Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Bugs and Bumps....Big Ones

There are two random things on my mind right now that are unrelated to each other and really offer nothing of great value to you, my sweet readers. So here we go.

First, I have realized that everywhere we have ever lived or ever will live in the future has a bug of that region. The Bug o' Choice, if you will. When we were in Louisville for our first year of marriage, our apartment had silverfish. These are slithery, slimy little critters that usually were found chillin' (or chillaxin as the kids like to say these days) on our window sills in our bedroom. The didn't really run or walk, but more, well, slithered up the walls around the windows. They were fast like lightening, and if you did manage to catch one in a tissue, they kind of just turned to dust. Very weird. These may be the worst of what we have had to date...the ones that make me feel a shiver up my spine to think about. Of course, there was one time, and one time only, in that apartment that I ran across the mother of all spiders. I was making the bed and when I pulled the comforter up from the floor, a thing was waiting there for me. It had hair. And a bright red spot on its back. That's something poisonous and deadly, right? Yeah, that's what I thought. Killed it. With a very large mens size 13.

Then we moved to Muncie. Our rental house there, that was oh so quaint and I just absolutely loved it, had earwigs. I didn't know what they were when I saw them, but they looked dangerous. They have horn-like things that come out of their butt. They tended to catch some rays on our screened in back porch and make their way into the kitchen when they felt the urge to look for crumbs on the counter. I included a note to our landlord with our rent payment and drew a picture of one. When we moved to Marshall, one of them stowed away in our shower pouf. I told him, "Oh no, buddy. Not on my watch." And his stay in Marshall was very short-lived.

When we bought our house in Muncie, we had spiders. Spiders, Spiders, everywhere. They pretty much only came around in the fall, since we had a cornfield in our backyard that tends to bring out the fun things in life and drive them straight into your living room. These spiders were usually about the size of a quarter and were brown. We bought an industrial size can of spider cleaner at Lowes and sprayed directly on them. We showed no mercy.

Last summer we moved to Marshall. Aside from the very first morning that I woke up in our new bedroom and saw a slug on our floor, they have not really been a problem. Oh, but that was a fun thing to squint out that morning...no glasses on yet, and I am squinting, going " What is that gray...thing...on our carpet?" He actually got taken outside to safety, because as much as I LOVE dousing a slug in salt and watching them turn into a big pile of goo, I figured that would not be the best "Welcome Coopers" gift I could leave on our carpet for the parsonage committee. But seriously now, we have the crickets. They come only in the summer and I'm not sure exactly how they get in the house. My friend Elizabeth warned me last summer about camelback crickets and told me that I better find a guy with a size 24 shoe and a good throwing arm, because these suckers will be in your bedroom one minute and your living room the next before you have even grabbed the ammo. Well, I'm not sure how many of them have been of the camelback variety, but I do know that every time I pick up a load of laundry in my room, one jumps out of it, and there is one that has been sweetly serenading us to sleep for four nights now. Loudly. I appreciate his gesture, really, but he can move on down the road anytime now.

As for bumps, keep Abigail in your prayers. She took a spill at the BCM house in Muncie today and her forehead caught her fall on the cement steps outside. She immediately had a red and purple goose egg the size of a golf ball on her hairline and a pretty good little cut on her cheek. We went ahead and took a trip to the doctor (I know, first child syndrome) and had her checked for all signs of concussion. She was fine, especially once the nurse gave her a sucker for instant relief (her third one of the day, mind you). We went to the pharmacy at the doctor's office for some antibacterial ointment, some BandAids for her scraped knee (Spongebob, per her request), and some Tylenol to dull the pain. As we were leaving, she said, "Mommy, smell my breath." I said, "What does it smell like?" She said, "Tylenol."

Really, folks, I think she's gonna be just fine.

But she may have an ugly bump and bruise for a couple of weeks, so we'll just pray that she is a fast healer. I'm not sure I can have Spongebob Squarepants grinning from beneath her hairline.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Which is it?

Still, small voice of God, or blaring megaphone? I'm not sure which at the moment. Have you ever been reading through your Bible, and you see a verse that stood out to you in a new way? You think, I know I have read that before because I have read all of Psalms 42 times (what can I say, it's my favorite...though 42 might be a stretch), or Matthew or Romans or whatever. I know that I know that I know that I have read this verse at some point in my life. Maybe it didn't speak to me then. Maybe I wasn't ready. Maybe I am now.

Or am I?

In the last week, I have seen this verse at least four different times in four different sources. Here it is.

Isaiah 30:15
This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says:
"In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength,
but you would have none of it."

It was in our Sunday School material last week. It was....okay, for some reason I CANNOT get this out of italics, so just stick with me....it was in Captivating, which I just finished reading last night. It was in a magazine I read. It was in the Stuff Christians Like blog, which is usually about saving seats in church or giving your kids too many goldfish in the nursery.

Everywhere I look this week, I see this verse. I imagine I have read it a time or two in my believing days. So there must be something more. God is either speaking to me in His sweet, still, small voice, or He is putting a scrolling marquee sign in my face that will keep playing and playing until I sit and meditate.

So, that is what I am going to do. Meditate on this verse. I'd like to say I have figured out what God is teaching me here. I like what the Stuff Christians Like guy had to say about it, but that is what God was teaching HIM. I think I am drawn to the part about quietness and trust, but actually, I think God may be teaching me about my salvation right now. Teaching me to be secure in Him and who He sees me as.

But enough pondering for now. This may take a while, because I do not think it is random that God wanted me to see this verse in four different places this last week. I do not think it is random that the verse ends in "But you would have none of it." Because if I ignore this verse and what I am supposed to learn right now, I would be having none of it. I want all of it, though...whatever it is. The quietness. The trust. The repentance. The rest. I want all of it.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Living in the Land of Maybe

I tend to like black and white. Bold lines. Yes and No. Gray areas are too confusing. I don't really think that there are "gray" areas in life. There is Truth and Not Truth. There is Right and Wrong. There is For and Against. Not a whole lot of gray in my world. There is waiting on God, of course, which is not so much gray, but just...waiting. Waiting for a yes or a no.

So I'm not sure if my Land of Maybe is a gray area or not. The Land of Maybe I am referring to is the land I live in while trying to have a baby. This is not meant to be a serious blog. Rather, it is meant to be a look at the fine line of scrutinizing every move I make.

The Land of Maybe is the land of "just in case." The Land of Maybe magnifies my lifestyle. It puts a grand mirror in front of me to show me "Do's" and "Don'ts". There are only about three or 400 things to freak out about when you are pregnant. The problem is those few weeks of "Am I or aren't I?"

When I have a headache, for example, I want to take the Excedrin because it is the only thing that works. But then I wonder if I should go the safe route with the Tylenol, as it is the only thing that is recommended as a painkiller when you are pregnant. And Tylenol is like eating cotton candy to me. There is no redeemable value to it.

I'm not a huge coffee drinker, but I have found it to be taking more precedence in my morning than it used to. I don't necessarily drink a cup every day, but at least every other day I enjoy a cup o' joe. My one cup is considered in the "safe zone" for what a pregnant woman could drink, but there have been several scientific studies (oh, those darned things) to show that if you have too much caffeine in your day, you have a higher risk of miscarriage. Now, usually it is two cups of coffee or six caffeinated sodas. But what if I have one cup of coffee, and then a Coke when I'm out to eat, or some sweet tea at McDonald's...what if it is just too much?

Then there are the times when we go to our friends' house to swim. And they have a hot tub. Ah, a hot tub. Which I would flat choose over a swim in the pool any day of the week. And then you read the books. And they say a possible "quick dip" in the hot tub may not cause any problems, but if your internal body temperature raises to 102 degrees, you are risking it. But then it says that most women get out of the hot tub before that point because they feel too hot. So do you take that chance that your body will know to get out of the hot tub at the right time, or forgo it altogether?

Then there is the cat's litter box. Crawling with toxoplasmosis. And I try so hard to tell Paul that well, I could be pregnant, and does he really want that on his conscience if our kid is born without ears or something because I changed the cat poop? He says show him the two pink lines on the test, and he'll take over. Until then, it's my job.

And there's lunch meat. Did you know you are not supposed to eat lunch meat if you are pregnant? It might have food-borne bacteria on it. Who knew?

And what about that spoonful of cookie dough I ate? Okay, six spoonfuls. I know it has raw egg in it, but it was calling my name with it's chocolate chips and doughy goodness. What person of moderate strength and resistance could turn that down. None.

Of course, let's not forget the daily vitamins. I am pretty good about taking my awesome vitamins every day, including my folic acid intake. But what if I forget a day? Especially at the most critical point of development which may just be before I know!

Here's the deal, folks. I could be pregnant. I could not be pregnant. So there may be a two to three week period each month when I am slightly insane. My friend April told me before I knew that I was pregnant with Abigail and I was afraid to take an Excedrin for a massive headache that lots of women smoke pot or do crack and have babies that are just fine. Well, maybe not just fine, but I think she was saying that there are worse things than taking one dose of Excedrin.

Don't worry. I'll let you know when we actually have news to share. Right now I am just describing my internal insanity and hoping you can have a laugh at my expense.

Because what if I laugh too much???? Have they done a scientific study on the effects of your abdomen shaking too much during those first weeks as a blastocyst? Oh man.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Difference

As I am edging up on 30 years old in a few more months, I am remembering the simple days of college and thinking how wonderful they were. Today I was reading a facebook note by one of our former BCM students who is now graduated and lives in South Bend. She just got engaged over the weekend to her boyfriend of three years, and their engagement story was long.

It came in five phases. And it had a title.

This guy had taken her on multiple fun, romantic, expensive, thoughtful dates, all in the expectation that they were leading up to the big ring on her hand. I remember days like that. Days when your dates are spontaneous. You just jump in the car, and next thing you know, you are three hours away from home. Or there is a casual blanket picnic set up under a tree. Or an anticipated day at the amusement park to be followed by dinner out. And you thought your boyfriend was the dreamiest.

Paul was very romantic in college. In fact, I often had to reel him back in a bit just to keep my head from drowning in the saccharin-y sweetness of it all. Don't get me wrong...he is still incredibly thoughtful and romantic. It just has to be planned much more ahead of time, and swinging by Memaw and Papa's is always included in the mix.

I'm just saying the dating life changes.

All of that aside, I made a little trip to my alma mater today. We are having a "Ten-ish Year Reunion" with all of our college friends from Campus Crusade next weekend. I have been majorly looking forward to this. Although we still keep in touch with a lot of them, this will be one weekend to pretend that we are still there. We are going to have a Crusade meeting like we did then, in the same room, with the same speaker, singing the same worship songs. Oh, but we have to drop our kids off with the babysitters first. Then we can pretend. And a couple of the girls are still nursing their babies, so they get to pretend with kids at the teat. Yeah, I said teat.

So today I had to go to campus to get a paper signed to reserve the room we need to use. I think classes started today at good ol' Indiana State University (for me, it really was the way college was supposed to be). Oh, I know it is now "More. From day one." and it was that, too, but I liked the old slogan best. Because it isn't like any other school name ending in "university" couldn't have used that little ditty.

While on campus, I started to notice a few differences between me and the kids there. Well, first, it is that they were kids. I know they are supposed to be "students" but please. They are flat out babies. Difference #2 is that the girls had shorts on that barely covered their little booties. My shorts came to my knees. The fashionable "walking short" if you will. Difference #3 was that Abigail was with me. And I'm preeeeeetty sure she was not there for my college days. Although walking through campus is much more fun with her. She was extremely disappointed that the fountain was shut off, and she stopped to pick the little "apples" (ie, possibly poisonous berries) off the trees to hold in her hands (NOT eat). Difference #4 was the Commons, the hangout/eating area. It is much hipper-looking now, and has all new restaurants, including George's Cafe, which is amazing Mediterranean style food that was not there then. Difference #5 is the laptops. NOBODY had laptops when I was there. I made it the entire way through school without even my own computer in my dorm room. I just used the computer lab and it was fine. Dot matrix printers and all. Difference #6 is that I barely remember where any of the buildings were, and I had to ask directions to the building I was looking for. Which would not be a big deal, except that I worked for two years in college at the Admissions office and gave TOURS OF CAMPUS.

Other than that, it was all the same. It was familiar to walk on that campus and explain to Abigail that college is where big people go to school and that it is where Mommy and Daddy met. I showed her Hines Hall where I lived my junior year and said I had a bed and a bathroom and a closet there (dorm room would go right over her head). She said, "And a POOL?" I said, "Um, no. This is called a dorm, not a hotel."

Actually, it is called a residence hall. That is from my tour-giving days, to show that my brain has not completely turned to mush by motherhood and laundry.

Oh, and difference #7....I was not checked out by anyone, but they sure smiled at my cute kid. Which is fine. Really, it's fine.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Code Words

There are certain things I should have figured out by now. I've had two and a half years of learning the language. Well, about a year and a half of actual language development. There are certain things Rosetta Stone just can't teach you. There are the words and the meaning behind the words. Here are some examples:

Abigail says: "Mommy, Strawberry Shortcake cleaned the bathtub."
Abigail means: "Mommy, while I was taking my bath, I used Strawberry Shortcake's hair to scrub the sides of the bathtub. Oh, and I also sloshed a lot of water out of the tub onto the floor."

Abigail says: "Can you put my apron on? I'm going to cook for you."
Abigail means: "I found this apron in the drawer under a stack of bibs and dishtowels. I took all of those out and lined them up on the kitchen floor. I am going to leave them on the kitchen floor until you decide to put them away yourself."

Abigail says: "I'm making you lunch."
Abigail means: "Along with my apron, I just got out all of the pots and pans under the counter. Even the ones waaaay back in the back that you never use and have to wedge in there just right to get them to fit. They are all over the floor, and I'll need your help putting them back, because they are easier to get out than in."

Abigail says: "Mommy, do I have my big girl panties on?"
Abigail means: "I just realized I have to go potty. If I have my big girl panties on, I will use the big potty. If you say I have a Pull-up on, I'm just gonna go in my pants instead. Just checking."

Abigail says: "Are we in a restaurant?"
Abigail means: "You told me that I cannot take my shoes off at a restaurant. We might be at a store, or church, or anywhere else besides home, and I want to take my shoes off. I'm going to take you at your word that I only have to leave my shoes on in a restaurant, so if we are at the grocery store, these puppies are coming off."

Abigail says: "Don't look at me/Don't come in here."
Abigail means: "I totally did something I wasn't supposed to do, but I'm not done doing it. Don't look at me doing it. Don't come in here and tell me to stop."

Abigail says, multiple times a day in her sweetest little voice: "Mommy, I love you."
Abigail means: "Mommy, I really do love you. I have also sensed your reaction and cuddling to how I say that, and I like it. So I will say it a lot because whatever you are doing, you stop doing it and hug me and tell me you love me, too. Right now I just mean it. Someday, when I'm three, (because all things are going to be better when I'm three), I will probably use it to get out of trouble."

Abigail says: "I'm not little, I'm big" or "When I'm three, I can do it."
Abigail means: "It's tough being two and a half. Everyone tells me what a big girl I am, but then everything I want to do that a big girl would do, they tell me I'm too little. Adults are confusing, and the kids who are just a little bigger than me aren't fair. They obviously don't see what a big girl I am. I guess I'll get to do it when I'm three. Three must be better than two."

So, if you ever hear Abigail say these things to you, you have now been given a lesson in her language. My college communications class talked about hearing versus listening. She's saying a lot these days, but meaning oh so much more. Maybe instead of English, I should have majored in Toddler.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

I heart Rain

I was reading a blog recently on stuffchristianslike.blogspot.com, which is a hilarious and sarcastic look at all of the silly things, or sometimes serious things, that Christians like and do that no one else does. I never realized how many there were, but the list is long. It's a funny blog that I would recommend checking out when you have a late night to spare glazed over in front of the computer. Anyway, one of these blogs talked about how much Christians love rain and talking about rain and singing about rain. Rain falls down, Rain on me, Grace like Rain, Bring the Rain, Mercy Rains, Rain, Rain, Rain, Rain. Wow, it's one of those words that doesn't really look like a word when you type it enough times.

Maybe we like to sing about rain, but who really likes it? I mean, who welcomes it and the way it usually ruins your plans? We were going swimming today for our Tuesday Moms and Kids time. Abigail and I had our lunch, got our suits on, got greased up with SPF 60 (both of us...I've burned enough times this summer already). I really like going swimming except for the necessary evil of SPF. I totally understand it's necessity, and would much rather wear it than the alternative of skin cancer. We have an old friend who liked to say, "Rays today, Raisins tomorrow." I see the need to protect skin, and really, really see the need to protect Abigail's. But, boy, I just hate that thick, greasy stuff. But back to being lubed....We were all set for swimming. We got to Angel's and had no sooner gotten our shoes and shirts off, and Abigail jumped in the pool, when there was lightening in the sky.

"Everybody Out!"

So, all of the moms and kiddos huddled under the eaves at Angel's house waiting for it to pass. Some of the kids were daring enough to stay in the downpour and run around the edge of the pool. The little kids grabbed some sidewalk chalk and looked for the nearest dry patch to color. And I lamented that we would have to take another shower when we got home just because we have to get the grease off. And then came the wail of all wails. The realization that swimming was not going to happen.


Yes, that was my child. Everyone else was pretty okay with things, and here is Abigail in her ladybug swimsuit, still wearing her Dora sunglasses through the storm, pink flower floaties on her arms, and huge, sad tears running out of her eyes.

We all started explaining why we couldn't swim in the pool when it was a torrential downpour, and my friend Lori started explaining why God sends the rain and the breeze. And she seemed okay for a while. Then we had to get in the car (even the most hopeful have to recognize defeat at some point). She started getting upset again.

And I start explaining. "God has to send rain sometimes, Abigail. It can't be sunny every day. Because trees and the grass and flowers need water to grow. The rain is like a drink for them, and they need to drink just like you do. If it was sunny all the time, then they would get very hot and dry and tired. So even if the rain isn't very fun, they have to have it to grow."

She really got it. "The flowers need to drink water. They need to grow. Can I have a drink when I get home?" All was well.

Then I realized...obviously there are life lessons, even in the rain and the sun. They are easy lessons that seem like one of those "Everything you learned in kindergarten" things. We all get it...rain and sun. God sends them both. But I was having a much easier time explaining it to Abigail than I do to myself. I know that in order to grow, in order to be the Amy God wants me to be, there has to be rain with the sun. There has to be nourishment and periods of growth. There has to be challenges along with the good. God equips us for every situation, and carries us through every situation. I hope that I can look at the moments of "rain" in my life, and explain them to myself as simply as I could explain its' necessity to Abigail.

2 Peter 1:3
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

I guess I am thirstier than I realize. And therefore, to grow me as He sees fit, it must rain. I don't think I would be so bold as to tell God "bring the rain", like I am firmly planted and ready for it, pouring down like it did today. But I hope that I can tell Him that when He sees fit to send it, I will accept it, to hopefully bring about a more firmly rooted me.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Conversations with a Two Year Old

This conversation took place on Sunday morning after I told Paul that the house stunk like a dirty diaper. Surprise.....I think it was a dirty diaper. Anyway, back to the conversation.

While helping Abigail put on her shoes for church...
Abigail: Are you chewing gum?
Me: No, I don't have any gum.
Abigail: It smells like gum, though.
Me: No, I don't have any gum.
Abigail: But it smells like gum. (pause) Or maybe it's just poop or something.

Me: (laughing really, really hard) Um, gum and poop smell different. Gum smells good. Poop smells bad.

The end.