Thursday, January 15, 2009

13 Things I found while Cleaning Under the Couch this Week

I haven't done a Thursday Thirteen in a long time. I'm not sure it even officially exists anymore. This seemed to lend itself to a TT post, though, so I'll carry on the tradition anyway.

13 things I found while cleaning in or under the couch this week:

1. Oreo Cookie (still fresh!)
2. One Little People Shepherd
3. One Little People Mechanic
4. Little red mouse (cat toy)
5. Countless crumbs from cheezits, cereal, etc...
6. 2 Rubber bands
7. Diego dominoes and checkers
8. Various legos
9. Ponytail holder
10. Superman bandaid
11. Toy airplane
12. Petrified worm carcass
13. About $15 in change. I fished out all I could reach, but the couch still jingles. I think one of the kids must have emptied their piggy bank into the couch. H (2 1/2 yo) confessed to it, but she'll confess to pretty much anything. On the other hand, it does seem like the sort of thing she would do. Interestingly, her bank is much fuller than J's currently - not that I think she'd be above emptying his into the couch! We'll probably never know!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Is this the same kid?

Day 1

4 months

First Christmas

This Christmas

J has pretty much looked like just a little bigger version of himself as he's grown over the years. H, on the other hand, keeps looking like a totally different child to me. I see her old photos flash up on my screen saver and think, "Wow! Did she really used to look like that?"

She started out as a medium-sized dark haired newborn - progressed into a chubby, dark haired baby - and now is a slender, blonde toddler. The only things that have stayed constant are those beautiful blue eyes and her adorable dimple.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

This week at CVS and Kroger

I braved the weather to visit CVS for a few items. They didn't have everything I planned to get in stock, but it was still worth the trip.

  • Garnier Fructis Shampoo
  • 1 pack Orbit gum
  • 2 packages of medicated item I tend to need toward the end of pregnancy (Trying to spare you too much information. You're welcome.)
  • Candy bar (needed a filler item to use my whole Extra Buck coupon)

Used 3 manufacturer's coupons for shampoo and unnamed medicated items.
Used one Extra Care Buck coupon
Paid $0.24 out of pocket.
Got $4 ECB back.
Made hubby happy by bringing him a candy bar.

I also got 16 rolls of toilet paper free at Kroger (on sale for $.99 for a 4 pack, and I used 4 $0.50 off coupons, which my store doubles.) And milk was only $2.34 per gallon this week - the cheapest I've seen it in these parts since last spring!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Words of Encouragement?

I was playing Legos with J this afternoon. I admit, he's much better at it than I am. He does love the company, though. I was making an addition to the house he was building (per his request) when I made one whole wall cave in.

He reassured me, "Don't worry, Mommy, someday you'll learn to be a big helper..."

Then, under his breath added, "...Hopefully soon."

Meanwhile, H was playing in the next room. I noticed out of the corner of my eye that she kept coming into our room, going into the corner, then running back into the other room. I decided I'd better check it out. When she noticed I was watching her, she covered her mouth and tried to run. I was sure she had herself a stash or candy or some other snack hidden there.

No such luck.

She had 3 lumps of old hardened play doh which she was snacking on.

I've trying to detox them from their sugar overload over the holidays, and this is what she turned to instead?!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Yesterday was the big day when we found out what Baby #3 is. We made it a family affair with Grandma, Papa, and the kids all coming along to share the experience. It was almost like being at a theater with everyone watching on the big screen.

H was less than impressed, I'm sorry to say. We had explained to her that we were going to see the baby. J is experienced enough to understand what "seeing the baby" on ultrasound meant. I obviously hadn't prepared H adequately, however. When it was all done and we were ready to leave, she started crying, "But I want to see the baby! I didn't get to see the baby!" She wasn't at all convinced that that was what we had just done. She was pretty amused by the "jelly" they'd put on Mommy's tummy, though. She talked about that for much of the rest of the night.

I've heard many women just have a "sense" about what their baby's sex is. My sense is apparently 180 degrees out of whack. I'm now 0-3 for predicting this. They say this one is a boy.

J had initially wanted a brother. He was pretty disappointed the first time around when H turned out to be a girl. He had a melt down one day, crying, "Why did God give her to me! I don't want her! Take her back!"

He had a change of heart about this one recently when a couple of things started sinking in. The first is that we don't have enough bedrooms for baby to have one of his or her own. When he realized a brother probably meant sharing his room, he was pretty eager for Papa to start working on adding on an addition to the house.

J also has issues with getting rid of anything. (God help his future wife! He's quite the packrat.) I normally have to sneak things out of his room when he's not around if I need to get rid of them. I made the mistake recently of letting him come in the room while I was putting away some of his outgrown clothes. When he saw an old pair of his favorite PJ's, he pleaded to have them back out. I explained that they were much too small and would tear if he kept wearing them. Then if we had a baby boy, he wouldn't be able to wear them one day. From then on, it was settled. J wanted baby to be a girl so he could wear his "Dig, Fix, Build Jammies" until they tore. H, of course wanted the baby to be a girl all along. They were both chanting, "Girl, girl, girl" all the way to the appointment. Despite that, they didn't seem to be too disappointed when we got the news it was a boy after all.

Baby Jones waving hello.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Billboard Saga continues

This is probably the last time I'll be mentioning "the billboard" (no promises, of course). Apparently the font is so small that even people who know an Ellie fighting a brain tumor are confused about who is really on the sign. I learned this through Ellie W's caring bridge site today.

The billboard, it turns out, is actually an ad for St. Jude Children's Hospital and the child is Ellie Bouchard. She's been their poster child recently and has been featured in an ad with Jennifer Aniston and interviewed on Larry King's show. Like the other Ellie, she's also darling and is fighting bravely. Happily for her though, Ellie B's tumor has a much better prognosis.

Wouldn't it all be so much simpler if they'd just make a billboard you can read? But then, I guess I never would have heard of Ellie W. And probably neither would you. Now that we do know, go over and read her post for today. They could really use your prayers.

Monday, January 5, 2009


Ellie and her sister Christmas eve 2007

Ok, so I didn't exactly get the information the way a billboard normally communicates, but indirectly it worked. I complained about seeing the sign with Ellie's picture on it, but not being able to make out anything other than her name and the fact that she had a brain tumor. Someone who knows Ellie stumbled across the post and gave me the details. I thought I'd share them with you.

Ellie Thanksgiving 2008

Ellie is a beautiful 5 year old girl. She has a little sister and a new baby brother. Ellie loves to have fun and play with her cousins and do the usual 5 year old things. But Ellie has an inoperable tumor in her brain stem. She was diagnosed in April of last year. The usual survival rate for her tumor type is 5-10%, and most children live less than a year after their diagnosis. Since May, this sweet little girl has been going through treatments to try to shrink or kill the tumor. There has been some progress. It initially shrunk about 30% and has been remaining stable.

I grieve for her and her family. Five is supposed to be a happy, care-free age. Five year olds are not supposed to know what cancer and radiation and chemotherapy are, let alone experience them. While we were celebrating H's 2nd birthday, Ellie was having her first radiation treatment. While we were thoroughly enjoying our Christmas celebration, Ellie's family was wondering how many more they would have with her.

Go visit her websites here and here to learn more, shed a few tears for them, and hold them up in your prayers. It would take a miracle to cure her, but God is a God of miracles. The family's medical bills must be astronomical. If you're able, you can go here to donate something to help them. You can sign up for emails when her journal is updated by clicking the box under the heading "journal" on her Caringbridge site.

The Lord bless you and keep you, Ellie!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

This is not what they were sentenced to!

Hebrews 13:3
Remember those in prison
as if you were their fellow prisoners,
and those who are mistreated
as if you yourselves were suffering.

This has been an issue for decades. The U.S. Department of Justice sued the Michigan Department of Corrections in the 1990's over it. They were cited by Amnesty International for their systematic violation of the human rights of the women in their charge. It was a moral travesty. It should have caused widespread outrage. Instead, a few people cared, but not many. But now that there's money involved, it matters. Now it gets a five part, front page story:

Oh well, at least someone noticed.

We get indignant when we hear about middle eastern countries where women are sentenced to gang rape for their crimes or someone else's. Or when we hear of women being punished for having been raped and then talking about it to the press. We're really no different here, we're just not so open about it. If you'd like a nauseous feeling in your stomach for a while, read some of the comments after you read the article above. Plenty of people think that our women deserve to be raped if they've ever committed the sort of "unpopular sin" that lands you in prison. And if she's so bold as to speak up about it, we may not physically whip her, but we'll give her far more than 200 tongue lashings, call her a liar, a lowlife, a prostitute and worse.

Proverbs 31:8-9
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly;
defend the rights of the poor and needy.

These are the inspired words of King Lemuel. They're the verses that immediately precede a far more well-known passage, "The Virtuous Woman." King Lemuel's mother was a virtuous woman, and as you can see if you look back to verse 1, she was the one who gave him this important instruction. I hope my children learn the same from me.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Great is Thy Faithfulness

Lamentations 3:22-23
Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

It's a familiar passage, one I've know and loved for years. I love the song based on it. This past year was a year where those verses in their context became more meaningful.

2008 was not all I'd imagined or hoped it would be. I'm sure many people would say that. I've certainly had other years with failures or disappointments or struggles - it wasn't unique in that regard - but this year was more of a crisis of faith than I've gone through before.

Sometimes there are just really dark hours, when God hides his face, doesn't seem to hear our prayers, doesn't seem to keep his promises. When I went back and searched the scriptures, I was comforted to know I wasn't alone in this experience.

David certainly experienced times like that. Check out what he says in Psalm 10: "Why, O LORD, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?" Or in Psalm 22: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer."

Look at a few verses that precede the ones above. What does Jeremiah say God did to him?
  • He afflicted him with the rod of his wrath. (v 1)
  • He turned his hand against him again and again. (v 2)
  • He broke his bones. (v 4)
  • He besieged him and surrounded him with bitterness and hardship. (v 5)
  • He walled him in so he could not escape; he weighed him down with chains. (v 7)
  • When he cried out for help, God shut out his prayer. (v 8)
  • Like a bear lying in wait, like a lion in hiding, He dragged him from the path and mangled him and left him without help. (v 10-11)
Jeremiah goes on to describe how God used him for target practice, broke his teeth, trampled him underfoot. As bad as some things were for me, they don't come close to that!

People have certainly turned away from God for far less. What was Jeremiah's response to all of this?
"Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him."
The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.
For men are not cast off by the Lord forever.
Though he brings grief, he will show compassion,
so great is his unfailing love."

Jeremiah knew his situation was temporary. He knew the Lord was his portion - all he needed. He quietly waited for the Lord to save him. Even though he brings us trials, the Lord also shows compassion. How great is His unfailing love!

Whatever you may be going through or whatever troubles 2008 brought you, I pray you'll keep waiting for the salvation of the Lord. What a shame to experience the grief the Lord brings and not stick around to experience His unfailing love at the end of it.

May 2009 be a blessed new year for you -- Not because you get everything you want or because everything works out the way you hope, but because you have the Lord, because you see that He is all you need, and you find His great love for you new every morning.

Say what?

J, as he spread out his new Mickey Mouse blanket made by Grandma: "You know, Mickey Mouse is really a bad show. It's only for evil kids who don't trust in God."

As someone who is trying hard to raise loving, non-judgemental children - and who took her children to see Mickey not once, but twice this year - I have to ask myself, "Where in the world did that come from?!"