Saturday, February 27, 2010

Olympic snuggling

My kids love to snuggle. Like seriously love it.

Of course, this can be one of my favorite parts of parenting. I can think of few things that rival a sweet snuggle from one of my precious kids.

Notice I said one of my precious kids. The problem is that I have three precious kids.

When there was only one - or even two - we could sit on the couch and read books together, cuddling away the hours. Now "reading books" is just a euphemism for pushing, climbing, and clawing their way past each other and farther on top of mommy and closer to the book because they "can't see!!!!"

There is serious competition around here about who got more snuggles, snuggled longer, snuggled in a better spot. It never ends. I'm convinced my kids could turn this into an Olympic sport: "It's Joshua with an arm and a leg right now, but watch out, Ethan's making a move from the outside and going for the neck with Lauren not far behind pulling the sneaky climb-right-on-top-before-anyone-notices move . . ."

Last night topped all prior mommy snuggle competitions.

We took the kids sledding at around 8pm. If you're not familiar with this activity, it involves a really big hill and a lot of knee-deep snow. Going down the hill . . . fun. Going up the hill . . . less fun. Going up the hill while pulling a 40 lb. child on your sled . . . so not fun. I can often pretend that I'm in good shape, but last night proved otherwise.

So when we came home and the time came to put the kids to bed, I began going up the stairs. About halfway up, I found myself dreaming of the landing at the top like one longs for an oasis in the desert. I got there and collapsed on the floor. With every muscle in my legs and buttocks aching, I decided just to stay there for a few minutes.

That's when Ethan came up, and seeing me there, decided it would be the perfect time for a snuggle. He laid down on the floor next to me and snuggled up close. Joshua came up the stairs a few moments later and said, I kid you not, "Mommy, when you're done snuggling Ethan, you have to snuggle me next!"

Um, kid, I'm not down here to snuggle; I'm just dying, that's all. Apparently, he found it grossly unjust that I had never laid on the floor at the top of the stairs with him.

If my kids ever find me lying unconscious in a ditch, I do not believe they will call 911. They will just argue over who gets to snuggle first.

"No fair, Ethan got to give you CPR last time!!"

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I think she'll go far in life

I told the boys to clean their room a little while ago, and they did. A few minutes later we were all downstairs, and I told Lauren she needed to go clean her room. Here's the conversation that ensued:

Lauren in a conspiratorial tone: Hey, guys! Let's go clean our rooms and surprise mom with it.

Josh: We already cleaned our room.

Lauren: Weeeell, let's go clean my room together. It'll be fun, won't it?!

Josh: No, you have to clean your room.

Lauren: I know . . . how about we all clean it and see who can clean it the fastest??!!

Josh: No.

Lauren: I've got it, Josh! If we all clean my room, I bet mom will give you a reward for being so nice . . . don't you want a reward, Josh?

Me: Lauren, go clean your room.

Lauren: But mom, I'm trying to help Josh and Ethan get a reward.

Isn't she an angel?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Long time no write . . . quick takes update

So, it's been brought to my attention that my blog has not been updated in quite some time. I know, I know. Mea culpa and all that. I was shocked to see when I logged in just now that I have only four posts up for the whole month of February . . . and one of those was written by David!

All I can say is that between work, the kids, the house, and being sick, I just have not found the energy to write. Plus, after all this time without a post, I felt like I would need to write something really good to make up for it . . . but I got nothin'.

However, I will attempt a quick update of things going on in our household:


We made it to Georgia and back. The kids were very good during the traveling, but nevertheless, I can think of about 800 million things I would rather do than go to an airport and get on a plane alone with them again any time soon.

The bathroom trips alone make the whole thing almost impossible. I love the looks on people's faces as four people with three backpacks, four coats, a carry-on bag, and a purse come piling out of the handicapped stall. It must look an awful lot like a circus clown car!


Lauren continues to ask me if her ears have popped yet. Josh commented as we were landing that he could tell his ears popped because his voice sounded louder.

Lauren, not understanding that he meant it sounded louder to himself, began asking in louder and louder voices whether her ears had popped yet.

"I don't know, sweetheart . . . does it feel like they popped?" I would say.

"Well, do I sound LOUDER yet??"


Alas, as wonderful as our vacation was, the return to the real world was swift and without fanfare. Alarm clocks, never-ending snow, grocery shopping, housecleaning, sickness . . . it was all just waiting for us like a lion about to pounce on its unsuspecting prey.


I've officially added an inch to my height.

I've always (well, technically not always, but for many years) been between 5'5" and 5'6", but probably a tad closer to the former, so that's what I've used as my "official" height.

That was before I went to the doctor on Monday and heard what my "official" weight is now. Yikes. So, when the nurse asked me how tall I was, let me tell you, I didn't hesitate even a second before responding, "5'6!"


Since so much snow awaited us upon our return, I tried to make the best of it. I gave the kids some food coloring, cups, and spoons to play with.

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Yes, it took at least four days for all that color to come off of Josh's hands.

Monday, February 15, 2010

True beauty

One of my favorite things about being home is getting to worship in our former church. The church we attend in Pennsylvania and the church we attended in Georgia could not be more different. One is charismatic; one is semi-liturgical. One is full of dancing and shouting; one does not even clap after a solo. One begins somewhere around 11:00 and ends when it ends; the other starts at 10:45 and ends promptly at noon.

And I love them both.

We sang one of my favorite hymns yesterday. To be honest, the entire song doesn't move me much, but the second verse contains one of my favorite lines of all time:

And whether our tomorrows be filled with good or ill, we'll triumph through our sorrows and rise to bless You still,

To marvel at Your beauty and glory in Your ways, and make a joyful duty our sacrifice of praise.

Where do I marvel at God's beauty? In the snow-covered mountains, yes. In the colorful feathers of a peacock. In the tiny fingers and toes of my newborn child for sure. I've mostly associated beauty with the aesthetic in nature . . . sunsets, flowers, beaches, canyons.

As I looked around me in church yesterday, I found myself marveling in His beauty in a new way. Standing with fellow pilgrims, with whom I have laughed and cried, and declaring the greatness of our Savior's love is truly a thing beauty.

How awesome is the fellowship of believers where we can always find refuge for our souls. Even though churches may be worlds apart in how they express the joy of their salvation, they are full of beautiful people.

I think God's church is perhaps the most beautiful thing of all.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

To My Wife

And though we've walked these many days, these many years,

Through skies sometimes cloudy and sometimes clear,

I have had your company to bring me cheer,

And in my heart more passion burns for you each year.

And though we've walked these many days, these many years,

And for so long you didn't want to be here,

Yet having you with me has quieted me fears,

And now I perceive that you also in this place find cheer.

And so it is that for now and forever, I will love you,

a little more today, and even more next year.

Happy Valentine's day.

(Don't I have an awesome husband? He hacked into my blog to leave me this poem. I love him, too.)

Yes, we really are that dumb

I had the chance to go out to dinner with my dear friend Melissa last night. We are both pretty smart, if I do say so myself. We did well in high school, have college degrees, and between the two of us, parent five children. Nevertheless, this is how our dinner outing went:

1. Park at Carraba's and learn that there is a 1.5 hr wait for a table.

2. Walk next door to Smoky Bones and put our names on the list since the wait there is only 45 min.

3. Decide to use some of those 45 minutes walking next door to Olive Garden to see what their wait is.

4. Discover that Buffalo Wild Wings is between Smoky Bones and Olive Garden, but bypass it and walk to Olive Garden. The wait there is 1.5 hrs.

5. Since we've gone so far anyway, we decide to walk next door to Chili's and check out that wait. Thirty minutes. Score! Put our names on the list.

6. Realize that the Smoky Bones pager, which is beeping because we've gone too far, is not going to stop beeping.

7. Decide since we have 30 minutes to kill, we may as well return the pager to Smoky Bones.

8. Walk back to Smoky Bones with pager.

9. Walk back to Chili's to eat dinner.

10. While waiting for our table, realize that if we had a LICK of sense between the two of us, we'd have gotten the car while we were down there.

Yes, this is a true story of two idiots and their parking lot ambulations.

Friday, February 5, 2010

To my mom

John 15:13: Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

I'm one of those lucky people who grew up in a truly great family. Two parents, two brothers, numerous ill-fated pets, and some pretty fabulous cousins.

As I get older, it becomes more difficult to look back on my childhood and remember specific events clearly, but there is one thing that will forever be crystal clear: my mom was always there. I don't know how she did it, having had her first baby at only 19 years old, but she taught me by example what it meant to be a good, no a fabulous, mom.

It is only as I've become a mother myself that I've realized what it really means to lay down your life for another. Of course, in the literal sense, I would die for my kids . . . but what about in the figurative everyday sense? That's what my mom did.

I'm sure it was not for herself that she allowed us to have friends stayover for nights on end as though they lived there.

That she accompanied thirty obnoxious 7th and 8th graders on a multi-day field trip around the state of Georgia.

That she attended loud concert after loud concert with a bunch of hyper thirteen year old girls wearing six watches on each arm.

That she would drive out of her way to pick up a Burger King chicken sandwich for her ridiculous daughter who'd had her paged in the grocery store.

That she went on countless high school retreats.

That she decided to make herself the unofficial youth leader for our church which had none, taking teenagers on ski trips and to concerts, and leading them in Bible study at our house every other Sunday.

That she made sure our house and pool were always open to anyone who desired to be there.

That she drove to Merritt Island, Florida (and back) to help her less-courageous-than-she-thought daughter fulfill her summer missionary whims.

That she got up before the crack of dawn to take me to 7 am piano lessons because it was the only time my busy and oh-so-important high school schedule could accommodate.

That she cooked and cleaned and laundered and chauffered and nursed and rejoiced and comforted.

That she faithfully met with three other moms to pray for her kids almost every week of our lives for the past 17 years (and that she still does, though I think it's at least as much for her now!).

Of course this list contains a but few examples of thousands. When I think of my mom, I think of John 15:13.

Mom, thank you for laying down your own life for mine. You were the first person to love me and the first person I loved. Thank you for teaching me how to be a mom. You've always been my biggest cheerleader, and now that I'm old enough to understand all that it cost to be the kind of parent you were and still are, I'm your biggest cheerleader, too.

Happy birthday.