Friday, February 23, 2007

Carpet Battles

When we first moved into our new house, our carpet was pristine. I would just look at it in wonder and think, "Wow! This is what clean and new carpet looks like!" In just over a year, it has been through many battles. A couple months after we moved in, we had a thunderstorm with strong winds coming in from the west trying to tear down our brand new house with us inside it. I was cowering in my bed in the middle of the night praying that we weren't the foolish man who built his house in the sand. The next morning, we were greeted with flooded carpets on the west side of the house. We spent the day soaking up every towel in the house with the fans blasting. That was the first battle. After that, there were the occasional drink spills, crushed food, red clay from art class, green paint, dog crap, and so on and so on. One day, our toilet decided not to flush properly and started to flood the bathroom. We didn't notice till the carpet outside the bathroom was sopping wet. We spent another day soaking up every towel in the house plus the bed sheets with the fan blasting. Our little Aidan is a great contributor to these carpet battles. One morning, Aidan observed me ironing some clothes. I stopped ironing for a minute to wash my face in the bathroom. I came out when I was done and screamed. Aidan was proudly showing me his ironing skills on the carpet in my bedroom. He could have said, "Look, Ma, I can iron, too!" I grabbed up the iron and looked at the scorch mark that was left behind thanking God that my baby didn't get hurt. It's a wonder I haven't had a heart attack by now.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Mud Bath

Teenage girls are not the most intelligent creatures in the world. When I was a teenager, my nickname in the family was Dingbat. There was cause for that. When I was 17, I got my first car. I was pretty proud of the fact that I could pay the entire $400 that the lady asked for. She obviously wanted to get rid of it pretty badly. Things didn't go smoothly for that car after I drove off with it. Two times I locked my keys in the car with it still running. One day, I was driving it home when the tire blew. Since I was only a couple blocks away from home, I decided to keeping driving till I got there. During this ditzy time in my life, my brother was 13 and had his own paper route. Most days, he would ride his bike, but since it had been cold and rainy, I drove him so he could get his papers delivered in relative warmth and dryness. The rain had left the roads very muddy that day. I pulled up to a house and my brother got out. He went to the door to collect the payment and came back to the car. For some reason, I felt that I wasn't close enough to the curb, so I decided to pull up a little more. The car was stuck in the mud, so I gunned the engine trying to get out of it. I looked through the back window wondering why my brother wasn't getting in the car. He was just standing there, but finally came to the passenger side door and that's when I got a good look at him. My brother was covered from head to toe with mud. He was looking at me like I had lost my mind. The poor kid was blasted the whole time I was trying to get out of the mud. He had to finish his paper route with it all over him. Yeah, there was cause for the nickname.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Forgotten

When my son, Nathanael, was born, it changed my life forever. I now had a little person who filled my whole world and gave me a purpose. He was a very good baby. He only complained when he was hungry. Even at night, he would lay quietly to let mommy sleep even though he was wide awake. As he grew, his sweet personality and shyness were very endearing and turned my heart to mush. Even now at almost 10 years old, he is still my sweet and quiet boy. This sweetness of nature has given him friends who call him all the time. When I pick up the phone, I love to hear a little chipmunk voice ask, "Is Nathanael there?" to which I reply, "Of course," with true delight. One day, I took Nathanael to school and came home to go about the day's business. I homeschooled Caleb, tried to clean the house, and went about my day as usual. Three o'clock came and went and I didn't even notice. For some reason, my head was in the clouds that day. By 3:30, the phone rings. I hear a little chipmunk voice on the phone and I go all gushy inside. I talk to the chipmunk for a few seconds not really understanding what he is saying. For some reason, I have no idea I'm talking to my own son. Finally, he says, "Mom! Aren't you coming to get me?" I lost all the air in my lungs at that point. My eyes dart to the clock and my mind is screaming at me. How could I forget my own son? I profusely apologized to my sweet boy and promised him I would be right there. My brother was visiting that day, so I dumped the rest of my brood on his shoulders and ran out the door. I raced to the school as fast as I could without getting a ticket from the tax collector hiding in the bushes. When I pulled up, there he was waiting for me. He was very understanding of his absent-minded mother. I lavished him with candy as soon as we got home. He thought that was cool.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Runaway Keys

I am not your typical organized housewife. I always sit in awe of those women that tell me of their organizing strategies and go home more determined than ever to fix my cluttered life. I'm still working on that. Right now, my kitchen looks like a bomb hit it. Most days, I am yelling at the boys telling them to pick up their toys, put their dirty clothes in the laundry room, clean their rooms, sweep the floor, etc. etc. I finally came to a drastic decision. I decided to put up a gate to the living room, scour the room clean, and never let the boys in there again. So far, so good. Anyone coming to our front door will see a beautifully kept up living room and say, "Wow, she really has it together!" Now I just have to figure out what to do about the rest of the house. Our microwave cart is always the place that collects the things that I find on the floor or the counter top.....and that's where we usually put our keys. After dropping Nathanael off at school, I usually get home and immediately start in on homeschooling Caleb. This morning, when we got back home it was a little crazier than normal (which is really saying something) and I didn't put my keys on the microwave cart as usual. Talk about being a total scatterbrain! Disaster loomed and I didn't have a clue. I went about my day as usual till the time came to pick up Nathanael from school. I went to get my keys and wow, what a surprise! No keys. I immediately started hyperventilating. I knew I wouldn't find them. I had no idea where I had put them and trying to find them in my house was like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Believe it or not, but this was like the 5th time I have lost them. I called the school and got their answering machine. Trying to keep my cool and not turn into a blubbering mess, I ransack the bedrooms thinking maybe Aidan's sticky fingers got a hold of them. By the 5th phone call to the school, I finally got someone. One of the teachers offered to bring Nathanael home. I was grateful, but my smile froze on my face. I frantically put Caleb to work picking up the toys left on the kitchen floor while I rushed around like a madwoman clearing off the kitchen counter. I kept thinking, "Thank goodness I made that new rule about the living room!" The teacher didn't come to the door, but I came to realize something. We need a copy of the van key.

Puppy Madness


When my family got together for Thanksgiving last year, my brother brought his new puppy with him. I was immediately taken with the sweet, little cocker spaniel. I thought he was adorable and such a good, little thing. I immediately decided to get my own puppy right then and there. I got home and my husband was absolutely thrilled with the idea. Yeah, right. After a month, I was still insistent about it even though he hoped I had forgotten all about my crazy infatuation. We looked up cocker spaniels on the internet and I would go all gooshy inside looking at the pictures of the puppies. We then looked at a rating system for dogs and how they related to children. Cocker spaniels were only "okay with kids" and not in the "excellent with kids" category. I wasn't happy about that, but we saw that beagles were in the category we wanted. I wanted a small dog that would be "excellent with kids". So, we looked up beagles in the area and when I saw the pictures of the puppies, I was hooked. I took Nathanael with me to go pick up our new little puppy girl out in the country. I first saw her through the screen door and when I held her for the first time, I fell in love. Not so much now. My brother warned me that she will poop in every room of the house. I was feeling a little cocky at the time and didn't really believe him. The dang dog has pooped in every single room of this house. She has also figured out that she can tip over the kitchen trash can with just a little push of her front paw. One night, I asked Caleb to clear off the kitchen table. He cleared everything away except the chicken dish. She managed to climb up onto a chair then onto the table, grab a thigh, and run with it upstairs. She inhaled the entire thing before I got to her. She is a bad, bad puppy girl. My husband says I can look forward to this for five more years. God preserve me.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

What Boys Do

What is the fascination that boys have about urinating outside? I just don't get it. I never understood my brothers' inclination for doing what I thought as disgusting things. They were always outside and it just seemed easiest to them to do their business right there. Our house stood right next to the church that my father pastored, but did that stop them from doing it in broad daylight? One day, my sister was walking from our house to the church when she looked between the buildings to see one of my brothers peeing in the dirt near the house. She gasped in complete disgust and yelled, "I'm going to tell Mom!" Of course, my brother was in complete shock and wailed, "Noooooo!" Either I had forgotten about this episode between my siblings or I chose to forget because I was clueless about this particular fascination with boys. When Nathanael was 6 and Caleb was 4, I was enlightened. They were both outside playing in the backyard. I had the windows open to let in some fresh air when I heard Caleb say, 'Let's pee in the dirt!" I stood in shock thinking that my brain wasn't quite functioning right. I thought, "Did I just hear what I thought I heard?" I decided to go investigate to be on the safe side. I opened the back door and there they were with their hands on their pants just about to pull them down. They had the guiltiest looks on their faces. I gasped and started in on my tirade. "What do you think you are doing? If you have to pee-pee, then you pee in the bathroom! You can't pee outside! Get in here right now!" I guess you learn something new every day.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Forgiveness

How many times have I held a grudge against those who have wronged me? Too many times to count. I like to wallow in my self-pity and replay the hurtful things said and done to me over and over again like a record in my head. I want to feel the bitterness creeping through my heart and soul and nourish it so that forgiveness is a thought I'm not even close to thinking about. That is only one of my sins, but one that has been fed throughout the years. I was confronted by this particular sin of mine when I was a teenager. I was giving the silent treatment to a friend of mine for some offense that I couldn't even remember. My mother pointed out to me that I have not forgiven this person and made amends with her. I was furious with my mother for making me look into a mirror. I did not like being shown my sins. It did make me think about what kind of person I am. If I truly wanted to become more like Christ, I had to swallow my pride and forgive my friend. Not only that, but become her friend again and endeavour to be a good one no matter what. Even now as an adult, I do the motions of forgiveness. Then everything comes to a crashing halt when I am hurt again by someone in my life. Sometimes, I get so frustrated with being a woman that I could just scream. Why do we have to be such emotional creatures? Why can't I just let it roll off my shoulders? I have watched my husband closely over the years we've been married and I am always struck dumb by the way he can just let go of things. I am entirely different. I roll it around in my head like a piece of hard candy in my mouth. I talk bitterly to my husband about whatever is bothering me for years on end, but he is always patient with me and just lets me talk. How many times have I wronged those that I love in some way? What makes me better than anyone else? Even Paul, Christ's apostle, was a murderer, killing those who proclaimed faith in Jesus, and yet Christ forgave him. Peter denied Jesus three times and even then Christ forgave him. Not once did Jesus give them the silent treatment or become bitter. Suddenly my actions look so childish and petty. Whenever my pride gets out of proportion, I will read Colossians 3:12-17-

"Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him."

Thanks, Mom, for showing me my sin and thank you Lord Jesus for your grace and mercy.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Kitchen Potty-Training

When our Justin was going on three years old, I felt it was high time he was potty-trained. Well, I had tried a number of ways to teach my older boys, but I felt the best way to teach Justin was to use a radical new idea- keep him naked from the waist down. Of course, this idea totally grossed out my poor husband, but I was determined to try it. My boys were too intelligent to use the new training pants from Huggies. They KNOW they are just like diapers. Duh! Well, Justin would even go in his new big boy underwear, so I felt an intervention was needed. Well, the very first day I tried this idea, it was going pretty smoothly. I was really just training myself by taking him to the bathroom every so often. Nighttime came along and the boys were in the kitchen eating popsicles. They were all standing in the middle of the kitchen licking away when suddenly I hear Nathanael and Caleb freaking out. I heard things like, "Oh, gross! Yuck! That's disgusting!" Then they yell, "Mom! Justin just peed on the floor!" The first thought in my head was, "Thank goodness it was on the KITCHEN floor!" I ran to the kitchen and poor Justin looked absolutely frightened to death. I picked him up and took him to the bathroom all the while telling him that it's okay, but he needs to go pee-pee in the toilet and not on the floor. From that moment on, whenever the poor boy felt the urge, he would immediately yell, "Pee-pee!" and run to the bathroom as fast as his little legs could go. I felt bad for him, but I have to say that he never had an accident on the floor again.