Monday, March 31, 2008

Play Ball!

Stephen had his first t-ball game on Saturday. Except for the time he was digging in the dirt and dancing while playing short stop, and spinning in circles while on 2nd base, he did awesome! He scored 3 runs and hit the ball like a pro. Not to mention how stinkin' cute he was in his outfit uniform. (I wish I could figure out how to upload the video so I could post his hits...maybe I'll work on that.)

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Can you help?

My bloggy friend Kate is in need of some help. If you or anyone you know has had experience with depression/biploar disorder, taking medications for them and being pregnant or trying to conceive while on meds, hop over to her blog and let her know your experience. She could really use some real-life advice/encouragement. THANKS!

Friday, March 28, 2008

My Journey

I haven't talked/posted much about the spiritual retreat I went on a few weeks ago. I suppose it took a while to process it all and I have had other, more pressing issues at hand. But now that I'm outside of the experience there and am applying it to my real life, I can honestly say that it's changed my life as I see it.

Before this retreat, I struggled with this tiny voice on a running loop in the back of my head telling me that I was not good at anything, I was unlovable, I was a failure, I would never do anything significant, and that I would never really matter. I don't know where "The Voice" came from or when it started, but it went on and on all the time, until I believed it and had begun to really loathe myself. I also struggled with some serious doubts and questions in my faith. I felt like, even though I wanted to, I couldn't really believe in anything firmly because I had too many doubts and far too many questions. So I felt like a fake, going to church and talking to my kids about God. But I wanted to be there and I wanted to have what I perceive other people to have. And honestly, I thought that I thought that God loved me, but I discovered that I never really did know it deep down. I thought that my inability to become closer to God was because of my doubts. I thought that God didn't really want me to be close or that I didn't deserve to be close to him because I couldn't say that I believed everything that I was supposed to believe without a doubt.

But it turns out, that wasn't it at all. It turns out that I had convinced myself so deeply that I was not good enough (for no particular reason at all) that I didn't think it was possible for God to love me like I've heard people say that he loves his children. I thought that it applied to everyone else, but I just wasn't good enough. No matter what I did, no matter how hard I tried I was never able to accomplish the relationship with God that I wanted. I was just using my doubts as an excuse.

About a week after I returned from the retreat (and things started to settle down around here), I was laying in bed praying one night and I realized there was silence in my head. Silence. The Voice had been silenced. I finally accepted God's love for myself and The Voice had nothing else to say about me. Because I know God loves me, and even if I never accomplish a single thing in my life ever again, God loves me. And the questions I have? They're still there. I still wonder and doubt. But that's okay, because it doesn't matter anymore. I realized that I don't have to know for sure every thing I wanted to know. Because I know the one thing that many people never get a chance to realize in this life. God loves me exactly as I am. And nothing I do or say or is going to add to that or take away from it. It's just there. And life will be much easier if I accept it and embrace it. And I have. Finally.

I have to end with a quote from one of the kids' Veggie Tales books:

God loves you, too, and he wants you to know, he's right there beside you, where ever you go.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Do you need this today?

I sure did.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. ~Galatians 6:9

Monday, March 24, 2008


We are making progress with Stephen. I've spent so much time praying for him, over him, with him that God's probably helping us out just so we quit talking about it so much. Yesterday, Stephen really surprised me and did some really sweet, selfless things for his brothers (he even wiped Z's bum while Marc-Adam was passed out on my chest). And we had a long discussion last night and we ALL agreed that last night would be the last night that I was going to sleep in his room. That was even his idea. If he sleeps in his bed, while I sleep in mine, tonight and the next two nights, then he gets to spend the night with my IL's on Thursday. And I even threw in a trip to Wally World for a new computer game if he does well (although, I might change that to a new Webkinz since he's been asking for a new one). Because I'm desperate to be sleeping in my own bed again. I'm not sure it'll actually happen tonight. In fact, I'm about 80% sure that I'll still be camped out in their room by the end of the week. Maybe that's just the pessimist in me.

But really, even though we've had some tough moments when the attitude reared its ugly head, it has gotten better. I'm clinging to the progress and hoping that we keep moving in that direction to get things back to normal.

Saturday, March 22, 2008


I've been a little lazy with the upkeep of my blog, but I've finally updated my side bar. I had some old links up there (come to think of it, I might still need to change one). And I'm not at home, so I'm afraid I might be leaving out some really important link from my bookmarks. But I'll check again when I get a chance. So check out some of the newer additions (there's only a couple right now) if you feel browsing some new blogs....assuming of course, that you're not already reading all the ones I'm reading. :)

AND Happy Easter to you all. Honestly, I think Easter is my favorite holiday of all. I could do without all the pastel bunnies and chicks and sugar highs, though. My kids don't really even know that some families have the Easter Bunny come to their house. I don't think Zachary has ever had an Easter basket from us. I think Stephen had one for his first Easter and not since. But I honestly love Easter and the renewal I feel because of it. And I love that we get to spend time with family without the pressure of gifts. So Happy Easter. I hope you enjoy the pastel bunnies and chicks and sugar highs, if you like those kinds of things. But most of all I hope you are reminded of God's love for you. Because, really, that's what it's all about.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Anyone have a magic wand?

Y'all, I wish I had some happy ending update and that I could stop posting about our issues with Stephen. And I don't want to sound like I'm whining or complaining, because that's not it. It's just that it's still hard and I'm worried. I seriously didn't think I would have to deal with stuff like this until he was 10 or 16 or something. The attitude. I almost have to make sure I set a place at the table for it. And give it a bath. Because it has taken over my sweet little child.

Things had been going so well for such a long time. I honestly thought that I had it easy with Stephen. I thought that since he was so well behaved and sweet that if I stayed consistent with him, the road from here to puberty would be smooth sailing. I have become those mothers I've judged for so long. You know, the mothers in the grocery store whose child slaps them and the mother does nothing? Well, if he hit me in the store, I would do something, but it would probably be just firmly telling him no hitting and then leaving. Because beyond that, I have no idea what to do. I have no idea how to handle the attitude, the arguing, the whining, the doubting, the heavy sighing, the eye rolling....etc, etc. It goes on all. day. long. If I came down on him and corrected every single thing that I don't allow him to do, I would correcting him every minute of every day. Even when I try to start us on an activity that I know he enjoys, if he doesn't get to be the boss/be first/call the shots/get the best or biggest, then things fall apart and things get ugly. I just don't know what to do.

I've been in a state of almost constant prayer. And survival mode. One foot in front of the other kind of thing. I feel like I've lost his respect somehow. He seems to doubt and question every thing I say or do. Which is putting HUGE doubts in my head about homeschooling and makes me worry about what I tell him about God. Because it's like he doesn't want to believe anything I say. And that is breaking my heart.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

While I'm recommending stuff....

These are must for your next party or taco night. Or for when you just need a simple snack. I don't buy chips at all, ever, unless it fits in with a meal (which means I only ever buy tortilla chips for taco night). But these, I think will make it on to my grocery list anytime I have a few extra bucks. Or maybe we'll be having a taco night at least once a week. Oh my word, they are good.

Fun Family Flick

I dare you to try to say that title 5 times fast.

Anyhoo, Sweet Hubby and I picked up Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium the other day for us to watch while the kids were sleeping over at their grandparents' houses. We ended up falling asleep about 30 minutes into it (we are a wild and crazy couple of people), but those first 30 minutes were so cute and sweet that we decided to watch it as a family the next afternoon. The kids loved it and actually sat still for the majority of it.

It's just an all-around sweet, fun movie. It's colorful, funny and has a good message. There's one utterance of the word "idiot" (when Mr. Magorium was talking about his pet Zebra, Mortimer), but other than that, there's no potty humor, foul language or name-calling (which are the three biggies when I'm considering a movie for my kids).

So I give it two mommy thumbs up for a family movie. It's definitely fun for everyone.

Oh, and don't just turn it off when the credits start rolling...even the credits are entertaining!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Are you tired of this yet?

I know my going on and on about our issues with Stephen is probably wearing thin with my readers. But it's this or nothin' since this is what's on my mind. And I need proof that he wasn't an angel child all his life when my grandkids are 5 and I'm wondering why in the world my son and daughter-in-law can't control them. Because I'm pretty sure that's something I would do.

So it's obvious that there are some pretty serious things going on in Stephen's mind and heart. I think my absence really shook up his world, so I've engaged in full-scale damage control. Last night, Sweet Hubby blew up our air mattress and I camped out in the kids' room for the entire night. And the plan is that I'm going to keep doing that until Stephen is feeling more secure. Honestly, I think it's the only way that anyone is going to sleep until we get this sorted out. I have no idea how I'm going to get out of their room and back into my own bed when that time comes, but I have been prayerful about the whole situation, so I'm hopeful that the how and when will be clear when the time comes. Until then, I'm going to praise him big time when we all get a good night's sleep and I'm going to take the stress and pressure off. It was just too much for all of us. It was running our whole family for a few days and no one was happy. I've reminded him several times that I'm only sleeping in there for a little while. Last night, he was under the impression that I was only sleeping in there for one night. And I didn't correct him. Truth is that Sweet Hubby have decided to commit a month to this. So hopefully this time next month I'll be reporting to you that all is back to normal or that we've concocted a new normal that we are all happy with (which I promise will include me sleeping in my bed and him sleeping in his).

Until then, I'll probably be achy and tired. The thought of sleeping on an air mattress for a couple of weeks makes me want to run out and by an economy size bottle of extra strength pain reliever. But it's worth it to help Stephen know that even though it might have been shaken up a bit, his foundation is still there and is still firm.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Pray for us?

I don't think I've ever asked for prayer on my blog before. But one of the things I learned this past weekend was that people really do care, even if they have their own issues going on in their lives. And I learned to lean not so much on myself and my own faith, but to also reach out when I'm struggling.

I mentioned in my last post about the terrible night that we had with Stephen on Sunday night. Monday night was better, but only because I did everything I could to keep the stress level down, even if it meant doing things I would not normally do. But I felt we were in survival mode. Last night, my in-laws offered to take the kids so we could get a little more rest. Especially since Sweet Hubby had to work today. Starting tonight, I think we're going to take a "2 night on, 2 night off" strategy, so Sweet Hubby and I can both get a couple of nights rest until we get this sorted out. On an up note, I just put everyone down for a nap and Stephen laid down without much of a fuss. Yesterday at naptime, he started the same antics as he pulled the night before. But today, he made sure several times that I wasn't going to take a nap. He asked me to turn on my TV (our rooms are right across the hall from each other) and asked if I would get on the computer instead of laying down to take a nap. That seemed to be important to him. I don't usually let my kids dictate to me what to do, but he asked sweetly and it seemed important, so I told him I would. He doesn't normally take a nap, but since his night sleep has been suffering (and we'll be having a late bedtime tonight because we have church) I've been trying to get him to nap to make up for what he's missing at night. I realize it could be an ugly cycle, but again, we're in survival mode.

The thing is, it's not just his nights that are out of whack. His entire attitude has changed. Part of me thinks that he might be reacting to the fact that I was gone for 4 days (and on top of that, we couldn't even talk during that time). But he's never really been a child who reacts negatively (especially THIS negatively) to change. So that might not even be it. He's been more and more disrespectful, disobedient, whiny, impatient, uncooperative and almost angry. And like I mentioned before, he doesn't seem to care about consequences. Perhaps this all stemming from him being tired.

Anyway, I'm really struggling with this because I feel like this is a reflection of MY parenting. He's never been like this. And I don't know what to do. I'm trying to just love him through this, but I don't want it to seem like I'm giving him permission to act so ugly to all of us.

So pray for Stephen, please. Pray that whatever is going on in his little heart will come out so we can deal with it. Pray that he knows that he's loved and safe here. Pray for Sweet Hubby and I that we can have the wisdom to handle these issues and that we can do so in a way that brings all of us closer to God. Pray that the nighttime issues resolve quickly because we all know how the bad stuff gets magnified if we don't have enough sleep. And pray for me that I can get through this without losing my cool and without feeling like a complete failure.

Thanks. It feels good just to get that little bit off my chest.

Monday, March 10, 2008

I am tired.

In case you were wondering about me, I had a fabulous weekend. The first evening and morning I was there, I wasn't sure that I had made the right decision by going. But by Sunday afternoon, I didn't want to leave. Actually I did want to come home and see my family, but I wanted to bring everyone else from the camp home with me. It was a wonderfully stretching experience for me (in more ways than one) and I feel like I'm a different person.

While there, I didn't cook, clean or wipe anyone's butt (praise God, since my children weren't there, lol). I didn't even think about what might be happening elsewhere in the world and it never occurred to me until this morning that I didn't watch Fox News for 4 days and I didn't even think about it! I ate more than I think I've eaten in the last month and the food was so so good.

One of the last things we talked about before we all departed the camp was the protective "bubble" we had been in for the last few days. It was mentioned that probably each of us had changed, but the world that we were returning to was probably very much the same and that at some point, our bubble would be popped. Someone was going to pop our bubble. As soon as that was said, I knew who was going to pop my bubble. And I was right. What I didn't expect was how and how soon.

All day Sunday I was looking forward to going home, hugging my children and putting them to bed so I could rest (I got about as much sleep this weekend as one would get in a youth group church camp) and decompress. But Stephen obviously had other ideas. He refused to sleep. He fought, and screamed and carried on for FIVE HOURS after we put them to bed. He did things and acted in ways that he never has before and that are totally out of his character. And as a result, I acted in ways I hadn't before and for a good part of the fight, I did not handle myself well. For about 2 hours, I acted totally calm and ignored him for a while. Sweet Hubby and I tag-teamed for a while, but it didn't seem to make a difference. And then the exhaustion hit me and I had had it. I think I was too rough with him. Finally, at about 2am, with Z in bed with Sweet Hubby and me sleeping in Z's bed, we all went to sleep. Marc-Adam woke us up a little before 9am, so we did get a good chunk of sleep, but it wasn't near what Stephen needed to make up for his antics last night.

He's spent the majority of the morning in his bed as punishment. He came out for breakfast and lunch. I did go in there and spend some time with him just he and I thinking that maybe all this behavior was result of his need to reconnect with me after me having been gone for four days. I told him that if he laid down and took a nap, that he could join us as normal in the living room after naps. But at naptime, he picked up right where he left off. The crying and screaming started over again and currently he's in my room with me and will be returning to his bed when the other 2 boys wake up from their nap.

Another layer to this is the fact that he and Z share a room. I don't know what to do about that because a lot of his screaming starts in his room. I'm thinking about moving Z into Marc-Adam's room (he seemed to sleep through most of the drama last night) for tonight so that Stephen won't bother them as much if he starts carrying on again tonight. Oh and I'm on my own tonight because Sweet Hubby won't be home till around 11pm.

I'm at a loss as what to do. I'm tired. Stephen's tired. At one point last night just before it all finally ended, I was speaking to him sternly with him standing up in front of me and he started falling asleep standing up. He has deep, dark circles under his eyes today. I didn't get a whole lot of rest this weekend and it was emotionally draining, which sometimes can make you even more tired than a weekend full of physical activity. I just want to rest and love on my kids and spend time with them and be peaceful. But now I'm just more tired, mad, and not at all peaceful. I have loved on them, but most of the time I've been home has been filled with the power struggles with Stephen. I have no idea how to react to him. He's saying ugly, hateful things that he's never said before and none of the usual consequences matter. I don't like him very much right now. I'm trying to be graceful, but this problem needs to be fixed and I don't know how to fix it.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Mommy's gettin' a vay-cay

I'm going to be away from my computer for a few days starting tomorrow morning, so I won't be blogging. I feel the need to tell you that lest you think I'm actually near my computer--and not blogging. Because I wouldn't want to mislead you.

I'm going on a sort of spiritual retreat. And I'd like to be spiritually mature enough to tell you that I'm looking forward to growing in my relationship with God and learning better how to serve Him. And I am looking forward to that. But really, y'all. The main thing that's been on my mind when I think about the 4 WHOLE DAYS that I'm going to be gone is that I might actually be able to have a full adult conversation and eat an entire hot meal without having to get up eleventy-two times and oh, sweet mercy, not having to clean up 47 times (or thinking that I should be cleaning up 47 times, because let's face it, that's what I actually do). Anything I get out of this beyond that is just icing on the cake. So it's safe to say that I don't have many expectations for this weekend. I'm thinking that's a good thing because I'm more open to whatever's going to happen and not clouded by what I think should happen.

So y'all be good and have fun while I'm gone. But not too much because it would kill me to know that I missed anything really good.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

You're voting, right?

Most of my readership is here in Texas, so I hope that most of you have voted or are going to vote later today. You can also take part in your caucus/precinct convention after the polls are closed. I'm still learning about what that really means, so I'm not sure I'll be participating in that. But do SOMETHING today, if you haven't already.

So because it's my blog and I can blather on if I want to, I'll tell you my thoughts (although most of you have probably already heard my thoughts and are tired of them...but once again, it's my blog, blah blah blah).

I was just about ready to get behind Rush Limbaugh's idea of conservatives voting for Hillary to keep the dems fighting and throw them off a bit. But then I decided that election officials probably frown upon voters vomiting on the voting machines and I'm pretty sure that's what I would do if my little dial-y thing went anywhere near her name. So, I'm voting for McCain. Now, I know many conservatives have a beef with McCain, but at this point in the process, I really think he could be the beauty contest winner in ugly town (in other words, the lesser of all the evils). And honestly, I think I like him. I'm a conservative, but a more moderate conservative. Not hard-core at all. I've heard of the repubs and conservatives (apparently, there's a difference, but I'm not sure what that is) saying that when they voted for McCain it wouldn't be for McCain. It would be against Clintama. I can say for certain that my vote is for McCain. You want to talk about experience? He's got to be our man.

And can I just say that if I hear the phrases "Ready to lead on day one" and "Hope/Change we can believe in" one more time, I just may vomit?

Funny how this process can bring up so many references to vomit.

Mind if I gripe?

Can I just say I loathe this show? I do. On many levels.

I've been seeing the commercials for it for a while, and I've been grumbling about it. But I wanted to give it the benefit of the doubt, hoping that the commercials were making it out to be different than it really was (TV execs have NEVER done that to us before, have they?).

So I watched it last night. And I can't say too many general things I hate about it, but I just do. The idea is that they take a "soccer mom" and give her a taste of the career she "gave up" to be a mom. This first mom has been a SAHM for 10 years. Before making the decision to stay at home she had been in the fashion industry. So the show offers her work with a fashion designer for a week. The catch is that no one in her family knows she doing it, not even her husband. They think it's a show about rewarding moms and she's at the spa. My thought is does the husband know she's thinking about working outside the home again? Have they discussed it? Is he on board?

Anyway, she shows up for her first day of work and they tell her that the next 3 days are going to be chaotic because they (she?) have (has) to design, pattern, make and fit 3 dresses for a show. Over the course of the next few days, it shows mom stressing out, while the other "real" employees act slightly snotty discussing whether or not they think she can hack it. Once she does something well, they act surprised that she's good at it and at one point, the main designer says, "I actually do" when asked if she like one of the mom's sketches. She actually does? And someone else says, "She's doing better than anyone expected." What were they expecting? Because she's been "just a mom" for several years now she must be an idiot? Then when mom is talking about the deadlines she must make, she says, "Here it's 'produce, produce, produce' while at home, it's just mellow." Wha....? Is she serious? Maybe I'm looking at it a little differently because not only am I a SAHM, but I'm also a homeschooler, but I wouldn't call anything about my "job" mellow. I have more freedom in my days than a normal 9-5, but that doesn't mean it's mellow. But I digress.

Meanwhile, dad's at home taking care of the kids. The show does a good job of making the dad look like an idiot (but isn't that what all of TV does?). At one point it shows the preschooler drinking from and subsequently spilling a container of coffee creamer while dad's just around the corner. Dad seems to have no clue what's going on and when the girl says "I clean it", he says something and then continues to hang laundry. Later on, the two younger kids get into diaper rash cream. It also shows dad saying that SAHMs take everything too seriously, but he later redeems himself by saying he has a new respect for everything that goes in to staying at home with young kids. Still, I was wondering, has he had no idea the entire time that he's had kids that it's hard to care for them?

Later in the show, the people at the design house are coming around to the fact that the mom has talent. She does well on an in-house fashion show and one stylist says she wants one the mom's designs for one of the big name celebrities she dresses.

Toward the end, when mom is coming back, dad says he's looking forward to having his wife home and getting back to normal. When she gets home, everyone comes clean and the mom tells her husband what she's actually been doing for the week (remember, he thought she was at a spa). She then gets offered a full-time job with the designer. She's obviously excited, but that's a huge decision to have to make. Then they tell her that she needs to decide before the end of the day and she would start the following Monday. The host and the designer both mention a few more times how the family needs to hurry and make the decision.

It was obvious she was going to take the job. In a discussion with her husband, she even says that she didn't "mind relying on babysitters" if her kids got sick. That's just a hard thing for me to imagine given that she's stayed at home for 10 years. Anyway, her hubby was very encouraging and supportive of her and told her that he just wants her to be happy. He also says that this opportunity has given her something that he couldn't...completeness. And then I gagged. She takes the job and the show makes sure to show that they all live happily ever after. Well, not really. But it does show the big name celebrity wearing one of the mom's designs in a nationally televised performance.

So, okay. I didn't really go into it with an unbiased and open mind. But at first the people on the show act like she couldn't possibly "make it" in their industry because she's been at-home for so long. Then they act surprised when she does well. THEN the show leans toward how great it would be for her to take the job (thereby implying what a disappointment it would be if she decided to "just stay home" again). And it implied that dad was an idiot. I hate that.

I will say that I did enjoy the fashion industry part of it. That was fun.

So there you go. I had to get that out. Perhaps I'm too sensitive and a little insecure. Maybe not. All I know is that I really didn't appreciate the entire tone of this show. I will not be watching it again. But I encourage you to, to form your own opinion. And tell me if I'm wrong.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Hell must be having a cold front

My Zachary does not like eggs. It must be two years now that he's refused eggs in any form. Usually, when the kids don't like a certain food, I make them have it on their plate anyway and sometimes I make them taste again, just to make sure they still don't like it. But not eggs with Zachary. I've given up. He's so adamant about not having an egg anywhere near his plate, that now I usually make him a different meal if we're having eggs or he just eats the meal without them.

Tonight, Stephen asked to have a boiled egg with dinner. So I made 4 boiled for me, one for the neighbor girl and one each for Stephen and M-A. As I was cracking them, Zachary runs in and says, "Can I hold an egg, Mama?" I asked if he was going to eat it, because he couldn't just walk around holding an egg. He hesitated a bit. I told him he had to try one bite before I gave him one "to hold". Without so much as a grimace he took a huge bite out of one end. Y'all, this was a special occasion. I got out my camera, in the middle of dinner, and started calling family members. His daddy thought I was being sarcastic or playing a joke.

He ended up eating the whole thing except for half the yolk. Turns out he's still not too fond of the yellow. I can't say I blame him. I prefer the white as well.

When Zachary was a toddler he never ate fruit. He only ate dried fruit pieces. And when we were visiting a family friend for a party, he ate a grape. We were around a bunch of people who didn't know us and they must have thought I was an idiot when I was jumping up and down, yelling, "He ate a grape! He ate a grape!" But tonight, everyone in the house shared in my joy that he ate an egg. He even agreed to taste one of his daddy's fried egg sandwiches.

Another dose of brotherly love

Yesterday after we got home from church, Stephen started taking an ugly tone with Zachary. I reminded him that we use kind words, even when we don't want to.

Then he says, "Oh yeah, we learned in church to use kind words even with evil people."