Friday, July 28, 2006

God: The Giver Of All Good Gifts

Christmas 2005
Originally uploaded by Beth.
• Was this planned?

• How did this happen?

• Ever think about doing something permanent?

• How old are you?!

• Opps!

• Laugh, snicker, giggle . . .

Okay, I think I’ve heard all of them this pregnancy. So glad we’re almost past the “comment” stage. I’m convinced there are some people in the world who would do well just do keep their lips firmly pressed together!

David and I welcome this soon and coming arrival as a gift from God. It was just two days after Christmas when we found out we were pregnant. Though not planned by us, we know this little baby was planned by God. We are amazed that He would allow us the privilege of being Mommy and Daddy to yet another awe-inspiring little miracle.

The verse that today fills my heart the most is found in the book of Jeremiah, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (verse 11)

Just to even the score, for all the wrong things people have said, there have been twice as many right. Not all the world is cynical and skewed. We are surrounded by so many who understand the true value of life and whence it originates. For them (and probably you if you’re reading this), I am quite thankful.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Morning People!

So happy in the morning
Originally uploaded by Beth.
This morning at 6:43 I woke up to, “Dunt, duna, dunh!!!” Cole was going from room to room playing his fake trumpet in order to wake everyone up. He hates not being able to share the joy of the morning with everyone in his near vicinity. He came into our room with a huge grin yelling, “Hi Dad! Hi Mom! Hi, hi, hi!”

David was already up and out the door. His day of late starts at 4:45 in that he is leading corporate exercise for the interns.

I am usually coherent by 6:43 as well . . . but last night I was up most of the night trying to figure out whether the contractions I was having were actually the real deal or just enough irritation to keep me awake. (I guess it was the latter).

My little morning boy is now standing on a barstool in front of an open refrigerator, doing a little dance and trying to figure out what flavor of yogurt he would like to start his day with.

For everyone who is not yet wedded, I’d like to give you a little advice and fair warning: If you marry a happy-go-lucky, irritatingly chipper morning person who likes to whistle things like “Dixie” before the sun is even up, your offspring might turn out the same!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Danger Of Ipods

The other day David and I were sitting in our mini-van eating a fast lunch before going to an appointment. It just so happened we were parked right in front of an old pay telephone. We both kind of chuckled because you rarely see them anymore. We doubted whether it was ever used.

Ironically, while we sat there, an interesting looking guy walked up to the phone to make a call. We were so amazed! As evidenced by the state of his hands and clothes, he was clearly someone who worked very hard.

I need to insert in this juncture of my story a certain fact: David and I have often commented on the absurdity of how loud the horn is on our mini-van. You almost hate to use it. It is a huge blaring irritating sound . . . if used, people tend to respond by making horrible faces at you. I can sense you are getting some idea of what is coming.

As we sat there watching this man ferociously smoke his cigarette while simultaneously make his call (I know, we seriously lack for entertainment), David leaned down to pick up his ipod while inadvertently leaning his elbow on our ridiculously loud horn. If one thought the poor man making a phone call was somehow entertaining before, imagine how engrossing his response was now.

He jumped about four feet off the ground, turned around to look at us like he wanted to tear someone apart, and then gave us a questioning, confused gesture.

We were so embarrassed. While trying to hide our uncontrollable laughter, we both frantically made motions trying to indicate it was an accident—and that we were complete idiots.

Appeased, he too grinned at the incident and focused his attention back on his call. Though we love to listen to ever classic eighties tunes, commercial-free Rush, and downloadable sermons on an ipod, one must only do so with caution. Obviously, they can be quite dangerous.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The Queen Has Left Her Post

Jonathan the problem solver
Originally uploaded by Beth.
I have a very happy three year old jumping up and down next to my office chair squealing, “Told you, Mom! Told you! Told you!”

Yesterday after violin lessons, my nephew Jon Michael sent Cole out the door with a parting gift: A cute little fire engine that was missing batteries. When we got home, Cole begged me for batteries for the toy. It takes three AA. I tried four sets of batteries. I assumed there was a problem with either the batteries or the fire engine—I couldn’t get it to work. Cole kept begging me to “fix” it and I kept telling him it couldn’t be fixed.

Okay, maybe it’s me. Evidently Cole gave up on me and asked Jonathan to fix it. It is presently filling up our house with bright, flashing lights and really loud, obnoxious sounds that only a three year old can truly appreciate. Thus there is a very delighted child standing at my side deriding my once held status as “Queen of All Problem Solving.”

Monday, July 24, 2006

Shopping Grump

Maybe when you are nine months pregnant you shouldn’t go shopping. A couple of days ago I purchased a sweet little bassinet from Target. I tried to buy some bassinet sheets for it, but Target was completely out of standard bassinet sheets. I went to three different Walmarts. Evidently they too had a run on bassinet sheets. I finally had to purchase a couple at an overpriced baby store. But alas, when I got home I realized the bed required a special-sized sheet and the bassinet sheets were too small.

Over the week-end I went back to the Target where I had purchased the bed and tried to buy sheets to fit it. They don’t actually carry these sheets and I was told by an employee they no longer make them.

As a mom I knew the woman didn’t have a clue. There is no way one of the best baby companies in the world would sell a brand new bassinet (both new on the shelves and new to the market) and not make sheets to fit it.

I got online and of course I was right! The sheets are $6.99 with an additional $4.99 for shipping. One would think I would just pony up for the extra $4.99 and call it done . . . but where is the justice in that?! Instead I wrote a terse, testy letter to the manager of Target. I couldn’t find a higher up online to cc, so I’ll probably not hear back. It just seems like rather shoddy business practices to carry the bed but not to carry sheets that fit it (Not to mention hiring employees that would give me such erroneous information).

I know, there are Israeli troops on the border of Lebanon, Iran is working frantically to make nukes, and North Korea is well, being North Korea. Little irritations like mine pale in comparison. So, like I stated in my premise . . . maybe you shouldn’t go shopping when you’re nine months pregnant!

Friday, July 21, 2006

The Eternal Optimist

So easily delighted!
Originally uploaded by Beth.
A couple of days ago my sister-in-law, Kelly threw a really great shower for me. Assuming Cole was going to be our last baby, I had given almost everything away. What an amazing outpouring of love from so many Teen Mania friends, family and others.

I came home overloaded with lots of colorful bags full of wonderful gifts. I was carrying several when Cole spotted me from across the room. With a huge grin, animated face, and glee in his questioning voice he squealed, “Presents for me?!”

Oh if only in these moments you could answer, “Yes!” to such a hope filled question. My brain did work quite rapidly though, and I thought of all the little toys Kelly had tucked away here and there on an amazing “cake” she had made out of diapers.

Cole was delighted by the little toys . . . and I was quite glad he didn’t seem to mind that all the clothes were rather small.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Oh The Woes

Ashley and her spectacles
Originally uploaded by Beth.
Ashley has been wanting glasses for quite some time. But alas, to her chagrin, she has perfect vision. We have had countless conversations with her about how she should be grateful she doesn’t need glasses.

David has either worn glasses or contacts all of his life. He did have laser surgery a few years back . . . but unfortunately, his eyes eventually grew worse. He now, once again, knows far too well the pain of needing either his contacts or glasses.

I have been blessed with great eyesight. I finally gave in and let Ashley buy these fake glasses for two reasons: One, I am sick of hearing about how she wishes she needed glasses. (I know you are grimacing if you wear glasses or contacts). Secondly, I actually remember thinking how unfair it was as a child that my older sister needed glasses and I didn’t. Funny how our brains work sometimes.

Ashley will soon tire of these $5.00 glasses. Any guesses on how long it will take? I give it a week.

If any lesson is learned, I hope it is how totally blessed she is to have such great vision!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Can You Blame A Mom For Trying?

Hungry boy!
Originally uploaded by Beth.
In one of my many attempts at helping my kids understand the needs of the world, I don’t allow them to use the phrase, “I’m starving.” Since sadly there are children in the world who are starving, I encourage them to simply say they are hungry.

This morning Cole and I had the following interaction:

Cole: “Mom, can I have some yogurt?”

He quickly ate the dish of yogurt I gave him and then asked for some more.

Me: “You must really be hungry.”

Cole: With a slight rolling of the eyes while gesturing with his hand for emphasis, he said, “Mom, I WISH I could say ‘starving’.”

Friday, July 14, 2006

Following Her Dreams

Ashley at a soccer game
Originally uploaded by Beth.
Remember the kid in high school who was quite sadly living his parents’ dreams instead of his own? I’m trying so hard not to be that kind of parent.

Ashley is our only daughter. Maybe that’s the reason I compelled her to take dance lessons every year since she was 3. It was more coercion that led to piano lessons and the Nutcracker. This is the first year I told her she didn’t have to do either. Her real love is the soccer field.

Playing on a co-ed team puts her at a distinct disadvantage since she is slight of build and rather petite. Her physical smallness never stops her from standing up to the biggest of the boys. I’ve seen her on more than one occasion get in a boy’s face, twice her size, and tell him how it’s going to be.

In a couple of weeks we start volleyball and then later in the fall, basketball. Since she is part Hoosier (my side of the family tree), I’m sure she will do quite well. In addition to such a distinguished heritage, her Dad is not half bad on the basketball courts—I have heard he rarely misses a three pointer! Maybe her genes will serve her right.

Though I would prefer dance recitals, music halls, tap shoes, and tutus, our slight, little, built like a ballerina child refuses to let her stature stop her. Look out wide world of sports—here she comes (dragging her mother in tow)!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Pass The Butter, Please!

Cole in the playroom
Originally uploaded by Beth.
The other day Cole fell asleep at 5:30 in the afternoon. Every parent knows this is not good. He slept right through dinner and then was wide awake when Ashley, Jonathan (and sadly, myself) were ready for bed. David therefore let him stay up a little later and watch a video in the playroom.

At one point Cole went to the pantry and helped himself to a bag of microwave popcorn. Without looking at the label, David made it for Cole and sent him back to the playroom. (I know, quite the life for a three year old!)

Shortly thereafter Cole came out of the playroom and said,

“Dad, this popcorn needs popcorn salt.”

Wondering how he even knew a random thing such as popcorn salt existed, he handed him the popcorn salt and sent him back to the playroom. David looked in the trash can and realized he had inadvertently made him the 94% fat-free brand we keep on hand for when my in-laws come over to play cards.

A few minutes later Cole came back and said, “Dad, this popcorn is terrible—you can have it!”

Monday, July 10, 2006

Who's The Baby Around Here Anyway?

Baby Cole?
Originally uploaded by Beth.
Cole has been doing a lot of reverting lately—I think he is a little nervous about the little guy soon to take his revered spot as “The Baby”. The other day I set up the bassinet—he wanted to get in a take a nap. I pulled the baby swing out of the attic—he wanted to take a ride. Then to top it off, he kept following me around the house, lifting up his arms, and saying:

“Uh, uh, uh.”

My reply each time was rather predictable and sadly quite heartless:

“Mommy can’t pick you up, Cole—I’m too pregnant.”

After several unsuccessful attempts he pulled out the zinger I finally gave in to:

“But Mom, you’re so comfy.”

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Smiles, Smiles And More Smiles

Smiling again!
Originally uploaded by Beth.
In my theological world view, God cares about the details of our lives. The little girl who was going to take the calico kitten off our hands had a change of heart . . . or a least her parents did.

We now have one kitten going to my sister, one kitten going to David’s sister, one kitten going to J-Lynn (beloved baby-sitter and friend), and we all have high hopes Uncle Jon will be compelled to give the last one to Jordan. (Feel free to help us persuade him at “Keeping in Touch”—Kelly’s Xanga Site).

Our kids are quite happy about this arrangement in that they will be able to visit their kittens often.

I was wondering about it all today. Do you think God was moved by the tears of our kids? Did He intervene out of His great heart of compassion?

Part of me wants to think God has far bigger things to be concerned about—like North Korean missiles, Iraqi insurgents, terrorist cell groups . . . and yet, He is the same God who sees every sparrow that falls to the ground.

Yesterday we had tears; today we have smiles. God is good!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Tears, Tears, And More Tears

The kids and their cats
Originally uploaded by Beth.
When our “surprise” kittens were born we made it quite clear than we would only be keeping them for a few weeks. We needed to find good homes for ALL of them.

It was therefore with great delight I received a phone call yesterday from a friend, of a friend, of a friend. She had heard we had kittens. Her four year old daughter had her heart set on a calico kitten, but through a miscommunication, the little kitten they thought they were getting was given to someone else. The child was heartbroken. Did we have any calicos? I was quite glad to tell her we had two . . . and certainly we would be happy to give them one.

After hanging up the phone I realized David was trying to deal with two kids who were crying hysterically. (Cole was asleep for his nap). Though they had prepared themselves to give the kittens away, they were hoping to give all of them to relatives so they could visit them.

Though almost all of our relatives have moved to Texas now, we have so far only had two takers on the kittens. That leaves two more to give away elsewhere.

Why are these things so difficult?!!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

No More Monsters!

Originally uploaded by Beth.
I should have taken a more aggressive approach years ago. The veggies tale video entitled, “Where’s God When I’m Scared” is supposed to help your kids not be afraid.

We bought the video when Jonathan was a year old. Unfortunately we think it actually gave him the idea of monsters. I can remember how he would run to David or I crying big tears every time Ashley would pop it in the VCR.

Ashley and Jonathan outgrew that video years ago. Unfortunately the other night Cole asked David to cue it up for him. He was watching it by himself in the playroom while David was in the living room. Suddenly David heard loud, nearly hysterical crying. Cole had been watching the video with all the lights out. When the video got scary, he ran over to the T.V. and shut it off—the unfortunate result was total darkness.

David held Cole until his tears subsided and tried desperately to explain to him there really is no such thing as a monster.

Cole doesn’t yet believe us about the “no monsters” thing . . . but there are certainly no more “scary” videos in our home. Maybe that video does help other kids overcome their fears, but at our house it is now filed away forever—in the trash!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Birthday America!

Happy 4th of July!
Originally uploaded by Beth.

"The patriot who feels himself in the service of God, who acknowledges Him in all his ways, has the promise of Almighty direction, and will find His Word in his greatest darkness, a lantern to his feet and a lamp unto his paths. He will therefore seek to establish for his country in the eyes of the world, such a character as shall make her not unworthy of the name of a Christian nation...." —Francis Scott Key, 1812

*Speaking of birthdays, a couple of weeks ago we celebrated David's 38th. I wanted to post the story of his remarkable birth, but felt I couldn't do the story justice. I asked his mother to write it up. She is a very, energetic and busy person . . . but "The Rest of the Story" is now available for your viewing pleasure at "Created to Be a Helpmeet.” She even has baby pictures of David and Jon! Feel free to visit, but let me warn you: It's a little bit graphic. If you've never been through a birth (other than your own), it might be a little more than you bargained for. Happy reading!

Monday, July 03, 2006

Ya Just Gotta Love Texas!

Ashley, Cole and Jonathan
Originally uploaded by Beth.
If you drive your flatbed truck to church on Sunday . . . you might be a redneck! Okay, it wasn’t us—it was the guy we were following.

My in-laws invited us to a special patriotic church service yesterday, followed by a potluck picnic. I must say, I’ve never seen so many red, white, and blue cowboy hats, big belt buckles, and boots in one place, at one time. The service was a nice way to celebrate our love of God, our love of this country, and our love of Texas!

When the special music began, David gave me the raised eyebrows look and mouthed, “Bruce Springstein”? Sure enough . . . the music blared, “BORN in the USA”! Except for one small addition . . . the words were changed slightly to, “BORN AGAIN in the USA”! (Honestly, I do not make these things up.)

Ya just gotta love Texas!