Friday, May 30, 2008

If only this were true...

Edited to add: I know you can't read the disclaimer, so just so's ya know, it says this:

"Ask your doctor before starting any sarcasm relief program (like he cares). Side effects may include headache, bleeding from eyeballs, extreme apathy, uncontrollable rage, turret's (sic) syndrome, muteness and excessive drooling."

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Pre-school graduation

This is a pretty silly event. I mean, seriously. Caps and gowns and EVERYTHING. (And some really punch. Like spring grass-green. I was a little afraid. Also, it sucked.)
But in spite of its faint air of ridiculousness, it was still pretty stinkin' cute. They had a slideshow with baby pictures and "now" pictures, pictures of events that have happened throughout the school year, and then they processed in. To "Pomp an Circumstance", no less. The whole school (both "graduates" and "future graduates") sang about eight songs with the teacher leading. I would like to point out that my son was the only one (that I could tell) who sang appreciably on key. That's my boy! Then each of the graduates had a little piece that they had memorized that they spoke. The usual assortment of nursery rhymes, although (as I did last year) I had to raise an eyebrow at this one: "Needles and pins, needles and pins, when a man marries, his trouble begins." That was it. That kid's whole big moment was a misogynistic piece of crap. But who am I to point fingers? My kid did "Little Miss Muffet". Oooh, big scary spider! Yadda, yadda, yadda...
(Those of you who know me best [which is pretty much all of you, because as I'm sure I pointed out before, only like five people read my blog] know that this criticism is COMPLETELY sarcastic. For real. I have no problem with the nursery rhymes presented. Were they a bit anachronistic? Of course. Were they cute nevertheless? Without a doubt!)
The whole thing went off pretty much without a hitch. Oh, except my camera battery dying halfway through (hmmm... I seem to remember another AmityMama blogging about this recently...). But I got some pretty cute shots anyway:

Hurry! We're late! As usual!

Sisters both keeping up.

"Pomp and Circumstance"

He kept looking at me to make sure I was watching. Like those demon eyes?

I did it!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Pray for the Chapman family

One of the songs by Steven Curtis Chapman that has really convicted me (pretty much since I heard it) is called "Let Us Pray". The lyrics, in part, say:

I heard you say your heart is aching, you've got trouble in the making
And you ask if I'll be praying for you, please
And in keeping with convention, I say "yes" with good intentions
To pray later, making mention of your needs
But since we have this moment here at heaven's door
We should start knocking now, what're we waiting for?
Let us pray, let us pray, everywhere in every way
Ever moment of the day, it is the right time
For the Father above, He is listening with love
And He wants to answer us, so let us pray

In case you didn't get the news, Steven and MaryBeth's youngest daughter, Maria, was killed in a tragic accident yesterday. (News report here.) They really, really, really need your prayers right NOW. Not later, in your quiet time, when you get to send it on your prayer chain, but RIGHT NOW.
One thing I have always admired about my mom, Denise, is when people ask for prayer, she listens to their needs, and ALWAYS says, "Let's pray right now."
The need for prayer is so desperate. The loss of a child is unimaginable to me.

In case anyone is wondering...

.there are 28 days, 15 hours and 33 minutes until we get to Creation. 32 minutes. get the point. Ever since I can remember, my sisters and I have had a "countdown to Creation". Starting in January. (I only wish I were kidding, because then you might not possibly think I'm a TOTAL dork.) Before the grand and glorious age of computers and time-left-countdown tickers, Gwenn and I would make a chart on January 1st. We'd take a piece of paper from one of our Trapper Keepers and write "Creation Days" on the top. Then we'd make columns of numbers, starting with one hundred eighty-whatever days there were until the day we left. We'd affix said paper to the back of our bedroom door and attach a pencil with a piece of string and some tape.
The tragedy would come when we'd forget for a day or two to cross off a day and then have to re-count on the calendar. (You'd think that two gals as smart as Gwenn and I would have come up with a better, you know, writing the days on the actual calendar.)
Creation is my happy place. Everyone has one. That's mine. I started going to the Creation Festival when I was 4, almost 5. (Incidentally, there is a month difference in the age I was and the age my son will be this year at the festival. I wonder if he'll remember it?) We started doing staff/set-up when I was 9, in 1985. That was the second year that the festival was at its current location. That was the year I met Jay, who is the friend I've known the longest that I still keep up with. (Good LORD did I have a crush on that boy!)
I started out cleaning bath-houses and port-a-potties with my mother. I've since moved on to other jobs, but the smell of Tackle (which, for those not in the know, is now marketed under the name "Clorox Clean-Up") will still take me directly back to when I was 9. (And 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15.) When I was 16, I started climbing steel for the set-up.
There are so many people who have come into my life because of Creation. I won't start naming names, because I'd be sure to forget someone. I've met my (literally) best friends there. (OK, naming names...Heidi and John!) I've met some total and complete whack-jobs there. (REALLY not naming names here, but if anyone wants to comment with some guesses, I can't control that...)
I am thrilled beyond anything I can say that my husband and my children have such a love for it. Jon mentioned to my mom today that "this year is my 10th Creation".) Both of use were completely taken can this be? You're the "new guy"! (haha) I say that only because this is Mom and my 29th Creation. That's totally crazy to me. (And in case any of you were wondering, I DO count 1995 and 2006. I was there. I set up. I played worship music for y'all! IT HAPPENED.)
I'm attaching some pictures of my happy place here. If you're a Creation reader, please comment on one (or more!) of your favorite Creation memories. If you have a picture you can e-mail me, I'll post that, too. If you've never gone to Creation, here's my 10-words or less description: Jesus Woodstock. Camping. Teaching. Killer music. Rockin' kids ministry.
If you want to know more, go to (I go to Creation East, although I've been told the West version rocks, too!). The catch-phrase of their promos says, "It will be the highlight of your summer...maybe your life!" I know it is and always has been for me.

The whole campsite crew

Fred! (Micah says, "He's pretty much the reason I go to Creation")
Marlowe and Elanit, our own personal Mary Poppinses
Heidi (I mentioned Heidi, didn't I? lol)
My favorite sound guy :)
I think Micah's singing here (at least I hope so)
Abbie's leading worship with me
Yes. You stink.
Me and my babies at the lookout
My favorite part of Creation
Astroturf nap. (Look how BLOND my boy is!)
I can only imagine the Newsboys are playing here.
After my first time 4-wheeling (and John, whom I mentioned)
Nanny and Abbie
Yes, she pretty much stays dirty the whole time
Paul (Cabana Boy) and Madison and...some other people....
Hey, that's a pretty nice stage we built, Mr. Rollhauser!
Micah on stage with Bigsby.
Micah and Bob the Tomato.
Another sunrise over another tear-down. (love this picture)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

How we spend our money

One of the blogs I find highly amusing is Stuff White Parents Like. (Not to be confused with Stuff Christians Like, which I've linked to before.) Today's post on Stuff White Parents Like was about celebrity babies, and people who shop for them. We're talking about BABIES, people. As in little demanding creatures, who, while lovable and beautiful and a blessing, will ALWAYS crap their pants (and probably get it all over their clothes), blow breastmilk all over said clothing, rub snot in their hair, get the picture. They are a dirty, dirty group. So when I clicked on the link to Petit Tresor, I about gagged. Now, I know that it's a proven fact that I am one of the cheapest people in the world. But of course, I like to get nice stuff for my kids. Although, by "nice", I mean from Target as opposed to a thrift store. For the most part, though, my kids DO get their stuff from a thrift store. Because, as both a cheap person and one with a shred (I'd like to think) of common sense in her head, I know that spending $20 on a onesie is just stupid, because (you heard it here, folks), THAT ONESIE IS GOING TO GET CRAPPED UPON.
Most if not all of you know that my sister and her husband on are on staff at the Haitian Childrens' Home in Jacmel, Haiti. They are in the process of moving there to open up another home for children. The Haitian Childrens' Home acquires sponsors for their children to support them. They split the sponsorship up between 5 people/families, so each person/family spends $32 a month to partially help a child get food, clothing, education, childcare (there are full-time live-in nannies there), get the picture.
So, for $160 a month, you could pay for LITERALLY EVERYTHING a child in Haiti needs. Not just to survive, but to flourish. Here's a breakdown of how that works: Sponsorship Costs. Or, for about the same price, you could acquire this admittedly cute, but really, not THAT cute dress from Petit Tresor (the Chloe dress). Now, keep in mind that, as I told you earlier, this dress WILL GET CRAPPED ON. (Just in case you forgot.)
I know we are, in general, a consumer society. Way overboard on pretty much everything. But my point, as I'm sure you can tell is: WHY are the people that can MOST AFFORD TO HELP spending their friggin' money on THIS? Aaargh, it just makes me sick.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Your first, second and third child

This is so true...I'd just like to share a picture of what MY third child is wearing today. Now, granted, we haven't left the house, but I actually wouldn't care if we WERE leaving the house. I wouldn't make her change for several reasons. First, because if it's clean, what do I care? Second, because even if it wasn't clean, she's not naked, so what do I care? Third, because if that's how she expresses creativity, who am I to judge? (Although in the interest of full disclosure, I do have to say that Kate was the one - I believe - who picked out Abbie's outfit.) Last, because, really, who cares? I'm getting to where I kind of relish the behind-the-hand whisper of "Oh, they homeschool." :) (Kind of exaggerating and projecting, but only a little bit this time.) I love being the freaky homeschool mom. I love that my kids add up items in the grocery cart for fun. I love that my 4-year-0ld does first grade math. I love that Katie likes to speak with a faux British accent when she "teaches" her brother and sister. I love that she takes attendance when we get in the car. (And yes, I have to say, "here" just like everyone else.) I love that my three-year-old asks me, "Well, what are my options here?" when I ask, "What would you like for snack?"
My point being, of course, that my kids are wicked smart. However, their fashion sense seems to have come from their Uncle Neil.

Yes, parenthood changes everything. But parenthood also changes with each baby. Here are some of the ways having a second and third child differs from having your first:

Your Clothes
1st baby: You begin wearing maternity clothes as soon as your OB/GYN confirms your pregnancy.
2nd baby: You wear your regular clothes for as long as possible.
3rd baby: Your maternity clothes ARE your regular clothes.

The Baby's Name
1st baby: You pour over baby-name books and practice pronouncing and writing combinations of all your favorites.
2nd baby: Someone has to name his or her kid after your great-aunt Mavis, right? It might as well be you.
3rd baby: You open a name book, close your eyes, and see where your finger points.

Preparing for the Birth
1st baby: You practice your breathing religiously.
2nd baby: You don't bother practicing because you remember that last time, breathing didn't do a thing.
3rd baby: You ask for an epidural in your 8th month.

The Layette
1st baby: You pre-wash your newborn's clothes, color-coordinate them, and fold them neatly in the baby's little bureau.
2nd baby: You check to make sure that the clothes are clean and discard only the ones with the darkest stains.
3rd baby: Boys can wear pink, can't they?

1st baby: At the first sign of distress--a whimper, a frown--you pick up the baby.
2nd baby: You pick the baby up when her wails threaten to wake your firstborn.
3rd baby: You teach your 3-year-old how to rewind the mechanical swing.

1st baby: If the pacifier falls on the floor, you put it away until you can go home and wash and boil it.
2nd baby: When the pacifier falls on the floor, you squirt it off with some juice from the baby's bottle.
3rd baby: You wipe it off on your shirt and pop it back in.

1st baby: Sleeps in your bedroom for the first six - eight weeks
2nd baby: Sleeps in your bedroom for the first two weeks
3rd baby: Goes right from the hospital nursery into their own room

Baby Book
1st baby: You religiously make entries every day, carefully noting the number of spit-ups and bowel movements for the first year
2nd baby: You enter a few facts each week but stop after 6 months
3rd baby: You buy the book but enter the child's name, birth weight, and length on the first page

1st baby: You change your baby's diapers every hour, whether they need it or not.
2nd baby: You change their diaper every 2 to 3 hours, if needed.
3rd baby: You try to change their diaper before others start to complain about the smell or you see it sagging to their knees.

1st baby: You take your infant to Baby Gymnastics, Baby Swing, and Baby Story Hour.
2nd baby: You take your infant to Baby Gymnastics.
3rd baby: You take your infant to the supermarket and the dry cleaner.

Going Out
1st baby: The first time you leave your baby with a sitter, you call home 5 times.
2nd baby: Just before you walk out the door, you remember to leave a number where you can be reached.
3rd baby: You leave instructions for the sitter to call only if she sees blood.

At Home
1st baby: You spend a good bit of every day just gazing at the baby.
2nd baby: You spend a bit of every day watching to be sure your older child isn't squeezing, poking, or hitting the baby.
3rd baby: You spend a little bit of every day hiding from the children.

Swallowing a coin
1st child: When first child swallows a coin, you rush the child to the hospital and demand x-rays.
2nd child: When 2nd child swallows a coin, you carefully watch for coin to pass.
3rd child: When 3rd child swallows a coin you deduct it from his allowance!!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mother's Day gifts!

All of my kids made me handmade cards for Mother's Day. I love that. I love how they express love. Micah and Katie actually made me 2 each. Micah's first one looked suspiciously like Katie's drawing, and she said, "Micah copied me!" So he made me another. Which had NOTHING whatsoever to do with Mother's Day. It's a pirate ship. With a cannonball hurtling toward it. The row of backwards Zs represent the guy sleeping "below deck".
Another thing I got for Mother's Day is Micah and Abbie (and, to a lesser extent, Katie) saying, "Happy Mother's Day, Mommy!" approximately every four minutes. Usually followed by an "I love you!" My mom took the kids and I out for lunch, too.
The gifts that are the best for me are ones that are truly surprises and demonstrate that the giver really has thought out what you'd like best. Kate got it right in both cases yesterday. She took some of her own money from her "pecan sales" last Christmas and bought me a dozen roses from a fundraiser my mom was doing for her youth group. It was so sweet and so typical of Katie to do something like that for me. She is seriously the best kid ever.

Roses from Katie

Close-up...they're beautiful!

Real men wear pink

Soda makes Abbie a bit feeble, apparently.

Katie's drawing another picture on her menu.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Mother's e-mail forward (gasp!) and some acknowledgements

I don't often pass along e-mail forwards, and if you know me you probably know that I loathe them in general, but I'm making an exception with this one because it really spoke to me. The gift of motherhood is something that so humbles me daily that it's hard for me to even speak about it. Of course, I'm the shrieking harpy every so often (thank you, PMDD!), but I really feel in my heart of hearts that being a mother, in addition to being my most important job, is what I was born to do. As a little girl, I had vague aspirations of "when I grow up", and careers would change on a whim, but "mother" was always at the top of my list.
On Mother's Day of 2000, I found out I was pregnant for the first time. I actually took at pregnancy test at about 1 in the morning because I couldn't stand it any longer. It was positive, and I woke Jon up and we laid awake talking for most of the night because we were so excited. For Mother's Day the next morning, I gave my mom the pregnancy test across the breakfast table. It is a moment that I will never forget. A few short weeks later (Memorial Day, fittingly enough), we said goodbye to that baby we never met. I got pregnant with Katie the following winter, and it was Kate who first taught me what motherhood really feels like.
So, for the acknowledgement part here:
- to Jon, who has always supported and celebrated that "mother" is my most important role and my single biggest identifying trait of self
- to my mama, who taught me how I want to be as a mother
- to Jon's mom Sally, who is teaching me how to raise a boy to be a man
- to my Gwenn, who showed me how much fun being a mom can be
- to Melody, who has validated so many of my parenting decisions (muahaha...I've won you over to the attachment-parenting dark side!)
- to Shelly, who demonstrates with such grace the life of the single mother with all its trials and triumphs
- to Meeshi, who embodies the love of earth mama, not only for "bone of my bone", but for her beautiful blended family
- and to my Amity ladies are crazy and amazing!

No, I haven't won the Oscar, but I'm so emotional about being a mom I can hardly stand it.

This is the forward I received from my new friend Joan a few days ago:

This is for the mothers who have sat up
all night with sick toddlers in their arms,
wiping up barf laced with Oscar Mayer
wieners and cherry Kool-Aid saying,
"It's okay honey, Mommy's here."

Who have sat in rocking chairs for hours on end
soothing crying babies who can't be comforted.

This is for all the mothers who show up at
work with spit-up in their hair and milk stains
on their blouses and diapers in their purse.

For all the mothers who run carpools and
make cookies and sew Halloween costumes.
And all the mothers who DON'T.

This is for the mothers who gave birth to
babies they'll never see. And the mothers
who took those babies and gave them homes.

This is for the mothers whose priceless art
collections are hanging on their refrigerator doors.

And for all the mothers who froze their buns
on metal bleachers at football or soccer games instead
of watching from the warmth of their cars.
And that when their kids asked, "Did you see me, Mom?"
they could say, "Of course, I wouldn't
have missed it for the world," and mean it.

This is for all the mothers who yell at their kids
in the grocery store and swat them in despair when
they stomp their feet and scream for ice cream before dinner.
And for all the mothers who count to ten instead,
but realize how child abuse happens.

This is for all the mothers who sat down with
their children and explained all about making
babies. And for all the (grand)mothers who
wanted to, but just couldn't find the words.

This is for all the mothers who go
hungry, so their children can eat.

For all the mothers who read "Goodnight,
Moon" twice a night for a year. And then
read it again, "Just one more time."

This is for all the mothers who taught
their children to tie their shoelaces before
they started school. And for all the mothers
who opted for Velcro instead.

This is for all the mothers who teach their sons
to cook and their daughters to sink a jump shot.

This is for every mother whose head turns
automatically when a little voice calls "Mom?"
in a crowd, even though they know their
own offspring are at home -- or even away
at college -- or have their own families.

This is for all the mothers who sent their kids
to school with stomach aches, assuring them
they'd be just FINE once they got there, only
to get calls from the school nurse an hour later
asking them to please pick them up. Right away.

This is for mothers whose children have gone
astray, who can't find the words to reach them.
For all the mothers who bite their lips until they
bleed when their 14 year olds dye their hair green.

For all the mothers of the victims of
recent school shootings, and the mothers
of those who did the shooting.

For the mothers of the survivors,
and the mothers who sat in front of their TVs
in horror, hugging their child
who just came home from school, safely.

This is for all the mothers who taught their
children to be peaceful, and now pray
they come home safely from a war.

What makes a good mother anyway?
Is it patience? Compassion? Broad hips?
The ability to nurse a baby, cook dinner, and
sew a button on a shirt, all at the same time?

Or is it in her heart?
Is it the ache she feels when she
watches her son or daughter disappear
down the street, walking to school alone
for the very first time?

The jolt that takes her from sleep to
dread, from bed to crib at 2 A.M. to put
her hand on the back of a sleeping baby?

The panic, years later, that comes again
at 2 A.M. when she just wants to hear
their key in the door and know they
are safe again in her home?

Or the need to flee from wherever she is
and hug her child when she hears news
of a fire, a car accident, a child dying?

The emotions of motherhood are
universal and so our thoughts are for
young mothers stumbling through diaper
changes and sleep deprivation....
And for mature mothers learning to let go.

For working mothers and stay-at-home mothers.

Single mothers and married mothers.

Mothers with money, mothers without.

This is for you all. For all of us...

Hang in there. In the end we can
only do the best we can. Tell them
every day that we love them. And pray
and never stop being a mother....

New pictures (with my new camera!)

Jon bought me a new camera for Mother's Day (since I LOST, yes LOST my other one...along with my almost-new Flip video camera :( ...yes, I am careless). But I totally love this new one and am still figuring out how to use it. It's this kind Kodak EasyShare Z12is.
It's really cool. As evidence, here are a few pictures of my week. I had Gwenn's two boys for a few days this week, which is always fun. The highlight of Nico's visit was a "field trip" to see Grandad's trash truck. He was SOOO excited! Grandad showed him all around it, pointing out different things it does, and put him in the driver's seat to let him turn it on and honk the horn. One thing I have always appreciated about the way my dad interacts with kids is that he never talks down to them. I'm not sure how much of the "technical stuff" Nico understood, but he definitely took it all in, and Grandad just talked to him like you'd talk to an adult. I've heard him explain some really complicated things to my kids in "grown-up" terms, and not only have they understood him, but they were able to teach it back to me. Anyway, that was the best part of the visit for Nico, I think. For Josiah....hmmm...tough to say; it's probably a toss-up between the "no-highchair situation" (I don't have one at my house and Gwenn forgot to send the booster) and the "Auntie Gretchen doesn't care if I crawl around on her dirty floors and get absolutely filthy". Or possibly the "Cousin Katie loves me and pretty much exists to cater to my every whim". A good time was had by all, folks.

Abbie and Josiah in the bath

Aaah! It's a big wave! (That's what she said, anyway.)

Jon says, "Hey, Mommy, the kids are 'tired'!" Get it?

Squeeze 'em all in there!
Dee-dee Grandad truck!

It's pretty big.

Driving and honking the horn (when Grandad turned it off, Nico vehemently signed and said, "More, more!"

Explaining the inner workings.

This is Katie's favorite position for reading.

Kate, slave to Jo-la-la.

The whole crew (we missed Nia! and of course, Evie)...Josiah is belted into Abbie's tall chair.

My pretty girly

And my handsome little man..
And my sassy sweetie!

...OK, after a fruitless 15-minute attempt to figure out how to upload these pictures, I'm putting it on hold for now. I have a garden to weed. I'll try to figure it out later!
EDITED TO ADD: Figured it out now! Sorry, Melody!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

My new favorite blog

(sorry Gwenn and all my other previously-favorite blogs)
Stuff Christians Like is now REALLY my favorite blog. The author has a very engaging writing style (with just enough sarcasm to make me aspire to higher heights of sarcasm...just kidding [not really].)

Check out Jonathan Acuff's great words of wisdom if you get a chance! I'm also putting his link over to the right there.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Quick Abbie funny

Today I went to the grocery store with my 2 girls (Micah's in preschool this morning) and my 2 nephews, Nico and Josiah. For those of you who don't know my family, Josiah is almost 1 and Nico is 3 1/2. Nico is from Haiti and I still can't understand about half of what he says. So he's running through the store, pointing and saying, "Dee-dee bananas! Dee-dee applesauce! Dee-dee crackers!" Apparently, "dee-dee" is either "this is" or "I want". As we reached the last aisle, Abbie grabs up a can of Pringles and runs after me, waving it and yelling, "Mommy! LOOK at THIS!" I looked, and said, "That's great, Abbie, but I'm not buying those." She sighs and says, "I KNOW, Mommy, I was just using my imagiNAtion."
I'm not ready for he to be using this pre-pubescent eye-rolling tone with me yet!