Reformed Grits

June 26, 2008, 11:41 am
Filed under: Life

What's a girl to say?  Honestly, life right now is the perfect kind of boring.   We are skating along through our summer. 

No drama whatsoever. 

Which really means not much to say. 

Um, yesterday we went to the pool.  Bee is still jumping in.  Um.  She's talking a lot.  She'll repeat almost anything anyone says.  It's fun that she can communicate. 

My house is pretty clean because work is slowing down thanks to the ever-amazing and efficient Distybug.   Laundry is caught up too. 

We have nothing on the calendar until Monday when we have to take Jojo to his team meeting and shell out the big bucks.  (yawn.)  He's currently running 2.5 miles 4 times a week.  Next week he'll bump it up to 3.0.  Makes me tired just thinking about it. 

It was 99 degrees outside yesterday.  (yawn.)

I've gained like 7 lbs.  I think I'll make some bread today.  With LOTS of flax seed in it. 

Sister is at a friend's house. 

The Poo and JD are playing with the baby.  We painted her fingernails and toenails this morning.  Sugie's too. 

Sugie is all in to Go Fish right now.  We all have to play it with her.  Good times. 

My kids found out their teachers the other night.  Somewhat anti-climatic because they are all good. 

See?  Boring.  Just the boring I love.  I'm not running all over town in a hot car spending gas that costs as much as a gallon of milk.  I'm not drowing in work and worry over my job.  (PRAISE THE LORD!)  I'm not under a pile of laundry.  My kids are gratefully healthy and generally happy.  Life is good, and we are extremely thankful for this respite. 

I love skating.  🙂


We have had a breakthrough, ladies and gentlemen!!
June 22, 2008, 10:28 pm
Filed under: Family

I'm so thrilled tonight, I can't even tell you!

This morning, after her forced shower, I called her in to brush and dry the hair she usually lets air dry since we were going to church.  As I was helping her I spoke with her about how she is getting so much older and how cool it was she was going to logic school (jr high) and how great it was that she was going to her first ice cream social on Tuesday… and that it was a big event and how important it would be for her to look her age…
To which she replied, "I know what you are going to say.  You want me to wear something 'decent.'  Yeah, well, can we go shopping because I don't have anything." 

WELL, YEAH!!!!!!!!

After lunch, she, JD, and I (she wanted him to come because he has fashion taste.  A little too much for his age if you ask me…) went shopping.  We got FOUR OUTFITS.  Read 'em and weep, baby!!  FOUR!!!!!  JD wanted her to get pink and "girlie-prissy" stuff, but I kept telling him that we were NOT there to make her in to someone she wasn't but that we were there to help her FIND her style ala "what not to wear."  (My kids LOVE that show!!!)  When she asked what we were looking for, I just said something that makes her look her age; when she asked what that meant I said, "Well NOT like a teenager because you are not one; but you are not in grammar school anymore either!"

Now, we aren't talking dresses, skirts, skorts, or anything like that.  I'm just talking about something beside jean shorts and huge, baggy Auburn t-shirts!  She got 3 pair of really cute plaid shorts, some more "feminine" cut tshirts (which means, yes there will have to be, um, you know, under "gear" and I can NOT believe she was ok with that!!!)  and one more pair of dark brown shorts.  All long because she doesn't feel comfortable wearing strappy shirts or any clothes like that.  Her things are modest, and a great style for her and who she is… but she looks like she gives a care (which I think she's starting to!)   Oh and she also got PINK in some of the shorts and a PINK shirt, and one shirt even has a FLOWER on it!!!  And she also got some PINK flip-flops!  (And brown too!)

Thank you all for your great advice and prayers!  I think we are ON OUR WAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Danged it I do, danged if I don’t
June 21, 2008, 11:32 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Ok, so I have mentioned that one of my female children doesn't like to look nice.  Ok, so I get it.  Moving on, her first "junior high social" (aka dance) is Tuesday, and if it were up to her, she would go without taking a shower or brushing her hair; she'd wear an Auburn t-shirt and blue jean shorts and her Keens.  And probably a baseball hat. 

You know, I'm really not ok with this. 

I mean, if she wants to wear this every other day of the summer, fine.  (Well, except that not-bathing and not-brushing the hair part.) 

But I really think she should have something cute pretty nice cool to wear.  I don't expect her to be the best dressed there.  I don't expect her to be all girly and want to paint her nails or wear makeup or roll her hair before she goes.  But I don't want her to be a target for riducule either. 

I wanted to put a survey on here to get your wise counsel on this issue but I think you are just going to have to leave a comment.  Seriously.  HELP ME. 

Do I:
1.  Take her shopping and help her pick out something?  (Just go ahead and don't pick this one because she will NOT pick anything out but snarl at everything except football jerseys and Auburn gear.)
2.  Take her shopping and pick out a few outfits and have her pick one?  (Well, she'll just dig in and say NONE.  She'll snarl at this too.)
3.  Leave her at home and just get something for her to wear and tell her she HAS to?
4.  Just let her go in her crappy clothes and just save the clothes money for the therapy she'll need later?
5.  Insert your opinion here. 

I don't mean to make her sound difficult.  On the contrary, she is most pleasant and a very sweet, loving, helpful girl.  I've very proud of her.  She is smart, athletic, funny, and such a servant.  It's just this ONE issue that makes me want to put my head under a pillow for the next 6 or so years. 

Some have suggested that she just doesn't know "how" to pick clothes and needs guidance.  Likely.  But she also couldn't care less.  I'm thankful for a precious daughter who is comfortable in her skin and is secure in who she is.  But I want her to know there is a time for everything under the sun… including a time to dress like your age and gender. 

Come to Jesus…
June 20, 2008, 5:17 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I know, I've been MIA for a while.  My computer (Betty cuz all she says is "BOOP.") is totally messed up.  I have to check mail on the web, and even as I type the letters show up about 3 seconds after I type them.  (Hey, Tasha, could you put in a good word to the man for me??) 
So this will be short, but we've had quite the time at the Grits' house lately.  A lot of it has to do with lazy parenting, aka "grounding."  Anyone noticed that it doesn't work, and it gets so complicated (are they grounded until daddy gets home?  Or until tomorrow when they wake up?  If no computer, does that mean they can do the Wii or PS2?  And if they can't, can they use their DS?  Kill me now.)  that it makes it harder on ME than them.  And are you still grounded?  Oh I forget…
It's been out of control around here.  Fighting, meanness, potty mouth, etc.  I just locked myself outside yesterday and talked extensively to the man in charge.  I mean, the one on earth.  And individually, we talked to the Man in charge as well.  I have been so discouraged by the direction we have been going.  Yesterday, in the car alone with Jojo, he asked me, "Mom, you seem down.  Is everything ok?"  I wanted to scream, "NO it's not ok!  When did my children turn to brats and smart mouth and talk back and bully and potty mouth and… I don't know what else!!!!!!"  But I told him how daddy and I never thought we'd have anything but a family that honored the Lord and ours does not. 
We had a nice time when Mr. Grits came home and for a small moment I thought he was going to blow off my rampage (forgive me for thinking that, dear, I should know better.)  But after a bit I heard him in the basement.  He was woodworking.  Hm.  I descended the stairs, rounded the corner and saw him crafting the mother of all paddles.  (insert evil laugh here…)
***(Here's where I say that I'm going to use "discipline" instead of the word you would normally use when referring to a paddle.  I don't want any flames.  If I wanted your opinion… I'd give it to you.)
No, really it does NOT give me pleasure at all to "discipline" my children.  But in years past, the spoon we've used when they are little has held little authority for the bigger ones who declared "Mom's "disciplinings" don't hurt" (that went over well, I'm sure you can imagine), and I'm too much of a weakling to do anything with the belt.  I just don't have good aim cuz I'm kind of a spaz.  I didn't want to beat the child; just "discipline" them. 
My sweet hubby, in our family devotional time, shared in scripture where this "procedure" indicates love for a child because we want them to recognize that actions have consequences, blah blah blah.  And frankly, we don't enjoy brats.  And with the potential for 6 brats we thought investing in a "board of education" was cheaper than bail bond. 
He lovingly and clearly outlined what we expected.  Nothing new to them– just that now we were enforcing it and that "groundings" for all intents and purposes were a thing of the past. 

Let's just say, we had "come to Jesus" at our house. 

Today has been, "Let me help you, mommy!"  "Thanks for taking us to the pool!"  "Why don't I carry that?" 

Don't we all do a little better knowing that we have to be accountable for our actions?  I know I do.  >:-)

Was just thinking…
June 14, 2008, 10:31 pm
Filed under: Faith, Family, Life

Today I was talking to my beloved about what I was doing 2 years ago today.  The week before, we had had VBS at church and I had brought snacks for the teachers which basically meant I dropped stuff off in the morning, had my kids in VBS all day, and had the day free.  That whole week, Caroline and I, who were due 2 days apart, utilized that time by driving all over town in search of the last of our baby needs.  We each got an infant car seat, pacifiers, burp clothes, and other last minute things.  This pregnancy was the only time I have EVER been ready before my due date– and I was only 33+ weeks then!  I tend to go late (JD was 12 days late!) and I really thought I had time.  My pregnancy had been perfect.  I felt good; I was happy as a lark (no pregnancy blues I'd had in the past), I was sleeping, and I was full of joy.  I actually was enjoying being pregnant!  
But let's back up… do you know what a gift my girl was?  We announced our pregnancy with John Knox on the day we took Sugie's baby bed down.  When we told the children, JD cried– no, sobbed  –big, beautiful tears of joy.   He was smiling so big I thought his face would crack.  They were all so excited!  They were SO happy!  Every conversation they had was about "the baby" and how thrilled they were that another one was coming.  They couldn't wait to tell all their friends at school and church (one of our children actually stood in the hall of the Sunday school rooms and said, "Hey everybody!  We are having another baby!!!")
Almost 3 months later, when we gathered them around us again to tell them that our baby was dead, the scene could not have been worse.  I won't tell you what it was like in that moment, but telling them was almost harder then hearing the news for myself.  They openly grieved for a long time over the death of what we found out the next day was their brother. 
After all was said and done, Mr. Grits was over the baby-business.  He was ready to "end" our childbearing years and my stomach churned whenever he talked about it.  I could not fathom closing that chapter of our lives on such a bitter note.  He received wise counsel to not be hasty in this decision on the heels of such loss.  I was desperate to have another baby, immediately.  But we decided to hold off until we could make a better decision that would not be made early in grief.  We would wait and think about it again, say in 6 months or so.  Maybe at least after his due date.  We didn't know. 
3 or so months later, we had been at a soccer party where Taco Soup was served.  When I came home, I could not quit burping onions (sorry to be so gross.)  I remember telling Mr. Grits, "I don't know what's wrong with me… This only happens (it then dawned on me) when I'm pregnant!"  I happened to have some pregnancy tests in the bathroom left over from… well, who am I kidding– I had them around all the time!  I took one, and had a faint positive I thought.   Sure enough… I was pregnant.  And not even late yet.  (Do I know my body, or do I know my body.  Say it with me, sistahs!) 
So back to the awesome pregnancy I was having… when all of a sudden I started with preeclampsia symptoms which I was told was impossible.  (Guess what?  "With God, nothing will be impossible")  I wrote her birth story here which you are welcome to go back and read.  Why on earth would I get this "impossible" case of toxemia when I've lost one baby and this pregnancy was going so well?  Why God?  I was in terrible physical pain and the joyous birth moment I had anticipated– oh, how we talked about the swell of emotions we would feel as we heard this baby's first cry!– was replaced with a little 4 lb 2 oz baby, a life-threatening disease, and so much nausea that I don't even remember her cry for all the throwing up. 
Yet, the more I ponder it, the more I see beauty from ashes.  This baby is a gift.  Yeah, yeah, I know– they all are– but she's like redemption. From simple things like being ready at home for her, and the time I had to prepare ahead of time when I didn't know she'd be early.   And even from being sick, I can tell you that God is good.  We didn't know it at the time but after she was born the doctor told us that her placenta was extremely under-sized, and had a huge clot under it that was cutting off her life-force.  This "bad disease" saved her life.  She would have died before we reached her due date. You tell me by whom we live and breathe and have our being?  Who knows all things?  Who puts to death and gives life; who wounds and heals, and no one is delivered but by His hand?  Who is in heaven and does whatever pleases Him?  And Who makes everything beautiful in His time? 
My God.  That's who.
So on the eve of this father's day, I give honor to my Father.  Take it from me… He's worthy.

… the Lord hath anointed me to… bind up the
brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the
prison to them that are bound… to comfort all that mourn;  To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of
heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of
the Lord, that he might be glorified.
Isaiah 61:1-3

Like sands through the hourglass…
June 13, 2008, 5:06 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I've become aware recently of the fleeting of time.  Now, before you roll your eyes and think I'm just waxing nostalgic, give me a moment so that you too can recognize that the precious days we have are slipping though our fingers like water. 

– I was telling someone today that I was going to a wedding this weekend and it had been FOREVER since I'd been to a wedding.  Then I realized the last wedding I went to was Katie's.  She's been married over two years now.  And before that, she'd been hanging out at our house for two and a half years.  Yet it seems like just the other day she asked if I could bring my kids home from school and I fretted because she didn't have carseats for my kids… who are now 13 and almost 12 and almost 9.  I'm glad I let her anyhow.

-My baby– my gift— will be two on Monday.   And when I think how BIG my other children seemed at two (practically grown, you know) I can hardly stand it.  At two, we've always taken down the crib and put them in "big beds."  But… she's a BABY?!  How could that be?  Yet this "baby" is now jumping off the side of the pool and needs no adult interaction to make it to the surface and paddle to the stairs.  (She does wear a floatie– don't freak on me!)  I've hardly adjusted to the fact that she's big enough for her poop to stink, much less face forward in her carseat, and now she's old enough that some would already be talking potty training with her!  The last time I took down a crib was the day that I announced another pregnancy.  I don't think I've ever taken down a crib without the expectation of a new baby.  Until this time.  My childbearing days are over and when I take down this crib, it won't go up until I'm expecting a grandbaby. 

-My sweet husband, who despite the perceived implication in the last post is not a party-boy, mentioned to me the other day that what we do for soccer for our oldest is going by quickly and that we should do it with the thought in mind that he won't even be in our home but for a few more years and then it will be over.  What?  I vividly remember his first soccer meeting when he was four and would NOT let go of his daddy's leg.  We thought it was going to be a nightmare.  Going back even further, I remember when I was dating Mr. Grits he officiated soccer for the local Y and mentioned how precious it was that there was a little boy there wearing the teeniest Umbros ever– and how one day he wanted a boy who would play soccer too.   None of our other boys love the "beautiful game" like Jojo does.  Our one "season" of this in life is 2/3 over. 

-Again with the oldests– as we see them approaching "life changes" in their teen years and morphing into the physical adults we see, I wonder what they will look like.  I realize that my oldest is a year away from being how old I was when I began dating Mr. Grits.  Huh?  No way.  I think of what I was like at 13 and hope he's not going to be like me.  So far, so good. 

-Finally with my 3, 4, and 5th… they don't get lost, I assure you.  They take up more than 50% of my time for sure.  Today I played Clue with my 3rd and 2nd born.  How long until they don't want to play?  Not long.  My 5th– who is still a baby in my mind– is starting K5 in the fall.  If not for Bee, I'd have no one at home.  A virtual "empty nest" during the day.  I think of my 4th child, Poo, who will be entering the grade I taught years ago– 2nd.  Those who were my second graders are now halfway through college.  Next, that will be Poo.  This boggles my mind.  He still cries when he falls down and gets hurt.  He's not ready for the pain of college. 

I have to go to the kitchen now.  They are all hungry.  The meal tonight will soon be forgotten, but the food, now matter how insignificant, will help them continue to grow in to the people that they will be tomorrow.  I have to remember that today they will need spiritual food and nourshment too.  That their mama is accountable to seize this fleeting moment and feed them. 

Good to be…
June 10, 2008, 7:21 pm
Filed under: I plead ignorance, Travel

It's good to be home, and it's also good to get away.  We thoroughly enjoyed our time in the Crescent City… but can I say, I'm SO sheltered!  I'm not used to seeing homeless people, people asleep lying on sidewalks, people talking to themselves, broken-down strippers–I mean, dancers falling asleep on their feet in the daytime, porn posters in windows of buildings, women pulling out their "bosoms" just for the asking and to get a cheap strand of beads, and open-containers in every hand on the street.  I spent the first 24 hours or so getting used to NOT staring and finding our way around the streetcar system as well as learning the streets to avoid. 

We went with no real agenda other than eating well and relaxing.  We did both.  I don't feel at home in the bar-life.  I wasn't wired that way and although Mr. Grits was interested in hanging out and enjoying the nightlife– well, I'm just not wired that way.  I feel VERY old now.  Even in college, before I got married, I didn't do the party stuff.  I was more of a stay home and watch a movie kinda girl.  I'm not sure why my beloved found that appealing but I'm glad he did. 

We ate at The Central Grocery Saturday upon arrival, wolfing down a whole muffaletta (which we learned the hard way is pronounced "moof a LOTTA."  My teacher's phonetic sensibilities were screaming at that.  Kind of like Brett Favre.  Why is his name pronounced "Farve" and not "FAV-re."  But I digress…)  This was a food-highlight for us and we were disappointed that it was closed both Sunday and Monday so we didn't get to enjoy it again.  That night, while nursing a headache, we ate at Deanie's which we might have enjoyed more if we hadn't pigged out at lunch.  I just wasn't ready for a huge dinner but I got one anyhow.  It was fried and heavy and, well, to be honest, I just would have been happy with something lighter. 

Sunday, we slept in and ate breakfast at the hotel.  After venturing out, we had a "picky lunch" at the renown Cafe Du Monde which is like the dirtiest place ever.  We each swallowed 3 beignets whole and sufficiently covered ourselves in powdered sugar.  It's crazy how much they put on there!  I'm not a coffee drinker, but I asked for a frozen cafe au lait and they were out.  Bummer.  

That afternoon, we milked our VisiTour pass by riding all the street cars just to give our poor legs a break.  We had walked some serious mileage.  It was fun to see the beautiful houses in the Garden District on St. Charles.  I was praying, "Dear Lord, could you let us get a church that has a house like this for a parsonage?  It'd be ever so cool!  Amen." 
Along the way, we passed Zea's which has to be the favorite place we ate the whole time.  It was fabulous and they made REAL mojitos– none of that fake stuff.  I'd really like one right now, please.  We determined it would be in our interest to plant some fresh mint in a pot upon our return home for this very reason.  Yum.  My beloved had Thai Ribs and grits which were YUM-O, and I had rotisserie beef, since I'm a major red meat eater, with grits and sweet potatoes.  Then I died and went to heaven.  (Hat tip to Karl and Mara for this restaurant recommendation!!!) 
We rode the stretcher streetcar back which stopped right in front of our hotel (woohoo!  Nice to not have to walk after THAT meal!)  Later, I really wanted some dessert and we searched everywhere, and would you believe no one serves ice cream there?  I couldn't find any, anyhow.  So we wound up topping it off with a jamoca shake from Arby's.  No, I'm not kidding.

Sunday, breakfast at the hotel again.  We packed up and then took off in search of more food.  For real, all we did was eat.  I gained like 5 pounds.  I think I only got a frap at Starbucks though.  While walking around, around 2 or so, we stopped at Gordon Biersch's (I think this is a chain) and were just going to enjoy the brewery but decided to get a salad.  Then more drinks.  Then we split a pizza.  And an order of asparagus.   We spent like 2 hours there I think but they weren't crowded in the middle of the day so we didn't mind holding the table.  And my honey is a good tipper, so it's all good. 

At that point, we decided, what the heck, and thought we'd scope out where our bus to the airport would stop.  Frankly, we were less than thrilled with the neighborhood and the bus-mates we'd be sharing, so we sprang for a taxi instead.  Our great driver showed us all the post-Katrina stuff and told us all about his experiences during that time.  He was great. 

We totally enjoyed ourselves.  We were lazy.  We laughed.  We put no pressure on ourselves to see and do everything.  It was really great.  I miss him already.  On the way home, I said, "Let's not go home!  Let's run away and go to the Caribbean and live on the beach."  He looked at me like I was crazy. 
Nah, he's right.  We were ready to go home and see our kids.