Sunday, November 23, 2008

Not to jump the gun, as they say...

It seems we've had a much better weekend. I hate to speak too soon and assume it's all behind us, as weekends are usually easier with two of us tackling the parental duties. We've had a few outside inputs (as in teachings, conversations, etc.) and they gave us enough inspiration to really be clear with the girlies on what we were expecting, consequences they could expect, praise, rewards, etc. I feel like we usually are clear, but maybe we've put it in a fresh way that they are responding to. Maybe it's just a fluke (I sure hope not), but good behavior definitely feels good right now.

We've had some cute moments this weekend.

We went to a square dance last night. It was in a barn in the country. And when we got out of our car, Sophia looked up at the sky and said, "What are all of those flashing lights? Are they all planes, or something?" I laughed. "No, Honey, those are called stars." City folks we are, I guess. Of course it's not like we're outside during the nightime much with them. She had a great time at the dance. And even started to do better about responding to adults who talk to her, without just looking away.

Jossie had a great time at the dance too; couldn't stop dancing and twirling all the way to the car. Jossie also bonked her head a dozen times at least this weekend. That isn't actually news, just one of those funny facts about her. She can't walk through a doorway without hitting one side of it, or running into the doorknob. She can't watch a movie without walking on the couch or wiggling and eventually falling off of her chair. This morning we were all loudly singing Christmas carols, and she hushed us all so we could hear her song that she was making up, "Quiet! I want you to hear my song!" "Holy Spirit," (Sang very loudly and emphatically, then takes a very deep breath...very serious face here too) "In the Manger!" "Ok, that's all. I'm going to go sing it for Daddy in the shower now."

The other day, I was needing a snuggle moment, so I was laying on her floor, and I pulled her to me and we were both staring at the clouds painted on the ceiling. I said with deep meaning in my voice and heart, "Sometime, Mommy wants to go lay on a grassy hill and look at real clouds with you. Just you and me." (Expecting a meaningful reply here...) "OK Mommy. Can I go now?" She's a stitch.

Norah has been so sweet and fun too. She's starting to enjoy cleaning up her messes. She likes to get a sticker on her hand for helping to pick up her toys. She also really wants to be included in anything her big sissies do. She loves to hold babies, which she's good at calling "Baby." And she even is trying to figure out this "lotion world" thing that Jossie does. She has been giving a lot of real kisses too. She has an Elmo book that asks for a kiss at the end, and she gets the biggest smile and kisses him several times. I love it.

Well, I just wanted to share a few sweeter moments from this weekend.

We've had some very sweet prayers, comments, and support from friends and loved ones. Thank you as always!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Refiner's Fire

I've felt compelled to write for a while, but have been unsure what to say.

On the one hand, Diabetes is getting easier to manage. Sophia's blood-sugars have been in a decent range. She's occasionally low, and very rarely over 200. That's the really good news, and answered prayers that her body is responding as it should.

Going places, like her Wednesday co-op school has gotten less stressful. I feel OK about her missing the classroom snack, or giving her a shot to eat it. The first day back, I choked back tears, because I felt it just wasn't fair. But, she likes the attention the shot gives her, and so it's worth it to get one for a snack, it seems. Plus, who wants 12 goldfish crackers, when you could have a blueberry muffin like everyone else? She's getting some affirmation from the parents and peers there too, so that helps.

On the flip side, her behavior has been off-the-charts bad. I won't go into details, because I don't want to embarrass her or uncover her (not that she's reading this, but in principle). She's still an amazing soul, but I feel she's in the anger stage of grief, and is a bit stuck. It's been a little depressing, thus the writer's block. It's something I thought was just blood-sugar related (and it can be at times), but it's also just sheer anger, and her need to control. I don't even want to write about this, because I earnestly desire to be back to happy days, and funny stories.

It makes me realize how judgmental I was. Here I am, a trained counselor, and yet somehow, I held on to this belief that the kids who acted naughty were not given enough direction, love, discipline, etc. at home. I also believed that I would have kids, and I would love them, and guide them, and they would act REALLY good all of the time (or at least always in public, and usually at home). A visiting pastor recently said , "It's amazing how you can have zero kids and 5 theories on how to raise them right, and then you have 5 kids and you have zero theories!" I laughed. Yep! That's me! What's worse, is you can be a supposed counselor and think you have a lot of tricks in the bag......sigh. I also, thankfully, have this sweet friend who had two very well-behaved kiddos, and said she used to think "Look what I've done. I've made them this way." (totally paraphrasing), and then she had her third, who is very strong-willed and realized, "Oh! They just come out this way."

We can only beat ourselves up so much, bottom line. We pray. And then we pray some more. Then, when we are totally worn out and confused, we, well, we pray some more. And that's not to sound religious at all, we just truly can't lean on our own understanding. We cannot figure this stuff out alone. We're learning some ways to get better at communicating with our kids. We're learning things that seem so basic, like, we should be more affectionate (Joe and I) in front of the kids. That may seem silly or like a No-Duh!, but we honestly were every evening in this rut of just surviving until their bedtime, and then we can have quality time and relax. But, we were reminded by a friend married for over 50 years, that our children's security and understanding of healthy marriage is by what they're observing now.

We're trying to teach Sophie how to pray too. She's starting to understand that Jesus can help her. She's not alone in conquering these angry feelings. I never thought I'd be teaching my 5 year-old about how she chooses her thoughts, behaviors, consequences. But, also, how much I'd be teaching her about the spiritual side, like how to take control with the Lord's help. We're not alone in these battles, and the sooner she recognizes that, the better. Phew! It's a lot to swallow though!!

And don't let me fool you into thinking we haven't made some poor choices, or downright embarrassed ourselves at times...we have. Joe and I too, have our temper tantrums and look ridiculous in public at times. Humility....we're getting some. And we've been able to model to our kids how to own-up and accept responsibility for our choices. Good times!

Refiner's Fire! We're in it! Thank God we're considered worthy of refining. So much to learn still, but hoping to come out looking like gold, or at least a nice shiny penny!

Thursday, November 13, 2008


An older cute story... (Pic of Sophie when almost 2)

When Sophia was about two, she couldn't say the first 'S' in her name. Joe decided to mess with her about it one day.

He said, "What's your name?"

Sophie: "Fophia Belle."

Joe: "Fophia Belle?"

Sophie: "No, Fophia Belle."

Joe: "OH...Fophia Belle."

Sophie, getting a little more angry and frantic," No! I said, Fophia Belle!"

Joe: "That's what I said, Fophia Belle!"

Sophie: "NO! It's FoPHIA Belle!!!" (yelling)

Joe: "OH, Sophia Belle?"

Sophie: "YES! Fophia Belle."

Joe: "OH, OK."

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Some cute fun

I have to post some Halloween pics. They were so cute! Our church's theme was "through the years."

So, I suggested Sophia could be like a prairie woman, or someone from Little House on the Prairie. She immediately wanted to be Mary (the oldest, not Laura). It so suits her. She LOVED looking like she was from a different era. She loved that she could kind of hide under her bonnet, and look like the matron-sort. She was a sweet heart, and every time I said how beautiful she looked, she'd get the biggest smile and throw her arms around me.

Jossie had seen the pink poodle idea in a magazine and wanted to do it. It cost maybe $10 to do, and wasn't even that time-consuming. She was such a hit. She won first place for her costume at church. Yea!! She didn't care, but I did. She gets to spend $25 at Wal-mart for it, so I think she will care when that happens. :-)

And Norah, well, I didn't have the energy for another "new" costume. So, I pulled the smallest princess dress I could find out of our dress-up box, and bought her a princess crown and wand at the dollar store, and Voila! Cutie-patootie! Princess Cinderella Norah!

It was fun. The big girls both declared the next morning, that they wanted to be each other's costumes next year.

The Diabetes clinic gave me a sheet with all of the carbs for the fun-size candy that they got. So, I can work in the candy to her meals, and she doesn't have to really miss out on much. I'm not the type to let them just gorge on several pieces anyway. Our Halloween bags are usually still being picked through like 6 months after the fact, so her illness won't change much of that.

I did a fun new invention for a sweet, healthy treat tonight. I mixed 1/4 cup part-skim ricotta with a packet of splenda and a heavy shaking of cinnamon, and it tasted like snickerdoodle cookie dough. They both scarfed it down with dinner, and I thought it seemed like something I would even want to snack on.

Hope you enjoy the pics.

As I look at the past month's blogs...Wow! It's been a long and wild month. It makes me sad that "Spann Laughs" hasn't been very funny. Thank you for letting me tell you how it's really going, and not sugar-coating our lives. Thank you for loving us regardless. I hope that "you" actually exist, and that "you" actually read this from time to time.

Joe's parents babysat tonight so we could go on a date. It was such a needed night. I can't even explain. They, by all reasonable means, should not have had the energy to come do that tonight, as they both had a really long day today. But, they did anyway, and we got to escape and come home with fresh perspective and renewed energy for tackling life.

We pray that we continue to grow as a family through this. We hope to be more intentional and fierce in our pursuit of the Lord through this. I want to feel passionate about God's ability to get us through the most difficult of times. I want to learn this now, and not years from now.

He is real. He does love me no matter what. I'm so grateful. (Same goes for "you.")