Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Fat Barbie and The Flush Down the Toilet

      The Fat Barbie, er.... I mean, I.....   I made it!  I survived!  I put on a bathing suit and faced the cruel reality that I weigh too much.  It was humiliating. And, depressing.  So, when it was my turn to sit and watch Emme, I ate red Swedish Fish and Sour Patch Kids..... because........ that makes it all better.  Or worse.  I can never decide which.

     We went to Great Wolf Lodge.  We were supposed to go back on February 12, but when you knock a cup of very hot water out of your 10 year olds hand and give her 2nd degree burns over 14% of her body, it sets you back a few days.  Or a few months.  

     We had plans to go with our really good friends.  So, between Shelby's healing and the schedules of two different families, it took us this long to get it scheduled again.  I would have much preferred to have gone when it was snowing outside, but it was very fun nonetheless.

     It was so fun that I had to explain to Jackson this morning why we couldn't live at the Great Wolf Lodge.  Forget living at the Great Wolf Lodge!  I am just glad he lived through the Great Wolf Lodge.

     Last year, we made our first visit to that giant indoor water park.  Just our little 5 person family made the trip.  The kids were beside themselves excited.  They could not wait to hit those slides.  

     Once we got in our room, I sent Paul ahead with the kids so I could unpack, change, etc...  So, they ran into the park and hit the first slide they came upon.  It was a smaller slide and the slide did not require a tube.  After that slide, they decided to move on to the bigger ones.

     It is important to note, there was only a handful of people there.  The same with this year.  We strategically plan our trips there... the advantage of homeschooling....   We don't want to share the slides.  We're kinda selfish that way.


     They move to the bigger slides.  Jackson goes bounding up the 80 stairs to the slides with Paul trailing behind.  By the time Paul gets to the landing, all he sees is feet.... Jackson is heading down a slide headfirst.  The problem is... this slide requires a tube.

     Our family calls this slide The Flush Down the Toilet.  We call it that because it begins in a tube with a little plunge.  Then a little turn and a great big plunge.... until one finally lands in a bowl. Once in the bowl, one swirls round and round until one drops down the hole in the middle and shoots out into a pool.  Just like a toilet.... if you ask us.

     The lifeguard, who was supposed to be monitoring The Flush down the Toilet slide last year, was tending to another slide on the same platform.  There should be more than one guard working but with very little people there, I can understand why they would only staff it with one.

     Paul yelled at the guard, while watching Jackson slip out of sight, "Is he supposed to have a tube?"

     The guard yelled back, "HE WENT DOWN WITHOUT A TUBE??!!"

     The poor guard waiting at the bottom of the slide yelled, "Dude!  Where's your tube?"

     They said he was lucky he didn't break his back.  Keep in mind, he was 4 last year when we went.  

     I had a hard time sleeping last year after hearing that story.  I kept waking up thinking about it.  During one of my wakeups, I thought, "When Paul got to the landing, did he say he saw Jackson's feet?  HIS FEET?"

     Somehow in the original story, I missed the head first part.  That made it even worse.

     This year, when I got off The Flush Down the Toilet slide, I went and found Jackson, gave him a hug and thanked the Good Lord he was still alive.  I am not kidding!

     Nothing quit that exciting this year.... thankfully!

     Enjoy a few pictures from our trip... but don't even think you're going to catch a glimpse of me in my suit.

     Poor Jackson!  Can you see how swollen his face is from allergies.  I think he is just allergic to pollen.  The same thing happened last year.

     Jackson and his best buddy, Andrew.
     Emme playing in the water.  I don't think it is possible for anyone to understand how good of a baby she is.  I would have hated taking my kids at that age.  She was an angel!  And, for the most part, she enjoyed the water a lot more than I thought she would.  We even sent her down a few of the baby slides.  I am not sure she loved it.... but she didn't cry or protest.


Monday, April 27, 2009

Oh, for the old days........

     I am sure you have seen these pictures.  But, whether you have or whether you haven't, it matters not.  What matters is that I used to look more like this.

     I say more like this because I used to be skinny.  I don't mean the Barbie face.  No one ever said I should enter a beauty contest or anything like that, but I could wear a two piece.   I could wear a 3/4 or a 5/6.  Of course, I was not happy with my body then.  Are we ever happy with our bodies?

     But, I would give anything to go back to those days when I wasn't ashamed to wear a two-piece swimsuit.  Now, I am ashamed just to get in a bathing suit.  Because, now, I look more like this............. (scroll down)


     This is all I can think about right now because I have to put on a bathing suit today.  I'll explain more tomorrow night or Wednesday.  For now, just feel sorry for me.  Think about me all this evening and all day tomorrow when I have to walk around feeling exactly like that fat Barbie.  
     And, just so you know, it's my own fault.  I take full responsibility.  I am an addict.  I can't say no to Swedish Fish, Sour Patch kids, ice cream, cakes, doughnuts and the like.  
     When I get home, I think I need to enroll in a 12 step program.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Should I be concerned?

        This picture.... has nothing to do with anything.  I just liked it!  When I read blogs, I want to see a picture.  So, when I post on my blog... I need a picture.
     That's Paul and Gracie dancing at a wedding last May in Nashville, Tennessee.  They were dancing to a 30 piece big band in an old, beautiful cannery building downtown.  One of my favorite receptions.  And, that's saying a lot!  Do you know how many weddings we have been to?  Neither do I.  But, I wish I had kept count of how many we've been in, been to or Paul has performed.  The life of college ministry.

      Grace has never been my best sleeper.  Which really... has worked in my favor this past year.  Until recently, I would get up with Emme 2-5 times a night (she's been sleeping through the night for the most part these days) and since I homeschool, I don't really want to roll out of bed at 7am.   Lots of times, Gracie gets Emme up in the morning and takes her downstairs. 

     She has control of the TV in the morning since she's the first one up.  Early bird gets the worm... or in this case, the remote!  

     EVERYDAY, when I come down, she is either watching: A.) Mystery Diagnosis, B.) Dr. G Medical Examiner, C.) Emergency Room : The Bronx, or D.) A Baby Story.  

     This can not be normal!  She's not even 8.  

     Should I be concerned about this?  

     Maybe I should be concerned.  But Gracie, that beautiful little thing who looks like she could do no wrong.... she needs to be concerned about something...
     If she asks me one more time if we can go see Taylor Swift in concert....... she's going to need a her own medical show.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

More Emme pictures

     Here are some more pictures from the disc I just found last Friday.  The last pictures of her chubby were taken in March of 2008.  The pictures of her shaved head were taken in July and August of 2008.  We were given that precious little girl on September 8, 2008.

     Looks like they are weighing Emme.  Um... what's the point since she has on 5 million layers.  Geesh!  She lived on the same line of latitude as Jamaica. (Basically on the Tropic of Cancer.)  It couldn't have been cold!
     Look how chubby!
    So sweet!  Lookin' at her foster mama who took good care of her.
     Now, she has switched homes.  And her pants are pulled up to her neck.  And she's skinny.  And her heads been shaved.  But, she's still smiling!

     Check out her split pants!  When they gave her to me they told me she didn't like the diapers, that she wasn't used to wearing them.  BUT, they also handed me grapes that were as big as her head and told me they were her favorite.  Good thing I've got a little bit of sense and gave her a Cheerio first.  It took her 5 minutes to gum that Cheerio!

     Her tongue hangs out because she had no muscle tone in her mouth.  She was never made to suck anything.  Her bottles had huge holes in the nipples so that it just poured down her throat. We still have her on a bottle (for muscle tone) even though she can drink perfectly out of a regular cup, a sippy cup or a straw.  She doesn't care how she gets it as long as she gets her liquids. 

     I am convinced she likes to drink so much, especially water, because it fills her up fast and gives her that bloated feeling.  They told me to give her a bottle of water before every bottle.  I never did.   We try not give her too much water now.  We get calories in however we can.

     Makes me so sad to see these pictures and to see how dirty everything was.  I am sure it's just life to them... just different than we are used to.
     Split pants again.  So, don't the babies like pee and poop all over the people, the floor, the beds, etc... I just seems like a sanitary nightmare to me!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Don't Judge by the Cover

     I never cease to amaze myself.

     The more kids I have, the more scatter-brained I become.  Things slip by me, I am forgetful and unorganized.  It doesn't matter that they are getting older, which should help me.  I feel like I am actually getting worse.

     This post is going to illustrate one example.  But, it's a big one.  And, keep in mind, there are 100's more where this one came from....I am starting to lose hope.

     Emme was in foster care in China.  This was because an organization (who shall remain nameless right now) gets sponsors who pay for these children to get into homes and out of institutions.  The reason I don't want to mention their name right now is because sometimes I get angry that they didn't do more for Emme.  I think her first home was good.  However, I think in the second home she was neglected.  (You will see by the pictures that follow.)  This organization is supposed to go in every couple of months and make reports on children they place.  If they were doing this, why didn't they see Emme was starving?  I don't know all the circumstances, but really it's neither here nor there because had any one variable been different, Emme would not be mine.

     I am supposed to be talking about my scatterbrainness and hear I am harping on someone else!  


     When we were in Nanning getting Emme, someone from the organization dropped off a CD with photos of Emme, at our hotel.  I popped in the disc while we were there, looked at a few pics that I already had, apparently concluded that there was nothing new to see and put the CD in my backpack.  The CD remained in that backpack until this past Friday evening.

     On Friday evening I was packing to go on a tour with Shelby's choir for the weekend (another story altogether).  I saw the CD, thought, "Hmm... I wondered where this was,"  and continued packing for the trip.

     On Sunday evening after I returned from the trip, I happened upon the CD again.  I picked it up and for the first time in 7 months, I actually looked at and read the cover.  It said (name of the organization) given name: Rose.   That organization named her Rose and called her Rose or Rosie and I didn't even know it!  What kind of mother am I??

     I decided that it might be a good idea for me to look at the CD again.  Duh?

     So, I popped it in and saw pictures of Emme that I had never seen before.  Pictures of when she was a teeny tiny baby and about a 100 pictures of her hometown.  What a gift!  I can't begin to tell you how much of a treasure I feel I was given.  And, how horrible I felt that I had neglected it and didn't even know where it was... until last Friday.

     I sat looking at the pictures of my precious little girl.  And, let me tell you, she may be beautiful now... even bordering on gorgeous.... but there was a time when that girl was hard on the eyes... if you know what I mean.

     Don't take my word for it! You can see for yourself.

     This is a picture of Emme when she was still in the orphanage.  She was about 38 days old.       And this picture.... Do you remember the Seinfeld espisode...  She is breathtaking!  Whooo!  
     I am guessing this is one of the orphanage workers.  Bless her soul for the thankless job of caring for Emme and all the orphans.  Look how tiny Emme was.  I bet she was a preemie.
     This was Emme's first foster mother.  

      Emme, you've some a long way baby!  

     Look at those woman's hands!  Emme was so teeny!
     And, look how chubby she was.  That woman took really good care of her.  I am so very thankful for her.  I think it was so important for Emme to have that good nutrition early in her life so her brain could develop properly.

     She looks happy, huh?  I think so!

     More pictures tomorrow!

     By the way, Emme is doing great.  She enjoys eating now, even asks for food.  She hasn't thrown up in a very long time.  She is sleeping much better at night.  She is happy.

     Do you know when we first got Emme, she couldn't laugh?  It drove Paul crazy!  Now, she laughs all the time.  When she does that deep belly baby laugh, we could almost cry... if we weren't laughing too!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

My friend, Gina

                                   Nolan (Abby's son), Emme and Anothony
                                            Emme and Anthony
            Me, Abby (from the college too and one of the other funniest people I                                               know), and Gina.

     When Paul and I worked at a Christian college, we made lots of great friends.  One of the best friends I made there was Gina

     Let me tell you about my introduction to Gina. 

     Paul and I were sitting in the cafeteria having lunch with some students.  Shelby, who was almost 3, was with us.  As we were talking, I saw Gina, who I was only vaguely familiar with at the time, get up from her table to return her tray.  Her tray had several glasses on it, some silverware, a plate, etc....

     All of a sudden, Gina tripped, the cups, silverware and plate went flying in all directions and she was laying on the ground.  Everyone was looking.  I was mortified.  I felt so sad for her that I wanted to cry.  Shelby felt so bad for her that she did cry.

     I am sure I wanted to run over and help her pick up everything, because.... well, that's just the kinda girl I am.  But, I am also the kinda girl that doesn't like a lot of attention.  And since the whole crowded cafeteria was staring at her, I decided to stay put and comfort my daughter.

     I was trying not to look at this girl, Gina, while she cleaned up her mess, but that was like trying not look at a train wreck as you drive by.  As I was taking quick glances to watch her, I noticed that all her friends who were sitting at her table were cracking up.

     After she returned her tray and rejoined her friends, I knew by the way they were all acting that she had done it on purpose.

     I may not like a lot of attention myself, but I am drawn to people like Gina who are comfortable enough in their own skin to pull off a stunt like that.  I had to get to know that girl.

      So, I did.  Gina is one of the funniest people I know.  We spent lots of time together while she was in school.  And, we laughed, a lot!   By the time she graduated, I loved her so much I could not stand the fact that she was graduating and moving away.  It was very hard on me to say goodbye to her.  I can honestly say I went through some grieving when she left.  She was like my little sister.

     Since that time, Gina has lived in New York (her home state), England, Arizona, Colorado, Florida and Illinois... while I have stayed here, basically, my whole life.

     I am so thankful our friendship has continued.  We go through stretches were we talk everyday and stretches where we talk once every couple of weeks.  Paul performed Gina and her husband, Nick's, wedding ceremony and I was a bride's maid.  I think I may have to write about her wedding tomorrow.

     Two years ago (he just turned 2 this past weekend), God blessed Gina with a little boy, Anthony.   I can tell he is going to be funny just like her.  Sometimes, when we are talking on the phone, Anthony will say, "Gina, can you be quiet?"  What two year old calls his mom Gina?  She corrects him, but he still does it.

     The whole reason for this post is to tell you what he said to her the other day.  

     Gina and Anthony were in the bathroom and Anthony said, "Momma (or Gina:), my butt hurts.

     She said, "Oh honey, your butt hurts.  I'm so sorry."

    He followed up with a question, "You put cream cheese on it???"

     When she told me that last night while I was driving, I thought I was going to have to pull over.  Of course he meant diaper rash ointment, but he called it cream cheese.

     Hahaha!!!  Hahaha!!!!!!  Hahahaa!!!  Hahaha!!!!

P.S.  The whole tripping and falling in the cafeteria... that was not the only time.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Personal Boycotts

          This picture has nothing to do with personal boycotts.  I just can't get enough of that little face!  I felt you needed to see it again.  To focus on it!  Thankyouverymuch!

     There are certain things I have boycotted at one time or another in my life:  coloring my hair (never done it), school (I have homeschooled for the last 6 years), Valentine's Day (still hate it), Sweetest Day (made up "holiday"), Vera Bradley bags (too expensive and grannyish), the word sneakers (click for post), white chocolate (gross), Waffle House (you don't want to know what I think of when I hear those two words together) (Ok, I'll give you a hint, it has to do with hairs) (sorry!!  you guys made me!), Victoria's Secret (too many reasons), dustpans (always! leaves some behind... just go get the vacuum) and coffee tables.

     Need I go on??

     I am going to sit here on the coffee table discussion, not literally sit, I just want to talk about coffee tables.

     For some reason, they have always kinda got on my nerves.  I don't really know why.  They are sort of big and bulky and just in the way, especially when you have little toddlers running around.  Coffee tables scream goose egg!   

     I just refused, for years and years and years to have a coffee table.  About 5 years ago, Paul convinced me that we needed one.  I caved but I wasn't about to spend a lot of money on one. We went to a Pottery Barn outlet near our house, made our way to the scratch and dent area, and walked away with a $300 coffee table for $50.  Now granted it had a chunk taken out of it on one side, but it was about to obtain far worse damage moving into my house.

     About a year ago, my good friend Gina, introduced me to Craig's list.  I found a coffee table for the living room on that sweet little list for $20 bucks.  Paul hates it with every fiber of his being.  He swears a toddler put it together.  And, now when I stand back and look at it, I sort of have to agree.

     So, about a year ago, my mom got a new coffee table.  I saw it and all of a sudden, like cupid hitting me with an arrow, I had a love for THAT coffee table.

     For Christmas this past year, my mom was going to get me that same coffee table.  She went to a very small town furniture store near her house to make the glorious purchase.  My world came crashing down when she informed me that they no longer made it.  Ba hum bug!  Not only did I love the coffee table, I loved the price $189.  Where was I ever going to find a coffee table like that for that price?
     Frustration... until....

     While out Christmas shopping, my mom and I ran into Big Lots to look at something.  On our way out, we past some furniture.  

     There, in the middle of all places, was a glorious sight.  The star of Bethlehem was illuminating a coffee table while a tiny chorus of angels sang... something angelic.  I couldn't believe it!  Sitting before my eyes, in Big Lots of all places, was almost the same coffee table.  I say almost because, don't tell my mom, I liked it a bit better than hers.  And, it was in Big Lots! WHOO HOO!!

     We inspected the coffee table for a price.  A price tag was no where to be found.  We found a Big Lots guy and probably a bit excitedly asked, "How much is this table?"

     He looked at us and said, "Eight fifty."

     I was so excited!!  I looked back at him and said, "Eight dollars and 5o cents?"  

     It is Big Lots.

     With a serious and slightly offended face, he said, "NO!  Eight hundred and fifty dollars."

     "Eight hundred and fifty dollars?"

     This guy can not be serious!  This is B I G L O T S.  Things are cheap.... really cheap!

     He proceeded to tell us that they just got the shipment in the door- which is why it wasn't marked and that it was a really expensive brand.

     I wanted to say, "Um, hello!  This is Big Lots!  And, in case you haven't been told, most of the people who come to Big Lots aren't in the market for coffee tables that are as much as their house payments!"  Duh!

     Clearly, someone had to set this guy straight.

     He proceeded to rather arrogantly tell us that IF it didn't sell right away, it would get continual markdowns.

     I am here to tell you that since December, I have stalked that coffee table. I am not kidding.  I drive by the window and look at the price that is not perched upon the table.  If something is blocking MY table, I patiently park my 10 year old mini van and walk in the store and check on MY table.  Sometimes, on Sunday after church, Paul will pull in the parking lot and let me run in and check on it.  

     I have been very patient.  My $850 coffee table made it's way down to $340.  I was still holding out... until my mom called and told me that she was at the Big Lots an hour away from my house, IN A DIFFERENT STATE, and it was marked down to $255.

     I ran to my Big Lots... all for those arrogant Big Lots workers to snobbishly tell me that all Big Lots stores are not run the same.  Their table was still $340.

     SO, I showed them.  My mom and dad bought my coffee table a whole state away for $255.  Please say it like, "Two fitty five!"

     And, come this Sunday, it will for various reasons have been sitting at their house for 3 weeks.

     See why I boycott things?  Even when I cave, follow the ways of the world, keep up with the Joneses and buy a coffee table that I love.... I can't even get the thing to my house.  How can I fit a huge coffee table in a mini van with 6 bodies sitting in it.  Clearly, my parents do not think I am worth the drive to drop off the table I have waited for..... for 4 months!!  

   When and if I get it in this house, I'll take a picture of it and show it to you.


Monday, April 13, 2009

Happy Easter... or not.

     Well, we celebrated the resurrection of Jesus yesterday, but unfortunately, we celebrated the commercial side of easter too.  The dress clothes, the baskets, the egg hunt, candy, dinner, etc...

     Tell me... have we even thought this through?  Easter is represented in the commercial world by bunnies and eggs.  

     Bunnies and eggs!  

     The last time I checked, bunnies don't lay eggs.  

     I am not sure why but Easter bugs me, not the resurrection of Jesus, of course.  The rest of it.  Christmas, I am not bothered as much by the commercialization.  I am not sure why.  I think it's just that Easter is more sacred.

     I feel a little bit like Debbie Downer today.  Sorry!  To be honest, I had a horrible Easter.  It's really sad, ironic... I am not sure what word to use.  Yesterday, we were supposed to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus.  Jesus conquered death and sin.  He died to set us free from slavery, slavery to sin, sin that masters people.  But, yesterday instead worshipping and celebrating, I sat in the lobby and cried.  Instead of praising Jesus for setting captives free, I was overwhelmed by the realization that someone in my family (not my little 6 person family) has shackles bound to his hands and feet.  He has been bound and thrown into the water.  That weight- hitting the water- has created ripples that are far reaching and destructive.

     I can't believe it's in my own family.  I can't believe I have to sit and watch someone I love and someone who is supposed to love Jesus destroy my family.

     I feel helpless.  I hate it!  I hate it that my kids have to see it.  But, at the same time, it's a great lesson for them to learn at an early age.  Sin is destructive and it's effects are far reaching. I need to teach them as they grow that we are not to be mastered by sin.  Unfortunately, they get to watch a live example.

     Please pray for us!