Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Patient Who Requires Patience

The sick bug visited our house and bit me hard. Now, I admit I am a big baby when it comes to being sick. I like others to recognize the pain and agony I am being held captive by and I sure won't turn down any pity.

My husband, on the other hand, would rather be dead than pampered when ill, so, during our 5 years of marriage, we've had to find some common ground for how we deal with each other while under the weather. Fortunately, hubby has an immune system built of steel , so most of the adjusting has just been him figuring out how to put up with me until I feel better:)

I especially like to lay in bed and call out every few moments, "I'm sick...did you forget about me?", to which he usually responds, "You wouldn't let me if I tried!"

Forget antibiotics or Tylenol. When I'm sick, just give me some old fashioned attention and lots of it. Make my food and be present to bring me a cold rag before I even need one. Keep me company and constantly rub my back or stroke my hair. Never leave my side.

Clearly, I am not a high maintenance patient at all.

And things have only gotten worse since having a child. Nothing says pity party like having to care for your kiddo while battling nausea or fighting off the Flu. And if Park and I are ever sick at the same time, well, Chris should just tuck tail and run away!

So, in honor of my faithful husband who endured my constant whining and obnoxious sneezing over the past few weeks, I want to say thank you.

Thank you for taking Park on special dates to allow me 3 hour naps during the day. Thank you for waking up early to give me some extra rest. Thank you for pouring countless glasses of orange juice. Thank you for grocery shopping without being asked. Thank you for going in late and coming home early.

But most of all, thank you for not treating me the way you want to be treated when you are sick!

I love you and your cold, hard immune system.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Refreshingly Honest

Nothing forces you to face that you are no longer a "Spring chicken" like a 10 Year High School Reunion. My husband got his wake up call this past weekend and being that I am actually a year older than him, I am glad he finally joined me on the "not as young as I used to be" side.

There is quite a draw to being present at such functions because there is nothing quite as joyous as seeing former "nerds" who've blossomed into beauty queens or former athletes who've transformed into overzealous football coaches.

It really is quite heartwarming.

Who is married? Who has kids? Who looks the same or has changed the most? These are all questions on the forefront of everyone's minds and each person is willing to pay cold hard cash to find out the answers. (Well, for that and the "free" meal, of course)

But perhaps if everyone would have been as refreshingly honest as the guy who posted the profound comment on the ever handy Reunion E-VITE, people could have just saved their $100 admission fee.

He wrote in the WHO'S COMING? section of the on-line invitation:

"I'm coming even though I am now fat and bald."

*For the purpose of full disclosure, I must admit that we both had a great time and met (or in his case, reacquainted) with some really great people. Looking forward to the 20 year:)

MHS Class of '97

Thursday, September 20, 2007

In Her Own Words

After I posted Kelly's Quiet Sacrifice last month, many of you have been joining me in prayer for my precious friend whose husband is currently serving in Iraq. She emailed me about an experience she had the other day and it moved me so much that I asked her if I could share it with you. There is no need for me to attempt to retell it because she expressed it so beautifully in her own words:

I took 2 large care packages to the Post Office to mail to my sweet husband in Iraq today. I tried my best to gather things that I think he might be missing in his home-sweet-trailer over there. *(It should be noted that I did see if I would fit in the box, since I'm sure he's missing me, but I didn't fit, and since I'm post-partum, I was over the weight limit anyway:)

As I stood in line trying to finish packing and addressing the boxes (I had plenty of time, I was number 13 in line), I struck up a conversation with an elderly man behind me. He noticed the military address on my packages, and kindly inquired about the addressee. I briefly discussed the surface details, not wanting to expose myself to the flippant comments people so easily make about the war these days. But in his eyes I saw compassion. I wondered if he had ever served, ever had to leave his family, friends, home and church, and venture off to the unknown and the unpredictable. I wanted to ask, but these days people are taught by society not to get too close their fellow man.

Don't ask, don't tell. You might offend.

The pleasantries continued, with Number 12 and Number 15 in line adding in anecdotes about their family members who were serving. I guess I would say I was surprised by the coincidence of all of us having relations who serve, but I've found lately that God has been so good to surround me with people and things that give me support and encouragement.

I finally reached the front of the line, secretly thankful for my child-free extended stay at the Post Office, and hoisted my oversized re-purposed diaper boxes up on the counter. As I reached in my purse, knowing full well that the shipping costs alone would probably be more than the value of the contents, the kindly gentleman behind me stepped up and addressed the postal worker. "This young lady is sending these boxes to her husband who is serving in Iraq," he stated, "and I would like to pay for the postage."

My jaw found a resting place on top of the stamps on the counter. I couldn't believe it. I kept questioning him, asking him if he was sure. Did he know how much these boxes weighed? Didn't he realize they were shipping internationally? Surely he would want to rescind his offer. But he didn't. He just instructed the postman to ship them in the most timely matter, waited for the cost, and plunked a fifty-dollar bill down to pay the far.

Wow. I didn't know what to say. As someone who struggles with accepting help, I was suddenly faced with having to let a complete stranger pay a $30 bill that I had accrued. I had packed the boxes, I had put all of the heavy things in them. I was responsible for the content and the cost. But this man stepped up and paid it. I attempted to thank the man as best I could, not really knowing what to say. He looked at me and said "May God bless your husband." I nodded in agreement and went on my way, thoroughly shocked at the way God had just blessed my husband's wife.

As I later reflected on what some would just call "good luck", I thought about how God provides what we need, when we need it. And the one thing we need most of all, is saving from our sins. I guess Jesus is kind of like that kind and gentle man behind me today at the Post Office. When it was my turn to step forward and pay for all of the baggage I brought with me to the counter, he stepped in and said he would pay for it. Jesus did that for us. He stepped up and paid for our heavy sin, not because we deserve it, but because he cares for us.

I don't know the name of the man who helped me today; I can't write him a card to say thank you; I can't call him and offer appreciation. But I decided that what I can do is pass on his unintentional message. Be good. Show kindness. Be a representative of Christ and His purpose in your actions toward others.

Step up to the counter.

Monday, September 17, 2007

My Little Funny Man

Park is mastering the art of talking and in doing so, he is becoming quite the comedian. Some of our most recent conversations have left me smiling and I need to write them down so I don't forget these precious memories.

Park: I need to Eat, Eat, Eat!

Mommy: What does Park want to eat?

Park: (Pauses for several seconds, deep in thought. Suddenly, huge smile appears) Eat YOU Mommy!

On a seperate occasion:

Mommy: (whispering into Park's ear, as he is falling asleep in his bed) Park is so tired, he should take a long 2 hour nap (if you know Park, you know this was just wishful thinking on Mommy's part:)

45 minutes later in Park's room......

Mommy: ( flips on light to wide awake little boy) Why is Park STILL awake?

Park: (Smiling from ear to ear) I nap 2 hours, Mommy!

Thursday, September 13, 2007


It is not unusual for kids to have imaginary friends, right?

My five year old niece, Haley, once invented Diamand and Cowie, who still stop by to visit her from time to time.

I also remember keeping a little girl once during college who had such a "friend" named Macy. We were at a baseball game and I held down the seat next to us for Macy to climb up. After waiting what I believed to be an appropraite amount of time to allow an imaginary person to climb into a stadium seat, I let go and the chair flipped back up. The little girl screamed bloody murder, saying....


Now, I am a fast learner, so far be it from me to "squish" the imaginary friend of my own son.

Park has chosen to name his "friend" Cha-Cha, which also happens to be the same name he has given to my sister, Challi. Have a mentioned how much he LOVES her? Thus, when my sister is not physically around, she IS still around in Park's imagination.

However, Cha-Cha does not simply play with Park and come everywhere with us. She, in fact, is the culprit for any and all misdoings that Park is mistakenly blamed for. Let me give you an example:

Mommy finds a magnet shattered on kitchen floor. After asking Park what happened, he responds, " Uh-Oh, Mommy! Cha-Cha broke magnet!".

Cha-Cha's naughty behavior is not limited to breaking things. She also apparantly excels in taking off diapers, pulling books off of shelves and has even been known to shove other children a time or two. When placing Park in time out for such behaviors listed above, he once looked me square in the eyes and pleadingly said, " Put Cha-Cha in time out, peaze."

And after what happened a few weeks ago, I am tempted to do exactly that.

Park was in the back seat of the car and I heard a slapping noise. I glanced in the rearview mirror in time to see Park's hand (otherwise known as Cha- Cha's ) heavily making contact with his face. Instant tears stung his eyes and piercing screams shattered my ear drums, followed by the hostile accusation, "Cha-Cha HIT me!!"

Now lest you have a bad opinion of his imaginary friend, Cha-Cha is also responsible for some good behavior, as well. Yesterday, she allegedly read Park some books and then cleaned up his tractors for him. "She" usually helps put the laundry away and unload the dishwasher, also.

If she keeps this up, Mommy may be tempted to invite more imaginary friends over.

Of course, there was that one incident when we lost Cha-Cha for that brief period of time. I witnessed Park frantically searching under every pillow on the couch. Thankfully, though, after about 5 minutes of sheer distress and terror, it turned out she had just slipped between two cushions.

And just in case you were worried, this did NOT squish her.

Monday, September 10, 2007


There is a new lady in the house and both my men are quite taken with her. Standing only 4 ft tall, this royal beauty has an uncanny ability to steal the undivided attention of my son, while all the while monopolizing my husband's time.

And truthfully, I might be be jealous if she weren't doing such a good job of keeping my home clean, without me having to lift a finger.

The night we moved into our house, our neighbor brought over his Dyson vacuum cleaner. He explained to us that this vacuum was like no other we had ever experienced before and since they would be out of town he wanted to leave it with us overnight.

My first thought was I'm not exactly sure I would classify something that cleans dirt as an "experience" and my second was how did we get so lucky as to move next door to a man that wanted us to babysit for a vacuum?

Thankfully, I did not voice such judgements because I was very wrong on both accounts.

Now, my husband is not a brand name kind of man, folks. He believes that food is food, clothes are clothes, and a product is a product. No amount of cheeky labels or designer price tags are going to convince him otherwise.

Until now.

Chris has become a vacuum snob. As far as he is concerned, if you are not a Dyson, you are not a vacuum. And when this "Great Value" loving man told me that we were buying a $350 dollar dirt sucking machine, I knew he meant business.

So, she has affectionately been dubbed "Princess Dy", our newest beloved family member. And I reluctantly admit she does not disappoint.

The Princess is a non-discriminatory machine and believes in equal opportunity for all surfaces; she sucks as much dirt off wood floors, tile and window seals as she does carpet. Dust bunnies everywhere, TAKE COVER, because she comes with attachments and she is not afraid to use them.

Perhaps the best part of the deal is that Chris and Park are so possessive protective of her that I am rarely allowed to touch her. Hallelujah!

With as smitten as they are with her, though, I'm a little worried that she will develop an unruly attitude of superiority to our other cleaning apparatuses. Sibling rivalry runs rampant in many families and I'm certain that when royalty is involved it's only worse.

Princess Dy, I must warn you that as Queen of this house, I outrank you. You may have the love and support of my men, but I will not tolerate it if you try and edge out my beloved Swiffer.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Better Late Than Never ( birthday theme cont.)

Six years ago precious Caiden was born and my friend Sarah became the first close friend I'd ever had to enter into motherhood.

The Birthday Boy

It would probably be an understatement to say that I was a little oblivious to the life change she was experiencing at that time. In my blissful ignorance, there may have been a time or two that I was a tad insensitive....perhaps when Bridget and I laughed until we cried when a 2-year-old Caiden flushed his head in the toilet at church.

Or the time Bridget and I took a girls' trip to Florida in the middle of Sarah's trying to adapt to life as a new mother, callously suggesting she should still come along and "just bring the baby with us." Sure no problem...I'm sure that would have been VERY relaxing for her and all. There were sacrifices she made along the way (such as driving 5 hours to my wedding with her 11 month old) that I just couldn't fully appreciate until having a child myself.

But, better late than never, right Sarah?

I am also banking on the "better late than never" theory with this post, considering Caiden's birthday was actually 2 weeks ago! However, I just now had a chance to download the pictures from his party at the park and I felt it would be worth the wait to expose Grayson for the cupcake thief he really is:)

Top Pic: Remains of the cupcake destruction

Bottom Pic: Stealthy Grayson licking icing off the concrete

Being the first of the collective 6 children we all now have, Caiden marked the beginning of a whole new level of friendship for Bridget, Sarah, and me. And because Caiden has already taught Sarah so much as a mother and as a person, Bridget and I have benefited by just being her friend along the way. Not to mention the fact that Caiden is our collective "guinea pig" and he is adored by all the younger children, who are certain he is exactly what they want to grow up and become. And I am definitely OK with that. (Well, minus the whole flushing head incident:)

You will always hold such a special place in our hearts C-man. Happy LATE 6th birthday sweet Caiden!

Big brother rescuing Addi from eating rocks

Addi helping herself to Caiden's gifts

The boys playing in the water

The girls playing in the water

Thursday, September 6, 2007

His "Unexplained" Explanation

As a child, my sister had so many dolls that she actually had to resort to using the name Baby-No-Name. Her desire for motherhood manifested at a very early age, and mostly appeared through her interactions with me. She finds great joy in serving others and unlike me, selflessness is not an issue for her.

So, you can imagine the heartbreaking journey she faced, while unsuccessfully trying to get pregnant for three long years. After finally seeking medical help, "unexplained infertility" was the official diagnosis given for why her and her husband could not conceive the child they so desperately desired.

In a joint effort, hundreds of friends and family members stormed the gates of heaven through unceasing prayer, petitioning God to open her womb. Leading the charge was my very own mom, who has had so many specific prayers answered over the years that my friends often joke she has a direct hotline to Jesus.

And still her womb remained closed.

My heart was broken for her and I became consumed by it. Month after month I painstakingly awaited the dreaded phone call, while all the while praying it would never come. Night after night I cried with her and begged God for a miracle. I prayed for Him to give her direction and even change her desire if need be.

And still her womb remained closed.

Around this same time, Chris began to discuss with me his growing desire to have a child of our own. I could hardly even address this issue because I wanted desperately for Challi to experience motherhood first. He was extremely sympathetic to their situation, but felt we should not put off starting a family for long. I, too, wanted a child, but I was so burdened for her that I could not even contemplate it.

After much prayer and confirmation, Challi and husband began In Vitro Fertilization on the morning of Dec. 13, 2004.

Challi's prayer that day was so transparent: "Father, if You choose to work through these doctors to allow me to become pregnant, I will give You the glory because You are the author of life and the only One who can open a womb. If I am not pregnant at the end of this process, I will give You the glory because You are the only One able to sustain us and give us new direction. And after years of facing this same thorn, we have nothing left to do other than rest at the foot of the cross because You know the desires of our hearts and Your grace is sufficient."

That same morning, I about passed out when I saw two lines on the little stick I was holding. Mixed emotions flooded my heart and tears welled up in my eyes. Tears of joy that God had chosen to surprise us with such an amazing gift contrasted the bitter tears of sorrow that I cried for the sister I love with every ounce of my being.

How could God allow this to happen in the midst of the most stressful and heart wrenching time of Challi's life? How on earth could He give me an unexpected pregnancy while allowing her to desperately struggle with infertility for years?

When sharing the news with my sister, she cried joyfully. Graciously reminding me that this was the next best thing to having a child herself, she worked hard to ensure nothing took away from the miracle God had given me. I was not the least bit surprised, since I've known forever that she loves me way more than she loves herself. Yet, I knew the depth of longing her heart carried and in turn I was wrecked with sorrow and mourning.

But then, just as His word says He will do, He turned our mourning into dancing...

On Sept 6, 2005, precious Krew joined our family, just 3 short weeks behind his cousin Park. Challi and I were able to experience pregnancy and motherhood the same way we've faced everything in life, TOGETHER.

Although their infertility was classified as unexplained by the world's standards, God has made the explanation quite clear.

The unspeakable joy this little boy has brought to all of our lives is a testament to God's faithfulness. My sister and her husband helped to start an infertility ministry at their church because the Lord had a plan and their pain had a purpose. They are able to comfort others like only those who have been there can do.

But the story doesn't even end here. Sweet Kage was also born just 19 short months after his brother, Krew. No In Vitro... No medical intervention...and No mistaking that God is still in the business of miracles.

*Happy 2nd Birthday, sweet Krew! Park thinks you are the funniest thing in the whole world and boy does he love you. Not a day goes by that he doesn't ask to call you or what you are doing. I'm so thankful for the relationship you two have and that God placed you in our family. We love you, Krewster, and can't wait to celebrate with you!