Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A Picture is Worth...

...nothing if I'm the one behind the viewfinder. HA! Just had to share that I got my Mother's Day/economically-stimulating gift yesterday- a Canon EOS Digital Rebel!!! I don't have time to post any samples of my photographic genius at this moment, but stay tuned! Consider this a teaser to keep my tens of readers coming back for more. I hope to get some pictures of the cutest children to ever walk the face of the earth (AKA: mine) really soon.

Honestly, I have no idea what I'm doing with the thing. The extent of my photography skills begins at 'point' and ends at 'shoot.' Now I'm in a world of manual focus, shutter speed, and aperture. I don't know what those words mean exactly, but I do know they are photography terms and that's half the battle, right? Thankfully I have a couple of wonderful friends who are photographers by trade that I'm planning to hit up for some free lessons. But no plans to quit the day job any time soon.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Growing Up

Yesterday, Jason and I attended Micah's Pre-Kindergarten graduation. It was a little ironic b/c this was actually his 2nd year in PK. We held him out of kinder for an extra year b/c his birthday is so late in the summer and we thought it would give him some time to mature socially and emotionally. We'll see if there are any fruits of our labor next year when he's actually in school.

The "ceremony" was very sweet. Micah got to wear his "fancy clothes" (his words). They played a "make-your-momma-cry" video with pictures of all the children as they've grown up. Then Micah's teacher, Mrs. Morgan, presented all of the children with diplomas and called out what they wanted to be when they grow up. Micah wants to be a detective. Which is funny b/c I thought he wanted to be a super hero. I'm actually a little relieved he didn't tell his teacher that, and went with the more respectable detective instead.

Here are a few pictures

It's hard to believe that my smart little boy will be starting school, real school, soon. Before long, the pressures of friends, schoolwork, self-image, and all the other junk that comes with growing up will be reality for him. On the other hand, as he grows, Jason and I get to be participants in Micah's journey of faith. We'll get to see how he glorifies Jesus with his life. I think it will be a difficult and amazing adventure. I pray that, as parents, Jason and I have the wisdom and grace to shepherd his heart in a way that allows him to not only learn from his choices along the way, but also causes him to fall in love with Jesus more everyday.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Prayers, Please

This is just a quick note- I'm having what I thought were minor health issues, but got some lab results back yesterday and my doctor wants to do some procedures soon to further determine what's going on. I'm having them done on June 5th. It's either going to be nothing or something fairly serious, not alot in between. I'm a bit uneasy, but there's nothing I can do about it until we find out more. Your prayers are appreciated!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

American Idol

A recap of a conversation I had tonight with Micah while watching AI:

M: Is this a showdown?

Me: It's a competition. People can vote for who they think should win.

M: Who do you like better, the young David or the old David?

Me: The old David.

M: I think everyone else likes the young David more because they were all holding up signs for him and if you hold up signs, it means you love that person more.

Perceptive, no?

A Public Service Announcement

So I had another doctor appointment yesterday. In order to ruin my day, as if being at the doctor's office wasn't enough, the first thing the nurse had me do was step on the scale. Whoa! Talk about a wake-up call- I'll spare you the details, but suffice it to say I'm still carrying around "some" baby weight. Can it still be called baby weight 19 months after the baby was born? I think so. Even though I need to lose like 100 L-Bs, one thing made my day. When I told the nurse I was 30, she was shocked! Shocked, people! She said, and I quote, "You look SO much younger!" YAY!! That almost took the sting out of the weight thing. Not quite, but almost.

Anyway, today I decided to work on my eating habits. I only had a few minutes for lunch and decided to hit Sonic for a nice salad. Because Sonic is known for their nice salads, right? Not their sugary drinks, deliciously greasy onion rings, or heart attack-inducing chili cheese dogs. It took every ounce of strength I had to force my mouth to form the word "salad" while simultaneously pushing air through my larynx, so that I wasn't mouthing the word salad, but actually saying it in an audible voice. I decided to order the Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad b/c the menu said it had black beans (which I love and are totally good for you). When I got back to my office and sat down to dig into my nice salad, imagine my shock when I saw that I could count the number of black beans on 2 hands (and part of a foot). Yes, I'm anal and I counted them. There were 14 beans in a huge bowl of lettuce. 14!! I don't think that even counts as a full serving. Seriously.

There was a decent sized piece of grilled chicken on top of my lettuce and beans, thankfully. But the total for the salad and a medium diet coke was almost $7. I got charged 7 bucks for a huge bowl of lettuce and a drink. And iceburg lettuce, at that. Not even the good stuff. And there was plenty of it. But my PSA to anyone reading: whenever you get a craving for a nice salad, skip the SW Grilled Chicken Salad at Sonic. Don't be tempted by the black beans, as I was. If you think the black beans will make a healthy addition to your nice salad, keep in mind that you can get black beans for WAAAY cheaper at the grocery store, even with rising gas prices driving up the cost of food. Take my word for it.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Random Sunday Stuff

When the boys were gone, I woke up at 5-freakin'-30 almost every morning. I give my mom a hard time about waking up early b/c everyone knows you don't sleep as much when you get old and retired. And you have to eat dinner at 3:00 in the afternoon. So I didn't know if the reality of old age was falling upon me, or if it was a psychological phenomenon because I knew there would be no boys and their regular morning bickering to rouse me from sleep. It must have been psychological b/c when Cade woke me up at 6:30 today, I could barely open my eyes. Praise Jesus for Sunday afternoon naps (naps- another thing I didn't need when the boys were away...).

Eating lunch out on Sunday afternoons with 3 kids when Jason's working is an activity to be avoided. So today I decided that McD's drive-thru was going to provide our mid-day "nutrition." Wrong! Their credit card machine was down so I couldn't use my debit card and since I never have cash, I had to devise Plan B pretty quickly. Actually, Plan B1 was to cuss at McD's in my heart. Plan B2 was to drive down a main thoroughfare in town to see what looked like it would be the fastest place to grab some lunch. We ended up stopping at another burger place where we actually hadto get out. Of course, since Sunday afternoon lunch with 3 kids isn't enough of a fiasco as it is, the burger place was out of chicken strips, which was what Micah had his heart set on. Once I promised ice cream to the good little children who eat their sandwiches without crying over the lack of chicken, we actually had a pretty calm lunch. Score one for mommy!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Into Low-Tech Obsoleteness

The boys came home today! They came storming through the front door this afternoon and it's been so good to have them home again. And noisy. And chaotic. And tearful. And complete once again.

We had a birthday party for Micah today at the local bowling alley this afternoon. He asked for a surprise party a few months ago, so I did my best to make it happen. He was really surprised- especially since his birthday is actually in June.

While planning the party, I was trying to decide on a party favor that would be fairly inexpensive and wouldn't be just a bunch of junk that gets thrown away before the goody bag leaves the party. I saw a great idea in Family Fun magazine about printing some coloring sheets related to the party theme from the internet and putting them together to make coloring books- perfect! I got everything printed, copied, hole-punched and collated. All I needed was brads to hold it all together.

Remember brads? AKA brass fasteners, with a round head like a nail and two tines that you bent to hold your papers together. I must have used a thousand of these little metal friends in art projects at school and church from kindergarten forward, making everything from spinning pinwheels to paper plate Santas with moving arms and legs. Brads are pretty low-tech. And they were the last necessary component to completing my party favor project. Unfortunately, low-tech devices seem to go out of production when you aren't looking.

Have you ever had it happen where you haven't thought of a particular item in such a long time and just when you have the perfect opportunity to use it, you realize it no longer exists and you can't remember the last time you needed the item and wonder when the endangered item crossed the line into extinction? This describes my brad search party. I looked at office supply stores, dollar general stores, and the store-who-must-not-be-named. No brads. Anywhere. I had to settle for ribbon, which you would think would be even lower-tech than brads, but more timeless I suppose. Kind of like pencils. Not as high-tech as a computer, but still well-loved and useful.

The booklets turned out fine and a bunch of 5 yr. olds seemed happy with them. And the party was a mind-numbing success. Tonight I'm exhausted- back to life as usual.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A Cake Metaphor

I don't particularly care for cooking and I'm not that great at it, but I do like to bake. Sometimes I bake from scratch and sometimes my baking comes from a box, but I enjoy it either way.

I remember growing up and always helping my mom bake cakes. We would get the ingredients all mixed up, pour the batter in the prepared pan and into the hot oven it would go. I could hardly stand to wait for it to bake. There's something fascinating about the chemical reaction that takes place under the intense heat of the oven to turn a gloopy (but delicious) batter into a fluffy cake. With childish impatience I was constantly peeking in the oven wondering if the cake was done yet, my excitement always getting the better of me. My mom always warned me that if I kept opening and closing the oven door the cake would fall. Rather than being fluffy, it would be dense and not nearly as delicious. Still, I sometimes couldn't help myself.

I'm much the same way today. I still love to bake. I hate waiting for the end result. I keep peeking in the oven to see how much longer, even though I know I can't make that cake bake one minute faster and it might even ruin the cake in the end. I just get so excited that I feel like I have to DO something rather than just wait and let the oven's heating element do it's thing. I want to see what's happening every step of the way.

For the record, I'm not really talking about cake. I'm talking about being so excited- practically giddy- about a prospect that I cannot do a thing about. It might take awhile for the batter to change and rise and become what it's meant to be. In the meantime, I have to try and leave the oven door closed (read: mind my own business) lest the whole thing fall apart. Once in awhile, my excitement gets the better of me, but I'm trying.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Good Neighbors

For the last 5 years, the only thing separating our sideyard and backyard from our neighbors sideyard and backyard was our flimsy chainlink fence, a small stretch of grass that should be a driveway and their short white picket fence marking the territory of their backyard. For 5 years, I have been able to stand at my kitchen sink and see right into their backyard. And the neighbors can see our backyard from theirs.

We aren't that great of friends with them. We're actually not even close to friends- we're no more than what most people are to their neighbors. We exchange friendly waves and chit-chat with the wife once in awhile, but the husband rarely even raises a hand in a wave when he sees us. Jason and I wonder if he's the keep-to-yourself kind of person or just plain unfriendly. We'll never know b/c he never acknowledges us, making us lean towards thinking he's unfriendly, but wanting to give him the benefit of the doubt.

The wife told me recently that they are putting in a pool and they had some men out here this week working on it. Today the neighbors put up a privacy fence. What's a privacy fence for? To keep the neighbors from looking in. The funny thing? We're their ONLY neighbors!! We live on a deadend street and they are at the end of it. There's no one else looking in their backyard besides us. The funnier thing? I'm a little bit offended.

I know that's a ridiculous reaction, and it makes me giggle a little bit just thinking about it. I mean, I understand that people don't want others gawking at them while they lounge about in little (or no (eww!)) clothes by the pool. And if there were other people around I'd really get it, but it's just us. Peeping Toms, apparently. At least by the neighbors' standards. Honestly, I don't hang about in my kitchen waiting to catch a glimpse of their neighborly activities. But I guess they think we do it enough to warrant a privacy fence. Jason said to look on the bright side- at least they can't see into our backyard anymore either. We used to go out on the deck quite a bit before Luther, the massive yellow lab we used to own, chewed all the furniture cushions, tore apart the furniture and broke down one whole side rail of the deck. It's not quite the experience it used to be.

So now, when I look out my kitchen window, instead of their beautifully landscaped yard, I see a huge wooden fence. It's a strange sensation after having the same view for 5 years. Eventually I'll get used to it. Until , I guess I'll just have to avoid the kitchen.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Out of sorts...

I'm feeling so out of sorts today. Listless. Restless. Bored, maybe? I don't think it's boredom- I certainly have a plethora of mundane household chores that could keep me busy. I just don't feel like doing any of them.

Maybe it's some strange form of "homesickness" for the boys. Even though I'm actually the one at home and they aren't. Or maybe not. Things have definitely slowed down over the last few days and I'm just not sure what to do with myself. It's a welcome break, but I'm just not feeling it today.

I'm bored with surfing the internet (gasp!). I don't have any good books to read. I finished A Thousand Splendid Suns yesterday and I'm waiting on a couple more to come from Paperback Swap (by the way, I highly recommend that site if you like to read and don't want to spend a fortune on books. Sure, the library is free, but our crappy little town never has the books I want to read). I tried to take a nap, but I'm not really tired. I don't even feel like going out for a little retail therapy (double gasp!!). I need to make a baby shower gift for a friend's shower next week and don't even feel like exerting the effort on that.

I may go somewhere with a friend tonight, if I can come up with something I feel like doing.

If anyone reading has a good suggestion for getting out of a funk (which I'm guessing will involve waaay less self-involvement than my current state of being, and rightfully so) please feel free to leave me a comment or email me. Until then, I'll be at my house, wandering around aimlessly, feeling blah. Sorry.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

At My Age

Back in October I celebrated the 2nd anniversary of my 28th birthday. I'll be honest- I was not thrilled about entering a new decade. It's like once you turn 28 for the 3rd time everything starts going downhill. It's harder to lose weight, you have to worry about things like cardiovascular health and osteoporosis, and everything starts heading south, if you catch my drift. And you start eating dinner at 4:00 pm. Not quite what I had in mind.

To add insult to injury, I had a doctor use the phrase "at your age" to me today. I went to the dermatologist to have a bump checked out on my face. This bump came up a year or so ago, but it's started bothering me lately, so I decided to put my mind at ease and see someone about it. The doctor informed me that it was probably just a mole, even though "at [my] age" people don't usually get moles anymore. She removed it anyway, just in case.

So there is a redeeming quality to being 28+2 after all- I shouldn't be getting any more moles. Not that this has been a particularly concerning issue for me anyway, but hey, I'll takes 'em where I gets 'em.

On the other hand, to add to my list of loathesome qualities of being in my 3rd decade: people start using the phrase "at your age." It's demoralizing and it puts me in a very bad mood. Since the boys aren't home and Missy was at school, I decided to come home and take a long nap to recover from my face surgery and the emotional beating of being reminded of my advanced age. OK, maybe that's exaggerating a little, but that's how I will choose to remember it! At my age, a nice nap helps me make it through 4:00 dinner without falling asleep into my soup.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

"Those People"

Tonight Jason and I became "those people." Before I explain what I mean, let me say that sometimes it's good to be "those people" because it teaches you to have compassion and mercy when the shoe is on the other foot in the future. But when you are in the middle of being "those people," it's very embarrassing and quite humbling.

So, the boys left to go to my parents' house yesterday where they will reside for almost 2 weeks! It's like a competition of who's going to break first: will my mom lose her mind (if she hasn't already, which I'm beginning to think might be the case since this whole shenanigan was her idea) and bring them home early or will I break down and insist they come back? Odds are good it will be my mom. I would have sent them home a long time ago if they weren't already home here.

That leaves Jason, Missy and me in a state of tranquility and peace the likes of which Jason and I haven't experienced since... Well, it's been so long I don't remember. I'm sure it was a half-decade ago when we just had one child, one in the oven, and were brilliantly ignorant of the calm before the storm. We couldn't enjoy it back then because you don't know what you've got 'till it's gone, right (They paved paradise and put up a parking lot...)? I'm feeling very cliche' tonight.

Since we are relatively kid-free (except for our little angel girl), we thought we would enjoy a nice dinner at a popular eating establishment here in town. Missy had other ideas. Maybe she didn't have a good nap today or maybe she was overly hungry or maybe she was just in a crappy mood tonight, but from the time Jason got his guacamole until he finally decided he was through eating and rescued her from her high chair, she cried. Not a small cry. More like a wailing, heart-wrenching, shut-that-kid-up cry. That's what I mean by "those people." People were staring at us. Lots of them. Glaring at us.

Unfortunately, it's hard to console an angry baby when she can't exactly tell you what's wrong and refuses to be consoled by any measure of placating. It pretty much seemed like a brief glimpse into her teenage years when she might be crying and upset for no good reason or a reason she is unwilling to talk about. Not that this kind of thing happens with teenage girls, right? Just hypothetically speaking.

Just as she would start to wind down a bit, I would inevitably speak to her in an effort to console her which would set off a new round of screaming. Teenage years again.... I found myself apologizing to the patrons around us who's judging eyes I managed to catch before they turned away, embarrassed that they got caught judging. Finally, Jason decided he'd had enough- enough with the crying and enough dinner to make him full- and pulled her out of her highchair. She brightened up immediately, of course. She's daddy's girl through and through.

Even though I have 3 of my own little dear hearts, I still experience those occasional moments in public when I think "I would never let MY kids act like that." Next time I feel that way, before I get a little too smug about my own flawed parenting and the state of my own flawed children, I'll definitely remember what it felt like to be "those people" and will hopefully view the situation with more grace and compassion.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

That's Funny Stuff!

Have I ever mentioned that my boys can be quite hilarious? I don't think they always mean to be. I know they don't, actually. Probably it's just Jason's and my twisted sense of humor that cause us to think our boys are comedic geniuses.

I have to share something Cade said yesterday and keeps repeating which makes me crack up everytime... Yesterday, Jason bought his Father's Day present (which cost 3 x's as much as my Mother's Day present b/c he says we all get to use his gift while only I will use my gift. Such justification!) of a flat screen TV b/c we got our economic-stimulus-really-tax-advance-check directly deposited into our account. We certainly want to do out part for the economy (not that I honestly think it's going to do much good, but my (limited) political views are not pertinent to this particular post).

ANYWAY, everytime Cade comes into the living room, he keeps proclaiming that our new TV is HORNORMOUS. OK, I haven't spelled that word here the exact way I see it in my head b/c I don't want to be too offensive, but say it out loud a time or two and you'll see why we think it's so funny.

I can't figure out what 2 words he might be combining to get to HORNORMOUS, but you can bet I'll be adopting this adjective into my own vernacular. And I'll be waiting for the exact moment for appropriate delivery. And it's gonna be dang funny!

Friday, May 2, 2008

What a Morning!

I'm sitting down to blog this at 9:00 am. I've been up since 6:10 am. Here's a synopsis of the last 3 hours:

*****WARNING***** A discussion of multiple types of bodily fluids to follow. I'm a mom and that's what moms eventually end up talking about. Bodily fluids become the battle scars we bear with pride, the very essence of our being. Well, that may be a slight exaggeration, but bodily fluid conversations do come with the territory of being a mom. If you feel queasy, weak-kneed, nauseous, loss of appetite, or otherwise unwell at the slightest thought of bodily fluids outside of the body, feel free to move on by this post.

6:10 am- Head for the shower, excited about the prospect-soon-to-be-reality of a full day of shopping in Canton. Wonder at what treasures I might uncover during the day.

6:30- Wake up the boys for breakfast

6:35- Realize Micah isn't feeling well. Mentally wonder if he's faking. Yesterday he had to stay home from school b/c he vomited the day before. He ended up going shopping with my mom and me because he was perfectly fine all day. He had a blast so I think he may be trying to weasel his way into another shopping trip for some undivided attention and more sugary treats.

6:40- Start getting ugly with Micah b/c he won't get up and get dressed. He says his head feels like it keeps "yanking" when he tries to sit up. I'm still not sure I believe him.

6:45- Force Micah out of his bed into the bathroom so I can try to get his Dennis the Menace hair to lay down.

6:46- Micah throws up in the clean sink. It was literally just cleaned yesterday (Murphy's Law at work). Mentally note that I'll have to clean it again when I get home from Canton b/c I'm still planning on going.

**In order to redeem myself from seeming like the winner of the Most Selfish Mom of the Year award (and so close to Mother's Day!), I need to explain that, with some regularity, ever since he was little bitty, Micah will have a single episode of vomiting after which he acts and feels perfectly fine (case in point: Thursday, as mentioned above). I can't explain it, but it happens. Regularly. I swear.**

7:15- Finally ready to get the kids in the car, only 15 minutes behind schedule. It's pouring buckets outside (God's Divine Clue #2 that we should stay home, #1 was probably the vomiting).

7:17- Got soaked while loading the kids into their seats. Micah says he's too weak to buckle his own seat belt. I'm still thinking he's being a bit melodramatic. He proves me wrong by vomiting again (Divine Clue #3).

7:20- Decide to take the 2 younger children to school, figuring Micah will perk up by mid-morning, even though he's too ill for school at the moment. He can at least sit in the stroller while we shop in Canton.

7:35- Micah throws up for a 3rd time. I'm beginning to get the picture that he may really be sick. Then he starts screaming "Oh, this is bad! This is really bad!" When I inquired what he was referring to, he tells me, "I accidentally pooped in my pants." (Divine Clue #4 since I'm too hard-headed toput the first 3 together.) Fabulous.

7:37- Pull the minivan into a parking lot to further investigate the underpants incident. He's clean! Whew, that was a close one. But I finally decide that while vomit is one thing, diarrhea is quite another and NOT a chance I'm willing to take at an open-air market with a major lack of quality public restrooms. Vomit can be caught in a bucket or cup. Not so with the other end.

7:40- Turn the van around and head home.

7:45- Remember that Missy, who usually eats breakfast at school, has nothing to eat for breakfast at the house because Cade ate the last 2 packages of oatmeal for breakfast. Decide to pull in for some kolaches when I get back into town.

8:00- Pull into the donut shop for donuts and kolaches. While waiting in the drive-thru, I hear a funny noise coming from the backseat. My guess is that it's Micah throwing up again. It's not. It's Missy. Doubly fabulous. Of course, her throwing up sets off Micah again. I find my self turned all the way around in the driver's seat holding 2 plastic cups to 2 mouths vomiting simultaneously. We could be a circus act.

8:02- The donut shop is out of kolaches. Things are REALLY going my way today (said dripping with sarcasm). I order donuts for my mom and me, but still nothing for Piper since she can't have donuts due to her egg allergy.

8:05- Pull into the driveway, unload the kids and head inside.

8:10- Make all the children some toast with jelly. While they are all engrossed in their eating (read: quiet) I decide to put away some groceries I bought yesterday. Find ants in the pantry.

8:11- Begin to clean out he pantry to get rid of the ants. While doing so, I manage to spill an entire ziplock baggie filled with birdseed (leftover from a pincone-and-peanut-butter winter birdfeeder project) on the freshly-swept kitchen floor. I thought the bag was sealed. I was obviously wrong again.

8:12- Begin to laugh maniacally at the ridiculousness of my day so far.

8:13- Get out the vaccum to suck up all the birdseed.

8:20- Get Missy cleaned up from breakfast and change what I soon will discover is only the first in a series of disgustingly poopy diapers occurring within a 30 minute time frame.

Besides the poopy diapers, things begin to settle down a bit. Here's to hoping no one else gets the nasty bug Micah and Missy seem to have contracted, although Missy seems to be acting a bit more normal than Micah does at this point.

Since I've started this post, things have settled down even more. Micah has just been laying quietly on the couch. He hasn't thrown up anymore. Neither has Missy. Cade's perfectly fine, except that he must have hit some growth spurt b/c I can't keep his belly full. That's how Micah acted yesterday, though, so I hope it isn't a sign of bad things to come for Cade.

I have learned 2 things today in all of this. At 8:30 there was a tornado that touched ground in Canton. Initial reports indicated that the tornado did disrupt Canton Trade Days, injuring people and turning over cars and trailers. If mom and I had left this morning on time with no disruptions, we would have probably been in Canton by 8:30. I believe that God is sovereign, but it's not often that we actually get a glimpse of exactly why things don't go our way, why we have hold-ups, hang-ups, and distractions. I got that glimpse this morning.

And secondly I learned, or was reminded, of my own selfishness. I'll admit I was ticked off that Micah was sick this morning. I really wanted to go to Canton. I know he wasn't sick on purpose, but I was still irritated that I wasn't going to get to do what I wanted to do. I've been reading in Ephesians for our Monday night Bible study and there's so much about walking in love, being servants to one another, and imitating Christ. Lord, forgive my selfish attitude this morning. May I never cause my children to feel bad for doing something they cannot help. I pray that I will love my family and sacrifce lovingly for them that they may ultimately see Your glory and follow You all of their days. Amen.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

What Have I Done?

This weekend is Canton weekend- if you're not familiar with a Canton weekend, it's a monthly tradition that means (for me) a full Friday of perusing antiques, crafts, handmade items, and various other odds-and-ends at a huge flea market-type place in the city of Canton, TX. You can find out more about it here or here. My mom is in town for the big occasion, just as she is every other month.

Today she casually mentioned taking the boys to her house with her when she leaves on Tuesday. She and my aunts and uncles have strawberry-picking, crystal-hunting and dock fishing on the agenda over the couple of weeks, should the boys be visiting. The catch is that they won't be coming back until May 17. When she first suggested taking them back with her, my head was overflowing with a multitude of blissful thoughts: no fights over teeth-brushing for 12 days, no struggling to get them to clean their room for 12 days, no early morning wake-up calls to break up fights when I just want 5 more minutes of sleep for 12 days, no backtalking, whining, crying, hitting, biting, kicking, or otherwise physical harm to prevent for 12 days! My heart was quivering at the idea. Jason and I even joked about moving and leaving no forwarding address.

My mom immediately got on the phone to discuss the arrangement with an assortment of relatives. When my entire extended family is expecting the arrival of 2 grand-nephews they only see every few months, I would have lots of 'splainin' to do if I changed my mind. She also clued the boys in on their travel plans, in a no-take-backsies sort of way. It's next to impossible to tell the boys you plan to take them here or there and then neglect to follow-through. The sheer wailing and gnashing of teeth from disappoinment would be enough to drive a sane person to poke her own ears drums out with a blunt object. So in a way, it was a done deal.

It was only a matter of minutes (well, maybe an hour or so) before reality kicked in. My boys are actually going to be gone for almost 2 weeks! I won't have them to hug and kiss on in the mornings for 12 days. I won't be able to lay down in their beds at night to talk and pray for 12 days. I won't hear firsthand their little bits of childlike wisdom (such as Micah's infamous statement, "Mommy, you should never pee on a carrot." He wasn't offering this so much as an admonition but as a preventative, should I ever consider committing such an act, just so you know.) for 12 days. I will miss them painfully for 12 days.

They leave Tuesday. I'll be home simultaneously fighting back tears and having a celebratory drink.