Archive for October, 2011

The Milkshake


Image by Rakka via Flickr

Ok, remember the analogies a few days ago?  The jacket/vest, the box of chocolates, and the music box?  Well, I found the perfect one for me on another blog that I sometimes read.

I. am. a milkshake.

Yes, a milkshake.  I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Read the post here

, and picture me with lots of straws!  Love it.

Not My Best Moment

For those of you who have used the word “saintly” when describing me, or somewhere close to perfect, or always perfectly calm and collected, this post is for you.  This post is to debunk such opinions and falsehoods.

First, the background:  I am extremely tired and stressed and spent from the stress and efforts needed as I try to fix Chloe’s education.  I’m spent.  And tired.  And sometimes appear to be at the end of my rope . . . of sanity.  (insert sheepish grin here)

Next, let’s recognize and point out the things I did wrong yesterday.  I did too much — that’s the bottom line.

***Paul had an appointment with a friend yesterday so I got the kids ready for church and took them to church.  I taught in children’s church like I do monthly.  Then the kids and I went out for pizza.  So far so good.

***Well, perhaps where I went wrong was working so hard with Zippy on a home project from school.  I don’t mean a project on our house . . . I mean a project from school that is to be done completely at home.  (NOT my favorite type of project, as you already know)  Zippy worked hard on this project all weekend, but it takes lots of hard work from me, too, nearly every moment that he is working.  It takes lots of energy, tons of patience, gobs of creativity, and an abundance of grace to work with Zippy towards success on something as big as a do-at-home project.  We split it up into 15-30 minute chunks, taking frequent breaks, but the truth of the matter is that he worked on this project most of the day yesterday.  (Disclaimer:  The teacher who assigned this project happens to be a teacher I admire personally and professionally and has already proven to be quite understanding and caring of my boy.  And this teacher also has made it very clear that she wants to know when things are too difficult for Zach so that she can do whatever she needs to do to help.  While do-at-home projects are NOT my cup of tea, this project was a reasonable one that I feel like Zach was successful with even though Mom had a hidden bad attitude about it.  Also, Zach had plenty of time to do this project so that it wouldn’t have to be done all in one weekend, but his Mama tends to shut down and procrastinate when a job seems terribly daunting so he had pretty much just this weekend to complete the project . . . .)

***Then, Chloe had another run in with diaper cream — every bit as messy as the first.  This “run in” occurred whilst I was preoccupied helping Zach with the do-at-home project above.  This “run in with diaper cream” reiterated for me my feelings on do-at-home projects.  Thankfully the diaper cream of choice this time was Balmex instead of Desitin.  While Balmex is a decent diaper cream, containing a high concentration of zinc oxide, it lacks the amazing ARMOR quality of Desitin.  Thank. God.  Seriously.  The mess was huge (and I was in no state to take photographs this time) and covered lots of carpet, walls, clothes, toys, skin, and hair just like last time.  The great news is that unlike Desitin, Balmex pretty easily wipes off of skin and toys and walls.  However, Balmex flaunts its amazing ARMOR quality as it clings relentlessly to hair and carpet — neither of which will ever be the same.  I have spent lots of time, muscles, sweat, and tears scrubbing on Chloe’s carpets the past couple of days.  And it is so bad that until some of the Balmex comes out of the carpet, Chloe can not even play in her room.  Lovely.  (Another disclaimer:  I am pleased to say that Balmex does not have the unpleasant fish smell that a room full of Desitin has, and Balmex has turned out to be quite a lovely treatment for both my and Chloe’s skin — we are both truly soft as a baby’s bottom!)

***After a long, hard day working very hard on a challenging do-at-home project, Zippy went out to play football with Elliot and a couple of neighbor boys.  They played out there until it was getting dark.  About the time the boys were coming in from playing outside, my phone rang.  Since I didn’t recognize the number, I didn’t answer it — choosing instead to continue scrubbing the above mentioned carpet.  When I listened to the message, I discovered that it was the mom of one of the neighbor boys calling to talk to me about something.  (cue the major red flags here since this mom NEVER calls me)  I immediately called Elliot in and asked if there was anything I needed to know about what happened outside.  After a little prodding, he admitted that Zippy had exhibited less than exemplary behavior outside.  My next meeting was with Zippy at which time I gleaned some more info about the unpleasant behaviors that had occurred.  The truth was hard to hear.  He had messed up outside.  To say my blood was boiling at that point would be accurate.  I. let. him. have. it.  In the midst of my rampage, the doorbell rang; it was the mom who had just tried to call.  She was there to get details about what had happened.  At that point I decided to keep myself surrounded by carpet cleaner and Balmex and to continue to let out some of my frustrations while scrubbing with gusto at the ruined carpets.  The meeting at the door between Paul, Zippy, and the neighbor mom carried on without my input which probably would not have proven very helpful at that point anyway.

So there are the events of the day.  The day that I did too much and was pushed too far.

Finally, let’s examine the result of my day and the current situation in which I had landed.  The truth is:  at this point I was spent.  I was done.  I was tired.  I was very, very angry.  And I was having a hard time breathing.

I sat down on the couch (realizing perhaps I should have done a little more sitting / relaxing throughout the day) and tried to focus on the World Series.  Forget the world.  Forget my anger.  Forget my stress.  Forget my disappointment.  Forget the mess.  Just watch the game.  But I couldn’t breathe.

I got up and walked to my room to be alone for a moment, thinking that would help.  But I was still having a hard time breathing.  I was right smack dab in the middle of a full blown panic attack or nervous breakdown or rage attack.  Whatever it was, it was not good, and I needed some fresh air.

I put on my tennies and grabbed my jacket.  I grabbed a water bottle from the fridge and announced as I walked toward the front door, “I’m going for a walk.”

Ears perked up all over the house, as this is not a common occurrence for Mom to just up and leave.  I kept walking.

“Want some company?” asked Paul, curious what in the world was going on.

“Where are you gonna walk?” asked Elliot, trying to convince himself that this was normal and nothing to be concerned about.

“No thanks.  And I don’t know,” I answered as I pulled the front door shut behind me.

Once outside, I tried to breathe.  That was my number one goal — to stay gone long enough to be able to breathe.  And then I just walked and walked.  I wanted to just keep walking.  The breeze was fresh; I was able to hide in the darkness; and eventually I was able to breathe.

I walked nearly an hour, and then I found a bench to sit on for a while.  I just sat and tried not to think.  The moisture from the air soaked into my clothes and skin.  I wanted to sit for hours and not think for hours.


I needed to go to the bathroom.

I had downed the whole bottle of water and was in need of the little girls’ room badly.

So I went on home.

The rest of the night I breathed, watched the World Series, and breathed.  When my emotions would come back to the surface, I would make myself breathe again.

And my little fit was over.  Just like that.

Today’s a new day.  This is a new week.

And I have lots of things to do:

  1. I have several meetings with school personnel this week.
  2. Zippy and I still have to finish his project — the drawing / artistic part of it that is usually the worst part of all for him.
  3. I still have lots more elbow grease to utilize on Chloe’s carpets.
  4. And I need to buy more diaper cream.

Yes, today is a new day, and I can do this.  🙂

The Music Box

What a beautiful box!

Looking at the closed box, you’ll see beautiful colors.  Sometimes the box is painted with beautiful flowers or ballet slippers.  Sometimes the box is beautiful, smooth, shiny wood.  Sometimes it’s even a shiny silver box.  These beautiful boxes are so lovely to look at.

Just holding that beautiful box makes me feel a little bit like a princess.  The beautiful box makes me feel good.  It gives me a full, happy, and peaceful feeling.  It’s so very, very girly.

The latch is always especially pretty, and lifting the latch makes me feel like I’m unlocking something delicate, something special, something valuable — something treasured.

Opening the box, I let out a gasp.  The box is even more beautiful inside!  It’s shiny and soft and delicate and beautiful.  I’m amazed that someone would make a box so beautiful and special.

The box holds beautiful treasures.  The more you look, the more treasures you’ll find.  There are hidden compartments, special compartments reserved for the most special treasures.  If you take enough time exploring and enjoying the box, you’ll surely find deep treasures.

Oh, and listen to the song!  What a beautiful song!  And the dance!  There is a captivating song and dance.  You can’t open the box — not even a crack — without hearing the song and enjoying the dance.

And before you close the box, don’t forget to peek in the tiny mirror.  Because it seems like each time you spend time opening the box and enjoying the dance and listening to its song, there might be something new revealed in you — in the mirror.  Yes, you can learn about YOU in the music box.

My music box?  Chloe.

Chloe is beautiful inside and out.  She’s a treasure . . . and she holds many treasures.  She is a beautiful song and dance.  And you are guaranteed to learn something about yourself when you slow down enough to enjoy her song.

Beautiful one!


A Box of Chocolates

Who doesn’t love getting a big box of chocolates?!

Even if you don’t like everything in the box, there’s bound to be something in there that you like.  And there is certainly something in there to delight you.

Each candy is a different experience.  And you never know what lies just beneath that thin layer of chocolate.
Surprises?  Yes.  Mouth-watering luciousness?  Yes.
I know I have always wished every box of chocolates to come with an instruction book and a map of what’s what and what’s where and how to find all the good stuff.
It’s a precious gift.  It’s a sign of love and affection.  Even just sticking your nose inside to smell the goodies is a treat.
Now, I can’t promise you that some of the candies will have you gagging and spitting in the trash can, but I can promise you that you will find plenty of candies to love!
A caution about a box of chocolates:  they are pretty fragile.  Don’t leave them out in the heat or they’ll be a mess.  Don’t just dump them in a random box, but instead keep them organized and orderly in their little crinkly plastic place — then they’re more enjoyable.
The analogy?  Zachary.
He is like a box of chocolates.  He’s wonderful and delightful!  He’s a precious gift of love and affection.
And I could just eat him up!  🙂
While there are delicious surprises, there is never any telling what lies just below his surface.  You might be sorry you took a bite every now and then. . . .  but you can be sure that you will soon find another delightful candy in Zachary.
Yes, he’s fragile.  You must take great care to protect him and nurture him.  You can’t leave him out in the heat, either!  Seriously.  And the more we can keep him in his crinkly plastic tray with all things orderly and where they belong, then the happier everyone will be with the box of chocolates.
Zachary is filled with delicious delights.  He is filled with wonderful surprises.  He blesses us at every turn.
But, oh how I often wish he came with an instruction manual and a special map.  Things would be easier with that.  And I would take fewer bites that I have to spit out.
I think my sense of smell has improved having my box of chocolates in my life.  I have learned that if you’re careful to inspect the outside of the candy and take a deep smell to decide its innards, then you’re less likely to be surprised with a nasty taste.
I absolutely love my big box of chocolates.  It’s a treat everyday!  I’m willing to share my box of chocolates with you, but I choose to keep most of it to myself!  I can’t help it!  I’m a choc-o-holic!  And a Zippy-o-holic!

Reversible, All-Weather Jacket / Vest

We’ve all seen them.  We’ve all wanted one.

It’s a jacket!  It’s a vest!  It’s actually both!

It’s a jacket with removable sleeves for an instant vest so that no matter the weather, you’re covered with just this one item of clothing.

How smart!

It’s perfect!  It’s two for one.  Or really three or four for one.

Looking closer, you see the jacket/ vest’s versatility and usefulness.  There’s a place for everything.  18 POCKETS!  18!  Not sure I could find that many things to carry at once, actually.  That cool guy in the photo can use his calculator without even removing it from that mesh pocket.  Impressive!

What a great and useful garment!

And it is good-looking and fashionable, to boot!

Check it out here.

Yes, it’s everything you’ve wished for . . . everything you need . . . everything you want.  You’re covered.

Done shopping.  Check!

Yep, the Reversible, All-Weather Jacket / Vest.

While it sounds like a commercial and a plea to buy a product, it is actually just my wandering mind making a cute analogy.


He’s certainly my two for one — he’s a great first-born, but he also is a big helper and supporter for our family.  He is often my stability and sanity when things are going crazy.

At first glance, he’s a nice, good-looking kid.  But the more you look . . . the more you dig . . . the more you observe, his qualities abound.  Yes, he’s flexible.  He’s as handy as an 18-pocket jacket/vest.  That’s him.  Velcro, zippers, mesh windows, ID holder, hidden passport pocket . . . he’s got ’em all beat.

Everything you wished for. . . .  yes, that’s Elliot.

He has a heart for God and a heart for good.  His kindness and compassion will snuggle you and keep you warm, and if you need it, just zip off the sleeves and enjoy the coolness of his sense of humor.

Did you notice in the ad that the jacket even folds into itself for easy packing?  Wow.  Now that’s handy.  I think it symbolizes Elliot’s low-maintenance personality.  He “goes along for the ride” quite well.  But if something happens that he needs to speak up on, you can be guaranteed that he’ll pop right out of himself and be heard.  He’s a truth-teller.

Yep, he’s just that great.

I’d tell you to try him on for size, but I’m afraid you’d decide to keep him.  And I kinda like him hanging out in MY closet!  🙂


The Other Daily Stuff

Ok, so maybe the daily stuff is there . . . but it’s this stuff that keeps me going!  Any of this you can relate to?

The feeling of having a clean car — ahhhhh!

The peace and quiet of being in the shower alone — only occasionally interrupted by a sibling argument.

A great heart to heart with my kids.

Hugs from my kids.

The feeling of having everyone back home at the end of the day.

Getting emails from Paul while he’s at work.

Seeing my kids look especially cute some days!

The conversations in the car to and from school each day.

That feeling (every now and then) of seeing the bottom of the laundry basket.

Putting away the vacuum after having finished vacuuming the whole house.

Marking things off of my To Do list.

Having lunch with a friend.

Being very close to the school when the school nurse calls.

Watching PBS with my kids.

Hearing my children laugh.

Hearing my children sing.

Sitting down at the table for coffee with friends.

Pulling out the hidden snacks when the kids are at school.

Getting to the bottom of any kind of pile . . . finally.

Clean sheets on all the beds.

Not one dirty dish in sight.


And this list could go on and on and on and on . . . .   Do you have a few of those things?

The Daily Stuff

Raise your hand if a few of these sound familiar.  Reach for a tissue and cry with me if they all sound familiar!!  😉

There is more laundry than can be done in a day.

Who is coming behind me and messing up these rooms I just cleaned?

Homework x3.  Ugh.

Car trouble.  Trips to the mechanic.

It doesn’t get more routine than changing light bulbs.

Where does all this dust come from?

I’d better run get some groceries since there is nothing to eat.

The boys are nit-picking each other again.

Someone’s playing football in the living room.

How many neighbor kids can we fit in our TV room?

Didn’t I just clean out my car?

More letters to write?  And more research to do?

I have to plan dinner EVERY night?!

I find crispy, dirty socks EVERYWHERE!  (except in the laundry basket!!)

Someone in the family is in a “shredding phase.”  There are little pieces EVERYWHERE!

How many times in one week must I fix the bed tent??

Mom’s Taxi Service . . .  where’s the next stop?  and what time do you want to be picked up?

Kids are disappointed that they didn’t get the part.

Kids get frustrated about their grades — and that their parents care about their grades.

The alarm goes off before I’m ready to wake up.

Tick-tock.  Tick-tock.  Where did that hour just go?

Junk mail.  Junk email.  Junk hung on the front door.

My gas light is on again??

Where have all of our spoons disappeared to??

Is this really just Tuesday?

Which of these can YOU relate to?


Jumping Rope

How’s this for inclusion?

Now this made a happy memory!

Chloe is not a strong jumper and probably wouldn’t be able to hold her balance to jump the rope.  And she can’t have her walker out there to help her balance because then she’d have to lift her walker over the rope each time.  Well, this was a solution that very much made Chloe an important part of our game without highlighting her disabilities.  Sitting in the chair stabilized her enough to allow her to swing her arms and join the game.

Chloe loved playing jump rope with the other girls.  Several times she accidentally dropped the rope while we were swinging it, but she thought it was quite funny and would bury her head in her hands and giggle at everyone’s reaction.  Funny!  And she even whacked Paul with the end of the rope while he was filming!

Chloe is already talking about going back to church so we can jumprope some more.  I think she felt included and valued — and LOVES the feeling!

That’s really all inclusion is.  It’s not that big of a deal and not very difficult . . . .


I had a teacher conference today.  The teacher bragged and bragged about my child.  There are no problems at all.  The teacher reported that my child was “studious and focused.”

Just the kind of parent / teacher conference every parent longs to have.  Yes, I beamed with pride . . . but I was also very surprised.

This was a conference with Zach’s Language Arts teacher.  Proud, yes, because studious and focused are both great qualities to have.  But surprised because no teacher has ever spoken those words about Zach.

Studious and Focused.


I immediately said a prayer, claiming those two attributes for my sweet boy.

This teacher was on maternity leave at the beginning of the year and this week is only her 2nd week to have Zach in class.  But she reported a star student.  Wow!

She even has him last period of the day — a time that it wouldn’t have surprised me if his meds were wearing off by then, but she reported that he’s studious and focused.

I again prayed and asked God to make it so!  I so often wish that something — anything! — were easy for Zach.  I feel like he struggles with every single thing in life.  If he were suddenly studious and focused, then maybe a few things would come easier for him.

The teacher did point out the fact that Zach still reverses his b’s and d’s.  Yes, he’s always done that.  But that was her ONLY concern!

It makes me laugh with absolute joy!  It totally cracks me up and puts a smile on my face!  Yippee!

Zachary — Zippy — Studious and Focused.  Yes, Lord.  Let it be!  Let it be!

Looking Up . . . Looking Out

If you’ve been around here long you know that when I disappear for days at a time, it’s because things are going especially bad or everyday life is just too stressful to find inspiration to write anything worth reading.  And, yes, that’s been the case lately.

We continue to struggle with our school district trying to get the most appropriate education for Chloe.  At every turn, we are faced with more disappointment and more frustration.  It seems each day something else happens to make the situation worse and more concerning.  It is exhausting and all-consuming.

I am certainly guilty of having a one-track mind.  I hardly think about anything else other than our current struggle with the school district.  I can hardly accomplish anything else except the letters and the research.  I seriously have a hard time having a conversation about anything else. 

I am certainly in a little bubble . . . missing things that are going on around me.  I’m quite focused on this task at hand.  Several different times lately I have had the realization that life is going on around me and I’m missing it.  How tragic to miss fun and exciting things with my kids and my husband all because I’m wrapped up in this battle — yes, a battle for my family, for my daughter — but I can’t sacrifice enjoying my family because I’m consumed with fighting for them.

I’ve got to come up for air now and then.  I’ve got to look up from what I’m doing every once in a while.  I’ve got to get up and go outside to play with my kids at some point. 

Yes, I’ve got to look up now and then.

Last night when Elliot and I were driving home from a meeting, it was dark.  There was a man walking down the sidewalk.  He was looking down at his phone, texting while he walked.  He was totally consumed with the conversation he was having on his phone.  He continued to walk down the sidewalk until Whack!  He ran smack dab into a telephone pole!  Seriously!  He immediately laughed at himself as he rubbed the top of his head in pain. 

He should have looked up now and then.

And, yes, I should look up and look out now and then.  I wouldn’t want to run into a telephone pole.  And I wouldn’t want to miss out on valuable time with my family either.

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