Tuesday, October 30, 2012

But Seriously. Four is a Record.

Popcorn always agonizes over her Halloween costume.  There is this VAST world of possibilities, and just so many opportunities to dress up!

Katniss, a puppy dog, 50s girl, and Cleopatra
Bookworm always decides early and sticks with the decision.  And her costume is NEVER outlandish.  It is always a simple thing, but often a thing that nobody else understands.  Because we watch shows nobody else does.  For example she has been Morticia, Wednesday, Kim Possible, and this year she was Katniss.  So, no matter whether she goes to 2 or 15 parties, her costume will be steadfastly the same...

Please pardon the phone photo.  Somehow I failed to take a picture with a real camera.

Bookworm wore this to the school dance, a party at home, trunk or treat at church, and then trick or treating.  This was THE costume and there was no need to deviate from it.
Popcorn has to be something "big" that's never been done before every single year.  And she always manages to be multiple characters every Halloween.  Except last year was a sad year, as she was only ever Tiger Lily, the Indian princess from Peter Pan.  Not quite sure how that happened, other than she begged me for a costume that was rather expensive and I guilted her into wearing it more than once...She even re-purposed it for Land Run day at school.  The year before that she started out as a witch, but then was a vampire, and then a princess...

This year she set an all time record with a whopping four costumes.  First she was a bug caught in a web for a party we let them have Saturday night.  We attempted a spider web, but the webbing kept tearing, and the spiders, made of pipe cleaners, were too poky.  Costumes must NEVER be uncomfortable!  We decided to bind her in the fake web and pretend she was a bug being feasted on by spiders! 

Then we had Trunk or Treat at church, where she decided to use her sister's costume from last year and be Wednesday Addams.

Notice the pet tarantula "Homer" in her hair and her doll, Marie Antoinette.

Today she decided to be a witch for school, using a vampire costume from a few years back.  However, this costume proved too cumbersome as "you just can't run in that dress." and, "the hat is just too much of a distraction, because it won't stay put."  She said, "I think I'll be candy corn tonight!"

"WHAT??? I think I gave away the candy corn costume because I always BEG you guys to wear it, and you never will, so NOW you want to wear it!"

Too which she giggled and proceeded to charm me into climbing into the attic to drag out her old box of "dress up clothes" that I had been unable to part with.  After scrounging through it and rejecting the 70s disco girl costume and the Daphne (from Scooby Doo), and Sleeping Beauty...AND THE CANDY CORN WHICH WAS THE WHOLE REASON I WENT UP THERE, we compiled one of my sister's old show choir tops, a pirate hat from one of Bookworm's MULTIPLE pirate parties, and one of my belts and Ta-Da!

Sadly, we only have a few more Halloweens left for trick or treating, so tomorrow I will take a trip with you down memory lane and show you all of our Halloween costumes from years past!  How fun!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Conversations with Hard Truths

This morning in a random rabbit chasing conversation, we were discussing Santa, and how it drives me crazy that some Christian families make Santa this evil Jesus stealer.  It sort of gets my back up.  Now, I wrestled with the whole Santa issue when our kids were little and Brent said "Did you have Santa as a kid?  Yes, you did.  Did you think Christmas was about Santa or Jesus?  Did you stop believing in Jesus when you realized Santa wasn't real?  Do you really want to steal the excitement and magic of Santa from our kids?"

And with all of those questions with their obvious answers, we decided to do the Santa thing.

And it has been a blast.

Anyhoo, we were discussing the whole "evil Santa," which I was trying to do in code as our little Popcorn has never expressed any Santa doubts, and Brent was ignoring me and making the whole thing OBVIOUS, when Popcorn said, "Why would Santa be bad?"

So, my husband says "Well you don't believe in that whole Santa come down the chimney thing anyway, do you?"

And she replied, "Well, not since you said it that way."  And she gave this horrible little strangled giggle and big wet puddles formed in her eyes, but she forced this big stiff grin across her face and continued to say "It's okay," and fake laugh as I started to cry and berate my husband for being a big ole spoiler, joy stealer, and general Grinch in human form.


So, we talked about how MY MOM did the same thing to me.  She thought I was faking that I believed in Santa, and was appalled when I was devastated by her harsh truth.  Of course, I was like 12 years old or something.

So, all in all it was okay.  She will be sad for a while, but I promised to still give her Santa gifts, and she said she had wondered if he was real, but then figured there was NO WAY we would actually buy her the stuff Santa brought, so therefore he must be real.

And I must say that kind of baffled me, because I always give the big gifts from US and the little stuff from Santa, and Santa only ever brought one gift, not counting their stocking, so that logic doesn't quite balance out in my head...

After the kids went to their room to play Barbies, I told Studmuffin I really needed to do a blog on conversations, and how they can go so wrong.

I still like to spoil my kids by fixing their breakfast in the morning if I have time.  Even if it's making a frozen waffle.  I can spread the peanut butter and pour the syrup and cut it up just so, and they are convinced it tastes better if I do it.  I don't often have time, due to having to leave for work early, but when I can, I still like to pamper them.  Especially as I realize how fleeting their childhood is, and they will be gone before I know it.

Anyway, this week I had been unable to sleep past 4:30am, so I was up, fed, dressed, Bible study done before I even woke them.  I had made Bookworms breakfast, but Popcorn was having wardrobe drama and had ended up coming in the kitchen to slouch in defeat on her stool "I have nothing to wear."  I ignored her lamentation and said, "Do you want hot Grape Nuts, oatmeal, or blueberry waffles?"


So, I popped her highly nutritious Nutrigrain frozen waffles in and ran to gather up a load of laundry to start before we had to run out the door.  I was in my bathroom sorting the piles when I heard, "Mom!  My waffles popped!"

I came into the kitchen carrying a basket of laundry, found her little body unmoved and still slumped on her stool and said, "Seriously!  Do you know how to spell 'worthless?'"

And without even a hint of a pause for thought she replied, "M-O-M."

And while I might ought to have scolded her smart mouth, I laughed and fixed her waffle with just the perfect amount of peanut butter (which is LOTS) and a small drizzle of syrup, cut it up just so, left the second one plain, as is her preference, and handed her plate to her.

Because sometimes you just have to laugh and enjoy the spirit in which something is said, and know their is no heart behind it.

 And isn't laughter with your kids one of the greatest treasures you can receive?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Don't Flush It!

Today I had to visit the "ladies room" while we were at a basketball booster meeting.

Even though the season hasn't even started the first door I opened revealed a toilet crammed full of toilet paper with yellow tinted water.

Oh, loverly...

As I moved to the next stall over and proceeded to attend to the business that initially lead me to enter the bathroom, I noticed the sign that hangs inside of every women's restroom in every bathroom stall across the nation:


And I suddenly had an epiphany:  I bet that not one single woman who had to help their dad dig up the sewer line after they flushed a "flushable" tampon, and thus discover the tampon/pad at the end of the long line of toilet paper and other unmentionable products was indeed "flushable" but not exactly degradable EVER places their feminine hygiene products in those toilets.

You see, my sisters and I only made that mistake one time.


My dad is a very long suffering man.

Friday, October 12, 2012

What is Love?

In my department I work with many chronically ill patients.  I see these patients week after week, month after month, year after year.  I see those who struggle to make an appointment because they have exhausted all resources; family, friends, church members.  The person is still ill, but the novelty of that illness is worn off, and they have moved on with their lives.  I see this daily, and it really never strikes me as unusual, which is a definite testimony to the thickening of my skin over these past years as a nurse.

However, while I have become accustomed to this state of unintentional neglect, I am still refreshed by the display of love I find steadily offered to a small handful of patients who are blessed beyond measure to be loved in all and through all things.

Love is a big sister who comes to every one of her blind sister's appointments.  The trip to the hospital is over 150 miles away from home, and it often turns into drawn out visits that extend into days or weeks.  The baby sister has breast cancer, kidney failure, and had a stroke last week.  The big sister is in her fifties and the "baby" sister is staring fifty in the face, but the love is there.  Love is the ferocious protective streak that demands she bully every single nurse into giving her sister the absolute best care, and badger the doctors until she understands EXACTLY what is happening and planned for her sister.  Love works patiently and diligently to help her sister memorize the sequence of buttons to push on her insulin pump so that she can manage her own blood sugar and not have to count on another to manage it.  Love is sleepless, cold nights in an ICU waiting room where none of the chairs recline, you are surrounded by strangers, and still determining to stay   Love is not caring if you are on every single persons last nerve as you ask questions and make demands and push, push, push... because their convenience is not worth your sister's health.

Love is the mother sitting on a pillar in the hallway outside of the ICU with a statue of Jesus holding a small child.  She is propped up by the statue.  Her shoulders are slumped, her face is wan and she is not sure how her stubborn daughter will deal with the loss of yet another piece of freedom.  But love stays and it waits.  And prays.  And offers moments of humor where they can be found.

Even when it is nowhere to be found.

Love is getting up and taking care of your wife every single day.  Endlessly rearranging that pillow that just never lies just right under the right hip.  Sponge baths.  Laundry.  Using the church  bus because it has a wheelchair lift.  Getting up, cooking breakfast, helping her dress.  Lifting her from the bed to the wheelchair.  Loading into that bus, and driving to the hospital for an endless round of appointments.  Staying for the entire day when the schedule gets delayed from one appointment to the next, and additional procedures added on unexpectedly.

Today she is weepy. The addition of a long term IV that is designed to make their life more simple comes as a blow.  A visible reminder of her illness and that she is not getting better.  Love continues to smile, to stroke the hand, to say "It's okay.  You will be okay. We will do this.  Don't worry."

The smile is tight, the eyes are weary, but the over all spirit of joy in caring for his wife is there.  When asked how he is doing, or offering to help merge some appointments to save trips, love answers,  "Well, at least I'm retired.  I don't have anything to do anyway but take her around."

The care is exhausting.  It is nonstop and day in day out.  It is physically exhausting.  It is emotionally devastating.  The caregiver will determine to be strong because she can't right now.  It is all she can do to face an illness that was never expected.

Love is an action.  It is not an emotion that will ebb and flow through the years.  It is a decision and it is a determination to see through to the end when the trial is long and the suffering is immense.

I think one of the things about love is that it is NOT in response to a situation, or something done FOR you, rather it is an outflow of a decision you have already made.  You can't decide that you are going to love someone through a difficult time unless you already purposed that you were going to love them BEFORE the crisis occurred.  Love given in response to something done for you is easy. 

Love given in a time of crisis can even be easy. Particularly if the crisis is short term. The illness occurs and suddenly you are aware of what the sick person means to you and you are eager and happy to help them in their time of need.  There is great reward and even personal satisfaction in leaving and saying, "I'm so glad I was able to go clean their house today."  That love is easy and freely given.  And while it is certainly needed and appreciated in the persons time of need, it is not even a drop in the bucket compared to the love I'm privileged to observe.

The person who relentlessly pours themselves into another life for the long haul inspires me the most.  Love found at the bedside for every single procedure months, years into the illness.  Love given day in and out with relentless demand and no horizon within view is a thing of true beauty.

Love is deciding when you will allow them to go with your blessing.  Clasping that hand  held so fiercely through months of illness, and telling them goodbye, that you love them "It's okay. I will be okay.  I can do this.  Don't worry."


I am blessed to see it.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Face Lift

We bought new couches quite a while back.  The couches we had were only 15 years old...

Anyway, the thing about the couches that we bought, is that I didn't like the pillows that came with it.  I like the comfort of the couch, and I like the neutral color that easily blends with my desire to paint walls various random colors... And I like that the couches were really deep when all of the pillows are off, so we can actually lay on the couch together and watch tv/fall asleep.

Because we are fuddy duddys who can barely stay conscious past 8:30.

Anyhoo, I liked the couches themselves.  But I just didn't like the pillows.  I bought them with the mindset that I could replace them.  But I couldn't find a pillow I really liked unless it was fifty dollars and up.  And $200 dollars on pillows for the two sofas seemed excessive

Last night I had to run into Walmart on the way home for some random reason.  I was on my way home from work.  I was tired and hungry.  Not a good mental state to enter Walmart in.  My defenses were down.  I spent entirely too much money. 

One of my impulse purchase was a few yards of fabric.

And this is what I did last night:

I really had NO idea what I was doing. 

But here's the final result!

 What new projects do you have started? 

And why do those brown pillows look green in the above photo?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Dress Up: Exactly How Old is Too Old?

Today Popcorn reminded me of our dress up photo shoot from last year.  Of course, Halloween is just around the corner, so she is agonizing of who/what to be.  After all, everything I suggest has "already been done."  I say she just needs to let go and have fun and do something utterly preposterous.

Like dress up as Wonder Woman

Or even Steven Tyler.  I have to admit, my photo reenactment of him was more fun and much less intimidating than the Amazon warrior princess.

And perhaps more realistic...

Or she could be any member of the Addams family.  We have all the costumes.  Except Pugsley.  She adamantly refuses to dress up as him...Or Cousin It, or Uncle Fester, or Mama'.  She is really just a total drag when it comes to conforming.

Of course the Addams family was "being done" by all of us last year, so she had to be an Indian princess.  I think she was Tiger Lily, but she might hit me if I'm wrong, so don't tell her that, okay?

I suggested she could be a mummy.  I would even be gracious enough to pin the wrappings above and below her waist so she could have potty breaks.

She was not amused.

*I think perhaps a Morticia photo shoot is in the making.  I swear, my ability to mirror celebrities is absolutely amazing!  Perhaps I should change careers?

Saturday, October 6, 2012


It is 12:30pm.  As in half past noon.  As in "I'm still in my pjs and I just fed the girls pumpkin pancakes for brunch and I hope none of the neighbors drop in for a chat."

Brent is at his 20 year reunion, and I was unable to go as I'm on call and nobody was willing to switch my call except those who I couldn't switch with, so here I am at 12:30 on a  Saturday, still in my pjs, and I decided I should write a post.

Did you know that if you have nowhere to be, you can be utterly lazy and still accomplish more than if you had just one errand to run?  For example, I slept in until the unseemly hour of 7:30 when Chesney woke me up with her Chewbacca call because she wanted out of her crate.  Kelsey and I clamored out of bed and they both ran out to enjoy the chilly morning air.  I debated lighting a fire, just in the spirit of "it's finally fall and I can light a fire if  I want to and Brent won't be here to gripe that it is pointless."

Oh, and please don't tell my husband that my dog slept with me on his side of the bed with her head on his pillow while he was out of town.  He tends to get testy about that.

Instead of making a fire, I grabbed a cup of coffee and read the Baptist Messenger and worked the sudoku puzzle in it.

Then I decided to do a load of laundry. 

Then I was lazy some more...

Then I helped Bookworm make the aforementioned pancakes.

Then I was lazy some more...

Then I folded my second load of laundry and washed some dishes.

Then I was lazy some more...

And now I'm writing this blog with half my day in front of me and nothing left to do but run the vacuum and clean the counter tops in the bathrooms.

You see, I had half of yesterday off.  And that meant I swept and mopped all hard floors and scrubbed the OUTSIDE of my fridge (I don't want you to think I braved the inside) and scrubbed all of the tubs and shower walls.  I also made some bread (in my bread machine, so again don't go crazy here) and learned that expiration dates on yeast do in fact matter, and whipped up some chicken and dumplings.

So all of that laboring yesterday enabled me to have a day of lazy productivity. 

And all of that enforces my belief that I simply MUST change jobs to twelve hour shifts again.  For while the day is LONG, you have all of these days at home!  And as nurses we are brain washed from nursing school on that while you may have to work on weekends and holidays, it is only for THREE DAYS A WEEK!  And yet I'm working eight hour shifts four days a week. 


Well, that is all.  Sorry it is not witty.  Sorry it is not interesting.  But it is a post.

Perhaps this week I will finally show you a picture tutorial on refinishing furniture.  Or post pictures of the cowboy cooler Studmuffin is nearly completed.  Or maybe I should share my crock pot chicken and dumplings with you...

All grand ideas, yes?