Saturday, December 29, 2012

Mud Kitchen: A Pinterest Success Story

I stayed up till almost midnight last night making this pinterest board in an attempt to reclaim our backyard from the fireants/weeds/junk/debris/bad mojo. Today we spent about $12 at Goodwill, an hour combing through my kitchen cabinets and the various and sundry toy boxes and we built THIS!








We've got a few bricks destined to become a "stove" under that metal shelf.

Hopefully I"ll be able to show more completed "kid-friendly back-yard" projects soon!!

eta: this post has attracted waaaaay more spam than I'm prepared to delete (probably due to it's pinterest links) so I'm closing comments here Feel free to email me, though!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

In which I complain about shopping trips with toddlers and my own klutziness

Today started out with Jamie peeing in his Spiderman undies-- DELIBERATELY-- because he wanted to wear his "Flash" undies, so I suppose I should have known...

But then the trip to Salvation Army went so well and I had a free drink on my Starbucks card, so I splurged and bought cake pops and hot chocolate for the boys and I found Jude's sneakers for only four dollars and then found out they were actually half price...

So I let my guard down.

And then we hit the restrooms at Ross...... Public restrooms are a nightmare. I hate them. I avoid them to the point of near embarrassment and then, when bladders are at the busting point, we trudge toward the germ-infested cesspool of Horrible like condemned men to the scaffold. This time was no different. Jamie tried to crawl under the door of an occupied stall twice. Judah cuddle the sink fervently. Both boys rubbed their entire bodies repeatedly up and down the long wall beside the changing table and then took turns raising and lowering the changing table apparatus about 123408745087 times.

And then, just as we were about to escape the madness (after THREE re-washings of hands), juggling coffee cups, toddlers, purse, etc through the door; a quick backwards turn to stop Judah from sticking his fingers UP the hand dryer caused me to jerk my coffee cup and a six-foot wave of thick black sugar-free-peppermint-mocha surged up and over the ENTIRE front of my blouse!

Let me share with you that there is NO WAY to clean thick black sugar-free-peppermint-mocha off a Christmas green blouse adequately with a wad of toilet tissue.



I walked out of the bathroom, trailing boys and an air of injured pride and still sporting a giant brown, grainy smear of  thick black sugar-free-peppermint-mocha covering the entire left side of my blouse. My bright, Christmas green festive blouse.

When you walk out of a public restroom sporting a giant brown grainy smear of brown ANYTHING, you know e.x.a.c.t.l.y. what people are going to think it is.


I held my head high and proud and continued on my way, found the rest of my items and headed for the checkout lane.

And then Jamie peed his pants again. And threw a temper tantrum when I tried to put his flip-flops back on so he could walk to the van because Ross doesn't let you take carts out into the parking lot I don't know why.

I gathered the remaining shreds of my dignity around me, grabbed my soaking wet toddler and dragged him out the door and as I passed the older woman in line behind us, I heard her chuckle....

"Hehehe, he just doesn't want to put his shoes on... he's so cute..."

By the grace of God, I managed to smile tightly and mutter something that could have been mistaken for politeness before exiting the store.

I think I will never use a public restroom again.

Never again.

Never again.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Costco Santa

When the posters of their pictures started popping up on the news links, and all over Facebook, I had to stop reading the Newtown updates... it got a little too real.

You know those antidepressant ads that show the woman's depression as a bathrobe that sneaks up on her and slyly envelopes her whole body on occasion  even though (we're lead to believe) she mostly keeps it at bay-- in her pocket, or hanging on the back of her chair? My fuzzy blue suffocating bathrobe is fear. Fear for the safety and health of myself and my family, fear of the dark, fear of the unknown, fear of rejection, fear of heights, you name it. 

After I married J, and through the subsequent years of maturing in the Lord, I gradually began to learn how to deal with my fears (another, much longer post for another time) and now the blue bathrobe is almost always quite firmly shut into a closet and nearly never makes it as far as my shoulders...

But now and then events like last Friday suddenly give that bathrobe a new power and I find myself carrying it around in my back pocket again. Too close for comfort. I find my mind wandering, my heart suddenly clutching, my throat swelling and my palms sweating.

And then yesterday, the Lord appointed a Santa Clause to sit in the Costco dining area...

So, no. Probably not. But it felt a little like that.

There he is. A beautifully round old gentleman in khakis and a white polo shirt, sitting on his motor scooter, eating pizza and drinking coke. A plainclothes Santa. Incognito Father Christmas. But the beard, the cherry nose and the red hat were dead giveaways. There's no fooling five year olds in December.

"Look!" Judah stage-whispers urgently, "Look, Mama! Is that...? Is that... Santa??"

"Santa!!!" Even Jamie can tell. I mean, that beard-- curly mustache and all-- unmistakable.

We walk over. We say "hi," shyly. We say "... are... are you...?" In awe, "...Are you Santa?"

And he says, "Ho ho ho!"

Yes. Yes, he did. He said "Ho ho ho!"

And he said, "I'm just here to check and see how all the children are behaving for their mamas and daddys during shopping time! Are you being good little boys? Would you like to see something?"

He pulls out his billfold and shows them a picture of himself in a bright red suit.

"See that? That's me on Christmas Day! Next week I'll put on my suit...."

And then he digs around in his pocket and pulls out a handful of trinkets and hands one to each boy.

"Merry Christmas!!"

And we say goodbye and wave and walk along, and Santa goes back to his coke and pizza and somehow I find that my scratchy blue bathrobe is now firmly shut back into that closet. I am reminded that my children are still safe and happy and there are manymany adults who love them and love children in general and that it is ok-- right now. And right now, that is all I really have. Tomorrow and later and next year is in the Lord's loving hands and so am I and so are my children.

He came to earth a helpless, vulnerable child. How significant is that? This carol is my theme for this Christmas:

Thou who wast rich beyond all splendour,
All for love’s sake becamest poor;
Thrones for a manger didst surrender,
Sapphire-paved courts for stable floor.
Thou who wast rich beyond all splendour,
All for love’s sake becamest poor.

Thou who art God beyond all praising,
All for love’s sake becamest man;
Stooping so low, but sinners raising
Heavenwards by thine eternal plan.
Thou who art God beyond all praising,
All for love’s sake becamest man.

Thou who art love beyond all telling,
Saviour and King, we worship thee.
Emmanuel, within us dwelling,
Make us what thou wouldst have us be.
Thou who art love beyond all telling,
Saviour and King, we worship thee.

And the story of the writing of that hymn tells also of vulnerability, sacrifice, love, fear of parents for their children and the Lord's loving hands.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Walking in the Shadow

I wrote this post last spring, but never posted it. I think I just felt that I spend far too much time on this blog grieving over my distance from my family, which I worry will make my friends here in Florida feel a little sad. But today seems like a good time to revisit the topic of longing for the Lord's Return. Ron Owen's lyrics could have been written just for a day like yesterday and today.

I talked to my mom on the phone today. We chatted and spent time catching up on each other's lives and then, when I simply had to get back to Real Life (ie; dishes, babies, laundry and etc) I handed the phone off to Judah to visit for a while too.

As I listened in the their conversation, I found myself wishing, oh how much so! that I was listening in on a conversation where both participants were sprawled on the couch in my living room-- instead of just one of them. And the words of my favorite song from the show I'm singing in next week are now running on a tear-inducing loop through my heart...

Some day, we'll cast our weapons down!
We'll break the bow and spear,
Faith will conquer hate and fear!
Somehow until that day appears
Love will light our way,
We'll hope and dream and pray
That someday will begin

No more yearning, no more longing, 
No more waiting, no more wanting
No more wishing, no more grieving, 
No more crying, no more suf'fring
No more dying now and evermore...

Come quickly, Lord Jesus...

Friday, December 14, 2012

Jamie Escapes

Yesterday I realized I hadn't seen or heard Jamie for about five minutes-- which is about the longest I ever DARE leave him to his own devices. Rounding the corner into the hall, I saw the front door wide open and my heart hit my toes, until I saw....

(you'll have to click over to see the whole photo)


Obviously he's starting to dress himself...


I wonder what the neighbors thought??