Friday, August 31, 2007

Eight Things I Learned Today

  1. If that nagging voice in the back of your head says "Don't forget to charge the cell phone before you go to bed," then for Pete's sake, don't forget to charge the cellphone before you go to bed (even if you don't know a single person named Pete)!
  2. Riding Instructors can double as babysitters in a pinch should you ever need to, say, leave your riding lesson and make an emergency trip to the hospital. They do not, however, babysit children who wear diapers or who regularly still poop in their pants.
  3. If I leave Ruth on the back of a horse without explaining to her that I will not be back anytime soon, she will enter suspended animation until my return. (Ok, I already knew this one but it's always good to have a refresher on some things...)
  4. John Hopkins Outpatient Center does have an oversize vehicle garage which will accommodate a 15 passenger van. I don't have to switch cars with my husband everytime I need to go there.
  5. No matter what the surgeon's PA says, don't ever let Philip apply chapstick to a surgery site by himself lest the stitches come out and he will need to have the surgery redone.
  6. Anytime a surgeon looks at his surgery site and repeats the words "Oh" and "Mmm" more than three times in a row you are probably in for trouble.
  7. McDonald's now accepts credit cards and it is possible to feed 7 people lunch there with $11.21.
  8. If you have a 20 year old and her baby live with you, no matter if they are officially related, you will still worry like a mother hen and perhaps even come close to tears when they decide to drive to Washington D.C. on the highway just two days after acquiring a driver's license.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Dance Praise Dance-Off

We had a Dance Praise Family Dance-Off tonight - what fun! For those of you not in the know, Dance Praise is a Christian knock-off of the popular video game Dance, Dance Revolution. We have the version which hooks up two dance pads to JT's computer, Christian songs accompanied by dance step routines appear on the monitor and the players are supposed to follow the dance steps on the dance pads on the floor. The winner of the duel is determined by the accuracy of following the dance steps.Our Dance-Off came down to the two finalists - Daddy and Philip. Guess who was the big winner?!
(Although I consider myself the big winner since I got to stand behind Daddy and watch

They're Tho Thweet

Beththy and Ruth are both mithing their two front teeth.
How thweet! Beththy hath the no tooth lithp down to a thienthe.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Happy Birthday General Gerald!

Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday dear Granddaaaaaaaaaaad!
Happy Birthday to you!!
God bless you on your birthday Dad!
We love you!!!!!
I hope you're still having fun in Alaska!

Diggin' For Gold

Here is Nathan's latest trick. He thinks really hard to get this trick done and he can do it on both sides! He can even do it for other people too! That's my boy!

Watermelon Wine

This is a fermenting watermelon that's been sitting on our counter for a day or two. The foam is oozing out of a crack that appeared in the watermelon, leaving a puddle of rancid goo. I suppose we should have cracked it open and made an evening out of sipping watermelon wine but we decided to trash the whole mess instead. This was store-bought melon. Our garden melons are still growing on the vine!

Classic John Michael

Muffy got John Michael a very funny gift for his birthday. She filled a bag with snack foods - Pringles, Cheddar Bunnies and a little Cheerios bowl and then gave him a card with $5 to spend at the "food store". We call JM "Food Man Jr." because he looves to talk about food. He could talk about food all day. He loves to help prepare it, he loves to look at it and he loves to shop for it. He's not so keen on eating it which is the only difference between him and the original "Food Man", Philip. But the whole birthday gift from Muff reminded me of a classic moment with our little Jr. Food Man.

Last summer JM was running around playing in the yard barefoot as I was headed to the van to go out. I told him, "Get your shoes on and get in the van John." He looked at me with that ornery almost 3 year old glare, took off running and yelled over his shoulder, "No! I don't want to get in the van and I don't want to put my shoes on!" "John, get in the van" I said with the exasperation rising in my voice, was answered with an even more distant negative insistance. "John Michael," I called to his retreating bohunkus, "I'm going to the food store. Don't you want to come?" He immediately stopped dead in his tracks, looked me squarely in the eye and inquired, "Did you say food store?" He then ran into the house, retrieved his shoes and hopped in the van.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Where Has all the Bob gone?

Bob the Builder has gone MIA. For his party, John Michael decided to go with a Bob the Builder theme which I encouraged, thinking that there would be Bob themed items a plenty when I scoured the Dollar Stores and Discount party places. Nope, nada, nothing, nary a Bob to be found anywhere. I finally located a sheet of Bob stickers which I used sparingly and we improvised for the rest of the party.

I would say the party was a roaring success, though. He had his buddies Stephen and Jimmy from church and Noah from across the street and of course David and Noah and Justus who we happened to have for respite today so they were already here. As the guests gathered, I turned on a Bob DVD and set up the various train sets on the living room floor. When it appeared that there were more big kids glued to the tv screen than party guests, I shooed them all outside for some games.

JT had buried a bunch of little Tonka die cast construction vehicles in the sandbox and each boy had a chance to dig one up for keepers. JT made it tough! On a couple of occasions the moms had to put shovel to sand and make some "suggestions" to little guys coming up short. Then we threw all the balls in the trampoline and Ben led them in some group activities. That was followed by dump truck races in which each boy had to put 3 balls in his dump truck and race across the yard without losing them. David came up with the ingenious idea that if he crammed his balls three across they would jam together and not roll out. He won the Genius of the Day award. While the boys played on the swing set, Ben helped them out with his Pin the Tools on the Bob game. He had drawn a wonderful Bob portrait and cut out various parts of his costume from construction paper for the boys to try to match up with the picture. Then all the kids got to have their pictures taken with Bob!

As if all that wasn't enough, the boys were ushered out front where they each received a bucket containing their very own tape measure, work gloves and a paint brush. (Each bucket was labeled with the boys' names and adorned with one precious Bob sticker.) They got to put the brushes to immediate use on murals I had drawn of Bob and friends. The gloves came in handy too!
Then as I prepared the cake and accessories they all chowed down on watermelon. The cake was another cake-tastrophe turned genius. Adora baked 3 cakes for me last night which were to have been crafted into the shape and form of our friend Bob the Builder. When she pulled them out of the freezer this morning they were misshapen and a bit...well...let's just say they weren't usable for the task at hand. So Adora once again put spoon to bowl and churned out another sheet cake which came out of the oven with very little time to spare for decorating. My creative wheels began turning and I ended up scooping mounds of warm cake onto my decorator boards, then gave John Michael the Bob lego trucks and told him to have at it. At first he didn't understand. He was waiting to see how Bob's form was going to appear out of those mounds of cake under the skillful hand of his mom. But when he realized I wanted him to drive his trucks in the cake, he was in boy heaven. The whole deal turned out remarkably cute and the duplo holes in Lofty's head made great holders for the four candles.

As the boys ate watermelon they were once again under the tutelage of Benjamin who taught them his original birthday song sung to the Bob the Builder theme music. Cake, ice cream and presents finished off a successful party. Two parties down and 3 more to go this year!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday dear Muffeeeeeeeeeeee!
Happy Birthday to you!
Happy birthday Mom!
I hope you and Dad are having a great time in Alaska!
I love you!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Blessed are the poor in spirit

It was recently suggested to me that a female who has been raped and is carrying the rapist's child should, perhaps, be allowed by even the strictest of conservative pro-life advocates to abort the baby without any repercussions spiritual or otherwise. It's not that this was a new idea to me but the source from which it came was a genuine surprise.

We had been discussing the dysfunction known as Attachment Disorder or Reactive Attachment Disorder. The attitude of a mother toward her baby during the 9 months of pregnancy, delivery and immediately afterwards are crucial for the baby's ability to develop normal, healthy attachments as he/she grows into a little person and begins to navigate life outside the womb. A baby who is born with the innate expectation of receiving love, comfort and a warm breast suffers a debilitating mental, physical, emotional and spiritual confusion when those needs are not met immediately upon birth. When the first experience of life outside the womb is disappointment, a ripple of distrust etches itself in the baby's brain, potentially causing explosive behavior issues and mental health problems throughout the child's life. These children are suddenly born with the potential to become at worst the most nightmarish sociopaths, at best adults who feel alienated and disconnected from the people who love them the most.

So the person who suggested that these moms who had suffered through conception born out of rape should be allowed to abort their babies was simply considering the path taken by the baby and the daily unattachment happening every day of the pregnancy and throughout delivery and beyond. When every moment of every day is a reminder of such a traumatic life event, how is the mom able to attach to her baby? When the baby is born and now presents a visible presence of that trauma, how can even the most grounded mom not feel some strong repulsion and disgust at the sight of her own infant? I still believe that God's grace can cover even this atrocity with healing and joy but for an instant I was tempted to buy into the argument.

Going back to the disordered attachments of children, we do have a child or two who still suffer the wounds of having been born to an unattached mother. Even after years in their God-given family with daily affirmation offered, the initial wounds caused by the rejection during pregnancy and after birth still ripple through their psyches. As I have been seeking counseling for these children and researching the effect of disordered attachments, I suddenly came upon the realization that these children are the poor in spirit. They are working out of a poverty of spirit that comes from being born at the short end of the stick. It wasn't their fault, they didn't cause this to happen or even allow it to was done *to* them through a series of unfortunate events. And God calls them Blessed.

They are blessed because while they lack the ability to argue rationally and feel appropriately, alongside the mistrust and dysfunction exists a faith that there is a God and He cares about them. Now the distortions of their thinking may say that the God cares and is mad at them or that they will never measure up to His expectations but the faith remains that He is there. Even children whose dysfunction does now allow them to have this most basic faith are still God's blessed. In the poverty of faith and spiritual ignorance they are still blessed because God refuses to leave them lying in the dust of their genetic legacy. They are poor in spirit, They are blessed........They are blessed, They are poor in spirit. It is this cycling through the blessing and poverty that I find myself witnessing as my own children receive sound counsel and are beginning to heal. After years of banging against the poverty of their spirits I am now confident that they are Blessed as well and that the blessing comes from their poverty of spirit.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Davey is Three!

It was awfully nice of David to come into the world on my grandmother's birthday. It does make it infinitely easier for me to remember the date (unlike JM and Betsy whose dates will be forever confused in my mind - one is the 20th and one is the 21st but which, oh which, is which?!). Since three is an odd number David has to wait until next year for his big party but he didn't seem to notice that the 13 other people sitting around the table (his big brother's happened to have a friend over) were mostly family. Fortunately, every night is a party when you look at it that way.

He wanted a chocolate chip cake with chocolate icing. I wasn't impressed with the cake recipe I dug up off of but he seemed to enjoy it. We made him his very own cake to have and destroy which he did well. He also asked for Adora's homemade mac and cheese which she dutifully made for him , only to put it on his plate and have him wail, "I didn't waaaaaant noodles and cheeeeeeeeeeeeese!!" So much for dinner. The highlight of the food was probably the individual cup of Ben & Jerry's ice cream I gave him out of my own personal secret freezer stash - talk about making sacrifices for my children! He loved the little plastic spoon that comes embedded in the lid. He raked in some fun gifts - 2 bags of Utz potato chips, a car set from Adora, a set of stomp rockets, a Cars movie lego Duplo set (could John Michael *be* more jealous?!), a construction book and some clothes from Grammy. The stomp rockets have been a huge hit.

Happy Three Davey!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Practice Cancelled

I got this email from JT's soccer coach today. I got a chuckle out of it and I'm fairly sure the little faux-pas was accidental...Just in case you don't have my sense of humor I've highlighted the funny bit. Thanks for the snicker Bob!

Due to the heat advisory for today, we will not practice tonight.
We will meet again on Thursday- drink lots of water and dribble at home!
Coach Bob