The Gifted & The Talented

Last week, my 8 year old daughter spent 6 hours taking tests.

In the summer.
Because she is special.
Or at least that was her response when I told her she was going to do some achievement tests.
Yes, her self esteem is doing well.  Thank you.  
I explained that we were allowing the gifted and talented testing to help eliminate boredom and excessive talking in the classroom.

When I picked her up the second day, she told me all about another student she met.
“Mom, she is so smart.  And so are her parents.  Her Dad is working on a medication to cure diabetes, right now.  And her Mom is on the research team with him and she’s testing the medicine on lab rats!” she explained excitedly.
“Wow,” I said and I will admit I felt rather ignorant.  I mean, the smartest thing I’d done all day was keep my toddler’s reaching hand out of her poop diaper.  
Because yesterday she was quicker than me.  
And so, baiting my smarty-pants daughter, I said, “Well, that is awesome.  I guess most of the kids who tested with you have really smart parents.  Right?”
She thought about that a minute and I could almost hear her brain working.  
“I guess you’re right.  I must get it from Dad.”

I’m Glad I’m a Woman-Reason #27

Have you heard about the female hiker who was just saved after spending 70 hours hanging off of a cliff?

She attached her sports bra to a logging cable in order to signal for help.
The bra caught the attention of a group of lumberjacks who called a rescue team.
Can you just imagine that conversation?  
Rescuers credit her ingenuity.  That bra gave her sagging morale a real push-up.  If those men hadn’t seen the waving bra, she would have been under the wire.  She needed their support.
Just one more reason I’m glad to be a woman.

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

I almost didn’t tell you about this.

But I knew you, my dear, faithful readers, would understand.
Because you know me.  You know my kids.
And you can completely understand how it is entirely possible to end up in the Emergency Room. Twice.  In.  One.  Week. (Actually, about 5 days, but who’s counting?)
Oh, I wish I was kidding.  I thought about not sharing this because, you know, you might think I was serious about the name of my blog.
I mean, I wouldn’t want you to think we really are THAT family.
But. We. Are.
We met my parents for dinner at one of our local favorites.  We cleaned our plates and let the baby join the other kids in the game room area.  She was having a ball, sticking her hands in the gum ball machines and eating off the floor.
She sauntered back over to our table, crawled up on the picnic table seat and with all four adults watching, she slipped through the space between the bench and the table and landed head-first on the concrete.
The hit made a sickening sound.
I jumped to grab her and smeared ketchup all over my hands.  So, when I picked her up, my family thought she was bleeding.
And it probably would have been more of a relief to see a small gash.
Nope.  Nothing.  
Only a pale, screaming child, who began vomiting from her head injury.
I’m so not kidding.
And she couldn’t walk.  We let her stumble around for about 12 seconds and decided an ER visit was for dessert.
My parents took my older kids home and the hubby and I sped to the hospital.
They rushed us back to triage to check her pupils and look her over.
The nurse recognized me.  From my visit on Father’s Day.
So did the Doctor.
By this time, our toddler was acting more herself (as in dumping the contents of my purse onto the floor).  
As the Doctor tried to decide whether or not to sedate her for a CT scan, the nurse commented on our frequent visits.
And so I said, “Yeah, we’re like THAT family.”
I thought my hubby was going to choke on his own saliva.  Later he said, “My word, why didn’t you just pull out your laptop and see if the ER had WiFi, so they could read today’s entry!”
I told him I couldn’t help myself.
They gave our toddler a bag of cookies and  cup of apple juice to see if she would continue throwing up. 
She didn’t and she enjoyed the snack.
They sent us home with stern instructions to wake her up every few hours all night long and return if she vomited or her stumbling grew worse.
We signed off on all the papers they shoved in our face as the discharge nurse called, “See you in a couple of days for stitches.”
That’s verbatim, people.
And the receptionist encouraged us just to ‘come for coffee next time if we really wanted to see them.’
Yeah, we’re pretty much gonna have to move.  To another town.  Immediately.
*Update* Our toddler showed no further signs of a concussion and after we berated ourselves for our negligence, we all slept happily ever after. The End.  Until the next time…

A World Without Purpose

A high school in a small Massachusetts’s town had 17 pregnant girls at the end of the school year.


Apparently, these girls made a pact to get pregnant on purpose.  The majority of them are 16 years old or younger.

You can read the article here.  Here is an excerpt:

“Time magazine reporter Kathleen Kingsbury, who wrote the story, said the seaside city has experienced a lot of economic hardship and seems to have many young people without direction.

“They didn’t have anyone really instructing them on how to create a life plan,” she told CBC Newsworld by telephone.

“Some of them decided that this was going to be their life plan, that they were going to be mothers, and by being mothers, they would be someone.”

This is so disturbing to me. 

Let’s show our kids, by example, that our lives have purpose and direction because we follow Him.

Be purposeful.

Food for the Soul:

Psalm 33:11, “But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.”

Is That Bad?

A friend and I stopped by Chick Fil A the other day.  I needed a sweet tea.

“Uh, yes, I need a large sweet tea,” I said to the drive-thru speaker.  “Want anything?” I whispered to my friend.  She shook her head no.

“Okay, Kristen.  That’s $1.67,” the speaker answered.

As I pulled around, I could feel my friend staring at me.

“What?”  I asked.  

“That lady, in the speaker, she KNEW YOUR NAME!” she said in disbelief.

“Oh, that.  Yeah, I come here.  A lot.  It’s funny, she recognizes my voice now and . . .” my words trailed off.  

Because she was really staring now.  Intensely.

“What? Oh, is that bad?”

Obviously it never dawned on me that it wasn’t normal for fast food restaurants to recognize you BEFORE they see you.  

This opened up a whole new dimension of thinking.  Hmmm, I wonder how many things I do that aren’t normal for other people.

Wow.  That’s deep.

I’m a little worried now.  Can you help me decide if these things are bad?

Besides knowing my name and debit card number, the Chick Fil A lady frequently comments on how easy it is to make sweet tea at home and how fattening it is.  

I still go back.  Almost daily.  Is that bad?

My baby’s second and third words were ‘chicken nugget?’ Is that bad?

My one year old got into the pantry the other day while I was in cyberspace.  She dumped out a bag of tiny marshmallows.  She shoveled them in her mouth.  I let her.  Is that bad?

I love Carmel Delights made by the lovely Girl Scouts.  The other day, my daughter asked if there were any left.  “No,” I replied quickly.  No, because I’m hiding the last two to eat later.  When I’m alone.  Is that bad?

I do not enjoy unloading the dishwasher.  Every once in a while, when I feel overwhelmed, I pretend they are still dirty and wash them again.  Is that bad?

On a full moon, sometimes I innocently hand the baby to my hubby, KNOWING she’s stinky.  Is that bad?

I love cupcakes.  

More than some people.

Is that bad?

Sometimes I go to Target.  Okay, I go 4.5 times a week.  When I wear red, my kids wonder if I work there.  Is that bad?

Occasionally, I slip a tabloid into my cart at the store and then hide it when church people come over.  Is that bad?

When I REALLY need a break, I leave my 8 year old to watch my other kids and go to the movies—

Shoot.  I KNOW that’s bad.  Just making sure you’re still reading! And I’m completely kidding!

Since I’m starting to see faults in my moral compass, I’ll leave it with just one more . . .

I have been known to hurt people for chocolate. Is that bad?

This was originally posted in February 2008

DIYP #4- An Instant Vase

I love magazines.  I always have a giant pile next to my bed that I’m making my way through.
Some of my best DIY projects are things I’ve seen in decor magazines.  I tear out my favorite pages and stick it into a folder for inspiration later.
And you’ve been wondering who tore out magazine pages in the dentist’s office? 
[sheepish wave in progress]
I saw this idea in the latest Better Homes & Gardens “100 Decorating Ideas for Under $100″ Issue.
It’s by far one of my favorite quarterly publications.  
I love fresh flowers.  I wish I could have a gorgeous vase full in every room.  All the time.
But I’m not THAT family, unfortunately. 
Every once in a while, my hubby brings home flowers.  *Hint, Hint*
And after holidays, like Valentine’s and Mother’s Day, I buy the half price bundles.  But most of my fresh flowers come from my flower beds or when my kids bring me weeds flowers with the stems wrapped in wet paper towels.
Now, here’s what I do with them thanks to this great idea: I gather an empty toothbrush holder, a salt shaker or a cheese sprinkler.  
I can stick loose stems in the tiny holes.  These are perfect holders for little weeds or the fragrant Gardenias from my yard.
I just fell in love with this idea because I have these little containers on hand and they look so nice in the bathrooms and entryway.
So, go, pick a flower and grab an instant vase.
It’s sure to brighten your day!

To Whom It May Concern

Dear Mr. Fly,

In an effort to explain my children’s recent behavior, I must start at the beginning.
A week ago, my family drove 40 minutes to the Ikea mega store.  We only go a few times a year, so I’m sure you can imagine my shopping excitement.  But as soon as we arrived, my sweet son became ill.  My hubby, who understands my deep-seeded shopping issues, encouraged me to make a quick run through the store with the other children, while he tended our son.
Well.  That was a lot of pressure.  With such a limited window of time, I hurried through the enormous store and grabbed a few items from the $1.99 bins.  And that’s when I discovered this:
I didn’t travel all that way in order to buy a fly swatter.  But it was pink.  And it was a $1.99. And it was a twin pack.  No further explanation needed.
Once I got home, I put away my new packages of napkins and paper plates and the $.99 tote bags.  (Of course, I threw away the one my son puked in on the way home.  I’m not that frugal). I stuck the fly swatters on top of the ‘fridge.
Even though it’s terribly hot here, I like to pretend there is a breeze and open my back door so I can keep an eye on my kids playing in the backyard.  Some of your friends take the opportunity to make themselves at home.
Now, I’m not a calloused person.  I care for God’s creatures. While you’re not my favorite, I don’t want to kill you.  But unfortunately, every time you land on something in my home, my kids scream, “Poop!  Every time a fly lands, he poops!” Sometimes they throw the word, “vomit” in there, too.
Well.  Since we’re up to our ears in poop & vomit most days, I couldn’t exactly encourage this.
So, I gave my kids each a pink fly swatter and taught them how to use it.  
Not my finest parenting moment.
But I would like to apologize, Mr. Fly, because I got busy cooking dinner and I eventually noticed my children were missing. 
I was shocked to discover them in the back yard.
With the swatters.
They killed your cousin and your aunt and probably, your grandpa.  
I even heard my daughter say, “Die, fly.  I don’t even care if you have a family.”
She was rebuked and the swatters were taken away.
I hope you can forgive us.
Yours truly,
THAT family

Sincerely ‘Fro Me to You-Grace

Thanks for joining me today for my little carnival of remembering.  If you want to link up, you can read the details and grab the button here.

This is the first time I’ve ever written this story.  

For months after my third child was born, I told it over and over to anyone who would listen.  I think I was trying to purge myself of painful memories, doubt and guilt.
Then I read in some parenting magazine that women who tell their traumatic birth stories again and again need to let it go.
And so I did.
Until now.  I stumbled upon this picture the other day (meeting my daughter for the first time) and I want to tell you the story.
After God did a miracle in my marriage, I started dreaming of having another baby.  A third child.  We already had a girl and boy and thought we were done.  
But then, we fell in love again.  And it just seemed right to create a baby from our new union.  
I got pregnant right away, but that precious baby flew to the arms of Jesus.
Several months later, I conceived again.  I was very sick from the beginning and spent almost the entire summer in bed, watching my six and four year old play in the backyard from my window.
My pregnancy was a nightmare.  I faced serious problems throughout from a kidney stone, among other complications.  During my pregnancy, I was seen by 5 specialists, took  14 rounds of antibiotics, and had a medical procedure by a Urologist when I was 27 weeks pregnant without anesthesia.  

At 32 weeks, they diagnosed my baby with a failure to thrive and decided to deliver her.
I went through hours of labor and developed a fever from the infection that wracked my body and she was delivered by emergency c-section.
It was terrifying.  I remember being rushed down the hall and the panic that surrounded me. And do you know how I felt?  Even in that moment of terror, I was simply relieved that my hellish pregnancy was ending.
My hubby nearly missed the whole surgery because he had gone to Walmart for slippers. (Yeah, about six months after my baby was born, we argued about that!)
My tiny daughter was born and whisked away to the Neonatal Intensive Care because she wasn’t breathing well and they were considering transporting her to a hospital downtown. 
I sent my hubby to be with her.  He stayed by her side the entire night, praying.
She was born on Dec. 16th.  Part of her name is Grace, to remind us of God’s grace to our marriage. I spent my birthday and my anniversary in the hospital.  She stayed through Christmas and New Year’s.
Guilt was my friend during my hospital stay.  I felt terrible for wishing for her early birth and scared that she wouldn’t make it because of my body’s inability to sustain her in utero.
I could write a post just about holding her for the first time, she was nearly a week old and another post about the NICU experience.
The night that I will remember forever was Christmas Eve.  We were home trying to make things ‘normal’ for our other kids.  It was bedtime and we got a call from the hospital.  Our baby had taken a turn for the worse and they wanted us to come.
My Mom slept on my sofa and my Dad went with us to the hospital.  
It was the most difficult night of my life, watching my tiny baby stripped naked, hooked to wires, fighting for her life.  My Dad laid hands on her and prayed.
And I cried.
Nothing else mattered at that moment.  Not the car I drove, the decor in my home or the money in the bank.  
It was about life and not losing it.  And about me, giving God my child.
That was hard.
She stabilized and we made it home just in time for Santa to fill the stockings.
I fought back the tears while my children unwrapped presents.  At one point, my daughter said, “Are you sad, Mommy?”
My son piped in, “She’s just happy because Santa gave her just what she wanted:  a baby.”
I hugged my kids and sobbed.  
We spent Christmas afternoon at the hospital and every day after that until our baby came  home.
We learned CPR and she stayed on a heart monitor until she was six months old.
We returned to celebrate her one year anniversary at the hospital and delivered gifts for the NICU babies and treats for the doctors and nurses (we hope to make this an annual visit).
And here she is today, a healthy handful and a true reminder of God’s Grace.
I don’t let her cry as much as I should and I spoil her too often.  But when you come so close to losing someone so precious,  it stays with you forever. 
Food for the Soul:
I Cor. 15:10 “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.”