Tuesday, February 28, 2006

No Monsters Here

A couple of nights ago, Nathan came into our room around 3:00 a.m. and asked, "Mommy can I be with you?" More than just a little groggy, I woke up enough to ask Nathan what was wrong. He responded with "There are monsters rarrrring at me." I could tell he was a little scared, so I did what all the books and child psychologists tell parents not to do. I told him to climb into bed with us. So he clamored over me and snuggled in between Brian and me. Once he was comfy and sufficiently tucked into bed, he looked over at me and said, "Mommy there are no monsters here. I'm not scared anymore." Then with a sweet smile, he drifted off to sleep.

What a great moment! I looked over at Brian so I could share one of those special knowing looks -- you know, the ones that between a husband and a wife that say "Life just couldn't be any better than it is at this moment." Well, he wasn't looking back because he was too busy sawing some serious logs. (And I do mean that it in the most literal sense!) My guess is that unless Nathan ended up sticking a knee in Brian's rib or hitting Brian in the face in all of his tossing and turning, then Brian didn't even know he was there.

The moment was still nice. It reminded me of one summer when I was a little kid. I was staying at my Grandma and Grandpa's farm, and one night I woke up really scared and probably a little homesick. I went into my grandparents' room to get some comfort and Grandma told me to climb in bed with them. I remember laying in between Grandma and Grandpa and feeling so safe because they were sooo big and strong. Looking back, all I can think is how in the world do you fit two adults and a restless, floppy sleeping kid in a full size bed? Poor Grandma and Grandpa! They made it work though, and the memory is great. Maybe Nathan will someday remember feeling safe that night. My guess is that if he does remember it, he will just think, "Man, do my parents snore loud or what?"

Sunday, February 26, 2006

The Dark Side

It has been a long time since I have posted. My greatest apologies to the grandmas! We are struggling through some illness that keeps being passed around the family and life has not been normal or productive for the past week and a half.

Through this whole epidemic, I have once again been reminded of the dark side of my children. Now, don't get me wrong. They are great kids, and I love them dearly. However, even in sickness, you can only be truly sympathetic for a reasonable amount of time before those little "quirks" begin to make you a little crazy. Now you may be sitting there saying, "What quirks? They are just sick little boys."

Well, take Nathan for instance. When he is sick, he becomes the most demanding momma's boy you can imagine. He will not allow anyone besides me to touch him, help him or do anything for him, which makes for fun times in our happy little home. The first night that he became really sick, Brian and I were putting him to bed, and he threw up everywhere. While I was comforting Nathan and calming him down, Brian asked what he can do to help. I gave him the option of giving Nathan a bath or cleaning up the mess. Can you guess what he chose? The smart guy went with the easy task of the bath, at least that is what he thought. Nathan screamed his lungs out the entire time I cleaned up the room. Seeing that Nathan was refusing to even get in the tub, I told Brian that I would trade spots with him and asked him to find our little hand held carpet cleaner. As soon as I went into the bathroom, Nathan was all excited about getting a bath and jumped in of his own free will. (Just mildly frustrating to a somewhat edgy dad.)

So, I get Nathan changed and nestled into the big comfy chair in the living room in time to find out the carpet cleaner is leaking. While I am trying to reattach the hose, Nathan yells for some apple juice. I filled the cup, but gave it to Brian to take to Nathan so I could clean the carpet. That was a mistake. The small child began sobbing uncontrollably and yelling, "I want mommy to do it!" The sobbing started the coughing, which resulted in a close call to more throwing up, while poor ol' dad stood there helplessly saying, "Nathan, mommy filled the cup. It's okay. SHE made it."

David, on the other hand, plays up being sick for all it is worth and likes to be waited on hand and foot by anyone and everyone in sight. He has this "sick" voice. You know the one that makes you think he is using his last breath to tell you something. He will say, "I have such a bad cough. I need to see a doctor. I am very sick, and I don't think it would be good for me to ___" and you can fill in the blank with any thing that requires effort or is not fun. He wants to be held and cuddled and fed lots of milkshakes. However, if the illness interferes with anything fun like a birthday party, playing outside, or eating massive amounts of sweets, then the sickness is gone quicker than you can say cough syrup.

So, here you have it -- two little boys with two entirely different personalities in sickness and in health. And don't get me wrong, I did feel sorry for the boys because they were both pretty sick little guys. Besides that, they come by their actions naturally. After all, taking care of two little sick kids and not feeling so hot myself, all I can say is "I Want My MOMMY!"

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Yet Another Embarrassment to the Family Name

So, I went to pick Nathan up at "school" today, and you will never believe what I saw. It was Nathan running around the gym trying to get away from his late 60's-early 70-ish teacher, who is chasing him and repeatedly saying, "Nathan, please come back here." I wanted to crawl in a hole, but instead, the mean mom side of me came out.

Imagine Nathan's surprise, when he heard my voice say, "NATHAN ANDREW! COME HERE RIGHT NOW!" He stopped dead in his tracks and looked at me. Then he gave me a huge grin and kept on running. (That is NOT how it happens in the parenting books!) When I finally got my hands on him, he got in trouble and then had to go apologize to his teacher. She responded to his apology by saying, "You'll obey next time." In a sing-song voice, he said, "I don't think so."

Nathan's teachers have the best attitude about Nathan's "free spirit". All three of them laugh about his candor when it comes to obeying. He will just openly say, "I not going to listen today." Then, he just doesn't listen. Other days, he will say, "I listen today." Then he listens all day. While he does have a little devil side to him, at least he warns you in advance so that you have time to prepare for it!

Now, I would love to blame this trait on Brian, but I don't think Brian was ever like this. I don't think he completely got it from me, but I do know three men in particular from my mom's side of the family who he reminds me of on a daily basis. And that gives me hope because I love and admire those men very much!

For now though, we just try to survive the day in hopes that we will still be able to show our faces at the end of it. If that doesn't work, we always have the option of changing our names!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

The Car Ride

I remember a time when car rides where peaceful events in our house. When the boys were smaller, we would put them in their carseats and drive around until they fell asleep. Brian and I would talk about life, our dreams, the day's happenings or whatever was on our minds.

Those days are now GONE! We took a quick little jaunt this afternoon, and it was pure mayhem. Here is how the ride went in dialogue form:

David: Mommy, can I tell you something?

Nathan: Mommy?

Me: Yes David.

Nathan: Mommy?!

Me: Just a minute Nathan. David is telling me (interrupted by David: Mommy, Can I tell you something?) something.

Me: What David?

David: Can I tell you something?
Nathan: Mommy, I tell you something too. (At the same time David is talking)

Me: Just a minute Nathan. Go ahead and tell me David.


Me: David, if you talk to me that way, you won't be allowed to tell me something. Nathan just a minute. Now David, if you want to talk calmly to me, then go ahead.

David: Mommy, can I take your picture when we get home?

Me: Yes! Nathan what did you want to tell me?

David: Mommy?

Me: David, it is Nathan's turn. Nathan go ahead.

David: But I wasn't done!


Me: Yes Nathan?

Nathan: (incoherent mumbling)

Me: What Nathan?

Nathan: (continues incoherent mumbling) while David says: You can't wiggle if I take your picture.

Me: Very Interesting Nathan! Okay David, I won't wiggle.

David: Well you can wiggle if you want.

Nathan: Can I wiggle?

David: Nathan, if you don't stop talking, you won't be able to be in the picture.

Me: David that's not nice. You are talking just as much as Nathan.

David: Oh he can be in the picture too.

Nathan: Thank you Da-id.

Then they hold hands for a few seconds and carry on a conversation with each other for a minute.

David: Mommy, can I tell you something?
Nathan: Mommy, I tell you something?

Brian finally put an end to all of it by declaring martial law (a.k.a. Quiet Time). So, next time you talk to me and think that I am either a little on the edgy side or that I have completely lost all sense of reality, just ask me if I have been on a car ride lately!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Headstand

I was in the kitchen this morning and looked up to a strange sight. From the kitchen, you can see into the boys' bathroom. I saw two little legs parallel to the floor, but then they started to become more and more perpendicular. Imagine my surprise when I went into the bathroom and saw Nathan doing a headstand in the bathroom sink. The funny thing is that his headstand was pretty good!

Now some of you may be thinking, "Oh my goodness! I cannot imagine a child doing such a thing." Well, welcome to the world of Nathan. The child is fearless and will try anything. If he gets hurt or it doesn't work out well, then he will try it again and again until he does get it right. He does it all with a determined look in his eye and a smile on his face. How do you get mad at a kid with his head in the sink when he looks at you with such a great smile?

All of this leads me to sharing the strange dream I had the other night. (If you ask my husband, he will tell you that all my dreams are strange, but this one was especially disturbing.) In this dream, our family was in the middle of this big project and we needed some stuff from Wal-Mart. Brian was planning on going to Wal-Mart to get the stuff, and Nathan was going with him. So, I watched Nathan get in the car and decided I better keep on working on the project. Eventually I went back into the house and saw Brian sitting on the couch talking to some man. I knew the car was gone, so I thought to myself, "Oh no! Nathan went to Wal-Mart by himself!"

I walk up to Brian and ask him if he let Nathan go by himself to the store. He didn't seem to think it was a big deal and told me he would do great. I responded with, "Brian, first of all, I didn't tell him what I needed from the store and second, he is only 3. Even if he did know what I wanted, he couldn't read the labels on the packages. We will have to go find him!" Then I woke up.

Now, does anyone else think that it is a little odd that I didn't mention that fact that he doesn't know how to drive? A mom should catch that detail, shouldn't she? (By the way, in my dream, Nathan was driving a Camaro. We don't even own a Camaro. What does all this mean?!)

I guess my dream shows that I have come to assume that Nathan is going to do crazy things in life. Let me tell you, I have seen the glint in his eye when he tries to get behind the wheel of my van and I know what it means. If I ever make the mistake of leaving keys within his reach, he'll be cruisin' with the best of them. After all, this is the small child that has escaped from the church nursery in search of bigger and better things.

So for now, we lock the deadbolts at all times and try our best to secure all pieces of furniture to the wall. Then we just sit back, watch and laugh!

Saturday, February 04, 2006

A Big Decision

David came back from his big day with Carissa at Playworld about an two hours ago, and it sounds like he had the time of his life. Carissa's mom called on their way home and said that they had played hard and that he was looking a bit weary. She also said that Carissa's older sister, Joanna (who used to be in our youth group, but has graduated and is now married), has figured out why David doesn't eat very much. She thinks he just takes little tiny bites so that it won't slow down his ability to talk! :-)

Before I took him to meet Carissa's family for the ultimate day of fun, we went to the store to pick out a birthday present for Carissa. Now if you haven't read the wedding shoes posting, you need to go back and read that to fully understand the meaning behind this, but after great debate and a tough decision, David finally settled on dress up shoes and a Cinderella crown that lit up when you pressed the jewel on the front. He was quite pleased with it because he thought that Carissa would look beautiful wearing it.

After he got home, he told me all about his day and then he did his usual nightly routine and I put him to bed. A few minutes later, he comes out of his room into the kitchen. Now normally, if he gets up out of bed, I know it is a stalling tactic and I am not real understanding of his reasons. Tonight when he came out, I knew he was really tired and I saw a big smile on his face. He came over to me and whispered, "Mommy I have something important to tell you." So I bent down to get on his eye level and responded, "Oh you do? What do you want to tell me about?" He smiled even bigger and whispered, "I have decided to get married. Guess who I am going to marry?" I smiled back and said, "I don't know. Who do you want to marry?" He said, "Carissa. I am going to marry Carissa."

So, I said, "David, Carissa is a very sweet girl." Then I asked, "So why are you going to marry Carissa?" He very matter-of-factly said, "I just decided to." I thought I would delve into this deep thinking mind a little more and asked, "What do you think made you decide to marry her?" And with the most intensity he could muster, he responded, "Because she makes me sooo happy and I love being with her!" I told him that was a good thing when you wanted to marry somebody and gave him a great big hug. With a smile that I just cannot adequately describe, he walked back to his room to go to bed. About 30 minutes later, I went into his room to make sure he was tucked in sufficiently, and he was still smiling! Sweet Dreams little guy!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

I Wish I Had a ...

Our boys love Larry Boy. In case you don't know, Larry Boy is a creation of VeggieTale's Big Idea. Larry, the ordinary cucumber, becomes Larry Boy the superhero with a purple and yellow costume and super suction plunger ears. Since everyone needs a superhero, one that teaches morals and Bible verses is a good choice.

One of the Larry Boy movies we have is called Larry Boy and the Fib from Outer Space. The story line goes something along the line of this: Junior the Asparagus breaks his dad's collector's edition bowling plate. This little fib encourages him to lie and with every lie, the fib grows until he is this massive creature. It basically teaches you of how you can get trapped in a lie, but how telling the truth sets you free. Good little story line.

David absolutely loves the movie. He makes up his own little story lines about the fib and Larry Boy. He loves to color pictures of the fib and Larry Boy trying to save Junior. The appropriate word for the whole thing would be obsessed.

One day while he was drawing pictures of the fib, David said, "Boy, the fib sure does have a big bottom." I responded with something like, "Yeah he sure does." David then caught my attention by saying, "I wish I had a big bottom like the fib." I was like, "David, you REALLY don't want a big bottom like the fib." (meaning... TRUST ME, you really don't want a big bottom like the fib!)

He crossed his arms in his own stubborn way, and said, "Yes I do!"

All I can think at this moment is Why? What is wrong with this child that he would want this? I should have stopped here and just been supportive of his creativity for this dream desire (yeah right!), but I will never learn! So I asked, "David why would you want a big bottom like the fib? What would you do with a big bottom?" Probably not the best choice of words on my part.

David contemplated for a minute and then responded, "I don't know. I guess Iwould sit on a really big potty!"

Note to self: The less questions asked, the better. Life may be a little more boring, but sometimes it is safer not to know!

(By the way, if you are asking yourself if everything in this household comes back to something to do with the bathroom, sadly enough you are on the right track. )

I'm going to Disney World!

David has been invited to the birthday party of his betrothed. Okay, not really, but do you remember the wedding shoes post where a little girl name Charissa told him they were getting married? It's her party.

They are going to Party World, which is in another town about 45 miles away. David is pretty excited about this. He gets to ride in his Pre-K teacher's van (Mrs. Tammy is Charissa's mom), and go to this party without his lame ol' mom or dad tagging along.

So, on the way to school today, David was talking about the party and I told him to make sure and tell Charissa he could go to her party and to tell her thank you for inviting him. He then said, "Yeah, I will because I want to go to Disney World!" I am thinking, Uh-Oh! So I ever so gently break the news that this isn't a trip to Disney World; the party is at a place called Party World which is more of a mix between McDonald's Playground and Chuck-E-Cheese. He rather emphatically replied, "No, we are going to Disney World, and Mickey Mouse will be there!"

All I can say is that I am glad that Mrs. Tammy is the one who is driving him there and gets to explain where Mickey Mouse is! :-)

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

El-Shaddai--God of the impossible

This has been a very difficult week. Life has gotten very busy in the Lewis household. The classes that I teach are getting busier in terms of grading. I will be receiving my mid-term test in my Finance class today and it will be due in one week, along with the regular weekly assignments (plus I am working on a 15 page paper). I have dissertations that I need to review, and the church database to install on the computers at the office. Brian has a big weekend with the youth group including a late night ice skating trip in Little Rock on Friday, movie night on Saturday, and a SuperBowl party on Sunday. Then you have to throw in that one of David's friends has a birthday party on Saturday. Who knows what else will pop up.

Sometimes when life starts going fast, I tend to lose sight of the important things until something or someone brings me back to our real purpose in life. The little things become very overwhelming and I start to get frustrated a little more easily and my tolerance level shrinks quickly.

Well, several reality checks have hit me this past week. On Monday night, a good friend of ours lost her mother. Her mom had recently been diagnosed with ALS, so her passing was a blessing in terms of limiting her suffering. However, it is devastating for her family. My friend has said several times that it has just gone so fast and there wasn't time to talk about all the things she wanted to talk about with her mom.

In addition, one of my cousins left for the Mayo clinic because he has been suffering from excruciating migraines, numbness in his face and extreme pain. They are having a difficult time finding the cause, so now he is just waiting to be seen by doctors at the mayo clinic.

And there are so many other things that are far more important than a finance test or a super bowl party. I hate that these things have to be reality checks to make me hold my kids tighter or tell my husband how much I appreciate him and love him, but that is what events like this do. It makes us lean on God and offer numerous prayers and pleas for those we love and for ourselves. Thankfully, God is a loving father and he listens.

I know this is a long post, but I want to share one more thing with you. This was another reminder that I received from my cousin. Her daughter, Kristen, was born prematurely, suffered a stroke before she was even born and has mild cerebral palsy. She has faced many struggles that are just too numerous to tell about in this post, but Kristen is the most determined little girl I know. She is 6 years old and in a regular kindergarten! Here is my cousin's email:

In Bible Study Fellowship this year, we are studying Genesis. This week we are learning about how Abraham and Sarah experienced God as El-Shaddai. Our notes said, "El-Shaddai conveys the meaning of God as "the all mighty One to whom nothing is impossible."

One of the questions in our homework asked, "In what way has the Lord been your El-Shaddai (God of the impossible) this week?" I had an immediate answer!

Kristen started reading this week. Not just recognizing a few words, but she hit that "magical" time where all of the sudden they are reading! She was sitting on the couch reading her "Biscuit the Dog" book, and I was struck with a memory. I thought of when she had just turned two and we took her to St. Louis to the third leading pediatricneurologist in the U.S. who specifically worked with children who had had strokes. Kristen was only saying a few words, and was unable to eat solids. At the end of the appointment, we asked him when he thought she may start eating or talking. He said that based on the MRI and based on her current physical development being grossly delayed, she may never eat solid food and may never talk normally.

I was so sad! I cried off and on during our ride home. Jenna, then seven, asked why I was crying. I told her that the doctor had said Kristen may not eat or talk normally and that it made me sad. She said,"Well, when she was born the doctor told us she wouldn't walk until she was five. We didn't believe him, but we prayed. Why do we believe this doctor?"

Matt 18:2-3 "He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven."

I was amazed at her statement of faith! I was ashamed that it wasn't my first response. I had focused my eyes on our circumstances instead of looking to God. My attitude was transformed in an instant. We prayed right then, and didn't stop!

God honored the faith of a seven year old. He honored the faith of a tired mom and dad, who temporarily took their eyes off of Him. And here she is, reading on her own. Eating on her own. He is a God of the impossible. I wanted to write this to all of you, because maybe there is something in your life that looks impossible. Don't focus on your circumstances, but have faith in who God is and what God can do!!

Isn't that amazing? I know this isn't one of my usual funny postings, but this is what is on my heart. This is what I want my kids to know most...that God is their God of the impossible. He is always there, always listening, and always preparing us for His service. Maybe it is not always in the way we think or the way we want, but He is using the situations we encounter to mold us. I hope you will pray for Brian and I as we teach this to the boys, and I hope you will help us teach them.

I also challenge you to think about the question that my cousin was challenged to think about..."In what way has the Lord been your El-Shaddai (God of the impossible) this week?"