Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Few Unrelated Things

1. I have five friend requests hanging over my head at Facebook. Please tell me I'm not the only person who can't decide what to do about these things. Everything else I feel comfortable ignoring (farms, mafias, zoos, quizzes, "causes", etc.) But people actually have to put themselves out there to request friendship. And I feel mean when I say no.

Even though I pretty much want to say no to all of the aforementioned friend requests. If we were friends, I would have confirmed it immediately, right?

2. Sweet Pea seems to be more accepting of the whole "new baby" concept now. In her Sunday School class a couple weeks ago all the little girls in the class had new babies coming. Sweet Pea doesn't like to be left out of anything. So she proudly declared we have a new baby too. (Good thing it's true!)

Yesterday while we were driving home from a quick shopping trip (no, the bathroom isn't quite finished yet) Sweet Pea asked us, "So, does this baby have a name?" Answer: not yet. She took it in stride, smugly pointing out, "I have a name."

3. Fen finally had his first tooth poke through. And he nibbled on my hand to show it to me. When I thought he was asleep beside me. Ouch!

4. I need to finish this rambling post because it's time to get the girls up and also time for the Dave Ramsey show. We listen to a lot of Dave around here. The other day Polly was riding in the car with me and listening to the show. After listening to a long hard luck story from a caller (long, long, long) and while waiting to hear what Dave would say once the guy stopped talking, Polly astutely observed, "I don't think Dave is going to say what this man wants him to say." And she was absolutely right.

Now when Tigger wants to get a rise out of Polly, Tigger starts talking about all the credit cards and debt she wants to have when she grows up. Polly is suitably horrified but Tigger confided to me, "I'm just kidding. Debt is bad."

I was glad to hear it. You never know with Tigger.

Friday, March 26, 2010

A Challenging Week

Our church is having revival meetings this week so we've been a bit busier than usual. The services are going well - as far as I can tell - and the messages have been challenging.

Know what else has been challenging? Keeping 3 girls in the service. Yes, I realize some of you keep all eight of your children in the service and have since the Sunday after they were born. Go you.

But we don't. Our church has a nursery. Prince Charming and I agreed a long time ago that the nursery is for babies (in our estimation babies - 2 yr olds). So when our girls turn 3, they come to service with us. We both have the foggy parental memory that suggests Polly acclimated pretty easily to this situation. Tigger, well, a little less easily. But she does fine now.

Now it's Sweet Pea's turn. It isn't that she wants to be disobedient, per se, but she doesn't really have a "quiet" setting unless she's asleep. She is chatty. So even while she looks at the little picture books she brought with her to service, she is talking in her best "whisper" imitation. ("Mommy, is this an 'O'? Mommy, look at the little girl!") Her whisper means that only the few rows in front of us and behind us can hear her. I hope.

Occasionally things escalate to the point where Sweet Pea has to go with Daddy to "visit Daddy's office". (Yes, less you think this purely euphemistic, he does have an office at our church.) There the situation is adjusted, Sweet Pea is exhorted to remember that church is not talking time, they might pick up some paper and crayons or something, and they come back in.

Another challenge this week has been getting dressed in the evenings. The girls have plenty of skirts, jumpers and dresses. They have multiple pairs of dress shoes. Their particular challenge comes with finding matching tights. Everyone knows there's another dimension out there hiding all the mismatched socks. I suspect there must be a similar phenomenon for tights. The situation was so dire at one point this week, Polly actually wore a pair of my tights.

This is not as crazy as it sounds. Because I am, ahem, height challenged, and Polly is not.

Which leads me to my own personal challenge. I consider myself a relatively slender person. (And if those of you who know me IRL don't think so, please don't enlighten me!) One of the consequences of being rawther short and rawther small in general, is that changes associated with pregnancy don't take long to show up.

Which means that even though I still fit in many of my regular clothes, I am also "showing". Which has led to a strange mixture of regular clothes and maternity clothes in my closet and dresser, resulting in a few new outfit combos that I would not normally wear. Not to mention the fact that earlier this week it was in the '60's and today it is in the '30's and there is SNOW ON THE GROUND.

See? Challenges.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Message Received

Do you ever feel that God is hitting you over the head with a lesson He REALLY WANTS YOU TO GET?

Just me? OK, then. I can live with that.

Don't worry, this isn't going to be another long, confessional post. But I don't believe in coincidences and you wouldn't believe what sort of things I've been seeing on blogs here lately.

1. Things like, I'm not the only one who heard the "heart -beep" (as Polly once called it) this week. So did Amy. And it was definitely a "finer thing".

2. Jenni, who has had her doctor give her bad news far too often, had some good news to share.

3. Molly Piper's story, (that's John Piper's daughter-in-law, just in case you needed the name drop), has often broken my heart. Her sweet Felicity has touched my life in a way that's hard to explain. And then this week, well, just go read it. If you don't end up clapping your hands and praising God (yes, that was my reaction) I don't know what we can do with you.

4. And, just on the off chance that you are one of the 10 people in the Western World who hasn't met Nella yet, go meet her! What are you waiting for? And don't stop with her birth story. That's only the beginning. Here's another post that you should read. But really, you should probably just clear your schedule and read them all. Nella's Mommy is a good writer and great photographer and you won't regret the time spent. (Warning: large pictures might slow down your load time. And there's a music player at the bottom of the page. So you might want to turn down your volume.)

Maybe I'm starting to get the message.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Mommy Guilt

Have you met my old pal Mommy Guilt?

I'm not talking about that nagging feeling that your kids aren't in as many "enrichment" activities as other children. Or that they share a room instead of having their own (actually, I'm pretty much in favor of room sharing, at least for the younger years). Or the fact that sometimes, OK, nearly all the time, you let them eat sugary cereal for breakfast because 1.) they like it and 2.) they can fix it themselves.

That's just normal mom stuff. What about the real deal?

As most of you know by now, Prince Charming and I (and the girls, of course) are expecting baby #4. (And for the sake of argument, let's just assume she's also daughter #4. We don't know this for a fact, of course, but it seems like a safe bet.) I'm a little over 12 weeks pregnant (due date: September 23. Make your travel & shopping plans now).

And this baby is what we like to call a surprise. As in: "Surprise! The reason I'm not feeling well is because a new little human is growing inside of me! How did that happen?" (Um, never mind that last bit. I know perfectly well how this happened, thankyouverymuch.)

Is it confessing too much to tell you that my first reaction was not one of joy? I mean, how horrible does that sound? The ugly truth was this blessed event was not my timing. And I'm - please don't say you haven't noticed - a bit of a um, is there a nice way to say this? control freak.

Now you're shaking your head at what a ridiculous person I am. That's OK. I've done plenty of head shaking my own self. Because I have a few friends who have wanted, longed, craved and waited for a baby. Some for their first. Some for another.

And one of those friends has recently suffered the dreaded doctor visit where the baby - the much longed for, the much prayed for - no longer has a heartbeat.

Hearts break into a million pieces on that news. Because it isn't just hope that dies. It's an actual Child. A loved and precious little son or daughter. A grandchild. And this could have been a life long friend for our little baby. They were due almost on the same day.

That's Mommy Guilt inducing right there. I prayed for God to forgive my attitude, my pride and my fear. I asked my baby - yes, I know she can't hear me yet but c'mon, if I talk to myself (and I do) then I might as well talk to her - to forgive her foolish Mommy. (Talk about humbling! She's not even born yet and she's already teaching me important lessons)

I had my first doctor appointment this week and heard that miraculous little swish-swish heartbeat. There are very few sounds as moving as that one; the newborn's first cry being right up there with it. I know that every time I'm at the doctor's office I'll be praying for my friend and her family - for healing, for comfort, and yes, that God will bless them with another child. I don't think it's wrong to pray for that.

As for us, now we're trotting out our baby name books and making lists (I must admit it's a little harder to come up with Girl #4 name. But that makes it fun). Making plans. Eyeballing some nifty things we didn't have with our others (I've got my eye on that Moby wrap my sister sported so well with Fen...)And looking at baby pictures from when our now big girls were the babies and how cute we make 'em. (THE cutest babies ever, if I do say so)

What a great God we serve! How humbling that He lets us be parents. This isn't my first baby but it's still amazing to think of what a priceless treasure He's entrusting to us.

And, in case you're wondering, He's really good at healing Mommy Guilt too. Ask me how I know.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

600 Posts

Yes, I have hit the "publish post" button 600 times since I started this blog.

Hooray, I guess. Lots has changed in my life since I started blogging, way back when. (I had a different blog before this one)

I tried to think of something clever for a 600th post, but nothing really came to mind. I'm not going to post 600 things about myself. And I don't have anything to give away right now.

So I thought I'd add something to my sidebars instead.

Let me know once you find it!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

From the Commonplace Book

We spend our lives trying to better our situations, whereas the trick is to improve who we are.
-Cathy Breslin & Judy May Murphy
Hmm. I can see how both might happen at the same time. For example: we are trying to improve our bathroom situation and the process is improving who we are (more patient, less fixated on material things or perfection...).

And a bonus thought:
Our life is what our thoughts make it. - Marcus Aurelius

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

In Which I Really, REALLY Miss Having a Shower

Well, the great bathroom remodel of 2010 continues. Slowly.

Prince Charming primed and painted the walls last night and today. They really need another coat but Prince Charming is off doing academic things until 11 tonight and I am under strict orders not to do it myself.

So progress, of the slow but steady variety, is being made.

The problem comes in the fact that we are still living without shower or sink. We can handle washing hands in the kitchen sink, as it is approximately six paces away from where the bathroom sink will - eventually - be. And I can wash my hair in the sink. Sure, it's kind of old school and I don't really care for tilting my head upside down - and every other direction - trying to be sure it's all clean and rinsed, but it's doable.

But the absence of a shower! I am  not a bath person. Yes, there are "Bath people" (generally women but there are exceptions) and "Shower people" and it just so happens that Prince Charming and I are both shower people.

Which is why today my beloved called the High Hill folks and begged asked if he could come up and take a shower at their house. They, being the nice people that they are, agreed, even though they were leaving shortly. Yes, they allowed Prince Charming in their home unsupervised. They are, as I mentioned, nice (and possibly too trusting. I'm just sayin').

So he came home refreshed and happy and ready to eat supper (cooked by me, although that is by no means mandatory around here. He's a great cook in his own right) and take off for his Tuesday night classes. In our only vehicle. But not before he said, "You could run up there and get one too. Feels great!"

How helpful. I suppose I could bundle the girls up and WALK the mile or so up the steep hill separating me from my parents' home. In the rain, because, yes it is raining intermittently around these parts today. And in the dark.

But I somehow suspect that would not be - how shall I put this? - refreshing. Or practical.Especially considering that he still has my key to their house. Breaking and entering simply to take a shower? I'm not quite that desperate.

Yet.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Random Things

1. I had blood drawn yesterday. I didn't get sick or even woozy so: hooray! Go me! But my arm is still hurting today. I tried to use that as my excuse for not doing dishes or laundry but I ended up folding a couple baskets anyway.

2. We have new neighbors. They seem nice enough. But the first thing they did at their new house: build a fence. This doesn't offend me but I thought it was pretty funny. Of course they have a GIANT DOG so it's probably a good thing they built a HUMONGOUS fence.

3. We are having our one and only bathroom remodeled. Which means last Friday the High Hill family had to put up with us bunking at their place. And since then we've been home but we don't have a sink or a shower. Or finished walls, floor or light. Brushing teeth in the kitchen is quite a novelty for the girls.

4. We took the girls Downtown for Children's Theatre again Tuesday. The play was Jack and the Beanstalk. It was OK, but I kind of like the original story when they cut down the beanstalk and the giant, you know, falls to his doom. In this one the giant is just misunderstood and reforms at the end. Also, he turns out to be Jack's uncle. That's just wrong.

5. The Olympics are over now. Which leaves my family kind of bereft because, for the first time in my children's lives, we let them watch almost every night. Playing "Ice Skating", complete with dress up skirts and such, might give you a clue as to their favorite event. And, in other important news, I agreed almost 100% with the judging this year. How strange is that? I only disagreed with third place in Ice Dancing and that hardly counts anyway. Oh, yeah, and yes, I was sad the U.S. didn't have a woman on the podium for the first time since Peggy Fleming. I'm seeing great things in Mirai's future though, so no worries. (In not so late breaking news, I'm still bitter about the 1998 Olympics when Michelle was robbed. Just thought I'd put that out there for the record. Everyone who knows me well knows not to bring it up. And now you know too.)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Books of 2010 - February

1. Stormcrow Castle. Fiction by Amanda Grange. I've enjoyed Ms. Grange's Austen spin-offs. However, this is not an Austen inspired book. It aims for a little more "atmosphere" (being set on the moors). Fun but not ground breaking.

2. A Long Shadow. Fiction by Charles Todd. Series fiction. Not quite as good as the previous book.

3. The Attentive Life: Discerning God's Presence in All Things. Non-fiction by Leighton Ford.This author is a little more mystical than I am (as in, I think a protestant often visiting monasteries for retreats is a bit odd) but there are many good things in this book.

4. Dombey and Son. Fiction by Charles Dickens. Really enjoyed this one! Unlike some of his other work, it doesn't take long to get into it.

5. The Girls of Room 28: Friendship, Hope and Survival in Theresienstadt. Non-fiction by Hannelore Brenner. An aspect of the Second World War that I've never read about. Inspirational and moving.

6. A False Mirror. Fiction by Charles Todd. Yet another in the series.

7. On A Dollar A Day. Non-fiction by Christopher Greenslate & Kerri Leonard. Well, it was...thought provoking. Or maybe just provoking. Needless to say, I don't agree with the authors' politics. Just one example that bugged me: food stamps. Has it never occurred to some liberals that some folks, while eligible for food stamps and such, just don't want them? And do just fine without them? Apparently not.

8. The Help. Fiction by Kathryn Stockett. I've seen this one around the blogosphere. I've been on our library waiting list for ages. Finally a long distance friend (Hi, Tarah!) took pity on me and sent me her copy. The story sucked me in despite the distracting dialect writing. Left me wanting just a bit more, which is usually a good sign in a book.

9. The Fight to Survive: A Young Girl, Diabetes, & the Discovery of Insulin. Non-fiction by Caroline Cox. This is just a little book I picked up at the library on a whim. I'm glad I did! What a fascinating story. Reminded me once again how blessed I am to live in our age of modern medicine.

10. Counterfeit Gods. Non-fiction by Timothy Keller. Hard hitting and a valuable diagnostic. Didn't agree with it all (do I ever?) but it really challenged me.

11. La's Orchestra Saves the World. Fiction by Alexander McCall Smith. A stand alone departure from his series fiction. England. World War 2. Quirky characters. Introspective. You can probably guess how much I enjoyed it.

12. Talking About Detective Fiction. Non-fiction by P.D. James. One of the masters of the craft discusses the craft. Books about writing are tops in my...book. Ahem.

Totals for February:
Fiction: 6 (including 1 Dickens book)
Non-fiction: 6