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Why I Hate "CARS"

I don’t really.  If I did, I don’t think anything I ever said again from this point on would be credible, so I jest.  But, it’s okay for me, as a mom, to be mad at Lightning McQueen, Guido, Luigi, and all the Ferrari’s in the whole world.

Do NOT let his looks deceive you…this 3 year old boy has been up to NO GOOD!  NO JOKE, I’ve only grown gray hairs since he’s been in my life.  

Last summer Ryan would say something about punching in the face.  Jason and I would just look at each other and then say, “Oh, no, Ryan, we don’t punch anyone in the face.  Where did you hear about punching in the face?”

He didn’t have an answer, and then, one day, I was nuggled up to him on the couch while he watched “Cars” and I heard it.  It was one of those little tire helper guys, either Luigi or Guido, I can never remember who is who, and the real Ferrari’s had just driven into the store for new tires, and one of the little Italians exclaimed, “A REAL Ferrari!  Guido (or Luigi) punch me in the face!”

Frigging Pixar!  I know you make movies for my entertainment as I watch along with my child, but my toddler doesn’t understand that it’s just an expression!

Fast forward to tonight as I was off to Walmart, all by myself, for a solo mom-retreat…just a chance to BREATHE and get out of the house, aka, operation: get tampons. My life should make you jealous, clearly.  So, yeah, why not Target?  Tar-jay?  It’s so much more hip mom…Well, because the $87.88 I spent at Walmart for tampons would have easily been $158.97 at Target, and even though the last few days of parenting a 3 year old boy merited a Target splurge with no regret, I’m still trying to stay on a budget, thank you, Dave Ramsey!

As I headed to get the said item, I took a turn through the razor aisle.  Two guys, early 30’s, hard-working, were talking, discussing, the one holding several different products in his hands and as I pass by with determination to avoid all eye contact with other people while on my solo retreat I hear, “Hey, have you ever had hemorrhoids?  Is that okay if I ask you that question, ma’am?”  

Me:  Um, yes.  I’ve had 3 babies, so of course I’ve had hemorrhoids.
Guy 1:  Sorry, it’s kinda personal, so thanks for letting me ask.
Me:  You can ask me anything.  Literally.  I had a little boy who passed away so nothing phases me, and one thing I’ve learned is life is short and if your girl is suffering from hemorrhoids, you sure better take care of her.
Both guys in unison:  Oh, I’m really sorry for your loss, ma’am.  Nobody should ever go through that…
Me:  Thank you.  You guys are sweet.  He is safe and healed with Jesus, but let’s talk about your girl, she is the one who needs attention right now.
Guy 2:  I have a real deep respect and relationship with my Lawd, Jesus Christ.
Me:  Awesome…
Guy 1:  She’s in a lot of pain and just told me to go to the store to get her some stuff, said it’s burnin’.  Should I get her the “Cooling Gel?”
Me:  (holding his 3 items, side by side…)  You need to get her the “Maximum Strength” relief, plus, get her these pads to put the cream onto and get her an ice pack.  (*thinking, “Am I on a hidden camera?  Is this for real?  Are two guys asking me how to heal his woman’s hemorrhoid…in Walmart?)  Believe me, “Maximum Strength” is the way to go.
Guy 1:  (*What he said at this point, I cannot repeat…)
Me:  Oh.  Well then, she may have an infection.  You need to take care of her and get her to a doctor.  She may need antibiotics.  (*Dear Lord…just…Dear Lord…)
Guy 1:  For reals?  Okay, I have health insurance.
Me:  Good, yes, give her this, but watch her, make sure she doesn’t have a fever, and get her to a doctor to make sure she doesn’t have an infection.  You need to take good care of her, treat her right.  God loves her and made her.  He loves you, too, and He wants you to take good care of her.
Guy 1:  Yeah, at least for this week, I’ll do her right
Me:  NO!  God made her and designed her and loves her and you, and He has a plan for your lives, so treat her right, EVERYDAY, ALL THE TIME!”  (With more emphasis!)
Guys:  Thank you, ma’am.  (Outstretched hands.)  I’m (so and so) and I’m (so and so).  Here’s my card if you ever need some trees cut down…
Me:  Thanks.  Nice to meet you.  I’m Adrienne, like Rocky Balboa’s wife.  What’s your girl’s name?
Guy 1:  (Such and such…)
Me:  I’ll be praying for her, for God to heal her body.  Please, take care of her…
Guys:  Yes, ma’am.  Thanks for not being embarrassed to talk about hemorrhoids.

I turned the corner and had to post it on Facebook, because, clearly my solo retreat was over, right?  I headed to the tampon aisle, then bought mascara and chocolate and a few other things since you can’t just put tampons on the conveyor belt without anything else…duh.  (I guess there IS self-check out…)

SOOOO, I was at Walmart ALONE because Ryan, my 3 year old, is giving me a run for my money, like doing naughty things because he is bored or just seeking attention or who knows why?!  In the day to day, we are an awesome team, so this recent outbreak has thrown me for a loop.  For the most part, I am an extremely patient person.  I don’t start fights knowingly, try to apply both Jesus AND Dale Carnegie strategies to day to day life whenever I can, and am quick to forgive and forget and find peace.  But, yesterday as I was carrying Ryan upstairs for his nap, Ryan slapped me first, then punched me in the face 5 times, to which I calmly knelt down, turned him over my knee so he was face down, arms no longer able to get to my face, stood up, repositioned him with his arms and body tucked securely in my armpit, hugged him, put him into his bed for nap time, calmly told him I loved him, forgave him, that hitting his mommy or ANYONE on the face was completely disrespectful, never okay, and he was never to do it again, but that I loved him and forgave him, once again, and I’d see him later.

I was so sad, no story/snuggle time which is my favorite part of the day…

Then I went into my closet to put on my workout clothes and as I bent over to unzip my boots, I bawled HARD, sobs deep within, because my son punched me in the face.  My son.  With force.  On purpose.  And he has words…and he uses words…but this time chose to punch me in the face, with 5 forceful blows, only stopping because I am currently bigger than him.  And it hurt my heart…and my face.

I knelt down and prayed.  Breathed deep.  Thanked God for my boy.  Prayed some more and changed my clothes.

Before I headed downstairs I opened his door to find him standing at the end of his crib, crying with deep sadness, lips down turned.  I said, “Ryan, I love you and I forgive you for hitting me.  I was sad because you punched me in the face, so how you are sitting in your room crying, Mommy was just in her room, crying, too.  When you hit me, it really hurt my feelings.”  He sobbed deeply and said, “Mommy, I love you so much!  I’m so sorry I punched you!  I won’t ever punch you again!  I’m so sorry, Mommy!  I love you, and I forgive you, too!”

I’m not sure what he was forgiving me for, “What?  For putting you down for a nap you clearly need, buddy?!”  But I’ll take it.  I need forgiveness for all the screwing up I’ve already done to him and his sister…

I scooped him up and said, “Thank you, Ryan.  I forgive you and love you so much!  You are my very sweet boy!  My Giraffe!  Would you like to snuggle and read a book?”  He hugged me hard and said he did.

As I closed the last page he put his hands together flat, prayer style, and laid them on my chest, then rested his head on them, curling into me, like we fit together, mother and son.

Today he didn’t punch me or hit me or anything of the sort.  Instead he purposefully peed and pooped in his bed, in his clothes, during “nap time” while he didn’t sleep, along with pulling a canvas off the wall and chucking every stuffed animal out of his bed.  If he has to go potty while he’s in bed, he always just yells, “Mommy, I have to go potty!”  No big deal.  I head up and assist.  But he’s been potty trained for 8 months.  Honestly, I think he’s bored with just the two of us, staring at one another day in and day out, even though at the end of any day, no matter what, he chooses me to tuck him in.  And I’ll take it as long as I can get it.

I’ll take the snuggles and the poop and pee, but not the punches.  That’s not what “turning the other cheek” means.

I’ll love my boy fiercely, knees bent, eyes lifted, hands open to receive Divine strength and discernment…because this mama gets to go on retreats sometimes, and it’s those little things like even cruising the quiet aisles of Walmart at night, that re-fill my heart, or at least get my head on straight…

…except when other people are in the same aisle…and want my expertise on hemorrhoids.  Seriously?!  “Guido, just punch me in the face!”

*IF you are ever in need of hemorrhoid expertise and a woman has tampons in her cart, let her pass on by, then ask the guy near the end of the aisle, by the razors, the one who looks constipated, what HE MAY USE, and let that woman continue on her solo-retreat…

When Dreams Come True

Jason and I took Dave Ramsey’s “Financial Peace University”class recently.  All I can say is literally every person should take this class at some point in their existence.  There would be no financial issues on this earth or in any government.  Just sayin’.

That being said, one of our cash envelopes is set aside each week for eating out.  I’ve enjoyed this because prior to Dave’s class, we ate out a ton and our monthly budget seemed to be slipping through our fingers.  Plus, my thighs were bigger.

Now we stick with our “Eating Out” budget and it’s like money has magically appeared in our bank account.  Crazy stuff.  I now believe in magic.

And I’m using my treadmill more and lifting weights, so that’s likely why my thighs aren’t as large.

White man overbite, November 2012

Anyway, I love our little “Eating Out” envelope.  Every once in a while when Ryan and I are out on the town running errands we’ll stop for a lunch date at our favorite spot and use about $8.00 of our “Eating Out” budget.  A couple of months ago there was a sunny warm day and Ryan was a hungry little lion, so we headed over to our favorite spot, ordered, got our food, and found a cozy 2-top outside in the sunshine where we shared our plate of goodness.

It didn’t occur to me then.  Nor had it occurred to me all the other times the two of us had shared a lunch date at this same little place…

Fast forward to a few weeks ago when the whole family was running errands.  It was my turn to choose our lunch spot.  We rotate who gets to choose where we are eating among Jason, Emily and myself.

I chose “Garbanzo’s”.

And as I spooned a mouthful of hummus into Ryan’s sweet little lips, I realized a dream of mine had already come true.  And as we shared the last falafel, I knew it had…

He may not have dark hair yet.  And at 3 feet, he certainly doesn’t tower over his mama, either.

But, I am so very grateful that unknowingly, Ryan and I found our favorite spot, and it’s there where we laugh and cry, or whine, over falafels.

"Goodnight Moon!"

On August 28th, our son Ryan turned 2 years old.

Dad was out of town so we celebrated officially once he was home that following weekend with family and friends and sort of allergen-friendly cupcakes…and balloons.  Lots and lots of balloons.

When Emily was 6 months old, we chucked her pacifier to the curb.  Not literally since that’s littering, but you know what I mean.  But at 6 months, she didn’t remember a thing, so it was a non-issue.

Well, fast forward and enter baby brother and mom’s “Advanced Gestation,” aka, mid-life pregnancy/crisis, and let’s just say, I threw other things to the curb, like, say, rules on pacifiers and rigid sleep training and all the modern rules, like giving a rip what any book might say!  Yes, I “sleep trained” Ryan, but not quite as militantly as I had Emily.  And I’ve fed him very clean, which I didn’t do as well with Em, but all of these things are partially a knee-jerk result of the 8 year gap, which is really only a 4 year gap, if you know what I mean…

What I’m sayin’ is:  when your big brother dies, it both works in your favor and detriment as to how on earth your parents may “wing it” and raise you, accordingly.

So, ANYWAY, as far as a pacifier goes, I chose not to get my panties in a wad about it and let Ryan suck, suck, suck away.  At least until Daddy returned shortly after his 2nd birthday.

A reader here a while back, but I don’t recall who, gave me the idea in the first place!  (Thank *you*!)

I prepped Ryan for about a month…

Me:  Ry, you are almost 2 years old and so that means you’ll be BIG.  This also means you won’t be sucking your pacifier any longer.

Ry:  (blank stare…while sucking…)

Me:  And, so, on your 2nd birthday, we are going to tie your pacifier to some balloons and send it to the Moon.  Every night when we go to bed you can look out the window and tell the Moon and your pacifier, “Goodnight!”

Ry:  (sucking voraciously…staring with possible, no, probable, comprehension…)

Me:  So, it’ll be so great, Ry!  We’ll wave bye-bye as it goes up, up, up to the Moon and you’ll be BIG and won’t need it anymore!

Ry:  (eyes wide as saucers now…)

Now, let me preface this to say that one of my dear, dear friends who also lost a child encouraged me as I let Ry suck away for 2 years, “OH!  Don’t take away the one thing that brings him comfort!”  And that’s exactly what I did.  I didn’t lose sleep or worry about it, because, of course, there’s always braces, right?!

But there’s more to the story…

You see, Ryan, our son, is named after his Daddy’s good friend, Dr. Ryan Arnold.  And Dr. Ryan Arnold was an exceptional orthodontist.  And Dr. Ryan Arnold would have been our kids’ orthodontist, but he passed away living selflessly.  The week before Dr. Ryan Arnold passed away, he examined Emily’s teeth and gave us a loose plan of how we’d move forward with her bite and such…and, since I was pregnant and he never actually SAW our Ryan’s mouth, he left me with these words, “Ade, don’t let your kid suck a pacifier…but if you do, I’ll fix it later…”

And then he smiled his great smile, which, incidentally, was straight and white…


Nice, except Jason and I are taking “Financial Peace University” right now and let’s just say several thousand dollars for Ryan’s braces could, indeed, be used for his education one day, or towards a vacation for me and the hubster, or supporting a hospital in Ethiopia, or, or, or, I don’t know, maybe getting out of debt!?  But that’s another post…

So, anyway, back to “My Mom Rocks,” and whatever it was I was saying…

Oh yeah.  So, here are some pics of the day Ryan’s pacifier went to the Moon…the day he became a BIG boy…the day he saved us a few thousand dollars, or at least, the day his mom had peace in her heart that she was honoring a dear friend and finally taking the expert opinion of a professional.

RIP Pacifier.

Prepping Ryan that sending his pacifier to the Moon is going to be fantastic!  AKA, tickles with Daddy.

Running around at his birthday picnic, oblivious to what is to come…

Sharing a second birthday with his cousin, just days apart….

Daddy wearing his hat always in memory of Dr. Ryan Arnold…

The birthday picnic went a little late so the next morning we gathered what balloons remained…

Ryan willingly giving over his pacifier…

…sorta…let’s just say he wanted one last suck…

…a suck that lasted a while…until the release.

The reality set in as he watched his pacifier set soar into the western skies.

It’s been a week and a half now.  Naps on day one and two were a bit rough, but he has adjusted beautifully.  His teeth haven’t straightened out, and he does point to his teeth and tongue when I put him down to sleep, but then he says, “Goodnight Moon!” and all is well.

So, let’s face it:  we all have “pacifiers.”  If you were to take to heart the sentiments of a selfless man, who was saying more to me than just the obvious, what “pacifier” would you give up?

* We miss you, Dr. Ryan Arnold, and think of you and your beautiful family, every. single. day.  xoxox

Sweet Chorus of Chaos!

Setting:  Suburbia, one of the best towns to live in USA, kitchen/nook/great room, 36 animal flash cards strewn about, 37 large Lego’s also strewn, 2 baskets of clean unfolded laundry, one counter top covered with after school paraphernalia, another counter top covered in veggies for food prep, cup stacking mat and florescent green cups in center of kitchen table, the other 14 animal flash cards stuck upright in long crack of old schoolhouse kitchen table, 3 squashed grapes on floor, 4 pieces of paper with crayon sketched nay nays and moo moos on floor under table, left side of sink filled with clean dishes, right side stacked up to Jesus with dirty ones.

Characters:  One 10 year old 5th grade girl who rides the fence of wanting to be a little kid and a young lady; one 2 year old boy who knows the sound of every animal on the planet (or at least his 50 flash cards) who also, incidentally, had a temp of 102.5 earlier today which broke during his nap which woke him up early which plays a key role in his behavior in this particular setting; one 40 year old mom just trying to make dinner; one beautiful 30 year old friend who was gracious enough to endure the setting, characters, plot, conflict, and lack of resolution, who also brought fabulous fresh berries for dessert; one 4 pound black and brown full grown Maltipoo with a quarter pound bark collar on her neck who still yips and yaps regardless of said collar.  (Character NOT in play: suburban dad/hubby…)

Plot/Exposition:  40 year old mom who has had one shower this week would love to enjoy adult interaction with 30 year old friend (since suburban husband can’t hang out on phone while overseas on work trip) while making a yummy dinner for all characters involved, then to tuck animal loving 2 year old into bed early since his fever from the night before had kept him and said 40 year old mom awake until 1:30 am, and tuck in 10 year old daughter because those moments are so great for old mom’s heart, and finally to finish up chatting with young, beautiful, energetic 30 year old girlfriend who has no wrinkles.

Conflict:  Little boy wants his dinner now, not when hazelnut and herb crusted salmon, sauteed squash, mushrooms, and broccoli are finished, but EN. OH. DOUBLE YOU.  NOW!  Exhausted but not completely worn thin 40 year old mom who did get in a 1 1/2 hour yoga routine today gets mushrooms done first, then zucchini, then finally broccoli…Bubbly awesome young friend cuts peels off apple slices for little boy who is yelling, “Opples!  Opples!  Moose!  Moose!  Nay Nays!  Nay Nays!  Moy!  Moy!”  5th grade girl is on front porch reading because it’s part of her homework, however, could be helping saute SOMETHING!  Little boy without a fever but with lots of energy dumps plate of leftovers on his freshly cleaned hair and shouts, “DONE!  DONE!  DONE!  MOOSE!  MOO MOO!  CAMEL!”  Needy, but sweet, 4 lb dog sitting by front door where her 10 year old master sits just inches on the other side.

Ongoing Internal Conflict:  Smelly shower-less 40 year old mom keeps eye-balling the half bottle of red wine in the refrigerator, all the while thinking if she just drank it, it would calm the chaos, or at least take the edge off…but said mom knows better than to drink alone since gorgeous helpful 30 year old is on a cleanse so red and white and tequila and all other indulgences are off limits.  And then 40 year old mom snaps to and remembers she’s detoxing, too, so that’s the end of that internal conflict.

Continued Conflict:  Truly, truly, an inability for either grown-up to complete any given thought or sentence or story or…

  • In the MIDDLE of dinner, “Hey, can I show you guys a hand stand?”
  • “Moo moo!  Nay Nay!  Done!”
  • “I’m so sorry you had to go to a funeral…”
  • “Do I have to eat all of this lettuce?”
  • “Ooooh, Mommy!  Juice!”
  • “Can I have chocolate when I am done?”
  • “So were you able to spend time with family or see…?”
  • “Um, before it gets too dark will you guys come out in the backyard and watch me do a hand stand?”
  • “Moy!  Moy!  Moy!  Moy num nums!”
  • “Done!  Done!  Moose!  Done!”
  • “Can you send chocolate in my lunch tomorrow?”

Climax:  While piecing together the scene and series of events, 30 year old amazing helper friend with great hair and arms says to mom whose head has collapsed onto old schoolhouse table in an attempt for a solo retreat, “I think I’m starting to piece together why you asked me earlier to pray for you and God’s purpose in your life…I will definitely be praying for that, friend.”

Resolution:  10 year old clears dishes from the table after asking politely if she may be excused, then proceeds to do a fabulous hand stand in back yard.  2 year old escapes out the back door into backyard and does somersault while saying hi to the neighboring woof woofs.  Faithful and selfless 30 year old friend cleans the kitchen, the way her 40 year old friend would clean it.  Amazingly strong yoga momma climbs stairs with 27 pound 2 year old in her arms and has success on 2nd attempt to tuck in said toddler, albeit 2.5 hours after first attempt.  5th grade girl gets ready for bed, including feeding/watering/pottying of furry friend, without being asked by Super Mom who is still dressed in all black from working as a secret agent with the CIA, uh, doing yoga 8 hours earlier and smelling like it.

I love my best friend of 22 years, 19 of them married…

I love my nose-picking toddler..

I love backyard nudity…

I love being shot with water guns by my 10 year old…

*Note water drips from being shot…

I love that, thankfully, colored hair extensions and feather earrings aren’t moral issues…

I love Gary the Cowboy who let me shoot off a little steam recently..

I love that my toddler can say words like:  “Done!  Moose!  Nay Nay!”

I love the beautiful gracious gift of God who has taught me so much over the last 10 years…

I love that even though she is growing up, she still wanted to have a tea party at American Girl…

I love being a mom.  I really do.  I mean it.

And I love being a wife.  I really do.  I mean it.

These are two hats I wear and two roles I’d like to think I play decently, at least in my family.

However, what if I had never gotten married or what if I’d never had kids.

Who would I be?  

Not like, “Oh, I wish I hadn’t!” or “What am I missing out on?” This isn’t a mid-life crisis question or anything like that.

BUT:  Before I was a mom I was a wife.  And before I was a wife, I was a young woman…one with dreams and passions and ideas, some of which have really and truly come true…namely: Jason, Em, Noah, and Ryan.  Others that seem they are so covered in dust and cobweb perhaps on their way to fossilization. 

The other night before my husband was leaving for a week-long trip to the Dominican Republic for his job with Compassion International, which incidentally is my dream job since I was in college of traveling the world, working with nationals in country to reach their countrymen, and help women and children…we were just laying in bed talking for a few minutes after the house was finally quiet.

I said, “You know, buying a sports car, getting a tattoo, or having an affair are obvious mid-life crisis symptoms.  I don’t want any of those things, but I can’t even begin to tell you how out of my element I feel lately.  Your job is literally my dream job, I’m not coveting it, but it’s crazy that you are living out my passion for missions.  And then I love to write but haven’t written anything in forever and haven’t felt inspired to write, or even read anything, either.  I mean, I love my Bible and have been reading that tons and actually, the only writing I’ve been doing is with pen and paper, writing scriptures, but it’s like for the first time in years, I have nothing to say or convey.  And, I feel like I’m supposed to encourage other women but don’t even know where to begin, and the truth is, I really MISS encouraging women and being used in that way.  I know I am supposed to be a wife and mom, and I love those things very much, I am not sure if I remember what I love or am good at in addition to that anymore…I just want to be faithful with the gifts and strengths God has given me, however I don’t really know what they are at this given moment.”

This isn’t discontent or dissatisfaction with my life.  I love my life.  I am so very grateful to God for each person and every blessing.  Believe me, we talk about our thousands and thousands of gifts, and write lists of gratitude…

Presently I simply feel purposeless.  Do you ever feel that way?  And if so, do you have encouragement of how to become un-purposeless?

My Little Lover

Two exciting things happening in this picture:  One, Ryan is sitting at his big boy table, and two, he’s practicing blowing his own nose.  (Em’s old Jenny Lind table and chairs.)
Ryan and I have been heading out on bike rides in the mornings.  He thinks his sister’s hand-me-down helmet is pretty cool (hula dancer on the back and all…).  He yells, “Neigh, Neigh!” the whole time as we head over to a meadow near or home filled with horses.
Sometimes he wants to wear his hand-me-down froggy boots, rain or shine.
The shirt is wide open because so you can see his hairless chest…no, but really, we had to re-dress after lunch today.  Notice the little black eye!  I’m so sad!  Ry got his first little shiner while climbing up the steps on the playground last evening.  
This is the face I stare at every day.  He knows my name.  He hugs my thighs.  He kisses me and snuggles on my shoulder.  My heart is so very, very full…

Two Weeks

Well, we have been at TCH for two weeks now. Noah is in serious but stable condition. We continue to wait and wait and wait for test results. Thanks for your patience as we wait patiently here. We’ll keep you posted as we know anything. They have been on the phones checking on the status of the tests, which is a good thing. Due to the extent of testing, some are being sent to the Mayo, Johns Hopkins, Atlanta, etc.

Tomorrow we’ll be having a big meeting at 3pm CMT with all the doctors and a social worker. Since many of the doctors are in different camps, they haven’t been communicating, so it will be a good time for everyone to get on the same page and to hear Jason’s and my heart about our son.

Two years ago I did a study on Proverbs. It’s all about raising a son, so, since I have a little bit of time, I’m jumping back into it. I’ll share deep thoughts as they come to me, whether you want to read them or not, ahem.

I am also doing my own research on the side and stirring the waters for the doctors. I am making them think outside the traditional box. The problem is, all the routine tests keep coming back “normal.” Without a diagnosis, they won’t treat Noah, so we are just maintaining, but not being very proactive.

Noah’s pediatricians are putting together a homeopathic remedy that is an overall support tincture for his little body. I’ve made the docs aware that we’d be pulling in the natural side of medicine. Also, I’ve challenged the attending physician to find a D.O. that hasn’t totally crossed over to the allopathic side of medicine and have him come take a look at Noah. I’ve also been given the name of a specialist in L.A. that is a mold toxicologist. We’ve emailed him and hope to hear from him soon, as mold toxicity is one of the avenues I am on right now. Please pray that if it is down this road, God will reveal it and have a cure for our son.

Ade xoxox