Monday, December 27, 2010

Ardyn again

Ardyn's gems of the day...

"mommy why is grandma deb at the police? Police are scary!"

"this dog wants a treat. He needs some food. Let's make him a T-Bone mistake! (steak. Lol)"

When talking about getting up at night to go potty instead of wearing a diaper to bed... "yeah mom, when it's in the night, and I hear myself peeing in my bed, I can get up and go to the potty! " me- "what's it sound like when you pee in your pull up?" Ardyn "it's like a loud whistle in my teeth!"

That's ArdynSpeak!

Mission: Toy Library

I am going on 4.5 hours of sleep here, so forgive me if I don’t write clearly. Ardyn is in the bathtub and Marek already took a bath with his new Hot Wheels Tub Racer track (from Grandma Deb for Christmas) and he is handsome and sweet and clean. We have recently switched from baths together (which get crazy, splashy, and sometimes injury prone) to baths with one after the other (same water) which allows each kid their own space and their own un-interrupted play time. Less splashing, no fighting, more enjoyable for everyone around.

After Christmas I had those after Christmas Blah’s that every mom gets. No, not the ones where it’s like “Back to work, back to life” (Moms never really stopped working anyway!) But those ones where your entire house is trashed. Because everyone wants you to be everywhere so they can see the kids, and you drug half their possessions around for two-three days…. And then you brought home more toys than you know what to do with and they all need a home and you realize (again) that you really just need a bigger house. I find it difficult to purge toys, because my kids really do play with them all. We do a toy rotation, and keep a couple of HUGE totes in the attic so that we can rotate toys several times a year. We do two rotations in the winter, when we are trapped inside more, and usually a couple throughout the spring/summer as well. With each rotation I try to go through things and get rid of toys by donating them or taking them to consignment. We don’t really have broken toys because I am pretty particular about taking care of them. The more toys we get, the more difficult that becomes. With this last rotation, before December hit, I was conscious of the upcoming gifting season and left some “open” spots on our shelves, which worked out perfectly. I also keep several “larger” toys in the attic and we switch those out too. We have the McDonalds playset (which is in the attic right now) and the kitchen (which we haven’t taken “out of rotation” yet, but it’s been here for 2 years and is not being played with as frequently, so it needs to go) and the wooden doll care center, which has the high chair, bathtub, baby bed, and cupboards all in one (which is also in the attic) and then we have the trampoline (which only comes out for the winter) and the activity garden (only when we have one learning to crawl and walk) and the tree tent (which is also usually a winter toy.) And now we have (thanks to Christmas) a fisher price basketball hoop that I don’t know what to do with. We have one outside, but it’s in winter storage at the farm, so I guess we have an indoor one and an outdoor one? I dunno. *sigh*

So these are the mom’s Christmas Blah’s. Where you are ever-so-grateful but increasingly overwhelmed by all the toys surrounding you and how to manage them.

Even before Christmas, I was disappointed at the number of “projects” and Educational Items that I have that we don’t even use. Partially because there never seems to be enough time in the day, and partially because they need to be fully supervised. They don’t NEED to be I guess, but when you mix a 3-year old and an almost 2-year old, and things like markers, play-doh, wipe-off boards, zillions of legos, and 50 thousand tiny “choking hazard” pieces, yeah, they do need full supervision. They also need a clear space to play in, like a dining room table that isn’t covered with crap. I just really wanted to work those things into daily life more often. I considered implementing a time of day when those things were accomplished, but who am I kidding… that just won’t happen. This isn’t preschool. We still need to go to the bank, the doctor, the grocery store, to playdates, and we also have naps, and sick days, and laundry days.

So I had gotten this idea in my head. A “check-out” system that allows Ardyn to look through a binder ring that was filled with picture cards of things to “do” or “create” and then she could choose one and check it out, and she and Marek could play at the table with that item. If they were done, they would be responsible for helping to clean up and put away, and then they could check-out another one. This had been in my head for a couple of months, and just not implemented.

After Christmas I was having an internal struggle (which yes, lasted about 24 hours. I don’t dawdle in my thinking processes) regarding all toys being readily available to play with and mix or match and have all at once, or the alternative, which would be that all or most toys would need to be “checked out” in a sense, which means you would need to pick up what you played with last in order to get the next thing out. The latter was my mom’s suggestions a while back, and while I could see where she was coming from, I just could not bring myself to implement it. Mostly because my kids come up with the craziest things, and use their imaginations wildly, with different toys from different categories. This is what kids DO. They use a syringe from a doctor kit to decorate a birthday cake from the kitchen set. They use the string on the whistle as a makeshift dog leash. They use the perfume from the dress-up set to groom the dog and make him smell pretty. So taking away toys and only allowing them one thing or category at a time, seems like it would be hampering their creativity. I had to find a compromise. I also didn’t want them to constantly be asking me for a new toy, because I knew that I would never get ANYTHING accomplished. Part of the best thing about having these two close in age is that they play really well together. I didn’t want to compromise that.

It hit me yesterday. The check-out system. For games and toys or items that need supervision, or for things like legos that can easily get out of control, lost, and hazardous (to our feet!)

I needed supplies. I needed containers with lids. Snap on lids, to put certain items in. Like Littlest Pet Shops (choking hazard for Marek) and the new doll that Ardyn got with all the snap on clothes. Things like that. I had recently converted our DVD storage cabinet into a secure place to keep games, but I had yet to let them PLAY any since putting them behind closed and locked doors. This was not working. I can’t put things out of sight, because then they are out of mind. The checkout system would put photos of all these options onto small cards, that I would attach to a binder ring. On the back of the photo I would put the location of the item… like which cabinet it is in. This will be helpful since I will have to keep things in at least three different rooms. I just don’t have enough space left for one designated area for the checkout. But the majority of them will be in the kitchen hutch, which is largely unused after the remodel. The reasoning behind this is that they don’t generally hang out in the kitchen without me, and if they were in there I would think they were up to something, and they are less likely to get those containers down. Plus without a chair they can’t reach them anyway. I will also keep certain creative and educational items in the cabinet on the front porch, which has already been designated as such. Then I will have the DVD cabinet with the games inside, which will remain as it is. Last night I spent several hours plotting out my design and taking notes. I tried each “toy” in containers that I already had to see how many containers I needed of each size. I made a list and then I went to Wal-Mart from midnight till 3am to pick them all out. They were out of binder rings (boo!) but I got containers and from 3-4 am I was in the living room putting things in their proper containers. Today I hope to order the photos of the toys (which I took last night) from walmart and start labeling the containers and putting them in their places, and then make the cards.

I had better get going. I did talk to the kids about “toy library” and they (Ardyn) are excited. She has asked about it 4 times this morning. I need to shower so we can get to the bank and to Sheffield, and to order pics and such. J More on this later, as It progresses!

Monday, December 20, 2010


Today was a pretty fulfilling day. I think the coolest thing about Sunday is when you find a church that you can't wait to get back to, instead of one that you have to make yourself attend ;)

I stayed up way too late because I procrastinated way too long. I had my dough made and rising early in the day Saturday, but we decided to take off as a family for supper and a few supplies that night, and when the kids took their nap I decided to shower, paint my toenails, shave my legs, and put lotion, perfume, AND Mascara on. Shocking. I felt like a new person. I think this was the first time I wore any makeup in approximately 1 month. Seriously. But this also meant that when we got home at 10pm I had 30 cinnamon rolls to make, and icing. I screwed up a few times because I was so tired I couldn't see straight, and eventually I just gave up and decided to go to sleep. Also at 11:30 I started my decorations for the altar. They weren't over the top fabulous, but the cricut did the trick and we presented Joy through the eyes of a child, which included wearing our Christmas PJ's to church, blowing bubbles for the congregation, and talking about some of our favorite things that we brought to display. Ardyn also rang the doorbell on my musical light-up Gingerbread House, and proudly announced that it was "mommy's favorite Christmas Decoration."

After the sermon, I popped into the kitchen and put the rolls in the oven. Then after prayers I went and took them out and frosted them while the service finished. They smelled so fabulous. People said I made the last 15 minutes of church hard to sit through because they could smell them. It was so cute because Fox Webber was facing backwards the entire time, watching me move them from the baking pans to the glass serving platters. (the kitchen opens up right into the church.) Ardyn was full of it today and gave Sarah and Marcy a run for their money. After church and coffee hour, Ardyn and I stayed and washed all the dishes and put them away, and tidied up the kitchen. Then we took down our altar decorations and packed them up. Then we went into the playroom and read a couple of books together. We were trying to decide what we were going to do, leave the church at 1pm and come back by 3 for caroling, or stay at the church the whole time. It was a tough decision, but in the end, I knew that we needed to change out of our pajamas and get warm coats and hats and such, and also that we probably needed to eat lunch. So we ended up heading home and eating with Marek and then changing clothes and going back to the church for Caroling. We went to eight different places, three of which were long term care facilities, and sang to all of our congregation members who are unable to attend church, and sometimes to anyone at the homes who would make their way to the activity rooms. Ardyn did great for about the first three places, and then she started to get antsy, and she hadn't had a nap either, so that didn't help. But overall she was a WONDERFUL trooper and really behaved fairly well for a 3-year old with a bunch of adults caroling. Mimi brought her niece, but she was 5 and a little shy, which Ardyn is not. It was nice to have another child around though! The best part for me revolved around the whole Health Ministry process. I recently joined the Health Ministries committee at our church and was really intrigued by the possibility of visiting and keeping in touch with people who are unable to get out. The problem being that I don't know any of these congregation members because we haven't been there long, and many of them have not been able to attend since we have been there. It was nice to be able to go and see them with other friends and learn a little about them, so that hopefully someday I would be able to visit them in the future.

I am fairly comfortable with nursing homes because my Great Grandma (who I was VERY Close with) spent several of the last years of her life in one, after a fall that broke her hip. She was very sound in mind for the longest time afterward, and we spent a good deal of time visiting her. Ardyn didn't seem phased by anything there. Which was good. I also realized that one of the people that we visited is in the same building as my Great Aunt Margie, and although she was busy with Bingo today, I hope to go back and visit her again soon! I have a dilemma about taking Ardyn with.... because she is so young and sometimes has a very short attention span, but the residents really seemed to love seeing a little one, and it reminded me of all the attention that my sister and I got when we visited Grandma. Most families don't bring small children to visit, and I think that's a shame. I hope to try in the future. And I also think that now that I have Aunt Margie's Room number, I need to send her a Christmas Card... or perhaps deliver it in person :)

After caroling we went back to the church and had supper together, and then the rest of the carolers watched Rudolph. Ardyn and I went to moms to spend some time with Mom, Dad, and Liz and Marek (who was there that afternoon while we caroled) and then we got home late late late and I carried the sleeping kids right in to bed at 11:30.

Another wonderful part of the day was the sermon at church. Pastor Cheryl started by asking us all to talk about our fondest Christmas Memories. Of course I was the odd-ball because I remember Christmases when things went wrong... Like the one when I had chicken pox and had to stay home while everyone else partied at my Grandma's next door.... or the year that mom thought that the bible I gave her as a surprise present was stolen. Oh, those were the times :) Remind me later and I will write a post about those.

Then she elaborated into Joseph and Mary's experience of Christmas, and how they had no memories or traditions to go by. There was nothing to tell them how Christmas was supposed to be. Nothing to let them know what traditions they could follow or how the day was supposed to go. They were living in the moment of the first ever Christmas Traditions. That was a neat thing to ponder. Then was the breakthrough moment. We talked about Jesus and Mary's prayers. Here we go.... are you ready for this?

Never in my entire life has any church-going individual said, out loud, to me or in public, anything about the whole "yeah right... Mary was a virgin" scenario.

You know what I mean. Don't pretend you don't. Anyone with a free-thinking brain in their head has thought "now, seriously, if Joseph and Mary lived today, and Mary was a virgin, and Joseph had never had sex with her, and never lived with her, and they were engaged to be married, and she showed up pregnant.... no matter what she said..... Well, ESPECIALLY if she said it was a child of God, Joseph would have looked at her like she just saw Moses in her Taco and incredulously told her to get a grip and take her baby-makin bootie back to the baby's daddy." (these might not be your exact words. LOL.)

So, no one has ever mentioned this to me, let alone in CHURCH. And that isn't exactly how Pastor Cheryl worded it, but I knew what she was getting at. She spoke of Joseph hearing the news of Mary, his Fiance, being with child. She mentioned that he may have heard it from the town gossip, or from a friend, or from Mary's family. And that he had decided that he would dismiss her privately, instead of making any type of public spectacle, because he truly thought that she had been with another man. And that the thing that changed his mind was the visit from the angel of God in a dream. In all my church-going years, we NEVER were told that the angel visited Joseph and that he had to be a tad bit convinced or nudged into the direction of believing this whole "child of God" story.

Just hearing all this discussed seriously and openly shed a whole lot of light on the situation. But of course those of us who are still slightly skeptical might say that it would take more than a dream with an angel to convince us of an immaculate conception! But in my mind, this is where the whole "God Is Still Speaking" phenomenon enters the picture, and I wonder, who is god talking to today? I know he is talking to all of us in various ways... In ways that we feel and trust and believe, and who am I to determine on what level Joseph communicates or feels God? And then I wonder, if Jesus and Mary do show up in potato chips and tacos? I wonder if I should ditch the Mickey Mouse pancakes and work on Jesus pancakes. Hmmm.... there could be money in this. Although I would have to donate all proceeds to the church or that would be a bad move. Something tells me that moneymaking endorsements are not huge on God's list of ways to get into heaven.

So. There you have it. My crazy congregational moment of the day.

Have you noticed that Christmas is nearly here? Yep. Shocked me a bit too. Ardyn is starting to get the concept that it really truly is close. Every day she says something like "Is tomorrow Christmas Eve?" or "Will Santa be here tonight?"

She is excited about Christmas Eve at Great Grandma's and about the Christmas Eve church service. Today I learned that each congregation member brings a candle in it's holder and we place them all together on the altar. Each different candle is lit and serves as a reminder of what each person's diversity brings to our church. And that speaks volumes and perfectly describes us.

So, tomorrow I have no official plans. A couple of errands to run and need to make an appointment at the van, as the driver's side sliding door has ceased to slide automatically without getting caught and stuck (ick) and it's a pain. So. Would love to have that fixed before Christmas. Love. really. I wonder if I could convince them to just loan me a new van for the holiday weekend. :)

How in the world did it get to be almost 1am? I wish that my kids would sleep in tomorrow. I could use a bit of rest. Two days without a nap is cramping my style (my nap I mean. I love to lay down and rest when they do, and it makes me such a better mamma to have a break with them :)

Well, goodnight (morning) and may you slow down and enjoy this Holiday week.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Problems with Pampered Chef Products, But still getting alot done!

I can not believe what I accomplished today. No wonder I am exhausted! The kids were gone, but I woke up aching. I wanted to sleep later, but my back is out of whack and it was so achy. Whenever I get out of line I start to have lots of arthritis problems and sometimes pinched nerves. Never had them before the double-whiplash car incident where I was rear-ended in something like 2001, but have them ever since. I ended up getting up around 8:30 and then laying down on my stomach for another 30 minutes trying to stretch my back out a bit.

Evan has been feeling better but wasn't feeling fabulous this morning so he went back to bed and I ran around like a madwoman. I spent several hours in the morning- wait - my mom swears that my kids are going to read this someday. Let me start all over.

This morning Santa called and told me that Mrs. Claus had finished getting all the Christmas Presents ready. Back in 2007 I sent her an email, explaining that I would really prefer if the gifts that Santa would bring the kids could be void of all packaging, cardboard, tape, twist ties, and plastic hang tags. I also wanted fresh batteries in everything. I knew that it would save time and precious "joy" on Christmas morning. I knew that the kids would be elated to find that the elves had manufactured their toys right at the workshop and that they were right there under the tree to play with - sand unwrapping, un-packaging, and battery installation. So anyway, Santa said that by noon Mrs Claus had all the presents sorted and prepared to go into the sleigh. I feel really bad for Mrs. Claus, because I just KNOW that Santa stayed up to late and that he was sleeping and snoring on the couch while Mrs. Claus took care of everything.... and he never once considered that Mrs. Claus probably had things to do like cleaning and holiday baking and her own gift wrapping. Oh well. Santa also said that she ran all the duplos from eBay through her dishwasher and steam cleaned some toys.... so I am sure that he helped in the end.

So anyway, yesterday with the kids gone I got a ton done away from home, and a bunch of me time in. I was able to redo my friend Stacey's Facebook Page for her business, because she increased the product types she offers and therefore changed the business name (It's Sew Cute, Check it out, it's the one with the Tutus as profile pics) and that was great because I had needed a few quiet minutes to get that switched. Well, it took me more like an hour or more, because I had to upload all the pics again, but still. It's done.

Today I picked up the living room, front porch, Ardyn's room, and the kitchen. The kitchen was a wreck. I ran the dishwasher and hand washed those evil utensils that aren't dishwasher safe. I can say that I have quite a few Pampered Chef products that I haven't been really satisfied with. It seems like suddenly they are falling apart like RIGHT after the warranty expires. I really have to say that I hate the clear acrylic measuring cups. Or should I say EASY READ MEASURING CUPS. I have all of them, even the tiny one, and they wash terribly. The acrylic gets these spidery cracks all over them, that aren't actually cracks clear through, but like acrylic surface cracks. Everywhere. And they get more and more difficult to clean and won't come clean in the dishwasher as a result. I love that they nest, and that is the main reason that I did away with my pyrex measuring cups, but I am so tempted to toss these things it isn't even funny. Especially not funny considering that four of them cost $29, plus tax and shipping. Not funny.

One of my favorite favorite newer products just cracked on me. And I mean cracked in like four places. I am referring to the Microplane Grater. I was so disappointed. Of course I earned it as a consultant before I retired, and so it's just about 5 years old now. It would be one thing if I had frequently used it for 5 years, but seriously I was so burnt out on cooking I didn't even open the box until after Ardyn was born. So it hadn't even been used for like 2.5 years, and it's one of those items that you rarely use. Especially when you already have the rotary grater and the Ultimate Slice and Grate (the original.) So if I had used it 10 times I would be surprised. But it worked FABULOUSLY and I adored it. Especially for zesting oranges. But alas, it seemed to have cracked in the dishwasher. I used it, and it was fine, and when I took it out of the dishwasher, it was cracked in like three places. The worst cracks were around the metal plate, in the plastic frame. They make it not so great to use anymore. And I am not spending $27 to get another one that will eventually do the same thing. Then tonight I noticed when putting away my Double Burner Griddle (Professional Cookware, $145.00, and less than a year old) has three little areas that look like knicks, but not like metal utensil knicks, but like blips in the coating where the coating is coming off. Grrr. It has a lifetime warranty, and I have NEVER used metal utensils or knifes or anything on it, and I am the only one who uses it... to cook breakfast for the kids. SO frustrating. This has a lifetime warranty so I am planning on contacting them for a replacement.... but in all the years I sold and used Pampered Chef very heavily, I never had this many product issues. It makes me wonder if their quality is declining. Warren? Are you listening?

Well, tonight my stove cooked it's last meal. We bought the Tappan Electric Stove about 10 years ago at the auction for Mother Superior. (Michael Michlig's Grandma) in Manlius. I think we paid like $25-50 for it.... and I think I would have gotten it for less except that a relative was bidding against me to drive the price up so it wouldn't go so low. It has been a good stove, and old one but it has worked well up until about the last year. We noticed a few burners starting to not heat up right, and now the oven has stopped working right. For Thanksgiving I had to keep re-arranging food and racks because it wasn't cooking evenly. Tonight, 10 minute garlic bread took 35 minutes on 400 degrees. And I had to turn it on preheat for the last 5 minutes to melt the cheese on top because it wasn't heating evenly. We ordered the new stove about two weeks ago. A snowstorm kept the delivery truck from getting it to our area last week, and then when it did finally arrive on Monday, we had discovered that Evan had H1N1 so we talked to the salesperson and decided to delay the delivery while he was contagious. So tomorrow, FINALLY! the stove is going to be delivered at 10am. I am so excited I can hardly stand it! I want to bake all day tomorrow! I chose a Samsung (like our fabulous French Door Bottom Freezer Fridge) and ordered black. It's electric, flat top ceramic with 5 elements and it is convection. It also has a hidden element (yay!) and not only is self-clean but has a 20 minute quick self-steam clean that cleans up quickly after a spill or drip (yay! yay!) and here it is! Ten AM will be here before I know it! Whoooo! So. Excited. I have lots of baking that I wanted to do, but have put some of it off because the oven wasn't up to par. If I have been successfully baking breads and rolls in that old thing, I can't imagine what this new one will do! It even has a proof setting! yay!

okay. So I did a ton today. And I am so exhausted. And I need to go to sleep, so that's that.
Ardyn did get in trouble at dance tonight for pushing... the teacher! WHAT will we do with this child? Tonight we had a long discussion, and I showed her just what it feels like to be pushed down when you don't expect it. We talked about how it makes you feel to be pushed down and when I asked her why she doesn't push mommy she said "Because I love you!" and then we talked about reasons not to push friends, especially teachers. And then we discussed the consequences if it ever happens again. Man I hope something sinks in!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Me Time Minus H1N1

Yep, you heard me right. Finally Finally Finally some much needed "me time." After what seems to be nearing two full weeks of children children children, mostly alone since Evan is sick, I am breaking out. Instead of staying home and doing laundry and dishes and picking up toys, I decided that today is all about me. I got up this morning and made the kids breakfast and got them out of the house and delivered to Grandma's. They will be there until tomorrow night (yay!) and I am so thrilled. I can't even begin to explain, but to many of you, I don't even have to. I started out by picking up my Christmas Layaway at TSC and heading to RP Lumber for some longer screws so that I can drill and attach the last pull to the new kitchen cabinets. There is one drawer and it needs longer screws than the doors. Then I went to Annie's Little Pots and picked up some things that we had in the kiln and finished my last cereal bowl that was halfway painted. That was relaxing and fun. Then I came to the library, checked out the Scholastic books, and now have settled in at the counter with a Chai Latte, Peanut M&M's, and free internet. Which I need because I didn't pay the Comcast bill this month. Those bastards charge so much! My bill ends up being like $80 a month for just internet. Grrrr.

So if I want to start at the beginning, I should explain that Evan has H1N1. Yep. The real deal. He was sick for days and I thought he might have the flu and then when he felt bad still on Sunday I ended up putting the kids to bed, calling my friend Lisa (bless her) and having her come stay at the house for a while so I could take him to the Emergency Room. Of course the ER doesn't bother me, because I 6 years working in the hospital and know almost everyone there, but Evan was against it until he was so sick he just didn't care. They did a chest Xray and flu test and discovered that he was positive for Influenza A and based on his symptoms diagnosed him with H1N1. The chest Xray shows a small spot in his lungs that appears to be the potential start of pneumonia. He left with medication and after he got a bag of IV Fluids. He has been gradually feeling a bit better, starting yesterday. I hope that continues! I was about batty with the kids in the house, trying to keep them quiet (yeah right. Yesterday I ended up just shutting them in the kitchen with the door closed while I made lunch, and giving them a harmonica and wood block with mallet. They were ecstatic. It got some of the noisiness out of their systems.

This Sunday at Church, Ardyn and I get to Decorate the Altar for "Joy" Sunday, and we are also hosting coffee hour. I think that this week we will take homemade Cinnamon Rolls. Our Joy Sunday Decor will revolve around Joy through the Eyes of a Child.... which we know very well. Ardyn suggested that we blow bubbles, which I think is an excellent idea :)

Another H1N1 Complication, is that Evan is sort of under "Quarantine" and while my new stove was scheduled to arrive and be delivered this past Tuesday, we had to reschedule indefinitely so that the delivery people don't catch H1N1. Then I canceled my Cleaning Lady (sad!) and THEN my mom brought up that I need to clean and disinfect the whole house before I have her come back to clean? Hmmm. Seriously? I just thought that if she came back in two weeks, the germs would all be dead and when she cleaned it would be just like a usual cleaning. Can flu germs live for a week after my husband is no longer contagious? The kids and I got our flu shots this season (nice and early thank goodness) and so we have been fine so far. People keep asking and assuming that I am busy disinfecting all surfaces, but really, Evan washes his hands, and he spent the "feverish" days (when he is most contagious) in the bedroom and the kids even stayed away just in case, and I haven't had TIME to disinfect the whole house. I guess I am just not as paranoid as everyone else? Or as paranoid as everyone expects me to be? We always practice good handwashing habits at our house, so really I am not stressing. I don't use Bleach, and I don't use clorox wipes on a daily basis. I just use vinegar or baking soda to clean, so I don't think I need to go all overboard? But now I need to call the cleaning lady to see if she thinks I should clean BEFORE she cleans?

So I googled it (actually I swagbucks'd it) and the flu virus can last on hard surfaces for 48 hours at the longest. The CDC's site says that the flu can generally last between 2-4 hours on surfaces. So if she comes to clean a full week after Evan is no longer contagious, I don't think she has to worry. Right?

I am having such a great time. I might never go home. Ahhhh.

Well, I had planned on spending Sunday night after the kids went to bed, making the teacher gifts for Ardyn's preschool teachers, but then I ended up spending it in the ER, so that didn't happen, and Monday was the last day of school.... so I felt badly. Oh well. I will just have to give them new year gifts :)

Today I was thinking, I hate it when people make me dislike them. I don't want to dislike anyone. But sometimes, they just keep it up and I just don't have a choice. I am actually kinda just annoyed by some things, but then there are people that I just can't help but Dislike. I try. I try to be objective. I try to not let a bad first impression cause me to form an opinion. But sometimes, people just make me hate them.

For example, the people that have so many keychains that their keys won't even fit in their pocket.... okay, that's your thing. Whatever. But when they have so many keychains that they are all clanking together everywhere as they walk because they are swinging them around in their hand.... because they won't fit in their purse OR their pocket.... like the ones that have like three of those acrylic wallet size photo frames. Oh I hate that clanking. I don't hate those people, but I just want to look at them and confront them and say "really? will your life not proceed without acrylic wallet sized photo frames on your keychain?" and while I try to be sensitive to the point that the keychains hold photos of someone they love, maybe even someone who died, I just. can't. stand the clanking. It's so 1980's. lol.

But some people just drive me up the wall. I guess I should be more tolerant. I wonder how Jesus handled those people who drive him bonkers. Don't even tell me that he was so godly that he was never driven bonkers. Of course he was. He was a real person. He was sent here so that he could identify with us and connect with us. He just had awesome coping skills. Instead of WWJD the acronym should be HWJC How would Jesus Cope? LOL.

I have recently come to the realization that I may never read again. I am feeling like Adam Sandler in Click... I just want to pause time so that I can do some reading. I've got The Pillars of the Earth sitting here next to me, and all KINDS Of books on all KINDS of subjects... Celtic Prayer and Worship, the Carmina Gadelica, Books on Marriage and Child Raising and Discipline.... I keep thinking if I could just READ some more, everything would fall into place. Ha! Right. Who am I kidding? I often tell myself - Do NOT get another book to read until you get into the other 50 that are sitting there looking at you. I guess I will be able to read in my retirement, or when my kids move out or something, but there are SO Many books in this world, that I just can't imagine going through my child-raising years not reading anything! It's a crime I tell you! And I have two more seasons of The Tudor's to watch (WHY Can't Netflix get those last two seasons in their Instant Play line like the first two?) and I also have ALL of the Dave Ramsey DVD's that I have borrowed and need to watch, and the workbook and book that I have borrowed and need to read. I am starting to feel like the whole Dave Ramsey gig is way over my head. At this point I just want to pay the bills and there is so much in there about retirement and investments and real estate, and I just feel like I would have to learn so much that I am just not ready for yet. But I have decided to just start at the beginning and see where that gets me.

Tonight I have some things to do at home. I am skipping my Bunco Christmas Party. I feel kinda guilty, but with Evan being sick, I just know that I would rather spend this time without kids getting a handle on some things. I have some Christmas Preparation to do also. ;) Although curling up in a chair sounds good too. As does taking a nap. I have been yawning for like three hours now.

Well, blogging has been great, but I am seriously considering just taking my book into a comfy library chair and reading for a while :) Take care and GET YOUR FLU SHOT!!!

Friday, December 10, 2010


Some of Ardyn's recent wisdom...

"mommy look at Marek's poopy! It's big and round! Like Santa's head!!!"

"Mommy, why does Santa have a backpack?"

"When you die, your belly is cutted open and your heart falls out." I said "where did you hear that?!" she said "Kelsea Klingenberg telled me!"

And the next day "when you die and your belly cuts open and your heart falls out, they put another heart in, an extra case heart." (extra case means "just in case" in Ardyn speak, FYI.)

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Marek in Underwear.

You know what is the CUTEST? The first time you put your little kid in real underwear. It is all I can do to not post pics of Marek in Boxer briefs (eventually they will be on Facebook, :)

I got some today and man are they adorable. He has been asking for a couple of months now to sit on the potty and to go potty. I have yet to have him successfully go, but he did pee once for Evan. We are reading potty books and we brought the little potty out for him now. The potty seat that goes on the big toilet does NOT have a sufficient guard on it for a boy, so the potty chair is the way we will go for now. This afternoon we put underwear on him for a little over an hour. We went through three pair. I set the timer for 15 minutes and he peed at 13 on the floor. I set it for 12 minutes and he peed on the floor when there was 43 seconds left. I set it for 10 minutes and at 8 minutes I saw him squat under the dining room table at my feet and poop. We are a long ways from potty training, but I just want to get him to go in the potty ONE TIME So that I can reward him and get him used to at least knowing what it feels like to go and hopefully to know what he needs to do to make himself go when and if he sits on the potty. I do have lots of training pants, but I decided that the underwear were so stinking cute and sometimes with those training pants at first they can pee and you don't know it till later when you check them. And we have hardwood floors. So it's okay.

But yeah, put the skinny skinny guy in boxer briefs and little toddler briefs and it's hysterical. The little poochy belly and the tiny waistband. LOL. I can't help but giggle each time. And you can tell that he thinks he is SO big.... walking around proud as can be.

This place is messy and I should be cleaning it, but I really really don't want to do anything. I am doing laundry, but that's about the extent of it. The Christmas Cards are all ready to send, and I got them addressed and went to THREE POST OFFICES today before I could get stamps. I ended up waiting at one for 20 minutes until they opened (lunch!) and then tonight when I came inside I brought the stamps inside but not the cards. I meant to have them in tonight's mail, but now they are out in the single digits, and it's 70 in here, and I am just not really keen on putting on pants and such and heading out in the frigid cold to finish them. Icky. I might even pay someone to bring them inside to me. I think I have $1.

Santa, she's been naughty!

I think I am going to need an exorcism. I have decided to blog in order to avoid listening completely to Ardyn screaming at me from her room, where she is demanding that I come back and get her right this minute because she has now decided to be good. *sigh*

I am not sure what exactly has gotten into these two. It's been a couple of weeks now that I have just been beside myself with what the two of them have going on in their heads. Someone always seems to be having a bad day, and more often than not, it's both of them. I decided tonight that I can't do anything productive with them and because they were injuring each other, myself, themselves, and everything in their paths, and had not taken naps despite my even laying down WITH them in my bed for two hours with soothing music..... that it might just be the best to put them to bed. Marek wasn't even in there 10 minutes and he was OUT. Ardyn however started long howling sobs about how she's going to listen and do everything I say and NEVER touch Marek EvER EVER EVER Again. She also mentioned that she is starving and that if I don't get her out of bed to feed her that she will die in there all alone. Ah. Drama.

Last night I actually had a conversation after MOPS with Evan about how I am having a hell of a time getting them OUT the door in the morning. Neither of them are listening to anything. Unless I am physically holding them down to put on boots and coat and hat, nothing happens. Ardyn is perfectly capable of getting her boots AND hat AND coat on herself, but because she is constantly so worried about what Marek is doing, where Marek is going, and who is going to be the leader out of the house and who is bringing snack to school and who is blah blah blah blah blah..... that we never get ANYWHERE. Every time I pause to help her, he is undressing himself or in a different room entirely or just doing something plain annoying. I am just tired of fighting. Ardyn was doing so well with being responsible for getting her boots and coat on, or at least in her possession if she needed help, but now she is backtracking badly. Her issue is purely a LISTENING one. I have to admit that I am wondering if this really is just an extremely independent and strong willed 3 year old or if she is exhibiting some signs of ADD. I think what I really need is some one on one time with her, but no one seems to want to take either of them for any extended period of time these days.

I am proud that we made it through this day without spanking her at all (she almost never gets spanked, but it has happened before, I don't mean to make it sound like she gets spanked every day, quite the contrary...) but at the same time, discussions that seemed to get through to her were completely by the wayside an hour later. She has really escalated this screaming and jumping fit that she has every time she wants something that she can't have or something does not go as she wants it to. I have seen this in kids that are just older than her, and watched them go through this phase and see them occasionally still exhibit it, but to watch her do this sometimes 5-8 times and hour is just EXHAUSTING.

I am starting to wonder if I need to be more structured when it comes to playtime at home. Is just letting them imagine and run around playing with each other as they choose a bad thing? I think I see them forming excellent relationships with each other and also really being imaginative and elaborate in their play, but I also see that when it comes to structured time they don't do very well with anyone telling them what to do. Today she got in time out twice at school, the first time for constantly interrupting the teacher and circle time (which I can completely see) and another mom told me that she swung out at the teacher when she was put in time out. The second time she was put in time out for actually PUSHING her other teacher when they tried to redirect her. We have discussed till we are blue in the face today about how it is not polite to push anyone and it is disrespectful to push a teacher or hit them. She was refusing to nap or sleep until we wrote a "sorry note" to her teacher for her behavior, but I was trying to get her to understand that this was not going to get her out of nap. I told her that it was an excellent idea and that tomorrow we can do that together, and that we have all weekend to think about what she wants to say if we have to postpone it. Her new thing is to act terribly and then when she gets in trouble just say "I'm going to be good now" over and over and hysterically OR announce that she wants presents (referring to being good for Santa) in order to try to prevent herself from going to time out. At this time I am thinking that I might need to research other options for her instead of time out, and maybe even start diligently using the chore chart that gives red X's for bad behavior with small tasks as consequences. Or is alllll this just because she is three? I just don't want to underestimate this and have it blow way out of proportion because I wasn't firm enough with her about her behavior.

Despite the issues at school we went to see Santa afterwards. I thought it might help for her to actually see him and tell him if she had been good.... but that Santa was too darn nice. Maybe I should have let her pee on him or something. But of course she had a jumping up and down issue ON the "santa stage" and another before we even left the mall. Actually, two more before we left the mall. Then we got lunch and they both passed out for short snoozes on the way home.

All of this makes me feel like the worst mother, because they are stressing me and making me scream at them because eventually I guess my brain has tried all angles and I can't figure out how else to get them to Listen. I decided putting them to bed was the best thing I could do at this point. The more Ardyn started being hysterical I told her that she would have to rest and that she could wake up tomorrow and start all over again, and behave and show me that she wants to be a good girl. We will see. I am not holding my breath.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Thank God for Tuesdays.

So, Tuesday. My favorite day of the week. MY day. Tuesday nights are my night. Evan stays with the kids and I.... GO! I have something going on almost every Tuesday. MOPS meetings, Bunco, MOPS Mom's night out, Taize worship at church, time at the library.... anything that means quiet. Peace. Fun. Relief from being on call at every moment.

Have I mentioned that these two kids are really kicking my ass lately? I don't know what it is. Their ages? The weather? I just want to nap. Like by 11am. Every day. It's so NOT fun to try to get them both to focus long enough to get their coats and hats and boots on and get out the door, all after getting them to focus long enough to get them potty/changed and then teeth brushed and hair done and clothes on and packed up to leave. I don't even consider doing my hair or wearing makeup. My mascara long since froze in the van because I forgot where it even was it had been so long since I wore any. I've gained like 8 pounds and can feel it in my jeans and I am like SERIOUSLY? This must be because I am not eating well (always running it seems) or because I am always wearing sweatpants because they are just so comfy when you might be down on the floor 5000 times a day. Oy. And it is barely even winter. How can I have already put on half of my extra winter weight? And I just know that Doctor Bob will say "you just need to excercise" and I will say "I know" and then I never will. *sigh* I am convinced that if I had the Michael Jackson Experience Video Game for Wii (oh and a Wii too) I would be skinny. Seriously. Oh who am I kidding? I bought the stupid rocking step thing (I can't even remember the name, how bad is that?) and I didn't even use it once. Seriously. The DVD's are still in the package. Now that is bad. Worse than even I usually am, but I just don't have the TIME and when I have a second the last thing I want to do is EXERCISE! Argh!

Our bedroom is a nightmare. Seriously. People think that when I say something is messy, I must be lying, because, after all, I am so organized. Ha. Hahaha. There is a ball of yarn unwound all over the room, entangled in various plastic hangers and a dislodged baby gate, precariously sitting on top of a basket full of clothes beneath an open drawer, and next to that is a tote of newborn diapers (don't ask) and a tote of stuff I have either sold or am wanting to sell, right next to THREE totes of winter clothes and pajamas that are mine that have only gotten half unpacked and the rest became a giant landslide that has now merged with the pile of dirty clothes. The only place you can go in the room is to the bathroom, and that is a life or death trip. When the kids get in there, at least one person falls down every 2 minutes and bumps their head on some random object. I can't find any clean socks. I don't have any clean jeans. I can barely find a bra, and 6 of the 9 drawers in my dresser are permanently open. Two of them are empty. What I REALLY need is someone to take my kids. For two full days and one night, and lock me in my bedroom with some garbage bags and a laundry chute. I have about 4 loads of dirty diapers that are beyond needing washed. There's a pizza in the kitchen that is stuck to a pizza stone and might have been there since Sunday... or Monday? Probably Sunday. Both couches are piled with laundry and there are three hampers full of clean laundry in the living room next to the Christmas tree that need folded.

This is my life. The kids rooms are disaster areas, you can't walk through them and all the toys are strewn about. The cloth diaper pail is missing (in the laundry room, full of dirties) leaving a pile of dirty ones in Marek's room and a full diaper genie of sposies.

Tomorrow Ardyn has school and Marek and I were going to head to playgroup, and I promised the kids (before I knew we would be broke again this week) that we could go see Santa at the mall after school on Wednesday. Yeah. So that's what's going on here.

I have been trying to be thankful for what we have, and for all the crap that seems to be suffocating me, and for all the things that I need to get done I am just remembering they will be there tomorrow. Although they will be compounded 100 times by the time I get to them. I have an overflowing basket under the table in the dining room full of papers to go through and things to scan and bills to pay. Ugh.

But you know, what I really want to do is play play-doh and make cupcakes and easy bake treats in the new oven that Mimi at church passed on to Ardyn. and I want to play games and drink hot cocoa and take the kids outside for a sled ride. But how am I ever going to even get mildly caught up around here? I don't want things to be perfect, but I would love to have something to wear! I would like my own bedroom to not be a danger zone that we can't even walk through. Oh well. Tomorrow is another day :) Right?

On a brighter note, we DID finally get the Christmas tree up. Sunday afternoon. I had intended that this would be the year that we put up the tree and used my collection of Disney ornaments that I haven't used in years. Before kids, well, before getting married, I had three trees. The main tree in the living room which is all white/silver and has lots of glitter and glass ornaments. Then I had a red and white tree on the front porch, and a Disney tree in our spare bedroom. I packed the Disney ornaments up, including the Pooh tree topper, and couldn't wait till the day I would use them again.... but never knew it would be because I would convert my gorgeous glass tree to a kid-friendly one. The problem? We spent about an hour in the attic and can NOT find the Disney Ornaments! Yikes! They MUST be up there. Seriously. I hope I find them. In the meantime I used some of my red and white ornaments and some that I have that weren't breakable, and we made it work. But it's pretty and the kids are happy. So I am happy too :)

AND I actually got our Christmas Card pics from Snapfish yesterday, and stuffed cards after the Health Ministry meeting last night and addressed them all before the MOPS meeting tonight. Any chances that tomorrow I can buy 50 stamps and get them all sealed and mailed? Hmmmm....

Stay tuned for Christmas Card pics. They are adorable but I won't post them until everyone gets theirs in the mail. I have to be thankful that I meet so many new people each year that I have to take a hard look at our Christmas Card list to try to keep it at 50-60 people. Whew!

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Mindful Prayer Everyday

Oh, of all the things I should be doing, and need to accomplish, I decided to blog. I am hoping that the guilt will not overwhelm me and force my brain to stop in mid-blog mode. To be honest.... my brain was in full blog mode today. No kids, lots of interesting and inspiring and thought invoking conversation. Quiet. Did I mention no kids? But then I had dinner with them tonight and all that blog brain disappeared. It disappeared so much that I was disappointed. I was really hoping to write something meaningful tonight. Something like I wrote before these little hooligans sucked my brains out.

Last night it started snowing. And it kept snowing. And although most of you probably already know this, I am going to repeat it just for the sake of documentation. Because I want to someday have my children be able to read this and know that it was fantastically important to me.

We ate supper together and the kids and Evan and I were in the living room watching Polar Express. The kids were on the couch with Evan and I was crocheting myself a hat in my rocking chair. Marek was climbing the back of the couch and looking out the window and saying "snow! snow!" for the first time. I looked at Evan, and said "You know what would be really fun, going outside to play right now! (actually I think I spelled some of it, because I didn't want to get the kids' hopes up until I knew he was game.) He looked perplexed, and we discussed it further and mentioned that instead of putting them to bed at 10pm, we should put them in their pajamas (long johns) and then into their snow clothes and take them out and pull them in the sled.

Evan said "Hey Ardyn, do you want to go outside and play?" And I wish that I would have had a camera at that moment to capture the look of shock, disbelief, and excitement on her face. To think that she was headed for bed and then suddenly was headed outside to play in 5 inches of the first snowfall of the year? at 10pm? In the DARK? With mom AND dad?! She was soooooo thrilled. She said "Me?!?" "Now?!?" "In the SNOW?!?!" and she tore off for the potty, squealing with happiness. We got them changed and dressed and went outside. They played in the yard while Evan was getting the sleds from the garage, and then we pulled them up and down the entire length of our street. It was beautiful and still. The flakes were big and falling so slowly and thickly.... it was a dream. The kids laughed and squealed and Marek had the biggest grin. Ardyn drug her hands through the snow over and over, and made a snow angel in the yard and tasted the snow off the swing-set. It was great. Best decision ever. And they went inside, got undressed, and fell fast asleep!We got some great little photos, but my favorite of all, is this one, of Evan pulling Ardyn down the street towards home. Peaceful.
So it was a great night. And then I stayed up way to late and ended up regretting it when I had to drag my butt out of bed for my spiritual retreat today. But it was so worth it. I knew it would be, but I was so impressed and felt so stimulated and NORMAL (meaning I do still have brains in there somewhere) and I even felt invigorated to scrape 9 inches of snow off the van and barrel out of the unplowed drive and creep my way down unplowed roads to get to Pilgrim Park. I had no intention of taking my camera with to the retreat (lots of people are really bothered by having their photos taken. I don't want to offend anyone, but again, this is my life that I am documenting.) and then at the last minute, when I saw the snow, and realized that I was bound to run into some really beautiful sights today, I quick grabbed my SD Card and the D3000 and took off out the door. And I am SO glad I did.

It was BEYOND beautiful at Pilgrim Park. Beyond. It reminded me of home, and of Midwest Living Magazine, and of so many snowy days growing up. The chapel at the park is just phenomenal. It made me realize that my entire life, I have been cramped into churches with beautiful stained glass windows, but never really realized that a huge part (the best part) of God's presence here on earth was being obstructed from my view. Was this at the assumption that if I could see outside I wouldn't pay attention to the droning that went on inside? Perhaps. I don't know. But you sure know how I feel about conspiracies and religious ones at that.

Seeing the beauty that God brought around us, and the weather which brought us together and challenged us at the same time.... We all agreed it was a definite way of God telling us that he is here. That he is STILL SPEAKING. It was phenomenal to listen and let your thoughts roll around while looking out at the snow. Sometimes falling softly and lightly, sometimes heavily and thickly, and sometimes not at all, with the exception of large chunks sliding from the branches to plop through the fluff below. Before the retreat actually started I stomped all over the place in the snow and got soaked up to my knees, and spent the better part of the morning drying out my socks and sweatpants. But as you can see, it was entirely worth it. These pictures mean a lot to me, and will forever remind me of this day, and the things I pondered and learned.
So, about the retreat. There are so many things to say, although I don't want to spoil it, because it's something that Adam is working on and while it's probably not for everyone, it's for everyone like me :) There were several discussion points and learning opportunities, but perhaps the real reason that it stuck with me (oh there were several really) was the idea that there is a mindfulness in everyday activities. A mindfulness that you can (and should perhaps) practice, so that it becomes a way of life. So that when performing any type of task, it becomes not just another task or another item on your to-do list, but something entirely better. It becomes like a prayer to God. Wait, not LIKE a prayer to God. It IS a prayer to God. It's reveling in the marvel of everything, of every blessing we have been given. From the basic presence of God in the soil, the rain, the sunshine.... to the more complex things like the food we eat, the people and things we have to be thankful for, and to really pay attention to what we are currently seeing as just another piece of monotonous life. Adam drew some really fascinating pictures in my head. It appealed to me on this awesome level, more-so than I could have imagined it would.

He went back into the history of Christianity... even before Christianity, and filled my head with knowledge of Saints and stories of slavery and Catholicism and the fall of the Roman Empire (*cough cough* Tudors on Showtime anyone? :) and everything was just so fascinating. It reminded me how disappointed I am in the way Americans are "taught" this narrow-minded history of our country. This story about the greatness of America, and the rest of the world is really just left out, unless they tried to oppose us or fight us in any way. It is so frustrating to know that there is so much knowledge out there waiting to be discovered and that without people like Adam to inspire and take the time to share and talk with you, I might not ever feel connected to it.

Ironically, over our morning snack I started a conversation with a new friend about our history and the way that our names changed when our ancestors came to America. I explained that my Husband's last name of Johnson wasn't the last name at all. McShane. I could be Meagan McShane. And my Paternal Grandma would have been an Immesote, but instead became and Emmerson. She was talking of her family names that were changed, and others began joining our table with their pastries and fruit and coffee and soon we had a full discussion going on about our ancestors and our heritage and how sad it is that so many things are lost or changed in order to Americanize.... or for other reasons to many to mention here.

Little did I know that mentioning our names, and that Evan and I feel a strong pull to Gaelic names, and that is why we chose Ardyn and Marek for our children's names.... would all be coming back around in our afternoon discussions.

Adam brought out the stories of Gaelic (Irish, Scottish, Celtic) traditions that were suppressed by the Christian Church. Practices that were centuries old, and had been going on before Christianity itself, were suppressed. Documents destroyed and People told that saying the prayers that they had passed down for generations (even though they had been adapted or amended for Christianity) were now heresy. Gaelic prayers that were said for everyday chores. Praying Mindfully. Including worship for God in your everyday life. Saying a prayer while making the bed. While washing your face. While starting the fire or welcoming the day. Prayers while cooking or farming or raising your children. Recognizing God everywhere was an everyday part of life. Being mindful was as natural as the daily activities they performed. Tasks were blessings from God. They were done methodically and with joy. These Common prayers helped us stay connected to God continually. Informally. It was REAL. Luckily the common prayers were saved and written down, protected in Ireland. And I intend to get those books and read them. Because every prayer that we were given as an example today was PHENOMENAL. They spoke to me. They reminded me of my daily tasks, and of how many things I have to be thankful for. To be MINDFUL of. And of the way I can build my relationship with God. On OUR terms. Not someone else's. Not only on Sunday. Not only with religious people. But by myself. And of ways that I can pass that mindfulness on to my children.

No matter how you feel about religion, no matter what you believe or IF you believe, I believe that there is a God, and that I need a REAL relationship with him. A relationship that is not about what my MOPS group thinks I should do, not about what my Pastor thinks I should do, not about what my mother thinks I should do, not about what my church family thinks I should do. Prayer is between myself and MY father. And I choose to be mindful.

Am I rambling? sorry.

Two of the most amazing things struck me today.... just gave me an "Aha!" moment. Things that spoke to me and that I felt were those "meant to be" reasons that I attended.

I am planning the baptism of Ardyn and Marek. I don't want it to be the traditional "three-ring circus" in which you have to have the church watching, the Godparents chosen and present (a Catholic tradition to bring more people into the church), the baptism gown, the entire family drug to church in ties and dresses whether they believe or not. I don't want that for my kids. I want them to be baptised in the presence of the church family that I am growing to know and love. I want meaningful things said to them and I want it to be peaceful and mindful. And one of the Gaelic prayers of baptism was astonishingly simple. But real. And to the point. And believe it or not (irony? Destiny?) It was a birth baptism performed by Womb Women (midwives) at the mother's side while the baby was being born and while the baby was just fresh and new. It was sweet and melodic and it brought tears to my eyes just hearing it. And I was instantly taken back to my children. Ardyn Labored and Marek Born in the water. And I thought about how it felt so RIGHT to have Marek in the water, and I thought how RIGHT it would have felt to have him baptised right then and there. And I thought how right it would be to have the same Gaelic baptism prayer said when they are baptized this winter. Ironic? Meant to be? Certainly.

The other AHA! moment was when Adam asked us about modern mindful prayers. I was reminded of the book I read (okay, I lie. I didn't read it. I just Perused it.) titled "Real Moms, Real Jesus." It had to go back to the library before I could actually read it, but I gathered enough from the excerpts I was able to read. Enough to understand that Our Father put Jesus here on Earth to walk with us, to experience our life, and to relate to us. Jesus can relate to me as a mother perhaps even more than God can. Jesus knew what it was like to be in high demand. He knew what it was like to be wanted and needed and touched everywhere he went. He knew what it was like to be called upon to heal people, feed people, care for the sick, the weak, the weary. He was in high demand. Much like a mom. Much like a Stay at Home Mom like me who doesn't get a vacation day. Who lives her job 24-7, 365 days a year. Jesus understands what it's like to live that life. He understands the joys and the pains and the overwhelming happiness and the occasional despair you feel when you have to be everything for someone, or for many someones. This gives me a courage and a closeness to Jesus that I never felt before. I always got so confused about the Father, Son, Holy Spirit business. Seriously? Which one was I supposed to be listening to? Whose job was what? Why are there three? I think I have learned where this is going, but it's something I learn every day. And today Adam taught me that St Patrick was a slave. That he was a tax collectors son who had been stolen and sold. That he lived in terrible circumstances.... and that he turned to God. And I learned things that are simple, and that I should have been TAUGHT. Like St Patrick using the Shamrock (hell-o!) to teach of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.... Three leaves but one plant.

Why are we not taught these things?! In my religious upbringing we were just told that the bible said so and this is what it says and so you need to just blindly believe. So frustrating.

So anyway. You get the picture. Hopefully I haven't spoiled Adam's teachings by rambling on about them. I can't wait to read the first three chapters of his book's rough draft.... now if I could just remember WHERE I put it!?


Here's hoping that I can make it to church tomorrow and the wind doesn't blow all this snow silly!
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