Thursday, January 29, 2009

Don't be deceived by their smiles

He looks harmless.

She looks harmless, too.

But together, they sure pack a punch.

Tonight at bedtime, Lanie and I read part of Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder and then we cuddled and chatted. Lanie had a hearty "Amen!" after prayers tonight, and a sly look on her face.

"Lanie, were you paying attention to prayers?" I asked. Her smile looked like she'd been thinking of other things, like eating ice cream or something.

"Yes," she said, still grinning.

"Can you tell me what I prayed about?" I asked. Not in a drill-sergeant kind of way, but gently.

And she did, mentioning how I prayed for my eye. Which I did. Specifically thanking God my eye hadn't been hurt worse than it was. It was mere millimeters from something awful.

"Ok, you were listening," I said. For a kid who says she doesn't like to smile because it hurts her face, she should have been registering a ten for pain. Something was up. I studied her smile suspiciously.

"Do you know why your eye is better?" she asked.

"Hmm," I wondered.

"Because I prayed for you," she said.

"Thank you," I said and beamed my own ice-cream-eating, ten-scale smile.
What a wonderful silver lining in an almost dreary day.

The good news is

The good news is: Erin found Archibald the asparagus, which has been missing for two days and his absence has caused her much grief.

The bad news is: she just hit me in the eye with his pointy head. Which hurt a lot. Then Lanie says, "It looks like your eye is bleeding." And it is.

My doctor is making me go to the ER. Shane is on his way to pick me up. Good thing, too, because my car is buried under ice.

I'm sure you're having a better day.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Comfort me

After a day of clear liquid fasting, my mind was jumping ahead to what my next real meal would be. Well, it was a sorry little ham and cheese sandwich on pumpernickel, but that night for dinner I made some comfort food.

Roast chicken
steamed carrots
and my new favorite comfort food: butter and herb noodles

Butter and herb noodles

1 pkg egg noodles (don't skimp and get those wimpy No Yolks, use the real thing)
4 tbs butter (to start, you can always add more)
salt and pepper

Cook noodles according to package directions. Then, after you drain them, return them to the pot, add butter and fresh thyme and parsley, salt and pepper (this really should be to taste. I like lots of herbs, so I grab a handful of each--I'm assuming you know to take the little thyme leaves off their twigs and chop up parsley).

It was so good, I made the noodles again last night. I could eat them as a meal. For more comfort food ideas, visit Life as Mom.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Hold the sauce, and, um, the weevils

I was gabbing away on the phone the other day while making a homemade pizza. Lanie doesn't like sauce on her pizza, but since I was chatting, I wasn't paying attention to what I was doing and spread sauce on both crusts. I realized my mistake too late. I wondered how I could remove the sauce ... tried spreading it to the other end of the pizza and wiped one half with a paper towel several times to sop up the rest that didn't relocate. I covered it with cheese, hoping my keen taster wouldn't notice.

But the reason I was on the phone was to call a girlfriend to thank her for the jinx.* One day she was talking about bugs in her flour and how it infested her cabinets and grossed her out. She said it wasn't the first time she had gotten flour bugs, or weevils, in her flour before. But it was the first time I'd ever heard of it. And it gave me the willies. Now, though, I'm glad we had this conversation, because it wasn't even a week later that I went to open a brand new package of whole wheat flour when I noticed a little brown bug on my counter. "This is weird," I thought, and brushed the little guy on the floor. Then I noticed that five of his best friends were on the counter next to my bag of flour that I was just beginning to open. And I looked closer to see the remaining party crashers hanging out in the fold of the flour bag.

"Oh gross," I said. Fortunately, I knew what they were. I trashed the bag. I called my friend and continued making pizza with the unbleached all-purpose flour I had stored in a sealed plastic container.

"You need to clean out that cupboard in case they spread. Get rid of all your flour products that aren't in plastic containers, and check your unopened packages for holes," my friend explained, while I mistakenly spread sauce on Lanie's half of the pizza.

"What should I do to prevent this from happening again?" I asked. After all, I had never even heard of this. In my lifetime, I have never seen bugs in flour.

"When you buy your flour, freeze it for like two or three days," she said. "And then store it in an air-tight container."

I looked this up online. Some people freeze their flour after discovering the bugs in it, and then eat the bugs anyway. Call me wasteful, but I can't bring myself to do that. I tossed it all. But I will replenish my whole wheat flour, freeze it, and put it in a container, instead of leaving it in the original paper packaging.**

The pizza was good. Lanie's tasters were working overtime. Perhaps because of the difference in the crust (being all unbleached instead of half that and half whole wheat). Or perhaps because she tasted the faint flavor of wiped off sauce. I cast a sideways glance her way as she held the pizza up vertically and eyed it closely, suspiciously, all the while tasting madly. She continued on with her lunch, and I put mine on hold while I emptied out the cabinet, purged opened packages and bleached the surfaces down.

*I am not superstitious.
**Do not be afraid of any food I might prepare for you in the future. Remember, I'm married to someone who is a perfectionist and extremely neat and tidy. Hence, I must practice the same--this flour bug issue was a one-time occurrence. I share this story today just so that you will be informed that it could happen to you too.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Show me that smile again

Lanie's tooth has been wiggly for quite awhile. She's been eagerly waiting for it come out. Yesterday, after breakfast she said, "Mom, my tooth came out!" And there it was. So tiny. I thought back to when she was such a little one cutting that tooth for the first time. And now it's out. And soon a big adult tooth will be there. It's her first official loose/lost tooth. (The horrifying extraction over the summer doesn't count as the milestone for losing teeth. It just counts as a milestone for horrible experiences.)

Congratulations, Lanie! You sure are growing up.

She probably would have liked to take it to school to show her friends at show and tell, but I kept her home as she got a stomach bug on Tuesday. (We homeschool three days a week, and she goes to a homeschool school two days a week.)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Language barrier

The ride home from school today:

Lanie, "Mom, what comes after 1,000?"

Me, "1,001."

Lanie, "No, I don't mean that. What comes after 1,000? Like the next big number."


"No! Not that," she says.

"I don't know, honey, ask your dad."

"No, I'm not asking him."

Me, "Well, I'm not sure what you're getting at."

"Well, Mom, you should be paying attention."

Oh my goodness. I try again, "The next big number ... like 10,000? 100,000?"

"No, not numbers like that. What's the next big number?"

I feel like this is the math version of Who's on First.

"One million," I said. Please, let it be one million.



Lanie came downstairs tonight while I sat at the computer. I heard thumping and movement on the stairs--kind of threw me off because the house was supposed to be asleep. She comes into the office and climbs onto my lap. She wants to cuddle. And a drink. We head to the kitchen and I fix her some milk. We sit silently side by side at the counter. She eyes my lap and climbs onto me. "I just want you," she says. I hold her close and sway a bit. She still fits. I rest my head against hers and remember she was once a tiny infant in my arms. She's so big now. I hold her closer. I think of our day: she spent most of it with Shane at a movie and running errands for me this morning. I was so tired reading to her tonight at bedtime, I just wanted to curl up next to her and sleep, like we did when she was two and three and four years old. And still a late hour found us awake for an extra quiet time. How old will she be when she no longer fits on my lap? Eight, nine, ten? How old will she be when she's too big to cuddle or admit she still wants me? I hold her closer and savor six. Big six: when she doesn't howl or cry at falling down and embarrasses easily over bumps and tumbles. Little six: when she lets me whisper fantasy into her ear at bedtime and she whispers back. Wonderful six, could this moment last a little longer ... in my arms ... in this heart.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


My friend Christy is having a baby boy in February, and I was lucky to host a baby shower for her little guy. And her too.

The girls helped me roll diapers to make a diaper cake. Erin pulled the diapers out of the bag. I rolled and banded them. Lanie stacked them on the counter. The family stood around me as I assembled the cake. We were all interested to see if I could pull it off, and how it would look. Not bad for a first timer.
We had Mexican layer dip, fruit and veggie tray, black bean soup and southwest chicken salad. Dessert was a dreamy whipped peanut butter cake. The send away was boxes of chocolate kisses and baggies of chocolate heart-shaped cookies. Easiest cutout cookie I've ever made.
Christy, thank you for letting me do this for you. I am so very happy for your growing family. Now get to work and pick out a name for that baby!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The ticket

January is the month I decided to see what it feels like to be a lab rat. Every week I have something fun scheduled with a doctor or specialist. The fun began last week when they sucked out 6 or more vials of my blood. Today, I got the results of that blood work during my physical.

I love this part.

Since I've had Erin, two years ago, I took my time about getting back to my pre-pregnancy weight. "I just had a baby," I said until she was about 18 months old. Then that didn't seem so understandable. So I started saying, "I like chocolate." And shrugged. Most women get it.

So when the doctor is going over my results, she's telling me how great my blood sugar is (yeah!) and that my cholesterol is wonderful too.

"I find this hard to believe," I said to her. "I eat a homemade chocolate chip cookie every day after breakfast. I thought for sure I was clogging up my arteries."

This is a slight exaggeration, because I really eat THREE of them.

"But your thyroid numbers have changed in the last year, doubling in fact," she said. "Blah, blah, blah." The bottom line is on that front: my thyroid is sluggish. Sluggish!

Imagine the things I could do if it wasn't sluggish. With a sluggish thyroid, I'm a little soft around the middle, but I can stay up late at night and solve world problems. This is great news. With a lifetime of thyroid medication, I will be unstoppable! (I like to look for the silver lining ...)

I called my husband, "All this time I've been telling myself it was the chocolate holding me back. I was thinking I wasn't losing weight because of the chocolate--"

"And your lack of exercise," he added.

"Yeah, whatever." I continued, "But it wasn't that I'm lazy or eat too much chocolate: I have an underactive thyroid! So when people look at me like a fluffy size ?@# (I'm not giving it up that easily)--I'll just be like, 'Um, I have a thyroid problem?'"

It's my ticket to status quo.

"Yeah, what about after you start taking the medication?" he asks.


I find the silver lining. Shane finds the thunderstorm of reason. Whatever, I'm on a month-long chocolate binge until I start the meds.

Note: I so enjoy highlighting the light banter and love I share with my man. But he doesn't like the celebrity that comes with my blogging. People are looking us, shaking their heads, like they know things ... and he's feeling a little less anonymous in this world. He has told me several times to not mention him. To not even refer to him as "husband" or "Mr. X." So, until I find out the loophole in those instructions, I'm going to have to quit blogging about him. I may even have to leave him out of our Christmas newsletter ...

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Good morning

I managed to fall into another sound sleep about 1 a.m. I don't even remember Shane kissing me goodbye this morning.

Lanie climbs into bed at 0'dark-hundred because of a nightmare.

Erin woke at 7 a.m. to tears and pleadings for juice. We're up.

Fix Life cereal for Erin, which she later spills on the floor and tramples with her shoes on.

Clean mess. Bump kids' table, knocking off container of crayons into the cereal mess I'm sweeping up. Crayons and cereal crumbs everywhere. Grumbling at chocolate that made my hips so big.

Put on VeggieTales at Erin's request. Lanie is off doing things in her room.

Erin needs mom. Let's fingerpaint! Get out supplies. Get out cards--to make colorful handprints as thank-you notes for Erin's birthday gifts before a month is up. And because two is skipping by without a video camera, or a scrapbook. Must preserve this moment.

Lanie and Erin paint. Then I try to get Erin to get her hand covered in paint for the prints. She protests. Screams. Cries. This is supposed to be fun! We're making memories. (Bad ones, apparently.)

Clean child off. Comfort with blanky and juice cup. Rock in kitchen chair. Resist urge to cram face with chocolate.

It's not even 10 a.m. and I feel like I'm out of tricks. Luckily, other moms have sent me a few on Facebook. Lifeline. Snowflakes. Let it snow!

Monday, January 5, 2009

To do: call doctor, read, bleach tub

The past two weeks have been a blur with lots of activity. Fortunately, I've been able to keep up with the pace because I physically haven't been able to sleep. Nearly every night when I lay down to go to sleep, and I'm teetering on twilight and goodnight, I start feeling really ... ill. All that helps make that yucky go away is getting up and doing something.

Something has included working on a new blog, reading the Bible, reading another book, making grocery lists and spending enormous amounts of time on the Internet. It has also included a detailed plan to fix the economy and to bring about world peace. What else am I going to do at 4 in the morning? Sleep?

So, it's actually been pretty good, and you'll thank me when there's world peace. But what has been better, is that I have been able to function on three hours of sleep a night--and I'm still a good wife and mother because of it. I don't say this to go "look at me," but LOOK AT ME! I am covered in grace. Because there are plenty of days when I have eight hours of sleep and can be a bear when people are in my way or want things from me. And yet, oddly, these past two weeks, it's different. I'm dog tired, but because of grace, I have been able to smile at my kids and fulfill their requests with a happy heart. I have been keenly aware that I haven't snapped at anyone, especially during circumstances where I know I would!

Yesterday, I was overcome by tears at God's grace in my life. That he knows I'm running on empty and still has equipped me to get by ... and get by well. I was so thankful that these weeks weren't marred by a bad attitude, staining Christmas and New Years for my kids--because in my own power, there would be some bad attitude. Still, in my tears, I asked if I could get one good night's sleep.

Last night looked to be a repeat of the same, but somehow or another, I was able to fall into a deep, deep sleep.

At 6:15 this morning, I woke up and got the kids ready. I stuck Erin in the tub and she tooted. What a joke for a two year old!

"Mommy! Toot!" she laughed. I laughed too. Then she does a few grunts, and before I really put it all together (which you, intelligent reader, who sleeps most nights, probably already have figured this one out!), I look at her and say in dawning wonder, "Erin, do you have to poop?"

"No," she says. And then, she poops.

I stop flossing and get over to her to take her out of the tub, but she doesn't want to get out.

"Honey, you pooped. I have to get you out of the tub!" She scoots away from me, but then she sees the poop and it freaks her out. Screams.

"Let me get you out!" I say and reach for her as she's splashing poop water all over herself. Ugh.

I get her out and into the shower to clean her up. She's crying and shaking, "Poop! Tub! Poop! Tub!"

For several hours after, she continues recounting the horror, "Poop! Tub!" Something tells me, this will be her first lasting memory of her life. Not the fabulous cuddles or playtimes. Not the silly songs we sing together. She's going to remember this morning, and hopefully, so will I. I hope that I remember this season of insomnia and how gracious God was to me, filling me up on his word and his love, his mercy and his grace.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The glory of it all

I think I've become tone deaf as I've aged. Many, many years ago I went to a Christmas service with my sister, who is tone deaf, and I thought I'd have to leave the room because I couldn't stifle my laughter at her howling. Oh my goodness! I couldn't even look at her.

I've deceived myself all these years, singing in front of a mirror, thinking I actually sounded good. Because when I turn down the music and hear myself: I can't hold a note either. It must be hereditary.

At a recent gathering of some women, we all got together to sing Christmas carols. I was like, "Uh, this wasn't part of the program ..." But I didn't want to sound like a humbug, so I went along with it and planted myself next to the loudest woman in the group, who then decided her throat was giving out on her. So she didn't sing, making her the quietest in the group. Someone said, "Make a joyful noise!" to me. I was not in my element. I don't have a girlie voice, and no one was singing alto. Not my finest moment. But it was fun.

I do love singing at church though, because the music is so nice and loud that no one can hear me, including me. What a confidence builder. Tonight we sang this, and I lost my voice to tears at the line, "We will never be the same." Lyrics are much better sung to music than read on a blog. I wish you could hear the beautiful song sung in my heart ... but not with my voice!

I am not even the same from last week. So much has moved in my life that I never anticipated.

The Glory of it all
Dave Crowder Band
At the start
He was there
He was there
In the end
He’ll be there
He’ll be there
And after all
Our hands have wrought
He forgives
Oh, the glory of it all
Is He came here
For the rescue of us all
That we may live
For the glory of it all
Oh, the glory of it all
All is lost
Find Him there
Find Him there
After night
Dawn is there
Dawn is there
And after all
Falls apart
He repairs
He repairs
Oh, He is here
With redemption from the fall
That we may live
For the glory of it all
Oh, the glory of it all
After night
Comes a light
Dawn is here
Dawn is here
It’s a new day, a new day
Oh, everything will change
Things will never be the same
We will never be the same
Oh, everything will change
Things will never be the same
We will never be the same