Fall 2013-dark leaves

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Cleaning before the sickness

Yesterday we had a Life Skills day for homeschool. That's a fancy way to say we cleaned house. Sarah Frances and I worked hard on the upstairs bathroom because, frankly, it's been a while. And for those of you with little boys, you know (as I do) how even a little while is too long to wait to clean again. Well, it had been longer than a little while. Gross!!

Later in the afternoon, we loaded up the kids and went to The Heights, Richmond Heights' community and rec center. Our city councilman had given us passes when we moved in, and we were saving them for a rainy day. Or a snowy day for that matter, as was the case yesterday. They have this amazing indoor pool with a graded shallow area full of fountains and slides for little ones, then a lazy river and a 3 story twisty slide for bigger kids (like Brian). We all had a BLAST. If this family loves playing anywhere, it's in the water.

Well, about 1am, Lillian starts fussing. I ignored her until it got so loud I was sure she'd wake the others. Good thing I went upstairs. She had regurgitated (to use Grandma's word for it, lol) in her bed and aparenty aspirated some into her lungs. I ended up sitting on the floor of the *newly cleaned* bathroom, holding her over the comode for 40 min. until she coughed it (and regurgitated it) out. I felt so bad for her; she must have swallowed too much pool water.

But I was SOOOOOO thankful I could sit on the bathroom floor in ease vs. having to pay attention to avoid the worst of the yuck down there. And I was thankful to have healthy children. What if having sick children were a normal part of my life?


Jim and Lilla are probably minutes away and I need to quickly dust my LR/DR and run over MY bathroom quickly. What would the house look like if we worked on it daily, and I didn't have to rush like a mad woman when I know s'one is coming? Thank God he doesn't put off cleansing my heart.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Here We Go Again...

I have indegestion and gas pains. Anxiety has been creeping up on me throughout the day. I can tell classes start again in 2 days. :S

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Bikes and Haiti

For Christmas all the kids together asked Santa for a bike trailer so we could go on rides as a family. This morning I figured out how to put the attachment on B's bike, and off we all went! I pulled Patrick and Lillian and Sarah Frances and Catherine were on their own bikes. (B is at CFA.) What fun we had! We rode along back roads to the library and back, a total of about 35 minutes. I like having big kids! I hope we can keep doing that as the weather permits.

We saw 2 families we knew on our ride. One was out as we passed their house and another was walking out of the library as we pulled up. That's fun. It's so good to see people you know when you're out. Makes it feel more like home.

Did you watch the Hope For Haiti Now last night? We did a little bit. There were some amazing musical acts playing, but I was hesitant to let the girls watch Anderson Cooper talk to the 15yo trapped under the rubble as we stare at her lower leg and foot. I don't mind them knowing what happened, and this is a great opportunity to address a ton of issues, but if they're as visual as I am, a scene like that could haunt them later. It is exciting however to see the world rally around people in need.

I read somewhere that over half the population there is children. I also read an article at http://ow.ly/YE1h about some horrible things happening to them. I can't imagine. Lord, please have mercy on them!

It's not supposed to be this way.

Makes me so thankful for His graces to us--like riding bikes with my kids in a place that feels more like home every day.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Nakie Baby

Lillian has gotten into the habit of taking her diaper off by herself. She pulls her pants all the way off and pushes her diaper down at the waist till it comes off too. Thankfully (for me) the only time it happened when she was dirty, I was out alone and Brian had to deal with it. He did find the dirty diaper thrown in the closest trash can, so she does have the right idea. But last night she did it 3 times while she was in the crib before she settled in to sleep. So I started spanking her for it.

I mean, why doesn't she get it that I know what's best for her? That to disobey me means she is choosing to expose herself to a yuckiness that she can't comprehend? See where I'm going with this...

Well...why don't I get it that God knows what's best for me and that disobeying Him means I'm choosing to dive into sin, resulting in consequences I can't readily comprehend?

I suppose I'll have to dress her in onesies and "putty jammies" (Patrick's pronunciation of "footie jammies") for a while. Or keep spanking her. Or both. Doesn't God use multiple ways of teaching us too?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


I stopped just 10 minutes ago (this was written at 6:50am) to count the number of sounds I heard in my house: the dishwasher, washer, dryer, 2 older girls dancing and squealing to the loud music on the stereo, a baby girl whining, and a door squeaking as it closed.

Too much!

One day the house will be quiet and I will be sad.

Mom and Dad left this morning. As he was getting in the car, Dad said, "We'll come back soon." And Catherine said, "OK, come back tomorrow." It was a good visit. We tried to hang curtains in the living room to help keep in the drafts from the windows, but the wall isn't sheetrock so it was a little more involved. Mom finished a couple of cute dresses for the girls. I'm so thankful she loves to sew. I hope to sew for my grands one day too.

This afternoon Brian was asking Patrick how school was today. Sarah Frances thought he was addressing her and replied, "Great!" with the enthusiasm of Wade, Laura or Anna Gardner Herren. What sweet words of affirmation from my daughter and student! We started back to school after Christmas by establishing some Class Rules together. How did I miss that step back in the fall? SF has said several times since that she's glad we have them and how they've helped her get her work done. What else will I look back on and wonder how I missed it for so long--both in the classroom and personally?

Let me know if you can help me with that.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


Sarah Frances said this week, "I miss our regular house in Birmingham."

Mom and Dad are here through Tuesday. We are so glad they made the drive up! We plan to go on a drive tomorrow and head down to the arch. The Magic House is closed on Mondays or we'd probably try to do that too. Maybe next time. They took us to lunch this afternoon to the Bread Co. Yum!

I've been reading Stepping Heavenward lately. Have you read it? I should probably just consistently re-read it as soon as I'm finished. I'm a much more patient parent and considerate wife when I strive alongside Katy.

This morning in Sunday School, we talked about living vulnerably in our communities (surburbia in particular), beginning with the church. The bottom line is that if we are willing to share our messes, we are more able to minister to the Body and live out the gospel with each other. I come from a church where I feel like we did that well, and I hope that community at Covenant PCA grows to the same extent. Or maybe just that I become so much a part of the community there that I experience it here like I did in Bham.

The thing is it all starts with having our identity in Christ. If our security, significance, and satisfaction are in Christ, we are free to share openly and with risk. Risk of humiliation at being "found out" to not have it all together. Risk of what if people don't care? Or even what if people run away from me? But we can risk it because Jesus already knows our mess and has already worked out a plan using it for His glory and our good. And for the good of the Body.

I love that we're talking like this! I hope to be a good example of how to live it out.

Friday, January 15, 2010

It actually passed through my mind the other day when I started with, "I'm so proud of myself," that I was asking for it. But today is better than yesterday.

It actually began improving when last night Mary Martha walked in as I was pushing the "Publish Post" button. I haven't seen her in a month, and her hug felt so good. She helped cook dinner and ate with us, then accompanied us to Julie and Frank Theius's house for a Covenant-Sem-student-at-Covenant-Church dessert. Brian was working, and I was grateful for her help. And the kids cooperated surprisingly well. And on the way home, Patrick's teacher called and had very kind, reassuring words for me.

Cathrine Holohan invited us over to play and for lunch today. She is amazingly Southern to be original to St. Louis. Her girls (4 yr and 22mo) wear precious smocked or monogrammed "trunk show" clothes, and she served me chicken salad. Refreshing! She is becoming a good friend, and we are rejoicing with her and Barth that they are expecting #3.

Tonight we are not going to The Magic House (sorry, Mary Beth) because we have to be home together, just our family, sometime. And we need to clean out the fridge. I love left-over nights! Esp. on a Friday. And the kids took early naps today, so hopefully they'll go to bed early too.

Plus, if the kids go down early, we can watch The Office, which is really my main focus of the whole day. We're still working through Season 5, and now we're motivated to get through it because Laruabeth Medlock sent over the first season of Arrested Development. That should be fun too. And they said Modern Family is like The Office for families. Have you seen it?

Thursday, January 14, 2010


And now I'm tempted to erase the last post b/c I don't want to complain; we all have our struggles, why are mine worth reading about? But, again, I want you to be encouraged that even though I'm saved by grace, my life is still a mess. So I'll leave it.
Today is not supposed to be this way. Almost nothing has gone right. Or left. It mostly just tanked.

I need a location to have my bootcamp. The school I hoped to use fell through.

My son aparently (although new to me in the last month) has language processing issues, and we're pursuing getting him some speech and language services. This required his teacher to fill out an eval that brought me to tears--do I really know my own child?

This morning I had to quit grading the girls' math workbook pages because so many problems were wrong. I thought we "got" subtraction!

I'm so busy that I'm incapable of cleaning my own house to the point that my husband spent his morning today scrubbing the bathroom and doing all the dishes and laundry. He says he doesn't mind, but that's not his job. And what happens when he starts back to school? Life simply can not revert to the way it was last semester.

And I've put on 7# since we moved here and my new jeans from Christmas got dried accidentally and now they don't fit.

And now my oldest just brought me a drawing that says "Have a Happy Day" with a sad face "x"ed out and a smily face circled.

But we did get out for a birthday lunch (milking it even more) with the Woods and happened to see 2 other friends there at the mall. Then I went by a Hannah Kate show for 15 minutes on the way home. And now I ache for home.

But not for the home in Bham. For Heaven. Oh, to be with Jesus! Oh, to be freed from all these cares and yuck! Oh, to have unlimited joy! Oh, to have all of the "already" and be finished with the "not yet".

I guess I'm going to go eat a bunch of celery. At least it starts with a "C" so it's kinda like chocolate.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Endless Labors

I am so proud of myself! Last night Brian was working till close, and after I got the kids down I was free to spend my time as I cared. Did I go make a hot chocolate and Bailey's and snuggle up to read Stepping Heavenward till I drifted off even though there was plenty of work to do? No! I actually baked a birthday cake and 24 cupcakes (that girl is milking this b'day thing).

And now, as the little ones are asleep and Brian has taken the big girls back to the ice skating rink, am I going to sit down and read? No! I am going to decorate said birthday cake and make spaghetti sauce and salad for tonight's dinner with the Medlocks.

I remember when I used to take a nap EVERY afternoon when the girls were little. And, really, even until Patrick was about 1. Then the laundry started to eat my house and the dishes absolutely had to be run, emptied, and reloaded every single day, and if I were going to do any kind of cleaning it had to happen during naptime. But those were the days.

One day I'll read again. I may actually sit down again one day.

A friend was lamenting recently that she struggled to find 15 minutes to sit down and read the Word. I agree! I encouraged her to find a verse or 2 to process and chew on throughout the day, vs. trying to clock in time reading Scripture. Spurgeon's Morning and Evening is a good book for that. Our pastor and his wife gave us a copy when we got married, and I've recently picked it back up. It's been a big help in encouraging and admonishing me in my walk this fall.

Anyway...that cake's not giong to decorate itself... Is there a verse somewhere about cake decorating?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Catherine's Birthday

Do you ever put a newly opened 2L Diet Coke poured into the perfect sized cup with just the right amount of ice in it on top of your car while you're loading the kiddos and drive away without remembering it's up there? I love it when that happens.

Today is Catherine's birthday. She's six. I've considered her to be six years old ever since Sarah Frances turned six. I wonder what kind of psychological damage I'm doing to her by always having lumped her in with her big sis? I've always expected the same out of both of them, behavior-wise. I wish I had treated her more like a baby when she was one. I mean, she was five yesterday. That's much younger than the seven that SF is. When Lillian's five, I'll probably still let her drink out of a sippie cup.

The snow is still on the ground. We ended up with 4+ inches--did I already say that? The Woods are coming over to sled this afternoon after naps. It might be our last time for this round of snow; the high tomorrow is 40-something. Yesterday it got up to 30, and we were about ready to play outside without coats. At least we could play without hats and scarves. Sarah Frances taught me how to slide down the steep part of the hill on my knees. We raced to see who would slide farther. She won.

Yesterday might be my favorite day of homeschooling, if only because I was free to play outside in the early afternoon in the snow with all my kids, and they were all able to play together as well.

But re-registration and sibling-registration packets are coming home from Patrick's school this week. We're seriously considering sending the girls, if they can afford to take us in on what we can afford to pay. I'll guess we'll see what God's plan is. He's getting pretty good at making it clear to us. I'd gladly(?) homeschool again if needed. It would probably be better for our family if I didn't. The whole load of all this up here has driven me to counseling. So pray God will make it plain and that we (I) will joyfully accept His plan for us.

Friday, January 8, 2010


Oh, my. I didn't know it could feel so good to be alone. Well, I'm not technically alone; there are two sleeping children upstairs. But the big girls have gone over to a friend's house to play FOR THE ENTIRE AFTERNOON--thank you, Abby!!--and Brian is out studying. And I am left all to myself.

You know how good it feels when you've cleaned out your closet or all the drawers in your dresser? No one can tell a difference from the outside, but there is a lighter feeling when you walk into the room. That's how I feel right now, having farmed out 1/2 of my kids--the house feels light and partly empty. Very refreshing. And yet I already miss them.

Now off to my To Do list? Not yet--I just brewed a fresh mug of coffee and intend to cruise through the cookbooks I pulled out last night in search for some healthier dishes. I think I'll turn on some Norah Jones too. Wow, what a treat!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Sixth of January

It's 8:26, and I've said my goodnights and kissed all my bebes. I can't believe it's this early. Today was a great day, and I guess we're all just worn out from the excitement.

Brian is not taking classes during JanTerm, and his hours this week at ChickFilA have stayed the same. What a treat to have him home so much! Today we took everyone to the Magic House to buy our memebership for the next year (thanks, Uncle John and Aunt Emily!), and showed him around. It's like McWane Science Center in Bham but much lighter and open feeling and twice as big. One major difference that I don't like is that one room always leads to another. It's not like I could sit at the entrance/exit of a room and know they are playing safely around the corner even if I can't see them. So I was glad to have Brian with me to help keep up with everyone.

So we're all wiped out from our afternoon--Lillian especially, since the poor 4th child missed her nap so the family could have fun together. She has crashed, but the others are wired. It's snowing outside. I mean, really snowing. And they are more pumped than they were on Christmas eve. Brian took us out on the front porch before shooing them off to bed so they could see the whole street, all the cars, the roofs, and most of the grass are blanketed already. And it's supposed to keep snowing all night. Four to six inches accumulation. Next week is Catherine's birthday (can't believe she'll be 6!), and we got her a sled today for an early gift. Maybe I can put up pics tomorrow. Look for a snowman. Oh, I wish I had a carrot!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


OK, I'm already annoyed with my own blog. What's with all the morals at the end of the story? Why can't it just be a real, tell-it-like-it-is picutre of my life? Period.

Because my life is not the way it's supposed to be. There is a better way. And I don't want to leave my thoughts without pointing to a better example to follow.

But it is my reality. The truth is ugly, and truth is I'm a mess. So be encouraged by my mess. And be annoyed with me. Because this is not the way it's supposed to be.

And now I can't think about it anymore because there's a little boy upstairs alone calling out, "I'm finished!" Guess what I get to go do next?


Brian had worked at Blue Cross for 8 1/2 years when he left for a new career path. His office gave him a going-away luncheon at Lloyd's on Hwy 280 in Birmingham. It's this great local meat and three that he and his cronies enjoyed frequenting. Anyway, they invited me to come along.

On my way to lunch I realized I had very dry skin. Now, I am a very content SAHM, but it's nice to feel good about the way I look when I'm going to be around professional people. So on my way there, I hunted down my lotion (another reason I'm content that my car is like a closet--I have almost anything I need right at hand...somewhere), BUT it was my "smelly" lotion. I needed it on my arms and legs, as it was mid-summer, and I knew if I used all I needed the scent would be overpowering when I went in to lunch.

So I compromised--used what I needed and then rode to Lloyds with the windows down in the car so I could "air out" before I arrived. Later I told Brian my predicament, and he said that he noticed I had on a fragrance when I walked in. Great, I thought, now I'll forever be known as The Smelly Wife. I was a little late so I had to walk in alone across the entire room, vacant but for BCBS people, so it's not like I could blend in and wonder with everyone else who the Smelly Person was. Oh, well.

It makes me think of having the Aroma of Christ. We are told to put off the old and put on the new. When do I put off the old habits and put on Christ? Only when I go out among other Christians and want to appear my best? Or do I seek to be godly in even the mundane tasks of a SAHM? I hope that the changes God has made to my heart result in my giving off the Aroma of Christ all the time. I wouldn't mind being known for that. :)

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year and New Feet

Happy New Year! It's January 1, 2010, and I celebrated this morning (beccause I fell asleep last night before 10pm) by shaving my legs and putting on a clean bra. It feels great to have a fresh start. Oh, and I scrubbed my feet. That feels great too.

Have you ever scrubbed your own feet? I think that's why a pedicure feels sooooooo good; I mean it's nice to have pretty toes, but when they've scrubbed the rough edges off... It feels amazing afterward. It's been a while since I've had my feet done. I opted this year for the ever-practical gift of new underwear instead of my regular gift certificate to get pampered. Too bad for my feet, but boy I do love my new undies!

Back to feet--have you ever scrubbed your feet after you slept in socks (I mean the socks you wore the whole day and climbed in to bed with)? They get clausterphobic down there. It's refreshing when the socks come off, but how much better it feels when the poor feet get washed off. And then when I intentionally dry in between my toes...I'm a new woman.

And so I'm off to a fresh start for the new year.

Remember reading when Jesus washed his disciples' feet? What an act of servanthood, first of all. But how they must have felt, physically, like new people. I mean, their feet were abused much more than ours--they. walked. everywhere. In sandals. And didn't bathe as often as we do. And Jesus washed them clean. Imagine the contrast they must have felt. I wonder if they got it that he does that for our hearts when we have faith and trust in Him?

I hope I realize the contrast and live the contrast better this year.