Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Note: I've been trying to write this post since Friday.  I wanted to make sure I truly I capture the spirit of these wonderful, beautiful women who have so influenced my life and those of my children.

There is a song sung by Kathy Mattea called "Sending me Angels" and I've always loved this song. My wonderful awesome all mighty God has always sent me angels. He knows what I need when I need it. Two of my favorite Angels in human form came through another angel but I'll get to her later.

The chorus is below:
He keep sending me angels From up on high
He keeps sending me angels To teach me to fly
He keeps sending me angels Sweet and true
He keeps sending me angels Just like you
(Jerry Lynn Williams/Frankie Miller)
I was new in Pottstown, PA and I was working in a real estate office. During this time I was also a divorced mother to my oldest two sons. I had not yet met my husband. As any mother can imagine working full time, raising 2 boys under age 4 and taking computer training left little time for keeping house. My mother decided after her first trip up from South Carolina I needed a housekeeper. God bless her.

The angel I worked for recommended this little tiny spit fire of a woman named Alice. Alice was a whirlwind. She worked the details out with my mother and came to my house 3 times a week. She cleaned everything, did all the laundry and just basically kept my home on the good side of DYFS standards (she didn't come everyday and I was exhausted).

About this time I got a new job. I became the Help Desk manager at Immaculata College. I also failed to notice a note at the boys' preschool alerting me they were going to be closed one day. Until I showed up that morning to a locked daycare. I went back home devastated. I had just started this job what was I going to do? Alice had the answer "I'll call my sister Hazel. She's raised half of Pottstown.". Hazel was free was was thrilled to keep D& J she had a special place in her heart for fatherless children.  And with that began a lifelong relationship.  She became their adopted grandmother of sorts. Grandmother you say, oh yeah did I forget to mention their ages?  Alice was the little sister at 72 when she entered my life and Hazel was the oldest at 78. 
Hazel had in fact raised more than half of Pottstown and she also raised more than half of my children.  She was our much-more-than-a-nanny Nanny for 8 years.  She kept the boys when I went to the hospital to deliver the Boo man.  She loved my little blonde J like he was the only kid she'd ever had.  He was her absolute favorite of all the probably hundreds of kids she did raise.  She came with me for the Boo man when my job took me to Groton, CT 5 days a week for 4 months.  She argued with D over the mere existence of dinosaurs, "That's a bunch of hooey." she said.  Which were (and are) fighting words to D.  She let nothing go to waste.  She would show up at the house with home made banana bread "Because I bought too many bananas."  I guess that's what one does when they live through the Great Depression.  She had one great love.  He was in Heaven waiting on her for over 30 years.  But he made sure she was taken care of.  And now she's been in Heaven for more than 4 years.  And I really do miss her, still.  I think she would have loved watching our Princess grow up.

When she was with our family, she was also much more than a Nanny to another fatherless child. She was truly an angel who helped me produce the wonderful teenaged sons I have now.

Friday, September 24, 2010

TV Rant Part 2

Last night The Big Bang Theory Premiered for the Fall Season on CBS at 8:00.  My sons have been huge fans of the Big Bang Theory for many years.  My nine year old can sing the song.

We really love this show.  It's funny, it's geeky, it's reminiscient of Frazier.  But lately it has taken a turn for the worse.  Last night's episode was undescribably crass.  Howard had stolen a robot hand from NASA, it was a hand he designed to complete work on the space station.  After he programmed it to give him a back massage -- actually I really can't even write what he did.  Let's just say it's not even remotely family friendly and it's not appropriate for my 9 year old.  And this was the focus of the show for at least half the time.

On a slightly less disturbing note, Sheldon figured out how many men Penny has dated during her dating life and from that number derived the number of her sexual partners.  She argued that number, but then also semi admitted being a sl-t. All of this sexual glory in the first half an hour of Prime Time TV.

Is it any wonder why my husband and I are seriously considering cancelling our Dish Network Subscription?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Three little prayers

1- I feel God is calling me to do more, be more. I'm not sure what He wants me to do, and I'm praying for His guidance. I'll keep you guys posted on this.

2- The Princess got moved to red again at school yesterday. She was throwing Cheerios at Snack time. This behavior concerns me. I'm beginning to think we may have made a mistake keeping her in this school for Kindergarten. The more I interact with many of the children the less I see the types of boundries we have. I'm not convinced that Sarah will finish her Kindergarten year here. I do need lots of prayers on this one.

4- Last night was Back to School night for the Boo Man. Boo's teacher seems to be very energetic and tolerant. These are 2 very good qualities for a teacher of Boo. Jay-bone had this same teacher for 4th grade. He is also energetic. I did not have any issues with this teacher and Jay, here's hoping Boo does just as well.

Sorry about the three posts today. I had somethings bouncing around in my head and at first I was just going to do one long post, but it became unmanageable.

TV Rant ahead.

Monday night my sons were very excited about the return of the CBS Monday night shows. My husband and I had discussed them over the summer and were not sure how we would handle it, we feel some of them are becoming a bit too mature for especially my 9 year old, but also the older 2. So with that thought in mind, we sat down on Monday Night.

The show on at 8PM "How I met your mother..." ended with an uncomfortably long make out session between two women. No I do not feel that is appropriate veiwing for my 9 year old. No I would not feel it was appropriate if it was a man and woman who were also not married. And yes I was uncomfortable sitting there watching it with my teenage sons. Quite frankly long drawn out sexual scenes are unnecessary especially in Prime Time TV.

The show at 8:30 PM "Rules of Engagement" features a dog of a man who beds every woman he comes into the most casual of contact with. Generally it isn't raunchy though and it relies more on innuendo than actual sex. And Russell is made out to be a not very nice human being. He's not a "good guy" clearly. In addition many other characters point out that his behavior is not acceptable.

Finally the show at 9PM is the one we felt the most cautious about. "Two and a half men" has gone completely raunchy. Charlie an alcoholic, womanizing, professional playboy is the successful one, the happy one, the one to be envied. His brother, Alan, who really just longs for a stable marriage is the pitied one, the doofus little brother, if you will. Our family has watched Jake, who is Alan's son grow up in a divorced situation living in a home part time with Alan and Charlie. Jake is 16 now and the show opened up to Alan crawling out a woman's bed so their kids would not find out they were "dating" because he really wasn't sure where it was going. He comes home to find Charlie passed out on his stairs in his underwear, and while discussing this 2 girls sneak out of Jake's room. Instead of stopping the girls, and pulling Jake out of bed, they (Alan & Charlie) discuss whether he was having a threesome or an orgy. At this point we turned off the TV for the night.

So if someone unfamilar with American culture was introduced to it by these 3 shows, they would be horribly confused. They would have to wonder how we as Americans get anything done, between our constant casual sex. And is this the message we want our children to see? Why do shows have to do this? Why can't we enjoy TV with our kids? Monday night has now become family game night for us. Thanks CBS.

It's about Communication -Stupid.

Yesterday morning, The King and I were talking about our inability to get every one moving in the right direction in the morning (see (Still) not back in the routine.) So we decided to get some things done at night; making lunches, laying out clothes, finding wayward shoes, etc. We also agreed if parent a made dinner parent b would take care of the morning prep stuff. So last night he had to work late. I made dinner, fed the kids and verified homework before heading out to BTS night. You can surely imagine my surprise when I came home at 7:45 to him sitting in the Living Room. So saying nothing (my mistake) I began taking care of the things that needed to get done, huffing and puffing all the way. Still not saying a word, just expecting his Jedi Mind powers to know why I was pissed. Finally after my lunch was packed, The Princess's lunch was packed, her clothes laid out on our bench, Boo's clothes on the Living Room table, Boo's snack packed, he has the nerve to ask if I need any help. "And what's wrong anyway?" Oh yeah, he asked what was wrong. So I told him and
him: "why didn't you say something when you walked in?"
me: "why should I have to say something?"
him: "because I can't read minds."
me: "Oh yeah that."

So I created my own problem. Yes, he should know. And yes I am justified for getting peeved that he didn't know or just didn't bother. But I allowed it to escalate. I clammed up and waited on him to decipher my huffing and puffing. I'm convicted -so is he. And this morning he brought me coffee in bed and I got to work before 8AM. :)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The dream

11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:11-13 NIV

Last night God woke me up to share that Bible Verse with me. I've read it before. The first part is a favorite of Karen Kingsbury's and she uses it in many of her novels. The first verse tells us all what God wants to do for us. The 2nd and 3rd verses tell us what we have to do to receive his promises. I've fallen away lately. Over the past 2 years, I have not been the Christian God has called me to be.

I have tried to control my own life. I have tried to manage my life. I was saying to God "Thanks for the offer but really, I've got this." Last night he woke me from the dead of sleep with a very simple message, "No, Elisabeth, I've got this." And with that simple statement I let it all go. All the worries, all the stresses, all the fears, I let it go. And I have a lightness of being I haven't felt in so many years.

I'm currently working a job. It's not a bad job, it's actually a pretty good job. It's definitely an easy job. So easy, in fact, I get bored. I wanted to quit. I wanted a challenge, I wanted to feel useful. Add to that I'm consulting and not getting paid regularly. The paying part was very frustrating. The company was being very difficult. The company was quite behind in paying me. I was worried. I was paying for all the associated costs of working but not getting paid. It was causing us finanancial strain.

I don't do well with financial strain. When I'm stressed, I shop. If I'm stressed and cannot shop, I get more stressed. And usually that manifests itself into a huge pounding migraine.

Yesterday morning I was at the breaking point. I was yelling at my husband and he was yelling back. We decided we had a plan. I was going to find another job, and he was going to find a lawyer to sue this company for breach of contract. He was going to call them and give them the what-for as soon as he got to work. He didn't have much on calendar yesterday anyway. The more we drove in seperate cars coming up with this plan the more my head hurt. But wait we had a plan now, my head shoul,d not have been hurting. I should have felt relief not stress. I should be feeling better not worse. I mean this company had it coming to them. They did not behave as Christians, they did not keep their word and I was suffering.

And then a funny thing happened. My headache got so bad I had to leave work and go home. No all out searching for a job for me. Meanwhile, my husband's "one little thing" on calendar took all day to resolve. He never got the chance to make that phone call. He was so busy he couldn't even take a call from the company when they called to let him know they were releasing another check.

Yesterday afternoon, we decided to wait it out. But next time we were definitely doing it. I mean after all they were still 9 weeks past due. Yeah they paid so what, they still owe. ALOT. But my headache finally began to ease up.

And so, God seeing that he had not gotten my attention decided to interrupt my sleep last night with a beautiful and comforting dream. And he decided to tell me, "I've got this." I still don't know what his plans are. But I do know he will reveal to me what I need to know when I need to know it. Even if it's in the dead of night.

I also know that he is the God of the Universe and he can handle anything. And he wants to. I just have to Let go and Let God.

Friday, September 17, 2010

(Still) Not back in the routine.

My first kid to go back to school started almost a month ago. My last kid to start back started over 2 weeks ago.

So why am I still dragging my butt into work at 9 AM every stinking morning? I'm that annoying co-worker who is usually there first. I'm usually there by 7:40. What's with the hour and a halftwenty minutes later I'm averaging these days?

Perhaps more specifically, why does it take me more than 2 hours to get out of my house?

This morning was a perfect example or not...
It all started yesterday...

I was stuck in traffic and got home late. I was tired and did not review her backpack. The Princess got to bed late. The Boo Man could not find his pants.

First we woke up late. Yes, very late almost 7 o'clock kinda late. So I slimmed the routine. The big boys got a quick "Eat Breakfast before you leave" instruction yelled from the bedroom instead of the tender moments in the morning where I sit with them over the hot breakfast of nutritious oatmeal I've slaved over.

Yeah, right -- my hat tip to nutrition is making sure their breakfast cereal doesn't have High Fructose Corn Syrup. But I do usually make eye contact when telling them to eat breakfast. As much eye contact as a teen aged boy is willing to make with his mother first thing in the morning (hint: not actually eye contact, more like eye to the top of their heads contact).

Healthy breakfast before boys get on bus. Check.

Then I turn my attention to the other son. Every mother of boys will understand this next one, and hopefully sympathize with me. My 9 year old is in the "It-doesn't-stink-and-there's-no-visible-dark-dirt-spots-surely-I-can-wear-it-one-more-time" phase of his life. I've tried organizing his clothes. I've put outfits together -- complete with socks and underwear hanging in his closet, I've really tried everything, and yet he comes downstairs morning after morning looking like refugee. The shirt is not just a tad too small -- it fit him when he was 4. The shorts are so dirty I am not sure what their natural color is. This morning his defense when I told him his shirt was dirty

Him: "But I got it out of the laundry, it's gotta be clean."
Me: "Then there's a big stain on the front and you can't wear it."
Him: "But it's brand new, it can't be stained."
Me: "I'm as shocked as you are."

I didn't even fight on the shorts, at least they were clean. I can only imagine what the teachers think of me. They must assume I am blind. (A myth I dispel at Back To School Night.) or negligent. (much more likely.) I always thought I would redeem myself with my daughter. She is so picky about her clothes and always looks so neat. I've recently realized it will probably create more disdain because they will believe I funneled all my time and care to her while the boys were left to raise themselves. --Ah but I digress.

The Boo Man dressed not like a refugee. Check.

Next on the list of to do items: The Princess. She is not a morning person. Hmmmmm, wonder where that comes from? I have to get her out of bed with Daddy, dressed in an outfit she's willing to wear, hair brushed, fed, lunch packed, backpack ready and out the door to school. Each one of those tasks takes approxiamately 20 minutes-- on a cooperative day.

This morning was not a cooperative day. Add to all the normal stuff, one VERY loose tooth that has been threatening to fall out all week and this morning it finally did. Yes, because I had so much time to show the proper amount of entusiasm for a lost tooth. But somewhere in the midst of crazy, we moms always find the time. Work be damned.

When I finally got around to reviewing her folder from school I found "Surprise" a note from the teacher. Apparently yesterday The Princess was moved to red. --SOOOOOOO not what I needed this morning.--- So then we add another 10 minute discussion about misbehaving at school

Finally it's time to eat breakfast and do her hair which I combine in a time saving effort. Then while she finishes I'm making lunch and sending Boo up to brush his teeth and hair.

Ahhhhhh, lunch made, backpack ready, the Princess dressed, hair brushed, teeth brushed, and we're walking out the door.

So I guess after all this I should really ask myself why I am able to get out before noon?
7:00 7:30

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I felt God calling

Late last Friday, on the occasion of my husband's 40-something-th birthday, I felt God calling. My technology use (computer, iPhone etc.) has long been an issue in my marriage and quite frankly my life. I seem to have a tendency towards OCD in this department. I can spend hours online when I meant only to pop in and look for a specific email. I know this is something many of us struggle with. Adding a blog to my "online vices" doesn't help the situation.

So my husband -- being my husband -- wanted nothing for his birthday. That is he did not want me to buy him anything. Except for maybe a new Honda cafe style motorcycle and since finances ruled that one out, I was back to square one.

Last Friday afternoon as I was surfing the web, yet again, I heard "Be still and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10)." Be still, hmmmm a mother of 4 commanded to be still? No really, God what is it that you want me to do? I believed God wanted my time. He wanted my attention, he wanted my thoughts.

So I gave it to him. All weekend no online. I wasn't still but my thoughts were. I was focused on the thing that I was doing at the moment. Those things were varied. At one moment I was watching my daughter play soccer, but I actually watched her. I didn't facebook, I didn't text -- I watched her. Another moment I was with her at a birthday party. Again with her. Wholly and completely with her.

Later I was reading a book I'm reviewing for Booksneeze "Seeds of turmoil". I wasn't flipping back and forth between the book and Drudge Report, I was reading. I was focused on whatever God needed me to hear.

Sunday afternoon, I was truly still for about 4 hours after I made dinner I was still. I laid on the couch, semi-reading, semi-cuddling the dogs, semi-listening to my children sing songs they heard in Sunday School that morning. And that has made all the difference.

I feel more at peace this week. I'm less frustrated. I am more here (where ever I am) than I feel like I've been in months. And yesterday, when my husband and I took the day off together, I barely looked at my facebook all day. I think he appreciated it.

I think I'm going off the grid every weekend from now on.

Rex the duck and other "aminals".

My 5 year old daughter has a duck. He is yellow and on wheels, a very typical non-descript child's pull toy. I got him for her before she was born.

She named him Rex. I expected her to ditch Rex long ago. He's not pink, he's not flashy and he does nothing -- except follow her when she pulls him. In her world, however, loyalty is rewarded. He isn't her favorite, but he is her longest lasting interest. He is also the first one she named and the longest to have the same name.

The other day when she went looking for her slippers she found her red cowgirl boots. So she put those on. She also found her pink Easter hat, so she put that on. And to complete the outfit, she pulled out Rex.

She began walking around the house in this get up and found the most willing playmate around -- Daddy.
"Hi, I'm Mary, it's very nice to meet you." she says to her Daddy. (her name isn't Mary, btw)
"Hi Mary, I'm the Daddy. And who do you have with you?"
"Hi, the Daddy, this is Rex. He's my guard duck." --Imagination is strong in this one.

Rex has had surgery over the years. His wheels have come off. He's also had a bath, and in spite of that he has a blue mark across his back from a run in with a dry erase marker. He has stood his ground with a 100-lb German Shepherd Dog and a 15-lb Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Maybe he is a guard duck after all.

On to the other aminals promised in this post. I say aminals because that's what The Princess calls them. It makes me smile to think of the words the children have used incorrectly. Jaybone always had "mennies" not money. And The Boo Man did not have dump trucks, but I can't write what he did have.
Jaybone had a Ty Ostrich named Stretch. Actually that's not entirely correct. Jaybone had multiple Ty Beanie baby Ostriches named Stretch and one large Stretch. Stretch was one of his favorites, because as you can see the neck makes a perfect handle for tossing it up in the air. Which brings us to why he had so many. He tossed them up in the air. They landed on roofs. The roofs of South Eastern PA are littered with Ty Ostriches.

I fully expected Stretch to be one of Jay's take to college Stuffed Aminals. Which is why I was surprised to find Stretch in a box in the garage. I passed Stretch on to The Princess. Stretch has survived so much, a cardboard box in the garage is not a fitting end to Stretch.
Last night during bedtime story time, she was holding Stretch, by the neck. I half expect to be told Stretch is on the roof. I also half expect Jay to retreive him for her.

When confronted about Stretch in the box, J explained that he kept his Meowth. Stretch is about 8 inches high, and 4-5 inches wide, when sitting. Meowth is 17 inches high and 12 inches wide and most of that is his head. I fully understand why he chose to keep Meowth -- okay not so much.

Meowth, for the uninitiated, is the cat that was the "pet" of the bad guys (Team Rocket) on the Pokemon Cartoon. J's version of Meowth no longer has fangs. I think he also has a mark from a run-in with a Dry Erase Marker. Meowth makes the cut every time we redecorate Jay's room. Meowth will be hated by his wife someday. And for the record --I don't blame her.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Where does it go?

I caught you last night playing in your play house when you were supposed to be in bed. You knew you were caught, and you flashed that anger melting smile. And I knew I was had. Your brothers did the same thing. But then they grew up.

The Boo Man said once when we were driving to my work and his daycare "I think God will make it snow tomorrow so we can stay home." Does he still have that connection with God? Does he still feel he can talk to him?

Jaybone had the most mischevious little smile when he was your age. He also had beautiful blonde curls all over his head. He could get away with murder. He loved to hug and loved to punch his brother even more. He still loves to punch his brother. Does he still love to hug?

I'll never forget as long as I live D sitting in the floor of the Dining room of the house on Evans Street and making up Halloween stories using his tape player with a microphone. I know he still loves writing stories and I know he still loves Halloween. But it isn't the same.

9, (almost) 15, and 16. Where did they go -- Those preschoolers with the "come on world" attitude? Are they lost forever like the Rugrats ski cap Jay insisted on wearing in July or the Yellow Pokemon Game Boy Color D learned to read playing? Or the Yellow shirt, black pants and black shoes (aka. Greg Wiggle Costume) Boo wore for 2 years?

Will they find the innocence and confidence and joy God gives again? Can I keep you from losing it? Can I insulate you from the peer pressure and disappointments? Can your father and I grant you the faith and confidence only God can give?

How do I build your faith after Veggie Tales fade into your history?