Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Did you find my dignity at the Commissary???

Today was Commissary day...our cupboards were bare and needed replenishment.  I have not had an episode with my beans in the store in a long time - so I guess I was due.  (I recall one particular trip in Pensacola where Canaan started pitching a record of a fit and I earnestly looked around and said "Little girl, where is your Mommy??"  It shocked and confused her so much she stopped wailing.)  Unfortunately,  my megaphone-crier-drooling-Lena is not so easily dissuaded from her quest for publicly humiliating her mother.
Please picture the following...
Chilly bean riding happily in the snugli on Mama's chest, chubby toes kicking away; Jumping bean riding in the "car cart" (genius invention) singing songs about Jesus; String bean also riding in the "car cart" steering the cart very carefully down the aisle. All beans were behaving so beautifully, I doled out some candy treats. (Points for being a good mommy, right? Not so much.)  Lena was playing with her candy - instead of keeping it in her mouth as I had instructed - and dropped it on the floor.
Suddenly the joy was sucked out of the general vicinity. Wailing, crying, tears, and a general gnashing of teeth immediately followed my announcement that no candy would be replacing the lost piece.  After numerous people started to walk down the aisle and then promptly decided they didn't really need any paper products; I was able to steer the cart towards the bathrooms. Canaan stayed in the mostly-loaded cart to stand watch. (Those car-carts are a hot commodity - once I get one I don't let it go!!) Off to the bathroom I carried my oh-so-very-strong 2 1/2 year old (horizontally on my hip - enabling her kicking legs to not make contact with me or Taylor) and prepared for battle.
There are moments that I need to be reminded of the Fruits of the Spirit (Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control Gal. 5:22-23) and I found myself repeating them over and over in my head to keep calm. (It also gave me something to focus on that wasn't the pitying looks of other shoppers!)  Unfortunately, when we entered the bathroom, all three stalls were occupied. Of course. So we had to wait for the handicapped stall to come available - we can't all fit in one of the skinny stalls!  Hallelujah - the handicapped stall has a kid-keeper seat that I was able to stow Taylor in for the battle that was yet to come. Lena - who can be summed up as Passionate - knew discipline was about to occur and did not feel like suddenly becoming a compliant child. Instead she theatrically threw herself onto the public bathroom floor and started flailing. And continued with the crying that had started in the aisle. It was a thing to behold. (Preferably by someone else's child)  I was - miraculously - able to keep my voice calm and level. Taylor was not. Lena's crying scares Taylor (it scares me at times too!) so Taylor was sobbing away as well.  I waited until someone flushed and then Lena had a swift swat on the bum.  That did NOT quell the crying. It may have managed to increase it. So, she was dead set on getting a 2nd spanking for her fit about the spanking. Thankfully, she managed to pull it together, I was able to calm Taylor, and we all washed our hands.  We made it back out to the cart...loaded the Jumping bean in... and proceeded back to the aisle to get the toilet paper we needed. Unfortunately, that was the scene of the lost candy. Lena was barely able to keep her emotions in check...her raspy breathing and periodic sniffles gave testimony to her hard work at not losing it again.
All I could think through it all was this... One day we will have an 18 year old, a 16 year old, a 14 year old, and a 13 year old... at least 3 will be girls...oh the emotions we will experience then!!!  I guess this should just count as training for the future!
Copyright 2010

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Dreams vs. Reality

Amid all the high school graduation parties this week, I was struck by the realization of 10 years passing since that event occurred for me! In the past 10 years my life has gone absolutely..... NOTHING like I thought it would. At all.  When I graduated high school I had full intentions of not only getting my bachelors degree in Communications, but continuing to get my Masters (and possibly a Doctorate!) in Speech Pathology.  I planned to live in a largish city, have my own apartment, work, and enjoy the freedom of being a 20 something single woman. Marriage was on the far horizon...maybe I'd have 2 children by the time I was 35. Or not.  I was happy to plan an unencumbered life not around a man or children and do whatever I wanted.  HA!
For those of you who don't know me well, here is a brief synopsis of what actually has happened in this particular life...
I do not have my bachelors degree...obviously the next levels of education have not occurred.  I have 2 1/2 years (or so) of college completed - and have absolutely no idea when I will finish it off.  I did, in fact, live in an apartment, work, and enjoy my freedom.... for 5 months.  Then I met my hot stuff husband!  Marriage suddenly became top priority - I wasn't gonna let a hottie like him get away!!  So, just a few months after turning 21 - I became a wife.  Then at 23 - baby #1 was born, 25 - baby #2, 27 - baby #3, and 28 will be baby #4!  My life has been a bit different than I dreamed!
The amazing thing about youthful dreams is this - you don't always know yourself well enough to know what you really do want!  (Some people do....I envy that!)  But for the rest of us late bloomers, our dreams change as we age and learn more about life.  Does that make the dreams bad?  Or does that make reality bad?  I would have to say NO - on both questions.  Dreaming - hoping - about the future is something I still love to do....I've just learned that I'm probably waaaay off!  My reality is nothing like I thought it would be... it is soooo much better!  (And a ton more exhausting!)  I wouldn't trade my sloppy baby kisses and dirty shoulders from toddler tears for any business suit or heels.  Are there days I would like to sleep in? Yep.  But every day is such a gift!  I feel blessed beyond measure to get to live this life.  Langston Hughes asked in "A Dream Deferred"

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?

I'd like to venture that it doesn't do any of those options above... I think it can grow into something beautiful - even more wonderful than what the original dream was.  Life doesn't have to be easy to be great - suffering allows you to realize the depth of joy possible in a life.  

I can't wait to see what my dreams change into over the next 10 years....
Copyright 2010

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Losing my mind...again

     While standing in the card section of the Navy Exchange yesterday, I had a bit of a breakdown. I was looking through the Father's day cards (Coming up THIS Sunday) and just started crying. Standing there in the aisle looking at the cards I couldn't see straight because I was crying so hard about "You are the love of my life - I knew you'd be a great Dad" and "When we started on this journey, I had no idea how much more deeply I could love you" and "Dad, if you were a booger, I'd pick you." Seriously!? I was standing there overwhelmed with love for my husband - and excessive hormones coursing through my body - and just had to sob. Loudly. Unfortunately, I was not alone in the aisle. There was an elderly couple to my right inspecting birthday cards... and I think this slightly unhinged woman unnerved them. (Considering it was in a military store - who knows why I was crying!? My husband could be deployed or could have passed away, and that would be the cause for my waterworks.) So this kind elderly woman leans over to her husband and attempts to whisper...unsuccessfully..."We need to get out of here - that woman is LOSING IT!" Before they could shuffle away, I turned to them and said apologetically "I'm sorry for crying. I'm pregnant." They both looked at me sympathetically, shared a knowing a smile, and then returned to their cards. 
      Somehow, that moment of meltdown was totally okay - all because I'm pregnant!  I am even trying my hardest to keep it together and not be a basket case (My 3 girls really do need a stable mommy!)  but without fail... I cry everyday. At least twice.  It is insane!  I watched a re-run of Glee last night and cried through the song from Les Miserables "I Dreamed a Dream." (Of course, if you don't cry during that song, I don't think you have a soul.)  For the record, my husband didn't cry. Apparently, he is like Chuck Norris.  His tears could cure cancer - but he's never cried.   I'm chalking up Jonathan's lack of emotion to not knowing the heartbreaking story of Fantine and Jean ValJean and Cosette.
   Anyway, it looks like today will be a good day...I've been awake for 2 hours and haven't cried yet!
Copyright 2010

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Birth Control at IHOP

****Disclaimer - this was actually written in September of 2008 while we still lived in Pensacola, Florida.*****

Unfortunately, the title refers to my family of 4 in relation to the rest of the diners at the IHOP here in Pensacola yesterday around lunchtime. There are days when you can go out in public with your children and attract kind smiles, an adoring look, and an occasional hopeful pat on the belly of an expectant mother. Then there are days like yesterday. Although I thoroughly enjoyed myself - as did Jonathan - I'm not positive the rest of the diners shared that sentiment. Let me set the stage....

As we left church yesterday, (with our precocious 3 year old happily reciting her Bible Verse and telling us that God created the world; and Lena hugging my neck in between playing peek-a-boo with Jonathan) we thought that a meal out would be a treat. We both were desiring brunch type food, so we started on the hunt. Canaan was quite thrilled to recap every moment of her Sunday School class for us - the snack was the biggest item as far as we could tell. (Or they had gold fish 15 times in an hour. I'm thinking it was just her highlight moment.) Lena was enjoying "singing" in her car seat while hugging a stuffed pig to her chest. Every mile we drove, however, brought fewer happy noises from the back. Unaware of the swift turn, Jonathan and I continued to decide the meal location. IHOP was the winner. :)

When we entered the restaurant, Canaan decided to LOUDLY announce "Mommy. I HAVE TO POOP! HURRY!" I quickly directed her to the restroom while Jonathan guided our younger force of nature to the table. In case you missed the info- Lena can now walk. Which is wonderful - except for when she CAN'T and wants to. Then a scene ensues. I exited the bathroom with a twirling Canaan in tow and we went in search of Daddy and Lena. There was no need for looking through the tables. Lena was a veritable megaphone calling us to herself. She wasn't unhappy - she just had A LOT to say and wanted to be the next building. As our time at the table continued (with numerous tests of our reflexes by Lena) we realized this was probably not the best day to be out. Once Canaan saw my side of bacon she asked nicely for a taste, so I handed her a piece. She leaned over to Jonathan (they were sitting next to each other) to pat his shoulder and say "Hey Buddy, look at my bacon." (No idea why she has suddenly started trying the "buddy" name on Daddy.) Then she got a little excited and the entire piece of perfect bacon fell to the floor. What can you do? Then, Lena decided she was going to die if she didn't have a taste of Jonathan's pancakes - really, she was literally yelling "Daddy! DADDY!! DADDDY!!!!!" I was of no use whatsoever, because at about that moment I was struck with the hilarity of our dining out experience. You see - right in my line of sight were 3 couples enjoying their meal quietly, without sharing any of their food, not one of them clearing things from the edge of the table so the claws of a baby wouldn't knock it over. So I responded in the way any sane mommy would - I started giggling. Which turned into laughing until I was crying. In that moment it went from a challenging experience, to yet another of the untold "joys of parenting." The picture is seared in my mind - me, bent over laughing; Lena, contentedly scarfing pancakes and syrup with one leg propped on the arm of the high chair; Jonathan sandwiched between the girls feverishly laying claim to a few morsels; and Canaan pointing out every single thing in the establishment and saying its name 4 or 5 times. It was a treasure of a moment.

For some, that experience probably made them double check their pill packet; but for me, it helped me remember that each day's moments make up life. I'll take moments like that any day.
(But we might have to find a new breakfast place....I'm not sure we'll be allowed back!)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Seize the Day (Chorale) to Bad Romance

Do you remember Newsies???? Great Movie!!!! Although I must say I love the original music....this is pretty much the only way I can handle whats-her-head.

A bit of a (humorous) history

In light of my being pregnant for the 4th time and encountering the joys and challenges that brings... I have been feeling rather nostalgic. As I limped around the house yesterday feeling like I had the flu - I first praised the Lord for the Baby growing inside, and then recalled that I actually DO get the flu... EVERY TIME I am pregnant. So, in the spirit of mass education, (and hopefully allowing you your laugh for the day at my expense) I am going to be sharing some of my more interesting moments from pregnant history over the next few weeks.... Here's to story #1

In August of 2005 I was 8 months pregnant with our first child. I was as big as a beached whale - and hoped everyday that I managed to shove my swollen feet into matching shoes (I had no idea if they matched, since I hadn't seen my feet in a very long time.) I was also alone for the majority of my pregnancy since my hubby was off galavanting through the Caribbean and Europe with the Navy ship on which he was stationed. (But that is really not the point of the story)
Anyway, during my 34th week I managed to contract food poisoning. What Joy. I was throwing up every 20 minutes for 4 hours - which is never fun, but imagine trying to do that with a bowling ball attached to your stomach! Once I finally was able to reach my doctor they instructed me to go directly to the hospital. Thankfully, I only lived 10 minutes from the hospital, so I waited to throw up one more time and then waddled down to my car and hoisted myself in. (Did I mention it was 2 in the morning??)
Unfortunately, that was the only time I needed to puke in less than 20 minutes. Naturally. So I found myself pulling to the side of the road, getting out of my car, squatting on the edge of the road, and throwing my guts up. Suddenly, lights came up behind me - and in my Oh-so-rational-state - I knew I was about to have my car stolen and be killed. Seriously. I mean, I was probably the easiest car jacking target ever. Fortunately for ME, it was a Policeman who stopped to assess the situation. UNfortunately for him, he was probably fresh out of the Academy and convinced I was in labor... and he looked about 12. When he saw my girth and the tears streaming down my face - he was not the calmest person around. In fact, he totally started freaking out!
He started yelling "Don't have this baby now!!! I gotta get you to the hospital!!"
I looked up at him inhaled all the composure I had left, and said "SHUT UP! I am not having a baby! I have food poisoning." Naturally he didn't hear me.
So again I said "SHUT. UP. I am ill - I'm NOT in LABOR!!!"
Finally he heard me and offered to drive me the rest of the way to the hospital. I was happy to take him up on his offer so I lumbered over to the squad car and started to open... the back door. Well, I didn't know! He got all flustered and directed me to the front seat, which I found exceptionally cool. (That was my one and only time ever riding in a cop car)
He radioed ahead to the hospital and said "I have a massively pregnant woman I'm bringing to the ER - have a wheelchair ready!"
Then he looked at me apologetically and sheepishly said "Sorry - but you are HUGE!" (Really wasn't the best apology - but at least he was accurate!) We arrived at the hospital and they met me with a wheel chair. The policeman then kindly took my keys and went back to bring my car to the hospital! He brought my keys up to my room, checked on me, and then went off to continue helping the other crazy people in our city.

Thankfully, I survived and now have an extremely grand story to regale the generations with! Have you ever had an experience where all went wrong but turned out right?

Monday, June 7, 2010

I'm new at this...

After years of kicking and screaming that I would not succumb to the blogosphere - I have caved. Now, for all the world (potentially) to read, I will offer my thoughts and commentaries on pretty much everything with a hopefully humorous twist. :) I will try to be interesting...but I promise to be honest. This will now be the home of one scattered woman's thoughts.
Background on the name of the blog:
The US Navy has an integral place in our family - my husband is active duty. The "beans" are our 3 (soon to be 4!) children. Canaan is my string bean, Lena is my jumping bean, Taylor is my chilly bean, and #4 is my belly bean! (Thus far, we have 3 girls...still waiting to find out what #4 is.) I had pondered the name "Bean Soup" but thought that could be a recipe for therapy for my children!