Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Heart To Heart

Before school, with Addie:
"Mom, draw a heart on my hand and then I will draw a heart on yours. That way when I miss you, I can hold my hand on my cheek. When you miss me, you can hold your hand on your cheek too."
We both quickly drew our hearts. Then the bus pulled up and she raced out the door. I watched her long, blond hair fly in the wind as her backpack bobbed up and down as she ran. She bounced on the bus without a second look back. But I stayed and stared. Trying to capture her in my memories. This moment where her small hand still fits inside mine. This moment where she still finds comfort in a heart held to her cheek. I closed my hand and held her heart there. It seemed to melt into my soul. Over the course of my day, the outline faded, but the love did not. I think I'll simply hold my hand to my cheek forever.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Riley sleeping. The chubbiness is just irresistible. Almost 12 months old and she weighs a whopping 14 pounds. That's quite hefty for a girl who started out at just over 1 pound. We would keep her if we could find a way to sneak her over here. I'm thinking about putting her in my purse tomorrow. My sister will never know. And besides, she's got another one. She shouldn't be so greedy.
We have officially rebounded from the flu. The oink, oink flu. It's rampant around here. Todd and Addie were the lucky ones who got sick. I think I used an entire bottle of Lysol last week. I wouldn't even let them touch the phone. I fed Addie sugar cereal to keep her boredom at bay. I'm sure that's why she recovered so well. Sugar has healing properties. It's like a vitamin, only better.

This flower appeared in my backyard on Saturday. It is literally the size of a dinner plate. It must be the Texas air. It makes all things bigger. Or maybe it has something to do with the wretched humidity. I really don't like feeling as if I live inside a dishwasher. Really. But, at least these beautiful flowers pop out just at the time you want to curse the weather. This flower saved me from cursing. At least for a day or two.

Todd was gone all weekend. And, you'll never guess where he was. Scout camp. Woodbadge to be exact. I know, I know, you are stunned into silence. Pretty boy Todd was out in the elements. In a scout outfit. And cute, green tube socks. The overall picture is mesmerizing, I can assure you. I wish I had a picture to share, but he stomped his boy scout foot and said 'no'. I think I'll give him a pop quiz later and ask him to repeat the boy scout pledge. I hope he passes because it took me forever to iron on those patches!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Burdens I Bear

Sometimes it's hard to be me. Truly. My physical appearance gives not the slightest hint to the weight of the burdens I carry. My angelic smile and Mary Poppins-like disposition mask the hardships I have been called to heave. It's daunting.

Weeks ago, Mona (my sister's aunt-in-law) and her family came to visit the twins. We all hung out. We ate dinner together. We laughed and had a good time. After visiting my house, Mona commented to my sister, "It must be hard having Lisa as a sister." Emily stared at her in confusion. Then Mona continued, "You know, she's just so perfect." pause for dramatic effect. I think my sister did a snort/laugh at that moment and replied, "Huh....good thing we're not competitive." I quickly called Todd to let him know I'm perfect. He laughed so hard he almost swallowed his tongue.

Being perfect is quite the mantle to carry. It's hard. Not everyone is up to the challenge. But alas, I solider on in my quest to heave my burdens around while trying to look pretty at the same time. Again I repeat, it's so hard.

I've thought about all that makes me perfect, which translates to all the burdens I bear. It would take many counseling sessions to discuss the entire list, so I shall just name a few:
  • My eyelashes are so long it's hard to wear sunglasses. They brush the lens every time I blink. It's so extraordinarily difficult for me to find sunglasses with a perfect contour to shape around my eyelashes. Just thinking about this makes me tired.
  • When I lay down on my back, my boobs actually look concave. They look like they are growing in the opposite direction. I have boobs inside my chest instead of on the outside. Finding a bra to fit that is near impossible.
  • I have given birth to children who are kind and well mannered. Just the other day, Makell stood over me and said, "You have something in your hair. I think you have lice."
  • I have a mother who buys me stuff. Amazing stuff like this:

The cuteness takes your breath away, doesn't it? She showed up at my door with these jems yesterday. She then had the audacity to pile even more on top of my "perfect" burden--she told me that I should buy an 'unusual and totally cute' new pair of shoes EVERY. MONTH. and she would pay for them. I had to sit down and rest after I heard that. It's been a full day now and I've let that tidbit sink into my brainwaves. I'm ready to carry forth.

Can't you just feel the heaviness of my burdens? Can you grasp the scope of all that I am asked to do? Let me state again, it's so hard to be me. Being perfect is a lifelong journey. One in which I keep trudging along....in the world's cutest shoes.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Do You Need A Pair?

I'm here to say, that I might have a problem. I say the word 'might' delicately. Truth be told, I don't think it's a problem at all, I'm just related to a few people who find issue with our shoe situation. They think we have too many. Which is such a stupid thought. Can one possibly have too many shoes? I think not.

Each of my girls has a large (and deep) drawer to contain their footwear. I have realized as of late, that these drawers have reached capacity. So I pulled all the shoes out. Into one great mass. Looking at it like this brings only one word to mind-- Heaven.

This is the problem as I see it: they're cute, and everyone needs cute shoes. They really do. Especially when I find them at Target on clearance for $3.48. Then they REALLY need them. I don't think there is a single pair of shoes in this bunch that I paid full price for. If you add them all up, they probably total the full price of 12 pairs. That's a respectable number.

I don't know what it is about shoes that pulls me in. I heart them. A lot. I always have. Which leads me to believe that Jesus made me this way. He wanted me to come to earth and love shoes. I'm just doing my part to fulfill my purpose. I'm dedicated like that. I live to serve.

I can still remember every detail of the navy blue flats I wore on the first day of 6th grade. I am still fond of the white Esprit shoes I bought in Hong Kong with my mom and then wore on the first day of 8th grade. I remember buying black shoes with bows the size of Hershey bars for my 2nd year of college. When I opened my first checking account, my very first check was written to Nordstrom for a snappy pair of slip-ons. Feel the love....it's oozing.

I eventually sorted through my girl's massive pile of shoes. I got rid of 23 pairs. Now their shoe drawers can actually close. And now when you peer in, it doesn't look like I have a problem. Not in the least. As long as you don't look in my closet, we're good to go.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Breakfast Is Served

Sam and Kellie's early morning creation. Green pancakes and red scrambled eggs. A breakfast of champions.

Friday, September 18, 2009

How I Measure

Last night I was exhausted. It was one of those days. The kind where you go and go, but at the end of the day you feel like you're back where you started. In my tired daze, I decided to make a list of all I had done with my day. I think I was trying to prove to myself that I had actually done something.

In order of my day--
  • 3 doctor appointments (I know, it sounds crazy. Addie met with 2 different doctors, Makell met with 1. Slightly long story). Because of these appointments, these two were home all day.
  • Physically held a screaming Addie down while the nurse pulled down her pants and gave her a flu shot in her thigh.
  • Bought Addie and Makell happy meals because I was trying to bribe them to like me.
  • Waited at Walgreens for Makell's antibiotic.
  • Took my kids with me to buy groceries--something I try to avoid at all cost.
  • Unloaded groceries and put everything away while checking on Todd who is home with the lay-on-the-couch-and-feel-like-death flu.
  • Helped the girls make a cake.
  • Cut out laminated items for Addie's teacher.
  • Finished the newsletter for the PTO.
  • Homework with Addie.
  • Helped Makell study for 3 different tests.
  • Whipped up a homemade beef stew for dinner.
  • Cleaned up dinner.
  • Vacuumed.
  • Attended a church leadership meeting from 7:30-9:15 pm.
After my long day of go, go, go, I was right back where I started, and this was all I could look at:

The massive piles on my counter. I know it doesn't look like much, but that's because everything is stacked on top of each other. Each house has a dumping ground. And this is mine. No matter how hard I try, I can't seem to keep it clean. Just as I am finally taking care of the last piece of paper, another stack gets dumped. Some days I feel like I'm drowning in this pile.

Normally I look at this chaotic mess and tell myself that I've got to work harder at keeping up with all the crap. This pile is what I use to measure my success. On the days that it looks like this, I feel like a failure. On the days where a miracle occurs and it's clean, I feel like a success. And I doubt that I'm the only mother who does this. We judge ourselves by what we DON'T get done. Why do we do that?

As I looked at this pile last night, I thought about the list I had made earlier. My long list. Each item represented something I did for my family or my church calling. Each item was done because I loved them enough to focus on them, and not my pile.

I thought about the Young Women theme. As I recited it in my head, I couldn't find even one reference to my worth being attached to clean kitchen counters. Instead, I found that I am a loved daughter of God with individual worth. I thought about all of the great Conference talks I have listened to. Not once can I recall being told to increase my diligence in house cleaning or pile clearing. Instead, I recalled being told to love and nurture this eternal family I have been given.

I thought about all the great moms I know. They have piles just like mine. And you know what, I never notice them. I only notice how good they are at being a mom and being a good friend. I also thought of my own mother and her continued advice to "slow down because it all flies by too fast." Never once has my mom told me to take more time cleaning my house. But she has told me to take time to enjoy what I've been given.

Maybe we measure the wrong things. Maybe we focus on the stuff that is less important. And maybe, just maybe, there is so much more that matters than a clean counter.

We go, and go, and go. And you know what? We are right back where we started. Home. With piles and chaos and disruptive behavior. It is still Home. It is still Love. It is still worth all our effort. That's immeasurable.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Sticky Situation

At what point do I step back and evaluate what it is exactly that I do all day? Where do I spend my time? What energy do I put forth? At what level does a task reach insanity status?

For 2 hours today, I washed CapriSun pouches. Hold back your jealousy. Our school is collecting them. They must be empty and flat. They can then be sent to a recycle company and our school will receive $.02 per pouch. In concept, you would think this is just like collecting Box Tops. But in reality, it is so much grosser. I stand to testify.

Some of these pouches had been collected from the lunch room and had sat in a bag. Do you know what happens to ALL moisture in Houston? It grows mold. Oh, yes. Some of these drink containers had mold. So, as I washed each sticky wrapper, I also had to randomly scrape off the goo. With my bare, delicate fingernails.

I then brought all the pouches outside to lay on the sidewalk and dry. It was quite the scene in my backyard. It definitely made everything all sparkly. Everything looked bejeweled. I felt like Paris Hilton for a millisecond. Right up to the moment I remembered scrubbing off the mold. That's when I realized I should probably take a good look at myself and what lengths I am willing to go for my children's school.

My CapriSun head count was 275. Todd quickly tallied up my days effort. I made $5.50. Stunning isn't it. I bleached my sink and my fingernails. Then I let my mom take me to Target and buy me stuff.

Tomorrow I'm not even going to look at a juice drink. I'm going to try and be more productive. I think I'll go to lunch with my friends. No CapriSun allowed.

Friday, September 11, 2009

17 Days

I got cocky. Things were going so smoothly and I let peace settle in. 17 days of school without an incident. 17 days! For our circus, that's really saying something. Once I had reached day 12, I got rather excited. I actually let my brain simmer on the thought that we just might have a normal school year. That I just might have kids who act, well, normal.

Then the dam broke. The one that was holding everyone's behavior in. It came rushing away on day 17. Addie was sent to the principal's office. I was told that she was crying so hard she could hardly catch her breath. But by the time she stepped off the bus, she simply shrugged her shoulders nonchalantly.

She went into the boy's bathroom. She didn't just peek her head around the corner and look in...she went ALL the way in. And stayed there. She wouldn't come out. The 5th grade safety patrol had to get 2 teachers, one of them being Addie's, to come and get her back to class. She said that she knew she was in trouble and didn't want to move. So she just stood there. Not moving. AFTER she had splashed water all over herself from the sink, and AFTER she had surveyed the boys urinals.

Our 'normal' streak came to a halting stop. In my dismay I sent her to her room for 3 years and made her write 'I'm Sorry' 4.2 million times. She took the papers to class the next day and her teacher proudly tacked them right up on the board. In Ms. Crump's words, she just thinks "Addie was having a bad day". Um, really?

I asked Addison why she went in there to begin with. Her response, "I wanted to see what they do in there." The principal told her, "you really don't want to know", and then had her write sentences. Maybe after all this her penmanship will improve.

If all this just wasn't enough joy for me to swallow, Sam decided to act like a lunatic later that night. We both went to a mother daughter activity at church. For 90 minutes she openly sassed and talked back to me. She made some rather rude comments about me as well. In front of everyone. Sigh.

I guess I should be grateful for my 17 days. It was so nice to feel normal. I liked it. I actually felt like a semi-good parent. But now I'm resigned to the fact that we were just not meant to be normal, and I was always meant to have a personal relationship with the principal. Sigh again.

Goodbye normal. Goodbye parenting skills that actually work. I'm off to buy more paper and pencils. I have a feeling we're going to be writing a lot.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

She Has Arrived

We've been busy celebrating today. Sam is now 13. I look at her and feel like she has entered a new dimension. Her age is no longer a primary, basic number. She now has a 'teen' attached to her.
I let her feel all teen-ed out. Skipped school, spent the day at the mall, spent frivolous money. It came so easily for her. She relished the independence. I, in turn, watched with my 'mother eyes' and felt the joy at her growing, but at the same time wanted to slow it all down.

Dinner with the family. Lots of food and lots of love.

This is Sam just 2 years ago. In written word that seems like such a long time. Yet, I look at her here and it feels like I can't quite grasp all the time that has gone by from then until now. Her hair is shorter, her cheeks a little chubbier and there is the slightest sliver of little girl left in her.

This is Sam today. The girl that is now a teen. The girl that reminds me so much of myself. My child that made me a mother. The girl that is my gift.
I love you more. Every. Day.

Happy 13th my Samantha.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

A Thought To Soak In

Someone read this in a meeting at church this morning. Good wisdom that seemed to penetrate my heart. Read and soak in it's truth.

The Dash
by Linda Ellis

I read of a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
From the beginning to the end.

He noted that first came the date of her birth
And spoke of the following date with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time
That she spent alive on earth
And now only those who loved her
Know what that little line was worth.

For it matters not, how much we own,
The cars, the house, the cash,
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard;
Are there things you'd like to change?
For you never know how much time is left
That can still be rearranged.

If we could just slow down enough
To consider what's true and real
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger
And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives
Like we've never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect
And more often wear a smile,
Remembering that this special dash
Might only last a little while.

So when your eulogy is being read
With your life's actions to rehash
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash?

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Flower Child

This flower is normally above Addie's window as a DECORATION. Makell felt the need to dismantle the window treatment and adorn herself in hot pink. I think I'm going to make her wear it to school.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Hypothetically Speaking

What exactly is considered a bad parent? I mean, really. Is it a fine line or a really thick line? At the end of the day, if everyone is alive, unharmed and fed, it's been a successful day in my book.

So, let's just say (hypothetically speaking of course) that within the last 24 hours, I have done the following:
  • A certain 6 yr. old woke up at 5:30 AM! By the time she was ready to hop on the bus, she was already lagging. I gave her a glass (kid size, if you must know) of Coke so she wouldn't be tired at school.
  • I told a particular 12 yr. old that her shirt was ugly, worn out and I was sick of her wearing it over and over and over. And that, for the love of my sanity, she has GOT to stop letting her hair hang down over her eyes.
  • A middle child of mine wanted to buy a book from the school book order. I told her I wouldn't pay for it. She had to buy it herself. This is my learning disabled child. I should be doing everything within my power to encourage her to read. And yet, I made her hand over the money.
  • I openly admitted to another adult that I would rather be with the twins then my own kids. They're not old enough to talk back to me and I don't have to put any effort into disciplining them. It's like a parent vacation.
  • My sister asked me if I'm just a teeny, tiny bit excited to see my kids when they get off the bus at the end of the day. I had to pause for a second until I could respond, "only every other day".
Can you love and adore your kids and be a bad parent at the same time? Because I love 'em. Oodles. But sometimes as I review my parenting skills in my head, I have to wonder. Maybe my standards are too high. I make dessert every night. That's definitely a mark of a good parent. Hypothetically speaking of course.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Rainbows Are Delicious

I made cupcakes today. Around here that is nothing unusual. But these were rainbow cupcakes. I took the idea from here. It might just be my imagination, but I think I felt happier after eating a dozen or so. Rainbows just have a way of bringing cheer. Especially when covered in frosting.

Start with a basic white cake mix. Divide into bowls and mix in coloring. Layer. Use all your inner strength to resist eating the entire bowl of batter.

Top with frosting. Eat before AND after dinner.

Enjoy your sugary rainbows. Make sure you smile while you eat them.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Wisdom From A 6 Year Old

Addie: "Mom, who makes you you're color?"
"Oh wait. Jesus makes you a color. If he makes you peach, you live in Texas. If he makes you brown, you live in Hawaii."
pause again
"I think you can also be peachish-brownish."

Me: "Where do you live if your peachish-brownish?"

Addie: "Kentucky or California."

Emily, my sister: "But Addie, I'm peach and I used to live in Hawaii."

Addie, without skipping a beat: "Then Jesus made you wrong."


While driving in the car, I overheard Addie's conversation with herself:

"Hey! I'm growing a nipple!"
"There's another one!"
"There's like, a thousand of 'em!"


All this from the girl who insists beyond reason on wearing the same set of socks (pink stripes or turquoise polk-a-dot) every. single. day. I'm speechless.