Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Life with Landon

Our five-year-old, Landon, is a charming little guy. But when he's around, I become a walking encyclopedia-dictionary-google-search-engine-thesaraus-thing-a-ma-bob.

I love being a mom. The following questions and discussions we've had together are not only funny but exhausting because whenever there's a chance to ask a question, he'll ask it... no matter the situation.

As I watch the way he thinks and record the questions he asks (my brain is too tired to remember it all so I have to write it down), I sometimes wonder what he'll be when he grows up. But usually, I'm too tired from the latest brain excersize to even remember that he WILL grow up someday and that I WILL look back on the questions and laugh. And not sigh, like I do now.

Landon: "Mom, is my nose straight?"
Me: "Yeah."
(a few seconds later) Landon: "Is it straight right here?"
Me: "Yeah."
(a few minutes later) Landon: "Is my nose like yours or is it like Daddy's'?"
Me: *confused*
Landon: "Is it like Alex's nose?"
Me: "Your nose is just like Landon's nose."
Landon: "Huh?"

Landon: Is Jingle Bells a Christmas song?

Landon: Is Jesus Loves me a Christmas song?

Landon: "Check and see if Grandma and Grandpa are coming today."
Me: "They're not yet Landon."
Landon: "Well Hannah said they were coming in 6 more days!"
Me: "I know but it's not 6 more days yet."
Landon: "You just think it's not 6 more days but it is."

Landon: "When they wrap the plastic around the Christmas tree, why doesn't it go in and come out all by itself?" (motioning how the tree springs out after you unwrap it.)
Me: "It does, after you take it off."
Landon: "Take what off?"
Me: "The plastic."
Landon: "It HAS plastic?"

Landon: "Could Daddy easy jump over Alex?"
Me: "Yep."
Landon: "How?"
(without giving me a chance to answer, he jumped into a whole parade of questions...
L: "Could he jump over you?"
L: "Could Daddy jump over a guy?"
L: "If someone was his age could he jump over him?"
Me: "Uh, um, I don't know... it would depend."
Landon: "When I grow up, am I going to be older than Dad?"

While getting ready to go out and bring in wood from the snowy, icy back yard, Landon only had jeans, tennis shoes and a coat on. Directing him to get snow boots and snow pants on, Landon wailed, "But that'll take a HUNDRED years!!!"

Landon: "Where's Daddy's face mask."
Me: "In the guestroom."
Landon: "Where in the guestroom?"
Me: "On the bed."
Landon: "Uh-uh!! Daddy said I could wear it!"
Me: "I know Landon, it's on the bed in the guestroom."
Landon: "Oh, it IS?"

Landon: "Janae needs a better brain."
Me: "Why?"
Landon: "She messes up the fish (Go Fish! game) and she doesn't get my cowboy boots when I tell her to... she needs a brain!"

While watching a Live Nativity scene, Landon couldn't stop the questions...
"Is that a real baby?"
"Where are the angels?"
"Why don't the angels have wings?"
"What is that guy doing?"
"Why is he dressed that way?"
"Where ARE the angels?"

(during lunch one day)
Landon: "Why don't we fly to Haiti?"
Me: "Because it costs a lot of money."
Landon: "Why don't we drive then?"
Me: "Because there's too much water."
Landon: "There's no roads past the water?"
Me: "Nope."
Landon: "Why aren't there roads?"
Me: "Because there's too much water -- you can only take a boat."
Landon: "So why don't we take a boat?"
Me: "Because we'll fly instead."
Landon: "How will our car get there?"
Me: "We won't bring our car."
Landon: "So will we walk then?"
(without giving me a chance to answer, he continued...)
Landon: "So what will you do in case you need to get across the river and you don't have your car... what happens?"
Me: "Somebody else picks you up."
Landon: *speechless* (finally)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Do I Really Look That Smart???

I sit down for a moment of silence to do something novel. Like blog. As I sit there trying to remember even HOW to blog or find my way through the mental process of burying myself in the thrill of a blog moment, I'm interrupted by a bombardment of questions.

Questions about life.

About stuff.

About things.

About everything.

And they're not "yes" and "no" every-day-type questions. It's questions like...

"What kind of car will I drive when I get older?"

"Did your belly just open up and I came out?"

"How old will Alex be when I'm big?"

"How old was Alex when he was born?"

"Is it Christmas 'time' or Christmas 'day'?"

"Do you know where my gun is, Mom?"

"I can't find my gun, where is it?"

"I put my gun right here; do you know where it is now?"

"Did all those people watch Mary push her baby out?" (while looking at a nativity scene and connecting the dots between Mary having a baby and our cat having kittens.)

"Is it Christmas 'day' or Christmas 'time'?"

"What will I name my baby when I have one?"

"When me and Alex and Landon grow up, what kind of car will we drive and where will it be?"

"If our house burns up, will it burn down?"

"When that building burns up, how many days will it take them to clean it up?"

"Who owns the mountains?"

"If water gets rid of fire then why doesn't fire get rid of water?"

"Can I call you Courtney when I get big?"

As I sit and try to answer these questions and other questions similar to it, I find my brain becoming exhausted by the exhilarating workout my 5 and 4-yr-old provide for me.

You'd think with all this intense exercise, I'd become sharper, not duller. Ha!

Quite the contrary. By the end of the day, I can't remember what I did that morning, what happened yesterday or if I had plans to be somewhere that night. From the moment my kids get up until they go to bed, I go through an interrogation become a living dictionary. A Thesaurus. A reference guide. And the funny thing is when they counter-question me just to make sure I have my facts straight.

Like when I put my 4 yr-old down for a quiet time at TWO o'clock and assure her she can be up by three o'clock. Instead, she insists on being up by ONE o'clock as she nestles comfortably in her cozy bed.

Or when my 5 yr-old asks what direction we're going. And I tell him north. He'll adamantly disagree and insist we're going east. I've learned never to argue with a 5 yr-old using a broken compass.

And then there's the 2-yr-old who is given the luxury of THREE books in his bed during nap time. Instead, he insists on only TWO books.

As I try to burrow into the passageways that are my kids' brains and ways of thinking, talking, questioning and comprehending, I come away more confused and befuddled than ever. Logic and reality are two things that don't seem to play in very often.

My kids are so trusting. So gullible. So innocent. Until it comes to some of their questioning. And then I wonder where the trust is...

"Mom, can you count to 'zero'?" I hear from across the room.

"ZERO!" I reply.

"NOOOO! Do it right!" the 4 yr-old instructs.

"ZERO, one, two, three...." I reply, with a little more emphasis.

First, silence. And then, "that is really HOW you count to zero?" a shocked voice speaks in an, innocent 5 yr-old way.

"Yes Landon; that is really HOW you count to zero..."

The look of satisfaction and comprehension of learning where 'zero' fits in the numerical order is written all over their faces. And it's always worth the extra brain energy it takes me to make an answer clear, no matter how pointless I may think the question is. Or how many times they may re-word their questions.

About the time I think they may even exhaust an advanced google search engine if they had the capability of typing in their questions, I'll hear a question like this...

"Will you guys still be our mom and dad when Landon and I have kids?"

Yes, we'll always be your mom and dad. And you'll always be our kids.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Oh Yeah... I Do Have a Blog

It just dawned on me that I pretty much never blog anymore. Never.

As I sit here typing, I can hear two small children helping themselves to Popsicles and crackers in the kitchen. Janae is teaching Alex how to say Popsicle... "Alex, say PAAAA," to which Alex says, "PAAAAA," and then Janae finishes with unintelligible syllables. She's quite the teacher.

Life is one crazy busy good thing. Death has been an ever present shadow on our lives this year and though it's easy to withdraw into morbidity and let yourself grow numb and cold to little things in life like breathing and health and things such as that, it's been a good reminder that life is precious. Each day is new. And God is good.

We've spent a lot of time on the road lately. By the time November is over, we will have spent 42+ hours in our van since October 23rd. That's not including the 36 hours we spent between July and August.

Though living out of a suitcase may not be as homey and predictable as living out of a dresser, we've enjoyed all the time spent with family and friends. And wouldn't trade it for anything.

School has been a rough thing to stay on top of -- the actual schoolwork part has gone very well but it's just getting it in and staying consistent that's been challenging. The kids love to learn and everything usually goes well until I get poked in the eye with the back end of a pencil. Or someone decides to compete in a letter-writing race with their sibling and turns out a bunch of squiggly lines that are supposed to be the letter 's'. Or Alex decides to cut the calender with a pair of scissors. Other than that, it's really good. I'd recommend homeschooling to everyone I know. (But, be sure and wear safety glasses though.)

So I guess this all just to say that I do still profess to be a blogger and just because I don't blog here much doesn't mean anything more than that I'm either riding on some long and distant interstate or doing school with the kids.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

When a Friend in Labor, Piano Tuning, Kittens and Evening Plans Collide

Do you have any idea how many times I've come to just to blog something and all I do is type in a fury and then delete it? Or I stare at the screen and wonder what kind of life people must have before they're entitled to having something to blog about? And then there's the time I stare at the very blank blog screen and line it up to match perfectly with my very blank brain. I've learned that as honest and open as that may seem, that blank screen doesn't produce a blog post either.

My days are busy and full but not much worth mentioning in a blog post. At times, the day's happenings seem almost too crazy to blog about. Anyone in their right mind would read what I'd say and go, "Wow, she has issues." And believe me, I do have issues.

Like the evening my husband came home from work and said, "Hey, let's go out for supper tonight." And I happily said, "Sure! Great idea!"

But then I had to finish up the closet organization project that was all over our bed while dealing with the allergy attack the cleaning had given me.

And I also had to finalize things with the blind piano tuner guy that was sitting at the piano, making out-of-key "dah-dah-dum" sounds over in his corner with the piano.

Plus, a lady was coming to look at 2 of our kittens and before she could see them, I needed to extract the kittens from their hard-to-reach corner in the garage and make sure they didn't look like orphaned kittens or anything.

Meanwhile, friends had brought the piano-tuner-guy over and we were thinking of working out supper details with them for the evening.

On top of it all, a friend of mine overdue to have her baby was having contractions. I had offered to watch their other child for the delivery so I was pretty much on-call for babysitting.

So, I squared away the kittens. Got in touch with my laboring friend just in time to hear her say, "Yuck. My water is breaking." And then showed the blind piano-tuner-guy to the bathroom.

Realizing the imminent reality of birth just around the corner for our friend, my husband came up with plan B.

I would stay home with Alex.
He would take the older two kids to town to get the errands done.
I would call our friends to cancel supper plans.
He would take the truck so I'd have a vehicle to go get my laboring-friend's child.
I would stay home long enough to pay the piano-tuner-guy and make sure his ride came.
The kitten lady would come to pick out her kittens.
I would go pick up laboring-friends' child.

Now, does any of the above make sense? In the 2 hours the above entire post took place in, it made no more sense than it does to you on paper. (Or computer screen, however you want to look at it.)

That was my evening.

Except the highlight happened when less than 2 hours after I picked up laboring-friend's child, I heard my no-longer-in-labor friend's bright and cheery voice on the other end of the phone say, "We have a little girl." Her voice, her chipperness and her tone made me think her evening had been far more relaxing than mine.

So maybe the next time we decide to have a quiet evening together, I'll just go in labor and have a baby.

(Now you believe me when I say I have issues, don't you?)

Monday, October 12, 2009

On Stoves, Perspectives and Kids

Today I want to focus on the "usual" and "predictable" things of mothering that we often try to overlook. We mistake them for "abnormal" and "shocking."

Take for instance when you get all the laundry done only to turn around 5 hours later to find the hamper stock full again. (You had to see that coming.)

Or you no longer finish preparing and cleaning up one meal only to turn around and make another. (Seriously, that is SO normal, why did you expect something else?)

How about when you no sooner get all the clean sheets on the bed and your entire quiver of children ends up needing clean sheets the next morning because of circumstances beyond your their control. (Just a little tip: getting all the bed's changed at once, will jinx your laundry life.)

If you think I'm complaining, you need to get your brain checked. I'm NOT complaining; I'm simply stating facts of motherhood that come and go with the changing of seasons (and seasons can be as long as 9 months to as short as 30 seconds.)

Like the day Alex swallowed 12 chewable acidophulus pills. Try googling "acidophulus overdose in child." Actually, never mind: don't waste your time because no known side effects have been documented because basically, this has NEVER happened before. (It'll make you feel like your child may have a strange and unheard of disease with no cure because no one has researched it because no one has ever over-exposed themselves to acidophulus.)

Or the day all three kids were found playing with a dead four-foot-long bull snake. While eating crackers. (Don't worry -- they all had rubber gloves on.)

Or the time I found the piano had been covered in chalk. (Yes, the piano: NOT the sidewalk.)

I love the entire world of mothering... don't get me wrong. It's just that some things in life (like blogging) tend to not only take the back burner, they often get pushed right off the stove.

Which reminds me of the day I cleaned out the fridge and set the old food on the stove (my only "counter space" next to the fridge and on that side of the kitchen, for that matter.) Lo and behold, one of the containers of old food got pushed off the stove where it popped open and spilled between the stove and fridge.

Now, this just happened to be THE day I was getting ready for THE company of the year to come and voila! I had the chance of a lifetime to scrub and clean and sterilize all the unknown and unseen space behind, between, underneath and around the stove and fridge.

It was spic and span when I was done and it inspired me to do something novel. Like make supper. After I happily pushed the stove back in place and admired the top of the fridge that was now dusted off and clean (if you clean UNDER the stove, it's only natural you'd clean the TOP of the fridge too), I turned the stove to "ON." It seemed like a logical action since I was intending on cooking supper WITH the stove.

Suddenly, I was thrust right back into the stone ages. Where electricity was unheard of. Where suppers (did they call them that?) were cooked over an open fire outside. Where people lived in caves.

The stove had NO power.

"Weird," I thought, "So much for a clean stove that works..."

I pulled the stove back out again, admired the clean and dust free floor and tenderly caressed the side of the stove that was free of grime for the first time since it was manufactured. None of that seemed to effect the amount of power that attempted to circuit it's way to the "ON" setting on my stove.

So, I wiggled the gigantic-if-you-handle-it-wrong-you-will-get-shocked-cord and checked to see if the stove turned on.


I thought about unplugging the cord from the socket but considering the back of the stove was plastered with, "WARNING: DO NOT DISCONNECT UNTIL POWER SOURCE IS SHUT OFF," I assumed I probably shouldn't disconnect it. The risk was electric shock and/or death. The electric shock didn't scare me as much as the death part did but I didn't know how I could just experience the electric shock without exposing myself to possible death. "At least I'd die knowing the underneath of my stove wasn't left for someone else to clean," I thought to myself. But I pushed the stove back and wondered if it was true that my stove could only work as long as it sat on an inch-thick-carpet of dust.

When my husband came home, he pulled the stove out again. He wiggled some things. Read a few labels. Asked me to give every detail on what happened to the stove. Then he pushed it back and told me to order pizza for supper.

The next day, we observed the stove in humble silence. By supper time, it still hadn't fixed itself so I made plans to do supper on the grill. Our grill has always been a reliable cooking source. I was thankful for the grill that day.

As it neared the time for company to arrive, the prepared food waited breathlessly to experience the warm thrill of the grill. I turned the gas setting to "ON" and turned the nobs to "ON" and pushed the start button "ON."

The south burner would not ignite. (This is Nebraska: there's no left or right. Only North, South, East and West.)

I tried again. And again. I shut the gas off in an attempt to reboot the entire contraption. Nothing. I wiggled some wires. Checked the "ON" button to make sure it was adequately connected. NOTHING. I took the whole grill apart. Checked for clogged connections. Nothing started that south burner.

I called for my dear husband. He came outside and looked the situation over and then lit the burner with a match. It worked. To this day, both North and South burners on the grill still work. And you can ignite them with the "ON" button, as it's made to be done.

After supper, my husband's brother checked the stove. Being the handyman this brother is in the electric department, he immediately detected the correct diagnosis of the stove. He gave me a play by play of what had happened the day before when the stove quit working. When I had pulled the stove out to clean it, I had stretched the wire too far. It became disconnected inside the outlet. He informed me that had I pulled it a little farther, there would've been an entertaining hue of sparks. The "DANGER: ELECTRIC SHOCK OR DEATH" warnings flashed in my mind.

The guys pushed the stove back, checked the stove for power and deemed the job complete. The stove worked. The stove was clean. And even the underneath of the stove was clean.

And to this day, the stove still works.

What I'm getting at is the fact that when "normal" and "easy to handle" things happen in our day, mothers should learn to recognize those things as rare and almost unheard of. But when things break or children come running with blood dripping off their fingers or you find the entire contents of the cereal bag on the floor or you stumble upon well lotioned up kids that are supposed to be getting ready for naps, don't panic. Those "disliked" and "unnecessary" occurrences are THE normal.

Like I've said before, it's all a matter of perspective.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

When Life Overtakes Blogging

I like writing. It's the untainted expression of what I think without distraction. And since this is my blog, I have no qualms about what I publish here.

At least that's how I feel.

But, so often I find the need to save lives to be of greater importance to blogging so... as you faithful readers (all three of you) know, my blog is neglected.

Then there's the times when I think about blogging but then I remember my list of stuff to do.

*Vacuum chocolate sprinkles that Two-Year-Old embedded in the carpet.

*Sweep up hot chocolate mix from the pantry floor.

*Locate missing Bosch part.

*Locate missing bread machine part.

*Peroxide up fresh stains on dining room floor (and try not to think about the dining room having carpet in the first place).

*Check clothes hamper for mold.

*Abolish the fragrant smell coming from bathroom.

*Pluck out popcorn kernels from carpet.

*Admire Observe the scene of Lego's peppering the boys room.

*Harvest worms Clean out guinea pigs' cages.

And the list goes on.

About the time I think I'm finally getting a handle on this whole "mothering" thing, I'll wind up shocking myself and saying things like...

"Stop doing that: you're putting holes in the wall."

"You should never put your hand on your plate when someone is putting food on it."

"Don't put that plate on your head: it's Fine China."

"Alex, do you want a time out?" (I'm not a 'time out' kind of mom.)

"If you don't stop crying right now, you WILL get out of the van and we WILL leave without you."

"No, Daddy does not know how to drive a train."

"Never put ink on your lips again. Especially red ink."

"Stop putting stuff in the melted candles."

"No, she is not your mother; I am your mother and she is your sister."

"Never cut your brother's hair again."

"Look at that kid! He's flinging food on the wall."

"If you guys don't stop fighting, we will not do school today."

"How did all that salt end up on the table anyway?"

And other such anomalies.

Such are the occurrences that occur with the passing of time within (and without) our four walls. I love blogging. I love documenting thoughts, happenings, life, etc. But some days, it's just not feasible. Then again, without my sometimes unpredictable and over-interesting life, I would have nothing to blog about.

It's all a matter of perspective.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

"Honey, I Painted the Mini-Van Pink"

...and other things you just shouldn't inform your husband about.

The other night, I was outside playing with the kidlets.

The occasion was none other than playing ball in the front yard because A) supper was in the crock pot and not quite done, or B) Daddy wasn't home from work yet, or C) bedtime wasn't quite available yet or D) we just needed some playtime.

Now, this particular night hailed the occasion of A so you can imagine the hungry herd of kidlets they were.

Not to be outdone by their famished state of being, each kidlet excretioned incredible amounts of fun and energy, as young little people are apt to do.

Landon zoomed on his bike in an impressive manner. Janae rather careened her way around objects and would rustle the romper on her young brother, Alex, as she spled (blend of "fled" and "sped") past him. It was the same idea as the wind rustling leaves, if you know what I mean. Seriously, some kids should just get speeding tickets; they're such a threat to society when they're on bikes.

I'm seriously thinking of installing a braking system that allows me to use a remote control to slow her bicycle down from a distance. She has two speeds on that bike: faster and fastest. She knows no danger when it comes to being on her two-wheels-with-one-functioning-training-wheel bike.

One day, I watched Janae hit Alex's trike going west down the sidewalk. She pretty much just bumped merrily over the back part of his poor mode of transportation, turned around and 14 seconds later, hit the same Alex's bike going east down the sidewalk. This time, she didn't bump merrily. Rather, she toppled to the ground with a rather dramatic and dangerous thud (kids can get concussions, I've heard). She wailed gustily through tears of heart ache, pain and regret as she laid in pieces under her bruised and bashed up bike, "I don't like this house, or this driveway." (Yeah the house and driveway really have a lot to do with the fact you can't seem to avoid hitting things with your bike.)

Meanwhile, I was thinking, "Watch out." I really try to be plain and simple when it comes to giving pieces of advice to my children -- I really do -- but I've realized it tends to come too late or if it is on time, they can't hear me for some reason. This was one of those "too late" times.

Another time I remembered watching Janae hit our neighbor's yard rock. It's like this huge, massive thing that's been there ever since before Janae was born learned how to ride bike but it seemed to escape her memory as to it's general location on this particular day.

As Janae was sailing at top speed down the sidewalk, she veered off into the neighbor's yard (who knows; maybe there's an imaginary slope there that pulls her bike off the beaten path) and just like that, WHAM! she hit the thing so hard, it bounced her back 2 feet. She came to a very sudden but upright stop. (notice, I said UPRIGHT.)

She giggled with glee, turned the wheel and took off in the intended direction she should've been going.

(To all you PETR --People for the Ethical Treatment of Rocks-- no rocks were harmed in the making of this scenario.)

So. As I was saying, I was outside playing with the kids while we waited for supper to finish cooking

Landon and Janae were zooming up and down the sidewalk, dodging each other and other objects such as that younger brother, while I played catch with that younger brother.

As I threw Alex (the younger brother) the ball and attempted to catch his throws (my catch is poor; his throw is impressive), I stumbled in the yard (no surprise there) and twisted my ankle.


(If you don't know what I mean by "ouch," you have obviously never twisted your ankle.)

I continued to play, chalked up the twisted ankle to my klutziness, and attempted to throw/catch another ball. While performing an amazing circus act catching that particular child's ball, I suddenly did this impressive awkward move in a desperate lunge at the ball and began to notice an equal amount of pain in my left knee and right elbow at the same time.

Weird, I thought, a two wheeled truck must've just come out of no where and hit me.

Then it dawned on me that my elbow had actually made an unnatural contact with my knee and the impact of both coming together, caused an unnatural reaction. There's nothing like hitting yourself with yourself because then you have automatic pain in two locations.

Not to be outdone by my advancing klutziness nor to give in to my growing embarrassment as I made a spectacle of myself to all the neighbors, I showed the kids my amazing skill of throwing the ball up on the roof and then catching it as it rolls down. I can be pretty quick witted, you know.

You should've seen their faces: they were impressed. The look of pride in their eyes as they watched their sports-man-ship-like mom, was worth the effort it took to learn the skill of How To Throw A Ball On The Roof.

They were amazed. I was like this hero, or something, to them.

As I threw, rolled and caught the ball, I continued to get braver and braver. I'd throw harder. Faster. Less-like-a-girl Stronger. The entertainment level was at 5+stars and boy, were we all happy.

Just then, the unthinkable happened: the ball got lodged between a gable-end-eave and the porch roof. (If you don't know where that location is, you are obviously not married to a roofer.)

Not to be outdone by the little set-back in our performance for the day, I grabbed a wrangled stick and poked and prodded and stabbed and swung the stick at the lodged ball. I needed a couple more feet of height --among other things; like I'm sure a brain would've really come in handy right then-- and had to come up with another plan.

So I grabbed a garden rake.

The garden rake was a marvelous idea. Until it scratched the flashing. Oops. (If you're married to a roofer, you realize the danger of scratching the flashing.)

I marched back to the garage and found a gazillion-foot-long piece of quarter-round-trim (if you're married to a carpenter, you'll know what that is.)

I poked and prodded and stabbed and swung the trim at the lodged ball. I still needed a brain height and heard Janae say, "Nope, you're not gettin' it Mom."

Thanks, Janae. It's so kind of you to point out the obvious. (Her perception amazes me.)

3 blunders on the yard playing ball, confirmed my klutziness. 3 attempts at removing the ball from it's inconveniently lodged location, confirmed my inability to coordinate ball-rescue attempts. Plain and simple, I was a doomed failure.

As Janae continued to zoom dangerously up and down the sidewalk on her bike, I recognized the finality of supper's cooking and called the kids in. We sat down to eat, gave thanks and dug into our meal. Everything was perfect until I began to tell my husband, that dear darling man, my 3 acts of klutziness.

When I got to the part about the elbow-colliding-with-the-knee, it all seemed too outrageous to even be legal. He was too confused to understand how that could happen.

It makes me have to excuse my daughter for her inability to avoid bouncing her bike off of the neighbor's landscape rocks because seriously, with a mom like me, she comes by it naturally... the poor child.

And poor husband... me re-enacting at the supper table how my elbow-hit-the-knee, couldn't be any worse than if I were to paint the van pink.

Or could it?

Monday, September 07, 2009

Happy Birthday Zack-Man!

It's not that hard to smile. Really, it isn't. It's not that hard to show a little concern. Or care. Or kindness. Or interest into an other's life. Really, it isn't.

And whenever I think it is, I think of my brother Zack.

Zack turns 19 today. He's a nice fellow to have around, always chatting and keeping you company. He shows great interest in everything you're doing and asks a million-and-one questions about things related to your life. He pretty much always has a smile on his face and a song in his heart and begs his siblings to just sit down at the piano and play lively little tunes so he can beat his African drum to the music.

And he never misses a beat either. He's like a living metronome and keeps us all in line.

By today's standards, Zack has many reasons to be unhappy. He had a rough start in life and spent the first 2 years of his life in and out of Children's hospitals. He struggled developmentally for years and actually still does. He will never have a successful job nor will he marry and have kids. He can't talk very clearly nor can he carry a tune. But, he loves to do his chores. He loves kids. He loves to talk. And he sings every chance he gets.

Zack has Down Syndrome.

Zack smiles at everyone. He's always friendly and remembers people's names. He thrives on people. He's taught me the value of smiling and being cheerful and showing friendliness to everyone. Not just to people I know.

Like yesterday when I rode a Ferris Wheel for the first time in my life. We were at the state fair together and it was a special occasion. Not to mention that Toby really wanted me to ride the Ferris Wheel with him. Ever since I was a child, I had always wondered what it would be like to ride one so to have the man of my dreams invite me on one, was special indeed.

While we waited in line, I anticipated our ride. I knew it would be special. Toby and I would sit on one side, our arms around each other. The kids would sit around us, enjoying the scenery. I just knew it had to be a spectacular and romantic moment.

Meanwhile, an older man stood ready and waiting at the gate. He had his tickets in hand and he stood in line for a long time. I didn't notice him until right when we got up to the gate ourselves; he was a little guy and almost appeared to be a child from behind.

I noticed his toe nails were over grown and cracked. He was severely wall-eyed and you couldn't tell where he was looking exactly. He walked slow, almost in a shuffling manner. He had a quiet voice but he was excited about the ride ahead of him.

When it came time for him to go through the gate, he started walking through but the ticket man stopped him and asked if he had someone to go with him. The older man smiled and pointed to his chest and nodded. He was obviously alone, even if he said he wasn't. With sympathy, the ticket guy told him he couldn't let him on by himself; he had to have someone to go with. The lady and daughter next in line were motioned to step forward.

The older man stepped back, looked around and didn't really know what to do. He seemed confused but really wanted that ride. So he kept waiting in line. He was excited about his ride and held the tickets in his hand expectantly, waiting for his turn to get on. He obviously hadn't understood that he was disqualified because he kept his handful of tickets ready. The bright look on his face showed he was undaunted. He was clueless as to the let down of what this meant.

This man had Down Syndrome.

When it came time for us to get on the Ferris Wheel, I glanced up at Toby, asked if he'd care (which I knew the answer to already), and then told the ticket guy the older man was welcomed to ride with us.

The ticket guy warmly thanked us and he and another staff arranged our gondola for us. They seemed to be taken back by our willingness to let a stranger go with us and made a pointed effort to thank us.

We climbed in and our guest ungracefully clamored into his seat. He landed with a bit of a thud. He was unhurt but his balance was unacceptable for a swaying fair-ride contraption and we realized later, he really did need assistance going over uneven surfaces. But he was excited about his ride and kept motioning with his hands what the Ferris Wheel was doing.

The wheel started turning and we tried to have a conversation with our friend. It was hard to decipher most of the things he said but I tried to translate -- his speech was similar to Zack's only worse because his tongue was almost lazy about pronunciation. But he never gave up trying to talk. If we asked him to repeat it again, he'd take a deep breath, kind of look away and then say it again. He was very patient.

We asked what his name was. First he said his name was Todd. Then it sounded like Tom. Then it sounded like he said Ty. He mumbled and didn't make much sense in his speech But, he did talk about the Marines and pointed to his army-print shorts and saluted.

He asked us what our names were and held out a limp hand to shake our hands in greeting (just like Zack). He told us he was 55 and wanted to find "an old lady to marry" and with a funny grin on his face, pointed at me. We laughed and enjoyed the scenery and listened to "Ty" talk about Milwaukee and Las Vegas and his brother and how he got to the fair by bus.

When we got off our ride, a lady was waiting with a smile at the end of the exit ramp. She was "Ty's" caretaker and told us his name was actually "John." She laughed when we told her he said he was from Milwaukee and she thanked us profusely for letting him ride with us. She gave us 2 extra ride tickets that she wasn't going to use and then tenderly took John by the hand back to the group they had come with.

And so concluded my first ever Ferris Wheel ride. I have to admit, it was memorable indeed. Probably even more so than I ever thought a first Ferris Wheel ride could be. In a way, it felt like I spent it with Zack. The mannerisms that John had were identical to Zack and I loved how natural and comfortable he felt with us. It was just like Zack.

Every time I see a Ferris Wheel from now on, I'll remember the importance of a smile and the special experience it is when you do the least expected to "one of the least of these."

"And the King shall answer and say to them, Truly I say to you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my brothers, you have done it to me." Matthew 25:40

But really, if you ask me, people like Zack and John are almost pictures of what heaven will be like. They carry no grudges. No shame. No pretense. No guile. They don't worry about the stock market. Or their jobs. Or what they're going to do tomorrow. They just love unconditionally.

It's funny how we tend to look at "special" people and think they really miss out on life since they can't enjoy things "normal" people can. I have come to realize that people like Zack and John may not have the greatest physics. But their hearts are the biggest pumping muscle known to mankind. And it makes me wonder if really the ones missing out are maybe us "normal" people. Maybe in reality, those special folks are created so perfect that they have a perpetual tunnel of vision into heaven's glory which is proven in the the way they treat others. They understand us yet we at times never understand them.

And no matter how they're treated, they still smile. It's no wonder Landon's middle name is after my brother Zachary. Zack has always been my hero. His strength, his confidence, his happiness, his honesty and his unintimidated way of loving is absolutely phenomenal.

I hope he has the Happiest Birthday ever today because he deserves every bit of it.

Zack and my brothers Gabe (piano) and Levi (guitar) jamming it up for another round of "The Syndrome Brother's Band." Go here to listen... And then go here to hear another classic.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Do's and Dont's This Mother Learned the Hard Way

(The following outlines, are summaries of true stories that happened to our family. At our house. In our home. Around us. To us. etc. These are facts not based on imagination or fiction; these are real-to-life tales of innocent children parents with adventurous children.)

Never buy sheet sets for your child's bed. Never. Simply purchase a plush mattress pad, a plastic bed liner and make sure your child has a bed-bug-less pillow with a half decent pillowcase. You're then good to go. IF there should ever be an "accident" on the bed during the night while your child is sleeping, the amount of laundry you have to do will be minimal. And you won't have to dread changing sheets on the top bunk anymore.

Never buy shoes for your child. They'll just lose them and insist on going barefoot anyway.

Never discourage your child from talking to strangers. That way when they see their own grandfather for the first time in 6 months, they won't be afraid to sit on his lap.

Never treat the stains on clothing with stain remover. Before you have a chance to wash laundry, that clothing item will grow mold. Unless you wash laundry more often than every 2 weeks.

Never change your vacuum-cleaner-bag in front of your child. The child will think he has free access to the vacuum-cleaner-bag whenever he wants. If the said vacuum ever malfunctions, check the said bag for complete connection. The said child may have disconnected the said bag.

Never use a glass jar of any kind for your daughter to put her fireflies in. You will lose all rights to your canning jars during your child's entire childhood because each jar will be used (and broken) all for the sake of insects.

Never plant seeds in your garden in front of your child. They may be tempted to go back to the garden later and try to find all your seeds that you buried.

Never buy sidewalk chalk and expect your kids to use the side-walk chalk ON the sidewalk. Instead, they will use it in buckets of water to make paste, as bullets in their "guns" and will throw it up in the air just to see it shatter in a million pieces when it hits the cement sidewalk.

Never teach your kids how to ride bike. They will expect you to take them on a bike ride every evening before supper for the rest of their child hood.

Never tell your child they must stay in bed until 4pm for their nap. They will lay awake staring at the clock until 4pm.

Never allow your child to play with straws in the bathtub. That way, in the event they should poop in the tub.... well, it's just better if they don't have straws.

Never allow your child to play a game on your cell phone. They will remove any phone protectant cover you have on the phone.

Never allow your child to play a game on your cell phone. They will delete your entire chat history with all your IM friends.

Never allow your child to play a game on your cell phone. They will call the police with the phone instead.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Killing Dead Flies

Our house becomes quickly infested with flies this time of year if the kitchen door is left open for any period of time. You can simply turn the door knob, slip outside, close the door and have the whole thing over in 2 seconds. In just that amount of time, an entire population of flies will have infested the kitchen for their annual family reunion.

The above scene happened recently. A divine prompting came to my dear husband's heart and he went on a wild rampage of fly killing. The floor, cupboards and counter were littered with swarms of dead flies.

Landon wandered through the kitchen shortly after and noticed the flies. The DEAD flies. He began to stomp on them with his foot and smash them with his index finger. He seemed quite pleased.

Finally he remarked, "You know, it's really easy to kill dead flies."

Yeah, it is, I thought, trying to stifle a laugh.

In his mind, the flies were still available for the kill. The battle wasn't over until the flies were out-of-site-out-of-mind. Also known as: the garbage can. They still needed a crushing blow, even if they were laying limp and motion-less on the floor.

Maybe because of his humorous outlook at "killing dead flies" or maybe because in some ways, I can relate to that experience on a more adult level, I've been thinking a lot about my cute son's innocent remark on something so obvious. Because really, What is the point of killing something dead?

Not to wax eloquent or make this into a spiritual allegory but really, how often I find myself doing the same things. I strive and work to accomplish something that's already been done. I feel pleased when I achieve at finishing an already accomplished task and I move on to do other counterproductive things similar to "killing dead flies."

I become aware of weaknesses in my life and work hard to root them out of my heart. When in reality, Christ has already conquered those things; His grace is there to replace the things I struggle with and give me victory over them instead.

I become influenced by the fear of man and strive to impress others with my ability to make them happy. When in reality, I'm only called to please God. And that is accomplished when I take my place at the foot of the cross.

I become overwhelmed with the daunting tasks of motherhood and work harder to be more joyful. More gracious. More gentle. When in reality, that is already available to me in the person of Jesus Christ.

Why do I do things like "kill dead flies?" Why do I so easily forget that all I need is Christ? Why do I misplace the reality that nothing can separate me from the love of Christ?

It's probably because I'm too busy looking for dead flies to kill that I forget to look up and realize my Father has already gone ahead and accomplished the battlefield of life before me and made a river through the desert for me.

After I explained to Landon that the flies were already killed, thanks to his own father, he got a knowing smirk on his face and continued his battle with the dead flies. It amused me to see my son take deliberate and careful aim with his finger tip and plunge his finger tip into an already dead fly. He boasted in his victory and seemed impressed he could accomplish such impossible feats, even if it was his dad that made it possible for him to do it.

In the same way, God lays already conquered things in my life and joys in the pleasure I find in claiming them as my own.

To remember that because of Him, I can find victory in the struggles in life, the weaknesses of my flesh and the tendencies to fear that I have. And to remember to see each battle before me as a mere dead fly, that's already been killed.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

When God Hands You Lemons, Smile

I had plans today. Plans to get out and do something fun. Just the kids and I. Toby had another engagement he was committed to and I thought to myself, "It's rare on a weekend when it's just the kids and I." So I thought something fun and out-of-the-ordinary was in order.

But, then my plans changed. I was left with no vehicle. "Hmmmm," I wondered. "Now what?"

I was tempted to be a tad miffed and even grumble. The temptation came to fruition and I did express my irritation ever so slightly. It seems to be the trend of my life lately... get plans, crash plans, no plans.

Inwardly, I made desperate exasperations like, "Why can't I just have a normal life? Why can't things just be predictable?? Why can't we just have a fun day?" And as I selfishly mused and grumbled in my heart on these depressing thoughts, I was convicted to think in a more logical sense.

And I came to a million-dollar answer to that age old question: What is normal life??

Normal life, as I have come to realize for myself, is when no loved one close to me is dying or has recently died. All the other little hiccups and bumps and bruises in life are really pale in comparison to what the death of a loved one can do to you.

The heart ache. The pain. The constant reality of death. The uncertainty of life. The dooming despair of another sad funeral. The quickly-emptying Kleenex boxes. The "I-don't-want-to-go-through-another-day" feeling. The despair. Death of a loved one really is one of THE worst things a person can go through. Even if the departed one is in Heaven. Goodbyes are just cruel.

As I observed my little disappointment today and the trite way I felt slighted because I had plans change once again, I thought, "Really Court, no one died; quit acting like they did."

And so the kids and I did things like sweep the porch. (Toddlers are easily entertained.) And in the process of sweeping the floor, the littlest one found a spider in the milk can. He stayed happily occupied with that for quite some time. He went on to do things like look for other bugs. Next thing I knew, he had a leash fastened to a log and he was dragging the whole contraption down the side walk. The older two played "marching band." And happily played and helped me tidy the porch.

I was pleased to find that it doesn't take a "day away from home" to make life more fun. That you don't need a vehicle to get to a fun place. That kids don't need a trip into town to feel like the day was fun. I knew all this stuff before but never really agreed with it. My bad.

It's funny how easy it is to 'make lemonade' when you right your attitude after life God hands you lemons. It gives life a normalcy feeling that is otherwise lost in the fray of change and despair. And it makes you realize that life really isn't as bad as you'd like to think it is.

Life IS uncertain. But, a smile doesn't have to be.

Friday, August 28, 2009

And The Point Is....?

I thought when I started back into blogging a few weeks ago, I would be divinely inspired with an ability to blog on a regular basis. It's funny how I base my plans on mere thoughts that hold no promise of fruition. Real funny.

So I tried to think up some blogging material. You know, something that held the slightest indication that it could make sense. Or be worth reading.

It dawned on me I could write about everything I've been doing offline around here. But, my life really isn't THAT interesting and I haven't taken pictures with my camera lately. So. No pictorial update today. Or journaled account of my life, for that matter.

(I have no idea where this blog is going just now and I can't guarantee anything that won't be mumble jumbled. You are welcome to go on to the next blog in your bloglines if you wish to do so. Feel free to check your friends' facebook status too. Or even take a walk out to your mailbox and see if there's any "snail" mail waiting for you.)

It's funny how in our day and age, we have to indicate what electronic device we used to take pictures. We also have to indicate what kind of specie-of-living-thing identifies with our mail out in THE mailbox (ie., snail.) Don't get lost with me here... let me explain...

You may notice I said in one of the paragraphs above that "I haven't taken pictures with my camera lately." That sounds like a rather redundant and pointless thing to point out. What else do you take pictures with, right? The question you should consider is, "What do you do with a camera besides to take pictures?" Because there are more devices to use to take pictures with than just a camera. And there are more devices to hold mail than just a mailbox at the end of your driveway.

The one device I'm thinking of in the "take a picture" department is an item that starts with "p" and sounds like "f." Real tricky clue, I know. When you get that word figured out, you are welcome to read on.

The mail thing I'm thinking about is something that starts with "in" and ends with "box." Why don't they just call end-of-your-driveway-mailbox-mail mail and that "inbox" mail stuff "instantmail" or"cheetamail" or "superchargedandfullofcaffiene racehorse mail" etc.? Why do we have to call good, old fashioned mailbox mail, snailmail? It's just not fair to change the name of something that's always been.

Seriously though, sometimes I wonder what kind of age of technology my kids will have when they grow older. Will there even be such a thing as a laptop computer? Will phones even slightly resemble the contemporary phones we have now? Will mailboxes only be used for yard decoration? Will the tires on our cars today be displayed in the next generation's landscaping just like those old iron wheels are displayed in our yards? Will you be able to open a door without pushing a button? What about chairs... will they still have 4 legs?

It's weird how technology, as nice and good as it is, only instills fears of uncertainty in some people. It doesn't always bring the kind of hope and change the computer engineers would like us to think there is.

Education will probably change too. Pencils and old fashioned rulers will be replaced with, well, who knows what. Kids will never learn how to read Roman Numerals. Such a shame. Especially since us adults use Roman Numerals everyday of the week, all the time, all day long. Seriously, what would we do without Roman Numerals?! And arithmetic... will kids even know that word? I have this feeling that math books will be condensed in fancy, schmancy, rigged up calculators. Which really isn't a bad idea because seriously, have YOU used algebra since you graduated from high school?

And blogging... will there even be such a thing as blogging 60 years from now? What if a person's thoughts were immediately flashed onto an electronic device and published to the entire world for all to see? What if there were no filter between a person's brain and their expression of thought? What if their fears and inner most thoughts about mail and education and cameras just spilled out in a mumbled jumbled form and any person subject to reading it had to decipher the logic behind it?

What an awful way to live that would be...

Monday, August 24, 2009

God Knows

Life's strange twists and turns seem to be overtaking at times. But, when I remember we've been sent forth as sheep in the midst of wolves, it's no wonder this ole' world can be a cruel place.

Yesterday's message in church was on being Christ's disciple and the cost that is. I've been thinking about that cost but even more so, the cost paid by the Lamb of God. As sheep we can follow a Shepherd Who Himself knew all our grief and pain. Because He Himself was the Lamb sacrificed for my sin. For your sin.

And as each pathway comes into my life, I can know without a doubt that the Great Shepherd has already gone before me and will only allow into my life what He Himself has approved.

"Everything that comes to us has already been filtered through the loving hands of our Father." (A frequent statement a dear friend shared often with me during her time on earth. After a harsh trial with cancer, she now knows the physical presence of being with her Father.)

I ran across this poem recently and thought the timing of finding it was profound...

Fear not, little flock, He goeth ahead,
your Shepherd selecteth the path you must tread;
the waters of Marah He'll sweeten for thee,
He drank all the bitter in Gethsemane.

Fear not, little flock, whatever your lot,
He enters all rooms, "the doors being shut;"
He never forsakes; He never is gone,
So count on His presence in darkness and dawn.

-Paul Radar

Friday, August 21, 2009

Seasons Of Life

People talk about "seasons of life" and the way they talk, it almost seems like "seasons" only change once in awhile. But, I have come to realize that life with Alex and his two older siblings, provides many opportunities for the seasons in life to change repeatedly. Time after time. Over and over. In one day.

For instance, the day he impressed us all with his amazing abilities to survive the incredible day he seemed to have planned out well for himself, was only a fraction of the true intellect of his 23 month old brain.

Since that amazing day, he has continued to throw himself whole-heartily into the goodness that life is for a one-year-old graduating to become a two-year-old.

Forks, knives and running out the front door are three of the main things he indulges in frequently. But then, it didn't help when the front of our glass stove exploded into a million shards of glass and Alex discovered the wonderful fun that can be found by digging tiny pieces of glass out of hard to reach places. He retrieved enough of a handful that he was able to tinkle them into a large, glass jar. The sound it created was delicately delightful and he was impressed with his exploration.

This all happened in the course of time it took for Alex's mother to use the bathroom. Alex knows how to use his time wisely and the course of action he takes at a moment's notice puts even the most brave Navy SEAL to shame.

So much so that after the glass incident, I looked up from the creative musical mess my son had made with tinkling glass and I saw the hand writing on my dining room wall. It said, "People who survive the age of two, have a much better chance at living."

But I blinked, the writing disappeared and I was suddenly alerted to a new and exciting dilemma going on out in the driveway. It involved two adventurous children aiding and abetting two illegal piles of sharp tinkling glass. Glass identical to the fugitive glass Alex was attending.

Since this time, I have decided to avoid using the bathroom as that seems to only create easily-given-into-temptations and as a good mother, I have decided that my children need...

5-5-09 10:37 pm


Just like that, the blog ends there. I have no idea how the author planned to finish it. Perhaps she needed to go save a life again that day. Or maybe those kids found more broken glass. Some things in life we'll never know, I guess.

I found this piece of drafted blog in my draft bin and decided to brush it off and attempt to polish it up. It's hard to polish up something that's been sitting in the bottom of a stale blog bin for over two months though.

Episodes described in the above story are common occurrences of my day. Each day is a life changing saving event. And we still end up with bumps and bruises and blood. It's a wonder anyone survives.

But yet, I have an inkling of a feeling that this season of life we're in now, will only last for a short time. Kids grow up and get old! The nerve of them... And instead of worrying about them playing with broken glass, parents worry about much bigger things like, um, you know, dangerous stuff like matches or... um, (that doesn't sound very scary)... Well, just fill in the blank with something really scary.

Or maybe parents grow old and worry about their kids who grew old and now play with small children that play with broken glass? Now that's something to worry about right there.

No wonder my parents have graying hair. Man! I hope my grand kids treat their parents better than my parents grand kids treat these parents.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Subway Experience

I have undocumented proof that Subway Sandwich Servers must take a "Make-Customer-Service-Not-Your-Forte" class. Across the United States of America, this great land we live in, I have had the occasion to visit all most of the Subways along I-80. And across the board land, they all have the. exact. same. customer. service. rating in my book.

First of all, the way they look at you abruptly with plastic-gloved-hands-hanging in mid air while asking you, "What kind of sandwich do you want?" And of course, since they're making you feel obligated to answer quickly by holding their arm out with a hand extended towards the bread shelf, you start stuttering and mumbling wondering what kind of sandwich you do actually want. All the while pitying their extended arm that is sure to get a cramp in it.

In your mind you can just SEE their foot tapping anxiously on the floor.

So, you say, "Uh, um, the, um, yeah, ah, what kind of bread do you have?"

And they look at you with this shocked look on their face and answer you as if you've never been to a Subway before in your life. With a quick tongue, they roll off a bunch of words and you hear something about Italian and oatmeal and flat bread and herbs.

So you pick a bread, like wheat or white since that's the only kind you know off the top of your head, and they happen to grab it abruptly from it's nestled little bread shelf and hack into it with a huge knife. And then they stare at you again.

You don't know if you should ask them how they're day is going, how long they've worked at Subway, if they like working at Subway, if they ever feel like their hands get too sweaty with the gloves on, what town they're from, etc. Before you have a chance to engage in any friendly conversation, they ask what you'd like on your sandwich with this lets-get-down-to-business air about them.

You start to answer but then realize that there's a whole butcher shop of meat organized neatly in all those little tin containers so you ask politely what kind of meat they have.

They look at you like you've never in your life even heard of Subway.

So you pick a meat and then they wonder if you want cheese. Of course you want cheese but they have to know what kind of cheese you want. You say the name of one of the cheeses they listed off to you and then they slide your sandwich quickly down to the veggie side of the sandwich bar and head back to intimidate help the next customer.

The Subway Veggie Specialist asks you what you want on your sandwich. And since you heard a customer ahead of you say "everything but the..." you decided to try that answer.

So with a ready answer you say, "Everything but the..." and before you can say what thing you do NOT want, the Subway Veggie Specialist happens to grab a very generous handful of the very thing you do NOT want on your sandwich before you can even say "lettuce."

You find your heart beating faster, your palms getting sweaty and your voice getting weak. With all the strength you can muster, you squeak, "No, um, ah... everyth--ah, not the lettuce though."

As you look at the veggies neatly housed in each tin container, you recognize a few other things you wouldn't like so you name off a handful of ingredients you do NOT want on your sandwich. You just know your Subway Veggie Specialist is thinking in the back of her mind, "Didn't I hear you say 'everything'?"

A squirt of oil and vinegar and a couple shakes of salt and pepper and your sandwich is swaddled up in a nice, crisp sandwich paper and with that, slid into a bag. You remark to yourself that you never thought to put salt and pepper on a cold meat sandwich at home, maybe you should try it.

And then comes the bill. You have no clue how they tally up your order or decide how much you should pay to have that kind of sandwich but you did notice the $4-foot-long advertisements in the window. At Pizza Parlors, you normally pay to have each kind of topping put on your pizza but at Subway, you hope the same rule doesn't apply. Because remember? You did say "everything on it."

When your two 6" sandwiches and half a dozen cookies and two little bags of chips comes to close to $14, you decide that maybe trying a little salt and pepper on your cold meat sandwiches at home would actually save you money.

And the feeling of intimidation.

Monday, August 17, 2009

On Hard Heads, Hard Cement and Hard Days

It's one of those days where it's four in the afternoon and caramel syrup is sloppily trailing down the side of my coffee cup. And I don't care. I lick my fingers and wipe them on my lap before tapping on the keyboard. I rarely have caramel syrup with my coffee and I rarely have coffee at four in the afternoon and caramel syrup rarely trails down the side of my cup after it explodes it's self all over the vicinity of my cup when I attempt to just take a little bit. But, some days just don't go the way of calmness and collectiveness. It's on those kinds of days you need caffeine and caramel. At least I do.

Today started out pretty sweet. I had the house to myself after my most amazing, dashing, handsome good husband (he hates when I gush like that) left for work with our charming little son. I actually drank a civilized cup of coffee for about an hour and read my Bible and was encouraged and enlightened in several Psalms and Proverbs. It's been years since I read the Proverb for the day so found it inspiring to pick it up again.

After that, I actually showered in a very civilized manner and of all things even fixed my hair. Our bed was made, the house was presentable and then the kids started waking up. Even then, things seemed calm and collected. I felt a twinge of illness though - like slight nausea - but chalked it up to my vitamins that I had been godly smart enough to take earlier.

Things went fine until I gave Alex watermelon for breakfast.

Watermelon is a nutritional way to start the day and I made no apologies for it at all. Except for the seeds that were in the "seeded" watermelon. I showed Al Baby where to put his seeds on his tray (in a nifty little cup holder) and then went on to do something else.

I made a few phone calls and while trying to carry on a civilized conversation, I motioned for Janae to turn the music down in the kitchen. A lively choir of children were making a joyful noise over on the CD player and I waved my hand indicating the volume needed to be lowered. She batted at something in the air with a smirk on her face and continued singing right along.

I got off the phone and I asked if she knows what I mean when I wave my hand at her like I did when I was on the phone. She admitted she did; that I meant turn it down but then she said, "But I told you Mom to just go to the other room."

Nausea continued to wave over me and I wondered about that little box you get in the pharmacy section at the store that basically tells you if your life is drastically changing or not. I quickly pushed the thought out when I came back to Alex and found that the only watermelon seeds in the cup holder were the ones I put there and the rest were in an even layer across the floor surrounding the high chair.

Way to go, Alex. He's got the spitting-seeds-talent down, that's for sure.

Next, I washed him up (which was no small feat) and sent him out the back door with Janae. By this time, I had full fledged nausea and began to see visions of another seed spitting adorable little Nelson child. After cleaning up the seeds that had been planted all over the dining room carpet (whoever started the carpet-in-dining-rooms phase should have a class action law suit against them), I looked out the window to check on my healthy and rambunctious kids. They were playing quite nicely until I really looked out the window and got a better look at what they were doing and realized the situation was not good.

See, just the other day, I had neatly re-arranged all the landscaping bricks to perfectly line the edge of the wood chip part of our yard. The bricks had all been trampled and over turned thanks to small people and animals. So, I trimmed the yard up and fixed the bricks and was glad to have the yard back in place again.

The same thing happened again this morning -- the bricks were all over-turned and messed up.

The culprits were pleased though; the effort to over-turn each brick had produced an impressive sized cricket and that very same cricket was cupped carefully in a little hand and brought into my the house and placed in a nice, clean jar.

I sent the little culprits back out to put the bricks back and assured them I would not hurt the cricket.

Knowing nausea can be caused by taking vitamins on an empty stomach (check), being exposed to the flu (check), and is also the sign of early pregnancy (?), I decided to do something about the predicament and test accordingly. I can't take a test to prove that the vitamins in my stomach are indeed the cause nor can I take an at-home test to show if my immune system is fighting off a bug. But, I CAN take a pregnancy test.

So I did.

While waiting for the test results to see if I passed or not, I looked outside to check on the progress of the re-landscaping-brick-project. It was quite impressive.

"Mommy, we're building a sand castle," Janae informed me as I looked on in shock to see all the bricks were in a neat stack about 10 feet from where the majority of them needed to go. A nice, tall wall was just being finished up with Alex being the chief builder and I watched in horror as he hoisted a brick a good foot-and-a-half off the ground and at the top of the teetering "sand castle." I cringed when I noticed his helpless bare feet were within a straight-gravity-influenced-bulls-eye-shot of the brick.

I redirected Janae and went back to the bathroom to check on the test results. Envisioning an overwhelming herd of small brick layers taking over our suburbia back yard, I was quite relieved to see a single, solitary line indicating that our family has only one brick layer/landscape-project-demolish-er. At least at this point.

Another trek out the back door lead me to find the bricks in a pile. An it-looks-like-a-tornado-just-went-through looking pile.

I again redirected Janae and learned it was quite impossible for her to finish the job she started. Even though she could over-turn each brick, she was quite incapable of putting each brick back in it's place. And even though she could carry the bricks several feet in order to build a meticulous sand castle, she was quite incapable of carrying them back again and putting them in a straight line on the ground.

You see, she was hot. And then she needed a drink. And then she needed her coat. And then her feet hurt. And then she couldn't pick the bricks up. And then she needed to go to the bathroom. And then she needed to eat lunch. And then she wanted to pick tomatoes. And then she thought Alex should help her. And then she decided to throw wood chips instead.

I consistently re-directed her motives and got her to realize that she absolutely had to pick each brick up and put it back. She resisted until I told her she'd have no lunch all day if she didn't get her bricks put back.

Within minutes, she had the job completed. I was impressed and coveting 2 lines on that pregnancy test I took earlier. Which would of course indicate the potential of another partner in crime life-long friend for Janae. With behaviour like this, she deserves a sister, I thought to myself.

After that, things didn't seem quite as monumental as the brick episode did. It's funny how big issues like an entire landscaping project uprooted by your four-year-old, helps put all of life into perspective.

Janae's cricket did attempt to bite half her hand off just before it got loose in the house. I had no idea crickets could bite. Until today. That was quite exciting because she wouldn't let go of it and screamed her head off while it was biting her. I had to use half a roll of toilet paper just to grab it because I. can't. stand. the. way. bugs. feel. when. you. touch. them.

Then, an un-named child succeeded in damaging the bathroom sink drain so bad when they washed their hands from the cricket goop, there is absolutely no way water will drain from the sink. Probably ever again. I'm hoping this means we need a whole new vanity, sink, faucet and medicine cabinet now.

While swinging on the porch swing a little while later, I watched Alex out of the corner of my eye while he flipped over the back of the swing. I turned to look just in time to see the top of his cute little head, land soundly on the cement floor just under the porch swing. It was a very slow motion-ish event and turned out to be a pretty emotional moment. No one has ever done this on our swing before so I'm wondering where he got the idea from.

After that, we came inside and while I gave cooking instructions over the phone to one of my stay-at-home-mom colleagues, a shattering crash shook the house. I inspected it immediately and upon investigation found that for reasons beyond what human reasoning can compute, a cord to a little lamp sitting in the corner of the dining room had amazingly wrapped itself around a chair leg. When the chair was moved, as is oft to happen to a chair at the dining room table, the lamp crashed to the floor. And voila! it broke the glass shade. Just like that.

A guilty child, who shall remain nameless for now, expressed audibly that they really did need that chair and they said it in a tone that basically confirmed they really didn't care about the lamp. The now shattered-with-glass-pieces-in-the-carpet lamp.

I happened to talk to my husband right around that time, you know, the father of all these healthy little children, and I informed him that if he came home to a telephone number on the dining room table tonight, it was the number to the daycare I took the kids too. He just said, "Okay, sounds good Honey! Gotta run!"

Shortly after that, Janae helped herself and Alex to the bottle of vitamins in the fridge. She seems to have taken hers and Alex's health in her own hands and I guess they'll be good and healthy for sure now.

As I was changing Alex's diaper before nap time awhile later, his clean diaper completely disappeared.

"I put it in my trash can," Janae said with a smirk on her face as she saw me frantically tear around the house looking for one of the THE very last diapers we have in the house right now.

With that, I plopped the two of them in their beds and went upstairs to take a break vacuum fleas. A lit candle, a cleaned up house and reclining on the couch all make me think that I just may still be part of the civilized breed of occupants in this house. Even if I do have sticky fingers from my out-of-ordinary cup of coffee on what I hope will always be an out-of-ordinary kind of day.

But, what really did me in was the fact that just as I'm completing this blog, Janae woke up from her nap a little too soon. Soon as in, only-an-hour-long-nap type of soon. After eating her snack of buttered raisin bread, she found my Blackberry, attempted to delete my call log and succeeded at putting buttered fingers between my phone glove and my phone.

"Janae, don't touch Mommy's phone!" I wailed as I wiped smeared butter off the little Blackberry keys, "It costs a lot of money!"

To which she replied, "No, phones don't cost lots of money; only houses do."

She went on to say, "Then, don't put your phone where I can touch it," in an attempt to excuse her disobedience. She then wandered off and scraped the paint off the built-in hutch in our dining room with her bare finger.

I sigh and and wonder where the paint can is so I can patch the white scrape on the hutch. Of course I was planning on painting today, right? And I muse to myself, while she stands here giving me all the reasons why she really needs a sucker, that the test I took earlier actually could've had two lines.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

About That Facelift...

Just so you privileged readers (or other such blog reader support-ers) know that you should come directly to my blog at

I would hate for all my hard work to go un-appreciated, if you know what I mean.

Friday, August 14, 2009

On The Frontline with Fleas

I know it's rare that I blog anymore so it's probably rare that anyone reads my blog anymore. It's probably better this way because there's a topic on my mind that I think I'd probably like few people to know about.

So why blog about it for all the world to see, right? The only excuse reason I can come up with is because it's therapy for me. Seriously. It beats having to pay my therapist this week.

You see, I am blessed to live in a wonderful country. America's my home and for that I'm grateful. The city I live in is a cute, little country-farm-folk-mid-western town with a cobblestone street right down the middle of town. The lawns are well cared for. No gangs roam the streets. Mangy dogs are unheard of. The neighbors are kind, thoughtful and considerate. Everyone keeps our town looking modern and civilized.

We have electricity, running water, carpeted homes, dishwashers, wash machines and freezers. We have indoor kitchens complete with a refrigerator and some of our sinks even have a garbage disposal. We have air conditioned homes and vehicles and a reliable heat source in the winter. We lack nothing when it comes to civilization standards and nothing in our town reflects anything close to a third-world-country-type issue.

Basically, we appear to lead a clean, sterile, modern life. It's all so perfect.

But, despite living in our nostalgic little town with all of our modern conveniences, the house on our street that we call home inhabits an infestation. A horrible infestation.

It's so bad, we find them in our beds, our carpets, our furniture. We finally put a bounty on them and anyone willing to catch one and drown it, gets a penny. One hunt will get you over $0.65, easy.

You can stand in different places of our house and feel like your standing in popcorn. Or feel like sand is being thrown at your feet. The infestation thunders your skin with it's existence and you feel like a giant, living pin cushion. Or like a lab specimen that gets it's blood drawn on a constant basis. You feel like the lively hood of an entire population of something sub-human.

You itch constantly. You fidget consistently. You can't stand to be in your house. You know, that place you call home.

The infestation I'm referring to is called, fleas.

So. We decided to exterminate the fleas and get "flea foggers." We planned the day accordingly, arranged the house just so in order to fully utilize the foggers and we followed the instructions carefully. You have to keep your house sealed up for 2 hours while the foggers fatally fog the flea's family farm's factory and facilities.

The fleas only got worse. They upped flea larvae. They increased flea bites. They attacked the victims of this house with even greater vengeance.

So. We decided to exterminate the fleas and get stronger "flea foggers." The kind of foggers where you seal the house for 4 hours instead of 2. And you set 8 off at once instead of just 2.

I stripped all the beds and piled the bedding in the middle of the living room. I collected all the throw rugs and piled them on the bedding in the middle of the living room. I gathered chair pads and throw blankets and piled them on the rugs piled on the bedding in the middle of the living room. I picked up any fabric-type object under the beds that could possible be a flea factory and piled it on the chair pads and throw blankets piled on the rugs piled on the bedding in the middle of the living room.

There was an Eiffel tower sized pile in the middle of the living room.

It was a big job collecting all that stuff, cleaning out under beds, moving furniture to get to hard-to-reach places and I was tempted to give up because it felt so futile. And exhausting. And pointless.

But, then another flea would bite my ankle and I'd remember once again why I was on this mission.

Before you start on a flea raid, I found that it helps to do something like fix your hair or put on a cute skirt or spray some perfume because you'll then feel at least half civilized.

With a vengeance we attacked the fleas. 8 bombs went off at once and we fled our house for several hours. We patronized a local laundromat and activated 17 loads of laundry. We folded it all and neatly piled it in laundry baskets. And in random stacks around the van.

Upon arriving home, we aired our house out, like the directions said, before bringing the kids back in. While opening windows in the few short minutes I was in the house, a words-can't-describe-how-terrible-he-is flea bit my foot. The fleas are undaunted!

After the house aired out, Toby and I meticulously vacuumed all the rugs and carpets, steps, mattresses, cushions, nooks, crannies, you name it. Fleas continued to bite. We carefully made the beds with only the bare necessity blankets (I have a thing for a pile of blankets on a bed) and bagged up the rest of the blankets and quilts in large plastic garbage bags.

The fleas continued to bite.

To this day, they have only worsened. If I go on a blog strike again, don't take it lightly. Maybe give me a call or text or email or something just to make sure we haven't been taken hostage. Or carried off as war refugees.

Nothing would surprise me, really. These fleas are possessed and certainly the cause of our sure demise. I'm ready to put a for-sale sign up and sell our house as a scientific lab to some poor college student who is researching the evolving species called, the flea. Or maybe just send a notice to the city clerk that our house should be condemned. Not sure the city clerk would care to know but at least I'd feel better informing someone that our home has become a flea bag and we're the unlucky victims that get to live in it. And the city clerk does sound like an official sounding name for an official sounding person.

So. With that, our therapy appointment has ended. Come back soon for another life changing account of this far-fetched-flea-fairytale. The festivities are sure to continue.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

My Blogging Debut

So, I decided to make a come back. You know, a come back to the blogging world. I have nothing to blog about today but since I do have a blog, then certainly I'm entitled to blog about whatever I want. Even if it means to blog about nothing.

My brain is like a wilted flower that got too much rain and then stood in the sun for too many days without rain until it got completely dry and then was suddenly watered on by a dog. Just kind of limp and burned out and wilty. If you don't know what that looks like, plant a flower, over water it for 6 days and then set it on the picnic table to dry out in the sun. When it's dry, set what's left of the flower out in the middle of the yard and just wait for a willing neighbor dog. Take a picture and tag it with my name. Now you have an idea.

There's no reason why I'd have to look like this either. Or feel like this. I mean, we did only have a nasty cold for a week and if Toby wasn't getting me up during the night to mumble at me in some strange language, Janae was trying to slip into MY side of the bed for a middle-of-the-night snuggle. Not to mention the fact that my normal eleven-o-clock-bedtime was rudely switched to 2am. I know; my bad.

But that cold was sure a doozy. We all had it but my dear Toby had it the worst. He didn't take too well to my doctoring abilities since I also was under the weather and seemed to fail to remember any type of effective cold treatment. I caught him guzzling cough and cold syrup right out of the bottle one day and soundly scolded effectively reasoned with him as to the anti-health benefits of such practice.

When my head cleared a bit, a faint memory of something called Bite A Man Sea flashed a merry tune in my head. I kept hitting my forehead trying to remember why I was experiencing Deja vu all over again when it dawned on me that the memory stick in my brain was a little coated with snot cold drainage and I was hearing the message unclearly. So, I de-coded the message and sounded out "Vitamin C!" I took that as a sign that I should give Toby some vitamin C. And I continued to do so until the promptings ceased.

The kids fared pretty well. They all got sick a few days before their parents did so when we were at our sickest, the kids by that time were back to feeling pretty perky. Real perky. Like, poop-all-over-the-house perky. Of course it would figure that I'd get a phone call at the same time, have a text to respond to on another phone and find out right then that my husband was leaving for the rest of the morning. I've tried to space out such abnormal happenings in my day but it never works. It's like the phone call just can't wait for the poop to get cleaned up and my text blocker just doesn't activate automatically when it's obvious I'm doing 23 other things right then.

Sunday rolled around and we were desperate for social interaction. You know, like church or something. Of course, hacking and sniffing and blowing snot everywhere wasn't a very presentable way to go to church so we decided that just getting out of the house would be the best idea.

We went to the lake and got a good dose of sun, 'presh air' (as Landon calls it) and water. We caught a couple dozen little fish because Toby accidentally dropped his line into a school of fish. I didn't know fish went to school on Sunday. Come to think of it, maybe they were having church...

Apparentely the preacher was preaching on the dangers of hooks with worms. Or maybe it was a teacher teaching the class on what to look for in a worm. Either way, Toby was an excellent assistant and aided the preacher/teacher in teaching the church/school the dangers of fishermen. The preacher/teacher used that time to inocculate the audience/class to the wilds of a baited hook and since each one of the parishoners/students were too young for the frying pan, the preacher/teacher was confident they would learn their lesson AND gain permanent freedom. So now there's an entire church/school of fish in a lake in Nebraska that will never bring joy to a fisherman's heart thanks to the hands-on, life-lessons they learned that day.

We played "catch and release" for an hour or so and the kids were thrilled with each little fish they pulled out of the water. I did the honors of pulling the hook out of the fish's mouth and was pleased with my abilities to handle live fish, bloody worms and staring at fish tonsils over and over. While I did that, Toby was casting in another line and setting the next kid up for their fishing experience. The four of us had a regular system down while Alex ate sunscreen fresh out of the tube. He's a little over cautious about the effect of a sunburn on his tongue.

My late grandpa, who was an avid fisherman, would be impressed with my fishing skills. I owe all my luck talent to him. I think it's genetic because nothing in me enjoys pulling sharp objects out of paper thin lips and reaching my fingers into toothless mouths of living things while they stare at me with huge, beady eyes. But when it comes to casting the line in, well, we just won't go there yet. (My Grandpa would NOT be impressed...)

The wind was blowing pretty strong that day (welcome to Nebraska) and there were hundreds several speed boats on the lake. That combination made for some pretty impressive waves. Bear in mind that I've never been to the ocean so it doesn't take much to impress me when it comes to waves. Even my bathtub can produce some pretty sweet waves.

The combination of the beautiful day (it wasn't too hot), the sound of the waves, the 'presh air' and the nice time to just be out together like one little happy family on a lake, made for a peaceful and relaxing day.

Not to mention that subconsiously it created many blogging moments. Which gave me a ticket back into the blogging world. Which is a good thing since how can a blogger have a blog if they never blog like a blogger should?

"I'm back," said the little fish as he swam swiftly from the treacherous shore. Never mind there's a hole in his lip and his scales are a little messed up; he's off the hook and no longer a fish-out-of-water. He's happy to dive right back into the life he loves.

And so am I.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Watch Out....

A face lift can only mean one thing, right?

Stay tuned because I have a hunch the blogger is back!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Repost: God is Good

I originally posted the following on February 3, 2009 but I believe it to be a true depiction of my thoughts these days. Someone who will always remain close to my heart was diagnosed with Stage 4 Bone Cancer. She has weeks to live.

She is nearing the time of her departure, unless God works a miracle to keep her on this earth a little longer. But her reward in heaven is great. If it hadn't been for this dear soul, I would not be a believer in Christ. I feel I owe a level of gratitude nothing on earth can compare to. And that's one more reason I look forward to seeing her in heaven one day.

I grieve but not as one who has no hope. I grieve for her children, her husband, her young grand child, her pain. But I hope in the promise of eternal life. May God comfort their hearts and restore their pain with peace...


It's one of those subjects most of us avoid talking about. It makes us uncomfortable. Uneasy. Sometimes fearful. The unknown of what our future holds is too heavy to think about.

But death is just part of life, really.

It's ironic how death can effect you even if you or none of your loved ones die. It can be a story told to you by a friend. An article in the newspaper. A glance at the obituaries.

What always gets me are the "untimely" deaths as we seem to classify any death that happens before age 75. And we stumble around, grappling in the reality of the cruelty of death and ask, "Why God?"

While observing the most tragic story I have ever heard, I kept stuttering those 2 little words... "Why God?" And then it dawned on me as I reflected on the brevity of life, the cruelty of death and the utter desire for destruction that the Evil One has for each one of us, God is not the author of confusion. He does not find joy in tormenting our lives with sorrow. He is not even capable of filling our lives with sorrow. He is a God of good.

In the beginning of time, God gave man free choice. We have the right to choose what we like. What we don't like. What we want. What we don't want. He made a point of proving that we have such a free choice in life when He sent His Son to earth and let us decide what we wanted to do with the Jesus of Nazareth.

And in the process of time, we took the very life of Jesus and wrenched every drop of blood from His body to prove that we were in control. That even God's own Son could not reconcile our vile hearts to the God of Love. And God let us.

What we didn't realize was that every drop of blood that was spent, did not drop into a forgotten vortex of time and eternity. It was collected and saved for the remission of our sins so that even while we were dead in our hearts towards the love of God, that love was still attainable through the very Son we destroyed. That blood was collected for me. For you.

All we had to do was take it in repentance and forgiveness of sin.

But yet we live in a fallen world. We have free choices. We decide our eternal fate. We decide what we will do with that Jesus of Nazareth. And God wills it that way because He gave us that choice.

That choice came when sin entered the world. When the Evil One told the first woman in history that she could be like God if she just disobeyed His one simple command, man then became like God. Since that day, we see the destruction of evil and we see the glory of good. Not to the extent that God does but close enough to understand that God obviously had the greater knowledge of such matters to begin with. We have regretted everyday since that desire to be like God. To know like God. To see like God. We can't handle the reality of cruelty. Of death. Of pain. Of loss.

We are human. We lack the infinite ability of thinking powers that move us on from today. That give us a glimpse into the future. We work to put food on our tables just for today. We work to bring up the stock market. We work to avoid the probability of death. Of grief. Of pain. But, God's work involves an eternal life that far expands a drop of the drop of the tiniest droplet in the expansive bucket of time.

In God's world, time has no end. In our world, time is everything. And when time ends for a living soul on earth, death has won. We can't contemplate the cruelty of separation. Of loss. Of grief so sharp that even taking a breath of air is an effort beyond a natural ability to just breathe.
Then we ask, "Why God?"

And God sits on His throne comforting broken hearts and grieving for the loss of our joy and wishing we could understand as He does. To understand that when sin came into the world, our free will forced the process of life and death. That pain and suffering was not His plan. That God did not make man to be alone.

Satan is the prince and the power of the air. Yet God is the life that lives within us.... "... And God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." Just like we forced the very life out of God's Son and assumed we had finally conquered a power greater than us, so Satan moves to destroy our physical lives in hopes of conquering a power greater than himself. He is the accuser of the brethren. The crux of all evil. The end of all good. His motive is to condemn, break down and destroy.

The capability of God to protect and defend us is often confined to the eternal soul. God promised us everlasting life and that life is beyond the kingdom of this world. And He protects and keeps our hearts for His kingdom. His power. His glory. Life on earth is a passage to Heaven and God's will is that none would perish but that all would have eternal life. We don't live in eternal life until we soar beyond the confines of human flesh and blood.

The blessing of love. The companionship of marriage. The beauty of life manifested in the birth of a child are all the goodness of God that can still be enjoyed in a sin-fallen world. They give us a taste of perfection and what our bodies were created for: eternal life.

But, we will never understand death while we still live. Death is a comprehension of knowledge beyond the human brain of our understanding. We were not designed to know death. To experience death. To see death. To cause death. Man is a "living soul" and God's design made it that way. We can not embrace death because nothing within us can welcome the shards of pain that death is.

The fact that death hurts is because we are not inoculated to it's powers. It was never intended to be understood but because of our free choice over the process of time, we have all experienced death in some way. Whether through a family member or a close friend or a spouse, death has visited each one of us.

When the "Why God" questions crowd our minds, the reality that God does not design sorrow and does not thrive in our grief should be ever present on our mind. Considering we live in such a sin-sick and fallen world, we should ask "Why God?" when we close our eyes at night in the arms of our lover. When we go to sleep knowing that all is well in the world we live in and the circle of people we inhabit.

But, since we think it's normal to experience complete goodness, we don't notice the luxuries of life like health and safety and the love of a life-long spouse. Why? Because God created us to live, to be, to desire, to have everything good.

And death is not a part He originally created us to have in His perfect blue-print of creation. Because death is cruel. Death hurts. Death separates. Death destroys. Death is the epitome of evil. It is the opposite of good.

We will never understand the purpose and planning of death. Why? Because only God has conquered death. Because God is only good.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


If I could, I would take a class that would give me an education on the #1 important ingredient to life, health and the pursuit of happiness. And that ingredient I would learn would be called:


My highly educated teacher would lecture on the following statement:

"We all realize that there are more than just ONE important ingredient to life just like there's more than one important ingredient in chocolate chip cookies. Take flour for example... flour is usually the first ingredient listed on the recipe requirements for cookies. We all know that. Another important addition is baking soda because it's vital to the leaven needed to produce a slight raise in the structure of the cookie itself. The chemistry the baking soda produces causes the cookie to manufacture fibers in which it raises at a certain temperature and then conforms and holds to the shape it grew to. We also need sugar. Sugar appeals to the taste buds and takes the cookie out of the "health food" category and puts the cookie in a "dessert food" category. This is important to the life and welfare of the cookie because how many meals in our country today automatically offer a "health menu" at the end of the entree? None. But you will find a "dessert menu" offered at most diners today. This is important to the production and consumption of each individual cookie destined to be created. But chocolate... chocolate is vital to the purpose, the value and the final completion of the chocolate chip cookie. What would the blend of flour and baking soda and sugar be without chocolate chips? It would be a lump of flour, baking soda and sugar. This is proof we need chocolate, students."

Of course, the point of the professor would be understood by all and it would so obviously apply to the topic in our class that day: Flexibility. It would also apply to any student studying how to become a professional chocolate chip cookie maker. And it would appeal to the general public that insists on funding the production and education of good chocolate. It would be a great class to take because so many people with so many different educational pursuits, could benefit from such a knowledgeable professor.

The tests I'd take after that class would reflect my understanding of the concept of Flexibility through the professor's thorough presentation and I would probably pass the test with flying colors... like a parrot passes by high in the sky.

My education of this would give me strong beliefs that being flexible should effect our everyday life like the h2O we drink effects our general health. Without flexibility, we will never learn how to bend over backwards. And we all know how handy it is to bend over backwards when we need to reach the floor behind us without turning around

Flexibility will influence the following:

How and when we look at freedom... "Do I need this shower or am I just looking for a break?"

How and why we look at fat... "Do I need to lose weight or do I just not like the way my stomach bulges and folds and hangs over my waistline."

How and where we look for fun... "Is there true purpose in an expensive vacation or do I just not like getting the mail everyday?"

How and what we call our favorite... "Am I eating this ice cream because I like it or is it truly my favorite?"

These and other attributes play into how we're flexible.

When we're flexible, we eat ice cream because we need a break and can't find the bathroom under the pile of toilet paper the two year old piled in the toilet.

When we're flexible, we walk to the mailbox every week or two so we can check the "in a weekly exercise program" box on the doctor's form.

When we're flexible, we enjoy noticing the way fat clings to our bodies like a school of jelly fish because it helps take our mind off the beach side vacation we'd really like to go on.

When we're flexible, we enjoy being cooped up for days in our house with sick kids because we embrace the slogan, "Freedom is never free."

Flexibility lends itself in many different ways to our perspectives, our entertainment views, our attitudes and our over all mental health.

Like when your daughter comes gasping and banging and pounding on the door, hardly able to catch her breath so she can scream hysterically tenderly call for her mother. And you get to the door and you find her wildly hopping on her feet like she's painfully jumping on hot coals. You notice she's gasping and huffing like something horrible is happening and you realize she's possibly getting her feet chopped off. And so you ask her what's going on in her young little life as she bounces energetically in a six foot circle on the cement porch floor. And you ask with concern in your voice because you care for her well being and you want her to know that you really do think she's a normal child. You articulate your question carefully as if an acting-out-of-her-mind-child would be able to answer your question sanely because you enunciated the 't' in "WHAT HAPPENED."

And she replies in a breathy way, like a jogger sounds when they're jogging, "H-h-h-h I h-h-h-h-h-h h-h-h-h-hurt h-h-h-h-h-h-h my-hhh-h-h-h fo-h-h-ooo-h-h-ttt h-h-h-h-h." (translated: I hurt my foot.)

You observe her with a keen eye and notice that the foot she's huffing about would have to include at least one of the two feet she's bouncing wildly on.

Because you forgot that stand up comedy usually has some form of sense and sanity to it, and you really don't want to go crazy from all the excitement your children cause in your life, you find yourself laughing hysterically that your child would choose to express her pain in such an energetic and healthy way. While using the banged up, chopped off foot to propel her into the air.
Flexibility gives you the ability to accept the comedy of the situation as you turn to go back inside the house while your banged-up-foot-child bounces off the porch and down the steps, nursing what she believes to be a badly hurt foot. While jumping on it.

Flexibility forces you to see the obvious when all you notice is everything that's not there. Like when your son drills you about the moon as if he thinks you're some scientist or something. He begins a breathless string of questions on if the moon could crush the house and what would happen if you shot the moon and does the moon roll and how does the moon just stay up in the sky and does it just 'stick' there and how big is the moon and can you shoot the moon, can you?

Flexibility helps you see that your child is not a mad scientist even if he has every indication of becoming one.

Flexibility helps you understand the deep and vast brain behind the erratic and usually irrelevant questions.

Flexibility helps you embrace the opportunity of gazing lovingly into the pool of dark brown eyes that look up to you and sincerely believe with all their heart that you, of all people, are the wealth of knowledge they've been searching for all of their 5 little years of life.

Flexibility is such a great tool to carry through life and something everyone should get a PHD on. An education in Flexibility would give great resume references because everyone would want to hire the Flexibility person.

But, I would learn that Flexibility forces you to understand that you will probably never be able to take a class on Flexibility because there is no class out there devoted primarily to the topic of Flexibility. Flexibility is just too hard to teach. Frankly, flexibility does not fit in a box or a text book. It's just too flexible to do so.

But by accepting this hard, cruel fact, I am proving my understanding of Flexibility.

And I'm flexible enough to accept that I will never get an education on the #1 important ingredient for life: Flexibility.