Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Great Sharon Flood of 2010

This post will be pictureless - because as I have mentioned in an earlier post, my baby broke my camera.  Which, although I am still quite bitter about, is probably a good thing considering if I was to have taken pictures today they would all contain images of children with a look of total horror on their faces...well, no - they really didn't care.

Dave left yesterday to go to his new job on the other side of the state for an expo they were holding.  As I knew he was returning, I thought it would be a great surprise for him to come into a clean home that smelled nice.  So, after our wonderful day yesterday, I figured that maybe I could carry on the good energy to today.

Not so much friends,

Cleaning in general just makes me grumpy, but today as I was cleaning the girls' room from top to bottom I was feeling pretty good about how much we were accomplishing together and how quickly.  Then they all disappeared and left me alone to clean the entire room by myself. 

That's when "Grumpy Mama" bore her head. 

I figured the kids were playing and making yet another mess for me to clean when I was done with my current task.

I was right.

Too right.

As I left their room and walked across the play room to mine, I saw a gigantic puddle of water.  Then I saw what was happening.  The sink in my bathroom had been stopped, the water turned on full blast and my bathroom was flooded a good two inches full of water.  It spread into my bedroom, my closet, into Luke's room and even a little into the hallway.  I ran downstairs to see that it had made it's way down to a light socket and drained onto my kitchen floor.

That's when "Irate 'I brought you in, I will take you out' Mama" bore her head.

I quickly called my aunt and sent her a desperate text just so she would know that it probably was a life or death matter.  I then called my mom's neighbor because I remember she mentioned that he had a wet vac (mind you, this was just yesterday when he came to her rescue because her air conditioner was leaking.)  Both Bill (the neighbor) and Char (the fantastic aunt) rushed to my aid and helped me, well they did the clean up while I maintained the children.

Tonight, my floor is wet.  Tonight, when Dave got home my house was clean (good news) but he walked into a room with fans blowing, carpet pulled up and wet vacs and cords lying around (not good news).  Today, I questioned my parenting at the most basic level. 

Today, I did not like my children.

Yesterday I was so proud of my little family and the great day we had.  Today I was angry that I did anything fun with them yesterday - since they didn't deserve it today ( I know, I know, stupid logic...but I'm a woman, and that's my prerogative.)

You know, Super Nanny is casting right now...maybe I should call her.

No, but seriously - my kids are so full of life, adventure, mischief, curiosity and because they are little so often it comes out in total chaos and destruction around my home...making me feel like a total failure as a mother with out of control children who won't listen to me EVEN if their lives depended on it.

I was like Old Mother Hubbard tonight who spanked all her children and sent them to bed without any food.  I fed them mind you, but they didn't want to eat what I served them - so when they begged for a snack at bed time, I told them they could just wait till morning.  Usually I cave, but considering the circumstances of today, I was abnormally firm. 

I finally calmed down a bit, back to "Grumpy Mama" when Dave got home.  As I began to tell him about my day he seemed abnormally calm about the situation (so much so that I just stopped talking about it, since he wasn't joining me in my child bashing rant).  He then began to tell me about his day.

Today, he was at an expo for people with disabilities.  At his new job, he works with individuals and families to provide them vehicles that will give them their freedom and mobility back.  Today he saw families with children in wheelchairs that could not walk.  Families with children that had wires and tubes hooked up to them to help them live.  As he began to talk to me about the people he met, I could see tears welling up in his eyes.  My husband is pretty non emotional, yet today I could see he was greatly impacted.

So, before he got home I envisioned how this post would some ranting and raving I'm sure.  But tonight I'm going to bed, grateful that my children have limbs that function and are healthy enough to be full of life, adventure, mischief, and curiosity.  Tonight I am going to bed filled with joy that my kids are healthy enough to do these wild things that cause my such grief.

Tonight - I'm humbled, and a little ashamed, that the Great Sharon Flood of 2010 will probably be my greatest hurdle I have to jump through for awhile and how angry and resentful I was today because of it - and there are families that my husband met today that are just grateful that they have a possibility of mobility again.

Dare I say it?  Yes I dare - thank you God for the flood.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Not too busy for you Babe!

As I write this post, my house is 3:06 in the afternoon - oh boy I'm in for it tonight, but ahhh this silence.

I let my 3 "big" kids take a nap downstairs.  Last time we did this, it failed miserably.  They wrestled and fought, messed around and giggled - and though it was super cute (well, at least in the beginning) they were tired little monsters by the end of the day.

But today, they slept.  There was one gigantic, or as we say, ginormous difference between this time and last time.  I joined them.

My kids wanted me to join them.  They wanted me to be a part of their little sleep party.  And today, after quite the late night last night getting my husband ready for a quick work trip, I was happy to oblige.  Last time though, not so much. 

And I find that I am "too busy" a lot.  I'm too busy cleaning the house (although you wouldn't know by the way the house looks) or I'm too busy doing laundry (although with the height of which Mt. St. Laundry is, I think we should just cross that one right off the excuse list) or I'm too busy doing my stuff - like this here darned blog, or (here my hand goes to hide my face in shame) Facebook.

As much as I love getting to have adult interaction on Facebook and meet really great people on the Blog and minister to other moms - none of you mean as much to me as my kids...yet I find myself using these things as excuses as to why I can't get on the floor and join them.

But I know at some point, in the not too distant future, they will not be so eager to have me join them in all their happenings.  It's just a part of life.  And when that time comes, I don't want to look back to right now and wish I had spent more time having sleep parties, or tea parties or anything in between.

Oh boy, they all just woke up...on to the rest of our busy day!

Have you played with your kids lately - or have you been too busy?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

I'm a hoarder...of a different type.

My first memory is when I was 3. 

Michael Jackson's Thriller had just come out and everyone was head over heels in love with it.  We lived in a two story house at the time and my one brother was watching the video on tv, my other brother was listening to it on the radio, and my mom was upstairs listening to a tape of it. 

Let me reiterate, I was 3.  Thriller was scary.  I was trying to run away from Thriller but Thriller was EVERYWHERE.

I told myself for 20 plus years that it was a nightmare until my mom told me that it really happened.

Hence, I don't like Michael Jackson.  Iconic music superstar he may be, but childhood bad memory he was for sure. 

My husband on the other hand, can't remember anything before he was about eight.  It drives his mom and dad CRAZY (which is TOTALLY understandable.)  They will remind him of things and he looks at them with a blank stare as if they are making it up.

And so I wonder what my kids' first memory will be.  I've been told by other moms that doing some of these things I do won't matter because my kids won't remember them.  But what if they do?  And I will for sure...and regardless if they remember them, I always will. 

So yes, I'm proud to admit it:  My name is Melissa and I am a memory hoarder.

I know that my son probably doesn't remember the time that I ran up to an oncoming freight train to stop the engineer so I could ask him if he would take Luke onto the train.  The nice engineer, decked out in overalls and everything, humored me and invited Luke and I onto the train.  Luke even got to ring the bell!

I know that my twins probably won't remember how I would lay one of them on either side of me and we would read The Night You Were Born every single night before bed.  They would wiggle their toes and giggle like they had never head it before even though it was the 5000 time I had read it.  By the end of that period of time, I had the book memorized.

I know that Lily probably won't remember how she played in the mud pit in our backyard until she was covered from head to toe and then jumped in the brand new swimming pool filling it with muddy water.  I knew then that I had a daredevil who had no fear on my hands.  Oh, and in case you were wondering - that was the last day of the mud pit as well.  DISGUSTING.

I know Will won't remember when he was born and had to be life flighted to the NICU but I drove an hour each way to visit him three times a day.  I would sit there and hold my sweet baby enjoying every last minute I had with him as a treasured gift.

I know my kids probably won't remember when I let them take finger paint and draw all over their bodies so they could see, feel, and even taste (yes, I know it's gross, but isn't it inevitable with kids?) their art project.

I know my kids probably won't remember the first time we made homemade pizza, everything from scratch and we were so proud of our accomplishments.

Yes, I am a memory hoarder.  I want my kids to remember their childhood's as being fun and full of great memories.  Even if their memories are from when they were 2.5 or 8, I want them to be memories they treasure....

And thank goodness they don't have to worry about Michael Jackson.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Come on now women, we can do better than this...

CAUTION:  This post contains many generalizations and possibly some offensive comments.  I apologize beforehand if I offend you, but please consider that maybe the offense is because it applies.  Ooh, I probably just offended you.  Sorry.

For just a few more days, praise the living God, my husband manages approximately 75 people.  Of those 75 people, 70 of them are women.  My husband hates his job.  He is grateful for his job.  He is appreciative that he has a job.  But he has hated his job.  And with all the reasons he could site as to why he is so passionately opposed to his position, they pretty much all boil down to this:


He loves women, obviously.  His mom is one, his wife is one, even his daughters are.  But let's be honest - women are impossible.

So, this post is not about my husband in case you were wondering. 

This, my friends - or soon not to be friends, is what it is about:

Why do we (women) act the way we do?

Generally speaking (generalization #1) when a man has a problem with another man, they deal with it and then it's over.  They do not however, obsess over how they were wronged, call a bunch of their guy friends to gossip about the wrong doer until the wee hours of the morning and sweetly call their gossip huddle "guy night."  However, I am confident that when men say they are going to go play poker, they in fact, are playing poker.  Shocking I know, but I believe it to be true.

However us women (generalization #2) obsess over how we were wronged, call a bunch of our girl friends to gossip about the wrong doer until the wee hours of the morning and sweetly call our gossip huddle "girl night." 

Dave is astounded quite regularly how his employees will call each other best friends and then turn around and try to get each other fired.  Quite ridiculous if you ask me, but I am astounded quite regularly how catty us women can be (including me) and how quick we are to nitpick and back bite each other.

Being a mom is hard.  Being a mom is the hardest, most physically laborious and emotionally draining job I have ever had and will ever have.  Most of you reading this can say "amen" to that.  And there are some of you who have another job on top of the mommy job and you have to juggle everything.  We need support and encouragement from other women, but unfortunately I find that instead of encouragement we receive criticism and judgment.

And Christians - aargh!!!  I am a Christian, and I am speaking to myself here, but COME ON PEOPLE!!!  Not all mom's are Christians.  Not all people are Christians.  But I can guarantee you that after being criticized, condemned and judged by us in our holier than thou attitudes because we feel self-righteous and entitled to share our unauthorized opinions while we have a tree the size of Rhode Island sticking out of our own eye, that they in fact will not become Christians. 

I am pretty sure that Jesus did not act self-righteous, although He had all authority to.  I am confident that Jesus did not gather the 11 disciples to drag Judas' name through the dirt, although He had all reason to.  I am positive that Jesus did not publicly humiliate those who were not believers, instead I believe He loved them to repentance. 

I think that instead of having a husband bashing session under the guise of "Women's Bible Study" we actually studied the Bible, we would have happier marriages.

I think that instead of having a gossip session and a pity party under the guise of "girl's night out" we actually encouraged each other to success in our friendships and family, we would have deeper more meaningful relationships.

I think that instead of using Facebook as a tool to criticize and pass on our self-righteous judgment, we used it as a tool to encourage and uplift, to motivate and minister - we would have a greater impact.

As women we were given a great purpose, but I fear we stand in our own way to accomplish those things that God put before us - and that would be the biggest offense of all.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Goodbye dear friend, goodbye.

Everybody take your seats!

McDonald's has Spiderman toys.

No, I am not endorsing McDonalds or their happy meals.  I am just sharing the good news that I have heard countless times from Luke within the last couple of days.  The boy is passionate.  For the first part of his life it was Thomas.  Now it's Spiderman.  He is not easily distracted, and I expect this obsession to last quite a few more years.  Hooray.

 So today, in good motherly fashion, after Will's doctor appointment I swung by McDonald's and bought happy meals...well, and of course something for myself.  Yes people, I let my children eat the "50 cows from Brazil" burgers from McDonald's and the "maybe it's chicken" chicken nuggets.  Yes people, before I had children when I was still the perfect parent and knew EVERYTHING about child rearing I swore up and down that I would never allow my children to eat there.  The movie "Super Size Me" convinced me that if I fed it to my children that not only would they be obese but that they may hate me for the rest of their lives.

Well, you know what "Super Size Me" guy?  You don't have kids.  And guess what?  McDonald's has Spiderman toys right now.  So there!

 And yes - it's a waste of money.  My kids eat two bites then they are done.  They just want the toy.  Twenty-two dollars later and we have four toys that will inevitably be in the trash within five days.  Be proud Dave Ramsey, be proud.

And I savored the food today as I ate it (pretty disgusting quite actually but I love it for the convenience...and no that's not just an excuse.  You cook with 4 babies hanging on your legs - McDonald's is sounding pretty good now, huh?)  But yes, then I ate a Klondike bar and followed it with some Sierra Mist.  You may be wondering, "Is she getting paid to endorse here?"  No friends, I am not.  I am though trying to get so sick with crap today that when I start a diet, yes a diet, tomorrow I will have no interest.

Yes, I'm going on a diet.  Darn 4th kid...haven't lost the baby weight yet.  Haven't really been eating right or exercising the way I should either, but I would much rather blame it on Will so I don't have to take responsibility for my laziness.  I prefer avoidance.  But lest I digress - I must lose this weight so I don't look miserable and frumpy in all my pictures - since the amount of pictures in which I actually appear are so limited I need to look fab-u-lous in all of them.

So tomorrow starts the diet.  I am doing it along with another mommy blogger, So goodbye McDonald's.  Thank you for your Spiderman toys - it was a wonderfully sweet send off.  Goodbye Klondike bars - you were a nice treat (and considerably less expensive than Fat Boys and with a much better, non judgmental name).  And goodbye Sierra Mist - you drink that has much more pizazz than boring.old.water.

Maybe "Super Size Me" guy should do a documentary on something we don't know already.  I mean, didn't we all know that eating at McDonald's every meal for an entire month may possibly be bad for your health?  Maybe he should do a documentary on how to cook for four kids and a husband with twenty minutes of time and make a meal that everyone will like.  Now that will be edge of your seat entertaining.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The effects of control, the cancer of anger

The phone call has still not come.  "This weekend" meant today at 5 not yesterday at 8 am.  Nice.

You may be asking, "What phone call?" Well I will tell you friends...

Dave has been at a job that has been like death less than ideal for a little over a year.  He took the position because he is a good man who likes to feed his family, right now we are eating lots of hot dogs (thank you coupons), but regardless...he puts food on the table.  But today we should be hearing if he gets this job that would, well, could be really good for our family.

And I'm not patient.  And I'm not in control of what's happening here.  And folks, I have been realizing lately, that I, yes I, am a control freak.

Aren't we all control freaks to some degree?  Ok, maybe I am just trying to get some support here by grouping you all into my little dysfunctional huddle...but regardless.  This control thing is out.of.hand.  Seriously.

Confessional time:

I have been blowing up lately.  Like seriously getting angry.  Like gross angry.  I have been behaving like that mom you look at in the store and say to yourself, "wow, they should really make people get a license before they can reproduce."  However, God has been graceful and I have only been primarily like this at home.  Phew! 

Now in defense of me, I must say: My children have been the most challenging they have ever been recently.  Challenging.Little.Monsters.  Bedtime that has never been a struggle in our home, ever - bedtime at 6:30 for 4 years without any is a fight EVERY SINGLE NIGHT, and they aren't falling asleep till at least 9.  My kids who Dave and I were getting pretty well trained at obeying us the first time are now pretty much deaf and lame until at least the seventh time we tell them something.  And if this attitude that we are getting now is just a foreshadowing of what life will be like in ten years then we are screwed in trouble.

Ok, but with that said...Stepping in gum is reason to be frustrated.  A broken jar of sauce is reason to be annoyed.  Children who are deaf and lame until the seventh time you say something is reason to be irritated.  But not reason to all out go and blow up.  Yes, it's been pretty here at the Sharon home. 

So, I thought to myself, "Melissa, why are you getting so angry?  Why are you blowing up like this about stuff that is, well, stupid?"  I knew it wasn't the actual offenses that were making me so angry, so I thought and thought and was quite introspective.  And then I realized it.  I'm blowing up because I don't feel like I'm in control.  I am not in control of their behavior, their actions, really, anything that they think or feel.  My children, just like me, are free willed human beings.  I can guide and direct, but when it's all said and done...they are in control of themselves.  Darn free will.

And so when I say, "Go to bed" and they get out of bed continuously for two plus hours, instead of being just irritated or frustrated I have been getting all out fiery mad.  But I'm not really mad that they are getting out of bed (totally and completely frustrated and annoyed) I'm furious that I can't control them.  I can discipline them.  I can give them consequences for their behavior.  But I can't control them.

Not good news for this control freak.

And discipline and consequences are not matching the offenses right now because I'm operating in my anger which is a HUGE no no.  So they aren't effective, and all I'm doing is pushing my children to not want to obey me. 

I don't want my children to be compliant out of fear, I want them to be obedient out of love.

But I need to not punish out of anger, I need to discipline out of love.

Blast you personal development.

So, I need to relinquish my control.  I need to right a consequence chart so I will not stray from it and operate in anger and my kids will know what to expect. 

I need to be consistent in my discipline so my children won't think that maybe this time they will get away with it.

I need to pray that God will soften their hearts and somehow bless them with obedient spirits.

But most importantly, I need to give up being in the driver seat of my life.  I like driving.  I should know by now that being in the driver seat only ends up in huge accidents, but I just keep ripping that steering wheel away.  I have to allow God to be in control. 

I have to allow God to be God.  Because I suck at being God.  And I need to stop getting so angry when I am confronted with the reality that I suck at being God.

Sorry, I keep rambling, but this has been days of thought so bare with me...

And I know there are other moms out there, possibly even some of you readers, who deal with anger as well.  A dear friend of mine who I adore and admire, who has the sweetest spirit, just told me that she deals with anger as well.  And I think it's sad that we feel so restricted at how honest we can be amongst each other, while struggling with things as big as this.  I have to get this under control for the health of my family, and I think keeping it a secret will just allow it to control my life. 

When you have a cancer you have to seek help to heal it...maybe being honest with our struggles is the first step. 

Ok, I'm done now.  I'm off to finish the rest of my day in a non controlling, non anger sort of way.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Birthdays and New Jobs...woohoo.

My lawn is covered with towels.

I'm sure my neighbors love us.

But for good reason folks, for good reason.  We got our van washed today by the local football team - and me with kids 1-3 decided against staying the extra fifteen minutes to have them dry it.  So we drove home and I pulled out three towels to let them dry it off themselves.  They of course needed three towels - each.  But that's cool, right.  What's a few more loads of laundry?  But Luke said the entire time, "I'm a hawd woaker" ("hard worker" for those of you who never had children with Boston accents.)

Today is Will's birthday and I think if I get any more lack luster regarding it, people may question my love for him.  I just love that little boy, and this year has gone was too extremely fast for my liking.  But he has survived and that deserves a celebration - especially for a boy they weren't sure was going to make it to begin with!

Add to this Dave is going crazy.  He is waiting to hear whether or not he got a new job.  The guy said he would call him this weekend.  In Dave's time frame that was at like 8 this morning...not so my friends, not so.  He just left begrudgingly to go to his current job while praying that he will get the call soon because he cannot focus on much more than if his phone is on or not.  Poor guy.

And we decided to do a yard sale.  Ya, that will be fun.  Do you sense my extreme use of sarcasm there friends?  I HATE GARAGE SALES.  Even more than shopping at garage sales, I HATE DOING GARAGE SALES.  I would rather poke myself in the eye.  Ok, not really - but seriously, I don't like them.  But our new "Dave Ramsey, we have to ignore you just this once" van will be requiring a payment soon, and with a possible job transfer and weird pay schedules a garage sales is eminent.  Fine.  I will be a good sport.  But I'm not doing coffee and donuts at it- I just can't force myself to be that cheery regarding it.

So sorry about my all over the place post today...not very purposeful I know.  However my car is clean, my boy is 1, my husband may soon have a fantastic job with a great future and we will soon have less clutter.  I suppose it is a good day.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Blessed are the feet of those who...take care of lots of kids

All you Hot Mamas, I need some advice.

Yes, advice.

As I think I have made abundantly clear - my beauty regimen is quite limited.  Ok, that's an exaggeration.  It's more like non-existent.  Not that I don't want to be beautiful and spend lots of time to look fabulous, but it's just not in my schedule...and no, you Prima Donna's out there who will tell me to just wake up an hour early to get beautiful, that will not happen.  I am quite limited on sleep as it is, I refuse to sacrifice yet another hour of sleep so I can do a vigorous beauty routine.  Ain't gonna happen.

Ok, with that said - here's where I need advice.

My feet.  How gross, I know.  I think feet are generally quite disgusting, so excuse this less than appealing post.  But I need help.  My feet are just not on the beautiful side to start with, but I've accepted that.  Some people can be foot models and others, well, they should always wear tennis shoes only revealing their feet to the people who love them the most.  I would be the latter.

But my heels are hideous.  They are so dry and disgusting and even painful at times.  Definitely NOT Hot Mama material, FOR SURE.  I would post pictures, but since I value your readership I will not expose you to such horrors.

So, I need a remedy.  Not a four hour long remedy that includes a foot soak and a pedicure (because although that sounds lovely, let's be reasonable.  If I barely have time to brush my teeth...let's be realistic) but a solution that I can do and it will give me gorgeous feet...ok, back to reality, feet that I don't feel embarrassed to bare in public.

Help!  Suggestions please!!!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Mary Poppins and Mr. Wonderful

Mary Poppins reassured me today that she is not going to fly away anytime soon with her cute little umbrella.

Let's all take a deep breath.

And hold onto your seats, I went to a movie last night.  And guess who watched the four monkeys!  DAVE.  If you don't understand the gravity of this event, let me please explain to you.  Dave has NEVER watched all four children by himself...EVER.  But even more than this, he took on putting them to bed.  Daddy took on bedtime, all by himself.  I mean, usually, I'm outnumbered 4 to 1.  But Daddy putting them to bed - that's the equivalent of 10 babies and 1 adult.  Big time people.  Big. Time.

Ok, but it doesn't stop there.  Mr. Wonderful, after seeing me in my "I need out of this house before I lose my sanity" mode, goes to the store and to further confirm to me that he is more than happy to send me off to the movies buys me candy.  Lots and lots of CHOCOLATE candy.  Be still my heart.

Oh, we aren't done yet folks.

Dave, I love him with all my heart, when watching just two of our kids has a problem with the phone.  You may be asking, "What do you mean, Melissa?"  Well, friends let me give you an example.  I went to a women's bible study one night.  I left 3 of the 4 kids with him - and when I left they were all in bed (not sleeping) but in bed.  Within thirty minutes of being at the bible study he had called me four times.  Yes, four times.  My friend who was leading the study actually had to tell me that I wasn't leaving - that it was good for him.  Well, I'm not so sure how good it was for Dave, but it was good for me. 

But last night...There were no phone calls until the last ten minutes of the movie - and instead of saying, "You need to come home now," he just said, "Finish your movie, but I'm sitting outside - so please come home when the movie is done."

He did great.  However, when I got home, none of the kids were sleeping (except for Will, but he's still perfect), Dave was stressed out, and my vacuum was broken - which will lead to a further post, but regardless...I got to get away, and the kids were all asleep with fifteen minutes of me being home, and Dave has a little better understanding of what my "job" entails.

And Mary Poppins?  Well, after last night, I'm pretty sure she will have an opportunity to work her magic very soon.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What's on your mind?

Close your eyes.

Wait, not yet.  I want you to close your eyes and think about the most memorable or powerful moment you have had thus far being a parent.

Ok, now close your eyes.

Um, you can open your eyes now.  Do you have that moment in your head now?  Hold on to it...

Personally, I have quite a few of those moments that were defining of me as a parent - some were pleasant and others would be fine if I didn't ever have to relive them again, but nonetheless they were all memorable and powerful.

Ok, so here's the deal...because I'm sure you are asking yourself, "What's the point of all this Melissa?"  Hold up people!  I'm getting there...

I'm going to do a little writing contest.  Yes, you heard right...a writing contest.  Oh boy.  And for those of you who are wondering: THIS WILL NOT BE JUDGED ON GRAMMAR OR PUNCTUATION (lest I be judged, right?)  So here's how it will work, and what is in it for you (the coolest part):

You will email your most memorable moment to my email: and then for the next couple of weeks I will post them on the facebook page for the blog (see that little thing on the right side with the Facebook logo on it?  Ya, click on that and "like" the page and you will get to be a part of all the wonderful conversations...)  But here's how we are going to determine the winner.

1.  Transparency
2.  Lessons learned
3.  Humor
4.  Grammar and punctuation (Ha!  I'm just joking)

Here are the people who are going to decide who wins

1.  Me - because, well, it's my blog.
2.  Dave - because you always need a man's input on things of this nature, right?
3. The fans of the Facebook page.  As I post different entries on the page, all input from the fans will be         carefully considered - because I care :)
3.  And my friend Gwyn.  Why Gwyn you ask?  Well, I will tell you why Gwyn.

Gwyn has a cute little children's clothing line where she hand makes everything called Three Little Monkeys.  She is a mama of a boy named David (I like that name A LOT) who is 1 and she is prego with her second (which I am convinced is a girl).    Gwyn has offered to make something for whoever wins our little contest - which I don't know about you, but handmade CUTE clothes are hard to come by or INCREDIBLY expensive.  So, since Gwyn is making the prize she gets to help decide - that's why Gwyn.

So let me sum it on up for you:
1. Write a super cool little diddy on your most memorable experience as a parent (You have till the 4th of August, so get to it!)
2.  Send it to
3.  I will post entries up on the Facebook page for the fans to comment on.
4.  We (Me, Dave, Gwyn and the FB fan) will decide who wins...
5.  And then whoever wins will get a super awesome hand made one of a kind thing for your little monkey.

Pretty cool if I do say so myself.  Oh, and if you have any awesome writer friends or people you know who have some great stories - send them on over.

So start writing!!!!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Poor 4th baby

Poor 4th baby.

Last night we had friends over...and yes my house did get clean (well, at least the parts they saw).  They brought their son who is about Will's age and she is pregnant with their second. 

It was dinner time, so they proceeded to get their son buckled into the booster seat, put a nice disposable bib on him, and cut up a piece of pizza into super small bite size pieces.  I on the other hand pulled Will's shirt off, threw him into the high chair (I don't even know when the last time I buckled him in was) and ripped apart a piece of pizza willy nilly since I had to also get juice for the three others and somehow eat amidst all the chaos.  I had to chuckle.

As their son became inquisitive about our stairs they told him no and that was the end of that.  Will on the other hand climbed the stairs and had been playing for about ten minutes before I realized that he was even up there.

Poor 4th baby.

Luke and Emma have baby books, almost completed (well, except for the teeth and the growth charts...come on - I can't keep up).  Lily has a baby book that is, well, it has her name and the day she was born written in it.  Ok, poor 3rd baby as well.  But Will, poor 4th baby, doesn't even have a baby book.  That's sad.  As a baby shower gift I should have requested someone to do the baby books for me. 

When the twins were born I was way more Type A.  With Lily I was definitely Type B.  With Will, well, what is the personality type for "if you survive to your next birthday we will all have a party"? 

I had to laugh though last night...because I'm so laid back now out of pure coping skills which I believe has forced Will to be laid back as well.  And I dare say, he is the easiest baby EVER...well, in my short history of knowing babies.  I wonder if my Type Z personality is misunderstood?  Hmmm....

Anyway, baby 4 is turning 1 on Saturday.  When babies 1 and 2 turned one, I printed out pictures and had people write little notes on the matting for them (way cute by the way.)  When Lily turned 1 I had really cute announcements made for her - that I neglected to send out, but that's besides the point.  But Will?  Probably out of my denial that my baby is going to be one, I just remembered that it will be his birthday. 

Yes folks, I am THAT awesome.

But regardless of my difference in parenting approach to Will versus Luke and Emma, I love him with all my heart just like I do all my kids...even if I haven't developed any pictures of him yet and put them up in our house.

Happy birthday precious boy, I love you.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Cleanliness is next to Godliness...wait, where is that in the Bible?

So I was looking at pictures of when my twins were little babies.  Ya, they were cute - but what I really noticed?  My house was clean.

Seriously clean.

Ok, well, Dave and I have always had arguments regarding dishes and laundry.  In our premarital counseling class we had to do a division of labor worksheet.  Me in all my domestic delusion, despite working a full time job as well, decided I would do EVERYTHING when it came to the house.  I wanted to be the quintessential homemaker. Hil.Ari.Ous.

That ridiculous dream was short lived my friends. 

So, we have fought more about dishes and laundry in our seven year marriage than anything else.  I suppose that's good - since I am quite aware there are many more grievous arguments that could be had.  Anyway - despite all that, our house was clean.

There were pictures of the babies laying on the carpet - that had no stains on it.  It hadn't seen smashed nutrigrain bars or continual rounds of vomiting children or stepped on bananas.  It hadn't experienced the sippy cup that didn't work so well full of grape juice.  There it was in all of it's glory - a nearly white carpet.

My father in law can attest to the fact that it was no longer nearly white when we moved out a year and a half after the kids were was more of a lovely shade of brown and gray.

I remember my house always smelled good too and I rarely ever had to clean up spills. 

Now, my pictures - take a look for yourselves - are full of backgrounds that include dirty clothes randomly thrown wherever and piles of junk.

I in all actuality am a minimalist - even before being a minimalist was cool.  Being a mom of four little kids is not favorable to those who are minimalists.  You would not know I am like that, but I am.  I hate clutter.

I. HATE. CLUTTER. we are going to have some friends over tonight, well - a long lost friend and his wife we have never met but are very excited to meet. We are very excited about dinner tonight - but my house is a mess.

And what am I doing?

Cleaning hysterically?  No, I'm blogging about cleaning.  Come on Melissa, get it together.

I would take a picture of my house that just 24 hours ago was a picture of cleanliness, but I can't since my darling son broke my 1300 dollar camera...I'm a little bitter, thank God he is cute.

Ok, enough of my rambling, I have got to get to it. 

Ooh, maybe I should call my Mary Poppins and go sit at Starbucks for a couple of hours.  That should give her enough time.

No, I will just succumb to my division of labor worksheet and just do it.  Myself.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Operation Organization...well, at least on the blog.

I read other blogs.  Seriously, I do.  I even have favorites.

However, I am not organized (much to Dave's dismay) and can't seem to get it together enough to actually bookmark ANY blogs I read...yet.

So, today I decided I will become least on the blog.

So this is what I will do: Since I really don't have the time, patience or follow through to sit down and search out everyone's blogs - even the ones I love, will you please help me???

If you have a blog that you would like to be on my blog roll, comment to this post with your blog address.  If you read a blog that is absolutely great and would like to share, comment and leave the address.  Then that way I will be organized (or at least appear to be) and be able to actually read other blogs efficiently...and maybe other mom's who share the same disorganized plight as I do will be helped as well.

Thank you, thank you!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Grease and poop...all in a days work

Ya, ok, I'm a neglectful mom.  But I'm not taking this one all by myself.  Dave is a neglectful dad too.

This is why we should NEVER have conversations at ANY length with ANY adult - it rarely fares well for my family.

We try to be friendly, be neighborly in fact - and this happens.  Darn kindness.

He ate grease.  Yes, Will ate grease.  Not inside cooking grease - because that would only be moderately disgusting.  He ate grease from the barbeque.  Grease that was melted into a nice thick brown liquid.  Grease that has accumulated over the course of a year.

Before you all run to your phones to call CPS, let me explain...

I was being quite motherly and paying COMPLETE attention to my girls (based on my previous post about feeling lousy that I hardly ever do that) and we were painting nails a very pretty sparkly blue.  Luke was inside coloring and Will was crawling around in the grass.  Dave was talking to our neighbor Gary about guy stuff and not watching Will which was his unspoken task (didn't he know I was spending girl time?) And then I heard it.  Dave shouts, "No Will! Awe man..."

I turned my head to see Will standing at the grill covered from head to toe with grease.  In fact, he was even drooling grease.  He looked at us, smiled a great big greasy smile and waved.

We provide great entertainment for free - you should all wish you were so lucky to be our neighbors.

So thanks to BP, I knew that Dawn dish soap takes care of oil.  So I ran in and grabbed our Costco sized bottle and poured it over Will.  After much scrubbing, it came off - all while our neighbors stood watching and laughing at our drama.

Will wasn't phased - I bet all that steak grease tasted rather yummy...ooh my stomach churns just thinking about it.

So Dave and I were excited at that moment that we were going on a date last night.  For the first time in two years I was actually going to see a grown up movie at a theater without kids.  We wouldn't be getting back until ten - waaaaay later than normal - might as well call us party animals (I mean seriously, we didn't even go grocery shopping!).  We left our kids in the good hands of our very capable babysitter and were excited that when we would come home our house would be cleaner than we left it and our kids would be asleep, like normal.

As we walked into our house, half comatose since we rarely are out that late, we were pleased to see the house was clean...ya our babysitter is amazing.  But it was quiet.  So I walked upstairs to see the girls' light still on.  As I opened their door I was greeted with a putrid smell of, well, poop.  Lily was laying there reading a book (mind you, this was ten and her regular bed time is seven) and as I checked to make sure it was her that was the culprit I realized she shared the love with the wall.  Their room was destroyed (more than usual) and still no sight of our babysitter.  Was she alive?

So I walked into the boys' room where the curtains were pulled down and she was standing there patting Will's back.  Of course as soon as he saw me he started screaming again.  Nice.  Poor babysitter had to go from room to room for two hours.Straight.

Dave cleaned up the girls' walls while I cleaned up Lily.  I stuck a bottle in Will's mouth and he was out and shortly thereafter Lily was knocked out too.

Poor babysitter.

But seriously, I hope I didn't lose my Mary Poppins after last night...

And really - this is why my husband and I just have succumbed to the fact that we are just not socially desirable right now.  We talk to adults our kid eats grease.  We go on a date and do adult things like watch a movie and poop gets smeared all over the place.

And yes, in case you were wondering - our neighbors were outside when we got home, watching and laughing as they saw all the commotion coming from our house.  I'm telling you, who needs movies when you live next to the Sharon home!

Oh, and the girls' nails turned out quite beautiful.

Friday, July 16, 2010

You have my full attention, wait hang on...

When we found out that we were going to be having twins, I knew in my heart of hearts that we were having a boy and a girl.  On the first ultrasound Luke was quite forthcoming and we knew right away that he was a boy.  Emma however was not.  I had so many ultrasounds while I was pregnant with them, but every time regardless of the poking and prodding, walking around, turning over - she would not cooperate.  Not until the very end of my pregnancy when I was hospitalized for preeclampsia and they did a biophysical ultrasound and she FINALLY cooperated...for a second.  Literally seconds - just long enough for the ultrasound tech to "think" she was a girl.  With the baby being this stubborn, there was no way she wasn't a girl.

Luke never scared me.  I mean, I've been scared for him but I've never been scared of him.  When I was pregnant with Emma, I jokingly said that she scared me - I knew, instinctively, that this precious little miracle was going to be a handful.  And she is nothing short of that - a great big, loving, smart, beautiful handful.

So lately Emma and I have been going at it.  We go through our phases where we butt heads constantly and this my friends, is one of those times. 

To be honest, I have a ginormous parenting FAIL.  Having twins first, I have never known being able to just love on one kid.  I have never experienced having one child that gets all my energy, attention and affection.  Ever since the twins were born I have struggled with feeling like I was always jipping a kid somehow.  So, add two more kids to the equation, I totally struggle in this area!  And my Emma, my sweet sweet Emma is the quietest one of the bunch - the one I feel like I jip the most.

There is Luke who is loud, demanding and focused.  He has NEVER given me the option to not pay attention to him.  I constantly have to remind him that he has three siblings...he can't always have all of my attention.  He feels otherwise.

There is Lily who is the loudest human being on earth.  She fights for my lap and demands My entire and complete attention - even hitting her brothers and sister if they try to compete with her for my time.

There is Will who is the baby.  First off he is the baby so of course he gets a ton of my attention because I'm trying to grasp on to his baby-ness as long as possible.  Secondly, he was so sick when he was born that I just feel like I need to focus on him all the time.  I am getting way better at the second thing - but the first thing...ya, that's going to take awhile.

So then there is Emma.  When Lily was born Luke was right in her face claiming her as his.  But Emma sat on our hearth sucking her thumb being totally silent.  When one of our kids is sick the others are oblivious and still demand my full attention.  But not Emma.  She becomes very introspective and quiet.  And because she doesn't demand it, I often fail at giving her my undivided attention. 

I suck.

So lately, she has become a demanding, loud, emotional, scary little monster who is beyond reasoning.  She has been acting HORRIBLE.  And I, mother of the year, respond WAY more negatively towards her bad behavior than any of the others because it's so abnormal for her - which then just makes her act worse.  Lovely little vicious cycle we have going on in the Sharon home.

So what do I do?  I don't want to reward her bad behavior with special fun time with Mommy, but I think that's the only remedy.  But if I do take her and go do something special, won't I be reinforcing to her that all she has to do to get my undivided attention is act like she is being possessed by the Devil himself?  I don't know - where is Super Nanny when I need her?

Anyhow, I know my Emmy girl is feeling a giant ball of emotions too - because my usually very well spoken child who can verbalize her emotions has been frustrated lately because she doesn't know the words to describe how she is feeling.

I want to love her and parent her the best way possible, I just wish I knew what way that was.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Hot dogs and Coupons

So, I'm hungry.  For real food.

For those of you who care, we ended up buying a van.  Yes, I'm sure Dave Ramsey would be shaking his head in utter disappointment, but here's the deal: I needed transportation, safe transportation, transportation that wouldn't die in two weeks.  So, we bought a van.  And it wasn't an expensive van, but still cost more than we have sitting in the bank.  So we put a down payment on it -

PAUSE:  First time EVER we have put a down payment on anything, including our house that we owned.  We are no money down kind of people - well, we were no money down kind of people.  Now we are "don't spend money if you don't have to" kind of people.

So, we put a down payment on it and of course with the timing of all this, it used up any extra cash we had lying around...for things like, well, food.  But don't you fear!!!  Dave and I, in all of our couponing glory, just scored what seems like a million packages of hot dogs for .30 each!  So we had, pre van buying day, stocked up our freezer full of what my friend so lovingly refers to as "tongues, bung and lungs."  Nice, I know.

Friday is pay day - and we will be grocery shopping on a date night I'm sure, because we are THAT exciting.  Anyway...this all brings me to the point of this: Coupon clipping.  I had made a reference to it a while back, and quite a few of you asked me to post about here you go.  But first let me make some disclaimers:

1.  I am NOT an expert
2.  I just steal great deal ideas from other people

Ok, with that said
1.  Facebook, Facebook, Facebook.  Go to sites like "Money Saving Mom," "Freebies 4 Mom," "The Krazy Coupon Lady," "Vocalpoint" just to name a few.  Those will get you started.  Anyway, they make it so easy because these women who ARE the experts post all the great deals and how to get them.
2.  Sunday paper.  Smart Source, Red Plum, and the P&G Sampler all come out regularly and have the best coupons.  Clip these and save them so you can combine them with in store coupons.  You can get great deals!
3. Ebay.  Sorta weird to buy coupons I think - but when your store is running a great deal on, let's say, hot dogs you go to Ebay and search for hotdog coupons and then you get to stock your entire freezer full of hotdogs for when you put a down payment on a car to save your sanity.  Yeah for run on sentances!!!
4. Those little coupons called Catelinas that print out of those cool little machines by the check out stand.  I used to toss them, now I would never dream of it!  Ok, not that extreme - but those are really great!  Here's an example...or two:  We just got some coupons from Vocalpoint in the mail for 3 bucks off pampers.  At Fred Meyer we got a catalina recently for 2 bucks off diapers.  And then if they run a sale anytime soon (which would be nice so Will doesn't have to wear pink pull ups) we can get them for sale price plus 5 bucks!  Pretty sweet!  Also, the laundry detergent story.  Recently, Dave and I purchased 36 bottles of Purex laundry detergent for 7 bucks.
Here's how:  In the paper Fred Meyer had a coupon for a certain amount off of 2 Purex laundry detergents.  Purex had a deal going on (thanks to my FB pages I found out about) that if you bought 2 Purex they would print out a catalina for 4 bucks off your next purchase.  Our Fred Meyer guy let us use the same FM coupon over and over again (so we didn't have to steal all the ads that they have so nicely displayed when you walk in) and we purchased 36.  We only had to pay taxes on the coupons themselves!  Now, I'm stocked till at least the Spring!!!
5.  Be organized.  Have your coupons in a way that you can find them easily and you don't look psycho in the store.  I am NOT organized.  Dave is.  So, I leave that part up to him.

COUPONING TAKES TIME!!!  But it saves us lots of money!  We were having a food budget well over 700 dollars each month, now we spend about 400 or less (including diapers). 

So,  now we are trying to become more disciplined on couponing again now that we have a lovely little car payment that we must pay off quickly to appease our guilty consciences and Dave Ramsey's disappointment.  And it's pretty awesome when you get 45 bucks of lotion, the good lotion, for 9 dollars - or even free...oh ya, last thing...REBATES.  Companies offer rebates all the time, just fill them out CORRECTLY and you will get stuff for free or even make money on buying stuff...that's the best!!!

Now, go buy a paper on Sunday!!!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Really, when did I become a "Grown Up"?

So, I turned 29 yesterday.  For some reason, I'm excited about turning 30, but 29 - not so much.  Maybe, because I have this thing in my head that when I turn 30 I will have it together - or maybe I should have it together.  At 29...I definitely do not have it all together.

And really I know that "should's" and "should not's" should not be in my vocabulary, but they are - yes, indeed they are.  So - what do I want to get together before I turn the big 3-0?  Hmmm...

I would like to get my...wait, before I get a ton of comments from those of you who have seen 30 come and go, I know I will never have it ALL together...but some things I think I should by the time I'm thirty and all grown up...right?  Ok, so the things I want to get together:

1.  I'm a yeller.  By the time I get to 30, I would like to have my yelling conquered.  I hate yelling.  I don't like myself when I yell.  It is not effective.  Stupid yelling must stop.

2.  The reason why I yell - is my short temper.  Yes folks - I am short tempered.  I must get my impatient, short tempered little attitude out of my world.  No one likes short tempered Melissa - especially me.  I feel quite stupid when I'm throwing a fit like a four year old...ooh, totally know where they get it from.

3.  Balance - as in balance between getting everyone else taken care of and still finding time to brush my hair on a regular basis.  I know I will find it at some point inevitably as the kids grow older - but people come on, I can't wait three more poor husband needs to find me attractive NOW.  So, seriously, I need to find time DAILY to exercise and more than five minutes to put effort into how I look.

4.  I have got to learn how to cook.  Really.  No huge cookbook adventures, but quick healthy meals that won't take me 45 minutes to prepare.  I have fifteen - maybe thirty on a good night to get a dinner on the table.  Yet, I never wanted to learn how to cook when I was younger because apparently I didn't think it was necessary...uh ya, I was incorrect.  Totally necessary.

5.  A social life.  Although I love input daily, with or without permission from my children, I need adult interaction.  Before kids, we used to have people over all the time.  With kids - a social wasteland.  We have so many excuses as to why our lives are not socially friendly - but we have to get over ourselves.  And I need to have girl nights.  I don't drink and I'm fairly cheap, so what does that leave?  Hmmm, girls you got to help me out.

6.  Consistent time with the Lord.  Ya, ya - don't you always have to put that on a goal list just so you feel like you have met your obligatory Sunday school answer for a goal?  But seriously, I need this.  Shocking, I know, but when I have taken the time to be consistent in spending time with God, I am more patient and sweet tempered and not the short tempered yelling monster that typically rears its ugly head.  So, I'm not just being religious, I'm serious.  Real bible time...and I think my kids will find great value in seeing Mommy spending time with the Lord consistently, ok, I know they will.

And that about sums it up on my first full day of being 29.  Who knows if I will succeed at these, but I feel like I need to since it's becoming quite evident that I'm an adult (who regularly needs to moisturize my skin on a regular basis - when did that happen?)

So, now I'm going to go take a shower (#3) and then clean up my house so I can have dishes to cook dinner tonight (#4) right after I go tell my kids to go to sleep for the 4th time without screaming (#1 and #2)  Oh, it's going to be a long year.

Who's up for a girl night? :)

P.S. Just a quick reminder, become a "fan" of The Joyful Jungle on Facebook and share with your friends...the 125 fan and the person who told them about it will get a candle from the Scentsy line.  Pretty cool!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Good Cop vs. Bad Cop

Ok - so maybe I'm the only one this applies to, but here is my rant:

Why must I be the disciplinarian?  Why must I be left to be Mom Nazi when the kids are misbehaving?  Why can't I, at least 30 percent of the time get to be nice cop?  I WANT TO BE NICE COP!!!

But no, Dave is nice cop.  He cuddles with the kids after they get disciplined, gets to do the loving - while I, although aware of how important discipline is, feels like poo for doing it.  When I spank our kids ( Did she actually just say spank?  Yes, I did readers, we do in fact spank our taboo I know) my hand stings and yet they still laugh.  However Dave, in the rare instances that he does discipline, taps their little behinds and they cry acting like the whole world ended as they knew it.


Quite honestly, discipline sucks.  I do not like it Sam I Am.  Ideally, my kids would be perfect and they would never ever need any type of discipline whatsoever.  But we aren't in "ideally" we are in "reality."  Shucks.

Super Nanny suggests the "Naughty Step."  Such a cute little idea.  I have tried it.  I have tried it with consistency - and it's laughable.  Naughty Step time is just an invitation for the kid who is sitting there to shamelessly entertain their siblings and not feel a smidgen of remorse regarding their offense.  So I send them to their room for quiet time.  That works, yes that works.  However, I have to stand at the door putting them back in over and over again until the predetermined time is over...which typically lasts for thirty minutes before they just succumb to the two or four minutes of hard time they were originally sentenced with.

But here's the thing with that: I have three other little kids just waiting for the opportunity to do anything they aren't supposed to do when I leave a room.  My kids are great kids - but they are kids and kids will, well, be kids...inevitably.  So, what do I do?  Should I just give them all time outs at the same time in their rooms for offenses past and future?  I don't know.  Super Nanny, I love your show...but you get to leave after two days.  How is the naughty step working for the families six months after you bid them farewell?

Dave and I took a parenting class when the twins were two.  The class talked about first time obedience.  Basically, the gist was if the kids didn't listen the first time they were disciplined.  At the time, my twins although rambunctious, were still babies and I was still in la la land imagining that when they were four they would be perfect human beings who obeyed flawlessly.  Ha. 

So now they are four, and shocking I'm sure, they are not flawlessly obedient.  So, I'm at a loss for consistent effective discipline - and though I don't think spanking is bad, with my kids it doesn't seem to be effective.  I need effective, God focused discipline...oh, and I need Dave to do some of it.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Coach Melissa - ha.ha.ha.

I warned them.  I was very forthright when I told them I had four kids...that I may be a bit distracted.  I even told them that they were all 4 and under and still completely dependent on me.  They didn't seem phased.  Now we are the coaches of the t-ball team.  Nice.

Dave is much better at focusing on the task at hand than I am in regards to coaching.  Luke's the only one on the team (except for last practice when Emma acted like she was going to die if she wasn't on the team, until half way through when she decided she would rather be a ballerina) so while he is messing around playing baseball, the other three kids are wreaking havoc supposed to be playing on the playground.  Not so much.

I dare say - I may be the most ADD t-ball coach...ever.  I'm in the middle of talking to a boy about not spinning around on the base with his glove covering his head when I run off to find Luke finding a nice little corner to go pee in (ya, that's a proud moment.)  Or in the middle of breaking up a fight (consisting of two baseman and one batter) over a ball, I run off because Will looks like he may die of heat exhaustion.  However, I think the mom's are thankful they aren't the ones running around with no clue what they are doing...I'm ok with that role - it's typically how I feel most days anyway.

 The first game is this Tuesday which I'm really excited for.  The entertainment alone will be far more priceless than the 26 dollars we paid to have Luke be involved.  Pictures and videos coming...oh boy.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

God's Chisel

Jesus.  His name tends to evoke emotion in people that you try to save for behind closed doors - however, whatever your feeling on the subject, Jesus is a powerful name.

I'm going to assume, whether or not you have a relationship with him as the Bible would define it, that you in fact believe that Jesus existed.  That Jesus, in fact did die on the cross and three days later rose again.  The Bible of course tells us about this, but so do other writings from people who were NOT Jesus followers such as Josephus.  Anyway, moving on...

When I talk to people who "don't believe," I tend to see a couple commonalities among them.  First and foremost that they have been hurt by people who are, or say they are, Christians.  Second, they feel a sense of inadequacy - like they will never live up to what God wants them to be...that they will let Him down.

To address the first quickly - Christians are people and people mess up sometimes.  The difference between a hypocrite and a person who messed up is the heart attitude.  A hypocrite says, "live this way even though I'm not and don't plan to," and a person who messed up is one who says, "I totally messed up.  I'm sorry, will you forgive me?"  If you have been hurt by someone who falls into the hypocrite category, I'm sorry.  Please try to not allow those people to define God for you, for He is not a hypocrite.

Secondly - Jesus did not come for the healthy, beautiful people.  He came for the gross, hated, messed up people.  He came for the tax collectors (we still don't like 'em) and the prostitutes and the rough and stinky fisherman.  He came to heal the sick, not to tend to the pious wants of the self-perceived perfect people - as it talks about in Mark 2:
15-16Later Jesus and his disciples were at home having supper with a collection of disreputable guests. Unlikely as it seems, more than a few of them had become followers. The religion scholars and Pharisees saw him keeping this kind of company and lit into his disciples: "What kind of example is this, acting cozy with the riffraff?"  17Jesus, overhearing, shot back, "Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? I'm here inviting the sin-sick, not the spiritually-fit."

A long time ago, before I had children, I heard an illustration about God.  When I haven't been around my kids for awhile and I go to pick them up if they are dirty, what do I do?  When the run to me to give me a hug, do I hold them at arms length and make them take a bath first?  No!  I embrace them, because I've missed them more than they have missed me - who cares about the dirt!  I will wash it off later.  I embrace them, tell them how I love them, and then I give them a bath.  If I held them at arms length and only embraced them after they were spotless, I wouldn't be a very loving parent.  God is a loving Dad.  He doesn't wait for us to be clean and perfect before He takes us in.  He takes us covered with grossness and faults and embraces us for all that we are...and then he begins to chisel away, but only after He has taken us in.

You are not too dirty or imperfect for Jesus!  You are His masterpiece - His work of art.  He knew you before you were born, as it says in Psalm 139:13:

 13-16 Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
      you formed me in my mother's womb.
   I thank you, High God—you're breathtaking!
      Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
      I worship in adoration—what a creation!
   You know me inside and out,
      you know every bone in my body;
   You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
      how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
   Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
      all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
   The days of my life all prepared
      before I'd even lived one day.

Jesus loves you - dirt and all.  Here's a clip that speaks to what I am trying to say...if you have a few minutes, take the time to's great.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Darn you Dave Ramsey!

Dave Ramsey.  I love you Dave Ramsey - and yet, in the same breath, I can say less than favorable things about you under my breath of course.  Ok, they aren't about you.  Just your no debt ways.

We had a van, a swagger wagon, THE swagger wagon.  The electronic door on the swagger wagon broke.  To repair it would cost one thousand dollars.  As a one income family with five million children, we do not have a thousand dollars lying around to throw away on a door for a van.  Ok, we did have a thousand dollars lying around - but we didn't want to spend it on a door...we just decided to have another kid and spend it on that instead (always a good choice.)  So we put it off.  Procrastination.  The door became a makeshift manual door...remember those?  The ones where you actually have to pull the handle and pull the door open?  Amazingly, it worked...until -

Dave was driving the kids around on their regular Sunday morning errands while I got ready for church in peace (good husband that there Dave is) and the door decided to open...with four kids in it, with the motor running.  The door, that had the power turned off to it since it originally broke, decided to open just because.  Well, our one thousand dollar expense was now a 4000 expense (estimated, they said they couldn't know the "real" damage until they started taking it apart.)  That my dear friends, we do not have lying around.  So, big pretty van with big ugly payment that wasn't worth nearly the amount owed on it...Nasty nasty picture.  So - after long talks with the swagger van maker, the swagger van was taken care of.  And we had to buy a van - to drive my five million children around.

In walks Ghetto Van who we lovingly named Harold Charles Muntz (I don't know, ask Luke).  As much as I adore my husband, sometimes he gets so rushed in trying to provide for us that he doesn't always think through the situation.  Case in point:  He drives an hour to pick it up.  Doesn't drive it.  Gives them cash - they give us some squash so they must be honest, and he drives it home.  Harold Charles Muntz and I were not friends at the beginning.  I didn't think HCM would last for more than a week when we got him, but surprisingly he did.  However, I grew fond of HCM considering he is paid for and Dave Ramsey would be proud of us.  My excessive driving that I once did with the swagger wagon was reduced to 3000 miles in eight months - and I only had to fill up the tank once a month give or take.  This change in driving habits was partly due to the convenient location of our home, bust mostly due to my lack of confidence in HCM lasting another ten miles.

Sad day though.  Harold Charles Muntz is now officially on his death bed.  The check engine light that has been on since we purchased him is actually now forcing us to deal with it.  The brakes have decided to be louder than my four children screaming in the van and my short little three miles that I drive around town have become incredibly stressful.  HCM, I'm afraid, is done for.

So, now we have to get a new vehicle.  I have decided that I don't like vans and prefer doors that don't break and cost more than repairing an engine.  However, beggars can't be choosers.  Dave Ramsey has made us repel the thought of a car payment, yet it seems that everyone who is selling a car right now feels their car is made of gold.  What to do, what to do?  I would like a vehicle to drive into our driveway and be ours for free - but since that most likely won't happen we have to figure it out.  Hence my frustration towards Dave Ramsey.  It would be so much easier to just make a huge car payment like everyone else...aargh.  So, I've compiled a list...maybe it won't be so bad to not have a van.

10 reasons why I don't need a vehicle:
1. I would get my dishes done
2.  Mount St. Laundry would finally be climbed again and conquered...perhaps on a regular basis.
3. My house may stay clean, because I would have no other options but to clean.
4. My kids would get to do arts and crafts more because they would need some outlet.
5. I may finish decorating since I would have to stare at my walls more.
Ok, I can't get to ten.
6. Luke wouldn't drive.
7. The girls wouldn't be driven by Luke.
Ok, seven.  That's all I can do.

10 reasons I need a vehicle:
1. For my sanity.
Um, must I go on?  Isn't that really enough?  I am compelled to say it is.  Yes, my sanity is reason enough to spend thousands and thousands on a vehicle.  But we won't.  We are more conservative than that..and you never know when we are going to decide to have another kid. :)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Say what needs to be said

A week ago tomorrow a friend from high school decided to go on a sightseeing trip to Glacier.  Him and his three friends never made it and they passed away in a plane crash.  On Thursday there was a prayer vigil for him where friends and family shared memories and told stories about his character for all to treasure. 

As I was driving home to my family that night I began to think if that was me - if I was the one who was gone suddenly.  Would there be anything left unsaid that needed to be said?  Would my kids know that I loved them?  Would my husband know that I adore him?  Would my friends and family know that I treasured them?  Would people know what was important to me and what my heart beat passionately for?  It became all too clear on Sunday that we never know when our time here is up - and that I better use the time I do have effectively.

I started thinking about how I use my time and what I spend my time doing.  I began thinking if the things I did were purposeful.  And then I thought about this.  This here blog.  My outlet to share all my insanity and joy from being a mom to four amazing little kids who I love and being a wife to their daddy who I adore.  I mean, where else can I talk freely without interruption about the maple syrup and olive oil breakfast that my son made for me while I was sleeping - or the football field my daughter decided was a forest as she pulled her pants down and peed?  However, the reason I can find joy (most of the time) in all of this is what really matters...and so I'm going to pay a little more attention to it.

As you know, if you have spent any time reading the blog, I am a Christian.  My relationship with Jesus is at the core of who I am.  With that said - I know some of you...a lot of you...who read this do not have that type of relationship.  Either you can't swallow all the things that Christians claim Jesus did, you have been hurt badly by people who are very religious, or you simply just don't see the need for it.  And I understand, I really do. 

Let me be the first to say - religion and relationship are totally different.  Religion is rules and regulations where freedom is not found.  Relationship is love and complete freedom within that relationship.  I don't like religion.  Religion turns me off, and I think it has turned off a ton of people from what really matters...Jesus.

So, I have decided that every Tuesday (seems like a nice, random day) we will be doing a little bible study action.  And it's not going to be a deep, bible study where you have to dress up pretty just to read it - but it's going to be real, raw, inquisitive...I want it to be something that you who are Christians will join us and be challenged in your relationship, but more importantly, I want it to be a day where you who don't call yourselves Christians will feel free to ask the questions you have always wanted to ask but are afraid of the judgment you would receive.

So post your questions on here, message me, or post on the Facebook page for The Joyful Jungle.  This Tuesday will be the first one - any questions or things any of you are wondering about - any questions you want answered regarding REAL Christianity?  I am not a bible scholar, but I am a believer, and for the questions I don't know the answers to - I know where to go to find them.  So join me, I think it can and will be pretty cool.

And maybe, quite possibly, no one will read my blog anymore on Tuesdays.  But that's ok - because if I was to die suddenly, I would have said what I needed to say.

Is there anything you need to say that's been unsaid?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Say, "Cheese!"

I attempted our first family photo when the twins were six months.  Dave and I loaded the kids up in their jammies because we knew that they would destroy their outfits during the long drive to the portrait studio.  After a 45 minute drive we arrived at the department store portrait studio a few minutes early.  I grabbed the diaper bag to get their clothes and as I was unzipping the bag I remembered that I had left their clothes on the couch at home.  So, much to Dave's dismay, I walked into the store and spent fifty dollars on two outfits.  I changed the twins and then went to check us in with the lady at the front.

"I'm so sorry, we are running behind today.  It will be about another fifteen minutes." Great.  My six month old babies have a small window in which they will be pleasant and not screaming.  Fifteen minutes is cutting it close lady, cutting it real close.  But I just smiled and pleasantly said, "ok."

Fifteen minutes passes and then twenty, so I walked back to the lady and she breaks the news.  "I'm sorry, the kids that we are shooting right now are just really cranky, it's taking much longer than expected.  It will probably be another thirty minutes." 30 MINUTES?!?!?!  There was no way I would be able to keep my babies content for that long just sitting there - besides, they were getting hungry and I knew if I fed them they would spit it up all over their cute, newly bought clothes.  "We can't wait thirty minutes.  I will reschedule for another time.  Thanks anyways."

By this point the kids are screaming because they have always loved to enforce the fact to everyone around that I NEVER feed them.  So, Dave takes them to the car while I try to return the outfits.  They wouldn't take them back - I was returning them to the lady I had bought them from just a few minutes earlier and she wouldn't take them back.  I then informed her of the situation, got a little fire in my eyes, and she then changed her mind.  Smart lady.  I run outside to find Dave standing by the car about to go crazy because the twins were both screaming.  "Where are their bottles?  Why didn't you give them their bottles?"

"Melissa, it would probably have been helpful to PACK the formula.  No formula, no bottles."  So, we endured the 45 minute drive back with two screaming children who were starving and we had no pictures to show for it.

Today was the first time since then, almost 4 years later, that I have attempted to do family pictures.  This time it was with a friend taking them outside (much better than a stuffy studio).  As we were driving there Dave and I got into a nice little argument.  Nothing like a good fight right before you have to gaze lovingly into each others eyes.  However, we got over ourselves and I am hopeful that a few good ones were taken.  Four kids and two grownups walking in six different directions doesn't make for any easy shoot I'm sure.  I am excited though to post some pics when we get them.  But I would venture to say, we probably won't be doing this again for another four years!