Sunday, December 30, 2007

Contaminated Cake + Holy Sleigh + Church Tantrum = Undeserved Gift

Last week, Challi and I corralled our collective three boys into the car for travels to Lolli and Pops' house, with plans for our hubbies to join us there on Christmas Eve. Armed with I Spy books, toys, snacks, and the trusty DVD player, we settled in for a long winter's trip. And all went well.

Until about 5 minutes after pulling out of the driveway....

Park pinched Kage, who started to sob, which in turn caused Krew to fall to pieces. After Challi warned Park to keep his hands to himself, he, too, began to howl, giving his cousins a run for their money as the winner of Cryfest '07.

Needless to say, by the time we reached our destination 5+ hours later, we were all feeling the Christmas cheer.

I awoke the first morning at my parents' house (a good 4 days BEFORE Christmas) to find Park standing near the Christmas tree, clutching a gift in each hand with his eyes fixed firmly on the window. After I asked him what he was doing, he simply replied, "Waiting." With some further prodding into the purpose of his vigil, he informed me, "I'm waiting on Baby Jesus. Lolli says we can't open presents until he gets here. I guess He's riding in Santa's sleigh."

Clearly all of those scriptures from the 12 Days tradition worked wonders on his understanding of the true meaning of Christmas.

So, to pass the time until "Santa brought Jesus", we baked a birthday cake for Him on Christmas Eve. And although I'm certain that God didn't mind that two snotty nosed little boys were licking their fingers repeatedly as they stirred, Challi and I were cured of any cake cravings we otherwise might have had. Or maybe the fact that the entire bottle of sprinkles used to decorate the cake was the same pile they had previously decorated the floor with led us to eat brownies instead.

Perhaps the highlight of Christmas Eve happened during the service at Lolli and Pops' church. It all started with the pastor innocently inviting people to come kneel at the alter in prayer and/or the Lord's Supper. Since this particular service is always a family one, young children are welcome to walk up and stand beside their parents.

And that probably works very well for people with children who enjoy standing still for long periods of time.

Row by row, we took turns making our way to the front and against my better judgement, I begrudgingly took my wiggle worm with me so I could partake in the ceremonious meal with my family. Mistaking the warning bells ringing in my ears for mere jingle bells that shook in accompaniment to Oh Come all Ye Faithful, I walked head on into the ensuing disaster.

As we neared the front, Park spotted the drum set he had his eye on the entire service and saw this as the perfect opportunity to make a clean break for it. The death grip I had on his hand was to no avail. However, as he shot forward, I did manage to successfully tackle him with a quick scoop around the waist, setting the score at Mommy: ONE, Park: ZERO.

But unfortunately, the victory was short lived.

He burst free in a last ditch effort and made it 3/4 of the way up the stairs to the stage before I wrestled him to the floor. Upon impact, he plotted a quick getaway by crawling under the pew on the front row, hunkering down in a position that has no better description than that of a limp dish rag. Giving me no choice but to snatch him up by the leg and drag his 35 lbs of dead weight into plain view of the entire congregation, I carried the kicking and screaming heap down the center isle and out the back doors of the church.

During the commotion, it appears he managed to snag my cracker, leaving a trail of Holy Sacrament crumbs behind us. Somehow I'm pretty sure this isn't what Jesus had in mind when he said, "Take, eat. This is my body, which is broken for you..."

And then I proceeded to give thanks for what I vowed would indeed be Park's last supper.

But, as Mommy's often do, I quickly forgot the previous night's fiasco when I saw the joy in his eyes as he turned the corner to see what Santa had left for him under the tree the next morning. Park loved every moment of Christmas this year. In his own way, I truly believe he grasped that we were celebrating the birth of our King. And although his young mind couldn't quite comprehend the entire meaning of it all, he witnessed the love of his family and came to understood that Christmas is a very special time. As he danced and squealed in delight, painstakingly examining every inch of each toy, he repeated over and over, "This is for ME?? This is REALLY for MEEEEE??!!"

And can I be real with you for a moment? When I think about how Jesus gave His life on that cross, I find myself having the exact same reaction that Park did on Christmas morning.

"This is for ME?? This is REALLY for ME??!!"

I don't deserve it. I have failed Him so many times. I have sinned repeatedly. I have fallen short of His Glory. I have been unworthy of His forgiveness. I have caused Him too much pain.

Yet, despite it all, He chose to die for me.

And alongside my sin, the image of Jesus riding in Santa's sleigh, eating contaminated birthday cake, while watching Park throw a tantrum in God's house reminds me that His grace truly is UNDESERVED.

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Tall Order That Fell Short

Seeing as I'll be soaking in some family time for the next week, I wanted to wish y'all one final, very Merry Christmas.

And give you a laugh (at my expense) as a parting gift.

A few days ago, I bought Park a yogurt off the dollar menu at McDonald's, while he took a break from climbing on the germ infested apparatus dubbed a playland. When the cashier handed me some change back, I glanced down on the counter to see the clear container of donations toward the Ronald McDonald House Charities.

Recognizing a beautifully teachable moment, I crouched down to hand our leftover coins to Park. While doing so, I told him that this "special piggy bank" was for helping children in need. I reminded him that Jesus asks us to take care of both the poor and sick. Finishing off the little sermon, I explained that we could honor God with our small offering.

Because it was around noon, the fast food joint was packed with people who had a small window of opportunity for a lunch break under the golden arches. Not very many of these fine folks were in the mood to wait around on our little learning experience, so I did my best to hurry Park along.

He was quite hesitant to let go of his shiny treasure, so I reminded him that God loves a cheerful giver. I promised that I would clap for him as soon as he dropped them in the bucket.

Feeling pretty proud of myself for the outstanding parenting moment, my Mommy ego was in full bloom. I was all but ready to pat myself on the back as soon as I heard the clank in that little can. Reluctantly, he had departed with the dimes, but upon doing so, the realization of the finality of his decision became more than his little 2-year-old heart could take.

And right about the moment I began clapping for him, all eyes and ears turned our direction in time to hear him scream,


Um, yes, I'd like some fries with my humiliation and formerly super sized ego, please. And can we get that to go?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

12 Days of Christmas, CONTINUED

My last post discussed how the impact of our 12 Days of Christmas family tradition extended far beyond the holiday season. And judging from most of the comments (wanting me to get to the nitty gritty details on gift suggestions with correlating scriptures) the 12 days of Christmas is also extending to another post. And I must warn you it could be a very long post, at that, so continue at your own risk.

And yes, y'all had much better manners in your comments than I implied above , but I just wanted a reason to use the phrase "nitty gritty".

I'm so excited that many of you are making plans to bring this tradition into your own homes. I just know my Grandma is sitting in Heaven tickled pink right now. The following are the requested suggestions, so feel free to steal them verbatim or just use it as starting point and add your own creative flair. And if you come up with some really fun ideas, be sure to spread the love back this way, too.

Here at Holding Little Hands (and family), we are all about avoiding reinvention of the wheel.

And I apologize in advance that most of these gifts tend to lean more on the male dominated side, although I would assume it never hurts for a girl to know how to use tools and play swords. Grandsons are plentiful to my parents at the moment.

Yesterday's gift was definitely worth seeing for yourself. Now, typically I wouldn't get within 100 ft of a snake, much less take a picture of it. But, for y'all I made an exception because what kind of a bloggity friend would I be if I denied you a look at this cute little creature?

You ask and I deliver.

This lace up toy came with a scripture found in Matthew 10:16; Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. Be as wise as SNAKES and as harmless as doves.

And although nothing impressed Park more than the snake, Chris and I really loved the gift that came with 1 Peter 1: 4: For God has reserved a priceless INHERITANCE for His children. It is kept in Heaven for you, pure and undefiled beyond the reach of change and decay. Lolli and Pops made a donation into Park's savings account, but you could also adapt it by giving coins or a piggy bank instead.

Another present was a Rudolph book, explaining how this famous reindeer and his misfit elf friend, Hermie, overcame incredible odds to make their place in history. The verse used was Luke 1: 35-37; The angel replied, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you...for NOTHING is IMPOSSIBLE with God.

Hermie has become a dear friend of Park's, even though he calls him, "Kermie". But considering a pig and frog fell in love, I'd say the Muppets overcame some terrible odds of their own.

Blocks worked perfectly with Psalm 127:1; Unless the Lord BUILDS a house, the work of the builder is useless. Another Scripture that you could use for a similar gift is is Romans 14:19; Let us aim for harmony for the church and try to BUILD each other up.

A children's praise and worship CD such as Praise Baby highlights Psalm 33:1 Let the Godly sing with joy to the Lord, for it is fitting to praise him. You could even adapt this to give musical instruments such as the Bee Bop Band by the brand name "Parents". Park got this for his first birthday and still beats it mercilessly to this day. Love this little toy, even if it did come from Target. (See Well Documented History of Bitterness That I Need to Let Go Of if you're confused:)

The movie Pinocchio or a Pinocchio toy is a good reminder of Psalm 34: 13 Then watch your tongue! Keep your lips from telling lies.

Tennis shoes fit nicely with 1 Corinthians9: 24-25; Remember in a RACE everyone RUNS., but only one person gets the prize. You also must run in such a way that you will win. All athletes practice strict self-control. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize.

Pajamas go in hand in hand with Psalm 3:5; I lay down and slept. I woke up in safety, for the Lord was watching over me.

A tool set fits 1 Corinthians 15:58; So my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and steady, always enthusiastic about the Lord's WORK. for you know that nothing you ever do for the Lord is useless.

A sword and shield or anything castle/knight related can illustrate Ephesians 6: 10-11; A final word: Be strong with the Lord's mighty power. Put on all of God's ARMOR so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies and tricks of the devil.

Sippy cups work well with Psalm 14:5 Lord, you alone are my inheritance, my CUP of blessing. You guard all that is mine.

What kid wouldn't love a Dr.'s kit, right? And it takes on new meaning when paired with Psalm 147: 3-5; He HEALS the brokenhearted, BINDING up their wounds. He counts the stars and calls them by name. How great is our Lord! His power is absolute! His understanding is beyond comprehension.

A toy tape measure or even plastic measuring cups are cheap and easy to put with Matthew 7: 1-3; Stop judging others, and you will not be judged. Whatever MEASURE you use to judge others, it will be used to MEASURE how you are judged.

Truly the possibilities are endless.

During your devotional time throughout the year, as you mark your favorite scriptures in the Bible, look for keywords or phrases that could be illustrated with a small gift. If you file these ideas away as they come to you, next year's Christmas shopping for your 12 Days, will be a snap! Also, a Bible dictionary or good concordance is helpful for this project, as well, as this website.

And remember, don't stress yourself over the enormity of the present, or lack thereof. The amount of money you spend is completely irrelevant. The true gift is the legacy of faith that you are instilling in your children. And years down the road, (well, let's get real...even next week) they won't remember what you bought, but they will never forget the truth of God's word.

In keeping with the theme of the tradition, I feel it would only be fitting to close with a scripture that correlates with this post.

Proverbs 22: 4; Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.

*I hope you and your family have a very Merry 12 Days of Christmas!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

12 Days of Christmas That Extend Far Beyond

*Updated: Per your comments, in the next day or so, I'll try and post several more of the verses and corresponding gifts to give you more examples.

Although I can barely see straight after 2 insanely late nights of viewing links off of Boomama's Christmas extravaganza, I somehow found myself using the majority of Park's nap time to go right back at it again.

It seems to be some sort of a sickness beyond my control.

But, peeking in on all the festive decorations and creative ideas for making memories did get me thinking about one of my favorite childhood traditions. My Grandma started something wonderful that my parents have decided to pass on to their grandchildren, as well.

And for anybody out there looking to help your children (or grandchildren) keep their eyes on Jesus during the midst of a toy frenzy laden Christmas, this may be a tradition you want to start for your own family, too.

Beginning 12 days before Christmas, my Grandma sent us a gift each day.

And although we loved getting a dozen presents before Santa ever arrived, what actually came in the packages paled in comparison to the significance they carried. Grandma would write out corresponding Bible verses on each and every present. The gift always highlighted the concept of God's message. Each item functioned as a tangible reminder of not only the the purpose behind Christmas, but His perfect will for our lives.

My sister, Challi, and I always marveled at how the packages came, regardless if the mailman did or not. We even wondered if an angel was helping Grandma get them to us in such a timely fashion. Turns out Grandma was a sharp woman who enlisted my dad to receive them all ahead of time and put them in the mail box himself.

Grandma wholeheartedly placed her trust in the Lord, but not so much in the postal system.

On Christmas Eve, the last present would arrive and, each year, the final gift remained the same. Inside were all the coins that her and Grandpa had collected throughout the year. The verse always spoke about the true inheritance of God. Some years, she would remind us of the danger of storing up earthly treasure. Others, would highlight the importance of giving to others what is already His.

The message was always straightforward, delivered in love, and sent to remind us of the unchanging love Christ has for his children. And as Challi and I matured each year, the truth in the scriptures she wrote on those packages were etched on our hearts.

Today's 12 Days of Christmas gift for Park (and his cousins) was a precious animal flashlight. The verse on the package was Psalm 119: 105; Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path. And as he played in every dark nook and cranny he could find, I overheard him whispering, "God's light is shining!"

Ah, yes it is, sweet boy.

It is shining through your grandparents, great grandparents, and the legacy of faith they represent in your heritage. His light will always be there, illuminating the road in front of you. And as you learn to navigate your way in this dark world, I am trusting that the truth in those scriptures will be etched on your precious heart, as well.

And unlike the batteries in your flashlight that you have somehow already managed to run down, God's light will never disappear on you.

*For more tips from the holiday edition of WFMW, check out Rocks in My Dryer.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas at Our House

I'm so excited to join BooMama's Christmas Tour of Homes this year. Last year, I loved seeing all of your houses decked out in festive fun, but I must admit I felt a little bit like a peeping Tom. At that point I was simply a directionless lurker, hopping from one unsuspecting person to another, yet having no blog to call my own. So, this year, it gives me much joy to be able to invite you inside and assure you that lurker or not, you are a very welcome guest in this home!

Previously, I posted about how one small trip to a Christmas wholesale store with my friend Bridget caused me to catch the vision of the transformation that needed to happen in my holiday decor. And although hubs and I've been paying the price of cleaning up massive quantities of sparkly goodness, we have certainly enjoyed every bit of it.

So, come on in, but be sure to dust the glitter off your boots as you leave to make sure you don't track it back to your own house!

Here is the entry way table that houses a picture frame for each of Park's Christmas card pictures from his previous two years of life. I plan on framing them each year as a tradition.

From the entry, you land in the living room where most of the Holiday decorating is housed:

And here is a closer look at the tree, which is decorated in all shatterproof ornaments, seeing as we live with the most endearing little two-year-old tornado you'll ever meet. Whoever created shatterproof balls for the Christmas tree was either a mother to boys or just an angel sent from heaven!
And a close up of the mantle with stockings that I will someday have monogrammed :

And here is the sentimental tree that Park has dubbed his very own, encircling it with his GeoTrax train to mark his territory:

The living room opens up to the not so festive kitchen. The table does have a holiday center piece, but I have to confess that I made it out of a vegetable tray. Next year I would like to find a table runner and possible add some more decorations to the kitchen, but my first goal is curtains! We built the house 6 months ago, but I haven't seemed to get around to that just yet.

And the tour would not be complete without a view of the Nativity collection, although I'm hesitant to call it that when two of the three are actually toys:) However, they celebrate our Savior just the same and remind us that "Without Jesus in the Nativity, Christmas just becomes lots of ACTIVITY."

I hope you guys enjoyed the quick peek inside our home. But for those of you who live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area or even Miami, I would love to invite you to come spend your Christmas at Our House. May Christ continue to take the "reign" long after the Christmas season fades and all the decorations are put away.

Merry Christmas, Y'all!

To visit more places, click BooMama's Christmas Tour Of Homes

Saturday, December 15, 2007

We'd Get Stung at The Singing Bee

I gaze upon the stage of our church and see some of my very closest friends from our worship team using their beautiful voices to glorify the Lord. I hear the sweet melodies bursting forth from their powerful pipes and I pray that my squeaks somehow sound just as glorious in the Lord's forgiving ears.

Singing has never been a strong point for me.

And I'm thinking that God may have NOT given me that gift for a reason. It seems I have a special talent for butchering the words to any song I come into contact with. When I hear a song, I lack the deciphering ability to understand and/or remember what the piece is actually saying. Instead, my own version of it seems to conveniently stick in my head.

Let me give you an example.

In the early nineties, Reba McEntire came out with a very famous song entitled, "Fancy". It was the summer before my freshman year in high school and we listened to it repeatedly in my small town. I knew every single word by heart.

Or so I thought.

One day I was singing along to the song at the top of my lungs in the front seat of a friend's car, when she turned to me and said, "Seriously? You really think that is what it says?"

It seems that I had somehow twisted Reba's "Here's your one chance Fancy, don't let me down" into "Here's your one dance Fancy, don't go to town." And sadly, my mishaps are not just limited to the Country genre.

I've embarrassed myself in everything from Christian music to Rock 'n' Roll and back again. And I guess it's true about misery loving company, because upon marrying Chris, I realized that we are kindred spirits in this department. Although, he can carry a tune quite nicely, the actual lyrics he sings are so far off that the song almost becomes unrecognizable.

Or unbearable, as the case may be.

So, it comes as no surprise that Park is lyrically challenged, as well. After all, we really didn't give him much of a fighting chance.

I didn't even bother to correct him when I heard him singing, "Old McDonald had an arm, Eli, Eli, O", because really what's the point? And I even kept a straight face when he belted out his own rendition of, "Mary had a little lamp whose fleas was white as snow."

But I just couldn't hold it together when I heard his attempt at one of my favorite worship songs. The lyrics were written (or at least I think they were), "I love you Lord, and I lift my voice to worship you, oh my soul, rejoice." Chris and I often sing this over him as he falls asleep and have prayed that it will one day be the cry of his precious heart.

At decibel levels matched only by that of a freight train, he joyously sang, while waving around an imaginary sword:


Even though I laughed myself to tears, I lifted my imaginary weapon and rejoiced alongside Park. Because, truth be told, those sweet little words sounded as glorious to me as they did to the Lord's forgiving ears.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

I'm Going to "Excel" Next Year

I must confess that Christmas cards beat me down.

Now, I love the whole idea behind them and adore receiving them, but somehow it is this activity that threatens to steal my joy each year. Upon conducting a scientific evaluation of why this seemingly mindless task creates so much annual stress, Chris has come to a definitive conclusion.

"This area of your life is screaming for organization."

Upon conducting my own evaluation, I decided those who are not directly responsible for addressing mass quantities of Christmas love should tread lightly when proposing change to the system of the one who's in the trenches of the insect-laden licking.

Just in case, let's say, "that area" of my life isn't the only thing that can scream.

But, after hours of struggling through scraps of return labels that may or may not have been torn off Christmas cards I received last year, I've come to the realization that no, in fact, this does not constitute having an "address book". Nor do the 10 random pages of scribbled addresses that were left over from my baby shower 2 1/2 years ago. Or the desperate search through my saved emails where I vaguely remember Betty Lou sending me her new address after moving to Youwon'trememberitnextChristmasville.

If you think I'm exagertaing, check out Exibit A.

After soaking up the infuriatingly correct words of hubby, I'm starting to realize that piecing together my Christmas card list should not be equivalent to a scavenger hunt.

Although I do love a good scavenger hunt.

Time to reclaim my sanity with a new system of peace, love, and goodwill to men. This is the last year I will rely on my ancient ways because I'm throwing caution to the wind and joining the ranks of the 21st century with a little thing called an Excel spreadsheet.

Doing his part, sweet Chris has volunteered to turn my scraps of chaos into a beautifully groomed, alphabetized, well-oiled machine. Come December of '08, I'll simply add any new Christmas card recipients because, of course, I'll have already updated the list throughout the year as people have moved.

Because I'm organized like that.

Although I have not technically used this new creation just yet, let's just think of this as a What WILL Work for Me Wednesday post. With a few quick keystrokes I'll have a master address book that I will print to labels, which in turn, I'll peel and stick to my Christmas card envelopes.

And with that unnecessary stress eliminated, you'll find me singing Joy to the World with a clear conscience.

Click Rocks in My Dryer to find more WFMW ideas.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Come On Over, the Party is Just Getting Started

Approximately six years ago I had a wonderful idea to throw a surprise party for Chris' 23rd birthday.

Because I wanted it to keep it intimate, I only invited everyone he worked with, his entire family, my family, and all our closest friends.

Somehow anyone who lived within a hundred mile radius made the cut.

I believed this would be the perfect gift because there is nothing he enjoys more than being in the company of those he loves most, as well as perfect strangers. The man is a people person for crying out loud.

Well, hindsight's 20/20.

Everything went very smoothly up until the moment I saw the look of sheer horror in his eyes as he realized he had been tricked into attending a celebration of his life. He might be the only surprise party recipient in history to slip out on his own bash before the guests.

Although meticulous with every detail, I had failed to think through his disdain for anything being "all about him".

Which can be a small problem when you are the guest of honor.

Somehow, basking in the limelight has never come easy to my sweet husband. He loves to socialize, but resists being the center of attention. And as frustrating as that can be for a wife who ADORES birthday festivities, his humble spirit is actually one of the qualities I admire most.

I often marvel at God's creativity, simply by looking at all the unique qualities in Chris. Although athletic, hard-working, practical, organized, and aggressive, he is equally as artistic, creative, tender, inquisitive, and evangelical.

And were it not for his strong calling to the ministry, he also has the gifts to be a photographer, financial planner, carpenter, artist, architect, chef, or even a designer.

The man has some serious skills!

I especially love how all those characteristics have translated into one pretty amazing husband and father.

And as much as I would love to publicly celebrate hubs with a huge party on his birthday, five years of marriage has taught me not to repeat past mistakes.

So, Chris, since a surprise party is off limits, I thought I would go with something a little more subtle this year.

Think of it as a compromise.

Welcome to your very own "private" Happy Birthday Blog Party, where you aren't physically the center of attention, but your life is celebrated all the same. Even if it is by people who stumbled upon this blog by googling "toddler poop". I'm sure they are still really nice folks.

And although, technically, it is still a surprise party, this time you have permission to leave before the guests.

Happy Birthday, my love!

*As a rule of thumb, I don't usually post pictures of smelly fish on my blog, but I'm sacrificing for your birthday. If that isn't true love, I don't know what is. (And because I know you so well, I want to clarify that I was talking about my sacrifice and not your relationship with the fish:)

Friday, December 7, 2007

Another One Bites the Dust

So, it appears as if Park did not get my "Affinity for Inanimate Objects" gene.

Rest in peace alongside the sassy leopard toaster, sweet Frosty. I hope your untimely death was not too painful.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A Little War Paint Goes a Long Way

UPDATED: Clearly I missed that this was the "What Do I fix" edition of WFMW. Please forgive me and do not assume that I feed my family red lipstick. Nor do I endorse that you should try to, either. Can I just blame my mistake on past sleep deprivation and be done with it?
When pregnant with Park, I often daydreamed of tenderly tucking my sweet little baby in for the night, while singing softly as he or she magically drifted off into peaceful dreams. After all, that is exactly how it happens in the commercials. One quick flip of that little Ocean Wonder light show and "Junior" is snoring before you can even say Fisher Price.

Maybe if we would have named Park "Junior" things would have turned out differently.

After nursing, rocking, jiggling, walking, pacing, shushing, swinging, bouncing, driving, and finally pleading with him, my precious baby boy still remained wide eyed and bushy tailed. When I did finally manage to wear him down enough that he gave in to some shut-eye, he often awoke upon laying him down on any surface other than my chest. Many nights I groggily planned out the invention of a "breathing" bed, one that would feel exactly as if he were laying on me, yet I would be sleeping peacefully elsewhere.

But then again, one would actually have to have brain cells to create such brilliance and unfortunately, all mine were eaten up by sleep deprivation.

So there I was, for months on end, trying everything under the sun to get 3 consecutive hours of sleep. And the months stretched to a year before the child mastered the concept. And after 2 years on this earth, he still seems to have some selective memory on occasion.

Reliving those early days almost makes me too tired to get to my point or remember if I even have one.

Ah, yes. Dark circles. That is where I was going with this.

So, dark circles were becoming a way of life and it wasn't pretty. If there is anything worse than sleep deprivation, it is looking worse than you feel.

Miraculously, in my sleep starved state, I remembered an old trick I had relied upon heavily in my college years. After all that late night studying, AKA going dancing and eating tortillas with queso into the wee hours, I found myself in need of some serious under eye repair. And according to Plato, "Necessity is the mother of all invention."

And here my parents thought they wasted hard earned money on my Liberal Arts degree.

It turns out that the secret to ridding yourself of those unattractive dark circles is quite simple.

Get more sleep.

But, just in case you are in the same sinking boat as me and a good night's rest is not in for your foreseeable future, find comfort in what I'm about to share. Take a tube of red lip stick and apply it like war paint under your eyes.

Now stay with me, ladies. I promise the lack of sleep has not made me totally crazy.

Gently rub in the war paint with a sponge, being careful not to smear it to other facial regions, especially since you may be mistaken for Rudolph during a season such as this. Next, dab a light liquid concealer over it. Complete the look by brushing a smidgen of powder over the aforementioned area.

Now you may feel silly applying the war paint, initially. But, think of it as a battle cry. No longer will we be prisoner to the hideous dark circles that once came with the territory of newborn mothering. It is time we unite and take a stand. Stretch marks may be out of our control, but tolerating black eyes is a thing of the past.

Remember, the concept may take some time to perfect, but the results are well worth the effort.

And, truly, that goes for Mothering, as well.

Now off you go to Rocks in My Dryer for more Works For Me Wednesday wisdom:)

Monday, December 3, 2007

She Went Out in a Blaze of Glory

Many years ago I remember saying goodbye to something that had been a part of our family for as long as I had been alive. I sobbed inconsolably, begging my parents not to get rid of her. In the midst of my grief, I convinced my sister to join forces with me. Wrapping our arms around her lifeless body, we would not allow her to be taken away without the fight of our young lives.

But our parents got rid of that old washing machine anyway and replaced her with a shiny new Whirlpool without so much as a backward glance.

And next went the couches.

Thankfully my parents had learned enough at that point to realize that not allowing Challi and me to say goodbye would be a really bad idea. So, before my uncle could whisk them off to a new home far away, he was instructed to bring the tattered couches by the dance studio where we were attending ballet class, to allow final farewells.

My uncle, father to three rough and tumble sons, was quite miffed at the whole teary scene. But to his credit, he did not crack a smile as I promised my beloved love seat to sit on the floor for eternity as not to betray her by placing my backside on our new plush sofa.

Unhealthy attachment to inanimate objects? Debatable. But Traitor? NO WAY!

So, it should come as no surprise to those who know me best that I bid farewell to my toaster tonight with a heavy heart. Given to me by my thoughtful Mother-In-Law five years ago, I have tried for months to hang on to my sweet appliance, despite the fact that she will only toast about every third try.

It has been a bit of an emotional roller coaster, as it has been touch and go for the last week. Her weak flame flickers ever so slightly, causing my spirits to soar as I think maybe, just maybe, she has some life left in that cute little box of hers. I wait with baited breath and a rumbling tummy, hoping against hope. But as the black smoke infiltrates the kitchen and the sizzling sounds of fleeting electricity screech in my ears, I come to the sad realization.

Tonight she has heated her last waffle.

But with age, comes maturity. Unlike my past behaviors, no longer will I wrap my arms around her and drag my feet about letting her go. Somehow, inconsolable tears and begging Chris to let me keep her just doesn't seem like a viable option.

So, instead I'll simply say rest in peace, my fashionable leopard-print appliance.

After I promise her to eat plain bread for eternity rather than betray her by placing my slice in another toaster, that is.