Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Meme: 7 Things About Me

My husband, Al, tagged me with a meme. Here are the rules:

1. Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog.

2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.

3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as
links to their blogs.

4. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

So, here are seven facts about me:

1. I have a huge sweet tooth. When I was a kid I walked six or seven blocks in a snow storm (school was cancelled due to the weather) to buy two candy bars and a coke. My mom would give me quarters so I could call her from school and was always upset when I couldn't call her because I used all of my quarters in the soda machines. Fortunately, I have strong teeth and very few cavities. Our six year old, on the other hand, inherited my sweet tooth but not my strong teeth and has a number of cavities. (I'm munching on M & Ms while I write this).

2. I am learning American Sign Language. We have purchased a number of Signing Time DVDs for Elijah, who uses a combination of sign language and speech to communicate (his speech is delayed) and I've found that I really enjoy signing. I've been signing the liturgy songs at church for awhile now and decided to take an ASL class at College of DuPage. I am thrilled that our church's children's ministry director is taking the class with me!

3. I totalled my parent's car one month after I received my driver's license. I was following a friend home late at night on a country road and took a curve way too fast. I haven't been in a car accident since then (I also get nervous if someone I am riding with takes a curve faster than usual).

4. My biggest fear is that something horrible will happen to our kids. I usually don't express my fears aloud, but when I do mention them to Al he usually thinks I'm really weird. Last night I worried that Elijah would strangle himself in the safety rail of his bed. Al, of course, thought I was weird when I expressed my concern. Elijah was fine and we actually got a decent night of sleep since he didn't fall out of bed even once.

5. I am very organized at work, but less so at home. I think this is because once I get home from work I no longer have enough energy left to deal with things like filing and organizing. I do try to keep the floors clean, but that just means our dining room table is laden with books, old mail and various school papers. There is also a very cluttered corner on our kitchen cabinet and other trouble spots that seem to overflow with paper and other things.

6. I have a strong sense of justice. This means I am drawn to organizations such as International Justice Mission. It also means that I can get pretty angry if I feel like I have been wronged. When we moved to our current house we reserved a U Haul moving truck, but when we went to pick it up it was not available. We quickly rented a truck from a different company. I was angry, but didn't lose my temper. Until, that is, we learned that U Haul still charged us $50 for the reservation. I was livid and made numerous calls to their customer service department until a refund was issued. I may look nice, but you don't want to cross me. Just ask Al (he gets to listen to my side of these phone calls).

7. I am an introvert and somewhat shy. In high school the simple act of talking to a boy (whether I liked him or not) made me blush. This is why I can say with confidence that Al asked me out on our first date! (see number five of Al's meme). I would have been way too shy to ask him to take me to a movie unless it was utterly clear to me that he was actually asking me out.

So now I am supposed to tag seven other people. I'm an introvert though and I can't think of more than three folks to tag that haven't already been tagged by Al. Here they are:

Llama Momma

Shannon Farrier

Julie Kouri

Monday, June 16, 2008

Marker Woes

Yesterday Josiah bought a book on how to draw Transformers. I read my own book while he sat at the kitchen table and worked on his drawings. After a while he came out and said, "I'm tired. Can you finish the drawing?" I refused for awhile, but after 30 minutes I gave in and agreed to help him if he sat with me. He had done a pretty good job, there were just too many steps and it was taking more time than he wanted. After a few minutes of working on the picture, Josiah moved over to work on a different picture.

I was wrapped up in drawing Optimus Prime when Josiah came over with a wet piece of paper. He had drawn the symbols for the Autobots and the Decepticons and was working on coloring one of them with purple marker. "Josiah, why is your paper all wet." When he looked up at me I could see tears beginning to well up. "It's not coming out."

"Oh, honey," I said, "marker doesn't come out of paper."

He walked to the counter to check the marker and then cried, "But the marker says 'washable'!"

I explained the marker was referring to washing out of clothes, not paper. He was disappointed, but went back to work on his art. A few minutes later he came over with a dripping red marker.

"Josiah, is the marker all wet?"

"Yes. I think the red is all gone."

"Did you put the marker under the water?"

"Yes. It had stuff on it... Can you put the red back?" He was clearly upset (again).

"I'm sorry, buddy, I can't put the red back," I said as tears started rolling down his cheeks. "Put the cap back on the marker and let it sit for awhile. Maybe it will be okay if we don't use it for a few minutes."

A little while later Al came home from a used bookstore. He proudly showed me a couple of new CDs he picked up. Then he said, "Look!" and proudly held up a copy of The Adventures of Harold and the Purple Crayon. (At this point I should mention that Elijah has vandalized our house with a purple marker twice already. Once all over our downstairs, including our formerly white furniture, and more recently all over our upstairs. He wrote on the walls, the carpet, the refrigerator, his pillow...practically everything. Most of it came out, but it was still pretty frustrating.)

I looked at Al in disbelief. "You bought The Adventures of Harold and the Purple Crayon for a child who has taken his own adventures with a purple marker twice already?! Do you really want to encourage that?" Al gasped in sudden realization and quickly dropped the book in our kitchen garbage (which, conveniently, was right next to him).

We all laughed. Al retrieved the book and went to hide it somewhere until Elijah gets a little older and has more self-control.

Friday, June 13, 2008

To Sleep or Not to Sleep

As I mentioned earlier, Elijah has outgrown his crib. We quickly converted his crib to a toddler bed and surrounded it with pillows until he learned how to stay in bed without falling out. Three months later he is still falling out of bed multiple times each night. Each time he falls out of bed, we get up and gently settle him back into bed.

Tired of, well, being tired all of the time, Al and decided to buy a bunk bed. We thought between having a larger bed and adding a safety rail we could get Elijah to stay in bed and that we might actually get some full nights of sleep again. So last Sunday we went to IKEA and found a reasonably priced bunk bed and brought it home. It was bedtime when we got home so we left the boxed bed downstairs. Al left Monday morning for a trip and I thought I would wait until he got home to put the bed together.

On Monday I was excited about the new bed and had the day off anyway, so I thought I would start getting things ready for the new bed while Al was gone. I started by rearranging the toy room so we could move Josiah's old bed into it. Then I decided I may was well move Josiah's old bed while I was at it. Then, since Elijah has been sleeping on his crib mattress on the floor anyway, I decided to take apart his crib and put into storage. Once I finished that I realized it was only mid-afternoon.

To make a long story short, I ended up assembling the new bunk bed and rearranging the toy room and the boy's bedroom on Monday afternoon. I did most of the work by myself while the kids occupied themselves watching videos and playing on their own. Josiah helped a bit when I got into a bit of a fix. I kept saying "Dangit!" when something didn't work quite right and Josiah kept responding, "Mommy, that's a bad word. Please don't use bad words anymore."

Josiah also used part of the time I was busy working on the bed to crumble some of the styrofoam packing all over the house! I knew he was up to something when I heard him
laughing nefariously (seriously - he was cackling while he went around on his crumbling mission). Elijah used part of the time to dump foam alphabet stickers all over the family room. By bedtime I had finished building the bed, cleaned up the toy room, bedroom and family room and vacuumed most of the styrofoam up. Oh yeah, I also did a few loads of laundry. The next day I woke up tired, bruised and sore. Actually, I'm still bruised and sore.

To make matters worse, I'm still tired. Why? I found out that you can't use a safety rail on a bunk bed. It's not safe. (sigh). Thinking I was oh-so-smart I put the mattress crib on the floor next to the bunk bed and put the safety rail on the crib mattress. I figured if Elijah fell out of the bottom bunk he would land comfortably on the crib mattress and that the safety rail would keep him from rolling onto the floor (and waking us up). Not so. He woke me up two or three times last night. He falls comfortably onto the crib mattress and then ends up scooting off the head or foot of the mattress, which are still open. Then he kicks the floor to sooth himself back to sleep, which always wakes me up and I just can't leave him sleeping on the floor without feeling guilty. Well, that and I can't fall back to sleep with all of that incessant foot banging!

So, our investment of approximately $400 and 6 hours of hard labor for a good nights sleep resulted in a battered and bruised body and a new bed that both kids think is fun. It did not, however, result in better sleep for Elijah or for the rest of us. Oh well. He has to learn how to stay in his bed all night eventually, right? Until then don't be surprised if I'm a little tired and grumpy.

Friday, June 06, 2008


I was able to visit my parent's on Mother Day weekend and gave my mom a copy of my apology. After reading through it she sniffled a bit and gave me a hug. A few minutes later she commented, "Ellen, do you realize how little any of the things you apologized for really mattered? When I read your apology for wrecking the car I had to stop and think for a minute before I remembered what you were even referring to. I had forgotten it even happened."

This reminds me of how God's forgiveness works. When I go back to God apologizing for something again and again I wonder if he looks at me gently and thinks, "You know, I'd completely forgotten about that until you brought it up again."

The LORD is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust. (Psalm 103: 8-14)