May 30, 2009

my friend stephanie

Do the Bump

Kacey complained a couple of weeks back about getting "bumped" off my blog list, so I moved her back to the top of the list. . . then I happened to notice: I WAS NOT at the top of HER list! I complained. I protested. I screamed "unfair"! She argued that her hubby was at the top of her list, even though he has not blogged in 13 months! So I moved her back down my list.  We have since found a compromise. You will note I am now at the top of her blog list, and she is the top of mine as well . . . at least for now. :o)

The Song Stylings of Daughter-Face

Last Friday I was hand-folding newsletters - a tedious, occasional aspect to my job.  Kacey wrote me a song in honor of the event: (Sing to the chorus of "America, America, God shed His grace on thee.")

"Tedium, oh Tedium, we fly our flags for thee. Through long and short, you're our cohort who keeps us company."

She is OH, so talented, AND she gave me permission to blog about her awesomeness. As I always say . . . it's a good thing she's pretty.

My Friend Mike:
Mike brought a cd for me to listen to. The name of the band is "My Friend Stephanie". Made me smile.  Mike's "Friend Stephanie" is pretty groovy. (In case you didn't catch that, I was saying that the band called, "My Friend Stephanie" is pretty groovy, but also made a little play on words that Mike's friend Stephanie, meaning me, is also pretty groovy. I hate having to explain a joke. Keep up.)

Birthday Sushi:

We told Sara (E.T.'s mom) to pick where she wanted to go eat for her birthday last week. She didn't really want to pick, but confessed afterward that she felt she HAD to because she was afraid we might force her to partake in Birthday Sushi! So funny! Really, Sara, we rarely force raw fish on anyone. Occasionally the cat, but I don't think dead goldfish count.

Bizarre dreams:

In one: I dreamed I was driving with my feet from the backseat and could somehow control the direction, but not the speed. I finally got the car pulled over, did a "Chinese Firedrill" to the driver's seat, and then got frustrated because Kevin and his little brother (HUH? WHO?) were talking to me from the backseat and my ears were clogged and I couldn't hear them. VERY FRUSTRATING DREAM.

In two: I was collecting bugs on the balcony of Kacey's apartment, only Mike & Sara lived there. I was picking up all manner of insects with giant tweezers and tossing them down to the first floor. One of the bugs I picked up was about 9" long, green, rubbery and split at one end. Greg said, "Hey, Steph! You caught a Gumby bug!" I thought to myself, "OH! So THAT'S where Gumby got his name!"

In three: I dreamed I talked Hershey into making s'more-sized chocolate slices. Kind of like American Cheese - really thin and the exact size of graham crackers. Even after I woke up I thought it was pretty brilliant.

In four: Kevin had been washing cars on the driveway in his bare feet and then got into my bed with black toes. I sat on the bed and washed his feet with wet wipes.

Apparently it is genetic:

My son is goofy. And everytime he does something goofy, annoying, irritating, etc. he claims some lame excuse like, "He started it!" or "It wasn't me!" And since his mother is not at all prone to such lies, I have been perplexed as to the origin of this malarky. So Sunday we are having lunch with my family. Kevin and my niece are throwing spitwads across the table until my mother has "had enough"! A minute later my DAD throws one at Kevin! Mom looks at him and says, "I just told the CHILDREN to stop!" My dad, wise shepherd that he is, pointed to Kevin and said, "He started it!" I'm still chuckling. Good to know that trait skips a generation.

May 21, 2009

two men and a baby . . . (subtitled) "urine" trouble now

If you recall, some months back, a little boy named Corban spent a few days with us while his parents were interviewing for a job in Oklahoma. He is adorable and funny and really liked "ShooperMan!" Well, when Corban was a bit younger and his mom was giving birth to his baby brother, Mike & Sara kept Corban and his sister overnight, then Mike brought the kids to work with him the next day. Here's where our story begins:

Mike: associate minister
Corban: cute toddler
Yours Truly: innocent bystander next door
Terrell: Senior minister, and all-around good guy

Our church offices . . . and other nearby facilities

Once upon a time there were two small children happily playing in the church nursery and offices. The "littlest" of the two keeps wandering down the hall to (read in toddler voice) "Go shee Mike". He likes Mike. And Mike likes him. Corban sits in Mike's lap while Mike works on his computer. Life is good. Suddenly, Mike becomes, shall we say, warmer than usual . . . particularly in (make throat-clearing sound) THAT area. Warmer, and wetter. He looks down and notices the front of his jeans are wet.

Being a pretty bright guy, Mike realizes he has just been peed on by Corban. We don't know what Mike's first thought is, but his first word is (read in grossed out, slightly frantic, higher-than-usual baritone voice) "STEPH!"

I quickly go to see why my name had been called in that "PLEASE HELP ME" tone, though I suspect I already know. I enter to find Mike sitting in his chair, lap wet, Corban being held out by his armpits a foot off the floor and as far away from Mike's body as his arms will allow, and a puddle on the floor. I laugh. I don't know how long or how loud, but I definitely laugh. The pitiful look on Mike's face says, "Ewwwwwwww. . . What do I do NOW?"

Nearly running, we head for the men's bathroom - Corban in front (as Mike is still holding him at arm's length), then Mike, then me. Mike quickly pushes open the door of the men's bathroom with his elbow with enough force to hold the door in an open position, and I follow him right in.

Unbeknownst to us, Terrell is sitting in an open stall, and shocks us both by saying, (read in externally calm yet internally freaked out preacher voice) "Uhhhh . . . you'll have to take a number."

Awkwardly embarrassed that we have forced our way in to an uncomfortable situation, and yet still pee-covered, Mike instantly pushes around me and makes a bee-line for the women's restroom across the building. I follow a few steps only to realize the men's room door is still standing open. I freeze. For a split second my mind races . . . "Mike needs help. Terrell, well Terrell's privacy is not being protected. What to do?" I dart back inside the men's room, inside the men's room, where Terrell is . . . well, you know, and closed the door.

I learned three important things that day:
1) Wet jeans dry very slowly.
2) Other people's discomfort is downright hysterical.
3) Terrell has really white knees.

May 17, 2009

all Saturdays should be this good . . .

When your day starts with a retreat at a lake cabin, ends with sushi and somewhere in the middle you help a mom bring a gorgeous baby boy into the world, it has been a good day. Yesterday was that day.

As I was leaving for the retreat yesterday morning (just a one-day working retreat), my cell phone rang. I knew the number and laughed out loud before I answered it. Sure enough, this first-time mom was in labor. It was early and she was fine, but wanted to let me know so I could be prepared. So, I went on to the retreat and participated in the morning's events. Three hours later she called again, well actually, her husband called that time which is always a sign that it is time for me to be there.

When I arrived she was 3 cm. and laboring on the birth ball (a GREAT place for early labor - keeps you in a semi-squatting position and takes the pressure off the lower back), I took a chair in front of her and we spent 45 minutes or so breathing and moaning and talking. Others took turns rubbing her back, getting her juice, getting the tub ready with warm water. After awhile we walked through the house, winding our way through all the rooms, stopping to let her lean on me and rock through each contraction. Once the tub was ready, she couldn’t get in it fast enough. There were four of us attending to her (hubby, mom, birth attendant and me) and we all circled the tub - which was perfect because she could not stay still. Almost with every contraction she changed position. Within 2 hours she was fully dilated, and by mid-afternoon her baby boy had arrived. A first birth. A fast birth. A perfect birth.

And, I was finished early enough to have sushi with Mike and Sara.

Saturday was a good day.

May 14, 2009

the family bed . . .

For the last several years Kevin’s room has consisted of a GIANT toy chest, a “top bunk only” bunk bed, and his drum set. A few weeks ago he disassembled said bunk bed and cleaned out his room.

Now, he says, he is ready for bedroom furniture, particularly a bed.

Understandable really, since he has slept in his room . . .
Well, let’s stop and do the math here:
BIRTH to AGE 5 - we did the “family bed” thing so he slept in our room;
AGE 6 to AGE 12 - he slept in his sister’s room on her trundle bed;
AGE 12 ½ to AGE 12 ½ - when Kacey left for college, he slept on his bunk bed intermittently for a few nights (once “sans clothing” just to see what it was like);
AGE 12 to LAST NIGHT - he has been sleeping in his sister’s room on the Sleep Number Amazingly Comfortable Queen Size Throne-Bed, set to “12” so it is like he is sleeping in a bag of really fresh marshmallows.

Out of the last 6,000 days of his life he has slept in his room a grand total of like (drum roll, please) 8 times, and that is counting the times he fell asleep when I sent him to his room and forgot about him.

So, of course, it stands to reason that NOW, with just months left before college, he wants to actually move into his own bedroom. Go figure.

May 11, 2009

no caffeine after the sun goes down

It’s hard to admit when you’ve been a bad parent, but I’ve been a bad parent lately.

I don’t like this whole “growing up” thing. (I mean for myself, not the kids. Shallow and sarcastic are so much easier than deep and mature, despite what ANYBODY1 says . . . )

I liked when the kiddos were little and I had the final say. I liked when the biggest decision we had was whether or not it was too late in the day for caffeine. (Sidebar: the rule was “no caffeine after the sun goes down”, which makes good sense at 8:30 p.m. in the summertime, but is open for debate at 4:45 p.m. in December.)
So, anyway, I’ve been ticked off at my son because he made a decision I didn’t like. I’m not saying it was a wrong decision, it was just one that I advised against but he chose to go his own route despite my mothering. (Imagine . . . 16 and wanting to make your own decisions!) And I’ve been pretty relentless at giving him grief. Playfully . . . but not really. Last night he had all could take and we had what could almost be considered an argument. Only nobody yelled or cried. We talked for a long time. He apologized for being disrespectful. I apologized for giving him such a hard time. I love that my kids will talk to me even when I’m difficult.

If they didn’t, my life would be pretty darn quiet. :o)

May 10, 2009

it skips a generation

My son is goofy. And everytime he does something goofy, annoying, irritating, etc. he claims some lame excuse like, "He started it!" or "It wasn't me!" And since his mother is not at all prone to such lies, I have been perplexed as to the origin of this malarky.

So Sunday we are having lunch with my family. Kevin and my niece are throwing spitwads across the table until my mother has "had enough"! A minute later my DAD throws one at Kevin! Mom looks at him and says, "I just told the CHILDREN to stop!" My dad, wise elder that he is, pointed to Kevin and said, "He started it!" I'm still chuckling.

Good to know that trait skips a generation.

May 06, 2009

quite an entrance . . . and exit

So when I met Ashley at the hospital the other day I was looking for room 217. Walking down the hall, the doors were in pairs: 212 & 213, wall space, 214 & 215, wall space, 216 & the door into which I entered. It was long, narrow and dark, but one entire wall was fold-out doors. I peeked through to see Steven and Ashley on the other side, so I entered. They both looked up, a bit shocked and then laughed. Apparently, from their point of view, the doors I came out of looked like their closet. So Ashley enjoyed telling people her doula "came out of the closet."

Seventeen hours later, when I left room 217 (no, we weren't in there ALL day, but we did start and end there), I walked back down the hall, pushed the elevator "down" button (yes, I know, I could have taken the stairs. It was only one level. It was a LONG day! DON'T JUDGE ME!) So anyway, I pushed the down button, waited a few seconds, the door opened and I entered the elevator. The door closed. I waited. After a minute or so the door opened again. Steven got on. Then Steven laughed at me. Apparently, I got on the elevator and was so tired I forgot to push the button for the lobby. So I was just standing there inside the elevator, leaning against the wall and waiting . . .

Yeah, I know.

May 05, 2009

the beginning of a life story

Today I just want to blog. There is so much in my head and so little time to get it on “paper”.

First, NinjaPrincess . . . thanks for the doula confidence. I’m not sure exactly how far away you are, but I think it would be pretty doggone cool to be your doula should you need one! However, I really like to meet people's faces before I . . . well, before I meet others parts of them, so maybe one of these days when I am passing through your stomping grounds we can “MEET” for lunch!

Second, Ashley’s precious second little girl entered the world last night. Though I have many things I could blog about this, and even though Ashley has given me permission to blog about it, I still feel that moms reserve the right to tell their own birth stories. So . . . suffice it to say that:
1) Ashley was a TROUPER! She had one tough labor, but she held in there and did the work. I’m very proud of her. She labored for 26+ hours (depending on how you count it) and never once told me she hated me!
2) Arrogance is an ugly, ugly trait. Especially when it comes from medical professionals. That is all I am going to say.

About my doula role: It is a nearly impossible thing to describe. Sometimes frustrating. Sometimes entertaining. Sometimes hard. But always, always such a privilege. Sometimes my role is to be invisible . . . to make sure everything in the background is taken care of, from finding socks to giving backrubs, without ever being an intrusion. Sometimes my role is front and center as “coach”, allowing dads or grandmothers or sisters to come and go, take pictures, whatever. Often my role falls somewhere in the middle, just helping dad be an effective birth partner.

Last night was definitely a “front and center” experience. Being face to face with a laboring mom, and I mean really face to face, holding her head, whispering in her ear, helping her understand the importance of what she is doing. If you have ever been on the receiving end of such encouragement, you know the value of it, but let me tell you, being on the giving end is pretty amazing.

Then there is the whole blessing of being at the beginning. To be there for the first gasp, the first cry, the first locked glance between mother and child, the first chapter of someone's life in
God's story.

Ashley: Thanks for letting me be part of Chapter One.

May 03, 2009

life is hard, then you die

There is a reason God wants me to confess. No, there are multiple reasons God wants me to confess.

1) Without confession, there is no admission of guilt. Without an admission of guilt, there can be no real change. Without real change, there is no hope of becoming who God calls me to be.

2) Without confession, I put up a fa├žade. Others believe my life to be “nice” or “happy” or “insert adjective here”, thus removing any chance of being a blessing to those who may struggle with the same difficulties as mine, making me fairly useless for God's purposes.

3) Confession keeps me humble. And, I guess a healthy dose of humility wouldn't hurt me from time to time.

4) Confession holds me accountable to the people who listen. And hopefully, those who listen will HOLD me accountable. (Though sometimes finding the right person to listen can be difficult.)

5) Confession teaches me discretion. Some things can be shared with the world, but some are for your ears only. By trusting other people with my dirty laundry, I learn the importance of keeping a confidence.

6) Confession reminds me that I am lost without my Savior.

The downfall in confessing is that you make yourself vulnerable.

The downfall in listening to someone else confess is that you make yourself responsible.

I wrote this several weeks back, but didn't ever post it. I decided to post it today because in the last few weeks, God has sent several people my direction, each of whom are going through a life circumstance similar to something I have gone through. I don’t know if I'm any help or not, but I listen and pray, and do my best to be responsible with the follow-up.

posting my “dirty emotional laundry” a few weeks back brought me encouragement from people and places I never expected.

Then this whole "obsessing about my compulsive sarcasm" thing has me analyzing myself and thinking about the whole realm of what it means to be an encouragement to others.

When Kevin whines about something I usually tell him jokingly, “Life is hard, then you die.” But it’s not really a joke. Life IS hard. And just when you think there is a light at the end of the tunnel, sometimes you find out the light is from an oncoming train.

But the one thing I do know for sure is: we aren't alone. Wherever we are, whatever we have been through, the world is full of people who have been and are going through the same thing. Even more specifically: wherever we are, whatever we have been through, the CHURCH is full of people who have been and are going through the same thing. THE SAME THING. We aren't alone. We aren't outcasts. We aren't failures. We are just human.

That's all. I hope you have had a wonderful day. :o)