I've been finding it hard to concentrate lately. Sometimes, just getting through a day and feeling like I've accomplished something is challenging. You know those days where everything seems so tedious, like it's taking five times longer to get anything done? They seem more frequent than ever, and it's frustrating. I'm exhausted, there is so much to be done, and I can't move or lift things that need to be moved or lifted, much less get them organized. Mostly, I feel broken. Not like myself.

And then I remember that I am broken. No, God gently reminds me (because really, can I take credit for connecting the dots myself?) that I am broken. Frequently, I can be pretty hard-headed and stubborn (no....me?!), particularly with lessons that God is teaching me over and over again. Thank goodness for His patience and mercy. I'm like the kid whose teacher has to present a lesson in every single learning modality and still I haven't mastered the concept. Hmm... maybe that's why I'm so interested in teaching those kids...

Anyway, this particular time, God has used my fragile physical and emotional state of late pregnancy to remind me of my fragile spiritual state of brokenness. And I've come to realize that not only am I placing unrealistic expectations on myself for what I feel I should be accomplishing, I am placing value on things of far less importance. For instance, who cares if my toilets need cleaning when I could be spending time just loving my children and raising them up? You'd think I'd have hung onto that lesson a little longer, since we just attended the funeral of a three year old last week. The thing is, I have hung onto that lesson, I've just been a little slow in the application.

My Savior knows me intimately, and I love the way that at just the moment when I am despairing over something completely trivial, He speaks to me, in my language (which very often is in the words of a song, as you may have noticed) with words that point out my folly and change my focus.

In this instance, I once again realized that I am broken. I again came to terms with the reality that my brokenness on Earth is what reminds me that I do not belong here. I was intended for so much more than this temporal life I have. The song lyrics that spoke to me this time say:

I do not belong in a world of broken pieces.
I was meant to be in the arms of Your redemption.
I am moving on to the place of Your perfection.
'Cause I do not belong...

"I Do Not Belong" / Kutless / 2008

Now of course, I shouldn't just put my faith in the words of a song without first knowing whether or not they are based in Scripture. And so I went to my Bible (another little "trick" God uses to get me into his Word over and over again. Because He knows me so well, if I neglect to do it on my own, He knows this lyrical curiosity will get me there, where He can speak to me...) I read through this chapter in Hebrews, where the author is referring to many followers such as Noah (who built an ark to save his family), Abraham (who offered Isaac as a sacrifice), and Moses (who chose to be mistreated with his (God's) people, rather than living a comfortable life in Pharoah's court where he was raised), etc. as those who stepped out and just continued to live life in faith:

13All these people were still living by faith when they died.
They did not receive the things promised;
they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance.
And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth.
Hebrews 11:13 (NIV)

I don't know about you, but I find such freedom in these words and the words of the song above. Why do I struggle so for perfection in this world? What futility! This world is broken, and it is full of brokenness! We see it all around us. Broken people, broken relationships, and broken promises. Broken spirits, broken homes, broken hearts. I'm sure I could go on. No wonder I have days where I feel like I'm trudging through a load of mud. I am one of those broken things.

And see, the thing about brokenness and broken stuff, is that it doesn't function as it should, and consequently never quite gives us the whole picture. It's like a puzzle with missing pieces; fill it in and the scope of the whole picture could be very different from what you initially thought. Or like a broken (or old and tarnished) mirror; you can't get the complete reflection, and what you do see isn't clear. I love this verse:

12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror;
then we shall see face to face.
Now I know in part;
then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
1 Corinthians 13:12

When this was written, mirrors didn't exist as we know them today. They were basically sheets of polished metal, full of imperfections that made the reflection dull and difficult to see.

I think this is one of the most difficult and frustrating things about living a broken life in a broken world. It is, at least, for someone who has to plan and have control (I don't know anyone like that, do you?) We only have a poor, dull, incomplete picture of this life. The not knowing and not understanding why, and not always being able to see or anticipate what is ahead is painful. The lack of clarity and lack of focus are painful. But, as frustrating as these are in my attempts to control my life, they also give me hope and make me thankful. Why?

I was meant to be in the arms of Your redemption.
I am moving on to the place of Your perfection.

What a relief, actually. Thank goodness I don't belong here! I have something better, much better - perfection - to hope towards. Just like the reflection in mirrors of old was poor and incomplete, so am I. In this world of brokenness, I can trust in God's redemption, grace, and plan for my life. Even though I screw up - constantly - I don't have to constantly measure myself up against my unrealistic expectations. God has begun a good work in me, and He will carry it on until it is complete in me (Philippians 1:6). Until then, I live out my faith through my words and actions. I fellowship with others, and encourage them in or towards a relationship with the only One who can mend their brokenness. And in all I do, I worship.

15Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God
a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name.
Hebrews 13:15 (NIV)

I am not perfect, and in this world, on this side of eternity, I never will be. In that light, I ought to find comfort in my brokenness.

This world is not my home
I'm a stranger in this land
But I am not alone

"I Do Not Belong" / Kutless / 2008


Kayden's Birth Story

So, given that all I can think about lately is labor - previous labors, going into labor, other peoples' labors, the old Cosby Show episode where Cliff delivers a submarine sandwich and a soda, you name it, I decided maybe it would help ease my mind to write about each of the boys' births. (Probably not, but on the off chance that you're actually interested....??) I guess really, this post is more for me than for you (I'm just selfish that way), and it's long. Indulge me.

Disclaimer: considering this is an entire post dedicated to labor and the birthing of a baby, TMI is pretty much a given. Consider yourself warned.

I didn't go into labor with Kayden. My doctors were concerned about Kayden's size and the fact that I was carrying enough fluid to buoy a bathtub full of toy sailboats, so they scheduled me to be induced. I was ridiculously uncomfortable; I'd gained 52 pounds, and Kayden's feet had found a permanent resting place up inside my rib cage. He didn't drop until the day I was induced, he was so long.

Emotionally, I was all over the place. (So for a woman 40-weeks pregnant who has never delivered a baby, pretty normal.) My parents had flown up a few days early, thinking I may go into labor on my own. I didn't. Literally on the way to the hospital, we dropped my dad off at the airport so he could get back to Texas and back to work. That was upsetting to say the least. Kyler, mom and I went and got something to eat, and headed to the hospital. (I was admitted the night before the induction, and given a cervical gel in the hopes I'd go into labor on my own overnight.) I did and Kayden slid right on out no problem. End of story.

Haha. Don't I wish. Then again, that wouldn't give me much of a story to tell, would it?

The Pitocin drip was started around 7am the next morning via the IV. Actually, I'm surprised the nurse was even able to get the IV in, I was jittering so much from pure nervous anxiety. This wasn't the route Kyler and I had wanted for our baby; we had hoped for a labor as intervention-free as possible. Unfortunately, my body just wasn't reacting well to the shock of a first pregnancy, and I was borderline toxemic. Looking back, I'm not really surprised. I was driving nearly 3 hours round trip to and from work each day, spending all day on my feet teaching a class with a few incredibly challenging students, and taking a graduate class. And despite my efforts to have Kyler stand up and shake the doctor's hand when he/she entered the room during those last pre-natal appointments (you know, so his 6'6" stature was taken into account here - Kyler weighed 10 1/2 pounds at birth), they were still concerned about Kayden's size. So, several weeks of non-stress tests, a couple of extra ultrasounds, and one too many high-blood pressure readings later, we went ahead with the induction.

Around 9am, Dr. R came in and broke my water. This was terrifying, (maybe because she accidentally neglected to tell me that is what she was doing...) and I had no clue that the rivers of amniotic fluid that just kept flowing out of me were not completely normal. There was so much of it, the Pitocin-induced contractions were doing absolutely nothing, and I was relatively comfortable. With the fluid out of the way, it was game on for those contractions, and I mean right away.

You know those "cleansing breaths" they instruct you to take in childbirthing classes and books? I tried to take them, really I did. I am a good student, and darnit, I was going to do this labor and delivery thing right. Geez. I didn't have time for a cleansing breath. After two labors, I've come to find out that my contractions are pretty hard and fast anyway, so with the Pitocin figured in there, that little ticker tape (you know, the telemetry strip) was pretty much just a bunch of plateaus. I'd feel the contraction coming, and it would peak. Right then. Then I'd have all of about 20 seconds before the fun started again. Hard and fast.

I should mention here that Kyler was incredible through everything. We had come prepared with just about everything suggested to help me manage the pain. Around 11am, we decided to pop in a video to try and distract me. We chose one of our favorite FRIENDS episodes; do you know "The One With the Jellyfish"? Oh my, SO funny.

Problem was, my contractions were so hard by this point that laughing actually hurt. Which made watching this episode like double torture. Then add in the fact that my labor coach couldn't stop laughing himself to coach me through contractions, and you have a recipe for a very grumpy laboring woman. Not pretty. So we ditched that idea.

Four hours later, I'd made it to 8cm without an epidural. Another doctor from my OB office came in, and gently and respectfully told me he was concerned about the baby's size (particularly his head) and heart rate, and I don't remember much of everything he said, but I do remember hearing the words "emergency c-section".

Where is that anesthesiologist? Sign me up. I did not want a c-section unless absolutely medically necessary. That much I was sure of.

Once I'd actually decided I wanted the epidural, it (naturally) took FOREVER for them to get in there and get it in. (Apparently some lady next door was having trouble, that much our ears told us...) While the anesthesiologist was prepping me and that ridiculously large needle she was going to insert into my spine (shudder), Kyler shifted from one foot to the other. This apparently made (the very petite assistant who was about half of Kyler's size) very nervous, and she immediately said to him, "Are you SURE you are okay? I cannot catch you." Guess it's pretty par for the course for husbands to faint while they put the epidural in - that's encouraging.

After they got the epidural in, it took about 30 minutes to get it "working" correctly. It took well in one leg, but not the other, and would "shift" back and forth as they adjusted it. Eventually, they had me so pumped full of anesthetic I couldn't feel anything. At all. Which was a huge reason why I hadn't wanted one in the first place.

Maybe I should take a minute to clarify something before half of the women reading this close the window on my blog and never read it again (and if you are a man reading this, kudos to you for making it this far!) I don't have anything against women who walk into the delivery room and get an epidural right away - your body, your prerogative, your choice. And I don't look down on you or think I'm superwoman for "making it" further than you did before I "caved/wimped out/gave in." I don't view it this way at all. It would be foolish of me not to recognize (and respect) that every woman's labor experience and wishes for that labor experience are distinctly different.

So for me, not being able to feel anything was a definite negative. Turns out, my gut instinct about this was dead on, but more on that later. When the epidural was finally "straightened out," I had an opportunity to rest for about 30 minutes as I dilated the remaining 1/2cm to 10cm.

Then the fun was underway! Just for the record, when I began, I knew pushing was not going to be easy. And at the time (not so much now, after two kids and one on the way) I had some pretty kickin' abdominal muscles. However, Kayden's head was huge. HUGE. As in, when he finally crowned, my doctor thought he was going to weigh around 11 pounds, judging by the size of his head. So not small.

It bears mentioning that sometime during this pushing extravaganza, my father-in-law walked into the delivery room. Well, not all the way in. Thankfully, my mother-in-law (also a former maternity nurse and one of my labor coaches) had the presence of mind to spare him the embarrassment (because at that point, you know, all modesty has flown out the window and down the street, and I could've cared less who was in there...well, okay, a previous boyfriend or my 7th grade English teacher may have been a little awkward, or really awkward, but you get the idea. I just wanted that baby out.) To my father-in-law's credit, he figured surely his grandson had arrived by now, and when he asked at the nurses' station, they ushered him right in!

After about an hour of pushing, my I-don't-want-the-epidural-to-cause-me-not-to-be-able-to-feel-a-darn-thing fears were realized. I couldn't feel a darn thing. Consequently, I had no muscle memory, and when the nurse or anyone would say, "Great job! Push just like that again!" I would, and the look on their faces would say, "Hmmm...not so much." And around and around we went. Sometime during all of this, I asked for a mirror, thinking the visual would help motivate me to get the little stinker out. Instead, I asked them to take it away after they told me for the umpteenth time, "There's his head! He's almost here!" Liars - the whole lot of them. All I saw was, well....how about I spare you those particular details.

Over three hours later, Kayden was born. The rest of my labor experience was - amazingly - intervention free (no episiotomy, no forceps, no vacuum extraction). He weighed in at 8lbs. 7oz. and was 23 inches long. His feet were so big, the footprints on the little card they give you actually covered the whole thing up, including the words "left" and "right." (Aside: Not much has changed. At barely three years old, Kayden's foot measures an 11 1/2, which is the same size as his five-year-old friends...) And sooo skinny! Almost 8 1/2 pounds spread out over all that length (particularly with a head as big as his!) looked pretty darn small, actually. We cuddled right away for a few minutes, and then he was cleaned up, measured, scored (I have no clue what his Apgars were, but he was pink and screaming quite robustly, so no doubt they were great), stamped, and LoJack-ed (given an ankle bracelet with a microchip in it, so alarms would sound if someone left the birthing center with him). Afterwards, I happily (well, clumsily...who really knows what the heck they're doing the first time, anyway?) nursed him for a bit before the rest of the family descended upon the L&D room.

But Kayden's birth story isn't quite over. See, something quite significant happened during all of that pushing that we didn't find out about until days later. This being my first delivery, and having had a very strong epidural, no one really thought twice when I couldn't walk for several hours afterwards. And no one really said anything when I still couldn't walk the next day. In fact, it wasn't until the end of the day following Kayden's birth, when we attended the mandatory hospital discharge seminar, that realization set in that something was very wrong. I showed up in a wheelchair, which - again - I thought was normal, until everyone else arrived walking and appearing just fine. I pretty much still felt like I'd been hit by a truck, and I could not really move my legs. Upon returning to my room, we started asking some questions.

After several consultations with anesthesiologists and physical therapists, it was determined that somewhere during those three long hours of pushing, caught in just the right spot between Kayden's enormous (adorable) head and my pelvic bone, was the femoral nerve in my right leg, and it was damaged. One doctor described it like a damaged phone cable: the plastic casing was stretched out from those hours of pressure, and the little wires on the inside had snapped.

What followed was actually a bit comical. Physical therapists would visit and ask me to do this exercise or that one, and I would fail miserably. I would try with all my might to engage the muscles in that leg, and it would (depending on the exercise) flop like it was made of jelly against the bed, or it simply wouldn't move at all. I remember sitting with my legs hanging over the side of the bed, and the PT asking me to extend my right leg (as in a leg lift). After a few seconds, she repeated her request, as if I hadn't heard her. I laughed. I was trying, and my leg was just sitting there, ignoring me as I implored it to move, please.

So, we made it home, and our "new normal" simply included both an infant son and his now-handicapped mother. I was so stubborn at first, trying to walk everywhere and proceed as if nothing was wrong. One evening, during the week my mom was still here, I was standing in the nursery while she changed Kayden's diaper, and I just fell over. THUD. My leg simply buckled underneath me and I toppled over like a wobbly tower of Jenga blocks. It became clear in that instant that I couldn't carry Kayden, for fear of falling with him, so we worked out a system. Kyler would carry me downstairs in the morning, and I'd put Kayden in a rolling bassinet, using it kind of like a walker throughout the day to get to the bathroom and kitchen if needed. We spent the next six weeks or so in this fashion, either on the floor or couch playing and doing PT exercises, and just getting to know one another. Looking back, I am so thankful for the time I was essentially forced to slow down. It was a humbling and extremely valuable experience that is now part of my testimony. Maybe I'll blog about that sometime.

After about six weeks, I was strong enough to be dismissed from formal physical therapy and continue the exercises at home. I began driving again when Kayden was about two months old, the same time I felt confident and strong enough to carry him around the house in the Baby Bjorn without fear of spontaneously falling. Somewhere between six and seven months later, I realized I felt "normal" again.

And that's when we found out about Cameron.


What's For Dinner?

Well, the "nesting" has been in full force since about week 15, (although admittedly, I'm not too good at it, seeing as how I'm exhausted, live with three boys, and have a backlog of about five years to clean up after...) Wait. That's how long I've been married to Kyler. Coincidence? Hmmm.....nevermind.

So, having given up on the perpetual cleaning, I've moved on to food prep. Occasionally, I do have moments of intense productivity, throwing together several meals that I can freeze for later. I know. I amaze myself. Sometimes I dream about being organized and efficient enough to plan and prepare a whole week's worth of meals ahead of time. And then I remember that I have two little boys under three who habitually mark their territory, puke all over car seats, flip out of cribs, and bathe in Dr. Pepper. That's usually sufficient to quell those little fits of dreaming.

But now that I'm about to have another of those darling toilet lickers, and judging by how utterly exhausted I'm beginning to get now, before the nursing-through-the-night baby arrives, I thought maybe it would be wise to start preparing what I can so my family can, you know, EAT.

I have a few standbys already prepared and in the freezer: Shepherd's pie, homemade lasagna, tortilla soup, taco casserole, etc. But, I am definitely looking for more quick and delicious ideas to fill up our freezer.

May I ask for your help?

Please send me your standby recipes! We really aren't too picky. Well, I guess that's not entirely true. Kyler will eat anything (he's kinda like Mikey - remember those LIFE cereal commercials?) Anyway. I'm not too into condiments like sour cream, mustard, mayo, etc. And we also don't have any wine around, so recipes with wine, sherry, etc. won't work (call me crazy, but I've noticed a lot in the crock pot recipe book I have include them). Speaking of which, I'm all about using our Crock Pot too, so recipes that are only a matter of throwing several ingredients in a pot are fantastic!

Just scroll down, click the "comments" link, and leave your recipe ideas in the box that's provided. (If you don't have a Google account, just click on "Name/URL" to post with your name.)

THANK YOU for your help!


"Not Me!" Monday

Hey friends! As many of you know, I got the idea for "Not Me!" Monday from MckMama's blog. Please be in prayer for her nine-month-old son Stellan, who is back in the hospital dealing with serious complications from a heart condition. He is a trooper, and MckMama is a blessing to the blogging world, transparently living out her faith to see God glorified. We want to see God work a miracle in this little baby boy!


Are you feeling embarrased this week that your child urinated all over your grandmother's white sofa? Or maybe you continuously forgot to mail a baby gift to a friend...for three solid months? Perhaps you're just dying to reveal your frustration at your son's inexplicable urge to color everything in your living room yellow. Whatever the reason, you've come to the right place to divulge the most ridiculous parts of your week, and feel completely normal! "Not Me!" Monday is all about free therapy - being brutally honest about life and living to tell about it.


I'm beginning to think that these wonderfully therapeutic venting sessions are always going to include a story about one of the boys urinating on something other than a toilet, or in a place that very decisively is not a bathroom. A little redundant maybe, but probably even more surprising that it has taken me this long to accept the reality that my darling boys are just as inherently programmed to "mark their territory" as the rest of the male species (or maybe I should just say male "gender," seeing as how the species doesn't seem to matter...)

Ahhh, well. What'cha gonna do? Boys will be boys, and potty training doesn't happen overnight. (And you darn well better not tell me if it did happen overnight for one of your kids...) So it's a good thing I kept this calm reasoning in the forefront of my mind when Kayden urinated all over the living room carpet - again. Surely, I didn't completely lose it and yell at him. That mother would be lacking in self-control, patience, and compassion for her small child who is, after all, just barely three. And I know he didn't do it on purpose, and that yelling at him serves no purpose at all in expediting the training process. In fact, I'm a champion of positive reinforcement. I never yell.

And since I know how ridiculously frustrating it is to have to mop up urine (although it certainly isn't something I am used to doing, because my children have superior control of their bodily functions), I was the epitome of understanding when, later in the week, Kyler had to deal with a similar episode. Yes, when Kyler was in the upstairs bathroom getting the boys ready for bed, and Kayden was screaming because he did not want to use the toilet before bedtime, and I heard my sweet husband growing increasingly frustrated, I did not climb the stairs to tell him to get-a-grip-I-do-this-seventeen-times-a-day-with-grace. Nope. We've established that I am understanding and kind. Always.

Kyler's outbursts were actually due to the fact that while he was desperately trying to placate Kayden, his youngest son had urinated on the floor of the bathroom behind him and he (Kyler), not knowing this, had proceeded to sit down right in the puddle of urine. And when I discovered this, being the kind and understanding wife that I always am...

I did not just stand in the doorway of the bathroom and laugh hysterically.

So the yelling episode from earlier in the post occurred early in the week, after I had slept a total of only three hours the night before (certainly not due to the antics of my two sweet sons or the perpetual acrobatics of my soon-to-be-born third son). In fact, that same day, it definitely wasn't me who...

...spent a chunk of the morning just lying on the couch exhausted, while the boys watched "Horton Hears a Who"....twice.

...dumped a huge pile of clean laundry on our bed and then, when I didn't get to it by the boys' naptime, lazily just snuggled underneath it and went to sleep.

...selfishly sent Kayden to Vacation Bible School with Kyler that evening, even though he had a nose running like a faucet. (Shhhhh! It wasn't me, the youth pastor's wife, who broke the rules!)

And just in case you're wondering, NO, it wasn't me who had yellow cake and chocolate frosting for breakfast one morning. And after that breakfast of champions, I didn't again give in to cravings and have ice cream for lunch. I know better, have more self-control, and with only four weeks to go in this pregnancy, am definitely most fixated on healthy weight gain. Hmmmm....do oatmeal raisin cookies sound good to anyone else?

Our church held Vacation Bible School every evening this week. It wasn't over until 9pm each night, and since Kyler is on staff and tried to help wrap things up, he often didn't get home until at least 10pm. I stayed at home so I could get just a few stinkin' minutes of peace, errr....I mean, so I could relax and rest my tired pregnant body for the health and well-being of myself and our unborn son. This did not result in our 2- and 3-year-old taking complete and total rule of the roost and generally not making it into bed until nearly midnight every night. We are more responsible than that.

While doing the dishes on Thursday, the faucet handle did not just come off in my hand while the water was running at full tilt. The sink certainly did not then stop up and begin to fill with exceedingly hot water while I frantically called Kyler. Then, when he didn't answer his phone, it wasn't me who left a snarling message, hung up and proceeded to try and get my large pregnant self down onto the floor and into the cupboard under the sink to try and figure out which of the eighteen knobs turned off the water. Nope. Not in my house.

And finally, it was not my idea to traumatize my children when we tried to cut the boys' hair on Friday morning. That was most definitely my husband's doing (and not because he recognized the signs of emotional breakdown written all over my face as well as the boys, and ordered me away). We were all unprepared for the emotional scarring that ensued. So, the boys may both look like they each have a bad case of mange, but their hair is cut. And just so you know, if you see a couple of boys running around next summer that highly resemble the pre-school version of Hanson, it won't be my kids.


So how did your week go? I'd love to hear about all of the things you didn't do this week! Scroll down and click on the comment link to leave a note. "Not Me!" Monday is an incredibly fun, blogging carnival started by MckMama on her blog, my charming kids. Basically, it's where we all can be brutally honest about the ridiculous things that will inevitably happen in everyday life.


Wondering How To...

...leave emotional scars on your children that will last for years to come in just under an hour?

Just give them a haircut...yourself.

Kayden did just fine, but I think my ears are still ringing from Cam's screaming. So if next Easter rolls around and you begin to wonder, "when-are-they-ever-going-to-cut-that-poor-child's-hair-he's-beginning-to-look-like-an-Ewok..." the answer is...maybe when he turns five. Because really, it's just not worth the emotional trauma I had to endure. I bawled because Kayden's beautiful curls were gone. And besides, wrestling a screaming, writhing, fists-flying 23-month-old while I myself am eight months pregnant is not exactly on my top-ten list of fun things to do.

When it was all over, we all looked like a small, blonde-haired furrball had exploded in our living room. Cam and I were both stripped to our skivvies, and had 3-inch chunks of hair covering most of our torsos (which on a pregnant belly looked pretty darn funny...)
And poor Cam's face was covered in hair that had stuck and matted, what with all of the waterworks.

Our boys have never had a "professional" hair cut. Either Kyler or I (or both of us) have always just cut their hair ourselves. It's not too terribly difficult, it saves quite a bit of money, and they are only toddlers. We're not planning on doing this until they're in middle school.

Granted, they aren't gorgeous. No fading, shaping or fancy stuff. Just shorter. It's not like we used a bowl (unlike both of our mothers, apparently...)

But I don't think they turned out too awful. And the guys seem pretty happy about them now. You be the judge...


Weddings and Funerals

Today was...emotional, to say the least. Kyler and I attended the funeral for Christopher Pace, the three-year-old boy I wrote about here who died last week. After the funeral, we came home and (after hugging our boys tightly) headed out for the wedding celebration of two friends. So, we were immersed in complete opposite ends of the emotional spectrum within a matter of hours.

The boys and I left Kyler to visit with old friends and enjoy the rest of the wedding festivities, and I'm sitting in the (now) quiet house, trying to formulate so many thoughts I've had over the past week into blog posts. We'll see what I come up with.

For now, I just want to leave you with a poem I heard today that I haven't read for awhile. Actually, I held it together quite well at Christopher's funeral today. (Hear my heart, this is hard to put into words. It's not that I can't/won't/don't show any sort of emotion at a funeral, it's just that emotions are so incredibly intense for me now - pregnant - that it is difficult to stop once I begin. I apologize - terrible explanation.) One of Christopher's daycare workers got up during the eulogy portion and shared this poem. She read the first line and I was done. It's incredible to me how intense emotion can sear things into your memory and, regardless of how long it's been, they can come flooding back with a single cue. I knew every word of this poem.

When I was in middle school, my cousin Shari was killed in a single car accident driving home late one night. It was March of her senior year in high school, and I admired her so much. They found this poem among her personal poetry; the author is unknown. (Well, the author of the first half of the poem is unknown. The second half of the poem is attributed to Edward A. Guest. I find it really interesting that she had the two written together as one, but I can't find them together anywhere. They fit nicely.) Anyway, I think it's beautiful, and it always reminds me of Shari.

Life is but a stopping place,
A pause in what's to be,
A resting place along the road
To sweet eternity.

We all have different journeys,
Different paths along the way,
We all were meant to learn some things,
But never meant to stay...

Our destination is a place
Far greater than we know.
For some, the journey's quicker,
For some, the journey's slow.

And when the journey finally ends,
We'll claim a great reward
And find an everlasting peace,
Together with the Lord.

When I come to the end of the road
And the sun has set for me
I want no rites in a gloom-filled room.
Why cry for a soul set free?

Miss me a little, but not for too long
And not with your head bowed low.
Remember the love that we once shared,
Miss me, but let me go.

For this is a journey that we all must take
And each must go alone.
It's all a part of the Master's plan,
A step on the road to home.

When you are lonely and sick of heart,
Go to the friends we know
And bury your sorrows in doing good deeds.
Miss me, but let me go.



Holy design
This place in time
That I might seek and find my God
My God

Lord I want to yearn for You
I want to burn with passion
Over You and only You
Lord I want to yearn

Your joy is mine
Yet why am I fine
With all my singing and bringing grain
In light of Him

Oh You give life and breath
Through Him You give all things
In Him we live and move
That's why I sing

"Yearn" / Shane & Shane / 2005


Do you know this song? (To hear it, scroll to the playlist at the bottom of the page - it's #10.) I love it. It really speaks into my soul when I'm feeling lonely, overwhelmed, or far from God. It's a prayer I can sing, and remember God's promise that I will find Him when I seek Him with all my heart (Jeremiah 29:13).

We have a prayer room at our church, and when I have the opportunity to go there (or I suppose I should say, when I make the opportunity) I have a habit of choosing a song off of one of the many CDs and playing the song on repeat for the duration of my time there. Music is a tool the Holy Spirit uses to speak directly into my soul, and listening to a song over and over again is a way I can meditate and pray on the words.

(Aside: I also believe this is why we should be especially vigilant about the worship songs we listen to. Particularly in my case, where music really seeps into my soul, I want to make sure the words I memorize and am singing over and over again are speaking God's truth. I want to make sure they are an accurate representation of scripture. A topic for another post...)

In ministry, it is so easy to get wrapped up in the everyday execution of things: rehearsing for leading worship, small group curriculum, evangelism and outreach events, discipleship studies, weekly messages, etc. Ironically, this stuff just clutters up the simplicity of God's message. In my case, many times I find that I become so busy "doing God's work" that I lose sight of continuing to deepen my relationship with Him through prayer, reading scripture, and reflecting on that message.

And I come to a place where I realize that I can't really do any of those "ministry things" effectively (nevermind excellently) if I'm not placing that relationship first, foremost, and highest on my list of priorities. I'm ashamed when I discover that I've let ministry itself become an idol. His Word reminds me:

24"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. 25And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. 26From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. 27God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 28'For in him we live and move and have our being.'
Acts 17:24-28

Thank goodness for His love and mercy, and above all, His forgiveness. He doesn't need any of the stuff I foolishly offer Him (although He certainly uses those who place Him first to reach others and grow them). All He wants is ME. All He wants is my heart.

He wants me to yearn for Him.


"Not Me!" Monday

Welcome! Are you feeling embarrased this week for allowing your children to eat their fill of animal crackers for breakfast? Or maybe pretty trashy that in a rush, you answered the door and held an entire conversation with your brother-in-law, bra-less and dressed in your husband's boxers and old t-shirt? Perhaps you're just dying to reveal your utter disgust at your son's inexplicable urge to stand and pee on his brother in the midst of a bath. Whatever the reason, you've come to the right place to divulge the most ridiculous parts of your week, and feel completely normal! "Not Me!" Monday is all about free therapy - being brutally honest about life and living to tell about it.


So today, MckMama (inventor of "Not Me!" - bless her!) suggested we focus on our kiddos. Hence the "Not My Child" Monday logo. I had to chuckle at this, because nearly all of my "Not Me!" Mondays feature something ridiculous my kids and I were involved in during the past week. So, while there is a different logo this week, I'll continue in my hybrid tradition of "Not Me!" and "Not My Kids!" Here we go...


Not 24 hours after we arrived home from vacation last week (and only 48 hours before Kyler left for FL for a week), our A/C stopped working. As in, running all day, not a blessed whisper of cool air coming out of the vents, our-house-was-85-degrees-at-night stopped working. However, as I am completely in control of my emotions at all times - especially when pregnant - this did not turn me into one giant, grumpy gargoyle of a wife. Truly, it wasn't me who insisted my poor husband drive nearly 1.5 hours round trip to his sister's house (after a long night meeting at church even) to retrieve several standing fans, so I could finally get the boys cooled down and to sleep (and it most certainly was not nearly midnight when I did...)

We did call a friend who works in heating and air conditioning the next morning. He told us the inner coil had likely frozen, and told us what to do to try and get it working again. It worked, (we ran the fan for several hours), and I daresay our A/C is working better than it has for months. Just so you know, our friend did not also say this was likely all because of buildup on the inside of the unit, probably because of poor air filter changing habits. What?!? Couldn't be. We are so super on top of any and all home maintenance and improvement projects that we change our air filters every 30 days on the nose. Particularly since we all have nasty allergies, it would be darn right foolish for us to let something so simple go undone. Ahem.

Moving on. I was on my own this past week, since Kyler left with another group of teens and adults for Daytona, FL and the Student Life summer conference. I certainly did not spend the first two days he was gone moping and throwing myself the world's largest pity-party, behaving as if he had left me high-and-dry so he could frolic on the beach with a bunch of bikini models. Excuse me. I never selfishly place myself and my needs above his ministering and introducing Jesus to the teens in our church. Besides, why would I want to put myself through the ensuing, inevitable rebuke from my Father? Geez. I am so much more spiritually mature than all of that, and I guard my heart much more carefully, so as to never let such pitying thoughts creep in and cripple me for days on end. And I'm certainly not so foolish as to publish that admission on my blog so you are all aware of that particular weakness...

Oh, and the bit above about feeling trashy that "in a rush, you answered the door and held an entire conversation with your brother-in-law, bra-less and dressed in your husband's boxers and old t-shirt?" Yeah. That was not based on personal experience. Completely made that one up.

And now, on to the "Not My Kids!" portion of this post...

During the week, turns out the Devil was in fact trying desperately to exploit that weakness to throw myself lavish pity-parties, taking advantage of every opportunity to drive me to my wit's end. I wrote about it here. One evening mid-week, after a particularly harrowing bedtime routine, I thought I had finally gotten the boys to bed successfully. Sure, there were still the allotted number of bumps, "gooodniiiiight Mooooommmy!"s (how do you make that plural? Anyway...) and mutterings heard over the monitor, but generally, I felt they were finally in bed. So when it began thundering, lightening, and something started banging around downstairs as if an intruder were trying to get in through my kitchen window, it was not me whose adrenaline began pumping so hard I thought my heart was going to leap out of my chest.

(Aside: I do not have a ridiculously overactive imagination, and do not routinely dream about such scenarios over and over again before I fall asleep at night, particularly when home alone.)

So after I decided I'd quit cowering in the little computer alcove downstairs and check out the noises in the kitchen, I did not find that the "kitchen intruder" was in fact my own 22-month-old son, who had, apparently, shimmied over the gate in his bedroom doorway, climbed down the stairs in complete darkness, and was now happily stomping on some ants who had found their way into our kitchen. (Another aside: our kitchen is crumb-free at all times, so I really have no clue what those little dudes were looking for...) I did not feel completely ridiculous for being so startled by my own toddler.

As previously mentioned, Satan was really using every opportunity to sneak in and wreak havoc on my mid-week pledge to have a new perspective on Kyler's absence and the week in general. So it really shouldn't have surprised me when, precisely two seconds after I served his favorite meal of yogurt, cereal, and fruit, Cam began heaving fistfuls on the floor, while Kayden simultaneously peed enough to fill his chair and cause a small lake of urine to accumulate on the floor. But it did. However, as mentioned above, I am in complete control of my emotions at all times, so I certainly did not commence sobbing as I cleaned it all up. Not me!

CAUTION to those with weak stomachs (or without small toddlers...) The following "Not My Kid!" post is positively revolting. Really. Continue reading at your own risk.

On our last day on Cape Cod, Kyler had taken a turn escorting Kayden to the bathroom while I was preoccupied with Cameron. Suddenly, from the other side of the house, I hear, "Kayden! NO! GROSS! Ugh! HEATHER...how do we disinfect the INSIDE of Kayden's mouth? Blech! Ugh..."

So right now, you're thinking..."Okay, he was in the bathroom, so he must've [insert pretty disgusting possibility here]." I assure you, I did the same thing on my way to the bathroom to help. But really, I'm pretty imaginative, and it didn't ever occur to me that he could have...

...leaned over while Kyler was wiping his bottom and started LICKING the outside rim of the toilet bowl.

Done gagging? Do I even need to elaborate about the possibilities...? I'll give you a minute to compose yourself. It took me several to stop the involuntary convulsions. Blech. Ugh. Gross.

And finally, toward the end of the week, I took the boys out on a bargain grocery store shopping marathon. We hit three in one trip - amazing accomplishment. Anyway, Kayden is becoming more and more imaginative with each passing day, and he keeps us in stitches with the things he comes up with. Unfortunately, not everyone can appreciate my toddler's creative genius, and it can often come across as a little....special, if you get my drift.

On this particular day, Kayden had woken up and decided he was going to be a cow. I'd grown accustomed to this routine, as he began imagining he was a different sort of animal each day while we were in Texas. What did surprise me was the lovely little "additions" he added to this routine as I was trying to complete our grocery expedition. Please keep in mind, it was not my child who, in his loudest and most dramatic voice possible, "MOOO-ed" at nearly EVERY person we passed as we shopped. I'm sure the sweet old ladies who stopped, and smiling said, "why hello there!" were not taken aback in the least when my 3-year-old screwed up his little face and bellowed a hearty "MOOOO!!" right back at them. And I'm pretty certain I must have misinterpreted the look the teenaged cashier shot her co-worker after she greeted my kids and the one out of the cart responded heartily - in the same manner as previously - and then began trotting (galloping? quickly meandering? what do cows do?) around and around the cart and the aisle beyond as she rang up our groceries. If the look had been in reference to any other kid, I would have thought she meant to say, "Uhhh. Wow. This kid has issues." But no. Not my kid!

Oh, and I forgot to mention that as I put him in his car seat before we headed home, Kayden looked up at me adoringly, (straining his neck to see around my large, pregnant abdomen, which I certainly have not in the least been feeling self-conscious or generally "ugh" about as I waddle around in these last weeks...) and said, "WOW! You're a BIIIIIGGG MOMMA COW! Moooooooooooo!"

Geez, Kayden. Thanks for that.


So how did your week go? I'd love to hear about all of the things you didn't do this week! Scroll down and click on the comment link to leave a note.


"Not Me!" Monday is an incredibly fun, blogging carnival started by MckMama on her blog, my charming kids. Basically, it's where we all can be brutally honest about the ridiculous things that will inevitably happen in everyday life.



My heart is aching tonight over the loss of young Christopher Pace. He nearly drowned in his family's pool on Thursday, and died this evening from complications resulting from the accident. He was only three years old. I have just been consumed with this tragedy over the past two days, praying and grieving for his family. And I've nearly smothered my own boys with hugs and kisses as I grapple with the flood of emotion that comes each time I think of what they must be going through.

And yet, in the past 24 hours, through the enormous outpouring for his family on Facebook alone, I am witnessing the glory God is receiving through this terrible tragedy. As Christians, it is our duty and honor to lift others up in prayer, going to God on their behalf and in their time of need. It is, in fact, a blessing to do so. And hundreds of people have been praying for this little boy and his family. It is humbling to watch how quickly and without hesitation our church family has surrounded his family, covering them in prayer, offering support, and just loving on them without restraint. People were and are still asking for prayer in their status updates, a testimony to everyone on their friend list that they believe in God's healing power.

I believe it is particularly powerful how those same people are responding now, after we have learned of Christopher's death. From what I have observed, little has changed. Statuses continue to ask for prayer, believing in God for peace, hope, and healing for this family. Above all, there are prayers for God's perfect will in their lives. His will for this family is causing them to endure great pain at this moment, but those who are praying continue to believe that He will be glorified, and the very fact that they are testifying to that belief in a very public forum is giving Him the glory. It is staggering to think of all of the lives that have been touched by this tragedy, and the hearts that are changing and growing closer to God through this one little boy. We prayed for healing and continued life for Christopher here on earth, and God's answer was "No. I have other plans." His parents have decided to donate his organs, so his death is giving great hope to countless others. I pray God uses that decision as one of many ways that Christopher's family can find peace, hope, and purpose in his death.

And Christopher is with Jesus. Perfect and whole again, without suffering or pain. Smiling, like he did so beautifully here on earth. To God be the glory.


3 To all who mourn in Israel,
he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
that the Lord has planted for his own glory.

Isaiah 61:3 (NLT)



It's been a long week. A very long, L--O--N--G week. Kyler left early Sunday morning with another group of teens and adults for Daytona, FL, and the Student Life summer conference being held there this week.

Originally, we (the kids and I) were going to go, too. I have yet to go on a summer trip with Kyler and the teens. (Funny, I'm always home very pregnant or nursing an infant. You'd think we'd learn and get our timing straightened out...) Anyhow, it took awhile to get the student numbers, hotel rooms and costs straightened out. And there was the little fact that I'm nearly five weeks from my due date. And exhausted. So...we stayed home.

The week started out not so great. Actually, it was plain abysmal. The exhaustion was overwhelming, the boys were not cooperating, it was taking me hours to complete the smallest of tasks, I was stressed out over what I hadn't accomplished, and consequently (and unfortunately) my attitude was terrible. I think it actually took us until Wednesday to achieve some sort of balanced routine.

Of course, my pregnant body responded to all of this emotional chaos with many warning flares intended to slow me down. I started having contractions. Real ones, lots of them, and particularly at night when I was attempting to rest. I know, I know, bad news bears. Fortunately, I'm not as dense as you may think, and fortunately, my husband is very wise and knows how to reason with me so I will listen, particularly when I'm overwhelmed.

He told me, "Your only job this week is to relax, take care of the boys, and don't have a baby."

So far, I've complied quite well. I have relaxed, the boys have survived, and so far, no baby.

The remainder of the week has been equally as challenging as the beginning, but I've managed to change my focus. It's funny how quickly we (well, I, at least) can let the little things completely derail our focus. How quickly we become so overwhelmed we completely miss Satan swooping in to take advantage of us when we are already emotionally compromised. He's a master at that, you know.

The last few days I've stopped trying to be a superhero, and I've started enjoying the time with my kids. Of course, as soon as I resolved to do this and asked God for His help and guidance, Satan was right there, ready to test that resolve with a multitude of well-aimed jabs. The boys were whiny and inconsolable. They wouldn't eat. They wouldn't nap (and therefore, neither could I, even after they had stayed up until 11pm and woken up at 7am). They refused to play together without trying to annihilate each other. Exorbitant messes, stains, and soiled clothing were left behind in their wake, wherever we went in the house. That very night, already hours past bedtime, Cameron threw yogurt and fruit all over the kitchen floor mere seconds after I had served it, while Kayden simultaneously peed all over his chair and left an enormous puddle under his seat.

But God is faithful, and He has rewarded my determination to hold onto a new perspective the remainder of this week. And, he has reminded me of indeed how blessed I am. Yesterday, I learned about the nephew of one of our church friends who drowned in a pool last week. His funeral was today; he was two years old. Today, I woke up to a call from a friend about a little boy from our church who had fallen in the pool at home and was fighting for life in a nearby hospital. He is only three years old and his name is Christopher. Please pray for him. Pray for the swelling in his brain to return to normal, pray for his lungs to continue improving, pray for the circulation in his left leg to normalize, and pray for strength, courage, and above all, continued faith for his family. We know God holds him in the palm of His hand, and we know He has a plan, and it is good. I also know that in that place of pain and suffering for his parents and family, particularly when the life of a loved one, especially a small child, is so uncertain, is exactly where Satan is, waiting to place seeds of doubt, anger, anguish, and unbelief.

It floors me how amazingly self-absorbed and spiritually ungrounded I can allow myself to become when I don't make every effort, even in the everyday small things, to stay rooted in Christ and guard my heart. It has been a long week, but I am so blessed to have had the week I did.


Potty Training

You know those moms and dads who write into Parents magazine and other parenting publications and web sites, positively dripping with pride through their "my-kid-potty-trained-himself-at-only 12-months-old-and-in-only-three-days-with-zero-accidents" success stories?

Yeah. This is not one of those stories. And in case you hadn't picked up on it, I'm a little bitter.

We hit the potty training hard again when we went to Texas. Many thanks to my Mom, who provided the much-appreciated extra pair of eyes, ears, and hands that are almost necessary to ensure Kayden's success.

For awhile, it all seemed to be working...while in Texas, we went out to eat with Paw Paw and Nana. At the end of the meal, I took Kayden to the restroom with me. After he had finished, I took a turn, and he instantly erupted in (LOUD) clapping and cheers of "YAY FOR MOMMY! You went PEE PEE in the POTTY!!! GOOD JOB!" So the modeling is there. The positive reinforcement is there. He gets that it is a good thing and recognizes when it happens.

In case you are wondering, I did resort to bribes. Stickers and Curious George fruit snacks, at one point, seemed to be working their magic in my toddler, who was previously potty-phobic. (And just for the record, I did create a sticker chart and offer Kayden treats for using the potty at home. They just weren't Omie's stickers and fruit snacks. Go figure.)

He still isn't telling me when he has to go; so far, it's been a matter of catching him before he goes. And you know, doesn't that really make me the one who is potty trained? (I mean, clearly I am potty trained, but doesn't that mean I'm the one trained to get him to the toilet before he goes, not him?) I'm just sayin'.....

Sigh. I know he'll get there, when he's ready. I'm not so foolish to think I can force, trick, or bribe my son into using the toilet on his own. But I could use a little Mommy encouragement. It just seems like a never-ending three-steps-forward, two-steps-back sort of deal at this point. And I'm a tired, very pregnant Mommy who really doesn't want three kids in diapers/training pants. So for all of you seasoned potty-training veterans, please do comment with any little tips, tricks, or motivating words.

Just don't tell me your kid potty trained himself at only 12-months-old and in only three days with zero accidents. :)


Oh, For a Backyard

What I especially enjoyed about our recent vacation was all of the time we spent outdoors. I love being outdoors, and so do the boys. After all, they're little boys. They run, jump, play, explore, and get unimaginably dirty. And I love that they love to do those things.

My parents have a fantastic backyard. I grew up on four acres in the Texas Hill Country, in an older subdivision where 4+ acres was the norm.

This makes it incredibly difficult for me to accept our current yard situation. We have no yard to speak of. Well, we have a thin strip of yard that we share with our neighbors, and it serves primarily as a toilet for their dog. The "backyard" sits at a roughly 60* angle (at least). It serves primarily as a torture mechanism for my poor husband who has to mow it. Well, weed-wack it. He gave up mowing it during our first year here after it nearly killed his back to lug a push mower up and down that hill forty-seven times to mow 15 square feet.

So, being on vacation, where I could feed my kids their breakfast and virtually turn them loose for the remainder of the morning, and again after naps in the afternoon, was really a huge blessing. It has taken us all of one day to get stir crazy back in our yard-less home. Before this turns into an all-out pity party, let me shift focus and mention all of the things that were so fun for the boys while they had full reign over (in their estimation) the entire Great Outdoors during our vacation time.

water sprinklers and swimming pools

finding creatures and critters (see posts here and here)

running, riding, and swinging


plants, flowers, trees, and treasures


buckets, balls, pails, shovels, and stones

It's going to take some creativity and a whole heck of a lot of motivation to get this family outdoors the remainder of the summer. I imagine we'll be spending a lot of time at my in-laws, where we keep the blow-up baby pools and water toys (ready or not, here we come!) See, my burgeoning belly and lack of motivation to get out and up this massive hill we live on (or in the car to drive somewhere safe to play) have a linear relationship. As I grow, so does my list of excuses to stay inside. But, I suppose it just takes a little willpower and an "I think I can" attitude. Wish me luck!

In the meantime, I think I'll head on over to realtor.com......


"Not Me!" Vacation


Ah, yes. The "Not Me!" excitement definitely continued as we traveled down to Texas to visit my parents, and then north to Cape Cod for our family vacation with Kyler's grandparents. Please do not be fooled into thinking that over the past few weeks these were the only moments worth recording. Au contraire, my friends! After all, if it was in fact my children who generated the fodder for this post, (and how can I top that one, really?!) in only one week, surely you can imagine what an entire month's worth of traveling excitement produced.

So, although it's long, consider this the Cliff's Notes version...and enjoy!


In Texas...

I had my mom's help, so with the extra pair of hands, eyes, and her extra-vigilant-grandmother-and-kindergarten-teacher-for-30-years-with-a-vast-knowledge-of-everything-early-childhood, I redoubled my efforts and determination to get Kayden potty trained. So, it certainly wasn't me who took full advantage of the "will-potty-for-stickers-and-Curious-George" phenomenon. Yes, we tried this at home. It was an epic failure. (And it wasn't me who became quite annoyed that this method worked for my mother and not me...)

See, apparently it is a well-known fact that Omie's stickers and Curious George fruit snacks have magic powers that Mommy's stickers and fruit snacks certainly don't possess. Who knew?

Anyway, potty training was moving along. So it wasn't me who was lounging in front of HGTV (we don't have TV - at all - and for the record, it definitely wasn't me who was a total couch potato in front of my parents' cable many evenings...) when I heard Kayden talking in the downstairs bathroom: "Oh no...it's everywhere! Moooooommmmmyyyyy, I have to pooooooppyyyy!" Yep. Bless his heart. He tried to make it to the bathroom on time to poop. He tried to get his pants and pull-up down on his own, despite the fact that they were full of poop. He didn't and got it everywhere. The hallway, the bathroom, the outside of the toilet, up and down his legs....

It wasn't me who had to call my parents' sports medicine trainer neighbor over at 10pm one night because Cam busted his chin wide open on the side of the bathtub. Thankfully, the profuse bleeding stopped after ten minutes, and we managed to hold him down long enough to get a butterfly bandage on it. Surely, he didn't rip it off in his sleep two hours later...

The kids and I went out for dinner one night with my grandparents after my Dad got home from the hospital. When dinner was over, I took Kayden to the restroom. After he was finished, I took a turn. I'm quite sure most of the kitchen staff and those in the immediate vicinity of the bathroom heard my sweet son clapping and cheering in his most exuberant loud voice, "Yay for Mommy! You went PEE PEE in the POTTY!!! Good job!!!"



If you read my blog fairly regularly, you know that for both flights (down to Texas and up to Cape Cod), I did the very-pregnant-woman-traveling-alone-with-two-toddlers-two-car-seats-two-carry-ons-and-a-whole-bunch-of-other-junk thing. From Texas, we flew to Providence, RI, where Kyler picked us up after driving from home. Then, we all continued on to Cape Cod to his grandparents' house for our family vacation. Our flight was two segments: three hours to Orlando, FL, and another three hours to Providence. Positives: no changing planes, so I didn't have to lug all of our stuff and my children off of the plane and across the airport to another gate for the second flight. Negatives: no changing planes, so no deboarding from 10am when our first flight left, until 5pm when our second flight landed. That's an eternity for two toddlers (and their pregnant mother!) So....

In between flights while the flight attendants were cleaning the cabin, we made a break for the airplane bathroom. I made sure Cam was preoccupied with safety instructions booklets, tray tables, and the window in the last row of the plane while I sat Kayden on the plane toilet. Then I quickly turned around to double check that Cam hadn't deboarded or made a break for the emergency hatch. He hadn't. When I returned the three steps to the bathroom, it wasn't me that discovered Kayden's pull-up (and Kayden's.....errr.....ahem....) were angled in such a way that his stream of urine had masterfully cascaded all over the airplane bathroom and pooled on the floor, rather than into the convenient receptacle for which urine is intended. Nope. In my life, such things do not happen.

Did I mention Kayden was barefoot? Oh, YES, he was.

See, when I got down to the airplane bathroom with both children and discovered (errr....remembered...) Kayden was barefoot, I was not lazy and opted instead to lift him up onto the toilet rather than going back for his shoes. I'm never lazy. Especially not when I'm pregnant.

So, after I cleaned Kayden up and "mopped" up the bathroom (while continuously monitoring both children), I had to take a turn. Now, at least I had the presence of mind to realize I should not leave both of my children unsupervised while I closed the bathroom door, so I grabbed Cameron and took him with me. Please imagine with me for a moment: very pregnant woman, very squirmy, wiggly, 30lb. almost-two-year-old in her arms, incredibly small airplane bathroom with door closed, and said pregnant woman trying to negotiate maternity pants with one hand, use the bathroom, and return clothing to a respectable state before leaving the bathroom....

Are you rolling on the floor laughing yet? Seriously. This is not my life!

Which is why I thought the security guard/airport personnel/man surely wasn't glaring at me when we finally walked through the little exit doorway to baggage claim at the Providence airport. See, on his way up to Providence, Kyler hit some really nasty construction traffic outside of NYC, and was around 1.5 hours late. I waited with my two incredibly patient toddlers to deboard until the very last, mind you, so the crew could see to the needs of all of the handicapped people on the plane. (There were quite a lot, as I think at least half of Orlando's elderly and retirement community were returning to their summer homes in New England and chose the same flight we were on...)

Anyway, the flight crew helped us off of the plane with the car seats, and then seeing I would need help to baggage claim, provided me with a wheelchair for the car seats and carry-ons. So, with the car seats balanced precariously on the wheelchair, the carry-ons on top of those, Cameron on my hip, and Kayden "helping" me push the chair (one-handed), we continued up the jet bridge and across the airport to a restaurant area to kill some time until Kyler arrived.

After entertaining the boys (who remember, had been traveling for six hours at this point) for nearly two more hours, we loaded up again and struggled towards baggage claim. It was then, while I was trying desperately to hang onto Cameron (30 lbs, remember?), maintain control of the wheelchair loaded down with car seats, and waddle my pregnant self just a little further to the elevator where (hopefully) at the bottom I'd find my big, strong husband who could take over from there, that I noticed the security guard/airport personnel man off to the side.

He really was glaring at me.

I locked eyes with him and managed a smile. And I'm pretty sure my ears must have been deceiving me when I heard him say,

"You know, you should NOT be using that. Those are only for people who really need the help."

I quickly deduced that he was referring to the wheelchair. Now, please don't get me wrong. I respect the needs of handicapped people and in fact get quite annoyed when people abuse or ignore those needs. Example: I hate it when I see someone park in a handicapped spot at the grocery store, with a handicapped sticker, and then hop out of the car and skip right on into the store, etc. So....I get that I was I person without a handicap, using a wheelchair to push my things.

However...."For people who really need the help."


I also deduced that he was BLIND...errr...mean, tired, and grumpy from working all day. So, I kindly apologized if I'd offended him, and let him know that the flight crew had provided me with the wheelchair for our things.

"Well, they don't know anything. Those are only for people who need help."

Keep in mind that it wasn't me who was grateful I was so encumbered (although clearly not in need of help...) that I was incapable of smacking the man. Meany. Poo on him.


On Cape Cod...

I am considerate of my husband's every need, and always put his needs before my own, as any good wife should without fail. So I certainly wasn't me who took complete and total advantage of Kyler's sacrificial willingness to get up with the boys, and slept in until 9 or 10 (or 11) am nearly every day of our vacation.

And clearly, it wasn't my darling children who lost any and all control of their sphincter muscles at the most inopportune times throughout our stay on the Cape. It was someone else's younger child who on several different occasions, urinated on the bath mat, the bathroom floor, and the bedroom floor (twice). And it wasn't his older brother who did the same on Grammy's nice, crisp and clean, white couch. Both of them. On the backrest. You know, the part you can't take the slipcover off of and wash.

Not ME!


So how did your week go? I'd love to hear about all of the things you didn't do this week! Scroll down and click on the comment link to leave a note.


"Not Me!" Monday is an incredibly fun, blogging carnival started by MckMama on her blog, my charming kids. Basically, it's where we all can be brutally honest about the ridiculous things that will inevitably happen in everyday life.