Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Do as I say, not as I...well, you know.

Dear friends,

I regret to inform you that my husband and I fell off of the wagon this evening and attended an R rated movie. We have a sort of unspoken policy to never see anything worse than PG-13, and rarely do we do that. I am not sure that we even own R rated movies with the exception of Passion of the Christ, if there are others, they must be buried in the back and have been forgotten about...so truly we have made this a family "rule."

Most of the time, even the previews of R rated movies are enough to turn me off, and I sit sometimes in the theater embarrassed simply at the 30 seconds of "highlights" of "those shows."
So whatever possessed us to buy tickets, popcorn, useless brown water, and sour worms and mosey over to theater number 8 for our 9:50 showing...is beyond me.

Let me just say it started out well. We were watching previews, we were licking the partially hydrogenated vegetable oil butter gunk off of our popcorn hand, (we used hand sanitizer first...remember, I'm the germaphobe), and before the movie even started I was sucking sour worms. Life was good. So good, that I dribbled about 16 of the 40 ounces of diet coke down my front (darn lids don't work at all!). Thankfully, I was already married to my date and was wearing black. (Big surprise, eh?) It was a beautiful thing.

Until the dumb movie started.

I am not going to tell you which movie, as I don't want to be totally scorned and rejected from society, but it is a fairly new release and was supposed to be a "relationship comedy." First you should know that despite being a child of God, saved by Jesus' blood, and active in my church, I am not a total prude. I can overlook a few swear words, a tiny little bit of flesh, maybe something in the way of distasteful behavior, especially for a great comedic love story, but I still sink in my seat with conviction when certain things pop up on the screen.

What certain things you ask? Well...can we say full frontal male nudity? Yuck. I had no idea. It was not just once in the first 5 minutes, but 3 times. To be honest, I was so shocked and grossed out by it, that I don't think I even tuned into the swearing. (Guess I should have checked out the pluggedinonline site before the show!)

Like I said, that was only the first five minutes. Now normally, my hubby and I would have gotten up and walked out. The only other R rated movie we can remember sitting through in the theater was Semi Pro...with Will Ferrell...(stupid movie) and the reason we watched it to the end was because my hubby and teenage son were in the movie. They were extras in Hollywood in 2007 during filming...and of course we had to see if they made it to the screen. (I'll spare you...nope, never saw them on the screen...what a waste of Reese's and popcorn.) So, we didn't walk out. We were morbidly curious. Is this what the bulk of mature, secular society does for entertainment? I mean another couple went with us to see Dodge Ball years ago and within 15 minutes, we were outta there! It was awful! So, I have witnesses...we usually check out of that kind of scene.

So, did it get better. Not really. I thought it might. But add to the FFMN, promiscuity, genital herpes talk, adultery, drug humor, creepy man-crushes, and some poking fun at married couples and religious folks, and well...it all adds up to ONE REALLY BAD MOVIE!

Here is the kicker, though, my friends...not that we (two mid 30's married adults) sat through this piece of garbage merely to eat worms and greasecorn, but that a party of four people were sitting in the row behind us with a 10 or 12 year old boy. I could not flipping believe that right behind us, was a child! Hello? CPS...where are you?

It really opened my eyes to what the world exposes their children to. My teenage son still has to have permission to see certain PG-13 shows. I have friends who pretty much would say that they adhere to the same standards and wouldn't dare see the movie themselves, let alone take their pre-pubescent son to it! And here, there is this little guy watching REALLY adult humor, REALLY adult situations, and REALLY adult language...not to mention REALLY adult NAKED.
I seriously was disturbed throughout the whole thing. I wanted to confront the lady in the bathroom after the show...I wanted to scream..."You brought your kid to this movie?" UGH! "What kind of ADULT are you?"

Then it hit me.

What kind of ADULT am I? Should I have seen that show? Should my husband?

It is like in God's word where it says that "All things are possible, but not all things are profitable." Ouch. I get it. First hand, front row, greasy popcorn, sour worms, get it.

Not profitable. That horrible movie cost us money, time, and a little piece of our spirit.
The only good to come out of it, thankfully, is that it served as a reminder...for my hubby and I to protect our time together and the things in which we participate, and to protect our children EVEN more. Keep them young and "set no unwholesome thing before their eyes."

We really do have the blueprints for every corner of our lives in God's word. It is amazing.

So kids, watch out...mom and dad are home from the theater with a vengeance...we intend to make your lives as squeaky clean as we can. Tomorrow we "clean out" the movie cabinet, rummage through your closets evicting all naked Barbies, and programming every t.v. channel to show "Little House on the Prarie" reruns.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Spiritually Gifted or Special Ed?

Tonight at church our Pastor touched on the subject of Spiritual gifts, and got me thinking about it once again. He reiterated that our Spiritual gifting would be only one of the seven gifts. (Teaching, Exhortation, Giving, Serving, Mercy, Prophecy, or Leadership)

At times our gift has a manifestation of other gifting types come along side or complement it, but we do, in fact, according to God's word have only one Spiritual gift.

Our Pastor has done in depth teaching on this, which I could refer to, but the truth is that even the in-depth teaching has left me with questions. I really am not quite sure what my gift is. Many of you reading this know me personally and might say you could figure it out, but not many of you would disagree. Some have said service, some have said giving, and the black/white tell it like it is part of me elicits the opinion that I am a prophecy gal.

It is an enigma to me and it makes me feel like the kid who really doesn't know what she wants to be when she grows up. I can't do that. I need to know. I have to live with purpose...as I am getting up there in years and I need to focus on how God has created me and to know the direction in which He is leading me. How can I "Be all that I can be" (without joining the Army) if I don't know what my divine present is?

I thought by looking at my parenting style I could figure it out. But nope...just more questions. Here is an example of why I know I don't have the following gifts:


Kid: "Mom, she hit me."
My response: "Well hit her back...and whoever is alive when we get home, wins."
Nope, not a mercy.

Spouse: "Honey, where do you want to go for dinner?"
My reply: "I dunno...where do you want to go?"
Definitely not a leader.

Kid: "Mom, I need help with my math."
Me: "You do this, this, then this. Got it?"
Kid: "Why did you do it like that?"
Me: "Because. I don't know? Ask your dad."
Um, I'd say, not a teacher.

Kid: "Mom, can I have a bite of your ice cream."
Me: "Uh, no, I don't think so! It's the last one! Go away. And stop crying."
I know, not a giver...that is why I have never reached my goal weight.

Me: "I'm here for my volunteer shift at the cake walk."
Mrs. SC: "Oh, we only have 3 cakes left, but okay."
Me: Note to self - Always volunteer for the last time slot, so your "hour of service" is about 15 minutes.
(Seriously had that conversation with myself...can't be a service girl.)

Prophecy: Nope, can't even explain that one to myself.

Friend: "Does this dress make me look fat?"
Me: "Pretty much, and the color makes you look like you have a liver problem too."
(That also backs up the "not a mercy" theory.)

That got me thinking of the "worldly" gifts that I do have. I KNOW what those are. I have mastered some of them and am dilligently working on others. So, I wanted to share with you what exactly, I feel, that I have been gifted with. (If you are thinking this is where "The Maid" begins to wax philosophical, think again. These are just a few fresh towels and a pillow mint for your enjoyment...no changing sheets or scrubbing bathrooms here.)

The "not so spiritual" gifts of your maid:

1) Whining.

2) Retaining Water.

3) Guilt. (Oh, yeah baby, I've got a Master's degree in this one, just ask my teenager.)

4) Housework evasion. (Even "the maid" puts out the "Do not disturb" sign from time to time.)

5) Channel surfing. (Been known to watch Dr. Phil, Paula Deen, A Baby Story, and CNN simultaneously without missing a "How's that workin' for ya?")

6) Child Neglect: (I know you just got home from school, but shhh, the Polygamists are on tv again!)

7) Sleeping In.

8) Hair plucking while driving. (Curious now, aren't you?)

9) Sarcasm. (Ph D. My initials are even "B.S.")

10) Chicktionary. (3,700,000 current high score! Woo hoo! I am the queen of dumb word games, just ask my friend Shannon.)

11) Snoring. (My husband says I dabble in this, I highly doubt it.)

12) Pillow stealing and blanket theft.

13) Getting the hair in my food. (See "dining out" post.)

14) Ignoring the growing hair on my legs. (Hair is a big deal to me, see #8 and #13.)

15) Manipulation. (Just ask my mom.)

16) Crying.

17) Self-pity.

18) Shoe hoarding.

19) Interrogation. (Ask my hubby. Sometimes our phone conversations sound like a game of twenty questions!)

20) Denial. (No, that couldn't be!)

21) Grosser than gross jokes.

22) Turning pain into laughter.

23) PPD. (Party Planning Disease)

24) Opinion sharing. ("Well if you ask me, it used to be called gossip.")

25) Accessorizing black wardrobe. (Years of practice.)

26) Excuse making.

27) Procrastination.

28) Paranoia. (Are you laughing at me right now?)

29) Insecurity. (I feel like you are laughing at me right now.)

30) Discernment. (You ARE laughing at me right now.)

Oh...and lastly, number 31) The grand poobah of all worldly gifts, WORRY. (And I do!)

There you have it. My resume. It is your insight into the maid. I am a mess. Disheveled uniform, un-stocked cart, lousy at hospital corners, and painfully unable to get the rooms cleaned and remember to hang up fresh towels! A beautiful mess. Fearfully and wonderfully made, and most certainly gifted, I just can't figure it out!

Thankfully, I put my trust in the Grand Hotel Manager, God Himself, who says to me often, "I have begun a good work in you, and I will be faithful to complete it."

Phfewww...for a minute, I thought I was stuck in the elevator of life with a bunch of dirty towels!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Spam I am

Dr. Seuss adapts for the computer age:

"Hi...I'm Spam. Spam I am. Would you like to hold my hand?"

"I would not could not in a bar. I would not could not in your car. I DO NOT LIKE YOU Spam you are."

"Inbox. Outbox. Send. Delete. This email stuff is really neat."

Until you get Spam. I hate Spam. I hate that I never know if I am getting a virus because a tagline says "hi" and is from a person named "Kelly."

Reason sets in. Well, I know a Kelly....so I open it.

The warning pops up. "Are you sure you want to open this mail? It could be from an unreliable source and you could be getting a virus you idiot?"

I know, but...it might really be Kelly saying "hi" so I must open it.

Why? I don't know. Curiosity mainly. I want to know what "Kelly" is doing. What is up in her world? How are the kids? Is she going to invite me to something?

Well, I am weak. Click.

Apparently, this is not the "Kelly" I know.

Instead, it is a Kelly who wants me to click on the provided link so that I can get a free sample of Viagra. It supposedly could help me for hours...if I had the necessary "software."

Darn it. I really wanted to be invited to something other than the weiner wide web.

I move on to the next email. It is from my bank. They want me to verify that my password has been changed by clicking here.

Well, I was not born yesterday...so I delete it.

Too late. Screen seizes. Virus acquired. Computer fades to black.

OH yes, that has happened to me.

And the grand prize winner, I get a "must read this" from a friend. I know the sender. It has got to be good, right?

Uh huh...it is my spiritual food for the day. It is the Lord set to music. It is Jesus on you tube. It is..."send this to as many people as you know or you are going to hell. If you are not ashamed of Him, do not stop this email. Something good will happen to you when you send this to your whole address book."

Thank you sweet sister soul saver...I am so at peace knowing that the minute I hit the send button, my name will be written in the lambs book of life. I'm pretty sure that my mouse is the great redeemer.

Yes, technological junk mail. When will it ever stop?

"Spam. Spam I am. Would you like to hold my hand?"

"I would not could not on a jog. I would not could not on my blog......."

Monday, April 21, 2008

Happy Anniversary B.Elliot and J.Ruby!

Today (April 20th) I celebrate 18 years of having the greatest step-dad (GSD) on the planet. I realize that such a dude could only have been secured by a phenomenal mom...(phemom) and she is a prize I have enjoyed for all of my many years...but I wanted to recognize them both for having survived almost two decades of blended family-ness. It has been a great ride for GSD and phemom as they have welcomed 13 grandchildren, seen their children through marriages, divorces and deaths, made and lost money together, seen each other through sickness and now (Praise God!) lots of great health, and have (to their credit) both put up with me. :) Of course these are just a few highlights.

GSD has changed flat tires, snaked toilets, done various fix-it jobs, and taught me to unclog and restart a garbage disposal. (That has come in handy more than once!) He has given my husband a passion for a career that has provided well for my family and even gave him his first real job. He sat with me through arbitration as I faced a law suit. He has done everything you can think of with the grandkids and has attended more fieldtrips than I have! He has even scooped dog poop up out of my back yard while still dressed in work clothes! He has worn many hats, but the one I like most is friend.

Phemom has seen me through each of 7 pregnancies with everything from baby showers to entire wardrobes for these babies! She has visited with me before, during, and after each birth and always made sure that we were well fed. She has seen me through ER visits, health scares, and all of my many phobias and worries (makes ya tired, huh mom?), and has prayed for me more than anyone on this planet. She has helped me to laugh, sometimes at myself, and listened to me cry more than I should be allowed. Sometimes she has encouraged me to "turn on the praise music and take a bath." After which, everything always seems less discouraging. She has loved me at each of my many ages and stages and has treated me to more massages than I deserve. And this grandma has done everything from take us to Disneyland and rock sick babies to sleep. (She is famous for giving those kids kitchen sink baths!) Again, she has worn many hats as my mother, but the one that looks best on her is friend. (Well, grandma looks pretty darn good on her too.)

Obviously by great ride, I don't mean perfect. We know that God doesn't call us to perfect living and doesn't give each of us perfection until our days with Him in glory, but I do mean that what they have been dealt (and believe me it has been much) they have handled with great grace and more often than not have "considered it all joy" when encountering various trials.

Like God's word tells us in James, chapter 1:

2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

I applaud you both for your perserverance and I believe you have both exemplified lives which are mature and complete, not lacking anything. (Especially faith.)

Thank you both for sharing your faith and your lives with me and my family. We all love you and rejoice with you on your accomplishment and realize that we have a great heritage of faith, giving, dilligence, stewardship, honor, exhortation, servitude, perserverance, and mostly love to live up to because we get to have you in our lives.

We look forward to the challenge of being as much like Christ as you are!

Happy Anniversary!

Prince Charming, Snow white, and the seven dwarfs
(Also known as FSIL, fraughter, and the "grands.")

Friday, April 18, 2008

How many in your party?

I love to dine out. I love the whole experience, most of the time. I enjoy having someone wait on us and clean up our dirty plates...and I love the variety and the flavors of other people's cooking. I am such a boring cook...in fact I don't even really cook. I assemble food. I put together that pre-fab meat stuff from Costco with the tortillas and throw the bag salads in a bowl and voila...dinner. So, obviously, the fact that I can try many things and my husband gets his food covered in cheese (yuck...I hate cheese...blog for a different day) and I don't have to touch it, is well...wonderful.

When I say most of the time, let me explain....I don't enjoy dining out under these scenarios:

1) You are with people you don't like.
2) You are at a restaurant you don't care for because it was someone else's turn to pick.
3) You have kids with you and right as your food comes you have to go to the PUBLIC RESTROOM. (See germiphobe blog.) EEEWW.
4) You are dieting and you feel as if you must order a salad even though you want a burger.
5) You are celebrating your birthday and you know those morons are going to sing to you.
6) And lastly, you have the distinct pleasure of getting "the hair" in your food.

I know, it is disgusting, but it is my trademark. It is a wonder that I can even stomach the whole dining out thing after all these years, and all these hairs. I ALWAYS get the hair. You can even ask my friends. Whether we are at Burger King or on a cruise ship, I am the hair magnet.

I realize that there are worse things than hair in your food...a human appendage, a band aid, a dead bug...I haven't had those...I have had nothing worse than a lettuce aphid or a fly. I know, it is still gross.

So moving on, I do love to dine out. :) I love the whole being seated at our table and wondering what we will eat, perusing the menu (unless it is a sticky menu or has crusted food on it...that makes me sick), and you know, even salad at a restaurant tastes better. I think it is because I didn't have to make it. Making a salad for yourself is somewhat anti-climatic. You see everything that goes into it, a lot of chopping, dicing and washing and drying. By the time you eat it, you are bored. It is magnificent when they bring you your gigantic salad plate overflowing with fresh greens, maybe an egg wedge, and bacon bits and croutons...yes, I like both! Oh, and that cute little cup of dressing on the side. Woo hoo! I might even LIKE eating a vegetable.

I also like the ordering process at a restaurant...it is fun to see if you have a server who will get it right or not. Sometimes you know before they even bring your food...that they will inherently screw it up. (Usually because they just noticed their band aid is missing.) They might put on the cheese when you said no cheese, or forget to put your sauce on the side. Sigh. But, most of the time you get a server who writes it down (good girl) and brings your goodies to the table in perfect form. That is a good time. That is what I like to reward with a really great tip.

Which brings me to the point of this entire blog...gratuity. What on earth has gratuity become? Why on earth is it now mandatory? And WHY in the heck is the tip on one party of 8 more important to secure than the tips on 8 parties of four? I don't get it.

My husband used to be a server, so I have great empathy for these men and women. I believe in tipping well and I almost always do. It has to be pretty bad for me to tip less than 20%. Also, in my husband's 3 years of waiting tables, he never had a large party stiff him when it came to tip time. They were normally quite generous and appreciative of the effort it took to keep them watered and fed. Those who dined and dashed were usually in parties of two...maybe we should make them pay up front...I mean if we are going to "stereotype" or participate in "diner profiling."

What I am ultimately getting at here is one of my big pet peeves.


Gratuity included. G R A T U I T Y I N C L U D E D!

Excuse me?

Why on earth are you punished for having a party of 8? (In some cases parties of 6!) Do they not get that you already have to wait longer for a table for 8, you have to sit in odd places with many tables thrown together, and you usually get a server who thinks you are going to be trouble anyway....so they don't put in too much effort.

I may be old school, but I thought a gratuity was a "tip." Meaning...above and beyond the cost of the service and the food, as a reward for a job well done. It seems that our society has made tipping mandatory everywhere from yogurt shops to the hair dresser. Even the Dunkin' Donuts has a tip jar by the register. Hello? You get a real hourly wage...not a server's salary...I just want to buy my Munchkin's without any added pressure, okay? I'm using a coupon for crying out loud. That means that I want to get out of here cheap! Back to restaurants, I understand that I am going to be expected to tip on top of the cost of the meal...but I still want it to be my choice as to how much and I want the server to EARN it.

Every time my husband and I take our 7 kids to dinner, we are already a "party of 8 or more." Which absolutely throws a curve ball to most restaurants time and again. They have to find where to put us, and which server can "handle" us. I think it is histerically funny that they force a tip on our family of 9 the same way they would force it on 9 adults with bar drinks, different orders and maybe even wanting separate checks. Hey, at least we only have one check. Anyone who dines out with kids understands that with four of those people age 7 or under...they would rather color than eat and are usually only prone to ask for a drink refill if anything! Pretty easy money, most of the time. (Barring any unforseen spills or extra food on the floor.)

So I love it. We are having dinner out, we have our whole family with us, and we wait a half an hour for our table. We get seated in some awkward part of the restaurant with some of our family dangling off the edge of the table. And finally, we get a server who knows that they are getting 18% of a rather large food bill whether they give a hoot or not. The chip basket goes unfilled, we have to beg for more salsa, and as we are choking on a tortilla our water glass gets filled in the nick of time. Yep, that was worth 18%.

I don't dare say anything to the server about the service though, because our main course hasn't been served, and I don't want the hair.

I guess the only way around this is if I form a Posse and protest vigorously the injustice of the mandatory gratuity. I will write letters, I will call my senators, I will lobby the capitol, .... I will suck it up and pay it and try to forget about it...."Until we Eat again."

"How many in your party?"

Monday, April 14, 2008

Family of the Year

Okay, so a friend of mine in blogland has posted a couple of times about feeling like "mother of the year" for the parenting faux pas she has made lately. I actually have felt inspired by her vulnerability and thought it necessary to share just a few of the special blunders I have made as a mom of 7. So, April, not to be a copycat...but here goes:


On our way home from church last night, our middle son (age 9) informed dad and mom how annoyed he was with all of his sisters and their chattering and singing in the car. We did nothing. We said nothing. A few moments later, he begins to cry and appeals quite dramatically that we really need to shut them up because THEY are annoying HIM. Laughable. This was the boy who literally made sound effect noises 24/7...and only stopped out of fear of the newest mom threat and I quote..."I'm going to shave your head and glue it to your butt."

So, the loving response of dad and I on our way home from CHURCH, was this..."Hey kids, let's all sing really loud the most annoying songs we can think of!" So, here it went:

"Jeremiah WAS A BULLFROG...bum, bum, bum, (Dad did the sound effects), WAS a GOOD Friend of MINE!....bum, bum, bum..." Oh yeah, we got into it. We sang it over and over and louder and louder...the kids in the seat next to him...sang it AT him. Then we sang "Shot through the heart"...and then I think we tried to sing some Pat Benatar, well and then we were home.

I can still see him cowering in the back seat with his hands in his ears and curling up as if to go to his "happy place." My friend April says her hubby and her have agreed to pay for therapy or college, but not both. I'm with ya, April, we will be paying for therapy! (April can be read at http://www.aprilsreign.blogspot.com/ I am too lame and too tired to try and figure out how to make links to her page.) And a note to my readers, please don't allow me to introduce you to April and then you and April start getting together without me...that always happens! I introduce people to each other, and before you know it...they are dining out and doing movies while I sit at home. (Yeah, I know, world's smallest violin is playing for me as we speak.) Remember...you gotta dance with the one who brought ya! (EEWW...flashback of line-dancin' country days.)


Dear, sweet daddy of this family is a funny guy. He is somewhat quiet, but has a great sense of humor and of course always laughs at my jokes. Plus, he mops. That, my friend, is all the romance that I need. There is nothing more appealing than a man with a mop...yeah, baby. Can you just see the Calendar? Mr. February lives with me. Hot. (Oh, and cleaning bathrooms...that is foreplay.)

Anyway, a few years back he and the kids were watching the movie "Flipper." You know, the one with the guy who has the Austrailian accent? Paul Hogan, I think. I am in my bedroom and I hear hysterical laughing. My bionic woman ears perk up and I listen more closely...those darn kids are rewinding the movie over and over and listening to Mr. Hogan so eloquently say..."You butt-faced wombat!" Of course, I am mortified, because my kids were little...and their virgin ears would be tarnished by this...as if hearing it in the movie once was bad enough, but they were focusing in on it! As you can imagine, my mom-horns come out and I am furious at them for being soooo inappropriate....and as I run into the living room I find that it is not my children, but my spouse. HE was the one trying to master the accent..."Yuh bott fayced wahmbat." I beamed with pride, as you can imagine. And thunked Dear Hubby on the head and forced him to tell the kids why they will not be saying that outside of our home. Yeah, right.

Part two...A few years back we went to a fourth of July picnic and fireworks display with our friends, who live in another city...and we were introduced to all of their friends (conservative Christian home-schooling people) and we tried to fit in. We wanted them to know how like them we were and how we could easily join in with our sweet, responsible, Christian family. Uh huh.

Things were going swimmingly (dumb phrase, but I like it) and then I hear some drama emerging from the playground. Apparently my son (the one who doesn't like singing in the car) had perfected the movie line and decided to share it. (We encourage our children to share.) Something got a little lost in the translation, and as the other little narcs were telling on my precious son, I heard this:

BFW*: "That boy called me a butthole."
My friend: "What boy?"
BFW: "That boy" (Pointing to my dear child.)
My friend to my son: "Did you call him a butthole?"
My son: "No."
BFW: "Yes he did, he said I was a Butthole Combat."
Me giggling: "OH, no he just said Butt-faced Wombat." (Totally PG. See, all is good in the world again.)

Thanks dad for teaching him this one. The sad but true is that I was relieved that it was only the Paul Hogan line. There were plenty of other movies that may have been quoted! Phfew.

*Oh, and BFW (Butt-faced wombat) is merely to protect the identity of the whiner. I couldn't remember his name anyway, needless to say we were not invited back.


Now, I like a good laugh. I even don't mind laughing at my own expense, however if this story leaves this blog, I will be forced into the witness relocation program. So, I can tell you all, but then I have to kill you. Capiche?

So here goes,

It was Christmas eve day...we had just been to a breakfast for which I dressed up. My black wardrobe was highlighted with a sparkly red Christmas sweater and matching red sparkly heels. We had 6 children at the time and had agreed to let the children draw names and buy a Christmas gift for one of their siblings...something that they picked out themselves. (Dumb, I know...and on Christmas eve...can you imagine the lines at Kohl's?) So Dear Hubby and I separated with three kids each and set off to help these kids make their selections. I had the two boys...probably 12 and 6 at the time....and I had the baby girl in the stroller. You would think that I had it relatively easy, as I sent all of the squealing estrogen monkeys with their dad.

I am helping daughter with finger firmly shoved in her face sucking non-stop, to select an appropriate gift. She doesn't give a hoot...and I think she is pooping. So, trying to make short work of this whole process I yell at my boys (who have since disappeared) to get their "butts over here and shop!" Yep, real classy. Oh, but it gets better. One lesson my son has not learned (the younger boy) is that when you mess with the bull, you get the horns. I tell him repeatedly that he needs to quit taunting his brother and summon him to COME HERE!

I look over at him, and it is apparent that the butt-faced wombat has picked on his brother for the last time because this is where the older brother snaps and whacks him to the floor! (Any of you who know the middle boy, know about the drama...and as you can imagine...he was not hurt, but fell theatrically to the floor to get my attention.) As if the fall wasn't enough, it was accompanied by a high-pitched squine...that is a squeal and whine mixed together. Of course, at this point I am not amused, and I think we are attracting an audience...it is hard to tell over all of the Christmas music.

Well, as mother of the year I felt it was necessary that I scoop him up, kiss his cheek and...yeah right. No sir...I took those pretty ruby red Christmas heels and kicked him in the head...lovingly whisper-shouting at him to GET UP and KNOCK IT OFF!

Not only did it not don on me until later that Kohl's has video cameras all over the store, but I also sat that evening and watched the news waiting for this headline:

Christmas Fatigue Causes Mom to Lose it With Her Kids...Kohl's Department Store Aids in Her Arrest.

No such luck. Apparently on Christmas eve, all bets are off. I still had to go home and wrap those darn presents. Sigh.

So, April...You have my address...bubble wrap that tiara and Dr. Phil parenting book and send it to me STAT! You are dealing with a professional here. And should I end up in the county jail, could you at least send me a jumbo bag of M&M's? Plain, please. Maybe I could bribe my cell-mates to do my sit-ups for me.

Oh, and officer...you won't find any DNA on those heels. But should you need me to enter them as exhibit A, come and get em!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

A Resume of Distinction

Do you remember grosser than gross jokes?

I used to really get a kick out of bantering back and forth with my stepdad to see who, indeed, could be grosser. I have to tell you, it was often a draw. My youth and lack of an age appropriate amount of acquired class were about as equal as his years of experience in grossology. I never had the forethought to realize who and what I was really dealing with. As a teenager, I never gave true credit to the fact that he had lived so many years with brothers, sisters, a spouse (and we all know how gross they can be), and kids. In retrospect, he must have really held back, because now, as an adult with lots of kids, I can honestly say, no one can outgross someone who has conceived a child.

Here is the grosser than gross joke which stands out the most. (Warning: this is not for the faint at heart or the truly conservative Christian. If you read this, do not pretend to be appalled.)

Stepdad: What's grosser than gross?
Me: I don't know, what?
Stepdad: When you kick off your underwear and it sticks to the ceiling. What's grosser than that?
Me: I give, what?
Stepdad: When it crawls down. What's grosser than that?
Me: (Shrugging shoulders and probably rolling my eyes at this point.)
Stepdad: When it crawls back up and you leave it there so you can find it again tomorrow.

Yep. I know. Brilliant. Many dads and daughters bond with butterfly kisses and daddy/daughter dances. Not us. We found common ground not over teen crushes and learning to drive as much as we did with those silly little jokes. It was priceless.

Almost twenty years later, I have to admit that I was never even a match for the gross-off.
Why? Life experience opens you up to a whole world of gross that you could never ever imagine.
I now feel ready for a rematch. A new chance at outgrossing the king of grosser than gross and long, drawn-out, yet somewhat endearing jokes.

I am ready. Gloves are on. I'm standing in my corner of the ring. I actually even think I am at my fighting weight, so let's go.

Here is my resume:

I have "romantic gross" experience. (We all know what that is...no explanation necessary.)

I have "child bearing gross" experience. (Again, you know. You watch baby story, don't you?)

I have "worked in the medical field gross" experience.
* I have handled (with gloves) nearly every bodily fluid or excretion...including sputum. Do you know what that is? I have taken the embarrassing phone calls in the medical office. I have had total strangers grab my hand and make me "feel" their stitches protruding through their skin as they fill me in on the wonders of gall bladder surgery. The medical stories could go on for days.

I have "church nursery gross" experience. (Nothing like watching the little 3 year old girl standing under the play structure as the boy above peed on her. You guessed it, I called her parents.)

I have "I ate what the dog spit out gross" experience. Here is how that played out:
Me: "Son, why did you not eat your garlic bread? I would have eaten that. (And I did.)
Son: "Because the dog got it." (Me picturing said dog whose tongue did the grooming.)

I have "physical discovery gross" experience. This is where you have the distinct pleasure over the years of seeing quirky little medical things happen to your trusty old body. Probably the least offensive thing I could mention is the strange places where acne pops up. Say no more.

And lastly, the grand-daddy of all gross experience....the one for which we should at the very least receive a girl scout badge is..."child rearing gross."

I'm not talking about normal bodily functions that mom's often have to clean up. The prizes of stomach flu, the perpetual snotty nose, the skinned up knee which develops a pus-filled scab, and even the misplaced sneeze....these are all delicate infractions compared to the intentional grossness of children. By intentional I mean that booger that was wiped on the wall...or the...well, read on.

My prize winning story is one that I feel needs a little background.

First of all, you should know that I am somewhat of a germiphobe. I carry hand sanitizer and Charmin to Go toilet seat covers in my purse. (Keep your smarty comments to yourself. You do it too.) I don't like to spend more time than necessary in a public restroom. I hate public restrooms. I hate even using the sinks in such places. Often I will make quick work of the sink and run out the door only to use half a tube of hand sanitizer. I also get grossed out by the things my children sometimes lick off their faces. I make my kids wash their faces sometimes before they are allowed to kiss me. (You feel me?) In my defense, however, I change a mean diaper and can clean up vomit if I have to.

That being said, know that when I attack bathroom cleaning, especially for company, I do a run through with clorox wipes, disposable toilet wands, and rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle to kill anything that should be killed and leave it sparkly clean. On one such occasion, I was getting ready for company and did a very last minute "touch up" of the guest bathroom. I was standing there with my paper towels in one arm and the alcohol spray in the other and noticed that the bathroom rug was crumpled up beneath my feet a little. I was trying to make it quick, so I just kind of tried to straighten it out with my bare feet. I wiped the vanity down (door bell rings) and shut the bathroom door so I could finish the job discreetly.

I began double checking the toilet and spraying and wiping quickly, put the lid down and turned around. I thought it a little odd that although I had straightened the rug with my feet, it was still lumpy. I then began to wonder why leading to that lump under the rug was what appeared to be a skid mark. Puzzling. So, I began to alcohol the floor and finish my touch up of the bathroom. After all, my company was here. They had been let in by my husband and I could hear their muffled chatter in the other room.

I don't know what possessed me to peel back the lumpy rug, but let's just say that nothing, I mean NOTHING, could have prepared me for...........(Psycho shower scene music playing).....a large, somewhat fresh POOP under the rug. Some precious soul had decided that rather than yell for mommy to come to their aid, or heaven forbid grab some toilet paper and "PICK UP AND FLUSH THE TURD," that they would scoot it under the rug where it would hopefully go unnoticed and not be traced back to the turdee.

While I am not quite sure what this dear, sweet, fruit of my loins was thinking, I am quite certain that this child somehow had to have touched this rather large nugget in order to camouflage it under the bathroom rug. (EEEEEWWW.) The other thing I am not sure of, is how this poop actually ended up on the floor in the first place. How do you miss the toilet by that much?

Needless to say, I scooped up the rug, scrubbed the floor and the grout and disposed of the evidence before my company got wind (literally) of it. Can you imagine what could have happened if I had not done the appropriate bathroom check? I shot up a quick prayer of thanksgiving and wished only momentarily that I was Catholic so I could have grabbed the Rosary, said 20 hail Mary's, and lit a candle of appreciation. (I do remember that a candle was involved, however!)

So, how about it? How about the big boxing match, dad? How about our final face off? Ready:

Me: "What's grosser than gross?"
Stepdad: "What?"
Me: "When you're cleaning the bathroom and you stomp a turd under the rug."
(How proud he must be.)

Ding! We have a winner!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


I had a lovely time at Bunco this evening, however, some things left me scratching my head. First I must issue this disclaimer: The opinions and observations in this post are merely those of the blogger, and do not necessarily reflect those of the entire Bunco-playing, Jesus-loving, big-family, air-breathing world. Now that we have that out of the way, let me first explain how this post came about.

I am a schizophrenic, bi-polar people pleaser. Which in lay-terms means that half of the time I really care what people think and what they have to say. I will listen to polar opposite points of view and wittingly decide that I either agree or disagree and sometimes I will passionately dispute, and sometimes I will let it lie. Because I care what people think (in general, not just what they think about me) I try not to offend other people, although I know that it is not humanly possible never to do so unless you just don't speak. (Even God's word says that it is impossible to tame the tongue. James 3:8 "But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison.")

The other part of my schizophrenia is that I do NOT care what people think. This has come in handy on more than one occasion. Deciding in advance that you do not need the approval of men or that you will purpose to stay in the Spirit no matter the opposition you face (even "well-meaning" opposition) can be a real gift.

Where the bi-polar comes in, I think, is that I never know which personality I am taking with me on any given day, or on any given occasion. Darn it. Would that I could select the "peace with all men" personality rather than the "enter in an argument with a fool lest he become wise in his own estimation" personality when going to certain functions would truly come in handy. Again, darn it. It seems that sometimes the personalities are selected for me by a number of influencing factors...hormones, past experiences with government agencies, elevated blood pressure, lack of sleep, or my favorite: wrong number on the scale today. Darn it.

So, I don't know which bi-polar puzzle piece to assign to my experience today, but I must have taken along the "I'm going to let everything you say rob me of my joy, weaken my immune system, and leave me second-guessing my parenting" personality.

Here is what I wish had happened...I wish that I had taken a really big dose of "oblivion" today. Had I been oblivious to comments and wisecracks, I might have listened to people's hearts and not just their words. Instead, I stockpiled them. I let each little snipe take away a little piece of my confidence as a friend and sister in Christ.

What can I do about it? Well, I could drop out of Bunco, but I have really come to care about these women and love them. (Oh, and it is not just Bunco...it happens everywhere!) As for the Bunco gals, I think they are a unique group of God's people that all have something special to offer. Oh, and they are generous! I just love the way I have seen them care for new moms and sick moms and more. They are funny, too. Many of them are as different as night and day, but they come together to celebrate a night without kids, a little grown up conversation, and of course, dessert. :) At each persons core, no matter how different we seem, we would probably find that we are, indeed, all the same: we hurt, we laugh, we love, we have needs, we long for friendship, we have been devastated by something or someone, and we all need the Lord.

What else could I do about it? I could let it go. Pray about it. And then it hit me, blog about it!

Many of the myths that I have faced as a Public Schooling AND Homeschooling, Christian, Mom of 7, and wife came up tonight. Final disclaimer: If you were at Bunco, or if you have ever asked or said any of the following things to me or someone else, we know that this is not your fault. See James 3:8.

Myth #1) Wow, you have how many kids? You must never leave the kitchen.

Truth: You must enter the kitchen in order to leave the kitchen. Most of my kids are now able to pour milk over cereal, make mac-n-cheese or are proficient at ordering at the drive through. (Daughter number 3: "I will have a Chik-fil-A kids meal with 4 nuggets and a root beer, oh and don't forget the polynesian sauce.") How proud I must be, eh?

Myth #2) You and your husband must have a lot of sex. (Yep, you read it correctly.)

Truth: Being fertile, and being over-sexed are totally unrelated issues. It would be entirely possible that in 13 years of marriage that my husband and I have had sex only 7 times. Not likely, but possible. Oh, and if any of you have nursed a baby for a prolonged length of time, you know where your sex drive is. You are about as amorous as Bossie the milk-cow.

Myth #3) How many kids do you have now? (As if it changes weekly) Wow, 7 kids? Do you know the Duggar family on t.v.? (I was really asked that once.)

Truth: Each child has come one at a time, not a part of some litter. Each child has his/her own unique personality and birthday and most of them have been at least 2 years apart. Each child was a decision and a gift from God. Psalm 127:3 (Behold, children are a gift of the Lord; The fruit of the womb is a reward.) As far as the Duggar family goes, you don't get inducted into a big family cult or annual membership to a breeders convention, so sadly I do not know the Duggars. Had we ever met the Duggar family, I would let them know how I was impressed by their stand for Christ, their commitment to their family, and that all of their children can play the violin. (I personally couldn't stand 17 species of that instrument in my home, but to each his own.)

Myth #4) 7 kids? Wow, you might as well have 50.

Truth: Yep, I see the logic in that. 3 boys plus 4 girls = 50. (This myth rates up there with the "Are you going for your own basketball, baseball, football team?") Although, I have to confess that I have used this logic with dieting, "Well, I have already eaten 7 mini candy bars, I might as well have 50."

Myth #5) I don't know how you afford such a large family.

Truth: God is faithful for that which He gives us. When we had 2 children, we had the income we needed to support 2 children. When we had 5 children, we had what we needed for five, etc.
And the more painful truth, the parents who have the hardest time with this are the ones who think that every birthday must be a blow-out, every season must mean a new sport, Christmases are "make every dream come true" opportunities, and that every moment of their child's existence needs to be filled to the hilt with rich, satisfying experiences. Whatever happened to tire swings, mud-pies, and imagination? (I do have to confess that I recently only learned the "you don't have to buy every picture packet" lesson.)

Myth #6) For the homeschooled child(ren): My child is so social, I can't imagine not having him/her around other kids.

Truth: Homeschooled children, in all types of homeschool programs, typically need to be more disciplined to "stay home" than other children. They are usually so busy with outside activities, sports and other stimuli that they actually find it hard to fit school in. I don't think I have ever met any homeschoolers who didn't look you in the eye, speak confidently, and stand out socially. Some for good reasons, some for, well not so good. LOL

Myth #7) For the publicly schooled child(ren): I just don't want my child being influenced by other children. I can't imagine sending little Johnny to school and expecting him to learn what he needs to learn in such a large classroom with only one teacher.

Truth: Publicly schooled children (in my experience with my own children) learn quickly and early on how to sit still, take directions, listen to others, have patience in group settings, and often learn how to set and raise their own expectations to match or exceed those of their peers. There is a little healthy competition and striving to be the best. All of my publicly schooled children learned to read quickly and have fared very well in school. I am blessed by an exceptional school and don't suppose for one minute that my experience will be yours, but it is possible and it doesn't mean that I love my children less or have fed them to the wolves. (I was told that once before by a "homeschool only" mom.) The irony here for me is that I am not sure that I want my children being influenced by me. Hee hee.

Myth #8) The contents of my uterus are up for public discussion.

Truth: I don't know when it became socially acceptable to ask people this question: "Are you gonna have any more?" Or this one is good..."You're not pregnant again, are you?" (Funny, how do you answer that one if you are?) Maybe I shouldn't be as offended by that as by this one, "Don't you think you have enough?" Since I was not voted into this marriage by a majority of delegates, and I have not been supported by my peers with campaign contributions or a public servant's salary, I do not see the need for an annual "State of the Uterus" address. (But if you get my Christmas letter, you will know sooner or later if we "decided to have any more.")

Myth #9) The contents of my uterus should be touched by total strangers.

Truth: At the very least, a person should ask before touching the beautiful bulge of a pregnant mom. I think it is hilarious that just because the belly sticks out underneath a tight shirt that people think it necessary and acceptable to rub it as if you were a Buddah statue. If a woman had a large rear end sticking out as if it could hold a clock radio and a drink, would the same stranger think they must touch the freak-ish protrusion? I would hope not. (Suddenly the Black-eyed Pea song, My Humps, is playing in my mind.) Disclaimer: If you have a freak-ish protrusion in the back, no disrespect intended. You work it girl.

Myth #10) Better you than me...I could never handle that many kids.

Truth: Again I say to you, as God wills, He would give you the grace to handle it. Grace for 2 children when you have two, grace for 5 children when you have 5, etc. But I might agree with you on one thing, better me, than you. I have been amply blessed and can not imagine which child I might live without. I pray I never outlive my blessings from God and that I am living my life as God would have me live and serving my family as He would have me serve them. (I say serve loosely, as much as my kids fetch stuff for my husband and I and end up grooming themselves without our help, it can scarcely be considered an act of service on our part!) Even Jesus Himself did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life a ransom for many. (If I turn up missing, don't pay the ransom, however, I am probably at the spa.)

Lastly, I leave you with these suggestions:

1) Say to a mom: "You are blessed" instead of "My, You have your hands full." (We hate that.)
2) Say to a mom: "Can I help you?" instead of "Do you know what causes that?" (Yep, not willing to quit.)
3) Say to a mom: "You are doing a great job" instead of "Gonna have any more?" (We often don't know ourselves.)
4) Say to a mom: "What a beautiful family" instead of "Better you than me." (Mostly true.)
5) Say to a mom: "Go for it"...instead of a "Why?" (Why did you only have one, two?)
6) Give to a mom: Praises instead of punchlines.
7) Give to a mom: Encouragement instead of insults.
8) Give to a mom: Grace instead of glares.
9) Give to a mom: Joy instead of pain.
10) Give to a mom: Jesus instead of judgement.

To those of you who are my confidants, friends, and acquaintances, I pray you would hold me accountable in the same way. I would hope that sister to sister, friend to friend, and mom to mom, that my love would demonstrate itself and that I would "let my words would be few."

Oh, and yes...we are going to have more. :)