Saturday, October 23, 2010

Another post about my kids...

I know, I am one of those super annoying people who only ever post about their kids. Well, KID, in particular. It's not that I don't love Cana to smithereens, but she's still kinda... you know, a baby. I promise that once she's bigger and cracking me up more (rather than just waking me up), I'll be annoyingly persistent in sharing stories about her, too. Shoot me-- my kids are cute. I can't be held responsible for that.

Today, Evie was telling me about a scene in Popular Mechanics for Kids, a series they carry at our library-- and that is currently Evie's answer to life.

She said, "Mom. There was a commercial in PMK... and this man was in the hospital and he had those sticker things all over his chest..."

"Oh, yeah?" I absentmindedly replied.

"Yeah, just like me--when my heart was broken!!"

"That's right, honey," I responded, "You did have lots of EKGs."

Evie paused for a moment, then added, "Mom, Jesus GAVE me that hole in my heart so that He could walk through it and LIVE there!!!"

*Sigh* I love that girly. I mean, I realize that her theology is in need of some serious adjusting in more than one area... but come on, people! This kid is awesome.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Evie: thoughts on candy and theology

Driving in the car to the grocery store, I hear Evie in the backseat consulting her "list".

"Mom," says the wee miss, "I have a list of all the kinds of candy that we need to get for Daddy at the store."

"Oh, you do?" I question. "Is it just for Daddy?"

"Well," ponders Evie, "My dad is a good man. I think he'll share with me. So, for Dad AND me."

Dubiously I reply, "Evie, I don't know that we are going to be getting any candy at the store today."

Incredulous, Evie asks, "Why NOT?!"

"For one thing," I respond, "it's not good for our bodies. Or our teeth. Or our skin."

Evie ponders for a few moments, then counters, "Mom... I guess I will just have my rules talk to your rules."

"Oh, you will?", a bemused mama snickers.

"Yes," Evie confidently replies. "And MY rules are GOD'S rules!"

Well, I guess there's no arguing with that.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Giveaway @ Our Adoption Adventure: 100th Post and A Giveaway

So honestly, I have only met Michelle and Herb a handful of times, though I have high hopes of gaining their real-life friendship at some point! ;) I can't really personally relate to Michelle's emotions and fears and hopes as she follows Jesus on an adoption adventure-- but I do know the unsurpassable joy of being a mama, and I understand that it is a position to be coveted. I love Michelle's honesty, and I can't wait to hear that they are bringing their baby home to his or her forever family!

Michelle is doing a giveaway over at her blog, and it's super cool! Check it out! (But don't win, cause I want to win!)

Our Adoption Adventure: 100th Post and A Giveaway

Thursday, May 20, 2010


You'd think that I would have to break my blogging silence with some earth-shattering revelation, some clever quip, some great theological debate. But I'd rather not, thankyouverymuch.

I will, however, break my blogging silence to tell you that I might be leaving my husband for that nice little old man who works at the Habitat Restore. Only because it might get me a discount there. Forget it, it's pretty cheap anyway. Probably not worth it in the long run.

But marital infidelities in the ceiling panel aisle aside, I am pretty much in love with this store. How have I lived in Lancaster for more than 5 years and never been there??? Me, who gets a severe case of agita if I even just walk by a yard sale, flea market, or thrift store? My guess is that, not owning a house, I had relatively little incentive to go in and buy, you know, tile. Or light fixtures. Or really stinking cool old windows. Or old posts whose patina would make my grandmother swoon.

But folks, as of tomorrow--- Lord willing and the creek don't rise-- I will be a homeowner landlord slum-lord well, whatevertheheckyouwanna call it. And as such, I find myself in need of some tile. And light fixtures. And really stinking cool old windows. And old posts whose patina would make my grandmother swoon. (ETA: I just learned the word 'patina' and I think it's pretty swell, so you'll probably be hearing a lot of it out of me lately. Or reading it a lot from me lately, especially since I am not quite sure how to pronounce it. PAT-ina? Pa-TINA? Who knows.) I am most excited about a fabulous old sink I found to put in my brand-spanking new kitchen, which my way-cooler-than-that-nice-little-old-man-at-Habitat-Restore husband is putting in for me. Speaking of swell, he pretty much is. He's pretty much a miracle-worker, and I am super excited to see how our little crackhouse garage apartment is going to metamorphasize into a flippin' cool party pad ahem, family home.

And if it doesn't, here's hoping Old Mr. Re-Store man waits for me.

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Office Baby is Breast-fed!! (aka, Melody rants about nursing)

So, there are very very things on TV that I get excited about. I do enjoy a good Murder Mystery every now and then, but holy cow-- I love the Office!!! So much so that I started getting my kids ready for bed at 6:30 last night just to ensure that everybody was deeply asleep by the magical 9 pm (didn't work... *sigh*). So you can understand how, as a huge Jim and Pam aficionado, I was on edge all day-- waiting for the episode in which their out-of-wedlock-conceived-baby is born. (Yes, I am a heathen. I know.) As a whole, I was kind of disappointed in the show; it was fine, I had a few chuckles. Didn't change my life or anything.

However, I do think that, for such a mainstream show, it was interesting how accurately it portrayed the breastfeeding/attachment parenting culture in US hospitals. In one scene, Pam is frustrated as she tries to get baby to latch on. A nurse comes in, and strongly encourages taking a little break and bringing the baby to the nursery. She insists, "It will be okay; I will just give her a bottle in the nursery." When Pam argues that she's read about nipple confusion, and doesn't want the baby to have a bottle, the nurse rolls her eyes and rebukes Pam. Throughout the episode, the nurse is constantly trying to take the baby to the nursery, and continually dismisses Pam's breastfeeding struggles with a snide, "It's FINE. Lots of babies are bottle-fed!"

Now, don't misunderstand me: this isn't a tirade against mothers who, for whatever reason, choose to bottle-fed their children. This is, however, a tirade against health care professionals who, on one hand, write literature extolling the benefits of breastfeeding, while shoving a bottle of formula down your baby's throat with the other hand. As expectant parents, we read all the books about the whys and hows of breastfeeding, but modern health care does not equip us with the resources we need to successfully breastfeed our children.

But it doesn't stop with our feeding choices. We aren't allowed to be the parent anymore. Many hospitals require a litany of tests, the vast majority of which cannot be held in your hospital room. Our babies, who have been nestled safely inside us for months upon months, are continually wrenched from our arms and wheeled in a plastic bassinet to a germ-y, bright hospital room in which they are subjected to a series of loud beeps and heel-pricks. Jaundiced newborn Cana had to be placed under the bili-lights for hours on end; because of a new "security" measure at the hospital, I wasn't even allowed to go to the nursery to sit beside her bassinet and sing to her. My MOTHER was, but I couldn't be with my baby. We had to fight tooth and nail to try to prevent doctor-on-duty from recommending that Cana receive formula, believed to be beneficial for jaundiced babies. Newborn Evie was wheeled back from a test in the nursery, clutching a plastic pink pacifier-- one that I had specifically asked that she NOT receive.

There is no refuting, regardless of how you choose to feed your child, that breastmilk is-- hands down-- the best possible thing that you can give your baby. There are no close seconds. The American Academy of Pediatrics recognizes this. The World Health Organization recognizes this. Why then do hospitals so very thoughtfully send us home with diaper bags chocked with cans of formula and buy one, get one free coupons? Even the lactation consultant at the hospital mentioned something to me about "when I start supplementing with formula". Wait, what?! When did I EVER mention that that was in the plan? We are taught to trust our doctors-- we believe that our pediatrician's word is as good as gold. Yet, all too often, they give us advice regarding breastfeeding that is just plain bad! I feel so sad for women who badly want to nurse their children, and don't have a network of sisters and mamas and friends who will come along side them in this journey-- and talk them down when it just seems easier to warm up some formula. (It's not.)

I know this sounds like a bitter rant against modern medicine. It's not. There are a ton of doctors out there, a ton of nurses and midwives, who truly want to help facilitate breastfeeding. There is an initiative called "Baby Friendly Hospitals", which prevents formula companies from preying on exhausted new mothers; it instead sends mamas home with a tub of Lansinoh and some nursing pads. Sadly, this is the exception and not the norm.

The Office ended with a sweet victory as Pam gets fussy baby to latch on and nurse for the first time, in the middle of a busy parking lot. As is typical, TV depicts a drama that has a happy ending in a half an hour. Breastfeeding challenges may last way, way longer than that. But as I cuddle with my two year old, and my baby, and nurse them down for the night-- I can unequivocally say-- it is absolutely worth it.

---*ahem* steps off soapbox----

Sunday, February 28, 2010

I want to embarrass my kids.

When I was growing up, my mother owned-- seriously-- the most heinous winter coat on the face of God's green earth. This in not an exaggeration; I am not speaking in hyperbole. It.was.ugly. It was a bright hunter's red wool material-- not nice, squishy, soft wool like Cana's diaper covers. Oh, no. It was scratchy and coarse and prickly and UGLY. It had a red and black plaid liner on the inside, and a cinched waist that would have done a great disservice to even the most chiseled of Hollywood midsections. It was UGLY. I wish I had photographic proof of the magnitude of its awful-ness; my words cannot possibly do it justice. But I am afraid that pictures were purposefully NOT taken, thinking that less evidence of the fashion crime would somehow lessen its consequences. (Have I mentioned that it was ugly??)

My sisters and I tried to get Ma to stop wearing it. Oh, believe me. We tried. I am pretty sure we hid it on more than one occasion, spilled grape juice on it in hopes of its demise, left it out in rainstorms, hoping the moisture would felt the wool to an unmanageable size. We tried to replace it one Christmas with a fancy new leather coat. But my little Italian mother would always insist, "It's warm. I like it. I am not getting rid of it."

*Sigh*. So, trash or Salvation Army ('cause, you know, they'd want it) aside, we resorted to the next best thing. When mom would pick me up from violin lessons, I'd pretend not to notice her flashing red beacon, waiting beside her car; I'd tell my friends that my mom must have forgotten me, and I would just walk home. Or if she insisted on wearing the wretched garment to our town's Christmas tree lighting, I would stand a few paces away and bemoan the influx of the homeless bag-ladies into our quaint little city.

But you know, something changed in my psyche in the last few months. I found myself on the market for a new winter coat. I scoured newspaper ads, ebay, online vendors. I had throughly convinced myself that if I was going to make it through this apolcalyptic winter, I must have the appropriate outerwear. And of course, with a new coat comes all the necessary matchy-matchy accessories. But then two things happened. Having not been to the library lately, I happened to peruse my bookshelves for something to entertain me. I noticed Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover. It was a hand-me-down from my sister... and because it is a book about debt (or so I thought), I figured it wasn't something that would apply to me; we didn't have any debt. But I was desperate, so I decided to give it a shot. And man, my perspective was dramatically changed. I won't get into all of the particulars; it's just not that interesting. But it really reminded me of the futility of acquiring STUFF. It clutters my home, it gets dirty, it gets broken; rust and moths destroy it, robbers break in and steal it.
The other, more dramatic mind-altering moment was on January 12 at 4:53 PM. I watched the news in horror-- relieved that God had spared my sister and her family in Haiti-- aghast that He, in his supreme wisdom, had not spared another quarter million people. I read my sister's post about holding a child who was literally starving to death. And suddenly my matching mittens seemed less urgent. Writing my measly support check for them reminded me-- if I had been more guarded with the resources with which God had entrusted me, I could have written a much larger check-- and not even had to think twice about it. I had foolishly and repeatedly invested in myself, more than I had in the kingdom of God... foolishly insisting on my own way, when the God of the universe was willing to pay generous dividends. My chief purpose in being on earth is not to have nice things and create a nice home for my family; my chief purpose is to glorify our Creator. And when I really sit down and think about how that NECESSARILY must affect our finances, I am humbled.

Years ago, I stumbled across a Great Depression-era saying:
"Use it up, wear it out. Make it do, or do without."
Really? REALLY? Do without? How, in just 80 years, did we go from THAT to having 2.5 TRILLION dollars of consumer debt in the US, $8100 for every man, woman, and child...?!?! We have hoarded all our belongings and melted them into this golden calf of STUFF. We are deceived. God, help us. We have it all wrong.

My crazy old mom had it right, for once. :) That coat may have been ugly, but it was warm. THAT, friends, is the chief purpose of coats. A quick inventory of our coat closet yielded not one but THREE acceptable winter coats. Yeah, they are kinda ugly. One of them I have had since I was 16. But it's fine. And man, I plan on wearing that coat as long as God and my girth allow. Evie and Cana are going to HATE me for it, but I am going to be smugly smiling on the inside, nice and toasty warm-- pushing my grocery cart full of bags at the town Christmas tree lighting....

Monday, February 8, 2010


I've been feeling for weeks that I should write a post about Haiti. About my sister and her family, who are doing such wonderful work there. And every time I have tried, I find that I have no words... which, if you know me, is pretty miraculous. My finite mind cannot wrap around the depths of this. I have been following Gwenn's blog as they are working out their faith in Jacmel, truly being the hands and feet of our Savior. I encourage you to check it out for a very real, honest picture of what is going on there.

As I was catching up on some of her posts this morning, I found a stirring in my soul to pray. To kneel before our Father with sweet Patricia, with tiny Clara... and yet, my cloudy head couldn't even compose a coherent prayer. I am so far away from the reality that these people live daily; I don't know their individual situations or needs. All that I could whisper was, "Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!!" And I was reminded that our Father doesn't need my verbose ramblings-- He has promised that "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express." (Romans 8v26)

Oh, Gwennie... know that our God is groaning for you... is daily bearing your burden... has heard your cries... will strengthen you and help you. When the rest of the world has moved on to the Super Bowl and Brangelina's marital discord, know that you are not forgotten. You are sheltered under the wings of the Almighty.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Bad influence...

I am one. A horrible one. Poor sweet little Evangeline who looks up to her mama for everything.

A few days ago, Evie was struggling to re-adjust her panties after a little pee break. (Yes, she had them all in a wad.) As she's yanking and pulling and fussing with them, I hear her say, "Damn it! Damn it! DAMN IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Of course, I lovingly corrected her, without a trace of a smile (ahem) and then said, "Evie, that is a very impolite word. Please don't say that word anymore."

A few minutes later, still struggling with aforementioned undergarments, I hear her quietly say to herself, "Damn it. Damn it. Damn it."

I respond a little more harshly this time: "Evie! Mama told you not to use that word!"

Evie's eyes shift nervously, and then light up with a brilliant idea. "I didn't say damn it, Mama. I said FAMN IT."

Sigh. Profanity AND lies. It's gonna be a long eighteen years. ;)