Monday, June 30, 2008

Quote Of The Day

(Or maybe the title should be, "Tongue Twister Of The Day")

If you think you know what you thought I meant when I said what you think you thought you heard, then tell me what you think you thought I meant when I said what you thought you heard me say and then I can know what you think you thought I meant and you can know for sure what I meant when I said what you think you heard.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Better Than A Friendship; Deeper Than A Relationship

We all have people in our life that we're related to. We call them "family."

We all have people in our life that we hang out with. We call them "friends."

We all have people in our life that we share all our secrets with. We call them "good friends."

We all have people in our life that we go through hard times with. We call them "faithful friends."

We all have people in our life that love us despite what they know about us. We call them "true friends."

We all have people in our life that live nearby and are available at a moment's notice for anything. We call them "reliable friends."

But when we have people in our life that are all of the above, what do we call them?

Friday, June 27, 2008

A Revelation

COFFEE. That's what I was going to say. It's coffee that gets me going on a blog moment too. A nice big open window and hot cup of dark, creamy coffee and I am on a roll. Right now I'm just stuck with the coffee. But that's okay because I highly doubt I could live without the stuff, blogging or no blogging.

And a reliable computer always helps too. Still no word on the screen-freezing-wayfaring-wild-daring computer.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

On Sick Kids And Overnight Shipping

After a shockingly good night of sleep with no one asking me for a drink in the middle of the night and no one else puking, I am ready to hit the floor running. Oh wait; I already did hit the floor and in not the literal sense of the word, I am running.

I love waking up not a moment sooner than it's time to get up and realize that I had a nice, long night of sleep. I was even asleep before midnight last night so go ahead and call me an "early to bed-er." I don't mind that title once in a while in my life. Especially since I've been working on obtaining that title for quite some time now but my kids just don't seem to cooperate with my lofty aspirations.

Today looms before me in a this-is-going-to-be-a-long-and-tiring-day-way. Janae has her "final" two cavities scheduled to be filled and she is not too excited about going back. I say "final" because at 3 years old and having a dental history of 4 cavities, I have this annoying hunch that she will probably have many more cavities to fill as her life goes on.

I thought about meeting up with a friend of ours and heading to the lake as an incentive for Janae and the dentist appointment she would rather avoid but the 98 degree forecast mixed with 157% humidity made us realize that it was probably not The Best Day Of The Year To Go To The Lake. So, I'm enticing her with that tempting "Prize Box" that the dentist has at his office, just for Janae. And the fact that she has to "help" the dentist today and that they'll put a band aid in her mouth (they really do that while they're filling the teeth) and that she'll get her teeth painted, etc. etc. It's not really working. She says she doesn't want to "help" the dentist today.

Topping the situation off is Alex and the worrisome symptoms he's been fighting the past 10 days. It started with a runny nose and fever. Very predictable teething symptoms so I didn't start worrying. But, now he's got a bad cough, low grade fever off and on and a pretty good size lump under his ear (presumably a swollen lymph node.) Plus, he's been puking every morning. Well, actually, it's been 2 mornings in a row so maybe "every" is a little extreme. Especially since he's not up yet this morning so today hasn't proven itself yet. He's also quite irritable too -- except when he climbed a slide at the park and went right up into the huge playground contraption and attempted to go down another slide. He seems to be sleeping more than usual as well.

Now, if you Google all those symptoms together, you may be tempted to just call an ambulance and rush him to the doctor ASAP and assume the worse. Or just skip a doctor and head right to an oncologist instead. But, if you happen to notice in your research, woven through out the dreadful diseases that are associated with his symptoms, you will find without looking very hard that he indeed has every symptom of "The Common Cold," a "Viral Infection" and "Teething." So yeah... I'm pretty much confused/worried/don't know what to do. I have a pretty good idea that I'll end up taking him in today or tomorrow. Or maybe I won't.

Since having my third baby, I don't worry hardly at all anymore. I almost worry about the fact that I don't worry anymore. Like this last week when Landon was sick... he had a 104.5 fever late one afternoon and normally (by normally I mean, back when I only had one baby) I would've ripped his clothes off, double checked the temperature rectally, sponge bathed him in a tub of lukewarm water, put cold rags on his forehead, called the doctor, researched his symptoms online and started wondering what life was going to be like without him. But now, I just say, "Oh, that's kinda high, Bud." And I give him his next dose of Motrin, take off his shirt and ask him if he wants a Popsicle. Then we all pile in the stroller and walk down to the park.

Toby has been having some long days at work lately and it never ceases to amaze me how usually on the first hottest day of the year, he is ALWAYS on a difficult job. (high, steep, large, roof with several layers of shingles needing to be removed and new sheeting put on the roof.) It's as if he purposely must decide to do those jobs on the day of the year that is predicted to be one of the worst. Of course it's all fate and he has nothing to do with planning but seriously, this happens all. the. time.

Tonight he has Bible study at the jail so he'll just head from his job to a pit stop (where he'll "clean up" and change) and then go to jail from there. It just dawned on me that I won't see him for about 15 hours today. These kinds of days make me think that maybe I should just take a road trip and visit my family for a weekend. But, then I remember that even though it will be all of 15 hours that we're apart today, we WILL sleep in the same place tonight and that's what makes these long, hard days only part of our life and not ALL of it. So, as long as he's coming home every night, I'm gonna be there waiting for him.

Yesterday proved to be one of those "Life Is Good" days where I felt like I had gotten out of bed for a reason. About 10 loads of laundry (several with puke on them--and I just don't do puke) and tons of dirty dishes and soiled bed sheets and dirty floors and a messy house gave me so many reasons to have purpose for the day. I am not one to ask for help and usually put off doing that because I hate making people feel obligated. Or responsible for my work. Or imposing on other's days. Maybe it's a pride thing or maybe I don't want to take advantage of people, but I just do not ask for help.

But it dawned on me in the last month or so that most (and when I say most, I mean about 98.9% of families) have someone to rely on for a helping hand. Or a babysitter. And usually grandparents fill that need and are a reliable source of strength and help. But, I've noticed that a lot of my friends have someone else to rely on as well... a family member, or a young girl that comes once a week, or a close friend.... you get my point. I realized that in each case, a relationship was established first and then the "we're here for each other" mode kicked in and just like that, every major task you faced is shared with this close person.

A young girl in our area has repeatedly offered to help me and I decided to just take her up on that offer. I mean really, she did offer several times. And I did have a house full of puke. When I called, I found out she had company for the day but was more than able to watch my kids at her house if that would help me out. I jumped on that and for 4 hours, I got ALL my work done. That hasn't happened in probably 3 months or so. And I'm talking about house jobs that most people do once a week.

Even though I only have 3 kids and the older two are becoming more responsible in doing tasks I give them, there is still the constant supervision that can become so distracting when you're trying to get something done yourself. Hanging your head over a toilet while you clean it out makes it hard to watch the kids across the house that are fighting over who gets to put the spoons away. Running downstairs to switch a load of laundry gives a three-year-old just enough time to run out the front door and hide in the van. Vacuuming in the living room also gives the said child ample time to find her vitamins in the fridge and run to her room with a mouthful of pills and the rest of the bottle heading to a place under her bed. Or the four-year-old will decide to wash his hands with a half-a-bottle of soap simply because you are in the kitchen sweeping and can't see him.

Needless to say, I really appreciated the effort made by the family that kept the kids for a few hours. And from the dirty faces and feet and happy smiles, I have a pretty good idea that Landon and Janae enjoyed digging in a sandbox, playing with bunnies and swinging in a tire swing that went higher than our roof. Landon's only concern was when he came home, found a clean house and a stray blanket laying haphazardly on the floor in his room... "What's that doing there Mom?"

Since this has turned into a "Family Update" post, I may as well top it off with the latest marvel in my life: Free Overnight Shipping! I can't seem to wrap my head around that magical phenomenon! It must be another marvel of the 21st century like the Internet is.

The Internet is one thing I never can quite understand... all these websites that have no tangible location where everything is headquartered at. It's like we connect with drifting planets that sweep back and forth through the atmosphere and through invisible and technical connections, we connect wirelessly. Have you ever thought that The Internet is the place where gazillions of websites are based in but there's no huge building any where in the world that is a physical location where the website sits? No monumental location of "The First Ebay Website." No parking at the building of "" where you can go to see the real-life permutations of the places you visit daily from your desk chair. There is no such thing. Are these all figments of our imaginations and we've all become equally disillusioned? Are we an entire society wrapped up in imaginary places? (I hope you're not taking me seriously.)

Back to Free Overnight Shipping... I ordered some sandals from a website late yesterday and according to my order sheet (and the guy who answered the phone when I called the company just to make sure this was all for real), my package is destined to arrive today. Like, sometime today. I placed my order late yesterday... as in, almost evening time. And they're supposed to come today. Now, I don't know where this company is located but I can guarantee I haven't seen this store title any where around here. But, just waiting for my order, an airplane sat parked on the runway in hopes that my credit card would send an instant signal for a pair of sandals to be put on that plane and when that happened, down the runway the jet sailed, all the way to an airport near me where the package was then put on a truck and sent directly to my doorstep.

In a matter of hours.

For free.

I just don't understand that. No wonder the economy is crashing -- the whole world is revolving around a stupid pair of sandals that set the course for a whole night's job for a huge chain of people and planes and trucks and companies for free.

I can promise you I'll enjoy those sandals. Unless they don't fit. Then they go back to the place they came from and I don't pay a cent for that either because it's called, "Free Return Shipping." I know... life just isn't fair, is it?

Well, that about sums up the gist of my blog moment for the day. Gotta get back to the grind and get the kids cleaned up and fed and out the door to the dentist office. I keep hearing a three-year-old make interesting noises on the floor above me and I have a pretty good idea she's looking for another dose of her vitamins while I'm not looking.

Monday, June 23, 2008

In Sickness and Health

You know that little note they stick in wedding vows, "In Sickness and Health?" I always thought that meant in the couple's sickness and health but after having kids, I found that it included them too.

That's where we're at today. Landon complained of a headache in church Sunday night, proceeded to feeling quite warm and feverish and commenced complaining about the headache the whole way home from church. And all night. And now all morning. He basically has a headache (if he knows what a headache is for sure???) and a fever. He's getting The Treatment which means he got some yummy medicine and now gets to sleep under a fan in Mom and Dad's bed. How much better can life get? (when you're sick, of course.)

After my own restless night of not sleeping well and trying to rationalize why Janae felt it necessary to ask for a "rink" (drink) and then be satisfied and go back to bed when all I did was answer, "you had one at bedtime" and then having her get up a couple hours later to turn the bathroom light on because she thought it was too dark in the house to having Landon come in, ask for a drink, head to the kitchen to get his own drink but instead lay in the hallway and wait for me and then keep coming in the rest of the morning to ask for this or that and comment on this or that, or tell me about this or that.

Despite having a bad night of rest AND having a sick kid to top it off, I already had a full day planned. Lots to do. Projects to complete. New projects to start. Errands to run. Cleaning to do. And more cleaning. Laundry. Painting. Etc. Pretty much, my schedule was full. But, I guess this is where that invariable, unavoidable, unplanned for "in sickness and health" comes in.

Which brings me back to the basis of this all. Marriage is a big package. It seems to effect every aspect of life... sickness, health, poverty, riches, etc, you get the idea. But, there's one thing I love about being married. At the end of every day, no matter how awful/good the day is, there is one foundational and unchangeable part of every day: the part of the day when everyone goes to their own beds and the house is dark and quiet. I love that part. I love knowing that no matter how busy I am or distracted Toby is, we still have a common denominator: our bed. The house can be a mess, our days can be full and keep us separated, the kids can be sick, but we still have something that doesn't change: our bed.

Sometimes the day starts with a lurch. The alarm goes off, the phones start ringing, the kids are crying, the baby needs milk, Toby gets ready for work, I head to the shower and wham! just like that, the day is in a headlong tumble towards an endless cycle of vicious circles of everything to do and not enough time to do it.

But, I can rest assured when I peer through the whirling foggy world our day suddenly is, and know that even if I don't see Toby for the rest of the day or have the opportunity to talk to him on his phone, or even see him at the supper table, it's okay; I'll find him after the dust has settled, the noise has quieted, the phones are off and the lights have dimmed and he'll be sleeping next to me. I love that we both can stumble off into our busy worlds and feel content to know that no matter how busy we get or how much we have to do, we'll be waiting for each other at the end of the day.

There's something sweet, contented and peaceful about resting next to the one you pledged your life to. It's a picture of trust. Of love. Of no matter what happened today, we're still here together. And that's my favorite part about being married. Just the quite togetherness of doing nothing other than sleeping and resting. And recharging for yet another busy day and endless cycle of vicious circles...blah, blah, blah... you get my point.

Everyone must go to their bed at some point in their day and I'm glad I get to go to the same bed as Somebody else I know. I don't need a cruise or a Caribbean get-a-way or even a romantic date night; in sickness and health, as long as we both shall live, just put my pillow next to his and I'm content with that.

Landon Lines, Tierra Times

Time To Go
Landon had an urgent request... "Mom, Brittney wants us at her house really bad. They can't wait very long for us to get there."

A 7-yr-old's Research on 'The Old Days'
"Hey Courtney," my 7-year-old neice, Tierra, called from the back of the van. "Did you know that Fredda is from the old days?" (she was referring to her 70-some-year-old great-aunt.)

"Really? How do you know that?" I questioned.

"Because she got her sewing machine then and her sewing machine is from the old days," she informed me.

"Oh!" was all I could say, surprised at the logic.

"And she also lived in a house without lights," my neice went on. "And she had to get up during the night and feed cows and that's what they did in 'the old days.' "

They Do Hear What We Say
"Did you know your eyes are bigger than your stomach, Courtney?" Tierra informed me. Realizing her intention was to fill me in on an important fact, I didn't want to squelch her enthusiasm so I asked how she knew that. "Because my mom told me that once," was her honest answer.

Fire and Fier
"Why is there 'fire' in 'pacifier'?" Tierra asked me. (Try explaining that one.)

Dad Always Knows
Piping from the back seat, my niece Tierra had another question... "Hey Courtney, do you know the way from Omaha to Haiti?"

"No, I don't Tierra; do you?" I asked.

To which she replied, "No, I don't but I bet my dad does."

Grandma IS Older Than Mom
Tierra had another piece of (mis)information for me. Realizing she has learned that 30 IS younger than 31, I can understand that even a year to a 7-yr-old makes a big difference. It was still amusing to consider this "fact" from Tierra... "Courtney, did you know that my mom is 30 and my Grandma is 31?"

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Just Another Day

All afternoon yesterday, my computer worked fine. Just fine. Even when I picked it up and set it down a couple times. I credit it to flipping it over and smacking the underside just hours prior to when it started functioning correctly. Today now, nothing on my computer is working. I saw my email screen for about 2.9 seconds and then the Code Blue screen took over from there. That's pretty much how it's been going ever since.

I read yesterday's paper today, minus the Sports section. I feel bad that with all the words that somebody takes time to put in the paper, it's doubtful that most papers get entirely read. I mean, who has time to read every word and section of the paper? I think the paper is slightly under rated; you should take time and learn about all the police calls and business changes that happen daily in your world, in your town and in your neighborhoods. You might be surprised -- even if it is day old news.

My mom called today to tell me she was having surgery this afternoon. Just like that... "How ya doin? What's goin' on? I'm having surgery today. How's your day?" Yeah. Basically like that. 536 miles really hurts today. Especially considering part of our route is under water in Iowa. Right before she called, I was reading in the paper how some Iowans are taking plane trips between towns that normally are 30 minutes apart on the road. But, with the flooding, the recommended detour takes hours. The plane ride results in about 15 minutes of travel time. Not bad but also not entirely promising when you have a van load of luggage and you NEED to drive on that stretch of road that would normally take minutes. I wonder if those little Cessnas would have luggage room for a Honda Odyssey?

Seriously though, the long distant family members advised me to not worry; this was an "outpatient" operation and would not be considered high risk. That's fine and I'm glad but really, the destination I'm thinking of that's at the end of that 536 miles feels like it may as well be at the other side of the globe. I want to go "home."

I woke up with a sore throat and most of the cold-like symptoms that go with a.... you guessed it: A Cold. Janae's lip is still swollen and kind of whitish but she's not complaining. Ironically enough, she just fell out of bed when I started writing about her lip. I've learned that with her, if she's critically injured, she doesn't really cry. So, if after hearing a thud and you notice there is no crying/wailing/sobbing or other injury related sounds, it is best to examine the scene and make sure she is okay. But, in the event you do hear sounds of "general displeasure," she's in fact and in deed perfectly fine. (It was the latter in her case today). If falling out of bed results in prolonging the impending naptime that usually comes with being in bed this time of day, she'll take that option.

Well, this post is rather disconnected and dismantled. I'm on the basement computer today so can find no inspiration from the windows I need to be motivated by while writing a blog. I know that's weird but really, this is another proven piece of evidence that supports my theory. So, chalk it up to that and the fact that last night, the cat caught a mouse just feet from where I'm sitting. Bless. her. heart. The world is one mouse short because of our cat.

Monday, June 16, 2008

How To Fit 4 Of Something Into 3 Of Something

At three-years-old, Janae has something I have never had: FOUR cavities. That's more cavities than years and probably the only time you can fit 4 into 3. I know... bad, bad. I can assure the "concerned" (judgemental) people that yes, she brushes her teeth daily and has been doing so for over a year. Actually, she gets help brushing her teeth so in case that concerns you as well, no, we do not put our child's dental health in their responsibility... at least not when our child is only 3.

So, she went to have 2 of her 4 cavities filled today and she did GREAT. Never cried or fought or resisted or screamed or pushed away or... you get the idea. She just laid there and smiled. And no, they didn't knock her out. It was just the old fashioned numb-the-gum with Novacaine!

BUT, on the way home, when she was just beyond my view in the rear view mirror, she chewed ravenously on her numb lip. Folks, she looks horrible. It's chewed, swollen and bloody.

Pray she heals fast because once the Novocaine wears off, she is in for one huge load of pain.

Oh, and we go back in 10 days to have the other 2 teeth filled. After this is all done, that's $534.00 worth of work done on teeth she will be putting under her pillow in a few years.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Back To Normal

Well, my computer is home. For the time being. Before we all have a "welcome home" party for this unreliable peice of technology, let me break this to you softly: I'm afraid to get too attached to this laptop and I'm fantasizing thoughts that maybe my computer is a scientific experiment that computer geeks will dub "Disposable Computer." Which really isn't a bad thing because just think about what you CAN'T buy that isn't disposable? Everything you buy, you have the option of getting it disposable or indisposable. I meant to buy an indisposable laptop but apparently they had the packaging messed up when I bought this one.

It's like a sick patient that needs hospice care. Only you can't set up hospice for a computer.

I've had this laptop just a month over a year (ie., 13 months). The hardrive (or is it hard drive?) was replaced once and wiped another time. The bottom of the laptop heats to a temperature comparable to your iron. My skirts are always nice and smooth at the top because of this added feature on my laptop computer.

So anyway. I thought my trouble would be over but apparently not. Even getting this thing "fixed" was an ordeal.

Like the day I called Best Buy three days after they told me this would be done. I found the number in the phone book and called. No big deal but I had heard horror stories about how hard it was to actually talk to a computer rep.

The phone rang and rang and rang and rang. And continued to ring. I didn't know a phone could ring so many times without going hoarse. But, I had been warned so shrugged it off. Finally, somebody answered and asked if they could help me.

"Hi! I'm calling to check on my computer that was supposed to be fixed 3 days ago. Just wondering if I can come in and pick it up," I said.

The receptionist acted like she knew who I was, what computer I was talking about and simply needed to look in the "Ready For Pick-up" bin. "Let me check. Hold on please," she said.

Wow! They actually knew me without asking for my name, telephone number, social security number, serial number on my computer and order number on the sheet of paper they gave when I brought my computer in for repair.

I waited for several minutes. Finally, another person got on the line. They needed my name and number. My hopes for personal ties with the first receptionist were dashed when I realized I was just another number. Just another phone call. Just another person with a broken computer.

So, I gave them my number.

About 47 seconds later, they needed my number again.

35 seconds later, they asked again for my number.

In a 4 minute phone call, they asked for my phone number 4 times. FOUR times in a FOUR minute phone call. Okay folks, that's on average once a minute.

They couldn't help me very speedily so they took my number down that last time, told me they'd call back later since their (okay, get this): computer wasn't working right.

It took all my self control, personal dignity and an intense measure of patience to not blurt out that I knew the place where they should send their computer to get fixed.

I got a call a few days later that my computer was ready for pick up. Last night I went into town and got it. There was nothing dangerous, scary or impressive about picking it up. I checked my email after I got home and felt good that maybe my computer was back to normal. This morning I realized that it is back to normal. But, normal doesn't always mean predictable or reliable or good. Normal in this case means: just the way it was when you sent it in for repair.

Not to dash your hopes or oust the good luck I'm sure you all have been sending me but I need to be honest and tell you right now that this computer has been blinking weirdly and crashed TWICE since starting this blog. I've seen the "configuring updates" and "please wait" signs more often than not since I attempted a blog today. And that blue screen... ugh. It's shown it's face too. Only this time it has white, vertical stripes with it. So, I guess it's a little fancier than it was before.

I think we're back to normal one again and before my computer goes into it's perpetual "disposable" mode, I'm dashing my mouse to the "publish post" button just so cyber space will know that I'm still out there somewhere, floating around trying to connect with the blog world while dealing with that disgusting Code Blue screen that cuts me off entirely from the life-line found in the twenty-first century called: The Internet.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Baby Elysha

We do everything to protect our children. To insure their health and safety. To keep them from harm. And to make them know without a doubt that we love them with a love that only a parent can have.

But, when you've done all you can and there's nothing more you can do, relinquishing a child; a little baby girl, to the Arms that created her precious life, has got to be the most heart breaking experience known to mankind.

Maybe it's because I have my own chubby baby just a few months older than Elysha that the thought of having to plan his funeral while he's still alive, makes it seem almost surreal to know that death is imminent. To know that time is so short, counting his breaths would be a treasure to cherish. And to know that memories are all I'll have in just a few short days.

Yet to remember that no matter how much a mother loves her child, God loves that child even more. And has a place not only in His heart but also in His kingdom where no harm can come to the child. Where all is peace and joy and love. I can't imagine knowing my child could be as safe as Elysha is destined to be in a few short days. But the aching arms left empty by her passing will need a sweet relief that only comes from The One who gives hope.

Even if you don't know this young family, keep them in your prayers.

Monday, June 02, 2008

On Inspiration, Windows and Failing Computers

I am without my computer. The computer that I always use to blog on. The computer that has given me so many fits and trials since about a month after we got it. The computer that deleted all our Christmas 2007 pictures. Yeah, that computer.

Even though it's been a horrendous computer and hardly reliable, I shared a lot of blog moments on it. I hate to admit my personal feelings about a piece of technology and how it can best derive my thoughts from the cranial corners of my head but the truth be known: I relate best to when I can look out a window while writing. It's always been that way. When I need inspiration and I can't quite think of the word, I look out a window. Yeah... I know... you probably think I'm a tree hugger now but really, I'm not. It's just a change of scenery that I find out a window that inspires me.

The reason I'm blogging right now is because I stole away to Toby's computer while he was away for a few minutes. I looked out the window long and hard before I came down here because, horror of horrors, his computer is firmly lodged in the darkest corner of our basement and there are no windows to look out of. Thus why this blog post is lacking in articulate lingualistics. (is that even a word? I have no window to look out of in order to find a better, more fitting, accurate description/word/phrase/something-like-that.)

So, until I get my computer back and until I can blog by an open window, my blog is taking a hiatus. Or going into hibernation. Or taking a break. Or waiting for the repair man to fix my computer. Or whatever way you want to look at it. Like I said, I'm lacking window inspired inspiration right now.

I meant to contact those of you that offered advice on the layout here. I will do that when I can more easily get in contact with my email without having a busy business man hang over my shoulder in hopes that I will just relinquish his computer back to him so that he can save the world one roof at a time.

For now, I'm going to go back upstairs look out a window and wonder what I may have forgotten to tell you just now. I'll be back when all is well... or when I have a, um, chance and time to ahhh, well, I just better go find a window since I totally lost my train of thought.