Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Oops I Did It Again

We were somewhere over Arkansas when I made the discovery. My first thought was that less-than-courteous TSA guy. I bet he did it. He was upset that I was traveling with multiple small bottles of premixed formula, which he had to individually test for bomb ingredients because those Al-Queda guys are notorious for their devious uses of Similac. He must have taken them out in his fury and "accidentally" forgot to put them back.

But then the thought that sometimes even I make mistakes crossed my mind. Could it be? Is it possible?

Did I really just embark on a cross-regional journey and neglect to...pack diapers and wipes? No...surely not.

I check my diaper bag again. Yogurt bites, formula, puffs, hand sanitizer, rubber mat that goes on the table, various other baby items that don't rank nearly as highly in importance as diapers and wipes do? Yes, all there. But no diapers. This could get messy.

Thankfully, Simeon was able to wear the diaper I put on him THAT MORNING until we were able to get to a Target. Let's just say we got our money's worth out of it.

So lesson learned right? Check the diaper bag before you leave and make sure that, even though you put diapers in there 3 days ago, it is not unreasonable to think you might need to restock. Granted, I've been packing a diaper bag for the better part of four years so you'd think I would have mastered this particular skill, but we all have our weaknesses. Remembering crucial details happens to be mine.

Later that night, we were in the car on the way to my cousin's rehearsal dinner. We were almost there and I open the diaper bag to pull out a snack for Simeon. Guess what's not in there. Are you kidding me? Am I the world's most idiotic mother or what? How do you have such a close call mere hours earlier and then not learn your lesson? Not my best day.

But once again, no major crisis ensued. Thank God for the absorbency of the modern-day diaper. And we avoided the situation ,both times, that would make needing a new diaper absolutely essential.

And wouldn't it be great if that were the end of this post.

Kris, the boys, and I went to The Woodlands mall yesterday to exchange my phone after the previous days unfortunate events. I dropped Kris off at the door because we were running late and I parked and was supposed to meet him up at the food court to feed our children a nutritious dinner. I was getting Simeon out of his car seat when I caught a faint whiff of something not-so-fresh. So I begin to change this diaper and I open my bag and I dig around for a replacement.

Well, the good news was I did have wipes.

So in the parking lot of the mall with Thing 1 and Thing 2 as my assistants, and all the efficiency that that implies, I manage to make the diaper "wearable." I decide I just need to clean it as best as I can, line it with wipes, and then get inside and give the big boys to Kris so I can find another diaper. We find Kris. Incidentally, he is receiving excellent customer service at the Apple store and a new iPhone, so at least there was that. I tell him I am going to walk down to Gymboree because I had no clue what to do and a children's store seemed like the right place to start.

I walked towards the store, keeping my eye out for someone I could approach. I spot a mom with a child in a stroller that appeared to be about the same size as Simeon. And I swallowed my pride and asked her if I could have a diaper. Because this is my first baby and I'm still getting the hang of it. I didn't really say that but that's the tone of voice I was going for. She graciously gives me one and we share a laugh about what a moron I am and then I slip into Gymboree and change my poor child's diaper on the floor in the back of the store. And then I fed him a grilled cheese from Sonic for dinner. And then I kept him up way past his bedtime.

And this morning, the sun still came up and Simeon still greeted me with a huge smile. He definitely does not have a mom that has it all together. But he doesn't seem to mind.

But he has requested that I remember diapers from now on.

Monday, March 28, 2011

iCant Believe iDid That

Simeon and I just got back from a quick trip to Memphis for my cousin Matt's wedding. He married a beautiful girl named Cecily and I was so happy I got to be there. Simmy did great on his first flight (well, he did fly to Oregan when he was about the size of a lemon but I doubt he remembers.) My parents and brother went as well so it was nice to be able to pass him around on the plane. He was his charming self for the majority of the trip. There was one moment on the flight back when he was about to lose it but I asked him if he really wanted to be "that" baby. He said no and went to sleep. True story.

My day started off great today. I was wiped out from the weekend and Asher and Jude slept until 7 and then asked me if they could turn on Sprout. Duh, winning. So I slept a little longer and then got up, made coffee, drank coffee, and then Simeon woke up. He was wiped out too! I had big plans for accomplishing a lot today. We were about to leave to run some errands but Simeon was acting sleepy so I decided to let him have his nap since his schedule had been non-existent the past few days. So the boys went outside to play and I worked on a Scentsy order.

A few minutes later, Asher comes in with a scraped knee and then Jude trips on the back stoop walking inside. So two little boys in URGENT need of medical care (that is, Neosporin and a Toy Story bandaid.) So I take them to the bathroom, apparently with my phone in my hand, and I set it down on a towel that is on the little potty, that is on the counter (why it is there I know not) and proceed to administer first aid to the wounded. I walked out to get a washcloth and I hear this crash.

Asher knocked the little potty off. It fell to the ground and the towel that was on it fell into the toilet. I picked up the towel and spotted something black and glowing in the bowl. Oh yes. My IPHONE!!! I didn't even realize I brought it with me into the bathroom.

A sign of holding it a little to often? Perhaps.

I snatched it out of the mercifully pre-flushed toilet and promptly redirected my first-aid efforts. I poured rice in a bowl and buried the phone. Then I googled "dropped iphone in toilet." (Meanwhile, in the bathroom, 2 confused boys sit waiting for their bandaids. I got them down and told them I would bandage them later.)

I emailed Kris and delivered the news. He, of course, was gracious and loving and told me he would check it out when he got home. It is currently disassembled and drying out. We will turn it on tomorrow and hope for the best. Apple will give us a refurbished one but I'm really hoping this one will be revived because the only pictures I've taken in the last few months are on there. And music I've downloaded and apps I've bought. And basically the entire contents of my brain. We'll find out in the morning if Kris' noble efforts will pay off.

So the take away from all this, kids: back up your phone, put your phone down before dealing with your children, especially if dealing with your children will require a trip to the bathroom, and (for the single ladies out there) marry a man that happily tries to help you rectify really frustrating, potentially expensive mistakes without making you feel badly about it. I have given Kris mulitple opportunities to grow in this particular area and I am pleased to tell you that he handles these situations quite well.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Life is Messy

I just can't make myself put a bib on my baby. I know I should. I know it would make him look considerably less pitiful not to have dried sweet potato on his collar and yogurt on the front of his shirt, yet I never use them. Occasionally I would stick one on Asher. And then I got lazy. Which caused me to set an intention of using one with Jude. But I didn't. Which led to me vowing I would use one with Simeon. But I don't. One step too many? Ambivalence toward stains? Bucking the trend? IF I could answer these questions, it would probably unlock the answers to many more.

We went to a friend's high school soccer game tonight. Since Asher plays on a real, live soccer team now, we thought it would be fun for him to watch some big boys play. And it was. For about 2 minutes. But what was infinitely more fun was running up and down the bleachers. Asher and Jude thoroughly enjoyed climbing them, swinging from them, and stomping on them. Jude was hanging like a monkey from the handrail at one point and a lady sitting next to it commented on what a big boy he was to do that and asked how old he was. "I two and you spell my name J-U-D-E." The lady was impressed. So was I. But I smiled confidently as if I knew he could do that and had in fact taught him that right after we parsed a few Latin verbs this morning.

Potty training is going well. A few accidents here and there but he has embraced this new phase of life and makes progress each day. What seems to help is a little prune/apple juice cocktail in the morning, limiting liquid intake after dinner, and marshmallows. Lots of marshmallows. Will pee for marshmallows. He seems to have a little timing issue as many accidents happen thisclose to the toilet, but we're heading the right direction. I'm sure these would be avoided more easily if I didn't have an 8 month old and a 4 year old that only require my immediate attention during times when nature calls him. Three kids--it's tricky sometimes.

Cheryl was over yesterday and we talked about what a gift Charlie Sheen has given us. As a nation, we needed something to unify us. We can't agree on politics, religion, or border safety, but we all concur Charlie Sheen is cray-cray. So I guess we can lay off him for a while. But when I sent a text message to Cheryl and asked her if I should make more coffee for us and she responded, "Does Charlie Sheen have tiger blood?" I feel safe in saying we have found the redeeming quality of this whole drama.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Potty Like It's 1999

Today is the day. Jude Rives has broken off his relationship with diapers. He has been ready for a while I would say, but I had to wait until I was ready. That probably sounds a little self-centered, but I think my penchant for putting my needs above those of my children is not a big secret. But we go cold turkey with potty-training over here. Once the day comes, no more diapers at all. So it is of utmost importance to make sure all parties involved are ready.

Jude has a big advantage in that he has been watching Asher use the potty for quite a while now. Where Asher was a little overwhelmed and intimidated by the whole prospect, Jude has been asking for some time to use the big potty. I can remember physically restraining Asher on the little potty just so he would use it and realize the earth below him would not open up and swallow him. But Jude gets it and has no problem with the process. In fact, Jude was not interested in the little potty at all.

So while there was an elaborate production involving a potty chair, a doll that wets, a potty chair for the doll that wets, special salty snacks, special juice, and special treats for rewards when Asher was potty-trained, Jude, in true second child fashion, quite that. His production consisted of a little shot of prune juice in his apple juice this morning and a stern warning not to tee-tee in his Thomas underwear.

And so far so good. We had one accident this morning, but many successful trips to the potty involving ALL desirable potty deeds so I am happy. And Jude is happy because he has secured a trip to Coldstone for ice cream with sprinkles when Daddy gets home. Some may call that bribery. I call it speaking his love language.

I'm not popping the champagne just yet, but we are post-nap with still-dry "Thomas unnerwears." But I will check off Day One as a success.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Changing of the (Shin) Guards

I am back, baby. Our house has been fever-free for days now and it feels amazing. See, we were all sick with the flu. Sometimes I leave out important details like that and then my readers are left to fill in the blanks as to what exactly has been going on in our lives. I hate it when I do that. So just to make sure there is no ambiguity, we did, in fact, fall victim to the flu. I hate to even bring it up, but it seems like I should at least mention it.

Soccer starts tomorrow (assuming the rain holds off.) Kris took Asher to buy cleats tonight. We have had shin guards for months now in anticipation of the advent of this glorious day but he needed some shorts and shoes so that he can look legit as he and all the other clueless 3 and 4 year olds run around the field aimlessly. He is on a team with four of his buddies, so it should be a lot of fun! More importantly, I think I'm going to make a fabulous soccer mom. I was made for this role. I will shine.

I went to the gym tonight to lift weights for the the first time in over 3 weeks. Ouch. It looks like this whole "soccer" thing may cut into my Saturday morning Ashtanga yoga so I decided to get a workout in tonight. But my kitchen is still a wreck from dinner and I used all my energy doing squats and step-ups. It'll still be there in the morning. Or it won't be and then I'll be glad I didn't waste time tonight cleaning it.

Simeon James is the proud owner of 4 teeth, 2 of which are his top front and have just broken through. He earned those teeth. We all earned those teeth. So I'm hoping this means he will start wanting more of his bottle than he has been. He currently refuses to drink more than 3-4 ounces at a feeding. This has gone on for a while. He weighs 22 pounds and has enough fat for him and a friend stored in his thighs so I'm not concerned about him wasting away. But still it seems as though a baby his size and age would want more. Thoughts?

The other day, I was changing Simeon's diaper and he was being most uncooperative. I turned him back towards me and firmly told him "no, no, Simeon." Jude was sitting next to me and proceeded to inform his little brother, "That not honor God, cheeky Simmy." Cheeky is Jude's favorite adjective (thank you, Thomas the Train.) So he refers to him as that pretty regularly. I had to laugh because even two year olds have that uncanny ability to deal with the speck in their brother's eye without feeling the need to remove their own log.

So Charlie Sheen? Not only is he an incredibly accurate picture of what the Fool in Proverbs is like, but he is also the source of some of my favorite one-liners now. That darn Adonis DNA--it'll get you everytime.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

No Retreat, No Surrender

Last weekend, the women of our church held the first (of many I hope) retreats in beautiful Wimberley, Texas. But as I think I might have possibly mentioned, we have been a little under the weather around here. So when Jude succumbed to the flu the day before I was supposed to leave, I knew I wouldn't get to attend.

But Kris knew how much I wanted to be able to go. Almost every woman in our church would be there and it was a rare chance to spend some time with them in a fun, relaxed environment. So my mom agreed to come over and help Kris so that I could go on the retreat.

I know what you're thinking...Super Mom! Way to leave your kids when they are sick and weak and really need you. Who does that?

Me, apparently. And I'm actually really glad that I did.

Of course, I struggled with the decision. Even though Kris encouraged me to go and even though my mom graciously offered to come stay and help while I was gone, it went against every inclination I had as a mom.

But I was exhausted. After having the flu, (I did mention that already right? I had the flu. Just making sure you got that) I was exhausted. Like "just brought home a newborn" exhausted. I slept in 2 hour increments while I was running fever and then the kids got sick and Simeon was teething so we were up all night with them. I was drained and this was my big chance to rest up, recover, and come back ready to be a fully present wife and mother.

So I went. I knew the kids would be fine. They adore their Mamaw and their Daddy and the two of them are more than capable of doing what needs to be done. It was a sacrifice on their part for sure. Sick kids are whiny and clingy and sleepless and just all round pitiful. But they were willing and I'm so glad they were.

I left Friday afternoon and came back Sunday afternoon rested and refreshed. It was such a joy to get to know the women in my church better and to spend some time alone. And to sleep. I won't lie--that was probably the best part given my stage of life.

I know this was a rare gift. Usually, life doesn't work out that way. The challenging, tiring portions don't normally come with a break in the middle so you can recharge and gather steam to finish well. The next time we are plagued with illnesses, I can't expect a little getaway. So I'm so thankful for the opportunity this time and especially to my husband and mom for making it possible. There were no guilt trips or desperate phone calls. They didn't make me feel like I was abandoning them. They were genuinely supportive and that in itself was such a gift to me.

As I was there reflecting on this opportunity, it struck me what a picture it all was of the gospel in my life. I saw it all as a physical picture of what God has done for me spiritually. I was brought out from a place of despair and weariness to a place of quiet rest. I didn't deserve it. I didn't even ask for it. It was just provided. I did none of the work but received all of the benefit.

The weekend was wonderful. I love the women in my church. We are a diverse group of ladies that have learned a lot about being the body of Christ to one another. So I'm so grateful I was able to go.

I reentered my life with a rested body, a refreshed spirit, and a renewed gratitude for my family.

So basically I'm saying abandoning my children was the best thing I ever did. Nominate me for Mother of the Year, ok?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Don't Waste Your Flu

It has not been a whole lot of fun around our house for the past week and a half. I got the party started on Friday when what I thought was just another allergy attack quickly turned into a high fever and chills. I spent the next three days in bed, which sounds lovely, but the feeling that death was imminent really sucked the joy out of it. My last day of fever was last Monday and Asher's first day was Tuesday. And then Jude took his turn beginning on Thursday. Simeon got a piece of the action over the weekend. I am here to type these words because of God's abundant grace poured out to me in the form of my husband and my mother. Kris single-parented while I was down and then my mom came during the week to help with the sick boys as I recovered.

I usually tell people I absolutely love having children so close together. It's challenging and very busy, but a small span of stages to contend with normally makes things easier. Exception: when the flu hits. Total game-changer. It's hard. And I had lots of help.

But having Family Flu is what God ordained for us. So obviously there are some things He wanted me to think about and learn from during this process. So taking my cue from this, I decided to write out those things and hopefully, not waste my flu.

1. I am more grateful now for the health and well-being I experience 99% of the time. I forget to give thanks when I wake up in the morning and there is no pain or sickness. But what a blessing. I usually feel great and that is something, in this cursed world, that God gives in his great mercy.

2. I was reminded how much I love my role was a wife and a mother. When I was lying in bed, listening to life go on outside my door, I longed to get up and join them. I wanted to be the one caring for my children and taking care of my house. I wanted to come along side of Kris as he played with the boys and got them what they needed. But I had to isolate myself from them. Before this, the idea of closing my door and getting to rest from my normal duties sounded amazing, but I discovered that being in the middle of their lives is what makes mine joyful.

3. My husband is phenomenal. I already knew this, of course, but he jumped into the role of primary caregiver of us all and he did not miss a beat. We are used to tag-teaming and giving each other breaks, but he was on his own for four days and I could not be more impressed with him. He served us all selflessly and is a true picture of the love that Christ has for His church. I think I may have fallen in love all over again :)

4. The flu is no fun, but it only attacks your body. My real illness is sin--the true sickness from which I need to healed. It is pervasive and it is fatal. Just like the flu knocked me down, sucked the life from my bones and robbed me of energy and rest and ease of mind, sin does the same to my soul. Enter Good News. I have been healed. The deadly soul flu that threatened to consume me has been removed. Christ suffered. He was stricken, smitten, and afflicted so I could be made well. I give him praise for the relief I feel in my body now that the virus is gone, but I fall to my knees and worship for the relief I have from my dead soul being brought to life.

5. There is not enough that can be said about the blessing of healthy children. It's frustrating to have to slow life down and deal with sickness, but I realize that after some medicine and rest, life will go back to normal. But about 30 minutes away from my house is one of the nation's biggest cancer treatment facilities for children. There are parents that are watching their children suffer, some with no promise of them ever recovering. I have been reminded to be so thankful for the health of my boys, to pray for those that face much scarier diseases, and to realize that even if God permits that which I fear most, He will be enough--in the flu, in cancer, in death--he is all we need.

We're still quarantined over here. Asher is fever free today for the first time in a week and Jude is still feeling pretty crummy. If Simeon could just get that second top tooth to break through, he'd be doing much better, too. I'm ready for things to get back to normal.

But I am thankful that God uses the flu to bring out about grateful hearts, the opportunity to serve and care for each other, and (Dear God please) one hell of a souped-up immune system.

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