Sunday, October 3, 2010

Garbie & the Blocker

Ella, Noah, and I took a trip to Wal-Mart the other day.  (Yes, I seem to find myself in Wal-Mart a lot.  You're welcome, Walton family!)  At the end of the trip I made a promise to myself NEVER (at least not in the next few weeks) to take both of the kids to Wal-Mart by myself again if I had more than three things on my list. 

The morning started off wrong.  I thought I was going to get to catch up on some work that was starting to pile up on me.  However, that plan had to quickly morph itself into a new one when I listened to a voicemail from the previous evening.  The voice on the phone said that Noah had a well-child check for the following morning at 9:15.  (When I listened to the message it was 8:15am.)  This quickly threw me into a panic because I can't seem to get anywhere on time even when I am planning ahead, much less when I only have 45 min. of prep time to get myself, the kids, and the diaper bag ready.  Somehow (with the help of a hat and my amazing husband) we made it to the doctor's office at 9:20.  (That's pretty good for us!)  We waited in line only to have the receptionist tell me that Noah didn't have an appointment today.  She said it was the next business day.  (Great!)  I told her that someone had called and said that the appointment was today, but I got the feeling she didn't really believe me.  (Did I not look credible?  Maybe it was the hat??)  I decided that while we were here I might as well pay a bill that was due instead of mailing it in.  So, we went around to the other window to wait.  We had to wait forever because the woman in front of us must have been making follow up appointments for the next five years.  Then we got passed by another lady, and had to wait even longer.  (I guess she thought I was just hanging out with my 3 yr old and 9 month old in the doctor's office hallway?) When we finally made it to the window it took another year for me to get the bill paid, and in the meantime Ella about pulled Noah's leg off and informed me (and the whole office) that she had to go potty. 

(Enter the Wal-Mart trip) After the 45 min. non-appointment for Noah, the kids were already getting pretty tired, hungry, and Ella still had to potty (of course the doctor's office hadn't had any toilet paper for their potty.)  I decided to push on through and go to Wal-Mart anyways since we needed some pretty important things like pull-ups, (yes, if you read the blog from a few days ago...these are the same pull-ups I forgot about 3 Wal-Mart trips ago) formula, baby food, and milk.  After transferring the kids and all our gear into a cart, we made it to the Wal-Mart potty, which, thankfully, had plenty of toilet paper.  We were then ready for our trip!  We visited the medicine section, the household goods, and we were headed for the baby section.  Ella started to reach her limit of sitting in the back of the cart, and wanted out.  I quickly told her no, and tried to distract her since we were passing by the toy section. 

Ella: "Ooooooh!  Garbie!" (translation: Barbie)
Me: "Ella, it's Bbb...arbie."
Ella: "Gggg..arbie."
Me:  (Ok, I guess it's going to be Ggg...arbie, but I don't think Barbie would be too happy with her new name.)

I kept that cart moving because I was sure that if we stopped that one of two things would happen. 1 - Ella would jump out to chase Garbie, or 2 - We would end up with some clutter...I mean, take home with us. 

As we entered the baby section, Ella started pointing and waving frantically.
Ella:  "Look, Mama, the blocker!
Me:  "What?"
Ella:  (still pointing and waving) "The blocker!!"
Me:  (I'm looking in the direction she is pointing, but I truly don't see a blocker of any sort??) "What are you
          talking about?"
Ella:  (exasperated with me and my ignorance at this point) "NOAH'S BLOCKER!"
Me:  (Is she speaking another language?)
Me:  "OH!"

I finally saw it.  She was pointing to a WALKER that looked just like the one Noah has been zooming around in the house lately.  It must've seemed like a miracle to her precious 3 year old mind that Noah's walker was sitting on that shelf instead of at home where it belonged. 

We made it through the rest of the Wal-Mart trip without any more language-barrier issues, although we had a few other issues that I'll just give you the quick verion of...
--Noah cried because he was hungry
--I had to open up a no-mess bowl package so that I could give Noah some puffs to eat.(we bought it of
   course, but, yes, I am one of THOSE people.  It's like I told the cashier - It was either do that or go
--Unfortunately, Noah left a trail of puffs all over that Wal-Mart floor.  I was praying they'd forgive us
   since we almost single-handedly keep Wal-Mart open.
--Ella left with an "Auwowa" (Aurora) doll in spite of my best (yeah, maybe not my best) efforts.

In spite of all of that, the thing I left there thinking about was mine and Ella's communication issues. 

It's not too far from the communication issues that I feel like I have with God sometimes.  Of course God has no problems with communication...I'm pretty sure those are all on my end.  Just like Ella was trying to tell me about "Garbie" and the "Blocker," I know sometimes God is trying to tell me something, and I just...don't...get it.  I'm so thankful He is infinitely patient (way more patient than Ella was) with me, and continues to show me truth...even when it takes me forever to finally get it.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Swiss Army Knife Car

My car is an interesting place to find yourself.  Not because I am a bad driver, (althought I have to admit some people might argue this point...getting sued after being in an accident doesn't neccessarily mean you are a horrible driver, right?) but because of  It used to embarrass me.  Ok, it still does embarrass me sometimes, but I'm learning to love my car.  (I will post a picture of the last time I "cleaned" out the car at the bottom of the page for your viewing pleasure.) It feels...comfortable.  It's comfortable because it's got everything you could ever need in there!  It's like a swiss army knife (only not.) 

It has plenty of food, should you get hungry:

- A half-eaten breakfast bar (Ella never seems to finish her "snack" that her belly was "so hungry for")
- Some of Ella's animal crackers that escaped an early death and are now hanging out in the "car 
   organizer" (at least it is organizing something, even if that something is trash!)
- Noah's puffs in his carseat (cause, really...1 out of 10 make it in his mouth, but he does try hard so he is
    probably destined to get some"Best Effort" awards, just like his mother)
- A banana peel.  Oh, wait...guess you wouldn't want to eat that. 
- There is usually a half-filled water bottle or fast food cup filled with a liquid-like substance sitting

It is well-stocked for all your cleaning emergencies:

-  Wipes
-  Wipes
-  More wipes
- Wadded up kleenexs (Clean ones! does get difficult to tell the dirty from the clean if we're
    being honest!)
-  Grocery Bags (because you have to throw everything somewhere, right?)

It has something for your entertainment:

-  It's a great place to play "I Spy"
-  You could easily do arts and crafts with all the fun stuff laying around
-  You could even play hangman in the dust on the dashboard

So, tell me...what's not to like about our car?  I think it's just perfect.  The "landscape" may not look like "everyone" says it's supposed to look, but it serves our family well.  I think following God is like that sometimes.  (No, you don't have to be dirty to follow God.)  In my car, I have exactly what I need and I get to where I need to go...even if it doesn't look how "everyone" says it should.  When you follow God, He gives you exactly what you need and you're going exactly where you want to go.

  The LORD will guide you always;
       he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
       and will strengthen your frame.
       You will be like a well-watered garden,
       like a spring whose waters never fail.

                                  Isaiah 58:11


Thursday, September 30, 2010

Candy Corn Obsession

My daughter has a problem.

 I guess it's more of an obsession, really.  She's obsessed with....(wait for it)...candy corn.  I began to realize the symptoms of her problem when I literally jumped out of the bed at 5:42am this morning.  See, I have had a cold the past couple of days so I had taken Nyquil before I went to bed.  I normally sleep pretty hard, but the Nyquil took it to a different level.  Because I was sleeping so hard, when I heard Ella yelling "Mama!" at the top of her lungs, I didn't think...I just jumped out of the bed and ran into the kids' room.  After I stood there for a minute, staring at Ella, who was staring back at me, my brain woke up a little and I realized I was out of the bed for a reason and I should probably find out why. 

Me: "What's the matter?"

Ella: (awake, but her brain must've been in a similar condition):  "fdsjklfsdfhcueiowrycbnjo"

Me:  "Huh?"  (Did I really just jump out of the bed and risk my life running in here, while my eyes were
         probably still closed and my brain wasn't functioning, for no good reason?)  

(no response)

Me: "Ella! What.  Do.  You.  Want?"

Ella:  "Candy Corn"

Me:  "WHAT?"

Ella:  "I want candy corn."

Me:  (Is she serious?  Is she awake?  What is wrong with my child??)
Me:  "No, Ella, you cannot have candy corn.  Go back to sleep."

Ella:  (begins to cry and scream because she wants candy corn...which is what everyone wants at 5:42 in the morning, right?)

She finally goes back to sleep with dreams of candy corn dancing in her head.  It was no surprise that when she woke up (at a reasonable time) she wanted candy corn.  I didn't give her any of course.  What kind of mother would I be to give my child candy corn in the morning?          Ok, I gave her a few.
                                       FAST FORWARD 12 HOURS.........

I am driving home with the kids in the back, and like a good mom, and I trying to have a conversation with the kids (ok, just Ella, since Noah doesn't really do conversations yet.) 

Me:  "What did you do today?"

Ella:  "Nothing"

Me:  "Did you play with anyone?"

Ella:  (no response)

Me:  "Did you make something pretty today?"

Ella:  (no response)

Me:  "Ella"

Ella:  "I want candy corn."

Me:  (I'm thinking we have a real problem here, and wondering how much candy corn counseling is going to
        cost.  Do you pay a copay for that?)
Me:  "After you eat your dinner you can have some candy corn."

Ella:  "I don't wanna eat dinner. I want candy corn."

Me:  "Well, if you want candy corn you have to eat your dinner first.  Now tell me about your day.  Did you 
          get to play with any of your friends?"

Ella:  (no response)

I decided to abandon this one-sided conversation that got hijacked by candy corn and I spent the next 5 minutes wrapped up in my own thoughts about dinner and my to-do list when we got home.

Ella:  "Can I have candy corn on a plate?"

Me:  "On a plate?"  (Yep, definitely need to get her an appointment.) 

Me:  (I decided maybe I shouldn't fight it, and just go with it.  If you can't beat 'em, you 're supposed to join 'em right?) "What about in a bowl?"

Ella:  (giggling) "Yeah, in a bowl."

Me:  "How much do you like candy corn? A little or a lot?"

Ella:  (thinks for a minute)  "It's A LOT good."

I don't know where she got this addiction from, but she's hooked.  She's right too though, you know.  Candy corn is A LOT good.  She figured it out because at some point, still not sure when, she gave candy corn a try and realized all the sweet goodness she had been missing.  Evidently it was so good that she is  dreaming about it at night and woke up wanting more. 

God is like that you know...Psalm 34:8 says, "Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him."  When you get that first taste of God and all the peace, forgiveness, mercy, grace, power, love, faithfulness (I could go on for a while) comes flooding in, it's all you can think about...just like Ella and her candy corn.  Taste and see that the LORD is [A LOT] good!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Brown Paper Plate Thing

Today my multi-tasker made a miraculous recovery. 

I was at Wal-Mart by 7:45, at a meeting at 9:30, at Mighty Dollar at 11:15, meeting at 12, Hobby Lobby at 2, office at 2:45, getting kids by 4:45, off to Wed. night program by 5:30 (although I had to turn around and go back to the office because I forgot something...ok the multi-tasker may not have FULLY recovered), off (again) to Wed night program by 5:45, and, finally, headed home at 8:15.

You'd think I got a lot done, but it sure didn't feel like it.  While I didn't have time to get much done, somehow I found the time to complain a lot about my busy life and how I constantly feel behind.  Hmmm.

My complaining is not a rare thing, and I hate that.  I wish it were a very rare occurence.  I do it, and then don't even really realize it until afterwards.  I was thinking about how God says we (his followers) are to be the salt and light of the earth.  I don't know about you but I can't get enough of those two things: salt and light.  I use salt on practically everything (except for watermelon - ugh!) and when I get home I love to turn on most of the lights in the house.  With the way I was acting when I was complaining today, I don't think anyone would want more of that.  It kind of makes me think of this...thing(?) Ella brought home the other day.  It is a paper plate, stapled to another paper plate, with a bunch of brown....stuff(??) smeared on it.  (Now, let me clarify that I'm not knocking kids' crafts, being the children's ministry person that I am, and neither am I knocking Ella's preschool teachers - we absolutely LOVE them.  This is just a weird piece of "art.")  I have hung up the pretty butterflies, the beautiful abstract crayon scribblings, and even the faces on popsicle sticks that she has brought home previously, but I don't think I would request another paper plate brown smear thingy.  (Pic will be included, you just have to see what I'm talking about.)

  I'm pretty sure I was like that paper plate while I was complaining.  If you were listening to me you would've been as confused as the paper plate is.  Just as I asked myself, 'What IS that?' about the paper plate, you might've asked that about me.  Am I really a follower of God or not?  I say I am, but I sure didn't sound like it when I was complaining.  In the future, I pray I can be like the pretty tissue paper butterflies Ella has made - something that brings joy.  I'd rather not be something that is confused and the brown paper plate...thing.

  Brown paper plate thingy, meet trashcan.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Walmart & My Multi-tasker

I think my multi-tasker in my brain is broken.  And if you know me, you know this is a BIG problem.  I was in Walmart today, and I was having this realization that my multi-tasker was slowly sputtering...and dying.  (I'm not sure if Walmart is a good place to have these realizations?)  This was the script of my thoughts:
"What time is it?"
"What time is Chip getting the kids?"
"What time do I need to leave here?"
"What am I doing here?"
"Am I getting stuff for October's J-Train?"
"Maybe I am getting stuff for the Wednesday night classes we have going on?"
"Am I getting things for home? I think we need toilet paper."
"So what am I doing here?"
"What time is it?"
"Oh man, I don't have time to be here.  Life group starts at 6:30, we have the kids unexpectedly, I have no clue what I am fixing for dinner, and there is a yard sale in my dining room."

My thoughts continued like this for a little while, but I will spare you the crazy circles my mind wandered in since it had no leadership from my multi-tasker that had died a painful death.  I did end up forcing myself to put some things in my cart which included 3 totes (??), chicken lasagna, toilet paper (whew! glad I remembered that one), and Greek yogurt (thanks Allison!)  I headed home where I took a minute to sit and think (no multi-tasking involved.)  I quickly realized two things: 1.  I had forgotten pull-ups (doh!) and 2. that I would have to be back at Walmart at 7am in the morning to get all the items that I couldn't force my brain to process and list for me. 

Oh well.  The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 3:1, "There's an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on earth."  The right time for me to go to Walmart was NOT this afternoon.  Better luck tomorrow.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Bucket

Beginning last Wednesday night there has been a stomach bug running rampant in my home.  In fact, yesterday was the first day that no one was labeled "sick" (notice I didn't say the first day no one threw up.)  Using my great wisdom, I decided to get our mop bucket and use it as a puke-catcher.  It caught most of Noah's, a little of Ella's, none of Chip's...and I am praying it won't be fortunate (unfortunate?) enough to catch mine.  In the course of those 4 to 5 days, I found myself on my knees cleaning my floor 20, maybe even 25 times.  I got SO tired of it that I was ready to scream at the next person who DARED to throw up on MY floor.  Ok, this wasn't the godly attitude that I am supposed to have, but I did learn something.  As repulsed as I was to be cleaning that floor yet again...Christ had to be even more repulsed to have face our sins, being the sinless and holy being that He was and is.  And He did not do it just for a family of four, like I did, but for the whole world.  Wow.