Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Rotten though Charming

I spend my entire day keeping this guy from climbing anything remotely climbable and those things defnitely not. Or keeping him from trying to refresh himself in toilet water, or eat something out of the trash. Or from ripping folded clothes apart. Or from surfing the internet, or calling Kenya.

There are times where I exhaustively express: "Please just stop John!".

Then, he looks at me like this with his rotten, charming grin - and reminds me it is all well worth it.

Same Sex Schools? Yes, Please.

While both of my older children started school last week, I have deemed this week as the first real week - with full days, normal schedules and homework. Tonight was a trying night around the homestead because of the latter. Rather than discuss specifics - because I do respect my top two "tween's" need for some privacy (they are old enough to read this blog, and do) - I thought I would just vent my frustration in a very generalized manner. 

Several years ago I researched the different learning methods of boys vs girls, as well as the advantages/disadvantages of same sex schooling vs coed classrooms. I recognized the reality of some very real benefits to a same sex education. Mostly because well, boys and girls just learn differently. In my naive, financially immature mind (money is awesome when it is your parents!) - I assumed it would be a given that my children would attend all boy, or all girl, private institutions.

Then, I grew up.

Unfortunately, I cannot afford to send my children to same sex, private schools here in my city. They both attend a coed, public, intermediate school (grades 4-6) in a better preforming suburb district. They, like many children, learn in classrooms without tailored instruction, based on each child's learning styles.

(Now, before I go any further, I do not want to imply any kind of dissatisfaction with our teachers.  I have the utmost respect for those who assume this responsibility. It is most definitely one of the most under appreciated, underpaid, demanding careers one could possibly chose. Teachers don't become teachers to achieve fame or become rich - they become teachers because of a genuine desire and passion for educating children. It must be incredibly difficult, and at times, very frustrating to manage 25 kids who all learn differently, and then to be held accountable for their performances. )

But... I strongly believe in the difference between the female/male brain and encounter the differences on a daily basis. Here are some differences that I wholeheartedly believe and observe as truth:

  • practice neat handwriting
  • follow directions very carefully
  • are better listeners
  • ask questions when they are confused
  • typically are more cautious
  • work well in groups
  • hesitant in learning new math concepts
  • able to sit still
  • content with messy handwriting 
  • quickly skim directions, or assume they know them already
  • visit the teacher as a last resort, become agitated when confused.
  • take more risks
  • prefer to learn alone
  • act out during times they find to be boring
  • not intimidate by new math concepts
  • prefer to move, and to have space. 

There are many,many more arguments and points that could be made. This is just a short list of what I find to be the most obvious differences in how boys and girls learn.  I have to keep these in mind as we attempt our homework, as both of them are very, very different in their approach.

I do not know how teachers handle different learning styles and adapt their teaching styles accordingly. Or do they? Are they mandated to just teach in one specific style, and hope the kids adapt their own learning styles? Whatever the answer - I certainly appreciate the role they play in my children's education - and cannot fathom the dilemma in trying to accommodate all students and still preform with high standards. I do not envy them.It is hard enough for me to understand and try to manage two children, with 1 hour of homework each.

All that to say, I would totally send my kids to an all girl, all boy school if I were able. They would probably protest, so I guess they should be glad that we are poor.  /evil laugh.

On the bright note: Everyone DID finish their homework in a little under an hour. And, I didn't require any wine to recover.

Very Fitting

I am pretty rough on things - amongst others: t-shirts, flip flops, digital cameras and...Bibles.

My Bible always falls apart at the binding - hard back ones, leather ones, you name it. I have always been a little ashamed of that fact - like: Helloooo Me.....Can't you be a more gentle with such an important book?!  I was just giving myself this chat as we just fixed my current Bible by taping the cover back on with some clear heavy tape. It isn't sooo noticeable.

I heard the best quote today and it made me smile:

"A Bible that is falling apart, usually belongs to someone who isn't."


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Single Girl, Married Girl

It has been a sorchingly hot minute since I since I posted some music and I loved this when a friend shared it today. It deserves to be shared. It amused me and hit the musical spot.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Sweetest Moments

 Sometimes I feel like the luckiest girl in the world to witness moments like these.

Cruise Ships, Toilets, Failing Hotels, And Drug Tests

I have been having the most, THE MOST, bizarre dreams lately.

There was the one where Wil and I were leaving the downtown of our capital city on a frequently traveled highway. Upon looking back, I notice this gigantic cruise ship floating in the middle of the city. It keeps floating and floating, and I tell Wil that it looks like it is going to tip over, like someone had forgotten to anchor it. We joked about how stupid they were, like: "Um, how are you going to just leave a cruise ship floating around downtown?!".  We, like everyone else on the highway, pull over to take a picture of this nonsense, still making fun of the idiots who obviously failed at their jobs. All is pretty amusing and dandy until word spreads amongst the crowd that there were actual people on that ship, and we were standing their laughing while they were drowning. I woke up entirely creeped out and disturbed at that point.

Different dream where the neighbor across from us was moving (she actually is) and was sending us some stuff she was not taking (she actually has been). Only this time - she sent over these two HUGE toilet shaped storage boxes. I am talking giant loo like replicas with the tank part being storage. I was wickedly perplexed as to why she had these things and why no one else in my home thought it was strange. Newsflash: IT IS STRANGE, and I am a plumbers daughter!

Another day last week, I dreamt I was in a very nice hotel, staying as a guest. When I went to the front desk in the morning, the staff knew who I was (although I didn't know them) and expected me to work. I could see they were floundering, very busy and very understaffed. I began working there and tried to call Wil to let him know I wasn't coming home that I HAD to work because the success of this hotel depended on me being there. I couldn't reach him, though I called him over and over and over and he storms into the hotel as mad and as mean as a snake. I then got chastised by what I guess would've been my boss.

And then tonight, the dream that inspired my need to vent via this post. I dreamt that my oldest son had hung a freakishly large sheet across across the front of my home. The cops had to come to cut it down (it was tied to electrical poles) and lecture Jakob. He was not in trouble, but the police officers decided to investigate me because apparently I looked um...stoned. I pleaded with them that I was indeed not and would gladly take a drug test because I had nothing to hide. The drug tests were this vile of what the cops compared to an LSD like liquid, to which I immediately failed. I begged them to give me another test because helloooo....I had not been using drugs. They then put this crystal like powder into my hands and it would change colors based on what drugs were in my system. The powder remained white with the exception of one tiny blue crystal which apparently indicated I was using some very heavy narcotics. I kept pleading with them that I was only taking zyrtec and benadryl (true stories - my allergies really are terrible currently) and that there was no way they could arrest me for these. I kept telling them that I had zero money and would be wrongfully stuck in jail for a very long time. The one cop then secretly gave me a pinch of chewing tobacco to keep under my tongue as that would help me pass the test. Except...I was also chewing gum, so the tobacco got all mixed up in it and eliminated any chance at freedom. Thank God the doorbell woke me up at that point.

So random, so strange.

I am not one to believe in dream symbols, though, I will admit to totally googling Toilets in dreams. Apparently, there is not too many used as storage bins. People are so weird..... ;)

I want my dreams of cupcakes, fancy dresses and Prince Charming back, please. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Happy Birthday - Spartan Style.

Jakob celebrated his eleventh birthday today - 11!


There were two things he was very specific about wanting on his special day: Filet Mignon and a Sparta cake. (Yes, THAT Sparta. Wilo and Jake both share a love for history, violence, and warriors. I don't discourage it, figure it is bonding, right? )

I knew the fancy steak would be rather easy to accomplish as his papa has worked at the shwankiest fine dining steak house in town for a very long time. Aaaand, he would also be home to cook the darn thing because the last time I tried to cook us very expensive steak, very fancy like, it turned out to be such a sad waste of what could have been a very delicious meal. Who knew you could butcher the cow twice?! I totally should have waited for Wilo, sigh. I digress. Jake had a elegant dinner to celebrate his day - wine glasses and classy construction paper menu included.

I was not sure how we were going to accomplish the SPARTA! cake. We spent last week looking online for ideas and came up short. Apparently there is not a huge market for reasonably priced SPARTA! figurines. Also, unlike the girls birthdays who always seem to fall when things are peachy financially, I could not call up our favorite, fancy bakery to make our creative ideas into an edible masterpiece.  I told Wil to just stop and pick out a cake, or cupcakes, or ice cream cones from the grocery store last night, and ultimately Jakob would be happy with whatever we found.

Wilo came home and proudly showed me the cake he had, and also a tube of black icing. I say: "Oh, good! So, we can write Happy Birthday on it, yes?" He says: "No, so I can make him a SPARTA! cake."  Um....Ohhhkaaay.

That man is a good one for so many reasons, but this one just took. the. cake.

Jakob absolutely LOVED it when he saw it today. I mean, giggling with delight kinda loved it. I was too busy tearing up,smiling and giggling with him to take a picture but it was priceless and made his entire day. I am smiling right now remembering his pure, Spartan joy.

Thanks to Wilo - the best dad ever!

5th Grade, 4th Grade

THIS is exactly how I want to remember them on their first day of the 2011 school year.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Good Bye Summer, Hello School Year.

School starts in the morning!



Things I will miss about Summer Vacation:
  • Sleeeeeping in (as much as a mom of four possibly can)
  • The company of all four of my children home together
  • The silliness induced laughter
  • 8 extra hands
  • NO homework (shhhh. Homework is not fun, even as a parent)
  • Varying bedtimes
  • Morning God Time
  • Singstar competitions (man, oh man, I do love that game)
  • Flip flops and Tank Tops (dumbest dress code restrictions, ever)
  • Exhausted Children (playing outside all day really does do that to them! God bless nature.)
Things I will NOT miss about Summer Vacation:
  • My door bell ringing every 5 minutes
  • My door opening and closing every 5 minutes
  • The bickering over the smallest of things (like, "Who is the better_______"? Insert something trivial here: singer, sewer, dancer, prancer, etc.)
  • Having neighboring children tattle on other neighboring children (Go tell YOUR mom!)
  • Hearing, "I'm hungry!" every 15 minutes
  • Sharing the computer
  • Arguing over whether or not swimming = bathing (It does not, in case you were wondering)
  •  Dirty bath water after playing outside all day (seriously. gross.)
  • Varying bedtimes ( I do appreciate when 8pm = quiet!) 
I am as sad to see summer go as I am happy to see the school year arrive. There are pros and cons to both. I am excited and hopeful for my top two children this academic year, and hope we all contribute and commit to the best year yet. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Monday Night

Monday Night.

There used to be a time in my life when Monday nights meant shaking my bones and swirling my skirts at a local, campus dive bar, dancing to a Grateful Dead cover band playing many of my favorite songs. Even though it has been several years, and that dark, dank bar has since been demolished and the band disbanded (I believe) -  I cannot type or say Monday Night without thinking of those days with a bit of  hippy, hazey nostalgia.

Toady's Monday night is a bit different. Instead of Guinness or Oatmeal Stout, I am waiting on coffee to finish. I suppose I could hop out of this chair and dance a bit, but my gaucho's don't sway as perfectly as a long, beautiful skirt. I can however, enjoy some of my favorite songs as I prepare to relax for the evening.

Wil is working late and attending a fantasy football draft so he will be home laaaate. The big kids have finally settled down in their beds as they desperately fail at adapting to an earlier bedtime as summer is mere hours from ending. John has been asleep for a while and is probably dreaming of ways to woo me even more. Raegan is curled up on the couch as to not distract her older siblings. Thanks be to everything good that Jerry is drowning out the Dora.

Me? I am either gonna be right here listening to music and trying to write and not just stumble around the internet. Or.... Ill be right over there watching seasons of The Office, which by the way, is one of the funniest things I have ever seen. I love everything about that show; I laugh loudly and  heartily at nearly every episode. I did not watch it in its prime, so I have had to catch up. Thanks to the beauty of netflix - I have made it through to the 3rd season with like 4 more to go!

Actually. Everyone is sleeping now. The coffee smells to be done. I think it is a perfect time to go put my feet up for a bit and enjoy the last night of summer vacation, knowing tomorrow will be a very big day filled with preparation and excitement for schools debut on Wednesday.

Before I leave, here is one that I can listen to anywhere, under any circumstance, and genuinely smile - Franklin's Tower  I really enjoyed the faster tempo on this version.

Friday, August 19, 2011

He Is Rotten; I Am Smitten

Ten Years Married

Wil and I celebrated being married for TEN YEARS yesterday.


Sometimes it feels like the past 3,650 days, 87,600 hours and 5,256,000 minutes have passed in a blink of an eye.

Other times, I look back and think of how much ground we have covered and how much wild terrain we have made it through.

It has not been an easy journey the entire way, but it has all been very worth it.

Here is to many more, my sweet Wilo.

I love, admire, respect and appreciate you SO MUCH more than I did a decade ago.  I am so grateful for your devotion, forgiveness, and unconditional love.

I am one lucky girl.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Science And Religion

I loved this quote from Albert Einstein that we stumbled upon today.

"Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind."

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Coincidence? No. A Deliberate Message? YES!

Just a little bit ago, I was pondering a specific problem that leaves me very anxious if I think about it too much. I literally threw my hands up in the air and said: God - I just don't know what to do! I then prayed specifically that God would speak directly to me through one of the devotions saved in my devotional email folder.

Since I have received this series of devotions since 2007 and have 1,108 of them to chose from, I closed my eyes and trusted I would land on one He wanted me to read. I clicked several times through the many pages before blindly landing on page 18. I followed my same method and quickly clicked down the long list and selected a post.

At that same moment, John started crying.  I immediately got up to care for him, before opening that selected mystery post. As I jaunted up the steps, a bit of excitement was brewing - I was looking forward to seeing what God had to say to me. While I was comforting him I prayed that I would be able to sense Gods meaning loud and clear through the authors words. John quickly settled down and I returned to this well worn seat in front of my computer. I closed my eyes once more and opened them in genuine anticipation.

This was the devotion that was not-so-randomly selected.

 When You Don't Know What to Do
"We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you."
2 Chronicles 20:12b (NIV)         
5 a.m. Wide awake. Thoughts racing and whirling. Chest tight with anxiety.
My mom recently suffered a stroke, and my concern about her weighs heavily, causing my thoughts to spin. How long will Mom need to be in a rehab facility? How's my Dad holding up? Who will watch the boys when my husband's traveling for work and I need to be away to help my parents? We are in a situation we've never been in before, and we're finding that there are so many questions we can't answer.
There's a good chance you, too, are familiar with those middle of the night anxious thoughts and unanswered questions racing through your mind. Maybe your worry is about finances, a job or lack of one, a wayward child, a health challenge, marriage problems, or extended family problems. Or maybe your worries are not about big situations, but the accumulation of smaller challenges burdens your mind and heart. Your thoughts whirl as you wonder about the solution to your problems.
As I lay in bed that early morning, I remembered a familiar and favorite Bible verse: "We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you." I got up from bed, went downstairs, and opened my Bible to today's key verse which perfectly captured what I was feeling and thinking.
By reading the context of 2 Chronicles 20 we learn some key principles to follow in anxious situations. When King Jehoshaphat is told that "a great multitude" is coming to wage war against him, we see how just like us, the king is afraid (2 Chronicles 20:2, 3, NAS).
Instead of sinking in the quicksand of his own fearful thoughts or the inscrutability of the situation, King Jehoshaphat purposefully chooses to focus on the sovereignty of God. The king "turned his attention to seek the Lord and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah" (v. 3).
Through prayer and fasting, the king and the people of Judah acknowledge what God has done in the past, and they voice their faith in what he will do in their future. They acknowledge they are powerless, but God is completely powerful.
In the same way through my mom's situation, I have seen how quickly my thoughts could turn to the problems I don't know how to solve. What will we do if she doesn't recover her ability to walk? What if she needs a nurse full-time?
I am learning, however, to turn from these thoughts by thanking my sovereign God for all the ways He has been faithful in the past and all the ways I see His faithfulness in the present circumstances. I am learning to ask Him for wisdom for every little detail. And I am setting my eyes on Him as I wait for His answers.
What problems in your life seem unsolvable or unanswerable? Follow King Jehoshaphat's example. Turn from your own anxious thoughts, acknowledge you don't have the answers, and set your eyes on the One who does.
Dear Lord, I praise You for being a sovereign God. You are in control. I don't have to be. When I don't know what to do, Lord, thank You that I can ask You for wisdom and guidance. You are my Wonderful Counselor (Isaiah 9:6). I put in Your hands each of the concerns weighing on my heart and mind. Thank You that I can entrust them into Your loving care. I set my eyes on You, confident You will come to my rescue. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Isn't God just awesome?! I read that and all I could do was giggle, smile, throw my hands up and proclaim my love for Jesus.

Mini Master Chef

He is a natural. 

(p.s. so pleased with the outcome of the real Master Chef competiton! The winner was my favorite all along.)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

From Peaceful to Emo to Pleasant

I am a wee bit emotional and very tired.

I tossed and turned last night and was up and down. That is not typical for me - I only awake to the sound of crying children and otherwise sleep oh so soundly.

(Tangent: Speaking of crying children - Raegan woke up around midnight last night as I was waiting on her daddy to return home from work. She was hysterical as she had a vwery, vwery, vwery bad dweam. She was also more than half asleep as I was comforting her on my lap when suddenly, I felt a very warm, tingly sensation. Nope, wasn't the love I have for my gorgeous four year old daughter washing over me, it was instead: PEE. She totally peed on me. I wasn't mad at her, of course, because really she didn't realize what she was doing but um, it is never lovely being peed upon.)

Anyhow. I slept for all of 3 hours last night and had church this morning. I was heavily tempted not to go, but praise Jesus made it ( six weeks so far!). We had the girls favorite lunch - pasta and cheeeeesy sauce and settled down for a long nap, as Baby John parties it up in the church nursery during his normal morning rest time. I look forward to this big family nap all week long. It is the only time where everyone settles down and just...rests. I suppose that is what God intended with the Sabbath: Worship Him then rest.
“Six days you shall do your work, but on the seventh day you shall rest; that your ox and your donkey may have rest, and the son of your servant woman, and the alien, may be refreshed. Exodus 23:12
 I woke up from the nap in a good mood.


I painted my nails black and took sad self portraits myspace style.

(Ok, maybe not that much but I became TOTALLY emotional, or EMO as the kids call it these days.)

Everything that could possibly bother me or stress me out DID. On top of those things, stupid things like my Subway card with lots of points for free subs suddenly registering inactive - forcing me to make dinner (not spending $ when it should be free!). CBS airing golf (seriously, who cares about golf???) and preempting my Big Brother (my favorite show all year), kids knocking at my door for the billionth time (par for the course around here - nice one me!) and not having any soda (my fattening drink of choice).

I went up to my room to pray because when we are down and grumpy, the devil likes to attack. Turning it over to God is our first and best defense. Also, I am the cheerleader here and when mama is frowning, everyone is frowning; it is not fair to all of them. I have so many things to be thankful for that I start to feel guilty for being grumpy.  When I started to pray, I couldn't find the words which doesn't happen to me often. All I could do was cry. I felt this verse to the fullest:
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. Romans 8:26
  Amen, right?!

There is a certain peace that does transcend all understanding that is only found in the Lord. My circumstances did not change, but my attitude adjusted. It is an attribute of His grace that is available to anyone.

I am ending this day thankful. Thankful for God making us emotional, and more so grateful that He knows how we feel even when we cannot express it. I am thankful for the top two kids away enjoying time with their friends. Thankful for the bottom two being so exhausted and calling it an early night. Thankful for the relaxing evening with Wilo. Thankful he did the dishes and told me to write. Thankful Big Brother aired later. Thankful for all things great, and all things trivial.

My wish for all of you is to feel the same. As I read this week: There is no line between gratitude and ingratitude; it is either one or the other.

 I am grateful.

Have a good week!


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Friday, August 12, 2011

A Bunch Of Snots

Today was gorgeous - fresh air does so much for the mind.

Being able to leave the windows open all night and all day today has been delightful.


We are battling a summer time cold, or our allergies are back full raging force. I have not decided yet. John, Raegan and I have dry coughs, and very runny noses.

Do you have any idea how much fun it is to chase down a lightening fast 13 month old with a tissue for the 1,000th time?  He has no idea what the clear funk pouring out of his nose is, and to him, it is one more thing to discover using all his senses.


(Definitely, Not Really.)

Pray that we are on the mend sooooon!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Overwhelmed with Love

Today, I was overwhelmed with love.

I received a visit from my Grandparents and my Aunt & Uncle. They were delivering books and a bookshelf for us, but actually delivered me absolute joy. I loved seeing them. I loved watching Raegan look through the children's books with my Aunt. I loved listening to my Grandpa and Wilo talk. My heart soared as Baby John showered affection on my Grandma - complete with kisses.

Makes me tear up just now writing about it.

God bestows blessings upon us in all forms. Today I was blessed by their love, kindness, and company.

Nearly Depants ( Or...Deskirtted)

When Baby John wants picked up, he wants it NOW.

Deny him and he will climb you.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Remebering My 30th

I had an absolutely wonderful Birthday!

It started shortly after midnight when a neighbor friend knocked on my door and delivered me one of my favorite cakes ever, complete with a candle and birthday sentiments.

Wil returned home from work shortly there after armed with a ton of birthday goodies for me to enjoy. He went out of his way to make today special for me - and I cannot thank him enough. August is a busy month for us with my birthday, our anniversary, Jakob's Birthday and the start of school - so, he has never been able to have my birthday off. He made sure to make it a priority this year and set out to treat me like a queen. He accomplished his goal, and I am soooo thankful to have him and to have had such a blessed day.

My birthday was filled with my favorite things - here are some glimpses.

(Not pictured: The beauty of sleeping in while he made a huge, delicious breakfast complete with sausage gravy that was so good I could have bathed in it; My four beautiful children and their many hugs; the plethora of  Happy Birthday wishes from facebook friends; the visit from a dear friend who has always made a point to remember my birthday; the neighborhood kids each knocking on my door and wishing me well multiple times - complete with song; the long awaited book I have heard much about; and my sweet, sweet Wilo.)

Happy 20th Birthday from 30 Year Old Me

Dear 20 year old Melissa -

First off, can I just say that you look fabulous? Stunning, actually.  Though, I know that even though you are barely a size 8, you sometimes doubt it and look in the mirror and wonder what the long term effects of having a baby have done to your figure. STOP THAT. For serious, girlfriend. Aaand, rock that natural hair color, for soon, after many coloring attempts, you will forget what that color actually looks like and have to refer to pictures to jog your memory.

Secondly - Happy Birthday. You are 20 today; I am 30. Geeze, you are such a baby, barely even an adult. You can't even drink legally. In 9 days you will marry your beau, the father of your current and future children. You stress to everyone around you that you completely know what you are doing, and are very mature beyond your years. You are - to a degree, but you sincerely lack life experience, so no, you don't have it all figured out, despite how much you think you do.

I am pleased to say that ten years later you are still married to him, and your family has grown exponentially. All I am going to say is...Remember that one night, after you and Wil had been drinking some - you expressed that you absolutely wanted a big family with at least four children? Be careful what you wish for there, sista!

You know, as I was preparing to send this to you I was thinking of what sage advice I would give to you. If I allowed myself, I could produce for you a long list of things to do differently, things to do that you didn't, and things to not do at all.

However, if I shared with you these things and you made different choices, a butterfly effect may transpire and you may not be where you are today.  Today? Today is good. Today is better than it has ever been - better than even the best of yesterdays. Today you feel more loved and more secure than you have ever felt in your entire life - even more so than you do right now, a little over a week away from your wedding.

That being said - I do think there are things that you could stand to know - things that could provide lacking insight to your life. OK, stop rolling your eyes - I know you are certain of yourself and of your instincts, but just listen, ok? Take it from a wise old lady who knows you extremely well.

1) Do not stop making God a part of your life. Although you have been technically "living in sin" - you make it part of your routine to read the Bible with your husband fiance and children. You pray together each evening and discuss God`s role in your life. You feel burdened to find a church, but ignore it, too afraid of confronting some old hurt. Somewhere along the way, you stop doing this as a couple. The results are certainly for the worse. Get over your issues, find a church, and serve God as a family immediately. He is the only hope for family to be the family you dream it to be.

2) You are extremely ambitious when it comes to your future career in Hospitality. You have an admirable drive to succeed and a secure inclination that if you stick with this company you CAN accomplish your goals. You constantly say to those around you that you long to prove that you are "more than just a mom" and you state the need to secure a bright future for your children as part of your motivation. You are genuine in proclaiming this, yet somewhere along the way you start to view your children and marriage as a hindrance. (I know that stepped on your toes a bit, but seriously, you do.) There is nothing wrong with a desire to have a career, but try not to make that your top priority. It quickly takes that spot, and you end up resenting and regretting it.

3) Work specific things: Do not attend a week long conference early on in your career. Things will happen there that will set your feet and heart on a path that it should not take and one that won't be resolved for years to come. Find any reason imaginable to not go - trust me on this, my dear.  Secondly, do not leave your job at the Courtyard Airport as a Sales Manager. You are so focused on advancing that you will take a position that you know in your gut will be wrong for you. It will be the beginning of the end for your tenure there, and above all other things work related, you will miss that Sales position the most. It paid you well for your age, you enjoyed it, and it worked with your family. Weigh these things heavily as their significance cannot be measured by titles or compensation.

4) Be wayyyy smarter with your money, there mama.WAY SMARTER. WAY, WAY, WAY, WAYYYYY SMARTER. Your career will take a different path around the age of 25, 26 and your combined income will be just shy of 6 digits. NEWSFLASH: This is NOT disposable income! 5 years later, you will have nothing to show for it. You will pay for a fancy minivan that will blow up weeks after your last payment and right after you commit to a big house payment. You will spend alot of it at Walmart on things that are so temporarily fleeting. Your kids don't need all that stuff to be happy - they only need you. Be wise, be mature, save and invest.

5) Love every. single. second of your children. Even when they are driving you nuts, even when they refuse to listen, even when you are so incredibly tired and you have to clean up puke. Do not resent the affection your daughter will show to your husband, and do not be sad that she prefers him over you. BE THANKFUL, that your husband is willing to take such a role in their upbringing.

6) Wil loves you SO MUCH, Melissa. So much. (Stop rolling your eyes again!). You think you already know this - but trust me, you don't even realize how much. The love you feel for him right now, the love you feel on your wedding day, does not even compare to what you will feel 10 years later. Always remember: He loves you UNCONDITIONALLY.  Know what that means, there smarty pants? NO MATTER WHAT.

7) You're gonna mess up. You're gonna fail. Your're gonna stumble. BIG TIME. It's part of life, YOUR life. Own it, accept it, admit it. You only make it harder on yourself when you do not do so. Repent, Trust God, Trust Wil and move on. Refuse to let the past consume you, turn to Christ and give Him your life. He only wants good things for you, my darling. He loves you and forgives you.

Love your family more. Love your kids more. Love yourself more. Hug your Grandpa and tell him how much his prayers mean to you - right now you take for granted that he will always be sending them up, but he won't and you will regret not being able to sit down and thank him face to face. Let go of old hurt. Forgive. Laugh when you feel like crying. Don't be afraid to let people in. Don't be afraid to show that you are vulnerable and don't have everything figured out. You are very strong, but there is no harm in letting people see your weaknesses. Love God, Love your Husband, appreciate your friends. Cling to the values that defined you, and the morals that were instilled in you as a child. Listen to advice. Ask for help.  Test the desires of your heart against the will of God - your heart is not always right and is deceitful above all other things. Most of all:  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOOOOVVEEE. Then...LOVE some more.

Treasure every second, it will pass far too quickly.

Aaaand, don't die your hair.


30 year old Melissa

Monday, August 8, 2011

He is Faithful!

He = God, of course.

He loves us so much. More than we can ever begin to fathom. More than we ever deserve.

From a recent Girlfriends in God devotion - this says it best:
When you place your faith in Christ, you become a child of the Heavenly Father who will never leave your side. He loves you with a stubborn love! In every case, without exception, you cannot escape, or be separated from His love. You can ignore it, doubt it, and question it. But you can’t be separated from it.

 1 I love you, LORD, my strength.
 2 The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
   my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
   my shield[b] and the horn[c] of my salvation, my stronghold.
 3 I called to the LORD, who is worthy of praise,
   and I have been saved from my enemies.
4 The cords of death entangled me;
   the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.
5 The cords of the grave coiled around me;
   the snares of death confronted me.
 6 In my distress I called to the LORD;
   I cried to my God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice;
   my cry came before him, into his ears.
7 The earth trembled and quaked,
   and the foundations of the mountains shook;
   they trembled because he was angry.
8 Smoke rose from his nostrils;
   consuming fire came from his mouth,
   burning coals blazed out of it.
9 He parted the heavens and came down;
   dark clouds were under his feet.
10 He mounted the cherubim and flew;
   he soared on the wings of the wind.
11 He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him—
   the dark rain clouds of the sky.
12 Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced,
   with hailstones and bolts of lightning.
13 The LORD thundered from heaven;
   the voice of the Most High resounded.[d]

14 He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy,
   with great bolts of lightning he routed them.
15 The valleys of the sea were exposed
   and the foundations of the earth laid bare
at your rebuke, LORD,
   at the blast of breath from your nostrils.
 16 He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
   he drew me out of deep waters.
17 He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
   from my foes, who were too strong for me.
18 They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
   but the LORD was my support.
19 He brought me out into a spacious place;
   he rescued me because he delighted in me.
 20 The LORD has dealt with me according to my righteousness;
   according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me.
21 For I have kept the ways of the LORD;
   I am not guilty of turning from my God.
22 All his laws are before me;
   I have not turned away from his decrees.
23 I have been blameless before him
   and have kept myself from sin.
24 The LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness,
   according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.
 25 To the faithful you show yourself faithful,
   to the blameless you show yourself blameless,
26 to the pure you show yourself pure,
   but to the devious you show yourself shrewd.
27 You save the humble
   but bring low those whose eyes are haughty.
28 You, LORD, keep my lamp burning;
   my God turns my darkness into light.
29 With your help I can advance against a troop[e];
   with my God I can scale a wall.
 30 As for God, his way is perfect:
   The LORD’s word is flawless;
   he shields all who take refuge in him.
31 For who is God besides the LORD?
   And who is the Rock except our God?
32 It is God who arms me with strength
   and keeps my way secure.
33 He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
   he causes me to stand on the heights.
34 He trains my hands for battle;
   my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
35 You make your saving help my shield,
   and your right hand sustains me;
   your help has made me great.
36 You provide a broad path for my feet,
   so that my ankles do not give way.
 37 I pursued my enemies and overtook them;
   I did not turn back till they were destroyed.
38 I crushed them so that they could not rise;
   they fell beneath my feet.
39 You armed me with strength for battle;
   you humbled my adversaries before me.
40 You made my enemies turn their backs in flight,
   and I destroyed my foes.
41 They cried for help, but there was no one to save them—
   to the LORD, but he did not answer.
42 I beat them as fine as windblown dust;
   I trampled them[f] like mud in the streets.
43 You have delivered me from the attacks of the people;
   you have made me the head of nations.
People I did not know now serve me,
 44 foreigners cower before me;
   as soon as they hear of me, they obey me.
45 They all lose heart;
   they come trembling from their strongholds.
 46 The LORD lives! Praise be to my Rock!
   Exalted be God my Savior!
47 He is the God who avenges me,
   who subdues nations under me,
 48 who saves me from my enemies.
You exalted me above my foes;
   from a violent man you rescued me.
49 Therefore I will praise you, LORD, among the nations;
   I will sing the praises of your name.
 50 He gives his king great victories;
   he shows unfailing love to his anointed,
   to David and to his descendants forever.

Friday, August 5, 2011

And...The Internet Redeems Itself.

These videos are such a breath of nerdy, delicious, fresh Internet based air.

Their Viemo Page reads as such:
3 guys, 44 days, 11 countries, 18 flights, 38 thousand miles, an exploding volcano, 2 cameras and almost a terabyte of footage... all to turn 3 ambitious linear concepts based on movement, learning and food ....into 3 beautiful and hopefully compelling short films.....= a trip of a lifetime.

I enjoyed these so much - hope you do too.

EAT from Rick Mereki on Vimeo.

LEARN from Rick Mereki on Vimeo.

MOVE from Rick Mereki on Vimeo.

13 Months

Dear John,

I totally meant to write you this letter on the day of your first birthday, but alas, I was too busy keeping you from purchasing a one way flight to Nepal and climbing Mount Everest. Or maybe I was too busy making sure you didn't escape to do that triathlon you were eyeing. Or was I too busy ensuring you wouldn't board that plane with the sole purpose of jumping out of it?

Point is: YOU keep me BUSY.

Seriously, fellow. You never, ever stop. You are the most physical, active baby I have had the pleasure to parent. You are also tenacious and fearless. The look that crosses your eyes when you have climbed something is one filled with pure delight, excitement and utter naughtiness. You know you're not supposed to climb these things but you just can't help yourself. While that is enough to make most parents shriek with rightful fear - what makes me shudder is the expression you wear when something is extra dangerous. If you have reached a higher height on a shaky pinnacle you LAUGH. Full out, belly, LAUGH.  I'm assuming your laughing because you love the rush, but you very well could be laughing at the twisted expression of fear that now crosses my face.

You're also very bright at this stage - you know to go to the refrigerator when I ask you if you want "more". You understand the word "No!" but obviously don't always obey. I can ask you to find any of your siblings - or your bottle - or Dora - or a Car -  and you walk around with this adorable expression, your arms and shoulders doing the universal sign for "where". It's really quite enjoyable for me to watch your understanding and comprehension grow.

While your actions prove understanding - you're a bit on the quiet side. You chant irritated, "Ma Ma Ma Ma's" in the morning when you awake, and you say, "Da, Da, Da, Da" when you see your Daddy. You will pick up a play phone and say "Hiiiiiiii" but other than that your vocabulary consists of babble, banshee like screeching and lots of laughter. Don't feel like I am putting unnecessary pressure on you to start reciting Shakespeare or anything, but I can't wait for the day where you and I actually converse. I would gather by this time next year, God Willing, you and I will be discussing current events....or Yo Gabba Gabba.

Aside from climbing every. single. thing. Your favorite hobbies include trying to depants me (I wear a lot of skirts and when my hands are busy and I am unable to pick you up that very second, you try to climb me!). You also enjoy wrecking havoc on Barbie outings organized by your sisters. You like to pretend you are a Giant and stomp companies of  your older brother's army men. You carry around an old PlayStation controller because you were so intrigued by everyone else's. You also love to sit in a pile of baby books and babble to all of the pictures.

You are NOT a fan of clothes, so much. It's summer time, and your a boy, sooo, I induldge you in wearing just a diaper around most of the time. Enjoy though, before too long, it will be socially unacceptable to lounge around in your skivvies!

You are incredibly happy and always smiling. You're kissing your mama now, and I love them. Though, they are more like awfully sloppy, slobber filled, open mouth attempts to eat my face, but I still love them. You become very jealous when your daddy kisses me, or your siblings want to cuddle. You wiggle your way in between anyone who seeks my physical attention, as to show, that hellooo... I am yours, and you are mine.

Out of all four of my children, you are the only one that I have had the opportunity to parent full time- from birth on. I worked with each of your older siblings while they were infants, and left the workforce when Raegan was 14 months.  I am incredibly grateful, and parenting you has satisfied something in me that I hadn't realized I was so seriously lacking - the art of nurturing an infant in the way it was intended - with ME as the primary care giver.

I love you, my sweet baby John. I am so thankful that God knew what He was doing by matching the both of us up so perfectly.