Friday, January 30, 2009

Archive: Humor Through Amy's Eyes

December 13, 2006

Humor through Amy's eyes

So, I'm pretty sure I was funny once. I just got a message from a long-lost friend from music camp who reminded me that I might have been funny. Or emotionally-damaging. I'm not sure which. I do remember laughing uncontrollably in those high school music camp days. Maybe being around funny people brings out my funnier side. Which brings me to my recent conversation with Paul.

I'm pretty sure Paul is one of the funniest people I know. I mean, he is genuinely good at being funny. Not cheesy funny. Not mean funny. Not smart-aleck funny....and no, I have no idea how to properly spell smart-aleck (alec? alek?). So, we were in the car a few days ago, and I brought up something funny he said in his sermon on Sunday. I asked him how he doesn't just laugh at himself when he does that in his sermons, because I about got an embarrassing case of the giggles. He said that funny people get satisfaction out of making people laugh, but they just know they are funny so there is no need to laugh at themselves. I said, "I don't know. I'm pretty funny, and I make myself laugh all the time." This is something that makes Paul crack up....when I do or say something funny and then crack up at myself. His response was that I am not a naturally funny person, just a person who does funny things.

Then we began this whole talk on the different kinds of humor, and why some things are funny to some people and not to others. For instance, I hate physical comedy. It doesn't even crack a smile to me. According to Paul, however, physical comedy, though not usually funny, can be funny if it is something new, like a guy getting hit in the, um, you know, with a wrench, a la the move Dodgeball. I thought Dodgeball was middle school humor at best. And, I hate cheesy humor. Like when people laugh at cheesy, email forward-type jokes. Not funny to me. But, I LOVE smart-aleck humor. I love when you can trade that kind of humor back and forth. And most people's dads are funny, because they love joking around with a good ol' smart-aleck.

I've also found people who are just downright serious. When you try to be funny around them, you never know if they are taking you the right way. And they just make me fidget from all of the uncomfortable-ness.

So, I don't know what you find funny, and maybe it would be a good study of the human brain. But funny is good stuff. And if you laugh at yourself, I think you just appreciate how funny you really are. And that is okay.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

To You, My Readers

I find that I have a problem with my blog. It is very much my journal of all the fun memories in my life, and it is also my therapeutic catharsis when needed. I love blogging. I do not need to have your comments or approval to continue on with the blogging of the stories of the three-year-old. But I sure would like to have an idea of who all is out there.

Because I hear stories. My mom says, "Oh I was talking to this lady at work, and her daughter reads the blog. And my friend, Barb, reads the blog."

And then every once in a while, Paul says, "Hey, one of my facebook friends said that they read your blog and like it."

And I'm like, "Really? Exactly who are these people?"

Lurkers. Your official bloggy name is Lurkers. And so now I am asking:
All the Lurkers of the world, putcha hands up!

You don't have to create an account. You can be anonymous. Just say something like, "I'm here! And I live in Greenfield!"

Because, let's face it, if I have readers in any part of Indiana, there is a good chance you live somewhere with the word "Green" in your city name.

I'm just trying to figure out who is experiencing this fun, little life with me. And if you don't want to out yourself as "Anonymous", you can still read my blog anyway. I promise to keep writing and not be offended. I'm just curious.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I'm Not a Bettin' Man

...but if I were, I might put my money on my kid.

A Better Mother

I got to put into practice something I learned when Abigail was about six months old. Sometimes, in order to be a better, more refreshed version of Mommy, you must have time away from the roost. This time can come in three different forms, but I will only touch on two. Those forms are 1. Date night with hubby, 2. Alone Time, or 3. Girl Time.

When Abigail was around six months old, I had that first rush of alone time. I might have had some before then, but I don't really remember in the haze of nursing. We were on a pretty strict schedule to make sure that I aided in any way of making her thunder thighs the chunkiest in all the land. I had taken her to our college ministry house, where Paul and I spent most of our daytime hours. I asked him if I could leave her there with him and get away for just a bit. He agreed, and I was gone, baby, gone. My time out consisted of me getting an iced mocha from Coffee Junkiez in Muncie (lookout, Starbucks) and walking around WalMart. Now, usually my favorite alone time consists of walking around Hallmark reading the cards, but I don't want to blow all of your minds too quickly. I don't think I bought a thing at WalMart, which is a feat of unearthly proportions, because let's face it, a lot of people smarter than me make a lot of money to make sure I never leave WalMart empty-handed. When I returned to the BCM house, I felt so revived, so energized, after that little hour away.

I was able to cuddle her more and laugh at her more, and even make twinkly eyes toward my husband.

Since then, I try to have little "get-out-of-the-house" moments, even if it is eleven o'clock at night and I wander WalMart under the guise of "buying Pullups." I would gladly wander a Target instead, but there is not one within an hour and a half of me. That trip might be hard to justify.

Last weekend, I had TWO girl times. On Friday, I went to a mini-baby shower ("mini" because it is baby #3, but a boy after two girls). It was near Indianapolis. Abigail stays with Paul for all of these times (to ease your thoughts of Abigail sitting alone watching Caillou), and they usually have a little Date Night of their own. Once I got in the car, I was dancin'. I put my music on nice and loud and drive down the interstate looking like quite the fool, I'm sure. My time with the girls was so fun, and yes, refreshing. The next day, I had coffee with a friend and did just a touch of shopping. Just a very small touch (like gift card touch).

After having Abigail sick for one full week and not going ANYWHERE, and then last week having Paul gone at the March for Life in D.C. for three nights, I was going a little stir-crazy. I never want it to seem like I don't appreciate my family or love the chance to stay home with Abigail. I love it more than anything. But there are just those moments where you gotta get away. Yes, I could have a Calgon moment. But I much prefer a Get In the Car and Go Somewhere moment. Sometimes I don't realize how much I need it until I am away. Then, when I come home, I am full of hugs and lovin's and energy. If an occasional iced mocha makes me a better mother, well, that's just a price I am willing to pay.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Archive: Boys Will Be Boys

June 28, 2006

Boys will be boys

I am always amazed at the ingrained differences between boys and girls. There is a book written by John Eldridge titled "Wild at Heart". One of the main themes of the book is how God designed men to be wild at heart, to always be seeking adventure, to have this restless side that must have an exciting purpose. So, that has become Paul's excuse for anything he or any boy does that makes me sigh and roll my eyes. He shrugs his shoulders like a little boy and says, "Honey, I can't help it. I'm wild at heart." When we were in Morocco a few years ago standing by the ocean, and Paul got down on the closest rocks by the biggest crashing waves, and ended up having to hang his socks out of a taxi window to dry them out, it was wild at heart. When we were playing with our friends kids a couple of years ago, and were sledding in my parents very cool yard, and Jeremy (our friend's kid, about 9 at the time) decided to walk on the creek by my parents' house that had frozen over, I am frozen with visions of rushing to the emergency room with Jeremy's severed limb on ice. Paul says, "He can't help it. He's wild at heart." That same day, when Paul and Jeremy climed the steepest hill next to my parents' property to sled down it.....without sleds.....and Paul got his pants ripped on rusty barbed wire that was hidden beneath the snow....well, you get the next line.

So, a couple of days ago, I get an email from Paul's older sister, Carey. She has two kids, one of them being 13-year-old Lincoln. He told her to ask Uncle Paul if he had any cool ideas of things to do with old fashioned firecrackers. Carey said he had already rigged up a wire from the shed in their backyard to the house, greased it with cooking oil, tied firecrackers on a toy helicoptor, lit it, and let the explosive helicoptor rip down to the house. But he needed new ideas. When I read the email to Paul, he was impressed with his nephew's ingenuity. I asked if he had any other ideas, and Paul said, "I don't know. Just blow crap up." I emailed this to Carey, while complimenting Lincoln's well-thought stunt. She replied, saying that the greased cord was her idea to keep the fire off their lawn. Lincoln's original idea was to "blow up the helicoptor while throwing it". I still laugh when I type this sentence. I read that to Paul, and he cracked up, saying that was totally something he would do. That, and bottle rocket wars. And those little tanks that you light the rear of, and have them blow up on each other. Wild at heart, for sure. I don't know exactly what the charge is out of petty pyromania for boys, but I'm beginning to believe that the 4th of July was created by a man, for men, just for the opportunity to legally blow crap up. And whatever states that it is not legal to do so, MUST have a woman making the decisions.
But they can't help it. They're wild at heart.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Archive: Our Anniversary...4 Lessons

This blog was written on the eve of my fourth anniversary to Paul. Two and a half years still makes sense. :)

May 31, 2006
Our anniversary...4 lessons

Tomorrow, June 1st, will be our 4th anniversary. I can still remember all of those feelings from that day. I remember staying up until 4 in the morning the night before talking to my friend, Sadee, and packing for our honeymoon. And because of that late night, I actually slept in on my wedding day! Well, til 9:30, but that was definitely later than I meant to wake up. Much to my surprise, I was not the slightest bit nervous. I knew I was ready for the step Paul and I were about to take. I remember feeling soooo pretty in my wedding dress. It was a feeling I'm sure no other dress will give me in my life. I loved how Evelynn, our little flower girl, looked at me like I was Cinderella. Then again, it was pretty hard to steal the show from Evelynn.

Paul and I agreed to see each other before the wedding, but we went into a room by ourselves for our "unveiling". We teared up as soon as we saw each other. Ironically, we had the same gifts to give each other. My sophomore year of high school, I had started keeping a journal to my future husband. It was just a way for me to keep in perspective that in the midst of teenage dating relationships, I was truly waiting for who God had chosen for me, nameless though he was at the time. Well, when Paul and I were close friends for a year or so before we dated, I told him that I was keeping that journal to give to my husband on our wedding day. He thought that was a great idea, and immediately started writing a journal to his future wife, not knowing at the time that we would be giving those journals to each other! It was a sweet moment for both of us.

I would say in these four years of marriage that have flown by so fast, I have learned many things. For brevity's sake, however, I am going to spout off four lessons I have for each year of wedded bliss. Awwwwww.

1. Even when we had no clue where we were going in life, which pretty much summed up our first year and a half, we trusted God. We started out in Louisville while Paul was in seminary, then thought we were moving to Dayton, OH (which thank God did not work out), then that we were staying in Louisville, then spent a whole summer in Virginia Beach, then ended up in Muncie, IN. For several months there, we really didn't know what God was doing with us, and things were looking pretty bleak. But we hooked arms and said it would all work out, and it did. We committed to make God our firm foundation in our marriage, and I will never turn back from that.

2. Laugh a lot. I still remember one of our friends asking Paul how married life was when we were only a couple months in, and he said, "Well, we sure laugh a lot." I still carry that with me. It is impossible to live with Paul and not laugh a lot. I mean, a lot. Well, sometimes I try really hard not to laugh, but I always do. When our first year of marriage was just scraping by month to month, and I felt like crying a lot in pity for myself that we had nothing, he would make me laugh and I knew I could hang in there.

3. Believe the best in your spouse. Now, I am still learning this lesson every day. When every sitcom on tv has a wife nagging her husband, and he is always made to look like the stupid one, I believe it is so important to look for the best qualities in your mate. For me, Paul is our leader. He is trustworthy. He makes me laugh. He is so kind. He really, really loves me. He is an overcomer. He is a dreamer, and I like that.

4. Lord, change me. When something just gets under my skin about Paul, and that will definitely happen when married to someone, I have to remind myself that there are things about me that need to be changed. When I want to pray, "God, just change _______ about Paul" I have to ask what God wants to change in me first. I think Paul is much better at ignoring my faults than I am at ignoring his, and therefore, I have many lessons left to learn.

I love being married to Paul Cooper. I absolutely cannot imagine my life any other way, nor do I try. Paul and I were meant to be husband and wife. God had our days ordained before one of them ever came to be. It has been four wonderful years, and I am excited to know it is just the beginning for the Cooper family!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Archive:Everyone Needs a Charlotte

Friday, May 26, 2006

Everyone needs a Charlotte

I have a friend named Charlotte. She is almost old enough to be my mom. She has two daughters, one in college, one just out of college and married. When Paul and I moved to Muncie, I met her and really liked her. And whenever we talked, it would be long, kind of like stream of consciousness talking, where you just jump from one subject to the next as your mind leads.

Charlotte is a very busy lady. For the two of us to match up our schedules, we usually have to plan ahead. Otherwise, it turns into the usual, "Hey, we should get a Coke sometime." And then "sometime" never comes. So, when I had Abigail and started staying at home with her, Charlotte and I decided to start hanging out at her house one afternoon a week, give or take a little for busy schedules. It is a chance for her to have baby-time, and a chance for me to soak up this oh-so-cool lady.

I guess the best way to describe Charlotte is a deep well. Spiritually, she has such an awesome personal walk with God that I draw wisdom from her whenever I talk to her. She has so much insight to things that I never think of. She helps me think about things differently...deeper. She is tune with God, that it feels like she always has just the words of wisdom I need to hear. But it isn't like we sit around and talk about "spiritual" things all the time. Sometimes we do. Sometimes we talk about being a mom, a wife, the trouble with teenagers today (yes, I'm getting old enough to talk about that), Abigail's diaper rash, the rabbits who ate the tomatoes in my garden, what doctor she recommends, how to grow mint, ten ways to kill a horse (well, that was actually her husbands insight), and how we all need a good chat with a psychiatrist now and then.

And somehow she sees so much of God in all of those things.

She taught me lessons, or re-taught me things I already knew but needed to hear again. She taught the college girls in our bcm ministry to really, truly love the qualities of the man you marry because someday you will have children just like him. She taught me that marriage is hard. She taught me that, like it or not, you are marrying his whole family. So getting to know his sisters, brothers, and parents is always worthwhile. She taught me that it is important to talk to God about everything,that He cares about every little detail, from the pants you buy at the mall to the very next bite of food that enters your mouth. She taught me that if you have someone in your life that you have trouble getting along with, you need to learn how to get along with them. Because if you don’t work out your relationship with that person, and you move somewhere else, God will give you a new person exactly like the one you had trouble with before. He will continue placing that same personality type in your life until you learn to love them. She taught me to take notes on everything. From sermons to business meetings to doctor appointments, someday you will need to recall that vital information and wish you had written it down, and that often the cost of not writing it down is greater than the time it takes to write it in the first place. She taught me that you cannot change people, only God can change them. People you love will make bad choices. She taught me that when your kids are in the center of God’s will, it is the absolute safest place they can be. So when her daughter spent a summer semester in the Holy Lands, and Charlotte was asked if she was scared for her safety, she responded with true bewilderment that she should worry about her daughter when she is in the center of God’s will. She taught me that sometimes God puts us in fearful situations so we will cling to Him. And whenever I would share some story of drama to her, she would ask me the simple question over and over again, “Why do you think that is?” And it would make me pause and think about what I was supposed to be learning at that moment.
And she continues to see God in all these things.

And then she invites Paul over for dinner with us and changes the menu from enchiladas to spaghetti because Paulie doesn't like enchiladas. And we end the night with a good movie. And before you know it, I've been there nine hours. Now, that isn't a typical week, but sometimes you just need a little more Charlotte.

Then, she sent me home with a big vase of perfect peonies from her flower bed. And offers to babysit Abigail (for FREE) so Paul and I can see a movie. And she gives me a hug.

And somehow, I see the kindness of God in all these things.
And when we moved from Muncie to Marshall, Charlotte tried to think of every reason to get us to stay there. She continued to affirm the calling of God in our lives, but told us that they really needed us there. I knew us moving away was hard for our students, but I really knew it was hardest for Charlotte. But I knew that as much as she wanted us to stay, she would never stand in the way of where God was calling us to go. So she uprooted one of her peony plants and some mint to send with me, and waved goodbye.
And I still see the kindness of God in all these things.

Everyone needs a Charlotte.

Some Archives

I have a plan, folks. A plan to streamline my computer usage. As of late, I think that will mean closing my myspace account. I have become a much bigger fan of Facebook over the last year or so, and now I hardly even check my myspace account. The only thing I really liked about myspace to begin with was blogging, and now that I have filled that void in my life here, I don't have much need to keep it up there!

Mostly so I still have the blogs I wrote on there (just the important ones, not the 94 surveys I did while wide awake at 12:30 at night), I am going to post them here. Then I will still have the memories. They are mostly of my first year as a parent, or about being married to a WWE fan. I'll start from the beginning and go from there over the next few days. Enjoy!

May 12, 2006
My first Mother's advance

Disclaimer: The following blog is written by a new mommy. It is in no way meant to inflict guilt on any of it's readers, only smiles. Unless, of course, you forgot what this Sunday is. In that case, may your guilt begin.

Okay, guys, it's here. Hallmark has been telling you about it since Valentine's Day ended, I'm sure. I love those little reminder posters they put everywhere. Considering Easter and St. Patty's Day don't register too high on the card-giving totem pole, Mother's Day has been long awaited for all of you who are sitting in nail-biting suspense of another day to buy a card. I love what comedian Jim Gaffigan says about buying cards....that it is such an obscure way to appreciate someone. To go to a card store, read one, and go, "Yeah, that sounds like something I would say. "

Anyway, when you have a baby, your first Mother's Day is like anticipating, oh, birthday's 16, 18, AND 21 all together. Maybe it is just me, but when you have the experience of pregnancy, labor, birth, and diaper changes, you feel like you deserve a darn good card. And just about any other little thing your heart desires. Oh, I'm sure the year will come when my kids are older and their after-prom activities always fall on Mother's Day (as mine always did) and you learn to say, "Oh, it's no big deal." But I'm not that sacrificial yet. :) I am excited to say it is my first Mommy's Day and I am going to milk this puppy. I told Paul the wish list of things "Abigail" could get me, and I have already been taken out to eat. We went out with friends in Indy last night to Buca di Beppo, which is SO GOOD. The best Italian I have ever had. Anyway, I don't think it was planned to be my Mother's Day meal, but we got a little crazy as we can do with friends, and were like, "Appetizers? Sure! Entrees? Make it a double! Piece of cheesecake the size of my forearm? Bring it on!" Anyway, it was a meal that holds you over for a while on the bill if you get my drift. But it was WONDERFUL.

My only other request was that, aside from going to church, we don't make any plans on Sunday. Because, hey everybody, it's my FIRST MOTHER'S DAY. It's like this wonderful holiday that, before being a mom, makes you say, "Uh-oh. It's Saturday, it's 10 p.m., and I forgot to get a card for Mom. (Did you not see Hallmark's signs?????) Guess I'll run to Wal-Mart and see what's left of the cards and pick up a Snickers or something." Uh uh. Not here. I have been looking forward to this one. And it's off to a great start. I'll let you know what "Abigail" gets me.

And only one more month til she gets to buy Paul his first glow-in-the-dark, light up, "Best Father Ever" TIE!!!!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Oh, Hosea

Some interesting thoughts have been occurring to me as I have done my quiet time this week. Aside from the study of the Disciple John, I am doing our daily devotions for our Sunday School material. This week we started on a series based on James McDonald's Downpour. A few things that I have realized so far are these:

1. I am finding far more identity than I care to in my miscarriages. I want my identity to be who I am as a child of God, and the miscarriages are processes to make me more like Him. Yet I find that my feelings, my answers to the studies' questions, my view of where I am right now in life, is all through the jaded eyes of one who has lost and is hurting.
2. I know that God's purposes in life involve pain. He does not cause it, but He does allow it to put us through the fire of refinement.
3. There is a difference in me right now between believing God with my head and believing Him with my heart. I feel like I know in my head all of the truth of who God is, but when it is given feet to walk through these things, my belief wavers far more than I want it to.
4. I feel in a small way like I have wandered these last few months. Oh, I don't think my journey has taken me far, and I still do stand on my foundation, but I think my heart has just grown tired, and it affects how I relate to God my Father.
5. I need to return to my trust, my healing, my belief.

So, when I read the following verses from Hosea, I felt that it meant me. I can see in many ways how it pertains to others, was written to a wayward Israel, God's holy people. It is for those who have wandered far from God in their lifestyle. But there are so many ways that God wants us to return to Him.

Hosea 6:1-3
Come, let us return to the LORD. For He has torn us, but He will heal us; He has wounded us, but He will bandage us.
He will revive us after two days ; He will raise us up on the third day, That we may live before Him. So let us know, let us press on to know the LORD. His going forth is as certain as the dawn ; And He will come to us like the rain, Like the spring rain watering the earth.

First, I am aware of the action that is all God's. He has torn us so that He can heal us. He has wounded but He will bandage us. God's purpose stands in my life, and it is greater than I can see. Let me know, let me press on to know the Lord. Only through knowing Him more will I believe Him more. The more deeply I trust His heart, the more I will trust His hands. Even when those hands wound before they heal.

The devotion in my Sunday School material had some poignant words. Sometimes I read things that make me do that little "mm-hmm" of understanding. It said:

"Why does God approve pain's intrusion into our personal experience? God is trying to bring about another crisis. Whatever the particular point of pain is, the circumstance you would most change, the unwanted source of shock and sadness that you beg God to reverse or resolve...God has a purpose for that pain. And it will not go away until the reason for its arrival has been completed in you. Worse, when God has finished His work in that part of your life, He will move on to another area He wants to change in you. God is relentless in His pursuit of us. His love is not a pampering love; it's a perfecting love."

Mm-hmm. I have not often felt "pampered" through the experiences the last few months, but I sure hope I am being perfected. I've said that over and over again....I don't know why these things have happened to us, or why so many I love face even greater pains than this. But I know that we are supposed to look like Jesus. I'm as sure of it as anything.

I don't want my identity to be as "one who has miscarried." I don't want to find who I am in the sadness of that experience. Yes, I know it is now a part of me...who I am, and who I am becoming. But it isn't what defines me. I do desperately want to return to the Lord, though...any part of my heart that was broken and has wandered, or just grown so weary. Sometimes I feel I am too tired for the rest I need. I can hold fast to this passage in Hosea, though. "He will come to us like rain, like the spring rain watering the earth." Please do, Lord.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Tale of Two Throw-Ups

I think we are dealing with Abigail's first real case of "sick." Through her first three years, she has had a handful of colds and The Mother of All Diaper Rashes for her first four months of life. She has yet to ever have a stomach bug of any kind, and boy, am I thankful for that. Today we went to the doctor and found out she has croup. I knew I had heard of croup, and that it had to do something with a cough, but I didn't know much more than that. Now I know. It is a virus that sets into their bronchial tubes and causes a really fun cough.

The cough would not be so bad if it did not set off a chain reaction. First comes the crying. Then the crying produces coughing. Then the coughing leads to gagging. Then the gagging hails vomit. All over the Princess sheets. All over her purple Dora sheets. All over her blue Dora sheets. So, yesterday, I taught her a very important life lesson.

That lesson is "Stand Over the Potty when You Throw Up." When she started gagging yesterday, I ran her into the bathroom. I told her to put it in the potty. When she did, I praised her. Yes, I actually praised my child for throwing up. But, hello, after changing the sheets three times this week, making it to the potty deserves serious praise. I told her, "Wow, Abigail! You just threw up like a big girl! When big people throw up, they do it in the potty! Way to go!"

Except for that time that I was pregnant, working in the bank drive-up, and threw up in the drive-up trash can. Then went right back to my transactions. That's how big girls do it.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Weekend Recap

Wow, I feel like absolutely nothing of significance has happened in the last few days. Yet, I really feel like writing a blog, so I'm sure this will be, like, incredibly interesting for you to read. Here are just a few minor thoughts/happenings over the last few days.

1. After staying in the house for almost five days straight, on Friday the whole family ventured out into the big town of Terre Haute. It was great to see real, live people, and ride in a real, live car.

2. A couple who is planting a college church and working with Baptist Collegiate Ministry at Illinois State spoke at our church last night. I liked them both very much. They had great ideas about house churches, and sparked things in me of thoughts on church and campus ministry. Our church is supporting them in their church plant, and I really hope to spend more time with them in the future.

3. I've gotten through my first week of the Beth Moore devotional study of John (the Disciple, not the book). It has raised some great thoughts to me of how God works in my life as opposed to a new believer or a non-believer. I have really loved it so far, as well as staying on track every day. It has made me think a lot about God's mercies being new every morning, and for that, wow, I am thankful.

4. I found out another friend of mine is pregnant. Trying not to have a bad attitude, but I am starting to feel like I am on a cruel version of candid camera. I am happy for all of these friends....really, I am. Just kind of wallowing for me. Need to stop doing that.....

5. Watched Abigail do her own laundry a couple days ago. Really, she did. And she loved it. She and Paul carried the laundry in, she threw it in the washing machine, she did kind of a hook shot with the detergent, and then proceeded to help Paul fold a load. Now she keeps asking if she can do some laundry. My reply is, why yes. Yes, you can.

6. I've been drinking a minimum of 64 ounces of water a day. At first I spent about every 15 minutes running to the bathroom, but that has started to level out. And I think I might actually like water for the first time in my life.

7. I've heard Paul preached an excellent sermon yesterday, and that God really moved in the service. I was helping out in the 4s and 5s class, so I missed it. :( I'm hoping to hear the sermon on cd soon. He also has a website with his sermons uploaded and it's free, so if any of you want to hear them, just let me know!

I guess that is about all of the eventful things over the last few days. It was a nice, slow weekend, which I guess we haven't really had in a while. I kind of feel like there must be something exciting somewhere, though, that I am missing out on. Please let me know where and when that is. Then my blogs might be a little more exciting or thought-provoking. :)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

A Little Peace and Quiet

I would just like to announce that we have experienced a breakthrough in the Cooper house. I think I can feel my sanity slowly returning.

First, let me tell you about bedtime here. We have always been pretty "strict" with Abigail's bedtime rules at our house. If anything, we do sometimes fail in being consistent with the time that she goes to bed, but we have always stuck to a few ground rules. When she was a baby, I asked my SuperMommy friend, Christianne, who has two small girls, and a boy on the way, how she got them to sleep. She immediately hopped on Amazon and sent me a copy of BabyWise, which is all about getting your kids on a schedule. She also advocated crying it out. That can be a tough thing for some parents to experience, but I firmly believe that they are quickly trained this way.

We tried the cry-it-out method with Abigail when she was maybe about six months old, and within two nights, were all sleeping soundly. No more mid-night wake-ups. No more needing to be lulled to sleep. I put her to bed while she was still awake, kissed her goodnight, and that was the end of it.

That all worked fine and dandy until some point in the last year when she learned to yell our names and stall. Stall, stall, stall. We would put her to bed, go through all of the goodnight routine, and then as soon as I shut the door, they demands/requests would start. She needed her Pullup changed. She needed help turning over (she has trouble getting the blanket pulled back up after she turns over). She needed help turning over again five minutes later. And again. She needed Baby Haley, who just happened to be right next to her in her bed. She needed water. She was mad that I didn't reply when she yelled "I love you." Then, "See you in the morning." Then, "You're the best." Seriously, on and on and on went the reasons that she was not going to sleep.

We thought we were being strict enough because we would never take her out of her bed. We would do what she wanted, but she was not allowed out of her bed, even if it was just for an extra hug. Hugs happened over the rail of her crib. Yes, she is still in a crib at three. We have been talking up the Big Girl bed for some time, but she has never once tried to or realized she could try to climb out of her crib. I figure life is pretty easy if she is still enclosed, so we have the bed waiting patiently upstairs, but are in no big rush to move her into it.

Finally, a couple of weeks ago, my friend April was visiting and the bedtime routine was in full swing. April said, "Have you ever told her you're not coming in any more?"

I looked at her, dumbfounded. "No, I guess I haven't. I always tell her that if I have to come in again she will be in trouble, but I've never told her I'm not coming in." I just realized that in a toddler way, we had to do another cry-it-out. Then I remembered a genius tip from Parents magazine, and immediately started using it.

Now, when Abigail goes to bed, she is given two little plastic hearts (from her hopscotch). I remind her every night that the two hearts are two times that I will come into her room. When she calls me in for something, she has to give me one of the hearts. But I will come in and cover her up again or whatever it is without being huffy and frustrated. When she calls me in again, she has to give me the second heart. When I have both hearts and she doesn't have any left, I am not coming into her room any more. Even if she cries, she just has to cry it out, because I (firmly) am not coming in any more.

And it.........WORKS!!!!

Okay, the first night it was implemented was rough and she cried so hard she threw up all over her bed. But either the vomit all over her Disney Princess sheets scared her straight, or she just caught on to the idea. Every night since then, she has gone to bed with no problems. Some nights she calls me in twice, but she has never called me in again after I have both of her hearts. Sometimes she just uses one heart. And sometimes.......get this.....she just goes straight to sleep! Glory Hallelujah!

That means that I am free to get right to my Facebook or whatever is showing on Bravo that night. You know, important stuff. Oh, or sometimes I actually spend some time with my husband. Watching movies.

Monday, January 5, 2009

On Goals and Such

Of course the first post of the new year should be about goals, right? Isn't that the obligatory rule of blogging?
Rule 1. Write posts with funny stories about your children. (Check)
Rule 2. Write posts of what God is teaching you in the midst of parenting. (Check)
Rule 3. Write the day after the election about how sovereign God is. (Semi-check)
Rule 4. Write a post before Christmas all about Jesus, Mary, or the stable. (Whoops, I forgot this and instead posted about throwing a fit in the middle of my kitchen floor)
Rule 5. Write about goals or resolutions at the beginning of the year. Make as many new goals as possible. Try to stick to new plan as closely as possible.

I've never been one who is much for resolutions. My dominant personality trait is called Peaceful Phlegmatic, which means that I need a good kick in the seat of the pants to start anything. To me, resolutions are just setting myself up for failure. I think one of the traits of a phlegmatic, or at least of myself, is to see just how big a job is, and then realize it is easier to just do nothing than to take little steps to do something.

However, for some reason as of late, I have seen glaring spots of lack of discipline in my life. I don't want to be a person who lacks discipline. I think when you stay home with your kids, at least those who aren't in school yet, you realize that there is not a whole lot that is "scheduled" in your life. Besides Sesame Street and Super WHY, that is. If you are going to be disciplined, it takes a lot of effort, because it really is just as easy to do laundry in your pajamas as it is to take a shower first (easier, really). It is just as easy to check your email 14 times a day when the computer is on and sitting so lonely in the office. It is just as easy to do a load of dishes or laundry and feel like it is deserving of some sort of reward, like sitting down to read that book that has caught your attention, or drink a second cup of coffee. There are days when you don't leave the house at all. Really, if we don't have somewhere to go, especially in the winter months, we don't. Leaving the house will usually result in some unnecessary spending of money, so it is just easier to stay home.

As much as I absolutely love with a passion staying home with Abigail, I don't always like the person that I have become through staying home. I want to have more of a regimin to my day, but more importantly, I don't want to feel that my time home is wasted. There is a big difference between feeling that my time home is useful to my family in keeping the house running smoothly, or in playing with and teaching Abigail and being a part of really special little moments....and just puttering around the house without feeling like anything of importance is really being done.

My goals this year are pretty simple as an umbrella goal, but have many facets. My umbrella goal is to be a person of more discipline. Mainly with how I use my time, but also more. I want to have more discipline in spending time with God. I don't mean that I want to spend time with God because I feel guilty otherwise. I just want my time with God to take more priority in my day, so that it is not easily pushed aside for other things. My friend, Camil, gave me a Beth Moore book about the disciple John that is a 90-day study. I figure that will be a good start (and started the book today...very good!). I want to make better decisions for my health. That includes the way I cook for my family as well as actually trying to exercise at all. The thing is, I don't feel like a healthy person right now. I feel sluggish and tired, and that is not who I want to be. I know I can make better daily choices. I guess besides that, I just don't want to feel like I waste time. Time is precious, and I have "more" of it than a lot of people who have much more on their plates than I do. I don't want to take that for granted, but be grateful for it and use it wisely. I think that these things will honor God, ultimately, that I am a good steward of them.

And, as my friend Lindsay so beautifully wrote on her blog, there is grace. God's mercies are new each morning, and I know that we all have room to fall. There will be times when I won't make the best choices with my time, my habits, my food, my excercise, but that doesn't mean that I just need to give up altogether. I just need to realize that God is gracious to me, and that change is a process.

So, obligatory blog of 2009, here is to becoming more of who I know I can be!