Monday, January 25, 2010

Take me to your leader...

(Tristan in Hawaii)

We have officially entered a new stage of parenting... Something I would like to call the "Martian stage". My children, (once relatively well mannered, with brains, ears, eyes and mouths that functioned in a semi-normal fashion) have been replaced by aliens from another planet...

I will subsequently refer to them as Martian #1 and Martian #2

A few examples from my weekend...

- Martian #1 is refusing to speak English. He created a "Tristan-ish" which is something like a cross between "Wookie" and Spanish. In order to get him to go to bed tonight, I had to "speak" to him in this foreign language. Apparently, since I am not fluent in this new found dialect, I must have told him to go hide in his closet and play with his Pokemon cards (which he did promptly) while the "Mother Ship" searched the house calling for him.

-Brushing teeth has turned into "see how much toothpaste you can waste without actually brushing your teeth" time. Gelatinous blobs of tooth cleanser can be found on various surfaces in the bathroom, including hair... Also, went in tonight to find a whole tube of brand new toothpaste squeezed into the toilet. When questioned about this endeavour, the Martians stated "The toothpaste needed to use the restroom, so we helped it out." Hummm, I can now be consoled when flushing the toilet that it is indeed "Crest Fresh". Minty.

(Note to all Crest users - Crest does not flush well and requires vigorous scrubbing to remove from porcelain)

-The Martians have forgotten English. This must be the only explanation as to why when they are spoken to, their eyes glaze over and they look as though they are trying to interpret scattered signals from the "Mother ship". Also must be reason as to why they don't do as they are told. (feeling compelled to find Mandarin Chinese dictionary to see if this helps communication)

-Martian #1, (as a result of not understanding English), was about to get a swat, and states clearly "Oh I love your swats Mom, they don't hurt at all!" (Epic fail...)

-Martian #2 has developed a love for all things ballerina. This results in pirouettes and plies throughout the house. Note to all dancers, performing a pirouette with an opened gallon of milk does not bode well for your kitchen floor. Please keep mop handy at all times.

-The Martians must need new memory cards as their old ones seem corrupted. There is a clear disconnect from their hard drive 5 minutes after downloading new and old information. This results in the "Mother ship" crossing wires and frying out after multiple repeated commands. If you smell something burning, don't be too worried, my nerves are fried.

-Taking the Martians to a public place has recently become hazardous to their health, and the health of others. In taking the said Martians to a restaurant, we entered the Bermuda triangle and all manners were lost at sea. In an attempt to retrieve the lost manners, we developed a game at mealtimes. Rules of game - each player receives small pile of coins. The coins are taken as bad manners are displayed. Player with most coins at end of dinner time wins. Martian #2 toots at table loudly (sounds like a machine gun)... Martian #1 responds with burst of laughter and resonant belching. All Martians lose. Mother Ship wins coins, but feels like she lost the battle.

-Martian #2 has decided she loathes sweet potatos. During dinner last night, she made many trips to the restroom. I discovered, after the fact, that she had been spitting all her sweet potatos into the toilet. She forgot to flush... Used evidence to implicate - Martian #2 denied everything and was sent to room.


Life isn't all bad on this new planet...

-Saturday the parental units took the Martians to the Imax to watch Sharks in 3D. Martian #1 held my hand the whole time so that I "wouldn't be scared and jump rope out of my skin. Don't worry Mom, I'll protect you".

-Martian #2 wrote me a letter telling me "You are the pretey mom of all the world and I think you are ass ume (Awesome). I am so happy when your my mom".

-I listened to Martian #1 pray for the people of Haiti during his personal prayer time. His prayer was "Please let them find their houses and family. If they lost their family, help them find new wives to make a new family... And thank you Lord for strong houses in America and In and Out".

-Martian #2 hugged me before bed and sniffed my neck. When I asked what she was doing, she replied - "I'm just "snifting" you. You smell like Christmas to me."

-Both Martians have spontanious abilities to melt their mother's heart, and are really sweet once you can remove yourself from the wackiness. (I wouldn't trade them for anything... not even normal "human beans") These are my martians and I LOVE and ADORE them with all my heart...

All jokes aside - I am realizing that just as I adjust to each new stage of parenting and become acclimated to the course we are on, a new one steps in.

This isn't just a growth process in my children's minds and bodies, it's in me too.

Parenting is hard - really hard (let this stand as good birth control to all those dating couples out there) I'm not even sure I'm ready for it... but I am putting all my chips in this high stakes game, and I plan to win.

I love those little Martians with all my heart and soul and even when my head is spinning and I'm on the edge of insanity, one featherlight touch of a small hand, a toothless smile, a crayola masterpiece smeared with honey and peanut butter brings me back into focus.

I am in it to win and to help them win in life.

Now if I can only get my eye to stop twitching....

Tristan and Madeleine - Fort Lauderdale Beach

Thursday, January 21, 2010

"It takes a long time to grow old friends"

My best friend of 15 years came to visit on Friday...

Jeni came in the midst of our Daniel Fast which meant no energy, bland food, and digestions issues. Thankfully her church was doing something similar so we laid on the couch talking of old times, giggling and thinking of doughnuts, coffee, cookies, and large hunks of gourmet chocolate... yummm... (will be done on Sunday and will have caffeine IV set up ASAP!)

It's amazing to see how much we have changed over the years and yet are still the same. We look essentially like those dorky "modeling" pictures we took once, though we have morphed somehow into "adults". But those little girls that met when we were 14/15 years old are still in there somewhere.

No one can make me laugh harder and snort milk through my nose like Jen...

Goodness, when I think of the things that we have been through and put our own selves through... Like the time I let Jeni wax my eyebrows (we were 16) and she waxed off half of my right brow. I walked around looking surprised for months and still suffer follicle damage (so my aesthetician says). What about putting toothpaste on our zits to "dry" them out, making homemade facials, creating "Code words" to speak to each other when the boys we liked were around, getting pulled over for reckless driving because we were jamming out and playing air guitar in the car, talking about our first kisses, replaying first kisses on a stuffed bear to make sure we got it right, dissing boys that broke the others heart, assuring the other that "No - you don't look fat! It's just your imagination!", being able to have brutal honesty (that from any other mouth would get slapped), praying for one another when we needed strength, falling asleep in a water bed after staying up half the night discussing life and its mysteries...

Or the clothes? The horrible clothes we allowed each other to wear! (Contrary to urban legend, it was never a good idea to wear sneakers with long floral skirts or plaid jumpers with buckles and large hip emphasizing pockets). Whew... We have redeemed ourselves as we have aged(hopefully) and manage to stay (mostly) in good taste.

I remember Jen picking me up one day, I had been sick for a week, and taking me out on a "date". Neither of us had any cash, so we scrounged around in couch cushions, car cup holders, and old purses and came up with a combined amount of $5.67 (Mostly nickels). Off we went, (me in a lime green velour sweater and leopard penny loafers *shudder*)... Somehow we managed for that small amount of cash to eat soup at Bennigans, flirt with the waiter named "Bo" who gave us free dessert (I give my lime green sweater the credit), put a $1.00 in the gas tank and get a coffee at the local gas station.

I giggle when I think about all the stupid things we did, and came up with... I'm so thankful to have an old friend that loves me, good, bad and ugly. Having an old friend is like wrapping yourself in a warm blanket, there is such a feeling of security there.

She was there for me when I made huge mistakes in life, and instead of condemnation? She loved me.
When my heart was broken for the umpteenth time? She loved me and handed me tissues while I did the "ugly cry" (with true friends you don't have to care how you look). When I got moved away? She came to visit me every 3 months and would listen to me in whatever mood I was in.
When my heart was broken? She loved me and believed in me, and called to sing me the stupid song we made up when we were teens.
When I was depressed? She loved me and once sent me an envelope full of fall leaves (my favorite season) and a bar of chocolate to cheer me up.

I am so thankful for true blue friends. Those that love you in the good seasons, the ugly seasons, and the stupid-decision seasons. Those are the people that count in life, and truly are blessings from God.

So very thankful for those "true blue friends" that are in my life. I realize as I get older, I have many acquaintances, and few friends. I am blessed to have those in my life that I do.

"A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though he knows that you are slightly cracked." -B.M

Friday, January 15, 2010

The name's Bond...

I am, quite possibly, still a child.

It's true!

I have magic in my imagination...

To the delight of my children, I can, in mere moments, see a whimsical picture or read a lively story and be whisked away in a land filled with fairy tales, hero's and heroines, funny moments and adventure.

Speaking of adventure...

I believe I am suffering from repressed adventure issues.

Since I became pregnant with my kids, and as I've gotten older, I have been unable to stomach watching suspenseful movies, reading or watching stressful stories in the news (call me out of touch) and watching all those cop/bad guys movies on t.v. I just hate that feeling of danger and suspense and not knowing what will happen to my favorite character, or the not knowing if the danger mentioned on the news will touch near my home.

I am afraid of heights, have small panic attacks when flying since 9/11, hate bugs, getting dirty, am somewhat of a hypochondriac and absolutely cannot stand the sight of blood.

My biggest weapons on a daily basis are a bottle of Lysol and bleach *Squirt*

and yet...

Every night, when I close my eyes for blessed sleep, this door of adventure bursts forth and plays itself out in my dreams.

Last night, I dreamt I was a spy for the USA, running for my life with a secret formula. The night before last, I was an archaeologist hunting hidden treasure in an underground cavern, and before that, I was leading my friends and family out of a labyrinth of disaster as the bad guys closed in.

In each dream, I have a "secret weapon" that I can pull out of my handbag - flame throwers, hand grenades, tear gas, brass knuckles...(once I even used a chopstick and a ruler to save the life of my best friend from a nefarious foe).

My reverie starts out simply (always), and sooner, rather than later, a situation for danger presents itself. And I, in my super heroine-ness, throw all caution to the wind and protect others in an elegant Rambo style.

I almost always wake from a dead sleep with my heart racing and ready to leap tall buildings in a single bound...

Strange isn't it?

I, who can't even watch "The Goonies" without a small stroke (even though I've seen it a billion times), saving the world most every night?

My husband calls me "Pollyanna"...

But tonight, you can call me Bond, Janelle Bond - Agent 0017.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Resolution vs Revolution

Ahh, New Years resolutions...

We all make them, we all plan to start new every year... and then...

We stop - we fail - we fall flat on our face with a mouth full of chocolate chip cookies.

Then comes the self berating, the kicking ourselves and another resolution to "keep all resolutions" is added to our ever growing list.

My biggest saying in January - "I'll start again next Monday..."

and I never do...

My resolution sits in a journal, on a dusty shelf (don't judge me, I bet your top shelf is dusty too - go check and let me know) and I forget about it.

I have, at minimum, 8 journals filled to the brim with thoughts, poems, hopes, dreams and new years resolutions.

I'm going to share some...

January 1997 - "Find a man who is a hard worker and loves unconditionally" (Check)
January 1997 - "Read the Bible daily" (Still working on this one...)
January 1999 - "Go to gym at least 3 times a week" (Ummm...)
January 1999 - "Have more good hair days than bad ones" (You tell me if that worked)
January 2001 - "Go camping twice this year" (I am so not meant to camp-out)
January 2001 - "Create a cleaning/cooking schedule for each day of the week" (HA!)
January 2003 - "Start French lessons" (French fry, french kiss, french braid...)
January 2005 - "Lose 5lbs" (still working on that)
January 2005 - "Read four classic works of fiction" (Mmm-kay...)
January 2007 - "Spend more quality time with my family" (a daily work)
January 2007 - "Be better at correspondence" (Still working on this one)
January 2009 - "Learn Spanish" (I am still a gringa)
January 2009 - "Give a Bible study" (Noel was my first ever study!)

So, in reading back, (I didn't post all of them... some were just downright ridiculous!) if I am basing my life's successes on my resolutions kept, well then, I am an Epic Fail!

If my success is based on losing that 5lbs, or learning a language, going camping or finally having an OCD schedule that some part of my deluded mind thinks I need to have, then I have failed miserably...

I love resolutions, don't get me wrong. New beginnings coupled with determination are important. But there's just more too it than that...

Today I was driving to get the kids from school and I had a moment.

Have you ever had those moments, almost like a flash forward, where you can just barely glimpse something in your mind/spirit? Something important impresses itself on your soul and in a fleeting moment you have extreme clarity and direction, and then, just like that, its gone?

Please don't tell me I am the only one this happens too...

Today, I had a thought - Resolution VS Revolution (No, I am not talking about the French Revolution).

When I got home, I looked up the definitions.

There are several, but the ones that caught me the most were these

Resolution - :the act of resolving or determining upon an action or course of action, method, procedure, etc. :A resolving to do something. :a formal expression of opinion, will, or intention .
Revolution - :a sudden, complete or marked change in something. :A sudden or momentous change in a situation.

There have been so many times I've looked my new years resolutions in the face and defiantly opened that bag of powdered doughnuts and sat down to watch "Bridget Jones Diary" to make myself feel better... Or waited till December 20th to crack open those classic works of fiction... or subscribed online to learn a few Spanish/French phrases... Once, I went to the gym with my friend Robin for 20 minutes (1st time that year) and went home and immediately ate a cookie...

My heart is willing, but my flesh is weak (especially when it comes to chocolate - blast it all!!)

One thing I have learned and am still working on - Live deliberately.

Life happens, junk happens, mistakes happen (you are looking at the queen of them), people happen (you know who you are!) and failure is inevitable at some point.

But, if I can look honestly in the face of my trials, mistakes, failures and the people around me, I can deliberately pick up the pieces and move forward.

I can have a "revolution" after I learn from my mistakes, but that only happens through deliberation, prayer, reflection and careful consideration in my course of action after I fail. And if I fail yet again, (you can bet on it) to keep holding to the same deliberate mindset.

Every morning, I am going to look at my husband and make my marriage deliberate. I am going to parent with purpose and careful calculation. I am going to live for God as a diligent Christian with a plan of action.

And if I fail (probably tomorrow)- I'm going to be honest with myself and try again, taking heed of yesterday and looking forward to tomorrow.

I'm tired of throwing my resolutions to the wind and saying "oh well, there's always next year".

I'm going to "revolt".

(I truly didn't know where this post was going, but I write for me... and you? Well, you're just passing through...)

Happy New Year people!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Dormitories, Parsonages and Decorating Schizophrenia

For the past 6 years my little family has been all over the USA. We originate from beautiful Colorado (I miss you!) and have lived in 3 different states in the past 6 years.

Nate, my hubby, really felt led to attend the same college in California as his Dad. After praying and seeing the open doors, we sold and left most everything in Colorado to allow my husband to pursue a degree at Christian Life College in Stockton.

I was not at all happy about this move in the beginning, though it turned out to be one of the best decisions we have ever made (albeit a tough one).

While my husband studied and went to school full time, I worked at the college and we lived on campus.

"Living on campus" was anything BUT! We lived in the BOYS dormitories!!! Our apartment (as it was so graciously called) was really three hollowed out dorm rooms with an exit door in every space, a bathroom in every space, void of dishwasher, oven, garbage disposal, washer and dryer... Wheww...

Thinking back, it was really more like "Camping on Campus". I cooked on a grill and hotplate and shared my washing machine with 60 boys (There were many times we would end up with someone's old boxer briefs...)

At any given moment, my day would be interrupted by farting, skating, wrestling, burping, etc. One particularly fond moment found me up in the face of a young man, who, at three am, decided it would be great to set up a skate ramp off his bed doing alley oop skate moves right over our heads... This did not bode well for him as I charged up those stairs like a raging bull in my bathrobe, hair all helter skelter and on a mission.

(Lord forgive me, I know not what I said...)

Like I said, living on campus was a real hoot at times and a total disaster other times (I often fluctuated between the two) It was fun to have young people surrounding us, and then again, not so fun to have young people surrounding us... (there goes that Schitzophrenia again)

My kids, suprisingly, loved it - they had their choice of over 150 playmates who were putty in their little chubby hands. Most of the college kids were considered "best fwends" to our kids. Tristan and Madeleine often recall and talk about various people who were an impact in their life even at such a young age.

One of the pitfalls of living on campus and working for the college was, we had very little money or space to decorate as I would have liked. But we made it homey, and discovered it doesn't matter what you have in your house as long as your family is there. I have many precious memories from Stockton and I wouldn't trade that time or those lessons learned, even if I didn't have a dishwasher for over 3 years... =)

After what seemed like an eternity, Nathan graduated with his bachelors degree and we then left California for a position in Fort Lauderdale Florida.

Our housing there was a tumbling down parsonage on the church property. We had a large pond in front of our home, complete with church bus parked right in line of my front windows... there were skads of mosquitoes, toads, tree frogs, ducks, lizards, turtles, water snakes, possums, raccoons, horses, ect...

(I have many a story about our son, the crocodile hunter, as he was known) Funny little man, I love him! Don't ask about the day I found a dead squashed frog in his jeans pockets as I was preparing to wash his clothes, or the colony of toads doing a chorus line in his sock drawer, or the iguana he chased into my house that hid under my dishwasher (Yes I finally got one!) for several hours... or... or...

You get the point!

By this time, I have adapted well to the salary of a minister and made that little place our cute home. It was decorated on next to nothing, and I was not at all ashamed to have people over. That little house was a haven in some dark times in our life.

So, now flash forward to here and now. We moved to AZ in October and have been so blessed living here. When we moved here, we moved into a darling new rental home (we are planning to purchase a home next year). My huband is now pursuing his Masters degree, and money still isn't growing on trees, but life is great and we are abundantly blessed.

I love that I have a real house, with real doors, dishwasher, no lizards (though I did get scorpions... Hummmmm.... I think I'd almost rather have lizards) and no college boys dirty underwear in my clean laundry.

For the first time in 6 years, I have a real house to decorate! Wow! I was given a budget by my hubby and off I went. And I fell flat on my face... Money in a girls pocket and she didn't know how to spend it!! (that could be a newspaper headline eh?)

I love so many different types of decor. I love traditional styling with it's tailored put together look (though that's really not my personality, YET!). I love the eclectic look, with many bold patterns, color mixes, and objects of interest (this is more my personality). I love French cottage, with a vintage feel, cozy settings, and casual elegance (This is a love of mine too).

So, after much thought and stress and planning, I put it all together. I renewed my love affair with Home Goods (Don't worry, Nate knows about this love interest)Pier One, Kirkland's, Hobby Lobby, Anthropologie, etc and went hog wild.

I just walked downstairs, stood on the stairwell, and just looked at the new personality of our house. It looks so, so, so... ME!

It's not completely finished yet, I still have to pull out the old sewing machine and add some interest to my drapes, and hang that vintage mirror on the wall, and straighten the flowers on the sideboard...

I'm home - and it feels great.

I truly believe that living without has made me more aware of what I have been given, and to truly appreciate the little things I am blessed with. I know without a doubt that all I have been given is from Him.

What are you thankful for?

(pictures to come when I figure out how to add them the way I want to... Help Amy!)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Letting Go

My kiddos started school today... No, this is not abnormal, but it is pretty huge for my little family. When we left Florida we decided to home school for the interim. We chose to enroll them in a wonderful charter school for various reasons, but mostly for the social/extra-curricular aspect.

Lets get back to today... You see, most every day I got to wake up and spend the day with them. Listening to laughter, games, reading aloud, fighting and sometimes the peaceful quiet of "time out".

Today I listened to an empty house, and I about lost it - it was too quiet... so, I went shopping.

While I was pulling up to our local World Market (more about that later) I pulled the keys from the ignition and sat behind the wheel, and cried. I cried about the fact that I wasn't going to have them at home anymore. I cried about the fact that they were getting older. But mostly I cried about the fact that my kids are getting to the point where I am going to have to let go and let them start making their own decisions.

When they were born, I could be assured that they would turn to me for everything. As they got older still, they needed me to hold their hand to help them learn their first steps. I picked out their clothes, I chose who they would hang out with, what they would read, what music they listened to, what video they watched, what they did with their spare time. I could use my mommy skillz to repair a damaged fort, or put together a hard puzzle. I could scare the monsters in the closet and all would be well with the world. In more recent times, I've learned what areas in their character needed building by letting them go on their own and watching from afar.

But most everything was in a controlled zone. I knew what I was doing, what they were doing.

Today, I sat in my car, like a crazy lady who needs Midol, with my head on my steering wheel and bawled. I don't know why really. It might be more about the fact that I feel like a fish out of water without them... Maybe the fact that now that my kids are in school - not with me every moment of the day - that I don't know who I am without them... What do I do now?

I've always said "When my kids are in school, I'll ________(fill in blank)..."

Humm, I'll what?

Go back to school? Go back to work? Train for a marathon? Read all those books on my nightstand? Learn how to build houses? Join a book club? Learn a second language? Polish my current language up? Do all those creative things I've been thinking about for years? Climb Mount Everest? Or maybe more realistically, fold that pile of clean clothes that is looking like Mount Everest?

This is a new stage in my life that I am going to have to learn... and just like my children, when they stood, holding tight to my fingers, for the first time on those chubby, wobbly, little legs and took their first steps, I'm going to have to hold to God's hand while I stand on my chubby legs (maybe I'll join the gym?) and learn this new phase of life.

When I wiped my tears and pulled myself together, I spent $ on our living room (more to come on that topic) and afterwards, drove to pick the kids up from school. The doors open, kids and backpacks and lunchboxes pile in, and the first words out of their mouth? "Mom! We missed you!" *Smile* and then a torrent of chattering and giggles filled me in on their exciting day. *Even bigger smile*

So tomorrow - I may still cry after I drop them off, and never stop praying for them throughout the day, and still feel a little sad when I am needed less and less, but I will always remember that "Mom! We missed you!"

In reading back over this post, I laughed to myself, as this is all happening in my world in the 1st and 2nd grade. What will I be like when they go to college??? =)

The best conversations with mothers always take place in silence, when only the heart speaks. ~Carrie Latet

(Promise my next post will be less melancholy...)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Unplugged and unstoppable

I can't believe its the year 2010!

Do you remember when the year 2000 sounded so futuristic and far away? I used to correlate the year 2000 with the Jetsons (complete with flying cars, Rosie the robot, and computerized dressing machines) thus far, all I've got is a laptop, an HD TV, an iPhone 3GS and a powerful vacuum.

2010 and life is...

well, life is just that - LIFE.

Looking back over the last year, I've discovered a lot about myself... 2009 was a hard hard year, full of changes, trials, leaps of faith, discovery and reaffirmation of God's love for me.

We started 2009 in an area of the world that didn't fit our family, and in a position of unhappiness and disillusionment. By the 9th month of the year, after much prayer, we took a giant leap of faith (amidst much adversity and chaos) and trusted God totally with our future. I don't think I've shed so many tears as I did during the letting go of control over my life. It's easy to say you trust God, but when you actually have to TRUST God... Geeze!

It blew me out of the water with the range of human emotion I experienced.
(Talk about emotional female...)

We took the plunge, and left what some called the "ultimate situation" and walked away with no prospects. The only tangible thing we could hold onto was our faith in something bigger than ourselves, and the promises from a God who loves us.

God opened a door to us 3 weeks later that has proven to be miraculous.

Amazingly, every step was ordered and every tear and bump in the road was a learning process...

~Lessons I learned in 2010~

Letting go is the only true way to get it all back.

Tears are momentary.

Fear is a cancer.

Negativity is un-necessary.

Faith is irreplaceable.

Laughter is precious.

True friends are hard to come by.

You will never be able to live up to anther's idea of what you should be.

Words are cheap, action is priceless.

Kind words are a salve to a burned heart.

Love is all you need.

Stuff is just stuff.

Judging others will limit your future.

If you listen closely, the voice of adversity is much quieter than the voice of hope.

Gods love is bigger than I ever thought possible.

Lessons learned... and many more to be learned in 2010.

Life keeps going on.

Good days, tough days, tears, laughter, failures, triumphs, bumps, bruises, band aids. Daily struggles and triumphs -it's all the spice of life and I wouldn't change it for the world.

My plan this year is to unplug from my selfish habits, thoughts, and beliefs and plug into Jesus and His way of life.

Un-plugged, un-stoppable, imperfect and hopeful.

(Oh yeah, and to eat healthier, be on time, and be more organized... =)

...."I am still not all I should be, but am focusing all my energies on this one thing: forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven." Phil 3:13-14 NLT