Tadpoles

So, this is a typical adventure with the three amigos. When we start getting bored, look out! That has always been my downfall and I may have passed that onto my offspring. One of them for sure. They start beating on me and wrestling like way too much and then I can tell I’m about to freak out so I look on the internet for something to strike our fancy. So, today when the restlessness began to turn to chaos, we went to “Tadpole Time” at the Noble library which sounded precious this morning and now just sounds absurd and annoying.

I remember taking Jack to these story time things when he was Case’s age and even when Case was a newborn. I’ll be honest, I felt like an awesome super mom those days when I could discreetly nurse a baby while helping a two-year-old do a craft. They were few and far between, believe me. But now that Case is getting bigger and can understand more, we are venturing out to do some fun stuff again that isn’t just a playground. Man, I get tired of playgrounds! Anyway, when Jack was younger, he wasn’t so big on the story time and would usually wander around the room but he liked the singing and the crafts. Well, the door was not shut for Tadpole Time and Case kept leaving. Or laying on the floor kicking when I didn’t let him leave. And Jack kept saying “I don’t like story time. I want to go play with the toys out there. This is boring.” Like, not in a quiet voice. So, we went out to the kids area so they could play with toys while I picked out a few books. Well, apparently someone has taught Case to read (maybe it was that Tadpole lady) because he kept running to the “quiet area” and squealing as he ran through rows of books while Jack chased me (as I chased Case) with some possum puppet he had found and was biting my butt with it. So, I gathered up my tadpoles and tried to pay my fines and get the new stuff and I was sweating as I retrieved Case from behind the counter where the probably terrified librarian sat.

So, at this point, I’m starving and felt like we might as well keep the fun going. A couple years ago when I was 8 months pregnant, we met a friend at the Noble library and then she suggested we walk to Kendalls and eat INSIDE. I was shocked (because she had three littles) but also intrigued at her boldness. So, we went. And I sweated an awful lot and breathed heavily and thought it was six miles. But when we got there, they had a blessed toy area in the back! So, I thought we’d do that again today. I’m happy to report that the

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walk as a non-pregnant lady was surprisingly short and all the dogs who tried to eat us on the way were confined by fences. But, alas, when we arrived, they were closed. JUNK! I could’ve eaten my arm by this point. Of course, the boys were well-stocked in snacks so don’t worry about the little angels. However, Jack was very concerned that we would now be forced to eat somewhere that didn’t have toys. Which we did, and that place is called Sonic and we have one of those in Purcell.

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So Tadpole Time+Kendalls= BOOOO. I would like to know where is the kids time where they have a child proof fence and they have races, climbing, jumping and wrestling with adult-friendly good food. I also need it to be free and climate-controlled. Is that a lot to ask?

Happy in the hard

We had a bad morning yesterday. Nothing too crazy, just a lot of whining and arguing and by nine, I was about to lose it. I could feel myself losing it. Little eruptions that are only indicators, warnings, of the major disaster.

“Get in the car!” That’s it! I’m panicking now, fight or flight and all that. We have to go somewhere. We have to reset or something, break the circle of this messiness that keeps doubling back at us like a snake held by the tail, fangs flashing. We are all in danger together and I’m the mom and I have to save us and all I can think of is to yell in an ugly voice “Get in the car!”

But, it’s better than what might happen if we didn’t get in the car, all strapped and secured not touching each other and hopefully distracted by the scenery even though it’s the same we see every day. Once we were in the car, I had to think of somewhere to go and it had to be quick because the questions, I knew, would keep rushing like a flooded river trying to drown me until I did.

“Walmart.” Tuesday is my normal grocery day- ugh I have a grocery day- but Jack didn’t have preschool because of voting so I might as well make it Monday and take them both this week. I don’t know why I thought that was a good activity to calm us all down. They had one of the carts that holds two kids and I thought our luck was really changing now. It had little seats that faced each other and seat belt straps like the ones in cars. “Ages 2-6 only,” it read on the safety label. Well, Case is almost one and a half and he’s tall and as I’ve said before, a genius, so that doesn’t apply to us.

We made it and it was hard and stressful and I tried not to threaten too loudly but just loudly enough that my fellow shoppers knew I was handling my business and not spoiling my boys. There’s a lot of pressure parenting in public. And in private.

And we had the slowest cashier ever. She read every label on every item. She seemed like a lovely woman but Case was climbing on my head and breaking the sticks on those little balloons on a stick and Jack was grabbing every plastic candy contraption and showing it to me and I was sweating. One day the evil, cold-hearted guy (yes, it’s definitely a guy) who puts all that crap right there at the checkout where you’re hemmed in by carts and bound to stand waiting will have to answer to an Almighty God for what he has done and I would not want to be him at that moment. No, I would not.

So, we head back out to the car and my gosh darn La Croix canned sparkling water falls off the bottom of the cart and the box breaks open and they roll everywhere and one gets a hole in it and sprays a fountain of cherry lime carbonation all over the place. And at that moment, as I am picking them up so we can hurry and get out of the street, and as Case is standing up on the seat, a passerby who I am sure is a precious, sweet person (really, I think she is) said “It’s a shame they can’t stay this little forever.” And all kinds of unholy things went through my mind but I managed to just eek out something corny like “boy, I sure would be tired.” And I got in the car and I wanted to sob but I didn’t because I have a three-year-old who still thinks big people don’t cry and to be honest, I just didn’t have the energy for that life lesson at the moment. Mercy, it feels good to write this.

The reason I wanted to sob is because (besides being mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted from a mere shopping trip) what I heard in her words was “life is worse when they get older.” Which is obviously not what she said as she peacefully pushed her cart after peacefully buying groceries alone and prepared to get into her car and turn on whatever she wanted on the radio and probably drink a delicious Coke without sharing and getting kid slobber all over the straw.

And also, no “Mama, you’re my best fwiend,” while little arms circle your mama thighs. And then we came home and they took a nap and everything was fine. There are so many sweet times and they are so so precious. I know them as well as they can be known right now, don’t I? And I love them more than I can express. I would kill for them. I would die for them. Please understand I do not take them for granted. But in ten years when I look back to these days, I’m afraid, terrified, really, that I won’t even remember them because I’m just so tired from all the trying. Which is why I know it’s God’s grace that I have them now in the days of Instagram so I can preserve their sweet faces because He knows I would never finish a page of a scrapbook. And I just described to you how intensely I can feel stressed on one beautiful spring morning when nothing in the world is wrong because I want you to know that even then, I know I’m on Holy Ground. I know I don’t get these days back.

And the hardness has made me softer and the difficulty beyond myself has forced me to Jesus. I have learned to kiss the wave, and all that. I have purposely gotten up at five am to have time with God. I sure never did that when I was handling things myself. I didn’t know my own need until I became a mom. I thought I did but I had forgotten Him in times of abundance (Deut 8:11). This is sacred time and I know it deeply in my bones. I didn’t know it until recently. Probably because I’m not in the hardest part anymore, when they don’t sleep and your hormones are a mess and you don’t know why they’re crying and you have spit-up on your shirt and your nipples hurt. Even when I think I’m going to drown, I know I’m not because I didn’t before (or I did and He raised me up better than I was)and this isn’t as hard as then. For me. It’s different for different people, I guess.

So maybe when I’m the older lady and I see a mom with kids climbing out of the basket and her third-day hair in a mess on top of her head, I won’t imply her life is going to get worse. Maybe I will say “Hang in there, honey. Jesus loves you and one day you will grocery shop in peace. Your children are the cutest I’ve ever seen and you look so thin!” Or maybe I will have a flashback and need someone to hold me. Or, maybe my kids will still be with me and I will still be threatening them. You really never know.

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Looking for something?

Spirit hunger. That’s the term she uses in this post I just read. I have that and so do you. 

Don’t you? Don’t you ever feel rushing water and pounding waves and you have to have air like NOW? Aren’t you ever flailing and grasping for a life saver that you can’t see? Don’t you ever feel an empty hole that you are in a panic to fill except you can’t figure out what goes there?

She calls those things, those life rafts and those things we use to fill up our empty spaces pacifiers. I can look back and see exactly which things I’ve used as pacifiers. I don’t even know when it started. 

 We don’t want to feel our feelings sometimes, right? 

I will spare you the story of every example I can think of (unless you need details and then please feel free to ask) but know that they run the gamut of options and include alcohol, food, sleep, men and nicotine. And those are just the ones I recognize. I’m lucky, I guess, that those distractions were good enough pacifiers that I didn’t ever get into drugs. But, all of it, every time, was because I wanted my mind to be at peace. 

And even though I became a Christian when I was eight, sanctification stalled out along the way and I never learned how to have His peace until I tried everything else. And until I didn’t have any other options. And sometimes, practically, it’s still hard to understand. Because I want to ask “How do I do that?” But I don’t do anything. I can’t get it for myself. I just have to ask God and let Him give it. 

This is a flag-waving post. Like, “Hey, that emptiness or restlessness you feel might not have anything to do with your job or your relationship or whatever other circumstance. It might be spirit hunger. And if it is, Jesus is the ONLY thing that can quench it rather than temporarily distract you from it.” 

I listened to a podcast the other day that might be relevant here. It’s the story of a man who tried every drug and every religion just to find meaning in life and who had suicide plans when he met the Lord. He’s also a pretty funny speaker. 

When I did realize I was spiritually malnourished, I had a hard time figuring out how to grow. Here are a few steps to get you on your way.  First, pray. If we will ask for wisdom, God promised to give it. It’s in the Bible. Next, read the Bible. I will help you find a Bible study tool if you want. Life church’s Bible app has a lot of options. And the other thing that’s important is to connect with other believers. Worship service on Sunday won’t cut it. You will need a community. Try Sunday school, life groups or group Bible studies. We aren’t meant to journey alone. That’s in the Bible too. 

I really love you. 

The Queen of Sheba

Yesterday I sat down during the boys’ naps and opened my Bible to catch up a little on my chronological in one year plan. And I thought/prayed kind of, “Okay, God, show me what you want me to see today. Don’t let me miss it.” Like I usually do when I’m in a hurry. The heading above 1 Kings 10 caught my eye, even though that’s not what I was supposed to be reading yet. “The Queen of Sheba Visits Solomon.” Who do you think you are, the Queen of Sheba?! That’s my whole frame of reference for her story. That’s it. So, I read the eleven verses about her because I’m a rebel. No reading plan can hold me. 

Then, I got up to clean my kitchen and I turned on a podcast because that is what I do for enrichment- listen to insight whilst doing dishes. And I do enough dishes that before you know it, I’m going to be really really smart. 
Anyway, the podcast I turned on was boring because they were interviewing a person I’d already heard interviewed on a different podcast. So a couple minutes in, I switched to a different one. Guess what it was about. 

THE QUEEN OF SHEBA. Seriously. Never heard anything about the woman and then I’m bombarded with her yesterday. I’m not even so sure I would’ve known that she was in the Bible. 

So, I figured I should think on what I learned. I haven’t had an ah-ha moment or anything so I’m just going to note the things I now know about her and see where it applies sometime. No doubt it will. 

(If you’re playing along at home, read 1 Kings 10 first and this will make more sense.)

The trip from Sheba (modern day Yemen) to Jerusalem was about 1500 miles. On a camel, that would take about two months because apparently the camels didn’t really walk faster than people. AND they had to rest about as long as they traveled. So, two months to get there, rest for two months and two months back makes a six-month voyage. That’s a serious trip. Apparently she was pretty impressed with what she heard about Solomon’s wisdom and his God to make such a trip. So, I think she must’ve been a very curious type of woman who was interested in learning and gaining wisdom. 

I also think she was pretty bold. Maybe even brassy? She shows up at this magnificent palace to test the king with hard questions. But she was smart about it. She brought extravagant gifts including four tons of gold and the prized frankincense from her country. So, she’s boldly coming to quiz this man but she’s making it clear that she’s respectful and appreciative of his attention. 

My Bible notes in the sidebar that though she is impressed with the God of Israel, there is no evidence that she comes to know Him as her own rather than simply accepting Him as she would any other geographical God. However, others believe that when she praised the name of the Lord, she was announcing a dedication to Him. I don’t know. I think it would be odd, if she were not seeking after truth but rather just being nosy about Israel’s God to take a six-month trip just to hear about Him for the heck of it. 

Anyway, if you have anything to say about the relevance of the Queen of Sheba, please- lay it on me. 

Goodbye. 

Meet Minnie

Well, yesterday was a real heck of a day. We spent about ten hours driving across the Great State of Oklahoma, including breaks. And by breaks I mean pit stops in dirty gas stations (like when Jack started screaming that he needed to poop and thank goodness we weren’t far from an exit) and standing around in a WalMart parking lot. 

But all the chaos was worth it because we came home with this pretty lady.  

 

But let me describe the journey a little more for posterity. The fun began actually the night before when Case should’ve been sleeping but he felt like crying was the better option. So, we were a bit tired to begin with. Then Spencer asked me to drive so he could work on the way. I do not enjoy driving and I do not enjoy when a person is off work but still working but I realized it was for the common good so I complied. About twenty minutes into our trip, Spencer said “Boy, you’re gonna be fun today!” Which made me laugh inside but I kept the game face on so as not to encourage those kinds of remarks. So, that tells you how we began. 

But, the closer we got, the more we perked up at the prospect of having a vehicle for adventure and our (my) attitudes improved. 

The boys were surprisingly good. I really expected a lot more screaming about being trapped in a car seat the majority of the day, but they were real troopers. 

So, I drove them home amidst snack wrappers galore and Spencer drove Minnie home and by the grace of God we all made it. 

And now we just have to decide where to go. 

Let me tell you a little story. Not about a man named Jed. 

Today I took the heathens to Norman to play at an indoor playground since it was rainy. The first place we went was closed (And we got kicked out because after I read the “closed” sign and turned to leave, another mom came and told me she didn’t know why that sign was out but they were open. So I came in. And then got kicked out. I was so ashamed. I think that lady just needed me to fade heat for her.) so we went to the mall. After the kids played we went into the Best Buy to get me a car charger for my phone because I’ve never had one and that is ridiculous and my battery was low. 

At Best Buy, the sales lady told me we were in a tornado watch. To which I said “K.” Well, in my mind I did. I actually said something like “Oh, okay! Thank you so much for letting me know!” But I was thinking “K.” Because really a tornado watch means almost nothing to me. 

So, I check the radar, see some rain and head on home. About halfway there I get a text from Spencer’s cousin telling me to watch the weather. So, I called him and he said nothing tornadic but hail and crazy wind. Okay, drama queen! Then Spencer texts me “Are yall inside?” So I call him and he tells me the same so I book it on to the house because I didn’t want to carry kids from the car to the house in a hail storm. 

I come in and turn on the weather and as soon as Jack gets all his clothes off, they start talking about a hook echo and you could see the meteorologist switch and get a little nervous. Okay, get your clothes back on, kid! Your dreams have come true and we finally get to go to the cellar! 

So I did the emergency things like switch from flip flops to shoes, grab a blanket and the emergency bag, and threw everything down the stairs. Deposited children. Grabbed a bottle and parts and shoved them in my front pocket (this is when breastfeeding is handy), turned the flashlight on and crammed it in my back pocket so I could have a light as I pulled the huge door down and tied it closed. 

It was all fun times. The kids devoured every snack in the bag because goldfish crackers taste way better underground and as I fixed Case a bottle, I realized the nipple had been lost along the way. (There’s a phrase I never thought I’d say.) I had friends and family texting me updates since I couldn’t get radar down there but my phone died before I felt like coming out. So we waited a bit until my Okie instincts said it was all clear and I ran and checked the TV and got the kids out. In all, it was about 35 minutes down there. With no toys. Now I know what the pioneers must have felt like. 

But here’s the whole point of that crazy convoluted story: God was helping me. I left Norman at the exact right time. If I had been any later, I’d have been in the car with no warning and in town where the tornados were actually touching down. We would have been fine in the end but I’d have been terrified. If we had left earlier, I would have checked the weather when I got the initial text, seen it was no biggie and put it back on Disney Jr. Then I most likely would’ve gotten the texts telling me there was already a tornado which probably would’ve caused me to traumatize the children with my spazzing out. Also, I charged my phone on my new car charger on the way so I could get messages instead of being stuck down there with no phone. Also, the tornados were all super small and nobody got hurt so that was nice. 

But Jack did have to pee in the corner. So, it wasn’t all roses. 

Husband cleaning

Husband cleaning. Here to highlight the differences between the sexes. Today I got lucky/strategically planned and got synchronized naps. (It’s a joy and a gift I don’t take for granted. Thank you, Lord.) So, since my house is always in a special state of disarray after the weekend, I have been frantically trying to straighten it. I grabbed one of my dirty shirts out of one of the numerous toy bins I’ve placed around the house (in my quest for mess containment), thinking the Baby Monster put it in there. But, underneath the shirt was a sippy cup. And Jack’s cowboy boots. And one of my flip flops. Ah. Husband cleaning. 

I’m very grateful for my husband (I literally could not dream up a better one. Thank you, Lord) and his spirit of helpfulness. But he has this overwhelming aversion to clutter (unless it’s on his nightstand) that causes him to go on straightening sprees where he, obviously, just puts anything in his path into a laundry basket (just because it’s on the floor doesn’t mean it’s dirty), toy box or trash can. So, when I clean, it’s clean. But, current circumstances being what they are, no two parts of the house are usually clean at the same time. Now with husband cleaning, everything looks very tidy at first glance. But good luck finding anything, like that favorite bra that’s been missing for two weeks or the toddler’s other shoe. 

But when you do find something, it’s probably a sippy cup of milk in the diaper drawer that’s been there a few too many days. 

Case’s half birthday

Well, our big little baby is six months old! Only half a year until he can drink regular milk and eat what we eat. In the words of Jack, “Won’t that be gate?!”

He is sitting up like a champ and trying to get this crawling thing figured out. He gets so close sometimes that I find myself cheering him on, which just distracts him and makes him stop and grin at me. And then start crying so I will pick him up. It’s hard being Case. But I can’t make any predictions on the crawling. I would not be surprised if he started crawling today or if it was two more months. You know how these things are. He tries to get the cart before the horse sometimes by trying to climb and pull up.

He is not super interested in eating solid food but we get a few bites down every day anyway. He really likes music. Sometimes I think he’s a genius. Like, he knows what I’m saying and has thoughts about it.

His dream come true would be for someone to hold him and make eye contact with him all day. I don’t think he’s super picky about who it is, either. He’s really friendly and outgoing.

He likes to go places and see people and different scenery. He gets bored easily. Give him a new toy. Eyes light up. Cool! New toy! Yay! Does it do anything or is this it? Ok, got anything else? Perhaps a remote, phone, or full cup? Can you hold me in a standing position and talk to me some more?

He’s really ticklish. He’s hard to hold. He’s laughing or crying. I think he’s a Condict. But tall and skinny.

He loves Jack SO MUCH and Jack loves him too for now. He is a sweet and helpful big brother.

I’m one lucky mama and I love these toots! I can’t wait to do all kinds of fun stuff with them.

The beautifulness

Well, I’m just feeling like the world is a beautiful place and the golden glow of sunshine is upon my face. And apparently I’m so over the top cheerful that I’m rhyming.

Last night my wonderful, perfect little (big) cherub baby slept from 8pm until 5:30am. Yeah. Thank you, Jesus. He is about a week away from his 5 month anniversary of exiting my body and he is confirming what a few of us already thought as evidenced by these past statements:

“I wish my babies could be born five months old.”- my sister when Jack was about three months old.

“The first six months were the slowest of my life and the second six months the quickest.”-me on Jack’s first birthday when a relative asked if it had flown by.

“Yeah, this is when it gets not so horrible.”- A friend when I was at her house about four months ago and complimenting her on her sweet five month old.

So, as you can see, for those of us who don’t consider the newborn stage to be our favorite, five months is a great age. Our Case is just growing up on us. He’s rolling and scooting and either laughing or crying. Where Jack was mostly very level and serious, Case is either cheerful or angry. Wonder who he takes after? He is pretty sure that he should be a big boy who can walk and talk by now so sometimes he gets a little frustrated when his efforts at mobility are proven futile.

Even more exciting about Case’s full night of sleep is that Jack also slept well. This was shocking because we had to take him to the ER last night after a few wheezing spells that scared us to death. Jack generally has a little cough here and there because of allergies so I didn’t think much of it, especially after all the back and forth weather. But it gradually got worse and by the time he took a nap, he started coughing so bad it made him wheeze. He’s never done that before! Luckily friends were here so they occupied Case while Spencer hooked up a breathing machine (that we bought when he had bronchitis last year but never even used) and I stood in the bathroom with a steaming hot shower running. After that he seemed to feel good but just had a froggy throat. Then at bedtime the coughing/wheezing fits started again. So my mom came over to be with Case (yay for living in Purcell!) and we took him to the hospital where he had a great adventure. He was cracking the nurse up with his cheering “best day eber!” He really enjoys new activities. He was diagnosed with the croup or a virus (not the flu), given an oral steroid and sent home. So, by this point he had not only missed his nap for only the second time in his life but also was about three hours passed his bedtime. He told us he needed to go night night and climbed into bed and fell asleep. AND THEN HE SLEPT UNTIL 7am. What?! Amazing.

Sleeping is even more thrilling when you expect not to sleep. It’s the best ever. I might actually get this house straightened up today. Maybe.

This stinks

Well. You may have noticed I’ve been a bit preoccupied with sleep lately. I get kind of obsessive. Last night it felt so glorious to lay down at 8:30 and know that I would have a few hours of sleep before Spencer and I switched shifts. I was also feeling hopeful because Case had slept better the night before so I thought maybe he was finally working himself back into a reasonable routine.

Then, over my white noise machine, I heard Spencer open the bedroom door. The clock said 11:23. My mind said “#%^*!$?”@&?!!!.” And Spencer knelt down in front of me and said “Do you smell something weird?” And I did. I sprang up in a way that I have only been able to spring since I became a mother. HIGH ALERT.

“It smells like something burning. Plastic or electrical or something.” Spencer agreed and said he’d been searching the house for twenty minutes and had about decided he was having smell hallucinations. So we looked high and low at every electrical outlet and appliance, checked outside and in the garage (where it didn’t smell) and concluded that he was going to have to check the attic. Then we decided we better get the kids out before he opened the attic and let a rush of oxygen in, which might cause a fire to erupt. As you can see, we are both very safe people.

Side note: (Once when we were kids and my parents weren’t home, the ice box started making a weird noise so I evacuated us to the yard in case it blew up. This felt similar.)

So, we gathered up some essentials (cash, toothbrushes, diapers and milk) and roused our sleeping babes (and let me tell you, Case had been snoozing like a champ since about 7:30!) . I had been trying to reach my mom and stepdad on the phone to no avail so when we got to their house, Spencer rang the doorbell while I fed Case in the car. Both boys were both pretty revved up by this point. It was probably the most exciting night of Jack’s life so far. No one heard the doorbell and I wasn’t even sure if their doorbell worked. So, I realized the only way to get them to let us in was if I knocked on their bedroom window. I thought this was pretty risky so I had no choice but to call my sister to ask if they kept a gun which they might use to shoot a person who was beating on their bedroom window at midnight. She was smart enough to tell me to just punch in their garage door code and go in that way. Oh. Duh.

So I did that and walked in their house turning on lights and hollering “Mom, it’s me!” all the way to their bedroom. As you can imagine, they were a little drowsy and confused but as soon as I explained the situation they both replied that I smelled like a skunk. And once I was in their non-stinky house and could smell my own coat, I had to agree that it did smell more like a skunk and less like that time when a plastic spatula fell on the heating element in the dishwasher and melted. Craaaaaaaap.

I went back to the car and reported to my husband who I had been trying to convince to call the fire department only moments before. He nodded that he had just smelled Case’s blanket and had the same thought. So he left us to party at Mom’s and went back to further investigate.

Not too long later he returned with the terrible news that our house was not in fact burning down but was only the object of a skunk’s wrath. How embarrassing. These two country kids who have both been the victims of our houses being sprayed before never even had the thought that it could’ve been a skunk! Even though we see skunks like every night.

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