Friday, March 31, 2006

The Mailbox Dance

Before I get to the subject at hand I have to tell you I am sitting here in a stunning outfit. My sons waited to pick out what I wore today and I sort-of agreed (with the ability to play mean mom and say no). Out came a shirt that was acceptable--dusty blue with three-quarter length sleeves, perfect for the weather. I agreed to wear it and next thing you know they have presented me with a pair of strappy glittery high-heeled sandals. "I'm not wearing those shoes." "Why not?" "Because I am a mother and I'm not wearing high heels to clean house all day." "But they match." And they do. Perfectly. So for the moment (until I go out in public) I am wearing my blue tee shirt, blue jeans, and sparkley blue high heeled sandals. I made quite the picture this morning as I scrambled eggs. I'd be a mother in the fifties if, you know, I wore a shirtwaist and my shoes were more conservative. LOL!

There has been a lot of talk lately about the mailbox dance. And I do it. Shoot, the only acceptance letter I ever got DID come in the SASE. And I got a rejection in very fancy publishing house stationery. You never know. But since most of my proposals were sent out electronically, I expect my rejections to come back electronically, therefore I'd get jittery when I checked my email if I didn't get fifty messages a day. Truth be told, I don't expect rejections in the mail, I expect good things like all the free books that I've won on various blogs this month. I've decided that if I was going to play the lotto, this would have been my month. I won something like three books this month. Marilynn Griffith's PINK, Tamara Leigh's STEALING ADDA, and Denise Hunter's FINDING FAITH. Waaaa-Hooooo!

But even better, this week I got my first words in print in the mail. I did a review for Book Talk News for Siri Mitchell's Something Beyond the Sky (great book) and I got my copy of the newsletter. The review is anonymous. My name is no where on the newsletter, but I know that I wrote it. I kind of floated all day. Now the article I sold to Focus on the Family Magazine November 2004 (not a typo) has never been printed. When I signed the "first printing rights" I didn't know I'd have to sit on it forever, but hey, I got paid. It gets tricky though, when I try to say what I've done. "I've written an anonymous review for a cafe newsletter and I was paid for an article that never got printed and I was a finalist in a contest that for the most part people couldn't figure out why and flamed me as a person." Nevertheless, I have words in print!

Waiting expectantly by my mailbox for the next manila envelope.

Hey, I heard that an editor stopped by a couple days ago and thought I could write. So if you are out there....I've got a proposal to send you. VBG. Durn it, why don't I have a link to my synopsis when it really matters? Could it be that I am technologically inept and can't even figure out how to set up those edit-me links on the side of my blog? Where is my husband???? This is critical!

I have a problem. Im reading too many books at once. I started Hearts Under Construction, but Bet Me came in at the library so I put down the one I owned for the one I had to return. I finished Bet Me but by then Streiker's Bride came in at the library so I started it. And then yesterday Finding Faith came in. Well I NEEDED to read that one so I started it. I figure I can finish Finding Faith before the day is out if my kids will go play outside. How I love spring weather.

Go read a book, it keeps your mind young.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

How Many Times Have I Said....

I discovered yesterday that I really do love my child. I mean, I knew that I did, it isn't that, but sometimes I spend so much time correcting them and aggrivated with them and I wonder if when something really important happens will I do the right thing, or will I blow up and sputter venom all over them? Well, yesterday I got my chance to find out.

I have read the parenting books, and yes there are some that I think, "OVERBOARD!" But for the most part, the books I agree with say not to belittle your child when they make a mistake. By belittle, they don't mean not calling them stupid, because that is a well duh. They say we should not tell our children, "Well I told you that would happen" or "How many times have I told you" or "Well, what did you expect?" And I admit, this does cross my lips. And everytime it does, I think, "Bad Mom!"

So for a good four and a half years I've told my son, who runs everywhere, to not run at the glass doors full speed. Because he does this with one hand up to hit the latch and the other to push open the door. And everytime he does it I warn him. "Please don't run at the door like that because one day you may hit the latch after you hit the door and the glass could break and you could get hurt." Sometimes shorter like "quit running at the door!" and sometimes longer where we discuss how much blood would be involved.

So yesterday my son charged toward the back door, which incidentally doesn't have a latch and swings free, and his fist went straight through the glass. As I heard the first crack I screamed his name and I saw terror on his face. But this is what I'm so excited about, the next thing out of my mouth was "don't move!" Because glass was raining down around him and though I was worried about him being cut as the glass fell, I was more worried about him stepping on it also. I went to him in my bare feet, scooped him up and carried him to safety, and to the bathroom where we cleaned the cuts on his hand and assessed whether he would need stiches (I decided no). Thankfully I had a friend over who kept the kids out of the mess while I cleaned it up.

But I didn't once mention (in his hearing range) "I told you so!"

God protected him from glass and He helped me protect his psyche. Thank you God. Every now and then I have success.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Susan May Warren

Last September, as I was packing my things to attend the ACFW conference, my MIL handed me a $100 bill for my 30th birthday. I already knew there was supposed to be a book sale and signing so I knew where I would spend my money. I just had no idea how much I would spend.

I started out with the plan to buy Deb Raney's latest, Over the Waters, for my MIL for her birthday(now I wish I had a copy). I knew I would snatch Siri Mitchell's latest (at the time), Chateau of Echoes, if she got them in time (she did!). I hoped for Kristin Billerbeck's first in the Spa Girls series (not there). And I figured that I'd find a couple more that I might want and that I'd do my Christmas shopping early.

ROFLOL!!! Can you see my hysteria?

Book lover. Room full of books. Many cheaper than the cover price. Room full of authors willing to put down signatures. Complex situation. I decided that unless I knew I liked the author, the book had to be priced lower than I could get it at home. Not that that limited me much by the end of the week. I bought so many they constituted an entire carry on for my flight home. Which is good because I would have had to pay extra to check that heavy bag.

So, Susan May Warren, whom I'd never heard of had several books there and three of them looked a little chick-lit-y. I'm sure they are considered romance, but the covers are so fun and so not dreamy romance that I was drawn to them. It didn't hurt that she had it marked that one was $10, two for I-don't-remember, and three for, hmmmm, was it $25? $20? Doesn't matter. I know a good deal when I see one. At least I hoped, because I brought all three of her Deep Haven series.

Now I wish I'd bought one of everything she had there to sell.

Yes, it took me long enough to get to them, but once I read the first one it was all over. Such depth of character, such descriptive writing, such great books! I feel like I've been there. I like these people. Sure, you know they will end up together. Such is the nature of romance. Sure, you know that the bad guy will be caught. I would be disappointed if he wasn't. But that a person could write such tremendous books that propel the reader through them while making sure that the reader isn't disappointed well, that takes talent.

Great job, Susan. Watch out for me next year at conference, I'll be the one with the huge paper bag full of your stuff.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Button Pushers

The following message has not been fabricated.

My kids have me figured out. Unfortunately, it took me a little longer to figure myself out, but we won't visit there today. Now that I've caught up with them, I'm on to them and life will surely improve.

Excuse me, I have a child who wants me.

So, anyway, excuse me, I have a kid who needs me.

Like I was say--excuse me, I have a kid who needs me.

Where was I? Oh, yes. As I was saying, my kids know how to push my buttons. I knew they did, but since I didn't know exactly what they were up to, I didn't know how to deal with it. I just delivered my expected response--understanding the first time,

excuse me, I have a kid who needs me.

irritated more and more as the day progresses, and finally the grand finale,

excuse me.

the blow up where I (bad mom!) scream something along the lines of "Stop it! Stop it! I don't have to spend every waking minute with you guys! Why do you think there are three of you? Entertain yourselves! Go Play!"

They always manage to look (and I think genuinely feel) hurt and sulk off for about 30 seconds so that I can feel guilty and by the time they come back (31 seconds later) I will quit whatever I'm doing and jump to.

Excuse me, my child needs me.

And when do they do this? You tell me. See, if I'm cleaning house (which I'm more than glad to stop doing just about any time of day),

excuse me

they leave me alone or help. If I'm cooking with a deadline (mealtime when everyone is starved) they fight, or "need" me, or want something to eat ("If you would just stop asking for food every ten seconds, I'd have food and you'd quit being hungry!"). If I'm stan

excuse me.

If I'm standing in the kitchen looking out the window they leave me alone. No wonder I know so much about my neighbors that I've never met. If the kids aren't in the room I may decide to sneak towards the stairs so I can check my email. I kid you not, they

excuse me

hear the stairs squeak and come running. They may have played alone for 45 minutes but they hear my behind hit the desk chair and it's all over. What should have taken me four minutes to write has now lasted probably 30 minutes. I've changed CDs, wiped noses, called down the name calling,

excuse me

"been with," made toast, cleaned up marker boy, given out jobs,

excuse me,

listened, encouraged, praised...the list goes on and on.

excuse me

None life threatening, but sanity threatening? You betcha.

Don't even get me started about the phone.

excuse me.

If any

excuse me,

If anything, I didn't put in as many interruptions as there really were.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

I Promise I Didn't Breathe a Word

So get this, Friday night my daughter comes schlumping into her brothers' bedroom while I read to them at bedtime. Now she'd already had her stories, but I don't mind if she wants to mooch off theirs usually so I glanced up with my most welcoming mom face (not the get-back-in-bed scowl).

"I'm lonely in my room."

"Well, bring you pillow and blanket and come in here. We just started The Great Brain. You can read with us." (shameless plug, but it is so good! Um, with caveats. We don't read it all to them. Don't turn you seven year old loose on it. This is a family read aloud.)

"But I want a sister to share my room." (raised eyebrows)

"Oh, you do, huh?"

"Yep. We can just move some of my toys out and you can put her crib in there." (crib? I thought she meant a playmate, not a baby! Do you know how long it's been since we've had a crib set up in our house?)

"Well that sounds great honey, but I don't know where she's gonna come from."

"Well, Mom, we just go to the orphanage and pick one out."

Would that I were making this up. Does this sound like confirmation to you? Holey schmoley. She's talked about getting a big sister before. She's talked about moving her cousin into her room, but a baby? This is new. And she didn't tell me to just grow one in my tummy.

And lest you question me, I am certain I didn't mention my desire for a baby to her.

Now tell me, where is there an orphanage in the US? Where is this baby coming from? Lots of questions. Still waiting on the answers. But I do know this. God cares for the orphan, and he's put that passion in my family. Hopefully soon it will all become clear.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Um, Did I Happen To Mention....

...last week, when I posted my "Death of a Dream" that I had been rather ill, I'd been up with kids all week, that I'd waded in poop and could still smell the stench in the house, that my in-laws (lovely though they may be) were coming, that a loved one had been diagnosed with cancer, and that I had um, PMS?

Yeah, well, I do want another baby. I knew that would come back to bite me in the patooty, I just didn't think it would happen so soon. Last night I had the almost sickening urge to hold my daughter. Preferably of one of the darker shades of melanin, but I can be flexible. So consider this my official call to arms. I'm on the hunt, if you know of any available.

I knew it even while I typed, drat it. I'm sure that is why I was so sad thinking I was "done."

On another note, last week my house was filthy, my (immaculate) in-laws were heading directly towards us and my vacuum no longer worked. As that particular vacuum was not a cheap one and it got broken by my careless children who think vacuums are to be walked upon, I was in a quandary trying to decide whether to buy the very expensive Dyson or el-cheapo, $50 vacuum from Wal-Mart. You know, you can break a lot of $50 vacuums before you have bought a Dyson. Besides, I already had an expensive vacuum that had a half life it didn't live up to. I bought el-cheapo bagless.

Man I never saw so much dirt in my life. We were living in filth.

The good thing about this bagless thing is I feel such a sense of accomplishment every time I sweep. I look in the canister, show it around, we all oo-yuck and I feel like I've done something. All by 8 AM.

Thursday, March 23, 2006


I'm not sure who is suffering the greater case: me, or my children. But my Mother-in-Law leaves tonight and I'm sure the recovery will be prolonged and painful. No longer can I run out to the store alone when the sun is still in the sky. No longer can I (not intentionally) leave the nasty crockpot in the sink and come back into the kitchen to find it clean. No longer can I step out to rehearsal and come home to find my children bathed and dressed for bed. No longer can I justify eating a cookie because someone else made it. No longer can I type my whole blog without getting someone juice.


No longer can my children have a fit to get what they want (quit smirking Amy!). No longer can my children have cookies for breakfast. No longer will we rent all the new children's videos and watch them ad nauseum. No longer can they stay up way past their bedtime. No longer can they have a meal consisting completely of french fries. No longer can the words, "I want...." produce the thing they want. No longer will their rooms be cleaned up for them (well, maybe). No longer can whining about a meal that looks healthy produce an alternative. No longer will they have a constant play companion over the height of five feet.

Man, tomorrow will be painful for all of us. And yet...

I won't have to beg her to stop doing the dishes so that I can watch American Idol. I mean who can sit on her lazy butt in front of the boob tube when her mother-in-law is slaving away in the kitchen? I won't have to throw in a load of laundry every time I descend the stairs to check my email so that I look like I'm being productive. Although, at some point I think we crossed over from, Boy Jamie is being really productive to Dang, how much backlog of laundry did she have anyway? Never mind that if three socks are the same color, that justifies a load at this point.

Not that she would ever say such a thing, but I have a vivid imagination of what I would be thinking. If she read this she would probably be horrified that I would think such a thing. You can't win.

And just so that I can be clear, this was to make fun of me, not her. I have the best Mother-in-Law on the planet. And I'm not just saying that in case she reads this.

Of course I would have to give her the web addy. [Mua-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha!]

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

What Happened to Thirty?

You know, there ought to be some benefit to being thirty. As I just passed my half birthday, I can no longer in good conscience say "turning thirty," sigh. And the clock rolls on. Yet, I digress. Among other things, like increased respect (yeah, right), feeling comfortable in your own skin (har-humph), and not being in college (unfortunately I wrote this over Spring Break), a thirty year old woman should not have acne.

The occational pink spot or two you-know-when doesn't concern me--much--but this explosion on my face has transformed me from halfway to thirty-one, to sixteen, and not of the sweet variety. For about a week now I've been asking the mirror, "What's going on?" Occasionally my husband answers. Which would be good except he doesn't say anything helpful. Like the way I've washed my face for the last seven years or so has suddenly become unacceptable to my skin.

But after my dreams the last few nights, and the fact that I sit on the couch at night and just fret--not usually sure over what, I just feel anxious--it occurred to me this morning. I am totally stressed. And not just because there is laundry to do. I have a whole lot of things going on in my life right now. Many of them not directly associated with me, but associated with people I love and there is absolutely nothing I can to do help. And many that taken alone would be totally bearable. I think I've hit the multi-tasking level where my face gives in to the pressure. Because not only do I have to Mom as usual, I'm spending everything else running scenarios in my head. College all over again--minus the Mom thing--and without Spring Break.

I know what I'm supposed to do: Let Go and Let God. I even feel like I've done it to a degree, but after my dreams last night I know my head still wants to Figure It Out.

There I stood in a field of what I think was supposed to be milo, watching my uncles harvest with a combine (I'm not even sure they harvest Milo with a combine) and it isn't working. Instead of going in the truck this milo is packaged in what looks like a transparent seat cushions and flies all over the place. Meanwhile a semi drives by and a blue Mercedes falls out the back end. I stop my car that I am suddenly driving to wave down the semi. Several cars stop behind me. I finally decide to drive my car over to a highway patrol building when a cop stops and tells me to get moving. I park my car in this cavern and realize it is the day of my sister's surgery and I've totally spaced it off.

Does any of this make sense? No, but I remember it, clear as day. And I'll probably add another pink bump on my face just by thinking about it all morning.

You're probably wondering why that dream bothers me. Great. Another thing to fret about.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Have You Seen My Marbles?

Because I've officially lost them.

My husband and I are seriously considering (so seriously, in fact that he's probably on the phone with the banker now) moving. And not moving up, mind you. Moving to a less desirable location, where property taxes are higher, away from the swimming pools and shopping, away from blue ribbon schools, away from our church, to a home that is in worse shape.

It is basically a lateral move in mortgage, square footage and bedrooms. It is a move down in woodwork, kitchen(ack!!), busyness of road, off sewer on to septic, bedroom size, bathrooms (though there are more toilets, fewer showers) and there is a chicken farm next door. What we would get though is three acres, a huge basement that can be finished to add four more bedrooms and a game room, and potential.

Yikes! When I write it like that I know I've lost my marbles. What are we thinking? And yet, I know we will continue to progress forward.

It just all doesn't add up. The house should be worth more. And though I am totally freaked out, I think this is a God thing. I told Hubby last night during out "why does this look like too good of a deal to pass up?" conversation, "Maybe this is a huge gift from God and we are just too daft to recognize it."

I pray that if it isn't, God will slap us silly and shock us out of our insanity.

Monday, March 20, 2006

How Do You Squeeze?

After nine and three quarters years of marriage, I think I've figured out why people get divorced over toothpaste tubes. I never got it before. I think it is because both Hubby and I are middle squeezers. We both understand that if you squeeze from the end of a full tube, the tube topples over, and when all the toothpaste that is left is at the bottom of the tube, you squeeze it to the top. How hard is that to understand? We won't discuss that I can get a good week out of the tube after he has abandoned it for a new tube because it isn't a marriage breaker to have two tubes on the sink for a week. And he's learned to let me decide when it is time to throw the tube in the trash (he learned that the hard way).

Nope. Not irritated at Hubby. Irritated at son.

My five year old has taken over my bathroom sink. It wasn't enough for him to squeeze all the kid toothpaste all over the kid bathroom counter, sink, and tube, oh no. No, he decided he didn't like kid toothpaste and needed to use adult toothpaste (not that I blame him that fruity stuff is nasty). Since he has two younger siblings that like to eat toothpaste, I encouraged him to use ours in our bathroom.

Silly me.

Now we have fruity toothpaste all over the kid bathroom and so much on the tube that even I can barely get any out of an almost full tube AND we have minty clean CREST all over MY sink, My counter, and MY tube. And he doesn't put the lid back on so that squirt that eeked down the side and dried there prevents me from getting nice minty clean toothpaste out of MY tube.

This is the stuff that divorces are made of.

I never knew I could get so exasperated over toothpaste. It's a good thing he's my kid and not my husband. Because Hubby would have been moved to the guest bathroom (in the dark scary basement) faster than you can say, "Put the blamin' cap back on or else, buddy!"

Friday, March 17, 2006

Cough, Cough, Choke, Sputter...

Do you hear that? It's the death of a dream. I witnessed several of those this week. Mostly my own. I can't even really focus in on exactly which dream of mine is breathing its last. I just carry this sense of dismay.

I look at my beautiful children and I remember that I was going to be a good mom. Not only to three children, but to a multitude. We played around with having a dozen. You know, there are quite a few people I know that set out to have "one or two" children and ended up with these huge families because they just loved their kids so much. But before we were married we were sure that we'd have at least four, on our way to eight, and might re-evaluate ourselves to twelve. Not all biological. I did have that much sense. But I was so sure that I could make a large family work. I was the expert. Relax. Let your kids be kids. Love them unconditionally. Discipline consistently. And from that would evolve this beautiful machine where people cared about one another and rotated around each other in this fabulous organic family.

I can't even keep all three of my children dressed with their hair combed.

Not that I don't try. I try to relax, let my kids be kids, love them unconditionally, discipline consistently. But here's the thing: When you let kids be kids, they fight, they argue, they undress in public, they pull out one of two pigtails while in their car seat on the way to get their picture taken, and sometimes they look you right in the face and say, "NO!"

So I feel done. Really, really done. And it makes me sad. Because I didn't spend my last pregnancy thinking it might be my last. I thought it was just one more on the way to a huge family. I didn't get to adopt again like I'd hoped I would. Sure I keep toying around with the idea, but just as I get set to call the social worker to update my homestudy, I have a really bad mom day and I can't help but think, "Why on earth would another child benefit from my lousy parenting?"

I can see this blog coming back to haunt me in four years when the social worker says, "Now Jamie, in 2006 you didn't think you were a fit parent. How have you changed?" I didn't say I wasn't fit (did I?). I'm just not sure I'm the best choice out there, right now, for another one.

Maybe once this whole potty training nightmare is behind me and the memory has dulled, my dying dream will breathe a fresh breath and find new life.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

What Happened to Flashcards?

Last year I bought my daughter a Barbie laptop--because I'm STUPID. It was really marked down, I read the reviews on Amazon and decided it would be a good idea. People raved that their child learned so much and blah, blah, blah.


Let me just say now that it is intended for a child with AT LEAST a first grade education and many things require a third. So she follows me around the house and asks me when I can "help" her do it. I can almost stand the times tables when she miracuously chooses them. Barbie says "nine times nine" and without looking at the screen I can say "" Barbie says, "Way to go!" Daughter gets her kudos and we go on to the next problem. And, granted, I think she is learning her numbers. Not her times tables, mind you, but she recognizes the eight now. If we keep at it she may learn them anyway. I'm trying to stay positive.

But the games where you have to chase the dot across the screen, the games where you pluralize the words, the games where you guess the animal name? The bane of my existence. I have to sit there, stare at the screen and do the typing. Now tell me, who's helping, and who's just rejoicing at the time spent on my lap?

Somebody get me a book, I'd rather read to her.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Excuse Me?

There are few things in my adult life that I have looked forward to like I’ve looked forward to having my home 20% paid off. That may be an indicator that I live a sheltered or very boring life, but so be it. And it isn’t so much the reduction of debt that had me looking forward to this milestone either, though that doesn’t hurt. No, it is the PMI that I detest. Twenty-five dollars a month flies out the window whether I like it or not and only because my house was only 19.32% paid off.

As the 20% milestone approached, I eagerly checked against my amortization schedule to see how close I was. Finally we crossed the 20% demarcation. And my mortgage didn’t go down by $25. I narrowed my eyes at the statement, tilted my head, but decided that maybe, maybe, they would drop it next month and this month’s $25 was really for last months PMI.

Nope. They kept charging us. When we hit the 20.8% mark I sicked my husband on the mortgage company (I’m a phone-phobic you know). They assured him they would be more than happy to drop that PMI if we would just order a $250 appraisal, payable to them of course, to ensure that our house was still what we paid for it back in 2003. And would it be a full appraisal? No. Of course not, it would be a drive by. And this would be different than the tax appraisals, how? Well, see in the tax appraisals, the mortgage company doesn’t make the previously mentioned $250 so they are therefore suspect.

Later that night, who should call us but our mortgage company. They just wanted to offer us a home equity line of credit. Guess how much money they decided our home was worth? Twenty thousand dollars more than we paid for it.

Excuse me, could you do me a favor and call your PMI department to let them know?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

It Was Bound to Happen

It's not like I didn't expect it. The thought that it might come through email yesterday did flit across my mind. Many, many days I even forgot the potential was out there. Because it was so far out there. But today I have that song, I think it was called "Suspicion," running through my mind. But it goes a little like this:

Ahhhhh Rejection....

That's all. I can't get past that line. Can't hear any more of that song. And I can't be disappointed. What kind of whacked writer must I be that I am almost relieved to have another rejection under my belt? And a form letter to boot. It did give me a good chuckle. One year, one month, thirteen days, and eighteen hours for a form letter. That's how long I waited to be rejected by these people.

I was getting too big for my britches. Too many great things said about my first few pages by people who should know. When the rejections came, they came with personalized comments, suggestions for betterment.

Maybe that is my problem. I followed many of the suggestions. Now I'm getting form letter rejections. I've probably sucked the life right out of my story.


If I can just get two more rejections in my inbox, I can shelve this stupid book and go back to sitting on my couch and watching bad reality TV.

Better yet. Read other peoples books that made it past the slush pile.

Sounds heavenly.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Mother's Rant

My husband told me I needed to rant about this and send it to Everyday Hogwash. The problem is, I don't think they like these kinds of rants. There are no customer service people involved, no crummy products, just life in all its un-justness--at least from where I sit.

So, my mother warned me, I'm sure. I don't remember, I was probably too busy barfing on her toes to listen. A mother doesn't ever get to be sick alone.

I was tired, but functional four days after the puking in church episode. Number three still had a leaky behind and it was getting exponentially worse, but I was getting by. Yes, I called my husband hysterical a time or two. I was wading in it after all. But I was getting by. But Thursday morning I woke up with a very full day planned and I couldn't shake the early morning chills. It got so bad I went to huddle under the covers with the electric blanket on. I still couldn't shake them. Eventually I took my temperature (yes, with no symptoms but the chills). You guessed it. Sick.

That, in and of itself, was bearable. Mostly the kids played in my room while I shivered. My daughter made me get well cards and my sons brought pillows and stacked them on me. But then number three had an "episode" that I had to clean up. By now my head was pounding. And then another episode.

About this time I remembered that I was supposed to be at a friends house, complete with her dinner. I made a few calls, drug myself out of bed and got the food packaged and to the door for its pick-up. Squirto starts complaining of a "tummy hurts." I haul myself up the stairs to brush my teeth and I hear him screech. Dash, slowly back down stairs and find him in a pool of puke. Mind you, I'm burning at 101.5, not deadly, but certainly uncomfortable, and my stomach is now, um, not liking the sight and smell of all that this entails.

I threw a towel on the puddle, picked up the kid, plunked him in the bath, scooped the whole mess up together with the messy clothes from before, tossed them in the laundry, lysoled the whole area, washed my hands and heard the door open to reveal my knight in shining armor. I mumbled a few directions, turned a 180 and crawled straight in bed.

I miss the good ole days when I got a fever and my mom put me to bed and made me stay there. But no, I wanted to get up and watch The Price is Right. What an idiot.

Friday, March 10, 2006


I've had this stupid high fever and have almost no energy to even type. Crazy. It's wierd to have an excuse to be lazy.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


Yesterday was a [bleep] day. Now mind you, I was up to my eyeballs in [bleep] so it isn't so far off that my day might be described as [bleep]. As my husband, the ex-milker, says, "When you are in it up to your knees, that's just what it is." Even his grandmother and mother, both very devout Mennonite ladies, refer to it as [bleep]. And boy was I in it up to my knees..And beyond.

My whole house reeks.

You know, it's one thing to have a child with a stomach bug. It is quite another to have a child who you are potty training and almost there with a stomach bug. Do you put him back in diapers to save yourself the mess? Or do you do as I chose and know that if you go back to diapers for even one minute, everything you've worked so hard to instill will go totally to waste.

And he prefers boxer shorts.

They were my downfall yesterday. Today we may not go to diapers. I'm even going to try to avoid pull ups (although when we go to Sam's later, I think I will bend on that--[bleep] and Sam's don't mix for me), but I am going to insist on tidy whities. And old ones because I refuse to run another pair of those nasty pants through the washer. Yesterday I had to run a load twice to get the stench out.

It is not my imagination. I promise.

Last night I spent a fortune on those odor sprays for my carpet and furniture. Today I have to buy more laundry detergent. By the way "Odor Ban" actually works, and quite well. When I said my house reeks, I was lying. But last night when I got home from the store I could still smell the "accident" that happened at 2:30 in the afternoon. Either that or the 5:30 "accident." Both of which I cleaned with my handy-dandy (that doesn't work so well) portable carpet cleaner and left all the doors open to air out the stench even though my husband closed them after I left.....But I came home and sprayed the odor ban and this morning I was greeted with the sweet clean smell of odor ban which reminds me of hairspray.

Hey, I'll take it.

So this morning, I planned to come down here and rant about the injustice of my life and blah, blah, blah but first I read my Bible and God sent me to Haggai. "Haggai?" you say. Yeah, I know. Who knew that God would send anyone to Haggai? I would have contentedly spent my morning in 1 Peter like I planned, but no... I thought, "Okay?? Whatever." And expected to read about the dude who had to marry a prostitute. Now you know how often I'm in Haggai. But I was greeted with the bold letters of "Caught up with Taking Care of Your Own Houses."

Yeah? I thought that was the right thing to do. I thought that when I quit all my involvement in extra stuff at the church (well I still work nursery) I was tending to my family, my holy priority. But I prayed this morning and asked God why it was so out-of-control hard and he sent me to Haggai.

I could type the whole book, but you're going to have to go read it yourself if you want to know. Apparently I need to get my behind back involved if I want things to ease up around here. And I don't mean financially. I learned way back in my newlywed days that God takes care of you if you tithe, so even when it hurts(and it almost always does), we do that. I think I need to start giving of my time. Of which I have none, but even though it hurts, surely I have some to give. And even if I don't, I have to.

He answered, now it's up to me.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Mail Call!

I had an interesting mail day yesterday. A whole lot of nothing, but interesting nonetheless.

First, there was a letter from the organization who sponsored the children's book contest I obsessed about last week. My heart skipped a beat. Could someone have turned them down and I was a runner up? What could it be?

My official notice that I was not accepted for publication. A vanity publisher they are not. How nice that I got official notice that I'm a loser. Scholastic could learn a lesson or two from them.

Second, I got a manila, book shaped package. As I am expecting one from my review site, Armchair Interviews, I told my son he could open it (it is middle reader fiction and therefore for him, really). He pulled it out and it was a book that I wasn't expecting. I looked at it, puzzled, grabbed it, turned it over and then my body took over. An unexpected giggle erupted from me and I did a little hop skip.

Silly me thought, Ohmygosh! People are just sending me books to review! I am some-BODY! I grabbed up the phone and dialed my husband to share my good fortune. Mid ring I realized it was a book that the author promised to send if I helped with ideas for a booth last month. "I" being anyone on the ACFW loop with an idea worthy enough of a free book. I guess mine was. Oh well, I still got a free book, but my pride is again in tatters. Oh, and get this: Infertility book. Whaddayaknow? I'll tell you about it next week.

Third, I got notice that a review I wrote will be published in the April edition of Book Talk News...And I get paid for it! And my father-in-law said you don't make any money reading books.

Still reading Happily Ever After by Susan May Warren. I thought I was done with romance after the last one, but this is a cute story so far.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Novellas and Nonsense

I've decided that I don't care for novellas. At least the novellas that fit four to the book and have large print. Sometimes I like the idea behind the novella. Sometimes I can enjoy a phrase or two from the novella. I even enjoy the fact that if I start a novella, I know I can finish it before the day is out. And I distinctly remember enjoying the Victorian Christmas novella collection that I found after I read Kristin Billerbeck's What a Girl Wants because I couldn't get enough of her and that is the only other book with her name that popped up at our library. (It didn't satisfy my craving for her distinct style, BTW...but I did enjoy it.)

No, novellas don't have enough time to develop the character, the relationship, the why. I finished The Bachelor Club last night and I was so glad to be done. I really enjoyed the prologue. I enjoyed the idea. I did not enjoy how quickly they "fell in love." Like, three weeks? Wow. Doesn't seem like enough time to develop a life-long relationship. Granted the guys were all pushing thirty. Granted one of them knew the girl "forever." (Actually, that one I can understand.) I don't know, I really can't complain about the stories. The were relatively well written. They didn't insult my values. I just never got the time to develop any feelings for the characters. Just when I started to enjoy someone, we went on the the next couple.

Therefore, I don't think I like novellas.

Now, besides that. I have been obsessively checking my email like I'm just sure something of excitement (or depression) is on its way. I admit I'm waiting on news, but I expect that is coming over the phone line and wouldn't come until about now. So how do I account for my email obsession over the weekend?

Someone send me some news. It's driving me crazy!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

We've Got a Live One, Folks!

This morning, as I began to dress my two-year-old, he took one look at the clothes, burst into tears and exclaimed, "I don't want to go to church!" He's developed this sudden fear of the nursery. I'm fine with him staying with me and I told him so--he's a quiet kid. Or he could go to the pre-school class even though he's too young because he can sit still and talk in complete sentences. Anyway, you can see why I just got him dressed and ignored his pleas to stay home.

Ten minutes into worship, he begins to yawn and lay his head on my chest and I'm thinking, good, he can just stay with me. My husband tried to take him (we are standers at our church and he is heavy) but he didn't want to go and I didn't want to make a scene. Meanwhile, he keeps yawning.

The yawns get louder and louder and I'm thinking he's being pretty dramatic for a kid who doesn't know that yawning loud is kind of like saying you're bored with the service. I asked him, "Are you sleepy?" He nodded yes, yawned and puked all over me.


I gasped, made a quick turn and exited the sanctuary. Noting that my family didn't follow I sent a friend in to retrieve my husband. Eventually I convinced him we needed to go home.

Now I feel puky. I think it's probably all in my head, but ew.

I sometime wish kids had an indicator light on their foreheads so we would know..."Beep, beep, beep! We've got a live one here!" Sick to stomach! Not just trying to get out of the nursery!"

Saturday, March 04, 2006

A Little Humor, A Little Depth

Tonight I stood at a birthday party for a friend who turned 50 this week. How did I get so old that I have friends who turn 50? But that isn't the point. As I stood at this party, a friend (not yet 50) and I discussed mamograms. Bad ones and good ones and whether a geriatric doctor has any business doing an exam on a nursing mom because they just feel different--i.e. lumpy, therefore suspicious--we decided no. But since he ordered a mamogram, she had one. Apparently while the radiologist took the films for her she asked him, "Could I get one of those in wallet size for my husband?"

Oh, trust me, her delivery made it hilarious. I laughed and laughed. More than I laughed about the mood ring last weekend. Just when I decided to quit laughing, I started again. I got myself under control when she told me, "He wasn't amused." I roared. I almost wet my pants. No, I imagine a man wouldn't be amused.

All this because I told her I didn't feel my feminity was wrapped up in my chest and that I would go without if I had to...all the time thinking, "But I'm not so sure how my husband would feel." On the way home my husband was talking business--I have no idea--and my mind went back to the conversation and I began to grin.


"My mind was somewhere else." Started chuckling. Told him. Roared again. I think I'll laugh about that one until I'm 50.

On a deeper note, I found this blog today from a sister ACFWer and it is awesome. I think it is titled "Why I Believe in God." I highly recommend you go over and read it.

Friday, March 03, 2006

You'd Think I'd Learn

You know, after five and a half years of this mom business, you'd think I'd start getting smarter, but I'm pretty sure I have brain cells dying by the second. Take yesterday for example. My daughter had a little dance program since it was her last class, but the dance program didn't start until the class was half over. We had library books due and a movie on hold (Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius--a reward for a certain potty feat attained) and my boys hate to sit through dance class.

Let's back up. My daughter didn't want to go to dance class. YOU DON'T WANT TO GO TO DANCE CLASS?????? She always wants to go to dance class. She askes everyday when dance class is. On dance class day she puts her leotard on first thing. But, as I said last week, we all thought her last class was the week prior and apparently she decided she was d-o-n-e done. I'm super glad I didn't enroll her in the extended class which I strongly considered. Anyway, it was like pulling teeth--permanent teeth, not those weak baby teeth--to get her dressed and out of the door so I should have just packed it up and gone home right then. But I didn't.

Nooooo...I grabbed her by the hand and dragged her towards the door to class while I left my boys in the van that was parked illegally. But her teacher wasn't there. I dragged her back to the van, threw it in gear, parked legally, got them all out of the van, dragged them all to the class where the teacher was waiting. Kissed daughter, grabbed boys and dragged them back to the van chanting, "Hurry! Let's go! Don't you want to go to the library?" (They did, they just wanted to go on their pace.)

We went screaming to the library, ran in the building with me saying, "One movie each, only one and we are out of here. We aren't playing, we aren't reading. Grab your movies and let's go." I distinctly remember having my keys in hand. I distinctly remember thinking at one point that I should drop them somewhere--pocket? purse? bookbag? shelf?--while I helped the boys with something. Of course I had overdue books (still wondering about that). Of course I had holds. Of course I had books due (one of the reasons we went). Twenty-seven clicks of the computer screen later we headed out of the library. I got the boys strapped in (is this when I lay down my keys?) jumped into the driver's seat and couldn't find my keys. They weren't in my purse, they weren't in my bookbag, they weren't in my pocket. I dumped them all out, all over the floor. I had to be at the dance thing in fourteen minutes my husband was twenty minutes away. I unstrapped the boys, we ran back in to the library, no keys. Ran back out, shuffled through all the stuff piled on the floor of the van. No keys. Hysteria. I have abandoned my daughter to her lonesome self and I have no way to get to her or to let her teacher know that I have done it. I also will miss the program that I told her she must go perform because I wanted to see it.

Bad Mom.

Then out of the corner of my eye I glimpsed the magnetic spare key holder. I snatched it up, opened it and deflated. No key. Of course not. Otherwise the magnetic key holder would be strategically placed in its secret location under the van. I dug through my purse one more time and found the spare that was supposed to be in the magnetic key holder, lit the engine and tore over to the dance thing chanting the whole way, "Boys when we get there, unstrap and jump out of the van. We are gong to have to RUN! What are you going to do when we get there?" They knew. They were also very quiet. I think they've finally figured out there were no buttons left to push.

Good boys.

I parked the car, scooped my baby up and we ran. And we made it with less than a minute to spare.

I still don't know where my keys are.

Finished Newlywed Games.
Started The Bachelor's Club.
Need to go do The Firm: "Calorie Killer."
Will probably go read....
Ugh! I mean will probably go do laundry.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

The Last Spark of Hope

...has departed.

I'm so disappointed. Especially considering that I didn't care for last years winners so very much. I really hoped I had a shot, at least at a finalist position. But nope.

On the bright side, I couldn't sit in watch of the UPS truck all day yesterday without something in front of me and I pent my time searching through listings in the Children's Writers and Illustrators Guide and I think I have a couple of places that sound like a good match.

I always maintain hope when I lose something that God "allowed" it so that I could actually make money from it someday instead of being published for free (and hoping for the name recognition associated with said publishing).

A girl can dream. You never know.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


USPS: no certified mail. The postman laughed when I suggested it.

FedEx had the audacity to drive right past.

DHL did NOT drive by at 10:45....he did at 1:20.

I never saw the UPS truck today and trust me, I was at the window from 1pm to 4:30. What's up with that? He drives by every day. Seriously. (Harboring secret fantacies that he missed my route today and will be by tomorrow!)

And I answered two "Unknown Caller" telemarketer calls. I didn't want what they were selling.


You know, I just don't feel like being funny today. I feel like pouring my heart out in frustration (actually may do that), but my most faithful readers are four of the people who most hope I'll give them a smile today. So this if for you and you know why. The rest of you, please pray for my family, we could use some encouragement and pray for my sister who needs to hear a good report tomorrow.

Back to your regularly scheduled programming.

I'm sure it is spelled Phyche! but I was a youngun in the 80s when Sike! was the catch phrase and we not only didn't know what Sike! was short for, we couldn't tell you what Psyche(ology) was. Not really. So, at least those of us in grade and middle school spelled it Sike!

So I entered two children's book contests last fall. The finalists for the first one were supposed to be notified on January 6th. If you weren't a finalist, you didn't get notified. No web address to check, no "I'm sorry "email, no nothin. I guess WestBow spoiled me with the WORLDview thingie, man we knew it and we knew it instantly. Actually I knew it much later than a lot of other people becaues I didn't get my email until about 10:30 at night and they apparently posted it earlier in the evening on the blog (which I didn't check). But this Scholastic contest, they only notified the finalists.

I hoped. I dreamed. I prayed. And when the mailman pulled up in front of my house and got out of his mail truck, I screamed. Think: certified mail.

Nope. Package for my husband.

Then, ten minutes later when DHL pulled into my driveway. I screamed again. And sprinted out the the DHL guy with a huge grin.

Nope. Package for my husband.

Four minutes later (I do not lie) when FedEx stopped in front of my house, I looked at my kids with a wide eyed expression, then raced out to meet him.

Nope. Package for my husband.

So. That's what I call build up for serious failure. I still had one left. UPS always drives past my house at just before 2 pm. Here he comes.....there he goes. And I gave up. I finally found the list of winners a couple weeks ago, but man, I had to work hard to get it. And, shocker, I wasn't on the list.

Anyway, today, March 1, the second contest is supposed to be announced. Except the rules say winners will be notified by March 1. Does that mean that winners would have been notified say, Monday?

Guess who pulled into my driveway? DHL. I've stopped screaming everytime he drives up. For one, I think he sees me as just a little off my rocker. But I did race out to meet him (sans screaming).

Right address. Wrong label. Street, not Terrace, fool!

I'll be doing the mailbox dance today. The way I see it, postman will be here about 10:30, DHL 10:40, FedEx 10:45, UPS 1:58. Otherwise, I'll be camped in front of my computer hoping for the email.

Please, oh please, oh please.