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Feb 25, 2011


Seems this week's hot topic of conversation has been about poop. At work. At home. On the news.

So it seems fitting that my night end with a big pile of it.

Lena has awful diaper rash and, when she started tugging on her diaper tonight, I knew it was hurting her. So I took off her diaper to let her nether regions air out a little.

About 2.2 seconds later, upon exiting the bathroom from helping Sam pee, I nearly stepped in a nice warm, wet pile of poop. Lena's poop. Yuck.

Reminded me of when the dogs were alive.

My wise sister-in-law, Terry, reminded me earlier this week that one day I'll miss all of these messes. So I was trying to remember that as I cleaned up this particular mess.

Thanks, Lena, for the mess.

Thanks, Terry, for the message.

Feb 24, 2011

Out of Order

This is me today.

Sam (who has a mild case of croup) woke up early, as usual. I tried to get him to go back to sleep, once in his room, once in ours - no go.

I turned on PBS and let him watch a show while I tried to go back to sleep for an hour - no go. Every time I would fall asleep, he'd turn over and put his diapey on my face and wake me up. He was trying to be nice and share his diapey with me, but I didn't see the sweetness of it at that moment.

So downstairs we went, ate breakfast and greeted Miles. Lena woke, ate, then wanted some dry Cheerios, so I put them in a bowl and everyone went into the living room to play.

So far so good. Tired, but good.

Then I made the mistake of going to the bathroom.

As soon as I sat down I heard Lena overturning the freshly cleaned and filled cat dishes. Food and water everywhere. I hollered but, being indisposed, couldn't get up just yet.

She was manically laughing when Sam came into the bathroom and said "I pooped". In his big boy underpants, he pooped. What's worse than that?

So I cut my visit short, cleaned up the kitchen where water was splashed all over the walls and floor and food, partially soft from absorbing the water, was scattered everywhere.

Then onto Sam's mess, which was such a stinky, smeary, hefty mess that I just threw the underwear away. Yuck. While I was finishing that up, I heard Lena manically laughing again and walked out to see Cheerios covering the floor, the couch...everywhere.

Between cleaning all of that up, our collective grouchiness, my headache brought on by the kids playing cymbals with the pot lids...I didn't think we would make it to nap time.

But God is good and the kids are sound asleep now. I wish I were too, but I keep staring at the fingerprints on the windows and thinking I really should clean them.

Feb 22, 2011

Catch Up

I've been a bit out of it since Grandpa died. My friend Nichole thinks it's a mixture of my annual winter blues and grief over Grandpa. I think she might be right.

In hopes of snapping myself out of it, I went out for a rousing night of crazy dancing with my friend Molly and a few others last week, which was so fun I injured my knee (that makes me really old, right?).

And next weekend I'm road tripping with Tara down to visit Jen in South Carolina! Tara is as in need of this short trip as I am, so it's perfect. And the anticipation of it is enough to lift the fog I've been operating under for a couple weeks now.

Thank you God for friends. And sunshine.

Now, to catch you up on some of the happenings in our little world, see the pictorial chronology below.

A marching band came to town and marched its way right through our house. Cute little maraca player, isn't she? And that handsome.

Then the same night we were invaded by brown paper bag robots from outerspace.

Sam's first day of soccer camp at Stonybrook.

Sam and Miles falling asleep on my lap.

Lena and Sam have been playing a lot together recently. I think Lena finally gets the idea and Sam finally has enough patience.

Especially under the umbrella tent Rich bought us for Valentine's day. They love that thing.

The kids have been drawing a lot, too. Well, Lena's actually working on the crossword puzzle, but we don't like to brag.

Feb 10, 2011

Goodbye Grandpa

My cousin, Julie, and I stood at my grandpa's beside early this morning, just as the sun was rising, and watched him take his last breath. It was a peaceful, awesome, humbling experience that I will cherish all of my life.

Mostly because Grandpa was one of the very best men I've ever heard of, let alone have ever met. Mostly because I feel certain that he was greeted in heaven by his family and his holy Father. And mostly because I know that while we will miss him, they are so elated to have him home in heaven today.

He was joyful and funny and passionate and loving and emotional and kind. He always had a story, found humor in most things, wasn't afraid to cry, took such care of his family and wife, and enjoyed his life.

And it was a great life.

He traveled and ate and laughed and played music and loved the Buckeyes and fished and wood worked and adored being outside and loved his church and cherished his family.

Grandpa had the greatest smile - it would warm you all over to see him flash that smile. It was just so joyful and genuine.

Grandpa had big ears and a long nose, but somehow pulled both of them off in a dashing way - he was a very handsome man.

I remember he had about 100 suits hanging in a deep hall closet, a key making machine in his workshop, a Pinto that never caught fire, a beautiful house and with a breathtaking yard, a stereo system that piped music through the house and outside, an organ, a pipe, golf hats in every color, the most beautiful thick silver hair.

He taught me what a man should be - hard and soft and always good and honest and hard working and faithful. I think he taught Mom that too, since she married a man very much like Grandpa. And I married a man very much like my father... all started with Grandpa.


Feb 4, 2011

God's Flashlights

We say prayers every night with the kids before bed.

In a certain place in our prayer routine, we pray that God bless and protect people (especially kids) who are abused or neglected or alone or sick and that he put Godly, intelligent, loving people in their lives so that they can see his light and know that the world isn't always so dark and scary.

I was reminded of this family prayer as I read my cousin's wife's blog yesterday. Suz is a gifted writer and leads an interesting life in Sudan with my cousin and their two small kids. You should check it out

Yesterday she wrote about volunteering at a horse farm to take orphaned kids on rides. They call it hippotherapy, but I call it being a flashlight.

Her blog made me realize that she is an answer to our nightly prayer. Suz is God's flashlight -God is shining his light through her onto these kids, using Suz's love and joy for life and the Lord to affect these kids in a special way.

Then I started to think of all the other flashlights I know. My cousin Julie teaches kids with behavioral problems and other disabilities; my sister teaches Sunday school and preschool and taught elementary school before the kids were born; my mom has babysat kids forever, some of whom are in their 20's and still come to visit her; my friend, Nichole, volunteers at her daughter's school every chance she can; my brother in law helps lead a group for boys through church...and so many more. All of these people touch kids' lives in loving, intelligent, Godly ways. And, for some of the kids, these people are the only light they see in a day.

I'm just starting my journey to becoming a flashlight, beginning with my own kids. But I'm feeling provoked today to do more, thanks to Suz and all of the wonderful flashlights God has illuminated my life with.

Behind the scenes stuff is my volunteering niche right now. I'm already away from my kids three days a week at work and away from Rich five days a week while he's at work, so I like finding things that benefit others that I can do from home, like creating PPT's for Sunday's traditional services, taking minutes for my church council, sponsoring my kids in Africa and the US. This way I feel like I'm doing something for others without taking precious time away from my family.

So along those lines, I've decided to get involved with a group called Project Linus Their mission is "to provide love, a sense of security, warmth and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need through the gifts of new, handmade blankets and afghans, lovingly created by volunteer blanketeers." They have distributed over 3 million blankets to children in need since 1995.

Four reasons I love this:

  1. I crochet and knit and enjoy doing both (it's the only crafty thing I'm good at);
  2. My kids both have blankies that they gain a lot of comfort from, so I know that the mission is a good one;
  3. Linus is my favorite Peanuts character; and
  4. I can do it from home.

My goal is to make 6 blankets this year. I may do more, since most of them will be small, baby blankets I can do with simple stitches, but I my official goal is 6. This may not seem like a big deal, especially in comparison to what so many people give of themselves every day.

But it's big to me. Because a little kid who is battling cancer or has lived through a disaster or has lost a parent or is homeless or an of those sweet innocent little ones will have one my blankets to keep them warm, help them sleep, comfort them, or brighten up their room.

And I'll send a prayer with each one that it be a light, however small, in this kid's life.

Computer Crash

Sam fell yesterday and, in order to catch him, I had to drop our laptop onto the floor.

Good news: Sam survived with only a scratch on his chin. Thank goodness.

Bad news: Our computer is dead.

Worse news: We have all of our pictures on that laptop and, like idiots, we did not back up most of them.

Worst news: Rich worked on it a bit last night and couldn't recover anything.

Glimmer of hope: We have two possibilities of deeper recovery - our friend Blair, who used to do this for a living; and my church's Geek Squad, who are a group of computer gurus who offer their services for free.

If that doesn't work, there will just be lots of crying and self deprecation about losing those pictures, and the purchase of a new laptop.

Moral of the story: Back up your precious pictures.

When Sam was born, we put all of our pictures on Shutterfly, so we have most of his early pictures backed up there. But we didn't do that with many of Lena's pictures. I do post a lot of pictures to this blog now, but I've only been doing this for a year, so we'll be missing a lot of sweet memories if we can't recover anything.

Forced optimism: At least we have some pictures saved, printed, backed up elsewhere, and that's better than none. Thank you, God, for that.

Feb 1, 2011

Nan's Wisdom Reaches From Beyond

Mom was looking through my Nan's (my dad's mother's) old bible and came across this poem. Martha is still with us, isn't she...

Somehow, the sunlit world is grey
A small boy went to school today,
So often in these few years
Of healing hurts and mending tears
Of picking playthings off the floor
Of running often to the door
To see if he were safe at play,
The awful fear that he might stray
On eager, fearless baby feet
Into the crowded city street.
One thought has been a placid pool.
He'll soon be old enough for school.
And he was old enough today
Yet all the sunlit world is grey
So soon my rooms grow orderly
With no small boy to bother me.

But quiet rooms are lonely things
When in their walls no small boy sings,
A quiet yard's a lonely place
When it has known a small boy's face
Today he joined the world of men
He'll not be wholly mine again
Today he braved life's rise and fall-
Dear Lord he seems so very small.
Somehow the sunlit world seems gray
My baby went to school today.