Thursday, September 27, 2012

Watch Your Toes

Warning: I am probably going to step on a few toes in writing this post.  BUT, I feel that I must express my thoughts.  I wanted to shrug it off and do my best to rationalize and justify the situation.  "It's just an expression.  They're not being literal, only using exaggeration to get their point across."  And I get that, but's been nagging me all morning.  So here I am about to offend some people, but I am hoping they will forgive me and try to understand where I am going from and why I couldn't ignore my heart.

Okay, here we go...I am now stepping onto my soap box.  Bear with me, please...

Ever since the new lunch guidelines have gone into effect, thanks to Mrs. Obama's platform for healthy eating, I have heard/read numerous complaints about the portion sizes that kids are served for their noon meal at school.  I have not personally eat a school lunch in quite some time, and I don't know what the portion sizes are exactly.  I do know that I am thrilled that students are required to have fruit and veggies on their plate.  Granted, that does not guarantee the child will actually eat the fruits and/or veggies...BUT at least they are being exposed to healthier choices.  Honestly, I believer that should start at home, not school.  If we are truly going to deal with the "obesity epidemic," then we are going to have to do more than put a spoonful of broccoli and an apple on a child's lunch tray.

Rabbit trail...that's not even the soap box I want to get on, at least not right now.  Back to my main point.  Must. focus. and. stay. on. topic.

My problem is not actually with the new guidelines at all.  Instead, I am struggling with people's response to them.  When I hear/read things like, "I'm starving," it's like nails on a chalkboard.  It grates on my nerves, but more than that, it pulls at my heart strings.  When I taught fifth grade, one of the first things I told my students was that they were never, ever to say, "I'm starving."  At least not while in my class, or in the very least, in my presence.  I went on to explain that I was pretty sure most of them had eaten breakfast that morning before coming to school, and if not, it's was more than likely a choice they made rather than not being able to eat because there wasn't food in the fridge/cupboards.  I also assumed that most, if not all of them, would have supper that night.  In between those two meals, they would ALL have lunch at school -- whether they packed their own food or ate what the school cafeteria was serving that particular day.  Many of them would even have a snack when they got home from school, before eating their evening meal.  Yeah, not starving.  Not even close.

I am not trying to be legalistic or anything like that.  I totally understand that, "I'm starving" is just a phase, a casual expression used without thought to the true meaning of the words.  That doesn't make it okay, however.

You see, I have personally seen starving children.  Having lived in a third world country for nearly two years and being surrounded by utter poverty, my perspective on life changed drastically.  After you have witnessed children on the street, every rib showing, you tend to look at things a bit differently.  You walk into Wal-Mart or Dillons or Hy-Vee and get overwhelmed with the aisles and aisles of food in front of you.  You remember those children who didn't know for sure where their next meal would come from or when they would have the opportunity to eat again.  You see the eyes of the mother who is unable to comfort her child's rumbling, grumbling, hurting tummy.

I was going to "forgive" people's comments and tell myself yet again, "They don't mean it.  They're not being literal.  They're not looking at things the way I might."  Then, this morning, I saw a video on facebook that "pushed me over the edge."  I know they're just trying to be funny.  But they're not thinking about the pictures of the people I saw in a mailing I received earlier this week about children who are truly starving.  They're not acknowledging the countless homeless people or those struggling to make ends meet and can't afford groceries right here in our own country, our own communities, our own neighborhoods.  In their humor, they are making light of those who really are hungry.

And I just can't stand by and not say anything.  I tried, but just couldn't.  Hence, this blog post.

Please hear me though.  I am not denying that you may not feel as full as you would like after eating the school lunch you were served today.  I am not arguing that you personally would like more food on your plate, that you need the energy to play your sports or do whatever activities you are involved in on a daily basis.  I am simply asking you to please think about your word choice.  And to appreciate all that you do have.  That you had lunch at all is more than the 925 MILLION PEOPLE who may have not eaten anything today, or yesterday, and are truly hungry.

This is a battle I fight every day.  When Coralyn whines, "I'm hungry, Mommy," just twenty minutes after she finished her breakfast, I want to scream.  I am still figuring out how to teach her the realities of life, in a way that an almost three-year old can understand.  If you know how to go about doing that, I would love your help/advice/tips.  For now, I am dealing with a lot of tears and "senseless" crying as I refuse to give into her requests for snack after snack after snack.

Okay, I will now step off my soap box, and your toes.  Thank you for listening to me.  Hopefully you heard my heart, not just the words I wrote.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

In a Perfect World...

Yesterday evening, I went to my friend's house to pick up some of my stuff that didn't sell at the garage sale she had (and let me put some things out on the driveway).  Joy gave me my money (yay!!! we can get groceries!!!) and helped me load up my items.  After I shut the door of the Yukon, we were chatting a bit about her husband being a realtor.  I mentioned that he needed to find some people to buy our house, that way both Donny (her husband) and Jay (our realtor and friend) would benefit, not to mention us!  Joy laughed and said, "Yeah, in a perfect world, right..."

Well, Jay sent me a facebook message today, "Call me.  I might have a buyer for your house."  Just to clarify our house isn't even on the market yet!

So, I call Jay while the young kiddos are napping and Coralyn is "resting."  He tells me that Donny actually has some clients who are interested in a house similar to ours and in the price ranges ours will be.  Jay wants to know if we would be willing to show the house this weekend.  Um, YES!!!

Seriously?  How cool would that be?  Donny would get his first sale as a realtor (he JUST started)!  Jay and his family would benefit.  Our house would be sold before the sign ever went in the yard.  Yeah, that's got God written all over it!  Because, we certainly don't live in a perfect world, and yet God can still work His "magic!"  And I absolutely love it when He does!!!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Raise the Roof

On Friday, we attended Kellybrook Elementary's Kickoff.  The PTA did an excellent job of putting the evening together.  In the gym they had two "Hamster Balls" where kids can crawl in through a hole and then stand up inside the ball.  Then, they run and make the ball roll all over the gym.  The line for that was ridiculously long!  If the kiddos didn't want to stand in line all night, they could play other games, snack on popcorn and cotton candy, get washable tattoos, buy hair bows, eat a hamburger or hot dog, get their picture taken with their teacher, play soccer, or hang out on the playground.

Coralyn played a few of the games and then wanted to go to the school playground.  We walked around a bit before that though and were able to talk with quite a few of Lawrence's students and some of their parents.  Over half of the students from Lawrence's class were at the Kickoff, as well as some former students who made sure to find Mr. Young and say hi.  I think they might have been more excited to see Coralyn and Kellah!  Lawrence brainwashes his students, you see.  Whenever he says 'Sarah,' they have to respond, "We love Sarah!"  And if he mentions 'Coralyn,' they are trained to answer "Ahhhh!"  If 'Kellah' is brought up, then his students are programmed to reply, "Giiigiiigiii" in a baby talk voice.

A few parents even came up to Lawrence, thanking him for inviting their son/daughter to Ponca this past summer.  One family even commented that their son had told them, "I don't care what we are doing next summer, I am going to be at Ponca no matter what!"  I got goosebumps just writing that.  I love how God confirms that we are right where He wants us and that He is using us to make a difference in these kids' lives.

In fact, the whole time that we were there, I couldn't help but think how we were surrounded by our "mission field." All these kiddos, and their families, need Jesus!!!  More than that even, they need to be discipled and mentored so that as they grow up, they will know what it means to truly KNOW Jesus and what it practically looks like to live for Him BOLDLY and PASSIONATELY day in and day out.  Being at the school in the midst of all the students, my desire to move into the neighborhood/community only intensified.

God is so awesome!  He knows the longings of our hearts and works to fulfill them, as they are in accord with His plans and purposes for us.  From the beginning, we have known that selling our house and moving into the Kellybrook area will have to be totally and completely of God.  Our first major hurdle to even getting our house on the market is the need for a new roof.  Given that we have been counting pennies to pay our regular bills each month, we don't really have an extra $5,000 set aside to just up and put a new roof on the house.  Now that I am working again, we were going to start putting money aside and save up to pay for the roof, though.  A friend from church is a roofer and came over earlier this summer to give us an estimate.  We knew that we could trust him to give us a fair price and do a good job as well.  However, we would have to wait and wait and wait before we could actually hire him.  I let him know our situation and said I would contact him when we had the money.

Well, a week or two later we headed off to Ponca Bible Camp.  I jokingly prayed to God that it would be totally amazing if we got back from camp and a new roof was already on the house.  I guess God has a good sense of humor.  No, the roof wasn't redone when we got home.  BUT, about a month ago, Hunter Cline (a "kid" we have watched grow up at Ponca) sent me a text saying that he was going to come up and roof our house.  I didn't doubt for a second that Hunter could do a fabulous job, as he works construction and does roofing too.  However, Hunter is just a college freshmen, and there was no way he could afford all the materials and such on his own.  I asked how much he was going to need us to pay him.  "Just a place to stay and food to eat," was his answer, letting me know that the cost of the roof had been taken care of already!  Say what?!!!

Today, I went to the Post Office to sign for the check Hunter sent in the mail.  The money should pay for all the supplies that we (well, Hunter really) will need to put a new roof on the house.

God never ceases to amaze me!!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

I've Got Your Back {Vol. 29, Issue 9}

Last week, Friday, was a crazy day.

It all began on my morning run.  I had been somewhat concerned about running so early, when it was still pretty dark out, but I had seen some other ladies running solo, so I figured I too would be okay.  Lawrence agreed that I should be fine as long as I took my cell phone along and made sure to stay on the lighted roads (no running down the trails near our house).  On this particular morning my knees were reminding me that I have already had three surgeries, so I figured I should do a shortened version of my somewhat normal route. I decided to cut through a sub-division, still staying on a well-light path, and so I made the left turn.  As soon as I did, a red truck turned as well.  I thought it pretty strange for a vehicle to be entering a sub-division at just past 5 in the morning, as most people are leaving to go to work, not returning from it.  The truck didn't slow down, and I kept a close eye on "him."  When the truck made a quick turn into a driveway not too far ahead of me, I had second thoughts about my short-cut, did a 180, and booked it back to the main road and told my knees they would have to be strong this morning.  I continued on my typical path and was feeling better, until I saw a red truck pass me once more.  I know there is more than 1 red truck in Liberty, but this particular truck appeared eerily similar to the one I had seen just minutes earlier.  I kept going, trying my best  to take note of the truck's features should I see it again.  Sure enough, on the third "leg" of my run, there "he" was!  This time, after he passed, I watched him turn right and head towards the Community Center.  I didn't take my eye off the truck until it had turned again, and I made sure it wasn't doing a loop to come back!  I rounded my last major corner and started to head home, thinking I would walk the last part, when I got to my sub-division, to give my knees a break and cool down a bit.  But then, as soon as I made my final turn, the red truck was right there!!!!  Seriously?!!!  Thankfully, another car was coming from the other direction, so I crossed the street and decided that maybe I would just sprint home instead.  When I got safely inside, I was shaking as I told my story to Lawrence.

Yeah, I went to the gym yesterday.  I hate, hate, hate running on a treadmill, but I'd rather feel like a hamster and be safe than enjoy the fresh air only to end up a victim.

God definitely had my back!!!  After seeing the truck the first time, I prayed for God to keep me safe, and even asked if He could make it look like there was a big, strong guy running next to me should anyone try to do anything to me.  Who knows?  Maybe He did.  Maybe He didn't.  All I know is that He got me home in one piece!

The craziness continued when one of my daycare parents informed me that her child would be leaving.  Apparently, when they were looking for daycare, the place they wanted was full, but now an opening had become available.  And it's cheaper, so financially they needed to make the change.  I totally understand.  We count pennies too.  Which is why I was somewhat discouraged.  Losing a daycare kiddo meant losing a significant part of our income -- like gas and groceries for the month!

Before the red truck appeared the first time, I was actually praying for God to provide for some of my friends who don't have a stable, predictable income.  I also thanked Him for taking care of us so faithfully this past year and bringing the daycare kids to us, so that we could actually pay all our bills and put a little bit in savings each month!  I asked Him to help me remember, though, that we are still completely and fully dependent on Him, that I shouldn't forget how we truly NEED Him.

I guess He took me literally and wanted to test if I really meant what I had prayed, for just over an hour later, I got the news about my daycare kiddo leaving.

The day was just beginning!  I was supposed to host our play group that morning, and minutes before my friend arrived with her "troops" (she also does in-home daycare), I received a call from the Children's Division.  The supervisor wanted to know if I would be willing and available to watch a little boy -- just for the day -- while his foster parents took their other kids to some prearranged meetings.  Sure, why not?  And so, Little Man arrived about 10 minutes later, just as my playgroup friends pulled into the driveway.  I asked what the baby's name was (he was 7 months old), and they didn't know.  The mom hadn't been able to tell them!!!  So sad.  Well, we loved on him all day.  Coralyn even helped me feed him his bottle and made sure he always had a toy.

In the midst of the chaos of having around 10 children ages 3 and under run around your living room, I was able to share with one of the moms about my daycare situation.  I asked her to pray for us, as we again looked to God to come through for us, as He always does.  We didn't have much time to talk and before long, we were "cleaning up" and saying good-bye.

That afternoon, when I was finally able to take a deep breath and relax for a second while the kiddos took their naps (or in Coralyn's case, "rested" in her room), my cell phone rang.  It was Paula, my friend from playgroup.  Someone had just called her about daycare, but she doesn't have any openings.  She wanted to know if it was alright to give them my contact information.  I am pretty particular in who I watch, as I want to be on the same schedule as Lawrence.  Hence, I only take care of teachers' kids.  Well, wouldn't you know it.  This lady was the librarian at one of the elementary schools in Liberty!!!  Perfect!  YES, give her my name and number!!!

Seconds later, the phone rings again.  It's the librarian!!!  That was fast...  I told Megan a little bit about myself and my daycare.  She needed to talk with her husband, who was out of town, and then would get back with me to set up a time to come over and meet me.  Great!!!

The story gets even better, though.  God wanted to make sure I knew beyond a shadow of doubt that He was involved in all this, arranging the details perfectly, as only He can do.  Yesterday, as I was attempting to get supper on the table and wondering where Lawrence was (he was running late after a meeting, which I didn't know at the time), my cell phone rang once more.  It was Joy, my friend from church.  She was calling to let me know that her friend had called asking if I would be a good daycare provider.  She had gone to school with Megan back in the day and thought she was a teacher or her husband was a teacher in Liberty; she wasn't sure though.  Megan and Joy are facebook friends.  Megan noticed that Joy was friends with me, made the connection, and thought Joy would be a good reference.  Joy assured her I would do a good job taking care of her little boy (another boy!!!!).

Megan called again this morning; her husband thought I would be a good match as well, and so I will be meeting them and their little boy on Monday evening!

How awesome is that!!!  I would say that God has definitely got my back, as He has for the past 29 years and 9 months.  Yesterday, I blogged about feeling overwhelmed with all of Coralyn's requests, before 7 am.  I referenced a verse about how God hears my prayers and how thankful I am for that!!!  Well, later I thought about what David wrote in Psalm 139, one of my favorite passages anyway.

"You know what I am going to say before I say it, Lord."

That was the particular verse that popped into my head yesterday.  I was reminded that before I even make a request, God knows what I need.  On top of that, He's already taken care of it and met that need!  Just as He did with this whole daycare situation.

The surrounding verses are quite fitting, given the events of the past few days:

O Lord, You have examined my heart and know everything about me.
You know when I sit down and when I stand up.
You know my thoughts even when I am far away. 
You see me when I travel and when I rest at home.
You know everything I do.
You know what I am going to say before I say it, Lord.
You go before me and follow me.
You place your hand of blessing on my head.  
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too great for me to understand!!!

Later, David goes on to say:

You saw me before I was born. 
Every day of my life was recorded in Your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed.

Yeah, I would say so!!!  Before I was ever even a thought in my parents' head, way back to before God even spoke light into existence, God knew that Friday would happen.  He knew where I was going to go on my run and that the red truck was going to follow me basically the whole way.  He also knew that I would have an opening in my daycare right when Megan was looking for a place for her son.  He knew a whole lot more too, as I am sure that I am unaware of quite a few details of the ins and outs of my own life.  The good thing is that I don't have to know about them.  Why not?  Because God's got it all covered.  He always has, and He always will.  He's got my back!!!

David took the words out of my mouth when he penned, "How precious are Your thoughts about me, O God."  I have to go back to what he said in verse 6 as well, "Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand!!!"  

Ain't that the truth!!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Super Power-LESS

This morning Coralyn was particularly whiny and crying over every single little thing.  As soon as she woke up, she was pleading for her breakfast.  I am used to this and know not to expect, "Good morning, Mommy," when she comes out of her room.  Instead, I am greeted with the lovely, "I wanna eat breakfast," in the whiniest voice you can imagine.  Every once in a while, she will change things up and let me know, "My diaper's wet," but still in the same annoying octave.  Thankfully, she has woken up with a dry diaper the past several days (I am telling her over and over and over again that she is almost 3 years old, and big girls who are three don't go potty in their pants, not even at night time.  Maybe the brainwashing is working!)

Coralyn has never really been much of a morning person, and I caught on to this pretty early on in her young life.  Before she could even talk, the first thing she would sign to me when I went to get her out of her crib was, "Eat."  Way back then, I learned that the mornings went much more smoothly if I would have her breakfast prepared ahead of time, reducing the crying and whining and pleading while it took me all of 5 minutes to get some yogurt, blueberries, and either cereal or oatmeal ready.  Since I already get up at 5 am, I actually get her breakfast ready the night before, so then all I have to do the next day, when I am still trying to wake up myself, is pull her plate/bowl out of the fridge and plop it on the table in front of her.

Oh, and I also get a cup of milk ready too, because as soon as I set her food down, I hear, "I want some milk, too, please."  So, now I try to put her entire breakfast -- food and beverage -- on the table at the exact same time.

Maybe, I should be more patient and be able to put up with the whining and in the process teach Coralyn that everything isn't instant in this world, that she doesn't get absolutely everything she wants the second she asks for it.

Maybe, but I haven't gotten there yet...

And so, I had her breakfast ready to go this morning.  Only, I hadn't made any oatmeal yet.  I was going to wait and see if she wanted oatmeal, cereal, or even a peanut butter sandwich.  I was actually going to offer her some choices, right off the bat, to see if that would cut down on the whining.

Well, I didn't even have to ask.  Coralyn beat me to it and let me know right away that she wanted "different" oatmeal, meaning she wanted regular oatmeal and not my Hot and Tasty Gluten Free Breakfast Cereal (that somewhat resembles oatmeal).  I let her know I would be more than happy to fix her some oatmeal, and assured her at least 6 times that it would indeed be "different" oatmeal.

Before I started on the oatmeal though, I went ahead and put her plate of yogurt and blueberries in front of her, thinking she could start on that while I fixed the rest of her morning meal.  I went to grab the container of oatmeal, but before I could even get it out of the cupboard, Coralyn reminded me that she needed some milk.  I walked back to the fridge, grabbed her milk, and handed the cup to her.  Back to the cupboard, got a handful of oatmeal into the bowl, and went to the sink to add the water.  In those two steps from the counter to the sink, I look over and see Kellah standing up and leaning over in her high chair!  I guess she really, really wanted that Cheerio or blueberry way on the front/back of her tray and was determined to get it.  I quickly put the oatmeal bowl down and rushed to sit Kellah back down in her chair.

I put the oatmeal in the microwave and pushed the quick minute start button.  Kellah was standing up again, so I told her she was done with breakfast.  She was covered in head to toe with blueberry stains and had been tossing more food over her head than putting it in her mouth anyway.  I plopped her in the kitchen sink for her daily morning bath.  Before I could even start washing her off, Coralyn asked if her oatmeal was ready yet.  Nope, still 47 seconds left...

After Kellah's speedy bath, I wrapped her in a towel and started to head to her bedroom to at least get a diaper on the naked child.  Three steps down the hallway, I hear Coralyn burst out in traumatic tears.  Thinking something was terribly wrong or that she had perhaps gotten hurt, I rush back into the kitchen and ask her what happened.  "My blueberries have holes in them!" she cries in the most pitiful voice ever.  Seriously?  Your blueberries have holes in them?  That's something to cry bloody murder about?  Really?!

I explain to Coralyn that the holes are where the berries were picked off the bush and mean that they are ready to eat.  Thankfully, she believed me and continued eating happily, for about 4 seconds.  Then, she asked, "Is my oatmeal ready now?"  Sure enough it was, and it had even been so kind as to spill over the sides of the bowl, creating a mess in the microwave.  Lovely.

I get the oatmeal out of the microwave, scooping the overflowage back into the bowl, telling Coralyn it's just a little too hot to eat right away.  I suggest she keep eating her yogurt and blueberries while her oatmeal cools off.  I then remind her that I need to get Kellah dressed.  Back to Kellah's room we go.  While I am working magic and getting a diaper and clothes on my incredibly squirmy, and lightning fast, baby, Coralyn screams out that she would like some water as well.

Deep breath.

Once Kellah is happily playing with some toys in her room, I head back to the kitchen, and get Coralyn a cup of water.  As I am filling up the cup, she wants to know if her oatmeal is cooled off.  I hand her the cup of water and then go to check on the oatmeal.  It's not steaming, so I figure she can blow on it and be okay.  I stir it up a bit and hand her the bowl, with a new spoon, knowing she wouldn't possibly want to use the same one as she did to eat her yogurt! :)

Ahhhh, everyone is content.  I take a sip of coffee and enjoy the moment.  Because that's all it is, a moment. A fleeting moment.

Before I can even lift the cup back to my lips for a second drink, Coralyn shows me her sticky hands, "I need a towel, please."

It was only 6:59.  The daycare kiddos hadn't even arrived yet this morning, and I was already overwhelmed with all the "demands" of the day.  Early, when Coralyn was asking for her breakfast and milk and water and oatmeal, seemingly all at the same time that Kellah was standing up in her chair and coloring herself blue, I tried explaining to Coralyn that I wasn't Superwoman and could only do one thing at a time.

God took that moment to remind me that I am certainly not Superwoman.  In fact, I am Super Power-LESS.  Only He can do more than one thing at a time.  He actually does about 999,999,999,999 things at the same time, and doesn't blink an eye.  No sweat.  Piece of cake.

Me, I get flustered when my two daughters ask for more than one thing in a span of 7 seconds.  God, He can handle over 600 billion requests all at once.  He hears -- AND ACKNOWLEDGES -- every single one of them too!  How thankful I am for that!  I am pretty sure I had asked Him for patience and grace and compassion, and forgiveness more times than I care to count by the time the clock flashed 7 am!

I love the Lord because He hears my voice and my prayer for mercy.
Because He bends down to listen,
I will pray as long as I have breath.
~Psalm 116:1-2

Kellah Grace {9 Months}

Yesterday, Kellah turned 9 months old, which means she has spent nearly as much outside of me as she did inside of me!!!  Time is flying by, and before I know it we will be celebrating her first birthday!  This weekend our church is having baby dedications, so that will be a special occasion for sure, as we "officially" give Kellah back to God and commit to raising her to know God deeply, love Him passionately, and live for Him boldly.

Kellah may be nine months old, but she is still pretty petite, fitting comfortably into the 3-6 month clothes I just pulled out of the storage closet so I could exchange summer outfits for more fall-ish apparel.  She weighs in at 15.5 pounds, according to our bathroom scale, which she actually sat on long enough for the weight to read accurately!  I haven't measured her yet -- getting her to lay down for more than a second is nearly impossible.  Makes for an interesting time changing her diaper!!!  (I don't know where in the world she could have gotten that from?!)

I guess Kellah realized that most of her friends were sleeping through the night, or at least for more than 1-3 hours at a time.  In the past week, she has started sleeping all night, or occasionally getting up just once.  I am soooooo very excited about this new development!

Kellah just doesn't like to miss anything.  She is always watching what everyone around her is doing, and then jumps right in on the fun.  She is a mover and a shaker for sure -- always on the go!  She can pull up on everything and then cruises her way to wherever she wants to go.  When she reaches the end of the coffee table or couch or whatever it was she was using for support, she looks out at me like, "Hey, I could use a hand here."  If I try to coax her to walk to me without holding my hands, she thinks about it for a second or two, stands on her own for a bit, reaches out as far as she can, wobbles, and then slowly and cautiously sits down before she quickly crawls over to me and uses me to pull up again!  Kellah is an expert at pushing her walker toy all around the house, but she gets frustrated when she runs into the couch and can't go any farther!  Sometimes she tries to push and lift the toy up and over the couch -- she's a strong little thing!

I truly believe Kellah is living up to her name -- Gracious Warrior.  She is small, but mighty and FULL of spunk!  She loves to smile and laugh!  She is a talker too, and can actually say "Mama" and "Dada," and then she adds her own cute ooohs, aaahs, gaaahs, and baaahs, making noise almost the entire time she is awake.
From the moment she gets up in the morning, which has been at 6 am recently, she is happy and ready for action.  She does her best to keep up with the older daycare kiddos and her sister.  Sometimes they aren't too fond of Kellah trying to play with them, but for the most part Coralyn does a fantastic job letting Kellah be right by her side -- as long as Kellah doesn't pull on her hair!

I absolutely LOVE hearing my girls laugh and play together.  They can really get going with the giggles, and I am hoping to hear much more of that as they grow up and share a room someday.  I continue to pray that they will be best friends who love and support and encourage each other through the thick and thin, who will help each other make good decisions, and live out loud for Jesus.

Well, Kellah is taking a nap right now and her big sister seems to "need" me.  I had better go take advantage of the opportunity for some quality one-on-one time with Coralyn!  I've said it before, and I will say it again: I am SO blessed!!!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Feeling Crumby

This morning I got pretty frustrated with Coralyn.  She had taken part of her breakfast out of the kitchen and into the living room, onto the couch, to eat while I wasn't paying attention.  When I turn around, the couch is covered in crumbs!  I had JUST cleaned the couch -- steam cleaned it, along with the carpet -- after she had been sick and thrown up in three different rooms in the house and peed on the couch while taking a deep nap.  I was glad the germs were gone and that the couch was no longer smelled like urine, wasn't covered in cat hair, and was crumb free.

I should have known...

I think it's a law of nature: As soon as you clean something in the house, your child will immediately get it dirty, dirtier than it was before, even.

As I was taking a deep breath and explaining to Coralyn why I didn't really appreciate the fact that she had brought her breakfast to the couch and made a huge mess, God kind of smacked me in the face.  There was no gentle whisper or calm reminder this time around.  No more Mr. Nice Guy.  Straight to the heart of the matter, and He wasn't mincing words either.

Yeah, I had to wipe up some crumbs from my nicely cleaned couch.  Is that really something to get upset about?  Think about...

Those crumbs mean my child ate today (and will eat again, and again, and again).

I was cleaning the crumbs off my couch, which means that I have a place -- a comfortable place -- to sit down in my house.

I have a house, a nice house that is truly bigger than what we need.

I am at home today, spending time with my girls, who are both healthy.  I am not in the hospital watching my child battle a brain tumor, as two families I know are currently doing.  I am not grieving the loss of my child who should have turned one today, as my friend from high school/college is doing today.  Instead, I am wiping crumbs off my couch.

Pretty sure I don't have anything to complain about anymore.

So, just a few minutes ago as I was doing laundry and trying to think of what we would have for supper and when I would find time to prepare the food, I stopped rushing around like a mad woman.  Rather than let myself get all bent out of shape, I started thanking God for all that He has given us, all that He is doing in our lives.

By folding laundry, I am reminded that we have clothes to wear, towels to dry us off after we take a nice, hot shower, and sheets on our beds.  We have beds to sleep in; beds that aren't made of straw or random rags or cardboard mattresses.  The proverbial snowball kept rolling and getting bigger and bigger as God kept bringing things to mind for which I could tell Him, "Thank You."

Laundry folded, I moved on to making supper, or at least getting part of the meal prepared.  Again, I was able to go from being stressed to feeling grateful.  I have food to eat today, a fridge full of even more food.  That fridge is run by electricity, which means my house also has lights and ceiling fans.  And an electric stove to cook chicken in while I write this blog post, on my laptop which is powered by electricity.

One final change of perspective and then I will be done.  This one is actually the hardest one for me.  Coralyn, as usual is not taking a nap today, which means I won't get any "me time," other than the few minutes it is taking me to write this blog post.  Instead of being annoyed with my daughter, God has reminded me that this is yet again another opportunity to be thankful.  I certainly am grateful that my little girl is alive and well and that I have this precious time to spend with just her.

And so, I am off to make Owl Cookies, a fun way to reinforce what we are learning in "preschool" this week as we "study" the letter O.  (Pictures to come)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

All in a Day's Work

Yesterday (Tuesday, in case it takes me more than one day to write this!) was one of "those" days, so I thought I would blog about it, just for fun.  I know that many of you stay-at-home and work-at-home moms can probably relate to my experiences.  We can all laugh together.  Maybe that will keep us from crying.  Or ripping our hair out.  Or both.

My alarm went off at 5 am, and I jumped out of bed, completely refreshed and full of energy.  Wait, who am I kidding?!  I groggily pulled myself out of bed, rubbed my eyes, and tiptoed into the living room, one slow (and quiet) step after another, telling myself over and over again that a little morning workout is just what I needed to get me going.

I went through the first half of my usual routine before Kellah woke up.  I put the weights down that I had just picked up and made my way to her room, hoping that she would go back to sleep after I nursed her.  Thankfully, she did!  So, back into the living room I went, picked the weights back up and went through my extremely vigorous workout -- basically like Insanity, okay...maybe closer to a combo of Levels 1 and 2 from Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred DVD.  After watching that thing for 30 days in a row awhile back, I practically have it memorized and just can't force myself to follow along one more time.  I think I could probably put it on mute and be able to tell you word for word what Jillian is saying.  She should pay me, really, to do her next DVD series.

When I was done with my workout, I looked at the clock and knew that my time was running short before the daycare kiddos would start arriving.  I pushed the button on the coffee pot, glad that I had taken the time the night before to get the water and grounds ready in advance.  As the coffee brewed, I ran into our bedroom, picked up the basket of dirty clothes, and ran (as best as you can when you are carrying a full laundry basket) downstairs to throw the towels in the washer.  Back up stairs, I jumped in the shower and prayed the hot water would do more to wake me up than my work out had.

Then, I got dressed and did my hair and make-up.  Meaning I threw my hair in a pony tail and put on some mascara so the daycare parents would think I was awake when they left their kiddos with me.  On my way to the kitchen, I hung up my towels in the bathroom and then had to put away several random toys and grab some cups and a plate in the living room.  Carrying my odd assortment of dirty dishes in the kitchen, I stuffed them in the dishwasher, wondering why I hadn't actually started it last night so that the dishes could be nice and clean this morning.  Oh well, I put in the detergent and started 'er up.  Meanwhile, my water was beginning to boil on the stove, so I poured in my Mighty Tasty Gluten Free Breakfast Mix and let it cook a bit.  By this time the griddle thingy was hot so I cracked my eggs and scrambled them up a bit so they would be ready about the same time as my "oatmeal."  While my breakfast was cooking, I popped my prenatal vitamin (nope, not pregnant, but still nursing!), B complex vitamin, and Adrenal Gland supplement thing in my mouth.  Somewhere in there, I had fixed my cup of coffee and used it to down my plethora of pills. Then, I started sipping away at the coffee, again hoping the caffeine would kick in soon, say like in 20 minutes when my first daycare kiddo arrived.

Using my mad waitress skills from back in the day, I carried my plate of eggs, bowl of "oatmeal," and cup of coffee into the living room so I could make the most of the time I had left and multitask -- eat and have my devotions simultaneously.  I grabbed my Bible and opened up to 1 Thessalonians, read chapter 3, and reached for my journal to jot down a few thoughts.  Before I can even get the date down, Kellah is up and at 'em for the day.  Coralyn decides to join the fun, peeping her head out of her door and then making her way down the hallway.

Lawrence was still home, so he took care of Coralyn while I got Kellah out of her pajamas and into her high chair.  It's just so much simpler if she eats with only her diaper on.  Not only does it cut down on blueberry stains on her clothes, but it makes giving her a quick bath in the kitchen sink even faster.  And as you can tell, time is of the essence.  Coralyn meanders to her seat, where I put her plate down before she can inform me, for the 8th time already, "Mommy, I want to eat breakfast."  I have learned that getting her plate ready the night before reduces my stress level dramatically.  We prayed, and I dumped Kellah's blueberries and Cheerios on her high chair tray.  Leaving Lawrence to watch the girls, I ran downstairs to switch out the laundry, moving the towels to the dryer and throwing another load of dirty clothes in the washer.

Back up stairs, I grab a bite of oatmeal and a sip of coffee on my way to the door to greet my first daycare kiddo.  As soon as Lily is situated, Caleb arrives.  This morning he was super tired, too tired to cry, and just let me hold him.  Since he hadn't eaten breakfast yet, I got a little bowl of cereal for both Lily and Caleb.  While all 4 kids munched away, I shoved another bite of my breakfast in my mouth and swallowed some more coffee, wishing there was some way to get the caffeine directly into my veins.

Kellah was done eating, so I threw a towel across my chest (having learned that blueberry stains can easily transfer from her sticky hands, legs, face, and tummy to my nice, clean shirt.  I picked her up and placed her on the counter, on the same towel, took off her diaper, and set her in the water I had prepared while the children were too occupied with food to pick on each other.  Splashing the water over her body and rubbing away any trace of blueberries, I threw the towel back on my chest, and carried the dripping wet Kellah to her bedroom.  At least I was able to get her diaper on before Jameson arrived at 7:15!

Seeing everyone else with cereal, Jameson thought he should have some too.  So that he wouldn't eat all of the other kids' snack, I fixed him a little bowl too.  I even tried to be cute and gave Lily a pink bowl, Caleb a blue bowl, and Jameson a green bowl -- all color coordinating with their cups.  Too bad the kiddos aren't even 2 years old and don't know their colors yet!  :)  I set all three bowls on the coffee table, putting each child in front of his/her respective snack and made my way back into Kellah's room to get her dressed.

As I pulling the shirt over her head, I hear Coralyn scream from the living room, "Oh no!"  And then in great distress, "Lily, that's not yours!"  Not sure what to expect, I return to the living room, where I find 2 bowls of cereal dumped out on the carpet.  Apparently, Jameson didn't like Lily trying to eat from his bowl and as he tried to pull it out of her hands, the cereal went flying everywhere.  I am guessing that is what happened anyway, because it is definitely what took place when Lily reached for Caleb's bowl of cereal.  Great, now all 3 bowls of cereal were empty!

Pulling out the vacuum cleaner, I figured a quick little sweep of the room couldn't hurt.  Once I was finished vacuuming and all the cereal was cleaned up, I wrapped the cord as quickly as possible, not wanting to give even a nanosecond for some little kid to stick it in his/her mouth and get the shock of their little life.  By now, both of the boys were getting pretty fussy, so I decided they could both take an early nap.  I headed into my bedroom to grab a diaper for each of the daycare kiddos and came back into the living room, only to discover that Lily's bowl of cereal hadn't been empty after all.  Throwing the diapers aside, I bent down and picked up the Toasted Squares by hand.  Once done, I changed Lily and Jameson and Caleb's diapers, glad that only 2 were poopy.

Figuring I could multitask yet again, I gathered all the girls dirty cloths to take downstairs with me when I took the boys down for their naps.  I had the basket full, then remembered that I had a bucket of extra dirty clothes soaking in the bathroom.  I plopped the bucket on top of the clothes, and then went to get the sheets off both of the girls' beds.  While slipping the new sheet back on Coralyn's bed, I hear violent shrieking and yelling in the other room.  Taking a deep breath, I go to resolve the problem, whatever it may be.  Evidently, Coralyn didn't appreciate Lily playing with one of the bowling pins, despite the fact that Coralyn had 4 in her hands already.  Explaining that there were enough pins for everybody to have one and distributing said pins, I went back in Kellah's room to change out her sheets too.

With all the laundry ready to go, I grabbed the basket and herded the boys to the basement, shutting the baby gate behind me, locking the 3 girls in the living room for the next minute or so.  After getting Caleb and Jameson in their pack n' plays, I pulled the towels out of the dryer, moved the wet clothes from the washer to the dryer, and loaded the washer back up with the girls' laundry.  Racing upstairs, hoping no one had dumped milk or anything else on the carpet, I threw the basket of towels in my bedroom, thinking I would just fold them when everyone is taking a nap after lunch.

Kellah is getting grumpy now, so I let Coralyn know that I need to changer her diaper and get her ready for a nap too.  Coralyn is busy going to the bathroom, so I tell her I will be in Kellah's room and will come out to play with her and Lily when I'm done.  While nursing Kellah, I hear Coralyn get up from her potty.  No big deal.  BUT then, I hear her pick up the bowl part and dump it into the toilet.  I pray that she got everything into the toilet and not on the rug.  Once Kellah is done, I lay her down in her crib, and tiptoe out and gently close the door behind me, hoping that I don't wake her up in the process.  Again, I take a deep breath and venture into the bathroom, not knowing what I will find waiting for me.

Thankfully, Coralyn had gotten everything into the toilet, and even flushed it!  I washed out her little bowl, wiped her (again, just to make sure), and washed both of our hands extra well. Before I can even suggest that we color a picture, Coralyn announces, "Mommy, I'm hungry."  Okay, I guess the crayons can wait.  We head into the kitchen, where I get both Coralyn and Lily something to eat.  "Mommy, I want some milk too."  Of course you do.  Which means Lily wants her.  I'm actually feeling kind of hungry myself, so I fix a little bowl of walnuts and cranberries for me to munch on while the girls eat their bananas.  "Mommy, what are you eating?  I want some too," Coralyn declares before I even answer her question.

Is there any more coffee?!  I pour myself a much-needed second cup and then start making supper while the girls eat their snack, and mine.  Using my Master Chef skills, I chopped up some potatoes, threw some frozen peas and corn in the bowl, added some broccoli and carrots, a little onion for taste.  I had gotten some chicken out of the freezer earlier to defrost, so I checked on its progress.  Still hard as ice, and as cold too.  Maybe by the time the kids are taking their naps, I will be able to throw it in the oven and cook it!  Setting the potpie ingredients aside, I grab the cantaloupe out of the fridge and cut it into slices, throwing them hapazardly into a bowl for our side dish.

Feeling like I have a good handle on supper, I ask the girls if they are done eating and go get the paper and crayons out for them so they can "quietly" color a picture while Kellah and the two boys take their naps.  Again, what was I thinking?  Obviously, using crayons requires screaming and kicking and being a terror in general.  Oh, and of course, pooping.  Yep, just as we finished picking up the crayons that had been thrown all over (what? you're supposed to color with them?  Apparently, I forgot to mention that minor detail to the girls), I smelt something.  Indeed, Lily had gone to the bathroom, and sadly, she isn't potty-trained yet.  As I am changing her diaper, I hear the boys crying downstairs.

I grab their diapers and a box of wipes to take downstairs.  The girls follow me down, and we make our way into the play room.  I get each of the boys and deliver them to the play room as well, changing their diapers once there.  After emptying the diapers and throwing them away in the trashcan in the storage/laundry room, I figure I can go ahead and switch out the laundry while I am right there.  After the dry clothes are in a basket and the wet clothes are in the dryer, I head back into the play room.

Lily is playing with the piano, using an orange hammer in her right hand and a red hammer in her left (they might have been in opposite hands, but I don't think that really matters) to bang as loudly as she can on the keys.  Meanwhile, Jameson is pressing every single button on the Sing Along Elmo.  "Head and shoulders, knees and," "If you're happy and you know, clap your," "ABCDEFG," "Elmo likes this song!  Let's keep singing!"  Or not.  And we wonder why kids have ADD and ADHD these days?!  Caleb, mind you, is playing with a jungle animal toy that is alternating the sounds of a monkey, lion, and elephant.  Coralyn, bless her little heart, is playing in her toy box, wearing a doll bonnet and pushing the buttons on a teddy bear so that it sounds like an ocean is in the room with us.  

Side note: The majority of these noise-making toys have been gifts from my dear brother-in-law.  He's getting married next summer, and hopefully nieces and nephews will follow in the coming years.  When they do, I am going to buy everything toy I find that makes noise -- multiple, loud, annoying noises -- and give them to Matt's children.  Batteries included.  Sorry, Michele (Matt's finance), it's nothing against you; you just happen to be marrying the person on whom I am seeking revenge :)

Now, back to my day:
I guess Kellah didn't want to miss out on all the action, because I heard her wake up and call out, "Maaaamaaaa!"  I run upstairs to get her, grabbing one of her diapers, a box of graham crackers, and everyone's milk cups with us to take downstairs.  I distribute the snacks and beverages, and for 3.7 seconds, there was silence.  It was golden.  I thought, perhaps, I could take advantage of the situation and make a phone call.  Realized I had forgotten my phone upstairs, so I dash up to get it.  While there, I grabbed the bucket of Kellah's dirty diapers and brought it back down with me.  Peeked my head in the play room...everyone was alive and making lots of noise, so I headed to the laundry room once more.  Changed out the laundry, again, and then joined the madhouse.

The teacher in me just had to come out, so I grabbed some empty plastic bottles, random beads, cushy balls,  paper, and markers.  Why not turn the noise-making into a learning experience.  We put some beads in one container and some soft cushy balls in another container.  We realized that the hard beads made a loud noise and the soft cushy balls made a quiet noise.  We wrote this down on slips of paper and stuck our finding in with the beads and cushy balls.  Then, the kiddos went to town making more noise.  Funny, they seemed to prefer the container with beads.  If they did pick up the bottle with soft cushy balls, they would shake it, frown in disappointment, and toss the bottle aside.  They would then go find the container with the beads and grab it, even it that required pulling it away from someone else.  They also discovered that the bottles were not only great noise-makers, but also excellent bats, swords, and basically any other weapon imaginable.  Needless to say, the containers had to be put away, and the kiddos had to resume making noise with the regular old toys.  They didn't seem to mind.

When I had heard about all I could take of Elmo's sporadic singing, I announced that we were going to clean up the toys and then head upstairs to watch a movie (which would give me time to make lunch).  It's quite the process of picking up and putting away the toys, into their proper bins (as I am pretty OCD about that, even though it doesn't really matter and the toys will just be strewn about the room again in a matter of hours, but for those few hours, it is imperative -- in my mind -- that the letters are with the letters, the balls with the balls, blocks with blocks, and well, you get the idea).  Finally, we were done, so I ushered all 5 kids up the stairs -- carrying Kellah and making sure no one else fell over backwards on the upward climb.

Once in the living room, we continued the clean up fun and put away those toys as well.  Everything in its rightful place, I shut the doors to Coralyn and Kellah's rooms, leaving the kiddos to wander aimlessly up and down the hallway while the video played in the living room.  Originally, I thought Caleb and Jameson (both about 15-16 months) would enjoy the Baby Einstein videos I used back in the day when I started taking care of Carson (and Coralyn was only a few months old).  I thought Lily, too, might get something out of them.  Sadly, I couldn't have been more wrong.  Only Coralyn watches the video, and they are really too young for her.  She is, however, seeing and hearing words (and signs), so maybe that will help her vocabulary and reading ability (when the time comes).  I have started letting Coralyn pick what she wants to watch, and some days she chooses a Baby Einstein and others she sticks with Diego, or her new favorite Busy Town Mysteries (great logical reasoning skills!).

After about 3 minutes of the video, I hear screaming and crying in the living room.  I don't remember if Caleb had hit someone, or Lily had kicked someone, or if Jameson wanted the toy that Kellah had.  All I know is that I wanted the yelling to stop.  I handed out the milk cups again, in hopes that everyone would be happy and I could return to making lunch.  Sippy cups in their mouths, it was quiet once more, and I was able to get the apple slices on the trays.  Then, I hear Coralyn holler at Caleb and know that if I don't intervene she will do more than use her voice to let him know how she feels.  Apparently, he was done drinking his milk and decided to see how his cup worked as a hammer, on Coralyn's leg.  She did not find this amusing.  I took everyone's milk cups and put them back on the counter, so that I could refill them (again!) when I had the chance.  By this point, Kellah was more than done playing in the living room, so I lifted her over the baby gate and opened up a cupboard and set her down in front of 15+ plastic containers.  That should keep her occupied for at least 2 minutes, giving me time to put the pretzel sticks on the trays, next to the apples.

Finally, the movie was over and lunch was ready.  I spread out the blankets, which the kids now know lunch is coming.  So, they hop on the blankets, making it extremely difficult, and dangerous, for me to move the coffee table back into the center of the room, on top of the blankets.  (During the day, I keep it right next to the TV, in an attempt to prevent the kiddos from smacking the screen with toys or even just touching it with their grimy hands.  Despite my best efforts, the screen is covered with fingerprints of 5 different children.)  Once the table is in place, all the kiddos swarm around it, Kellah included.  We have to eat at the coffee table because I don't have enough booster seats for everyone at the kitchen table.  Or enough room around the kitchen table, for that matter.  Not if I want to be in the kitchen and able to get from one side of the room to the other.  So we just kind of have a picnic lunch every day.  It works great, for the most part.  And the boys don't seem to mind that Lily likes to eat all their peas when I turn to check on Kellah in her high chair.  The boys also seem okay with eating each other's pretzel sticks instead of the ones I put on their actual plates.  Coralyn, on the other hand, goes absolutely ballistic if one of the daycare kiddos even so much as glances at her beloved lunch tray.

While the kiddos were eating, and I was going between the living room and kitchen (where Kellah is in her high chair), I figured I might as well sweep the kitchen floor.  And then do a quick mopping too (using a Swifter like thingy).  Perfect, the floor was clean just as the kiddos finished up their lunch -- or were doing more roaming around the living room and down the hallway than actually eating their food.  I grabbed a diaper for everyone and set about changing them all.  With fresh, new diapers on, I herded the 3 daycare kiddos downstairs for their naps and reminded Coralyn to go to her room and "rest" until I came to get her.  While downstairs, I went ahead and moved the dry clothes to a basket, the wet clothes from the washer to the dryer, and started another load of dirty clothes (the last one!).

I came back upstairs and freed Kellah from her high chair.  I thought she had done an excellent job eating her hard boiled egg, grapes, cooked carrot sticks, and Cheerios.  However, when I removed the tray, then her bib (which was covered in bits of partially chewed food), and picked her up (trying my best not to let her touch me with those sticky hands, arms, and legs), I realized that she had been sitting on approximately 3/4 of her lunch.  Oh well...I would deal with the chunks and crumbs later).  I basically gave Kellah another bath, changed her diaper, and nursed her to near-sleep.  Laying her down in her crib and tiptoeing out of the room, I prayed that she would stay asleep as I closed the creaky door.

Taking a deep sigh and enjoying a moment to myself, I walked to the kitchen to grab my smoothie to drink while I got some work done on the computer and made some phone calls.  Oh, and fold all that clean laundry that was overtaking my bedroom!

I had no more than set down on the couch and reached for the laptop when I hear a loud noise in Coralyn's room -- much like 8-10 toy trucks and cars clashing together as they crash onto the floor.  At least she's in her room, I tell myself.  Moments later, I hear the entire bag of building blocks being dumped on top of the trucks and cars.  Deep breath.  Closing my eyes and clenching my teeth, I hear the door open as Coralyn peaks out her head, "I put all the cards in a line, Mommy."    Not wanting her to tell me again and again (as she does if I try ignoring her), I "calmly" walk down the hall (past Kellah's room) and explain to Coralyn, "That's nice.  I don't care what you do, just stay in your room and play quietly.  I'm not going to play with your right now.  I need to get some work done.  I'm going to fold the clothes, and then I will come get you and we can do some "school" stuff together, okay?!"  

Well, it is just about 2 weeks after this day actually happened, and I have only gotten to about 12:45 in the day.  I would try to write about the rest of the afternoon and all the poopy diapers I changed or how we had to run to Hy-Vee to get milk as soon as the daycare kiddos left so they could have something to drink the next day.  I could tell you about our trip to the park and Coralyn needing to pop a squat (yet again!) in the first 3 minutes we were there.  I could add in how Coralyn managed to use up almost an entire bottle of baby oil during the girls' bath -- in the time it took me to take Kellah out of the bath tub (since she couldn't seem to sit still and had nearly drowned several times), wrap her up in a towel, take her to the living room, and get her pajamas on.  I could end the post with our bedtime routine and the joys of trying to brush the girls' teeth, give foot hugs, and taking Coralyn to the bathroom at least 4 more times, checking the closet for alligators and crickets, and leaving the door open just the right amount before she could finally fall asleep.

BUT, every time I sit down to write more in detail about the event's of the day, I get distracted.  Like just now, I thought, "Oh good, Coralyn's at the park.  Kellah's napping.  Perfect opportunity to finally finish that post."  Yeah, Kellah just woke up from her nap...that lasted all of 18 minutes.  Maybe she'll go back to sleep?

Nah, I think it will be another typical day here in the Young house.  I may get frustrated at times, but I have to remember it's all part of my "job" as a mom.  And really, I wouldn't want to have it any other way.  I am SO blessed!  On that note, I will go "rescue" Kellah from her crib and spend some quality time with my precious baby girl (who will be NINE months old on Monday -- seriously, where does the time go?!).

Let the Little Children Come to Me

Thursday and Friday afternoon were both pretty crazy.  My daycare kiddos decided to gang up on me and each have multiple blowout poopy diapers.  By 3 pm, when I was changing yet another disgusting diaper, I was beginning to feel slightly flustered.  Of course, having Kellah crawl over me and try to get to the diaper wasn't helping things.  The last thing I needed was for her to stick her hands in the poop and then try to eat it.    I had already dealt with her snacking on poop once that week. (We were at the park, and Coralyn needed to go to the bathroom, but of course there wasn't a bathroom available.  We found some bushes, popped a squat and did her business.  I had to set Kellah down to help Coralyn, and in that span of about 32 seconds, Kellah somehow managed to find a dog turd to munch on.  GROSS!!!) 

I was doing my best to change the diaper as quickly as possible and keep Kellah from getting in the middle of the mess.  After "pushing" Kellah aside several times and trying to distract her with various toys, I was able to successfully clean everything up and get the diaper thrown away.  Only to discover that another one of the kiddos had pooped!

Back to the changing table (aka my living room floor) we went!  And here came Kellah to "help" me once again!  As I was trying to keep her at an arm's length and wanted to shout out, "Just leave me alone for 5 seconds!!!" a thought popped into my head.  I wonder if Jesus ever felt like this?  Was He ever overwhelmed with everyone always pressing in on Him?  Did He ever want just a minute to Himself? Did He ever want to scream for everybody to go away?

Probably, but I don't think He ever did.  Nope, instead, He healed the woman who had been sick for 12 years, while He was on his way to raise a dead girl back to life.  And then that time when He tried crossing over to the other side of the lake, only to be greeted by huge crowds of people, He just jumped in a boat and taught them from there.  Or the time when over 5,000 people had followed Him well past supper time and were left stranded without anything to eat.  He didn't send them away hungry; instead, He took a boy's small lunch and turned it into an all you can eat buffet, with 12 baskets of leftovers!

But the kicker, especially given my situation of dealing with pooping kiddos for 2 days in a row, was when Jesus was "mobbed" by parents bringing their children to Him so He could lay His hands on them and bless them.  His disciples tried to help Jesus out and told the parents to GO AWAY, to leave Jesus alone.  But, Jesus wouldn't have any of it.  Rather than get flustered or annoyed, Jesus welcomed the children with open arms.  Then, He went a step further and told His disciples they needed to be more like these precious little ones!

One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so He could touch and bless them.  
But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering Him.
When Jesus saw what was happening, He was angry with His disciples.
He said to them, "Let the children come to me.  Don't stop them!  
For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children.  
I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn't receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it."  Then He took the children in His arms and placed His hands on their heads and blessed them.

Okay, okay, obviously God was reminding me that I needed to be more like Jesus.  He has certainly been putting my patience to the test this weekend as Coralyn has been sick and puked multiple times, on the carpet.  Despite having to get down on my hands and knees to scrub berry, banana, oatmeal, and graham cracker stains, God has helped me see the positive in Coralyn not feeling well.  She's much more cuddly.  Normally, she won't sit still for more than 3 seconds, unless she's "sitting" on my lap (with her extremely bony butt!) while I am reading her a book and doing my best to keep Kellah from eating the pages :)

On top of the reminder to "let the little children come to me" instead of pushing them away or wanting to have  just a minute or two to myself, God has a sense of humor and reminded me that I am not perfect either.  Just as I was sitting down to check facebook and email this morning, I spilled some of my coffee on the carpet, that I had just steam cleaned!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Different Oatmeal

This morning was looking like it might be another one of "those" days.  I started a blog post about a crazy, hectic -- okay, pretty normal, typical -- day that we had here last week.  I still haven't finished it.  I've only been able to write about the morning so far, and the details of those 5 or so hours have taken me over 7 days to describe.  I haven't even begun with the afternoon, or evening, adventures!

Anyway, back to the present and the happenings of this morning...

All three daycare kiddos had arrived, and shortly thereafter Kellah woke up, ready to join the fun.  I nursed her and then stripped her down to just her diaper so she could eat breakfast and be ready for a quick sink bath when she was done.  I set her down in her high chair and placed her blueberries in front of her.  I then turned my attention to the two little boys and girl who were whining and fussing for my attention.  I hand them their milk cups and look back at Kellah, only to discover that she can stand up in her high chair!!!!  I quickly sat her back down, explaining very sternly that standing in her high chair was not safe -- I am sure that at almost nine months she fully grasped the severity of the situation :)

Eventually, Kellah finished eating breakfast and all the daycare kiddos found something to play with, and were actually not fighting over the same toy.  Small miracle!  I took advantage of the situation and laid Kellah on the counter to take her diaper off and plop her in the "bath" I had prepared admist the earlier chaos.  I realize that she has pooped, but I don't have wipes readily available and can't really pick her up at the moment.  So, I hold her down with one hand and stretch to reach the paper towels all the way across the counter on the other side of the sink.  Cleaned up, I put her in the water, splash her off, grab a towel, and carry her into the living room, where I put her down and turn my attention to the other 4 children in the house.

The three daycare kiddos had tired of watching me feed Kellah and bathe her, so they wandered into Coralyn's room, waking her up (granted, it was almost 8 am!).  She comes into the living room, letting me know her diaper is wet.  I take it off, put on some big girl pants, and usher her into the kitchen so she can eat her breakfast.  All this time, Kellah is streaking around the living room, playing quite contentedly in her birthday suit.  I figure I should probably at least get a diaper on her so I don't have pee -- or more poop -- on my carpet.

As I am getting Kellah's diaper and clothes for the day, I hear Coralyn complain (in the most whiny voice possible, I think), "I want different oatmeal."  I had made too much of my gluten free "hot and tasty breakfast cereal" so I had just fixed a bowl for her as well.  Apparently, she was not satisfied and wanted HER oatmeal.  I don't want to start arguing and dealing with a bad attitude this early on in the day, so I explain that I will fix her some "different" oatmeal as soon as I got Kellah in her diaper and clothes.  That is no small feat, mind you!  Kellah does NOT stay still for more than .3 seconds, so the process of putting her cloth diaper on, pinning it (with a snappie thing), getting cover on, and then actually dressing her takes some acrobatics, and lots of patience!

In the several minutes it took me to get Kellah ready for the day, Coralyn reminded me at least 8 more times that she wanted "different" oatmeal.  I assured her I had not forgotten her request, nor was I ignoring her; I simply had other -- more pressing -- matters to deal with at that very second.  As I took a deep breath and told myself to stay calm, refusing to get upset by such a little thing, especially since it was only 8:05 and there was a WHOLE LOT of day left (meaning there would be PLENTY more opportunities to get frustrated later).

As I was struggling to hold Kellah still long enough to pull her shirt over her head and telling Coralyn yet again that I would indeed get her some "different" oatmeal, it struck me how annoying we might be to God when we pray.  I know that I for one ask Him the same thing over and over and over and over again.  Maybe He didn't hear me.  Maybe He didn't understand what I said.  Maybe He didn't grasp the seriousness of my "need."  Maybe, if I tell Him again, in a slightly different way or more loudly or whatever, He will get His act together and do what I asked Him.

OR, maybe, it's kind of like me this morning when I had more pressing matters -- like dressing a baby and making sure the 3 daycare kiddos didn't hurt each other or need anything at that very minute -- than fixing Coralyn "different" oatmeal when she had a perfectly good bowl of food in front of her already.  Maybe, just maybe, what I am asking from God sounds like a ridiculous request for "different" oatmeal and He has actual needs to take care of first, before He can address my "need."  Maybe, I shouldn't get so impatient when God doesn't seem to hear or answer my prayers, in the way or time or fashion I see fit.  Maybe, I should just be grateful for what I already have and thank God for it.  Maybe, I should remember what David penned so long ago....

Psalm 66:19-20,
"But God did listen.  He paid attention to my prayer. 
Praise God, who did not ignore my prayer or withdraw His unfailing love from me." 
Earlier in the passage, David recalled how the Israelites called out to God at the Red Sea as Pharoah's army was pressing in on them and they had no place to turn, no way to escape.  I am sure they might have felt like God was not answering their prayers -- hadn't they begged and cried and pleaded with Him for 400 years to free them from slavery, and now just "minutes" after they had enjoyed their newfound freedom, here come their enemies to capture them once more!  What in the world was God doing?!  Oh, nothing much, you know, just working an amazing miracle that people would be talking about thousands and thousands of years to later!
Yeah, maybe the next time I pray, I need to think about Coralyn's seemingly never-ending pleas for "different" oatmeal and realize that God does hear my prayers.  And He will answer them, in His timing and in the way He deems best.  Who knows, maybe, just maybe, He is planning another miraculous feat that will go down in the record books. 
For now, Coralyn has finished her "different" oatmeal, over an hour later and now thinks it's time for a mid-morning snack...

Friday, September 7, 2012

Ooey, Gooey Boogers

Yesterday, and basically every day if I want to be honest, I was trying to wipe some nasty green gunk off Kellah's nose.  She had just woken up from her nap, and while she was nursing, I noticed the bottom part of her nose was crusted over with what had once been ooey, gooey boogers.  I tried plying off the stiff strip of green and brown crud, but Kellah seemed to think her nose was just fine the way it was -- boogers and all.  She stopped nursing immediately, kicked, rolled over, and squirmed completely out of my lap in a matter of seconds.  I grabbed her up before she could escape entirely across the room and pulled her back towards me, attempting once more to clean off her disgusting nose.  Again, she thrashed her body and screamed bloody murder, tossing and turning her head, making it impossible for me to get at the hardened snot.  Determined to clean her nose, I used my legs to hold Kellah still long enough for me to yank at her nose and remove the remaining boogers.  They were being just about as stubborn as my young daughter!  How did babies get to be so strong in the first place?!  For such little people, they are pretty darn powerful!

Anyway, after much effort, Kellah's nose was clear of any snot, ooey gooey boogers, or crusted over gunk.  That would probably last all of 5 minutes, but for those 5 minutes, she could breathe, and I could look in the face without being overcome with the "need" to wipe her nose.

As I was struggling with Kellah to take care of her snotty nose, God seemed to whisper in my ear, "You do the same thing when I try to take care of the sin in your life."  True... 

He went on to explain, "It sure would be easier if you would just let me get rid of the gunk and stop fighting me."  Ouch!

But He wasn't quite done yet, "Remember, I love you and am trying to help you -- not hurt you.  I don't want you going around looking like an idiot with that sin in your heart.  I am doing what's best for you.  TRUST Me.  Work with Me, here.  Because whether you want me to or not, I am going to take care of that sin.  How I go about doing it is largely in part up to you."

I sighed, knowing that I couldn't argue with God and win.  He would always have an answer for each and every excuse.  He will always be stronger than me.  He will always outlast me.  I can kick and scream and try to escape His grasp, but He will always prevail.  Not because He is mean, but rather because His love for me is so great.

Hebrews 12:6, "The Lord disciplines the one He LOVES."

The Message puts it this way, "Or have you forgotten how good parents treat children, and that God regards you as His children?  My dear child, don't shrug off God's discipline, but don't be crushed by it either.  It's the child He loves that He disciplines; the child He embraces, He also corrects." 

A.W. Tozer was a much more eloquent speaker/writer/thinker than me and explained God's dealing with sin, "To remit a man’s past without transforming his present is to violate the moral sincerity of his own heart. To that kind of thing God will be no party! For to offer a sinner the gift of salvation based upon the work of Christ, while at the same time allowing him to retain the idea that the gift carries with it no moral implications, is to do him untold injury where it hurts him most!"

In the same way that I don't want Kellah going around with ooey, gooey boogers or dry, crusty hardened snot on her nose, God doesn't want me going around with sin in my life.  Granted, sin can be easier to hide or cover up (at least to other people) than green gunk on your nose.  Your family and friends might not ever know about a sin in your life, BUT God does.  And He isn't going to leave it alone, either.  He will wipe it clean.  

Thank goodness!  I, for one, don't want to go around with a ooey, gooey booger hanging out of my nose!
And if you do see that I have an ooey, gooey booger -- or dry, hard crusty gunk for that matter -- PLEASE tell me!  I won't be mad.  I'll be thankful.  I will appreciate your honesty and know that you are a real friend!

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