Thursday, April 30, 2009

Gaining Ground

Update: after prayer last night, Amelia slept until 5 this morning when the alarm clock went off. Coincidence? I think not. Thank you, God. I think I'll be praying her to sleep every night for awhile. Today has been a good day. I did my Bible study while the kids took a short nap, and it was rejuvenating. Every insight I gained, I just wanted to write on my devotional blog and share with everyone, but I controlled myself because I've committed to once a week and to not making my blog my god. God just has SO much in his Word that is so meaningful! I'm like a pot bubbling over. I just think if people really knew the Word, they would be in such awe of God.

My children have made such rapid progress this week. Most weeks, I feel like I'm just treading water (or losing ground), but this week is different. During the daytime hours, Wyatt has been accident-free for four complete days! One pull-up per day, and today I even moved him to his Thomas undies with no problem. How fabulous is that! Also, Amelia and Emerson have learned to sit up without assistance (hence the picture). They're not too sturdy yet and if they see something they want or if Wyatt leaves the room, they tend to fall over, but it's still progress.

On a "not about me" note, I was sickened today to read about the new Jon & Kate scandal. I don't care whether the rumors are true or are just another made-up story to sell magazines--what I do care about is that this is yet another example of Satan attacking a marriage of a couple who present themselves to the world as Christians and that couple's witness. We just saw it with Mel Gibson and his wife who are divorcing after 28 years. Satan attacks the family because if it's destroyed, so is that family's witness. Divorce is like a death. Please join me in praying for this couple, that they will put love for and obedience to God first and love & commitment to their family next.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Wanted: The Great Physician

I've come to the conclusion that in most matters, pediatricians are just about worthless. Because they're afraid of creating super bugs and getting sued, they won't give parents any medicine! Last year, Wyatt had 102 temperature for a couple days, but when I took him in, I went home without any medicine. So I now know why children get really sick and die: doctors have made mothers think it's worthless to drag a sick child into the office just for them to say, "Yeah, he's sick but probably just a cold. Lots of liquids. Go home. If not better in a few days, come back." And with insurance deductibles so high, it really makes mothers feel like, "Well, I could have paid myself the $100 and given the same diagnosis."

But today, I prayed my way through after-school teenage drivers to take Amelia to the doctor. I wanted something besides my grandmother's suggestion of whiskey to help her (and me) sleep tonight. Last night, she was up crying for 3 hours straight. I think her gums are sore: she doesn't want your finger in her mouth anymore, chews on objects with her side gums, is fussy more during the day, and tries to even suck on the bottle out the side of her mouth (which doesn't work too well). Ibuprofen and Tylenol and baby orajel just aren't cutting it at night.

My doctor wasn't in, so I saw the "other doctor," a mistake I won't make again. I think he made up his mind about Amelia as soon as she smiled at him. I argued against everything he said was causing her "sleep disruption." He didn't listen to me. He told me nothing was wrong with her, she might not get teeth in for 6 months, to just let her cry it out...and (here's the best part) if she continues waking up my 2-year-old, then move his bedroom for awhile. Sure! No problem! I'll just stick Wyatt in the other wing of the house that we don't use. Honestly! Are doctors that clueless that their patients don't all live in $100K houses? My babies live in the room we use as a closet for our clothes!

He said he thinks this "teething thing" has just been used as the scapegoat diagnosis for when they can't find anything wrong with the baby, that teething has no symptoms. Un hunh. And there's another $100 down the tube + a glorious drive home in rush hour traffic. Dr. Spock agrees that hurting gums can wake up babies, no matter what the genius I saw today said.

OH how this makes me so annoyed.....,but it also makes me thankful that I know the Great Physician who listens to me even though I'm a woman, who knows exactly what's wrong with my daughter, and who can fix the problem if He so desires. And with that, I'd better go pray about Amelia and ask Him to give her (and me) a good night's rest.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

In stock

Wyatt has been doing so good on the potty training front! It's like something magical has happened in his brain. He wore one pair of pull-ups all day with no problems! Yay!!! Sure, I had to staple both sides of the pull-ups because they ripped apart after twelve hours of a two-year-old yanking them up and down, but we still used only one pair.

I've noticed the past two days that even though I constantly remind him, he is now ignoring me about going potty and then suddenly, he'll just up an run from the room of his own doing. Then, he runs back to say, "I did it! Wan come see?" Of course, I do, and he knows he won't get a treat unless I see it, especially since we're having a little problem with a thing called "the truth."

Today, though, he surprised me by not saying, "a huge treat!" but rather "I want an in stock." Huh? Then, I remembered that yesterday when he asked for a "wholebagMandMs," I had told him, "Mommy doesn't have any more of those. We'll have to see what I have in stock." So now he's gone an entire day asking for an "in stock" and has been happy with anything but especially Uncle Johnathan's huge M&M's (the peanut kind).

How funny is that? Wouldn't my perception of life be different if I just asked God to send me whatever blessings he's got in stock versus what I have in mind for how I'd like to be blessed? If I took that approach, I would not be disappointed when things didn't work out the way I thought they should but would, rather, be happy that God gave me anything from the treat cabinet.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Giving Back

Today has been more Spring cleaning! I intended to get it done for Earth Day last week, but that didn't happen...hmm, wonder why? Must be getting lazy in my old age. I bagged up Emerson and Amelia's 3-6 month clothes, all of Wyatt's old bottles, and other assorted baby stuff I didn't need. Then, I posted it all on RedStick Freecycle.

Some days, I get so tired of the kiddy clutter that I just want to give away anything that can possibly collect dust....but if I got rid of as much as I want to, my family would think I was suicidal, so I have to control my decluttering desires. While my house definitely doesn't look like it, I'm an organization freak who craves labels and boxes. And it's a cleansing feeling to bag up stuff to send into someone else's life, thereby reducing clutter in my house and filling a need in another house.

Freecycle is my way of giving back. But the stories these people send me about why they need the baby clothes make me want to burst into tears. The need is so great. And I have to choose, which makes me then feel guilty for not having enough to give to those I didn't choose.

And what does this teach me? That I am SO glad I'm not God. I don't want to decide who gets the blessing and who doesn't, who gets cancer and who doesn't, who gets or loses a child and who doesn't. I'm reminded of how wonderful it is to have a God who makes the big decisions for us. Thank you God that you are Sovereign.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Raggedy Ann

Having twins has definitely made me realize how hopeless I am without Christ. Even with Him guiding me and residing in my heart, most days, I feel like I am running a race backwards. Last week, I had a couple of good days with God speaking, and I felt closer to Him than I have been in a while, and then the weekend arrives and life comes crashing down like an unexpected avalanche, showing me how far I still have to go, how far from Him I still am.

I have become increasingly annoyed at people picking on Kate from the "Jon and Kate Plus 8" show. Just having two infants gives me just a hint of the intense stress she is under and how her ability to function at all without at least a meltdown an hour--much less function with a camera recording her life--is miraculous. I read somewhere that for parents of multiples, every 3 months is when you can see marked improvement, and surviving the first 9 months is a real milestone. Yes, at 6 months, the twins are better than they were at 6 weeks or 3 months. But, as they get better, my help has decreased significantly. Mama still comes up Monday mornings so I can race around like a crazy woman trying to fit in a week's worth of chores in those 5 hours. On the other days, I'm a one-woman show again, and the emotional stress is just unbelievable. I feel like "the centre cannot hold".

I am a small, common Raggedy Ann doll that someone once loved dearly, but then forgot for some new, interactive toys. Now, I lay alone, abandoned in the ever-taller grass that surrounds me, hiding my very existence from the rest of the world. I rest close enough to see and hear everyone playing with the new toys, but no matter how loudly I cry out, I can't seem to be heard above their noise. Even my tears and sorrow go unnoticed behind the laughing smile stitched permanently on my face. My seams have torn, my stuffing is soggy and leaking out, my hair has long ago been plucked out for a bird's nest, and one eye has fallen off. And yet I still spend each day hoping someone will discover me again, will pick me up, wash me off, stitch me back together and talk to me again, listen to me again, love me again...........instead of the new toys.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Every Outing is an Adventure

Lunch today could have easily been one of the Three Stooges skits. It was food time when we got to the mall, but then we discovered one of the van's tires was going flat, so I got out the air pump Doug keeps in the car, plugged it into the cigarette lighter, and fifteen minutes later, the tire was fixed temporarily, but now Emerson was the one leaking lots of hot air as he howled during his stroll to Piccadilly. I guess he thought being as loud as possible would best communicate his angst over lunch not being served on time. I wasn't overly concerned because I was sure we could feed the babies in their stroller while standing in line. Nope.

I've now learned that the lid on Emerson's sippy cup was defective, but since I lack ESP, I gave it to him, promptly pouring out all 7 ounces, soaking him, his car seat, his bear, the burp cloth, the floor--you get the picture. Just close your eyes and imagine the chaos: Emerson is still screaming, and people are starting to stare. Amelia is sucking happily away on her milk, looking like the innocent angel she is not. And Wyatt keeps annoyingly saying, "I want some chicken pox!" So, what do I do? I leave my parents in line with the kids, hike back out to the van, and sweat my way back inside with the back-up sippy cup to silence Emerson. The problem is that Amelia finished her sippy cup at that very moment, sees me give Emerson "another one" (in her mind) and starts howling, herself, because of the injustice of it all!

We finally reach our destination--a table in the back corner--but Emerson is just beyond unhappy at this point and his sopping-wet raccoon-outfitted body demands to be held so he can take swipes at my carrot souffle. And of course, that's the exact moment Wyatt turns over his water cup into his plate, so I have to be kill an entire tree by using everyone's napkins to sop up as much water as possible so he can still eat the "sauce" (gravy) on his meat. Can Amelia and Emerson wait to have their poopy diapers until after the meal? Oh no. That'd be too easy. So, I just changed them both right in the booth while Wyatt enjoys his "tasty treat" (red jello).

At this point, we make a half-hearted effort to shop in Sears, but we're all exhausted and just decide to go home. Back in the van, Wyatt blows his nose on a tissue, I congratulate him on such a big blow, he shows us the snot, and then he proceeds to EAT IT OFF of the tissue so that Granddaddy even screams, "Wyatt!!!" UGH!!!!!

Yep: that's another outing gone wrong.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Diaper Box Party

If you're stuck at home with 3 kids, 2 of whom are unhappy anywhere but in your arms, what do you do? You stick them in diaper boxes, call it a train, and have an imaginary party where you pass out cake and punch to everyone! The problem is I only had 2 boxes, so we had to share--yeah, that went over as well as you can imagine. At one point, Wyatt tried to get in the box with Amelia. The twins want to be able to sit up, but they can't sit still, and once they start flailing about, they tip over. The boxes solve the problem.

On the potty training front today, Wyatt did a 180--he peed in his underware but he managed to get all his poo in the potty. What's with that!? He's been happily peeing on the potty for a week but missing the #2 part, and now, nope. I will definitely not miss this part of childhood.

I told him we were going to see Dr. Hill in a week so the babies could get some shots. He thinks about it, then says, "I want some chicken pox." Why, you ask, does he want a disease? Because there's a cute little song in one of our books: "There's a little bump here, there's a little bump there; they're even in my hair. They itch and itch. They never stop. I've got the chicken pox." So, he thinks chicken pox is cool, even though I've told him he shouldn't get them because he had the shot.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


I haven't written this week because I've been having an extremely difficult time (again) dealing with Doug's situation. Why now? My sister-in-law's graduation from LSU's lawschool is coming up shortly, and I'm going because I love her. But attending anything with lawyers won't be easy for me or Doug because the wounds are still fresh--I'd rather dig a hole in the mud and sit there in the rain, invisible, than potentially face people who know of Doug's disbarrment and choose to think him guilty I'm going--period--so nobody dare tell me I don't have to go. But at times like this, it's like someone has raked a bad razor across my skin, leaving invisible nicks, yet each thought or memory causes pain because they are like the tide coming in as salt water waves wash over me like acid.

I cannot impart the pain I still feel, sometimes the anger, the shame and humiliation, knowing one woman's deception, forgery and lies have led to the end of Doug's career, to his spotless reputation, to the end to several goals and dreams and security. Every time I think I have accepted everything and have forgiven his former client, something triggers all the emotions again and I'm right back where I started. It's like Chutes and Ladders--you think you're making progress, trudging along the squares, and then you hit one of those darn ladders and wheeeee, you're back to where you were a year ago. I just don't understand how she can live with herself! My conscience would be burning so hot I couldn't sleep at night. I fear I will spend my entire life waiting, continually hoping that God will burden her soul to the point where she can't NOT tell the truth, hoping that Doug will be redeemed on this earth, not just in heaven.

Anyway, this week, Doug's never being able to be a lawyer in Louisiana ever again has made me repeatedly ask God "why"'s not like I haven't been asking this question for the past three years. I've asked it so much, I think I just have gotten to where I ask it out of habit, not really expecting an answer as I sit and cry. But today, out of nowhere, God answered. And when I told Doug, it was so insanely awesome that God told him the same message today!

After three years of asking, I finally know why all this trauma happened to us. God has blessed Doug and me both with many talents and skills such that it's easy to think that the successes we have in life are due to our own striving. It's called pride, the thought that you are a "self made man" (or woman), and it sneaks in when least expected. God let us know that He took everything away permanently because He wants us to know that any great success we have (from the point where He took away Doug's license/career forward) is solely a gift, a blessing from Him and is in no way related to our abilities, is nothing we accomplished on our own.

I don't know what great thing God has in store for us, but I know it's something that He wants us to definitely know came from Him. I'm still sad for what is lost, but I'm also excited to see what blessing He has waiting in the wings.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Getting a Life

Starting last Monday, I spent the week transitioning the babies over to sippy cups instead of bottles, so feeding them is less of a chore and doesn't eat up as much time. Don't you just love the pic of proud papa feeding his little birds? Next step: teaching them to hold the sippy cups themselves!

Six months into this three children life, and things seem like they might be looking up. We all spent the weekend together--just the five of us--and it was so wonderful. I love my husband; I know from doing that love language book by Gary Chapman that my definition of love is fulfilled when my husband spends time with me. That's when I feel the most loved. But time with him has been rare this past 1/2 year because he has been helping by taking the three kids away to give me some rest or time to play catch-up with my paying (teacher) and non-paying (housewife) jobs.

But, this weekend, we did "real" stuff, not just staying at home for naps, grading papers, housework, and screaming kids. Papers are still ungraded & housework is still not done--I have Scarlett O'Hara know, "Tomorrow is another day."

On Saturday, we went to Home Depot and then out to eat at a sit-down restaurant (hint: if you order a la carte, the food comes faster!) Yes, Emerson "fussed" the entire meal, but it was a start towards getting a life back.

And today (Sunday), we went to the Fertility Reunion at Woman's Hospital. It was so nice to see all the babies and young children there--the photographer took a "group" picture and had to take 3 different panorama-style shots to get a photo that included everyone. I know God is the author of all life, but I also know God has used Dr. Webster (pictured here) in a special way to help bring those lives into the world to those of us who longed for children of our own but who had difficulties conceiving. I will always feel a thankful tenderness towards Dr. Webster and his wife Nancy and every kindness they extended in their efforts to help us have a family.

At the party, Wyatt had an absolute blast! We told him Dr. Webster was hosting a party and showed him the invitation (new word). He bounced the entire time we were there: in line, from and to the car, in those blow-up bouncie things, while he was eating cake--you get the picture.

Such a nice weekend. Hopefully, this is a coming trend, and our household will have many more of them.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


This week off from school has shown me just how much I am not enjoying my paying job right now: how much it takes away from raising my children, and how much it hinders me from getting a proper amount of rest (and we won't even talk about taking away all energy to exercise). I want to focus on my biological children, not my school children. I don't want to miss out on time with my entire family because I'm stuck indoors grading papers while they're off to Home Depot or down to Oma's to see the biddies. But, I don't want to be stuck with a huge mortgage when we build our house (we're shooting for this fall) either, and my salary goes to insurance and house.

Please understand: I know I'm blessed that God has given me the ability to teach via the Internet so that I can stay home with my children and to have a great job in this economy. Teaching has always been (and still is) my calling. I'm just increasingly more and more unhappy as I do my job because it eats away every spare moment I have during the day and the night. I rarely go to bed before midnight and many times over the last two months, I've seen 2 am on the clock....and Amelia always wakes up by 7:15 bright and shiny. Right now, I'm carrying a full-time course teaching load. I don't want no job; I just want less job.

I've already accepted my courses for the fall, but I'm getting either cold feet or lazy feet or just spring fever feet, not sure which. So, I really need my prayer warriors to hit the floor for me right now. Pray God will tell me exactly what He wants me to do this upcoming fall--specifically, whether He wants me to keep (or bow out of) two classes I've accepted already. Pray He'll send so many signs in so many different forms that I can't help but see them. I want to be hit squarely in the back of the head with the obviousness of what I should do so I don't have to wrestle with this any longer. I'll let you know when I know.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Laughable Linguistics

I am sitting here basking in the silence. It's been a long, long day. Someone has been fussing or crying at almost every single moment for the past fourteen hours. But, in the midst of the crying is lots of fun. Wyatt is just a word bank of humor lately. He made up a new word today: "yummylicious." Pretty creative. I never know what is going to come out of his mouth or what actions on his part will result in sentences out of my mouth that I've never said before. For example, today I said, "Wyatt!! Noooooo!!! We don't poo under the tree!" "Stop drinking out of Jonah's water dish!!!" and "Sure, you can touch the cricket." I just can't think fast enough to know what mischief he could possibly want to try next.

Yesterday he was looking at one of those nasty blue tent caterpillars and said, "Look! Sunglasses!" When I got eye-level with the awful critter, its hard blue helmet-face did, in fact, look like his daddy's glasses. Then, the next thing he says is, "I smash it to pieces." And so he did, only to then peel caterpillar guts off his shoe. GROSS!! But, that was yesterday. Today, he did a number on my self esteem. I was telling him that mommy was not a horsey. He thinks about it and says, "Daddy a horsey. Mommy a cow." Gee thanks kid. Later when I was on the phone with Doug, I proceeded to try and ride his tricycle, which was quite difficult with long legs, and he kept screaming, "Run over me, mommy!" This is why the phone's mute button was invented.

I can't wait till Amelia and Emerson learn to talk. I know I'll die of embarrassment when the three of them spout out something they shouldn't, but right now, it's just so fun to listen to Wyatt create sentences, vocalize his child-like ideas. To watch his amazement at any little bug or flower a driveway rock can be an imaginary "treat" one minute and a "ball" the next--there are no words to describe it. As I held him facing me in my lap as we swung together on his swing set today, I savored each delighted squeal and genuine giggle every time the swing brought us down to earth and I would lean us both backwards to where my hair touched the grass. There will come a day all too soon when he won't want to sit in mommy's lap, when I'll have to pull from him his thoughts, when he won't wear every emotion easily on his face.

I feel so lucky to be included in his little world...I'm already saddened at the thought that this world will not last and that once it's gone, it's gone forever. I know each phase of my children's lives will have joys and trials. But unless God leads us to adopt more children later in life, this joyous innocence won't grace our household again. With each grown-up thing Wyatt does, with each change in his face, I see it already slipping away.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

God Has No Phone Problems

I am elated that the new phones came in today. They're "free" and that's even better. We've really been a phone-problem family of late. I've been having issues with my Motorola phone for 2 years (won't make that mistake again--back to Nokia)--the first time, the speakerphone died, so I sent it back and they gave me a new one. The speakerphone promptly died again within a month, so I just lived with it, but a couple months ago, something else went wrong internally. The result was I could only hear the person on the other end of the phone clearly if there was nothing happening on my end. And that's hysterical since at least one of the three kids is almost always making noise. It almost sounded like I was eavesdropping through a keyhole.

Doug's phone has been giving him Sim card error messages--he'll think all is well with the world, look down, see the error, and find out he's missed a half a day's worth of phone calls....and that he has an irate wife at home who has worried herself needlessly when she can't get ahold of him.

And what has this experience taught me? That I'm very thankful that God doesn't use cell phones. Can you imagine how bad it would be to think that when I needed to call God, He wouldn't be there to listen to me because of a technology error? Or that His phone's speaker was broken and He couldn't understand what I was saying? I really take for granted the priviledge of being able to pray to Him anytime, anywhere, and know that He's always ready, able, and willing to listen, even if the prayer is, "Please, God....let her sleep just 10 more minutes."

Oh--24 hours and counting without an accident in our underwear!!! Woo Hoo!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Holding My Breath

Oma's house is "across the pasture," and that's about 1/3 mile from our house. When I used to backpack baby Wyatt down to Oma's, we would only meet 1-2 cars on her road, but since we don't live in a subdivision, I'm just too scared to let him walk on his on. Plus, while it may be a nice walk for me, it's a little too long for Wyatt, especially since we have to walk down the road to get there. And then there's the problem of the twins--needless to say, we haven't "walked" to Oma's house; we've been riding in the van, which involves seatbelts, carseats, screaming children who don't want to be strapped in: just not fun and no exercise, which is part of the point in going there to begin with.

But, my friend Catherine gave me her jogging stroller to use with the twins. Still, there was no room for Wyatt, so as the saying goes, necessity was the mother of invention, and I had Doug attach a temporary bar for Wyatt. So, for now, Wyatt happily hangs on to his bar and doesn't even complain about the twins who are incessently kneading his back with little baby kicks. No tears from anybody (although Amelia has been running low fever and has had the sniffles for the past 2 days). They're really too heavy to turn easily in this contraption, but it's so good to feel a bit of freedom.

Now to the title of this blog: I've been hesitant to say anything for fear that Wyatt will regress tomorrow, but it looks like we may be making progress on the potty training front. Wyatt has started to take himself to the bathroom!!! It started Easter Sunday: I lost Wyatt (in a house full of 20 other people, that's not too difficult) only to find him parked on the potty--door wide open, lights off, but he was doing a #2 on the potty all by himself. I squealed with delight, gave him a "huge" treat, and just made an enormous deal out of it.

Yesterday, he did his business in the potty again; later in the day, he started an "accident" in his Thomas underware, stopped himself, ran to the potty, and finished there. Today, we had one accident, and he didn't like it, so by the time I learned of it, there was a big mess on the lid of the little potty and his underware was left on the floor. But tonight, he even took himself to the bathroom at Oma's to do his #2.

If you notice in the picture, he has "pink underware" on--they're pull-ups with Dora the Explorer on them. I learned the hard way that they make "girl" pull-ups and "boy" pull-ups. Who knew! But, I found that out only after opening the package, so poor kid has to use them up. He doesn't mind, though--when I told him that was Dora's picture on his underware, he said, "No. That Wyatt." Same haircut, so why not! It's just special underware with Wyatt's picture on it! I'm hoping this is a good sign that soon I'll be able to put him in big boy underware all day long and that he'll take himself to the bathroom without much prompting. Fingers & toes are crossed! Prayers are said.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Outdoor Art

Wyatt is a budding young artist...definitely into some sort of "modern" art because I sure don't get it. I can imagine him as one of those artists who accidentally let his cats walk through paint and put footprints all over a canvas that he'd then sell for thousands as art critics everywhere expressed amazement over such an intense level of creativity. Last week, he was in a "Pooh and the dragon" phase. This week, he's drawing pictures of everybody.

Sidewalk chalk seems to be his favorite medium of late, especially since mean mommy stifled his creativity by forbidding him to draw on the white refrigerator with a black ink pen. I don't have a problem with him seeing the entire world (i.e., the linoleum, the sofa, any walls) as a canvas. I just have a problem with him using that world as a canvas.

The first piece of art is simply entitled "Mommy." Yeah--that's how I feel some days: totally frazzled. The second is entitled "Daddy"--I'm assuming this is how daddy's hair will look once he's done raising three children--just a little left on each side.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

On Loan from God

Today, we had the babies' dedication service at my parents' house after Easter dinner. I know people normally do this in a church-like setting and definitely not after the second-most button-popping meal of the year, but since my entire family gets together rarely, this date worked for us, and since my brother, Johnathan, is an ordained minister, we had him do the honors. It's a lot more personal to have all my family around as part of the service, people whom I know will commit themselves to praying for my children and their salvation.

What was amusing to me was when Johnathan said something I already know but hadn't really dwelt upon. At the start of the dedication, he said, "As believers we are called to recognize that children belong first and foremost to God. God in his goodness gives children as gifts to parents. They not only have the awesome responsibility of caring for this gift, but also the wonderful privilege of enjoying the gift. Because children belong to God and are given by grace as gifts to parents, it is only proper and appropriate that children be dedicated back to God. "

In other words, Amelia and Emerson are just "loaners." Thinking of my children that way is both a relief, a source of humor, and also a huge burden. What a relief that even if they do something awful, I can honestly and truthfully say, "Oh well--thank heavens that's not my child!! My child would never hide under the dining room table so he could secretly eat all the candy in his new Easter bunny Pez dispenser! That must be God's child you're talking about--that kid is always coming up with something mischievous. His Father should really do something about that."

It's also a source of humor because I could always use this concept when disciplining my children: "Hey, don't blame me--I didn't make the rules! When God sent you to us, He gave us this huge book of instructions on how to care for you, so if you don't like it, take it up with Him. What? You don't believe me? You want to read the rules yourself? Ok--here's the book: better go to your room and start reading. Call me when you're sure I'm interpreting the rule right." Or maybe "I'm just the babysitter--and I can't let you do ______ because God might decide to take you back and fire me from my job of taking care of you...and in this economy, I really need this job right now."

But apart from all the humor, God gifting me children is also a huge burden...that if I don't get this mothering thing right, I will ruin three souls for all eternity. More than huge. Ginormous. No, I can't think of any word to define how large a weight that is. Terrifying. "Leaves-me-speechless" terrifying. Pray for my children and for me to be a good, Christian mother to them, one who would lead them toward the right path.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Here Comes Peter Cottontail

Sorry I haven't written much this week--I've been working through a sinus infection, both Wyatt and Emerson have felt poorly, and Emerson got his 2nd tooth yesterday.

Wyatt is so excited about Easter this year, and his enthusiasm is catching. Several times a day, he bursts into a rendition of "Here Comes Peter Cottontail"--in the van, in the tub, during supper. I'm not sure he's ever eaten a jelly bean, but he's fascinated with the line "He's got jelly beans for Tommy, colored eggs for sister Suuuuuue," and he'll repeat it even if he doesn't sing anything else of the song. He's also learned from my Fontanini tomb set that Easter eggs are empty because, as he says, "The tomb empty. Jesus alive!" SO cute.

We've seen the Easter bunny at the mall, gone egg hunting, so the only thing left was to dye eggs. In all honesty, I'd been putting it off because a terror grips me when I think of Wyatt in the same room with dye. I have visions of his arms, clothes, the floor, and all of me stained with a rainbow of colors, none of which come off even after scrubbing and Oxyclean. So, what did I do? I went to my parents' house.

I had no idea just how excited Wyatt would be. He was so giddy, he was literally bouncing up and down on his stool, not good considering there were 6 cups of colored water sitting inches from his bouncing form. Had I but known, we would have been wearing hazmat suits and would have done all the dyeing outside. But, alas, you live and learn.

In the end, he was so excited that most of the eggs look "yellow" because he couldn't leave them in the dye long enough. I was able to scrub the blue dye off the cabinet, and my fingers will lose their green hue (I hope) in a few days. When his daddy came in from work, the first words out of his mouth were, "Eat Easter eggs, daddy!" So, I peeled two and made deviled eggs for them. What surprised me was that Wyatt liked the white but not so much the yellow filling.

I can't wait for Easter morning. Before the kids, Doug and I would just buy our Easter candy in the 75% off Wallgreens sale. Not anymore; now, there'll be a chocolate bunny in my basket, too. There's just something about children's energy and excitement about little things that just rubs off on you and makes you smile. The air just crackles with excitement--if we could see that excitement, I'm sure it'd look like heat lightening that covers the entire skyline during mid-summer evenings!
I'm so blessed to have a house full of children.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Just Enough

Sometimes, I get so frustrated with my job. With spring fever attacking my students like a vicious plague, I more and more just want to reach through my computer screen and give a few of them a good shake because I've seen a glimpse of their sparkling wit or talent, all of which is hiding beneath apathy or "a 'C' is good enough for me" attitude. And I'm talking about real, vivacious skill here.

Where did this attitude come from? What past event or past person implanted the thought in these young minds that since they were only good enough to just get by anyway, they shouldn't even bother trying to be brilliant?

If they treat their coursework this way, do they treat their jobs the same way, too? (Just enough to earn a living? ) Their marriages? (Just enough to keep him happy?) This attitude really explains how people treat God, too--I'll give Him just enough of my life, just enough of my time so I don't feel guilty.

What would our world be like if people would do everything to the best of their ability instead of just settling for being mediocre, average? How many Einsteins or Fitzgeralds are buried under a life of mediocrity? And what would our relationship with God be like if we all took the attitude that the best of our ability is all we'll settle for?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

No, They're NOT Twins!

You really need to come shopping with me one day--just one outing to the mall and you'd understand my utter frustration. When you're by yourself, you're invisible as you whisk in and out of stores, effortlessly squeeze between tightly packed racks of clothing, and glide noiselessly past the wad of people standing like sheep in the middle of your path. When you have one child, you're a little more clumsy as you maneuver your kid, your packages, and the oversized stroller along, and you sometimes get an "Oh aren't you handsome" from a little old lay or an "Aren't you a big man" from an older gentleman.

But when you have twins, all bets are off. There is no "invisible" anymore; there is no "effortless;" and there is definitely no squeezing anywhere. And you can forget going into Claire's for hair accessories--the stroller can't fit in the front door, much less between the racks. I love my double stroller, but I feel much like an enormous garbage truck in the middle of a ballroom full of graceful dancers, all of whom know the steps to this intricate dance that I used to know but can no longer dance, myself, because of three children attached to a leg, a hip, an arm. I am conspicuous and I know it. I try valiantly to see my goal and race towards it, going left, right, left again, bouncing off curbs, running over clothes racks, and hitting corners like a wayward ball in a pinball game. But then I see something I want to look at, and it is then that they descend upon me like ants upon a wounded caterpillar.

You have no idea how many people make my trips to the store take twice the time they should just because they want to talk to me about the twins. It's insane. I got through ONE store in the mall today before we had to leave. ONE!!! I suddenly am approachable, famous! In the past 2 weeks, I've had to help 2 women shop for their new grandchildren. I'm struggling to wheel my tank around a corner and not take out an entire rack of clothing, plug Amelia with a pacifier because she refuses to nap, try to fan the air a bit more before I go change Emerson's impromptu poopy diaper, and check prices all while being asked to vote "yes" or "no" to whatever the lady holds in the air for her grandchildren.

Last week, I had to play the "girl" or "not girl" game for a lady buying clothes for her 3 grandkids at the thrift store. This morning, we almost missed the elevator because some lady was too busy chatting up my babies while the door closed. And tonight at supper, another lady actually came over to see them and stayed around to talk, then left, went back to her table, and called someone on the cell phone to tell her there were twins there!!! And I can't just be rude and ignore them, but oh is it tempting!

"Oh! Are they twins? (Nope. Just stole one from our neighborhood's playground to fill up the front seat of the buggy so it'd be weighted properly.) Are they identical? They sure look identical. (Well, I guess you'd know better than I--their mother!) What are their names? Oh...Emerson? I've never heard that one before; where did you find that? (It was the name of the bouncer at the bar I got kicked out of one night while I was pregnant.) What's wrong with her? She sure is a fussy little thing. (She gets cranky when the buggy stops rolling so people can talk to her.) They sure are big babies for 5 months old (Are you calling my babies fat!? Well, starving babies isn't fashionable right now.)

Maybe I'll make business cards that have their names, ages, weights, personalities, and sleep patterns on them. When someone approached, I could just say, "Here you are" and keep moving. That would save so much time.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Message in a Bottle

This evening, Doug was going to take Wyatt and the babies to Oma and Opa's house for an hour so I could catch up on some schoolwork. (I've been dealing with a nasty virus that got past my 2 virus protection programs, so I'm a bit behind.) So, darling child that he is, Wyatt climbs into his seat, realizes he has a poopy diaper, decides he doesn't like it, then PULLS THE POO OUT and puts it in his carseat. When Doug comes in (with Wyatt in tow), he says, "I have a hypothetical for you. What would you do, hypothetically, if a kid pulled poo out of his diaper and put it in his carseat?" Hypothetically? Do I honestly believe my husband could come up with a scenario like that on his own? And to think I'll be going through these same potty training scenarios in another year or so with 2 at one time.....I don't know if I'll ever be ready for that.

On a more interesting note, last night I took the first sleeping pill since my pregnancy because I just haven't been sleeping well of late. And, I dreamed of my grandfather who died 2 years ago this November. I don't dream of people in my life who have passed on, so this is a rarity. I forgot everything before I saw him; I just know he walked in out of nowhere, dressed in slacks and a button-up shirt, and I ran to give him a hug. Somehow, I knew we had little time to talk, and I immediately asked him if he knew I'd had twins. Then, as an afterthought almost, I asked if he knew about Wyatt. Yes, he said he knew about all of them.

He only said three short phrases--once when I hugged him and once after each of my questions. I thought to myself, "I must remember everything he says so I can tell my family." And I also remember telling myself, "This is a dream. He's dead. This is not real" and upon thinking that, instantly waking myself up, struggling to remember what exact words he said only to feel them slip away like water through my fingers.

I don't know if dreams are just dreams, if they're merely workings of our unconscious mind, or if there is something more at work there. Sometimes, I think there's something more to them. Is our unconscious connected to our soul? To the Spirit of God who resides within us? I'll never know this side of eternity, but that brief "meeting" in my dreams last night felt different than any dream I've had in years. It felt like a message sent to tell me that my grandfather in heaven knows of his great grandchildren. Maybe not. But food for thought, nonetheless.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Meeting Clifford!

I know my life has been totally changed by this mommy thing when I walk into my closet to get dressed for an evening on the town with Wyatt and Doug and my first thought is not "What do I look really great in?" but, instead, is "What will wash the best when Wyatt wipes his supper on it?" I also know I'm sold out to being a mommy when I give up my date night with Doug to go see somebody in a red dog suit!

Friday night, Barnes and Noble was crazy enough to sponsor an Easter Egg hunt inside the kids' section of the store. I think they were unprepared for how many kids were there. And I was unprepared for some of those over-zealous parents skipping ahead in lines and picking up Easter eggs before the hunt to make sure their kids got everything best, first, and most.

Poor Wyatt--he found a purple egg before the hunt, and his mommy made him put it back. Then, they didn't announce the hunt, but, instead, just let parents and kids start picking up the eggs, and by the time we figured it out, the candy-filled eggs were all gone. Wyatt didn't care, but I was irritated, so I sent poor Doug to the front table where I'd seen a hidden cache of "extra" eggs. Doug grudgingly went, and he came back successful with three eggs! So, Wyatt still doesn't understand the competition in an egg hunt...not that he cared. But my husband got a chance to be my knight in shining armor!

Wyatt's favorite part of the evening was the cupcake station; a couple ladies from Whole Foods piped icing in the shape of Easter-themed images on top of these huge chocolate cupcakes. The kid in front of us in line was in 4th grade, and I heard the lady tell him she wasn't allowed to create anything violent, so, logically, the boy told her to pipe him a duck....with rabies. Yep--that's what I have to look forward to with my boys! She humored him, too. Wyatt chose a yellow duck. Imagine a huge, 3" diameter, 2" tall MEGA cupcake with a 2" tall mountain of yellow icing on top. Sugar heaven! So, as we stood in line to take pictures with Clifford, what else did Wyatt do? He slurped up the icing.

He wasn't scared of Clifford, either--he bounced up to him and jabbered something at the costumed critter as if this was just another conversation! Why not? He sees Clifford in books every day at home and at least once a week on the TV. I couldn't make him stand up straight for the picture; he preferred to cuddle close to Clifford. So cute.

Afterwards, we went to La Carretta because Wyatt likes shrimp quesadillas, chips, and salsa. At the end of the meal, I sent Doug and Wyatt to the potty. After ten minutes, I thought I was going to have to go in after them! I couldn't imagine what was taking so long--some sacred rite of manhood that I know nothing about, maybe? Nope. They finally come out and Doug says, "Ok. Here he is. Now I'm going to go." Huh? I've had shopping trips to Walmart that were shorter than your stint in the bathroom! That long and you both couldn't pee pee on the potty? Obviously not--Wyatt kept trying to touch things, pull his pants down, flush the potty, and pull down the roll of paper.

Yeah? That's nothing new. Can you imagine how rare it is that I can go to the potty by myself? Those daddies...I just had to laugh. So date night was a success, at least from Wyatt's perspective.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

No Coincidence

One of my biggest fears in life is that God will cease speaking to me. Since I became totally immersed in His word in 2005, I have been amazed, humbled, and jubilantly excited when God aligns the pieces of my life in order to get His point across. Like stars in a constellation, God would sometimes speak something in my soul and then confirm it repeatedly by having me hear the same message in a sermon, read it on the Internet, hear it on the radio, or see it on T.V.

You may think I’m nuts, but I don’t believe in coincidence. There’s nothing more comforting than knowing what I’m doing is exactly what God would have me to do. So many times, I have asked for Him to not leave any doubt in my mind. And He has always been faithful to answer that prayer. But, when I started having children, God still spoke to me through Bible studies and the scripture, but He seemed to stop speaking through life events, seemed to stop lining up everything in my day to make His point.

Maybe it was because I wasn’t listening. But, I tend to think it was more because the noise of my three children made it hard for me to ever “be still” and rest in the quiet to hear God’s voice. If there were quiet, I was sleeping through it. And I also think it was because I was searching. Since Wyatt was born and I made the decision to be a stay-at-home mom who worked a full-time teaching schedule at home, I have struggled with my position in and my purpose in life and in God’s kingdom. Please understand--I know with 100% certainty, with every fiber of my being that my place is at home with my children. I've known this truth from the time I began working full time at RPCC, and I was always clear with my boss that when I had my children, that was it.

But, knowing and doing are two different things, and this struggle for an identity apart from “mommy” came to a head after the twins were born. With two babies and a 2-year-old, my life quickly became stifling, knowing it was no longer possible for me to just drop everything anymore and go on a hurried trip to the store for milk. I could no longer run to the mall by myself with the kids because Wyatt is still young enough to need his own stroller, and I am not about to push one stroller and drag another one. I felt trapped and totally unable to fulfill God’s command to go and tell the world about Jesus. I wondered how I could ever again be in the center of God’s will if I didn’t even know what His will for my life was anymore other than to raise three babies to love Him.

After speaking with my pastor and praying, I came to see God’s purpose was for me to create my devotional Quail and Manna blog. I was hesitant about it at first, struggling to hear God’s voice. But, these past three weeks, my soul has once again found God’s station and tuned in perfectly to that frequency. Ray Stevens had a song "Turn Your Radio On" about "the Master's radio"--that's how I feel about God speaking: I have to tune my human receiver to hear the divine words He's speaking around me. I fret needlessly all week long, trying to think of what to write and coming up empty, and then either Friday or Saturday, God will give me what to say. It will be clear as can be!

The first time it happened was two Saturdays ago; I thought it was a fluke, but I wrote the devotional and scheduled it to post Sunday at midnight. Then, the next day, our pastor preached on the same topic even though I hadn't shared it with anyone yet, so Doug and I had a good laugh about him stealing my devotional. Then, last Friday, God easily gave me a topic again; I wrote the devotional and scheduled it to post Sunday night….and two days later during the morning service, our pastor was preaching on just that topic! I was so giddy! I told Doug that I had confirmation I was doing what God wanted me to do and saying what He would have me to say. But still, deep inside was a fear that He would stop speaking, that this was a short term deal. But today on the way home, He planted another idea in my head for a topic. Then, when I opened my email tonight, the key word was repeated a second time for me in a totally non-spiritual context. It’s happening again!

Week by week, God is connecting the dots in my very small universe, and I’m able to see those connections once again. I am in awe. I am humbled. I feel such a peace and such an excitement to be where I’m supposed to be that words just cannot contain those emotions.

You may think it’s all a coincidence. No. Be certain. It’s God.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Reader's Digest (March 2009) ran an article, "7 Dumb Things We Do." Among the list was "When we multitask, we get stupid." Apparently, a study shows our working memory begins to forget things after two seconds: "Within 15 seconds of considering a new problem, you'll have forgotten the old problem. In some cases, the forgetting rate can be as high as 40 percent." And another "duh" study of employees showed they took, "on average, 15 minutes to get back to" serious tasks after being interrupted by something like emails.

And we had to spend money to find this out? Any mom could have pocketed that check with no hesitation because the outcome was so utterly obvious. Working from home is a blessing in that it allows me to stay with my children all day, and I know many people just wish they could work from home. But, the result is that my day is spent at warp speed as I maneuver from one task to another and back again in hopes that when 2:00 comes around, I can get a couple hours of downtime while the three of them (fingers crossed) nap together.

Case in point: this past Monday between the hours of 9 and 2, I simultaneously had my sink full of carrots I was washing, my food processor whirring as I shredded 24 cups and sliced another 24 cups of carrots to bag and freeze, my washer and drier taking care of 3 loads of clothes, my tea pot heating water to make humming bird food for the poor birds who kept zooming around outside, my computer speeding emails back to students, my children demanding food, attention, book readings, etc. at random intervals, and my oven baking strawberry bread to use up the strawberries I had mashed because it was "use them or lose them" time. That is NOT multitasking. That is insanity.

I think we need a new word: ultra-tasking. "Multi" just doesn't make what I do seem chaotic enough. "Multi" seems to imply I might could squeeze one more thing into my juggling act. On the other hand, "Ultra" seems to imply I'm at my max. Yep--I don't multitask; I ultratask.

Oh--I took a pic just for you all. Can you see that tooth? Yes, this mama let Emerson fuss while she ran to get her camera--how else was I going to get that mouth open for a picture?