Thursday, July 31, 2008

Imagine My Surprise

Caro has asked twice now for stories of Me!Me! (a.k.a. Meiners in his 'older' years). Somehow she gathered, from the little picture of him on the side bar and, I don't know, maybe the one at the end of this post, that he is...well...rascally. I'm unsure where this reputation originates (besides the all-too telling photos), but let me assure you. It is all true.

Me!Me! is the epitomal middle child. I never believed in such a thing as birth order - until reading Pioneer Woman and raising Me!Me!. I imagine one day he will drive a Jeep. In the open air. Without the top. Muddied from off-road trailblazing. A braided band around his neck with a carved stone cross dangling from the center (cuz he'll be a follower. Just the one who drives a Jeep and has a shaggy hairdo). Me!Me! likes to hang loose (as I'll demonstrate in a minute). He's cool. He's happy. He's, well, he's Me!Me!

Why the nickname "Me!Me!" you ask? When he was two and his dad would ask the twins who wants to ____________ (insert some really cool, fun kid thing to do), the two older kids would scream "MMMmmmeeeeeeeeeee!" in unison. Little Dude first signed "me" "me" with his hands. As he became more savvy with words, he turned it verbally to: Me! Me! Henceforth, he came to be known as Me!Me! However, being the wise, mature 4 year-old that he is now, he does not want that baby name attributed to him. On more than one occasion, he has corrected me on how to appropriately beckon him (oh yes, beckon him I do). Well, being defiant and mischievous as I am, I refused to give up calling him a cute little nickname, but I transitioned it to Meiners. And he responds to all three of his names now. His two nicknames plus his God-given name (plus its shortened version, plus the one...OK, really that's all.)

So, loving Me!Me! as I do, and thereby knowing him as I do (or vice versa), I should not have been wholly surprised this morning when I entered the living room where the three older kids were rehashing Monday night's High School Musical's version of American Idol on the DVR with this added nuance of musical talent:

I can't really tell you why the HSM talent-wannabes needed to be vanquished by our budding Luke Skywalker, but rest assured, that lightsaber wielding 4 year-old was out for revenge.

Fast forward to our trip through WalMart this afternoon, and count me equally as surprised (although why I was surprised I know not) when I turned around to beckon Me!Me! to hurry only to find the weight of the lightsaber (still attached) had accidentally pulled his shorts down a bit too far and Little Man was unassumingly flashing his stuff to the local WalMart patrons and associates. (I assume unassumingly, anyway...) Oh. Wait. I forgot to tell you. He refuses to be encumbered by common underwear. Oh it's true. "It holds me in, Mom." Um, yeah. That's it's job, Me!Me! So you don't flash the people at WalMart. Or anywhere else, for that matter.

Go figure. There's a story about Meiners. (You're Welcome, Caro!)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Using My God-Given Talents

I used to be "A Stamper." I say 'used to' because I've been working on a card for two kids' birthdays all week long, and I have no inspiration. If you're a stamper, you know one card and one week do not equate to good math. Now, in my defense, I have been busy. But, really, the other crafts that I have been busy finishing are bringing me more enjoyment than the stamping. And that's a first. I've created art using rubber stamps for a decade. I'll do it again, I'm sure. For now, I am having so much fun making these onesies:

I made a set for my new nephew in June. I just love the idea - enough that I made my 'baby' a set, too. I love the origami boxes with little matching note cards. Aren't these cute?! I'm mailing them off today.

But, Ladies, Gentlemen, I am not just for the babies. I, too, represent the women:

I think I slept in that shirt - it's pretty stinkin' wrinkled. But, great photography, right? That would be Pookie.

So, anywho. I'm off to make a set of these today and a set of these in preparation for the big party!


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

It's Fun Bein' A Kid

You can imagine what I might have been thinking when I came in to this scene this morning. Did she lose her diamond (or at least a gold sequins)? Her favorite Webkinz? Her brothers? I heard their voices, but they were no where to be seen.
Aah. Answers. I sought them. I found what I searched for here:

A good old-fashioned game of telephone. Gotta love being a kid!

Monday, July 28, 2008

My Little Baseball Player

He could have been a Danny. Or a Charlie. Or Ethan. Or - we didn't really know. (Sorry, Little Buddy, it's true). The morning of my scheduled c-section with My Little Man, our Baseball Buddy, Me!Me!, who has come to be known as Meiners (rhymes with weiners), I recall standing in front of the sink, scrubbing my morning breath away, and having the infamous discussion with The Man about the baby's name. If he had been a she, we knew what her name would be. But for the better part of his 38 weeks of gestation, we couldn't decide what he should be called.

We walked though WalMart one day when I offered the name 'Ethan Philip.' That was my favorite - our oldest son was named for his dad, grandfather, and great grandfather. Philip was my great-grandfather's name. The Man said of the four boy babies we knew born the same year, all four were named Ethan. We had to move on.

The morning of his birth, Daddy threw out 'Danny.' Hmmm. It sounded nice with our incredibly common last name. No strange famous people with the same moniker. But, being a speech pathologist, I had just discharged a child with that very name and if the mother ever got wind that I'd named my child after her child, she might think me ... odd ... so I threw it right back out of the running. We headed to the hospital, me saying, "I'll know who he is when I see him."

Two weeks later, my daughter visited her cardiologist for a monthly check-up. Her heart had been in decline for a few months and visits were scheduled frequently, with a break to deliver her baby brother, then back into the routine of cardiology visits. I had had a Level II u/s with the new baby in utero with a perinatologist about 22 weeks into the pregnancy. Our cardiologist's partner was supposed to have attended, but had an emergency that day. I waved him off, knowing nothing would be amiss. Our path with Pookie had been a fluke. I had only followed the advice of my doctors to have the in-depth look. I, myself, was not at all concerned.

The cardiologist asked if he should examine the baby. I agreed to it, just to let the dust fall and receive the standard 'stamp of health.' And when the exam wore on and on and, well, on, I suggested to the nurse that I head down to the lab to start Pookie's monthly blood work while the doctor finished up. I was still very much in denial, completely oblivious to the growing tension in the office.

Upon returning to his office after the labwork was drawn, I see in my mind's eye to this day, our tall, blonde, (handsome!), sincere physician push past my husband in a rush in order to arrive in front of me moments after I'd stepped into the lobby. He spoke of my oldest son, assuring me that "His heart is fine. His heart is fine." OK, I thought. That's nice to know. Why would I worry about his heart? The knowledge and understanding of his words had not yet begun to sink in. When I had left the office, the baby was in the ECHO room. Upon my return, my oldest son lay on the table in the dark room lit only by the green glow of the sonogram machine.

Slowly. Very slowly. His words began to sink in. Heart defect. Unusual twice in same family. Same developmental timeframe in gestation. Heart defect. The baby. Heart surgery. Different. Different this time. Not as hard. He promised me. It would not be as hard. My husband took me to the car and drove our family home.

I'm working on the party, baby presents (it's been a summer like that!) and will finish Meiners' story soon. Gotta keep you on your toes!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Quirky Artist I Am

Quirky Me

Debbie from This is the Life recently asked her readers to post their quirky traits. Honestly, I think I can be fairly quirky, but like I get when asked to share a most embarrassing moment, my mind goes blank on the specifics. As the days have passed, nonetheless, I've recalled at least one of my notable quirks.

I think sharks live in the deep end of pools. Seriously. I took my kids swimming at my mom's pool just this week and had to look over my shoulder and swim very fast to get myself back into the safety of the shallow end. Of the indoor pool. Oh yes. And this picture of my friend Coley swimming in a pool with sharks does not help my pathology.

This fear correlates to my fear of the Boogey Man in the basement. I send the dog down before me every time. Every time.

And the Growing Pains Halloween episode I watched when I was a kid. That scared me enough I still recall the heart-wrenching fear that gripped me. Growing Pains. No lie.

I am a giant, quirky, scaredy cat.

Artsy Me

I have been working diligently on a gift for my FIL's birthday, and I finished it today! (OK, so his birthday was July 7th. Something about the overextending myself. I think I've touched on that recently.) But now I can share it with you! The baby photo is an example of the newborn pictures I snapped of my new little nephew. I'll post more of those later.


I took a 20x20" piece of birch plywood and cut a 6" hole in the center. I stained, painted light, then painted dark and sanded the wood for a distressed look. After searching the internet for countless hours, I printed a verse, cut it into pieces and embossed the letters onto the wood by drawing around each one with a pen.

Looking closely, you can see the embossed 'd' in the wood I am about to paint.

This is New Baby and a gift for his mama.

This is FIL's version - using an old photo of all the boys in The Man's family being very shortsy and svelte.

I plan to make one for the girls' room in cream, pink, green, and yellow. Stay tuned! Some day I will finish it and you'll get to see it here first! I make no promises when that will be. But I do promise it will be darn cute.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Backyard Olympics: The Planning Stage

I love to throw parties. For absolutely no reason. And sometimes, I just create a reason - my kids each have enjoyed 'just because' parties. The girls painted their nails and dressed up in our ginormous amounts of dress-up clothes. The boys built Thomas tracks aplenty on our deck and ate fire truck cake (thanks, Vonda!).

In a recent conversation with my friend Pam, I decided to throw a Backyard Olympics party, complete with Family Flags, judges with stop watches and whistles (thanks, Grandparents!), and loosely termed 'sports' (is eating ice cream considered an Olympic Event in China? It is in Our Backyard!)

So, for the entirety of this week, as I have attempted to document, at least in part, the struggles of Pookie's early life, I have diligently been scouring websites and magazines for decorations and ideas and ordering trinkets and medals galore. And Planning, Planning, Planning!

So, here's my quirkiness. I always tend to get in over my head with my parties. And I stay up late. RRReeeeeeeeeaaaal late to accomplish everything. Pretty much at the last minute, usually. (Remember birthday pupcakes at 3:00 A.M.??)

This time (I promise) I am planning ahead. And these lanterns will all be completed (with the kids' help!) by the end of the weekend so they will see a happy mama each morning - and not one taking a trip out for coffee before showering. At 3:00 P.M. Cuz, that's happened before. I'm just saying.

I promise to post pictures after the event! We have a week to go!
And since I'm rising at 5A.M. to run 11 miles, I'm hitting the sack tonite.

Upcoming posts to look forward to:

  • Newborn Photography
  • My Crafty Side
  • Meiners - the Story

I can't wait!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Final Chapter

I don't want someday for Pookie to see my blog in book form (because my plan is to have it bound for them, not because I'll be so famous that my ancestors will publish my memoirs...) and wonder why I never finished this story or why I just sort of ended it in mid-thought. But the truth is, it is a long story. And much of it has been repressed. The days following that fever spike were days of survival. Hers. Mine. Daddy's. And, as I sit here even now and type words onto a computer screen, I run the risk of letting the tears fall from the flooding corners of my eyes and I just don't want to allow that. So, I will continue, but with guard.
Pookie's heart filled with methycillin resistant staph bacteria - MRSA. I know you've heard about it on the news. Lives are lost by it. Only one medicine can vanquish it - Vancomycin (I always thought that was irony at its ... well, worst). And Katelyn's tiny, less-than-10-pound body was infused with this medicine around the clock via a portal in her chest. For 14 weeks. This medicine plus another cherry red one (Rifampin, Pookie). She spent 6 weeks in the hospital after the initial surgery. She was very, very sick. In retrospect, our beloved cardiologist admits that he never let on to us just how grave her situation was.

The bacteria damaged that wonderful, perfect, life-saving first surgical repair that the surgeon had so carefully and masterfully sewn into place. Plus, the bacteria thought it was yummy enough in there to take away some valve tissue, and then when they slowly but surely were vanquished, those nasty little germy bacteria, they left their bacterial decay lining the walls of Pookie's heart. And the surgeon was forced, one month after the first repair, to go back in again to clear out the junk and fix the damage.

Two weeks later, she was home.

There is so much more to this story. Maybe she needs to know it all. Maybe. Some day. But, for now, I'll leave you with some photos of the baby who almost didn't make it. And yet, now, thrives. Her beauty is far more than skin deep, as she has a heart of gold (well, at least partially metal --- surgery #4 replaced her mitral valve with an artificial, [precious!!!] metal valve) and a spirited personality and a kindness and intelligence that surpasses her years. Her story has traveled the globe to as far away as China. She has been the poster child for a nonprofit and she is a poster child for God. He listens and He hears the prayers of His people. He makes good come from the trials of those people who choose to follow Him.

And, if I may. Please know, as I know you do, He doesn't always answer our prayers the way we hope. And we have lost too many little friends in the last 6 years. So, my prayer goes out on behalf of the mommies who didn't tuck their baby in tonite. Indeed, congenital heart disease takes the lives of more children in my state than the next three illnesses combined. I wrote about one special friend here.

Last few moments before first surgery

Healing after Surgery #2

Quick recovery after #4

4 broken arms by age 3 (why a black cast??)

Sassy by age 4

Fashionably sensible at age 6

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

6 By His Design

Part 1
Part 2

This is the story of human triumph. Of discouragement and fear turned into faith and hope. This is the story of my little girl and how I came to be her mom - the mom I am today. There is a page in Pookie's baby book left blank for me to one day write her story. I never knew how big her story would become. The page is still blank. Isn't that what God gives us? A blank canvas to paint a life.

Isn't it strange that Princes and Kings
and clowns that caper in stardust rings,
and common people like you and me
are builders for eternity?
Each is given a set of tools,
a shapeless mass, a book of rules,
and each must make, ere life has flown,
a stumbling block or a stepping stone.

Our pastor baptized Pookie, the same man who joined her mom and dad together in marriage, prayed over her tiny body with tears in his eyes and a lump in his throat. He annointed her with healing oil. We ate Thanksgiving dinner of turkey and potatoes while feeding her milk and formula through a tube. We planned holiday celebrations - Babies' First - until the week before Christmas, when the cardiologist informed us it was getting late. Too late for her heart if we didn't operate on Pookie soon. She was 4 months-old. And even though she wasn't big enough yet, we had to let her go.

There is no greater fear than that of a parent fearing the loss of a child. As the years have passed, I have found myself telling other moms that any surgery is a huge surgery if it's on your baby. Even something 'routine,' like tubes in the ears or 'lazy eye' corrections become far more significant when it's your baby leaving your arms and going into the arms of a stranger in a sterile, cold room.

But we had to let her go. There was no other choice.

We snapped photos of her moments before surgery. We photographed her smiles when she freed herself from that obstacle in her nose. We documented what we could while we supressed our fears. Truly, she is God's. He lent her to us. He blessed us with her sweet spirit. And I understood that. And I appreciated that. But I prayed earnestly, passionately, desperately, that He would not take her back. I wasn't ready. I didn't want Him to be ready, either.

If I may share with you further, Pookie's surgery was a success. A huge success. I danced in her room as her tiny little body bloated with fluid that her newly bruised heart could not yet manage. I beamed at the cardiologist who warned that we were still in a critical time. I shivered with excitement that we were done. She was healed. Life. could. go. on. I could return to living.

Days later, as recovery from open heart surgery continued without complication, Pookie suddenly spiked a fever. Her cardiologist, to this day, can quote the number that appeared on the thermometer. He doesn't need her chart. He reminds me of what happened when and how. He knows explicitly the story of how it came to pass that our baby survived not just one open heart surgery. No. Not one. She eventually came to survive six.

My blog title -'6 By His Design' - is a crafting business name I created after delivering Baby S --- because my previous one of '3 peanuts' was no longer valid. We have 4 peanuts now. But that didn't roll off my tongue the way the 3 had. So I changed it. To 6 By His Design. Six because there are Dad + Mom + 4 Peanuts. But it also means 6 surgeries. By His Design. Only, really, there've been 7. But Pookie didn't have the seventh one. Her little brother did.

...more tomorrow.

... Final Chapter
... Meiners' Story

Monday, July 21, 2008

Pookie: Part 2

We brought Pookie home to 'figure her out,' as the cardiologist had advised. Her diagnosis was meaningless to us at the time. The doctor had drawn a picture of her heart and pointed out what areas were problematic. He informed us that surgery was necessary and that she needed to weigh about 10 pounds before it could be performed. He said to take her home and learn her breathing patterns and what eating would mean for her, and he scheduled an appointment for follow-up.
Do you know what she's talking about?
No idea.

I was a new mom. Of two babies. I had no idea what any of what he said meant. We took our 4 pound and 5 pound babies to a pediatric hospital the very next day to have Pookie's blood tested for genetic issues. I'll never forget how my co-workers at that hospital gawked at the tinyness of my babies. Their legs were sausage thin. Their fingers little brittle bits. I didn't know that then. They were beautiful and healthy and home. Well, not the healthy part so much. At least not for Pookie.

Within days, we were back at the hospital, this time in the ER, worried about her breathing. The cardiologist had said we would learn her breathing patterns. She seemed to breathe very fast. Any information I had read about babies was that they should be breathing slower than Pookie did. So I called the pediatrician who sent us to the ER. In hindsight, she was just surviving. She was just breathing. But I hadn't learned that yet.

Life with two newborns was a challenge. Neither baby nursed well, but I tried valiantly. At every feeding, I taped straws to myself with 2 ounce syringes rigged up with more tape to the back of my rocking chair and latched and unlatched and retaped and latched and unlatched was a nightmare. At night, I would sit for an hour trying to succeed at feeding one baby. Then sit for a second hour trying to feed another baby. And then I would sit for another half hour trying to pump to fill those tiny syringes. Then I fell asleep for 30 minutes before waking up to feed one of the babies again.

And fussy! Pookie fussed. She was only happy when I paced up and down the hallway with her for hours and hours. As soon as I put her down, she would begin crying again. I was exhausted. And frustrated.

We tried different bottles to feed her. Different nipples (I eventually gave up nursing - but still did what I needed to to ensure both babies received breast milk. Pookie's milk was enhanced with powdered formula to increase the number of calories she consumed in each tiny feeding. More often than not, she didn't eat, or if she did eat, the milk came right back up all over anything in its path.)

Days were filled with frequent trips to the cardiologist to watch her progress with her weight and how her heart sustained its extra work to keep Pookie alive. By 8 weeks, the cardiologist had seen enough. He hospitalized my tiny daughter, added another medicine (I don't even recall how many she was on already at that age), and had the nurses place the first ng-tube down her tiny little nostril and into her tummy. Her heart was suffering and her weight gain was negligible. The surgeon needed her to be 10 pounds before he could successfully repair the holes in her heart. She only weighed 7.

To Be Continued...

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Miss Pookie - Part 1

For quite a while now, my oldest daughter - the actress, the artist, the drama queen, the princess, the 6 year-old going on 16 year-old, the mini-me - has requested in her most nonchalant, undemanding, and polite way (yeah, right) that I write a post about her.

Tonite is her night.

Here's a photo of us girls:

If you're like us, photos where Mom's in it are just so much fun. It usually requires 2 more people - adults. One to take the photos and then Daddy to shake his head wildly and use various extra props in a variety of fight positions and fancy sound effects to elicit a smile from anyone in the photo besides Mommy. Oh. It's fun. For at least the first few minutes. Until Daddy starts to complain that he's suffering from a brain injury and everyone loses interest. But, alas.
That's a story for a different night.
Tonite, it's about Pookie.
I was 6 weeks pregnant when we discovered we were having twins. That's when our world turned upside down. I harbored the usual (I think) fears of the newly pregnant mom for about one week - then I had the fears of the mom with two babies in my belly from that moment forward. To make a lengthy story as brief as possible (maybe another day I'll elaborate more), everything went well enough until the babies were about two days old and the nurse wheeled in Pookie's bassinet for a feeding in the hospital. There was a yellow post-it note on the head of her plastic bed that said, "Check for possible heart murmur." I immediately questioned the nurse about this cryptic note, but she brushed aside my concern and, after crumpling up the little paper, threw it straight away into the trash. I guess I was not exactly surprised, then, when - on Day 4 - the doctors would not release her until after a cardiologist came to evaluate her heart.
Truly, it's too late to go further, so Lucky You! I'll make this story a multiparter. And Lucky Pookie! She'll be thrilled to be the topic of my blog post for more than one night!
Every one wins.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Just a Quote

I promise that if you will keep your journals and records, they will indeed be a source of great inspiration to your families, to your children, your grandchildren, and others, on through the generations. Each of us is important to those who are near and dear to us and as our posterity read of our life's experiences, they, too, will come to know and love us. And in that glorious day when our families are together in the eternities, we will already be acquainted.
~Spencer W. Kimball

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Sweet Spot

Blogging is better than therapy. Seriously. I have experienced such a difficult transition from being the mother of 3 to the mother of 4 children. Baby S came with a lot of fuss. Literally. Just a lot of fuss. Less than a month ago, I bought what I lovingly refer to as the MuMu wrap. You know, the gigantic length of fabric that can be wrapped a dozen different ways around you to hold a baby (up to 35 pounds!) in front, on the side, behind you, straight jacket-like, from a chandelier...OK, maybe not that last one (or two), but that wrap. I bought it because I couldn't put her down. Not for a second. I couldn't make dinner without her crying - no, screaming. I couldn't go to the bathroom without her screaming. I couldn't do ANYthing without her letting me know that she was VERY unhappy with my decision not to just keep her umbilically attached to me oh those 12 months ago.

For several months, I worried that she was lactose intolerant. There were about 3 glorious months that I recall her being sort of, well, happy. And those were three months that she took formula from a bottle. So I visited the doctor with Baby S just the other day and I said to our sweet, matronly, hispanic pediatrician that I thought Baby S had milk allergies. With great wisdom and a heavy accent, my babies' doctor asked, "Does she stop crying when you pick her up?" Well. Yes. "Then, Honey," she smiled in that My Babies' Hispanic Matronly Doctor way that she has, "Your baby is spoiled. Not lactose intolerant."

Well swallow two of those and call me in the morning. It was, in the words of Oprah, an "ah ha" moment. The choir of heavenly hosts sang hallelujah.

So, I just have to say to all my BlogMommy 'friends' - and I do call you friends, Thank You. It's better than journaling. It's better than Prozac. I log on at night and write about my laundry woes (and occasionally my triumphs) and I read your stories of struggle and victory and I realize I am not alone. I have real life friends and I love every one of them. And I have one very sweet friend who reads my blog somewhat religiously. You guys get the really-real stuff. The stuff it would take a therapist 4 months and kazillions of dollars to uncover. I am enjoying the journey now more than ever before. I've found the sweet spot of life. I can now say I enjoy being the mother of four. It has its ups, its downs, its trials and its challenges, but I'm loving it.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Tooth Fairy

Oh my. What a great day! I don't know what happened to me today, but I have officially accomplished more today than I have in the last year. (Well, fortunately, that's a slight exaggeration or my family would be in a LOT of trouble!)

But, walk with me along this path for a moment.
  • We went swimming.
  • I washed, folded, and the kids put away ALL our laundry (HELLO! - That never happens!)
  • We made cookies - from scratch.
  • They all bathed.
  • We picked up their bedrooms and vacuumed the whole house.
  • They cleaned up their toy room (the one NO ONE could enter it was so c.h.a.o.s.)
  • We played outside and went for a walk.
  • The kitchen sink is clean and so is the dishwasher (and so is the tub after the baby oops'ed in it tonite...another story for another day (or Not).
  • I ran 7 miles.
  • My husband is snoring. Loudly.
Can you say WOW?

I kissed each of the big kids tonite (I count 3 big kids here because even the 4 year-old thinks he's almost 7...) and told them how big they have gotten. The twins are taking showers now - which is SO much easier on my back - and all I have to do is wash their hair. And I asked them to take their piles of laundry to their rooms today to put them away --- and. they. did.

Oh my Holy Heckenlively. It's a new era. I like it. Yeah, yeah, I'm all weird about how they don't want baths and that means they're growing up, but then again - HEY! They're growing up!

Which brings me to the moths. Outside this morning, each of the 3 older kids gathered around a an unusual and unique looking bug. Come over, Mom, quick, and look at this bug! Isn't it unusual and unique? they asked. What kind of bug is it?

Well, guys. That's actually two moths.

Really, Mom? What are those two moths doing?

Well. Um. They are ... sleeping. That's it. They're sleeping.
I'm just not ready for the s-e-x talk, you know what I'm saying. Unlike some of our politicians, I just think Kindergarten (well, heading to First Grade) is too young to be hearing those sorts of things. But then again, I don't want to leave it to the school playground, either.

So when do you all have *those types* of talks - the toothfairy, Santa, the birds and the bees?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


I am blogucated.
I are blogumacated.
I been blogumacated.

Just trying out a new word.

Blogucate: (v.) to learn something new on a blog.
Blogumacate: (v.) [slang] to be a redneck who learns something on a blog.

A Blogucated Conversation

Wife: Honey!
Husband: Yes, Dear?
Wife: I blogucated myself today.
Husband: That's nice, Dear.
Husband: Dear?
Wife: Yes, Honey?
Husband: How do I get this sand off the kids' feet from the archeology exhibit at the zoo today?
Wife: Lula says use baby powder, Honey!"
Husband: (pause) Dear?
Wife: Yes?
Husband: Who's Lula?

Blogumacated in the Midwest
a.k.a. A (follow-up) Conversation with Sheryl Crow

Me: Hi, Sheryl. It's me, The Roost'er
Sheryl: Get Out! Roost'er? I haven't heard from you in decades.
Me: Sure, Sheryl. Here's the deal. I couldn't get my kid to commune with polar bears today at the zoo...Until I told her she could use enough T.P. to keep her hand clean and we'd hire you to clean up our broken CFLs.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Josh Hamilton is my new Hero

All day I tried to figure out how to get out of this. My humanness still cringes over the embarrassment and anger I felt over the scene on Saturday --- over a cup of water. OK, it wasn't really that bad. It didn't go on forever or even escalate, really. It just became the priniciple of the thing (don't know what I'm talking about? Check this out.) But, I've realized...determined...that it was an opportunity to learn and to grow through Christ. My running partner and I could have gone out on Sunday morning when the temperature was about 15 degrees cooler and the humidity was about 30% less. But we didn't. We went out Saturday and a scene ensued, and that's all there is to it. Now, what do I choose to do about it?

Oh, yeah. I responded at home in a human way. I told my husband and then reveled in his galant heroism as he offered to phone the gentleman and give him a piece of his mind. And I may have googled the business and left a less than rosy 'review.' And I could have written an incredibly scathing letter to tell this business owner just how he should run his business. But, instead, I let it go for the day (as much as I am able to let things go), and I attended church on Sunday morning to hear this sermon, in a series entitled Streetwise: Experiencing the Proverbs Life:

Living Righteously: Staying 'In the Zone'

Basically, 'staying in the zone' means living right before God and before man.

Our mission statement as a church reads:
Reaching and equipping people to think and act like Jesus

I don't think I took the opportunity to think or act like Jesus. And I certainly didn't equip the shop owner to think or act like my savior, either. So here's what I'm doing. I'm making it right. Well, as right as I can. And I have no idea what sort of humanity or inhumanity I may receive in response, but I feel like I need to say something.

Following is the letter I sent:

Dear Shop Owner:

I recently made a mistake. I ran along The Trail on a hot day heavy with humidity, and I failed to bring along enough water to maintain my hydration. After this first mistake, I unfortunately made another. I invited myself into your shop and made myself at home with a cup and some water. I did not ask. I took. And for that arrogantly disrespectful behavior, I apologize. I would like to take this opportunity to make right our exchange this past Saturday and to extend to you an invitation.

Sir, our conversation outside your shop confused me. After explaining that you couldn’t provide water for everyone on the trail, you turned down my offer to pay for the cup and the water. Perhaps you mistook my sincerity. Perhaps other nonpaying patrons have accosted your belief in the human spirit. I fear that I contributed to your future responses to needy trailblazers, and I would like to offer a suggestion.

The cost of running a business is daunting, particularly considering the rising costs of all things related to your shop. As someone who has enjoyed The Trail 10 Saturdays already this year with more to come as I prepare for an upcoming marathon, I see your proximity to the trail as a blessing to your business. There are few businesses along the trail and even fewer who might be considered approachable by patrons enjoying the path. I ask that you might see us as not only patrons of the trail, but potential customers to your business.

I see an opportunity to advertise your services without much effort or expense. On any given Saturday there are individuals, pairs, groups of all ages passing by your business. Without a doubt, we drive cars that require fill-ups or maintenance. We may not be looking for a full service gas station during our exercise, but you can brand your name and inspire loyalty by opening your doors to us.

You offer Styrofoam cups of coffee to your current patrons. Perhaps an additional stack of clear cups could be made available for those same customers who might enjoy water – or for those potential customers coming in from the trail seeking refreshment. A flyer reminding us to return in the future listing a few unique or exciting services available is an inexpensive way to advertise to those staying and those not staying that day. Kindness offered today truly may lead to a return paying visit in the future. I would venture to say most people along the trail do not enter your store. For those who do enter, you have an opportunity to encourage them to return or to send them running away, never to return.

Perhaps I could take this a step further with a trail slogan and a cooler of 8oz. bottles of water offered just on ‘hot’ Saturdays. What an opportunity you have to advertise inexpensively and to inspire customer loyalty before even selling one gallon of gas or one pint of motor oil with a sign alongside the water reading:

Think Sheen*
Sheen Park Automotive

Mr. Shop Owner, I hope to turn this Saturday morning exchange into an opportunity for growth and learning. I certainly plan to prepare better with more water and to ask versus assume that I might be welcomed into a store when I have not prepared well. I do hope that you will accept my apology for Saturday’s exchange. I also hope that you might consider my suggestions as opportunities for yourself and your business.

In Christ,

*name changed to protect 'the innocent'

If you are still reading, then I commend you. Perhaps you are asking yourself why Josh Hamilton is my hero tonite? Josh glorified God in spite of not being the winner of this evening's Homerun Derby for the All-Star game. And in my book, that makes Him a winner. He made a bigger impression than the over-all winner tonite. God didn't send Gideon with 10,000 men. He sent Gideon with 300 to fight the mighty and vast Midianites. He did so so that no one would boast. Instead, He would be glorified.

Has God called you to glorify Him when your flesh screams foul? Has He asked you to find His grace by learning and growing from an uncomfortable situation - or perhaps from a comfortable, even mundane lifestyle? Has He asked you to fight something bigger than you alone can face?

He's there to help. To comfort and to strengthen. To be asked and to answer.

To God be the glory. And may I be His vessel.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


Yeah, I pretty much know what He would do. So I'm posing the question to you. Oh Faithful Readers (and new readers, too - hey, I don't discriminate).

I had a little 'altercation' this weekend. And beings that I like to post Sunday Sermons on Other Days of the Week, why not on Monday? This is my Monday Sermon. But not On The Mount. Instead, On The Trail. The 1/2 Marathon Trail.

Imagine with me, if you will, this scene: two innocent and lovely mothers of four children each sprinting (yeah, dream, Baby) along a wooded yet sun-drenched trail one Saturday morning soon after a fireball rose peacefully in the east...

Add: 85 degree heat, and humidity at the same level. And water bottles unassumingly... quite mistakenly ...emptied well before the end of their 9 mile goal.

Ahead: a Mecca in the distance. The shimmering lights of a full service automotive station off to the Left.

Zoom in and Join them inside the dingy, grimy confines of a building haunted by too many oil changes and forgotten cigarettes tossed into the shadows of the linoleum tiled floor. 'Ah,' thinks Mom #1. 'A coffee machine. Free coffee for patrons. I'm not a *patron*, but one little cup couldn't hurt to fill with a little sweet refreshment from that *gulp* bathroom sink...OK, maybe I'll take two to share the liquid gold with Mom #2.'

Mom #1 exits said building through glass shop door, handing a half-full cup of refreshment (cuz she's just that optimistic) to her Running Partner.

Enter: Raging, Red-faced Shop Owner running out one of two garage doors into center of parking lot, sputtering about the injustice of catering to multitudes of trail-goers and the cost of styrofoam coffee cups going out the door at alarming rates...

Mommy #1: Oh Golly. I'm so sorry. Couldn't I just have a little water...I only took a cup for each of us. We just didn't anticipate the humidity...

Enraged Shop Owner: I can't be givin' water to every last person on this trail. Can you imagine how much money I would be out if I gave everyone a cup of water that went past my shop every day?

Mommy #1: Oh, sure. I really didn't mean to cause any trouble. I tell you what - you're on ____ Road, right? I'll make it back to my car now with your generous (*tiny*) cup of water and I'll come back and pay you for it!

Contradictory Shop Owner: It's not about the money (what the @%*&@#%&?!?!?!?! Didn't you just say it was about the money??) I'm just sayin' I can't be givin' every one of you a cup from my shop.

Mommy #1: Um. OK. Here. (she sets cups back inside shop on the floor and starts to walk back to trail)

Voice of ShopOwner trails off with sentences like 'no one's gonna drink that water now. Just take it...' coming from his well-hydrated lips.

Here's the deal. Our sermon message Sunday morning (from the church whose mission statement reads: Reaching and Equipping People to Think and Act Like Jesus) was titled Righteousness: Being in the Zone.

I already know what I am going to do regarding my altercation. But I'm wondering what you would do. Leave a message - or just check back late Monday and I'll (hopefully) be able to tell you what I've done.

Suffering from P.G.H.B.B.D.

It's bad, guys.

We are all up in a tizzy.

The kids have never had it this bad before.

I can barely type.

The 3 eldest hostiles just returned from a weekend at Grandma and Grandpa's.
And they have Post Grandma's House Bad Behavior Disorder.

Send Help!
Must. Pour. Wine...NOW.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

A Little Food

I know - it's been a morosely long time since my last post - I can tell you've missed me --- What can I say? I've been busy *grin* --- and I had even promised you an easy dinner recipe for your family.

  • boil some 3 cheese tortellini according to package directions (drain water)
  • toss in half a package of cooked cubed ham and 1 1/2 cups broccoli flowerettes
  • add half a bottle (more or less) of Ranch dressing, and vwah-lah! Ooh la la!

Add the pie from my last post and you've covered all the major food groups. I think my son said, "Oh, wow, Mom" and my husband said, "Oh, wow, Chick" and the others? Well, they really didn't eat it. So, you decide for your own family. (I l.o.v.e. it! So that gives me a 50% approval rating - more than the prez and congress combined!)

So, a little food for your belly. Now a little food for your soul.
Sometimes at night, I'll ask God for just a little more energy to read 'some'thing in the Bible. The other night, I asked - and even asked that with the extra minutes awake that night, that He would bless me by them the next day.

I opened my Bible. To Ecclesiastes. Solomon's wise findings regarding the meaning of life. Or rather, life's meaninglessness. Until this verse:
(Ecc. 3:22) So I saw that there is nothing better for a man than to enjoy his work, because that is his lot...

I hear you God. Enough of the "I'm so tired" (even though the baby's up at 5:00 or I ran 9 miles today or...No. Not even that.) Enough checking off the days. Enough sighing over another maintenance person knocking on the door (Day #...I dunno anymore... without our fridge) or another spill on the floor or another bath or another...

This assignment is God-given. As are the rewards. God has a purpose for my life. May I (and you!) live it joyfully.

edited to add: Lest you think this post resembles other reminders I have made to myself recently, yes. It is true. I need repeated reminders that I Can. Do. This. Every day anew. Sorry, God. But, thank you for your constant flow of perfect verses from your very breath - The Bible.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

I Don't Like to Cook: So Let's Have Dessert

Welcome to the first installment of

I Don't Like to Cook. Ever. So, What's for Dinner?

After spending 4 1/2 hours at the hospital this morning for my daughter's allergist/pulmonologist check-up, a trip to My Favorite Place to eat lunch, and a stop at a cute little retail shop, I was exhausted upon returning home late this afternoon. Our fridge is out (add that one to the list of phone calls hubby had to make, as The Man of the House). And I can't tell you the last time the kids had baths, so I knew I needed to throw that into our evening equation. All these variables led to the inevitable question:

What would we have for dinner that was fast, easy, edible, and, well, did I say fast?

Taking a cue from Pioneer Woman Cooks and Saucy Recipes, I decided to photojournal our evening meal. (Can I not recommend this if you are looking for fast...or easy...meal prep?)

Keeping in mind that we are down to our old, economy fridge in the basement, and we just happened to visit (according to Wall-E) the over-consumption capitol of the nation (Costco --- I LOVE Costco!) right before the good fridge went kapoot, we have abundant amounts of strawberries and blueberries to, well, consume. So, here goes:

Here's our cast of characters (minus the berries - they were still downstairs in the fridge, and I just refuse to make too many trips down there. Boogy Man and such.)

As always, I write in a stream of consciousness sort of way, so those graham cracker crusts up there? Those were so the strawberry-phobes (i.e. two of my sweeties) could make their own blueberry only finale.

First, bake your pie crust according to the package instructions (or, if you're Martha, make your own). Next, take four 1-oz. squares of Baker's White Chocolate and melt them in the microwave for about 30 seconds, stir, then repeat. Pour this yummy little bowl of goodness onto the crust and spread.

Next, go ahead and hull one pint of strawberries. Wanna know the absolute easiest way to do this?? Well, back in the day, when there were only two lovelies under my roof, I used to watch America's Test Kitchen. They recommended a 1/4 teaspoon! It works!

Slice those tasty morsels with your VERY necessary egg slicer from Pampered Chef (what am I, a veritable blog commercial??) and layer these over your chocolate.

Now, whisk 1 package of cream cheese with 3/4 cup of milk and a package of white chocolate pudding mix. (Our closest grocery didn't have this, but I sub'd 'cheesecake' flavor and it was Y.U.M.)

This divine mixture goes over the strawberries.

Now, in the real world, you're supposed to layer a bunch of blueberries over this, but evidently I thought we were in short supply of blueberries here at our house (you know - only like 5 pounds of the things), so I skipped this step. I'm sure it would be lovely to eat and even lovelier to photograph, but just use your imagination and we'll move on.

Top with whipped cream - and if you're fancy like I am, you can use that Pampered Chef Easy Accent Decorator and make your topping look like this:

Final view?

Oh. HA! My camera battery died uploading all these pictures, so you'll have to wait 'til tomorrow to see the whole shebang - a healthy meal in minutes (if you consider, like we do, that fruit in the dessert means fruit in the gut and it counts towards one of your basic 4.)

See you tomorrow!

(I know you can't wait...)

Oh (again) here's the link to the real recipe!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Fourth of July

Just trying out something new here. Trying to increase my Computer Coolness Factor. It exists. Truly. Mine's still at a -0.002500925243, but it's growing.

~The Roost'er

edited to add: See? I'm still a work in progress. If I weren't, that annoying little 'loading' image above would actually absolve and leave in it's place a slideshow of our Fourth of July. I guess my factor's down to a -0.00000000134081753486. *sigh* Off to figure out photobucket html. Like I even know what that is.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

I Plead 'The Chick'

"But Honey, that's a man's job," I informed my husband on the phone today. Perhaps a hint of a whine tinged my voice.

"Well, Honey," he admonished me, "when I'm at work, you're the man of the house."

WHAT? I thought in my best Princess of the Palace shocked state.
"WHAT?!" I squeaked, as I contemplated the task I now had to perform.

OK, here's the deal. There are certain things I just don't do. Like the incredulous telephone calls to the window company who - just a few years ago - told us the windows have a lifetime warranty. When I called to schedule a maintenance visit (see? I made that phone call!) and the lady informed me there would be a $xx 'trip fee' --- but "parts and labor are free" --- well, I figured I'd run that one past the financial authority of the house. And when he said, "No way am I paying them to get in their truck and drive down here!" Well, to that I said, "Here's the phone. You call 'em back."

I also don't do ticks (see previous post on Camping with the Ticks) or ... well, other things.

So today, as I'm filling up the pond in the back and I smell a faint odor (OK, not so faint) and I think, Hmmm. Glad no one's over playing in the backyard today. Only to discover the origin of the smell just a few minutes later when I turn off the hose. Well, I call The Man and I inform him he has something to fish out of the pond when he gets home and it ain't no fish. To which, he says I should get right on that. And that's when I say:
"But Honey, that's a man's job."

I tried to plead 'The Chick' defense. It was a no go.
Hmmm. I guess he told me. And man was that job gross.
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