Friday, December 29, 2006

Fri Dec 29, 2006

I'm sooo behind on things.  Sorry about that.  Let me see if I can do a quick recap of events.

Christmas went well.  Kids loved the Santa presents & enjoyed the Jesus birthday party.  Went to the movies & liked the show.  Dog's growing & making me crazy (she keeps getting out of the fence!!).  Kids are spending their days watching TV, cleaning their rooms, playing outside & huddling around Savannah.  Her tonsils came out on Wednesday without any problems.  She's sleeping on the couch to be nearby in case she needs us.  She's really hating the fact that she has to eat ice cream & popsicles so often.  :)

All in all, things are going well.  I'm just too sleepy to keep the site updated lately.  Coco is up by 6:30am every day....even on school holidays when we could sleep later!  I've been hitting the hay by 10-10:30 every night, which is pretty early for me, but I guess I need it b/c I'm not having any trouble going to sleep!

Yawn....I think I'll go take a nap now.  :)

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Eve 2006

So much has happened the past few days!  Sorry I've gone a few days since the last entry.

On Friday, we picked up our sweet puppy, Coco.  (Email for pics if you want to see her!)  She really is a cutie!  The first night was a little difficult as she whimpered & whined in the kennel at the foot of our bed all night.  Larry & I are, well.... big wusses.  We ended up putting her in bed with us to get her to be quiet.  LOL!  Yes, seriously.  We couldn't stand listening to her whimper (not to mention that we couldn't sleep through it!)  We got smart last night, though and moved the kennel to the master bathroom.  Although we can still tell she's crying, the sound is muffled by the two doors in between us & her.  We actually slept last night!

Last night while tucking in the kids, Andrew looked me square in the eyes & said "I don't think I want to have Christmas."  (why not?)  "Because it reminds me of my mom.  Christmas is the last holiday I got to have with her."  I was astounded that this finally came out.  This is the first time he's initiated a conversation about his mom.  We talked about how cool it is that his mom gets to be at Jesus's side this year for Christmas--not just here on earth sitting around a big tree!  He was ok with how that conversation turned out, but I was just wow'd by him bringing it up!  Then this morning, we had another one of "those" times when Andrew lost it.  He got frustrated by something & as I walked into the room & spotted him taking a swing at Savannah with a book, I knew I had to get between them quickly.  It was time to leave for church anyway & he decided he wasn't going to go.  Um....yes you are, kiddo.  He drove all the way to church in tears with his fingers in his ears to block out everyone else.  In fact, at one point, he rolled his turtleneck up to cover his whole head.

Yesterday on the way to my family's Christmas get together, something about drugs came up.  Larry & I were giving a little mini "just say no" lesson & referred to the fact that some drugs are deadly.  Kourtney said "I want to take one of those drugs so I can go to Heaven with mommy."  She didn't elaborate & we didn't correct the drug end of that...we just let it go.

So clearly, both of them are feeling the sadness of Christmas without their mom.  It's hard to watch them suffer, but I guess it's inevitable that Christmas is hard after a loss--especially one so great!  Please keep praying for them.

Last Saturday we had Christmas with Larry's side of the family & then had my side of the family's get together yesterday.  They seem equally comfortable in both places and don't appear to feel out of place with my family.  I'm so glad they've meshed well with them!  My mom has made all of my (bio) kids a quilt at one point in time.  Earlier this year, Andrew commented on how he didn't have one, so she made him a special quilt for Christmas with pajamas!!  He was pretty stunned when he opened the bag.  (See the open-mouthed pic above)

Tonight we took a family picture.  I'm posting it along with last year's Christmas Eve picture to compare.  :)  I took 2 this time...and while Samuel's got a goofy look on his face, this is actually the better one.  His mouth was wide open in the 2nd one & Andrew had a funny look on his face.  Enjoy!

We opened gifts tonight so that tomorrow morning we can focus on Jesus's birthday party (we make a big deal out of making sure our focus is on Jesus first).  After the party, we'll go into the living room & see what Santa brings.  Later, we're going to go to the movies & see The Santa Clause 3.

Here's hoping that you all have a very happy, most merry Christmas celebration with your family!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Fun afternoon Dec 19

This afternoon when we got home, the kids went into the backyard to play.  I followed them out w/ the camera a while later.  I love getting candid shots of the kids.  I got to watch 2 funny things occur while I was there.

First, we just got a "Dogloo" for the puppy that's coming home to live with us this weekend.  When I walked into the backyard, there was not 1, not 2...but THREE children inside the dogloo.  LOL!  The little goofballs were all checking out Coco's new home & kept commenting on "how big" it was inside.

After they came out of the doghouse, Andrew busily began a project.  I just rewind a bit-- when they moved in with us, we had a tree swing in addition to the swing set.  There was a cable/rope thing hanging from one of the bigger trees with a board on the end.  It wasn't much to look at, but all of the kids in the neighborhood loved it!  When we built the bathroom on this summer, we had to cut down the tree swing because it was right in the middle of where the bathroom would stick out from the back of the house.  We've all missed it since then.  This afternoon, Andrew was trying to recreate the swing. 

He had found a piece of rope & tied a pretty thick stick onto the end.  The stick was tied in the middle of its length.  He was planning to use that for the seat.  I watched him repeatedly try to toss the stick over the limb where our old swing had hung to no avail.  He couldn't throw it high enough or hard enough to get it over the limb.  I pointed out a different tree with equally thick, sturdy branches, but they are all lower down.  I figured that would help since he couldn't throw the stick far enough to get it over the branches.  About that time, Savannah decided to get involved.  In the 2nd tree, there is a fork about 3 feet up, so she climbed into the tree & perched herself across the forked area.  Their plan was for her to take the stick with the rope trailing behind up the tree, and then throw it over the branch from mid-way up the tree.  Over & over she tried only to miss & send Andrew chasing after the fallen stick.  They tried to use tree limbs (from the ground) to push the stick in the right direction,  tried all sorts of different kinds of throws, but nothing worked.  After 40 minutes of this, it was time to go in so I could cook dinner.  I announced that they could give it one last try before we had to go in.  They groaned, but in their enthusiasm to make this work, they got enginuitive.  Andrew spotted a long stick with a little "hook" on the end.  They took the "hook" & stuck it into the rope that is tied around the stick.  They figured they could hook the stick/rope & get it over the brand (via Savannah who was still 1/2 way up the tree).  They get pretty creative when they're getting into mischief, ya know?!  Finally, after 40 minutes of failure, it seemed they had the perfect plan in mind!  At the bottom of the tree, a crowd drew.  Savannah was in the tree, Andrew stood beside it.  The other three kids, a neighbor friend & me all stood, watching in surprise as the hooked stick/rope finally make it over the desired branch!  Hooray!  Victory!  (or was it?)  As we cheered, we heard a thud.  When we investigated further, we discovered that the stick....the one that was tied to the end of the rope....had fallen &  hit the ground.  Alas, the rope was over the branch in the tree, but our "seat" was on the ground.  We were all stunned at first, but then couldn't help but laughing ourselves silly!  After all that work, the very thing they were trying to get up there fell out, leaving the less useful parts behind--yet parked in the right place.

How often do we do the same thing?  We work so hard to get our "stuff" in order, only to miss the point entirely & we end up flopping around, stuck on a tree limb when what we really need is on the ground, totally out of reach.  Of course, had we not climbed the tree to begin with, we would've had easy access to the part we really needed to begin with.

I'm so glad that I know the One who is pushing my swing...the One who is stringing up my tree swing!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Mon Dec 18

Thank you to those of you who emailed to give me a "hug" last night & today.  I appreciate the support & prayers.  I think I've been more bummed out the past few days because, well.... (editing since I know there are men reading this) I'm having some hormonal fluctuations that come 12x per year.  LOL!  I'm actually feeling a ton better today (although that may be mostly attributed to what God did in me last night--giving me a different perspective & focusing me on the comfort He's given).  Whatever happened, I'm glad it did.  I feel a lot less harried & frustrated & tired today.

This morning we saw the psychologist & counselor for Kourtney's ADD/ADHD screening.  The psychologist asked me a lot of questions privately & seemed very "business like" while doing so.  When he was done, he put the clipboard in his lap, smiled at me & said "Well, looks like we have another shining example of ADHD."  He then called Kourtney back & talked to her a bit himself and then turned her over to a counselor in the office for further testing.  When she brought her out to us when they were all done, she talked about how bright Kourtney is and how sweet a personality she has.  Larry & I kept waiting to hear a yes/no on the ADD issue, but she talked all around it.  Larry finally asked, "Do you think she has ADD?".  The counselor giggled, nodded & said "Oh yes!".

We're not totally devastated by the news or anything since we've kind of known this all along, but it's good to be able to say "ah ha!  That's what's been going on!".  The counselor said it would take a few days (or possibly a couple weeks since we're fast approaching the holidays) to get the "official" report written up.  Once that's done, they'll mail us & her pediatrician a copy and then we'll see him for treatment.  Since she already sees a therapist, we'll just work this into their talks I suppose.  Andrew has benefitted veryyyyyyyyyyy much from his meds, so if that is an option, we'll give it a try.

Oh, and speaking of Andrew & his meds...after the holidays, we're going to watch & see how he does before we make a decision.  He's sort of up in the air at the moment emotionally & spiritually, so we don't want to make a change now.....but prior to the holidays, we had noticed that his meds don't seem to be keeping up with him anymore.  The teachers at school last spring (& again this fall) have noticed, too.  Even though he's on a pretty hefty dose of Concerta, he is still extremelyyyyyyyyyyy distractable in the afternoons as it begins to wear off.  He's a wild, nasty wooley-booger in the mornings & in the afternoons, so it's like the medicine only works for a few hours before he comes crashing & burning down off of it.  The pediatrician agreed that he probably needs his medicine adjusted.  Since he's on the highest dose of Concerta available for kids, that means he likely needs a "cocktail" of 2 drugs to level him out.  The pediatrician says that he prefers kids see a psychiatrist to tackle issues like that because he's more comfortable only giving simple prescriptions.  Savannah sees a fabulous psychiatrist, we'll go to him if we decide to pursue adjusting his meds.

Christmas gets a little closer every day.  The kids are getting excited.  On Saturday, Andrew started a gift-wrapping train that was so sweet.  He went into his bedroom & found a book he wants to give Savannah (because he destroyed hers just like it).  He wrapped it by himself & labelled it for her.  A few minutes later, he was back with a toy that he said he got when he was little, so he figured that the little girls like it.  He wrapped that & then went and found a Matchbox cars storage box for Samuel & wrapped that.  All of that was completely spontaneous & all his idea.  Before I knew it, all 5 kids were getting books & toys out of their shelves/toy boxes to wrap for one another.  They really can be compassionate & generous when the mood strikes them.  :)  It was just so neat to watch them bring things in, one after another, to give to one of the others.  I think we finished off a whole roll of wrapping paper & a ton of tape, but that's alright!  We can get more!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Sun Dec 17

As the months go by & reality of life sets in further, I realize that I need to take more time to relax & find little "retreats" for myself.  I feel like I stay so keyed up, just trying to stay on top of everything, that I'm internalizing stress more than I realized before.  Although I totally love my family, I do carry a lot of the responsibility for the kids.  Larry doesn't dessert me or anything, but let's just face it...moms usually have to tackle a little more than 50% of the parenting.  When I spend more than 50% of that time separating arguing kids or dealing with the big issues in their lives, I end up 100% exhausted.  I won't be surprised if my blood pressure is up at my annual check up Friday.  I guess that just comes with the territory, and I'll deal with it if this is indeed the case.  I know, however, that a lot of the stress is something I bring upon myself by allowing things to "get to me" instead of tackling small battles earlier.  Ya know?  Sometimes we (general we, not just referring to Larry & I) let things go because we're too exhausted to deal with it when it's a little issue....but by the time it blows up into a big giant battle, we *have to* deal with it & then we're so frustrated & angry that we overreact.'s a vicious cycle.  I know that if I can find little mini retreats, I can stay on top of feeling so tired & frustrated all the time.  Back in July, I had a mini meltdown & Larry rescued me by taking me out & away from it all for the night.  That was very nice!  We've been alone since then, but I guess it's time for an "official" break again.  I just haven't sought those little mini breaks out lately...and I'm feeling it.  During the early weeks & months of A&K's arrival in our home, I found myself relaxing in little ways---but ways that added up to big dividends.  If you go back & re-read about the nights that I'd go for a drive late at night & listen to the crickets chirp....the times I sat in the massage chair at Walgreen's....the times I drove around screaching out songs to worship many things that God provided were such a sort of comfort & strength for me.  I have been too busy to focus on "ah-ha" moments lately.  It comes with the holidays....busy-ness that is overwhelming to a point that we forget what's important.
I've been thinking about this the past few days.  In a letter from G on Saturday, he mentioned that he'd be up for parole (the first time) in April.  When I relayed this info to Larry, I teared up.  Although I know that he would love to be out of prison & the kids would love that, too, I get very emotional & heartachy when it comes to thinking about the possibility of the kids leaving our home.  I know that eventually that may be something we have to face, but it's such a heartbreaking thought when we're fighting tooth & nail to break down all the walls that the kids have, watching how painful the holidays are for Andrew, seeing them make progress in school, seeing them develop a sweetness they didn't have before ...only to consider them going right back into the lifestyle that contributed to building up all those walls.  Larry asked if I thought I might need to be on an antidepressant.  Honestly, that had never crossed my mind until he mentioned it.  I don't know what I think about that....but will be considering it until I see the doc on Friday.
Tonight at church, our pastor preached about "expecting a miracle".  He wasn't necessarily talking about the crazy TV evangelist type of "expecting a miracle".  Really, it wasn't at all what he said that affected me, but what the Holy Spirit did while I listened.  A message was spoken in tongues & the interpretation was about accepting the comfort that is here, ready to be taken.  The "comfort" referred to was GOD. 
I felt a sense of peace as I looked around at my children & recognized how much joy they bring me.  The couple behind me was giggling & I realized it was because of Samuel & Sarah.  They were playing tic-tac-toe on Samuel's arm!  They had run out of paper to draw on & got resourceful.  Samuel's sleeve was pulled up past his elbow & there was a row of tic tac toe games all up his arm!  LOL!  Then on the way home, I made an impromptu drive through a fancy neighborhood that has a bunch of Christmas lights.  The kids & I started singing as we drove.  I can't remember the title of the song, but it says "This is my commandment that you love one another, that your joy may be full."  Sarah blurted out that we were singing it wrong.  According to her, the words say "...that your joy may be four".  ha ha!
Tonight, while I lay in bed snuggling with Andrew, we talked about the Christmases in his past.  I asked what his mom did with him to celebrate Christmas.  He talked how she made a lot of cookies & they ate them.  (hmm....check!  I can do that!)  I asked about his dad & what he did for Christmas.  I had to chuckle when he said "dad watched the football game".  I can't wait to see how he reacts to Christmas here.  Our celebration might be different than what he's used to.
Tomorrow morning, we see the doc at the kids' counselor office.  We're having Kourtney screened for ADD.  We have seen soooooo many signs/symptoms of it & her teacher has mentioned it as well, so we want to get her checked out.  I'm anxious to see what the doc says.  I'll let ya know.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

P.S. (about Savannah)

Even though she didn't have strep today, that doesn't mean she won't get it again.  Since she does seem to get strep so frequently, the doc mentioned having her tonsils removed.  I called Samuel's ENT today & made an appointment for a consultation.  We go in next Friday at 3:00.

Something I wrote about Christmas

This is a couple of years old, but I wanted to share.  I love to write & this is one of the things I wrote around Christmastime a while back.  Enjoy!  (P.S.  It's ok to share this with someone, but please give me credit for it!)


The Announcement

By: Elizabeth Reeves 12/21/03

Eight pounds, one ounce. 19" long. 7:53pm. Born in the manger behind the Inn. Mary & Joseph joyfully welcome baby Jesus into their lives. Please join us in celebrating the newborn babe.

Being a mom, I have always wondered about those birth statistics of the Christ child. Was He an easy baby? Did He eat well? Did He sleep through the night from day one or was He up during the night til well into His toddler years? Just what would the birth announcement say if that had been customary in His day? I suspect it would’ve been a hard one to write. How exactly do you word a card proclaiming that GOD is in the cradle in the bedroom? Can you tell the Son of God that He has to "cry it out"? Is it even feasible to try & feed the Prince of Peace on a schedule? How did He react to His first tooth? Did He potty train early?

There are so many questions I’d love to ask Mary when I meet her someday! Surely raising the One who would bear the sins of the world on the cross was a challenge….or was it? With Christmastime arriving soon, I wonder how Joseph & Mary celebrated Jesus’s birthday each year? Did they put up a tree & drape it with lights & tinsel? Did they have a guy dress up in a red suit & bring him gifts every year? Did they shower Jesus with gifts at all? Did they eat turkey, ham, potatoes and pie? How does Jesus feel when He watches us do this? Whose birthday are we celebrating anyway?

Why do we feel the need to write a different birth announcement every year? What if the story in the gospels read something more like this: "Come & celebrate the birth of Jesus with 15 gifts per child. Watch preschoolders throw tantrums in the line at the mall while waiting to see a fat guy in a red suit. Endure lines with a dozen shoppers waiting impatiently, trampling mobs seeking the very last Hokey Pokey Elmo…… binge eat turkey, potatoes, ham, pumpkin pie & assemble ½ a dozen toys at 10:30pm on Christmas Eve so that Junior will be pleased on Christmas morning. Oh and by the way, put a little nativity scene in the corner of the living room if you have time."

Whose birthday is this? This year, let’s try & imagine the birth of the man who would shed His blood for us …….let’s feel the labor pains of a teenager giving birth in a barn surrounded by cattle & chickens……..let’s ponder the birth weight & length of our Savior…..let’s consider the weight of raising GOD and let’s celebrate in a way that honors Him. Make sure He is the guest of honor at your birthday celebration this year.

Savannah & Andrew updates

I took Savannah to the doc this morning.  Before we left, her fever was at 103.7!  But with some Advil in her system, she appeared perfectly fine for the doc.  They did a strep swab (which is what I reallyyyy believed it would be), but that came back negative.  They gave me a Rx for an antibiotic for her so that we can give it to her in a couple of days if she's still not feeling better.  They said that she either has (maybe?) a sinus infection or possibly just a virus.  Not sure what we're looking at really....  After we went to the doctor, we came home & took a 2 hour nap together.  It was a nice day alone w/ my baby girl, aside from the being sick part.  :)

Andrew's school Christmas program was tonight.  He was a penguin (along with about 1000 other kids).  We saw him 'waddle' in & get onto the stage at the beginning of the play, but after the first song, we couldn't find him.  We were all the way at the back of the cafeteria & there were a million people standing up so we had a hard time seeing the stage at all & couldn't spot the area he had been standing after the first couple of minutes.  We figured he was in the mix of a million other kids dressed as penguins & didn't worry about him.  After the play, I took the other kids to the van while Larry chased down Andrew in the crowd.  As he approached him, he told him that he'd done great (the show really was cute!).  Before Andrew could reply, his teacher did.  She pulled Larry aside & said that Andrew had gotten upset during the first song when someone else stood in his spot on the stage, so he left the stage & refused to go back.  He sat on the front row with her the rest of the program.  When Larry asked him what happened, he said that he was mad because someone took his place so he decided it was better to just quit the whole thing.  He's a very "black & white" kid.  If this is my spot, you can't stand there....ever....not even your big toe can be put in my spot.

Hmm....lessons in grace may be wise!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

a few updates

At our 3rd-6th grade level schools, they have a program called "Kids with Character".  Today Andrew received his first character award.  It was an award for compassion.  We're quite proud!  Andrew really is a big teddy bear to Sarah & Kourtney most of the time.  Little kids (especially little sisters) bring out a special softness in him that no one else gets.  I'm glad to see that's rolling over into school.  See the pic above of him with his award.

Did I already post the pics of the kids' programs at church Sunday night?  I can't remember & from the page where I add this entry to the journal, I can't go back & look.  If I haven't posted pictures, email me & I'll send them to you.

Remember last week when Savannah got sick?  I felt like it was all due to the sinus drainage that was bothering her at the time.  It appears like maybe that sinus drainage has evolved into something else now.  This morning, she woke up whiney but we convinced her to go onto school.  At lunch, I had to go get her because the nurse said she was "pale & felt warm".  At the time, I wasn't sure she was *really* sick b/c she seemed totally fine the rest of the afternoon, but I guess it comes & goes.  By the time we got home for the day, she was running 102.3 fever!  I'm going to take her to the doc in the morning to see if we can pinpoint for sure what it is that's making her sick.  It may just be a sinus infection or something like that.  We'll see.

We had our first parent teacher conference (ever!) with Kourtney's Kindergarten teacher on Monday.  We love Mrs. M!  She told us that Kourtney is completely within the normal range on everything academically.  She is concerned about her lack of an attention span, though.  Since this is something we've really had a hard time with at home & it's now getting in the way of her being able to do as well at school, we're having her evaluated for ADD next Monday.  I stronglyyyyyyy suspect that she does have ADD, but will wait to hear from the doc on that.

All of the kids' school Christmas parties are coming up next week.  They're all getting, too!  :)

I better run....Savannah's called a friend on my cell phone so I need to go rescue the phone from overheating.  :)


Monday, December 11, 2006

Saturday--Tap Shoes & Jesus

Tonight Larry had a party to go to so the kids & I were home alone.  Since it's been crazy busy I haven't been to the grocery store yet this week, which means fast food was to be our supper because we're out of everything at home.  I decided that we'd try again on the I announced that we'd go get some supper & drive around to look at Christmas lights while we ate.  Everyone cheered!  Hooray, maybe it would work better than Friday night's Christmas lights excursion.
My kids, being the minimalists they are, all showed up at the front door wearing flip flops, houseshoes or bare feet.  LOL!  Umm, no.  It's 40 degrees outside.  Try again.  On the second round, I got a couple pairs of tennis shoes, one set of church shoes & again, flip flops.  While four of the kids & I went to the car & waited while Sarah was sent back to her closet to try again.  Finally she came out the door.  I could see she was wearing some sort of shoes but from the van, couldn't tell what.  It was after she got into the car that I finally realized it was tap shoes!  LOL!  I couldn't contain my giggles as she made her way to the backseat for the ride.  We drove through Sonic before circling through Whitehouse to peer at the pretty lights.
As we pulled back into our neighborhood, Savannah sparked a conversation.  "What is everyone's favorite part of Christmas???"  She started by saying her favorite part is Jesus's birthday & the celebration we do on Christmas morning.  Samuel & Sarah agreed.  Andrew said he likes all the songs we sing & added that he likes to open presents.  Kourtney's favorite part is "SANTA!!!!!!!!!!"  (said about that loud & long).  I thought it was neat that at 3 of the kids named Jesus as being their favorite part of Christmas.  I hope we can pull off our annual Christmas morning birthday party this year like usual.  I'm getting excited!!

Friday, December 8, 2006

Christmas is coming

Christmas is coming up quickly.  At least 6 of us in the house are excited about that.  As the day draws closer, Andrew spends more & more of his time pissed off about everything.  (Sorry, mom, I couldn't think of a word that would give a better picture of what I'm trying to say.)  He's angry.  All the time.  He claims he doesn't care about anything, hates Christmas, doesn't care what he gets, doesn't want to enjoy anything we throw at him to get everyone excited about the upcoming holiday.  Tonight we went with all the kids from church to a drive-thru lights place.  On the way there, he was ok.  During the drive-thru, he was ok.  Afterward, though, the anger began.  After hitting/punching/kicking Savannah 3 or 4 times in the McDonald's parking lot, I had to stop the church van & climb into the backseat to separate them.  All he could focus on was his anger with Savannah (who had done nothing to irritate him...she was just the nearest target as best I could tell).  When we got home, we had a conversation that went something like this.
Me:  Andrew, why are you so mad lately?
Andrew:  I don't know.  Everyone is bugging me.
Me:  Are you upset that Christmas is coming & your mom and dad aren't here with you?
Andrew:  No, I don't care.
Me:  Really?  That doesn't bother you?
Andrew:  No.  I don't care about Christmas.  It's stupid.
Me: you wouldn't care if I took all your presents back to the store?
Andrew:  No.  I don't care.
Me:  Ya know what I think?
Andrew:  What?
Me:  I think that you are a little boy hiding inside a big, tough, strong man.  It's hard to face Christmas without your mom & dad, so you're being really tough & brave.  But...there's a little boy in here (pointed to his heart) who wants to come out & enjoy it.
Andrew:  No there's not.
Me:  There's not a little boy in here?
Andrew:  No.
Me:  Where did he go?
Andrew:  He disappeared a long time ago.
Me:  Who took him away?
Andrew:  My friends.
Me:  Who?  What did they do to him?
Andrew:  (in a whiney voice)  They said "you're stupid.  Santa's not real."  Why do people care about Santa?  He's not real anyway.
Me:  Santa may not be real, but he's a magical, fun thing that a lot of little kids believe in.  You may not believe in him, but you need to let the younger kids believe as long as they want to.
Andrew:  Why don't they just grow up & quit believing in him?
Me:  Because they're little.  They enjoy Santa coming, so you need to let them enjoy him without ruining it for them.  (He's made comments in front of the little ones several times about Santa not being real.)
  So are you looking forward to Christmas other than Santa?
Andrew:  No.
Me:  Because your little boy inside disappeared?
Andrew:  yeah.
Me:  So then you don't need any little kid toys huh?  I might as well go take all the presents back & just get you a briefcase & a suit.  Right?
Andrew:  I don't care.
I knew we weren't getting anywhere, so I just let it go from there.  He still ranted & raved, but I let it go.  All I could do was pray.  God, show me how to handle these moments of hurt & pain covered by this "I don't care" attitude.  Larry & I talked later & we believe this is all one big smoke screen for his pain.  I know he has to be hurting and the only way he knows to deal with it is to try & make Christmas miserable for everyone else by being a pain in the neck.  I pray that he sings in the program Sunday night & doesn't stand on stage pushing & shoving those in the risers around him.  He was clearly disinterested in singing when they were practicing Wed. night.  Please keep praying for him.
My prayer, since Wed night, has been more of a mantra, a chant, a motto...whatever you want to call it.  "Only You, Lord....only you."  I want Andrew (& all of my kids) to be filled with Only God.  I want them to see Only God in me.  I want their sights to be focused on ONLY GOD during this Christmas season.  I want them to look back & remember ONLY GOD in their lives.  So, everything has centered around "only you, Lord".  When my gut instinct is to scream or smack someone, I have to pray silently "only you, Lord".  When my frustration level is high enough to choke a horse, I have to remind myself to reflect "Only you, God".  A long time ago, I wrote the words "Less of me, More of You" in my prayer journal.  I recently found that when I was reading back through it. 
Oh Lord, that I could show only You....fill me with your presence daily, give me a fresh filling of the Spirit, wrap me in a warm embrace of your hands, cover my home with your protection, remove the evil & the darkness & the weight of burden from my house.  Hold me, Jesus & help me see the pain in Andrew's remarks, comments & hurled anger and insults.  Help me see when it's a discipline issue & when it's a moment that he just needs to be loved & nurtured.  I can't do this alone, God.  Be with me through every tantrum, every rage, every moment of sadness that is to come.  I can't do this, Lord, but ONLY YOU can.  And with you, I am strong.  With you, I can see the Light.  With you, I can get up again when I am broken.  Lord, empower me.  Show me the path, open my tongue to speak what you'd have me say.  Please fill my home with peace, give us the wisdom to deal with each tough situation as it comes.  God I know you're faithful & will honor this mama's cries.  I love you.  Thank you for loving me!
Casting Crowns' song "In Me" (chorus only)
When I'm weak, you make me strong.
When I'm blind, you shine the light on me.
'Cause I'll never get by, living on my own abilities.
How refreshing to know you don't need amazing to know that you want me.
So I'll stand on your truth & I'll fight with your strength
Until YOU bring the victory,
By the power of Christ in me!

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Fleeting sanity....frustration

Maybe it's a hormonal shift in me.....maybe it's the cold weather & being stuck inside more than usual.......maybe it's because we're sooo busy right now & there is no spare time to just hang out & let loose.  Whatever the case, my frustration level was really through the roof all day.  The kids argued & fought non-stop.  If they weren't fighting, someone was crying or whining about something.  I actually got so fed up with a fight over a toy this afternoon that I pulled the car over & said "give me the damn toy".  Talk about a sudden hush in the car.  It totally shocked the older 2 kids who realized that was a bad word.  I can't even believe I said that!  I had no sooner said it than I felt terrible!!!!!!!  I don't usually lose my temper like that & say those kind of words---and certainly NOT to my children.  I was just mortified that I had let myself get so aggrivated.  :::sigh:::  I apologized to the kids tonight.

Tonight, Savannah has sinus drainage/headache/pressure in the worst way.  I think this is the first time she's ever had it.  She's been crying & holding her head a lot so I gave her an Advil Cold & Sinus capsule....right before she threw up.  Ugh....I guess the sinus drainage gunk made her sick at her tummy.  To be safe, she'll stay home with me tomorrow.  Poor baby!  I hate to see her sick.  Please pray for her to get well QUICKLY.  So far, she isn't running any fever, just seems to be really feeling icky due to sinus pressure/drainage.

I am so exhausted.  I know I'm going 24 hours a day usually & that certainly accounts for my tiredness, but having days like today sure push me over the edge.  It's only 9:30, but I suspect I'll be snoring before 11:00.  I'm whipped.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

rough day

    Today was very full & busy.  I spent the entire day running errands & taking care of things.  My dad had back surgery yesterday (same doc, same hospital that Larry used!).  I visited him this morning & saw that he was doing very well.  Pleased with his progress, I went on about my day.  (Note:  Things have changed---see the end of the post for an update on my dad.)  I felt very comfortable & content with my day's work, having been quite productive.  Then the afternoon hit.
    The boys both had homework.  Samuel still needs a lot of help doing his homework as much of it requires reading & while he can read simple things, he can't read super well yet.  Andrew also had homework---studying a social studies vocabulary list.  I got Samuel about 1/2 way done w/ his homework before everything hit the fan.  Andrew was frustrated with his homework, so I shifted my attention from Samuel to him.  I got Savannah to sit & read with Samuel while I worked with Andrew (thank God for big sisters who are good readers!). 
    On top of being frustrated by the work, he was having some serious sensory issues this afternoon.  Every little sound grated on his nerves & sent him into a tizzy.  Sarah walked into the room & said "mommy" & he flipped out, holding his head & yelling that she was too loud.  Every time someone in the next room bumped, banged, said something or made any noise, he'd scream again that it was too loud.  He did that several times until he finally got so fed up with the noises around him that he went to his bedroom to work.  The thing is, no one was being loud.  Really, because he was flipping out so much, they were all going out of their way to be silent so I'm a little curious as to why he was so 'on edge' about every little whisper. 
    Things quickly went from bad to worse with.  By the time a 1/2 hour had passed, he was screaming, throwing things, raging out of control, crying that he didn't care if he failed this paper & all of 3rd grade.  He was screaming that he doesn't care about 'anything'.  When I said "You do care, Andrew, you're just frustrated", he told me in no uncertain terms that he WANTS to fail, WANTS to get a zero, etc.  Of course, I knew all of that was just him blowing smoke, but trying to settle him down & get him calmed was horrible.  I told him that God had a special plan for him & there was no way I was going to allow Satan to confuse him & make him think that he doesn't care about anything!  As I spoke those words, he turned his face away from me.  I asked if he cares about me (he said yes), so I pointed out that he really DOES care about something...and that I know he cares about how he does in school.  I reminded him of all the things he's such a perfectionist at---art, building things, etc--- and showed him how that means that he cares about those things very much, so I knew that how he does & pleasing his teachers was important.  
    This all began at 4:00.  When doors got slammed, I calmly re-opened them & reminded him that slamming doors was not allowed if he'd like to keep his door.  When he was rude to me, I reminded him that I expect him to respect me & would not allow him to talk to me rudely, but mostly I just let him be & through the walls I could hear him crying til he'd scream at the top of his lungs & then he'd go back to just sobbing.  He finally calmed down around 5:00 & I offered my help again (during part of this time, I left the room & tried to allow him some space to just have a fit & get it all out alone--I told him I'd be happy to help him once he calmed down).  I went into the room & when I asked him a simple question about his pencil & immediately he lied to me.  I told him that I couldn't help him if I knew he was lying to me.  A few minutes later, he walked to the kitchen (where I went) & asked me, nicely, to come back & help him.  I went in & the whole thing started over again.  I explained very slowly & quietly what he needed to do & he quickly went into a rage again.  Savannah came to his doorway at one time & asked if everything was ok.  When he screamed at her in reply, I grounded him.  I reminded him that it was OK to get frustrated, even angry, but taking his frustration out on others (or things in the house) was not OK.  I haven't decided yet what he's grounded from.  I have to make him understand that his when his temper is out of control, he loses priveleges.  (Proverbs tells us that a man who can control is temper is stronger than the mighty....we're still working on that!)
    When it reached a point that I could leave the room & go call Larry, I did.  I needed to talk through this & vent a little & call in the back up.  :)  Larry assured me that I was handling it well & gave me some ideas to try.  Once I steeled myself for a little more, I went back.  It was time to leave for church by then, so I told Andrew that he & I would spend some time together at church (while everyone else went to class) and finish his homework there.  I was a little fearful of how he'd behave in the church (would he go into a big raging panic attack again?) but he handled it well and we did finish up at church.  By the time we reached the church, he was calm & happy go lucky & had no problem finishing quickly.
    While I was on the phone w/ Larry, I reminded him that the last time we had a REALLY awful day like this, it was the day that G got sentenced.  Although I know some people don't believe in spiritual warfare, I totally believe that's what it was that day.  So my first question was "what's going on with G today?".  Larry called the prison system to find out if G had been moved today.  (Since he was sentenced, we knew it was "any day now" that he'd go to a prison unit.)  While it wasn't today, he was indeed moved from the county jail to a TDC unit on Monday.  (He'll stay there 2 weeks for "processing" before they move him to wherever he will stay.)  I don't know if there was something significant happening today for G, but whatever the case, Andrew was under a very strong cloud of oppression today.
    When we got home tonight & the kids were in bed, I layed on my bed crying out to God for Andrew.  Please remove the evil, the darkness, the heaviness & weight on this child, Lord.  Please take away the condemnation, the sadness, the shame, the depth of the pain he's felt for so long.  Wrap your arms around him, Jesus.  Don't let anything bad into that circle of protection.  Encamp angels around him.  Cover him with the shelter of your presence.  Please remove all the negative 'stuff' & fill him with only YOU, only YOU, only YOU. 
    As I sat & repeated "ONLY YOU" for a while, I felt a strong sense of peace.  The peace might be permanent or maybe it was just for today...a peace that I did alright in God's eyes for the day & that the rest of the night will be ok.  Whatever the case may be, I feel alright now.
    Tonight as I prayed for my houseful of kids, I said, "Lord, are you SURE about this because I feel so ill-equipped to handle this load you've given me."  But ya know what?  He reminded me that He equips those He calls.  He gives strength to the weak.  He carries the burdens of those who are weighed down with a lot of "stuff".  He shed His blood so that I could carry a load & bring Him glory. 
    Earlier today, before any of this happened, I filled out one of those little silly email surveys that a friend sent.  One of the questions was "What is something you want to do before you die?".  All I could think of was leaving a Godly legacy for my children.  Sure I want to do a thousand other things, too, but really...that's the only one that matters.  I could travel, own a big house, get a fancy car with all the bells & whistles, but if I die with my children not knowing God because I didn't show Him to them, I really have failed in life.
    I am certainly not trying to toot my own horn because I surely fail at leaving a Godly legacy so often.  (& really, I was tempted to cuss a few times this afternoon or fly off the handle & smack Andrew...but I didn't.)  I just have to believe that God had me fill out that survey this morning to get my heart in the right place to handle what was to come this afternoon.  Isn't it funny how God does that?  I love His sense of timing.
    I know that God is in control & reaches into my life every day.  His handprints are all over the people I talk to, the things I see...His love surrounds me daily.  Thank you, Benae, for our talk tonight.  I love knowing that my crazy life somehow touches the hearts of others & encourages them.  Thank you for letting me know that you care & pray for us.  I just adore you!
    And Lisa W.....if you're reading this, please email me (  I'd like to bounce some questions off of you and I think it's still a couple weeks til we come in for our next visit.
Note about my dad:  Tonight he began to run a fever.  The doc has put him on an antibiotic & we hope that this will be enough to kill whatever infection is beginning.  Infection the day after back surgery is not a good thing!

Friday, December 1, 2006

Sweet moment today!

When I picked up the kids from school today, I went to Andrew's school right before I went to Savannah's.  He got in all bubbly & grinning.  I asked him what made him so excited & he said "I got something for Savannah!".  He held up a particular Junie B. Jones book she's been wanting to read.  Awww!  He had checked it out of his school library for her!

A few minutes later when I picked her up & he pulled out the book for her, she took off her seatbelt, climbed across Sarah & hugged him.  (We weren't out of the school driveway!)

It was just such a sweet moment & I am so proud of Andrew for getting that book for her!  He could've checked out something for himself, but he chose to get her something.  :)  What a sweetie!