Saturday, April 28, 2007


I'm sitting at my desk, doing a little work while R. naps and A. is taking a shower. I love my office - it's tiny, but it's one of the sunniest rooms in our house, and my desk is right under the window facing our backyard. As I'm typing, I'm watching two cardinals swoop back and forth across the yard. They must be fighting over a nesting spot. A little yellow butterfly is fluttering around, too, although I'm not sure why because there is nothing for it in our yard. I'm hoping to have time this year to do some major planting of perennials, and R. wants to help. We'll see...

This morning, because it was grey and damp outside, we walked down to the indoor gym around the corner from our house. R. had fun, but I think he was the oldest child there, so we had to keep warning him to be careful of the little ones, which gets annoying after awhile. While we were there, the sun came out - yay! We had a nice walk home. R. picked some dandelions and spent time walking on ledges/borders and looking for cool rocks. When we got home, he and I hung out in the backyard, checking the garden for signs of life (just my garlic chives have come up so far; the clematis I planted while my mom was here was decimated by the squirrels - argh), then playing in the sandbox.

I sat there with R. and just smelled the air. I love the smell of spring - that earthy, moist, fragrance of new life and things growing. I feel like I connect with that smell in some very deep way. It's invigorating.

So, thank you, Lord, for that smell of spring and for this beautiful earth. Forgive us for what we've done to it! Thank you being so detail-oriented. :-) All the colors, smells, textures that make up this world and everything in it.

(And, thank you for Claritin so that I can sniff the air without having a sneezing fit.) :-)


Friday, April 27, 2007

Thank God for A.

Tonight, R. was tired, cranky, and frustrated. He and I were having fun together playing in his room while A. went to pick up our Friday-night-take-out dinner, and then things turned sour. He became grouchy, throwing things, destroying the marble maze I was building for him. When I talked to him about it, he stormed downstairs. When I called down to ask him what he was doing, he said, "I'm going downstairs because I'm not happy!" Poor little man.

When A. got home with the food, R. started screaming. He didn't want A. to come in the house, he doesn't like Daddy, etc. (Ah, my little Oedipus.) We finally got him to eat without throwing pork lo mein on the floor. Bathtime was fine and he actually brushed HIS OWN TEETH for once(!). Then A. took him upstairs for stories and bedtime. I don't know how he did it, but A. managed to convince R. to stay in bed after just one instance of getting up and despite the fact that he was crying for me. R. was asleep by 8:30 - hallelujah!

I feel like it's all part of God's promise not to give me more than I can handle. This has been a rough week. I've been working until the wee hours every night (from home at least at night). I had a horrible meeting with one of my employees, where she ended up hysterically upset. Two of my closest girlfriends are going through major crises, and it's on my mind a lot. R. had an allergic reaction to the sunscreen I put on him over the weekend, which made me feel like #1 worst mom ever because I didn't realize it until two days later when his face was swollen, red, and he was covered in a rash. This morning, I really didn't want to go into work because I was tired, in pain, already late for my bus, and would be in training all day instead of working through the pile of stuff I needed to do. And I hadn't had time for breakfast. I was about to break down, but I just said, "Lord, I feel really overwhelmed. Please help!" Then, A. drove me to the subway and I read the new issue of Guideposts all the way to work. That made it better. I'm so thankful for the easy bedtime - and that A. was a miracle worker tonight. Somehow, on the nights when I've had it, A. is calm and patient - and vice versa. Between the two of us, I think R. has the equivalent of one good parent. :-) I'm just amazed how this 3-year-old boy can make me want to smother him with kisses because he's so sweet and cute one moment, and a few minutes later make me want to wring his neck for being such a big weenie. A. and I joked tonight that if we make it through this year and R. is still alive at the end, we'll be all set. :-)

Anyway ... we took R. to his 3-year appointment yesterday, and he had a blast. It was really early in the morning, so the doctor's office wasn't very busy yet, and the nurses and R.'s doctor were just hanging out with us, asking R. all kinds of questions, giving him stickers and bubbles, and cracking up at his antics. I swear if R. had had the right shoes on, he would have done a tap routine. He was crazy! He ran around giving everyone hugs, he danced all around the office, he stripped his clothes off and took off to the bathroom down the hall, etc. He put on quite a show. Hee hee. So, his stats are: height 39.5 inches (he grew 4.5 inches in a year!) and weight 33.5 pounds (added 5 pounds in a year). The doctor said he's great and that she was very impressed by how well he answered her questions because usually the 3-year-olds are too distracted to talk to her at all. So that was fun. R. was very brave during the blood draw - he just whimpered for a second, and then he wanted to hold the vial afterwards.

I'm not sure what we're up to this weekend yet. We considered checking out the newly renovated Boston Children's Museum, but it's a bit pricey and we really overspent last week for R.'s birthday, so we could use a cheap weekend. We'll probably end up hanging out at home, playing with R.'s new toys, and painting with his very cool paint set from Auntie Alicia and Uncle Art. Although ... there is a sheep-shearing event going on nearby, and one of my pastors is part of Open Studios in Medford this weekend. On Sunday afternoon, I signed up to participate in something for church. They're hosting a bunch of "Home Gatherings & Holy Conversations" - basically small groups to talk and share about what kind of church we're looking for, where we think God is leading our church, etc. I felt moved to sign up, so I hope it's a good experience. I'm always curious to see where God leads me!

Well, it's late, and A. and I have been on our separate laptops all night, so I'm going to shut down.

Thank you, Lord, for the rain this week, for the leaves budding on the trees, for the birds singing. Thank you for getting me through this day. Thank you for your love and guidance. Thank you for showing me that you care even about the silly, stupid parts of my life. Amen!

Monday, April 23, 2007

My boy

Nearly 24 hours ago, R. turned three. It's been a whirlwind week and weekend with my mom here, R.'s party with friends on Saturday, etc., and I wanted to take a few minutes to thank God for the precious gift of my beautiful boy.

Every day, R. amazes me with his thoughts and feelings. He is, of course, a boy. He can be loud and crazy and filled with so much energy that he has to climb on everyone and everything. But he is also so thoughtful and loving - to me, to A., to our friends, to his friends, to his teachers, to Harley. When he spontaneously says, "I love you, Mommy!" and wraps his arms around my neck to hug me, my heart almost breaks with happiness and love and thanksgiving. Tonight, he put a bunch of stickers on the seat of my chair so that "when you sit down, you won't slip off - that's why I put them there for you." When I get off the subway in the evenings and I look up and see R. and A. standing there waiting for me, and then R. yells, "Mommy!!!" and runs into my arms, everything else in my life loses meaning. My life is my boys, and I am so thankful to God for them.

R. is smart and silly. The other night, after we put him to bed, he came out of his room and said, "But it's impossible! Boys can't stay in their beds!" (He likes to blame a lot of his actions on boys' or kids' needs/tendencies in general.) He makes crazy faces and loves to dance around with this half insane/half happy look on his face. He loves music. His current favorite artist is Toots Hibbert (or, as R. calls his band, "Toots and the Maytowels"), and his favorite song is "Monkey Man." He and I invited a special dance to accompany the song, where we sashay back and forth across the room sideways and sometimes crash into each other. We call it the "R. Shuffle."

We've been saying grace together before meals for awhile now. While my mom was here this past week, R. started volunteering to say grace himself. He squinches his eyes closed and half whispers: "Dear Lord, thank you for this wonderful day and thank you for this wonderful food. Amen." You only hear about every other word, but it's so sweet, it brings tears to my eyes.

People comment about how tall R. is for his age. He does seem to be growing taller very quickly, but I guess we'll find out this week at his 3-year appointment what his stats are. I *think* he's about 32 pounds, but I have no idea how tall he is because he won't stand still long enough or stand up straight to allow us to measure him. :-) He's definitely long and lean just like his daddy.

He notices everything. If I clean up the house and move things around, he notices right away and puts the things back, saying "This doesn't belong here!" He sees the tiniest flowers growing in the yard. He sniffs the air when a candle is burning downstairs or when flowers are in bloom outside and says, "I mell somefing!" He spent 10 minutes on Thursday looking at a dead worm at the playground. He asked lots of questions about it and then gave us his theory as to what happened.

R. is really adept at climbing. At our first few visits to the playground once the warmer weather arrived, I was blown away by all the things he can do now that he couldn't in the fall. He climbs up the really high rope ladder without any help - and VERY quickly. He's agile and has excellent balance. At the Museum of Science, he scared the daylights out of one poor mother of a younger boy by jumping from seat to seat and level to level in the live animal exhibit area.

Tonight, A. and R. and I played with his new marble maze/run, and it was wonderful. R. kept saying, "This is a really fun game! I like playing with you and Daddy. This is my favorite of all my presents." I love it because we can all play together, and I see us doing that for years to come. I love hanging out with my boys.

So, tonight, I thank God for sending R. into my life and entrusting me with his care. I thank God for showing me what life is really about. I thank him for the fun, happy, silly times; for the sweet, loving, tenderhearted times; and for the times when R. is so challenging or frustrating that I want to scream. It's all wonderful, and I wouldn't change a thing. R. is such a precious gift, and I'm grateful to God for giving me just a hint of experiencing what unconditional love is. For in loving R., I understand better how much God loves me as well.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

I'm on va-ca-tion!

Woohoo! No work again until next Tuesday!

Mom comes in tomorrow morning. I spent tonight cleaning, although I swore I wouldn't. What is it about your mother coming that strikes fear into your heart if the house isn't spotless? (Or, is it just me who suffers from this?) I started flipping out as usual, but then I calmed down and decided that I wasn't going to worry about it. A. swept, swiffered, and mopped the kitchen for me and threw in two loads of laundry. (God bless him!) I attacked the mildew in the tub, cleaned the rest of the bathroom, dusted, and shoved A.'s crap aside in his office to make a nice little side table for my mom to use next to the futon. I put out a lavender candle, lavender body spray, tissues, and towels. And, once the sheets are out of the dryer, I'll make the bed and put chocolates on the pillows. That should be good enough! :-)

OK, gotta go make the bed now and then eat a bowl of black raspberry swirl/chocolate chip ice cream. The best Breyer's flavor ever!

My prayer tonight: Thank you, Lord, for a few days off and extra time with my boys. Thank you for Mom. Please bring her here safely tomorrow, and help us to make the most of our time together. Thank you for A. who calms me down and keeps me sane. Amen!

Monday, April 16, 2007

No flooding!

Thank you, Lord, for sparing us from the flooding. The storm ended up so much less destructive (at least around here) than was predicted, so I'm very thankful for that. The sun even peeked out a couple of times this afternoon.

Lunch at A. and A.'s was nice, although we skipped R.'s nap, and he was a bit cranky, poor guy. Usually, he doesn't seem fazed by skipping it, but the rainy weather and being stuck inside all day probably didn't help. He eventually cheered up, but was more rambunctious than usual. On the bright side, we put him down to bed at 7:30(!!!) and he fell right to sleep. No 10 trips to the bathroom, no climbing out of his bed, no whining, nothing. We read stories, put him down, and haven't heard a peep since. Yay! (Although I'm a little nervous about how early he's going to wake up tomorrow...)

I have to work tomorrow, but then I'm on vacation until next Tuesday - woohoo! I can't wait for my mom to get here. And, it looks like she shouldn't have a problem airline-wise, so thank the Lord for that!

Nothing much exciting to tell today. I finally got the new Anne Lamott book from Amazon late last week, and I've been pacing myself so that I don't finish it too quickly. So far, it's not as moving to me as her first two books on faith were, but it's still very good. I recommend her books to anyone and everyone. I keep her second book (Plan B) with me in my backpack and re-read it frequently during my commutes. (The only reason I don't carry her first one with me is because I lent it to my mom and sister in Florida.)

Well, instead of babbling, I'll just end with my prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for being with me always and loving me, even when - especially when! - I mess up. Help me to be the best mom that I can. Please be with the students at Virginia Tech and their families. And, please be with all my loved ones who are struggling, seeking, hoping, and despairing tonight. Help me to see how I can serve you and help them. Amen.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

At least it's not snowing

We're ready this time. There is nothing sitting on the floor in the basement. A. brought the few remaining boxes of books upstairs (all the rest of our books were destroyed when our basement flooded last year). We've got the dehumidifer and the wet vac ready to go. Bring on the rain! We're supposed to get about 4 inches, I think. That amount never bodes well for our basement. But I know it'll be nothing like other people on the east coast are dealing with right now.

Church was amazing today. It was "pick your own hymns" Sunday, which was fun. It was really interesting to see what other people picked as their favorites. Our pastor's sermon was so moving, and this time I wasn't the only one crying at the end! :-) He talked about how we believe in a resurrected, yet wounded Jesus - one who was God and fully human. Even though God raised him from the dead, God didn't make his body perfect again - he still had his scars and the prints of the nails. Our pastor talked about how we are all wounded, how we all have things in our lives that are so painful we can't talk about them. And, that's where we connect with Jesus the most - where God makes the most difference in us. We've been betrayed, unappreciated, unloved, let down - just like he was. No one gets through life unscarred. And it's in those dark places and times when we see what God can really do through us and for us. But what I found so moving was the connection between our humanity and His. I always do.

After church, we had a great day. We talked about going to the bookstore, but we ended up just playing trains at home. R. said, "I have a great idea!!! Let's play trains upstairs, okay, Mommy?" (The trains are kept downstairs, and we usually play in the living room.) This was a fine change with me because it means reclaiming another two square feet of space in our tiny living room. :-) We made two different tracks in his room, and he pulled out all of his trains and linked them together. He also built a really long "diesel train" out of his lego blocks. At one point, R. said to me, "This is really fun, Mommy! I love playing with you!"

Right back at you, my little love.

Nap went okay until R. had to pee, then he didn't want to lay down anymore. I told him he could play quietly in his room, which he did to my surprise. Twenty minutes later, he opened his door and called down for me to come play with him. Instead, I agreed to lay down with him in his crib. We both fell asleep until A. came to wake us up an hour and a half later. I was squished up like a pretzel (I always imagine that I'm getting a blood clot in my leg when I'm in that crib), but it was nice. After naps, we headed to this very cool trains-blocks-puzzles-etc. store in Waltham. I'm not sure how this is possible, but we managed to get out of there without buying anything!

So, 400 flights have already been cancelled because of the storm we're getting. Do you think those will be cleared up before my mom's flight on Wednesday morning? Sigh. Well, if her flight is delayed, I'll have a little more time to clean the house before she gets here. I'm totally unprepared right now. The kitchen floor is sticky, the tiles in the shower are mildewy, the house is dusty. But, hey, she's coming to be with us, not our house, right?

Tomorrow, we're heading over to our friends' house for a lunch of homemade polenta (loaded with cheese and butter) and stew. I'm drooling just thinking about it. Can't wait!

Lord, thank you for a wonderful day with my boys. Thank you for rain instead of snow and please be with everyone affected by this storm. Be with A. and A. tomorrow morning. Amen.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Walkin' in da woods

We're supposed to get a big ol' Nor'easter tomorrow night, and it's going to be rainy and cold and gross for a few days, so we took advantage today of the opportunity to get outside. It was in the 40s and somewhat sunny, so we headed to the woods with our friends.

We had a nice time. As soon as we started out, R.'s friend A. fell and cut her hand. She was pretty upset, but eventually calmed down and we headed on our way. I was proud of R. because we crossed paths with several dogs (and their owners), and R. wasn't afraid. He even pet one dog named Maggie for a long time. I'm so glad that fear is gone for him. He's still cautious, but he doesn't start climbing me like a tree anymore whenever he sees a dog within 200 feet of him.

I love walking in the woods and pointing out all kinds of things to R.: blue jays screeching overhead, crocuses popping up, mallards swimming in the pond, fuzzy buds on the dogwood trees, etc. We talked a little bit about how trees decompose and go back to the earth. I'm always amazed at how much of what I talk about he absorbs. Sometimes it'll be weeks later, and he'll mention something I've said and put it in context.

Of course, you have to find a nice rock to sit a spell and have a snack.

We walked for a long time and wore the kids out. (Isn't that the point?) But they had fun finding walking sticks and digging in the dirt with them, throwing piles of leaves, jumping off and over rocks and logs, and chasing each other.

And, then, on our way back to our cars...

Whoa - time to get the boy up from his nap. Actually, boys. A. is asleep on the futon while I'm typing. :-)

Thank you, Lord, for this beautiful world and for the freedom and leisure we've been blessed with to enjoy it. Thank you for my boys. And, thank you for my mom and dad who taught me about loving nature in the first place. Amen.

Happy weekend!

Some recentish pictures

It's been forever since I posted any pictures - well, hmm, actually I've never posted pics on this blog, so here are some pics from the last few months.

This is me and R. at the tiny playground at A.'s parents' community in Palm Desert. I'm smiling because this was our first break away from my in-laws. We took their golf cart and made our escape at the whopping speed of 20 mph. :-)

One day, R. wanted to sleep on the futon for his nap ... with his sunglasses on.


This was R.'s first attempt at setting the table by himself for Sunday breakfast. He is obviously not my child. LOL. I love how he crossed the forks and knives. I think he's got some of A.'s artistic side in him.

We've borrowed a bunch of the I Spy books from the library. R. loves them. A. and I end up trying to find all the objects on our own after R. has gone to bed. This was something R. started building with the legos, and we decided to make it an I Spy by adding all his cars and other small toys. It was so much fun!

Christmas morning 2006. We saved the excavator for last, although R. would have been just as thrilled if he only received the spaceship ornament he got in his stocking. Very cool excavator. If it ever gets warm outside, we'll take it out to the sandbox!

Doesn't every parent have to take one of these pictures? I love the attitude in R.'s face. He's not big on me making horns and mohawks with his hair. He just wants me to wash and rinse and get it over with so he can play without me bugging him.

Curled up in Daddy's chair, reading the Company Kids catalog. That reminds me - I need to order R. another bookshelf...

That's it for now!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

We gave up

I stayed home again today because of my eyes. But they definitely feel better now. I'm officially not contagious anymore - woohoo!

Bedtime was rough again tonight. Ugh. It was really nice for awhile. I read R. some great books, and he sat sweetly next to me, cradled into my shoulder. But it's like he's had a pot of coffee as soon as I turn the lights down. He was tired, and he laid down at first, but then he turned into super crazy boy. An hour later of several trips to the bathroom, his nightlight being turned off, etc., I was getting really mad and trying to wrestle him so that I could put his pajamas back on. That's when we gave up. I came downstairs, A. went up, and we decided to switch the toddler bed back to the crib. R. sat on my lap and watched while A. put the side back on. I think he's just not ready yet. And I don't want bedtime to be about fighting and frustration. I hate when I lose my patience and end up yelling and sounding like a crazy person. I've been praying for patience and guidance with R. He's always been such an easy boy. But now I think A. and I are in for a very challenging year.

I only had to do about half an hour of work tonight - yay! I spent the rest of the time finishing up our taxes, which are now done - with good results! Our refund is a lot more than I expected.

What is going on with the weather? We're still in the 40s, and apparently we're getting snow tomorrow night. And, the weather guy is warning about a huge Nor'easter coming early next week. Of course - because my mom is flying in on Wednesday! Every time she comes up from Florida, the weather here is awful. I really hope she makes it here without delays or anything. I've been looking forward to her visit for so long, and so has R.

OK, I'm tired. Time for bed. My prayer tonight: Thank you, Lord, for healing my eyes and for extra time with my boys today. Please help A. and I to be patient with R. Help us to raise him to be the best person he can be. Thank you for taking care of all of our needs, and help me to see where I can help others and do your will. Amen!

Monday, April 9, 2007

Me so tired

I just finished working for the night (at 10:40 p.m.). That's one bad thing about working from home - my days just stretch on and on. Hmm. Now that I think of it, that happens on the days I go into the office, too.

Went to the doctor today to get drops for my eyes. I never see my real doctor anymore, and today I didn't even get to see the nice, young doc that usually fills in. Today I had Michael Caine's brother. Or at least the spitting image of him. He even had a British accent, although not quite the same as Michael Caine's. He wasn't big on patient interaction/bedside manner. I asked him a question about how long I'm contagious for, he answered me, and then turned to make notes and said, "So, do you have any questions for me?" Huh?

So now I have to go into work tomorrow, even though I really shouldn't since I'm contagious until about 3 p.m. tomorrow (24 hours after I started the drops). I'm sorry co-workers if I infect you!

We got R. to bed 12 minutes earlier tonight (@ 8:53) - woohoo! Poor A. was pretty frustrated by the whole process, which I completely understand. I pretty much lost it the other night trying to deal with it myself, and A. had to take over. There's just a lot of time between when we finish bedtime and when R. actually stays in his bed and falls asleep. During that time, we have to keep putting him back into bed, taking him downstairs to pee, telling him over and over again to lay down/be quiet/close his eyes. It's so frustrating to get him settled, leave the room, close the door, and two milliseconds later hear his feet running across the floor. But we're getting there. Slowly. The only unintended consequence so far has been R. waking up earlier in the morning. Instead of 7:30 or 8 a.m., he's now waking up at 6:15 or 6:30. That means I'm on duty and I don't get to take a shower or I'm late to work. What happened to this theory that if you put them to bed earlier, they wake up later? 'Cause, you know, I was kind of counting on that!

So, back to my original plan to write out my prayers on this blog. Tonight, I'm thankful Lord for my health - and for A.'s and R.'s health. We're healthy people. We get colds, and we've definitely got our problems (me - allergies, A. - eczema, allergies), but when I was at the doctor's office today and then at CVS and was surrounded by lots of sick people, older people in pain, etc., I realized how blessed I am to be healthy and strong. Thank you, Lord. Please be with all those who are sick and hurting and struggling to get through every day. Be especially with Alicia's dad and A.'s mom.

And, thank you Lord for helping me think differently about my wanting a "grandmother." Thank you for showing me that my life is full of loving, faithful people who play that role in many, many different ways. And, thank you for reminding me that you've got work for me to do - reaching out to others and lifting them up as I want to be lifted.

And, thank you for Pastor Henry. Bless her tonight. I feel such love from her, and I hope she knows how much her words touch others each Sunday.


Sunday, April 8, 2007

Easter pink-eye

We had a great day. We all went to church, and R. made it through almost half of the service. He wanted to go up with the other kids during the children's sermon, and he was disappointed when it was over. About 5 minutes into the adult sermon, he needed to go to the bathroom. That was pretty much the end for him. A. took him to the bathroom and after a short-lived time back with me in the pew, they went back to the bathroom before discovering the nursery. R. spotted it himself and wanted to go in because he saw all the toys. And that's where I found them after the service, and R. didn't want to leave to go home. So maybe I don't have to worry about dropping him off at the nursery if I want to go to the later service with him another Sunday. The best part was during the opening hymn when R. sang the Alleluias along with everyone. So sweet!

R. was a little nuts about finding eggs and eating candy at home. I finally had to hide his Easter basket. After naptime, he made me hide all the eggs again (this time, I filled them with Goldfish instead of M&Ms). But I was proud because when he woke up this morning, he was much more interested in his new Cars cars than anything else. He lined them all up and starting making up stories with them. :-)

In the afternoon, we went to the Museum of Science for an hour. (We spent a buttload of $$ on our family membership a few months ago, but it was SO worth it - we go all the time!) R. was a little nuts there, too, but at least he could run around and explore things. It's so stupidly cold out right now - we needed somewhere to run around since we couldn't go outside.

While A. made dinner, R. and I laid on the couch and watched an episode of Kipper. My eye was bugging me a little - it felt like something was in it - like an eyelash. In the middle of dinner, it felt so weird that I went to look at it in the bathroom. So now I've got an itchy, red eye that is oozing goo. Blech! And now my throat hurts, too, and A. said that apparently conjunctivitis is a form of strep. Yay! Oh well. I'll just pray that R. doesn't get it.

One last thing: Even though my Lenten goals didn't work out that great, today I could make up for what I missed, and I wasn't interested. I didn't turn on the TV (although A. did, and I'm watching it now), and I really wasn't that interested in any of the Easter candy. So there's another Easter miracle! Hee hee.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Time to myself!

Bedtime went fairly well tonight. R. was completely into the reward chart I made for him. There are three categories: naps, bedtime, and brushing teeth. If he stays in his bed (except for needing to go to the bathroom) at naptime and bedtime, he gets a smiley face. Same for brushing his teeth. If he gets mostly smiley faces this week, we promised to get him a Diesel 10 Takealong Thomas train next weekend. The tricky part is that R. has figured out that having to go to the bathroom is the get-out-of-bed-free card. At naptime, he was perfect. Went down no problems. Bedtime was a different story. He came downstairs four times - he peed the first time, but the next three times, he insisted he had to poop and then admitted later he was "just playing games." Finally, I had to resort to telling him calmly, rationally that if he got up again, I was going to turn out the light in his room. He wasn't thrilled about that. A. was waiting outside his room, and when R. got up again, R. insisted that "Mommy turn off my light!" So, A. took his new car away that he had been holding, and that worked perfectly. He gave it back to him when he got back into bed, and that's the last we heard from him. Mark the time: 9:03 p.m. Discipline is exhausting! :-)

So, as of about 9:25, I've had time to myself! A. went out with our friend A. because his wife and daughter are away visiting grandparents. I've been waiting for weeks for some time to myself in the house to do all kinds of things - read, sort our digital pictures and figure out which ones to have printed/which to e-mail/etc., pray, clean the bathroom, pamper myself with a facial mask, etc. But I don't feel like doing any of that! So I put together R.'s Easter basket, hid a few plastic eggs around the living room for the morning (R. is going to be so hopped up on sugar tomorrow - ugh), downed a piece of chocolate cake, flipped through an L.L Bean catalog, and then fired up my computer. Oh well. I'm still enjoying the time to myself.

I wish my new Anne Lamott book was here already. I've read the first two of her books on faith over and over again. And, one Sunday, my pastor talked about her and how he had read in an interview with her that when she calls on God, she thinks that he responds by saying, "Hello, darling!" as if she is the most important person in the world. Isn't that amazing? I just love that. I have to keep reminding myself of that because a lot of times when I pray, I'm thinking that God is thinking to himself, "Oh, great, it's K. again. What does she want now?" I feel really weird about asking God for help for myself. I have no problem asking him to help my loved ones ("Please send A. and A. a baby!") or complete strangers ("Please be with children everywhere - that they feel loved and wanted and are warm and safe and fed"). But when it comes to me, I just ask him to guide me and help me to make good decisions and to show me what he wants me to do every day. That's it. If he knows what's best for me, I feel strange about asking him for specific things - like a new job or something. But I keep hearing lately about lots of people doing just that. It still seems kind of wrong to me - or selfish, I guess. (I mean for ME - I honestly support other people doing it. My brother-in-law told me this week that when he was in prison years ago, he prayed for a guitar because he was down and felt bad about being away from his kids, especially one Father's Day, and he knew being able to play music would lift his spirits. And, a few days later, the chaplain showed up with a guitar for him - without S. telling him anything about wanting one. S. said that that's when he knew that God cared about his daily life. I think that's wonderful!)

But one thing that did cross my mind recently to ask for was a grandmother. By that I mostly mean an older person of faith who can be like a grandmother to me - encourage me in my faith, give advice, share recipes, that kind of thing. My sweet grandmother passed away 4.5 years ago on my 30th birthday. I should have had that relationship with her because she could have been all those things to me, but we lived too far apart, and I probably wasn't ready to hear it when she was alive. Now, I go to a church I love, but because I don't want to miss out on time with R., I don't participate in anything beyond the 8 a.m. service each week, plus I'm just terrible at meeting and getting to know people. I'm missing that support system of faith. My mom is so busy with all the things she's involved in plus watching my nephews full-time, and I don't see eye-to-eye with her Christianity. And, I have very few friends that I feel comfortable talking about this with.

I guess this has always been a problem for me - I want to find someone so badly who's in the same place/stage as me - in life, faith, everything. But I never do, and it just makes me feel very alone and freakish. I think I just have very unrealistic expectations. There's nothing wrong with friends being different from me, but I just can't help wishing there was someone I could really connect with about everything.

I'm jealous of other people who have groups of friends that share their faith and convictions. My favorite blogs to read just happen to be from a few moms in Michigan who are all friends, go to the same church, their kids play together, etc. And their husbands are Christians, too! Thoughtful, liberal, left-leaning Christians who actually sit around and discuss this stuff. That just blows my mind. In my life and family and friends, it's always the women who go to church while the atheist or just agnostic husbands stay home. It was that way with my mom and dad. It's that way with me and A. now. I will give A. credit, though - he's been very supportive of my going to church, taking over the kitchen every other week to bake communion bread, instituting grace before meals, and teaching R. about God. And he comes with me to church on the big holidays so that he can tend to R. so I can get something out of the service.

But it's just this feeling that I'm different and alone. I know God is always with me and understands me. That's a huge comfort. But sometimes I have to wonder why the heck he made me this way. That's why the "Hello, darling!" comment is so precious to me. I just have to learn to believe it for myself.

Starting again

I think I'm going to start using this blog instead of my Yahoo! 360 one. That one is annoying because it only lets you post one picture per posting and it has to be at the top. Not enough flexibility. (Of course, I really have nothing to complain about since I've yet to download about six months' worth of pictures off of our camera...)

This morning, I woke up and had a few minutes to myself before the boys woke up, so I had this brilliant idea to use my blog for my prayers. I thought it would be therapeutic for me, and hey if they inspire someone, great. But, as soon as I retrieved my password and logged in, I heard the sound of little feet coming down the stairs, and my beautiful R. sauntered into my office and climbed up in my lap. So, my prayer today is one of glorious thanks. Thank you, Lord, for my beautiful, funny, sweet, healthy, rambunctious, independent, loving son. I love being a mom. Thank you.

Speaking of that wonderful son ... we're having some sleep issues right now. In that he won't go to sleep at night. Once he's asleep, everything's fine for the most part. The time he actually settles down enough to fall asleep has been getting later and later - Thursday night was the worst yet: 11:07 p.m.! He's not even three yet! I feel awful about it because we get to the point where A. and I are so tired ourselves and so frustrated, that we just become cranky and start yelling, which really does no good.

So, Thursday night, I read a lot online and felt like crap afterwards because it's apparently our fault. R.'s bedtime has gotten messed up a lot recently - we've been visiting friends and staying way too late, which causes confusion for his routine. And, I don't think we're starting the bedtime routine early enough. The things I read said that at this age, R. should probably be going to bed between 6:30 and 7:30(!). Yikes. I don't even get home from work until 6:30! But he's definitely tired around that time and then becomes crazy energy boy afterwards. So I think that's the window to take advantage of. We've been starting the routine around 7:50 - first jammies (bath every other night - starting around 7:15), then teeth, then upstairs for stories. We attempt the first putting-to-bed around 8:45. So that's probably way too late.

Last night, we started bedtime a little after 7. A. and I both went upstairs with R., and we all read stories together, which was so nice. At 7:30, I came downstairs to let A. and R. finish the last story. Then, the visits to the bathroom started (I need to pee, I need to poop). Then, the getting up and running to the doorway. I stood there and put him back to bed every time, but then he thought it was a very funny game. I switched with A., who decided yelling would work. I did a bad thing and usurped him because I totally didn't agree with his method. But I let R. come down once more to try to poop, then put him to bed, and down he stayed. Asleep by 9 p.m. Improvement, but with end result of crabby hubby. We'll see how tonight goes...

On a completely different note, my Lenten goals haven't gone so great. I gave up TV and candy. But I still ate chocolate cake, brownies, cookies without chips in them, etc. I did watch A LOT less TV, which was nice. But the point of it was to have more time for prayer and reading. Unfortunately, I ended up having to work late every single night, which made me very resentful toward my job. I've been working and working, with no time for anything I've wanted to do - even my taxes! But I feel good about not needing to turn on the TV anymore, so hopefully when work lets up a little, I'll have time again for more reflection (and reading Anne Lamott's new book, which I ordered from Amazon last night - woohoo!). The candy thing hasn't been too hard (especially given my loose interpretation of it), but I probably will indulge in a few things on Easter.

Which reminds me - I've gotta go put some eggs on the stove to boil! Happy Easter! Amen!