Saturday, April 30, 2011

A Charming Compliment

I frowned at my reflection in the mirror : twisting my head left and right, measuring length, checking shapes, pursing lips, overall unhappy with the picture.  I have got to chop my hair and let it grow again, I growled to my hapless husband.  Ian happened to hear my. . . less than genteel voice and spoke up,

Oh no, Mommy ; I LOVE your hair, even when it's messy!

I did melt a little and bent to hug him and thank him  (I resisted the desire to give him candy for such lovely sentiments.).  He sauntered away, pleased with the power of his words.

*It is messy, though, and I'm still going to have it cut.  Maybe just a trim, now.*

Updated 3-1 to add my quirky FB message :

No matter how desperate you may feel about your looks, having your 13 year old son "cut off the scraggles" is NOT A GOOD IDEA.  I've been bobbed.

Joseph's not sure...


Bubble Bath Peace

Luke was crazy-naughty at the dinner table tonight, eschewing all manners, refusing all food, pouring all water, kicking all legs ~ get the picture?  We yelled, cajoled, and babied, all to no avail, so we sent him upstairs.  Banished from polite society, I believe I said.  Hmmm.

As soon as I was finished, I tiptoed up and discovered him hunched over on his bed, crying softly.  When I suggested  a bubble bath, he turned his teary face toward me and whispered,  Just me?  No one else?  And will you stay in there with me?  So here I am, sitting on the you-know-what, scribbling in a spiral notebook  (updated to this blog later).  He's even pulled the curtain over, creating a watery cave, enjoying the warm solitude.  I'm close, though, at his request, and I listen to my boy's gentle bath-toy play behind a vinyl American flag shower curtain. 

No need to discover what was wrong at dinner.  He's calm and cozy, content and clean.  I plan to brush his teeth, read him a story, and tuck him in to an earlier bedtime.  Tomorrow's a new day.  For all of us.

Thanks be to God,

Monday, April 25, 2011

Who are the Bad Guys

It was a perfect homeschool afternoon :

The eldest two were working in one room ; the next two were upstairs, putting together some sort of market, where later, the rest of us would pay pennies to retrieve our own possessions stolen for the store ; the baby was napping ; and the four year old was engaged with a cheerful assortment of toy animals, people, and vehicles in our living room wood pile.  The queen reigning over this peaceful scene  (Me!)  was curled up on the couch, close to the wood pile drama.

John, finished with his pre-algebra, meandered out and poked his head around the corner.  Seeing Luke's set-up in the wood must have struck him as entertaining  (young teen boys are awfully cute that way), as he brightened up and slid into place beside his little brother.

Who are the bad guys?  he queried, and Luke, never missing a beat to his game, pointed and explained.  John listened intently, nodded, then joined him, moving things around, knocking things down, and making Boy Noises.  You know what this is, right?  Hardly any recognizable words?

Get down!  Buzsch !  Buzsch!  Buzsch!  Aaaaawwww.   Kgh.  Kgh.
Over there!  Kush, Kush, Kush.   Wiiiiiiiiing!   Splurthrch.
Get it!  Ug.  Ug.  Uuuwwwwah.  Puuagh.

OK. Enough of that.

Who are the bad guys?  He had to acquire that knowledge before commencing the play.  He had to ask the one who had been at it longer  (Really, the one who'd invented the Whole Thing.).  Once the bad guys were identified, he was good.  He could jump in.  He could play hard.  Sometimes the bad guys were avoided ; sometimes they were engaged.  Sometimes they were knocked down ; sometimes they advanced.  Sound familiar?  Mmmm.

We need to know who the bad guys are, too.  Whom do we ask?  Who has been playing longer?  Who created the Whole Thing?

We heard at our church's Great Easter Vigil Mass, eight Scripture readings and eight sung psalms, chronicling salvation history.  God's plans for the game.  Let's listen intently and check in often for confirmation, redirection, and encouragement.  Let's jump in.  The Church knows the Plan.  We can know who the bad guys are.  Let's play!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Weekend Recipe : Peanut butter stuff

Peanut butter is one of the Best Ways to get lots of fat and protein calories.  Here are two of my fastest recipes for when my meal plan (*) falls flat and I'm in a hurry for a good snack  :


1 C PB
1 C sugar
1 Egg

Mix 'em all together, roll 'em in golf-ball-sized balls, flatten 'em just a bit with criss-cross fork tines, bake 'em about 10 minutes at 350 degrees.  Let 'em cool about 10 minutes, or they'll fall apart.


I'm not really sure this should be classified as a recipe, it's so easy!
Just mix together peanut butter and powdered sugar until it's very stiff.
Give it to the kids to play with and eat.  Ta-da!
(This is one of those foods that you eat tons of because it's so yummy, then feel sick afterwards.  Just so you know.)

* I don't really have a meal plan.  Really Organized Mothers have one and swear by them.  But.  I just don't.

Blessed, warm Holy Week,

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Much ~

C o u g h i n g . . .

Taking forever

Monday evening saw the Husband, John, Clare, and I at our church's Lenten Reconciliation service, leaving Rees home with the 3 little boys.  His instructions were simple : don't let them hurt each other.  When we arrived home 2 hours later, Joseph was already sleeping in his crib while Luke and Ian were in their beds  (actually, both in Ian's bed, but that counts) quietly playing with small toys.  We were thrilled, properly gushed thank-you and turned to tackle the messy kitchen when Rees sheepishly divulged, I'd hoped to surprise you with a clean kitchen but it took forever to play one game of Camp, clean it up, get their teeth brushed and in bed oh man I forgot to have them tinkle hope no one wets the bed.

My sideways smirk to the Husband was interrupted as John piped up to Rees, No kidding, huh?  When you and Mom and Dad are at Shoshindo, it takes the whole 2 hours just to get them ready for bed and do one nice thing like a story or game.  Sheesh.

The two of them shrugged, shook their heads, and meandered together into the den.

Sheesh indeed!  The Husband and I shared a good chuckle and one of us  (probably me)  commented,  Boy if we had known That in the beginning of babies and toddlers . . .

Well.  Their wives will thank me someday.  Yup.

And in keeping with the theme of How excellent it is to have lots of kids, I offer these photos of bigger people doing nice things for smaller people, enabling me to eat chocolate and drink coffee while reading friendly blogs :

                                          Bubbles in the house?  Hey, it works!

                                          Who doesn't want to hold a newborn?!

                                     The littler one doesn't know that the bigger one can't read!

                                          Whatever they are doing, I love!

                                             Mini George Strait loves shoulder rides!

Our children do take forever ; thank God!


No more middle names ; I'm too scatter-brained to get it right.  I've adjusted the pictures on the sidebar and some of the pages at the top.  That's all for now.  One of these days when I've got a good hour to myself and nothing more pressing to accomplish, I'll go through and fix everything.

I can pretend.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Getting Real

One of the most refreshing things I've realized about running into a CF person  (family member or actual CFer)  is the immediate inquiring about their well-being and the honest answer, even if there's trouble.  No Fine, fine ; and how is Tilly?  nonsense  (Well, I guess it's not nonsense if everything is fine!).  If they're on the third hospitalization this year or picked up some egregious bug or became resistant to an effective antibiotic ~ it's said.  And we discus what the doc's plan is and how their mood is.  And no one squeals, Oh my God how do you handle that?  Or simpers, God must think you are so strong to give you this.  Or chirps,  You've got to pray believing in healing  (Sarcasm aside, we do indeed beg prayers and lift rejoicings for folks in need.).

But we are real  (Definition : genuine ; not artificial).  Even perfect, hot mama suburbanites get real when talking about their kids' CF issues.  No Christmas letter litanies of accomplishments only.  We nod and question and explain and share and learn.  We might tear up or shake our heads or curse.  We might chat about babies or teenagers or life or death or the stupid new rules at the hospital.  We get smarter and stronger.  Sometimes sadder.  Wiser because of our candid conversation.

Get real, I would snarl at my parents with a roll of my eyes, and I'm pretty sure they were thinking the same about snotty, know-it-all me!  I am, now.  At least, more real, which means growth, which means life.

"My mother had a slender, small body, but a large heart -- a heart so large that everybody's grief and everybody's joy found welcome in it, and hospitable accommodation."
                                                         Mark Twain

Warmly.  Really,

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Good food

Nothing boosts self-esteem like knowing that the evening's comfort food . . .

                                         About to be mixed with lentils and spices.

. . . is because you did this :

                                          Rees (w/cf), Summer 09 ; no caribou last summer.

One year, he was admitted to the hospital immediately upon returning from the hunt ; one year, he got one ; last year, he 4-wheeled,  he hiked ~ no caribou.  This August, let's hope he feels fine enough to go and the caribou feel fine enough to migrate to where he is ~ because that was absolutely the last package in our freezer!

Enjoying a warm, delicious life together,

Monday, April 4, 2011

Muddy smiles

This post is a big, fat complaint.  Breakup has begun . . .

Snow, mud, slush

                                         Outside clothes in a wet, muddy heap                                       
What the little boys do for fun around here when their coats are wet and muddy : TP play

Every year at this time when the snow melts during the day causing pockets and puddles of deep mud that children and canines absolutely must frolic in, then freezes again in the evening, making morning commutes treacherous, I resolve to keep cool.  To not yell about mud and puddles and filthy small people and disgusting smelling dogs.  Each year I fail, even though I know that it lasts about a month and in May we get green.  Green!  Green!  It has arrived.  I will try again.  I will smile at their muddy joy.  I will try.  I will try.

Warmly  (Actually, Muddily),

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Well Done

One of my first despairing cries when the kindly young doctor told us of Rees' CF was, Oh dear God, my baby's going to die.  Indeed, it was all I could think of those first foggy days, weeks, and months  (Maybe even a year but I'm not sure I remember now.).  My baby's going to die.  My baby's going to die.  My baby . . .

And then he wasn't a baby any more.  He grew into a toddler like any other toddler.  He swallowed his enzyme-laden applesauce before snacks and meals.  He yelled, NO, NO, NO with all his might.  He watched Little Bear while being clapped.  He ran away from me naked and peed on the floor.  He occasionally was hospitalized with IVs.  He learned colors, letters, Mama, Daddy.  He was cute.  He was naughty.  He did need extra care to be healthy, but he certainly wasn't dead.

So slowly, I realized that I'd grown from merely giving intellectual assent to such ideals as

Each day is a gift.
No one is guaranteed tomorrow.
Viruses and car wrecks and accidents cause death, too.

Now I understood in my soul and I lived differently.  Finer.  Richer.  Deeper.  We had more babies and had more fun with them.  We saved less money and went out for more pizza.  It takes troubles to realize these truths but I am positive that people live more graciously with this knowing and that the world is a more excellent place with such understanding sorts.

Does this mean that I take my wisdom and float along with my smiles and tears, content in suffering?  H***, No.  I write letters requesting research monies.  I volunteer at fund raising events.  I sign up for walks and drug studies and surveys and questionnaires.  I talk.  Oh yes, I talk.  Love to talk!

We're all going to die, you know.  One way or another, CF or something else, our time here on our beautiful, fallen earth will be up.  I want to hear Well Done. . .  I want my children to hear Well Done. . .  I want my boy with CF to hear Well Done . . .