Grandma Hollywood and the minis

During Grandma Hollywood's recent visit to oh-Alison-it's-too-cold-here Ohio, I spent a morning with her and my two minis. The nearly 90 years between them brought forth a range of encounters, some endearing, some frustrating, and some just plain hysterical.

For starters, my kids don't perceive age. They see Grandma Hollywood's thin coarse white hair and say, "Great Grams' hair is funny." Nor do they perceive the limitations that come with age. They expect her to scoop them up to her level, and bless her still beating heart, she tries. And it breaks mine to watch her disappointment when she realizes that her ability to lift a small child is forever in her past. My spunky and gregarious daughter is unaware that when she barrels into Grandma Hollywood's 90 year old legs, she risks knocking my grandmother to the floor, a fall from which Grandma literally might not recover.

And yet Grandma Hollywood lives as if the life-threatening fall would be worth it. When Miss Harper Lynn looked at her and said, "Chase me, Great Grams," Grandma Hollywood looked at me and said, "What did she say?" I responded, "She wants you to chase her." Grandma only grinned, and sure enough, she started her feeble chase, a snail's pace behind my hare of a daughter. And my 2 year old baby girl only knew one thing, she was being chased. The burst of squeals and giggles that ensued were as dramatic and effervescent as if the chase might actually result in a catch.

As I sat with my grandmother listening to her repeat the stories I had heard dozens of times before, I juggled my annoyance of her faulty memory with the constant needs of my kids, "I need to poop! I need to poop! I keep tooting and I need to poop!" No matter how high her hearing aids were turned up, Grandma Hollywood needed clarification on almost everything the kids said, "What is he talking about, Alison?"

Well, Grandma, do you really want to know?

Though I'd love for you to believe that each exchange between my grandmother and children results in pure joy and laughter, there is much harmony to be desired.

Typical of most three year old boys, my son sees pillows and immediately thinks fort. As he pulled the decorative pillows from the couch, Grandma Hollywood became intensely concerned. "Alison, do you see what he's doing?"

Me: "Yes, he's fine, Grandma."
Grandma Hollywood: "But he's pulled all of the pillows off of the couch."
Me: "I know Grandma; he's just playing."

Grandma Hollywood walked away in obvious disapproval of my son's creativity and my kids-these-days parenting. And typical of most three year old boys, it was a mere five minutes before Henry was distracted, leaving the pillow fort glaring at my grandmother. She wasted no time. I've never seen feeble bones move so fast. In record time, she had each of those pillows fluffed and positioned back on the couch ready for a magazine cover shoot, thankyouverymuch.

There wasn't much to say when my son ran back into the room and blurted, "What happened to my fort?!"

I took one look at my now-playing-dumb grandmother and turned back to my son, saying what every good granddaughter would say, "Go play."

As I sat across from my 90 year old grandmother, a woman whose grace has deteriorated while her opinions have intensified, I wonder if she remembers the days when her four children were small, imaginative bursts of energy. "Alison, Henry didn't finish his lunch." "Alison, what is that noise?" "Alison, where did Harper go?" "Alison, don't your children wear socks?" "Alison, Henry went into the bathroom." "Alison, Harper is climbing on the table." Alison. Alison. Alison. The thoughts swirling in my mind were not of a very good granddaughter.

The sweet and gentle Mrs. Claus of a grandmother who I remember has evolved into a nosey, nagging, negative Nancy. And yet as I gather my minis to say goodbye to the woman who still travels solo 2000+ miles from California to spend time with us, she clasps her thin-skinned hands around my face and directs her macular degenerated eyes directly into mine. With pure sincerity and warmth, she says to me, "Alison, I love you and your family so so much." She doesn't let go. She stays there for what seems like minutes. And I begin to melt, remembering only a fraction of what she has survived in a near century: the loss of a twin and mother during birth, the horrors of a wicked stepmother, the passing of a spouse, and the sudden death of a child.

And it's no surprise that within minutes of her departure, I long for her company once again, kicking myself for the moments squandered because of my irritability and impatience. The distance now between us truly does cause my heart to swell, and I become saddened as I think of her now home alone, her only companion the chiming clock that strikes every 15 minutes, a sobering reminder of the minutes passing, her memory fading, her brain diminishing, and her body failing.

Thank you, Jesus, for Grandma Hollywood. Wrap her in Your comfort and peace as she suffers the countless losses that come with her age. Help me to remember the blessing it is to still have a living grandparent. And give me patience and a controlled tongue in those moments when I want to load her back on a plane destined for California.

Grandma Hollywood turns NINETY!

Remember Grandma Hollywood? The matriarch and queen bee of my family? Did I mention that twice a year she travels over 2000 miles from beautifully pleasant California to Grandma-really-likes-to-complain-about-the-weather Ohio - and she travels ALONE?! I know, I know, she's amazing.

So this year she flew out in June, one month before her 90th birthday. And let me tell you, my grandma looks damn good for 90. When I realized that my maternal grandmother was turning 90, I first thought, "Crap. I don't want those genes. I don't want to live until 90." But then I looked at the gal and thought, "Shoot! Screw 90. I'll live until 100 if it means looking like that." She's pretty hot, a fact that has been confirmed by her neighbor who has offered to "keep her company" if she's ever interested. The man can't keep his paws off of her. But don't you worry. Grandma Hollywoood's lived in Southeast LA for over 50 years making her the Mamacita de Samoline Avenue Locos and she ain't messin' wit no hombre.

So where was I? Yes, my hottie-bo-bottie almost 90-year-old Grandma flew out for a visit, and my always hospitable mamma decided to throw Grandma a surprise birthday bash. It was touching to see how many people gave up their Friday night to celebrate my Grandma - most of these people only knowing her from Grandma's occasional visits.

Her actual birthday isn't until July 24th, so she was obviously surprised to know that all these people showing up were there to honor her.

It was one of those amazing nights where I sat back and breathed in all the love that my family shares.

And I thank God that Grandma Hollywood is still around to share in that love.

While everyone was gathering outside, my parents' dog, Heidi, sampled the birthday cake.

And naturally, these two had to sample the key lime pie. It's a good thing that the dog and kids are cute.

We spent most of the night in my parents' backyard. It was beautiful.

The only thing missing was the rest of the family. My Grandma has three daughters and one son (her son has passed). Aside from my mom, her family, and my cousin Jared's family, everyone else lives in Southern California. The California family would celebrate Grandma's birthday at a later date.

9 candles - one for each decade.

Grandma with her youngest great-grandbaby. 88 years between them - amazing.

It's not easy shopping for a woman who has already started giving away many of her valuables. Nonetheless she had some wonderful gifts to open.

Bless my mom's heart. She read each and every card to my Grandma. Grandma can only read when wearing her magnifying eyeglasses and she can't hear unless her hearing aids are cranked to the max.

Grandma laughed a lot. It was such a blessing to watch her so joyful.

That's Pauline playing with Jenson. Pauline is one of my mom's dearest friends, and Pauline just happened to be my middle school guidance counselor. Pauline is really really good with middle schoolers and toddlers. It's peculiar, really.

My sister and dad. Love.

If you want your face to look thin in a photograph, stick your neck out. See?

I gave my grandmother a framed picture of all 7 of her great-grandbabies. Needless to say she couldn't tell who was who in the picture. She said, "I'll have to get out my magnifying glass and look at this later."

This is what happens when you give a 90-year-old a pair of white capri pants, elastic waist, size 8. She was ELATED. No seriously, she was so thrilled to be given those darn pants. Apparently my mom and Grandma had been to several stores only days before and could not find a pair to save their lives. All it took my fashionably savvy sister was a visit to ONE store to find the perfect pair. Thank you Penny's!

Here Morgan explains how she is awesome and found the magical pants. My Grandma's face says, "I'm in disbelief that you found white capri pants, elastic waist, size 8."

What kids don't love a party? Our friend, Aaron, came over with his niece, Audrey. The four minis were instant friends.

Getting four minis to sit still on a hammock proved impossible as you can see by how blurry the kids are in this picture.

I'm fairly certain this was their second helping of cake.

Harper had some very important "older women" questions to ask Audrey.

Crazy cuteness.

That's Susie. Another dear friend of my mom's. I just adore these women for loving on my Grandma so stinkin' well.

Did I mention that Pauline is also really funny? At least my 90 year old Grandma thinks so.

Audrey really wanted to be in our family picture. We kindly kicked her out.

Grandma with the Nameth clan.

Grandma with her Ohio family. Jared was in Cambodia and Ella & Jake were in California so only Lisa and Jenson made it to the party. Pauline is standing behind the camera trying to get the kids to smile. She was playing peek-a-boo, and instead of smiling, Harper was imitating.

Happy Birthday, Grandma Hollywood. I would not be surprised if in 10 years we are celebrating your 100th. You're a lifer.

The Hooper Family

What can I say? The Hooper Family - they are so so so dear to me.

They are my husband's family. Technically they are my husband's family on his dad's side. My father-in-law, Roger, has one brother and a half sister. Between them there are 7 kids and 10 grandbabies.

What I love most about them is that they have loved this sheltered city girl from the minute they met me. These folks are country bred, still living and breathing the sweet country breeze, and yet they don't treat me like the foreigner I am. Not only have they embraced me, but they've opened my eyes to a different way of life, where slowin' down means savoring each moment and simplicity brings a greater appreciation of each opportunity.

Memorial Day weekend we traveled south for the annual Shrimp Boil at Matt's cousin's Scott's house. The first time I went to Scott's house we came home with one of Scott's dead birds - alive only minutes before we loaded up for home. Scott gave it to Matt so that Matt could train our new pup to fetch birds. It was a learning curve for me like no other. Not only was I learning that my sweet labrador puppy needed a freshly-whacked bird to fetch if he was gonna be a huntin' dog, but I was also learning that it wasn't uncommon to keep birds for the purpose of training dogs. Like raising a rat to feed a snake or keeping live crickets to feed a pet lizard, some folks keep birds as eventual bait for training dogs. And now our cooler full of Stella Artois had been overtaken by a very dead and bloody bird.

I remember driving home that night in disbelief. I was raised in the 'burbs, for goodness sakes. We lived on a cul-de-sac ruled by pages of zoning laws and building codes - uniform mailboxes, three-inch grass lawns, city-approved fencing, and absolutely no hunting.

Now I'm married to a man who moved a refrigerator-size gun safe into my home. There was a time when I celebrated seasons by shopping Banana Republic's new fall line. Now the seasons in my life are defined by doves and ducks and deer.

But here's a secret. And please don't tell my husband (because there's a gorgeous leather purse at BR that I've been drooling over), but I actually like my city girl meets country boy life. I like it a lot a lot a lot. I love that my husband taught me to shoot a gun in his parents backyard. I love that my kids are growing up surrounded by four-wheelers and above-ground pools. Even though I'm still learning to stomach some of the country life, I'm so thankful that my kids will have exposure to both the city and the country - making memories that I never had the opportunity to make.

Honestly, I didn't think I'd feel this way when I married Matt. I assumed our urban surroundings would gradually take their toll, pulling him farther away from his firm country roots. But God has shown me that He has no such plans. In fact, God has slowly tugged on my heart, revealing Himself to me in the most precious ways on my in-laws 400-acre property in a small town that the Hoopers have called home for well over a century.

Through my marriage, I have been given the blessing of experiencing a different culture. And it is an honor to watch as that culture seeps its way into my own, a merger were the dividing lines are blurring, creating a family that has a love for things both here and there.

For that I am so thankful.

I love this family.

Grandma's dishcloths

My Grandma Hollywood is months shy of ninety. Her tender heart and precious soul are now outliving her nearly century-old body. While macular degeneration, cancer, bone frailty, and deafness (among other cruel gifts from aging) have attacked her senses and mobility, the good Lord continues to give her breath.

My Grandma Hollywood can no longer read or drive. Though she lives independently, she must wear an Emergency Response System and she requires daily check-ins from family. Recently she fell while taking out the trash and she had to wait 10 minutes before mustering up enough strength to crawl back to her porch. One of the hardest realities of her 90 years is that she has outlived her husband, her son, dozens of friends and family, and her ability to engage in hobbies such as knitting, crocheting, crossword puzzles, needlepoint, and dancing. With the help of hearing aids, she can listen to music and books. But listening will never replace engaging.

My Grandma Hollywood will tell you that she's ready to go. She wants to be in Heaven with her husband, her son, and the mother she never met (her mother and twin brother died when my grandma was born). Selfishly I pray that my grandma has another 20 years. But that's not Grandma's prayer. She is at peace with her life. She is not afraid to die. She welcomes eternity with open arms.

Us grandkids joke that we need to keep procreating so that Grandma Hollywood has another great-grandbaby to live to see.

One thing Grandma Hollywood refuses to give up is her ability to crochet dishcloths. Many many years ago my grandma could turn yarn and thread into beautiful clothing, blankets and wall hangings. With what little mobility she has left in her hands and with just enough of her diminishing mind still intact, she manages to crochet dishcloths from memory. Every single visit from Grandma Hollywood is accompanied by a set of surprisingly well-stitched dishcloths.

And though I've collected dozens of Grandma's dishcloths, I won't throw the old ones away. Occasionally one will shred so badly that it no longer serves a purpose, and I sadly retire it to our compost. But that's the absolute last resort.

You see, each time I wipe a hand or scrub a counter, I think of my grandma. With every rinse from the crocheted work of my grandma's crippling hands, I remember my childhood. My obsessive use of these sometimes crooked-stitched cotton rags has little to do with cleanliness and everything to do with a love that only a granddaughter can feel from her beloved grandma.

You see, I refuse to part with these silly things because one of these days Jesus might decide it's finally Grandma Hollywood's time. And I don't think she can send me dishcloths from Heaven. Sure, I'll still know that she loves me unconditionally, but it won't be the same as kissing her thinning cheek or watching the attendant wheel her from the gate as I meet her at the airport or seeing joy overcome her as she hands me a stack of dishcloths that she proudly made using all her remaining memory, muscle, and might.

There's simply no replacement for the tangible love of my Grandma Hollywood. And I'll cherish every last darn dishcloth just to feel it.

Preserving Christmas

Until a few days ago, my son didn't know about Santa Claus.

But in the last week, we've had several interactions with folks who have asked my son a question that I never expected to hear so frequently.

"What's Santa going to bring you?"

I never ever ever thought this would be such a tough question for me. When the clerk at the grocery store or a friend at lunch asks my son about Santa, he stares at them blankly until I pipe in and save face. More for their sake than my son's.

And because my son is perceptive, he now knows that when someone asks about Santa the answer is Yes Ma'am! and PRESENTS!

Isn't it fascinating that of ALL the questions one could ask a child during this season, the ones so often asked are, "Will Santa visit your house this year?" and "What's Santa going to bring you?"

Not, "What are you doing to celebrate Jesus' birthday?" Because that's the question that I want to hear my son answer. And at 2 1/2 years old, my son UNDERSTANDS birthday. He can sing Happy Birthday and tell you about presents and games and he most definitely can tell you about cake. Henry LOVES birthdays.

So whether or not I want my son to know Santa, he's going to know Santa. It's the American way, for goodness sake. And because it frightens me that at such a young age my son is already making the connection between Santa and Christmas and presents, I am trying my darnedest to preserve CHRISTmas. (For the record, we have every intention of practicing Santa. But my prayer is that Santa will never trump Jesus. A girl can pray.)

Here are a few things that my family is doing to keep Christ in Christmas:
  1. Jesse Tree. I LOVE this advent tradition because of its emphasis on Jesus and because it doesn't involve picking candies out of a cardboard display. If you don't know Jesse Tree, I encourage you to learn about it. This is quickly becoming my favorite tradition of all time.
  2. Service. This year we are serving as a family alongside The Manger. It's a great fit for us because our children can participate. I think service is important year-round, but it seems that there are more family-wide opportunities available during the holidays.
  3. Family. Although our children are young, it is important that we spend the evening together - as a family - decorating the house for Christmas. This year, our son put the star on the tree and our daughter danced to carols as we decorated. We created a memory that is a fantastic reminder of Christmas' true meaning - a celebration for Jesus.
  4. Give. Rather than focusing on gifts for those who have excess, we are shifting our priorities. At the top of that list: giving to those who truly need. My friend Marla introduced me to giving opportunities through Samaritan's Purse and Gospel for Asia's. I love these opportunities for many reasons, and it's especially neat to look through the catalogs with Henry as he excitedly identifies the many animals available for gifting. This type of giving engages our children and allows us to have a hand in making a difference in another family's life.
  5. Fast. Why wait until Lent to practice fasting? In an effort to focus on the holiness of this season, I am praying about what is in my best interest to go without. Fasting is such a challenge for me. I always gain a heightened awareness of my awful selfishness leaving me humbly on my knees.
Those are only a few of the things that we are doing this year. What about you? How is your family preserving Christmas?

Quitting comfortable.

I'm unsettled.

My dear friend and mentor, Marla, mentioned reading this book, and because I like to live on the edge, I joined the read-along over on her blog. We are one week into this thing, and already it's been a wild ride leaving me all sorts of rattled and jumbled.

Not exactly the feel-good book of the year.

And though my heart is SO not ready, Radical is exactly what my soul needs.

I am overflowing with so many thoughts and emotions and realizations, but I am far from being able to articulate most of them.

And though I fear the vulnerability that comes with putting my crap out there, stick with me as I begin to process one of those realizations that is really working its way down, down, down into a more digestible form.

David Platt, the book's author, is on a mission to take back our faith from the American dream. On page 7 he writes, "somewhere along the way we had missed what is radical about our faith and replaced it with what is comfortable."

Comfortable. Comfortable. Comfortable.

That's exactly what I am.


And that's when it hit me. Comfortable is exactly what I don't want to be but I'm so afraid to quit.

You see, in my heart, I've always had this urge to do more - something bigger - something more profound than living this cozy life in the 'burbs, surrounded by the cushions of my generous family and dear, dear friends. Even yesterday I found myself in a conversation with a friend, telling her that if my husband was up for it, I'd move to a "lesser" part of town (aka, the ghetto) as a way to reach out to a hurting community. Take it a step farther, and I'd even move to a lesser part of the world, if my husband felt called.

But I'm realizing that much of that desire has little to do with Jesus and a lot to do with me. You see, I can visualize myself in the ghetto (just a few highway exits away from my warm and hospitable extended family) opening my door to neighboring Americans who happen to have a smaller checking account balance than we do. I can even visualize myself in Africa singing Jesus Loves Me with children who look nothing like my own but still call me Ma-Ma and think I'm somethin' special because I'm from America.

But here's where it gets ugly. I'd be willing to move in the name of Jesus, to a place where nobody knows my name, but I haven't been willing to open my doors to equally "needy" folks in this sheltered and thriving community because of my own selfish motives. Sure, I've thought about it. But then satan slips in and tells me, "Why would you want to do that? They'll just think you're crazy once they really get to know you Jesus freaks, and heck, they don't need your hospitality anyhow." You see, I don't want these people who know me as "the sweet girl next door" to know me as the "Jesus freak." Because that'd be plain awkward.

And about Africa. In my cute little daydream, we're sitting in a circle, singing songs and braiding hair. It's like something you'd sail by on It's a Small World. We might stay a while, pass along a box of Bibles and leave behind a generous check, and then return to the land of greed and consumerism via an air-conditioned 747.

But if Africa was really Iran, and those cute little kids were actually men with weapons accompanied by death threats and severe persecution - Are you kidding me? Keep me the hell away from that.

But here's the radical reality. Those terrorists in Iran are just as deserving of God's Kingdom as those beautiful African babies. You see, I don't want the radical calling. I'm only cool with being called if it's cute and returns me safely to cozy.

And my have-known-me-as-the-girl-next-door-for-four-years neighbors are EXACTLY who God is calling me to love IN JESUS' NAME right now. Forget inner-city fantasies. God has me in this zip code, within these walls, at this very time. Why the heck would He call me to serve in a different community if I can't even get my stinkin' act together in the one where He currently has me? Especially when this community comes with freedom of religion?


But before I let satan tell me I suck, because trust me, I'm tempted to end this entire blog post with those two words in bold font - all caps, I am going to thank GOD for humbling me enough to realize what desperately needs to change in my life.

Comfortable. Comfortable. Comfortable.

I live in the most comfortable country in the world, and it's about darn time that I step out just a smidge in an attempt to share my Jesus.

Am I really so darn selfish as to not glorify God in my interactions with those around me? Do I really have so little faith that I don't believe God will take care of what people think when they see us pray or read the Bible or make a decision based on Godly principles as opposed to secular ones?

Thank you, Lord, for speaking directly to my heart and soul as I begin this radical journey. And help me as I take steps of faith toward you and away from me. Because my nature tells me to think of me, me, me. And then me some more.

But I know, deep in my heart and at the core of my soul, that there is so much more to be gained when I think of You. And I never ever want to quit that.

*For more reactions to Chapter One of Radical, check this out.

Crazy awesome.

Two years ago, shortly after the birth of my son, we made the decision to sacrifice a second income so that I could be home with our boy.

Actually, it was God's decision.

Months after my son was born, I applied for a position with the school where I was a long-term sub, and naturally, I thought I had the job in the bag. As it turns out, I didn't get the job. Oh-holy-humbling. I felt so defeated. And disappointed. Especially because with two incomes, my husband and I thought that we could afford to start trying for a second child - a decision that we knew came with huge financial responsibility (my first c-section cost over $30,000).

Anyone else notice all that was wrong with our perspective? God sure noticed. My over-confidence in job security. My insistence that a certain level of financial security equated to our ability to carry out OUR plan. Even the lack of confidence in God's ability to provide for us as we tackled medical bills.

So there we were, living humbly on a single-income, still paying off medical bills from my pregnancy and delivery, and wondering if we'd ever be able to afford more children (yes, we have health insurance, but it didn't cover all of our bills). Though I very much tried to live in the moment with my then six-month-old son (he was and still is the delight of my life), I couldn't help but feel discouraged that God's plan apparently wasn't my plan. I was praying for a part-time-work-from-home-school-counseling-job (or the impossible) and, in an effort to get back to a more positive mindset, I began taking daily jogs.

One Saturday morning, I grabbed the dog and my running shoes and headed out for a quick jog. As we made our return home, we came to a ditch and my foot slipped on the early morning dew still covering the grass. My foot planted in the ditch as my body kept moving forward. I heard three awful pops and landed face-first in the grass, the dog still by my side. I knew right away that my ankle was broken.

Fast forward several days - I'm rolled into the OR for surgery on my very-broken ankle. And guess what? Ankle surgery ain't much cheaper than a c-section.




Now we had medical bills out the wazoo. I was physically unable to even pick-up my crazy-busy six-month-old. And my hopes of jogging my way to sanity were shot. (We can never thank our families enough for helping us to survive those eight weeks that I lived on crutches.)

And to top it all off, eight weeks of being confined to the couch and bed resulted in something I wasn't quite expecting: a pregnancy.

Oi vey.

Of course we were thrilled, but deep-down, I was frightened. Everything that had once given me security had been taken from me - my physical abilities, financial stability, even my self-worth from a job. And throw in the challenges of a soon-to-be-toddler and pregnancy hormones - Yikes! Thank you, Jesus, for giving me a patient and level-headed husband!

Fast forward almost two years. My son is more delightful than ever. My daughter is beautiful and healthy. And I'm jogging again (I even completed a half-marathon in May).

And remember that flippant and impossible prayer I delivered in the midst of my defeat and disappointment - a prayer for a part-time-work-from-home-school-counseling-job? Well I forgot about it. But guess who didn't?

The one-and-only, always-faithful, nothing-is-impossible-for-Him, crazy-awesome God.

Two months ago I accepted the impossible: a part-time-work-from-home-school-counseling-job. I am so not kidding. It is as if God was saying, "I never forgot about you, but I needed the timing to be perfect. Your timing, Ali, was not my timing. Your securities are not my securities." I am so blown away by His faithfulness.

And in case you were wondering, we paid off all of our medical bills. Thousands and thousands of dollars worth of bills. All before I accepted the job. All on one income. Because with God, ALL things ARE possible.

Gosh, He is so stinkin' good.

Non-Maternal Instincts

Nonmaternal Instinct

Giving Linda Blair a run for her money.

Have you seen The Exorcist? You know, the Linda Blair movie about a young girl possessed by some freaky demons (I suppose all demons are freaky), and in the most memorable scene her head does a 360 degree turn and she curses terrible profanities (I guess all profanities are terrible) and she pukes up nasty green stuff.

Well, we experienced that here just last week. In real time. In real life. With real people, not cute child actors like Linda Blair.

You see, the stomach flu trampled its way into this house, and as it hit each member of my family, it became progressively worse.

It started with me. I swore it was only food poisoning that I blamed on clearance mushrooms (yes, there is such a thing, and I buy such things). And then my husband started vomiting (though nauseous, I never threw up), and again, I blamed clearance mushrooms. But when my baby boy started puking EVERYWHERE, I realized it wasn't the clearance mushrooms after all (My son snubbed the clearance mushrooms. He's a total food snob).

But let me tell you, watching a little one vomit is like watching a scene from The Exorcist. Minus the 360 degree head turn and terrible profanities. And my son's vomit was slightly pink, not green. But other than that, my son gave Linda Blair a run for her money.

I am SO thankful it is behind us. I am SO thankful that Harper never got it. I am SO ready for cold and flu season to be over.

Exorcisms just ain't my thang.

Non-Maternal Instincts

Originally posted in December, 2008

Nonmaternal Instinct

It only gets worse.

I didn't think that it was possible to toss my maternal instincts aside any farther, but apparently, I was wrong.

No, my son isn't becoming an absolute terror. Yes, he's nearly nine months old which means he's mobile and getting into everything, but surprisingly, I think it's cute (as long as he's not pulling my I-just-spent-an-hour-organizing-these-piles-of-bills-and-mail off of the coffee table. And why would I pile important papers in my son's reach on the coffee table? Because I'm the mom, and I can do whatever I want).

No, my son actually has nothing to do with the complete downward spiral of my sweet and cheery disposition (if only my husband posted comments to this blog; he would most definitely assure you that my disposition is most always sweet and cherry {cough-cough-ahem}).

So why am I going from, "ah, that's my sweet little boy," to, "#@%#*&# just leave me alone!" in 3-2-1? You haven't guessed yet? I'm pregnant.

Yes, it's the little dime-sized creature living deep inside my lady parts that is driving me to locking myself in the bathroom - for months.

As my most adorable growing baby boy hits milestone after milestone (Did he just sit himself up? Wowsers! Is that another tooth? Yowzers! Could that be "da-da?" Woot!), the mere bean of a being that is only going to make me fat (don't even get me started) wrecks havoc in my lower abdomen causing me to react quite unusually (Oh, great, he's sitting up? Better build a cage. Oh, dang-it, another tooth? I've had enough of this drool bucket! Oh, cute, "da-da"? Who birthed this child? And all I'm hearing is the name of the person who doesn't have the first clue what it's like to be nauseous and fat and bloated and BLAH!)

So just when I thought I'd turned a corner (Christmas is only days away! I should be full of good cheer and well wishes), I learn that my body is yet again being taken over for the sake of another so-called blessing. Bah-humbug.

Dear Lord who only asked one thing of Eve (DON'T EAT THE APPLE!),

I would really like to speak to her, if I may, "Girlfriend, what were you thinking? Because of your stupid fall-into-temptation, us uterus-bearing wo-men are stuck feeling like absolute crap! One stinkin' apple? Was it worth it? Was it the best-dang-tastin' apple you've ever bitten into? Because I'd kill to enjoy a bite of anything right now without having to make a run for the bathroom. Instead of enjoying the vibrant life cruisin' around my living room, I'm spending my days teaching him to hold back my hair as I hug onto oval-shaped porcelain. Thanks a lot."

But Lord, honestly, I am thankful to have another baby growing inside of me. I'm trying my darndest to remember to be grateful in all things. But would you forgive me if just this time I gave thanks only after I flush my lunch down the toilet, because it is in those few moments that I actually feel human again, at least until the next wave of I-think-I'm-gonna-blow hits.