Monday, December 29, 2008

Oops

So for some reason that last blog post didn't include the rest of my thoughts. I thought I had saved that instead of published it, but since I've been able to get out of the house the last few days, I've been ignoring blogger completely and enjoying the Oregon rain as it melts away the last bits of snow.

Anyway, I was going to say something like, "we had a nice Christmas even though half of our gifts never made it here because we couldn't get out of our driveway to pick them up, or UPS couldn't get into our driveway." We're hoping to remedy that today. We're off to pick up the bunk beds that I had to show the picture of to my kiddos on Christmas morning.

Bunk beds...nothing cooler for a 4 year old named Jake. Nothing more life-threatening for an almost 3 year old named Ty. I'll keep you posted on all the late night fun, and all the head injuries to come.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Scratch that

I just looked at my last post. Snow? Beautiful? Maybe the first few hours. Few days at the most. 2 weeks and almost 2 feet later the snow has gotten a bit old. I'm downplaying it. It's gotten REAL old. We're talking older than most stories in the Bible. In fact, the way the local news has been covering it, Portland's "Arctic Blast '08" is the biggest weather news since Noah's flood.

A few cute pictures is what I could take away from this. Years from now I'll be looking back and remembering the sweet moments of cuddling with the kids, hot chocolate and marshmallows, folks dressed up like Eskimos.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Jack Frost nipping at our nose(s)

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! Isn't it beautiful? My parents braved the 2 blocks and brought over a sled for the kids to bring them back to their house for Sunday night football. We had such a great time attempting snowball fights (snow was too dry, bummer) and wiping snot off little faces. Loving it. Dan had school cancelled on Monday, a 2 hour delay today, and hopefully the extra inches that are supposed to fall tonight will mean he'll be home until after Christmas! This teaching gig is pretty nice. Anyway, snow pictures and 1st Christmas in our new house pictures, for your viewing delight:


video


Dan and his Dad ventured out in the snow to cut us down a beautiful 10 dollar steal of a tree. You can't quite see it well, but the kids helped me decorate it. The bottom left part of the tree was sagging with ornaments, and the right got shafted until I suggested those branches were looking a little lonely.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

"Tiny tots, with their eyes all aglow..."

That's what we witnessed last night. Christmas spirit through the eyes of a child. It was Jake's preschool Christmas program, and he could not have been more excited. Or more of a handsome dude in his new tie. If you've never been to a preschool Christmas program, or if it's been a while, I'll give you a brief synopsis of how things work: You must arrive forty minutes early, not only to drop your child off in his classroom, but to find a remotely decent seat. If you are going to save seats for relatives, you must come ready for an intense battle of passive-aggressive facial gestures that imply "we're in a church so I'm not going to physically harm you, but you can't seriously be thinking that you're going to be able to sit directly on top of my coat and purse that are saving a spot for grandma and grandpa."

Then comes about six or seven false starts where the lights go down and people get quiet only to realize that half the kids aren't in line to come into the auditorium because they are either in the bathroom, or have run back to their classroom to retrieve something vital like a chewed up pencil they're planning on showing great Aunt Bertha after the show. Then as the first class walks down the aisle every child stops when they get to mom and dad for the ever important cheesy-grinned photo op. Sorry, my child definitely slowed things down with this one...of course we didn't end up with a good picture, but oh well.
Next is the 3-5 minute period where the teachers attempt to get the kids lined up in their assigned rows which no doubt is the same spot they've been practicing in since the beginning of September. Another 2 minutes to get everyone to stop wildly waving at mom and dad and shouting, "I'm right here, guys!"
Then the music starts and you cannot help but laugh until your stomach aches and tears are streaming down your face. They've obviously been told to sing loudly, which clearly means scream at the top of your lungs even when you don't know the words. Hysterical. Here's some great (and very short, don't worry) examples, the first one from cousin Matty's class:

video

video

This continues for about an hour, and then there's a cookie and punch reception that is the highlight of any preschooler's young life. Exhaustion takes over, for every child and parent and anyone within a ten mile radius of the building, and though the car ride home may include some whining and tears, the Christmas season feels officially kicked off. Happy Birthday, Jesus! We can't wait for more celebrations of your birth.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Best friends

Happy birthday to my bestest friend in the whole wide world! Megan Nichole (I prefer to pronounce the "ch" because I think silent letters get shafted) Wood. I am so very blessed to have you in my life.

First random favorite memory of Megan...our answering machine when we lived together in college stated, for a brief period of time, "Hi, you've reached Angela and Megan, we're busy putting on our flannels, so leave us a message." You must know that we sang the words "putting on our flannels" and that "flannel" was pronounced much more like "flaaah-null." Great song written and preformed by some great friends back in the day. Good times. We certainly milked that song for all it was worth. We actually have a magnificent talent for milking any old thing way beyond the limit. Like milking for instance. We found away to use that phrase "milk it for all it's worth" in just about every possible scenario. We even used extremely exaggerated milking hand motions when words were not enough. Meg's hubby Eric might recall that one of the Indians in the Peter Pan ride at Disneyland appears to be milking a cow when he's actually beating drums. Moving on.

Second random favorite memory of Megan. She loves to buy things if they're a good deal. Lots of times this means buying things in bulk, which didn't always work well in a small dorm room. She also loved to mix her cereal. One scoop of Kashi Good Friends cereal with one scoop of Kix. One night I had a dream, a VERY vivid dream, that Meg and I were shopping at some ginormous warehouse like Costco which had shelves up to the ceiling, and she comes around the corner hauling a bag of cereal that was bigger than she was. "Ang!" I can still hear it, "Look at this amazing deal!" The ridiculous bag had about 7 different kinds of cereal in it, all layered on top of each other.
Oh my sweet Megan! Thank you for so many memories. For so many yet to come. Enjoy this birthday. I love you! (And thank you Faith for this picture you took months ago. I swear I'm going to change my ways and start taking thousands of pictures of myself. Starting...tomorrow.)

Thursday, December 04, 2008

3 random thoughts

Number 1: a picture of the Stump side of the family...because according to some people (you know who you are, you lucky buRN) I never post pictures of myself. Or my hubby. Or anyone else besides my children.
Number 2: Jake's prayer last night included praying for the needy kids around the world. "I pray that God would give them lots of toys like Tonka trucks and Hot Wheels, and...water, and...garbage cans so they can throw away their garbage...maybe pink garbage cans, that'd be good. And food..." From the mouths of babes.

Number 3: Ty threw the largest tantrum in recent memory today at Big Lots as we were leaving the store. He wanted to go back and look at the "craps". He meant crack, er sorry, I mean CRAFTs. With the way he continues to butcher that word, I doubt he's destined for creativity. Or winning a spelling bee.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Thanks

Before I start rattling off about Thanksgiving, let me just give a shout out to my mama. Nanci Noren Alcorn was born on November 30, 19?? (I actually do know the year, Mom. Just thought you'd want to keep everyone guessing!) Thanks, Mom for making me laugh and making me think, and always making me feel loved. It just doesn't get better than having a parent you actually want to hang out with! Thanks for modeling for me how to be a wife and a mom who is joyful to be where the Lord has placed her. Happy birthday Mom, just one day late on the blog, not too bad considering I'm the one who wrote a post about Christmas in mid January. I love you!

Whew, this last week has been LONG. Long in a very good way. I think this was one of the best Thanksgiving weeks I've ever had. I keep saying week and not weekend because our Thanksgiving started last Monday when our baby niece arrived from California. Oh yeah, and her parents Jane and Curtis, I guess they came then also. But let's face it, baby Bekah's chubby cheeks and angelic face pretty much stole the show. Although if you ask my boys, Uncle Curti's endless supply of energy (never-ending games of tag and races and wrestling) took Grand Prize. Your mom's not paying me to say this, Jane, but the house across the street from us is for sale. You'd get a lot of free babysitting. I'm just saying.Here's the quick rundown of the week: Monday night was an open house for the baby; delicious desserts. Tuesday afternoon I hosted lunch over here with the Stump family and Ann's parents. Wednesday my mom came over for dinner last minute (Pops was sick at home) and told us grand stories of their weekend in Florida with Tim Tebow. Lucky bums. Thursday we got to spend the whole day with the Stump side of the family. So much fun. I really can't tell you how much my in-laws rule. I can't say a bad thing about them. Honestly, I've tried, it can't be done. Then Friday we pretended like it was Thursday again and my mom hosted the Alcorn gang for some great family time and the full turkey dinner (and what a turkey it was...delish!) I just have to say that living so close to my parents is NOTHING like you see in the show Everybody Loves Raymond. I love being able to hang out in the house I grew up in with my own kids! Dan's in-laws rule, too. We're pretty blessed. No, VERY blessed.
I've decided that I'm on a cooking strike for the next few days. First of all, I don't have any clean dishes, and second of all, I cooked enough in the last week to sustain a small country. Chocolate chip cookies, pizza-pasta, Caesar salad, garlic bread, dump cake, nacho chicken casserole, broccoli au gratin, blended jello salad, pumpkin bars, apple pie, chocolate log cake, and a few PB&J's, grilled cheese's and Easy Mac's for lunch.
(This was much cuter in person, sorry the picture cut off your face, Bek.)

Thankfulness, thankfullness, thankfullness. Really and truly, that's what I feel. Thanks, Jesus, for your life and for your death. Thanks for the Alcorn's and the Stump's. Thanks for our marriage that just keeps getting better. Thanks for Jake and Ty. Even when Ty is too wired on excess desserts to take a nap and Jake insists on Dino chicken instead of turkey for Thanksgiving dinner.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A post about nothing

I haven't been blogging because I haven't felt like there's anything blog-worthy going on in our lives right now. You're not interested in the daily blah happening around our house. Or...are you? One of the most popular sitcoms ever created was Seinfeld, a show about nothing. Maybe my blog will become as award winning as that TV show. Who needs Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer when you've got Dan, Ang, Jake and Ty? The blog about nothing. Hmm, intriguing.

If our life was a sitcom, here's what our script might look like:

It's a typical Thursday morning. Ty stumbles into Dan and Ang's room at 5:30am, sobbing that he's afraid a bad dream is going to come and that he is sick and needs some medicine. Ang stumbles out of bed tripping over clean, but yet-to-be-put-away laundry on her floor and almost decapitates herself on her dresser. Ang walks Ty back into his room where Jake lay snoring, 1/2 his body on his own mattress and 1/2 on Ty's. Ang sits on the floor next to Ty's bed and pats him on the back until his whimpering subsides. She closes her eyes for just a moment, waking up 15 minutes later to the combination of a stiff neck and a right arm that has fallen asleep behind her head which makes her ponder, through her delirium, chopping her painfully tingling extremity off so she can go back to sleep as soon as possible. She crawls back to her bed and falls asleep 5 seconds before Dan's alarm goes off.

Dan gets up and gets ready for work while Ang tosses and turns, completely in awe of how tired she is and yet she still cannot fall back to sleep. She finally nods off again 4 seconds before her alarm goes off, which means her typical alarm clocks (Jake and Ty) are sleeping in. Ang hits her snooze button (anybody heard the comic Gary Gulman on snooze buttons? "9 minutes? 9 minutes is not a snooze...90 minutes, that's a snooze. Honestly, have you ever woken up from the 9 minutes refreshed? The 9 was all I needed, 10 minutes would have been overkill, I would have been groggy.") On any other day the kids sleeping in would be spectacular, but today is a preschool day. This doesn't compute with Ang until she hits her snooze button for the third time. Then she jumps out of bed and realizes they need to leave the house in 15 minutes.

Flurry of activity, including Ang getting breakfast for 2 cranky kids, dressing them as they eat their cereal, and trying to find Jake's backpack and lunch bag to pack a nutritious snack for him to take to school. As Ang is putting Jake's shirt over his head while he takes another "humungo" bite of cereal she sees a bald spot on his head which coincidentally is the same location Ty whacked him on the head with a toy a month ago causing blood to spurt forth.Jake and Ty fight over who gets to push the garage door opener as Ang grabs 3 jackets, Jake's backpack with Go-Gurt and Juicy Juice tucked safely inside, and her purse and stares longingly at the empty coffee pot. A full blown wrestling match has broken out in the garage and Ang ends up pushing the garage door opener herself which focuses all preschooler/toddler anger in her direction. Ty opens the drivers side door and proceeds to take 2 minutes to get into the backseat and sit down like a normal human being in his car seat so Ang can buckle him in. Ang turns off the overhead light, the flashers, the windshield wipers, turns the radio volume down and pushes closed the cup holders Ty has messed with and searches for her keys. Ang groans loudly realizing her keys are not in her purse, but laying right next to where her purse was on the kitchen counter. Ang runs up the garage stairs to the kitchen and vows that today is the day she'll start an exercise routine...after she takes a 90 minute snooze.

Ang finally starts the drive to preschool, pulling out of her street directly behind a school bus which stops about every 6 or 7 feet to pick up more children. There are only 3 stoplights between the Stump house and preschool, but every one of them promptly turns red when Ang drives up. Finally pulling in to preschool, Ang finds the closest parking spot. Jake gets angry and Ty starts weeping because they're not parked directly next to Mrs. Weber's white Chevy Venture minivan. Ang reminds Jake to be a good kid today as she's reminding Ty it's time to get out of the car. Ty crawls out of his car seat and into the front seat to begin his exit routine. A torrential downpour begins as Ang realizes the jacket she brought for herself doesn't have a hood. Ang repeats the words, "Get out of the car, please Ty" between 8-15 times while Jake is literally pulling on her leg. "We're LATE, Mom." Ang closes her eyes and counts to 10 while Ty starts to hyperventilate because he can't get his jacket hood onto his head properly. Ang vows that today is the day to start anger management classes.
Ty makes it out of the car and onto Ang's hip and they run inside to drop Jake off into a half day of finger/sleeves-up-to-the-elbow painting and getting in trouble at recess. Direct quotation from Jake to his teacher, "Mrs. Weber, if you keep yelling at me, I probably won't come back to preschool." Ang is assured by Mrs. Weber that she was NOT yelling, and that she won't be devastated if Jake never returns. (A parent-teacher conference held later put Ang and Dan's minds at ease, that their child is not nearly the biggest trouble maker in that class. And encourages them to be praying daily for poor Mrs. Weber.)
When Jake is at preschool, Ang and Ty run errands...Starbucks, the Dollar Tree, Fred Meyer, Walmart, Winco, a different Starbucks, and return home in enough time to put the groceries away and clean up the bomb that was breakfast while Ty watches part of the Elmo DVD that Ang can recite from memory. Time to return to preschool to pick up Jake.

Lunch time, wipe Ty down from head to toe and attempt naptime which he has been rejecting for the last few days. Ang sets Jake up on the computer on pbskids.org and barricades Ty's door so he won't be able to get out even if he doesn't sleep. Then Ang climbs into a hot shower and doesn't come out for hours.

Jake insists on playing Mario Cart on the Wii, and Ang fine tunes her skills enough to get first place on Rainbow Road, which is by far the hardest course. Ang is feeling pretty good about herself until she realizes it's 3:45 and they have to leave by 4pm to get to Dan's basketball game. Ang says out loud to herself, "I can NOT believe I'm waking up my child from a nap that he's been fighting for 3 days," and then she does just that.

Oh my gosh, are you still reading this? I'm just going to stop right there, for both of our sakes. Thanksgiving is coming, yummy food and lots of great family time. Auntie Jane and Uncle Curti and our adorable new baby niece we've never held are coming on MONDAY! We have a lot more excitement coming your way, I promise. Soon, Marla. Soon.

Friday, November 07, 2008

The boys and I are at my parents house so Dan can get some work done for a class he has to take. The kids are watching "Air Buddies," and I am bored. Thus this post. I copied this from someone else's blog and edited it for myself back in March, so now I'll repeat this fabulous and time consuming all-about-me-post (highlighting my children this time.) I've obviously edited some of the questions, like for instance my children have not yet had their first job. I know, we're just too easy on them.


JAKE:
Age he'll be on his next birthday
Favorite place to visit
Favorite movie

Favorite foods
First name
Middle name
Last name
Bad habit
Because he's clearly so stressed out. Not because he sees me do it.

Hobbies


TY:

Age he'll be on his next birthday


Favorite place to visit Exotic, I know.

Favorite foods
This kid is a carnivore. "Where's the beef" should be written on his tombstone.

Favorite movie
First name
Middle name That's supposed to be Daniel Boone, not a freaky gun wielding wild-eyed wacko. Ok, so it's a freaky gun wielding wild-eyed Daniel Boone. Sorry kids.


Last name
Bad habit
Hobbies
Seriously, I should count how many times a day Ty washes his hands. It's not because he's got OCD, it's because he loves water...and destroying my bathrooms.

Monday, November 03, 2008

An ode to the toilet

Some of the most terrifying moments in my life have begun with hearing the words "I pooped." If you're in the mood to reminisce with me, click here.
Today one of the most beautiful moments in my life started with those same words. Ty had hopped up onto the toilet by himself without my knowledge and did his business like he'd been doing it for years. For the last few weeks it's been hit and miss (pun intended), and I've always had to pretty much force the, um, bowel issue. But I haven't changed a dirty diaper in days. For weeks I encouraged, reminded, bribed, nagged. Today I did none of that. And the sound of the toilet flushing and the words, "bye bye, poop!" never sounded so good.

Glorious. Diaper is spelled h-i-s-t-o-r-y at my house.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Tricks and ridiculous amounts of Treats

Let me just start off by saying that I'm recovering from Halloween night shift in the ER right now, so I doubt very much that I'm going to be super clever in this post. But you don't care, because all you want to see is some pictures of my babes all duded up for trick-or-treating. So...come back later if you want any deep perspectives on this holiday experience. Actually, I've already posted too many deep perspectives in the month of October, so this will be it. I know it's November 1st, leave me alone.

Jake, the cutest Spidey west of the Mississippi. (Not sure why I'm using that phrase...probably because I really just wanted to type Mississippi. It makes me feel like I type 400 WPM. Or that I'm back in the 2nd grade winning a spelling bee.)


Ty, nearly obsessive about his love for football right now. If I had a nickel for every time we told him that the chin strap was supposed to go under his chin. He insisted it was to be used as a mouth guard. When this kid is passionate about something, get out of his way.


Brothers. Someday soon they'll be too cool for Halloween. Wait, free candy? Nevermind.


This is actually the best picture I got of the cousins together. Karina, please tell me you got something better?



The future Mrs. Stump. Whether it's Jake or Ty, Megan and I have already planned a wedding for Jenna.


Pumpkin by Dan.

Pumpkin by Ang. Dangit, even my husband is more artistic than I am.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Quote of the day

We had just dropped Jake off at preschool this morning and Ty and I were headed to Karina's house for sister/little cousin time. Ty absolutely LOVES Karina's house because she took him by himself the other week when Matt and Jake were at preschool and he got to do some creative activities that he never does at home. You'll recall that I'm the not-creative-at-all sister. At least that's why I thought he loves her house. Here's what he told me this morning.

"Yeah, mom, let's go to Karina's house and do some crack!"

I believe the word he was looking for was craft, though we don't use it at our house very often. I realize Karina and I are different mommies, but I'm pretty sure she doesn't let Ty smoke crack at her house. Now, her own kids on the other hand...

Thanks for the scones, coffee, and crack, J. Let's do it again soon.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A heart revived...same chapter, 3rd verse

My final (I think) major reason for being at the Revive Our Hearts women's conference, at least that I'll blog about, has to be my favorite. Ready for it? It was my sister. Karina Franklin aka J. (pronounced Jay-dot) Alcorn. Laughing with her, crying with her, talking for the first time in years without interruptions (named Jake, Ty, Matt, and Jack) and most of all learning to appreciate how different we are.

I've always known we had different personalities. From the moment she started creating secret clubs where she was "President" and I was "member", or playing office where she was the boss and I was the secretary. We used to play Little Orphan Annie and she was always Miss Hannigan while I wore the red curly wig. She was the oldest and I was the youngest, and we fit that stereotype quite nicely. She was academic and I was social. She was organized and I was scattered. She had brown hair and I was blonde. She was responsible and I was...social. She talked theology and I cracked jokes. Somehow we hardly ever fought. We knew we were different and that was fine.

I have told many people that I think as we've grown older we've grown more alike. We got married 7 weeks apart (the Franklins were first, even though Dan and I had been talking about marriage before J. & her Dan even got together, but you can tell I'm not bitter at all). We had our first babies 3 months apart. Being married and having kids forced me to become more organized. It forced Karina to be more flexible. Our differences aren't as obvious these days. After all, we're at the same stage in life. We live in the same city. We're both raising two young boys. And we're both married to guys named Dan for goodness sake.

I think it took a weekend away together for me to once again realize we will always be different. And I that absolutely LOVE this! Somewhere in the back of my mind I thought it would be better if we were more alike. That we would appreciate each other more if our personalities were somehow morphed into one. But God showed throughout the weekend how much we can learn from each other because of how different we are. Now I have a decent self-image, but if I would have been talking to myself the entire weekend, I probably wouldn't have learned a darn thing. I don't want her to be me, and I'm sure she doesn't want me to be her. We are unique individuals who may have had a lot of the same life experiences, but God was and continues to be teaching each of us different things.


And now I will celebrate our differences. I feel like I'm in some sort of diversity parade when I say "celebrate our differences" but I can't come up with a better phrase than that. Anyway, here's some examples of how different we still are:

  • At the airport we were choosing snacks to take on the plane. I got Cheez-it Snack Mix and she got Organic Nut and Seed Mix.
  • At the Cheesecake Factory she ordered pear and gorgonzola salad and I got chicken carbonara dripping with butter, cream, and bacon.
  • She took pages of notes during the conference and I never took out my pen except to write my name on our name tags.
  • She bought approximately 47 books and I bought 2 CD's and one book.
  • I went to bed with my makeup on (I figured my excess weeping had washed most of it away) but she cleansed, exfoliated, moisturized and repeated.
  • She woke up early in the morning and did yoga before getting ready, and I woke up with barely enough time to shower, only because I couldn't really say with a clean conscience that my tears had deodorized my entire body.

There you have it. Two different Alcorn girls became two different women. Shocker. God reminded me how good different really is. Being different doesn't mean we can't appreciate each other. In fact, I think it makes us appreciate each other even more. Wouldn't it be a boring world if there were only one type of person?

Two sisters. Each seeking to follow God's leading in their lives, and each being lead to different experiences. My sister is trying to walk the walk. I'm trying to walk the walk. And it is going to look different. You know why? Because we're different. We don't need to be the same. Just because we have the same God doesn't mean we have to look the same. David was a king. Joseph was a carpenter. Peter was a fisherman. Same God. Different people.

Thanks, J. for the reminder. I sure do love you. I hope you can learn half as much from me as I have from you.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A heart revived...part deux

#2 reason why God brought me to the Revive our Hearts women's conference: to show me that I am indeed...wait for it...a woman.

As I alluded to in the last post, I'm not, nor ever have been a girly-girl. Some people may take this to mean that I was/am a tomboy which was never/is not the case. Are you enjoying the way I'm encompassing my past/present in each sentence? Let's move on.

I have always enjoyed prom dresses and makeup and though I prefer green, pink is definitely in my wardrobe. I try to be very sensitive to others' feelings. I could be the spokesperson for how chocolate eases all pain. But part of my identity seems to have been wrapped up in the fact that I don't cry very easily. My husband, coming from an estrogen dominated family, appreciated this quality from the moment we started dating. He also appreciated that I didn't need him to bring me flowers, and that I may have laughed in his face if he ever wrote me a poem. I was the girl who wasn't very needy or prone to spur of the moment weeping for no reason.

And then I got pregnant.

I knew I was in for it when I was only about 8 weeks along with Jake and I started tearing up when I heard the song "Butterfly Kisses." In the past that song had either made me roll my eyes and groan, or actually physically ill. Then the tears started flowing freely at about 10 weeks every time Extreme Makeover Home Edition was on. "It's just so wonderful!" I'd sob as Dan stared at me wide-eyed. I had to change the channel immediately if I saw a Hallmark commercial because I'd have pretty much been a sobbing heap on the floor. I was sure I was headed straight for an institution. Poor Dan. Poor, poor Dan. He thought he'd married a rock. The pregnant me was more like an overstuffed jelly donut ready to burst at any moment. And I'm not talking physically, though looking back at pictures that is quite an accurate analogy. When Dan reads this he may think I'm exaggerating. First of all, I NEVER exaggerate. And second of all, I tried my darndest to hold it together when he was around. I was tough, I wasn't an emotional basketcase. I didn't need him in an institution also.

ANYWAY, back to the lesson learned. I knew during pregnancy that God was rocking my world, but instead of embracing it, honestly...I fought it. For a while I thought I would have to learn to accept my new perpetually tear-stained self. Don't get me wrong, both my boys have brought me to a new level of emotions, and I am truly grateful. But after the hormones subsided a bit, I was able to rebuild most of the wall that holds back my tears. I had an image to maintain, you know. I'm not needy. I don't let emotions cloud my judgement. Here was my kicker: what I believe should effect what I do, not how I feel. Faith wasn't about emotions for me. It couldn't be, because emotions are deceitful, aren't they? I might allow myself to feel like something was right, when I knew it was wrong. But I was WAY past that balance between fluffy faith and rigid faith. Shutting down my emotional self led to a very boring and thus quite unfruitful spiritual life.

I was squelching the Spirit.

I can't tell you exactly when it happened, but somehow about a week before the conference, God started to prepare me for some serious soul scrubbing (I stole that phrase from Joni Earekson Tada). I began to feel that spark in my soul, and it moved me to tears. My wall, a wall built mostly with pride, was starting to crumble. More pieces fell to the ground at the beginning of the conference. And then it happened. My wall was demolished during an incredible time of worship. I knew I was on holy ground, and I let God's presence wash over me like a raging river, and He burst my dam of pride.

I surely couldn't fight it, so I decided to go with it. And there I was, in a room full of 6,000 woman, shamelessly sobbing my eyes out. I have to interject here that I am not an attractive crier. Some people have the sweet angelic face with waterfalls of tears magnificently cascading down their face. Personally, I go for the bloodshot-eyed-don't-own-waterproof-mascara-snot-cascading-down-my-face look. It was not a pretty picture...and yet it was. A beautiful picture in fact. I'm a woman. Women cry. Good golly do we cry. I swear that the sheer liquid weight of tears I cried this weekend was more than all of 2007's tears combined.

Then again, these were the soul cleansing tears, and I'm pretty sure they weigh more.

I will always battle my pride, as long as I am on this earth. I don't want to be weak. And yet what have I learned? "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." When I am weak, I am strong.

I don't want to be needy. But that's what God calls us all to be. You know why? Because we are. Needy for a savior. God, please don't let me forget how perfectly right it felt to need your presence.

Monday, October 13, 2008

A heart revived

Hey, sorry for the long absence from the blogging world. I am back from one of the most thought provoking, emotion-stirring, and spiritually challenging weekends I've ever experienced. My dad sent my sister and I to a conference in Chicago put on by the women's ministry called Revive Our Hearts. I am honestly going to take weeks, months, and hopefully actually my whole life recalling the events that took place, so be patient with me as I sort through the impact this weekend has had on my life as a daughter, sister, friend, wife and mother.

I'm already going to promise at least two other blogs about this weekend, but let me just start by admitting that I was a little skeptical about going to a woman's conference. After all, I'm the girl who will always choose Batman over Sense and Sensibility. I wrestle with my boys instead of crafting with them. I firmly believe that needles are for vaccinations, not knitting. The thought of Martha Stewart makes me nauseous. You get the point. I told my sister at the beginning of the weekend that I wasn't quite sure what God had planned for me. I got three answers. I'll tell you one now, and you'll have to stay tuned for the next ones.

#1 reason God brought me to the conference: To show me that I'm often a wimp. John Piper was the only man to speak at the conference and he reminded us that "wimpy theology leads to wimpy women." I don't want to be a wimp. I want my theology, my belief about who God is and what He has purposed for me (specifically as a woman), to be based on what the Bible says not on simply what I feel like at the moment. I'm unreliable and inconsistent. God is not. The foundation of biblical womanhood...not.

It was amazing to me that each speaker was so different and came from a huge variety of walks of life, but each conclusion was the same: God teaches us through the Bible that He has a unique and wonderful purpose for women, and that we will never be truly satisfied until we embrace His calling on our lives.

I could share ten thousand incomplete thoughts on what was said and what I learned, but the conference is summed up quite beautifully in this "True Woman Manifesto" that we had the opportunity to sign at the end of the conference. If you're like me, I often don't even take the time to click on people's links, but I promise you, this one is worth it. It's a high calling we women have. Some of this stuff is hard to swallow from our society's perspective today, but I'm choosing to believe that my all-powerful and all-knowing God knows better than me. His plan will always be better than my plan, whether I understand it or not. Hopefully these excerpts will encourage you to read the whole thing, and (to all you ladies out there) possibly even sign it yourself.

We affirm that:
  • Scripture is God's authoritative means of instructing us in His ways and it reveals His holy pattern for our womanhood, our character, our priorities, and our various roles, responsibilities, and relationships.
  • We glorify God and experience His blessing when we accept and joyfully embrace His created design, function, and order for our lives.
  • Selfish insistence on personal rights is contrary to the spirit of Christ who humbled himself, took on the form of a servant, and laid down His life for us.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Two peas in a pod

This is a complete rip off of one of my sister's blogs, but at least I'm giving credit where credit is due. Thanks J. for the inspiration. (Her name actually has no J.'s in it, and never has, but that's another blog.) Her post compared motherhood to cheerleading, and since I was never a rah-rah girl, I can't add to those similarities. But I did find it quite amusing, and since I'm all about stealing ideas from other people...here you go.

Similarities between an ER nurse and a mom:
  • The uniform. Scrubs are pretty much glorified pajamas, and my typical mommi-form of mismatched pj's normally doesn't get changed until Ty's naptime, unless we have morning plans. And sometimes even if we do. At work, or at home, there's something to be said for comfort...and the fact that you'll most likely get blood or other bodily fluids on them imminently.
  • The "please don't panic" speech. The abrasion on your knee is not fatal, doesn't need immediate surgery, or even stitches, and in fact, it barely even warrants a bandaid. The fact that you're screaming only makes me want to show you what real pain is all about, it does not evoke sympathy. Chill out. (Don't worry, I do kiss my kids' owies and make sure there are no internal injuries. But if the tears are disproportionate to the injury, my eyes start to roll. I can spot a crocodile tear miles away.)
  • You have to master the everything-is-going-just-as-planned-face even though inside you're thinking, "Lord, help us all."
  • Multi-tasking is a must. Getting a complete medical history from a patient while taking vital signs and doing a head to toe assessment as you start and IV and draw blood. Kinda like flipping a grilled cheese sandwich while wiping one child's nose as you help the other draw a perfect circle, all while having a serious conversation on the phone.
  • Prioritizing is key. The guy without a heartbeat trumps the request for a bedpan. Sorry. Catching Ty as he attempts to run down the street after the ice cream truck will come before Jake's request to help him color coordinate his 463 Hot Wheels.

and finally:

  • They are both very rewarding. Watching the relief on a person's face after giving them drugs to stop a potentially fatal allergic reaction, talk about immediate gratification. Watching Ty pull himself together within 10 seconds of starting a potentially fatal temper tantrum at Walmart, priceless.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Praise Jesus!

I'm feeling soooooooo much better, thanks to those of you who care. And to those of you who don't...get off my blog.

In honor of the true miracle that is my almost fully functional sinuses (and every other miracle I take for granted every day) I've changed my favorite songs to some that remind me to give credit where credit is due. Thank you Jesus for the big things, and for the little things. For a truly blessed life, and for clear snot.

Friday, September 26, 2008

From critical condition to cautiously optomistic

Some of you know I've been battling a cold for the last 10 days or so. Nothing too horribly dramatic, just stuffy/runny/snotties and a general blah feeling. Officially the "blah feeling" is called malaise. I prefer this term because it sounds much more sympathy-worthy than "blah." So I was suffering from generalized malaise and cold-like symptoms, and then on Wednesday night after my girls Bible study (hopefully not BECAUSE of my Bible study) I got a headache. I've had some headaches in my day, but this one felt like it could grow into a doozy. So I popped some aspirin and went to bed.

At about 5:30 yesterday morning I awoke to The Headache from Down Under (and I'm not talking Australia). It was so bad that I was almost convinced, despite all my medical studies, that my head might actually explode into a trillion tiny pieces. I took one of the two Percocet we had left from various drug dealers, I mean good friends, who'd passed them on to Dan when he broke a rib last Thanksgiving. You can tell we're big druggies in this house. The Percocet had probably expired in or around November of 1999, but I took it anyway, fell into a coma at around 6:15am and ended up waking up in a stupor at 7:45, realizing that Jake had to go to preschool in 30 minutes.

My heroic sister agreed to take Jake to school because I was failing the sobriety test just while walking from my bed to my bathroom, so I probably wouldn't have made it out of my driveway without being pulled over. Jake left with a granola bar in hand, and I collapsed into the recliner while Ty whipped us up some pancakes and an omelet and brewed a strong pot of coffee. Oh wait, he had a granola bar also. I had some Excedrin.

Ty watched a weeks worth of TV while I slept in the family room, may the Lord richly bless OPB and TiVo manufacturers. I thought I was feeling better after I'd slept, so I picked up Jake at preschool and realized, while making the kids lunch, that the Headache was going to come back in full force. Ty went down for a nap, and I called my doctors office and my wonderful mom came over while they squeezed me in for an appointment.

Sinusitis, says the MD. Sinus infection. Headache to beat all headaches. Honestly, the worst pain I've had since childbirth. I thought that after taking the 2 medications he prescribed for me last night that I was in the clear, but I woke up at 4:15 this morning and was seconds away from waking Dan up to tell him I had to go to the ER for pain medicine. I had taken the final Percocet before going to bed last night, and of course I didn't ask the doctor to prescribe any more because...I'm an idiot. I finally fell back to sleep at 5:30 and woke up with a dull ache which was upgraded to stabbing pain when I sat up, but hasn't been nearly as bad since then. The worst is over. It has to be, right?

Wow, all that to say, "Holy Headache, Batman." I have renewed sympathy for my patients.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Tys will be Tys

It seems like my last few posts have been neglecting my 2nd born, so I just wanted to give you an update on what Ty's up to. EVERYTHING. That pretty much describes him. Up to everything, in to everything, all about everything. The kid just doesn't stop.

Here's a few recent examples:

  • He got out Jake's new toothbrush and toothpaste and tried to brush Felix's teeth this morning.
  • He painted the kitchen floor and cabinets with baking soda when I thought he was finishing his breakfast.
  • While sitting on my lap as I was typing an email, he grabbed a ball point pen and stealthfully wrote all over his arms. I didn't notice until he got frustrated that the pen was running out of ink.
  • He asked for "one pinch" of sugar as I was cooking and ended up with approximately 1/4 cup all over his face/hands/shirt/shorts and another 3/4 cup scattered across the kitchen floor.
A few recent direct quotations:
  • "Mom we need to go frew the carwash because our car is stinky." (He had just pooped)
  • "What...in...the...wher-ald is going on here?" (The bathroom stool was not in it's proper place.)
  • "Mom, I want you take good care a me." (He says this while fake crying after I've scolded him for being naughty.)
  • "I need a bandaid." (After every fall, trip, pinch, bump, accidental brush against the couch, etc. The funny part is that he's the toughest kid imaginable. The child just loves bandaids.)
  • He says "why" after every question I answer regardless of what I say. "Can I hit Jake?" NO. "Why?" "Can I buy that?" No, it's too expensive."Why?" "What time is it?" 7pm. "Why?" "Can I have a treat?" Sure, you ate a good lunch. "Why?"

Oh, my sweet precious baby. What am I going to do with myself when YOU go to preschool? I won't know what to do with a clean house.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Not my typical weekend

Funny that Melanie B commented (thanks, stalker!) on the last post, because guess where I was this last weekend...

Wildhorse Canyon (AKA the epitome of middle-of-nowhere-ness). I was the camp nurse for a group of First Call families (police/fire/paramedics) which was pretty much a joke because it's not like those people don't know what to do in an emergency. I did this in June as well, and my mom came with me, which was very fun but not very eventful which was just as we'd planned.

This time Ann, best mom-in-law in the world, and Jake best 4-year-old Stump boy in the world came with me. From the very beginning it was quite a different trip. We got stuck on I-84 just before Hood River (less than an hour after starting the trip) and ended up at an almost stand-still for over 1 1/2 hours. By the time we got to Wildhorse we'd been in the car over 5 hours. I'm thankful I brought bottles of water and trail mix, and that Jake has been practicing peeing outside the last few months. Honestly, I'm too tired to give details of the whole trip, except that Jake has never had so much activity, so much sugar, and so little sleep in his entire life. This is his honest-to-goodness dinner on Saturday night...ice cream on top of a cookie, cotton candy and popcorn. Yep, I'm accepting nominations for Mom of the Year.

No major injuries, and no life-flights out of the canyon, so I'm glad there's no stories to tell about my official camp duties. Just lots of sun, fun, and...pun(s)?? Forget it, I'm done. Ask Jake. Or Ann, her memory is probably a little more accurate than his. And besides, he won't be out of his sugar induced coma for another few days.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Musings from the ER

I wrote most of this the other night (morning?) when I did a night shift in the ER. I didn't post it because I knew I'd have 28 sentences that made no sense because my eyes were crossing at the time. I almost deleted it, but I just edited my incoherancies (I know, not a word)...and here you go. A little glimpse into another portion of my life:

I'm at work right now, finally getting my federally mandated 30 minute break. Note that I got here at 9:30pm, and it's now 5:50am, and I am just now getting my first chance to sit down, not to mention empty my elephant sized bladder. I've been downing coffee tonight like it's going out of style, so you really should be impressed.

Oh, to be a fly on the wall in a busy ER. Here are just a very few of the highlights:
  • A few people with respiratory problems. The young ones who don't smoke 3 packs a day went home, and the old ones, along with the ones who bring their own ash trays, got admitted.
  • A 16-year-old who was in a gang fight and has a stab wound to the face.
  • About five patients with migraines (probably only 2 of whom are legit).
  • Four people with dental pain (none of whom are legit).
  • A schizophrenic woman high on cocaine who is restrained to her bed after swearing she'll kill us all.
  • A patient with chronic back pain for 10+ years who decided that at 2am the ER would no doubt cure him.
  • A lady tweaking on meth who fell off the back of a truck and only bruised her knee.
  • An incredibly foul mouthed 21 year old "gentleman" with a laceration on his upper lip after being punched in the face by his father. I almost gave him a matching one on the lower lip.
That's been my night so far. And you are probably sleeping in your nice warm comfortable bed, your head resting on a fluffy pillow, no need for a Big Gulp of bad coffee and a can of pepper spray in your pocket...sucker.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

I'm officially...old.

Jake started preschool today. He ate his breakfast, chose his outfit, picked his snack, packed his Cars backpack (thanks Fredericks), calmly walked out the door, and drove himself away into the sunset. Er, sunrise. Alright, I was the one who drove, but it feels like he just grew up about 20 years today.
He walked into the classroom, said "see ya later, Mom" and that was that. I'm realizing what it will be like to be a mother of boys, because on the car ride home after school I asked him to give me all the details, and he said, "it was fun." Did you have a great time? "Yep." What did you do? "Played and stuff." Did you make any friends? "Yep." Seriously, could you give me more than a one word answer? "Ok." What else did you do? "We painted."

There you have it, folks. He had fun. He met friends. He painted.

At least he's not too old to yell, "MAMA!!" and run to give me a hug when I picked him up after school. Kinda doubting that will last through middle school. But here's hoping.