Friday, May 29, 2009

Bull Riding and Bloggy Block

I have been sitting here staring at a blank screen for a while now.

Some have asked how I am able to blog every day. Trust me, it's not easy. I have a lot of anxiety about what I should blog about, just because a situation is funny at home does not mean it will be funny in writing. I worry about boring people, I worry that things that are funny in my severely sleep deprived mind are actually dumb to the "Normal People," I worry that my constant complaining about my computer is making some of you throw things at your own screens and click that little button at the top that says "Next Blog." Even if it's in Portuguese, it must be better than this one.

I wonder if some of the stories will make my children hate me later in life, but then I get the giggles picturing the twins in dresses and forget about that part. I try to be careful not to blog everything, so that I can see friends that read my blog and have a few stories to tell that they haven't already heard/read.

I learned that early on, going to a family event and describing a hee-larious event that happened and instead of getting uproarious laughter, seeing glazed over eyes because they already know how the story ends. Not fun.


And then there are days like today. I feel I must blog, since it is Friday and I have basically quit blogging on busy weekends, and I know this weekend is going to be jam packed and I feel the need to have a new post up so you all don't get bored and stop checking my blog. I fear that my humble little blog traffic will dwindle until Blogger decides to change my background to cobwebs and adds the soundtrack of chirping crickets for the few family members left that visit on occasion.

But today there is not much to share. I still have camping stories, but I want to tell stories with pictures, and I still cannot upload pictures. I have really gotten into blogging with pictures, and I am struggling now without them. Add to that that I think I have a sinus infection and I am very very tired and I am hitting a very big blogger's block.

This weekend I am helping with two weddings. My garden is still only half planted, and If it doesn't get planted by June I am going to kick myself. I really don't have the energy to kick myself, so I'd better get planting. Since June starts on Monday and all.

I will be back Monday, hopefully with stories as well as Not Me! Monday! I'm sure these weddings will bring about something interesting, but nothing will be able to beat the wedding from two weeks ago. It was the most fun ever. Seriously. The bride and groom rode a mechanical bull at their reception. Click HERE to see the preview of that one. I love when the couple has fun on their big day!

Well, have a good weekend, I will work on my insecurities and dream of the day I get to take DayQuil again, and I'll see you all Monday. Unless something really good happens between now and then...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Thursdays with Tiffani

I am thankful for: My family. From my genius brother who can solve the world's computer problems to the Gardner side that goes camping and plays baseball, I love my family and am so blessed to be a part of the family I have.

I am listening to: The boys fighting over the Lego train. Grant wants the red one, but he has a red one. It is identical to the red one Ben has, but Grant doesn't want his, he wants the other red one.

I am looking forward to: Getting my computer all the way fixed so that I can post pictures again. Are you all sick of listening to me talk about the computer? Yes? OK, I'll try to refrain. But the blue screen of death just shut the whole thing down again. Really, right after I said I would try to stop complaining, it shut down. It's like it wants to go swimming in the pond.

What's for dinner Tonight: Tonight is creative cooking night. We get paid this weekend, so I am trying to make do with what we have on the house. And since Thursdays are the days my in-laws come over, I can't exactly serve cereal. I'm thinking it will be Chicken pot, chicken pot, chicken pot pie! (Did you sing that as you were reading? You really should, it's fun.) Or maybe barbecued chicken, or something else I make up on the fly. Who knows.

Missing: Well the milk cup is found, my cell phone is found, but all the stuff that was on the walls of the kitchen and dining room are in boxes. I'm sure there will be something missing by the time I put it all back!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Watch Out, Food Network! Here Comes Emma!

Emma and I made lunch together today. She wanted mac and cheese really, really bad, and we didn't have any. Because I have a hard time with feeding my kids something that has more preservatives than food value. But that's another story.

We decided to make mac and cheese from scratch. It is killing me that I cannot put pictures on my blog right now, the sight of my four year old standing at the stove in my new red kitchen whisking away is just adorable. But you will just have to imagine it for now.

She did a great job, and the mac and cheese turned out well. At least, the little sample I tried was good, since I am still off dairy I could not eat a bowl. But the kids loved it, and Emma decided to brag to Ben about her accomplishments.

Emma: Ben, I made a bechamel sauce!
Ben: Whaaaaa?
Emma: A bemashell sauce!
Ben: Nnnnnggg?
Emma: It's a bemansh... a bellansh... ummm, I made a rue.
Ben: Rooooo?
Emma: That's right Ben, a rue! It's when you put some butter in a pan, and melt it, and then add a bunch of salt, and whisk, whisk whisk! (OK, for you non-scratch-cooking-cooks out there, a rue is butter and flour. Not salt. Yick.) And then you put in milk and cheese and some other stuff, and then you throw the noodle on the ceiling and if it sticks, it's done!

Maybe she's not ready for the Food Network quite yet...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Coming Down Off The Sugar High

Yesterday was one of those days.

You know the ones. The first "normal" day following a three day weekend filled with sugar and missing sleep.

The kids were crazy.

Three times yesterday I found Grant, naked and trying to change his own diaper, just because he wanted the diaper with "Mickey and Bawlloons!" instead.

Ben decided that he could just ignore my voice and run and hide under the table when I called him, and when I threatened a time-out, he would run up with the biggest grin like he was a good little boy and had been listening all along.

Grant somehow got ahold of the Clorox disinfecting wipes, pulled the whole roll out of the container, and then shoved them all back in and put them back on the counter. I figured it out when I went to wipe the counter and discovered the wadded up mess, and then did the sniff test and found Grant's hands smelling lemony-fresh.

While I was fixing dinner, I had Drew in the Bumbo in the kitchen with me. The twins came up and were giggling and talking to him, it was adorable. I seasoned the chicken for my stir-fry and turned back around to find the twins shoving Drew back and forth across the floor like they were playing air hockey with my baby.

During clean up-time, Grant decided that part of cleaning the living room must include getting the garbage can out of my bathroom and wearing it like a hat.

Emma has decided that she wants to sing soprano. However, she is not a soprano. But she sings like one anyway by just singing even more nasally than usual, and last night it was the same wrong words to the same verse of the same song over and over. And over again. "He gave me a heart and He gave me a smile, He gave me Jesus and He gave me a child, Thank you, Jesus for (mumble mumble) making me, me!" I'm glad God thinks her praise is beautiful.

We took the kids outside after dinner to let them run off some energy. We played baseball but we don't have bases in the backyard, so we just told the kids to run around in a really big circle and then back home. Emma scored a home run. Drew and I were the outfielders, and we just weren't able to tag her out. Grant hit the ball all by himself, and ran in a zig-zag close to the fake bases, and with Emma's encouragement, touched the mound of weeds grass that was home and scored a home run as well. Ben was up next, and with Marty's help, swung and connected. He turned around and ran straight into the woods and down the hiking trail. He ran along the back fence line and came out on the far side of the storage shed, ran to the step of the shed and sat on it. It was on the other end of the house from our makeshift baseball diamond, but we made that third base. We tried to encourage him to tag home, but he ran past it and got on the John Deere tractor toy and left the game.

We put the kids down early, hoping a good night's sleep would help, and it did at first. Grant was back to his usual agreeable self, for a couple of hours. Then something clicked. I was lying on the floor, and he was sitting on me, pointing to me eyes and saying, "eyes!" and so on. It was all fine and dandy until he started jumping on my belly. Our conversation went like this:
Me: Grant, will you please stop jumping on me? You're squishing me!
Grant: Ok, Mommy. (Starts to get down, then stops.) Wait, NO!
Me: What?
Grant: NO! (Jumps on me some more.)

I truly hope today is a better day.

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

OK, I stole that title, a blog I follow had that recently and I like it. I don't remember which blog it was though, so I cannot credit them properly.

Anywhoo, we have TWO winners of the Not Me! Monday! contest! I know I said the first commenter with the correct answer wins, but two people were commenting at the same time, so I decided that they both win. My blog, my rules!

The first winner is Tiffany from Paging Doctor Mommy! She has become a bloggy friend of mine and we have plans to meet up soon, she lives about a half hour north of me in Canada. I enjoy her blog, she has a little cutie pie named Reagan and I cannot wait to see if her southern accent has been tainted by the Canadians. Click HERE to read her crazy blog, she actually fired her maid to do the work herself, even though her husband told her to keep the maid. And you all thought I was nuts.

The second winner is the famous poet, Jessica Lohafer! She is an extremely talented spoken word poet who has been traveling the country with her work (I told you she is good!) and gets paid to do so. You can check out her poetry by clicking HERE, but be advised some of the material is PG-13, so be cautious if there are little ones in the room. I have her latest CD and I am so honored that a local celebrity reads my blog!

So there you have it! Two women who helped me find the post that helped me remember that the projector was ordered two days before the computer was set up, so the credit card info is safe. Yippee!

Thank you, ladies! I am going to start working on a post about the kids, this blog is becoming a little too computerally-complaining-ish for my tastes. Look for it tomorrow!

Our Weekend - A Preview

We had a fabulous weekend. I have so many stories to tell, but they all involve pictures which are not working on our very sick computer right now, so they will have to wait.

But I will give you a hint. They involve painting the living room (yay!) and camping with four kids (fun! and insane!) and the whole family playing baseball. But for now, I will leave you all guessing as to the outcome of the painting and the camping.

I took a lot of pictures this weekend. It's a shocker, I know, I never take pictures of my kids. I cannot imagine what it was like before digital cameras. If we were using the old school 24 exposure film, I would have gone through ten rolls in three days. I love the digital age! Well, except for the fact that the digital age also brought about the hacker age, and now my computer is about to be thrown into the pond. (Don't worry, I am smart enough to never actually throw the computer into the pond, I will dispose of it properly no matter how often I threaten to drop kick it or set it on fire.)

I am starting the process of dreaming of the day I will get a new computer. I do this often, I look at For Sale signs in lawns even though we are not in the market for a house, and now I am looking at new computers online. Because I like to dream of computers that can hold thousands of pictures and go online without shutting themselves off every ten minutes or so, and are shiny and don't have dust in the keyboards. And you know they will be working in six hours, which is more than I have right now.

Anywhoo, the house is calling me. I have to return everything to it's rightful place after painting and clean up after camping. I think we might have taken a large portion of the sand bar home with us, and we had to drain and re-fill the tub halfway though bathtime last night.

I love when kids get so dirty that you cannot tell what is dirt, what are new bruises, and what is suntan until you scrub them a couple of times and see what comes off.

Grant just took his diaper off and is running around naked. Gotta go!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Not Me! Monday! I'm a Dork Edition!

Well, hello, bloggy friends! I am back after a very (seemingly) long stretch without my computer. Alas, it is still screwy, so I cannot upload the Not Me! Monday! logo, but I will remind you that this was created by MckMama.

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! I am a big, giant, dork edition!

This week, I did NOT learn many lessons about computers. To be honest, I am just a teensy bit computerally illiterate. If you haven't figured that out by now. We got internet a little over a year ago, which was the first time I have had internet since living with my parents. Yeah. So there have been may changes in the last twelve years, which I was not aware of. And twelve years ago I did not care.

I was NOT running my computer without a firewall. I was NOT assuming that you had to actually download bad stuff to get a virus.

My brother bought me a shiny new router. This conversation did NOT take place as he was trying to explain it to me in terms I would understand:
Me: What's that?
Jeff: This is a wireless router.
Me: A wha?
Jeff: (did a great job refraining from rolling his eyes) OK. Here's what has been going on. Your computer has been having an affair with the entire internet without a c0ndom.
Me: Wait, my computer is pregnant?
Jeff: No, but your computer has every STD out there.
Me: That's bad.
Jeff: This (holds up router) is your c0ndom.
Me: Dirty computer.

I did NOT just spell c0ndom with a zero to avoid people finding my blog by googling something naughty.

I did NOT have a rogue anti-spyware program.

Jeff did NOT spend ten hours trying to clear my computer of nasties before setting it up so that he could control it from his house, and then go home and work on it for two more days.

I decided to count how many infections my computer had, viruses, Trojans, spyware, etc. I did NOT stop counting after I reached 200.

I did NOT just say my computer had over two hundred infections. That's just crazy.

Between my brother, his wife, and two of their friends that had come up to visit and help paint, there was NOT talk about how no one there had ever seen a worse computer except for lab situations where people purposely try to get computers infected, and even then it was close.

I did NOT have hackers sending Spam mail from my computer to hundreds of people.

There was NOT a debate about how many people have been tracking every keystroke I have ever made on this computer. Which kind of makes me giggle a little since I actually type like this:

Thi quick brownf ox jumpwed over the lazy dig. Simple sompn met a poeman going tho the fair. I am the very modedl of a moderm Majo rGenreal.

HaHa, nasty hackers! Good luck with that one!

My computer does NOT still have problems, and needs to have the hard drive wiped out and everything re-installed. Which means I am NOT losing Photoshop, since it came with this computer and I can't re-install it.

Sniff. Sob.

The computer is NOT slower than molasses in January and shuts itself down every ten minutes or so.

OK, enough whining. How about a contest? If I make this seem fun, will you all participate? I am stealing this idea from MckMama too.

I need to find out if I got this computer first, or if I ordered the World's Crappiest Digital Projector first. I think they happened at about the same time, and if the computer came first, I need to possibly cancel the credit card I bought the projector with. I know I blogged about both events and I could look back to find out, but with the speed of this computer, that might take about three days. So I will have a contest to see if I can trick you all into doing my dirty work for me if you want to play along.

Here's how it goes: The first person to comment on this post and tell me which came first, the computer or ordering the projector - wins. And the prize is simple. I will thank you publicly on my blog, including a link to your blog if you have one. Hey, tens of people read this blog, so it might work out well. That is, as long as my computer does not die a painful, disease ridden death before then.

Which could happen.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Filling in for Tiffani

Sister-in-law Amy here... posting for Tiffani because her computer has crashed with the blue screen of death (sounds bad). Hopefully it will be back up and running soon but until then you will not be hearing stories of her crazy life. In the meantime she would like everyone to know how cool she thinks Amy is. She even said that Amy is her favorite sister-in-law (too bad for Holly) and that she wants to be just like Amy when she grows up. Really... it's what she said word for word... why would I have reason to make this stuff up. Oh - she also wanted to encourage everyone to check out the recent wedding that her and I photographed together at - 3 of Tiffani's photos made the blog post (since she is a rockstar photographer)

Have a great Memorial Weekend!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Double Duty

The last few days have been interesting.

The twins are getting into the stage I have been waiting for, the stage where they are each other's best friends and play together, giggle together, and share. They sit right next to each other watching movies and hold hands out in public. It is stinkin' adorable.

With that comes another stage. The "twin minds" stage where they are starting to commiserate again and get into trouble. Ben will come up to me and smile, say I love you, hold my face and give me kisses while Grant is trying to climb the kitchen cabinets by the cord of the toaster that he pulled off the counter. Did Ben purposely distract me? I don't know. But it wouldn't surprise me.

In other news, Drew is rolling over! He rolled from front to back on May 1st, and from back to front today. he's getting mobile and it scares me a little.

Today I plan on really getting all the storage stuff out of the twins' room so I can put them in big boy beds and not worry about them in the middle of the night. I have to bolt the rest of the furniture to the walls, wrap the fan in an old pantyhose so they can't turn it on and stick their fingers in it, and other fun things. I will look around at everything in there, and ask the never-ending question that is going through my brain: "Can this be used as a weapon?"

Oh, the things you don't think about with only one child.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Not Me! Monday!

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama, check out her blog to see what everyone else has NOT been doing this week!

I put my new Mother's Day hubcaps on my van this week. The instructions said to use a rubber mallet to put them into place. I do not have a rubber mallet, so I did NOT decide that kicking them while wearing crocks would be the same thing. When that didn't work, I did NOT just wrap a regular hammer with packaging material to make it soft.

It did NOT work like a charm! The first time.

I was NOT so excited about my creative problem solving that I did a happy dance instead of looking at the hammer, and was unaware of the fact that the packaging material has split during the installation and now bare hammer was visible.

I did NOT put a hole in the next hubcap.

I did NOT decide to just put the front two on, since they were very similar to the existing hubcaps and when we are driving, no one will notice. And when we are still, people will be staring at the crazy kids so entranced by my wonderfully well behaved children that they will not notice.

I was so utterly proud of myself for finally having four hubcaps, and for only $16.88. I did NOT learn the lesson that 'you get what you pay for' when about ten miles down the road the new hubcap loosened and twisted, snapping the valve stem off the tire.

Those $16.88 hubcaps did NOT cost me $119 when I had to buy a new tire.

In other Not Me! news, Grant is NOT up to more trouble creativity at bedtime. He did NOT throw everything out of his crib at bedtime AGAIN.

And he did NOT throw everything into Ben's crib even though Ben was asleep. Ben is NOT sound asleep under the mound of stuff in this next picture.
See? There he is. And I am NOT clueless as to why this picture turned when I was uploading it.

We took the kids to the park yesterday. This conversation did NOT happen between Emma and her eight year old cousin, Nate.
Nate: Emma, don't cross the river there, it's deep!
Emma: What?
Nate: It's deep there!
Emma: Wha(sploosh!)
Emma did NOT end up soaked to her ears, and laughing about falling in the river.
She did NOT fall in again a few minutes later.
Ben did NOT attend Grandma and Grandpa Stauffer's 60th anniversary party with this beautiful shiner.
I swear, I do not beat him. Oh wait, it's Not Me! Monday! that could be taken wrong. That black eye was the fault of someone other than me. The story will come later!

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Day I Have Been Dreading is Here

At 3:30pm, the twins had still not fallen asleep.

Naptime is 1 o'clock. One. Not two, not three, one. I had been listening to them squeal and cry, going in every half hour or so to give them back their pillows and blankets and hope they would go to sleep. But at 3:30, they were still awake.

I heard Grant cry. The very tired, upset wail that I thought meant the same thing as every other day's tired upset wail, and he just needed his stuff that he threw out and he would be happy.

I made him wait.

Why did I do this? Because in my time as a mother of twins, I have learned that going in right away will mean that it becomes a game, and the boys will simply throw their things out more often to get to see Mommy. So I make them wait until they really want their stuff back, then I go in and give it to them and they will keep it. So I made him wait.

My theory was wrong.

I went in after twenty minutes of his crying, and found Grant had been trying to escape. He had one leg slung over the crib rail and was stuck, balancing on his toes of the other leg. And he was crying.

Unknowingly, I left my son in that position for twenty minutes. He is fine, and I thought he had gone back to sleep, but I hear him once again.

The worst part is, this near-escape means it is time for toddler beds, which scares the bejeebies out of me. I am not looking forward to this next change.

The One Where Emma Has All The Answers

I just LOVE commercials on kids TV shows. Love 'em.

Can you sense the sarcasm? Really, it was that obvious? Oh.

I usually let the kids watch Disney channel since there are no commercials, or shows we have recorded on the DVR so I can fast forward through them. I do not like the idea that my kids' views on the world are being shaped by people trying to make money.

This morning we were watching Strawberry Shortcake, recorded on the DVR. I was engrossed in something and did not notice that a commercial had come on. Then I heard Emma's voice.

"Mommy, I have an idea. We need to go to that place and give them a dollar."

"What place sweetheart?" I look and see she is pointing to the TV, where there is a commercial for the Gerber Life Grow-Up Plan. Yeah, it's life insurance.

This is where teacher Emma comes out. She stands by the TV, gesturing like Vanna White, and explaining things so that I can understand. "We go to this place, and give them a dollar, and then they give us ten thousand dollars and I can take it and get a lot of stuff at Build-A-Bear. A lot, Mom."

If only life were that easy...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Thursdays with Tiffani

I'm thankful for: My blog. I love being able to write whatever is on my mind, and that there are actually people out there who find my life interesting enough to read about it everyday. And even after my sleep deprived ramblings, you all come back for more. Thank you, loyal bloggy readers, thank you!

I'm looking forward to: Emma's birthday. Pray for sunshine, I cannot have that many children inside my house for a party.

I'm listening to: Sweet, sweet silence. And the little voices in my head saying, "Hey, idiot! All the kids are sleeping, why aren't you cleaning?" And the other voice says, "No, you should be sleeping!" OK, really, there are no voices in my head. Really. I promise.

What's for dinner tonight: Mmmmm... Tasty chicken, basil and fresh mozzarella paninis and chicken quinoa soup with avocado and corn. Yum-a-licious!!!

Missing: My cell phone. I had it Tuesday, and it is on silent so I have been calling myself and cannot hear it ring. I wonder how long it will be gone, and if it is in Ben's secret stash?

A Hug-Myself Jacket and Happy Pills

OK. So yesterday's post proved a few things.

1. Sometimes, you just have to know me to get me.
2. I need more sleep.
3. My kids will either look back on this blog and laugh, or say "You know, the signs were there, why didn't we see it sooner?"

Even my hubby came home last night and said, "Honey, sled cats? That was just weird. You need more sleep, huh?" Proving that what I thought was funny in my deranged mind was just plain weird to all you "normal people."

Oh, well. My blog, my crazy ramblings. Please don't commit me!

By the way, if you didn't see the link, click on the part in the last post that is highlighted and says Siberian Sled Cats. There's a true story there that is... interesting.

Drew has been going to sleep every night at eight. He falls asleep just fine on his own, we do not have to rock him or nurse him to sleep. He sleeps fine till about one, and then he is screaming. Not just crying, oh, I want my Mommy, screaming. I have been solving the problem by bringing him to bed and nursing him, and he sleeps off and an all night. which means I was awake every fifteen minutes to half hour from one am on.

Last week, I decided that enough was enough. He was waking to nurse since it was habit, he is certainly old enough to go all night without eating. So I started settling him and then putting him back in his own bed swing. The first night was rough, and then he slept for a four hour stretch. That was the only good night. For the rest of the week, he was awake and screaming from one am to about two, and then intermittently sleeping/screaming until six or seven, and then falling asleep just as the other kids woke up.

I am exhausted. Marty is exhausted. I hate night times since I cannot settle him at all, and all I want is sleep.

I had an epiphany this morning. A few weeks ago, we started him on solids to try and help him sleep. This is the baby who is sensitive to me eating dairy, and I am mixing cow's milk formula in with his rice cereal.

You would think that I would be able to figure things like this out since this is my fourth baby, and both Emma and Ben had dairy issues, too.

This is what three years of sleep deprivation does to you.

On the other hand, the asylum is quiet, right? Maybe that wouldn't be so bad after all...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Happy Buddy Day!!!

(Remember this post? Yeah, you might want to disregard that second paragraph when reading this one.)

Wednesday is Buddy Day. And Buddy day is cool.

Buddy Day is a tradition that was started several years ago between myself and my pa-in-law. Every Wednesday, we call each other and we plan the day's adventures. And boy, we have had some adventures!

We have done everything on Buddy Day from scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef to climbing the Great Wall of China to surfing with the dolphins in Hawaii. But my all time favorite Buddy Day was the time we raced in the Hairless Cat Iditarod. If you think the regular Iditarod seems fun, you have no idea how much interesting the Hairless Cat version would be.

We set off early Wednesday morning, and headed North to the wilds of Alaska. There we met up with our nature guide, Chet. Chet was your typical outdoorsman, smoking a pipe and wearing a red plaid flannel shirt with suspenders to keep his pants up to the appropriate over-the-belly-button height.

Here's a picture of him and me with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. This was when I was blonde, and um, shorter, um, and looking nothing like myself.

And that isn't actually a dreamy look on my face, I was just cold. And he was singing, which was weird.

Anywhoo, we checked out our hairless cats, harnessed them up and set off. Here's a picture of Wayne's lead cat before we hooked him to the sled.
Feisty, huh? I don't have any actual pictures of the cats with the sled because I don't have that much time to play with Photoshop the camera didn't work well in the cold air.
I have to say, racing hairless cats is a thrill. The wind in your face as those skinny little legs try to pull the sled through the snow is refreshing. The only downside to the day was the team of Siberian sled cats that were talking trash.

Poor sports.

Other than that, we had a great time. Well, there was that one part where Wayne's cat team got spooked by someone barking like a dog, (I still don't know who would ever do something like that,) and ran up a tree. I really wanted a picture of Wayne hanging there by the leads, but I was laughing so hard I peed myself and I had to change.

Anyway, Happy Buddy, Day, buddy! I'll be waiting for your call! :)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Jesus, Bring The Rain

My parents came up to visit last night. My mom needed another grand kid fix and Dad was trying yet again to get our ancient lawnmower to run. I had just started dinner prep when it started to rain, and then the lights flickered and the power went out.

The booming thunder gave a clue as to why the power had gone out, and it wasn't very long before the downpour started. It was raining so hard that it was loud on our metal roof, and echoed through the house. I took the kids on to our covered front porch to watch the rain pummel the ground and splash the sidewalk. We stood, barefoot and coatless, and watched for a minute, and then I had a thought.

Do I want my kids to watch life happen from the sidelines, or to truly experience everything this world has to offer?

So I did what any normal parent slightly deranged mother would do. I scooped up my daughter and ran. Down the steps and into the downpour, jumping and dancing.

She screamed.

My daughter, who likes to push the limits on everything she shouldn't, is a rule follower when it comes to the fun stuff, and she wanted her coat and her boots.

I wouldn't let her down.

I held her and spun around, getting soaked and letting the water pour down our faces. Laughing and dancing, hoping she would see the joy that was to be had.

She didn't.

I finally relented and let her run into the house for her boots and coat, and turned my attention on the twins, who were staring, wide-eyed from the porch. Ben had gone in and was holding their coats in one hand, waiting for help to put them on. I took their coats, threw them back inside and grabbed the boys' hands and pulled them out, encouraging as we went.

Ben came willingly, but Grant was a little timid, so I picked him up and took him out and danced for a while. He thought it was great, laughing and pretend shivering in the not-so-warm spring rain. After a while, I traded for Ben, and we danced for a while, too.

Emma came out, hood up and boots on, and had a great time. The thunder boomed and we cheered. The lightning flashed and we grinned, as everyone in our house knows that lightning is God taking a picture for his fridge. We screamed, we laughed, we danced and hollered. My mother stood in the living room window, holding baby Drew and laughing at her crazy daughter and three splashing grand kids, and my dad watched from our shop where he had been working, laughing at us and shaking his head.

Eventually, the downpour subsided and we went inside and got dried off. Emma, who was already dry and warm, stayed out a bit longer, splashing in the mud and muck. I changed myself and the boys, and looked out the window to see Emma trying to get my attention.

She went to the outdoor table and first took off one boot, then slowly the other. She took off her coat and laid it carefully next to her boot on the table. And then, making sure I was watching, she ran.

The feeling of wet grass and mud between one's toes is addicting, and she squealed in delight and started jumping and dancing while I cheered from the window. She found the biggest puddle in the yard and after carefully checking the bottom for rocks, she backed up, ran and jumped, making the biggest splash she could. I loved it and cheered her on.

I continued getting things together as the power outage made my dinner plans impossible, an impromptu restaurant visit was in order. She played for quite a while until I had her come in to change. Dripping head to toe, it was a happy, delighted, soaking wet girl that came in the house. She had been taking her bucket and filling it with water from the mud puddles, and throwing it up into the air to "feel the rain" on her head yet again.

There is a quote from a song by MercyMe that says, "Bring me joy, bring me peace, bring the chance to be free, bring me anything that beings You glory. And I know ther'll be days when this life brings me pain, but if that's what it takes to praise You, Jesus bring the rain."

I know I am not always the best at enjoying the moments of downpour and partially defrosted chicken with no way to cook it. I know I sometimes look at the rain in my life and grumble and complain, not looking at the opportunities that are presented to us when things don't go according to plan.

How often do we ask God to make a change in our lives, and then complain when things actually change? Are we looking for the window that God opens when he closes the door, or are we just staring at the backside of the door, willing it to open so that we can go down the path we wanted? How often do we pray to get out of our current rut, and then freak out when change is forced on us? Do we curse our boss for our layoff, or do we praise God for the opportunity that is to come?

How often does God give us a new blessing, and we don't make the most of it because we are so caught up in needing our boots and our coat? What do we miss by thinking we have all the answers and needing things to go according to our plan instead of trusting God and going with the flow?

Emma might of missed a great time if she had not been bold enough to shed the boots and coat and enjoy the storm for what it was. But she got there. It took her a while, but she got there.

And likewise, it's never too late to follow God's plan for our lives. Maybe we have been scared of what might happen if we trust. We might be afraid to give up control, and we might have a hard time letting go. But by holding on, we are missing the perfect plan God has for our lives. We are missing the freedom that is present in the storms of our lives.

And so I am deciding to spend more time dancing in the rain with my kids. I choose to see the blessings in the downpour and to trust God, as He does a much better job of taking control of my life that I ever could. And I choose to praise Him for the good and the bad, because He is good and I never know what those storms will bring.
There is a blog that I visit daily that means a lot to me. Bring The Rain is the story of one family's journey through the diagnosis and eventual loss of their daughter Audrey, and their faith is amazing. I would encourage everyone to pay them a visit and start at the beginning and read their story. It has changed my life and I'm sure it will yours, too.

Jesus, bring the rain.


I cried this morning as I read that sweet ten month old Kayleigh went to be with Jesus last night. Please keep Adam and Aimee in your prayers.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Not Me! Monday!

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This was created by MckMama who loves all things natural and enjoys a good free therapy session. But don't we all.

This week I talked to my friend Tracie on the phone. Well, that's not unusual, but when she lamented a little about her husband not making any plans for her upcoming milestone birthday, I did NOT trash him a little ("I can't believe he's not doing anything! He knows how important this is, is he just being lazy?") to try to stoke the fires of the pity party, knowing full well he had planned a surprise party for that very night. Sorry, Gordon, I didn't mean it!

I was NOT part of a group of people (who shall remain nameless) who gathered our talents and created a beautiful porcelain sculpture for Tracie's front porch that was set up the night of her party.

Alright, loyal bloggy friends, let me ask you a question. If your friends all got together and made you a beautiful sculpture complete with a planter box and a rock garden with a fountain, wouldn't you be thrilled? Wouldn't you thank them profusely and be enamored with the idea that your friends cared that much?
Tracie wasn't. And she didn't.

And for the life of me, I do NOT know why.

After the party, we did NOT kidnap Tracie for Ladies Poker Night at our friend Tarah's house. I was NOT the only one there who knew how to play poker, and I was NOT the only one who did not win a hand the entire night.

When Tarah went to walk some of the other gals out to their cars and stayed outside a while, we did NOT all flop on her bed. I did NOT flick a few cracker crumbs in there on purpose, and we did NOT attempt to take a few pics.

I am NOT the brilliant one who is working as a photographer, yet could not figure out the timer feature on my camera.

I did NOT then attempt to hold the camera up using my feet and take a picture with my big toe.
We did NOT give up and just take a picture of all of our feet on Tarah's pillows.
We did NOT get up, straighten her bedspread and return to the table before she came back in, oblivious to our adventures.

Tarah is NOT freaking out as she reads this.

Grant has NOT been wearing the same shirt since yesterday. He did NOT look at me with those big, brown eyes, and say, "Gwant keep car shirt?" I did NOT let him sleep in it last night. And I did NOT let him wear it again today.

I finally picked out the color scheme for my accent walls in my living room! WooHoo! When I excitedly showed them to Marty, he did NOT reply, "Wait, that's what you were talking about? Honey, I cannot stand that color!"

I am NOT back to square one.

Tarah, your mouth is still hanging open.

Happy Mother's Day!

I had a plan to blog a sweet, poignant blog about Mother's day and everything it means to me. But life happens, so the blog didn't.

I had a wonderful Mother's day. My first few Mother's days were not so good, I was so busy running around seeing my mom and Marty's mom, packing up the kids and all of their stuff and driving a couple hundred miles to see everyone. Don't get me wrong, honoring our mothers is something that is important to me, but instead of providing the break that I wanted, it gave me more work. At the same time, I thought of my kids growing up and moving on, and I would expect them to visit on Mother's day, so what was I complaining about?

But I would get home from a long, exhausting day, where the only difference between it and any other day was that Marty changed all the diapers and I got a card and a present. The kids would be cranky because of missed naps and changed schedules that would affect them for a couple days afterwards. And I would be in tears, after spending the day listening to well meaning people ask what special thing I was doing for Mother's day, was I thrilled about the break from responsibilities? and if I was going to get a much deserved nap.

This year we did something different. My Mother's day was Saturday.

I don't know why we didn't think of it before, the idea is brilliant. Saturday I got to sleep in while Marty took the kids outside so the house was quiet. I got a nice long shower, and I went to shoot a wedding with Amy. I got home in time to pack up the kids and head into town, where we did a little shopping. I got to buy my new grill with my birthday money that I had been saving, and for Mother's day, I got...

Are you ready for it?


Are you sure?

NEW HUBCAPS!!! And some new herbs for my planters, so Marty does not have to be "that guy" who just bought hubcaps, even though it was what I really, really wanted.

To be honest, I had no idea hubcaps were that cheap. I am a little disappointed that I have been missing hubcaps for almost two years now and you can get a set of four at Walmart for $17. I know they will not be the best hubcaps, but I will just hang on to my remaining two to replace as I lose the new ones. If my van were not 12 years old, with an unknown number of miles as the dash has not worked in a long while (but I'm guessing somewhere around 130,000,) I might invest a little more money in hubcaps. But for now, these will do just fine.

I'm a happy girl today.

Yesterday we went to church and then hit the road and headed down to my parent's house. We had an AMAZING lunch of barbecued ribs thanks to my Dad, the Super-Chef, and hung out with the family including my brother Jeff but missing his wife Beth, as she was on a plane coming home from somewhere. Then we headed out and made the trek back to Marty's mom's house, where we had a FABULOUS dinner thanks to Lori, Wayne, and Costco. Did you know if you take a Costco rotisserie chicken and throw it on a grill with amber chips and liquid smoke it's AWESOME? I didn't either!

We got home and put our very tired children into bed. I got to spend the day truly being thankful for our mothers instead of feeling a little robbed of my Mother's day, and I still got the well wishers that made it seem like Mother's day lasted all weekend for me.

Last year is a Mother's day I will never forget. I think my parents were out of town or something and we didn't go down there, but we went to Marty's mom's and then headed home I wanted to make dinner, a new recipe that I had learned at a cooking class and had been wanting to try. Marty took the kids and I spent some alone time in the kitchen, creating this wonderful dinner. We sat down at the table, and I took one bite and felt sick to my stomach. This meal that I had been wanting to make for weeks just didn't sound good, and I started to wonder if my late period was more than just my cycle being wacky.

I peed on a stick last Mother's day, and that was when we found out about Drew. I love that our little "surprise" was announced to us on Mother's day, it made things a little easier to handle. Like God was saying, "I have a plan for you, a plan to prosper you. Happy Mother's day, here's my gift."

Baby Drew has truly been a gift to us. I am so blessed to be the mother of four incredible children. Right now, Drew is napping, and Emma is laying on the couch with Ben trying to teach him to count.

Emma: Say one!
Ben: Wa?
Emma: Say two!
Ben: Too?
Emma: Say three!
Ben: Fee?
Grant, from across the room: Four!

Little smarty pants.

I hope you all had a wonderful Mother's day!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Ham With a Side of Purell

It's Friday. The end of a long week, and it feels as though I did not accomplish anything at all this week. Usually at the end of the week, I can list through things like, I scrubbed a half of a bathroom or I painted part of a wall, but not this week. This week I just survived.

But as of yesterday, I was caught up on laundry. Not the folding and putting away part, but the washing and drying part. So I guess that's an accomplishment. And I took Drew to the doctor for his four month checkup and found out that there have been 43 confirmed cases of the swine flu in our county so far. I am usually the type that does not freak out about things like that, I really thought it had not hit our county and everyone was overreacting. This news has not slowed me down from going out, but I did decide to keep the kids out of the play area at the mall and have been hand sanitizing them whenever we get back in the van.

Oh, speaking of, I went to Target to get a new bottle of hand sanitizer since the one by the twins' changing table was empty, and the shelf was cleared out. Not a single bottle of any brand anywhere. Is it people like me that are just buying one or two at a time, and we all came in the same week? Or are people arming themselves, getting ready to hunker down in their underground bunkers like Y2K, armed and ready with their little bottles of Purell, ready to fight the germ-laden humans and pork products? "Oh no, it's bacon!" (squirt squirt squirt) "Uh, you can't get the swine flu from eating bacon, you idiot!" "I'm not taking any chances! Die, bacon, die!" (squirt squirt squirt)

As you can probably tell, I'm severely sleep deprived again.

I am going to attempt a nap. I probably shouldn't bother, since Ben is just singing happily in his crib and occasionally pounding on the walls, but knowing that Ben is not napping, and knowing what is to come this evening with a non-napped two year old, I feel I must make the attempt in order to survive.

By the way, I cannot wait for this week's Not Me! Monday! It's going to be great, filled with pictures of lawn ornaments and feet. HeeHee!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


I just found out about a Mother's Day give away. is giving away all kinds of cool things, and I want to win! Go there yourself and enter, you can win everything from designer purses to a laptop!

It's Here! It's Here!

The Fed-Ex guy dropped this off yesterday. Ladies and gentlemen, may I present the "World's Crappiest Projector."

I was rather impressed at first with it's sleek look and professional appearance. Until I saw this.
That's right, Memu. Not Menu. Memu. And that is a napkin for padding. An actual napkin, I am not joking. Not wrapped in plastic like most things these days, no, wrapped in two napkins.
I haven't tried it out yet, but I am excited! I am holding onto the idea that the reason it is the "World's Crappiest Projector" is because they spelled Menu wrong, but the projector itself will be the best $60 I've ever spent. I refuse to even think about the possibility that is is so bad they didn't even bother spell checking the four words on the whole thing. And I believe that they are such a careful company that they are using napkins as a way to eliminate wasteful plastic that sits in our landfills forever.

I can't wait!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Breaking The Rules and a Twenty-Year Secret

I have never been a Rule-Follower. Which is interesting, since my husband is very much a Rule-Follower. When there are no cars in sight, he will walk the extra half block to cross at the crosswalk, and I will just cross the road and do a little dance in the middle, just to tick him off.

I think my non Rule-Following has served me well as a parent. This morning, the boys decided they wanted goldfish crackers instead of cereal. They got them. Truly, goldfish crackers are better for them than the fruity-sugary-artificial-colory-junk that my hubby buys, so why not?

My mother is a Rule-Follower, and my father is not. I think it is something in the genetic makeup, something my dad and I have that defies order and loves chaos that make us the way we are. Growing up, I would beg and plead for special things whenever one parent was gone. When it was just me and Mom, my special thing was eating my mashed potatoes with a spoon instead of a fork, which was great fun for me, the non Rule-Follower. When it was just me and Dad, it was eating eleven cookies for dinner.

I am grateful for both my parents in their ways of teaching me. My mom was always teaching manners and gracefulness, and now I can be comfortable in any social situation. I never have to feel intimidated around "proper people" or wonder which fork to use. My dad taught me how to be silly and which rules can be broken. I can change my own oil and joke around with the best of them.

I hope to instill both of these characteristics in my kids. I am not as proper and organized as my mom, my house is a mess and I haven't dusted in months. I am not as handy as my dad, I swear that man can fix anything. But I am a combo of the two, and I can't help but wonder what my kids will pick up from me and Marty. If they get my athletic ability and his common sense, they are in deep trouble. If they get my logic and his ability to sell, they just might take over the world.

I want to teach them when to respect the rules and when it's OK to break them. Couches are for sitting, not for jumping off of in an attempt to be Olympic Gymnast children who fly through the air twisting and tumbling, and trying to reach the ceiling. But couches are also for fort building, and they make great sock-fight forts.

It is tricky trying to instill these qualities in your kids. Some days it would be easier to just survive the day, but they will be thirteen before I know it, and then I will not be able to teach them anything, as they will suddenly know more than me. So I have to teach them now, not only how to behave but why to behave. Because those are the lessons that they will take with them into adulthood.

And of course, the lessons of how to enjoy life, like the circle on the floor of Best Buy is the place for dancing, no matter how crowded the store is or how many people are staring. It's OK to sing at the top of your lungs in the car with all the windows down in traffic. If people start pointing and staring, that's the time to dance and sing even louder. Birthday parties are for stuffed animals, and they deserve streamers, too.

And it's really, really fun to dress in all black and go to your Aunt's house for her 50th birthday, and make signs that say things like "Isn't it Nifty, Karen's 50!" and "Wheelchair Crossing" and put them in her yard. If it is raining, it is best to put the roll of TP on her porch with a note asking her to TP her own yard when the sun is out so it isn't as big of a mess. When she thinks her neighbor did it, let her believe it, and have a little "friendly feud" with that neighbor. Whenever she mentions that that neighbor still hasn't confessed to the prank, giggle a little inside but keep a straight face. For twenty years.

I wonder if Aunt Karen reads my blog. If so, this is gonna be fun!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Not Me! Monday!

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This was created by MckMama, you can go to her blog to find out what everyone has NOT been doing this week.

But before we do that, I need to let all of you know that baby Stellan, who we have been praying for for weeks now, is safely home from the hospital and doing well. Hooray Jesus! The goal now is for him to make it to age four when they can safely do open heart surgery and put in a pacemaker. MckMama thanks you for all your prayers!

Okey dokey, here's my Not Me! Monday! actually on Monday this time.

We took the kids to the Nuthouse on Saturday. I did NOT look at my camera on the way out the door and think that I should bring it, because I am a freak like that. I did NOT then convince myself I did not need it, there is no reason to bring a camera to a restaurant.

I did NOT wish I had it when Ben decided to eat a peanut, shell and all, and loved every salty, crunchy bit.

Marty did NOT sit there laughing, and being the parent closest to Ben, allow him to actually chew and swallow the entire peanut shell.

Grant did NOT eat straight ketchup with his spoon.
I did NOT declare ketchup a vegetable and give him a second helping. Or a third.

I did NOT go the grocery store and try to find creative meals to make up for the fact that we spent a fourth of our grocery budget for ten days at the Nuthouse. I did NOT decide that we would be French this week, and have almost every meal revolve around chicken, carrots, onion, and celery. This week, we will NOT be eating Buffalo Chicken Chili, Chicken Stir fry, Red Curried Chicken, Chicken Pot Pie and hot dogs.
We went to my niece Lily's birthday party last night. Grant did NOT refuse to eat even one bite of his hot dog for dinner, and he did NOT spend a good deal of time at the end of Holly's hall in time out.

Ben did NOT relish his cupcake with reckless abandon.

And Emma did NOT decide to be messy on purpose, because what Ben was doing looked like fun.

Grant did NOT spend a total of an hour and a half in time out and miss the entire party.

And we were NOT "those parents" that kept their son in time out for an hour and a half over one tiny bite of hot dog.

And I was NOT "that mom" who simply smiled, said, "Hey, it's his choice," and took pictures.

I did NOT decide to put the boys in sweatpants instead of jammie bottoms a couple of nights this week. In the morning, I did NOT just change their shirts, since they were already wearing pants. NO WAY am I that lazy/behind on laundry.

Drew did NOT decide to be a pill this week, and spend an entire day crying every moment I was not holding him. I did NOT just set him down and let him cry while I did something, and he did NOT start watching the kids' cartoons and stop crying. During the older kids' nap/rest time, I did NOT put my four month old in his bouncy seat and put the Baby Movie on for him to watch while I took a shower. I did NOT take a super-fast shower, all the while freaking out about the studies that say that TV viewing by babies will re-wire their brains and cause ADD. And I did NOT suddenly stop worrying about his brain and start freaking out, wondering if Marty had locked the front door and if someone was breaking in at that very moment and stealing my child. I did NOT finish my shower and run to the living room to find my son happy, content and giggling at the TV.

I do NOT worry about my fourth child like he was my first.

I did NOT just ask my husband for a Not Me! Monday! idea, and he did NOT just reply, "I don't know. You've kinda had an attitude all week."

Marty did NOT get tired of giggling like a schoolgirl after telling Grant to say "Clap!" and having him reply, "No Crap, Daddy!" He did NOT move on to telling Grant to say "I like Tex!" (one of the cars in the movie Cars,) and having Grant say, "I wike sex, Daddy!"

I am NOT dreading that phone call from his Sunday School teacher.

That is NOT a great example of why I have "had an attitude" this week. Seriously.

Friday, May 1, 2009

I Can't Think of a Catchy Title. Sorry.

I woke up this morning, hearing the soft hungry cries of baby Drew. Lately, I have been going to sleep and Drew has been waking me up about five minutes later and fussing through most of the night, but this morning, I felt almost rested. I opened my eyes to look at the clock. It was five thirty am.

I never thought I would ever get to the point in my life that I would say, "Thank you, sweet Jesus, for letting me sleep till five thirty!" but I did. It was heavenly. That was six hours of uninterrupted sleep. Oh, how I needed that. Seriously, anyone who has read my posts over the last couple of days will know that the lack of sleep was wearing on me. Talking raccoons in different dialects? Yeah, I'm nuts.

I was a little offended that Brenda though she needed to suggest in the comments that I was going crazy and I might need to be medicated. Preposterous. However, she is my oldest friend in the world, so maybe I should listen a little.
But maybe not.
I think if Brenda has not figured out in the last nineteen years that I might need medication, she's the crazy one. Yup, nineteen years. I am not truly offended, but I like pretending to be since then I can rightfully post a picture of her thirteenth birthday party.

That's me and Brenda. I'm the blonde. It was 1990, and we were disappointed that we could not get our hair any bigger.

And here we are last year, with Jenn, who has been around almost as long.

L to R, Me, Jenn, Brenda. And it's the angle, I do not actually have an enormous head.

Anyway, back to this morning. I got up before Marty left for work to get a shower, and had just turned the water on when the power went out. Remember we are on a well, so when we lose power, we lose water. Luckily for me, the plumber was out recently and swapped our reservoir tank for a bigger one, so we had eighty gallons before we ran out. I took the fastest shower known to man and tried to save the rest of the water for other things, like flushing toilets.

So that is why I did not blog this morning. I had a great morning with the kids, with nothing else to do we just played and had a great time. I think we should have no-power days more often.