Tuesday, December 21, 2010

We're Having A....

Due to many difficulties with the computers we have at home, I have not been writing my blog consistently, or really writing at all in the last few months.  But, we found out some news yesterday that I think is worth taking a little time to write via the library's internet. 

Yesterday, we had the infamous ultrasound, and to our utter surprise and shock (I'm still a bit in shock) we were told that we are having a GIRL!  "Really?  Are you sure?"  That was my first reaction.  The ultrasound technician seemed very certain, and since she was right about all our boys, I'm going to trust her on this. 

We are all very excited, including the boys, or maybe especially the boys.  Malachi was always referred to the baby as "she", and Izzy told me that we should have a baby sister because we already had a baby brother and didn't need one of those (a clue to how he REALLY feels about Simeon maybe? ha ha ha).  I am finally allowing my self to think pink and look at all the cute little girl clothes at the store. 

What an adventure!  Three boys and a girl!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Stomach Bugs, Ear Confections, Adoption and Waiting

The last few weeks have been very.....full, to put it gently.  One week we had a stomach flu bug, which seemed very unfair since I was just getting over having morning sickness and thought I was going to be done with nausea and vomiting.  No such luck. 

The following week we all had colds and I lost my voice for two days, which made being a stay at home mom just a little more challenging than usual. 

This week we started off with going to the doctor, where it was discovered that Simeon has a sinus infection and Israel has an ear infection, which he called an "itchy ear confection" and made me laugh. 

Now that we are all loaded up with antibiotics, cough medicine, tylenol, and/or ricola cough drops, I think we are getting better.  Hopefully we can put all this sickness behind us!

Other than that, this week Aaron and I also surprisingly found ourselves at an informational meeting about adoption at our church.  Adoption is not something I have really wanted to do in the past, but it seems like God has been doing something in my heart, and Aaron's, in the last year or so, even in the last month or so. 

At this point, Aaron is a little more enthusiastic than I am since I am pregnant, and my main thought is "One kid at a time please!"  It's hard to think about bringing home a child to adopt when I already know I'll be bringing home a newborn this May. 

In any case, it is something we're looking into and praying about.  We always knew that we wanted to have a big family, and up until now, I had always considered that I would be bringing all of those children into the world myself.  Now I am considering that God may have other plans for us. 

There are a lot of different routes to take when considering adoption, and it can be very expensive, so one thing that is absolutely certain is that we need God's guidance and direction on this, as well as His provision. 

Normally, I wouldn't blog about something like this.  When I feel God stirring us to something, I like to keep it close to my heart.  I might tell a few close friends, but not tell the entire world (so to speak).  However, in this particular case, I feel like this is the beginning of a journey and that maybe there are people who need to read about it along the way.

This may be something that happens a year from now, or it could be ten years from now.  I really don't know.  I do know that when it happens, it will be God's perfect timing, and I trust Him to show us exactly when that is. 

In the meantime, we will gather information, we will wait, and we will pray.  Most of the time, that seems like all you can do with any situation: wait, and pray. 


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Give Me Jesus

Give me Jesus
Give me Jesus
You can have all this world
But give me Jesus

Today I feel the words of this song.  I feel the need for Him.  I think that's a good thing.  It means my ears are ready to hear, my heart is ready to mold.  On a day like this, God can speak to me.  On a day like this, God can change me. 

The funny thing is that I don't feel great today.  I'm tired and emotional.  It's sunny out, but I feel like the skies are gray.  Yet somehow, I think it is on a day like this that God can do the most in me. 

On the days when I feel great, it's easy for me to forget how much I really need Him.  But today my need is staring me in the face.  And I love it. 

I love the days when my soul is crying out to God, when I feel that thirst for Him.  It is beautiful.  It reminds me that He is what I want most in this whole world.  It is so easy to be distracted by other things--husband, kids, life, problems, family, friends, neighbors, church, TV...the list goes on.  But on a day like today, all of those things seem to sort of fade into the background, and I remember what is really important. 

A day like today might start out being not so great.  But it has the potential of being one of the best days, depending on whether I choose to rely on Him or on myself.  When I feel low, or sad, or frustrated, I have the choice of continuing in that, or of trusting Him and asking Him for help.  Most of the time, that doesn't mean I will spend an hour in prayer or that I will read eight chapters of Bible.  No, it's nothing nearly so "super-spiritual".  Not that it would be a bad thing for me to do, but let's face it, I don't have enough time (or peace and quiet!) for that.

It might simply mean that I take one minute to stop and say, "Lord, I need your help," or "God, please give me patience."  It might mean that I stop to remember a verse like James 1:5, "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him."  Or Philippians 4:6-7, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." 

Sometimes that is all I can do.  In those times, I know God meets me right where I am.  In those brief moments, I sometimes see God more clearly than in any worship service.  In those moments, I know the truth of Psalm 91:2 in ways I never could on days when I feel just fine.  "I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust'."

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

To Eat or Not to Eat

Here's what's tough about writing a blog every day: sometimes the most exciting thing you could write about is a play-by-play of the food you eat.

So far I have consumed two frozen waffles, a mug of chai spice tea, and a grilled ham, egg and cheese sandwich.

Normally, when I'm not pregnant, I eat about every four hours or so, which is pretty normal for most people, I think.  Now, at 13 weeks pregnant, I try to eat every couple hours.  Not huge meals, just little ones.  If I don't do it that way, I start feeling sick and miserable. 

I read once that a pregnant woman's body, particularly in the beginning of the pregnancy, is working as hard as a regular woman's body when she's climbing a mountain.  When you look at it that way, it makes sense that not eating would make you feel sick.  It takes a lot of energy to climb a mountain.

It might sound fun to have an excuse to eat all the time, and sometimes it is.  What isn't fun is having to find foods that sound good.  Everyone talks about having cravings during pregnancy, but what they don't talk about is aversions.  I really don't have very many cravings, but I seem to have more and more aversions to foods. 

Every since I was pregnant with Malachi, I have a hard time eating spaghetti--even when I'm not pregnant!  Especially if it's my own spaghetti.  I really don't like my own spaghetti.  The only spaghetti I like to eat is my mother-in-law's.  I don't know how she makes it (I'm not sure even she knows quite how she makes it!) but it's good.  Still, even when I have her spaghetti, I cannot eat any leftovers of it.

Right now, I also have a hard time with Mexican food; which is tragic because normally I love it!  I am hoping that as I go along and get into the second and third trimester I'll be able to eat it again.  I really miss it, especially the salsa.  And I know Aaron misses it too.  We used to eat Mexican probably several times a week.  Now, nothing.  Chili's is about as close as we get to it (which really isn't very close--although they do have good salsa--if I could eat it).

I have also developed a rocky relationship with pizza.  This is especially weird because in every other pregnancy, pizza was one thing I could always eat and enjoy.

A few other things I have a hard time eating now that usually wouldn't bother me: bread crusts, the cereal I used to eat every morning, some pot roasts, and chili, among other random foods that just don't sound good in the moment.

Well, as much fun as it has been writing about all the things I can't eat, I think it is about time for me to think about what I can eat next.  Maybe some Ramen noodles.  Of all things, those actually sound good to me!  Too bad they don't have more nutritional value.

I hope I don't sound like I'm complaining.  I'm not.  Well, maybe just a little:)  Mostly, I look at it as a mystery.  I'm curious why certain foods I love suddenly become unappealing, while others sound great that normally wouldn't be anything special, like McDonald's chicken nuggets.  Whatever the reason, I guess it all just part of the ups and downs of the pregnancy roller coaster.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Lately

It has been so long since I have kept up with my blog that I am having a hard time deciding what to write about.

I could write about how Izzy dumped chocolate cake mix on the kitchen floor and how he and Malachi then proceeded to play "hockey" in it, thus scattering it everywhere and resulting in me having to get down on my hands and knees with the shop vac to clean it up while I felt very much like puking because of my morning sickness.

I could write about how Aaron took the boys in the bike trailer to pick up some pizza from Blackjack one night, and how while he was inside getting the pizza, Malachi decided to ride his bike down the middle of 16th St.  And how Izzy decided to chase him, so they were both in the road.  And how once they were all back in their proper places, Simeon decided that he didn't like hot boxes of pizza and cinnabread on his lap and shoved them off on to the sidewalk, causing them to drag and eventually get run over, so that when we opened the cinnabread the icing was all stuck to the top and there was a bike tire track running down the middle.

I could write about how one morning the doorbell rang and when I answered it was two policemen who came because someone had called and told them that there were no parents at home here.  This came as a surprise to me since I hadn't even left the house that day.  I later figured out through questioning Malachi that he had talked to someone passing by in the alley behind our backyard and when they asked him where I was he said I wasn't there.  Only I suspect that they may have said something like, "Can you go get your Mommy or should I call the police?"  Well, guess which one my five-year-old picked!

I could write about how Simeon finally decided to start walking on his own at eighteen months of age, officially making him the child that started walking the latest in our family, and how he was almost beat to it by his cousin who is not even a year old yet!

I could write about how one morning my children got into the closet with all of our games and took several outside to scatter the cards and pieces to the four corners of the yard, and how the ones they didn't take out got dumped on the floor of the closet, those being Life and Monopoly which both have lots of small pieces to lose.  I had so much fun cleaning that up.

I guess there are a lot of things I could write about, but I really can't decide....

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Hero

He is the Hero who saves us;
The Hero who made us.
We are not forgotten.
In our desperate situation,
The Hero has come.
The Hero has won.
We are free!

Many choose not to see
That their chains have been broken.
They've rejected the Hero;
Didn't like how He looked,
Didn't want to hear what He said:
His words of freedom
Were distasteful to them.
Though they bemoan their slavish existence,
They won't be set free,
For they have called the Hero their enemy.

There is a Hero who loves us.
He has come and will come again.
The Hero always rescues.
The Hero always wins.
No Villain can defeat Him,
Or take what belongs to Him.
But the Hero never forces the one He rescues to be free.
They come willingly;
All but those who have fallen in love with their captivity
Instead of their Hero.

We need a Hero to save us.
We need a Hero to change us.
The Hero shows us ordinary becoming extraordinary
And vice versa.
We too become something more than we have been:

Loved,
Valued,
Worth Saving.
We have purpose.
We mean something to Someone--
The Hero who made us
And the Hero who saves us.

The Hero never abandons what belongs to Him.
Nothing will stop Him from reaching the one He loves.
He will go through fire and water,
Through pain and death,
Through the depths of hell itself,
To reach us--
To reach you.

You are the one He's coming for.
Look for your Hero!
He is mighty to save.
Look for your Hero!
He is here; He has come

FOR YOU

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

TV Show Addict

With each child we've had, I seem to end up spending a lot of time on the couch, whether because I am feeling sick, or tired during the pregnancy, or because I am taking the time to feed the baby after he is born.  As a result of all the couch time, with every baby I have also become obsessed with a different TV show.  Usually it's one I have never watched before and has been on TV for a while already. 

When I had Malachi, it seemed like I was always on the couch either feeding him, pumping milk, or holding him while he fell asleep.  It's hard to read a book while doing any of those things, so I watched movies.  A friend of mine had the first three seasons of Alias on DVD.  I had never watched it before, and skeptically watched the first episode.  That was all it took--from that point on, I was hooked.

I had a miserable pregancy with Israel, so I especially looked forward to the time of day when Malachi would take his afternoon nap and I could rest.  During that time, I decided to to try out the show 24.  Everyone seemed to think it was great, so I ordered it from Blockbuster Online.  It didn't take long before I was completely addicted.  Every day at nap time I would try to squeeze in as many episodes as I could.  I just had to see what happened next in Jack Bauer's day!

When Simeon was born, my parents came to visit.  My mom and I were watching TV and the show House was on.  The funny thing was, even though I didn't normally watch the show, I had seen that particular episode before.  However, I had never seen how it ended.  I programmed our DVR to record it, and since that particular channel was showing all the reruns, I soon had a plethora of episodes to choose from.  I would watch every chance I got.  If the boys went outside to play, I would try to sneak and watch part of an episode while they were out and I was feeding Simeon. 

Now I have only even known we were going to have a baby for about two weeks, but I can already tell you what my new TV addiction is going to be.  A friend of mine has been telling me for  long time about the show Friday Night Lights.  It's about football, which I am not a fan of watching, so I couldn't imagine how a show about it could be so great.  I do like movies about football, like Remember the Titans, but I didn't think I'd want to watch hour after hour of it. 

Recently, ABC Family picked up the show and starting airing it from the very beginning, so I decided to give it a try.  As the first episode began, I was doubtful, but by the end I found I had been pleasantly surprised.  I am now officially hooked on it.  Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, my watching is being regulated by the fact that I only get one show a day--unless I don't watch for a while and let the episodes build up, but who wants to do that?  And yes, I know I could probably watch them online, but since I can't watch it on my laptop, I'd have to sit in our somewhat uncomfortable computer chair for long periods of time.  If I was feeling normal, I might do it, but lately I have not been feeling great.  And we no longer have Blockbuster or Netflix coming to our door, so that's out.  Still, I look forward to enjoying my new TV show obsession, even if I do it slowly:)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Worth It

Lately I have spent a lot of time navigating the waters, so to speak, of being pregnant again.  For me, the first trimester usually includes "morning sickness" which doesn't actually only come in the morning.  It's more like "all day" sickness. 

So far I haven't actually been throwing up at all, just feeling nauseated all the time.  Today was hard, not because I felt so terrible, but because I knew I might be feeling a lot worse in the future.  I've been fighting a lot of anxiety about that. 

I try to remind myself that at the end of it all, I get a baby.  I'm looking forward to that!  Also, I've been trying to remind myself that I went through all of this with the three boys I already have, and that I definitely feel it was worth it.  I just have to look forward to the end result, which is a beautiful, brand new, baby.  Maybe even a girl this time!  But it is hard, knowing that nine long months are stretching out ahead of me and I will only be getting more and more uncomfortable. 

For now, though, I just get to experience the paradox of looking at food and thinking how good it is, while at the same time being somewhat repulsed by it.  Ah, the joys of expectant motherhood!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Baby Boom

A new adventure is beginning for us!  In the not too distant future, we will be adding to our family. 

A few weeks ago, my body began behaving strangely.  I noticed odd little things that usually only happen when I'm pregnant, such as heartburn.  I was very suspicious. 

Finally, last week, we aquired the infamous pregnancy tester to find out if I was right.  Aaron got a fancy digital one, apparently putting more trust in a more expensive tester.  As a result, instead of a mere plus sign, we got to see an actual "YES" in the results box.  How fun! 

I am now about six weeks along, which means, according to a baby website I have been looking at, that the baby is about the size of a lentil bean right now.  Last week it said the baby was only the size of a sesame seed, so that's a considerable amount of growth for one week, if you think about it. 

The same website also calculated that I will be due May4, but since my children seem to enjoy showing up fashionably late, it will probably be closer to May 14. 

We are all hoping for a girl this time.  Malachi refers to the baby as "baby sister".  I don't think it would be too bad to have another boy though; we already have three, after all--what's one more?  And boys are a lot of fun.  They get into a lot of trouble, but they're a lot of fun.

So that is our exciting news, which most of you who read my blog already knew about, but I felt that I ought to write something "official" about it:)

Here's to number four!


Monday, September 6, 2010

Park Days

This summer was really hot, but as the days have been cooling down, we've been going to the park a lot.  What's almost more fun than the park for me, is getting some great pictures of the boys.... 

















Simeon


Israel


















Malachi


We even tried a couple of parks we've never been to before in Loveland.  One was a park with a kid-sized train that they could takes rides on.

Simeon is at an age where it is more fun to eat sand than ride a train:)

A Change in Strands

For quite a while, I have been growing my hair out.  I thought this was a great idea, until I realized how long the "awkward in-between stage" was lasting, and how much longer it was going to last, and added the fact that I will probably end up just wearing my hair in a ponytail most of the time.  I began to wonder, "Why am I going through all of this just so I can wear my hair in a ponytail?  I could cut it and it could look really cute without me having to do very much at all."  So that is what I did. 

Here is me before the haircut. 



















And here is my hair now!





Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Name That Tree

This week has been very unusual so far.  Well, unusual is pretty usual for us, but this week has been extra-special in that department. 

I went to the bathroom and my two lovely oldest boys snuck out the front door.  It was almost as if they were waiting for their chance, and as soon as I closed the bathroom door they looked at each other and said, "Let's go!" 

At first when I went outside I couldn't see or hear them.  I even went to my neighbors house to see if they had gone over there.  Finally, I walked around the side of the house and found them, sitting on the hood of our van, picking berries off of the tree by our driveway.  I shooed them heartily into the house and tried to explain the dangers of eating unidentified berries.  Then I called Poison Control. 

They told me to try to identify the tree to see if it was poisonous.  They said to take a branch to a nursery and ask them what it was.  But I have three kids and I don't want to pack them up into the van to go find a nursery, so instead I tried the internet.  Let me tell you, there are a lot of websites dedicated to identifying trees.  However, not one of them was able to identify my tree. 

I spent a good hour and a half to two hours looking for the name of this tree, and it just was not there.  Upon further questioning, the boys said that they didn't actually eat the berries.  Whether they were telling the truth, I don't know, but they didn't get sick either way. 

Later that night, we went to Del Taco for dinner, and as we were sitting there, Simeon, with no pre-warning at all, opens his mouth and spews out everything he just ate and drank.  Then he just moved on, like it never happened.  He wasn't upset or fussy or anything.  Aaron was the unlucky person sitting next to him, so he got puked on.  It was so bizarre.  Here I have two kids who I thought ate strange, possibly poisonous berries, and they're fine, but the kid who didn't eat any berries gets sick?  Life just doesn't make any sense sometimes. 

We took the kid home, bathed him, gave him pedialyte (which he didn't like at first, but warmed up to in the end) and put him to bed.  I started to wonder, "What if he did somehow eat a berry?"  Back to my tree search, just in case.  Still no luck. 

The next day, I was stressed out trying to take care of Simeon--who woke up with diarrhea and had vomited again, so he needed another bath.  The boys, I think, could sense I was stressed and reacted to it by becoming very needy and whiny, which did not help at all.  As the day went on, Simeon was doing better, and eventually Aaron came home so the boys could focus their attention on him instead of me.  It already feels like a long week, and it's only Wednesday. 

In the midst of it all, I still cannot figure out what kind of tree we have next to our driveway.  It's driving me crazy.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Honey vs Vinegar

The old adage "You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar", has been proven false.

Earlier this summer, we had the misfortune of some fruit going bad.  Before we realized that it was a problem, it attracted a much more annoying problem: fruit flies.  Disgusted at the flies, we went on a search to see why they were here, and that was when we found that the fruit was rotten.

After throwing it away, we assumed that the fruit flies would go away as well; but it would seem that once here, they did not want to leave.  Throughout the summer we have battled them, trying to keep up with the fruit and washing dishes.  But if ever we slipped and left the dishes or missed a peach gone bad, there they were again.

Finally, the problem reached a peak this last weekend and we could not stand it.  My nephew suggested leaving out some honey.  I thought this a good idea, after all, they say you can catch more that way, right?  Wrong.

I kid you not, there was not a single fly on that plate of honey.  Not one.  There were more flies on my poor plant in the kitchen than on that plate of honey.

So we did what any normal person would do--looked it up on the internet.  We found a site that had many suggestions for getting rid of the pesky creatures, one of which was to put some apple cider vinegar in a bowl, then cover it with saran wrap and poke a few holes in it with a fork.  The tiny flies will get in the holes, but will not be able to fly back out (provided the holes aren't too large).  I decided to try it--and it worked!  I couldn't believe it--we had actually caught more flies with vinegar than with honey!

I guess it just goes to show you can't always believe everything you hear.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Top Ten x Two and a Half

Now that I've given my bad movie list, it's time for the good ones!  These are some of my favorites.  I tried to put them in some sort of order, but after the first six, it gets really hard to decide.  And, yes, it is a very long list, but I really couldn't whittle it down any more.

1.  It's A Wonderful Life
I love this movie because of George Bailey, the main character.  I love that he sacrifices his own dreams to do the right thing and to help other people.  In this day and age, the message is usually, "Do what makes you happy."  I think there is something to be said for making a personal sacrifice that will help make a difference in other people's lives.  And, of course, in the nd, he sees that his sacrifices have affected the entire town he lives in, and even beyond.

2.  The Princess Bride
I shouldn't even have to explain why this is a favorite.  It has so many great and quotable lines, and is just a lot of fun.

3.  Empire Records
I can't explain why I like this movie, I just do.

4.  The Matrix
Aside from this just being a great movie, I love the parallels to the Christian life that are in it.

5.  Braveheart
If anyone doesn't like this movie, I would say that either they're head is on backwards, or they're Amish.  There just is no other reasonable explanation.

6.  Tombstone
This is a family favorite.  Whenever we all get together, we're quoting it left and right.  Doc Holiday is probably the best movie character of all time.

7.  Pride and Prejudice (the old version)
So many good things to say!  Yes, the actors are not as beautiful as the new version, but that is totally made up for in other ways.  This version has all the good parts in it, Colin Firth is an excellent Mr. Darcy, and Elizabeth isn't so...twitchy.

8.  The Mirror Has Two Faces
This movie is a bit of a backward love story since the couple gets married first and then falls in love.  I like it because of the process they go through.  The husband is a man who has a problem with women.  He dates women he is sexually attracted to, but has no other connection with them, even though connection is what he longs for.  Meanwhile, the wife has gone through life overshadowed by the beauty of her mother and sister and only gets dates with men she's not really interested in.  When the two finally meet, it's because the man has decided to marry someone he isn't physically attracted to, certain that is the only way he will find true companionship.  What's wonderful is watching him fall in love with who she is, and how it makes her attractive to him in a way that goes beyond mere physical appearances.

9.  Good Will Hunting
In spite of having A LOT of bad language, this is just a really good movie.

10. Oceans 11 & 12
These movies are just a lot of fun.  I love all the different characters with all their own little quirks and specialties.

11.  The Man Who Knew Too Little
I find the idea of a man doing secret agent stuff without knowing what he's doing to be hilarious.  It's ridiculous, but great.

12.  Rat Race
So funny!  In this movie, twelve (?) people at a casino win coins which enter them in a race for a million dollars that can be found in a locker at a train station in Silver City, New Mexico.  It seems fairly simple, but the actual getting there for all of them takes some pretty hilarious turns. 

13.  Much Ado About Nothing
This is a very wordy movie, but if you can follow along, it's very funny. 

14.  Inception
I just saw this movie, and it was great!  Some people have said it was confusing, but if you pay attention and follow along, it is phenominal.  I love the idea of the dream world and the layers of the dream.  And then the ending...but I don't want to give anything away.

15.  While You Were Sleeping
This is just an all around great movie.  When it comes to romantic comedies, this is probably the best of them all.  I first saw this movie in the theater with my mom when I was eleven.  I wasn't thrilled about it because I was young enough that I wanted to see a kid movie, not a "mom" movie.  Reluctantly, I agreed, and I am so glad!  My mom and I both loved it and have watched it many times since.  So this movie has more attached to it for me than just being a good movie.  It is something I shared with my mom, and since we live in different states now, it just makes it more special.

16.  Quigley Down Under
If you like westerns, this is a must see.  Even if you don't really like westerns, you will probably like this one.  It takes place in Australia, is very unique, and has some really great lines.

17.  Signs
If you're looking for a typical alien movie, go rent something else.  What I like about this is the story of a man who loses his faith, and then gets it back through very unusual circumstances.  And I love the dry humor throughout the film.

18.  Dan in Real Life
I've already written an entire blog about this movie, so I don't feel the need to say more.

19.  Elizabethtown
This is a very random movie, but I really like it because of that.  Not to mention, the music in it is really good.

20.  Lord of the Rings Trilogy
Epic movie.  What more can I say, except this: the extended version is actually way better than the theatrical version.

21.  Gladiator
Just an all around good movie.  You love the good guy, you hate the bad guy, and have a good time watching along the way.

22.  10 Things I Hate About You
When I was a teenager, my friends and I would watch this movie almost every time we spent the night at each others' houses.  There is something about this movie that is just really great.  My mom even likes it!

23.  The Painted Veil
I love this movie.  It is about a man and woman who get married for different reasons.  He loves her, but she just wants to escape the life she had.  Things take an unexpected turn when her doctor husband takes her to China with him.  While there, she has an affair with another man, and as a result, her husband taskes her deep into China to a small village where he works in a hospital tryign to stem a cholera epidemic.  Away from everything she has known and loved, she is forced to see things differently, including her husband, and she comes to fall in love with him.  It's beautiful to see a marriage that was dead come to life.

24.  Catch Me If You Can
This is just a great movie.  Leonardo DiCaprio is so good in this.

25.  Jerry Maguire
Are you seeing a pattern here?  I like movies where married people fall in love!  It is the saddest thing to me when a marriage falls apart.  It truly grieves my heart.  So I love to watch a movie where a marriage comes together instead, like this one.  Also, I love Cuba Gooding Jr. in this movie!  He adds a lot of life to it.

Well, if you have managed to stick with me all the way to the end of this list, I commend you!  It was a long list, and I apologize.  I honestly tried to shorten it, and I just couldn't.  While I was writing this I thought of several other movies I also love, but I mercifully didn't add them:)  Hopefully you enjoyed reading about some of my favorites.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Bottom 10

A friend of mine seems to think I like every movie I see, so I have been inspired to compile a list of the ones I don't like and why.  Keep in mind these are just my opinions....

1.  Seven
Usually, for me, a movie with Brad Pitt is a good thing, but this movie about a serial killer was too graphic and gruesome for me.  It's number one on the list on purpose because I don't ever want to see it again.

2.  You Don't Mess With the Zohan
I didn't even have to watch the entire movie to know how horrible it was.  The whole thing was just really offensive and stupid.

3.  Anchorman
My apologies to those who love this movie, but I actually thought it was pretty stupid.  I wouldn't have even watched the entire movie except we were with some friends who loved it and I didn't want to hurt their feelings.

4.  Pride and Prejudice (with Keira Knightly)
I'm just partial to the old version.  This version felt too fast paced, it was missing some of my favorite parts, I didn't really like Keira Knighlty as Elizabeth Bennett, except for her looks, and the guy playing Mr. Darcy was a stick in the mud compared to Colin Firth.  I give it points for good cinematography and better looking actors, but even so, I like the old version better.

5.  Ghosts of Girlfriends Past
This was one of those movie where all the good parts were in the previews and the actual movie fell flat.  Blah.

6.  Catch and Release
I tried to like it because of Jennifer Garner, but I just couldn't.  It's one of those movies that I would watch if I turned on the TV and it happened to be on, but I definitely wouldn't buy it or rent it or even get it from the library.

7.  Losers
Didn't even make it through the whole movie.  It was a little too overdone.

8.  Scream, Scream 2, and Scream 3
For whatever reason, most likely pure curiosity, I watched all three of the Scream movies.  And I distinctly remember after every one thinking, "Why did I just watch that?"

9.  Jersey Girl
I'm sure it sounded good at the time, but it wasn't.

10.  The Hangover
This movie is a perfect example of why it may seem that I like every movie.  I know that a lot of people liked this movie.  A lot of people thought it was hilarious, the most hilarious movie they've ever seen.  Admittedly, there were some very funny parts to this movie, and I didn't hate it.  I might even watch it again someday.  But I didn't love it.  If I'm talking to someone that is enthusiastic about it, I'm not going to go out of my way to say I didn't like it that much.  They think it's funny, I thought it was funny, we can agree on that.  Sometimes it is just not worth hurting someone's feelings or getting into a debate over.  But the truth is, this movie is (obviously) not on my favorite list.

11. War of the Worlds
Nothing against Tom Cruise or Dakota Fanning, I just didn't like it.

12.  The Happening
Usually I am a huge M. Night Shyamalan fan, but not this time.  I thought it was a ridiculous idea, and I didn't enjoy sitting through two hours of people freakishly committing suicide.

13.  Planet of the Apes
The old version of this movie just really creeps me out.  When I think about it, I kind of have to shudder.  Comparatively, the new version at least isn't so creepy.  But I don't really like either one.

14.  Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
I really liked the first movie The Curse of the Black Pearl, but the second one started to go down hill, and the third was just hanging on to the other two, without any real value of it's own.

15.  Star Wars: Episode II
Episode I and Episode III were not that great either, but I particularly disliked this one.  There were some parts in this one that were truly outstanding in the "cheesy" department.

I think that should be enough for now.  I've seen a lot of movies in my lifetime because I'm a movie person and my family growing up was a movie family.  Some of those movies were great movies, some were just okay, and some I didn't like at all.  I could probably sit here all night trying to remember all the movies I've seen and all the ones I disliked, but honestly, some of them are not even worth remembering.    

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Cleaning Lady

Somewhere deep inside, there is a woman who loves to clean: a woman who delights in washing dishes, who craves carpet cleaning, desires dusting, loves laundry, and is satisfied when scrubbing.  I would like to get in touch with this woman. 

Unfortunately, I think she is buried under a veritable mountain of clutter.  That's not even the worst part.  It wouldn't be so hard to liberate her, if only she could do it.  She has the motivation for it. 

Sadly, she must depend upon the whims of the woman who is not deep inside, but living quite autonomously; the one who doesn't like dishes or laundry or any of that.  That woman has no pity for the cleaner buried under the clutter: she hasn't much unction to free her. 

Occasionally, I am told, she will let the cleaning lady out, but only when absolutely necessary.  More often than not, you would see her piling more junk on top of Cleaning Lady rather than attempting to free her with the removal of it.  It is a tragic situation, and one I am sure most people are unaware of. 

Cleaning Lady is allowed out of her prison of clutter just often enough to appear as though she is indeed free.  Usually, just as Cleaning Lady is feeling secure in her freedom and enjoying spic-and-span feelings, she finds that a whole new load of junk has been dumped upon her, and she is once again buried. 

I really don't know how she survives this way, but I must commend her on never giving up.  Well, now that I've written this tribute to her, I suppose I ought to release her....

But just long enough to do the vacuuming.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Yellow Tray Toe

Yesterday was Sunday, and I suppose that it ought to have been very tranquil.  However, I found myself unfortunately far from being tranquil right as we were about to leave for church. 

We were running late, as usual, but only by a tiny bit.  It takes us maybe two minutes to drive to church, so I had high hopes that we wouldn't miss very much.  Everyone was dressed and ready to go, but we developed one significant problem: we could not find Malachi's shoes. 

We looked high and low, inside and outside, in the house and in the van, and there was not one pair of shoes to be found.  We found shoes that were too small for him, and we found one shoe out of a pair that weren't too small.  But of the three pairs he has right now that fit him well; his sandals, his sneakers and his "blue suede shoes"; they were nowhere to be found.  I found myself growing angrier as the minutes ticked by us.  It was clear we would not be finding his shoes in time.  He would have to go barefoot. 

Aaron was making one last round upstairs when my anger got the better of me and I kicked a plastic yellow kid tray that was on the floor.  I kicked it hard.  I kicked it wearing flip flops.  Flip flops are not made for kicking plastic trays across the room, and therefore, this foolish action resulted in tearing part of my toenail.  It didn't come off, but it was definitely bleeding.  I just have to add here, that if anyone thinks that having a nail break isn't that bad, I submit to you that in some places they torture people by ripping off their fingernails, and there are times when breaking a nail isn't too much different.  This, of course, just made me more upset. 

I was angry that were late, I was mad at myself for being stupid and ripping my toenail, and I was not too happy with Malachi for losing his shoes.  I really wanted to go to Zoe's, which is our church's off site campus/coffee shop, but by the time we gave up the search for the shoes, it was a good fifteen minutes after church had started, and I was very depressed.  Fortunately, the main church starts fifteen minutes later and is even closer to our house than Zoe's.  I ought to have been happy about that, but at the time, of course, I wasn't.  Aaron suggested going there, and I grudgingly agreed.

Once we got there and got all the children put in their respective classes, I felt myself settling down some.  Drinking three cups of water and admitting my tray-kicking folly to Aaron also helped my anger to subside, and I had to laugh at myself. 

I find it very ironic that as a mother I am always trying to get my boys to control their temper, and then I go and kick a tray because I can't find shoes.  I guess I'm not as grown-up as I might have thought.  I probably should have given myself a time-out.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Malachi's Turn

I was thinking yesterday after I wrote about Izzy, and I realized that I rarely write about Malachi.  I think this is partly because he is older now and isn't saying as many funny things.  I know he did say funny things when he was younger though, and I just happened not to have a blog that I was writing then.  So, I decided to look in my journal from when he was smaller and see if I had written anything down that he said.  Here are a few that I found from when Malachi was around two and a half years old....   

When he would swing on the swings, he would say, "Yook Mommy, I finging!"

When someone would knock on the front door, he would say, "Who's dat body?"

Once when I was making him pancakes he told me, "Mommy, you're perfect."  Before I could fully bask in the compliment though, he followed up with, "Mommy,  you're crazy."

Once he had a cup of milk and was looking in it saying "Dad?"  I asked him if he was looking for Aaron and he said, pointing to his milk, "Yeh, I yookin fo Daddy.  Is he in 'ere?"

Aaron taught Malachi to clink glasses and say "Salute!"  Instead, Malachi would say "Sanoot!"

Once when Aaron had to take his work truck to the mechanic, Malachi said, "Daddy take the big white truck to the doctor."  As a mother, I find myself repeating what they say in the form of a question quite a lot.  "He took it to the doctor?" I asked.  "He took it to the Doctor Seuss," he told me. 

He used to call the movie The Fox and the Hound, "Fox and the Shoes".

Once he told my sister when she was visiting that "The chicken melts in the water." 


Pictures of Malachi at 2 and 1/2


Monday, August 9, 2010

Pancakes are Fruits

I haven't written about Izzy for a while, so here are some his funny sayings I've been stockpiling....

"What's this?" I said to Izzy, trying to poke his bellybutton.  He had his shirt off, so it was an easy target.  "Don't touch it it's lhuchky," he told me.  "It's yucky?" I asked, attempting to clarify.  "No!" he told me, "I didn't tell you that word because I'm shy!"

Putting Izzy to bed one day, I told him, "I'll see you tomorrow Izzy."  As I closed the door to his room, he called out, "How 'bout Saturday?  How 'bout Someday, Mom?"

One night we were at a park and I got some slurpees from 7-11.  Izzy was drinking a blue raspberry flavored one and he came up to me smiling a blue smile and said, "It tastes like strawberry cocanilla!"

A while ago we took the boys to the fairgrounds to see all the animals.  
"What is this place?" Chi asked when we pulled into the parking lot. 
"It's a miracle!" Izzy answered him.

Regarding a cup of soda, Izzy told Chi, "You can't have too much or you'll get a tummy egg."

Izzy has been saying "hink" instead of "think".  For example, today Izzy was giving me advice about what we should eat.  "I 'hink we should have pancakes and popsicles," he suggested.  "Pancakes are fruits." 

Dust

If we could only see the end result of the things we are doing right now--not just the result, but the direct cause and effect.  What would we do differently?

There is no way for us to know that, but God does know.  We can only rely on Him and trust him to reveal the things that need to change.  More than that, we must rely on Him for that change to come about.  We cannot change our own hearts.  Only the Holy Spirit can change a heart. 

It is the great miracle of salvation--the greatest miracle of all.  It is a thing which cannot be accomplished by human effort.  We can change our actions, but what good is that if our hearts are unchanged?  Does God look at only our actions, or at our hearts?  If we look good on the outside, is that enough for Him?  No.

We will never change ourselves, but God will change us.  We have no power to alter our course.  We have only the power to trust, to believe.  And we have the power to surrender.  The power to surrender!  How amazing is God that He is willing to do all the work?!  He knows we can't do it.  He always knew.  He took on all the responsibility--for paying for our sin, for changing our hearts, for everything.  The only thing we are capable of is giving ourselves to Him, surrendering to Him, being willing to change...or at least, being willing to be made willing.

How weak, how frail we are!  We think we're capable and strong, but in reality, we are only dust.  And what can dust do?  Nothing at all!  Not on it's own, anyway.  But in the right hands--the Right Hands--dust comes alive.  It lives.  It breathes.  It becomes a thing of beauty. 

Oh, how our very lives are a miracle and we don't even see it!  How arrogant we are to think we hold any power of our own!  All we have is that which has been given to us.  We are dust.  We are only dust.  He is the life, and only He can make us alive.

Whatever we become, whatever legacy we leave behind, will be only by the grace of God and proportional to our surrender to Him.  We are nothing.  He is God.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Give Him Some Credit

There have been things in my life that God has asked me to do, and I've done them, only to wonder "why?" later.  I would wonder why He would ask me to do something, knowing how ill-equipped I was.  "Shouldn't You have picked someone else?" I would repeatedly say to Him.  Lately, I've begun to realize that He picked me exactly because I'm ill-equipped.  If I were perfectly able to do the task on my own, I could take credit for myself.  I'd probably end up feeling very proud and thinking how wonderful I am for my accomplishments. 

My whole life, I've heard the answer to the question, "Why are we here?" as "To bring God glory."  I don't think I ever really understood what that meant until now.  I used to mentally shrug at that answer, not certain of how that applied to my life.  It seemed such a vague statement.  I think if you exchange the word "glory" for the word "value", though, it makes more sense.  It's not that we can somehow cause God to have more value, but we can cause people to see His value, the value that is already there.

If I were entirely able to do what God asked on my own, how would that show anyone God's value?  My accomplishments would be credited only to me.  But when I find myself in a place of reliance on Him, the results belong entirely to Him, not me.

I've mentioned this in other blogs, but I go back to it because it is one of those memories that I always return to, "threading the beads of detail into an eternal loop, a rosary to be fingered for a lifetime" (from the book Atonement by Ian McEwen--I love that quote). 

It was my Senior year of High School, and up until that point I had always gone to a Christian school.  That year, however, I believed God was telling me to go to public school instead.  I had grand aspirations to tell everyone about Jesus, be a friend to the friendless, sit with the kid who was all alone at the lunch table, and just generally "be a light", to use a familiar "Christianese" term.  It all sounded really good beforehand.  Actually being there turned out to be very different from what I expected. 

I've always been a quiet person, but in Junior High and High School, I was dreadfully shy.  It was very hard for me to talk to new people.  The first half of that year, I literally dreaded going to school.  I don't think I had any conversations about Jesus.  I was happy if I could just have a conversation at all, about anything, without feeling horribly nervous. 

I would walk to the library after school to wait for my mom, and I would have conversations with God that went something like, "What were You thinking, asking me to come here?  It makes no sense.  You know how bad I am at this."  I felt pretty much like a failure.  Not just while I was there, but for a long time after I had graduated, I would still look back and wonder why I was there.

I am seeing now that my inadequacies, failures, and weaknesses all served a purpose: to give God the credit.  If there is even one person who came to Christ because of me being there, I can say with all certainty that it wasn't because of anything I said or did.  It was all God.  I was there and I was willing...and that's about it. 

This all relates directly to where I am right now in my life.  I am a mother.  It sounds so simple.  Especially to people who have no children.  To those people, I am "just a mother."  Instead of "doing something with my life" I "just" got married and had kids.  What a waste, right?  It's the kind of thing people shake their heads over.  "She's already got three kids, and she's only 26."  And I want to have more.  This is what God asked me to do.  So I'm doing it.  

But it's anything but simple.  I had beautiful pictures painted in my head of how wonderful it was going to be, and how I was going to "raise up a Godly generation".  Well, now that I'm here, I can honestly say that most of the time I don't know what the hell I'm doing.  I'm pretty sure that's exactly where God wants me, that place where I realize I'm not going to even make it through the day if He doesn't help me, let alone, "raise up a Godly generation" all on my own. 

At this point, all I can do is be here, and be willing.  If these boys turn out well, you better believe that I'm giving God all the credit!  And that is exactly what He wants. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

One of Those Days

Today is one of those days.  My morning was early, my temper is short, my patience is thin, my house is hot, and my kids seem intent on making messes.  It's one of those days when I question the sanity of having kids at all, and I am certainly not my best mom version.  It's one of those days where I know the only way I'm going to get through it is by relying heavily on the grace of God.

Recently, I have been realizing more and more that relying on Him is the ONLY way I will be the kind of wife or mother or even just the kind of person, that I want to be--the kind I'm meant to be.  There is something both freeing and terrifying about that.  And today I'm finding that it's far more difficult, almost even painful, to be in that position of total reliance on God. 

I'd like to think of myself as being capable.  I'd like to be one of those sweet, even-tempered mothers who never yells at her kids.  I'd like to have some of those sweet-tempered children who need nothing more than a look for them to obey (do those kids really exist?).  I'd like to be patient, not just the kind of patient that makes it possible to deal with kids who have to be told something twenty times before they do it, but the kind of patient that makes it easy to sit on the floor and play cars, or build a train track, or get out the finger paints (I wince slightly at the thought of finger paints, which I feel certain will end up on my walls instead of on paper).  I'd really like to just naturally be a great mom, a fun mom, a sweet mom.  And some days, I come close.

Other days, like today, I feel very inadequate.  And when I feel inadequate, I feel like giving up.  The catch is that this isn't some ordinary job that I can just turn in my two weeks notice for.  This is the un-quittable job.  It's mine until the day I stop breathing.  I will always be a mother, whether I like it or not.

What's more is that I know that God has called me to be a mother.  And if God calls you to something, it's usually best to go along with it, whether you like it or not.  Unless, of course, you enjoy spending time in the belly of a giant fish.  For me, that doesn't seem like the best alternative.

So here I am, doing what I'm called to do, what I have to do, what I need to do, sometimes what I love to do.  Am I qualified?  Probably not.  I'm quite certain there are others who have much better resumes for this job. 

Actually, I feel like this is more like being recruited for an army rather than applying for a job.  I hear God saying, "I want YOU!" and pointing a finger at me like the Uncle Sam poster.  My impulse is to look behind me and see if maybe He's pointing at someone else.  He's not.  Then I want to try some excuses for why I can't possibly.  Unfortunately the good ones have all been taken, and there still hasn't been one that He didn't completely override. 

I like the story of Gideon.  God says, "Hello, you mighty man of valor!" and Gideon says, "Are you sure you have the right guy?"  Then there is a series of tests and signs that they have to go through before Gideon is REALLY sure that this is God and that he's supposed to lead an army.  I can relate to that.  A lot.

It's nice to feel qualified, to feel capable and independant.  It's far more difficult to have to stare straight in the face of my own weakness and admit that I need help.  And God is the only one who is available to me for that help 24/7.  I tell Him, "I'm not good at this."  He says, "Yep.  Do it anyway.  I'll help you--I've got patience to spare."

I have come to see that everything that happens is for God's glory.  It isn't about me.  It isn't about my abilities, or lack thereof.  It's about Him.  It's about God letting me see something amazing happen, and me knowing that I couldn't have done it without Him.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Birthday

Last night we had a birthday celebration extravaganza for Malachi and Israel, which included Blackjack Pizza, TWO cakes, homemade ice cream, and spiderman suits. 

Yes, after a long wait, both boys now each have their very own Spidey suits, complete with masks. 

One suit is the standard red and blue, the other is the black one, which could either be Spidey's alter ego or the bad guy, Venom.  Now at least when they hit each other they'll have a good reason.  Spiderman's gotta fight the bad guys right?  And the bad guy has to fight back.  Superhero 101.

The catch is that my two little Spidermen will not take off their suits.  They eat in them.  They sleep in them.  They play in them.  If I let them, they would bathe in them.  If they continue this way, that may be the only way to get both them and the suits clean all at one time. 

I know that eventually, I am going to have to take away their suits and hide them in a secret place for another time.  I know they will, in their quest to be just like Spiderman, probably fight with each other more often.  There will be yelling and kicking and hitting and crying.  And there is a good chance that they will, at some point, fight over the suits, who gets black and who gets red.  But for now, they are just happy, and that makes me happy.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Following

It struck me this morning that being a mom is a lot like playing "Follow the Leader".  I went down to the basement to put a load of clothes in the dryer and Malachi and Israel came trickling down after me.  While there I realized that my washer was becoming dirt encrusted around the top, so I went upstairs to get a paper towel. 

"She's going upstairs!" said Israel, and they trooped right after me up to the kitchen. 

Then I turned around and took the paper towel back down to the basement, where they of course followed me again. 

This morning I got plenty of enjoyment out of them following me up and down repeatedly, especially sicne it takes them longer to get up the stairs, only to find when they got there that I was going back down.  I had to chuckle inwardly about that one.

This kind of thing happens a lot.  If I got to the bathroom, they want to come too.  If I lock them out of the bathroom, they sometimes beat on the door and wail for me to let them in.  If I go upstairs, they are sure to follow, unless they are distracted.  Even then it is only a matter of time.  If I'm gone for more than a few minutes, they want to know what I'm doing. 

Sometimes even Aaron will follow me around the house when he's home.  That part is kind of cute, actually.  It lets me know that he still likes being around me, even after six years. 

In a way, I guess it lets me know that they all like me, and they just want to be with me, which is nice.  It's encouraging, especially when I know that at times I'm probably not so nice to be around.  Sometimes I lose my temper with the boys, and more often, they lose their temper about every little thing that doesn't go their way.  Between me yelling at them, and them screaming at me, it could become difficult to tell whether we like each other at all.  And then they follow me, up and down, down and up, up and down.  That's as good as an "I love you" for me. 
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