Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Baby Name Poll

I've already posed the question about whether or not Silas could be used as a feminine name and both responses were good. I can only assume that the rest of you did not like it and just did not want to hurt my feelings. That's ok really, I'm used to people not agreeing with my name choices and I know I have brought that on myself by crossing traditional gender lines and then (gasp) naming my son after a city! How could I?

Anyway, like it or not, boy or girl, this baby will be Silas or Sylas. Which brings me to the point of this post. Even if you hate the name, consider whether Sylas looks more feminine than Silas. I have never really been a fan of changing up spellings because then even if the name is simple, they have to spell it to everyone for the rest of their lives. I've had last names like this so I know how annoying that can be. That is why Cody is Cody and not Kodie.

Brad, while he has not made up his mind about the spelling either, thought we should consider this option and I think it's worth getting a public opinion on. So, what do you think? And just to be clear, we are only talking about the spelling change if the baby is a girl.

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Dreaming Up Blog Fodder

Yesterday evening I drove my black Cadillac Escalade to the mall. It was so crowded that I had to park way out in the boonies. I remember getting my kids out of the car and going in the mall and spending several hours in there.

When I came out, I discovered that my car had been stolen. It was just gone. There was no trace of it anywhere. I panicked and ran back in to the mall searching for someone I knew. I found several people who were my friends and we all went back outside to make sure I had not just forgotten where I parked. They all pointed out their cars to me as we walked. One of them drove a school bus.

We walked through the lot discussing why I should not have parked my car so far out in a parking space that directly faced the exit of the parking lot. How stupid could I be? Of course, one of the thoughts that was running through my head was, "Well, at least this will make a good blog entry." Never once did I think, "Maybe I should call the police!"

I guess that is because cell phones don't get signal in dreams. And, no, I've never owned a Cadillac Escalade.

Friday, April 25, 2008

You Might Have A Complicated Family...

...if your four-year-old has to refer to "Daddy" in three different ways just to get her point across.

Today Carson was trying to tell Brianna something about Brad (who was sitting next to her) when she said, "your Daddy...which is that Daddy (pointing to Brad)."

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Do I Have A Story For You

I know that you all know by now just how excited we are to be moving and becoming home owners. After what happened this morning though, I can't contain the story of how all of this came to be. This is a long story, so settle in.

Flashback ten months when we were trying desperately to find any home for our family. We had tried at that time to purchase a home and even looked into lease purchasing one we found that had five bedrooms. No luck. After a divorce and nine years of single-parenting, Brad's credit was shot and while my credit was still ok then, I had not a dime of income. So we gave up and started looking furiously for a rental.

We finally found the home we are in now and the only reason we could get it was because my mother agreed to co-sign on the lease. Brad's name could not even be on there (I don't tell you this to embarrass him in any way, but it is an important part of why our current circumstances are such a miracle).

For the first three months of our marriage, Brad slaved away at Saturn trying desperately to rake in enough every month. Enough to feed us all and keep us in our home. As a result, we never saw him. He was at work Monday-Saturday from 8am-8pm. He had just become Daddy to Carson and Memphis and they were often still sleeping when he left and already asleep when he returned. Brianna and Meyson and I were still getting used to each other. Needless to say it was a stressful time.

We prayed everyday for a new job opportunity to present itself. Brad couldn't exactly go job hunting because that took precious time away from the car lot and every unit sold was like gold to us. We couldn't afford to miss even one.

And then it happened. Just by virtue of knowing the right people, Brad got hooked up with a man who had instant faith that Brad was just the guy he was looking for. A guaranteed salary?!? Benefits?!? Eight to five, Monday through Friday?!? Talk about an answer to prayer. Little did we know that was only the very beginning.

Sure, we went through some more stress this winter with Brad having to be gone for seven weeks of training, but overall, it has been well worth that struggle. We have health insurance (that's a first for me since being on my parent's policy).

Ok, flash-forward to March when we receive a phone call from our property management company telling us that the owners of our house want to sell it and asking if we were interested in buying it. We told them that with our sixth child set to arrive in May, we needed something bigger and that it was highly unlikely that we'd be able to buy anyway. They told us that if we wanted to stay past July that would need to renew our lease right away for six months and if we wanted to renew again at that point, that it was a possibility.

Brad and I began to get nervous about all the renewing we would have to do just to stay in our home for another year. After all, there was no guarantee about the amount of rent we would pay and we are already maxed out on this place every month.

We started tentatively looking around at rentals and again revisited lease-purchasing. It didn't take us long to begin to feel hopeless about the situation because five bedroom homes in our price range are just...well...*impossible* to find. We tried to keep the faith and we continuously asked God to intervene and solve this problem.

Then one day I was chatting with another parent while in the waiting area at feeding therapy (never thought I would thank God for my son's eating problems). She mentioned that she and her husband were trying to buy a new home and told me about one that they had looked at. Her husband did not like it so they were looking elsewhere. The house had been a repo and was a really good deal, so Brad and I drove by one day. There was not any information in the yard, but the house was empty.

We saw the neighbors outside and asked them if they knew who we needed to talk to about the house and they gave us the name of a realtor they knew. I called him from the driveway and he informed us that there isn't a lease option on a repo, but promised to see what else they had available and get back to us.

I thought the odds of ever hearing from him again were next to nothing since he had absolutely nothing to gain from helping us. We didn't know at the time that God had sent us the man who would not rest until we were in a home. (As a side note, the week after we met him was the week that Memphis started eating again. Coincidence? I think not.)

He called the very next day with a possibility for a lease-purchase and we got the ball rolling. The house had potential, but would need a lot of work. Our excitement over finding something overtook our fear of the work. We wanted it. He had us fill out an application and as we turned it in we began to brace ourselves for rejection. It was inevitable, right?

Nope. Again, God had our backs. Not only were we approved, we were approved to BUY!!!! Not lease-purchase. What has changed? Nothing. We are still the same couple who could not buy a home that was $30,000 less just ten months ago. Yet another answered prayer!

Our realtor wasn't satisfied. He had become very familiar with our family and didn't want to put us in a place that needed so much work. He set out to find us something in better shape and he came through in a major way. He found us a five bedroom house with two living areas (or one living room and the homeschool room that I had given up on ever having!).

We put in our offer and it was accepted the next day without so much as a counter-offer. Just accepted outright. Then the inspection went very well and we got a closing date! Everything has been falling into place as if it had been planned that way. And, we believe it was planned that way. Not by us, but for us.

The only roadblock left was getting out of our current home. All this time I had been assuming that we would only have to pay a relatively small fee to break our lease. If I had known the truth, we would never have started looking for a home. See? Another God thing. Anyway, my mom warned me that I should go back and read our lease again to make sure.

Of course I found that we were responsible for all of the rent until the end of our lease and we would also have to pay that "small fee" for leaving early. Talk about a bubble buster. We were panicked. What do we do? We certainly cannot afford to pay the rent here and the mortgage payment at the same time. How were we going to do this?

So, Monday I packed up Carson and Memphis and my huge, pregnant belly and went to the property management office prepared to be as pitiful looking as we could and beg, no, plead for mercy. I was cut short and told that the decision wasn't their's to make. They would have to contact the owner for that.

I walked out of there trying to figure out what creative combination of credit cards could take care of this for us. When Jesus said, "Ye of little faith," He was talking about me. Yesterday, after stressing about this issue, I decided there was nothing else I could do. Whatever will be, will be. And it was then, for the first time, that I felt complete peace about the whole situation.

I received a phone call this morning from the property management company informing me that this was our lucky day. No joke. The owners are allowing us to break our lease. Yes, they are. This is unheard of. They have contracts for a reason. They don't just let people break them. If nothing else in this story has persuaded you that God has been orchestrating this whole thing, this is the one that will do it. Incredible.

When I got off of the phone, I screamed a very happy scream and told Carson, "God loves us very much!" And she said, "Did He call?"

Well....yeah, He did.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Chaos Abounds

A couple of weeks ago, Brad and I were standing with my mom outside her office discussing the report from the inspection on our new home. This lady pulls up in a white car and starts honking her horn about every ten seconds. It was really loud and incredibly rude and she just wouldn't stop. Finally, someone came out of the beauty shop next door to see what she wanted and to halt the onslaught of unnecessary noise she was producing.

Then, yesterday, my mom calls me to tell me that she had had quite an interesting morning. Her and my step-dad (yes, they work together) were talking about...well, I don't know what they were talking about. Something about leasing I'm sure. If you need to know that detail, you'll have to ask them. Anyway, the point is that they were talking in his office when they heard a rumbling sound and the room started shaking. They thought the roof was caving in and Darrell shouted, "Get the hell out of here!" to my mother.

There was definitely some damage happening to the wall in the office and it didn't take them long to discover that someone had driven their car into the building, specifically into the beauty shop next door, but also somewhat into Darrell's office. So, remembering our last encounter with an annoying driver in that same place, I asked sarcastically, "Oh, was it that woman who wouldn't stop honking?"

"Megan! Yes it was! It was that same lady!"

The moral of this story is that if you are near someone who just won't quit honking, don't just stand there flinching and looking disgusted. Run, run for your life and don't look back.

***Due to some unwanted spam commenting (kind of surprised it took this long to get any, although I wasn't complaining about the lack of them), I have had to enable word verification for commenting. Sorry, I know that's a hassle you don't need. Please comment anyway if you feel so led, and feel free to make fun of the "word" you get. I once got flibber. I think this is a good word to describe that feeling your lips have after the dentist has numbed you.

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Monday, April 21, 2008

Technology Taken Too Far

Brad and I sometimes find it hard to snag a few minutes away from all of the kids to just talk about nothing and, being newlyweds, we need time to talk about nothing. For some reason, if we get into a lighthearted conversation in front of the kids, they decide that it is the perfect time to lick each other on the face or kamikaze off the back of the couch or run around screaming gibberish or shout incoherent phrases containing the words "ice cream truck."

So, in order to get around this we sometimes IM each other from one room to the other. It's sad, I know. But, for some reason if the kids don't know we're trying to communicate with one another, their behavior is much better. Go figure.

Anyway, we found out today that we will be closing on our new house in one week and we could not be more ecstatic. We are reeling at the thought of finally owning our own home. It's inconceivable, really. So, here is our discussion tonight that started out being about the closing on our home:

brad: Should we see if someone can watch them for the closing?
me: yes, definitely
i bet nicole would if we give her ourcar
brad: It takes about 1 1/2 hour and is a lot of tedious paper sighning
GIVE our car?
me: yes...away...forever
me: we could get horses and a buggy
brad: And wear black and white?
me: and little bonnets
brad: I'd grow a beard (no mustache)
me: not sure we would still be permitted to IM
brad: We' start our own amish internet group!
me: bet that'd catch on quick
brad: get a chicken coup
Help our neighbors build barns
me: when chickens attack
you did mean coop, right?
brad: Junah wouldn't be much help
me: no, she wouldn't
brad: No I meant a mustang coupe
dressed like a chicken
me: isn't coup pronounced "coo" and used to describe a mutiny?
brad: Our house?
at bedtime
me: yes,like that

See, it gets out of hand really quickly. Maybe we should stick to the face to face kind of talking.

Oh, and by the way Nicole, can you watch the kids for us if we give you our car?

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Friday, April 18, 2008

A Glimpse Into The Not So Distant Future

Tonight we drove by our new home. I say that with very little hesitation based on the fact that there is a sold sign in the yard and we received our insurance policy today. We haven't actually closed yet, but I am trying this new optimism thing, remember?

Brad and I locked Meyson, Carson, and Memphis in the car in the driveway and went to check out the backyard to figure out the best placement for a dog run. We've seen how quickly Junah can destroy a yard and we have no intention of letting her mangle our new, more beautiful yard.

When we returned to the car Meyson was cracking up and telling us to get in quick and watch Memphis. They had been watching the teenager next door skateboarding in his driveway. Every time the kid caught air Memphis would giggle, but when the kid would fall Memphis would break out in full belly laughs.

He was having so much fun and I caught myself laughing along until Brad said, "You know that's going to be him before too long." You know what, maybe this isn't so funny after all.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Graduation Day

Memphis officially graduated from feeding therapy today. His last appointment was two weeks ago, but we went in this morning for a weight check and speech evaluation. He has maintained his weight without pediasure! Yay! He is now a member of the solid food eaters club.

The other side to this is that we will still be going in for therapy twice a week, just a different kind. A much more common kind. Memphis will now be attending speech therapy. He will have the same therapists which is great because there won't be any need for a "get to know him" period. They can just jump right in.

He says "dada" (meaning Dad, Mom, again, more, that, etc.), "ba" (meaning ball or balloon), and occasionally he will spit out a word we are trying to get him to repeat. But that word for some reason then falls out of his head forever.

The therapist assured me that Memphis is ahead of his age level physically and receptively, only falling below his level for expression. And that's verbal expression because believe me, if he wants something we know it. There is nothing preventing him from speaking other than his reluctance or the lack of realization that talking will actually benefit him.

I think it's the second based on the fact that if he cannot get across what it is that he is after, it is tantrum city in 0 to 5 seconds. He is frustrated. And that's a good thing. The therapist basically said that they will be sabotaging his environment which will further the frustration to the point that he will have to speak. They think that once he realizes this gets him what he wants with much less effort, he will adopt talking very quickly. Excellent! We should be out of there in the next few months with a kid who will eat and talk! Wish us luck!


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Maybe I Should Become An Optimist

You'll have to read the post below this one before any of this will make sense. Go ahead...I'll wait.

So, I should definitely have gone into this meal with a little more optimism. There is a good two pounds or so of meat left!! Granted, we are one man down (Cody is still out of town), but that will still leave us with a lot leftover.

And, as an added bonus: Brace yourself- Memphis ate FOUR HELPINGS OF CHICKEN!!!! And Carson had three! We may just have this meal every night.


The Naive Cook

I'm not sure how to describe my cooking style. I guess it could be "easy" or "mostly ordinary with something pretty good thrown in every so often." I go through spurts where I really like to try new recipes and spend more than 20 minutes throwing dinner together, but then I burn out. It is during these times that I am sure everyone grows tired of meatloaf, spaghetti, and tacos over and over again.

We've been becoming much more money conscious lately and Nicole gave me a recipe that cost her almost nothing to make. They had it for dinner and had a lot left over. There is no way that one chicken would ever feed our group, so tonight I have prepared two. I have NEVER before tried to cook an entire chicken. I have always bought frozen boneless, skinless breasts. Yes, this costs more, but honestly, when it was just the babies and me, I never noticed because two or three pieces fed us all.

Anyway, I knew that I was going to have to remove the "spare parts" from the inside of the chicken, but for some reason, I thought they were going to be encased in a bag of some sort. Why? I have no idea. I must have seen it done that way somewhere I guess, a turkey maybe? But, when I reached in there and pulled out, GASP, a naked chicken neck, I was a little surprised and a lot grossed out. Then came the liver (BLECH!) and something else that I did not examine closely enough to be able to identify it.

Rest assured, they are now sheathed in a plastic bag and have been deposited at the bottom of the trash can where they belong. I know there are those of you out there who will think that I have wasted "the best parts," and I invite you to come get them out of my trash if you wish; they are no more disgusting coming out of there than they were before.

It remains to be seen whether this recipe will end up on the frugal list for our household because even at $.89 per pound, the chicken still cost me around $8. If we don't have any leftovers (which is entirely possible) then this won't be any less expensive than our two and a half pound meatloaf and won't even begin to compete with spaghetti. If we do have leftovers, then it is likely that this recipe will join the ranks of our old standbys and begin earning it's share of "uuugghhh"s and "not again"s very soon.


Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Hypochondriac

I was sitting on the bed tonight, talking on the phone, when I happened to look down at my ankle. On the inside, right below that big, round bone, I could see my pulse. My vein was just beating away with the rhythm of my heart. I showed Brad who immediately called Meyson into the room because, well...because Meyson likes weird stuff.

His instant reaction was, "Is that a tapeworm?" Brad assured him that it was just my heartbeat, but Meyson wasn't satisfied.

"I read about this thing once, and you might have it, where this lady had a leech inside her leg."

I'm sure that's what it is. I have a living leech pulsating in my ankle. I'm certainly glad we have such a wonderful diagnostician handy or I might have gone on thinking it was just my heartbeat. Whew.

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Friday, April 11, 2008

The Laundry Monster

Laundry is the chore that I hate the most in the whole, wide world. It's like a bad case of acne. You might be able to get it under control every so often, but it's going to flare up again, over and over, endlessly, and for the rest of your life.

In the fall, I was forced into the realization that there was no way I was ever going to be able to keep up with the clothes, towels, sheets, etc. for our seven member family. So I taught Meyson and Brianna how to do their own. Now they each have one night a week where they wash their own clothes and sheets. As soon as Cody can reach the controls, she will have her own laundry night as well.

At first I thought it was asking too much to have them do their own laundry, my mom always did mine. But then I realized that, in addition to lightening my load (no pun intended), it gave them more of a sense of responsibility and, for Brianna at least, a greater sense of control in a chaotic household. Before she had to constantly remind me that she was out of socks, or underwear, or whatever else. I know it was hard for her to approach me about it, and it was hard for me to hear that I had failed yet again to keep those things readily available to her.

Now I'm doing laundry for five and I'm disappointed to find that it's not that much less work. If I let even two or three days go without doing a load or two, it is so overwhelming that I'd rather crawl inside the pile and hide than try to tackle it. You know, in there with the body sludge, the dried on dinners, the snot. Yeah, it's that bad.

In the last three days, I have done probably close to fifteen loads of laundry. Sure, I've been going through boxes in the garage in preparation to move, so that is more than it would normally take me to catch up. I stared in silent triumph at the empty baskets before me tonight. It was all done. "Was" being the operative word.

Five minutes later I was getting Carson and Memphis ready for bed and of all the things they can do in a day to irritate me, none were as bad as taking the clothes off of their bodies and ruining the barrenness of my laundry baskets. How could they?! Walking around playing all day and wearing clothes! Making clothes dirty! Little ingrates.

I know, I know, I should feel blessed that we have clothes to wear, and I do. I should feel privileged to be able to just put them into a machine and turn a dial to get them clean, and I do. I just wish those clothes would take themselves out of the dryer, either fold themselves or put themselves on a hanger, and put themselves away. Is that really too much to ask?

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

For My Cody

You are such a beautiful child. I enjoy watching you grow and blossom everyday. Your heart is so loving and compassionate and you are an incredible big sister.

I know that when you are with your Daddy that you are having a great time and I wish nothing else for you. It means the world to me that your relationship with your dad is so strong. I know that that relationship will only strengthen you and enrich your life. You are so very blessed to have a father who loves you so dearly.

Your absence has such a profound affect on our household. When you are here, there is laughter and non-stop activity. This is partly due to the fact that you are such an effective activity planner. Just by nature of having a big family, there is still laughter and activity, but a little piece of the joy is missing. I'm not the only one who notices this.

Meyson always wants to know when you are coming back because, as he says, "she is fun." We see less of Brianna when you are gone and much, much more of Carson. I think she misses you the most. She follows me around all day telling me crazy stories and asking me to play polly pocket with her. I assure you that I don't play polly pocket nearly as well as you do.

Even Memphis notices that you are not here and has been wandering the house yelling, "diddy, diddy!" (sissy, sissy). I think he and Carson depend on you more than you realize.

This is in no way meant to make you feel guilty about visiting your dad. I would never put that on your shoulders. I just really felt like you should know just how much you are loved and missed. I want you to know that we think of you all day, everyday. I want you to know that if I could wrap my arms around you right now and squeeze you until you squeak, I would.

We are incomplete without you and cannot wait for your return. How blessed you are to have so many people who love you so much, and how blessed we are to have you to love.

Sending hugs and kisses your way.

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Saturday, April 05, 2008

Do Not Beware Of Dog

With Brad gone so much this winter, I was glad to have our dog Junah with me. Even though she stinks and is the most emotionally needy dog I have ever encountered, she loves us and I had every reason to believe she would protect us if she had to. I'm glad I didn't know then what I know now.

I'm not the greatest housekeeper. This is unfortunate for Brad because my messiness is displayed without restraint in our bedroom. It has just become the room where everything that doesn't have a place goes (I swear these two topics are related, I haven't recently injured my head).

Anyway, last night I was busily typing out an email from my bed in our very quiet house when a book slid off of the top of a pile of crap. I thought nothing of it, but it startled Junah so badly that she jumped off of her bed (which is six feet away from my side of our bed) and onto my arms. All 45 pounds of her. Now, this dog has been trained from day one to stay off of the furniture, especially our bed, so I was shocked to find her on top of me.

I had to laugh when I looked at her face because she appeared to be as shocked as I was that she was where she was. It took her a good ten minutes to calm down. The incident was amusing to me until the thought crossed my mind that she is supposed to be protecting me, not the other way around.

I have to admit that Junah has grown on me. For the first few months after we got her, I wondered what I could possibly have been thinking when I fought to get her. She chews everything. She loses hair by the ton. In general, her behavior is not good.

She is getting better and all of her faults are redeemed by the way she plays with the kids. She loves them and is wild and gentle with them at the same time. If this baby is a girl, I expect that Junah will become Memphis' best friend. And I expect that she will watch over him. At least, she better.

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Friday, April 04, 2008

Tooth Terror

Cody's two front teeth have been loose since before Christmas. We teased her then that she may have to "with uth a merry Crithmuth." One thing you have to realize about Cody is that she is truly terrified of pain. It literally takes three people to hold her down at the doctor's office to give her a shot.

As a result, those teeth have just been sitting there loose in her mouth all this time. Finally one of them began to give way this past week. We have all been extremely patient with her while she shows us how much more wiggly it is while refusing to let anyone near her.

Tonight I couldn't handle it anymore. The tooth was literally hanging out of her mouth. I made a deal with her that if she could pull the tooth out in the next ten minutes that the whole family could go out for ice cream. Didn't take long before everyone in the house was cheering her on.

Every time I gave her an update on the amount of time she had left, she would totally freak out. So, I quietly decided to give her a little more time; mostly because I really wanted some ice cream.

An hour later I got a little impatient. I told her to just sit still while I pulled it out. I expected some resistance, but she just turned her little tear-stained face to me and said very pitifully, "Ok, but someone is going to have to hold me down."

So be it. Meyson held her arms to her side while I gripped her tooth with a paper towel. Again, I expected a little resistance, but that little tooth just slid right out.

She is now known as the ice cream hero.

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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Wardrobe Confusion

A couple of days ago we noticed that our air conditioner wasn't working very well. It hasn't been unbearably hot, so I didn't freak out too bad when our property management company didn't answer the phone yesterday. Then today, it was kind of wintry again and we needed a little heat. Well, turns out that isn't working either. This is a much bigger problem for me and I made sure we got a work order in today to get it fixed. As is typical for property management companies, they are taking their sweet time in getting someone here.

When bedtime rolled around tonight, I told the kids to put on warm pajamas because it is going to be cold tonight. Here's Carson's interpretation:

Well, at least one foot will be warm. And her little noggin.

Unrelated, but still pretty funny:

I think every kid has a picture just like this one. He's very proud of himself.

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