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Archive for April, 2007

I know, I’m cheating. I changed the date on this post so that it would be properly filed on Kelly’s actual birthday, even though it’s May 2nd.

My little girl is 4 years old. Time flies by so fast. She was only 15 months old when I brought her home with me, and now she is FOUR. How did that happen?

I love her so much…

My little Cover Girl

Grandma took us out to Olive Garden so we could celebrate the big day. And look at what Grandma gave her!

I know as she gets older, the questions will start coming and I’ll have to share our adoption story with her. Who knows, I may have to start explaining things to her within a matter of days. Just the other day, she asked me for like, the 5th time, “Mom, are you my mom?”

I said, “Of course I am. Why do you keep asking me that?”

“Because, I just love you so much.”

I love you too, Sweetheart. Sooooo much. And nothing will ever change that.

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I was sitting in the long line at the Chick-Fil-A drive thru at 12:30 this afternoon when I witnessed a man approach the car in front of me. I realized he was homeless, at least he appeared to be, and as he walked up to the woman’s car, she shook her head no, not even willing to unroll her window.

“Great, I’m next.” I thought. As he started to walk up to my van, I mouthed “Sorry” and pulled forward as the rest of the cars proceeded in line to order their food. He walked back to the entrance of the building. I watched him as he asked people entering the building for spare change. Most said no, but a few gave him a buck or two. This included the man who opened the door from inside, poked his head out, and gave him a bill. I wondered how much he gave the man.

Boy did I feel like an ass. I so wanted to help this guy out, but here I am with three of my kids,. I have to think about them first. Besides, these days, how do you know if you can trust a person?

I remember a time when my sister and I were out and about when two homeless men approached us and asked us for some spare change. The first man was pushing another in a wheel chair. Of course, the man in the chair asked for the money and we felt bad for him. We gave them 5 or 10 bucks even though everything in me told me it would be a mistake to do so. Boy did they wish God’s blessings upon us…all the way across the parking lot and right into the liquor store! We saw them 10 minutes later passing a bottle of whisky back and forth as they roared with laughter. My sister and I were not happy with the results of our giving. But it was a good lesson for us…never give a homeless person cash.

So as I waited in line to order my food at Chick-Fil-A, I thought about how this man was probably conning all of us, but I couldn’t help but feel bad for him. What if? What if he really was hungry? What if he was starving and he just wanted enough money to buy himself a meal? I could just buy him a meal and drive around and hand it to him…but what if he has a weapon on him? I have three kids in the car, I just can’t risk it. Odds are that he doesn’t have anything on him, but if he did, what would I do? Ram the car in front of me in my attempt to get away?

“God, I feel like an ass!” I prayed. I couldn’t even look at the guy. What if it was me? What if something tragic happened and somehow, I lost everything and I was starving and had to resort to begging for spare change just to get a meal in my empty stomach? And here I am in the drive thru, about to treat my kids and I to a hot lunch and then I’m going to go back home. Back to my nice, big, cozy house to relax.

“God I know I can’t give the man money. I don’t feel it would be wise to approach him. What do I do?” I just KNEW that if I left that place without doing something, I would feel like an ass every time I went to a Chick-Fil-A. For the rest of my life. I’d avoid Chick-Fil-A just so I wouldn’t have to feel guilty about ignoring that poor homeless man.

Then it hit me. Duh! Go through the drive thru, let the Chick-Fil-A lady know that there’s a man hitting up their customers for change, and give them the $5 in my wallet and ask them to take the meal to him! How easy is that?

So sure enough, when I pulled up to pay for my order, I told the lady. “Will you please talk to my manager?” She asked. “You are the fifth person who’s told me about this man. I told my manager, but…” Her voice trailed off as she went to get him. I think she was trying to tell me that he wouldn’t do anything about it.

That worked out even better. I talked to the manager and let him know what was going on. I gave him my money, and asked him to get the guy a meal. “Maybe after he’s eaten, he can move on,” I hinted. Even the manager seemed relieved. He was aware of this guy, but he didn’t seem to want to kick the guy out (even if this man was making his customers uncomfortable). He thanked me and told an employee to put a meal together.

Just to make sure my request was fulfilled, I pulled back around and parked my car. One minute later, the manager himself called the old man into the building. He ushered him in and had him sit down.

Awwwwe. He really did care. I thought he’d hand the guy a bag and tell him to beat it, but he invited him to sit down inside.

I drove away thanking God for His brilliant idea. I was able to help the guy out without enabling him with any addiction problems he may have. I wondered for a minute why I was so motivated to give to this man. Did I do this because I didn’t want to feel guilty about turning my back on a person in need? As I searched my heart, I realized it was compassion driving me to help this man out. I was reminded during my brief prayer that this is who God made me to be.

And maybe this man wasn’t really hungry at all, but you know what? That meal I bought was a message that somebody out there cares for him. Maybe he just needed to know that.

As I drove away from the window, I smiled at the idea that to him, I was just another “ass” refusing to roll down my window, shaking my head no, mouthing that I was sorry. But it was just a disguise and the best part is he will never know who it was. Just that it was someone who cares.

Now I can move on with my life…and never go to that Chick-Fil-A again!

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While we were vacationing in California, our beloved fish, Midnight Blue died. If you’ve read my blog for a while, you know that Midnight Blue is our miracle fish.

I suppose it was easier to say goodbye this time. I am no longer pregnant and he didn’t die as traumatically as last time. But wouldn’t you know it? The kids very rarely stop to look at the fish, but the night we got home from CA, they noticed that Midnight Blue was no longer swimming in his bowl. Joshua immediately started crying.

So we agreed to have a funeral for our beloved fish because Joshua did not like the idea of flushing him down the toilet.

Here’s Joshua with his fish.
All the kids participated.
We said a few kind words.

Joshua made up a song and required all of us to sing so he wouldn’t be embarrassed. The words were simple. “Goodbye Midnight Blue. I love you.” And we only sang (said) it once.

Madison was well behaved during the ceremony.

For most of our kids, this is their first experience dealing with death. I was afraid it might be a bit hard for Patrick, considering he lost his brother and didn’t get to attend the funeral. (He was so young). Even if it was just a fish, would this 10 minute “funeral” get him to thinking about his brother? No. I don’t think he did. Patrick never mentioned his brother as he stayed busy trying to make Midnight Blue a cross with a couple of sticks from the yard.

As silly as it may seem to have a funeral for a fish, the kids were able to say goodbye and let him go. Who would have thought this would have been so important to a kid? But it was. They all wanted to be there, even 14 year old Dwight. I think they all appreciated the moment we shared as a family, saying goodbye to a pet, and then moving on to enjoy a beautiful Saturday afternoon in the sun.

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Scott has been telling the boys that he knows everything all weekend long. Of course they didn’t believe him, so they did their best to stump him with all sorts of trivial questions.

They asked questions from, “What’s 250 x 250” to:

—–

“How do you know everything?”

“I got my MBA.”

“Well then why are you going back to school now?”

“To help others learn!”

—–

Joshua was determined to stump his dad in front of Patrick, so he told Patrick, “Dad doesn’t know everything…” And then he went to prove it was true.

“Dad, what was the name of the baseball team out at the field today. The team with black shirts and white letters?”

“The White Sox.” He replied.

He whispered to Patrick, “I don’t know how he knew that! He must know everything!”

Of course Scott ended up confessing he really doesn’t know everything later on yesterday, but he almost had the boys fooled!

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We Sold Our House!

We just came to an agreement with a buyer for our house. I’m relieved to have the pressure of getting this house sold out from under me, but at the same time I’m so sad about moving out. I love this house.

Thinking of moving has been hard on me lately. For nearly 10 years, I’ve moved from place to place wishing I had a place to call home. I felt a bit lost moving from one city to the next and not liking it enough to call home. We lived in Texas for a while and Scott and I did enjoy living there. For a while we decided we’d retire there one day.

But since we’ve lived in South Carolina, I’ve discovered that this is where my heart is. In a way I’m relieved because I now have a place I want to call home. But it makes me sad to know we are leaving too.
Since I have a little over a month before we leave, I decided to take a couple of pictures of some of the things I’ll miss about this place. Here are just a couple of the things I’ll miss:
My Back Yard:
Scott and I have enjoyed a few good nights out here on our back deck. I’ve also enjoyed some good Spring mornings out here as I watch the leaves fill up the empty space, giving my backyard the privacy I SO enjoy from my neighbors!
Our local pizza joint – Tony’s Pizza:

The kids and I have had some good times here.

Look at all that cheese!

Good conversation.

Don’t forget the video games!

Okay, so I posted a little more than “a couple” of pictures, but this way I’ll remember some very special moments. I’ll have more to post soon. I’m taking my camera with me EVERYWHERE I go!

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It’s All Good Now

Would you believe me if I told you my MIL avoided us me all day Thursday and most of the day Friday? Well, she did. Thursday night was actually kind of weird. Scott and I took the kids out to eat because nobody had any plans for dinner. There was nothing to cook that we knew of, so we went out for Chinese. Scott’s mom was conveniently gone all day long, doing something with his sister. His dad didn’t feel well so he stayed home. It was just strange. Here we are all the way on the other side of the country and it was just the 7 of us (okay, I know that sounds like a lot, but we do have 5 kids) sitting down in a very cold Chinese restaurant because we have to feed our kids something, right?

Friday morning, Scott and his dad woke up early and went fishing. I decided to sleep as long as my body would let me, which was only until 7:00 a.m. I got up and there was no MIL in sight. I could hear her talking in her bedroom as I stepped out of our room directly across from hers. I decided to hang out in the living room and feed Kelly and Madison while I waited for her to come out. By 8:00 she was still in there and it just felt too weird for me. I knew she was hiding in her bedroom and I was quite bored and tired of feeling like an intruder, so I packed up the diaper bag and loaded the kids up in the van. Then I drove to the Great Grandparent’s house (which happened to be next door). I would have walked but I was trying too carry to many things at once.

Good choice. Great Grandma made me her famous pancakes. Yum. She makes the best pancakes ever. The boys were already over there, so we hung out until Scott and his dad got back from fishing, a little after 10 a.m.

By 2-something, Scott and I were out running errands. We left the kids with Great Grandma and Great Grandpa. Neither of them drive anymore so I knew I wouldn’t have to worry about my kids disappearing! 😉

Since it was Dwight’s birthday, we wanted to do something special. His mom bought a cake the day before so we needed to know if she wanted to do dinner and the cake at her house or next door. She’d also asked Scott earlier that morning if she should cook the chicken she pulled out. I guess she wasn’t planning on cooking if we didn’t want her to? Clever Scott. He had ME call her using HIS cell phone to discuss all this. She picked up thinking it was Scott.

So I asked her what she wanted to do, we made the plans, and then she said, “Listen, while I have you on the phone, I want to apologize for the other day. If I’d known it was going to be such a big deal I wouldn’t have done it.”

Wow. Did she just apologized to me? I don’t think I’ve ever heard the woman apologize for anything!

She tried to tell me Kelly “wanted to go really bad” and that she felt bad so she took her. She said she didn’t know how to get a hold of us.

“Well, you have our cell phone numbers. You could have called us on our cells.” There was no way I was going to let her get away with that lie. She did know it would be a big deal, that’s why she didn’t ask in the first place. She knew what the answer would have been if she’d asked before-hand.

I wanted to make it clear that this will never happen again, so I made sure to thank her for the apology and then I told her that I didn’t want her to take the whole thing personally, but NOBODY is allowed to take off with any of my kids without Scott or myself knowing. I repeated nobody including my own mother (I know she wouldn’t do such a thing anyway) is allowed to take off with any of my kids.

She then told me she thought the booster seat was appropriate for Kelly and I told her it was NOT…Kelly is way too small for the booster in her van and that it was dangerous for her to be in it.

I don’t remember how the rest of the conversation went after that (except that it felt very akward), but after I got off the phone, my husband told me that he was proud of how I’d handled the situation. He told me I handled it perfectly and confessed that he wished he could have handled it as well…that if it was him talking he didn’t think he would have handled the situation the same way because he was so angry inside. He told me I talked to her firmly but with love.

I was shocked. Does my husband really believe this?

“Honey, who do you think I learned how to handle these kinds of situations from? I couldn’t have handled this 10 years ago, but I learned how to do this from YOU.”

I was angry too, but I had Scott sitting right next to me. At that very moment, he was my anchor. I felt strong because he was there with me. I KNOW that Scott would have handled the conversation with his mom the same way regardless of the fact that he was angry. I’ve seen him in action and I consider him the master at handling conflict!

So in a way, my MIL gave us a moment because we were able to talk about how I’ve grown and how he’s grown. I was able to share with him how I’ve learned from him. We talked about how important it is to not let our anger consume us and to respond in love no matter how upset we are about a situation. To be honest, I hung that phone up feeling like I could have said it all better, but my husband assured me the conversation went perfectly. You have no idea how badly I needed to hear that. I felt closer to my husband that night and I was relieved to have that conversation over with.

I think my MIL grew too. Even though she was full of excuses, it must have been hard for her to apologize to me. She could have simply avoided me for one more day, answered my questions about dinner and hung up the phone, but she didn’t. I’ll give her credit for that.

What a relief to know we resolved this family conflict before leaving. We celebrated Dwight’s birthday that night with the family and then packed our bags. Saturday morning we were flying home.

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My MIL was not up and running this a.m. She usually has coffee brewing and laundry going by 6 a.m. at the latest. But this morning she was in her room. She practically stayed in there all morning until Scott’s dad got out of bed and came out at 8:30.

Do you think she is avoiding us? She most definitely is doing her best to not be left alone in a room with us. She knows this conversation is coming. I thought about letting her out of it because obviously there is no need to say anything…but no way in hell am I letting her off that easy after the mental hell she put me through yesterday. I’m just not that nice.

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