I left all the mail in a pile somewhere like the couch or the counter or in the bathtub, to look at later, and as per usual, he came home and threw it all away, in a continual quest for cleanliness next to godliness. THREW IT AWAY. 

Fast forward through -how could you why would you why didn't you just why in the world would you I'll tell you what YOU can do- to him going back to work and me, deciding whether to give up on my $100 or what. Moments later I was buckling all of the children into carseats and climbing into the apartment dumpster. I'm a lofty 5'1 and it was not easy to get up there, and once I was in, I was relieved to find that it smelled awesome in there. Just kidding, it smelled like the sewers of hell. I pushed bags around until I found some trash that looked familiar and I found the card. 

I celebrated loudly from inside the dumpster and then, I must have cleaned up somehow, I don't remember. I then drove victoriously to Walmart and bought a giant tree and brought it home, where I locked babies in rooms and cussed my tree down from the minivan, down the sidewalk and through the door. There was unbelievable amounts of needle carnage all around me, and I was lacerated and sappy, literally sappy, and I was giddy. I then wrestled the 7.5 foot tree into the stand and decorated it with small curious people underfoot, and then we swept all the needles into the parking lot and hid the evidence. 

By the time the Mr. came home from work, I met him at the door with 90% rebellious smirk and 10% Christmas spirit. He was pretty amused and relieved to have had the task ripped from his reluctant and miserly hands. And God blessed us, every one. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

I just can’t wrap my mind around the Sandy Hook massacre, or I won’t. Every time I try to consider, to imagine losing my 5 and 6 year olds in such a violent and horrifying way, something inside me shuts down the thought. Still, I’ve been following on social media and news sites, hoping for some ray of light to dispel the awfulness. I remember thinking in the aftermath of my own loss, “There is no redemption for this.” In the darkness, even the promise of heaven brings little comfort.

We as a nation have been reminded, have been shocked into seeing our children, to remember what they mean, what matters. The President said it beautifully in his address, “The warmth of a small child’s embrace- that is true.” It is a moment of awareness, a spotlight on the little ones. In the face of great evil, we remember the gift of our children, their light and their laughter.

It’s also a revelatory moment for us as a nation, a spotlight on our desensitization. Within moments of the slaughter of 20 first graders, we took to social media with our outrage and our agendas. In a small city in Connecticut, mothers were identifying their dead children through photographs and we were storming the airwaves with calls for more gun control, less gun control, abortion statistics and countless other issues. It wasn’t the time. Ecclesiastes 3:4 says there is a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance. For them, for us, it is a time to mourn. Their humanity demands that we see them.

It is true that we face staggering numbers of aborted children, that the gun discussions and the mental health issues will have to be addressed. But for today, for now, we should simply weep with those who weep.

To seize a moment of national grief for a soapbox is beyond insensitive, it is cruel. We as a pro-life community should be the first to acknowledge the value of a single life. They matter, every one of them.

Our hearts and our prayers are with Connecticut in this time of mourning. May God bring you comfort and peace.






cross-posted from http://www.bound4life.com/blog

Saturday, December 15, 2012

"Egads!" maybe you're saying. "Who writes a blog entry at half-past 'leven on a Saturday night?" It's a valid question, and a fairly Britishy one. I'll answer. I do, that's who. Because I CAN.

It was a long day, as days tend to be. For one thing, my mom is in town, helping me with R2 and the general maintenance of the house and feedings of the people, and for some reason, when another grownup is in the house, hysteria strikes the small folks and they start acting like Annoying Kid 1 and Annoying Kid 2 from a Disney screenplay, with the interrupting and the sass talk and running into walls and bleeding and stuff. And these kids, my kids, they're bright. They have calculated almost exactly how annoying they have to be to get given a computer and told to get lost, without crossing over the line to so annoying that we need to find a Mommy Loses Her Cool pamphlet to explain what just happened.

Still, between their shenanigans and the sick one being consistently sick and still bedridden, and Daddy off preaching the gospel to the natives of Texas, I collapse in my bed at 8 pm and try desperately to gain some emotional equilibrium, some balance, some sense of humor. Naturally, civil war breaks out and there will be anywhere from 1-3 screaming people in my room, "just trying to EXPLAIN" why it was beyond their control that their sibling was hit 3 times in the head with The Book of Virtues.

Tonight, the girl child was torturing the baby, as is her custom, and eventually Mommy Lost Her Cool and dramatically dragged the whole crib to her room, where the baby found Mommy's one remaining shred of patience and used it for a trampoline. And here's the thing: I can ignore the whining and the crying and the emptying of the Clean Undies Hamper item by item, but I can't eat anything while the baby is awake, because, come on. So here I am, 11:43, giving serious thought to some crackers and cream cheese, because, for the first time since 7:something a.m., nobody is awake in this house.

7 am will come again, and I will be happy to spend the day with my wonderful little babies, but this silence is so delicious, I think I'll just hang out here in denial and pretend it's daytime. Daytime with a Fudgesicle. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Man. I hate blogging hiatuses. I didn't get a red underline on that, so I'm going with it, but the word hiatuses bothers me. Hiati, that would seem more appropriate. Probably it would just get autocorrected to Haiti all the time, which would mean something entirely different.

The thing is, I've been hiating (I'm out of control) on everything these days, because you can just be going along, life life life, and then some variation of the Big One hits and the world zooms in to a singular focus and that's it, that's the focus and everything else is whatever that word photographers use for blurry background. Something like bouquet. Darnit, now I have to go google that, hang on. Bokeh. I got a red line on that one, but I saw it on the internet so it has to be right.

So I've been zoomed in extremely close on this sick little boy and bless GOD and the MOG that my mama is here because everybody else in the vicinity is fed and clothed and relatively emotionally healthy and we're gonna make it through. But I haven't been doing much of anything, like blogging or cleaning or parenting or exercising, so you, the bloggerati, have been equally neglected.

We talked the docs into letting us go home last weekend because they were scratching their heads and out of tests and we just wanted to scratch our heads at home for a week or so and see if things improved outside of the hospital environment, and I think they have.

He's feeling a little better. Whatever is going on abdominally still seems to be an issue, but we're getting him to eat well and to sit up for his meals, and he seems to be tolerating short walks from his bed to his living room cot, etc. I'm feeling hopeful today that we're on the upswing.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

We're still here, at the swanky metropolitan skyrise known as Children's Mercy. You probably want to know how my son is doing. I tell you, I'd love to know, myself. Sometimes having a nonverbal kid is nice, like when you're on a drive and it's nice and quiet, he's just looking out the window. Other times, lots of times, it stinks. All we know is that he hurts. A lot. Somewhere. Probably his stomach, since he has not wanted to sit up for 2 weeks now. Sometime today or tomorrow they'll do an endoscopy and colonscopy to try to gather more information about the ouchies in his guts. Or if you'd rather, inflammation in his bowel and thickening of the colon. Like I said, ouchies in his guts. So, no new information for you today. He seems about the same as he did when we took him to the ER a week ago last Friday. 

Since I don't have the info you and I actually need, I'll just tell you other things. First I'll give you the hospital fashion report. I wore my favorite jeans last Monday. Every evening I change into pj pants, but besides that I wore those jeans continuously for 6 straight days. I think the nurses were impressed. I took them home and washed them and then accidentally wore skinny jeans back up, which is annoying because I needed my curvy jeans, if you catch my drift. So now I'm rocking skinnies with running shoes, which makes me Steve Jobs. This has been your Hospital Fashion Report.

Now the Hospital Eating Report: I am eating all the things. I usually try to eat before the doctors come around at 9 something, because my kid is not allowed to eat and I would look like a total jerk chowing on french toast sticks while he lays there with his stein of Gatorade, not to mention the slurping and chomping while trying to say things like ventriculoperitoneal. I was slipping away to eat 3 times a day, but he has started crying when I leave the room, which is like a Hallmark Movie to the gut, so now I eat when he's asleep. All the things. Luckily we have a motorized lift in this room, if I happen to gain 500 pounds and need assistance getting from my feet to my Hoveround.

Everybody asks how I'm doing. It's a good question, you guys are full of questions today. I am okay. I'm doing what I always do, which is just doing. I have a life plan of setting aside a couple weeks when I'm 70 to cry and complain loudly. Right now, I feel emotionally pretty level until it gets really quiet and I miss my house and my family and normalcy.

I see the light at the end of the tunnel here with these scopes pending, like we are close to a problem and therefore a solution. Until we actually reach the light, though, I'll be over here, in these jeans, eating all the things.

Monday, December 3, 2012

I'm writing from a 5th floor hospital room with a pretty good view of the skyline. I would much rather be typing in a bedroom piled with questionable smelling laundry and children. R2's been hospitalized for a week now, going through a process of elimination to determine what is causing his pain and unwillingness to sit or stand, or even lay on his left side. For about 10 days now he has been spending his days and nights curled up on his right side, crying when we try to get him to do otherwise. 

The first few days were the scariest, when his pain was the highest and he was refusing to eat or drink. I had a couple of those moments that parents of special needs kids never verbalize, because saying you're afraid that your child might die will make your child more likely to die. I'm no alarmist, so it was alarming to me that I was feeling alarmed. When we came through the first hurdle and he was still in great pain but started eating and interacting, we were so relieved. 

We've had a battery of tests, and in the process have learned that he's doing pretty well, as far as his shunt and his blood and health in general. What we're working with now is some inflammation in his bowels and colon, which they're going to explore further in the coming days. 

It's interesting, because this is not life-and-death holding my breath like our seizure hospitalizations, but because of his pain level and his age and awareness, I don't feel like I can leave his room. I go get food and I bring it up here, I sleep here. I know I'm living in survival mode, moving on auto-pilot, feeling very little emotion and a lot of energy. I miss my life, I miss our normal, but we're getting through. 

Thank you for your prayers and meals and support, it means so much. Looking forward to a day soon when we can decorate the tree and be together, all of us, in one noisy unorganized beautiful place. 
 
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