About Me

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I like to think of myself as the 'crazy mom of four'. I'm 31 years old and I love my life, my kids, my husband and my God. "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." Jim Eliot

Friday, December 25, 2009

Funny things kids say

Not quite a year ago I did one of those silly 'survey' things on Facebook. I rarely do them, but since this one was centered around my kids, I did it. Tonight I am sitting here, a little bored, but enjoying some peace and quiet (except for the music I'm listening to). I got Kris a new computer game he's been wanting and after making room on his computer for it and then spending 2 hours getting it installed he really wanted to play it. So I told him to go ahead-like another Christmas present from me to him. ;-) Anyway, so he is sitting over there playing and has been for almost an hour and quite seriously is probably still creating his character. He's funny to watch. He keeps making the strangest faces and I have to either stop watching him, or he'll have to keep stopping so he can answer my question "Why do you have that look on your face?" Ok, so back to the survery. I stumbled upon the survey tonight and it was just too funny and too cute not to share. At the time, the kids were 8, 7, 6, and 3. They had some interesting answers to the questions.

1.What is something mom always says to you?
Abbey (age 6) - "Clean your room"
Katherine (age 8) - "I love you."
Kaleb (age 7) - "You say lots of things"
Livvy (age 3) - "Stop crying" - very true!


2.What makes mommy happy?
Abbey - "Making a card" -huh?
Katherine - "When we're not mean to each other"
Kaleb - "Giraffes" - this is true
Livvy - "Laugh"


3.What makes mommy sad?
Abbey - "Punch her in the face" - nice
Katherine - "When we're mean to each other"
Kaleb - "When we're mean to each other"
Livvy - "When I cry" - surprisingly she is dead on!

4.How does your mommy make you laugh?
Abbey - "if her tickle me"
Katherine - "By making fun of Daddy" - sadly this is dead on!
Kaleb - "tickles me"
Livvy-she's just laughing now

5.What was your mommy like as a child?
Abbey - "like me"
Katherine - "I don't know"
Kaleb - "I don't know"
Livvy - "I tell you something to learn how to do" - this girl doesn't quite understand the concept but I thought her answer would be funny.

6.How old is your mommy?
Abbey - "I don't know - 199"
Katherine - "30"
Kaleb - "30"
Livvy - "5"

7.How tall is your mommy?
Abbey - "2 feet tall"
Katherine - "about 5 ft" - she's closer-I'm 5'5".
Kaleb - "5 ft" - I swear he didn't hear or read Katherine's answers first!
Livvy - she just reached her arm up high

8.What is her favorite thing to do?
Abbey - "sleep" - this is not true
Katherine - "Eat dessert" - yes...this is probably up at the top
Kaleb - "Play with us" - I wish!
Livvy - "Eat onions" - um...what?

9.What does your mommy do when you're not around?
Abbey - "play on her laptop" - this is anytime :-)
Katherine - "She spends time by herself."
Kaleb - "I don't know"
Livvy - "Look for me"

10.If your mommy becomes famous, what will it be for?
Abbey - "being a fashion star" -wow she's ambitious!
Katherine - "Cooking" - I knew she would say this. Good girl!
Kaleb - "A chef" - I love that my kids love my cooking!
Livvy - "Taking pictures at the playground." -probably because this is what I did this afternoon!

11.What is your mommy really good at?
Abbey -"going to sleep" - she's weird and I wish I was good at this!
Katherine - "Cooking" - again...I had this one pegged.
Kaleb - "Cooking" :-)
Livvy - "Laughing"

12.What is your mommy not very good at?
Abbey - "that is hard"
Katherine - "Drawing?"
Kaleb - "You're mostly good at everything" isn't he sweet? :-)
Livvy - "gana" ????

13.What does your mommy do for a job?
Abbey - "play on her computer" I WISH (though maybe SOMETIMES this is true!)
Katherine - "It's something with trucks." This is true.
Kaleb - "She works at Vanliner."
Livvy - "Play with toys" - remember she's 3

14.What is your mommy's favorite food?
Abbey - "Mammaw's pancakes" - while those are good...that's actually Abbey's favorite food!
Katherine - Bayou Bourbon Sauce - not the answer I expected but I do like that.
Kaleb - "I know it's not ice cream. Can you give me a hint" How do these kids not know how much I love chocolate?
Livvy - "Onions" - again with the onions--what the heck?

15.What makes you proud of your mommy?
Abbey - "your cooking"
Katherine - "when she says that she loves me"
Kaleb - "her kindness" :-)
Livvy - "Laugh"

16.If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?
Abbey - "Princess Peach"
Katherine - "I don't know"
Kaleb - "Wanda on Timmy Turner"
Livvy - "Hanna Tanna" - though Hannah Montana is technically not a cartoon

17.What do you and your mommy do together?
Abbey - "sit together"
Katherine - "we watch movies together"
Kaleb - "Cook"
Livvy - "Play with crayons"

18.How are you and your mommy the same?
Abbey - "we both have brown hair"
Katherine - "we are both very emotional" -ahh...she's so right...I think this one was my favorite answer!
Kaleb - "we both like to cook"
Livvy - "we're white" - interesting...

19.How are you and your mommy different?
Abbey -"you are bigger and I am littler"
Katherine - "we have different middle names" - though she did almost have my middle name but we changed it to Grace after almost losing her before she was born.
Kaleb - "Mommy's a girl and I'm a boy"
Livvy - "lost" - no clue what she means

20.How do you know your mommy loves you?
Abbey - "because she's nice"
Katherine - "because she says she loves us and she acts like she loves us." - i liked this answer. :-)
Kaleb - "because she shows it" and then he said "no wait I don't know"
Livvy - "Hug"

21.What does your mommy like most about your daddy?
Abbey - "he sleeps with you" - wow....no comment!
Katherine - "he helps with the kids" - this is actually one of my favorite things about him
Kaleb - "Mostly everything" -kind of true :-)
Livvy - "Bone" - please don't read into this...it is not to be misconstrued--she is just making up random things

22.Where is your mommy's favorite place to go?
Abbey - "work?" - sometimes this is true!
Katherine - "Florida" - she said this because she knows I really want to go here.
Kaleb - "the zoo" - sure...
Livvy - "Go somewhere"

The 'material' side of Christmas



This is what the family got for Christmas this year from 'Santa'. He even brought us an extra Wii Motionplus Controller to go along with it. Everyone is now testing it out and enjoying Wakeboarding. So far that's all that we've checked out. And by we I mean everyone except Abbey and me. We have yet to test it out but I fully intend to check out anything that I can do while seated. Here is a picture of Kat wakeboarding. Not real exciting I know, but I like having pictures on my blog and since it's my blog, well, here it is! Who cares that you can't really see it!


Kaleb and Katherine have been dying to own a Nintendo DS. Truth be told, they really want Nintendo DSI's but they were just WAY to expensive. Even the used DS's were too expensive. At one point the kids talked about saving their birthday money to get one together but Kaleb basically spent all of his as soon as he got it. Katherine went much longer with saving her money than Kaleb, until she went shopping with me and found some clothes she wanted! So there was no way we could spend $80 on each kid to get them used Nintendo DS's. But we did want them to have something that they could take and enjoy on car rides so we did some research and found some reasonably priced MP3 players and got them each one of those. It has been so funny this morning to watch them walking around listening to songs from Switchfoot and Johnny Cash. Kris showed them how to charge them and add music to them and I am pleased that these were a great distraction from the DS's. As you can see, they were pretty happy. Kaleb actually started screaming (in delight) when he realized what it was.




Abbey is much easier to please, as is Livvy. And 'cheaper'. Abbey was thrilled with her new Polly Pocket and the case that accompanied it. This girl has forever loved Polly Pocket. Livvy also is still in love with Dora and so the dominoes made for the perfect gift. The Dollar Tree helped us finish off Christmas shopping for the kids and I hope that we still have some years left that we can get away with cheap Dollar Tree gifts!






Cookies for Santa

I was in the process of writing this last night but it didn't end up happening. When we got home from church though, the kids wanted to put cookies and milk out for Santa. Katherine of course has to write a note that tells where things are (just like she did one year for the Tooth Fairy), so here is the note she taped to the front door.


Next, it was time to set out the cookies and milk. Good thing I had baked cookies earlier that day because I had actually forgotten about this! Now let me just explain a couple of things here, in case you think the tiny cup and kettle were intended for a tiny Santa or an elf. Katherine of course wrote another note, I guess to make sure Santa knew that THOSE cookies were hers!! Abbey decided to write a note just to tell Santa that she loved him. Abbey came into the kitchen and told me that she wanted to leave chocolate tea for Santa. I was just like 'uh ok'. It was only when I walked into the dining room and saw her little tea kettle and tea cup that I realized she had put these out so that she could leave her chocolate tea for Santa.


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve

So, I have this issue with Christmas sweaters. Really, any sweaters that are...well...a little too much. My dear mother use to always buy me sweaters that some people really love. For whatever reason, I have never been able to wear Christmas sweaters. Or sweater vests with things embroidered on them, or anything that isn't usually somewhat plain. I'm a simple girl. Less is more. That kind of thing when it comes to clothes. And for many years my mom would always buy me some sort of sweater/shirt for Christmas that was Christmas themed. Maybe that's my biggest hangup-theme sweaters. There's no natural reason for it really. It's just the way I am. A few weeks ago, my friend Jennifer and I were discussing Christmas sweaters and sweater vests. We were agreeing that neither one of us owned something gaudy like what we've seen others wear, and were thankful for that. We even went so far as to call them 'mom' sweaters. Sorry mom! It wasn't meant offensive or anything...just things that we have seen our mothers wear. And then, in walks Jennifer's mom. Wearing what we had moments before been discussing. It was a very funny moment.

Sunday at church Cindy was wearing a red Christmas knit-type vest with Christmas trees, presents, the works embroidered on it. I forgive Cindy (as well as any teacher or mother or grandmother) a lot when it comes to these types of things. They're supposed to wear those-it's almost expected. And I don't have a real problem with these types of things, except for wearing them myself. It's just not my thing, not my style. Well anyway, so Cindy is wearing this and it is something I consider 'loud' so of course I noticed it. But I didn't say anything.

And then, tonight at church, I noticed that Dean was wearing a familiar red vest and what appeared to be some sort of necklace. He was up in front of the church with the choir and I thought 'that's odd' and 'is that the same vest Cindy wore on Sunday?' Come to find out, yes, it was. It was cause for amusement for sure!

I can't remember if it was on the way to church or the way back but I was talking to Kris about how I hoped I don't turn into one of those people who at some point in life decides that it is okay for ME to wear that type of thing. Other people can wear it all they want. But at some point, am I going to WANT to wear the loud, crazy sweater vests??? I'm scared for that day to arrive.

What made this whole thing even more amusing is what happened after we got home. We have a tradition of opening one present on Christmas Eve. We each get to choose whichever present we want that is under the tree. Though this year Kaleb was not going to let me choose. Prior to today he has told me on several different occasions that I should open my gift from him first because it was something I could use. Something I would really 'need'. I was thinking maybe he got me a scarf or gloves or something. They had the store at school and we gave the kids some money so I was thinking 'one of those could be cheap enough I guess'. When I opened it up, I found it hard not to show both horror and amusement on my face. While it was NOT a sweater vest with crazy loud Christmas things on it, it was a Christmas sweatshirt. See the picture below. What made it even funnier is that he said 'It looked like something Mammaw would wear and so I wanted to get it for you.' He was telling me how I could wear it to stay warm. I promised him that I would wear it tomorrow. Maybe it's things like your kids getting you a gift that you wouldn't choose for yourself and having to smile and nod and wear it anyway because of the time and effort AND THOUGHT that they put into picking it out for you.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Listening? What's that?

Children and men...they don't listen. But today my 'issue' is with an actual small child and not a man. Olivia got this stamp for Christmas at school today. I kept telling her 'No you can't use that right now.' I'm pretty sure I told her about 4 times. She kept telling me that she wanted to and I kept telling her 'not right now'. You'd think it would click with her; that it would sink in, that she'd figure it out. So why, just a moment later do I look over and see her with the stamp up against her forehead? It was yet another moment where your kid is doing something they really shouldn't be doing but it is being done in such a way that it is very cute, and very funny at the same time.

Here is how she wound up, just moments after I told her she could NOT use her stamps. The pictures are horrible because my camera wasn't charged and so I was using Kris' cell phone. Oh and I don't know how to rotate the picture from his phone so one of them is sideways. The first two pictures are both of her arms. To make it even cuter, she proudly proclaimed (not worried at all that she was doing something she wasn't supposed to) "I'm ready for Christmas!"





A Reading Experiment

A few months ago, I read The Memory Keeper's Daughter and really enjoyed it. Two days ago I finished a book called The Concubine's Daughter, which was also very good-disturbing but intriguing and well-written. Last night I made another trip to the library. It was time for a new book. I was not planning to stay on the 'daughter' theme. I didn't even realize I HAD a 'daughter' theme until I settled on a book called The Abortionist's Daughter. So far the writing isn't bad and the story is interesting. Then I started thinking that maybe I'll stay on this theme for a while. So when I finish my current book I am going to find someone else's daughter and read about that too. We'll see how it turns out.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Falling apart at the seams

The results of the MRI are in and I have since seen the orthopedic surgeon. I have a meniscus tear on my right knee. Surgery is scheduled to repair the tear on December 28th. Merry Christmas! Between my problems and my mother-in-law's health concerns, I don't even think if you combine us we make one complete, healthy person! Because I have had a blood clot, I have to be given Lovenox injections for 5 days after the surgery to prevent a blood clot. I had to have these shots during all of my pregnancies and hated them. There were days I would lay there for 10-15 minutes and could still feel the medicine burning as it spread and was absorbed. But 5 days instead of 9 months is much more manageable.

I am thrilled with the show The Sing Off. I'm sad that it will end on Monday, when it seems like it just began this past week. Oh wait, it did. :-) Four epsiodes is just mean. Especially when you have groups like Nota and The Beelzebubs. Both amazing performing groups as well as talented musicians. Too many people don't appreciate the pure talent the accompanies acapella singing. The Sing Off is available here http://www.hulu.com/the-sing-off.

My kids have been saying some cute/funny things lately and I've been putting them on Facebook as my status but thought I should 'jot' them down here. It's primarily been Abbey and Livvy because they are still at that stage where they don't always pronounce words correctly. Here are some of my latest favorites:

Livvy while watching the Jackie Chan cartoons: "We're watching Jackie Channel."

Me: "Abbey you need pants on underneath that because it's cold.
Abbey: "Can I pleeease wear capri suns?"
Me: "I guess."
Livvy: "Mommy, it's not the 'pri suns we drink. It's the ones we wear. You'll see."

Katherine while watching The Biggest Loser with me: "I would punch Jillian in the face!"

Livvy talking about her Polly Pocket who apparently lies: "Yeah, she's Satan's daughter."

Livvy holding the DVD trying to convince me that she loves Lord of the Rings and wants to watch it (interesting reasoning as you will see): "W-I-D-E-S-C-R-E-E-N. See! Lord of the Rings!"

Abbey this morning while eating a Clementine: "Mommy, this one is so cute I'm going to save her for last. I didn't get time to name her, so I will name her in my belly. Her name is Orangie."

Thursday, December 17, 2009

More time to write

While I should be using all this time that I am not in the office working, it is much easier said than done. I think I put in about 5 hours today. My knee has been bothering me a lot today-at first, when I first had my encounter with the bleachers, it only hurt when I tried to move it. Yesterday was a better day and I was able to get up and do a little bit more, though I still tried to take it easy. Today though, even elevated it just aches. Standing becomes problematic because I can't really put my full weight on that leg or even half my weight for long before it starts hurting. And when I try to keep the weight off of it completely while standing, my left leg begins hurting. I may be exploring the crutches option tomorrow evening when we go to our work Christmas party at Dave & Buster's simply so that I can be up and move a little bit without putting an uneven amount of weight on either leg. That is to be determined.

The main reason I started this post was to share a little story about Abbey. Abbey is in love with herself. I think I have shared before that she has explained that she loves herself as much as she loves God. And then she loves her Uncle Brandon the most after that! So funny. Well, now that she can read and is learning to write, she writes stories. And they are always along the same lines and vary only as she learns new words/people's names. Here is a story she brought me tonight. It was written on post-its and then stuck together, like a book.

It's called 'I love you Abbey'.

I love you Abbey. I do love you Abbey.
I like you Abbey. I do like you.
Do you love me? Do you like me? I love you. I like you.
Who love me? Who like me?
Who love you? Who like you?
My dad like me.
My dad love me.
My mom like me.
My mom love me.
My dad love you.
My dad like you.
My mom love you.
My mom like you.

That girl is just bubbling with love. Yet again, she has brought a smile to my face and made my day!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Laid Up

On Monday night, the kids had their school Christmas program. There were chairs set up in the gymnasium but when we got there (30 minutes early!) most of the front half of chairs were taken/being saved. So we decided that in order to actually SEE the kids, we'd sit in the bleachers. Perhaps that was my first mistake.

Halfway through the program I got down to take Olivia to the bathroom. I was stepping down and the first few steps were fine; however, that last step, unbeknown to me, was double the height of the first steps. I misjudged it and because I was expecting it to be the same height as the others, almost fell. In the process of balancing myself so that I didn't fall, all of my weight found itself resting on my right knee. It HURT!

When I got out of bed yesterday morning, I couldn't walk. I couldn't put any weight on my leg at all or even stretch it out during the night Monday night. Fortunately, having had a similar (but not so bad) experience with this same knee back in June, I had a knee brace. I put it on and was able to hobble around and make it in to work. But because of the pain and not being able to walk without the brace, I called my doctor and got in to see her yesterday.

She moved my leg around and pressed on my knee in many different places (some hurt pretty bad). Then she told me that she believed I had done something to my meniscus. I went for an MRI this morning and now I have to go see an othropedic surgeon on Friday morning. Hopefully it will heal on its own without the need for surgery.

It's one of those moments where I feel like we can't catch a break. I find myself frustrated because I have no PTO left this year and yet have to be off my leg again tomorrow and Friday (except to go see the surgeon) and am trying to work from my laptop on my couch with my leg elevated. It hasn't been easy and I haven't yet been able to put 8 hours in today. I have a feeling that my paycheck this week will not be very 'full'. Not the best thing right at Christmas time.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Proud, card-carrying members

We joined the YMCA. The St. Louis area has 21 YMCA's (I think that's the right number). We got a metro pass and we can go to any of the area YMCA's. We have a few favorites. Our favorite to go to so far with regards to the fitness center is down near the Galleria. The one in Maryland Heights is great for the kids. Their pool has a shallow play area. Even Olivia can walk around and play and still touch the bottom AND keep her head above water! They have so much fun there. This particular branch has a water slide and this whirlpool area that spins the kids around. This whirlpool has been the cause of much distress with Abigail.

The other night when we were there she was a little frightened of it. She was too scared to go in there without a noodle or floaties or life jacket. So she put a life jacket on and went over there and the lifeguard told her that she couldn't go in there with the life jacket on. This sent Abbey into tears. She kept crying and saying how she wanted to go in there and put the life jacket on so that she could be safe and then the lifeguard told her that it wasn't safe to be in there with those. She was not happy. Quite the opposite. It was one of those moments when your heart breaks for your child and yet you can't help but laugh because of how cute the kid looks explaining it to you. I had hoped that this would be the end of it. It was not.

Tonight we went back there and took the kids swimming. Abbey wanted to go in the whirlpool but ended up chickening out (I don't mean this in a negative way). Well, a little while later she had a noodle and was trying to swim away from the whirlpool thing. It sucked her right in and she let go of the noodle and I saw her gripping the side of the whirlpool area. The lifeguard jumped down as I was heading towards her. I grabbed her and took her over to the other side of the pool. She burst into tears again. I didn't realize at first she was trying to get away from the whirlpool. She told me that she was trying to get away from it and it pulled her in. She was so scared! Poor girl. She just kept crying and saying she was ready to go. Then she told me that she never wanted to come to that pool again.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Funny funny kids

So today we were on our way home from church and Katherine and Kaleb started discussing taking the Lord's name in vain. Katherine's teacher said that they shouldn't say 'oh my' anything. So we started talking to the kids about what was OK and what wasn't. I told them that they shouldn't say 'Oh my God!' Well, at that point the kids were gasping...I told them I was only saying it to demonstrate what they shouldn't say. So we kept talking about whether it was OK to say 'Oh my goodness'. I told them I thought it was. I can't remember how it all started but we all started naming things we could say 'Oh my...' This lasted the entire drive home and I just wanted to share a couple of my favorites. I had say 'Oh my whatever.' Kaleb then decided to shout out 'Oh my nevermind!' It was funny.

And this kept going on and on, and finally Kaleb shouts out 'Oh my gluten!' It was really funny. My kids normally wouldn't even know that word, but with the recent dietary changes, they know all about gluten! We had a really fun drive home from church this morning.

Livvy has been joining in with this whole 'Mommy's eating different' thing. She will eat something and then say 'Can you have this?' And I'll say 'no' and she'll ask me why and I'll tell her that it's because it has sugar or gluten or some other substance I can't have. It's really cute. Seriously the girl asks me at least 3-4 times each day if I can eat something, or in the case of juice, drink something. When she happens upon something I can have and I tell her that 'yes I can have that' she just smiles. She makes me laugh.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The new...lifestyle...

I have been meaning to sit down for the last two weeks, when I had some spare time (ha ha...) and write. So much has changed just in the last couple of weeks. Anyone fortunate enough to follow me on Facebook ;-) already knows most of this. But I am putting it here for those of you who aren't over there.

First things first, since October 23rd, I have lost 10 pounds. Since January, I have lost a total of 30 pounds! Two nights ago I bought a new pair of jeans, one size smaller than what I had been wearing. It felt amazing...and didn't look too bad either! Still nowhere near where I want to be...but little by little, I will get there.

I wasn't really given much choice in the matter, and for that, I am actually quite thankful. I went to my new doctor and she did some tests and told me I have an over-abundance of yeast in my stomach. How do you get rid of it? Antibiotics. An anti-fungal for 30 days. And a completely yeast-free diet. This scared me at first. After being on it for 2 weeks though, the most difficult part of it is all the planning. If I don't plan, I don't eat. Some yeast-free diets are stricter than others. Some say no dairy and no fruit. Mine is not THAT limited...but it is limited in many other ways. Here is the list of things I cannot have...at least until the infection is gone and I return to the doctor on 12/22:

Sugar
Honey
Syrup
Malt
Fructose
Corn Syrup
Fermented/Vinegar containing foods such as salad dressings, mustard, ketchup, mayo, soy sauce, tofu/tempeh
Yeasty foods such as bread (including gluten grains such as wheat, spelt, malt, barley, oats, rye and millet), bagels, beer and wine
Moldy foods such as coffee and tea
Foods in the fungus family (mushrooms)
Olives
Juices NOT freshly made

It's a 'short' list...but if a food doesn't have gluten in it, it has sugar in it. If it doesn't have sugar in it, it has high fructose corn syrup. If it doesn't have any of those, chances are it has vinegar in it!! So, it's been hard, finding foods I enjoy. Basically I can eat meat, fresh nuts, eggs, fresh fruits (as long as they don't have moldy skin-grapes, strawberries and melons are out) and brown rice or corn. I got tired of eggs for breakfast quickly and I don't get up early enough most mornings to make sausage-and even the sausage I have to be careful on because many of them I can't have. I've only found one form of sausage by Jimmy Dean that I can even eat!

Overall though, besides the obvious weight loss advantages, I am feeling a LOT better. No problems with my stomach (except the one day I took communion-I think I may have a gluten allergy). Much, MUCH less anxiety. More energy. More motivation to do things around the house. My favorite benefit is not being edgy with the kids all the time. Or Kris. My mood in general has just been better overall and it is a good feeling.

After the infection is gone (it's called candida, or yeast overgrowth), I may be able to add things back in. My doctor hasn't told me I can/will be able to and even if she says I can add bread back in, for the most part, I do not plan to change anything. Besides...I have a feeling that if I add stuff back in...my body will not react well after depriving myself of it for 2 months!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I'm the *best* mom ever...

Without these funny stories of my failings as a mother, life wouldn't be nearly so bearable! So, Kris shows me this paper, this drawing that Kaleb did for school. Now, let me go back and say that I have a very vague memory of Kaleb telling us a few months ago he needed something with numbers on it. That is the extent of my memory of this 'project'.

The first picture is his project. It's basically an Ice Mountain water bottle label. The second picture is his explanation for the project.




It was the only thing he could find. Great. We're never going to win the "Parents of the Year" award this year!!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Swine flu?

We stopped at McDonald's for lunch today. I ordered two chicken nugget happy meals with chocolate milk, one girl and one boy (Kat wanted the boy toy). When I got to the window, they gave us our food and the girls happened to look in their bags before I pulled away. Katherine said "We got apple dippers." So I caught the guy's attention that was working the window and told him they were supposed to have French fries. He said "You asked for apple dippers." I said "No...I didn't. I asked for two chicken nugget happy meals with chocolate milk-one girl and one boy." The man insisted I said "apple dippers". He then turned to the girl who actually took my order to get some back up for his accusation and she said "You said apple dippers." I still can't figure out what I said that would have made them think I said "apple dippers." I NEVER at any point said 'apple dippers' when I ordered. And yet here these people were, insisting (in tones that were less than kind) that I did indeed ask for apple dippers. My kids NEVER ask for apple dippers. Why would I, all of a sudden, out of the blue just order apple dippers? In fact, until I saw Kat holding them, I forgot McDonald's even HAD apple dippers. So then the guy says "I'm going to need the apple dippers back." Um...I wasn't trying to get free French fries!!! I just wanted them to give me what I ordered.

We had a great drive out to Kansas today. The weather was great-cool, in the 50's and sunny. It's about time we saw some sun! I swear it has been raining for two weeks straight. It was getting really old. My sister is back at her place in Kansas and Katherine, Abbey and I are 'road-tripping'. Tonight we're staying in Kansas City, MO and will head back home in the morning. Since Kat's birthday was Monday and Abbey's is today, we decided to just celebrate with a little trip. The girls are watching a little late night Hannah Montana before bed.

Last night I could feel a cough coming on. Today, I woke up with awful sinus pressure in my head, eyes, cheeks, etc...throughout the day it has progressively gotten worse. My throat is killing me now and I forgot to get some Chloraseptic drops so it will be interesting to see if I can stay asleep all night. Oh wait, I NEVER stay asleep all night! Every time I try to take a breath in through my mouth, I find myself coughing. I decided to give Zycam a try. People at work have been talking about it and seem to be pleased with it. I started on it this morning. Let's hope it nips this in the bud because when Christian NE called me yesterday to pre-register for my EMG/NCV that is supposed to be done on Monday, she specifically said that if I have ANY symptoms of the flu/swine flu/anything that I should not come in for my appointment-because they are trying to ensure that they keep the swine flu out of their office. I have waited too long to finally get a test done that should have been done months ago-I DO NOT want to have to reschedule it. I have about a day and a half to get over whatever this is. Let's just hope I 'caught' it and can keep it from getting any worse.

Judy Blume

Remember when I got really upset about E.T. and The Goonies and the bad language in those movies? How is it that a book that is written for children can be so very bad? I remember reading Judy Blume books as a kid. I read Freckle Juice. I read the Fudge series. I don't remember much about any of them, but I am pretty sure they were not as bad as Blubber. There were at least 6 times throughout the 3 hour book that I was horrified by the language. If bad language offends you, please stop reading. I am only writing these words to illustrate what I heard while we listened to Blubber on the way to Kansas today. Now, I can tolerate the fact that C.S. Lewis used the word 'damn' on a couple of different occasions in The Chronicles of Narnia books. In fact, I told Kris that meant that I could use that word too, though he disagreed. ;-) Anyway...that word is used in at least 4 forms. A fifth grader calls her teacher a *itch. In another instance, a kid is called a 'dumb @ss' by another kid. I just couldn't believe this. Maybe I'm naive. Maybe I should have done a little more research, but I thought that I could trust Judy Blume. Here is an excerpt from an article I read talking about banned books:
"Judy Blume's "Blubber," a book about a school girl who's teased for being overweight, is listed at No. 2 on this year's OIF "challenged" list. Blume, who has also written books on blossoming sexuality, says she has the distinction of being one of the most censored authors in America. In an online chat on CNN.com Monday, Blume talked about the effects of censorship.

"One of my concerns is that writers will begin to feel the censor on their backs, and we won't get their very best," Blume says. "Instead their fear, or the fear imposed by the publisher, will limit them. When I lock myself up to write, I cannot allow myself to think about the censor, or the reviewer, or anyone but my characters and their story."

Blume says she doesn't even censor what her children read."


Wow. Really? I can understand writing a book and not necessarily 'caring' about the language you use and just writing because you want to write it. HOWEVER...the fact that this book is passed off as a children's book astonishes me. If I think back to 5th grade, I know that kids were using those words. So I can even understand trying to show that...but...I don't know. I guess I just expected better.



Thursday, October 8, 2009

A springy fall...

I finally caved and turned the heat on tonight. The temperatures are going to keep dropping this weekend. Presently we have the rains of spring and the cool air of fall. It's been 'dreary' all week. It's really messing with me...the last two weeks had been much better with regards to my neck pain. This week it has just gotten progressively worse. Today has been the worst it's been since I was in the ER getting morphine through an iv last month. It's not quite that bad today, so I am very thankful for that. But pretty much every joint in my body aches; neck, back, hands, legs. I'm pretty sure I am a 30 year old woman in a 70 year old woman's body (minus the droopiness and wrinkles-though sadly I am sporting some gray hairs)!

I'm going to geek out a bit right now. When I find something new that I like, I tend to get a bit obsessed. This week's obsession is The Swell Season http://www.theswellseason.com/. As I was going to the site to link it here just now I thought "Hmm...let's see if they are coming to St. Louis. It's doubtful but why not look?" Now I'm even more excited! The Swell Season is going to be at The Pageant on December 4!!! Now I'm begging Kris to get us tickets, or to at least get ME a ticket. Anyone in the St. Louis area want to go??? Anyway...they have some really great music, and if you can appreciate music, the harmony on some of the songs is absolutely beautiful! And while it might not be news to you, it was to me to find out that there is a movie called "Once" that features Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova and their music. We're going to watch it tonight. I've also begged Kris to buy me the soundtrack to the movie and The Swell Season album that's out already. There is a new one coming out in October too. Anyway...if you're looking for some new music, check out The Swell Season. Those of you who love Pandora, a station based off of Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova plays some great songs!


Saturday, October 3, 2009

This week in fashion...

I've always said that Abbey has an eclectic style. She puts the craziest outfits together and yet somehow she manages to really pull them off. This is today's choice. I have labeled each item so that you can see just how many 'layers' this girl has on! She cracks me up.





Thursday, October 1, 2009

A day in the life of the Bishops...

We are trying something new at bedtime. We have been doing The One Year Bible (for kids) before bed each night. And they kids really LOVE it. They look forward to it and they remind us on the days we forget. In addition to the devotion, the kids take turns being the one who gets to pray and pick the song we'll sing. Then we do hugs and kisses and 'officially' start the bedtime routine. And every night, it's the same long, drawn out 30 minute battle to get four kids to go potty, brush their teeth, put their jammies on and get a drink. It just really wasn't working for us. So we decided to try a new tactic. Change up the routine a bit. Now, I don't really like the thought of the kids not being a part of devotions at night; HOWEVER, it is a privilege. Now we have a new rule. When it's time to start bedtime, we set the timer for 7 minutes. I just pulled the number out of the air-it seemed like a sufficient amount of time for all four of them to get themselves ready for bed-which they are all more than capable of. If they are not completely done (except for hugs and kisses) when the timer goes off, they have to go straight to bed, whether they have finished their drinks or finished brushing their teeth (settle down-their little teeth will be fine if they miss a night or two!). They will still get hugs and kisses but they do not get to participate in devotions. Last night, everyone was done in time. Tonight, not so lucky.

Tonight was Olivia's night to miss devotions. She and Abbey had been fighting in the bathroom over the sink. So I went in there and told them that they were done and just had to go to bed. Abbey started bawling (it was her night to pray and pick the song), so I relented with her, even though she was already given a one minute penalty on her 7 minutes for something else right before this. I was not so kind to Olivia. All she had done was go potty. She still didn't have her jammies on. She may or may not have brushed her teeth; because she and Abbey were fighting I am not 100% sure she actually brushed hers. And she hadn't gotten a drink.

So I took her into her room and helped her put her jammies on. I put her in bed and told her that she didn't get to be a part of devotions tonight. She started saying something about Abbey not letting her do something. I explained to her that the timer had gone off and she hadn't even put her jammies on yet. She looked upset but said very weakly "OK." Then her face started to contort and she managed "But I don't want to be a penguin!" before she burst into tears. You see, the jammies I put on her had penguins on them. And she was OBVIOUSLY tired and just needed a good cry. I just found it amusing that those were her last words before she broke down because prior to this we hadn't discussed at all what jammies I was putting on her.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

If words could sigh right now...

The long awaited pain management appointment was today.

Before I go into that though, I feel like I should set this up first. Most of you know about all of my problems over the last 7 months with my neck. Some days are better than others but there has not been a single pain-free day since the beginning of March. My primary doctor sent me to physical therapy three times before FINALLY ordering an MRI, after I reported that yet again the therapy wasn't helping at all. I was starting to have my doubts, but he has been our primary doctor for the last probably 8 years at least and so I thought I could trust him.

My primary doctor said he saw arthritis on the MRI and referred me to a neurosurgeon. The neurosurgeon looked at the MRI and told me in a very brief appointment that I had two degenerated discs but they did not need surgery; thus he referred me to a pain management center.

Last weekend (the 18th) I was in a LOT of pain. I had weakness and tingling in my right arm through the weekend and into Monday of last week. So like any normal person (with a lot of pressure from my mother-in-law) ;) I called my primary doctor. We wanted him to rule out a blood clot, seeing as how I have a condition that makes me prone to blood clots. So I tell the nurse all my symptoms and she said she would let the doctor know and call me back.

Later that day the receptionist called and told me that the doctor thought all of my symptoms were from my neck BUT (and I started to feel relieved thinking he'd run some more tests) the doctor would like to see me to schedule...wait for it...more physical therapy. MORE THERAPY??? It hasn't worked for 6 months. Why would it mysteriously work NOW? He didn't even address the blood clot issue, even though he knows I have Factor V Leiden and he also knows that I had a blood clot 10 years ago and that I could get another one at any time! Didn't say a thing about it. Mind you, I wasn't really concerned that I had a blood clot but I was very upset that he didn't even address it.

I spent last Tuesday in the ER doped up on Morphine at first (which didn't work AT ALL) then on Dilautin, which finally eased the worst of the pain and allowed me to rest my head against the bed. I took Wednesday and Thursday off work and Kris drove me to work on Friday and yesterday. The pain is much, much better than it was Tuesday-I hope it never gets that bad again. I hadn't cried like that from pain since I was in labor!

That leads us to today. Now yesterday and today the pain has been MUCH better than it had been. As long as I don't move my head, I am not in pain. If I turn my head at all (side to side or up or down) it hurts. But it's been tolerable. My pain management appointment was at 1:30pm. I got there at 1:35 because I went to the wrong building first. I then spent the next hour and a half (not exaggerating) in a freezing cold waiting room. FINALLY at 3pm, the nurse called me back into an actual room, which incidentally was even colder than the waiting room and they had me put a gown on, so I was using my shirt as a blanket of sorts just to try to stay warm. I waited. And I waited. And I waited some more. And then, around 3:45, the doctor finally came in.

He was very nice. He did the same stuff everyone else has done. Asked me some questions. Went over what medications I have been on that haven't worked, went over the physical therapy that didn't work, went over what tests have been done. And I can tell from the man's tone that he doesn't like what he is getting ready to tell me.

He said there was NO arthritis in my neck (though my primary said there was). He did agree with the neurosurgeon that there are two discs that are degenerated (but not bulging) between the 5th, 6th and 7th vertebrae. HOWEVER, as he explained to me, because he couldn't reproduce the pain with the things he was trying (i.e. he was holding my head steady and then turning it and it did not create the same pain that comes if I move my head around) he didn't feel comfortable treating me. He said he could give me medicine that 'might' help, but because I am only 30, he did not recommend a lifelong battle against pain with medication. He mentioned injections but said that there are risks involved and because he doesn't know what is wrong with my neck, he doesn't know where to inject anything.

Let me break this down for you. Basically, I need to see a neurologist. I asked him if that was different than a neurosurgeon, because I didn't know. WELL...apparently my primary care physician SHOULD have referred me to a neurologist FIRST and NOT a neurosurgeon because a neurologist DIAGNOSES problems, whereas a neurosurgeon fixes problems that are already diagnosed. A neurologist can apparently do a test called an EMG where they can determine if I have a pinched nerve that is causing the pain (the pain management doctor did not think that my discs were necessarily what was causing my pain). He further explained to me that most everyone has discs that are worn down and many can go their entire life without them causing pain, so he just wasn't sure that my 2 discs were the source of my pain and he basically told me that I haven't even been diagnosed with anything yet! So, the doctor recommended a good neurologist and told me I should get an EMG done.

I finally left the doctor's office at 4:30, three hours after I got there, frustrated and in pain. I will say that I was impressed with this pain management doctor and his nurse. He explained more to me in 20 minutes than any of the other doctors have ever explained to me and I appreciated that. Obviously he is a busy man, since I had to wait over 2 hours to even see him, but he took the time to go over everything and really treated me with respect and seemed genuinely sorry that he could not help me beyond recommending a good neurologist.

I wasn't sure whether to cry or scream or laugh. Because I got out so late, I couldn't even call the neurologist because they were already closed. So the earliest I can call is tomorrow morning and who knows how long I will have to wait to get in. I had to wait over 2 weeks to see the neurosurgeon and over two weeks to get the pain management appointment, and I highly doubt the neurologist will be able to fit me in this week and mostly likely not next either.

Needless to say, after all of that, I have a headache tonight. The one good thing to end my day is that our Sleep Number bed was delivered and set up today and I get to sleep in it tonight! So the saga continues and if you have read all of this...you are my real friends! ;) See I can say that because anyone who didn't read this far wouldn't see it anyway.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Do you know what your sleep number is?

Kris and I bought a bed today. A sleep number bed. We've talked about getting this bed for about two years. In fact, we went to the Select Comfort store at the Mills with Cindy and Dean once and tested out the beds. We wanted to get a bed then, but we really didn't have the money so we made a wise decision and did not buy the bed at that time. Cindy and Dean bought one for themselves instead. It was kind of funny.

Well, since I started having problems with my neck and back and shoulder (sometimes all three at the same time!), Kris and I have discussed the purchase of a bed. A good, lasting bed. And a king size. We decided on the sleep number bed for many different reasons. Primarily, we do not have to flip the bed, and since we wanted a king size bed, this was an important factor. Also, we wanted to have the ability to adjust the firmness of the bed, which you do not have with just any bed. We could spend $2000 on a bed that we may hate in a year, or we could take that same money and buy a bed that gave us more flexibility where comfort was concerned.

I'm so tired of being in pain. I have been alternating heat and cold off and on for the last three days with no noticeable difference. Bio Freeze hasn't even been giving me any relief. Last night my shoulders were swollen for some unknown reason. This morning I woke up with BOTH of my hands completely numb, as if I had slept on both of them even though I didn't. There was also a new pain shooting down my right arm. That was nice. Not really. The numbness went away but I've had twinges of pain in my right hand all day, especially if I have tried to turn something (like opening a water bottle) or grip something. I feel like I am losing dexterity in my hands sometimes. I'm getting very annoyed with myself. I think Kris must be too since he decided we could afford to go ahead and get the bed now instead of waiting until November like we had planned. Poor Kris!

Okay, that's all the complaining I have for now. I am pretty excited about our new bed though. Hopefully I'll finally sleep entirely through the night for the first time in, oh years...

Monday, September 14, 2009

I find it strange how quickly a day can go from good, to bad, to worse, to unbearable all over the course of an hour. I realize that the biggest reason this happens to me from time to time is that my emotions are less than stable. Today was insane. Work went pretty good, aside from the normal pain that distracts me. I was feeling a little anxious thinking about how crazy everything has become. I managed to work for 8 hours and left pretty much on time at 3:30pm. I had a nice drive to pick the kids up, listening to The Time Traveler's Wife. 12 hours in it finally had me wanting to take it in and listen to it just to listen, and not just to occupy my drive time. I got to the kids' school and they were sort of ready to go. More ready than they usually are. Usually it's a 15 minute ordeal while they clean up everything and then we have to get backpacks and lunch boxes and get back out to the car. Today the kids decided they would be just mean and hateful to each other the whole way to Hazelwood West for Abbey's speech therapy. Primarily it was Kaleb and Abbey fighting. Livvy just kept whining and screaming whenever I didn't acknowledge her whining. Kat sat pretty quietly-I was thankful for that.

We make it over to Hazelwood West and I have NO idea where to go. I'm lucky I knew how to get there to begin with! I wound up going in the right door and could see other small children and their parents milling about, so I figured that I had to be close to the right spot. Still, I don't like new settings and not knowing what to do or where to go. Luckily Abbey's speech therapist was waiting outside and it was a painless process getting her to the right room. The kids had already finished their homework so I couldn't force them to sit there quietly for the next 30 minutes. And Kaleb thought it would be funny to slide around on the floor! The first time he did it, I told him to stop. The second time I am pretty sure he did it just to irritate me. Livvy kept running around screaming. Finally I just told them to all go sit on a bench and be quiet for 5 minutes. This worked...sort of. As well as it can work I suppose. Then I let them get up and they started being crazy all over again! Big surprise. Finally Abbey finishes and we head back out to go home. Kaleb and Abbey thought it would be great to just be mean to each other. Kaleb was saying mean things to Abbey, which in turn made Abbey whine and tattle, and then Abbey kicked Kaleb which of course made him whine and tattle. I finally broke down. I was about 5 minutes from home and I'd had enough. Thank God I just burst into tears instead of screaming at them. But then Katherine is sitting there trying to hold my hand and asking me why I am crying and all I can do is just keep driving and get us home.

We made it home. Kaleb and Katherine took themselves to Kaleb's room and actually managed to play nicely together. I sent Livvy and Abbey downstairs to watch TV. Kris had gone to the store and wasn't home yet. So I just sat down in my chair with a blanket and turned my phone back on to listen to my book and zone out. Kris came home and I must not have looked great because he seemed overly concerned about my demeanor. We made it through dinner with only a little fighting and now thankfully they have all gotten jammies on and gone downstairs. It's pretty quiet for the moment. We'll do devotions in about 20 minutes, put them in bed, and I am hoping that I am in bed not far behind them!

I really wish this kind of stuff didn't bother me. I wish that I could tune it out and not be annoyed by the whining and bickering. I haven't quite learned how though. I'm sure it has a lot to do with God and very little to do with me though.

On a different note, we are going to a Cardinals game on Wednesday. I don't really care about baseball...at all. Baseball is apparently very 'big' in St. Louis. I grew up with basketball being the 'thing' in Indiana. I like basketball. Baseball though has never really interested me. BUT, last year ICS (the company I work for) started a tradition I guess you could say where in the fall we go to a Cardinals game. Wednesday is that day. I'll work from the office downtown and then we'll go to the game in the afternoon. It will be fun interacting with the office staff I think, even though I don't care for baseball. Plus, who can resist ball park food, especially when it's paid for by the company! ;-)

Tomorrow Olivia turns four...it's so hard to believe that four years have passed. Do you realize that this is the first time we have gone this long without a baby? We were married for a year and a half before Katherine was born. Kaleb came 10 1/2 months later, Abbey 13 months later, and then we had a three year break before Olivia was born. And now, it seems so strange that four years have gone by and we have no little one in the house anymore. How quickly time goes by.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Finally, an answer

Well, we have finally gotten a diagnosis for my neck pain. It appears that I have 2 degenerated discs between the 5th & 6th and 6th & 7th vertebrae. The good news is that it is, according to the Neurosurgeon, 'mild' and does not REQUIRE surgery at this time. He referred me to a pain management center. No pain pill has been effective and physical therapy (I think) made the pain worse. So this is the next step. I don't know what they will decide to do; the surgeon mentioned Cortisone shots. I've heard both good and bad things about this. The surgeon said that if the pain isn't better with the pain management, then I can go back to him and we can discuss what surgery would entail. The bad news is that the first available appointment with the pain management center wasn't until September 29th. So, two more weeks to suffer through until I can meet with someone who can HOPEFULLY offer me some relief.

It does feel good to know that there is an answer for the pain I've been experiencing. I somehow feel like I have accomplished something just in knowing what is wrong with me. I really hope that the pain management works. I can't think about the implications of surgery with regards to my family and work without getting anxious, and because I have no idea if it will ever be necessary, there's really no point in thinking about it. It's hard not to think about the what ifs though. For now, I will just continue to wait until I can get in to the pain management center and try not to think about what will happen if this doesn't provide relief.

I think that Kris is trying to get the swine flu. He's had a cold coming on for days and today went back home after dropping the kids at school, downed some Nyquil and went back to bed. I hope he is feeling better when I get home. So far I've tolerated it pretty well...meaning there have only been two or three occasions when I have thrown him the "you'd better not get sick!" look. Poor Kris.

Abbey starts speech therapy today. Mondays and Wednesdays will be a bit crazy. Go into work early, work until 3:30 w/o a lunch break, go pick all four kids up from Grace, drive everyone over to Hazelwood West and get there by 4:30pm. Then I will have to find a spot to sit with the other three kids, keep Livvy entertained and help Kat and Kaleb finish their homework. Then it's home we go to make dinner and get the kids in bed. The next 6 Tuesday nights Kris has finance meetings at church-he's barely even going to be home tomorrow for Livvy's birthday because it's the first budget meeting. Kaleb has soccer practice on Tuesdays now. Kat has Brownies every other Thursday. Kaleb has soccer games every Saturday until the middle of November. This is the year that we take on a million activities. Oh well...it had to start sometime. I'm surprised we were able to put it off this long! We are waiting until next semester to start Abbey in anything. We'll swap out Kaleb's soccer for Abbey to do ballet and Kat will continue Brownies. We just can't keep up with all four of them doing something, not to mention all the money involved!

Time to get back to work!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I have...

...no idea what shape this is going to take tonight.

Currently I have myself all set up to sit back, relax (ha ha-is that possible???), and watch Rent. And yet, to spite me, the computer (the one we call our TV and upon which I want to watch said movie) has decided that it does not want to work. Kris asked me what I had done to it. Nothing I told him. And then I called it stupid. And he said that because I was calling it names that it was 'misbehaving'. I told him that I had not called it ANY names before it started messing up.

You see, we have this same problem with our boxy red van that I hate. That stupid van has been good to us over the last 7 years. It really has. We have been blessed - after way too many repairs and the fact that it was totalled when we were rearended a couple of years ago, it's still chugging along. So, I can see why the van is disrespectful to me. I am disrespectful to it. Disrespect breeds disrespect. But I swear to you, I did NOTHING to provoke the TV OR COMPUTER. Nothing at all! And yet here I sit, finding my anger rising up once again today because the computer is frozen.

So here I am, staring at a blank computer/TV monitor, listening to the children (who are supposed to be sleeping) whisper and play. It's very relaxing. I mean, just imagine it. You wish YOU were here in my place, don't you? I had a horrible headache by the time I came home from work, made dinner (it was delicious of course!), took a shower in the hopes of relaxing and relieving some pain in my head only to be disrupted by Abbey coming and saying "Mommy is that you?" And I said "Yes. Who else would it be?" And she said "Daddy." And I said "Didn't Daddy just do devotions with you?" And she said "Yes." And that was the end of that conversation. And then, as if we were on the phone or something, Olivia comes in and peeks her little face behind the shower curtain and says "Hi Mommy. It's me Olivia."

Kris wrestled the children in to bed for me, I gave them hugs and kisses and then I made sure I had everything I needed to sit here without having to move for the next two hours. Phone? Check. Heating pad? Check. BioFreeze? Check. Remote Control? Check. Mouse? Check. Medicine? Check. All I was asking for was TWO hours. Kris then takes the mouse (which I had on the arm of my chair) and said he needed to do something. So he showed me the new Switchfoot live video "Mess of Me" (which was good) and then he put the mouse down on the couch. And I said to him "Give me that. Unlike you, I don't set the mouse down in random places so that every thirty minutes when I need it I have to get up and look for it. I have everything where I need it so that I don't have to move for the next few hours." He laughed, because I'm funny (and because time and time again he does this exact thing!) and then put the mouse on the end table, out of my reach. So I said, "I can't reach that. I want it here. Where I had it. On my chair." He gave me the mouse back.

He kissed me goodbye-because he is going to work tonight until probably 3am (but at least he is getting paid for this as it is an outside project!), and started to walk out the door. And right before he shut the door I said "Oh wait! Before you go, can you get me a water bottle." He grins at me and I tell him that the water bottle was "all I need*" (*if you haven't seen The Jerk with Steve Martin you're missing out)! He gives me my water bottle, and I'm all set.

The movie begins. The opening song comes on and just as the music starts to swell to an especially intense part of the song, the computer freezes. So I sat here, clicking the mouse. It did nothing. Then I got that stupid message that says the program is not responding, blah blah blah. I told it to close. It did not. I waited. I pulled up the task manager and tried to close it that way. I waited. It finally closed. So then I thought, well obviously media center isn't working right. So I went to "My Computer" and notice that it is taking FOREVER (ok more like 2 minutes) to open. It opens. I double-click on Rent. I waited. It froze. So I called Kris and I told him that the stupid computer was frozen and he asks me what I did to provoke it! I explained it to him and he agreed that it did not appear that I had provoked it in any way. He told me to restart the computer and try to run the movie through media center. So I tried to restart the computer. I waited. FINALLY...instead of restarting, it just turned itself off.

Now, normally this wouldn't be the end of the world. But as I mentioned before, I had myself all prepared to NOT have to get up again. But in order to turn the computer back on, now I have to get up. And I can't just turn it on and sit back down. I have to wait. Because I have to enter a password. The wireless keyboard isn't working (or believe me I would have it within arm's reach!) so I will have to type in the password on a regular keyboard that is lying on the entertainment center-heaven forbid!

And instead of doing all that, somehow this all came spilling out! It's time now to post this though and try round two of "Let's annoy the crap out of Jamie tonight." Oh look, there is yet another child up out of bed with some excuse! And I'm pretty sure I just heard a drawer fall out of its dresser and on to the ground. Lovely. Oh no, wait-here come Abbey and Katherine. Abbey is hurt and Katherine has her arm around her, guiding her and explaining to me that Abbey was climbing up in her (Katherine) bed to tell her something and when she climbed back down she fell and hurt her hand and her elbow. Look, I'm all about making my kids feel better when they are hurt. But I have a REALLY hard time being compassionate when they hurt themselves because they were doing something they never should have been doing to begin with. All is better now though and the children (for now) are all back in their beds.

Hey Kris thanks for going to work tonight. Remember how you said "I'm going to make some money" and I jokingly said "I'm going to spend it?" Well, I think that perhaps maybe it wasn't so much of a joke after all.

And just in case you haven't put all the pieces together, and cannot see it clearly spelled out in the writing above, I am a very impatient person.

Monday, September 7, 2009

They come in threes...

They say that bad things come in threes.

For me, there are three 'bad' things about the kids being at Grace.

#1. 6am. I hate it. It hates me. 6am makes me angry. If I get up at 6am, I just wake up angry. 6:10 or 6:15, not so much. 6am though is my nemesis right now.

#2. School lunches. The #1 thing I LOVED about the kids being in public school was the $1.50 school lunches. $20 a paycheck and there were no worries. Kids had lunch everyday and I didn't have to do a thing. It was, stupid as it may sound, my favorite thing about the kids going to public school last year. THAT and the free breakfast! Paired together, it made the mornings much easier. Now, we have to send lunches with the kids every day. I know that I sound awful. But I REALLY HATE making school lunches. This is another one of those scenarios where you think "Why did I have more than one child?"

Katherine doesn't really care for peanut butter and jelly. She will eat it, but she prefers turkey. Not just turkey and bread. Turkey with miracle whip and lettuce. No cheese. Just lettuce, miracle whip and turkey (and bread of course). No cheese.

Kaleb also will eat peanut butter and jelly, but he prefers turkey with cheese and miracle whip. No lettuce.

Abbey is easier, in that she will ONLY eat peanut butter and jelly. Every day.

Olivia, as most of you know, cannot eat peanut butter, as she is allergic. So, Olivia only has jelly on her sandwiches. She prefers apricot jelly, but we only have grape and strawberry right now, so she will just have to 'deal'. Oh and speaking of Olivia's allergy to peanut butter, I've been building a theory. Her initial allergy test showed no allergy to nuts of any kind, mold or grass or trees. But when she started breaking out in hives after having ranch dressing, I decided to look at the common ingredients. Soy bean oil. That is the ONLY common ingredient. This was further confirmed for me the other night when she broke out in hives after eating Pringles and a hot dog. Kris said he's never noticed her break out when she has the cheese flavored pringles. The kind I gave her were sour cream and onion. (I know this is getting boring now-I'm almost done with this part). When I looked at the ingredients, the Cheese ones MAY contain soy or peanuts. But the sour cream and onion actually contain soy bean oil. So my theory is that she is only allergic to soy bean oil. I have a prescription for another allergy test that will hopefully confirm my suspicions.

#3. Driving. The kids took the bus last year. It was a matter of Kris sending them off to school. Granted, the girls' hair never got brushed, but other than that, it affected me very little. Most days I left for work before they were ever up. And then my drive to work was MY time. I listened to my books and had a really nice drive to and from work. Now, I drive the kids to school. And this also upsets me. I'm not mad at them...I'm mad at having to drive them to school. It really makes no sense. Besides the fact that I am just crazy. I'm having a hard time adjusting to having four LOUD children in the car with me every day. To ease some of that, Kris has offered to take the kids to school for me on Tues/Thurs. Dean brings them home these days (except for the days Kaleb and Kat have soccer or Girl Scouts). Those days I pick up whichever child is still at school at 5pm. All in all, it is getting better.

But those are the three things that are on my "I hate" list right now. And yes I do realize that this makes me seem incredibly selfish. Well, here's the truth: I am. :)

Good things about the kids being at Grace-THEY ARE AT GRACE! It's been such a blessing to have them back there. No more school bus. No more worries (well some but not as bad) about Kaleb getting picked on. No worries about Kaleb and Katherine not being able to learn at the capacity that they need to be learning at. It's hard that Abbey isn't getting her therapy right there in school, but starting next week I will drive her to speech/occupational therapy two days a week. And the other great benefit is that all four kids are in the SAME place. For the first time...ever. All in all it is a wonderful blessing to have them back there.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

GLEE

I love music. I always have. Music speaks to me. It moves me. Sometimes it makes me happy. Sometimes it makes me sad. Sometimes it takes me back to my childhood. I can never listen to Meat Loaf "Objects in the Rearview Mirror" without the memory of my sister and I driving through Painted Hills with the top down on our dad's Lebaron Convertible!

Once, in college, I sang in a group, for a whole year. It was a big deal for me. I had NO confidence at all, especially when it came to singing. My sister has a beautiful voice. Truly amazing. And she plays the piano. The 'gift' fell to her. However, I am fortunate enough that I can carry a tune, and I LOVE to sing harmony. Sadly I am not talented enough to hear it like some people-for me, like with everything else I've ever done, I've had to work really hard. Except for, it would seem, getting pregnant-seemed to do that pretty easily! But I digress...

I was SO nervous before each perfomance that year in college. We had to sing. In front of people. There were even a couple of songs that I had to sing solo on. Those terrified me. But the more I practiced, the more comfortable I became. I never did gain confidence, so much as I lost a little fear. I had to suck it up and just do it. Because half of my room and board was riding on it! Honestly, while I love singing and music, I tried out because I wanted to save my parents some money on tuition and I hoped it would help me build some confidence. And while I could be wrong, I do believe that they let me in more because they needed warm bodies (or voices in my case), rather than basing it on pure talent. Because as I mentioned above, it is my sister, and not me with a strong voice.

All of that to share this new series with you. It starts next week. This is the director's cut series premiere. This show makes me so excited about music! It gives me chills when they sing at the end - and really leaves me longing to be a part of something like that. Now if I could just get over the intense fear I have of other people hearing me sing!! Anyway, if you have about 45 minutes, check this out. And then, start watching it next week when it begins. It's called "Glee".

Kaleb's Sleep Over

Kaleb turned 8 on Sunday. We let him have a sleep over last Friday night to celebrate. We let him invite 6 boys-they ALL showed up! It was ok though. Kris and the boys played the Wii for a while, and then they went downstairs and hung out in the basement. It seemed like everyone had a really good time, and we all survived. Apparently, one of the boys had a REALLY good time! Here is a note that he wrote to Kaleb:


In case you can't read it, or don't want to try, here is what it says (exact spelling and all):

"Dear Kaleb,
Thank you inviting me to the sleep over it was great a whole night without my sister imagine not seeing your sister for one whole night. Hay how about you have another one next year it will be great. Your house rocks!"

How great is that? My son is awesome to his friends! This makes my heart truly happy.

The United States Postal Service

Have you ever received a piece of mail that is damaged? And you sit there staring at it, wondering if someone tried to open it, or if it just got stuck in some sort of mail sorting machine? I have. Just recently. Kris brought the mail in, and this is what he found:



Now what I find the most interesting is the packaging they had our mail in:

Kids and their prayers

One of my favorite times spent with the kids is listening to them pray. It's humbling really. Sometimes they say really cute things. Sometimes really profound things. And other times it just makes you feel like the worst parent ever! Not really...but it truly can be humbling. It's never a good thing when your kids pray (on an almost daily basis) that mommy and daddy won't be cranky. That was Abbey's prayer tonight. That mommy wouldn't be cranky in the morning. That daddy wouldn't be cranky in morning. That Katherine wouldn't be cranky in the morning. That Livvy wouldn't be cranky in the morning. That Kaleb wouldn't be cranky in the morning. That Abbey wouldn't be cranky in the morning.

I love when Abbey says things like "God I love you more than anyone else. Except maybe me. I love you and me the best. And then Uncle Brandon."

Livvy usually prays for Dora. Random nothingness, in which she throws Dora in. We've tried to talk to her about leaving Dora out and putting Jesus in. So now she just prays about Dora AND Jesus!

Kaleb and Katherine are pretty cool to listen to. They really just talk to God, like they're talking to a friend. Sincere, child-like (of course because they ARE children). I LOVE it. It was important to us from the start to teach them that they can just talk to God, about whatever is on their heart. They pray for their friends now, or their friend's family members who are sick. It's just become this natural conversation and it makes me proud as a parent to hear them talk to God this way.

Sprint...I'm impressed

My loyal following of readings know that I HATE Sprint (and Charter, but this is only about Sprint). Recently, I went from "hating Sprint" to just "disliking Sprint". Tonight, and I hesitate to say this because it may be a bit premature, I think I have now gone from "disliking Sprint" to "almost liking Sprint". Let me tell you why, because I know you are DYING to know!

Let me start out by saying that I really like my Samsung Instinct. Especially the ability to use it as a modem and the GPS. I don't really want to give that up. BUT, I hate that Audible.com doesn't have a version of their player available for the Instinct, and it is imperative that I be able to listen to my audio books! Imperative!! So, I decided that I would switch back to my Treo 700wx for a while and take advantage of the features the phone has to offer. So, now I am trying to get everything synched up and switched over. Kris told me a while ago that he was able to chat with a Sprint representative and get some sort of problem resolved.

He suggest that I give it a try, and I did. And now, after a 5 minute chat conversation, I have switched my phone plan back to my Treo 700wx! It was SO easy. And I was assured that if I chose to switch back to my Instinct in a month (which I no doubt will primarily for the GPS and the PAM (phone as modem) that there would be no problems, and I could do it by chatting. And considering that I hate to talk on the phone unless I absolutely have to, this was PERFECT!

Honestly the ONLY reason I switched back to my Treo 700wx was to get Audible working on it again. For some reason it became 'deactivated' and I couldn't use it, nor could I get it activated without being able to get online with the phone. So I switched it over and am getting Audible working again. Who knows where we'll go from here. Actually, I want a different phone, but am going to be patient. Because I have to, and because Kris won't let me get another phone for a while after the last dramatic temper tantrum I threw when I wanted him to buy me the Instinct.

BUT...when it is time for a new phone (unless a better one has come out) I am thinking I might fall in love with the HTC Hero Android phone! It's Kris' fault. He's taunting me again. I know I can't get one now. But when I CAN, I will either get this phone OR whatever phone has come out that's better, since it will be a year and a half before I can upgrade! I really like Android. It is a Google operating system and I am going to NEED this operating system!


Friday, August 28, 2009

Writing

I feel the urge to write. I don't know what is on my mind to say. This happens frequently. I want to write, and I just start. Tonight though, while I want to write, it doesn't come easily to me. I feel like there is something inside of me, needing to be said, wanting to escape and yet it can't. So I will just go with some boring, random nothingness instead.

I've been listening to a very interesting book. It's called "The Shape of Mercy" by Susan Meissner I beleive. I just grabbed it from the library. The back of it sounded interesting and so I checked it out. It turns out that it is actually a very good book. Extremely well written, and the reader is excellent. I only have about 45 minutes left and I am eager to see how it will end. It has really gotten me interested in doing some research on the Salem Witch Trials. For whatever reason, I am fascinated by things like the Salem Witch Trials. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I think there's something wrong with me!

I was looking for something specific I wrote earlier. I thought I had written it a year or so ago. I had to go back through THREE years of blogs on Myspace to find the one I was looking for. In doing that, I realized that I have written A LOT in the last 3-4 years. Someday I'll go through and print everything. It would be interesting to see what all is in there-weed out the boring, mindless stuff and compile the funny stories about the kids, or the odd things I've seen and heard. I am sure there's a book in there somewhere! Now, whether anyone would read it or not is another story! It's really neat though to look back through some of that stuff-even better to come across some funny things the kids have said or done that I completely forgot about!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

My daughter's mind

This is one of those stories I just couldn't make up if I tried.

Katherine (she's 8) has a homework assignment she is working on. They are talking about plants and she had to come up with a list of items we use from day to day that are made from plants.

She came up with her list and wrote them down. Now comes the time to draw the pictures of these items. Now, when I first read her list, I admit-I skimmed right over the part where she wrote medicine. I SAW that she wrote medicine, but it didn't stand out to me in any way. Why would it?

So she brings her paper over to me and mumbled something about ' that medicine you take (and then some words I couldn't really understand)'. I said "What?" She started to rephrase it and said "Oh yeah. How do you spell Xanax?"

Nice. I love that girl! Of course, I told her how to spell it. She had drawn a small medicine bottle on her paper (obviously to represent 'medicine' in her list) and she even made a label for it and wanted to write Xanax on the label. She assured me that it was small enough no one would really see it anyway.

I found the whole thing quite amusing, so I had to share. We don't hide things here in the Bishop household...obviously. And now that I think back, she probably asked "What's that medicine you take that makes you not get angry?"

Friday, August 21, 2009

New Routines = Cranky Mommy

I had gotten so far distanced from the routine of dropping kids at school and picking them up that I forgot that it was the one thing I absolutely HATED about having my kids at Grace. One of my least favorite places to be with my kids is cooped up in a vehicle. And I was SO glad when we decided to put the kids in public school last year, for two reasons. Not having to take them and Abbey getting all of her therapy right there during the school day.

Over the last year (this past summer included), I had really begun to enjoy driving back and forth to work. I have my books to listen to and my drive to work is, in a way, me time. I got used to that time. I got used to it so much that when I go places now, and someone is with me, I feel like they are 'intruding' on my time. It's not just the kids either-it's any time that I am in my Explorer driving somewhere with someone. Don't get me wrong-I enjoy the conversation but I hadn't realized how much I NEEDED that driving time alone! It doesn't bother me when we're in the van and Kris is driving. I have somehow though come to believe that when I am in the Explorer, by myself, listening to my books, that this is a refuge for me.

So you can imagine the shock to my system this week when I started driving four rambunctious children back and forth to school. It wasn't just that I couldn't listen to my book. It's that my morning now starts out with fighting. The kids fight. They whine. They play in a much crazier fashion than what is appropriate in a small, enclosed space. And over the last two days I have come to realize that perhaps this is why I am feeling more edgy and anxious this week and having a harder time with the general child-rearing. This week has brought back all the negative feelings I had before when the kids were at Grace. I'm conflicted because I am SO thrilled and thankful that they are able to go back to Grace. What bothers me is the physical act of driving them to school and then picking them up. There hasn't been a single day this week (except Tuesday) that was free of the normal bickering and chaos in the car. And the only reason Tuesday was free of that was because Kris dropped the kids off for me and Dean brought them home. I have agreed, with some hesitation, to let Dean pick the kids up and take them to the house on Tuesdays and Thursdays-Kris works from home these days and so he is already there when Dean drops them off.

I hope that this is a quick adjustment for me because I'm really struggling to adjust to this new change in my routine.

But I am realizing more and more that change is difficult for me. I don't remember having such a hard time being flexible-though I know I've struggled with it off and on but it seems that lately it's gotten much worse. So this week has been REALLY hard. Throw in the normal busy-ness of life and crazy times at work and I feel like I'm barely hanging on some days. This will definitely take some getting used to!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Things I Just Don't Understand

http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/news/stories.nsf/stcharles/story/3B58782910E1622186257618000D05B1?OpenDocument#tp_newCommentAnchor

A 9 year old boy was killed after being hit by a car. The boy had gotten out of the car, apparently crossed the road to save a duck, and was then struck and killed by an 18 year old girl. I heard about this story about 15 minutes ago and I can't get it off my mind.

Let me go back and say that when my cousin's wife was shot, people were commenting left and right on the articles that were written. In a senseless tragedy like she was involved in, people were saying negative things, placing blame on God and any other shred of anything they could. There were people expressing their sympathies, promising prayer, and many other positive things. But there will still those handful of people who somehow felt like THEIR opinion needed to be heard. To those people, I say "WRITE A BLOG!" No one cares, especially people you don't know, people that are grieving over one loss or another. So if you really want to 'share' you opinion, create a blog, like I did. Then, if people WANT to read it, they can CHOOSE to and not be exposed to such negativity. I don't really care if people read this or not (unless it's Kris-I expect him to read it!). I write for me. And today I can't focus until I get this off my chest. And if someone doesn't like what I have to say, well that's not my problem. I'm not posting horrible comments in some public forum blaming God and blaming other people for something that could or could not have been avoided. I'm writing MY opinion, on MY blog, that you are reading of your own accord (again unless you're Kris-he has to read this whether he wants to or not!).

So, back to the story about this little boy. I read the article and immediately began to imagine what the mother of the boy must be going through; how she must be blaming herself for choosing to let her son try to help the duck. And it saddens me. Did she make a poor decision? Who are any of us to lay blame on her? We don't know the exact scenario-only what the media puts out. There could have been so many factors involved in this situation that no one but God and the mother and boy knew. For someone to say she was an irresponsbile parent (and plenty of idiots have been saying this) is just stupid. Raise your hand if you have never, EVER made a stupid decision as a parent. I don't see any hands. THANK GOD that we have yet to be faced with having made a decision that may have cost our child their life. And ultimately, in this particular situation, we don't know what thoughts went through this mother's head. We don't know what went on in the moments that led up to this awful tragedy. So there is NO ONE out there who has any right to point fingers and blame this mother. Whether she made a poor decision or not (which again we can't know!), her 9 year old son is dead! She can never, ever take that back. She can't go back back and change it. She can't set the clock back and make a different choice. She has to now live the rest of her life wrestling with what I can only guess is an exceedingly great amount of blame and guilt. Because the truth is, even if there was NOTHING she could do to prevent it, she will blame herself. She will think there had to be something she could have done different-so if you feel the need to stand up and condemn here-I can guarantee you she is condemning herself already with much more intensity than you ever will. She will carry guilt with her that only God can take away. She will never be the same. I've never lost a young child but even I can see that the mother's life is forever changed by this.

Additionally, there are people throwing blame around on the 18 year old girl that was driving. The accident has been ruled just that-an accident. Her view, it seems, was blocked. Before she could see the boy and react, it was too late. How many of you have EVER been driving and almost caused an accident for one reason or another? I have a hard time believing that there is anyone out there who has never acted foolishly while driving. People sit around and judge these drivers who are involved in accidents that cause death everyday. Who are any of us to look at someone else's awful situation and think "Well, I would never do anything so stupid!"? The truth is, yes you would. You probably already have. Unlike this situation, though, we have been 'lucky' (though I prefer the word blessed). We haven't had to face this type of horror. And until you have been in that situation, you are an idiot if you think you can sit back and say "Well it was the mom's fault" or "The girl should have paid more attention" or (and this is my favorite) "There MUST not be a God because if there were, He would NEVER let something like this happen."

I went through this same emotional uproar when I learned about the accident Mercy Me was involved in where a young woman was driving and turned into their tour bus, killing two passengers in her car, as well as her unborn baby. You would not believe the horrible things people were saying about this young girl that was driving. How can people have so little compassion that they find more comfort in criticizing others for something that very well could have happened to them instead of grieving that these types of things happen? I won't even go into the details about what this teenage driver had to wake up to - two friends killed and her baby (who was due to be born in 5 weeks) delivered stillborn at the hospital. Can people not take a minute and step down from the high pedastal they put themselves on and imagine if this were them? Or if this were their daughter? Or their best friend? Or their sister?

People can be so callous and so mean. In times of tragedy, how is it that there are people out there who behave this way? Are they not human? Have they never done anything wrong? Have they never been 'this close' to being in an accident, to rear-ending someone? No one is perfect. There is not a single person who can claim that this type of thing would never happen to them. Because the truth is, that's impossible to know. Contrary to popular belief, we are not in control of our lives. Yes, to some extent we are. But you can't prevent your own death. You can't ensure that tragedy will never strike you.

But then what do you do with God? How do you handle that aspect of tragedy? What I find most interesting is that people who claim that they do not believe in God use tragedy as an excuse to 'prove' that there is no God, or that there is a God and he just doesn't care. How this makes sense in people's mind I just cannot fathom. Anyone who believes in God and knows Jesus as a close, personal friend knows that it is not that God causes tragedy (unless you hold to a certain religious view that I do not hold to that is along the lines of predestination). There are of course people who do believe that everything we do God planned. And that He chooses for things to be a certain way. I do not believe this. I don't believe that if your child dies in the womb or after birth, God somehow ordained that. Did he prevent it from happening? No. But I don't think that he causes these things. I believe that God loves me. I believe that Jesus died to save me from a life of sin and death. I believe that bad things happen to good and bad people alike. I believe that man (people/the world) is fallen and sinful, and has been from the start. Of course it wasn't what God wanted. It wasn't what he envisioned. Think about it as a parent, if you have children. Even when they are young, we have plans and dreams for our children. On a day to day basis we have certain expectations that we want to see met. Do our children get it right all of the time? NO. They barely get it right 75% of the time! Do we love them any less? Of course not! Can we 'control' ultimately their behavior and choices? No. The same is true with God. It really IS that simple. He is our Father and he may want us to do something a certain way, but he leaves the choice in our hands. He LETS us, as we are learning to walk, to stumble and fall. He doesn't yell at us and say "Get up off the floor you idiot-that's not what I told you to do." No, he picks us up, dusts us off and then encourages us try again. And we fail. Over and over again. And each time, he picks us up and let's us give it another go.

So when tragedy strikes, there is this great need to 'blame' someone. I have never understood this, but neither had I been able to really make sense of it or explain it either. Do you know why there is really no answer as to why bad things happen? Why there are senseless deaths everyday? Why there are natural disasters that kills thousands of people? Because bad stuff just happens. We don't live in a perfect world, some sort of reality where we can expect to never have anything bad happen to us. Who ever gave anyone that idea?? Who are we to think we deserve that? Why would we presume that we will never have to face hard times? Christian or not, bad things are going to happen in your life. They will show themselves in many different forms. No, you may not ever have to bury one of your children. You may not lose a parent. You may not lose an arm or a leg in some freak accident. Your home may not ever be demolished by a tornado. But bad things will happen. I never had an answer to how God could 'let' such awful things happen, if he is such a great and loving God. And then, a few years ago, my friend Mary told me something I will never forget. I think about it everytime something tragic happens. You know what she told me? She told me that yes, God allows some things to happen. We will never know if what happens is something God chose to allow or if it was just life. Simply put, she said "Sometimes LIFE happens." Think about it. You can't go through your life thinking that you are immune to the sufferings that surround us. Consider yourself BLESSED and be thankful if you don't ever have to endure some of the horrible things that happen around us every day. Don't sit around and judge others and presume that you are better than the 18 year old driver who unfortunately was responsible for the death of two friends and her unborn child.

Closer to home for me, don't sit around and think for a second that YOU would never be that driver not paying close enough attention who plows into the back of a van, killing a young mother on her way to Six Flags with her two youngest sons and her brother and sister, all who were killed in one horrible moment. Trust me. You don't EVER want to bear that kind of weight for the rest of your life, whether you are a family member, friend, OR yes I am going to say it, the driver of the dump truck that caused the accident. You are not immune to it. I know the family who lost their 5 loved ones on July 29, 2005. I knew Angi and Josh and Jacob. I went to the funeral and I watched those 5 caskets be carried out of the church. I listened to Shawn say through tears about each one of them that they "gave the best hugs". It is not a moment I ever wish to relive, let alone one that I want to experience as the wife, or sister, or mother. And I just think that people shouldn't be so quick to say careless things and act as if things like this will never happen to them. Furthermore, I don't think anyone has any right to believe that they will never cause something like this. We are all human. We mess up. And when tragedy happens, some people only see and think "How could a loving God let this happen?"

What they don't see is what happens after this kind of tragedy, time and time again. How God surrounds those grieving with love and comfort that no human being can give. If you ever wonder how a man can go on after losing his wife and two of his sons, or a brother can cope with the loss of his mother and two younger brothers, the answer is God. That 'person' people are so quick to blame. It is in relying on God and the strength and peace that only HE can give that people are able to heal and move on with their lives. Shawn and Alex will never, ever forget what happened. They will always miss Angi and Josh and Jacob-nothing will take that away! But it is by God's grace and God's strength that they are able to wake up each day and get out of bed. Is it fair that tragedy happens? No. But when were we ever promised that life would be fair? When has life been perfect? Never! It is only in turning to God and allowing him to wrap his arms around you and hold you that you can ever endure such pain.