Tuesday, May 30, 2006

What To Do...

It's somebody's first 32nd birthday next Monday and I don't know what to do. When someone you know is celebrating 32 years it just seems like you have to do something special. Unique. Extraordinary. You know, nice. I think I have too many good possibilities to pursue so it's making it hard for me to decide on which plan of action to go with.

I really do have it made though. I even have a live-in babysitter which makes it easy to leave and come home whenever we please and know the kids' schedule won't be in an upheaval meanwhile. They probably won't even notice I'm gone because they're babysitter keeps things running so smooth.

I have the prospect of extra income from a tenative garage sale planned in 2 weeks. (Maybe I'm counting my chicks before they hatch on this one though...)

I have a great reason to celebrate with a "get-a-way" since it's somebody's birthday.

I have the advantage of a beautiful time of year to enjoy and be blessed in the beauty of God's world AND enjoy some quiet and alone time with the companion God has blessed me with while I live on His beautiful earth.

I have so many good ideas to try and places to go and so I know that since I'm overwhelmed with so many creative thoughts, that must mean it's definitely a "go" that I should go head over heels in plans.

But, then I think of the checkbook... and then the checklist of work my husband has to get done on our house in the next couple weeks... and then I remember the checkbook again... and what my husband said about his idea of not doing anything for his birthday... which reminds me of the checkbook yet again... and why Toby didn't want to do anything... and I remember that he can't enjoy doing something if it costs needlessly out of our checkbook... which reminds me yet again of the annoying checkbook.

So I try to think of what would be cheap:

A tent in our back yard.

Oatmeal for supper instead of Olive Garden.

A candelight dinner on our porch (but with bugs of course. Bad idea.)

Breakfast in bed. (I'll have to wake up and creep out of the room before him and make breakfast and get it back to our room before he's awake. Unlikely to happen unless I hide cold cereal under the bed and keep a cooler of milk in the closet.)

Maybe we could go camping with his family's camper. (If only Toby liked camping better than he does... but maybe this could be a plan though... It would be cheap, quiet and a get-a-way.)

A picnic.

A bike ride.

A walk.

All these things are cheap but none are prompting me to run and pencil them into my weekly planner.

Since it's not like everyday that you get to celebrate a birthday with someone special (much less a 32nd birthday), I really want to plan something nice. After living long enough with this man I call my husband, I know that doing something like a get-a-way is easier for me to give him for his birthday than getting him something like a gift wrapped in pretty paper and topped with a fancy bow. He is so hard to buy things for.

What to do...

It sure would be easier to plan my own birthday then I could just say we didn't have to do anything at all. Hmmm, maybe that's why he keeps saying we don't have to do anything. Maybe paying for something is a lot like planning for something.

When we conversed together over our options for his birthday, Toby reminded me that since it was his birthday, we should do what he wanted to do. And then he said, "The thing I want to do, is nothing at all."

I'm wondering though, do you always give something to somebody that they want for their birthday? Especially when that something they want is nothing at all? Do you then just give them something they don't want?

Then I think, what if I go ahead and make him do something for his birthday that I know he doesn't want to do, how would I feel if he then did nothing for my birthday since he knows I would want to do something? Is it the same difference, I wonder.

What to do, what to do...

32nd birthdays are so complicated.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

At Last I Think I'm Done

All it took was spending some one-on-one time with my web master and I have a new blog template.

Your input is always appreciated so share your thoughts. I didn't disable "reader's comments" in the template gibberish so make it worth my effort to keep that part of the template untouched.

Not that it was really that much effort to not mess with with, but you know how nice it is to know what your reader's comments are. Unless you don't have a blog then of course you wouldn't have any readers to comment. Which would make it so you couldn't have any reader's comments. You also wouldn't have a template to mess with and wouldn' t know the difficulty in finding "reader's comments" and intentionally leaving it alone.

With that said, explode my comment box with your comments. It'll be good motivation for me to get my act together sometime and update my blog with an actually blog and not just a template.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Welcome to Motherhood and Diaper Shapes

Whenever I shop at one of my favorite maternity stores called, "Motherhood," I'm greeted by a smiling clerk with a friendly, "Welcome to Motherhood" when I first walk in. I smile to myself and think that if only all woman were greeted with such a greeting when the first double lines appeared on that pregnancy test, all us moms would perhaps be better prepared for this overwhelming yet blessed quest called motherhood. How life changing that positive pregnancy test is.

Especially when you see those double lines twice. Not just once but twice, as I have in the last 3 years.

I sat down at my desk today for a relaxing break with 3 cookies, popcorn and coffee. Not a real big get-a-way kind of a break, just a relaxing one. Nothing fancy. Just a relaxing break. Is that too much to ask?

Apparently so.

Meanwhile, I have a little boy doing The Diaper Shape Trot all around the 3'x3' space next to my desk while pathetically panting the "diaper shape" chant. If he would just let nature have it's way, he would be much more comfortable.

So would I. I'm still trying to relax, remember? I think it is definitely too much to ask though.

A trickle of nose secretions is making it's way down the section of skin between the nose and upper lip of my little boy and leading into his little cherub mouth so I send him to fetch a kleenex.

Upon rethinking my command, I change the plan and dash to the bathroom myself and get a wad of toilet paper. A much faster plan and a guarantee that I will indeed get the nose wiped before a tongue does the job or, better yet, my shirt sleeve when he trots past me while panting his chant.

As I came back to office (after only being "gone" for half a second), Janae is merrily teetering out of the room with my bowl of popcorn and cookies precariously tipped at a 45 degree angle. At least she left the coffee alone. I only tried to grab it as fast as I could when she let out a deafening roar and swung the bowl to the west. (In Nebraska, all directions are North, South, East and West; NEVER left or right).

Popcorn and cookies pepper the floor on the east end of the office, much to both Landon and Janae's delight.

After cleaning up the popcorn, The Diaper Shape Trot resumes and I decide that the playroom is a much more conducive and practical place for such activities. As the kids and toys mingle behind the child proof gate, I once again attempt to retrieve my relaxing blog break.

The Diaper Shape Trot and Chant can be heard throughout the house and definitely all the way to my relaxing office but I condition myself to remember that patience is having her perfect work in me as I pity the little boy who thinks life is so hard when it's time to do "the job."

I glance out the window just then and see the mother of 12 that lives down the road walk by. Alone. Unhindered. Relaxing. And pregnant. What a marvel. Here I sit with 2 children, eating popcorn with hair in it and sipping lukewarm coffee, disappointed yet somewhat relieved that my most recent pregnancy test came back negative. And there she goes so collected and calm. The mother of 12. And pregnant.

She doesn't look like what you think a mother-with-child of 12 would look like. She actually looks quite the opposite. Serene and calm and relaxed. I marvel that a mother with that many children actually gets to be alone for a whole street of city blocks and I'm fortunate to get 30 seconds alone in the bathroom.

I notice she's on a cell phone. Ah! Kids! You never can get away from them. Especially with modern day conveniences. All the way from baby monitors to cell phones. Of course, I have no idea if she was talking to her children but it dawned on me she just maybe could've been.

The Diaper Shape Chant has turned into a wail but still no reprieve. I wonder again why I was disappointed when my pregnancy test came back negative.

Why do women want children so bad?

What is so thrilling about being uncomfortable and fat for 9 months?

Why do we forget about stretchmarks? Leg cramps? Vericose veins? Sciatica? Morning sickness?

What makes childbirth so exciting? Contractions? Pushing?

Why do we never remember the sleepless nights? The fussy babies? The painful breastfeeding? The exhausting mornings? The diaper shapes?

And we turn around and do it again. And again. And again.

"The barren womb is never satisfied," comes to mind when I try to rationalize why or how I could want another baby already. As I endure the wails of my darling son who is stubbornly resisting "the urge" the negative line on my test flashes in my mind and I sigh heavily.

So much for the relaxing break I was looking for. My break came in a different way today. A glance out the window gave me a look at a mom taking a walk. It reminded me of the peace that can be found on the path I'm on. The path of motherhood.

But will today's Diaper Shape Trot ever end? Why do I wonder... welcome to Motherhood.

Reader Input

Is the font too small? (if it is, tell me how I can change it in my template)

Does it bug you the same way it does me that you can't see commenter's user pictures? (if it does, tell me how I can change that in my template too)

Is there anything else you think should be different? (if there is, then tell me so I can change it in my template)

Overall, I like this template a lot but I wish I could change these few things. I've tried a ton of things but nothing is working.... The simpler template I had was a little more change-friendly and I had great aspirations to do wonders to it. Of course, we all know that didn't happen.

Let me know what you think and I'll try a few things maybe. If you give me some ideas.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Bear With Me...

This template too shall pass. I just don't have the computer knack like "other people I know" so give me more time to messsarround and make some sense of this blog.

Thursday, May 04, 2006


The formal greeting given by a particular two year I know isn't HI or HELLO or even ADIOS.

It's Owwieee.

The way you do it is hold out your right hand (for we all know that is the appropriate hand used to extend a handshake in greeting) but spread your fingers apart, pointing the thumb especially so in order to give your hand a "warped" look. While holding your hand in the air and warping your fingers, warmly say, "Owwieee."

It seems to be the magic word to break any social ice or awkwardness. It's a very handy tool to use to begin a conversation. If your vocabulary is somewhat limited, it's an especially excellent piece of conversation. If the person you are greeting is somewhat distracted by another conversation, your friendly greeting of Owwiee will immediately set them at ease to talk to you.

This works especially well if you have a ding or mark on your hand but even if you don't, folks will still come flocking to you in order to converse with you. Don't be surprised if they turn your hand over and around because for some reason, the Owwiee greeting provokes concern and curiosity towards the state of your hand when you exclaim the special greeting and warp your fingers in a special way.

When the people you are greeting are finished with the exam of your hand and assure you of something being okay or not there at all and proceed to brush you off and walk away, immediately hold the hand up and exclaim in excited tones, "OWWIEE, OWWIEE..."

It's especially effective if you put the persons name inbetween the Owwiee's because it seems to make it a bit more personal on their part. It must make them feel like you are concerned and curious about their lives as well.

Some soft hearted and tender folks may extend a kiss of charity on your hand when you continually repeat Owwiee. Accept the token of love and be sure to make them aware of other fingers, arms or cheeks that need a little peck.

It's always wise to soak up that attention as much as you can because life for a two year old can be very lonely and sad, as we all know. Even though we never have to go to a cold dark bed alone at night and we never have to eat our suppers cold and alone and we never have to walk through our dark cold houses alone at night and we never have to spend our lonely cold days pushing our trucks in the cold wet sand alone or paging through cold slippery books that have no meaning since the words are unknown to our intelligent little minds, life is still very cold and lonely as we all can testify. Don't ask me why though.

Just don't ask. I can't really think right off the top of my head why it's so hard.

Back to the topic at hand about the Owwiee greeting...

If your conversation continues to fall on deaf ears and the folks keep attempting to assure you of something being okay or not there at all, just consider their fellowship not worth your interest anyway because if people don't want to talk about Owwiee's, what else is there for a two-year-old to discuss?

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Just Another Day And Another Diaper Shape

While my sister in law ran to Walmart to get some much needed supplies for our afternoon of sewing and then the supper we had to plan for the evening, I took charge over the 4 kids while she did the quick errand. Their ages were 5, 2, 1 and 1.

What do you get when you have 4 hungry, half starved, thirsty, tired and famished kids? A fun lunch. Slightly crazy though.

While Vicki finished making the sandwiches before she left, we were greeted at the door by two smiling children holding two dandelions that had not yet blown their seeds. Before I could stop the two year old, dandelion fuzz was all over the kitchen floor as he happily blew away. Vicki handed me the broom and I shielded off the advancing one-year-olds while quickly sweeping up fuzz that only wanted to scurry and scatter all over the floor like a thousand little fleas. Meanwhile, the one-year-olds were enchanted by the broom.

As we began lunch, the two older children were happily sent outside to eat. After coming in for more food and then going back out to their ongoing picnic, us moms were alarmed by the wail coming from outside. Upon finding the injured child who was rendered speechless because of the sandwich in his mouth and the wails that permeated his vocal chords, the 5 year old told us he fell off the step. Just so you know, our back steps are more than able to hold 2 children and could easily hold a whole quiver of young. But, nope. A little bottom slid too close to the edge of one step and fell off the side. As if the rest of the step wasn't good enough to sit on. WHY?

Children have a knack for always asking 'why' but I think that it's the moms that deserve the privilege of asking and knowing why sometimes.

After lunch, an energetic one-year-old robustfully shredded an old phone book while the other one-year-old looked on and sampled some of the pieces. The two-year-old wailed at the dilemma of a phone book being destroyed and repeated in unneeded tones in a very high decibel, "Gee, Gee, GEEE, GEEEE, GEEEEEEEEEE, GEEEEEEEEEEEE...." (the pet name of the one destroying his beloved phone book) while sorrowfully looking on at the destruction happening before his eyes. I assured him we could get another phone book while quickly attempting to remove the paper from mouths that would otherwise need the hymlick maneuver, or "hemlock" maneuver as my husband calls it.

After settling that issue, I gave the girl one-year-old milk from her bottle but of course the boy one-year-old coveted it with much anticipation as he looked on to her enjoying the banquet of bottled milk. I brought him his juice bottle which he happily took but the girl decided SHE needed the juice instead. That desire was transformed by the tight fists and loud wail and scream. In other words, a temper.

As I dealt with that new set of problems brought on by the obvious temper, she would immediately respond with sign language when I asked her if she was "all done" being fussy and then if she wanted "more" juice. It was amazing and rewarding to see her level of joy sky rocket when I could tell just by looking in her face that she knew mommy understood her fully. And to think she didn't have to scream to get what she needed. Wow. What a revelation for a one year old. If only she knew the whole language of signing we could eliminate a lot of unneeded and unnecessary and unprofitable and unwanted fits.

I noticed that usually the only reason a child would go outside was to just turn around and come back in. I'm not sure if they were just checking to make sure the sky was still blue or that there was still grass in the yard, but they were only out long enough to turn around and come back in. It made for many opportunities for fingers to get smashed in the door so I had to be on a constant look out everytime the door moved. There was usually an audience waiting to get through the door so I was definitely wise to be on guard. This is another riddle that has me puzzled and I would just love to know why there is fun in coming in and out, in and out, in and out....

When the older two decided to go outside, I thought I'd get a break. Don't ask me why I thought I'd get a break because when it comes to children, outside and doors, there is no rest for the weary mother. This time, I got a dress up party around the coat tree instead.

The kids tried several different coats on before deciding on which one to wear outside. As the coat tree swayed and rocked, Landon settled with his own coat but Tierra (5) had to wear one of mine. It was warm enough to go outside without a jacket but I guess it didn't matter to them. Tierra was quite content and happy with her sleeves rolled clear to China just so her hands could poke out and her skinny little legs sticking out from the bottom of my coat that hung past her knees.

They were only out long enough to check the color of the sky so I'm not sure why there was need for a coat in the first place.

It was a dilemma for any of the kids to go out or come in because everytime a door would open, both one-year-olds would make a fast dash on hands and knees or fat little feet to get to the door before it shut again. It was as if they were both in an evacuation mode. Try shuffling two babies, a two year old and broom with fuzz all over the floor while the 5 year old simply comes in the house.

I was surprised at the complication set before me when one member of my flock would make a move that attracted the attention of the rest of the group. One could simply look out the window and the whole gang would get roused. And when one would actually go outside, the rest of the kids would attempt that as well. Since going out the door would automatically garauntee the catastrophe of coming in the door right after, each latch of the door handle brought two waves of excited children around the door. I finally started locking the dead bolt and was thankful that my attempt worked.

Landon's latest word combination is "diaper shape." When he needs to go to the bathroom, he starts panting, "diaper shape, mommy, diaper shape." It means diaper 'change.' After we "shape" his diaper, he's happy. Just after Vicki got back, he had to have a diaper shape. But he would only let Vicki do it and made a desperate attempt to keep the wipes close to her when I was cleaning him up... "NOOO, Veeki diaper shape..." he would say when I'd reach for another wipe.

Soon it was time for all the babies to get their diapers shaped so they could go down for naps. I was surprised at the level of quietness that was in our house while all four children slept and we worked on a sewing project. It was a pleasant time to sit back and relax and actually get something done besides sweeping fuzz, swiping paper out of mouths, organizing juice bottles and shaping diapers.

Though it may seem like just another day, I have to wonder sometimes if it really is. Each day can flow into the next without any real change in routine --or catastrophe as it seemed today-- but is it maybe more special than it seems? Each moment, each hour, each day is filled with opportunities for teaching, training, loving, caring and many pauses to take time out for, as Landon would say, a diaper shape.

What a change in perspective comes when we take just another day and live it as if it's our last. And a transformation comes when you treat each diaper shape that way too.

Monday, May 1, 2006 (couldn't get this posted until today.)