Archive for August, 2009

The Pretty Toilet

There is nothing better for the procrastinating housekeeper than the anticipation of company coming to make her tackle those rooms left alone to defend themselves against the dust bunny population.

Dust bunnies are real, and frankly, I’m afraid of them. Maybe it was the whole growing up in a trailer thing that kept me in the dark about how real and frightening dust bunnies can be. I mean, 5 people living in a single-wide trailer doesn’t leave much room for the dust bunnies to gather strength and overpopulate the undersides of beds and closets left unused. There were no spaces left unused in our house. And my mom was a good housekeeper. And besides that, dust bunnies prefer old farmhouses with nooks and crannies and chinks in the walls to escape through when they might happen to be inadvertently discovered. You know, like when you’re not actually cleaning but happen to glance under the bed in search of the missing cell phone that disappeared in the hands of a 1 year old 3 hours ago, only to be absolutely horrified at the myriad of enormous out of control dust bunnies staring back at you, mocking you, daring you to get out the broom and dust pan.

Yeah, I don’t mess with them until it’s absolutely necessary, such as when the bed actually has to be moved to another room and there’s just no way you can put a new bed in there until the dust bunnies have been exterminated. Thankfully they’re not cute and I don’t have to deal with my kids screaming in my ear, “NOoooOO!” while I’m doing the awful duty.

But it wasn’t dust bunnies that I dealt with this week. Dust bunnies were last week when we switched around everyone’s bedrooms. This week it was the bathroom.

Ah yes, the bathroom. The place that needs deep cleaning every single day when you have toddlers potty training and little boys who have no concept of “aiming”. But, alas, it usually gets done – well, when I can’t stand it anymore. Sometimes once a week (yeah right), sometimes twice a month (well….), and sometimes once every six weeks or so. Of course, I do the basics more often – cleaning the toilet, wiping down the sink, sweeping the floor – I’m talking about the getting down on the hands and knees and scrubbing away the gunky build up from behind the toilet.

Yes, company coming dictates I do these things so that no one spontaneously throws up in said toilet the minute they walk in the room, or nervously tries to hide the shudder at the mention of the bathroom the entire time they’re staying at my house.

The best time to clean the bathroom is when the toddlers are in the tub. The girls are big enough to not need me hovering in a back-aching position over the edge of the tub, but not quite big enough to be left alone for long, so I toss them in the tub to soak and I clean the toilet while they play.

On Sunday I walked in, the girls just having gotten into the tub, set my big basket of heavy-duty cleaning supplies down on the floor and assessed the situation. *sigh*. It ALL needed to be done. And the very FIRST place I was going to start was with the old toilet seat. Ugly and cracking, it has been begging to be replaced for oh, a year or so now. I’ve even had the new seat ready to go for a few months, but dear hubby had not yet done it. Well, I can conquer this thing, I thought, and went to work.

5 minutes later I stopped trying to unscrew the corroded screws on the bottom of the seat because I finally realized they actually had nothing to do with holding the seat unit onto the toilet. Okay then. Blonde moment. Recovering quickly, I found the bolts that did the real job and jumped up to run out to the garage to grab a wrench. I grabbed open a drawer from the toolbox, selected a wrench that looked just about the right size, then thought to myself, I probably ought to grab one that’s a little bigger and one that’s a little smaller just to be sure. I shoved the drawer back into place and turned to run back to the house, but stopped myself just short of the door. I paused, looking down at the three wrenches in my hand. “You know,” I said outloud to no one at all, “I seem to remember doing this before…”. I turned each wrench over in my hand to read the little printed numbers.

Let’s see… first one: 14 mm.
Okay, second one… 14 mm. okay, well, honest mistake.
Third one! …. 14…mm… great. Definitely turning into a blonde day.

Quickly went back, replaced two wrenches and picked up two more of actual different sizes and went back. Thankfully one of them actually fit the nut needing to be loosened up, and we were back in business. 3 hours later, the girls were complete prunes and I was still grunting under the edge of the toilet trying to pry them loose…

Okay, it wasn’t really that bad. I did have to wedge myself down between the toilet and tub to get a good angle on that nut, but that was really just cheap entertainment for the girls as my pony tail stuck over the side of the tub and they took turns dumping soapy water on it. When it was all done and the new seat on, I couldn’t help but exclaim, “Look at the Pretty Toilet!!!” which my girls promptly echoed back to me and now you know why you may randomly hear them talk about pretty toilets.

I got the girls out of the bathtub after that, got them dressed and turned them loose in the living room. I went back in to my bathroom-cave and scrubbed the floors. It’s amazing what sort of things you find looking up from the angle of scrubbing the floor. Like how long was that toothpaste on the underside of the sink? And how did it get there? By the time I emerged the bathroom was sparkling from top to bottom, ready for guests. One job done and crossed off the list.

Meanwhile… the living room looked like a tornado hit it. I saw from the corner of my eye a two year old, armed and dangerous with two uncapped markers, ran across the room, tackled her and took her down accordingly before something got hurt.

Not that it really matters much. There isn’t a flat surface in this house that hasn’t been marked up, drawn on, or had random greasy/sticky/gross things smeared on. Our whole house is one big advertisement for why you should never rent a house to parents of small children. But I do try.



Must. Write. More.

BUT HAVE NO TIME!!! Aaack! Maybe in the morning I’ll be able to get on here and write to my heart’s content before anyone’s up. Likely, since they seem to have not adjusted their schedule at all yet, despite being on the road for more 3 days. Sheesh.

Panic and Prayers

I should be cleaning. I MUST be cleaning. But something tells me I may not get to write much over the next ten days, so I’d better do it now.

A week ago I was cruising around facebook and saw the update of a friend from college telling about how her sister (also a friend from college) had given birth to her first child and had suffered severe complications, requiring her to be transported from her planned homebirth to the hospital during labor so that delivery could be facilitated in the hospital setting. The baby was born unable to breathe and was oxygen deprived for a significant amount of time. The prognosis was grim, to say the least.  As I read this I began to sob.  I had written back and forth several times with the mom-to-be, sharing my experience with home birth and with hospital birth, giving advice on how best to prepare for the “in case of” situation, and hoped I was able to share the positive aspects of hospital intervention. At the end of the first letter I said, “I also hope you won’t be afraid of things if a hospital birth becomes necessary. God will be with you wherever you are, with angels attending you in your time of need.”

Because I know that for some ultra-conservatives, the thought of the interventions and pressures to go mainstream can be overwhelming and feel as if they have lost control, a very scary thing indeed.

I was filled with so much compassion as I read the news of the baby’s plight that I was compelled to stumble my way to the bedroom and fall to my knees beside my bed. It was nap time, the house was quiet, I was afforded as much time as I wanted.  I wanted a lot.  I poured my heart out before God. I confessed, I cried, I stood on the promises. I reached out, and I held on. A feeling came in waves that I was being surrounded by a presence I’ve only felt a few times in my life, and as I breathed in the stillness I felt… I don’t know what I felt because I can’t find the right words to describe it.  Eventually I felt as if I had wrestled with the angel and was exhausted by it. I managed to get upright enough to drape myself across the end of the bed and glanced at the clock before falling into a deep sleep. I had been on my knees 45 minutes.

When I woke up, another half an hour had passed, and the children were beginning to wake up. They were sick that night, and therefore helped me, actually, in my determination to continue praying for the struggling newborn every two hours. I only missed the 4 am prayer time.

The baby is doing better now. Her prognosis went from grim, to so near death they had to make the soul-chilling decision on doing a DNR, to now making progress forward at a slow but steady pace. Time will only tell where it goes from here. Miracles are possible, and they do happen.

I’m not telling you this because I’m trying to brag about my prayer time, or to seem pious. Rather it was a spiritual journey I went on that I needed to relate. Did my prayers change the outcome of this situation? I honestly don’t know, and I don’t believe I will know until we get to heaven. Did my prayers change me? Absolutely. Yes. Without a doubt.  In my prayers I found myself venting my frustration with God over the amount of compassion for a family that I have so little contact with. I haven’t seen the mother since college, will most likely never meet the baby I was praying for, and barely knew the father’s name. Yet there I was, crying my eyes out for their plight and begging God for His mercy.  And turning around to face my own little family here with so much less compassion than I ever thought myself capable of.  Especially for my middle child. My drama queen, the little girl who cries wolf so many times a day it is a constant struggle for me to even TRY to hear the difference in her fusses and cries and to WILL myself to care enough to help when the distress is real. It seems as if my nerves have been shot and my ears have turned deaf and my heart has turned cold. How could this be?! And how on earth do I fix my own heart?

So I pleaded with God for the same compassion for my own babies as I had for the one needing healing.

Over the past few days I had been noticing a difference in her. A little less fussiness, a lot more affection coming from her and aimed toward me. Some sort of odd sense of bonding that we have never really shared began to happen. Hmm, I thought, this is different! I wonder what has brought about this change in her?

Last night I was woke up by the sound of panic in a little voice. Adrenaline began rushing through my veins as I kicked through my jumbled up covers and tumbled out of bed. I made a beeline for the voice, not sure who it was or what was scaring them half out of their minds, but I was going to kick its butt, whatever it was. I managed to find the light switch and see my little ELA, scared out of her mind, calling out into the darkness, “IS ANYBODY HERE?! I CAN”T FIND MY MOMMA PACHYCEPHALASAURUS!!!”. Her relief at seeing my face was so deep, and so complete that I couldn’t help but grab her up and hold her on my lap, pressing her head into my shoulder and squeezing the last bit of terror out of her soul as I spoke quietly to her. My heart filled up and overflowed and I realized then God had granted me what I had asked for my own family.

With much thankfulness I carried my girl back up to her bed, tucked her in with her missing pachycephalasaurus and sat on her bed until she told me to go to bed. She never did like it when anyone laid down with her. She much prefers to sleep alone. Wonder how that’s going to work out for her later in life!

The commotion had also scared my little one and she was crying in the other room, so I went in to her and laid down next to her, my head next to hers on her pillow, running my fingers through her curls until she fell back to sleep. It was an hour before I found my way back to my own bed, but after that, a more peaceful sleep I couldn’t ask for.

DH’s tattoo

Here is the one DH wants (except shrunk down and put as an arm band on his left arm, and with the face colored in more solidly for simplicity) :


Just some ideas of what I might do if I were to choose to get a tattoo to commemorate this lost baby and J’s heart surgery. The ambigram says “merciful”


When I was down at the lake the other day I saw the most beautiful tattoo.  EM and I were just heading up the hill back to the car when another family showed up: a mom, dad, and little boy about 2. I glanced back at them as they passed us, and stood transfixed as I saw the tattoo on the girl’s back.  It was a pair of little footprints, one on each side of her backbone between her shoulders, with a halo above them.  Her tat told me a story without saying a word.

Clear As Mud

Pregnancy tests negative. Period 3 days late. And the girls are killing me. I am not amused with such nonsense.


Last night I swung back and forth on a pendulum between sleeping hard because I was exhausted and not sleeping at all because all I could think about was today.

Today I take J down to GR for his appointment with his cardiologist.

Today marks 4 weeks since I lost the baby.

Today I think I’m going to buy a pregnancy test.

*sigh*  I have a lot on my mind.

Yesterday I spent the entire morning running around doing piddly errands that took forever. Went to 3 banks, the post office (twice because I got mail that wasn’t mine) the video store, the pharmacy, the church, the gas station, and out to Aunt K’s to top it all off.  Got home after noon, fed them lunch, then started in on moving furniture around some more. There isn’t much left in the house any more that hasn’t been moved!

Moved J into our old bedroom, moved the girls into J’s old bedroom, and all the fun stuff that goes along with that type of thing: dressers, rugs, lamps, wall hangings, changing the beds, cleaning, cleaning, and more cleaning! J slept in his new room last night, and so did ELA, but EM just doesn’t quite take to changes like that very easily, so she slept in her old room on a twin mattress on the floor. I think I may leave it there to have a place for each kid to have of their own to take naps in.

I threw a pizza in the oven and even when DH got home we kept right on working through bedtime until almost 9 when we finally quit and put the kids to bed. It was a busy, but eventually productive day!

So now I am getting ready to go down to GR for this appointment. I’m a nervous wreck about it. At J’s last regular dr. appt., for his Kindy checkup, the doctor we saw wondered about his heart murmur. I informed him that J had an appt with the cardiologist and he seemed relieved. I didn’t know what to make of it. He wasn’t the same doctor we usually see; he hasn’t ever listened to J’s heart before, so he doesn’t have anything of his past history to reference this to. I don’t know if this is something new, something left over from before that he’ll always have, or what? Today I’ll find out.

I was wide awake this morning at 4. I listened to the drops of rain coming off the trees as I looked up at the hazy moon. I tossed and turned and finally got up, only to come back to bed a few minutes later. I snuggled with my hubby for the last few minutes before the alarm went off, then grudgingly got up to start the day. I made coffee and we chatted at the kitchen table before he gathered up his things and went out the door into the 5 am darkness. I followed him out, hoping to get the phone car charger from him since I’ll be gone all day, but he didn’t have it with him.

I looked around at the darkness outside and realized it wasn’t rain that I’d heard laying in bed. Out in the open there were no raindrops on my face, no drops of water on the hood of my car. It only dripped from the trees, and I realized it was the dew. The dew was so heavy the leaves couldn’t hold it. I walked back toward the house, the figures of horses in the field like ghostly statues in a graveyard. The dew and the fog hung close the the buildings, and swirled around the shadows with the breeze. It was one of those things that you knew a hollywood director would pay lots of money to try and create on a set for some scary horror film. I shivered as I locked the door behind me.

“and the best advice you may ever get…

is don’t.. go out… at night…”

Yesterday was a fail day. It was awful. There was screaming and kicking and slamming doors. And that was Me. Not to mention the threatening to throw the 25lb. dumbell through the front of the TV.

My emotions are all over the place. I recognize that a lot of it has to do with imbalanced hormones, trying to figure out where they’re supposed to be at, but sometimes I think DH is a little too quick to write everything off to hormones that are out of whack. Sometimes I think that PMS is really a time when we lose our inhibitions and say what we really want to say but normally wouldn’t because we don’t want to hurt any feelings!

So many changes going on right now in my little world. The loss of a baby, J starting school soon, moving our bedroom downstairs. All of these changes, whether they’re big or small, just seem to add up to one woman who feels lost at times. Decisions have to be made about whether to add on to the family or not, what that will mean in terms of future plans, and of course, whether to put J in school or to homeschool. I won’t even get into that. The list of pros and cons for both sides go on and on and it gets increasingly complicated to wade through the reasons and motivations behind all of it. I want to do the absolute best for my children, but some days it feels like I am failing on all accounts. I want to give them every advantage, to let their dreams be as big as the sky, to have everything within their reach and nothing too far beyond their grasp. I want them to believe, like I did as a kid, that they can do anything.

For some reason, this train of thought has led me down the road of mourning over where we live again. When I think of the advantages of the place I grew up, I can’t help but want to rebel against all the powers that be that drive us to stay here. Why is it that the only taste and experience with the wonders God created have to be only found in the daily act of tending a garden and caring for horses????  It is a slow and steady kind of patient watchfulness and discipline that grows like a seed, learning to appreciate this way of seeing God. But I am not  a daily tending, slow-and-steady kind of girl!!!

I want the freedom and the sweat and the grandeur of climbing the side of a mountain. I want the soaring feeling of standing on the edge of a cliff after a 12 mile hike. I want to look out my windows while doing the dishes and be constantly reminded of the magnitude of God. It is a different kind of experience with the simple things and the wonders of God. It is what I know, it is who I am.

Yes, it is WHO I AM on the most basic level of ME. I have tried for nearly 8 years to understand this, to embrace this, to “bloom where I have been planted”, but it rather feels like I am trying to fit myself in a square box when I’m a round peg.  (ha ha, round peg… so true…) . It is NOT who I am!!!

And NO, it is NOT a character flaw.

Let me say that again, just so I’m clear. It. Is. Not. A. Character. FLAW.

I am not the daily discliplined, steady as a clock, slow-and-steady wins the race kind of person, but rather I am a push hard and win the race, then sit back and relax kind of person, who likes to be free to change my mind, to jump up and go and do at times, unplanned, impetuous maybe. And just because I am not the daily disciplined kind does not mean I am incapable of holding tightly to my convictions, to having principles that I stand on every single day of my life.  It doesn’t mean I am not able to be faithful and loyal. I AM those things. I DO have principles that I hold on to for dear life. I have kept the faith, kept the Sabbath, and kept myself for the man I married. It doesn’t mean that I can’t have a relationship with God that is worth a hill of beans. I CAN and I DO.  Just as much as those daily disciplined types do. Just as real, just as vital.

I just can’t teach my children that which I don’t know, that which I don’t have. And here, in THIS place, where the only way to view God’s simple beauty is to see it through those slow and steady types of things, I feel like I am failing to teach them that.  I can hardly see it myself, though I’ve been trying so hard to fit this round peg in a square hole for so many years.  It seems like here the only simple things to be appreciated are simple food and gardening.  And frankly I don’t see that as holding the attention of a young man for very long at all, and then the interest moves on to trucks, and motors, and getting together with friends at the gravel pit for beer and talk about trucks and tractors and other like things with motors.  It’s NOT what I want for my kids. I want more. I want things that I can’t have HERE.

So why is God keeping us here?

For now? For a time? Forever? I don’t know. I don’t know for how long, or why, and some days it just eats me.

Skinny Girl

Inside of me is a skinny woman trying to get out….

…. I usually keep the bitch quiet with chocolate.

Love it! Just had to share, I read this on GF yesterday!

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