Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Allison is Here!!!

Allison Ann Clark entered the world one week ago at 8:37am on Monday, December 17, 2012! She was 7 lb, 12.5 oz and 20 in long. We just love her so much. Although tired, we are having a great time with the new addition to our family.

I love to hear labor stories so I'll tell you mine. With our second child we prayed that my water would not break before we got to the hospital. Our reason was because with our first child my water broke and I did not have him until 36 hours later. Yes, 36 hours. Not all of that was hard-core labor, but we still had to pay for the whole 36 hours....

Well, I kept having false labors with this pregnancy so on Sunday, December 16 I was praying and asked the Lord to please have my water break so I would know for sure that we needed to go to the hospital. On Sunday night we went to bed around midnight because Bruce was not feeling well. Matt had been at the ER with him that morning because he was having trouble breathing. I got up to use the restroom around 2am. Then, around 2:50am my water broke. Yay!

We made it to the hospital and once they got me in the bed I could not get out. I wanted to go through labor without an epidural so my recovery time would be shorter. However, I was so tired that all I could think during each contraction was, "I want that epidural!" I remembered that the contractions did not hurt so badly with my second child, whom I also delivered without an epidural. Then, I remembered that I was also a lot more rested and positive when I delivered him. So, I started telling myself, "I WANT to do this." That did help them to not hurt so badly.

I also began motivating myself with a visual. My son Wayne had his first preschool Christmas program on Tuesday morning. I thought, "If I can get through this labor with no drugs, I can probably get out of here by Tuesday morning in time to make it to his program." I kept picturing him on the stage and telling myself I wanted to suffer through the pain.

It's funny to me how each delivery is so different. One of them I wanted to hang off my husband, but did not want him to give me a back rub. The second one I had pump up music in the background and was moving around the whole time. This time I just wanted to be pampered and I wanted to see my husband the whole time. It was great because one of my friends, Bonnie Smith, came to coach me through labor so she was able to help my husband keep up the back and foot rubbing! The nurse jumped right in to rub my legs and I was feeling pretty taken care of.

One of the ways that I felt God in the room with me was through the contractions at the end of labor. You know how usually the contractions get so close together that you can hardly catch your breath? Well, my contractions got farther apart. I even fell asleep between some of them and was then woken up by the feeling of another one coming on. It was like I got a bunch of little naps in between to give me some energy to push her out because I was nervous I would not have the strength with such little sleep the night before-2.5 hours or so. I had my eyes closed most of the time through labor and did not talk much. I was just trying to save all my energy for the end.

When it was time to push, I was pretty alert. That kind of happens when you have almost 8 lbs coming out of you! I ended up pushing so hard I pooped as I was delivering her, which I totally didn't care about at that point. When I was delivering my second son, I was coaching him saying, "You can do it Bruce. You can come out." And more positive phrases like that. This time I was screaming, "Get her out of me!" With my sons I had ripped so they just shot out like a bullet out of a gun. However, I did not rip with her so her head was stuck and I got to experience the "ring of fire". I think that's probably when the screaming was the loudest.

Funny thing was my husband shushed me. Yes he did! I looked at him and yelled, "Don't shush me!" He told me later that he thought, "Well, who is shushing a woman in labor?!" Then, without thinking-obviously, he shushed me again and realized that he was the offending shusher. He could not believe himself. It was actually pretty funny.....AFTERWARDS, when we were talking about it:)

After they got us all cleaned up they were trying to get me to use the restroom. I couldn't and I heard the nurses discussing when they thought I had last peed. I interrupted them and explained that I was pretty sure I peed myself in the bed. I told them I was thinking, "This bed is going to get really messy. A little pee is not going to make it much messier and I am not getting out of this bed to go to the toilet. So, I peed myself."

They got me over to the post partum side and things went great. The after pains were horrendous, but other than that I was feeling pretty sore and tired but also so happy and blessed. We expressed our wishes to get out of the hospital the next morning and the staff was so kind to get our paperwork moving along.

The next morning, we were at the doors of the hospital with 9 minutes to get to Wayne's Christmas program which was just around the corner at a local church. Two nurses helped us load the van so we could make it on time. We got there with a few minutes to spare. Everyone was telling me how crazy I was for being there and what a supermom I was. I explained that I was high on drugs-I had just taken a hydrocodone right before leaving the hospital-and I would crash like any other mom after the program.

So, what crazy labor stories do you have?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

O Sleepless Night

This song is a parody of O Holy Night. When I first thought of writing a parody of this song, I wanted to write about how I thought Mary's first night with Jesus really went. (Him crying, being hungry and her not getting much sleep, etc.) However, I couldn't figure out a way of doing this without being irreverent. So, I decided to base the song on my own experience. Besides, who knows, maybe he was a perfect baby.

I wrote the first two verses of this song based on a real night I experienced with my 2 boys shortly after my second son was born. I kept racking my brain trying to think of words to the third verse. I finally wrote the third verse when the insomnia of my current pregnancy hit me.

Funny thing is, I'm due with our third child in 2 weeks so I will most likely have a lot of nights like this in the near future. At least I'll have something to sing to myself to maybe make me laugh instead of cry.....

I hope you like it! Let the Christmas season begin!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Constantly Abide

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing – John 15:5

This last spring, a mom's group I attend went through a shortened version of The Freedom Series by Neil Anderson. Each of us went through the material individually. As we were going through the series I found a book we had at our house titled "Ridding Your Home of Spiritual Darkness". The author talked about things in our home that we may not even realize hold demonic power over us.

Through reading the book, God revealed that I needed to get rid of some things in my home. I had been working with my counselor on my self-esteem and I felt God wanted me to get rid of things I had earned that had either raised my self-esteem to where I thought I was better than others or had lowered my self-esteem by reminding me that I was not as successful as I had once been. So, I began throwing things away. It felt great.

God also had me give up a position I held in a local ministry. I thought He had me give up the position because He wanted me to focus on the things I was working with my counselor and to give more time to my family. However, recently He is showing me that He had me give it up because I was finding my identity in it.

Instead of being a servant leader I was striving for respect from others, recognition for the things I was doing, and just plain focusing on the way others thought of me instead of what part I needed to play in God's plan for the ministry.

When I thought God was taking the position away because He wanted me to work on other things, I was fine. When my heart hurt because I wasn't as involved I thought he just wanted to fill that space with the other things he brought into my life. I thought, "I need to do those other things he wants me to focus on and my feelings of being left out won't be there." I was wrong.

God doesn't want me to do anything. (That is not a call to be lazy and do absolutely nothing.) He wants me to rely on Him for my identity and to constantly abide in Him. He wants me to not seek after things that I can do to make me feel worthy. That is His doing. He did it on the cross. I am a new creation and special because I belong to Him. It's not because of anything I can do. It's only because of what He has done. And I can only be helpful to His plan if I stay connected to Him and let Him work through me.

As I focus on God and others I am able to see more of God's plans unfold. And His plan is always better.

What struggles keep you from focusing on others?

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Only 6 Weeks To Go!

This week has been one of THOSE weeks. I realized this last weekend that I have entered the stage of the pregnancy where I am done being pregnant. Not that I want to have her early, I just don't want to be pregnant anymore. As I'm telling my husband this Monday afternoon on a "can you please come home a little early" phone call about how I am starting to think, "What in the world were we thinking getting pregnant again?!" He says, "And we want another one!" I said, "Don't you even mention that right now!" Of course, I am kidding. I already love Allison, our baby's name, and am so excited to meet her. And, yes, we want a fourth child. However, I will be excited when I can stand on my own two feet again without being in fear that I will fall. Speaking of falling.....

I have not had such a hard time keeping my balance in any other pregnancy than this one. If you've seen me in person, you know I don't move slowly. I am a fast walker...and a fast talker:) Not even including falling in the tub, I have fallen the last 3 Mondays. Not sure what it is with Mondays. I really do love Mondays. It's like the slate has been wiped clean and I get another week to do my best. I guess I get a little too excited and forget to slow down.

It's also frustrating when things seem to be going really great and then something just sets me off. I woke up on Monday feeling pretty anxious about a few different things. I was journaling and the verse "Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you" (1 Peter 5:7) popped into my mind. So, I listed all my "anxieties" and gave them to Him. We had a great morning. I was able to get some cleaning done, read to the boys and play blocks with them. I was feeling pretty tired right before nap time and thought, "I just need to get through reading them stories and then I can lie down on the couch." I had also been in the bathroom, somewhere I am often since there is only 6 weeks to go in this pregnancy, praising the Lord for such a great morning and how He had helped me.

Then, Bruce pooped his diaper. Okay, not a big deal. I'll just change it. As I'm changing that diaper, Wayne announces that he needs to poop. Okay, not a big deal. "Wayne, go get on the toilet and don't play with the water," I say. "I won't mom," He says. (Yes, I have to give that warning because last week he had pooped and was wiping before I got in there. However, he wasn't totally wiping but had toilet paper half in the poop water and half wiping himself. Have I mentioned that potty training is my current torture chamber?)

After changing the diaper and getting in the bathroom with Wayne, Wayne realizes that Bruce is playing with his blocks. I try to reassure him that he can fix anything Bruce messed up when Bruce goes to a nap-Wayne doesn't take naps anymore. I thought that calmed him, but it didn't. Long story short, Wayne had a total meltdown, got poop on his face and when I tried to clean it off with soap and water the poor kid was gagging because he had his mouth open and I wasn't watching too closely, and honestly quite perturbed by this point. He did start laughing, but I accidentally squirted soap on him when I was washing my hands, because I was pushing the soap dispenser a little harder than needed, which sent him into another meltdown. I let him out of the bathroom and I just sat there and cried.

I was crying so hard I was just about hyperventilating. (Did I mention I'm DONE being pregnant with all the emotional swings that go with it?!?!?!) I could not believe that no less than 15 minutes ago I was praising the Lord for all His help and now I am on the bathroom floor having my own meltdown. I would have left the bathroom, but I couldn't quit crying. Okay it only lasted 5-10 minutes, but it felt like a long time. I was thinking, "What is going on. Do I need to get a part-time job, a housekeeper, more counseling?" Then I realized that I have not been taking care of me. Not in a selfish way, but in a healthy way. I have not had a break, a real break in a long time. It's funny how us moms can forget to take care of ourselves. It's not like we are "out of sight, out of mind." I'm always with me!

Well, Bruce finally gave up on being read to and put himself to a nap:) Wayne came to the bathroom door and told me I needed to be quiet with my crying because Bruce had fallen asleep. (Thank you, Wayne:) I got on the computer and hired a babysitter for Wed. I am going to go be by myself for 3 hours. I was so excited! So, I went in the living room with Wayne to relax. As I am standing in front of the TV, I lose my balance and fall hard enough to hurt my hip, back and give my knee a carpet burn through my pajamas! So, I definitely think getting excited and falling are linked together for me. So, no more getting really excited for the next 6 weeks! I will lower my expectations on being excited and just settle for expressing my happy emotions with my words only and not my body!

As I woke this morning a word picture came to my mind. I drew it and would post it, but you don't need to see anymore pictures that look like a preschooler drew them:) The picture was of a fire with lighter fluid on one side and a fire extinguisher on the other. The fire represents my emotions and the emotions of others: children, friends, other family, etc. My prayer is, pregnant or not, to be the fire extinguisher to help calm the situations more than allowing my emotions to get out of control and make the situation worse. The first part of Proverbs 15 says, "A gentle answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger." Lord, please help me to be a gentle pregnant lady and not a harsh one.

Now, I wonder if they have anymore fireman outfits since it's Halloween. If I wait until tomorrow I can get a discount.....

Thursday, October 25, 2012

5th Day of Preschool

I know this post is long overdue, but what would you expect from a blog titled "Moms for Lowered Expectations"?
So, I took a picture on Wayne's first day of preschool. Of course Bruce had to have a backpack on too. They look so adorable....okay, I'm a little bias:)
Then, my husband came home and happened to be browsing on my Facebook page before bed. He commented on all the "first day of school" pics that were posted. I told him I also took a picture of our kids. He said, "Yeah, but did you see the cool picture of the kid holding the sign that it was his first day of Kindergarten?" I replied, "Yes I did and no I did not do that." He thought the sign was really cool. (Thanks a lot Amber Bray for raising the bar!)
We decided it would be funny to do a 2nd day of Preschool sign. Well, it was taking me a while to get used to getting the boys ready and out the door so we ended up with a 5th day of Preschool sign. Now, I thought it shouldn't be too hard to get him to just stand there with the sign. However, he had another piece of artwork he also wanted to hold in the other hand and we had to shake them in the air.  

Below is the pic where I was looking at him with my serious face saying, "Please just hold the sign up so I can see it." He was giving me his serious face back:)
Then, the boys had to fight over the sign because it is such a cool toy:)
Here is the sign, since I realized after taking the pic that you can't read anything on it:

The bottom part reads, "Mom finally got us all ready on time so we could take this stress-free pic with this really cool sign!" "Stress-free", that's funny.....because all mornings before school are stress-free, right?
So what kind of funny getting ready in the morning story do you have?
(I think I fixed the settings on the blog so anyone can leave a comment, if you want. You don't have to have a Google account anymore. Just to let you know:)

Sunday, September 30, 2012

I've Fallen and I Can't Get Up!

Yes, that is me upside down in the bathtub. I realize most moms post pictures of their children in the bathtub that are cute and sweet. Well, my picture has two cute, sweet boys and one klutzy mama!

Since I am almost 30 weeks pregnant, it is uncomfortable for me to sit on my knees and bathe the boys. So, I was standing up, leaning in the bathtub to wash Wayne when the rug started slipping from under my feet. In the tub I went! I said, "Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God!" Wayne pulls the hair away from my face to see my facial expression--is she really hurt or just being a Scarlet O'Hara? I just started laughing so hard. Bruce was still not totally convinced that things were okay.

Wayne and I both call for Matt to come in the bathroom to help me get out of the tub. He comes in the bathroom and is immediately laughing. He asks me how he can help. I say, "Help me out of here!" Well, he thought, "If I push down on her legs she'll just pop right out of there." So, he proceeds to push my legs down bending my legs backward. I ask him, in a rather loud voice, "What are you doing? I'm not a see saw!"

I did NOT pop out of the tub but instead kind of slithered out, as I was trying to save my knees at this point:) I turn around to see that he has an orange in his hand! I said, "Next time take the orange out of your hand and really help me!" He said, "Well, I thought I could save you and eat my orange." He was lucky I didn't have any sharp objects in my hand. We both just died laughing. It was so funny.

This actually was the third time I fell today. A new record for me! Although my belly has felt tight-not sure if it's Braxton Hicks or from all the laughing-Allison has been moving. I thank God me and the baby are fine. And, that I didn't smash my little boys in the process of falling:)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Is Candid Camera Following Me Today?

Have you ever had one of those days where you feel like Candid Camera is following you around and you are not finding it very funny! Well, Monday was one of those days for me.

It started out pretty calm. I was able to get up before the kids and have devotions peacefully. I was feeling kind of stressed over the weekend so I was going to try to take it easy on Monday.

After breakfast, the boys and I started to organize some of the girl's clothes I had bought at some yard sales. While we were doing that I had a load of clothes in the washer. Next thing I know, water is on the floor underneath the washer. "Aut Oh", I said. "There's some water. Okay boys help mom clean it up." So, I went to get some towels to soak up the water.

Our washer had not drained properly over the weekend so I knew I needed to call someone to fix it. While I was on the phone, the boys just had to fight because, as we all know, as soon as we get on the phone that's when the pestering really begins. So, I told them to go to their beds. That gave me a little peace and quiet while I was on the phone.

I had to move the washer and dryer to clean up the water. Part of the time the boys were helping me soak up the water. The other part they were climbing up on the washer. I don't mind if Wayne is up there, but I don't want Bruce and I especially don't want them both up there together. Then, I was trying to get the vent back on the dryer.....yeah, that was interesting. While I am fussing with it Wayne is explaining to me how it needs to be done.

I realized I needed some coffee so I made a half caff. (I usually just drink decaf) However, the half caff didn't feel like it was working. I thought, "Am I really that tired? Guess so."

Tried to move bookshelf-got everything off shelves and couldn't get screws out of the wall. How hard is it to figure out a drill. I mean, our husbands do it so it can't be rocket science! (haha. I totally love me SMART husband:) As I'm moving the bookshelf from the living room to the bedroom I'm thinking, "Should I really be doing this being pregnant and all. Am I going to pull something. Nah, I'm fine. I did stuff like this during the other two pregnancies." (I probably should have listened to the voices in my head because as you will read I started having Braxton Hicks contractions that night.)

Had lunch, the boys would not eat. It was even hot dogs and corn. What kid doesn't eat hot dogs. They usually love them! Next, was nap time. Bruce went down pretty easy but it was taking Wayne longer to fall asleep. Then, the guy to fix the drain called. He was coming early. "Oh great!" I thought. "Now Wayne is never going to be able to fall asleep and I will not get a nap at all. Oh well."

When the guy came to fix the drain I still had pajamas on, black makeup under my eyes and had just thrown my hair up. I looked price sensitive. So, he hurried up and only took 1 hour to fix it. So, that worked out for the budget:)

Wayne wasn't able to fall asleep until after the guy left, but I was able to lay down with him too. I slept for about and hour. Then woke up from nap time to Bruce trying to climb into the bed with Wayne and I.

Next, I set out to cook the meat for dinner while doing the dishes. I was stirring the meat and one little piece of hamburger flew out of the pot, a tall stock pot I might add. I found it on the ONLY toy in the kitchen. Now, what are the odds of that?! As Wayne and I are doing the dishes I hear a crackling noise. I thought, "What is Bruce doing in there? Oh man, is that my meat?" It was. And it was burnt.....black and serve again! So, I decided to order a pizza.

At the pizza place, the guy asked me how my day was going. I said, "One of my kids has his pajamas on, one has his shirt on backwards and I am in my 'Walmart outfit'. That's how good it's going!"

I was telling Matt about my crazy day and how I drank a half caff coffee but it didn't really affect me. He asked me how I had drank a half caff because there are no caffeinated pods in the house. (We just bought a Nespresso espresso maker earlier this summer) I said, "Well, that explains a lot. I wondered why it didn't work. My eyes were practically closing themselves by naptime."

I told Matt that evening that I would like to take all the girl clothes back out to the van. I had separated them by size so we had about 8 garbage bags and 2 boxes of stuff taking up room in our bedroom. After getting all the bags and boxes in the van, I went back outside to do something in the shed. (I don't even remember now what I was doing) I had locked myself out of the house. So here I am knocking on the door thinking, "Yup, this is the kind of day I have had. Lord, please help us get to bedtime fast."

I did get a lot of practice praying for patience and doing breathing exercises, but it was such a stressful day that I started having contractions that night. (Braxton Hicks) Oops. So, I took it easy on Tuesday. I want to hold my baby but we still have 3 months to go. I gotta calm down.

What kind of crazy day have you had lately?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Be Alert!

I felt God speaking to me a while back that I needed to stop defending myself with others. I didn't totally understand what He meant at the time. I felt Him saying that if I had a problem with something someone said or I wanted to snap back, I needed to come to Him with the issue and figure out why it was bothering me so bad or just why it made me so upset.

Recently, I realized my first form of communication is to fight, to defend myself. Some of those who know me may say, "No way. You're being dramatic." However, if you ask anyone who has ever lived in close quarters with me, most of them will agree with me. I will think through conversations and come up with my "comeback" if the other person starts to give me attitude.....as if that is going to solve the problem!

I have felt like it has been hard for me to "come into" who I am as a mom. The authority I have as the mom and wife of this house. My husband kept telling me, "You are the woman of this house." I thought I felt that way because I am much younger than him, 9 years, and still kind of felt like I was "playing house" instead of actually "living house". But my defending tendency partly stems from low self-confidence in general, something I'm working on.

This week I realized I do it in my parenting. One of my sons disobeys and my first thought is, "Oh yeah, how about this...I'll just reprimand you. And, I guess if this is what you want to do all day I can play that game." I'm realizing it's not a fight with them. I am the parent. I am in charge. I can say, "No you do not behave that way," and then discipline without getting so emotional.

Also, that form of communication puts me at odds with my kids. I get frustrated that they won't just obey so we can have a good day. When really it's the devil I am fighting because he would love nothing more than for our family to not be happy. He would love nothing more than for me to think my children are the problem. He would love for me to not gain self-confidence in who I am as their Christian mother and my husband's Christian wife.

As I journaled about this the other day the Lord brought to mind the passage in Ephesians about putting on the armor of God.

Ephesians 6:10-18 says:
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

Being alert. I like that.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

God speaks through Duplos

Kids do and say some of the cutest things.

I remember when I was little, years ago now, I would listen to shells and try to hear the ocean. We've all done it. It's so facinating to listen to. Well, my oldest son, Wayne, went to Preschool Camp last week. They studied the ocean and were listening to some shells. On the last day of camp, Wayne showed me the shells and wanted me to listen, so I did.

The next morning, he comes to me with a Duplo (big Lego block) up to his ear. He says, "Mom, I hear Jesus." He hands the block to me so I can take a listen. I said, "Oh, what is He saying?" He said, "I don't know."

After taking his picture tonight for the blog, we were trying to get him to do a video about his "Jesus speaking to him" experience but he was doing the potty dance and didn't want to do a video. His dad said, "I think Jesus is saying, 'Wayne needs to go potty.'" Wayne looked at him as if to say, "Really? He knows I need to potty?" It was so cute!

So, if you feel like you're not hearing from the Lord, start playing with blocks. He will speak to you!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Chocolate Doesn't Solve Everything?

The other day I was stressed about a situation. After dinner I told my husband I needed a dessert-when a pregnant woman says this she means business! He mentioned that he had just had a handful of chocolate chips and maybe that would take the edge off for me. They did. We went to the store and were driving back home when I told him I still wanted something sweet. It could have just been the food yearnings of a pregnant woman, but I wanted it like my next breath depended on it.

So, we decided to have me go into the grocery store and get some frozen yogurt and whatever toppings I wanted. I was on the lookout for that Reese’s or Reese cup shell stuff. You know the chocolate goodness that hardens not too long after pouring it over your ice cream. (or frozen yogurtJ) I wanted peanut butter and chocolate.

As I was looking for the shell goodness I felt the Lord speaking to me that I really just needed to go home and pray. I felt Him saying that what I was really craving was something to fill the hole I was feeling that the stress had created. I thought, “I don’t have time for that. There is so much to talk about it will take forever for me to work through my stress.” So, I went ahead and bought the frozen yogurt. I got some fudge topping too thinking I would have that with a little peanut butter.

Well, I did put my sundae together. And, it did not taste good at all. I mean, at all. I realized I was trying to find a substitute for time with God and it was not measuring up. Sadly, I still didn’t ask for prayer time that night. My husband was getting ready for a big project at work and I didn’t want to interrupt.

However, the next morning-a Sunday, I woke up about 6am. My children do not wake up until around 7:30a. At first I thought, “Seriously. I just want to go back to sleep.” Then, I realized that this was the time I could do that praying I so desperately needed. It was great. The Lord showed me some areas of my life I was letting fear creep back in. I was on a spiritual high.

Then, I totally manipulated my husband. I hate it when that happens. I blame something on him only to figure out later that it was really all my fault. Oops. That’s why God woke me up on Monday around 6a. He knew we had more work to doJ

Thank you Lord for your wonderful grace. Thank you for loving me enough that you don't just leave me the way I am but you mold me into who you created me to be. The taste of your love is much better than chocolate. (and peanut butter)

Friday, July 27, 2012

I'm a Walmart Thief

Yes, I stole batteries at Walmart yesterday.

You might have a similar story. I was at the checkout line with both boys. Wayne spotted a piece of plastic from a bag and thought it would be funny to get down on the floor and blow on it. He proceeded to act like a dog and a frog, hopping around. With one eye on Bruce, still in the cart, I was trying to get Wayne's attention to get him back by us. He finally came back there. Meanwhile, the people in front of us got a good laugh:)

I got his attention back on our cart and helping me put things on the belt to pay. Well, because Wayne was helping Bruce decided that he needed to help. I had him in the seat of the cart. He was standing up handing me my Gas-X, something every pregnant woman needs. (Or should I say, "something everyone else hopes she is taking at least from time to time!") I took it and put it on the belt. He wanted to help more....so I put him in the back of the cart and told him to hand things to me and Wayne. Things were going somewhat smooth again.

After everything was loaded on the belt, the people in front of us were taking a while to pay. Not a big deal, I just knew the boys were not going to last much longer. Wayne was over playing with another cashier's bag holder turnaround thingy. I got him back over to our cart where he started to play with our cashier's bag holder turnaround thingy. Of course I tell him, "No, no. Let's not play on that. When she fills up the bags we can put them in the cart." So he helped me load the bags.

However, as I am putting bags in the cart I realize there are still items in the cart. I had left the cart back far enough for Bruce to pull things off the belt and back into the cart. Oops. So, I got all that stuff out and moved the cart farther down. (I thought I had gotten everything out:) But, Bruce did not want to part with the water we were purchasing. So, I had the cashier scan it so he could just hold it.

Well, seeing Bruce with the water made Wayne really thirsty. I told him we would drink some of the water after mommy paid. We would drink it on one of the benches at the front of the store. (I knew if we started to drink it right then it would be all over him and the floor.) He thought that meant, "Go to the bench right now." So, he goes over to the bench. I go retrieve him only to return to my cart with Bruce standing up again. (As I am writing this I realized that is probably why they have those little belts for that seat, DUH! I should probably use that next time!) Wayne is now frustrated and fading fast.

The cashier scans the few coupons I had and says she didn't see any batteries come through. I ran my fingers through my hair and said, "Well, they were in the cart. Maybe they fell out. If I stole them, I'll come back and pay for them." I pay for the items I didn't steal and we proceed to the bench to have some water. Poor Wayne still spilled it all over his shorts and I ended up opening one of the napkin packages we purchased to clean him and the floor.

We get to the van and as I am unloading things, with the boy's help-they are good little helpers, I find the stolen batteries. I thought, "There is no way I am going back in there today!" By the time we got home it was a 2 hour Walmart trip!

The batteries are sitting on our dryer and I will go back and pay for them. Maybe I'll do it next week while Wayne is at Preschool Camp and I'll just have one little monkey with me:)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The way a recipe should be written......

At the height of my frustration with life with 2 little ones, I would read a recipe and get so angry. Prep time: 30 minutes. Hah! Try 2 days. I was thinking, “There is no way I can get all that prepped in 30 minutes. Have these people never cooked with little ones in the house?”
Then, you read all the parenting articles that tell us to “never cook with little ones at our feet.” Really?! Do they make some sort of “don’t bother me while I’m making dinner” straight jacket for kids that I’ve never heard about? Because at my house there is no way, unless my husband is home watching the kids, I am going to get through dinner prep without one of them being at my feet at some point.
So, the other day I was making lasagna and thought it would be funny to write the recipe the way I think it should be written for moms with little ones at home….maybe even for moms with bigger kidsJ

6 lasagna noodles-get these cooking at beginning-make extra because somehow some of them turn out kind of funky

1.5 lb Italian Sausage (you can use hot or mild or a mixture…whatever you prefer)

Brown meat, drain fat-take one of the kids to the bathroom and wipe the other one’s nose. Wash hands. Replace the now BLACK meat with fresh meat….oops, it burned.

Add next 5 ingredients.

Be ready for the kids to help with the next step because when they see you getting out the measuring spoons and cups they are going to be on a chair begging to help. Which I don’t mind, but does add time to the prep.
2 or 3 cloves garlic, minced
1.5 Tbs whole basil, chopped
2 ¼ tsp salt
1.5 lbs canned tomatoes (stewed tomatoes or diced)
3-6 oz cans tomato paste

Let the older child take the paper off the cans. Wayne loves doing this. Give the little one a job because if you don’t he will be up on the chair trying to “help” which the older child will not appreciate and try to knock the smaller one off the chair. (Make a mental note to start saving for emergency room visits. We might be on a first name basis by the time they all graduateJ)
Simmer covered for 15 minutes, stirring often.
In between stirring, change a diaper, get someone a snack and referee fights over the only toy that they both want to play with at that exact time…..because there are no other interesting toys anywhere to be foundJ
While that is cooking, beat 3 eggs then add next 5 ingredients

Again, the need to help is high so this part will take a little longer.
4.5 cups ricotta or cream-style cottage cheese
¾ cup grated parmesan or Romano
3 Tbs parsley flakes
1.5 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

1 lb package fresh mozzarella cheese, slice it thin
Little one is begging at your feet for food so you feed him mozzarella as you slice it. Hopefully you slice faster than he eats. The older child comes in upset thinking he has been gypped but then remembers that he doesn’t care for cheese. So, we must get him a different snack because seeing brother eating has also made him hungry.

Assemble the lasagna
This should be the easy part. Everything is cooked; it just needs to be assembled. However, the kids are done with you doing something that wasn’t their idea so they start to fall apart. Back to them washing their hands and helping put the noodles in and layering the cheese. The constant reminder to them: “Let’s not pick our nose while we do this.” (And any other saying about other parts of the body that we really don’t want them to touch while they are assembling our dinner.)
Layers from bottom:
½ noodles
½ cottage cheese filling
½ mozzarella slices
½ meat sauce
½ noodles
½ cottage cheese filling
½ mozzarella slices
½ meat sauce

Bake @ 375 degrees for 30 minutes
Be ready for them to totally resist dinner and have a total melt down. Maybe it will look better to them at lunch tomorrowJ Probably not, but we’ll try……

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Off to the Maternity Ward Again!

There once were 4 of us....

Now there are 5!

We're pregnant! We are actually 3 months pregnant! I am due December 12, one day after my husband's birthday. The first two children were either right around their due date or on their due date. It will be interesting to see when this baby is born.

Here is Wayne looking at the snowman in honor of baby #3 trying to figure out what he thinks about it!

Actually, when I ask Wayne if he wants another baby in the family he tells me, "No. I want lots of babies." We had a conversation the other day that went something like this:

Wayne: "Mom, babies cry."
Me: "That's true. Do you think when we have a new baby you will want to hold it and help it to stop crying?"
Wayne: "No. I'm going to go lalalalala and make it laugh." (As he is moving his head back and forth while sticking out his tongue:)
Me: "That will be great!"

It's going to get crazier at our house but we'll have lots of fun too!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Angry People Talk to Jesus

Shortly after having my second son Bruce, I realized I had a problem with anger….again. I used to have issues with anger growing up, but thought in my early twenties I had remedied the problem and just thought I’d never struggle with it again. This time I realized my anger was stemming from anxiety and it also did when I was a child. 

I began asking myself what the Bible has to say about anger. Obviously it is an emotion. We got our emotions from God so He probably has something to say about the way we are to handle anger. I remember reading Ephesians 4:26-27 which reads,”’ 26 In your anger do not sin’: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold.” I thought, “How do you do that. If I am angry, I’m angry and there’s probably going to be something I am going to have to say sorry about afterwards.” Also, I felt I needed to express my anger and be “real” which meant to flamboyantly show my anger….because that always helps a situation!

My first son is also a passionate person. I wanted to learn not only for myself but to be able to teach him what to do when he felt out of control and mad. One day we were sitting on his floor, he was three, talking about a situation that was making him angry. I asked him what he thought we should do with our anger. It dawned on me….we should pray. Yes, I know that sounds so simple. The words of it sound simple but putting it into practice is no small miracle. I realized if I developed the habit of going to God right at the moment that I felt the heat rising in my chest then He could probably diffuse my anger before I acted on it. Also, He could shed some light on the situation to help me see things differently.

I had heard people say, “At the moment you’re getting angry, take it to God.” I thought, “Yeah right. That’s the last thing I want to do when I am ticked off. I want to punch something and transfer these bad feelings I am having.” I almost got a punching bag for Mother’s Day that year but I couldn’t figure out where to hang it in my house to where I could reach it comfortably. And, I knew an ill-placed punching bag probably would have ticked me off too! 

I remembered hearing Patsy Clairmont, a Christian speaker and author, talk about having anger issues when her son was little. She said when he would frustrate her she would say, “Mommy needs to go talk to Jesus.” He finally caught on and one time when he could tell she was frustrated said, “Mom, let’s pray!” I wanted to teach the same thing to my son. So, I began to develop the habit of going to God at the beginning of my anger and telling him I was going to go “talk to Jesus”.

The other day, I told Wayne I was going to go talk to Jesus because I was frustrated. When I was done I returned to the living room to play with Wayne. He told me he was playing with the ball with dad and I was talking to Jesus. I told him I was done because I was happy inside now. I told my husband I hoped that Wayne would equate mom frustrated → mom talking to Jesus → mom happy inside. My husband said, “Yeah, what’s going to happen is he is going to go to church and hear all these people talk about talking to Jesus. He’s going to think, ‘Man, this is one angry group of people!’”

How funny and true! We are all human. We all make mistakes. We all need a Savior……

So what do you go away and talk to Jesus about during your day?

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Top 10 List for Moms for Lowered Expectations

As a little girl I did not dream about my wedding, as some girls do. I always thought about being a mom. I have always wanted to have a large family—4 or so kids. I thought it would be fun. When my first son was born it was fun, eventually. He just kind of went everywhere with me. When our second child came along, our firstborn just started the “terrific twos”. I was not having fun! I realized my expectations were way higher than reality. My husband joked that we needed to start a club called “Mom’s for Low Expectations”. It was kind of our little joke. Every time something would happen that either immediately made us laugh or made me want to cry, we said, “That’s one for Mom’s for Low Expectations!”  

We changed the name to “Mom’s for Lowered Expectations”. “Low” seemed a little too low. So, here is my top 10 list for Mom’s for Lowered Expectations. Maybe you can relate to some of these:

10.   I did not expect to say, “It’s just a little pee. It’s sterile. It’s not like its poop.”

9.       I never expected to cook like the Old Testament prophets……like a burnt offering to the    Lord!

Story: The 2-3 minutes of a recipe that are crucial is always when someone gets hurt or needs to use the restroom. By the time you get back to the stove, it is “black and serve”……again.

8.       I did not expect to dress based on what we are going to eat that day. Because we know 5 mins into any meal we will be wearing the food. It might as well match!

7.       I did not expect my toddler to resist eating dinner but then want to “rescue” the corn out of his poop. (My husband calls this “Wayne’s early recycling efforts!”)

Story: Wayne said, “Mom look! There’s corn. We have to get it!” I said, “Uh, no. We just eat it once.”

6.       I did not expect to be one of those wives who would call my husband at work crying. In fact, I thought those wives were so weak….until I did it. The phone calls would usually go something like this: Me, crying, “I’m having such a hard day, I barely got any breakfast, the house is trashed, they won’t quit crying and I haven’t even gotten a shower!” 15 minutes later, “It’s all good now. We’re fine, really. I got a little to eat and things have blown over. Yeah, I probably shouldn’t call you before noon.”

5.       I expected to have my children wash their hands after using the restroom. I didn’t realize I should have had them wash their tongues too.

Story: I would wipe Wayne after he would go poop. As he was bending over on the toilet he would make a silly sound. I just thought he was moving his head back and forth. One day he said, “Watch this!” I watched and saw my little one licking the front of the toilet. Yeah, I did not expect thatJ

4.       I thought my house would always look good. I used to sell books door-to-door in college. I remember going to homes where the mom stayed home with the kids. I remember this mom with two little boys and there were a pile of clothes waiting to be folded and they were watching TV. I thought, “What has she been doing all day!” Yeah, I ate my words on that one!

3.       The old saying is, “The calm before the storm”. But I have found that trying to get little ones out the door involves a storm before the calm. I thought they would be excited to go places and help everyone to get out the door. Hahahahaha! I so did not understand little ones!

2.       Recycling is important, but I never expected them to eat a post-it note and I find it in their diaper. No, I could not read it.

1.       Since this is a top 10 list for Mom’s for Lowered Expectations, I never expected to get around to actually having 10 on the list…….so there’s only 9!