Friday, November 21, 2008

11 Years Ago

I became a mother. I had been warned of how my little one would not look pretty right off. About how nasty babies are at birth, their faces flat, heads coned, red and just not very pretty. I was a teenager, excited about being "mom" but scared to death as well. Tons of family eagerly awaited her arrival outside my hospital room. I had spent 9 months crawling around on my hands and knees. I lost weight... something my 100 pound frame didn't tolerate very well. I honestly can't remember what weight I got down to, I think it was 90 pounds. I was so young and dumb that I thought I was pregnant, and just supposed to be sick, so I let it go day in and day out without holding a thing down. When I couldn't get myself out of the tub one day, my husband helped me out, literally dressed me and carried me down to the car. Upon arrival at the doctor's office, they promptly sent me over to the hospital and declared I couldn't leave until I was at an acceptable weight. Lovely, huh?

The day she was born all I could think was how amazingly beautiful she was. Those silly people who said newborns were less than pleasing to look at hadn't seen MY baby! She came into the world complaining about the competency of the nursing staff, demanding better service, and certain her parents couldn't be meant for her. After all, we were babies ourselves, how could we possibly give accurate care to a princess such has herself?

Not much has changed. ;) She's still opinionated and not much can be said to persuade her otherwise. She often instructs me on how the younger ones should be cared for, and I'm constantly reminding her that she made it this far without dying, that Dad and I are perfectly capable of caring for them, and might even know what's best! She was an amazing little girl, that I often took credit for. It wasn't until the 3rd or 4th child that I realized she was what she is in spite of me rather than because of me. That I really had very little to do with her incredible ability to discern, to choose her own path no matter what those around her are doing, to stand firm in her convictions, and care so deeply for those who are struggling. She's more grounded than even I give her credit for. She likes what she likes, hates what she doesn't, and there is very little gray. She's a rule follower, and has little tolerance for those who don't respect the rules or each other. She is mostly serious, but when she laughs that true, full, belly laugh, everyone around her does the same. She's witty, and her sense of humor is very different than our other children's. She's smart, oh so beautiful, already has a deep love for her Savior and a desire to share His love with others, and she is AMAZING with little toddlers and babies. Right now, she wants to work in hippotherapy when she grows up. She has ALWAYS loved horses, and children, and I think that would be an incredible opportunity for her to work with both. She has so much exposure to emotionally disturbed children, as well as those with developmental delays, and her care for them is far beyond her age. I'm not always sure that's a good thing, I want to make sure she's a little girl as long as she can be, but her talents and passions are becoming clearer and clearer with each passing year.

Though I certainly miss days of rocking, nursing, and singing to my sweet little angel, I look forward to sharing the rest of my life with her. I love this stage, too! She's not only my little girl, now, but we have "real" conversations, she's becoming less of me, and more of herself. And less of herself, and more of Jesus. Such an incredible life to be a part of! Happy Birthday, Faith.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday

Baby Must-Have(s):

Here is my favorite thing for my little one! I LOVE this sling. The picture is terrible.... that is true stay-at-home-mom form! The old, gray, ratty sweatshirt. Complete with spit up on he shoulder. I promise, I can don a sleek black top and look cute as a button with that same sling. Mercy has spent hours in it, it's very comfy for her, and I can hold and still have 2 free hands. LOVE IT! I have one of these, which I also love and strongly recommend for any parent, but I don't like it until baby is about 5 months old. Then, it's the absolute best way for wearing baby.

Here's another favorite. My other babies didn't have these, and I just love them for Mercy. Actually, my older kids like them, too. They usually wear them on their arms - you can check out the website to see all kinds of patterns and ways to wear them. For Mercy, I love that I can just put a onesie on her, these great babylegs, and change her diaper without the frustrating buttons or pulling on and off pants, and they keep her legs warm! ;) She isn't old enough yet, but I'm betting they don't slide off when crawling like other pants seem to do. And even the body suits aren't good for crawling because babies somehow end up pulling their knees and feet all the way up to where their belly should be! ;)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Just for Alyssa's Mom

Dear Alyssa's Mom (cause I don't know what else to call you!),

You should know that you are a VERY special person. Because I have 2 rules. Never forward emails. And never play Tag. But since I crack you up, and that's like the bestest compliment ever, I'm gonna play! ;)

So, here are the rules:

Aw, heck, I'm not going to follow the rules, so, I might as well not post them!

Ok, ok, cut to the chase..... Seven things about me:

1. I have bungee jumped, sky coasted, been out of the country, served in our armed forces, broken real boards with karate kicks, and had babies with no drugs. However, I have never whistled. It's my thorn in the flesh. God wanted to keep me humble, so he gave me defected lips. HOURS of trying to no avail!

2. I LOVE the stickers from Sonic. You know, the one they stick to your cup with your receipt. I carefully peel it off so that I can play with it for hours.

3. I have an obsession with names. Yes, names. Like, I HAVE to know what the pregnant lady is naming her baby. I love to know everyone's middle names and why their parents picked the names they did. I still pick out names I like for little girls and boys though my baby naming days are over. Weird, huh?

4. I CAN'T STAND lotion between my toes. My skin crawls just typing it.

5. I've done a lot of things wrong, but this is what I got right: My husband, and the children that followed.

6. Every time I go out with my kids at least one woman says, "Don't you know what causes that?" (referring to the number of children with me). I LOVE to answer, "Yes, but it's TOO good to give up. Is your husband doing something wrong?"

7. Bad language really bugs me. Unless I'm the one using it.

Thanks for thinking of me, Alyssa's Mom. ;) I have enjoyed your blog and the encouragement when learning to live with my own RADical daughter.

Friday, November 14, 2008

He Fits Right In

Toby, AKA the Tobster, AKA Tobs, AKA Toby Coke, our miniature schnauzer, disappeared while we were at camp. We left him in our fenced in back yard, at about 4:00 in the morning. When my sister came to check on him at about 10:00 that same morning, he wasn't there. He's always been Houdini. We gave him the wrong name.

My sister called the pound, walked the streets for the week we were gone. We did the same when we returned. My little girls shed lots of tears for our dear lost friend. I might have even shed one or two, and hard-hearted hubby searched for him more than anyone. We assumed after the second week we wouldn't see him again. Were certain after the third. Oh, the sad little faces!

I didn't really want another dog, but looking at those long faces I somehow found myself asking if they wanted to look into adopting one. My oldest announced, "Absolutely not, just another one to love too much and then cry over!". Oh, the teaching I need to do with that one. But, still, I understand. She kind of gets that from me, anyway.

A good friend of mine rescues dogs from the pound. She had been seeing a schnauzer there, for about a month. Yesterday, she chose him, and called me to see what caring for a Schnauzer was like. "Don't put him up on your site till I talk to TJ and see if maybe we want him." She said she thought he was a puppy, salt and pepper (which Toby really isn't), and she thought he was a lot smaller than Toby, too. She suggested driving by to show him to us. I think maybe she knows I'm a sucker for a puppy.

And so out from the van, jumps none other than TOBY!!! Can you believe it? I really wasn't convinced it was him at first. He doesn't answer his name. He doesn't act the same. Poor guy's been locked up in a concrete cage for a month. No sunshine. No walks. Little food. His hair is WAY overgrown, he's skinnier, and I think he's suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Considering the nature of our family, I suppose he fits right in! :) PTSD?? Join the club. What's life without a little RAD? or ODD? or ADD? or PTSD? Heck, why not all of the above?

The girls' reactions? Not a chance I can put that into words. Some moments, are just priceless.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Not Me Monday

This did NOT happen at my house!!!!!

And for the record, I was NOT too busy. The bat made it onto the windshield while my husband was driving, and I really didn't know until 2 days later, when I was INSIDE the van, going 60 mph. After that, I just forgot. I was NOT waiting on my husband to dispose of it. Because, that would indicate I expect him to do what I ask. I would NEVER do that. And I most certainly would NOT continue to see that bat staring at me every time I walked outside and just ignore it there. NOT ME!

And she even left out more of the gross things that she DIDN'T see! Faith killed a deer on the youth hunt a little over a week ago. Being her first, she was excited to say the least. Because the dear deer lacked any antlers for keepsakes, she and her Papa decided to cut off her hoof. Home to my house it came, in a little ziplock sandwich bag. I yelled, er, um, I mean instructed her to get that thing out of my house! And to take it out of the bag and hang it so it would dry out. She heard the "Get that out of my house!" part. Of course her ears turned off after the first sentence. My kids NEVER do that. They ALWAYS follow directions in their entirety.

Faith did not coming running INTO THE HOUSE, with that hoof, still in the bag, while my dear friend was here. There were NOT any bugs in there. No maggots, either. NOT IN MY HOUSE! NEVER! (You'd think my house was full of boys, rather than 6 girls!)

I am NOT gross! My carport is ALWAYS clean. Bat-free. Bird-poop free. Acorn free. And most importantly, Maggot free.

Also, I would NEVER post a Not-Me-Monday without following the rules. I would NEVER do it wrong. So now, I'll fix what I did NOT do. Stop by MckMomma's and check out her blog! She's got a new little miracle that you can join in the celebration for!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Never Ending Story

Cook a meal. Feed a meal. Clean up a meal.

Cook a meal. Feed a meal. Clean up a meal.

Cook a meal. Feed a meal. Clean up a meal.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Two Thugs

Oh, yes, they were. Their car could not have been older. It was dented and hoopty looking. But, my! how the rims on that thing shined! They nearly blinded me as they wheeled towards my family car. Ok, so maybe my "car" is a 12 passenger, but hey, it's a love-hate relationship. Anyway, I new thugs were close before I ever saw them. My windows were rattling, and that low bass thump literally shook my body. My ear drums stung.

I was minding my own business, of course, waiting in a very long line of folks for a spot by a gas pump. Rarely an issue in this small town, but every lane had at least 2 cars. After Grandpa pulled his old truck away from the pump, I was next in line. I'd been behind him, waiting patiently and joyfully, because that's what Christians do. But just as I was shifting into gear, the thugs came whipping in from in front of Grandpa's truck and I'm sure my face said it all. Are you kidding me? I know they didn't just whip in there like they didn't see me waiting here in line! I was disgusted. 2 black men. Skin tight caps on their heads. Windows down, arms hung out the vibrating windows. How rude.

Then, the driver smiled. Huh? Yeah, that's right. He mouthed, "sorry", while buddy thelma waved me into my spot with his arm that was hung out the window, pointing his thumb towards the pump to the beat of his nasty music. His head tilted back in that "there ya go" kind of way.

A huge grin from me. Then a shameful blush. Lesson learned. I thought I wasn't judgmental. humph.

And on the way out of the parking lot we almost had a head on collision again. I waved big. 2 thugs. Nah, my 2 buddies, waved me ahead of them. Ladies first, you know.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Trio's Song

My two 4 yr. olds, and my 3 yr. old are walking through the house with their arms around each other, singing a song in ever-so-lovely-and-loud voices. The actual words to the song are:

"There's no better time to worship you. There's no better time to worship you."

What they are singing:

"There's no better time to wear shampoo. There's no better time to wear shampoo." It does kind of sound like "worship you." ha!

Reminds me of a certain other little singer (Faith) who, after hearing in church "I've got peace like a river", ran through the house one day on her way to the bathroom singing at the top of her little lungs, "I've gotta pee like a river, I've gotta pee like a river!". She was 2. I laughed so hard, my protruding pregnant belly shook like Santa's. And then my pressured bladder had to pee like a river, too.

Lord, don't let me forget the good stuff.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Not Me Monday

I did not drive around town Sat. running errands, the van fully kid-free, yet jamming to the Veggie Tales' version of "Ease on Down the Road". Not me!

Last week with the van loaded down with kids, I absolutely did not stop at a stop light, throw it in park, unbuckle and jump over 2 seats to sweetly re-buckle a kid who thinks climbing out of her seat is funny. I repeat sweetly. I did not hurdle back over the seats into my own driver's seat just as the light was turning green.

I then, did NOT see a policeman in the adjacent turning lane. And I in no way smiled and waved. Because that would just be stupid. And He did not smile and wave back. He also did not pull at his own seat belt, and point to mine, which wasn't buckled. Because, you see, the driver should always be buckled. Heck, the driver should be in her seat. Where I ALWAYS am! :)

Later, I did not see another policeman. Gosh, I'm glad it wasn't the same one. You know, the one I didn't see earlier that morning. Anyway, this time I was in my seat, minding my own business. I did not have a cell phone in one hand. I also did not have a french vanilla cappuccino in the other hand. Because that would leave no hands for driving.... only elbows. I'm much safer than that! And I absolutely DID NOT wave at this police officer, either. There definitely wasn't some slight spewing of sweet coffee from my mouth when I noticed him I hurriedly tried to place the cup in it's holder, while simultaneously throwing the phone across the van as if it was never to my ear. NOT ME!

The officer did not drive off laughing. I did not turn 10 shades of red. My children did not ridicule me about "Po-Po's gonna get Momma." Where did they hear that, anyway? Who calls the police "Po-Po"?

And last, but not least, I did not kick goldfish crumbs under the couch in a quick last stitch effort to not look like the worst house-keeper ever when the doorbell rang. NOT ME!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

He calls me "Mom"

Early in Feb. Charity came to live with us. By the end of February, her older brother joined our family as well. We fully intended to be their forever family. Our whole hearts in love with them instantly. Just the same way we instantly fell in love with Blessing. The ghost's time with us was fairly short, he left our home at the end of May. It was our decision for him to leave, a decision that tore our hearts to pieces, and left us broken like never before. I cried. For months. Still do, at times.

His visit with us this weekend brought a wide range of feelings, each feeling an overwhelming rush, and each bringing with it a cycle of thought that only goes around and around and never really ends. Were we right? Were we wrong? Could we have done something different? Yet knowing it's impossible to pray harder, or to love more than I did... and still do.

He still calls me "mom". Yet, I can't be that to him. Does he still wish for that? Do I still wish for that? It was also obvious, though we enjoyed our visit with him, that we cannot be his forever family. We simply can not meet his needs as well as the needs of the rest of our children. It sounds so cruel. Saying those words is oh so painful.

His time living and then leaving us has taught me more than any other circumstance in my whole life. He taught me what I could handle. Actually, that's not true, he taught me what God's empowerment can allow me to handle. He taught me what I can't handle, a lesson that was much harder to learn. He taught me love isn't enough. He taught me that though my plan seemed much more magnificent, that God and I don't think alike. He taught me that the deepest desire, belief, and faith in healing doesn't mean it will come. He taught me that God's grace is, indeed, sufficient. That God is absolutely He who gives.... and He who takes away. He taught me that I will choose to follow with my life and say, "And if not....".

And it's most ironic that he dressed as, and is referred to in this post as "the ghost". Because his memory is much like that... I remember him with love and joy. The bike ramps and boots and dirty jeans and swinging from rafters were all things foreign. For a time, tutus and skirts and twirling girls were not the only things in my home. There was a boy. A loud boy who made me laugh, those full belly laughs, as he ran through the house in his batman pajamas, a sheet as his cape. A boy whose socks were never clean, and who left a rank smell in the van and his room and everywhere else he visited. A smell he was proud of. He was rambunctious and full of life and his smile could make my heart skip a beat. Yes, I loved being a mother to a boy. And yet his memory also brings sadness, and a pain that is haunting, allowing guilt and questions and anger to rise again. And I throw up my feelings all over my God and again, grace is sufficient.