Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Like Being A Teenager Again

I'm breaking my promise. I'm sure this makes me a bad sister and all, but this is really too sweet to let pass by. After this though, she'll go back to being unbloggable.

As we were growing up there were some hard and fast rules, and then there were the ones that modified with each child. For example: No dating before the age of 16. That was a non-negotiable rule. I still remember being in Jr. High and finding out that there was a boy that was going to ask me out. After I was done freaking out I came up with a plan. It had 3 easy steps. Avoid, avoid and avoid. I really wish I could remember his name. He really didn't appreciate that at all.

A rule that evolved with each child was regarding high school dances. With my eldest sister that rule held true. Then my sister "A" was allowed to attend a dance, followed by me getting to go to both Homecoming and Prom. There are definitely some perks to being the baby in the family. Well, my sister attended her first dance Saturday night. She and her husband went as chaperone's though.

When her husband informed her that they would be attending she was surprised to say the least. Men don't usually understand it, but stuff like that puts us females into a tailspin. She needed to find a dress, shoes, jewelry - the whole deal (just 'cause your chaperoning doesn't mean you don't have to get dressed up). We - my mom, my sisters, and I went shopping a couple of weeks ago to find the dress. I have to admit that my sister "A" and I weren't really looking forward to the hunt. Do you know how hard it is to find the dress?

Unfortunately that argument doesn't really work for us this time around. We found it in the first store we looked in. She tried it on and it was perfect. Perfect on her and perfect in that it didn't look like a teenagers prom dress. We found the perfect jewelry for her the same day. A shopping trip this last week procured the shoes and the wrap. It all fell together beautifully.

So Saturday afternoon I did my sisters toes and fingernails (I'm actually a licensed manicurist for those who were unaware of this all important fact) and make-up. She did her hair, put the nice smelling stuff on and put on the dress. She looked absolutely beautiful and glowy and just so happy - it just made my heart happy. I know that she, like me and about half of the women on this planet, has her "body issues". The things that when we look in the mirror make us feel like less. Less than beautiful, less than skinny, less than curvy, less than shiny silky hair, less than creamy complexioned. Less than *insert huge enormous insecurity here*. Most of us could fill the blank in that statement a couple of times.

What I saw Saturday evening was my sister feeling like more. Seeing the more that we see in her everyday. She felt beautiful and special and admired (I wish you could have seen her husband's face when she came out of the bedroom). I am sure that she didn't look much different from most of the teenage girls who got dressed up that night for prom. No different than you or I felt all those years ago when we prepared to go to the dance with someone who was important to us - be it a boyfriend, best friend or a group of girls - special and magical and excited.

I am so thankful that I was able to be here to see it.

* I was going to post a picture with her face blurred out but I think that might take her annoyance with me for writing about her to a higher level. So ya'll will just have to trust me on this. Never mind, my husband has encouraged me to throw caution to the wind.


*My husband has also just pointed out to me that I have "thrown him under the bus". He is absolutely correct.

*I just realized that she barely ever checks my blog - so she may never even know - hear me sister "A"? Don't go making trouble for me.

Watch Out For The Whiney!

You know those days where you know that there are any number of little things you could be should be doing and yet you just can't make it happen? I'm having one of those days.

The kids want to play outside but I really don't feel like going out there to watch them. If we were still in Tennessee I could just shove them out the door, tell them not maim each other and call it good. Here in California it's different. There are set rules about being in the backyard (some safety, some for the safety of the garden) here. They are completely understandable and I don't take issue with them - but my kids sometimes don't get that we are playing by a different set of rules now.

They don't know what to do with themselves either. My older two have way more free time during the day than they are used to. I hear "I'm bored" way more than I ever used to. My younger two have resorted to trying to turn back time to be "the baby" once again. Lucas is still struggling with the whineyness. Liam is... well, Liam. He is very happy being the actual baby in our family. I was very excited though, when today he requested to wear underpants.

I guess I'm just feeling kind of blah. Part of that is probably the result of the fact that I'm a female. The other part is just the place in life we are at right now. Let me just say right now that I am not doubting what we are doing. I know that going into ministry is what we're supposed to do. I know that this temporary move out to Cali. is what we were supposed to do. I know that we are following God's will. I know it.

The problem is that knowing you are doing what God wants you to do doesn't mean that everything will be a breeze. We have had our moments of everything falling into place, and what a blessing that has been to us, but that just isn't how it always works. Following God also means getting out of your comfort zone. It means still struggling with some of the same struggles as before. It means relying on God, which even in the best of times, can be hard.

When stability is like the number 1 item on your wish list of life - ministry isn't really the first job idea to pop into your head. I'm scared. We have to raise our start up costs and have enough people willing to commit to monthly giving before we can even get out of the gate (leave Cali). We will be relying on other people to support us month after month... That scares me to my very core.

I know that God knows down to the tiniest detail when we'll get support up and running. I know that He will provide. I know that this is what we are meant to do. (That doesn't mean it's going to be easy)

This is kind of all overish, whiney (I wonder where Luc got it from?), and down - so I apologize. I'm just getting in touch with my inner Eeyore.

I give you a Luc picture in exchange for reading my pity party:


Someone who whose inner Eeyore occasionally becomes his outer Eeyore.


Every time I pull out the camera to take a picture of my new hair color, I take a peek through the viewfinder then turn the camera away. I hate looking at pictures of myself. Bleh! So I turn the camera in a new direction... and look at what you get to learn about me!

I really need a pedicure (I'm looking at you E)


One of my nails is ripping


On closer inspection maybe a manicure is in order also...


I think perhaps it's time for new jeans?


I am extremely creative and crafty and discovered a way to show you my hair and not my face... well, not much of it anyway.


Put those pieces together and you have me. Well, some of me. If you are especially lucky I might get my husband to take a picture of me this weekend when I have actually done my hair. That's right. I'm one of those people. If I'm not going out - the flat iron doesn't touch my hair, ratty jeans and an old tank top are my uniform and flip flops are my footwear of choice. Okay, flip flops would be my footwear of choice even if I were going to a State dinner or something (doesn't mean that propriety wouldn't win out - just means that that is what I would want to wear).

Hope you enjoyed this little show and tell as much as I did. Seriously - because, and I think I may have mentioned this before, I don't enjoy taking pictures of myself - this was no picnic.


If you haven't visited Hilary Is Mom Jeans - well, just don't tell anyone and go visit and then you can just pretend and say yes, I did read that HILARY USES AQUANET. Before you go though, I want to share my favorites with you.


and not a minute too soon...


didn't everybody?



and, the most heinous of all...


I can forgive many things, but that? That's just about relationship ending right there.

I might attempt a hair picture or two today and share - but if you're the kind of person to hold your breath, well, it was nice knowing you. I love taking pictures of everybody else. Me? I hate having my picture taken. Kinda always have, but with the great hormone surge of '02 (otherwise known as the birth of Lucas) I really, really hate to have my picture taken. Having skin worse than a teenager really messes with a 30 something old females mind - perhaps I can blame the depression on that?

Santa Monica

I keep sitting down at the computer thinking that I should write about our trip to Santa Monica on Sunday. It just isn't happening.

I was up late listening to an unnamed person talk about our growing up years. Some might wonder why I don't ever mention my other sister here on this blog. Well the wondering is over! It's because this particular sister is extremely private and would hate having anything out there floating around in the interweb that involved her or her family. The bummer of this is that I live with her at the moment and most of what happens with me, my husband and my kids happens with someone from her family being involved. That has kind of put a crimp in my blog fodder. Is it just me or would that be an awesome name for a Daddy Blog? Fodder... Father - does this not work for anyone else? Tales From a Blog Fodder or something like that? Someone has probably already used it. Excuse me as I google it...

Yup, somebody has used it. I still maintain that it would be great for a Daddy Blog. Oh well, back to blogging. Sister. Private. Not really down with the blogging.

Anyway. My hair is lovely if I do say so myself. I loved my sister's stylist. Loved her! She was amazing - not only in that she made me like my hair again and was totally sweet about my not knowing exactly what I wanted to do (when do I ever?) - she was juggling clients. I have never in my life seen someone handle 3 completely different colors/highlights/cuts/etc. at one time. She kept everything timed perfectly, was downright adorable and affordable. This trip to the stylist was a gift from my sister (not that one - I just said I promised not to talk about her, the other one).

Little does my sister know that I paid back her kindness while she was gone with... well, there is no other way to say it... this is about to turn into a poop story. My sister, her husband and their youngest A-4 left town for a couple of days for a retreat or something along those lines. My mom is being Super Gramma and taking care of the other kids while mom and dad are out of town. My family all descended on their house yesterday because I was in their town to get my hair done - anybody lost yet? I should have Jon put together a guide to understanding Janelle or something. Alright. Back to the story. We had finished up dinner, the kids had all gone to the wind, mom and I were cleaning up in the kitchen and Jon was on the computer.

Jon: Does anybody smell something?
Me: Yeah, kinda.
Jon: Where's Liam?
Me: I don't know, but I'll go look.

I walk down a hall, sniffing and following the scent all the way until Liam comes into view.

Me: Liam!
Liam: I smell good. (He so didn't)
Me: (laughing) Go tell Daddy that.

Upon investigation we realized that the one time our son decided to use the bathroom and not make a big ordeal out of it had to be when he needed to go poopy in the potty. Jon took Liam to dump him in the bath and I took over cleaning duties in the bathroom. (For those of you who have seen the movie Desperado - it was kind of a toned down version of the bathroom in the bar that was the secret entrance of the money room.*) I think Jon may have gotten the better end of the deal - If you asked him, he might not agree though - so let's just not ask him...

I scrubbed that toilet down and choked the household with a giant Lysol cloud - leaving it cleaner than well, cleaner.

*This is the first that my sister (Hi. I love you!) will have heard about it. I'm not sure if she'll continue to let me use her in my blog or not now.

Monday, Monday...

I'm going to get my hair cut (and stuff) today. My sister made me an appointment with her stylist and I have to admit to being a little nervous. Not so much the "she might ruin my hair"! as the "I don't know what I'm gonna do with it"! I have complete faith in her - you should see how cute my sister's hair is... The last time I had my hair done, Christina (If you are ever in the Clarksville area and need your hair done - email me and I will send you her info. She is wickedly talented!) did it and I was in love with it. I had red, brown and blonde goin' on and it was awesome!

This is what it looks like now *cough* almost 3 months later *cough*:


Well, from the back. With the wind blowing it forward.
I detest having my picture taken and my husband always seems to get this angle - strange, no?

I'm not sure what to do with it this time... Wish me luck!

Not The Outcome I Was Expecting

My mom and I took the two younger boys out to lunch today. The plan was to grab lunch then check out the local nursery after. We were on the hunt for white wave petunias. For those of you who don't do the whole gardening thing there is a certain kind of petunia that spreads out like crazy. You commonly see them in purple, pink and red - for some reason white isn't readily available...

After learning that they do in fact have a white wave petunia (even though Lowe's a place that rhymes with Moe's said that there isn't such a thing) we headed out of the nursery. We were almost home free - not one thing trampled on, nothing broken and nobody crying - the very nice lady that had helpfully explained that our first mistake had been asking a Moe's employee any question stopped us at the gate.

Very Nice Lady: Can I give them (the boys) something?
Me: Sure?

VNL then offers to carry Liam (hope she had a back brace on) and gets Luc to follow her:

VNL: I've got kids of my own. I'm not a crazy.
Me: Ok.

Mom and I follow her inside to find that she has left the boys by a little fountain and has gone into a back room. VNL returns with 2 packets.
Me: (Thinking- how cool she's giving them seed packets or something)
VNL: Now they're starting to wake up, but if you take them home and put them in the refrigerator you can take them out for 1/2 an hour and release them into your yard this evening after dinner.
Me: (after taking a closer look) Ladybugs! How cool is that guys!

Boys are entranced and I have to grab them before Liam makes ladybug squishies.

Luc: (pulling out a nickel he had found on the ground) Mom can I use it?
Me: It's only a nickel buddy, it's not enough.
VNL: Let me have it and I'll get you one that will work.

She took Luc's nickel and traded it for a quarter so that he could get something out of the candy machine in the office.

Needless to say the boys were extremely pleased with their outing with Gramma and Mom.

My mom and I talked about that being a surefire way to get people to come back to your business again. It was awesome and so generous and it made my kids day.

So this evening we unleashed the beasts...


You can't quite see in the picture but the label says "1/3 cup of ladybugs approximately 1500".


Anxiously waiting


The calm before the storm (Liam really didn't care for the ladybugs outside of their little mesh bag. He eventually touched one with one finger. I consider that progress.)

Hopefully where they will do the most good.


Luc wasn't nearly as concerned over the bugs touching him...


All of the kids were involved and had a great time unleashing approximately 3000 ladybugs into gramma's garden.

Personally, I have never had the pleasure of releasing ladybugs like that. It was an interesting experience shaking them out of the bag into the kids hands and have the escapees crawling up my arms.

Hypothetical Question

We took the kids out to "do something special" the other night. It was way too windy to do anything out of doors. Ice Cream was out. The kids turned their collective noses in the air at Jamba Juice. So we settled on churros at Rubio's. Best fast food churros around.

We've been toying on letting the government take us to Disneyland, using some of that mad economic stimulus money. While sitting in Rubio's I threw out the idea of giving the kids a choice and seeing what they would do. Does money talk? We were about to soon discover the answer to this question and many others. Well, not really. Just that first question.

So on our way home we decided to throw a hypothetical question at the kids. After explaining what hypothetical means - numerous times, we got down to the nitty gritty.

Us: Would you rather have a day at Disneyland or $50 in your pocket to spend on whatever you want?
Lach: That's too hard.
Laren: I just don't know.
Liam: Look! I have a booger!

In a moment of brilliance Jon gave them an idea of what fifty smackaroos could buy.

Jon: You could buy an ipod shuffle with 50 bucks. Like what A-1,2, & 3 have.
Lach: Aw man! Did you have to say that?
Laren: I just don't know.
Liam: I ate it.
Liam: ...
Liam: On accident.

I decide to get on Luc's level.

Me: That would buy a lot of Hubba Bubba, Luc.
Lucas: HUBBA BUBBA! Lots and lots of Hubba Bubba! I'd want the money!

Me to Jon: We could have offered him 5 bucks and gotten off a whole lot cheaper.

The workings of a 5 year old mind.


I now can't think that word without having Britney Spears singing in my head. For those who don't know what I am talking about, well, we can find you a nice quiet place to sit and listen to some nice Barry (the White one or Manilow). Whenever I have Britney singing that song in my head it's the same line that I hear. Over and over again it's "You're toxic, I'm slipping under". You'd think I could come up with more of it. Then again I'm not exactly a spring chicken.

I was laying in bed last night, with my husband snoring dozing beside me, pondering a choice I have recently made. (Britney was totally there, singing in my head) I've completely cut "something/s" out of my life. Wasn't that nice and vague? I'm not going to be extremely specific because enough of the people who do actually visit this blog know me in the real world and I don't need any grief*. I was clinging to - you know what? I'm just going to make up a name and insert it in the place of "something/s". That'll be way easier. I shall call it "Broken & Repressed". Let me begin anew with the next paragraph.

So there I was, clinging to Broken & Repressed. I've been hanging on to Broken & Repressed for a while now. I looked at Broken & Repressed as some kind of a comfort, a life line. Finally last year there was an "ah ha" moment and I started to take a number of steps to start making the break. As the break got more distance and I got more perspective I started to see the wisdom of my decision. I made a drastic improvement with my depression. I started functioning more like a person and less like a robot. With my mind clearing of the depression I was able to start living and actually became social enough again to start talking to my friends again.

With my renewed friendships came enlightenment. I realized that I wasn't the only person that had invited Broken & Repressed into my life. I realized that there were more people out there trying to recover from the time that their lives intersected with Broken & Repressed. I was able to talk with people who knew what I was talking about and I was reassured that my husband and I hadn't imagined it. It added to my healing, but I still hadn't had the strength to cut the line.

That ended last week. I made the decision, grabbed a knife and cut the line. As I floated to the surface I realized that the line that attached me to Broken & Repressed hadn't been pulling me to shore, it had been anchored to the ocean floor dragging me down. I feel so much more buoyant and happy amazing effervescent. I never thought that I would use that word to describe the way I feel, but there it is.

Be it eating Tillamook Mudslide ice cream every night, shopping when the money isn't even there, or maintaining relationships with people we know don't have what's best for us in mind - we continue with a behavior that we know is destructive.

How many of us do that?

*As I get more distance from all of this I might write about it again and be a little bit more clear and in depth - but for now vague will have to do.

Stop Running in the House!

These are a few of the things I have Seen and Heard around here lately (aside from "Stop running in the house!!"):

"Can I have more inniejoneslemalems?"
(Liam requesting more Indiana Jones M&M's)

"Wah wah-wah wah wah"
(Lach requesting more Webkinz time)

"I'll eat that"
(Lucas requesting whatever is left on my plate after clearing his own)

"Want me to rub your shoulders?"
(Laren after realizing that Mom wasn't feeling so good)


It was a busy weekend and I almost had the whole thing written up yesterday before disaster struck in the form of a small child's hands on the keyboard...

I might write it again or you might just get a really long picture post.


My kids: Sometimes exasperating, sometimes amazingly sweet.

My Boys

A slightly different take on poppy pictures...



"I'm not a fibber, I'm a character". -Liam

This child has been on this earth for 3 years and I can already tell that he's going to be the cause of the rest of my gray hair. He is the most exuberant, energetic, and entertaining little boy.


He will, I'm sure, keep his mommy and daddy on their toes. We will either be old before our time or young at heart. I have to say I'm really hoping for the latter.


He can occasionally more than occasionally try the patience of a saint but he is so much fun to watch and so entertaining to listen to. I can't imagine our lives without Liam "Call me Bubba".


He's an amazing gift. We're so blessed to get to be a part of his bouncy life.


The Wonderful World of Kaiser.

I would like to preface this with: We are so very thankful for our insurance. It is a complete blessing.

That said, the advice nurses at Kaiser (generally) are less than stellar. Jon woke up this morning with both of inner and outer ears painin' him. Unsure as to whether it was worth the $25 co-pay he called the advice nurse.

The realm of the advice nurse has changed a wee bit since we were last on Kaiser. There is no waiting on hold to talk to a real live nurse. There is only giving them a number to call you back when they are good and ready. Heaven help you if you don't have a cell phone (we are currently cell phoneless - if you've been trying to get in touch - this is why it's not working out so well. it's not you, it's us. really) and can't be chained to your phone for the morning. Jon gave them my sisters home number, but had to leave to get to work. On his way out the door he asked me to see if they would talk to me. I said sure, but in my head I was totally saying "yeah right! Like they'll talk to me"!

Lo and behold they called about an hour later. A pretty good response time. The following is a pretty accurate recounting of what was said.

Kaiser Nurse Mumbling Mabel*: May I please speak to Jon Blahblahblah? This is the Kaiser nurse.
Me: He had to go to work. I'm his wife. Is it possible for you to speak to me?
KNMM: Uh. Just a minute.
KNMM: I can give him an appointment with Dr. NameICannotPronounce on Friday evening.
Me: Um. I think my husband just called for advice?
KNMM: What's wrong with him?
Me: Um... (Repeat the ear stuff)
KNMM: Well, he can apply heat and take over the counter meds. We have 5 openings with Dr. NameICannotPronounce on Friday.
Me: Well... we're kind of hoping he won't still be having this problem by Friday. I'll have him call if he changes his mind...
Me: Thank you very much.

End that insightful call. 5 minutes later the phone rings again.

Me: Hello?
KNMM: This is the Kaiser nurse again.
Me: Okay?
KNMM: I also forgot to tell you that if he develops a fever, is dizzy or loses his hearing to bring him in.
Me: (gee, ya think?)
We sure will. Uh. Thank you?

End that 2nd very insightful call.

So yeah. This is what I learned today: Inner and outer ear pain can wait 'til Friday. Fever!, dizziness!, and loss of hearing!, after a few moments of thought, might be important reasons to hit urgent care.

* Kaiser Nurse Mumbling Mabel is not her real name. (She never even gave me her name.)

What a feeling

My Saturday didn't really start out so well.

For reasons I still can't quite figure out, I had an issue with getting out of bed (other than the usual reasons). I mean just standing up. Yes, I was crawling out of the best bed air bed thingy that you can find, but that wasn't the reason. At least I don't think so. I was so overwhelmingly dizzy I sprawled back into bed before taking a step. I thought maybe I was just tired. I haven't really been sleeping well lately so I thought maybe my body was just telling me to go back to bed.

Not so. Two hours later I was queasy and my head felt funny and my eyeballs were rolling around. I was outta commission for most of the day.

I still didn't feel 100%, but I managed to get the kids into the backyard for a little while that afternoon.

The backyard is my Mom's domain. She is where my love of gardening comes from. (I still remember going out in the front yard of the house I grew up in, digging in the dirt with her and planting beautiful flowers.) Her flowers are blooming and I have been admiring the beautiful colors through the window. She has a number of things growing in her beds but my favorite is the Sweet Peas. Sweet Peas are, in my opinion, the best flower in the whole wide world. They are beautiful and fragrant and I love them.

I'm trying to get back into the swing of taking pictures again. So here ya go...

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

I'm also still trying to figure out how to take pictures and wear my glasses at the same time...

The one with the T.V. and Movies

So I couldn't sleep last night. I didn't even bother with going through the motions of turning the T.V. off and doing the tossing and turning thing. I just watched late night T.V. Some of the commercials killed me. There is a new Pepsi Max commercial... alas, I'm not writing about commercials (this time). I watched Without A Trace. Yes, I know it isn't late night, but I'm coming from Central Time Zone baby! Everything is an hour later here. I watched Scrubs. I probably watched some other stuff too. What stood out for me though, was Friends.

I don't think I really watched that last season, but I had the pleasure of catching an episode that originally aired in February of '04. Aptly titled The One Where The Stripper Cries. (I'm going to go ahead and tell those of you who are offended by the title of this episode to just go ahead and click on that little arrow that will take you back to where you came from. Please do come back and visit another day.) I laughed until I had tears in my eyes - it was exactly what I needed. I mean, how can you go wrong with Danny DeVito playing a stripper? That's dressed up like a cop? That ends up crying? Joey being a celebrity contestant on Pyramid? Chandler and Ross freaking out over who kissed Rachel first? Flashbacks of a "fat" Monica, Flock of Seagulls hair wearing Chandler, pre-nose job Rachel, and a frankly scary looking Ross?

That's right! YOU CAN'T!

It was awesome! So I will share with you my favoritest, most bestest quotes:

Joey: Hey, guys...
Monica: Wait! Let me tell them!
Joey: Sure.
Monica: Joey's going to be a celebrity guest on a game show!
Ross: Really? Which one?
Monica: Uh... fish. Seaweed. A sunken ship.
Ross: Things you find in the ocean. Oh! You're going to be on Pyramid!
Chandler: What did I marry into?


Ross: It matters to me!
Chandler: Why?
Ross: Because the night you kissed Rachel was the night I kissed Rachel for the very first time!
Chandler: You kissed her that night, too?
Monica: Two guys in one night? Wow, I thought she became a slut after she got her nose fixed.
Chandler: Seriously, where did this happen?
Ross: Okay, after you told me she was passed out in our room, I went in there to make sure she was all right. She was lying on my bed, all buried in people's coats. Well, I went to kiss her on the forehead, but it was so dark I accidentally got her lips. I started to pull away, but then I felt her start to kiss me back. It was only for a second, but it was amazing. And now... now I find out that you kissed her first!
Chandler: Uh, wait, what bed did you say she was on?
Ross: Mine.
Chandler: I'm pretty sure I put her on my bed.
Ross: No, she was definitely on my bed.
Chandler: Why would I kiss a girl and then put her on your bed?
Ross: Well, then who was on my bed?
Monica (horrified): Oh! Oh! Oh!
Ross (realizing): No! No! No!
Monica: Yes!
Ross: You were under the pile of coats?
Monica: I was the pile of coats! You were my midnight mystery kisser?
Ross: You were my first kiss with Rachel?
Monica: You were my first kiss ever?
Chandler: What did I marry into?

I also have a wee question to put to you, dear internets. Is it so wrong that I have had absolutely no desire to see Street Kings. That is until I saw that House Hugh Laurie was in it? I don't think I have shared my love of that show with you as of yet. It is deep. It burns with the fire of a thousand suns. (House is mean and sarcastic and I love him. Not that kind of love, but you know what I mean. I mean you should know what I mean. It's a mean love. I mean... stop confusing me!) I would go see this movie just because he's in it. It could be a bit part for all I know (it better not! or those directors are quite possibly stupid heads unintelligent.).

My husband is totally going to hold me to that.

I've Made a Huge Mistake

I was about to start a post on regrets. I have been thinking about things I wish I could change. To be able to go back in time and undo decisions we made, choices I made - well, you get the picture. When I think that way I can feel the depression closing in.

As I started to title my draft my son came up, shoved a book under my nose and asked me to read it to him. Three books later and here I am starting this post. Regrets? Who has regrets? Okay, yeah, I still do. Whatever they are they pale in comparison to what I have right here.

So in honor of my 3 year old child smacking (metaphorically) some sense into me I will give you...

Arrested Development Quotes

Carl Weathers: [about Burger King] I'm going to go get a drink refill. You know you can get unlimited refills on any drink you want... and it's free?
Tobias: It's a wonderful restaurant.
Ron Howard (Narrator): It sure is.


GOB: I’m in charge now. I speak for this family. I mean... I could if you wanted me to. I’d rather not, obviously. Don’t know what I’d say. Why do I have to be the one? I don’t need this. Why does this have to become my problem? No, I’m out. Forget it. Find somebody else. I’m sick of it. I’m sick of doing everything for this family.


Michael: "Your Uncle Gob seems to think that he saw you down at the docks today. Was that you?"

George Michael: "No. No. Maybe it was the other George Michael. You know, the singer-songwriter."

Michael: "Yeah, that makes sense."


[the Bluths have hired Andy Griffith to sit in on George Sr's hearing]
Lindsay Funke: Bad news. Andy Griffith turned us down. He didn't like his trailer.
[the camera pans over to reveal the log cabin truck]
Lindsay Funke: He thought we were making fun of him.
Ron Howard (Narrator): They were not making fun of Andy Griffith. This cannot be stressed enough.

If you haven't discovered the wonder that is Arrested Development you need to check it out.

This too shall pass

My Husband is Leaving Me.
Abandonment Issues.
I Will Survive.

All are alternative titles that I tried out for this post. After I decided to stop throwing crazy amounts of guilt at my husband I came up with the current title. This too shall pass.

Sometimes that is the hardest concept to own. The idea that - yeah this isn't going to be fun, but it will be okay and in the end we will be together again. That might sound melodramatic from a woman who's husband has deployed twice to Iraq and has dealt with the raising of 3 and 4 kids all by her lonesome. I'm living with 3 other adults for pity sake! I know I am so blessed and I know it will be alright.

I just like my husband. I like to be with him. I'm pretty sure he likes to be with me. The kids seem to like him too. Who knew?

God had His hand in this. The time off from work fell into place. The decent airplane fair just fell into place.

He is also leaving for a good reason. He is heading back to Tennessee to help his Dad and Mom out (hi guys!). Jon's parents are working on the Clarksville house, getting it up to snuff to put on the market. Kind of cool that Jon's summer of construction work is going to be of use (again!). We are glad to share him but we will miss him and are in no way jealous. Really.

So for those of you in Tennessee and Kentucky:

Jon will be flying in this Wednesday and returning to us on Monday. If you want to get together with him leave a comment, send him an email or give him a call on his cell.

Of Baseball, Poppies and Other Things

We decided to make use of our Saturday.

We awoke bright and early (what? 9am is early!) ready to tackle the world. Jon lovingly stroked my face and said "lets go to C-2's baseball game". I was, of course, overjoyed at the thought of rolling out of bed and heading out of the house with our 4 munchkins in tow. To a place with wide open spaces, with room for Liam to be free (I believe we may have already discussed his desire to be free as a wild monkey bird). Well, once again in the interest of honesty, the word donuts might have been whispered in my ear a time or two - maybe even three.

So we got ourselves out of the house, liberated some donuts and hit the ballgame. All in time to watch the last inning of the game. Out of respect for the families who are there to support their kids we try not to attend whole games. Total change of subject or direction or whatever... Especially when they are held inside! D-2 plays volleyball and we attended a number of games last season - if there wasn't an amazing array of snacks and treats for the whole game - well, we spent a lot of time apologizing to the people on the bleachers in front of us. And in back of us. Quite possibly to the sides of us too.

So yeah... back to baseball. They lost. And then my sister-in-law had snack bar duty - the time and energy it takes to have kids in sports! I really don't know how they deal with it all!

So after a quick lunch we made the decision to make the trek to see the poppies. Or if you are Luc - "poppy flowers"! For those of you who don't know - there is only one place left where you can go and see fields of poppy flowers. Located in the Antelope Valley is the California Poppy Reserve. From the middle of March to May(ish) the hillsides bloom with orange flowers. From a distance it looks like someone spray painted the hills with orange paint. My children might disagree if you ask them though. I was thoroughly rebuffed when I shared that thought with them. Anyway. It was a little windy, but beautiful to see up close.



They're everywhere!

We finished up our day with a wonderful evening at Family "C's" house. (Jon's sister and family) We had a great dinner, watched the Dodgers on T.V. and got to visit with our Sadie. Sadie has gotten fat. I think she is enjoying her new living arrangement - even Bandit the energetic puppy. At least that's what we're telling her. Not sure if she agrees about Bandit or not.

Pondering and Other Things

I am seriously considering writing a review on the book I'm reading right now. I am on a reading binge at the moment and I can't be too picky about what comes my way (free is free, baby!). The book is titled Dark Tort. That's right - it combines both lawyers AND cooking. Two of my favorite things! Well, I honestly don't have anything against lawyers (Hi Sara!) but I... um.. there is a reason I'm not one. Mostly legalese just confuses me.

So... yeah. Anyway. Liam is much improved. He has actually allowed us to sleep uninterrupted for 2 nights now!

My sister and her family were out most of the day yesterday so all 3 families (-2 dads and 1 Grandma) went to the dollar theater to see National Treasure: Book of Secrets (again! in the same week! most people wouldn't enjoy that - but the kids* were thrilled.). After that my brother-in-law and I took about 9 kids back to the house while my sisters enjoyed the goodness that is Trader Joe's for a while. We all (-1 dad) then met up at the bestest new food place that we have discovered upon our return to the Food Promised Land California, Pick Up Stix! (If you live nearby one and haven't tried it out - just go! Seriously.) A good time was had by all and I think most everyone was stuffed - even the more picky of eaters were happy.

*I once again must disclose that Liam was less than impressed with the movie. With the exception of the Disney Short that the movie started with. Although in all honesty he wasn't really that impressed with that either. He just wanted to be free. Free to be himself. Free to roam the theater. (If you were at that 12:50 showing - I'm totally sorry) There were cousins to visit with. There was an Aunt who's (2/3 Diet) Coke needed to be shared. There was his mother's Jr. Mints to steal. Don't worry about his mom though, she's not bitter.

Falling off the wagon

Yep, thats right, Liam has fallen off the potty training band wagon.

He started treating his underwear like pull-ups 2 weeks ago. He started treating his pull-ups like diapers a week ago. We are officially starting potty training over.

"They" always say that you shouldn't potty train in the midst of big changes. Well in this case "They" were right. We knew it, but how do you stop a kid that's ready to potty train from potty training? I have initiated a return of the canny. That's right, bribery has once again reared it's ugly head.

The good news is that he is doing better about making it to the toilet.

The bad news is- well at this point I'm starting to imagine his wife having to give him canny...

That was so wrong.

In even better news - We are on night 2 of Liam keeping us up until all hours. He is having some serious breathing issues again. The first night was almost ER worthy. He's doing breathing treatments every 2 hours. So on top of him not being able to breathe he's all hopped up on albuterol.

To end on a happy note though, we took the kids to the dollar theater (love it!) to see National Treasure: Book of Secrets. Kids* loved it. Jon and I loved it. Friend E. loved it. (After watching the beginning of Enchanted with us last week she wasn't so sure of our movie picking capabilities.)

*In the interest of honesty - Liam wasn't that impressed. After he had spent most of the movie downing red vines and climbing from lap to lap he fell asleep. He whole heartedly endorses red vines though.

The best part...

Our family made the short trek to Family "A"s house this weekend. We went with them to church Saturday night at High Desert Church. Pastor Tom was amazing and they did a song that I hadn't ever heard - but loved. When I find it I'll share it with you all. It's been a few years since I've had the opportunity to visit - and it has only gotten better. (I have to admit though, that we really missed Grace.)

My sister and her family attend the Saturday night service - so our Easter morning was pretty laid back - even the Easter Bunny was slow on delivery. Jon smoked tri-tip and it was delicious! I know - not that big of a surprise. He has definitely developed a new passion for smoking stuff. (That sounds so bad upon re-reading. I'm totally leaving it though.) I can't really complain though, since I will most assuredly benefit.

We had the prerequisite Easter egg hunt in the back yard. We had a number system in place considering we had 7 kids hunting. Liam was supposed to be looking for eggs with a smiley face on them. Emphasis on supposed. He pretty much snagged any egg he could find. Uncle "A" had his job cut out for him trying to help Liam head in the right direction.

The kids had a great day and we enjoyed being with our family. My niece, A-3, prayed for our Easter lunch. After thanking God for a number of things and saying Amen with a flourish her daddy reminded her Jesus had risen. She said "Jesus has risen - that's the best part".

That truly is the best part.

Mark 16:1-8
When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus' body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, "Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?"

But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.

"Don't be alarmed," he said. "You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, 'He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.' "

Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid. (NIV)

The title of this post isn't here... or is it?

I want to write so very badly but my kids won't cut me any slack. They are yelling, beating each other up, flushing Mr. Incredible down the toilet... you get the picture.

I was going to write up my super exciting visit to the Doc yesterday - but 1) see previous two sentences, and 2) I am still debating whether or not I want to share with the vast internets about a "female visit" to the doctor. It was a great (please read "great" with a great deal of sarcasm or false excitement for true Janelle flavor) appointment. Parking wars, old men gumming their lips, and office workers trying to catch birds. This is the stuff of greatness!

I've had the pleasure of renewing a friendship this last week or so. The good thing is - hey! good friends are hard to come by(and don't I know it!)! The bummer of it though is that our friendship is being rekindled because of mutual yuckiness. I'm not saying that it isn't or won't be a good friendship. It's just that I'm sad that we even have that in common to talk about and deal with. I am so excited for her though! God is doing great things in her and in the life of her family. God is so faithful.

Lifes a (Newport) Beach

A few pictures from our afternoon at the beach.



Yes. My husband is a deep thinker.

Take Me Away

Jon and I were given a chance to get away for the weekend. For the cost of gas. (I just found out that we are being reimbursed for even that.) How awesome is that? It was a couples retreat down in the O.C. We had a picnic on the beach, stayed at a very nice hotel and had some fabulous food.

We also got to sleep in a real bed in our very own room! I will repeat myself - how awesome is that?

More...We also got a chance to have a good time hanging out with my sister and her husband and the cutest baby niece you would ever set eyes on. I'm allowed to say that because the next youngest niece is 5 - very much not a baby!

Jeff and Eugenie Lilley from Hume Lake Christian Camps spoke to about 40 couples about becoming subversive romantics. Making our marriage a light in a dark world.

We also had music led by Timothy James Meaney. I wish I could come up with a better descriptive word but... awesome, amazing, wonderful, worshipful, just great. He and his wife are the genuine thing. They were fun to be around and I think Jon and I were blessed just getting to hang out around them.

It was definitely what we needed. We were encouraged and refreshed. We were reminded of how much we love each other and how great our marriage really is.

(I guess all those accusations of acting like teenagers weren't that far off.)

I'm a big kid now (now with update)

I had a friend ask me the other day when I was going to grow up. (The question was also directed at our husbands.) My answer was something along the line of I don't ever want to totally "grow up".

After I married Jon I spent a lot of the time feeling like I was still a kid. We married young. We had babies young. We worked at a church that was mostly older people and I have to say I spent most of my time feeling like I was looked down on. Here I am now, a good 10 years later, and it's getting better, but I don't know if I will ever totally feel like an adult.

When I was a young newlywed and young mother all I wanted was to be looked on as an adult. Now as a mother who's oldest child is about to enter double digits I just want to be adult enough to deal with my responsibilities well and still be "young" enough to enjoy the ride. I want to be able to enjoy my husband, children, and life in general.

More...Unfortunately, the growing up part of life can be painful. I am having to deal with one aspect of this right now. I have, because of some bruising and battering of my heart, wrapped my heart in cotton (bubble wrap, styrofoam, etc.). I had made the decision that if I kept my heart put away and protected it couldn't hurt. God informed me that He has other ideas about that today.

I was hurt by some really close friends. (I'm pretty sure I have mentioned my friendship issues before. I don't make friends easily and I don't trust 'em easily either.) I am not saying that they were malicious or set out to hurt me - I just got hurt - you can't really help what brings you joy or what brings you pain. So, anyway, I made the decision to back away from them. I figured if I didn't hang out with them I wouldn't have the hurt or risk being hurt some more.

I realized today that I can't just walk away from them.

I want to. I want to run as fast and as far away as possible. I don't want to put myself out there. I don't want to risk my heart getting more bruised or battered. I will though.

As I sat in church today I had the most overwhelming feeling that I have to talk to them. I don't know if I can explain it. The feeling is like your heart is being squeezed tight and there is this weight... (These friends have been hurting. In lots of ways. It makes me want to cry if I think about it too much.) I knew that I was going to have to do something. I knew I had to tell Jon that I was going to have to do something.

I wasn't really looking forward to that. See, Jon has had to deal with his own struggles regarding these friends. One result being he would get really worried about me whenever I would have any kind of contact with them.

So I tell Jon in the car after church that I just really, really feel like I need to make that phone call. Jon looks at me and tells me "I really had Friend 1 on my heart in the service." He follows that up with "I've been thinking about Friend 1 for the past couple of weeks."

It's awesome to see the way God works. He's been working on both of us, getting us to this point where we can hopefully love on the both of them.

I might get hurt. There maybe tears. Or I might find my friends again. I might be able to love on them. That's the thing about hearts - you hide them away you might not experience the hurt, but you also miss out on the good stuff - love, laughter and friendship.

*** I finally made the decision to make that call the next day. After being unable to reach Friends 1 & 2 - I, in a spur of the moment thought, dropped by the house on my way to dinner. It was somewhat awkward but I got my point across - I loved them and was wanting to make sure they were okay. Plans were made for phone calls that never really happened.

I still don't know what the outcome will be - we email back and forth on occasion and that will just have to do for now. The important part is that I was willing to do what God was prompting me to do - even though it was out of my comfort zone.

I still love them. I still pray for them - these sorta friends. Friends because of what we have all gone through together and sorta for the strange held back relationship/non relationship we have.

I would do it again.

I Don't Wanna!

I'm waiting around for my husband to get home so that he can take me to the Doc.

I was out of commission for most of the day yesterday. My back is extremely unhappy with me. There wasn't some particular event that caused it. I have struggled with back pain pretty much since High School. Add to that a car accident, 4 pregnancies and the huge resulting babies... Well, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that my back has reason to complain.

More...***I am going to take this moment to share with you that our youngest son, who turned 3 just weeks ago, weighed in at 44 lbs at the Doc. Hmm...

I hate the Doctor. Not the specific Doc that I'm going to go see - I've never even met him/her. I just hate them all in general. I have spent way too much time around Doctors, hospitals, all the garbage that goes with them. I really, really don't want to go.

Jon doesn't believe me that they will just tell me the same old "here is a list of stretches and exercises" bit.

Got pushed down a set of bleachers?
- stretches.

Involved in a car accident?

Regular pain?
- stretches.

Worsening pain?
- stretches.

- stretches?

What good are stretches when I can hardly stand?

So I sit and whine to the internets.

Compare this to Liam last week after he was informed that there was a trip to the Doctor in his future.

Liam: I see Dr. Cruz!!!
Us: No.
Liam: I see the Doctor?
Us: Yes.
Liam: Yaaaaaaaay!

(It is a sad day that my kids do better going to the Doctor than I do)


I have strained my back (whatever). The Doc totally started to do the whole "Let me get some pamphlets" thing. I smirked at Jon and gave him the "told you so" eyes as she left the room. Then my husband stepped up to bat for me and I got myself a script for a muscle relaxer when she returned. So yay for that!

My back is still killing me, but I am getting more and more freedom of movement. So yay for that too!

God (and how He moves)

I just sent a text message to someone stating my belief that our God is a big God. A year ago that thought wouldn't have even crossed my mind. That is how low I was. I'm not going to harp a ton on the valleys I have gone through. God has carried me through them. For a reason.

Some of you know a little about our odyssey across the country... following, in what to some might seem a whim, our God to the ends of the earth (or California as the case may be). I have written about how blessed we have been by it and now I am going to share how I believe our lives are being used for him.

More...I don't know that I have ever felt, much less known, that God was so totally there as I do now- Orchestrating precisely where I should be and beginning it over 5 years ago. That is a confusing sentence but I don't know a better way to state it. Over 5 years ago we were here in Cali working with youth. Over 5 years ago Jon and I made a huge life change - we joined the military. We moved ourselves and 2 and a half kids across the country to N.C. Over 3 years ago we moved ourselves and our 3 and a half kids to TN. Little did we know that our lives as Christians were going to go through some serious challenges.

We arrived in TN. and got involved with what we felt was an amazing church. The people were genuine and we quickly made friends with some awesome people. Jon and I were sure that we were exactly where God wanted us to be and started the process to put down some roots. We bought a house. Jon got out of the Army. We thought we knew where we were going (or staying).

It was while sitting on the front porch of that home that I had one of the most difficult conversations I've ever had. I sat down with a friend, who at the time, intimidated me. Total aside: Once he got past the idea that I despised him (I'm really not the most outgoing person in the world - it's even worse with someone who I'm intimidated by) he made a point to come by when he was home and talk for a minute or two. Got me to the point that I was comfortable with him. He became a great friend to me. He helped me to see that I wasn't crazy and that it was okay to do something about my depression. It was so encouraging for me to have someone I respected as a person and a man of God to tell me that going on meds was okay. It didn't mean I was a "bad" Christian.

In the midst of this darkness my question to God was "why? Why would God do this to me"? After emerging from the darkness I had a little more perspective and my question was: "Why would God allow me to hurt like this? Why did I have to go through that"?

Jon and I have talked quite a bit about God's purpose in all this. We knew that there was a reason for it. I just feel like the last week or so how reaffirmed our thoughts. God moved us to California for a number of reasons - but I know for a fact that he brought me here to this place, at this point, so that my life could intersect with the life of someone who is hurting. God was able to use the hurt that I went through to help and encourage a friend who needed someone to talk to that loved them and wouldn't judge what they were dealing with.

This post isn't what it originally was. It just flowed out of me the first time I composed this, but this will just have to do. If I sound pious at all that wasn't my intent. I want to be real.

What's real is that I have been a Christian for most of my life, I suffer from depression, and I refuse to follow the "crowd" and pretend that my life is perfect when it isn't. The Bible doesn't say that life is perfect and wonderful when you make the choice to follow God - I don't know why "we" insist on acting like it does.

God loves us, warts and all. Why can't we love each other the same way?

Brain Mush

Yes. I really did title this post "Brain Mush". These kinds of things happen when your brain is tired and feels mushy.

I'm not sure why I am so tired and wanting to find some quiet, child-free pla... Oh, wait! I guess I do know.

I wasn't meant to home school. It's not a anti-home school thing at all. It's just that I know I was not made to be a home schooling mom. My sister? Totally made for it. She has a grasp of what she needs to be teaching and makes it happen. I, at this point, feel like a weight that is just dragging her down. I am not confident to say "oh sure, I'd love to teach grammar today!" - I mean - you have been reading my blog, right? Math? Ha! I was lucky to get passing grades through high school. I am so thankful for her amazing willingness to help.

Brain Mush doesn't really help that matter.

This is such a strange feeling. I totally have things I want to write about. I know I do. For the life of me though I can't think of a single thing! I lay in bed at night (located in the middle of the living room, on a hide-a-bed. Seriously, you people who know us - me
+ Jon in a sofa bed.) thinking of all kinds of things to write about. Do I get up and write it down? Heck no! That would make sense. It would also mean walking across cold tile with bare feet... so we know how unlikely that is. I really need to get more on it.

Maybe I'll just wake Jon up and ask him to remind me in the morning.

I would also just like to take a moment and point out that it's been in the 70's here. It's been spitting snow and stuff in Clarksville. Ha!

Spider Park

So we have been driving by this park on a fairly regular basis since we got here. My children have dubbed it "the spider park". I believe these pictures will clear up any confusion about what it's been named.

Spider ParkWorking hard

Not too sure about this…It’s good to be kingYup, that’s my ride Crazy California drivers!

Not a single kid is tired.

So unfair.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Last Post

This is going to be my last post at this location. Come visit me at my new home!

Some People Call Me Mom

Tuesday, February 26, 2008