Saturday, October 30, 2010

Merry Hallow-giving?!

Am I the only one noticing that the Christmas decorations are out in the stores earlier each year? Did I forget to take my crazy pills?!

I have always laughed at the fact that the stores seem to push the selling of items for Christmas and its decorations extremely early. In the summer months the malls would have the "Back to School" sales start with specials on clothing for the fall and for school. Then with those, the introduction of fall decor: Pumpkins, scarecrows, decorations for the home in oranges, browns, burgundies, and dark yellows.

The notebooks, pencils, folders, paste that the weird kids ate and backpacks are out next. As a little girl, this was the very worst sight to behold during my months of summer fun. My sister felt the same way. Our days of roller skating in the garage were coming to an end. I felt the end of the world was near and that before I would know it, I'd be back in school, day in and day out. I felt I would be held hostage by the state and forced to learn things I didn't want to learn. I wanted to play!! Never mind the fact that I still had plenty of time. Drama, anyone?! Where do my princesses get being drama queens from?! When one is a child, Christmas takes what seems like ten years to come and summer is over in a matter of days. Consequently, the opposite it true once one is a parent. Funny how life works. School starts as early as August in some states and as late as September, after Labor Day, in others. The school supplies would be out in the stores around Independence Day and depending on where we were living, the summer was either just getting started or winding down in my mind. My dad was in the Navy so we were like ping pong balls, moving from coast to coast, country to country. Some summers really were shorter than others when we left an area that got out for the summer later and moved to area that started school in early August. Those times blew chunks. No matter where we were, I could feel the days slipping by...faster and faster. It was as if, as the days moved forward and toward the days I would be trapped in school, someone, maybe my worn out mom, ;o) was pressing a fast forward button.

I soon reconciled myself to the days of "homework first, then play time." I would look forward to my birthday in the middle of October and Halloween! Halloween is still one of my very favorite holidays and a lot of my most cherished childhood memories were on this holiday. My mom would make our costumes as young children and sometimes Halloween snacks for our classes at school. We'd eat her homemade chili, a tradition I now have with my own family, and then my dad would take my sister and me out Trick-or-Treating. Then, several years later, my little brother came along and my dad would take the three of us out while my mom stayed home and handed out candy to all the little princesses, super heroes, witches and such.

My younger sister (left) and me

Halloween in the early 1980's. 

After my stomachache subsided and the cavities were filled by the dentist, the glorious Christmas decorations and toys would be out in the stores. Never mind the fact that we hadn't even bought, cooked and swallowed our turkey dinner on Thanksgiving. Christmas was coming!! Yahoooooo! Then time began to creep by very, very, verrrrry slowly.

That was then. Back in the days of yore. And when dinosaurs roamed the earth. You see, my kids think we are ancient. All kids think their parents are when they are young. Now the stores are pushing Christmas, sometimes before Halloween is ever even considered. It seems like Halloween is even skipped over. Not a money maker I suppose.

Three years ago, a couple days after having Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and I were out running errands. Christmas had exploded on the scene. It was October the eleventh. This made my two and a half year old Cinderella very pleased. I was left feeling like I was in some time warp and a panic swept over me as I realized I now had TWO kids! I was tired and worn out from just giving birth, having a newborn and a toddler and a house to run and it was about to be the end of me. A few months later I really struggled with something that only God and the King of the Crazies know about. I had postpartum depression and it took me almost a year to fight my way out to the other side. It was a hard time in my life and it was hard on my family but we came through stronger because of it. I will share more on this in a later post. I am starting to be of the mind set that if I can help someone, even just one person, I can get over the fact that it is embarrassing to admit.

A woman can have Post Partum Depression (or PPD) any time in the year after giving birth.

So, there you have it. It may feel like you are in some time warp or "Back in Time" a la Marty McFly, but...


Friday, October 29, 2010

Thoughts on the Way to School...

I see a lot of things on the ride to and from school these days.  Sleeping Beauty and I take Cinderella in the morning and usually come back home and do a few things around the house before we set out about our day. Then in the afternoon we head back out to the school to get her.

I see a lot of surprising and interesting behavior on my drives to and from school.  I often see parents in their pajamas.  Now, don't think, "Oh, it's just the drop off line.  They are not getting out."  They sometimes get out.  I have seen parents in the school in their pajamas. Horror of horrors!  ;o)

The drop off and pick up line seems to be a "hot button" topic among many moms I know.  Thankfully I have not witnessed the "Pick Up/Drop off Line" drama that can bring out the very worst in parents.  I have heard about parents driving like maniacs, being careless when children are around, cutting in front of someone else in the line, (That sounded juvenile even to me) yelling and being bad examples.  Some parents do not treat others the way they want to be treated.  Parents from all over the country talk about this.  I hope I don't ever see it.  Nothing is worse than an adult acting in such a manner that could embarrass their child.  

Remember "The Golden Rule" that was taught in Kindergarten?  Well, I do because I went to a private Christian school then.  Or maybe your mother taught you it?  In Matthew 7:12 it says, "Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets."

But I see A LOT of good.  More good than bad.

Luckily, from what I have seen at the elementary school level, these kids are kind to one another.  They treat one another the way they want to be treated.  They observe The Golden Rule.  I see brothers carrying their little sister's backpacks, older siblings holding the hands of their younger siblings to keep them safe and within reach.  I see children waiting for friends before crossing the street, parents walking their kids to school and children kissing their moms and dads without caring what their peers think.*

Matthew 18 2-5 (NKJV) it states, Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, 3 and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven4 Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.

Young children are some of the most Christlike people I know.  If you didn't know that or have not seen it for yourself, I urge you to go into a Sunday School class and watch the children.  They love completely and selflessly.  Unconditionally.  With their heart, soul and mind.  They love because we (and He) first loved them.  

Hmmmm.  That sounds familiar.  I John 4:19, anyone?

"We love Him because He first loved us."

My girls are always showing me the person I need and want to be by their examples.  By their actions.  By their works.  They make me what to be a better person and I am pretty sure I am.  (Bueller...Bueller?  Bueller??)  ;o)  Knowing their hearts, I know that Christ truly dwells within them. It takes a lot to "ruffle my feathers" these days.  My children have really mellowed me.  And at times I truly do just let the craziness take over and have fun with them rather than clean.  Yes, you read that right.  Sometimes A lot of the time, my house is in shambles but my girls are happy and they know without a shadow of a doubt that they are loved. 

 *Random thought: I guess I have a couple more years before I have to worry about Cinderella being embarrassed by my displays of affection and constant picture taking habits.  :)  I have heard it starts in second grade.  :oP

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Friends, Loss, Life and God

Let me tell you about some nice people.  I met B and K and was friends with them separately in college, waaaay back in the late '90's and before they were dating.   K and I became closer after we became mothers, me in 2005 and her in 2006. We both had girls and then  I had another one in 2007.  We loved to talk about our "divas,"  toddler meltdowns and the every day stresses of being a mom.  Some days we didn't know if we'd make it until our respective husbands got home.  We provided funny stories, antics and support to one another.  She called her daughter a "Fireball" and Sleeping Beauty was certainly a pistol.  I still have my two with me, but B and K do not.  They are part of the club that no one signs up to be in: Parents without children on earth with them.  

They are still parents.  The way they are with my girls attests to that.  They are parents without their child.

If you are not reading K's blog Anchors of Life, you are missing out.  Sure, some of it is hard to read  sometimes but that is because she spills her emotions out all over the page.  She writes with her whole heart and soul.   Knowing what is on her heart and in her thoughts will make you strive to be a better person.

Below is a picture of my family with B and K taken on October 16, 2010.  They were within a couple of hours away from us on a trip so we drove to meet them and spent a Saturday afternoon with them and some of their friends.  Now they are friends of my husband and girls.  My girls adore B and K and Sleeping Beauty likes to talk on the phone with K.

And she is just as gorgeous on the inside as she is on the outside:

Can I let you in on a little secret?  K is changing lives.  God is using her to change my heart.   God is working in B and K, we just cannot see the big picture.  Yet.  She is a wonderful example of a Godly woman.  If she does what I have kinda begged, er, asked her to do, she will write an amazing book.  You heard it here first.  ;o)  God truly dwells within these two people.

Let me tell you a little bit more about B and K and their "Sweet Fireball".  This is going to be hard to write.  Er, I mean type.

Less than a month away from turning three, last Thanksgiving weekend, "Sweet Fireball" was killed in a car accident.  They were on their way home from a wonderful holiday with family.  The accident left those that know and love them heartbroken and crying out to God, and "Sweet Fireball's" mom and dad were left devastated and heartbroken and with empty, aching arms.

When I first heard about the accident, I felt my heart sink.  Surely, she could not be gone.  Not "Sweet Fireball!"  Maybe it was a mistake and someone misunderstood!  Maybe the details have been skewed.  It can't be true.

I reached out to  them immediately.  I didn't want to call (What would I say?!  Their baby died and I still had my two!!  In some ways I still feel guilty for having my two children when they don't have their one child), so I'd text (They could ignore it if they needed to) and email (They'd see it and know I cared and was praying).  I was in touch with B and then once K was a bit more lucid (she was very badly injured, the repercussions of which she will deal with for the rest of her life.)  But it was true.  She was gone.  

A daddy without his princess.  A mommy without her sidekick. 

I still struggle with this.  I know they do too.  After "Sweet Fireball" died, I couldn't sleep.  I'd lie awake in bed and cry.  My heart literally hurt for them.  I knew how much she meant to them, to her family and friends.  I'd think of B and K all the time.  I still do.  I pray for them every time I think of them and that accident.  Now I pray whenever I see crosses or wreaths or flowers by the roadside because I have been touched by such a loss.  As B once told me, "They have a whole different meaning to me now."

Where does God fit in to all of this?  Surely God would never allow such a thing to happen.  But it did happen.  Things like this happen every day.  And not because God made it happen.  He didn't necessarily want it to happen.  He didn't want Adam and Eve to disobey Him, did He?  But it happened.  He knew the accident would happen, that their sweet baby would leave this earth, since the beginning of time.  But remember, God never needed bad to do His good. Bad things happen in this world because of sin. That's just the way it is.  Because God gave us free will.  She didn't die because of anything B and K did or didn't do.  This couldn't have happened to nicer people.  They didn't deserve this.  Adam and Eve sinned and thus the Plan of Salvation was set in to motion. 

Then this verse comes to mind: "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."  - Romans 8:28 KJV

I know it is often easy to "talk the talk" but it is soooo very difficult to "walk the walk," especially when it comes to your life being turned upside down and inside out and being heartbroken.  But B and K and, from what I can tell, their extended families are talking the talk as well as walking the walk.  They are praising God in this storm during their lives.  I do not believe I could be that strong.  Wait, I know I wouldn't be.  Not without God.  Maybe they aren't either.  I am sure they would tell you that God is getting them through this time.  

Matthew 19:26 (KJV) says,"But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible."

We cannot pretend to know why this all happened.  We may never know while on this earth.  Hopefully, once in Heaven, we will understand why it did happen. Or we will see the good that came from it.

I asked K if I could do a post about her and she said I could.  We talked for an hour today. I started this post and then called her and finished it later.  I didn't ask B but I don't think he'd mind my telling you all that when his daughter died he said, "I guess God thought we could handle this."  WOW.  See what I mean when I say that these are Godly people?

At first, K didn't know about their daughter.  She was in ICU.  When she did hear B tell her, she said she felt like she knew she was gone but she needed B to tell her.  And then she said something that floored me to B.  "You've been dealing with this all by yourself?!"  Again, WOW.

I aspire to be more like them, more Christlike.  More like God.

So please, if you pray, pray for B and K and their families and friends.  And check out her blog.  It may make you cry but it WILL make you appreciate the people in your life.  I think of them when I am having a hard day and I know they'd give anything to be able to have even their worst day with "Sweet Fireball" again.  

Pray for them tomorrow as it is the 11 month anniversary of their daughter's passing.  And Thanksgiving - the last holiday they shared with her that ended tragically.  To them, I am sure it feels like they just lost her.  Losing a loved one can bring a sense of dread for the holidays and I don't want that for them, so the more prayers for them, the better. "Sweet Fireball" is taken care of.  She is in Heaven playing and laughing and dancing and waiting to see her Mommy and Daddy again.  To her, it will feel like the blink of an eye.  :)

And K, Isaiah 40:31.  :o)

*P.S. I didn't want to cause any pain to anyone so I had B and K read this before I published it on my blog.

Sleeping Beauty is THREE! Part 2

Sleeping Beauty is about to make a wish.  The cake was made to her specifications.  :)  Strawberry cake with strawberry icing with the cast of "Sleeping Beauty" on it. 
"I'm go to Halloween."
That WAS her wish.
Cinderella made the place cards.  :)
Cinderella and my kid brother
The girls and my brother in law.  
Chowing down!
I LOVE third birthdays because it is really the first time that the child gets that the birthday party/day is ALL about THEM and celebrating that we have them in our lives.

Princess Furry Pants
Who knows?!

Kissing Snow White - who was her favorite until just recently:
Partying it up!
Me and Sleeping Beauty - She got a case of what I like to call "The Birthday Twits."  You know, getting your way so you turn into a brat?!  ;o)
This is the best we could do.  :oP  My sweet baby a la deer in the headlights look:
We brought baby stuff down from the attic as my sister is having her first baby in February.  Sleeping Beauty immediately climbed in and started saying, "I'm a baby."  She is so tiny, she fits.  
Some of the decor
Sleeping Beauty is just so precious.  This morning she came in from her room carrying her pink piggy bank.  Here's what happened:

Sleeping Beauty: "I want to give money to Jesus."
Me: "How much?"
S.B.: "All of it. I want Jesus to have it."
Me: "Then you won't have any."
S.B.: "That is fine. It is Jesus' anyway." 

She emptied it and put it aside to take on Sunday morning.
God has blessed me so much! I love the heart of a child.  My girls are such a reminder of the way He wants us to be! 

Monday, October 25, 2010

Gone Fishin' with Daddy!

Saturday The King of the Crazies took the girls (all three - counting the dog, Princess Furry Pants) fishing for the first time.  They ALL loved it!

Cinderella and a fish
 Sleeping Beauty looking like she is about to get bit by the fish!
 Pucker up!!
 My fave picture from the day:

 The little one's face is cracking me up!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sleeping Beauty is THREE!

October 6th marked Sleeping Beauty turning three years old.  We did her party the weekend before.  It was a "Sleeping Beauty" themed party and it was just what she wanted.  My mission was accomplished.  And I am so thankful to my dad for taking the pictures so I could run around like a crazy woman and help my baby celebrate her third birthday.

Love this one.
Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty
 Wearing the birthday princess sash but not her tiara...yet.  
 Opening gifts and looking at a fake birthday cupcake her big sister gave her

An instant classic!
 "Powering Up!"  A Sleeping Beauty speciality.
 The tiara is in place!
 Nothing like singing "Happy Birthday" to oneself.  
To be continued...