Friday, December 31, 2004

C.B.C.L. Anonymous

C.B.C.L. Anonymous ... the new support group I'm starting. I don't know, maybe it's more like a social club. Chocolate Bliss Cookie Lovers Anonymous is what it is!

That's right. My name is Lesa and I'm a chocolate bliss cookie addict. Chocoholic. Blissoholic. Cookieholic. I'm hooked!

Okay Deana Nall ... I'm outing you too. Deana was my original "dealer". (Although I'm not sure if she is a user as well.) She brought a batch to my Christmas party this year. I had sweet, blissful dreams that night.

I was so concerned! I wondered how many parties I would have to throw so she could bring more? I wondered if it would seem odd to call her up to see if she had any just sitting around? (In other words I wanted to know if she had a "stash"?) I thought I could offer to pay her for them. We could even meet somewhere to make the swap; or is it a drop? A parking lot perhaps or maybe a dark alley.

Thankfully I quickly learned the tricks of her trade. I found the recipe and actually had success in creating my own. I have my own "cookie house" where I can be the dealer now. I can search for poor, unsuspecting closet addicts and reel 'em in hook, line, and sinker.

Funny how sinister you can make something with BLISS in the title sound!

On a more serious note though I've really been proud of myself in spite of this new found "crush". I've been applying Weigh Down Workshop principles to my eating for a few weeks now and God is really working on me. (Even with C.B.C.'s in the house.)

I did have a funny moment earlier this evening though. I was heading for bed and realized I had not put up today's freshly baked "inventory". (That's cookies.) I started placing them in storage containers (no, not baggies) and got a little chocolate on my finger.

Now, I had already resigned myself to no more food tonight until I felt hunger pangs. I was still full from dinner and didn't require any more food. Well, have you ever seen "Finding Nemo"? Are you familiar with the scene where the shark gets a little whiff of blood and goes bezerk?

When I tasted that chocolate from the quick little swipe I gave my finger I swear I felt like that shark! I mean that whole scene immediately came to mind. I stuffed those cookies in those tubs and I bolted from the kitchen with great resolve to "stay clean and sober". Oh, but it was tough.

I'm trying hard to seek comfort in my Heavenly Father. Sometimes I forget what an incredible comforter He is. I've been so sick this week and I have really wanted to turn to food but I'm finally putting all the pieces together with a little help from above. Food is not the answer ... even if it does take the form of C.B.C.'s.

I started reading, "The Purpose Driven Life" by Rick Warren yesterday. It was the "perfect gift" from my little sister Kara this Christmas. In two days it has already started to turn my thinking around and I think that's so cool! I'm hard-headed and stubborn so it's a bit more like a miracle!

So I'll take it one day at a time, one cookie at a time if I have too. A transformation now will only bring healing and heaps of blessings. I know He's cheering for me. I don't know if I had looked at it that way before today. He's a cheerleader too. That's kind of cool.

And I'll have to "journal my journey" through this book here on my blog. I think I'm in for quite a ride. Luckily I know the driver or I'm at least getting to know Him. He makes pit stops when needed and even handles most of the maintenance. He'll keep the engine tuned and purring and I'll trust Him to take care of it all. After all, He's still working on me! - Lesa

"Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than going to McDonald's makes you a hamburger."
- Author Unknown

Monday, December 20, 2004

What Child is This?

I've been looking for titles of Christmas songs that would fit or could be finagled into the title of a post. This one sounded good today.

Will cries ... a lot. I have a policy about not letting a newborn cry for more than 10-15 minutes at a time. So, I don't get much done on the days when he cries. And those days far outnumber the quieter ones.

I was prepared for the lack of sleep a newborn brings. Actually, I wasn't as prepared as I thought. With Trini I could nap during the day when she was sleeping. You can't do that with a second child because the older one is there. However, the loss of sleep really hasn't been that bad.

The days it hits the hardest are the days filled with tears. (Which happen to be the days he cries too.) (Did you catch that?) Those days are rough. I'm surprised Trini, our dogs and myself haven't formed some kind of "gone crazy secret cult".

Actually, I think the two bigger dogs are terrorizing one of the neighbors dogs through the fence in the backyard. I saw Simba looking through a hole in the fence the other day and he just seemed to be plotting something big. But that's another story ...

What child is this? I was not prepared for the crying. Maybe I just never put Trinity down that much because I didn't have another child to take care of. Maybe I didn't have anything else in the world to do. Something tells me that's not it though.

Some days he just cries. He's fed, well fed I might add. He's freshly changed. He's been de-gasified with mylicon drops. He's swaddled up which still seems to make him very happy. There seems to be no reason for the tears. Sometimes even being held doesn't silence him. Nursing always does though. Luckily we've never had a spell that nursing wouldn't calm.

Lately he has been sleeping better at night. And, a recent development is him sleeping in his room. He's still in his carseat most of the time but he has made it to his room. I don't know how I feel about that. He's only three months old. I think I still have the need to keep him close. His needs are above mine, but I have to know as well that he doesn't need to be close to me. I'm not convinced of that yet.

He does end up in his swing in our room sometime during the night. And I always sleep a little better knowing he's nearby. He's my miracle, my gift from God. Tears or not I absolutely adore him and I am so thankful to have a son.

So I'll keep putting off all those daunting household tasks and errands and forward items in my planner to days ahead. I'll hold him when he needs it and comfort him when he cries. And when I complain I'll remember that I chose motherhood and God granted me the greatest blessing on earth. I know I'll forget on those most challenging days, but God will keep me in check. He has a way of doing that. After all, He's still working on me. - Lesa

"Mother love is the fuel that enables a normal human being to do the impossible."
- Marion C. Garretty

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Childbirth: Pain vs. Brutality

My son is 3 months old now. Gone are a lot of the pains of his birth, but there are some scars, unseen, that remain still.

Getting stuck twice for blood tests, twice for an IV, and twice for an epiduryl all in one morning is painful. Not being able to hold your tiny, newborn son is brutal.

Having adhesive tape remove every little hair on your arm along with some skin is painful. Hearing a baby cry in the hospital room next to yours while your baby is hooked up to a machine on the other side of the hospital is brutal.

Walking around with an incision across your tummy, feeling like a vital organ or two will surely fall out is painful. Watching another mother being discharged with a blue bundle in her arms as you are leaving empty handed is brutal.

Getting into a vehicle after having a C-section is painful. Looking back at the hospital while driving away in a vehicle with an empty carseat, knowing you will be miles away from your baby that came to this place inside of you; that is brutal.

There are some things that are as fresh in my mind as they were 3 months ago. In the big picture we were very lucky. Will could have had so many other complications. He could have been one of those tiny beings that were in the NICU for months on end. But that one week he was there, my life stood still. The world stopped turning.

His first five days of life were in solitude without the comfort and warmth of my arms. His first nourishment wasn't found snuggled up to me but so very coldly through a plastic tube. His room, crib, swing, and bassinet stood empty for three days we were home without him.

It was a lesson in patience and humility. I am not the driver on this road of life even though I sure can manage to muck things up with my backseat driving skills. God's mercy is faithful and His ways are mysterious. I'm forever changed by all that we endured.

I'm sure now and then I'll forget who's in control. I'll try to take over as I do too often in my life with other things. But He'll remind me, gently or firmly, whichever is needed. His reminders are necessary and I will wise up eventually. After all, He's still working on me. - Lesa

"The stars are always shining but often we do not see them until the dark hours." - Earl Riney

Friday, December 03, 2004

Jungle Bells

That's right! No typo! It's a jungle around here. All day long I hear screeches that can be mistaken for any number of jungle animals. I hear monkeys for sure. Panthers or cheetahs join in. I could have sworn I heard some sort of elephant call today too. Between a newborn who cries more than anything else and a 3 year old with a very vivid imagination, you never know what you'll hear around these parts. No jingles lately.

In the past I was always so prepared for the holidays and for Christmas in particular. This year I had all of my Christmas cards addressed by the end of August. Okay, so as I mentioned in a previous post I was on bedrest for several weeks before our son was born. But truthfully I had planned to get that done ahead of time because I knew this year would be busier than usual. Or at least more of my time would be devoted to a new baby and keeping his big sister from going postal from the lack of attention.

Well, here I am, warts and all. I never feel like I give him or her enough time. Poor hubby gets even less attention. (I surely hope he doesn't begin sucking his thumb and crying when he wants to be held.) And my house resembles more of a warzone today than a Winter Wonderland.

I can't seem to find a place for everything anymore. We did bring only one child home from the hospital, right? I feel like I wander around all day long trying to figure out where to start. I find myself pondering things such as ... to put decorations out that are on the coffee table, I'd have to find a home for the dense fog of items on my kitchen counter. And some of those things are projects in the works, but not ones that need to be finished before the one on my craft table. And well, my craft table has acquired a few new items of its own. Some of which need to go on the coffee table. Wait, where was I again?

This has all taken 10-15 minutes which is about the baby's max on remaining quiet in any one given location. So by the time I quiet him down and try to get back to the task at hand, the task is lost ... out to sea in an ocean of homeless items that clutter my home and in turn my mind!

I washed a load of dishes today. And a load of clothes. Both children and myself were dressed. Well, one child insisted that remaining in her princess nightgown for the ball she was going to counted as "being dressed". It seemed logical to me so she remained in it all day. My house and endless projects keep beckoning and I suppose I'll get to it all someday. Or at least some of it all day. Wait, where was I again?

I did snuggle with Trinity today. And I napped while Will had his hourly snack and wiggled in my arms. And I read The Little Mermaid for the 811th time ... and did the voices and sound effects. Guess I did okay after all. And tomorrow will be better. After all, He's still working on me! - Lesa

"If a cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind, what's an empty desk the sign of?" - Joe Bayly

Monday, November 22, 2004

My Inbox Runneth Over

When emails used to get returned to me with the message "Recipient's Inbox Full" I always assumed they had some large files in there. You know, big pictures someone sent or some other large attachment. Half the time I assumed they were harboring pictures that I had sent! I no longer believe that has to be the case! I am convinced that I can achieve a completely full inbox simply with normal email messages.

Right now there are 83 messages in there. These aren't just anything and everything messages. These are messages that have survived my scrutiny and elimination process. For example, if the subject line of the email has the letters FW or FWD in any form or fashion, it's deleted; unless I can establish by the rest of the subject it is necessary to my well being to read. This rule is also overthrown if I know the sender is another anti-forwarder like myself. That lets me know it must be important.

If the message contains the words get, now, sale, warning, or any more explicit words of offering, it's outta there. Almost all solicitations from online businesses I patron are tossed as well. It's essential to keep special offers from Oriental Trading Company though. And I delete replies to my emails I get from people that don't require a response or further correspondence.

So what's left? Well, 83 messages. Church bulletins that have something I want to tend to in them. Requests from family members about our Christmas gift giving list which I manage. Emails from when Will was born over two months ago that I want to keep and print for his baby book. Just lots of messages that need my attention.

My inbox was never this overwhelming when Trini was our only child. It never got so out of control. How can one little person do such drastic things to an electronic inbox?

Of course, when I sit there holding my son, looking into his still baby blue eyes, I don't think of inboxes or emails. I think how blessed I am to be the mother of not one but two precious babies. I ponder what I could have done so right in my life that God would entrust these two little people to me? Sometimes other things I need to be doing race through my mind. I've learned to push those thoughts aside and take in the joys of motherhood.

I'm still an over achiever and somewhat of a perfectionist but I'm learning and understanding what the important things in life really are. I'm learning ... after all, He's still working on me. -

"You can give without loving, but you can not love without giving." - Amy Carmichael

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Food Turkey

It's funny how a simple childhood song can raise all sorts of questions in the mind of a wee one ... or not. I wish I could really probe my 3 1/2 going on 13 year old's brain and figure out exactly what she's thinking on the subject of turkey this week.

The only Thanksgiving song I remember from elementary school goes something like this: "A turkey sat on a back yard fence as he sang a sad, sad tune. Thanksgiving Day is coming gobble gobble gobble gobble and I know I'll be eaten soon. Gobble gobble ... I would like to run away ... Gobble gobble ... I don't like Thanksgiving Day. (Left out some gobbles for the sake of brevity there.)

First question out of her mouth, "Why was the turkey sad?"

I explained it was because we ate turkey on Thanksgiving.

After much thought she piped up with, "Silly turkey!"

I inquired why the sad turkey was silly?

"Because, Mommy, doesn't he know that real turkeys aren't food turkeys ... and that we only eat food turkeys?"

She amazes me with her thought processes. I agreed he was indeed a "silly turkey" and we went on with our singing.

Everyone is always saying/complaining that kids are growing up too fast these days. I don't get the complaint. As parents we are the keepers of the childhood. Other than events beyond our control, we can keep this tragedy from happening! This is a prime example.

I'm sure some experts would have had me sit down and look Trini square in the eye and explain that the only differences between these turkeys were feathers and an oven. Oh yeah, and life. I don't see how pointing this out to my 3 year old would have made her a better human being down the road.

She was happy to have logically worked through what she concluded was the silliness of this song. She's a happy girl and now we won't have to say goodbyes to the turkeys at Old McDonald's Farm the next time we visit. Nor will we have tears and confusion and probably a broken little heart at the dinner table this week! I'm okay with that.

Experts schmexperts ... I'll take my chances with this one. What's the worst that can happen? I'll raise a child with an exceptionally happy childhood? I can live with that. And if I'm wrong, I'll figure it out later! After all, He's still working on me! - Lesa

P.S. This had turned into a rant and rave session about PG movies for kids and the decline in the quality of television programs. Specifically how it relates to the loss of childhood. I've since deleted that from this page and am saving it for another FUN entry! Can't wait huh?

"To avoid stress: Rule #1 - Don't sweat the small stuff. Rule #2 - It's all small stuff. If you can't fight and you can't flee, flow."
- Robert Eliot

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Home Fires Burning

I really like to cook. I love baking and if my little girl is by my side then oh so much the better; a little slice of Heaven I believe.

I've always had a good handle on things in the kitchen. Sure, I've had my mishaps and my funny moments. But for the most part, I run a pretty tight ship and create mini masterpieces now and then.

Since the birth of my son two months ago, or really since his conception, my brain has not been functioning at full capacity. I start a load of clothes washing. Then, two days later I'll start it washing again. If I'm lucky, the next day they'll get dried. I walk from one side of the house to the other three times before I remember why I started the long journey in the first place. I forget to pick up things at stores. Things that are on my shopping list. That would be the shopping list I HAVE WITH ME!

Well, tonight the condition oozed its way into my kitchen. This is where I draw the line. I set the timer on the oven. I set it for the wrong time, but I set it none the less. The cookies for Mark's Thanksgiving celebration at work tomorrow are Cajun style. For all of you non-Louisianans, that's blackened. I could have cried.

One catapulted to the floor as I tried to pry it out of its little muffin cup. Luckily the mess was minimized as our peke-a-poo did her thing. Our personal little vacuum with instincts she is! I was happy to not have that mess to clean up. When I heard her gagging as she was "woofing" it down, my happiness faded. And Mark's still taking them to work tomorrow.

Gourmet chef I'm not ... but He's still working on me! - Lesa

"Experience is a wonderful thing; it enables us to recognize a mistake every time we repeat it." - Author Unknown

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Cooking Something Up

This is a bit of a blast from the past. I originally wrote it as an email to all those who know and love my husband. It was written in September 2003. It makes me laugh even now. It makes me a little hungry too.


I had my Weigh Down Workshop class last night so I had prepared a casserole for Mark to bake for supper. He actually remembered to get the oven heated up! He also remembered to cook it. He grabbed the casserole dish off the top of the stove and popped it in.

40 minutes later he lifted up the foil and didn't see anything so he pulled the dish out. As he removed the foil he found BLACKENED Hello Dolly cookie remnants and a shriveled, shrank and melted spatula!

Standing near the incriminating evidence, I was recovering from the painful laughter that overcame me! All of a sudden his face lit up like a child on Christmas morning and he moved to the sink to show me an empty dish there.

(Let me preface this next part by saying that we concluded on Sunday that something has died in our refrigerator and gone into hiding as we can not find the offending item. Bad, bad smell only when the fridge is opened.)

He said, "I messed up dinner but I found our culprit from the fridge. These nasty looking potatoes had to have been in there for months! Don't worry ... I threw them all out!"

I took a step back ... so that he wouldn't be within arm's reach of me. I then informed him that those "nasty, old potatoes" had been the ones I had spent over an hour and half making earlier that afternoon!!!!!!

Normally, I might have found a way to be amused at this as well, but these potatoes were significant to me. You see, the devil-incarnate, my orthodontist, put new torture devices on last week. (Evil creations called buttons on the backsides of my lower teeth.) I haven't been able to chew much since last Wednesday and I had finally found the time to make me some mushy scalloped potatoes.

In 8 years of marriage, my husband has NEVER EVER thrown something away from in the fridge. Poor Mark ... he couldn't win for losing last night. I ended up laughing about it later ... with a growling stomach.

Guess He's still working on Mark, and me! - Lesa

"What a sad thing it is when you have to blow out other's candles to make your own shine brighter." - Author Unknown

Friday, November 12, 2004

What's in a Sound?

My house cleaning mad dash is on. Time is running out. Company is due tomorrow or maybe tonight. Little truths about myself are coming out in ways I find remarkable. For instance, my newborn is living, crying proof of what a poor housekeeper I have been. Allow me to elaborate.

It's a well known fact that babies can hear while in utero. We sang to our son and talked to him. He heard the world around him. He's used to the singing at church and his sister's girlie screeches. He's even used to all three of our dogs barking, even if one is right beside him. None of these things startle him, scare him, or even wake him.

So why when his mother tries to vacuum does he totally flip his lid? What exactly does that say about my pre-natal efforts in tidying up?

In my defense I was on bedrest for several weeks prior to his arrival. And I must say that I really do feel a stronger need to stay on top of things in the house now. Guess I'm growing up. Of course, now I don't have time to do the things I want and need to do in the house. I'm always tied up with one or more children. The mind is a funny thing that way.

Oh well! He's still working on me! - Lesa

"You can't turn back the clock, but you can wind it up again." - Bonnie Prudden

Doing Nothing So I Can Do Something

I've been wanting to start my own blogspot for at least a couple of weeks now. I've "postponed" doing it because I've always had something else that really took precedence over it and needed to be done first. Of course, I didn't always get to the something else, but at least I did nothing with what I truly wanted to do so if it struck my fancy I could do the less desirable something I needed to do.

Will all of my posts ramble on so? To be honest it's quite possible. I'm blessed to be a Christian, wife of one, mother of two humans and three canines, daughter of six, granddaughter of eleven, sister of nine, and an aunt of nine (soon to be ten)! (I included in-laws and out-laws and steps in all of that!) Add that to my glorious occupation of domestic engineer (yes, housewife and homemaker) and I stay pretty ... well ... loopy ... I mean ... busy!

My son will be two months old in two days. For some reason, being the mother of two has made me feel like more of a grown up than I did with just one child. I mean, getting the minivan in 2002 packed its punch. And although turning 30 last year wasn't so bad, I felt the realness of adulthood when I hit 31 last week. But a second child ... that was the real clincher. I'm the driver, the chaperone, the leader, the caretaker, the parent ... I'm all grown up!

So, I started writing this an hour ago. I've been interrupted by a hungry child that my daughter and I have fondly named the piranha. (Yes, I'm nursing; or rather he is.) And I'm not sure if I'm getting to my point or even if I have one.

I did have the intention of bringing up the leg bounce I've acquired since the birth of my son. Whether standing, sitting, or sometimes even laying in bed, if my son is in my arms, my legs bounce. He can be crying, smiling, screaming, silent. They bounce. The louder he cries the deeper and faster the bounces get. (Sure sign of desperation.) Today he started crying in another room and I got the bounce going before I ever even picked him up!

I noticed the ailment affects other new moms as well. My friend Deana had her bounce on with her daughter last night in Bible class. Get us together and you've got an aerobics class ... we're way too active for yoga. Deana, incidentally, has inspired me to become a writer or at least a "blogspotter". Her baby is 3 weeks older than mine. If she can fine time to decompress on-line then I can too by golly.

My only other unmentionable today, that I'll be so bold as to mention, was my first shot at mopping since my son has arrived. Yeah, he's 2 months old. I do have the excuse of having had a c-section, but let's face it; I'm not an avid mopper. (Is anyone?) Except when I'm having company, which I am this weekend. I had to go in search of the mop, that's how long it had been.

I mopped right before I started writing here. Late at night ... that's the time to do it. No one to distract you. No dogs to go pee, no child wanting milk or fruit chews or goldfish, no husband wanting you to find something he can't find because his x-ray vision isn't working and things don't move out of the way on their own for him to look behind them for what he's in search of. Oh, but that's another story.

Thanks for sharing your time with me ... all two of you that may read this. I promise it'll get better. Well, I promise it will probably get better. After all, He's still working on me. - Lesa

"Your state of mind is your state of life." - Peter C. Siegel