There's more to me than "Mommy"…but not by much!

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CVS stands for “Can’t Vacate Store” February 22, 2011

CVS trips with 3 small children are so much fun.  I just love having everyone stare in our direction and hearing me give endless commands.  “Josiah, put that back.  Sadie, get back here.  Jackson, don’t touch anything.  Josiah, get down from there.  Sadie, pay attention to me…”  And on it goes.  Isn’t that every parent’s dream?

Then, of course, a shopping excursion wouldn’t be complete unless someone had to go to the bathroom.  So, we’re three quarters of the way finished with our list of ten items or so when we have to traipse to the back of the store to “see a man about a horse”.  And, naturally, the rest of the gang have to get in on the action.  Wouldn’t want anyone missing that horse.  After what seems like an eternity, hands are washed and we are finally free of the restroom.

Next is the water fountain.  Which, have you ever noticed that it’s nearly impossible for a child to drink from a fountain without getting their shirts soaked?  Maybe this is unique to us but it’s just been my observation.

So, with wet shirts and shoes that can’t seem to stay on Sadie’s feet (it would help if she’d put them on the right way) we gather our things, grab a gallon of milk and a couple cans of tuna and finally arrive at the register…where a sizable line has formed.  Once at the counter and while the cashier and I are busy ringing my purchases, the kids begin to wander in three different directions (of course they do).  They are all within sight, just looking longingly at different candies, trying to resist the urge to touch them, and failing miserably.  If I thought they were being blatantly defiant, they’d be in big trouble.  But the truth is, they are just curious creatures with ants in their pants.  And God bless them, they did stay by my side in line until it was my turn.  That took some patience.

We finally have everything in the car and everyone buckled and I begin to feel relief, “Ah, finally.  We’re going home.”  Then what happens?  My eldest says, “Mommy, I have to go to the bathroom.”  AND I realize I forgot to grab a loaf of bread.  (sigh)  Yes, shopping trips grow exponentially larger in duration when you factor children into the equation.


Chocolate: The Great Motivator February 17, 2011

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I reheated some left-over spaghetti for lunch today which my 4 year old had absolutely NO interest in eating.  His younger 2 year old sister finished hers in good time and then sweetly asked, “Mommy, I finished my spaghetti.  Now I get to have dessert?”  When I asked her what she wanted, like her true mother’s child she confidently replied, “Chocolate!”  So, I quickly obliged.

I had not had lunch yet and seeing my son’s bowl barely touched I asked if I could have the rest of it.  He said, “Sure, Mommy!  You get to have the rest.”  After another 30 second reheat, as I’m about to tackle the small bowl before heading out the door he sweetly asks, “Mommy, can I have dessert now?”  Did I oblige?  Uh, that’s a big fat NO.   Nice try, but I don’t think so.  I did, however, give him another chance to eat his spaghetti.  Reluctantly, he began to eat it noodle by noodle.  Having taken about two bites, he asks again.  He made his disappointment with my answer known but continued to slowly eat noodle by noodle.  Before long he lost interest again.

As time keeps drifting by and we still need to get out the door soon, I finally say, “Ok, ‘Siah.  You have 5 minutes to finish your spaghetti and then I’m taking it away.”  (Enough time for me to swap laundry before skirting out.)  I wish you could have seen him shovel it in.  Within 60 seconds the bowl was empty!  “Ok, Mommy!  I’m finished!  Now I get to have dessert!” in his most triumphant voice.

So now here we are, still haven’t made it out the door (since I decided to take a minute to relay this story before either 1) running out of time later in the day, 2) forgetting it happened all together, or 3) both).  But I’m thrilled that he emptied his bowl and feel an unjustified sense of pride for having found a successful motivator.  Thank you, Chocolate!  Now off to the store we go!


A Wonderfully Weary Wednesday February 16, 2011

Last Wednesday was a “roller coaster of emotion” kind of day.  My husband was so ill that I had to contact his director and call him in sick.  That left me frustrated when I tried to call three different numbers and couldn’t even get a ring on any of them.  I sent an email through their own network (which I didn’t fully understand) and then prayed that I was successful in reaching someone and keeping our sole source of income intact.  Mission accomplished. 🙂

Next it was time to get my oldest to school and find a doctor for Justin.  It’s in moments like these when I’m especially thankful to have family close by to help.  “Mama T” and “Papa C” were willing to watch our younger two while I carted Justin to the clinic.  Insert about an hour and a half, two shots, and a prescription and we’re out of there.  Quick phone call to the parents for an update (and heads up that we’re late…still need to fill Rx) and we’re off to the pharmacy.

So, now picture a NEVER ENDING train.  You locals know what I’m talking about.  The railroad crossing on St. Augustine right before the intersection at Hill Street.  I wished I could worm my way to the front and take the short-cut AROUND the train.  I would’ve gladly rolled my window down and shared the knowledge to the people in front of me if I thought they’d act on it.  I knew that wasn’t a possibility though because a tractor trailer was first in line and he was way too big to be making the “short cut”.   (No pun intended.)  Now this train was seriously long.  That ain’t no joke.  Not to mention that the cars were probably moving 0.01 miles per hour.  They trick you too.  You think, “Oh, finally, the train’s about to clear!”  Then, they stop.  And back up.  My emotions went from impatience, to frustration, to worry that my husband might puke in my van, to concern about leaving my folks stranded with the kids for so long.  So, I confess.  I drove up the left side and around that semi and took the short cut!

While waiting for Sam’s to fill the prescription, we decided to sit in their eat-in area.  It was closing in on lunchtime so I grabbed a quick bite.  Justin got an icee but couldn’t drink it.  We thought it was just cherry but it wasn’t.  Poor hubbie.

We finally have the prescription, go pick up the kids from mom’s and head home.  I had about one hour to get the house in decent shape before getting Jackson from school.  “Mrs. Heather” is his speech therapist and she’s normally waiting for us by the time I get back from picking him up.  So, dishes?  Done.  Tables?  Wiped.  Floor?  Swept and SPOT mopped.  Living room?  Well, atleast everything was up off of the floor.  How am I feeling now?  Exhausted.

So, I pick up Jackson and then drop him off at home while I go to Publix.  That turned into one of the longest grocery runs ever and I can’t even explain how or why.  Maybe my exhaustion?  It doesn’t help that I haven’t been wearing a watch.  Anyway, I realize when I leave there that I’ve got to book it home if me and the kids are going to make it to church.  What about dinner?  Four dollars and forty-four cents gone and I’m in the van with a hot-n-ready pizza!  After what feels like the longest drive home, I finally pull to a screeching halt, practically throw the pizza on the table, tell the kids to eat while I unload the perishables and then get their socks and shoes on.  I even had to let them finish their pizzas on the drive.  That’s how quick of a stop it was.  We looked completely a mess, I’m sure.  But at least we made it. 🙂

After such a harried arrival, when class was over I thought we’d take our time getting back to the car and back to the house so I just drove without my usual “drive”.  Once in the house it was time for the kids to go to bed and boy, was I ready!  Sadie, however, was NOT ready.  Oh, she was tired.  And she didn’t fuss about getting in her bed, initially.  All I wanted was some peace and quiet and she has to start fussing.  (I was not feeling very sympathetic at that moment.)  She complained that her head hurt so I gave her some tylenol.  She was a little stuffed up too so I gave her something for that.  But then she started screaming crying.  It took a while to finally understand her but she kept saying “My ear hurts.  My ear hurts.”  So, I dug out our “Earache Relief” drops from the medicine cabinet and put a couple of drops in her ear.  Within about 30 seconds her ear started bleeding.  Now, I’m not one to panic.  That’s my husband’s job.  But that did scare me.  We tried to call a clinic and did a quick search on webmd.  Webmd is enough to scare a person.  “Well, it could be a little scratch in the ear or it could be bleeding on the brain.”  Great.  Thanks.  So, emergency room here we come.

I pull in to the parking lot, finally get a spot, carry Sadie inside to the front desk (her ear all crusted over with blood) and the lady behind the counter asks if she can help me.  I tell her that my daughter’s ear is bleeding.  Then she kindly asks for our basic information, a photo id, etc.  The whole time I’m thinking, “Seriously?  My 2 year old’s ear is bleeding and you’re not gonna rush her back there?”  Then we sit and wait to be called.  That’s really when the emotions were all over the place.  I was scared, nervous, frantic (on the inside), exhausted, helpless, and getting more and more angry and impatient the longer we sat there.  To make a long story short (too late, right?), she’s ok.  She was the perfect little patient.  She opened her mouth so the doctor could look.  She let them look in her ear.  She let them take all her vitals.  I was really impressed.

God taught me a lot this past Wednesday.  I learned how to have more patience & more self-control.  I learned that I can do with less sleep than I thought I could.  I learned to trust God more and myself less.  I learned that taking care of my family is more important than whether or not the dishes are cleaned or the floor is vaccuumed.  I love them more than anything.  They may make me weary sometimes, but in their case, it’s wonder-filled!



Meet Me Blog Party February 11, 2011

Ok, I’m game.  A friend of mine hosted her own “Meet Me Blog Party” after getting the idea from a friend of hers so I suppose a trend is beginning here…or maybe I’m riding the end of this wave.  🙂  At any rate, I’m here now so here goes…

Welcome to the Meet Me Blog Party! This is a way for others to get to know me and a way for me to get to view other people’s blogs as well. All you do is tell a little about yourself by posting a few pics for a bio then copy and paste the Q & A part to your blog and fill in your own answers. Come back here and post your link to my page in the comments section so others can view your blog as well 🙂

My name is Stephanie and I live in Lake Park, Georgia, with my wonderful husband, Justin, and our three kids (two boys ages 5 & 4 and our “baby” girl who’ll be 3 next month).  Justin and I have been married for 7 1/2 years and I like to joke that instead of the 7 year “itch”, we are experiencing the 7 year “stitch”.  I feel closer to him now than I ever have before and hopefully as the years pass by it will only get sweeter.  I am blessed to be a homemaker and love that I’m able to experience my kids’ “firsts” firsthand and spend so much time with them.  It gets overwhelming sometimes but I wouldn’t trade it for a nine to five.  The memories are priceless!
Q & A:

Q: What would you be doing if you weren’t a stay-at-home mom (insert your profession here)?
This is a tough question because I have so many interests and would love to do so many different things.  I graduated with a vocal music degree and a family relations minor.  I’ve worked as a nanny, a “temp”, a teacher’s aide, and an administrative assistant for a construction company.  I’ve also had the pleasure of living the life of a campus minister’s wife and later a youth minister’s wife (same husband, of course 😉 ).  So, who knows what I’d be doing if I weren’t a stay-at-home mom.  I love to write and have ambitions of publishing atleast one book whether it be in print or online.  I’ve also considered going back to school to get a degree in marriage and family therapy.  Families and family systems have always fascinated me.  And naturally, like every other soul who can carry a tune (and some who can’t), I’d love to make an album and become the next “big thing”.  Of all those many options and dreams, though, I’m truly living my biggest dream.  I’ve always wanted to be a mom.  I think I was born for this role…even though I’m definitely not the “poster child” of the perfect mom.  Hmm…that’s kind of an oxymoron, isn’t it? 🙂
Q: What are your hobbies?
Well, I shared several already.  I love to sing, dance, and write.  I love reading and photography.  (Maybe someday I can take a photography class and truly be inspired.)  I love blogging and hanging out with friends.  I absolutely LOVE to play!  Roller coasters equal fun! (Just one example.)  I love to travel and experience new things.  While I have NO desire to ever sky dive (why would anyone want to jump from a perfectly good airplane?!), I still consider myself adventurous.  Although, the extent of my adventures these days tends to include whether to do something crazy like use strawberry jelly instead of grape on a peanut butter sandwich. 😉
Q: When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A: That’s easy.  A mom.  But here’s the extended answer: As a small kid I wanted to be a teacher.  Then I wanted to sing.  When I started college, my goal was to do voice overs for animated pictures.  Very specific, I know.  Small market, I know.  Truly, I’m living my dream.
Q: What are your guilty pleasures?
A: Facebook is totally a guilty pleasure or anything chocolate.  Just about any dessert, really.  My weakness is my sweet tooth.
Q: What is your biggest fear?!
A: Without question, my biggest fear is losing a child.  I think I could endure most anything else but I’m not sure I could survive that.  I certainly don’t want to find out.
Q: When you’re on vacation, where do you like to go?
A: We don’t take many vacations but when we do, I like to go to places we’ve never been before (see foreign countries, eat local cuisine) and places we (or one of us) have been before (Disney World, certain beaches).  I’d love to go on a cruise someday.  Lately, it wouldn’t really matter much where we went as long as we’re together, having fun, and I don’t have to worry about cooking, cleaning, or laundry. 🙂
Q: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
A: “The best gift you can give your kids is to love their mother.”  The flip-side of that as a mother is “The best gift you can give your kids is to respect their father.”  Also, “this too, shall pass.”
Q: What do you value most in others?
A:  Honesty, integrity, and humility.  Do their actions reflect their language?  Do they do the right thing even when it costs them something?  Most importantly, is it obvious that they love the LORD?
Q: If you could choose one of your personality traits to pass down to your kids, what would it be?
A: Well, I have so many wonderful personality traits so how can I choose just one? (That’s sarcasm in case you missed it. 🙂 )  Hmm…for my eldest I’d probably choose my “go with the flow” attitude (aka. flexibility).  I’m not much for schedules or routines and he’s pretty uptight.  For my youngest son I’d choose self-control (his latest thing is what we call “fit-pitchin'”) and for our “baby girl” I’d pass on patience.  When she wants something, she wants it right then!  Generally speaking though, I want them to have confidence and a strong self-esteem.  That only comes from a relationship with the LORD and finding your identity in Him, realizing His great love for you.  That’s what I want to pass on to my kids…that knowledge.
Q: If you could have lunch with anyone in the world….living or dead…who would it be?
A:  My brother, Matt, who died by suicide in 2009 and my nephews (his sons) Aydan, Ashton, and Adler.  I’d ask Matt what heaven is like, ask him what really happened the day he died, and tell him how sorry I am for anything I ever did or didn’t do that hurt him.  I’d hug my nephews like there’s no tomorrow and tell them how dearly loved they are and how they were their Daddy’s greatest pride and joy, his number one priority.  Then we’d all cut up and laugh as we shared stories from our childhood and listened to the “3 A’s” share what has been happening in their lives since we last saw them.  I hope I do get the opportunity to see my nephews again someday real soon.  They are so precious and priceless to me.  I miss them so much.
Now tell us something random about yourself:
  • I sang with Aretha Franklin when I was in high school as part of the “World Scholar Athlete Games” and with Nicole C. Mullen after college at a function in Nashville.
  • My husband convinced me to let him and his groomsmen walk in to The A-Team theme song during our wedding.
  • I got pregnant exactly one year after getting married and from that point on was either pregnant, nursing, or both for over 5 1/2 years!
  • I worked as a middle school teacher’s aide for 2 years and was known by the kids as “the pregnant lady”.
So, there you have it.  Now it’s your turn.  Send me an invite to your blog party by just posting your URL in the comments section.  Thanks for participating and happy blogging! 🙂

Colditis January 13, 2011

I suffer from colditis.  Cold paralyzes me.  I can’t move, I can’t hardly breathe.  I can’t even think about anything else except how cold I am…and it makes me cranky.  From what I can tell, my eldest son suffers from my condition too.  Just this morning, I got his coat out of the van where it had been left all night.  He stuck one arm in, then quickly yanked it out griping and complaining about how cold his jacket was.

Last night I made a declaration after seeing our electricity bill this month.  It was nearly TWICE as much as last month’s AND we were out of town for an entire week.  It should have been LESS, not MORE.  Therefore, “From now on, NO lights are to be left on in an empty room and we are pushing the thermostat WAY DOWN.”  It’s only been about 14 hours since my recent declaration but it has already reminded my body of my colditis.  Even now as I type, my fingers seem to beg for a mitten of mercy.

I’d never survive the arctic.  We live in south Georgia for cryin’ out loud and I’m acting like there’s a blizzard outside.  The irony is that we’ve lived in Virginia, Texas, northwest Arkansas, and Tennessee.  They may still be considered southern states, but it gets a whole lot colder there than here.  (Honestly, I think Abilene, TX, could very well be one of the coldest places on earth.  It’s the wind that gets you there.  There’s just nothing to stop it!  Flat terrain with nothing more than a few mesquite trees means wind doesn’t have to put up much of a fight to find you in full force.)   In fact, I used to laugh at folks (and still do sometimes…yes, I’m an imperfect person whose colditis comes and goes.) who complained about how “cold it is outside” when the temperature drops below 60.  Now look at me.  We’re only in our second winter here and I’m already turning soft.  I’ve caught colditis again.

I’m sticking to my guns with regards to that electric bill.  It was ridiculously high and we’re nipping that in the bud!  So when I’m feeling cold, my mantra shall be (from the mouth of a very wise woman) “this too shall pass.”  Yes, warm days and sunny rays will return.  However, until then you can bet I’ll be paving the runway sporting several layers of clothes that may or may not match and wearing socks to cover more than just my feet.  I’ll also be leaving the laundry room door open (no sense letting that little closet hoard all the heat from the dryer) and leaving the oven door open after dinner.  Lastly, (and the more enjoyable consequence) I’ll probably be snuggling with my hubbie and/or kiddos at every available opportunity while sipping on a nice, steaming hot cup of coffee, cocoa, cider or tea.   Heck, even a hot cup of lemon water will do!  Hmm…maybe colditis isn’t so bad after all.  🙂


Why did the chicken stop in the road? January 10, 2009

You remember the chicken crossing the road jokes, right? Well, this isn’t a joke and the chicken didn’t cross but I think you might find this story gets you laughing just the same.  Bear with me, this is a long one.

Those of you who know me know that I’m more of a city girl than a country girl. I mean, I love country music and walking around barefoot but living out in the boonies is not something this Georgia city girl ever dreamt about. I’m growing, though. Living in a town with a population barely over 2000 will do that to you I guess.  It also doesn’t hurt that I’m a sucker for suffering animals. That’s my weakness. With that said, we’ll continue with the story…

The Saturday before Christmas I decide to drive out to look at a set of bunkbeds listed for sale. All three of the kids are in the backseat. On the way there, I see this white chicken laying in the middle of the road and I think to myself, “Aww, the poor chicken’s been killed!” Then as I drive past it I could have sworn I saw it’s head cock. Wha??? I kept driving and decided I’d take a second look on the way back.

As I’m heading home, I’d totally forgotten about the chicken until I saw it in the road again. This time I drove up slowly, opened my car door to get a better look at it and sure enough the chicken was alive and staring right at me! “Now what?” I thought. “This bleeding chicken is suffering in the road.” As it would happen, a couple from church lived at the very next drive on this street so I stopped at their house thinking maybe Glen would know what to do. (Now I really look like a city girl…”Umm…you’re gonna laugh at me but there’s this chicken in the road and I can’t just leave it there. What should I do? It’s suffering.”)  To which the obvious reply was, “Well, do you want a plastic bag?”

Now, for the record, I did not expect that this chicken was going to live.  I just didn’t want to see it suffering.  I thought I’d drive Glen down there with the plastic bag, he’d get out and put the chicken in the bag and then kill it somehow putting it out of it’s misery.  So you ask, why didn’t I just run over it?  That would be too simple and too messy, not to mention that I just don’t have the stomach for it.  Also, I seem to recall my loving husband mentioning to me not so long ago that he thought it’d be a great life’s lesson for me to learn how to wring a chicken’s neck and slaughter it…you know, cooking from scratch.  Can you picture ME doing THAT?!  Naturally, I didn’t want to do the dirty work but I thought, if Glen kills this chicken and it’s still decent enough for consumption, I’ll take it home to Justin and he’ll be proud of me for being so frugal and conservative.  Bonus points!  That’s not exactly what happened, though…

After Glen got out of the car, another car passed to ask if we were ok.  Imagine my embarrassment when I told them, “Oh, we’re fine.  Just picking this chicken up off the road.”  In the meantime, Glen’s already got the chicken in the bag and headed back to the car.  At that point I thought the chicken was already dead but NOHOHO!  Do you know what this sweet, kind man says to me when he gets back into my vehicle with a twitching Walmart sack?  “You know, he’s pretty strong.  I’ll think he’ll live.”  Whaaa????  My initial reaction (mostly internal dialogue, mind you) went something like this…

There is a LIVE chicken in a plastic bag sitting on the FLOORboard in the front seat of MY CAR!!!!…and my CHILDREN are in the backseat!!!  What am I gonna do with a chicken?! 

Glen said to take it home and keep it as a pet.  Where?  What do I feed it?  I don’t know anything about chicken raising!  Besides all that, we were leaving in less than 48 hours and would be gone for almost two full weeks.  He said to hire a chicken sitter.  You know, I wasn’t even aware that was an option.  He also kept telling me how proud Justin was going to be when I brought home this chicken.  I’m not sure “proud” was the best descriptive for his reaction either.  Did I mention that Justin had spent all day at the church building getting ready for the youth Christmas party that evening?

After dropping Glen off at his house, I drove to the church and called Justin from the parking lot to please meet me at the car.  After all, I wasn’t about to leave my children unattended with a live chicken in the front seat.  As soon as I saw him, our conversation went something like this… I said, “You are going to be so proud of me!” (Yeah, right.  I didn’t really believe that.)  “I got a chicken.”  “You what?  Why?”  (He’s thinking I bought a chicken for the party and why would I do that when I knew he was making a ham.)  “No, no, no.  It’s still alive.”  “It’s what?”  That’s about the time he noticed the twitching bag in the front seat.  “You bought a live chicken?”  “No.  I found it in the road.”  “You WHAT?”   “Well, what was I supposed to do?”  “Leave it in the road!”  “It was sufferin’.  I couldn’t just leave it there.”  “It’s injured?!”  “Yeah, it’s bleeding from it’s rear.”  “It’s where?!”  “So, what are we gonna do?”  “What?  WE?” 

You get the jist.  Anyway, you’ll be happy to know that we found a friend whose father has a chicken coop and he took it in.  Last we heard the chicken was still alive and doing well.  I tried to think of some deep theological story from all of this.  I’m sure there are plenty but I’m still trying to get over the shock of having a chicken in my car so I’ll leave the life application to you.  Time to find some air freshener.