Thursday, May 31, 2012

In which, Medium has a mad.

Ever since Large Fry's rather crazed and phobic reaction to bees a couple months ago, Medium's fear of anything that might be classified as a "bug" has grown.  I got tired of the kids using my bathroom and not flushing, so I banned them from it unless they absolutely could not wait and all other potties were in use, and/or they got specific permission.

Medium has been very determined to use no potty but ours in the last week or so.  There's a spider/spider webs/something scary behind the toilet in the downstairs bath.  There's a stinkbug in their bathroom.  She simply caaaaaaan't use them.

We had one of these little showdowns today.

Dad had an appointment in Lisle, and decided he was going to just mosey the rest of the way down here to S-burg, and asked if I was free for lunch.  Well, the twins not being in school on Thursdays, our two-person lunch swelled to four.  And then Hubby decided he'd better, for the sake of his mental health, join us for lunch.  And then Mom joined in once she learned Dad would be lunching with grandies.

Medium had been insisting that she needed to go potty, and was adamant that she couldn't use the kids' potty (stinkbug...on the nine-foot ceiling) or the half bath downstairs (spiders behind the toilet).  Fine, I said.  She didn't want to use either, then obviously she didn't have to go all that badly.  We're heading out the door to lunch when she says she has to use the potty as soon as we get to the restaurant, because she has to go "very bad."  Mom suggests that she goes to use the potty now.  All well and good...until I tell Medium that she can't use ours.  Meanie that I am, I insisted that she go to the closest bathroom--the one downstairs.  She screamed and cried the whole way down there.  I had to send Hubby in to deal with her, because I was tired of this same fight that I'd been having with her for half an hour.

Now, at this point it's worth telling you that we are often complimented on how cute our kids are.  And they are (I can even say that and be totally unbiased).  Hubby observed, not long into this little experiment of ours, that he finally understood why some animals eat their young.  And that he really understands why God made little kids cute: it's the only way they'd survive.

Innyhoo.  I told you that to relate this conversation in the van, on our way to the restaurant today....

Medium [still mad]: I didn't wanna use dat potty.  And now I fohwrgot Duckie.

Me: Well, if you hadn't had such a temper tantrum over which potty to use, you might not have forgotten him.

Medium [grumps]: Hmph.

Hubby: That's a shame.

Medium: No, it's nawt!  It's hohwwrible!

Hubby failed to muffle a chuckle.  I had my hand near my mouth as it was, and quickly slapped it over my smile.

Medium: Don't laugh at me!

Hubby: I'm not laughing.

Medium: Den why awre you smiling?

Hubby: Because you're cute.

Medium: No, I'm not!  I wish I was nevewr evewr cute!

Hubby: Yes, you are.  It's a good thing you're cute.

Medium grumps again.

Hubby: Can you say 'justifiable homicide'?  Oh, never mind.

Medium: You can say dat again!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Four years ago, at this time, I was collapsing in bed, exhausted.

The day had started at 6 a.m., included twelve hours in a car, three screaming children, more tears than I had expected (of myself, not so much the kids), a pointless supper from Burger King, and absolute, utter relief when my dad announced he was going to stay another night.

I'd never been a mom before.

It had been years since I'd done any babysitting, and even that's really limited in timeframe.

This was--although, four years ago we didn't know it--for keeps.

Talk about being thrown into the deep end.

Medium, Large & Small: Easter 2012
No canoe.  No paddle.  And a fraying lifejacket.  That's about how it felt.

I have never been more exhausted.  I have never been so stressed.  I have never been so agog over how much laundry three small people can create...or how much my grocery budget increased...or how much fun it is to watch their personalities develop, watch them learn and grow, watch them love.

I honestly find it very hard to remember what life was like before our home and hearts were invaded by three little pipsqueaks who were so cute and so scared and so needy that it made my heart ache and want to explode with love, all at once, every time I looked at them.

It was quieter, I'm sure.

It was also much more boring.

If there's one thing life has not been in the last four years, it's boring.

The last four years have brought:

  • birthday giggles
  • the fun of Christmas with kids
  • an epic court battle, that I'm still sometimes amazed we won
  • many sleepless nights
  • many nights of snuggles with little girls
  • many mornings of snuggles, too
  • four lost teeth
  • more Veggie Tales than I thought I could stand
  • phobias conquered
  • a college-level immersion in all things Disney Princess
  • severe frustrations
  • tears
  • a family vacation to Florida that we're all dying to repeat
  • laughs
  • memories of silly pronunciations as the girls learned new words and letters
  • growth of all kinds
  • more love than I could ever have imagined
Hubby & Fries, Dec. 2011
And I wouldn't trade it for anything.

I am beyond privileged to be the mommy to these little girls.  I love them more today than I did four years ago.

I am beyond blessed to have a husband who loves these little girls as his own, who claims them as his own, who treats them as his own.

I am also so incredibly in awe of the God who's responsible for orchestrating such wonder out of tragedy.

Four years.

A lifetime won't be enough.

No One But Daddy Will Do

This afternoon, after Large Fry's counseling appointment, I drove us over to pick up Hubby and the twin Fries.

Hubby is pretty booked solid in June, so it's shaping up to be a really busy month for him.  He has lots of stuff going on, not the least of which is a ten-day mission trip with the youth group.  He's been scheduling interviews for the kids who want to go on the trip, and he had an interview both before and after youth group tonight.

So, when I picked Hubby and the twins up a little after 5 this afternoon, it was just so that we could go home, drop us off, and Hubby was going to head back to the church.

This did not sit well with the twins.

Who, incidentally, did not nap while at preschool today.

"I don't like you having to wowrk!" Medium wailed.  "Why do you always hafta wowrk?"

"Because there's lots of people in this community who don't know about Jesus, and I need to teach them about him," Hubby said gently.

With the indignity that only a five-year-old can muster, Medium complained, "What about PeeJay?  Can't he teach?"

I muffled a smile.

It would do no good to explain that PeeJay, the senior pastor and Hubby's boss, already does that.

Dear God, no. It's only been six weeks.

Keiki is our cranky old lady.

Of course, she's been a cranky old lady since she was six months old and came unhinged after the death of my father-in-law, her beloved grandpa.  (But that's another story.)  Innyhoo, she's 13 now.

Since the girls arrived in our lives and in our home, Keiki has been...expressively out of sorts.  She began peeing outside the litter box.  When it continued beyond just the bladder infection she was first diagnosed with, it became behavioral.

We had to put the cat on antidepressants, of all things.

We used a compounded medication that was in a transdermal gel, which we smeared on her ear flaps.  It got absorbed into the bloodstream that way.  And it worked.

And we could often go several months between blitz-dosing her without a problem.  Then we'd have to medicate again for awhile.

Keiki, Christmas 2011
We're back on one of those times where she needs the meds.  So late last night, like the dutiful kitty mommy I am, I saw her on the landing by the brick planters on the main level of the house as I was getting ready to head up to bed, and decided I'd better dose her before I went to bed.

I set my pile of laundry, books, cake (hey, I needed to eat something with my antibiotic), and cell phone down and retrieved the dosing pen from the kitty supplies box in the pantry.  I sat down next to her on the stairs and stroked her head, and then rubbed in the medicine, splitting the dose between her ears like I usually do, so that it doesn't get all caked up on her ears and make her itchy.

Then I went downstairs and put away the dosing pen.

I picked up my pile of stuff.

I went back up the stairs in the semi-darkness--the stairs have their own little recessed wall lights--and smiled at Keiki, and then went into my office.  I turned off the air conditioner in there, and came out...

...only to see Keiki roll down onto the next step.

My first thought was that I expected that kind of lack of feline grace from Koa, who somehow missed out on that (I think she went back in line for a second helping of 'tude instead), and I grinned.

But Ke didn't stop.

She didn't catch herself and right herself.

She tumbled all the way down the stairs (there's only seven of them, thankfully) and laid there on her back, twitching like mad.

A minute, maybe, had elapsed between giving her the meds and the seizure.

I raced back down the stairs and shouted for Hubby, who, despite the lateness of the hour, was still up.  When he asked what was wrong, I said, "Keiki's having a seizure!"

She was still twitching when he ran into the hallway, but the seizure was ending.

Hubby and Keiki have a special bond, and have since she chose him at four and a half weeks old.  He could approach her when she was post-ictal.  He laid down on the floor next to her and began to talk to her in soothing tones.

She just laid there after the seizure passed, and was clearly confused about what had just happened.    Her eyes were almost completely dilated.  It took another ten minutes or so before she was mostly back to normal, her pupils now appropriately sized rather than taking up most of her eyes.  It was still another five minutes before she meowed and started sounding like herself.

She recovered quicker than I did, honestly.  My heart was still racing and I'd dissolved into tears more than once by this point.

Keiki was, however, almost comically scared of the stairs once she was up and walking around.

"Well," Hubby said, "the last time she was on the stairs, she ended up at the bottom of 'em and doesn't know why."

We checked the symptoms of overdose/side effects/allergic reaction to her medicine.

Seizure was one of them.

I called the vet the first thing this morning.

She called me back a couple of hours later.  I explained what had transpired.  Then the vet said words I did not want to hear.

"I don't think it's the medicine.  Not with how geriatric she is.  Given her could be a brain tumor.  It could be high blood pressure.  Or hyperthyroidism.  But I don't think it's the medicine."

We agreed that the best course of action, since this was her first seizure, would be to take her off the medicine, just in case, until next week, and then reevaluate.

I explained the vet's potential diagnosis to Hubby.  Despite his irritation with Ke's continued adventures in peeing, this was not news he wanted to hear.  But still...we held out hope that it was a med reaction.

I think, though, that I found her post-ictal again this afternoon.  She was too mellow and her pupils were severely dilated, more so than the light in the room would indicate.

This seriously sucks.

Monday, May 28, 2012

It's grilled cheese sandwiches. Come on. Eat.

Last night, we drove out to my folks' so that we could spend the night and picnic with them (and my aunt and uncle) today.

While Hubby and Boppa went to pick up the new grill that Mom and Dad had just bought (but couldn't transport in either of their sedans; they needed to borrow our van for that), I fixed dinner for the Fries.  Since they had had PB&J for lunch, I opted for grilled cheese.

"Mommy."  Medium frowned.


"What's dis wred stuff on my san'wich?"

I took a step closer to the table, prepared to tell her that, no, I did not add pepper strips, garlic powder, and oregano to hers like I do to mine (I hadn't made one for me).  Or that there are no red grains in Mom's twelve-grain wheat bread.  And that's when I did a really comical mental double-take.

It wasn't peppers.

It wasn't some weird red grain.

It was blood.

"Open your mouth, honey," I instructed, immediately suspecting what might have happened.  I knew that other wiggly bottom tooth was getting really close to being ready to fall out itself.

Medium instead stuck a finger in her mouth, and shrieked when her fingertip came out bloody.

I told her again to open her mouth, but I had to pull her lower lip down because she kept sucking it over her teeth.  She whimpered as I peered at her gums.  Yup, sure enough, she'd lost that tooth.  Probably in the last bite of her sandwich.

"You lost another tooth!" I exclaimed, a grin on my face.

Medium promptly burst into tears.

Gramma to the rescue!  She came up with a silly song to explain that, oh well, the tooth fairy wouldn't get a tooth this time, but Medium wins; she still gets her tooth money.  And, we assured Medium, she's not the first kid to swallow a lost tooth.  She won't be the last.

"Did you bring her tooth box, Mommy?" my mom asked me.

Oh, yes. I go just everywhere with one of those.  "No!  I didn't think I'd be needing it!"

About then, I noticed our van returning, so I went out to tell Boppa and Daddy that we'd had an exciting event happen while they were gone.

Medium was still unsure, and the blood on her sandwich was freaking her out.  Mom tore off the piece of the sandwich with blood in it, put it in a plastic sandwich baggie, and announced that Medium would put this under her pillow tonight to "prove" to the tooth fairy that she'd lost her tooth.

I learned about this when I came back in the house.

I had to bum four quarters off my dad.

Tonight, I was checking Facebook via my phone on the drive home.  One of my friends had just posted a picture of her little girl, who's about the same age as the twins, who had lost two teeth tonight (the same two that Medium is now missing) after biting into a strawberry.  And they had only recovered one of the two teeth.

I tapped in a comment about how funny it was that her little girl had lost the same two teeth that my little girl was now missing, and that her little girl had also swallowed a tooth, just like Medium, who I was going to have to tell about this.

I turned around.  "Hey, Medium?"

Medium Fry cocked her head so she could see me around the captain's chair in front of her.

"I have a friend whose little girl who lost two teeth tonight after biting into a strawberry!  And guess what--she swallowed one of those teeth, too!  See, it doesn't just happen to you!"

Medium giggled and smacked her forehead with her hand, incredulous.

Then, of course, she wanted to know if my friend's daughter had swallowed the same tooth she did.

I don't know.

It would be hilarious if she did.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Well, of COURSE.

I made my way blearily down the hall and carefully opened the door to the twins' room.  It was about 12:30 a.m.

Mika followed me on silent kitty toe pads.

Oh, of course.  Medium Fry is sleeping on the edge of her pillow, pretty much dead-center over where her tooth fairy box is.  I reached under both Pillow Pet and pillow, and gently tugged out the little plastic round box that my mom had decorated just for Medium's tooth fairy offerings.

I slipped back out into the hall and used the corner shelf as my staging area to remove the tiny baby tooth and replace it with quarters.  Then I quietly went back into the twins' room, attempting to slide the slender box back under the pillow and make my escape.

I love it when a plan doesn't come together.

I had just barely slid the box under the pillow (and thus, under Medium's head) when she stirred.  She opened her eyes and looked right at me.  I pulled up the sheet and kinda tucked her back in.  "It's okay," I whispered.  "I'm just checking on you.  Go back to sleep."

Medium settled back against her pillows.  "Did da toof faiwry come?  I didn't see hewr, 'cause I was asleep."  (I had explained at bedtime that the tooth fairy was like Santa Claus; neither of them came to visit until children were asleep.)

"I don't know," I whispered back.  God, forgive my white lie.  "You can check in the morning."

"Can I look now?"

Great.  I wasn't going to get her to go back to sleep until she checked.  "Okay, you can go ahead and look now."

She fished the box out, and just as we opened it, Small Fry rolled in her sleep and conked her head against the guard rail...which woke her up, crying.  I went over and soothed her, and then came back to Medium, to help her count her loot.

"Mika is in hewre," Medium pointed out.

"Yes.  He followed me.  Know why?"  Medium shook her head.  "He says, 'Mama, I know your foot hurts and you don't feel good, so I'm gonna follow you until you go back to bed and get some rest, and I'll come in bed with you to make sure you stay there.'"

Medium grinned.

I turned on their clock radio again, to hopefully let the classical music steal them back into slumber.

It was not to be.

I had to go downstairs and wake up Hubby and have him come help me console Small Fry, who kept insisting to me, "But I want you."

Once we had finally tucked everyone back in and gotten them settled, we went to bed ourselves.

Somehow, I am not surprised that my middle-by-a-minute child is the one who woke up as I finished tooth-fairy-ing.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Overheard on Skype

Gramma: I see that your tooth is in the tooth fairy box.  How much money is the tooth fairy going to bring you?

Medium Fry: Um...twenny-fouwr dollawrs.

Behind Mom, Dad's eyes first pop and then twinkle.

Me: No.  The tooth fairy's not that flush.

Mommy! Mommy!

Hubby came in to run a joke by me as soon as he got home from work.

"But first, someone has something she wants to tell you," he said.

From the kitchen, I heard Medium.  "Did you tewll hewr?"

"No.  I told you I'd let you tell her."

Medium came running into the den.  "Mommy!  Mommy!"  She held out the plastic zip sandwich baggie that was clasped in her left hand.  "My toof came out in nap today!  I pushed it out wif my tongue, an' it didn't even huwrt!"  (Her fear of it hurting was why she freaked and wouldn't let Hubby pull it on Sunday afternoon.)

I took the bag when she offered it, and inspected her tooth.  "Didn't hurt at all, huh?"

"Nope!  Miss A said I did good!"

"You did!"

Hubby walked back in, a grin on his face.  "You should put that in your tooth box for the tooth fairy tonight."

Medium grabbed the bag back from me and dashed out to the kitchen.

When she got back, I had her come over and show me the hole from losing her tooth.

As I took a quick picture with my cell phone, since I couldn't find the camera fast enough, Medium asked, "Is dat fowr da toof faiwry?"

Hubby chuckled.  "No.  The tooth fairy already knows."

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Medium Fry: When I'm ohwldewr, I'm gonna mawrry two boyfwiends!

Hubby: No, you're not.  That's not allowed.

Sunday, May 13, 2012


Ever since I last painted my own toenails with Medium Fry watching me closely, she's wanted me to paint her toenails, too.

I had intended to make time for that yesterday, but I went to the salon after Hubby got back from shopping, and the salon was madly busy.  Between that and the "quick" stop at the grocery store, I didn't get home until 6:30, and then we needed to do a blazing fast supper and baths and we just ran out of day.

Since we have to be out of the house by about 7:50 on Sunday mornings, painting toenails was not going to happen before church.

Since it was also Mother's Day, and we had already planned to meet my parents in the town that's equidistant from where we both live for lunch, it wasn't going to happen after church.  And even though Mom and Dad surprised us at our church, we still opted to head up to Lisle so they didn't have to drive all the way back home from the only other Cracker Barrel nearby-ish.

Since we would all need naps after our very late lunch, it wasn't happening when we first got home, even with sixty-second-dry polish and a single coat.

Toes!  Medium's feet, and mine.  Aug. 2011
After nap, and after our subsequent trip to Rita's, I had three little girls lining up to get their toenails and fingernails painted.  I have several colors of fast-drying polish, and I let the girls choose which colors they wanted.

We practiced counting to sixty while we waited for the polish to dry.

Both Medium and Small still suck their thumbs, but we limit it to bedtime and naptime only (as best we can).

Tonight, as Hubby and I tucked them in, he cautioned Medium to keep her thumbs out of her mouth and to not chew off the nail polish.  "It'll make you sick.  Don't eat it."

"But it's tasty!"

Hubby couldn't stop a very loud bark of laughter and left the room before he lost total control of his gigglebox.

Fooling a Five-Year-Old

Not. Easy.

Particularly when it's one of my five-year-olds.

It's Sunday morning, and I've made my usual (slow) way back up to the church building proper, coming from the Youth House, where I am a wonderful, supportive wife who attends Hubby's teen Sunday school class.  I'm amazing, I know.  (I also genuinely love these kids.)  I moseyed up the aisle to the pew where I'd stashed my "church bag," full of amusements for small children during the rather-boring-to-them first service.

Aside: I sit in a different location in each service.  (Like you care, but keep reading.  *wink*)  In first service, I sit in the furthest-back pew on the left side of the sanctuary.  This is precisely because I have small children and there is no children's church during first service, which is more traditional.  It's easier to not disrupt the service so much.  If we have to make multiple bathroom trips, well, the ladies' room is right behind us.  During second service, I sit about five pews from the front, on the right.  This pattern sort of developed about a month or so into Hubby's tenure at the church, because I wanted to sit near different people in an effort to get to know folks.  That sort of fell aside when I became friends with the entire row of SU college students who started attending our church when the fall semester began.  When SU is in session, I usually end up sitting right in front of the college gang.  When it isn't...well, Jester is the only local student of our college group, so he and I sit together.  And in second service, I can actually pay attention to the service.  (Novel, I know.)  Small usually finds PeeJay's wife and sits with her.  Large usually sits with a couple of the sophomore girls in the youth group, who just love her to bits.  And Medium almost always sits with Jester.

Now, I told you all that to explain this.

As usual, since SU is on summer break, Jester came up and sat next to me in my chosen pew this morning.  We chatted until the Fries showed up, at which point it became all about them.  Medium is pretty much head-over-heels in five-year-old love with Jester, much to Mitzy's great amusement. The feeling is actually quite mutual; Jester absolutely adores my girls (which just makes me like him even more).

Small Fry gave Jester a lean while he hugged her, and then she demanded impertinently, "Whewre's Mitzy?"

I reminded her that Mitzy had to go home (Mitzy had stayed with us for a couple of days last week, for some school stuff after the close of the semester).  Small's little mouth turned down in a slight frown, and then she showed Jester the little bag she clutched in her hand.

Which, as it turned out, held m&ms.

She gave one to Jester.

Then I think she ate one herself.

Then she handed an orange m&m to Jester.  "Give dis to Mitzy," she ordered.

Jester nodded soberly and set the m&m on the lid of his travel coffee mug.

Two minutes later, when Small's back was turned, he leaned down and snagged the m&m off his cup and popped it in his mouth.

"So glad you sent that to Mitzy," I remarked drolly.

"She really liked it," he said with a grin.

I think the chocolate was still melting when Small whipped back around.  "Did you give dat canny to Mitzy?"

Jester did an admirable job of stopping the choking laughter I could see coming up.  "Yes, I did."

Small fixed him with a gimlet eye.

"I mailed it to her.  I put a stamp on it and dropped it in the mailbox."

Small seemed satisfied.

Now, if he'd tried that on Medium Fry, who remembers everything and sees more than you want or expect, not even the opportune arrival of Gramma--my parents had decided to come to our church this morning; surprise!--would have dissuaded her.

I think he was very, very lucky.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Hubby is very brave.

When he announced his intention to go shopping today for Mother's Day gifts (one of four holidays/events he's required to shop for each year) today, three little girls squealed with delight and wanted to come along.

His initial reaction last night was panic.

By show of hands, who here is not surprised that, when Hubby left today, he did so with three rambunctious girls in tow?

I took advantage of the free time to strip and remake the twins' beds, necessary because of Medium's nosebleed this morning ("I picked a big boogewr and den it blooded," she told me) and do some more laundry.

And enjoy the quiet.

And open up the doors to let in the very nice day.

When they all finally arrived back home about 2 this afternoon, Medium was the first to bounce into the den.

"Mommy," she said, impishness all over her face, "you'wre not supposed to ask us if we got you anyfing!"

"Oh, really?"  Honestly, she was too cute for words.

"Yes!  An' if you do, we're s'posed to say we didn't get you anyfing at all!"

"Then I'll be good and I won't ask."

About then Small Fry barged in, announced that Daddy had bought them new frilly socks, and then claimed credit for the wildflowers that Hubby had stopped to pick for me.

The worst part here is that Hubby showed me my nicely-wrapped gift, and told me where he was putting it, so that we don't forget it in the Sunday-morning scramble to get to church (we're meeting my parents for lunch).

And now I have to wait!

[Affected Spanish tones]  I hate waiting.

Friday, May 11, 2012

"I love my mommy because...."

Part of the Mother's Day celebration program at the twins' preschool today involved each of the kids saying what they loved about their moms.

Small Fry shyly said, "I love hugging and kissing my mommy."  Unsurprising, from my very tactile child.

"'I love my mommy because...'" their teacher prompted Medium Fry.

"I love my mommy because she's pretty!" Medium gushed.

I give out hugs and kisses and I'm pretty.

I can live with that.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Eternal Question

I wish it was as simple as "Are we there yet?"

But it's not.

Why does a loving God allow such crappy stuff to happen to his people?  To people in general?  To his world?

I wish I had a simple answer.

Well, I suppose I do.  Simple in words.  Not so much in practice.


I've been a Christian for three decades.

I still struggle with this one.

The questions are haunting*:
Why is my best friend pregnant when I'm not?
Why did I have to watch my brother be stupid, and get his girlfriend pregnant, and embark on a marriage doomed to fail?  We did everything "right."  What's wrong with me? 
Why did I lose my father-in-law before we had children?  I wasn't ready to lose him.  I wanted him to see our children.
Why did my husband's career fall apart the way it did? Why were we the only ones who suffered when that happened?
Why is my best friend pregnant again?  I'm still not.  Why can't I give my husband a child?
Why did I have to lose all of my grandparents before the end of my junior year of high school?  They won't see me graduate.  They won't see me get married.
What did I do so wrong?  My heart is bleeding profusely over the loss of a friendship I thought I'd have till the day I died.  Now my friend has taken everything known about the kind of friend I am and turned it against me.  I can't even try to repair the damage now.  What is so wrong with me? 
I'd really thought I'd at least be able to give my parents a grandchild, my husband a child, before my sister had her first baby.  There goes that thought.  Why? 
My friends just lived through devastating storms, and more are coming.  How much more can they bear?  I feel so helpless. 
Why does so much death seem to be haunting my friends?  Why did my friends' baby die when there was so much prayer offered up on his behalf?
Do my prayers make any difference? 
Why was our generosity of heart and home thrown back in our faces? 
Why do my arms still ache for a child of my own?  I have three wonderful kids that I'm raising, that I love more than life itself.  Am I such a terrible ingrate?
How are we supposed to survive on my part-time income?  We have three kids and a passel of cats to support.  How long will we survive on what little money we have?  How long will it be before my husband can find the right job and can be working again? 
When you sit and think about all the things that can, will, and do go wrong in life, it's hard to understand why there's a loving God behind all this, letting it happen, and not shielding his people, especially.  And why he doesn't just step in and make it all go away.

I've come to three (relatively) basic conclusions about this question.  No, I don't think they totally resolve it.  (Except for the third one, maybe.)  But it's enough to get me circling back to the truth I mentioned above: the matter of trust.

  1. We live in a world ravaged by sin.  Even if you don't believe in "sin" as a concept, there is no denying that there is evil in this world.  Sin was man's choice...that pesky free will thing.  For God to have created man for a relationship, as the Bible indicates, and to have not given man free will...God might as well have created robots.  But he didn't want robots.  He wanted a friendship, a relationship...which can't be had if there's no choice involved.  Free will had to be in the picture, and thus, the choice to sin.  To bring evil into the world.  Nasty things happen because we live in a world that's full of sin, that's populated with imperfect people.
  2. God has promised that, someday, he will kick sin (and thus evil) to the curb.  Permanently.  But for reasons he has not chosen to reveal to us, that time hasn't happened yet.  When it does, we'll know...but not beforehand.  In the meantime, we've been called to bring light into the darkness that permeates our world, a world where light constantly battles darkness for control.  However, it's only the ones who choose to surrender to God who have any hope of fighting the darkness with God's light.
  3. The most difficult thing of all to accept in this: we just don't know.  We don't understand.  We're not asked to know or to understand; we're just supposed to trust.  Trust what we know of the God we serve.  Trust what we've witnessed as his actions in our lives.  Trust that he sees further and more clearly than we ever will, and what we're seeing right now is like looking at the back of a piece of embroidery.  Someday, I think we'll know.  We'll understand.  But it probably won't be until God chooses to reveal the deeper whys and hows, and that probably won't be until we get to heaven.  (Yes, I'm keeping a list.)
I don't understand why God allows crap.  I know he can change it.  I know he can prevent it.  

I also know that he can work through it.

As I read not too long ago, the words of another blogger come back to mind: I will not say that God causes tragedy, but I will declare he is not thwarted by it.

I've seen God act through tragedy:
God used the severe pain of my own infertility, my own empty arms, and gave me three children who desperately needed a mommy.
I have to think that, at the very least, my heavenly Father smiled as he saw one of my girls exclaim, "Why did Poppa Clair have to die and go live with Jesus? I miss him!"  And I can only guess that God went and pulled Dad aside and said, "Man, you've gotta see this!"
The job that Hubby had which fell apart?  It was a calling, yes, but a vehicle to get us near, so that we could take on a higher calling: that of three little girls in need.  Losing the job also left Hubby available, gave him time to heal, and prepped him for the amazing job he has now.
I was given two wonderful couples who chose to be stand-in grandparents for me, long before my biological ones passed away, to be at school events that my out-of-state grandparents just couldn't be there for.  They were honored as my grandparents at my wedding.
I still have no answers for why that friendship fell apart so radically and drastically, but in the years since, I've grown from those events.
I watched my friends galvanize in the wake of disaster, pulling out of themselves things that surprised even them.  And I helped as I could, from far away.
My friends who lost their preemie son have a wonderful story to tell about his brief little life, and the world-wide impact those twenty-one days had.  That will be even cooler as the years pass.
I've watched as God inexplicably answered prayer, how he chose to honor in one way or another the prayers of his people as they gathered en masse to pray for a specific concern.
He is God.  He's not a magic 8-ball.  He's not a wishing well.  He's not a wished-upon falling star or a fairy godmother or anything else.  He's God.  The Creator of the universe.

He can pretty much do whatever the heck he wants.

What he wants?  Me.  A relationship with flawed, faulty, crabby, opinionated, overly-emotional, imperfect me.

This is a world filled with heartache and pain and problems and nastiness.

But I serve a God who is not thwarted by any of that.

He's proven he's worthy of the trust I've given him.

So, even though it's hard sometimes (okay, a lot of the time), I will trust.

Some things you learn only through rough-and-tumble experience, the School of Hard Knocks.  This is one of them.

Graduation day promises to be a rollicking good party, though.

*Yes, these are all true.

That's not at all convincing, m'dear.

Large Fry: Mommy, can we have dessert?

Me: What sort of dessert do you want?

Large Fry exits the den, and returns a few minutes later, holding her Belle Pez dispenser and a thing of Pez candy.

Me: Okay, yes, you can have that.

Five minutes later, Large schlumps back into the den.  (In the meantime, I have approved a DumDum lollipop for Medium and a chocolate bunny for Small, who decided she didn't like it when she found out it was a Krackle-type of chocolate bunny, and approved a candy change.  Yes, I ate the bunny.  Candy tax.)

Large: Mommy, I don't like it.  It's too hot!

Me [wishing I could raise just one eyebrow]: Did you eat it all?

Large [mumbling]: Yes.

Me: Then you don't get any more candy.

Large: But it was too hot for my tongue!  I didn't like it!

Me: You ate it all.  You're not getting more candy just because you ate it all and just now decided you don't like it.

Large went and complained to her sisters.  They were about as sympathetic as I was.  *snicker*

Friday, May 4, 2012


Hello, Vicoprofen.

Oh, yes, I remember you.

I love you.

All you crazy, clumsy people...

...the ones who have broken toes by stepping wrong or avoiding Legos or stubbing your toes into impossibly hard know who you are.

Be kind as you welcome another crazy, clumsy idiot into your ranks.

Because I'm pretty sure that's what I've done.

The last time I broke any bones, I eggrolled in with six, none of which were my fault, and all of which were incurred at the same time, forever breaking my no-broken-bones streak.  (Irresponsible teenage drivers.)

This one's all on me, though.

I should not have run into the foot of the couch.

It was very aggressive of me, and I should probably apologize to my sectional sofa, because I do love it so.

Clearly, with my pain level now at a solid five on those nifty 1-10 scale charts (I hate those), this is more than your average stubbing.

Since I know there's not much to do but buddy-tape my poor little toe to its neighbor, I've avoided actually going to the hobble-in clinic and spending the money for the x-ray to tell me what I already know.  Besides, I'd have to drive.

However, if my pain level doesn't change, or continues to increase, I may have to suck it up and go, just to get the good drugs.

In the last six hours...

  • Medium Fry woke me up, telling me she felt sick and needed a bowl.  I thought she was just playing the cough up too much, and making herself sick.  She had no fever.
  • Silly me.  It wasn't 5a before her claims of an upset stomach were verified.
  • Her upset stomach proved me wrong six times.
  • By 6a, multiple exits were involved.  Clearly, Medium would not be going to school.
  • Large Fry came in around 7:15a.  I was desperately still trying to get some rest, but Large insisted on keeping both Medium and I awake.  I gave up and turned on the tv, set to the Disney Channel, around 7:30.
  • The, erm, southbound express hit Medium again about ten minutes to 8.  While I was in the master bath dealing with that fallout, I saw Large Fry dancing and holding herself.  When I asked her what was going on, she complained that Medium was taking too long in the potty, and she had to go "really bad."  I reminded her that there were two other potties in this house.
  • When I went down the hall to wake up Small Fry, Large was stepping carefully away from the toilet.  When I went to see what was up, because this looked suspicious, Large explained that she didn't make it to the potty because she'd seen a stinkbug, had to get it, and had flushed it down the toilet...thus making her unable to hold it any longer and so she peed on the floor.  When I confronted the story as the hogwash it was--I had heard no flush, the tank wasn't still filling, and she'd managed to get at least some pee in the toilet--she said no, she hadn't flushed the bug, but she got him anyway.  I cleaned things up and told her to go get dressed.
  • Went to get dressed myself, only to have to run half-dressed back down the hall, and scold Small Fry, who was playing with her closet doors as opposed to, y'know, actually getting dressed.
  • Got breakfast for Small Fry (Large had gotten her own), and packed lunches.  Called Hubby, who was somewhere in deep south Georgia, and on his way home.  Walked Large Fry to school, and then took Small Fry to preschool.
  • Medium and I are now watching VeggieTales' Tales from the Sock Drawer.  Medium seems to be feeling better.
  • I desperately need a nap.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Jumping Ship

It has been the day from h-e-double-hockey-sticks.

First, it took Small Fry twenty minutes to not get dressed this morning.  And then she had the gall to tell me that she didn't want to get dressed.

I about blew a gasket.

I got downstairs and Large Fry already had her jacket on and zipped up, and was standing there eating a Pop-Tart.  Shoes on, too.

This is what we in the parental biz call a clue, except it didn't register (until now, sadly).  I made her take it off.  In fact, coupled with the shoes, it was very critical evidence.  Mommy-radar must have been on the fritz.

And then I did a double-take.

Written on her short-sleeved, tie-dyed shirt--since I had insisted that, with a high of 78, she needed to not wear long sleeves today--were the words "jump ship."

In marker.

It was a Migraine Salute moment.

I sent her upstairs to change her shirt.

It's important to note here that "ship" is the first syllable of the name of our town.

It's also important to note here that, because I have younger twins, and because I have all girls, almost everything Large Fry has in her closet and dresser has been bought in pairs.

She came down wearing the duplicate of yesterday's shirt.

I sent her back up.

We were nearly late to school.

Small Fry then proceeded to have separation anxiety of an unprecedented nature when I dropped the twins off at preschool.  I think her teacher got more than a little concerned.  At least I was able to leave.

I came home, had what was essentially brunch, and managed to clean the girls' bathroom upstairs.  Which brought to mind the crisis of epic proportions in terms of bath linens and the fact that Mitzy will be staying with us for a couple of days next week.  Erm...add a stop at Kmart to today's list of things to do.

I did a load of jeans, since the kids were running low.  Then I washed the bathroom rugs from the girls' bathroom.

I was just about to treat myself to ice cream when the alert notification sounded on my phone, reminding me that Large Fry had a counseling appointment in 15 minutes.  So much for ice cream.

Counseling appointment, Kmart, pick up twins.  Large Fry wanted pizza muffins for dinner.  Again.  For the third night in a row.  I nixed that.  Guess what Small Fry wanted for dinner?  Oy.  No.  No pizza muffins!  I noticed that Large Fry had some odd dark coloring on her pink socks, but I also knew she got really into the fingerpaint at the counselor's and chalked it up to that when Large couldn't tell me.

The twins wanted to ride bikes when we got home.  Our adopted kitty (she adopted us, and lives somewhere in the near vicinity) watched them and begged for attention...none of which stopped the quibbling as I tried to supervise Large's homework and make dinner.

Then Medium Fry came in and said, "Lawrge, why do you have writing on youwr socks?"

I looked over, startled, and sure enough...she had written "jump ship" on both socks.  Twice.


It wasn't until I was over at the youth house, dropping off a DVD for Tab for youth group tonight, that I got clued in.

I related what had happened.

"Well, at least it's real words," Tab commiserated.

"Yes, and I'm about to!"  I dropped my head down on the youth house kitchen's counter.

"Well, yeah, but it's also a local school thing.  I think it might start in 3rd grade--" the last grade that's in Large's elementary school "--but it's really the intermediary school, fourth through sixth.  It's a group of kids who do jump rope tricks.  They're really good.  You have to audition and everything."

And, naturally, the troupe is called Jump Ship.


I have a headache, and piles of laundry to go before I sleep.

At least we were all able to Skype with Hubby tonight, which was a first for this week.  And we'll get to Skype again in the morning.

I'm definitely having ice cream now.

Medium's Vignettes

"If I don't chew da lima bean, it might go down da wrong way, and then it'll go around and down here and doodleoodleoodleoodle-loo and go back up."

*     *     *     *     *

"If there's a bug on me, an' it tickles, I'm not gonna shoo it off, 'cause I like tickles!  And if it goes up my shirt," she flutters her fingers under her right sleeve, "it will tickle, and I'll go hee hee hee hee hee."

*     *     *     *     *

"It's wreally quiet hewre.  No one is tawlking.  It's vewry quiet."

"No, it's not.  You're talking."  I pointed out the obvious.

"Except me!  Evewrybuddy ewlse is quiet.  Smawll Fwy isn't tawlking, Lawrge Fwy isn't tawlking, you'wre not tawlking.  Keiki isn't going kheee or gwrowoling or being noisy.  It's vewry quiet."

And it went on!

*     *     *     *

"My lungs are hooge!!"


The usual suspects:

Keiki.  That's exactly how she thinks of herself.

My sweet Mika.

Minou.  Absolute sweetiepie.

Koa, Kitty with a 'Tude.  And no grace.

Pa'ani.  The Weasel.

And I couldn't resist.  Helping me my holding down my embroidery....

I still miss you, Po.

Rank and File

I'm still wondering how, in the wake of Po's death, the feline hierarchy here will change.

Po was the undisputed queen for fourteen years.

Koa can carry a grudge better than anyone I know, and she's been mad at Pa'ani ever since he showed up in a KFC bucket one night (that's a whole other story) and, in her mind, ruined her plans for a palace coup and world domination.  Pa'ani, however, has always existed outside the hierarchy--he just doesn't care; he's a happy-go-lucky guy--much to Koa's irritation.

And Koa liked to think that she was really in charge.  Po was old.  Po was sick.  Po was weak.  Until Po had enough of Koa's 'tude, and there was a smackdown, and Po's reign continued uninterrupted, Po unperturbed.

Minou has occupied the bottom rung forever, it seems, just by virtue of her personality.  My dad calls her The Apparition.  She's the original scaredy cat; she'll go hide if we startle her.  That probably won't change.  And, honestly, neither of the boys' positions will change.  Pa'ani will continue to exist outside the hierarchy and irritate Koa by breathing, and she may try to force him to fall into a spot (Po didn't care that he existed outside the rank and file, because he left her mostly alone).  Mika is our other boy, and he's more your go-with-the-flow kind of guy, and this won't do much to ruffle him.

The two wild cards are Koa, who's been plotting for years, and Keiki, who is currently the ranking feline septuagenarian.  It's just a matter of who ends up where.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Nuclear Meltdowns

They have nothing on the power of Small Fry in total-meltdown form.

We are currently at the half-hour mark.

Solid tears, wailing, and cries of "Daaaaaaaadddddddeeeeeeeee!"

She is keeping her twin awake.

She is just stubborn enough that she will keep this up for another hour if exhaustion doesn't claim her first.  And even then...I'm pretty sure she'll give exhaustion a run for its money.

Hubby is, unfortunately, in session at the conference, and he can't take a call.

How am I going to make it three more days?