Peanut created this “Five Things” idea and I highly encourage you to check out her blog! She is sweet, funny and authentic–plus she takes great photographs of her children who are too cute!
You are supposed to list five things that you love about absolutely any topic! So I think I’ll write about things I love from this week!
1. I loved it when Edward said to the checkout girl at Target: “You’d better be careful. You might end up like Goody’s!” (There’s a bankrupt Goody’s store next to our Target.)
2. I loved it when Sue refused to go to bed until Sophie (our Boston Terrier puppy) came inside because she feared Sophie would be eaten by bats.
3. I love how Joseph must wear this black “under armour” shirt for every single baseball practice. Mind you, it’s a long-sleeved shirt and very tight to the body. Today it was 85 degrees and he still insisted on wearing that shirt to practice. After practice his hair was soaking with sweat yet he still asked, “Do you think I need to take a shower?”
What do you think?
4. I am profoundly in love with this bubble maker that actually works! Can you believe it?
5. I love that children of all ages still thrill to bubbles. This afternoon, I had children ranging from age 3 to 11 jumping, swatting, battling, shooting, eating, smashing and chasing bubbles. Such a simple activity yet they all loved it!
The older children’s enthusiasm for such a simple past time gives me much hope for the future.
Much hope indeed.
Plus tomorrow is Friday! And that, my friends, is wonderfully grand!
For all my trepidations regarding my brother’s wedding and my children’s role therein, the event went quite swimmingly!
Edward clung to his Bible throughout the entire event like a tiny evangelist.
He carried the Word reverently down the aisle, up onto the stage, and stood, beaming, next to the bride and groom. We motioned him down, and he looked a tad hurt to leave the stage but protested in no way. Whew!
At the last minute, the child who initially planned to be a ring bearer, became a Best Man instead, and his cousin was named groom’s ring bearer. Minutes before the wedding, however, this cousin declared she would not be a ring bearer and must serve as Maid of Honor. The wedding coordinator looked down at the jumping, jittering mass of six flower girls and picked, at random perhaps or potentially for her certain degree of serenity, Sue.
So my tiny Sue got to bear the ring down the aisle, arm in arm with her big brother, who was cool with it all except he got the grandmother’s flower instead of the correct boutonniere and it had pearls and a bow on it, and his tie was a zip-on. (That’s just not cool when you’re nine!)
At the reception, Edward got all hopped up on cling peaches and a spoonful of wedding cake icing and became what could be a foreshadowing of things to come: A Wedding Singer.
It’s a sickness, I suppose, how I am driven to participate in Kia’s mumbers game.
1 The number of cups of urine Sophie (our Boston Terrier puppy) decided to empty onto her ex-sofa. (She gave it to me after it was nearly destroyed in the tornado; yet it is in fine shape and quite lovely.) The “liquid” quickly soaked into the pad and the foam. I ripped it off and rushed it to the cleaners who promised to put a plethora of tinctures guaranteed to possibly eradicate the smell and potentially not shrink the cushion covers. Of course there is no guarantee. Is there ever?
Edward to dry cleaner: “How did you escape from North Korea? Don’t you think it’s weird how Kim Jong Ill worships his father Kim Song Ill?”
1 Number of dog bites I received last week, but not from my dog. We invited some friends over to hunt for tadpoles, a favorite past time and actual money-making scheme. (I’ll have to tell that story later.) While securing the gate after our hunting venture was over, our neighbor’s usually docile dog cleared the fence, grasped my arm and clamped down, leaving a deep tooth mark and slight scratch. She didn’t “break the blood” so I felt somewhat safe from infection. I did call my neighbor to let him know, and he assured me that she was a gentle creature, wouldn’t hurt a fly and probably became overexcited by all the children tadpole hunting. Yes, this makes me feel so much better. He did promise that he would be putting in an electric fence inside the perimeter of his actual fence once school is out.
2 Number of hours we waited at the pediatrician’s to have Joseph’s tick bite assessed. I’m not an alarmist when it comes to bites normally but with four close friends plagued by Lyme disease, I can’t be too careful. So when Joseph announced that the speck of dirt he found stuck to his arm was actually a tick, we all acted quickly. We left with some super-expensive ($70.00) anti-bacterial cream. Let me just say that we’ll be applying this salve to every open wound we encounter! Banish thee MSRA bacteria!
April is the cruelest month.
A drunk driver tried to run me off the road 5:30 Wednesday afternoon; he kept tailing me and trying to bump my bumper, and then he careened inches next to me on the off-ramp, our rear view mirrors parallel and nearly clashing as he swerved and swayed.
He barely missing hitting me (and my three children tightly fastened in their Britax seats). This man continued to drive like a crazed person, swerving all over sidewalks and medians near my house and a nearby school.
I couldn’t believe it. I followed the man. I dialed 911 on my cell phone without looking down.
“What kind of car is he in, ma’am?” the 911 operator asks. “Champagne Mercedes, license plate _____. Is that right, Edward?” I bark into the phone.
He’ll know that license plate number the day he graduates from college.
“And what kind of vehicle are you in, ma’am?” the operator asked. “Chrysler Town & Country minivan, silver-gray. Soccer sticker on the back,” I countered.
I tailed the maniac while the dispatch planned the patrol rendezvous. The driver realized I was there, relentless, and he hated me, I could tell. But he almost hit my babies. He wasn’t getting free if I had anything to say about it. This beast almost hit 12 cars in rush hour traffic as I detailed his every irrational move to the 911 dispatch.
Granted I stayed safely behind the lunatic. He would try to lose me by faking an off-ramp move, and then when I saw his plan and countered, he’d race over the median back onto the highway. This continued for miles, my children, for the most part, oblivious in their seats, Edward reading Oliver Twist.
Finally we came to a traffic light. I could see the officers flanking my left and right, ready for the kill. And then the man flounders…he can’t stop…he rear ends the poor girl in front of me. Her bumper flies, my children screel, the man gets out of the car and reels around.
Our eyes meet and he stumbles, incapacitated. The officers surround him.
It is done.
Nobody was hurt.
One officer stops by to thank me and get my statement. She explains, “Ahh, we saw him last night. It’s not alcohol, most likely. It’s probably a combination of prescription drugs. Last night we dealt with him and he was let go.”
“Hmmm,” I utter angrily under my breath.
And then I launch into my diatribe –my children, my neighborhood, this man, aware of his own uncaring evil.
“Let’s not let him go again, shall we?” I tell her, my eyes brimming with tears.
Let’s not let him go again.
Certainly, I’m not sure what is going on in my life at any given moment, but whatever it is of late, it has to do with dodging and near-misses.
Sunday afternoon, after returning from the wedding, we made a leisurely drive-stroll through Alabama. We stopped in one of our favorite towns, and former homes, Birmingham, and hit Cahaba Heights to eat at a cool place called Mudtown.
Edward spilled his Sprite, swizzled ketchup and twirled precariously on his stool. Sue insisted on visiting the bathroom the minute we hit the place and rejected her chicken fingers because the breading was too “spikey.”
Things felt normal.
We’d already seen a rainbow earlier, and much to the excitement of the boys, an old couch floating in a flooded culvert, so we felt quite peaceful and jolly about the storms.
(Sorry I missed the couch in the shot! Isn’t this photographic excellence? I know Karla will be particularly impressed for two reasons.)
We’re relaxing on the porch with our salads and sweet teas, enjoying the break in rain,when the storm sirens suddenly go off. H leisurely walks inside the restaurant only to notice blaring tornado-red Weather Channel panic. Soon we are faced with several looming tornadoes quote close to the restaurant.
Our waitress speaks in shrill tones to her cell phone, “The tornado just hit my neighborhood! My children are OK. They were on the trampoline but my neighbor’s house is toast!” She throws down our bill and rushes inside to check the weather.
Soon we realize that if we hadn’t stopped at this lovely spot, we would have driven right through one tornado and directly into the paths of at least three more!
Joseph began to feel a bit panicky, with good reason. Two years ago, a large tornado hit our neighborhood, completely destroying one of our best friend’s homes, our former church and 13 other houses nearby. The devastation was massive and shocking, and the freight train sound and fear of what could have happened have lingered with Joseph, and of course, many others.
With dueling cell phones connected to weather.com, we tracked the storms throughout the night, stopping to let certain angry “cells” pass and arriving home around 1 am with two sleeping children and one wide-awake Edward! We barely missed one tornado that actually hit our town, causing damage to several businesses and homes, but thankfully injuring no one.
During the whole drive I felt undeniable peace. I knew God was protecting us, and I knew we would arrive home unscathed, despite the rain, potential hail, other reckless drivers, hydroplaning and a host of other typical fears that generally plague me in situations such as this. This assurance allowed me, often a fearful, anxious person, to (hopefully), pass my faith-confidence on to my son.
While I was thinking about the whole experience, the term “dodging” kept running through my mind. Yet as I worked on this post, I realized there was no dodging on my part. Instead it was God who was guiding us through this literal storm just as He guides us through the figurative storms of life. And whereas I so often rush to panic, and therefore cause alarm and terror in my children, by remaining calm and giving in to a new level of trust, I finally gave my children an important gift.
While I was pregnant with Sue, I had many occasions to “rush to panic,” yet early in the pregnancy a dear friend’s mother gave me this verse from Isaiah 28:16:
“So this is what the Sovereign Lord says: ‘See I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed.'”
Certainly this verse spoke volumes to a mother with two recent miscarriages: the stone, the tiny embryo; the foundation, my womb.
Another translation of this verse reads, “If you trust in Him, you will not give way to sudden panic.”
Sue is almost four, and sadly I had “abandoned” this verse in an old flip-deck of verses I used to carry around. I’ve panicked too many times when Edward or Sue crashed over backward in a chair onto the tile floor, fell off the patio table onto concrete, or simply ran headlong into a door jamb, their foreheads purpling with a burgeoning swell of unknown severity, ice bags applied, pupils checked, prayers muttered.
I’ve screamed too many times Joseph has almost fallen out of a tree, cavalierly employed a butcher knife to open a video game or been crunched in football by a hulking boy twice his size.
Sudden panic has been my middle name throughout much of motherhood, and I have realized this week that it must stop.
Good Enough Mama is my friend. Why not support her mumber action? It’s quite fun!
867 Number of miles logged since Thursday’s wedding pilgrimage.
4 Number of Tornadoes dodged yesterday during our attempt at returning home.
3 Number of children who howled during the entire wedding ceremony.
0 Number of howling children who were associated with me. (Miracles, miracles! And thanks for your prayers. They were definitely felt!)
2 Number of times the bride turned around to leer at the sobbing children.
777 number of prayers I prayed during wedding about the potentiality of disruptive children associated with me.
3 Number of promised child-friendly items served at wedding reception. Below you will find the actual menu. Please select the most child-friendly choice and let me know what you think it is because I am having a hard time deciding upon, or perhaps simply recognizing, child-friendly fare. I had to actually “borrow” a can of cling peaches from the pantry and plop them in a plastic cup so Edward would have something GF/CF to eat after the promised french fries and fruit medly “went missing.” Sue subsisted on M n Ms with the bride and groom’s name imprinted. Menu: Crackers with kippered herring, cheeze “starling” and hint of dill; sweet rolls with turkeyporkpatty; pounded chicken wrapped with spinach; garlic toast with tomato chutney. Children flocked, they dined, they embraced the culinary wonder…
0 The number of blogs I have read, or emails I have answered, since Thursday. I promise to catch up this week! Please stick with me!
 Jesus answered, “Can you make the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them?  But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; in those days they will fast.”
 He told them this parable: “No one tears a patch from a new garment and sews it on an old one. If he does, he will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old.  And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined.  No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins.  And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for he says, ‘The old is better.’ ”
Yesterday we had a 9:45 appointment at the dermatologist–oh the joy! Remember last time?
A similar “dermatology TV show” was playing, only this time the topic was acne. The waiting room was packed with mostly elderly folks.
Here’s a small sampling from Edward: “What is a period? Is it the same as the one at the end of a sentence? It makes no sense that a period would cause you to have these bumps on your face…are these bumps the ‘acne?’ Do you have acne, Mom? Do you think I ever will? Tell me about this menopause…what is that?” A sweet older lady sitting close by chuckles and looks at me expectingly.
I sort of squirm in my seat, and slowly reply,”Well, it’s a sort of change in a person’s life…a change in the body.”
Edward is clearly unsatisfied with the vague nature of my response: “What kind of change? Whose body is changing? Why does menopause give a person acne?”
Lucky for me the “dermatology TV” switches at this point to a game-show type quiz. Edward begins playing this with a man sitting close by. The question is, “Which item is not required to be listed on food packaging ingredients? Fiber, Artificial Flavors, Artificial Colors or Caffeine.”
The patient man and I both call out “fiber!” Edward, however, shakes his head at us. “It’s caffeine, people! Caffeine is the answer!” The man and I exchange doubtful looks. And then the answer shines forth: “See! It’s caffeine. I told you!” Edward chortles gleefully. The man addresses Edward, “Boy, I need to take you to Vegas. You’ve got winning in ya!”
Yes, Vegas! What a perfect place for Edward!
At this point, he’s finished with “dermatology TV” and rushes up to the receptionist before I can really grab him, and asks, “What does ‘D’ mean in Roman numerals? My mommy doesn’t know…” Lucky for us, our name is now called and we rush to the back, Edward rumbling on about what “X” and “L” and “V” mean as I encourage him down the hall.
Joseph has a few small warts on his knee, and we are here to have those removed. Our doctor, who is also a personal friend, tells Joseph he can choose between the painful “freezing” or something called “blistering beetle juice,” guaranteed to be pain-free.
Naturally he chooses the “beetle juice,” and Edward perks up from his Diji hand-held game at the mention of “beetle.” Thankfully, it’s a fast-application and we’re out in the waiting room before we can blink an eye, the beetle juice topic well at hand. “Do you think that lady is going to have the beetle juice put on her hand? What about that man over there? Will he need beetle juice or something for his acne…”
And with that, we are out the door, into the sunshine, shuffled in the van. I put them both in the van and close the door, lingering a few moments to enjoy the sunshine and brief parking lot solitude.
Just in case you are curious, here’s the beetle:
Thanks to Austin and Elise who had the photo!
In another odd twist, this beetle is also the source for “Spanish Fly!”
Wonders never cease…
“Marriage is an adventure, like going to war.” -G. K. Chesterton
My brother will wed his lovely, albeit much, much younger, bride this Friday evening at a small church wedding in Nashville. My group (three children and one husband of almost 15 years) will be sleeping in a friend’s home on a single blow-up mattress because my brother’s home is the site of the wedding reception. We could have elected to stay in a hotel but why eschew such grand stories for mere comfort and a decent night’s sleep?
Seven cousins under the age of seven will serve as flower maidens, dripping rose petals throughout the church, clad in matching dresses, bows and ballet slippers yet to be purchased. Three boys, nine and under, will serve, alternatingly, as ring bearers and Bible bearers. Each boy will be wearing a matching pastel tie that each has loudly, vehemently, and honestly rather angrily, rebelled against, threatened to throw off at the last minute, etc.
Edward has been chosen as Bible bearer, thus we spend the rest of this week reminding him that Bible bearers have no speaking parts, no singing parts and no dancing parts. Bible bearers, like spelling bee participants, are not entertainers. They importantly, yet silently, walk down the aisle, clutching the Bible tightly, looking neither to the right nor the left, brandishing no strange gestures, no mouth noises, no unusual facial gestures, simply walking slowly, holding a Bible, and then standing still for the duration of what I pray to be a short series of wedding vows.
I’m not holding my breath. Would you?
Here is Edward today receiving a proper wedding hair cut–his busy hands unable to leave alone the fire bell that graces the “hair cutting fire truck” into which he was nearly unable to fold his gangly legs.
That child has fun wherever he goes! Would that we all had such attitude!
Yes, I’m going into battle here.
Please pray for me.
that all I can manage these days is Monday Mumbers. Not to discount that weight-loss maven, cupcake rejecting Kia or anything, but I have scores of unfinished drafts and still have nothing ready for this week! Without further adieu:
3 Number of days I have before leaving for my brother’s “now-no-longer-a-surprise-wedding!”
77 Number of times I have panicked this weekend realizing all the things I still haven’t done to prepare for this event like: get children’s hair cut, (thereby qualifying for Stone Fox’s ‘Hair Dare’, I hope), buy matching shoes for boys (a wedding requirement), find a pair of khaki pants that will fit a rapidly-growing nine-year-old for longer than two weeks, lose 10 lbs, make pale pink rosette-shaped home-made mints with heirloom mint molds, and the list goes on…
20 Number of children at my house Saturday for a mudfest Easter egg hunt. (We put down a tarp and taped off treacherous mud-seep areas!)
24 Number of fleshly-colored turkey hotdogs H prepared for the Easter egg extravaganza!
4 Number of “flesh-turkey” hotdogs consumed by guests.
35 Number of “standard beef” hotdogs relished by guests.
16 x 21 Dimensions of the over-sized Easter basket Edward insisted on using for the egg hunt.
2 Number of “pitiful” Easter decorations I put up before the party and H took pictures of to make fun of my decorating attempts!
Here’s my mantle graced with Easter lights and children’s pottery masterpieces!
1 Number of children who captured a caterpillar, placed it in an Easter egg lined with soft leaves and exclaimed, “This is Fuzzy, my new pet caterpillar! She will live in this egg, build her cocoon here and live happily ever after until she comes out of the cocoon as a beautiful butterfly and follows me around, flying just above my head, for the rest of my life!”
Enough of the humorously pitiful!
What is truly pitiful is a fact our pastor shared with us today: If you Google the word Easter in “images,” in the first 18 images (which comprise the first page), you will only see one image of Christ or the cross. The rest are frolicking bunnies, bright eggs, ducks and fluffy chicks. (Try it!)
Now that, my friends, is honestly pitiful because the true meaning of Easter is Jesus Christ!
He has risen! He has risen indeed! Hallelujah!