Seven Quick Takes Friday

— 1 —

So, yesterday Shelby had a stomach virus and I believe Will may have acid reflux…the joys of being a mother are endless but I believe many, many people do not realize that being needed is not overrated, it is probably one of the best parts of being a mother.

— 2 —

Ironman 3 is coming to film in my area… I have already heard of planned stalkings of Robert Downey Jr. I never saw John Travolta and Steve Buscemi when they filmed in the area so I’m not holding out any hope for rubbing elbows with any famous folks this time around either. If it happens, I will post pictures though!

— 3 —

I am writing this as I am listening to The Office. The James Spader episodes still kind of creep me out. So him telling the spooky story…really freaky to me.

— 4 —

I am going to ask for prayers for a friend of mine right now. He doesn’ t know I’m doing this and really doesn’t know he has any kind of problem I don’t think, but lately, he has been lashing out at a lot of people. This is very contrary to his normal behavior. He use to be able to debate or discuss anything and keep a civil tone and be respectful. Over the last month he has evidently lowered his standards and is hurling ugly insults and names. He has degenerated into someone I no longer want to associate with so I believe something is going on that he is not sharing with people OR he’s playing for the otherside and by the otherside I mean the real deal: Satan. So, if everyone prays that his heart may be relieved  of his burden or that he can be turned back from the darkness that has overcome him, I would really appreciate it. (Sorry to be so vague, but it is very important to protect his privacy).

— 5 —

In case you didn’t see earlier this week, Jeff has accepted a new position closer to home.  It’s not ideal to start as a new teacher this late into the school year, but he will be home every night now and you can’t put a price or value on that.

— 6 —

I felt really old watching Pearl Jam 20 on PBS last week. I mean, really, I am old enough now that I remember 20 years ago when their first album came out. I remember buying it. I remember hearing it for the first time. I remember falling in love with that sound. This is lunacy…20 YEARS AGO?! Okay, I’m over it.

— 7 —

I need some humor:

Because it is soooo true….

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!


Faith doesn’t mean life is fair

There is a significant minority of people in this world who believe that because they have faith, God will give them what they ask for. These same people face a terrible crisis of faith when things don’t turn out their way.

There is a reason that Jesus taught us to pray in this way:

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name

Thy Kingdom, Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in heaven…

I have learned in times of crisis to pray this over and over again, “Not my will God, but Your’s be done.” It is excruciating, it is painful, but it turns out to be for the best. Your Will God, not mine, be done. I am fallen, I am human, my will is in full submission to Your’s.

The Byrd family allowed sweet Lydia to be delivered into our Lord’s loving embrace. Viewing pics of her last hours on this earth made my heart feel as though it was being ripped out. Witnessing sweet Lydia and her family submit to God’s will as their greatest act of faith has reminded me of how important the acceptance of leaving everything to God is. That true submission is freedom. Lydia is in a place now where there is no chemo or radiation, no needles and no hospitals. She is healed. Is if “fair” that God chose to take her, a beautiful little girl? No, it’s not “fair.” But life isn’t fair and having faith in God does not change that. He is just in ways we will never understand because of our fallen state, because of our imperfection. So too we cannot contemplate the reward for our faithfulness that undoubtedly awaits us at the end of our earthly journey. Requiescat in Pace sweet Lydia. 


Small Successes

Each week, Sherry Antonetti allows us to gather at her blog, Chocolate For Your Brain, and share our small and big and in-between successes of the week, because we moms need to do that sometimes!

1) I am finally “over” my cold (although my allergies stuck around). Yeah! I don’t feel like I’m in a fog all the time.

2) I have been proactive about Joey’s allergies. Since he has asthma, a little allergy flare-up can lead to croup which could lead to wheezing and a full on attack. Been there, done that, have the t-shirt. So, instead, I got the pediatric zyrtec and we are golden so far this season.

3) I’ve been praying the Morning Offering every single morning. I’ve noticed a strong correlation between my praying it and having better outcomes during the day…hmmm…. 🙂

4) I made these cookies last weekend. I made one batch with chocolate chips and yellow cake mix which turned out, meh… The other batch was devils food cake mix and chocolate chips. They were to die for.

5) On that note, I am getting on track with water consumption and also the 100 workout nightly. It’s a work in progress, but I’m getting there…

Update on last week’s goals for this week: four days of the 100 work out consecutively and counting. 64 ounces of water a day. Steel cut oats with some fruit on top for breakfast.

This upcoming week:

1) I want to get through Halloween unscathed. My in-laws have graciously offered to take the boys trick-or-treating around our neighborhood, which leaves Shelby and I to hand out candy.

2) Come up with our Thanksgiving day menu.

3) Continue making healthier choices and keep up the 100 workout and 64 oz of water a day and my healthy breakfast. Hoping to add 3 1-hour segments of Wii-Fit in there too.

Balance: the name of the game

About two months ago I visited with a friend who has five children. Her oldest is 12, the youngest, at the time was ten months. She raved about having so many little helpers.  Then she complained that the baby was unable to soothe himself and cried if she ever put him down, so she never did , unless she was handing him off to someone else to hold and she was concerned because she noticed he could sit up and stand but only if someone put him in those positions. She had talked to her pediatrician and then sought out a second opinion and even specialists who could find nothing wrong with her son. Or at least, nothing correctable.

As we talked, she held the baby who constantly wanted to be facing her and did not want her to talk to me. She eventually handed him off to her ten-year-old who took the baby to play with the other children in the same room. I glanced over occasionally. The baby always sat in someone’s lap and if he dropped a toy out of his reach, another child ran and got it for him. If they were later in fetching it than the baby would like he would let out a yelp, loud and screeching. When he cried as his oldest sister attempted to give him a bottle of expressed breast milk, his cries were more like whines as he pushed it away.

He was ten-months-old and I don’t want to pigeon hole him, but I think I know what the problem is. I think he’s a bit spoiled. He hasn’t rolled over yet, because when he gets into a position that he doesn’t like, he cries until someone moves him. He doesn’t put himself in a sitting position, because someone else always helps him. He doesn’t like to be put down because someone always holds him…I can see how that is wearing on a mother.

My friend is not big on attachment parenting. Not at all. So, I’m kind of flummoxed as to how she ended up with such a high needs baby except that all of her “little helpers” are in fact “little hinderers” of the baby’s independence. The baby believes he cannot do those things because his siblings have never let him. After wondering if I should say something for the past couple of months or not, I got an email from her last night, this is part of what it said:

My parents came for a visit this weekend on their way to Florida (her parents live in Vermont and are snow birds). My father could not believe that J could not stand up or walk yet. I told him that J was not even crawling. My father said, “Well, no wonder, he has four big servants that carry him everywhere. I wouldn’t walk either.” I’m beginning to think he is on to something. I told A, C, V and P not to pick him up at all today. He’s cried a good deal but he’s been trying to do things for himself after a while. I also told them not get a toy he throws out of his range but to let him try and get it. We are all weary of the screaming, whining and crying, but J seems to already be figuring it out already that he has to do somethings for himself.

I have to say, I was happy the news came from my friend’s father whose opinion she prizes and that she took it well. I am more of an attachment parent, but I realized early on I need to force some independence on my kids. I needed them to be able to realize that they could do things for themselves and should. I didn’t leave them to cry for hours when they couldn’t do something, but I did put a toy just out of reach to force them to move to it and praise them when they did. I tried to motivate them but still encourage independence.

It was about balance. I’ve seen mothers on both sides of the extremes. There are moments to hold your child and do things for them and moments to let them go and try themselves. I’ve realized recently though, that we also need to set the example and instruct older children in this as well. Seeing as any more children we may be blessed with will have brothers (and a sister, but Shelby’s “help” is a little different) who will want to help out with the baby, it is important that they understand this balance too.

A Thankful Woman’s Book of Blessings

1) I am thankful I  have so many supportive friends who cheer on my modest, okay, pathetic, attempts at fitness and health. I need all the encouragement I can get.

2) I am thankful for my children’s smiles. Just because.

3) I am thankful for Zyrtec. Being able to breathe is amazing…

4) I am thankful for a warm, soft bed even if it is difficult to get out of it on cold mornings.

5) I am thankful for Jeff’s new job! Toward the beginning of the month, Jeff interviewed for a position only about an hour from our house instead of 2 1/2 hours away as his current job is. Well, initially, when he was offered the job we thought he would decline because of larger class size, but after a lot of prayer and careful consideration of other factors, we decided the new school would be the best of all options. It means Jeff will be home every night for dinner and bedtime and we are thrilled!

Join Judy for more gratitude!

Ten on Tuesday

This week’s questions were provided by Amanda at Amanda Tries.


1. What is the worst compliment you have ever received?
I love your hair (on a day I didn’t brush it)

2. Did you/would you tell everyone the name of your baby before they were born, keep it a secret, or not choose until after they were born?
With Shelby no. We didn’t know the sex so we kept the name a secret as well. With Joey, we didn’t have a name until after he was born. With Will, his name was the other finalist with Joey, and we kept it.

3. What is your favorite candle smell?
Sugar Plums

4. What is the best birthday/Christmas gift you received when you were pregnant or the best birthday/Christmas gift you gave a pregnant person that was really appreciated?
Jeff gave me a ton of children’s books when I was pregnant with Shelby. Goes down as the sweetest thing ever.

5. Who was your favorite teacher?
It’s a tie between Mary Propes (11th Grade US History, 12th grade Philosophy and Ethics) and Vera Holshouser (11th grade English). I had them both for an AP class and passed both AP exams but they were both great teachers aside from that. A lot of other great ones but they were my faves.

6. What is the best game/activity you have ever played at a baby shower?
I hate all baby shower games.

7. What was your major in college and did you end up using it in your career?
Creative Writing. I got my Bachelor of  Fine Arts in it. And I’m blogging now, right, that counts.

8. What is a beauty product you swear by?
Moisturizer with sun screen

9. What is the kindest thing a stranger has ever done for you?
I’ve had lots of wonderful things done for me. The kindest a stranger has done would have to have been when Shelby was a baby and it was pouring down rain at the grocery store when we were leaving. As I approached my car, a woman and her two teenage sons ran up to help. She took my cart back while one of her boys loaded up my trunk and the other held an umbrella over me and Shelby while I got her in the car seat. I tried to offer the boys some cash and they politely refused. When I thanked all three, the mother told me, “We can’t do it all alone, that’s why God gave us each other.”

10. If you could recommend one new baby necessity, what would it be?
Two things…a boppy if you are breastfeeding (although Jeff used it to give the kids bottles of breast milk too), saved me my back. I loved it. And swaddling blankets. My kids loved to be swaddled but could get out of anything except the swaddlers. They were awesome.

Check out Chelsea at Roots and Rings.

Seven Quick Takes Friday

— 1 —

I am a firm believer in baby steps. You know, the program by Dr. Leo Marvin made famous in What about Bob? Yeah, that’s it. Baby steps to cleaning my house, baby steps to exercise, baby steps to eating healthy. As long as I get there, it doesn’t matter if it’s a sprint or a marathon.

— 2 —

And who else is glad it’s Friday. I thought that was only for working folk…well, Friday is just plain awesome for stay-at-home-moms too! I can’t explain it except something is different…but I still feel like this could happen at any moment:

H/T: Betty Duffy

— 3 —

I do not know why the font suddenly changed sizes here…we’ll see in subsequent takes if this pattern continues…now back to your regularly scheduled takes…

— 4 —

Here is the recipe I plan on trying this weekend. I know it kind of goes against the healthy life thing…but again, baby steps and like Sunny learned on the Biggest Loser this week, it’s okay to have an occasional indulgence. I don’t bake like this all the time!

— 5 —

I shy away from politics here. And in real life. I am not a Democrat. I am not a Republican. I am the most annoying person in the world. I am a single issue voter. Divine what you know of me, my background and my belief system and you’ll figure out what that issue is…

That all being said, I have firmly decided someone I will not vote for…Rick Perry. I am pretty well sure he could not govern anything aside from Texas and he hasn’t figured out yet that the entire US is NOT Texas. But this week, courtesy of a high school friend who is now a big entertainment journalist and published author, I read this. If you haven’t figured it out by now. I live in eastern NC. I have lived here over ten years and I married a native North Carolinian. I’ve lived in the state almost 30 years. Them are fighting words, I don’t care how long ago you said it…it’ll be hard to get our fifteen electoral votes.

— 6 —

Recently Elizabeth Esther asked on her facebook page about prayers you say at night. She said she says 10 “Our Fathers” and 10 “Hail Marys” which prompted a question from one of her followers (who I am assuming is not Catholic) asking her to explain the Hail Mary. I understand it is incredibly difficult for a lot of Protestants to understand that Catholics do not worship Mary (or the Saints) and that the concept of  intercessory prayer is foreign and unwelcome, but I still struggle with how to explain that the Hail Mary is NOT A PRAYER TO MARY. But before that question went up, earlier in the week, I read this at Sarah Reinhard’s blog. I think that explains it simply and beautifully. I know there will still be plenty of doubters, haters, whatever, but , if nothing else, I think it starts the conversation.

— 7 —

It was 48 degrees this morning. Yeah! 48 degrees….it’s chili weather, it’s soup weather, it’s baked pasta weather, it’s Sunday gravy weather…it’s bourbon drinking weather.  (you may have to copy and paste…wordpress is not allowing me to put two videos in this post)

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Small Successes


Every week Sherry over at Chocolate For Your Brain hosts Small Successes which is a chance for us all to celebrate the successes large and small we have had over the last week. Here are some of mine:

1) I managed to get Shelby to ECU by myself (having never been there before), got her through her evaluation and she will be receiving a Dynavox device to assist with her speech.

2) I also managed to get all three kids up 40 to Goldsboro to my mother-in-law’s house in a very dangerous rain storm the day before. It was terrifying but we prayed for our patron saints’ and guardian angels’ protection and they did not let us down!

3) I listened to my body last week and went to bed at 8:30 on Thursday night after being on the road most of that day with my kids. The house was a wreck and I wasn’t unpacked from our overnight trip and I REALLY wanted to see my shows, but I curled up and went to bed. And I was a happier, better person the next morning!

4) I did not freak out Tuesday morning when my boys both suddenly were covered in poop…I just put them in the shower and hosed them down. I am sure we will not have a repeat anytime in the near future of the shenanigans that led to to that sorry state of affairs.

5) I started eating my healthier steel cut oats for breakfast. I like them…little bit of a texture issue, but nothing I can’t persevere and get through.

This week I’ll: continue to work out (100 workout, let’s do this!) and actively seek out some new healthy choices.

Grief in Parenting

Aside from my miscarriages, I have never lost a child. Knowing the pain I endured physically, mentally and emotionally and the grief I went through with those pregnancy losses, I can not imagine something as profound as the loss of a child I had held in my arms and whose personality I had known. And even more so, I can not even begin to fathom what it feels like to know your child will die and leave this earth soon. Earlier this week, I linked to this article which has since been making the rounds on the internet. Today this one was shared with me as well. My heart and prayers go out to those parents who know not the day or hour but know it is close. Painfully close.

Grief is a strange and terrible thing but also terribly necessary. But our reactions to it vary greatly. Recently, an interaction on facebook I saw reminded me as to how greatly it can vary. Someone this past week on facebook made a negative reference to mother-of-deceased-soldier-turned-anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan. It took me back to a very specific event from when I was working in corporate America.

I had a co-worker, who happened to sit right next to me, who was virulently political and who was (in his words) “disgusted” by Ms Sheehan. It was actually against corporate policy to discuss politics, so I would politely listen to his rants and not respond. More often, I ignored him and did my job. Regardless, shortly after a new group of people moved into the desks across from us, he started in again about Ms. Sheehan calling her “worthless scum,” “moronic” and “in need of high speed lead therapy.”  A woman sitting across from us stood up over the partition and introduced herself to him. She asked if he had any children. He said he did, he had two. She asked if he was a Christian. He said yes. (Since he was already in violation of the no politics policy, he surely couldn’t be offended by someone asking his religion. ) She asked if he or either of them served in the military. He said no. She opened her desk drawer and took out a picture of a handsome young Marine in his official portrait.

“This is my son, F. He died early in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. I don’t know Mrs. Sheehan and my reaction to the loss of my son was different than hers, but she is acting out of grief and each parent’s grief is unique to who they are. I cannot sit in judgment as her loss is hers and it is profound, no doubt, but every parent I have met who has lost a child in war reacts differently. You wouldn’t understand our pain, our suffering and how it could drive someone to do things that others deem “crazy” or “moronic.” I dare say, instead of threatening her life or making ugly statements, as a Christian, your time would be better spent praying that her grief is relieved and she can try and rebuild her life. ” She quietly sat back down.***

Her words hit me hard. As they no doubt did my co-worker who sat in stunned silence. Just as there is no “right” expression of love, there is no “right” expression of grief. It irks me to no end when someone says that a grieving widow or parent isn’t “crying enough.” It is easy to sit there and be critical when you are not the one enduring so profound a loss. And even if you have lost someone in a similar fashion, your reaction is appropriate to you alone no one else.

I look at my children and could not imagine my life without them. I could not imagine what it would be like to watch them slowly being taken from me or be taken all at once either. I could guess there would be tears and anger and sadness as I continue to learn the hardest prayer of all “Not my will, but Thine, be done.” In the mean time, I will love my children with all that I am and I will pray for those who have lost a child and remember I do not and cannot understand their loss, nor their grief.


(***More recent behavior of Mrs Sheehan’s suggests she either still has not dealt with her loss or has become so consumed that she cannot dig herself out which is very tragic. She still needs lots of prayer. And I don’t mean to relate this story in support of anything Mrs. Sheehan stands for personally or politically, just as an example of a parent’s grief at the loss of their child.)

A Thankful Woman’s Book of Blessings

1) I am thankful for the beautiful fall weather we are having. We have had some warm days, but we’re mostly enjoying cooler temps and the start to changing leaves.

2) I am thankful for a husband who, when I got worse with my over 2 week old cold this weekend, stepped up without complaining.

3) I am thankful that no matter how small a prayer, God answers it. Even if the answer is “no” He answers. And He answered a big one “yes” for us in the last two weeks.

4) I am thankful for the wonderful friends who came out and walked with us and “Shelby’s Bells.” Knowing that many people care about my daughter and want to help is humbling indeed.

5) I am thankful for a little boy who, after Daddy bought him a Spiderman costume, decided to be a ghost for Halloween and told me, “All I need is a sheet Mama!” It is his prerogative to change his mind and the Spiderman costume is big, so if we don’t get him in it this year, he can wear it next.

Please visit Judy and share the thankfulness!