Friday, July 31, 2009

Joyful Mama

There is much that 'could have been' in life. Today, the nurse shared what 'could have been' with Sashi. And I could again see the blessings.

In 80% of cases with children under the age of 3 experiencing appendicitis (which is rare, in and of itself in a child this age), the appendix has already ruptured by the time it is diagnosed. This morning there was talk of children who require morphine drips, weeks of IV antibiotics ...

Monday, Sashi had the stomach flu. Pooks sort of looked like she had it earlier in the day - but, she also had two nose bleeds while at the park, so I didn't attribute her nausea, etc. with illness until I put Sashi to bed that night and found myself changing her sheets --- 3x.

Tuesday, Sashi was quiet. She sat through Pookie and me pampering ourselves with real live pedicures at the salon and didn't utter a word. (highly unlike her!) Nothing really seemed amiss - I assumed she was just slowly recovering from Monday's quick illness.

Tuesday night at about 11:30, Sashi woke up screaming. Absolute gut-wrenching screaming. I could settle her down and another wave of screaming commenced. By 12:30 in the morning, with little people starting to toss and turn down the hall and dogs pacing, I threw in the towel and called the nurse's exchange. She heard one wail from the baby and asked me which hospital I wanted to visit that night. I chose one. A few hours later, an x-ray of her abdomen behind us (and not even another whimper out of her - go figure), the ER doc gave me two choices. Admit her so they could watch her and feed her at 8AM to see what happened. Or take her home and feed her at 8AM, then call the pediatrician to report. Gee. For frequent hospital flyers, that's a no brainer.

At 6:30 in the morning, at home, the screaming recommenced. By 9:00, I was at my wit's end again and called the nurse. Our pediatrician didn't give us a choice of where to go. She sent us to Children's. Unhappy that just an x-ray had been done at the previous hospital, she requested a sonogram of the belly. After the sonogram showed two possible scenarios and a CT scan had shown conclusively, Children's diagnosed the real issue - appendicitis - and requested an OR for Sashi.

By 8PM, the surgeon came to discuss what he had found. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 the worst, Sashi's perforation had been about a one. My husband praised me for my diligence. I smiled, but I knew truly it had been me at a loss for how to comfort her that sent me to phone the nurse in the first place. The pediatrician had made the right call, really. I had just dialed the numbers.

This morning, after a very challenging day yesterday (who needs pain medicine, anyway, when you're just 2, less than 24 hours post surgery, and can't speak for yourself...don't get me started), today Sashi has shown remarkable improvement (Gee. Tylenol. The Wonder Drug.) and the surgeon speaks (with two hands behind his back and all fingers crossed ... plus half his toes) that she may go home by the end of the weekend - on oral antibiotics.

So, I sat this morning, contemplating. And I realized. How often do I refer to myself as "Cranky Mommy"? I'm going to start calling myself "Joyful Mommy." Because I have much to find joy in. And far less to be cranky about.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

When God Already Knows

(edited slightly)

My recent early morning moments of reflection brought me to realize that the Joy I seek is in the details. Maybe lovely. Maybe messy. But thrown together and mixed up in a big ol' pot of goodness. That's Life. And the blessing is in realizing it.

As I've studied the Bible, I've found myself also wrapped like a blanket in the timely words of A Mother's Book of Secrets. Linda Eyre writes:

When you are "in the fire," it is sometimes hard to recognize the value of what you are learning. But the day-by-day refining process, the problem solving, crisis resolution, mental stretching, mess clean-ups, sleep deprivation, and loving more than you ever thought possible truly make you into a smart, aware, beautifully refined individual.

The great secret is appreciating the refined person you are becoming in your trials.

So, today I marvel in the preparation that God gave me for today. Because yesterday I found myself in the hospital ER with my youngest. My healthiest baby. And within hours, she lay on the operating room table, awaiting the removal of her perforated appendix. At that moment, I saw that God knew what I was going to need well before I would know. I am lucky to see the beauty in the today. The knowledge that He cares for us and takes care of us in both amazing and small ways.

I will post more, but for now, this is enough.

Monday, July 27, 2009

four minutes

Recently while perusing the shelves of my local Christian book store, I came across a read about organization and the womanly follower of Christ. I claim one of those titles as a description of myself ... not the organizer one (in case there was a question). Although it wasn't the topic I sought on that particular day, I humored myself by reviewing a few of the book's pages.

In a few moments' time, my life was changed. I have been a life-long procrastinator. I proclaim it - and even apologize for it - often. I don't mean to be. It just happens. I stick my head in the sand rather than keep it up to witness all those messy pebbles ... you know, that, uh, form the beach. If I ignore it, it isn't there, right? If I wait to do it, it'll go away, right? Or there's always tomorrow. Right? Right?!

Take, for instance, the dishwasher. Did you know I loathe cleaning out the dishwasher? I mean, I can procrastinate on it all day. (If hubby's out of town, days and days, really.) You know what I learned in my book review Friday? It takes four minutes to clean out the dishwasher, on average. Four Minutes. Seriously? I tried it today. It was less than five. All day - 18 hours plus of awake time, I will watch the pile grow and grow in the sink and know, fully, in my head, that it needs to be done. Someone needs to clean out the dishwasher. Not me. I won't be the one. If I wait long enough little elvish maids will pop out from my junk drawers (yes, plural) and save me. I mean my sink. Yet, four minutes. That's all it would take to just end the horror of growing grossness in the stainless.

Hmm. Imagine how many days it takes to move the wet clothes from the washer to the dryer. I mean, seriously.

I think I probably need to go back and buy that book.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Unwrapping the Gifts

For many that read my blog, you know already that I am a HUGE fan of Emily's (from Chatting at the Sky). As I contemplated writing this evening, I thought of the phrase "unwrapping the gifts," which most assuredly comes from her Tuesdays Unwrapped series. I thought the idea appropriate, however, to tear open the presents that God left me yesterday.

I often think, right or not, that "I was a better mother when I just had two." This sort of goes along with the idea that we were all better mothers before we were - you know - mothers. Yesterday while looking for a book on my shelf (Power of a Praying Parent, by the way), I came across an old journal of mine. And reading it was an epiphany. On page 2, written 12/20/02, I wrote, "I am spiritually and physically spent." I went on to describe how Katelyn's chest scar was changing appearance and how that could possibly mean another infection for her. She experienced several infections - in her heart, her blood stream, and in her incisions - by the time she was just 15 months-old that led to months and months, literally, of IV antibiotic treatments. And these infections were the scary MRSA that we hear about on the news nowadays...

This one simple sentence, wrought with meaning in spite of its brevity, said something big to me yesterday. It said that mothering two was challenging, too. Looking back on those days, I forget that we were in the trenches with Katelyn's health. I forget that I was tired and cranky and felt ill-prepared to parent these two little beings. Much like I am tired and cranky and feel ill-prepared to now parent four little beings. I don't remember that. I remember the joy of mothering. The fun trips to the mall to play in the play area. Playing classical music and dancing with them in my arms. Pudding paintings. And cuddling.

Something else that I noticed in this journal were the repeated words:
Our two little ones are amazing. They are true blessings.

I hate to admit it, but I've been so caught up in the challenges of parenting four young children lately that I have truly failed to see the blessings in it. I haven't looked at them with a sparkle in my eye, as Shawni Eyre Pothier and her mother write about in this book.
Back then, every step, every new word, was documented. Today Sashi is going through the same remarkable development. But I watch her from the kitchen while I scramble to make breakfast. Or lunch. Or dinner. Or clean up all the above before starting baths. And though I desire and talk of appreciating these moments and these days - for they are fleeting - I get stuck in the rut of living them and really haven't seen the gift for the packaging. Sometimes the gift is wrapped in shimmery paper with a sparkly bow. And I notice immediately. Other times, it's brown paper bag wrapping with a spit-up stain and spilled coffee adorning the top. And I look away.

So yesterday, through the means that He had available (and it's all available to Him), I feel God spoke to me. Through an old journal, a blog, and the possibility of a wonderful book to read. What lovely gifts, indeed. And would He have done this, if I hadn't woken at 5:30 with Him? I don't know. What I do know is that, very un-coicidentally, the Bible verses I am studying this week are all about the blessings we receive when we seek His wisdom. Maybe I saw them more clearly because I woke up early. Maybe He would have given them anyway. These are questions that I don't care to answer. All I want to know is, God, What will you teach me tomorrow? I'm listening, watching, and waiting. Now, perhaps, more than ever before.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

You Win Some

Yesterday was a rough day. It was one of those days where, by the end, you just walk away and hide the tears and pray that tomorrow will be better. Yeah, one of those days.

I guess part of my frustration came from expectations. I've been telling myself for quite some time that I need to be giving my first fruits - of time - to God. Because asking myself to dive into some Bible time at 11:00 or 12:00 at night after a full day and an equally full evening wasn't giving Him anything, really. And I've been needing Him. Really, really needing Him.

A while ago, I learned about the 5:30 club. It may have been through my last Bible study; I don't really remember. But the idea is, you wake up - at 5:30. And this is when you read your Bible and talk to God. And Listen to God, too. Five thirty in the morning is a ludicrous concept. I'm a night owl, after all. I can easily burn the midnight oil and beyond. That's not a problem. The problem is getting up in the morning. You know - like around 5:30 when the baby first desires to share her time with me. Oh first fruits, she does give. Indeed. All day long sometimes, she'll give me fruits. Of fits and spills and tantrums and "NO!"

Yesterday morning there was no crying at 5:30. There were no calls of "Mama!" with increasing intensity. But there was a gentle nudging. He was calling me. Whispering, "Didn't you want to wake up? Now?" It was 5:27. I pulled a Bible study book that's been laying beside my bed for months onto my pillow. I opened it and my eyes. And I read. I pondered. I answered. And I listened.

And you know what? I had a really bad day. Really, really bad. The kind that make you wonder what He was thinking by putting you here in this place in this time with these lives. Because, as far as I was concerned, yesterday I was losing the battle. Karin - 0; Everybody Else - 427. I lost.

And then last night, I went through my normal routine. I read a few blogs. I caught up on others' lives. And then, out of no where, I found Light. I found this blog. And this book. And today, I found a journal from when the twins were a year old. And I found memories, and I found answers. And my expectations changed. Because God hasn't told us that giving Him our time - and our lives - will make all the challenges that face us every day go away. They may not even be reduced in number. But He uses them to draw us closer to Him. And He gives us Salvation.

For today, I gave Him my first fruits. He answered by giving me an awesome gift. I found Him where I wasn't expecting Him. And it was exactly what I needed.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Boys Can Party Too

In the days when I haven't been typing feverishly upon my laptop (or traipsing around famous St. Louis landmarks), I've planned, prepared for, and delivered upon the promise to return to the boys the favor I gave to Pookie - of a party. For no real reason. Monday last week was the All Star Homerun Derby. Here in downtown St. Louis. Since only my husband had tickets, the boys agreed it would be a great day to party at home. (And hubby stayed home to help with the party instead of attending the downtown festivities. Can you believe how awesome he is?!)

Again this time, we cut $ and x corners by phoning the attendees rather than sending formal invitations. This technique seems to work for us since all but one young boy was able to attend. (And because Mom procrastinated about moving forward on the party until, let's admit it - the last minute...) We took on a baseball theme with food - including hotdogs, of course, plus nachos and pretzels. Even Cracker Jacks - in the old-fashioned boxes!

We planned plenty of backyard activities for the 14 boys. We set out all the baseball gear. You know. Just in case. (It was a baseball party, after all.) Plus the slip-n-slides. And then, of course, there's the pool. (a no brainer. unless it rains. *stress* *cry* *pull hair* *pray* *plan a 'just in case'*) And inside we planned to show the derby at 7:00 plus offer Homerun Derby on Backyard Baseball - Wii style - in the basement.

All t's were crossed and i's dotted, I believe.

The boys had a blast. And ate a ton of food! I love that we recently repurposed a room in our basement - previously the study, now 'the media room' - complete with new leather sectional, big honkin' TV and the Wii - so some boys went downstairs, some boys stayed upstairs, and some boys - die hard swimmers - just stayed outside. It never felt like 14 boys.

And Just Because Party No. 2 of the Summer of 2009? Done.
(Thank God.)

Friday, July 17, 2009

Oh the Places We're Going

The kids made a list of things they wanted to do this summer. Things like 'go to Chuck E. Cheese's, take a ferry ride, ... see the arch.' We're making our way through the list during our staycay. This week - yes, The Arch. It's a place we just don't go to very often even if living right here in the city. We drive by it - and can see it every time we head to the hospital, but we just don't go up in it. So I guess that's why it's so thrilling when we do. Or, death-defying, according to Meiners, who promised from the moment we climbed out of the van that he was, under no certain circumstances, going to go to the top of the arch today - and risk death.
He made it to the top, but not without some encouragement.
We spent a great day seeing the Old Church and the Old Courthouse in addition to the Jefferson Expansion Museum. Next week, what should we do? The ferry ride, perhaps? Of maybe Grant's Farm. We have a week to decide what's next on our St. Louis Staycay!


Three of the kids are on the St. Louis Children's Hospital website. If you click on the 'learn more' about Camp Rhythm in the middle of the page, then play the funding video at the bottom, Pookie and Sashi are playing with bubbles - and later Meiners is painting the sidewalk ... then walks off in his "I'm embarrassed I'm gettin' outa here" way. Also, if you click on the Camp Rhythm stories at the bottom of the page, the girls are in the spotlight playing with bubbles on the video there!

We're waiting for the Nightly News to show their "Making A Difference" segment - shown at the end of the program...

edited to add: some of our big kid friends were featured in a very nice story... the kids from this household can be seen on the Children's website! Thanks for 'tuning in!'

Thursday, July 16, 2009

NBC Nightly News

Our beloved Camp Rhythm will be featured on NBC Nightly News tomorrow night - Friday, July 17th - at 5:30! In the photo above, Meiners gets his moment to shine after spraypainting the sidewalk (with sidewalk paint ... ). Pookie received some tape time, too - with Sashi, actually --- I can't wait to see what the news team put together about our kids and this awesome week!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Lazy Stamper

(for our neighbor who gave us two bags of clothes for the kids)

While The Man attended the All Star Game last night, I found myself relaxing in the quiet of home. Again. I picked up my new copy of the Stampin' Up! catalog and spent the evening looking through pages of creativity. As I did, I remembered the thank you notes that needed to be written. And the thought of my stamp room in all its messiness brought my heart to a stop. I decided to make a few cards. But I cheated. I took the easy road last night by opening a Microsoft Word document on my computer and browsing a few images. Once they were chosen, I printed them in my desired size, cut out the images, and created the following presentations with just one stamp apiece and some ribbon bling!

(for my husband's colleague and wife who made The Man dinner last week in Minne)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Funny Thing Happened...

While I stood in line to buy my coffee this morning, I thought,
'When I grow up, I'm gonna ... '

And then it hit me.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


At times, I lament to my husband that people today don't seem to visit like they used to. My grandparents had a sign on their wall when I was little that read:
Come in, Sit down, Relax, Converse.
Our house doesn't always look like this.
Sometimes it's even worse.
I loved that sign. It was one of those kitchey 60's things that, in retrospect, I regret not snatching up and running away with it to have as my own forever. Instead, I have the memory of it - and of people coming and going through my grandmother's kitchen often. And her endless supply of rhubarb bars and coffee - ready for any and every guest to enjoy (especially me!).
Nowadays, I think we are all so busy. That's what I hear a lot, anyway. Even summer - the leisurely, book reading, cloud gazing days of summer. They are flying by. For us, too. And today was no exception.

Today, we started the day with an 8:30 ballgame for the boys. This year baseball has been so much more fun. I think it's because both boys are on the same team. And because both boys are really starting to shine. Today, T hit every pitch sent his way - and enjoyed his first double! And Meiners hit the pitcher with his drive so squarely in the gut that five baseballs flew out of his pockets. And the infield hit that Meiners caught - so unexpectedly based on his expression - brought the whole crowd to its feet.

Meiners is 5 - playing on a team with 7 & 8 year-olds

He seems to be holding his own!

T hits his first double - I don't think his opponent was as pleased.

Dad fills in as line coach today - and gets some praise time in!

After their game, we headed straight downtown to enjoy some All Star Game festivities here in our own StL. The city is aflutter with activities and sights to enjoy. We spent a good portion of the day bumming around Fanfest with these creatures.

Finally, we ended the day in the pool. We didn't even eat dinner until after 7:00. And another highlight came after showers and pjs were done. The whole family went downstairs and videotaped a news program - reviewing the days events, complete with a famous singer (Pooks), an amazing athlete (Meiners) and an outstanding anchor (T).

What fun! And tomorrow, we're going visiting - to the Ks and Co. I should make some rhubarb bars to take along!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


I'm not very talkative tonite. It could be fatigue. The weariness of battling a sleep-deprived 2 year-old for half the afternoon and more of the night. It could be the search for a blessing when fatigue and weariness cloud the vision. Yet, upon close enough inspection, the blessing can be found. It isn't necessarily a blessing to be given a child with a heart defect. And yet, it is. All it requires is a look in their eyes and at their smile and realization slices through. Life is fleeting and it must be lived. Fully.

And these kids do. And at least for one week every year - every summer - they get an extra special chance to live it abundantly. Children with heart defects have been denied access to camps geared, apparently, to healthier kids, at least in the past. To answer this need, St. Louis Children's Hospital began Camp Rhythm. Geared fundamentally and wholly towards kids with heart defects. Healthy ones. And ones who may be seeing the doctor inevitably again soon (praying Mr B showed more perkiness tonite, Em!) . We receive a healthy dose of Blessing.

Thanks. Thanks for the blessing of Heart Camp.

Monday, July 6, 2009


I could have titled this post: Quiet. Isn't it nice, sometimes, to sit in your house - two dogs sleeping at your feet, four kids snoring down the hall, and your hubby out on business - just to sit in the ... stillness. Nothing's right with the world when Daddy's gone, don't get me wrong. But there is peace in the quiet, too.

Very recently my husband was awarded the additional responsibility of traveling to Minneapolis along with his regular duties at the office here. I am thrilled for him. I know that if anyone could make the positive changes necessary in the satellite office, it's my man. And I'm proud of him. I'm maybe a tad bit nervous for him, but really not, because I know he'll do a great job. I just miss him tonite. I know Meinie does too. He and Pooks are headed to Camp Rhythm this week - which I'll have to share with you one day. What an incredible blessing heart camp is to my kids. And T is headed to Grammie Camp. Being the only heart healthy kid old enough to understand that he's the only one not going to heart camp, Grammie stepped forward and offered her undivided attention and fun for the same duration. T's going fishing, swimming, & eating at Bob Evans. All the thrilling adventures a 7 year-old boy can expect with Grammie. Meanwhile, the hearties are headed to - you guessed it: fish, swim, and well, eat only the shredded cheese off the taco bar for lunch if you're Pookie (and nothing else. unless there's kethcup. well, then: SCORE - in her mind, anyway.) So Sash and I will be winging it. Alone for good parts of the day. Keeping the ship sailing on course in the evenings until Thursday this week. And then again in another week.

And it's all good. There are no vacations planned for us this summer any longer. But, if I may literally quote a friend of mine this evening (thanks, Franchesca!):

It feels like vacation to me,

this time of my life. Not that it's effortless,

but maybe because it's priceless.

I love you, Honey! See you soon!


Friday, July 3, 2009

Your Attention Please. Seriously.

Hey, ya'll. Can I tell you that it is VITALLY important that you review your bank statements on a regular basis?! My husband reviews ours daily. I'm not saying that a daily review of the statement is necessary, but please please please look at it. Today we noticed a $59.95 charge on our DEBIT card. As you know, Mr J and I run marathons and half marathons. We have used our credit cards to pay for these races. Today,, the company who mediates the payments for the races, charged us $60 without our authorization to 'join their club.' You may immediately think, yeah right - you probably just forgot...etc. etc. etc. But no. This was an UNAUTHORIZED debit from our primary checking account. We would not have known had we not checked our debits and credits lines diligently. And this is not the first time we have been bamboozled.

Last week, upon reviewing our AT&T bill, my husband noted an additional charge for a professional voicemail system that we never signed up for. He called and discovered that the company had 'received authorization' via an email address - that has never been ours.

Please. Review your statements. And call on them to make sure your fees are fully recovered. Thus far, AT&T has rectified their issue fully and we are awaiting a return call from

edited to add: canceled our 'trial membership' today, indicating via email their sadness at our sudden departure. hmmm. didn't really know the ship was sailing til I was thrown in the life boat. Whatever. At least the problem is solved!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


I think it's pretty clear that I am not a patient person. After all, our summer girls' bedroom redesign is only about half completed, but I couldn't wait to show you Pookie's corner. Tonite, I must show you the wall on Sashi's side of the room. I still haven't faced Target again after ruining half of their shabby chic collection with my coffee - in other words, still no rug or lamp or seating. But I'm in love with this wall - inspired by Layla at The Lettered Cottage (even though not all the pictures are in the frames yet!)

Does anyone else create something and then be so completely enamored by the creation that you have to look at it over and over. Sit in front of it. Staring at its wonderfulness? I do this with every card I make (that I love). Without fail, I prop it on my headboard and fall asleep in the glow of that creation's beauty. The same phenomena has occurred in Pookie's room. After we spread out the new comforter and the art was on the wall, I laid down on that bed and just stared around the room. I actually did the same thing in my own room when I finished that re-do earlier this spring (I still have some things to do in there. But, Pookie's hopes and dreams trumped mine for the time being. Her smiles over her room transformation are worth not having my chocolate-stained bamboo shades in my window, or my own photo wall completed yet!)
What I'm noticing lately, though, is that my impatience is perhaps hitting a summit. Perhaps I'm just noticing it more because I see it oozing from the responses I see in my sweet little girl. Pookie is a darling. She is very social and loving and fun. She is everything a mom would desire in a daughter. And she strives to be just like me. And lately, that ain't always pretty. Lately I've witnessed her snap at her brothers. I've seen her snap at her friends. It sounds horrible when I hear it coming from her mouth. They are my words. But they are coming from her mouth Hello? Do I say that like ... like that?
Wow. More is caught than is taught, as my mother-in-law explains. And that which is caught often ain't pretty. I am vowing to realize where I react versus respond. I want to answer in love versus anger. I pray for His help. Cuz I have a lot on the line.
Many blessings as we travel this road.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...