Wednesday, October 29

A Halloween for the History Books

Long time, no post. Right?

We were actually 2 children short this weekend. My mom took Collin and Claire to spend the weekend in Baton Rouge. Originally, I was going to sell for Grace Notes. Although there was a change in plans, Mom still wanted to keep the kids. Collin was SO excited about going. I think they both had a great time, and Claire came home making "sweet eyes".

We should have been well rested having an only child all weekend, but you know better than that. We took full advantage of being able to do things with Caleb that we are unable to do with three children. From Friday until Sunday, we; had John David over to spend the night, spent entirely too much money at Gattitown, watched two soccer games, saw High School Musical 3 (EXCELLENT!!!) and ate at Bonsai.

Our family was reunited on Monday just as a very hectic week was beginning. I've just decided that all of my weeks are going to be hectic for many years now. Having three children means that the children outnumber the parents, and there are certain times that I really FEEL outnumbered; meal time, bedtime, sporting events (when more than one play), and, apparently, HALLOWEEN.

WOW. Parties for each classroom, a costume for each child, field trips to the pumpkin patch, carnivals for church, carnivals for school -- there is not enough money in our bank account or time in the day for such adventures. I'm sure none of the room mothers for any of my classes at Northside would ever read my posts. But, if you do, you made all of this Mom stuff look a whole lot easier than it is. I'm having a lot of fun. I just thought it would be a little more glamorous than it really is. Who knew that buying two Ninja costumes that have 5 ties each (belt, 2 arm ties, 2 leg ties) just might be the one event that sends me back to my medication. (It's still in the cabinet. I'm not taking any chances.)

This afternoon I was in the kitchen putting together Halloween buckets for Collin's class. He was eating lunch. He looked over and said, "Mom, you're making me very nervous."

I THINK he used the wrong word. But, I was moving at such a rapid pace that he may have been correct. I just said, "Me too, Collin."

As my nerves got more and more frayed, I kept remembering Halloween two years ago. I have smiled many times today just thinking about it. I am going to leave you with a summation of that night's events. Maybe you will smile, but mainly I want it in print just in case I ever forget it.

O.K., so Caleb was 3 and Collin was 1. Scotty was not participating in Halloween with us, because it was a Tuesday night and he had clients in Vicksburg. (If you're wondering if he regrets that decision, let me just say, I'm pretty sure he does.) Even though I was a single parent that night, my plans were big. We were going to visit my grandmother who was recovering from knee surgery in a nursing home, attend a local church carnival and return home where we could visit the Petrosino's very lit up house and pass out candy to trick-or -treaters.

Well, I was completely drenched in sweat after getting costumes on both boys. Caleb was a cowboy. His costume wasn't too difficult. Re-tucking his button up shirt so that his "cowboy" belt would show was his only complication. But, Collin, was a cowboy riding a horse. So, after dressing him like a cowboy, we had to step his legs into the back legs of a horse (I'm sure you've seen those costumes). As I said, he was 1, so however much time you think that would take, add about 30 minutes. I did all of this before realizing that a one year old can't ride in a car seat in a horse costume. The costume must come off only moments after getting it on. So there you go. Melt down #1.

I'm going to recap the night's events QUICKLY. Our nursing home visit went well until departure time when Collin (who was our very laid back child at that point) fell apart in the parking lot. I literally used every muscle in my body to buckle him back into the car seat to head to the next destination. (Are you with me? Horse costume off again only to be put back on again.) At MHBC, things would have gone very smoothly had no one else chosen to attend. You see, Caleb would wait patiently in lines. But, right about the time for his turn, Collin would take off to another event. I had to chase him; therefore, Caleb would have to leave his spot to come with me. We did that about 45 minutes and I couldn't take it anymore. I just remember feeling so guilty because Caleb couldn't do many activities even though he was so well behaved.

Well, we made it home. The Petrosinos were outside and there was a steady stream of carloads of kids coming to trick or treat, because their house was so lit up. This was actually the first year that we lived in this house, and I didn't know this many kids participated in trick-or-treating. The boys had a great time in the Petrosino's drive way, so I began visiting and just enjoying the night for the first time. It was starting to cool off, the excitement from all of the kids was contagious and the boys were entertained...finally. About 10 minutes into it, Collin begins screaming (SCREAMING!!!) We looked over, and he had touched one of the lights lining the flower beds. I'm sorry, he grabbed the lights burning four fingers on that hand.

We rushed home and I put ice and water on it, gave him Motrin and decided I just needed to get him ready for bed. But, again, poor Caleb was missing Halloween. We turned our porch light on and he handed out candy while I was dealing with Collin. Caleb thoroughly enjoyed this power. I was in the den with him but not really paying attention. After about 20 minutes, the candy was gone and Caleb was crying. I had not planned for so many trick-or-treaters OR for the large handfulls of candy Caleb was passing out. Halloween officially OVER!

We turned out the porch light and I did what any Mom would do with two crying babies after a night such as the one I just described. I joined them. It was about that time that Scotty called from the car on his way home. He was only about 15 minutes away. But, I'm pretty sure I gave him a blow by blow of the entire evening with screaming as accompaniment before he made it home. And, I assure you, I left nothing out.

So, as we prepare to go to our church carnival tonight, the first of several Halloween functions, I am praying for better results. If not, I'm sure I'll have a great story.

Wednesday, October 22

What Would You Remember?

Over the past few months (10 to be exact), I have been thinking about death. I know that sounds morbid, so let me clarify. I am not living in fear of death. I wouldn't say it consumes my thoughts. But, some people who I am very close to have been hit with the reality of death. So, since January's news from a dear friend, a day doesn't go by without me taking in the "what if's" of this fragile life.

Our neighbor, Mr. Ralph, has been diagnosed with a very rare cancer. I can't even tell you what it is. His sweet wife, Jerri, showed me a slip of paper with the diagnosis written on it. I had never heard of it before. Within the past two months, he has become very ill. The round of chemo that was given to him at UMC did not work. Therefore, they will not do it again. He is currently in the hospital on medication to eliminate the pain and keep him comfortable. From what I have heard, he is not expected to come back home.

On a side note, when we first moved into this house, Caleb was 3 and he called Mr. Ralph -- "Mr. Rat". Then, when Collin began speaking clearly, he called him "Giraffe" -- I guess that's what it sounded like to him. No speech therapists needed, though. At 5 and 3, they both say it correctly now.

Since Mr. Ralph has been away from home, there are several things that I miss. I miss seeing him working in the garage/yard/etc. and yelling "Hey Amy" from his work.

I miss his smile as he carried on a conversation with us. Mr. Ralph likes to talk. :)

I miss how much the boys enjoyed talking to him and how patient he was with them.

But, most of all, we are missing the lights. The Petrosinos are known in Clinton for the MANY lights they put up at Halloween and Christmas. It just doesn't feel right that their yard is empty during October. Last weekend, they had a garage sale. I watched as the yard accessories that I have seen lit up for the past 3 years were carried away by others. And, the reality of his sickness set in. What an impact Mr. Ralph made by exhibiting some holiday cheer!

We all have the opportunity to make an impact on the lives that we touch. The truth is, as a believer, I should be impacting each and every life that I touch. Not by the words that I say but the life that I live. The joy and peace that comes from knowing that I was created by God out of His great love for me should be overflowing and evident.

So, why is the joy and peace not overflowing and evident? Here's my short list of probable causes for the "not so great" impact I make on most lives daily...

1. I get woken up entirely too early each day by a very demanding 5 year old.
2. I have to do more for three children prior to 8:00 a.m. each morning than I ever dreamed I would do in an entire day.
3. The whining!!!
4. Everyone in my family is hungry all of the time, and I am the "fixer" of that problem...apparently.
5. The whining!!!
6. Fighting/fussing children that need a referee more than a Mom.
7. Laundry that never ends.
8. A dishwasher that is ALWAYS full of clean dishes needing to be put up.
9. And, did I mention, the whining?!?

Now, that was a gripe session intended more for humor than anything else. Because, these are no reasons for my joy and my peace to be unseen.

What could be worse than all of these things I have listed? For any one of them to come to an end.

You see, what God has been teaching me since January is that ALL of life is a gift. The things I complain about today could be gone tomorrow and nothing I could do would bring them back.

I pray that God will continually teach me how to ENJOY Him daily through the gifts that He has blessed me with -- not in spite of them. And, I pray that enjoying Him will lead others in a search for the One who provides life in the only manner that truly works.

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16

When you think about it, pray with me for Mr. Ralph and his family. Pray for their peace during this difficult time. Also, pray specifically for Mr. Ralph -- that he would trust God completely with this life and the life to come. Scotty was able to visit with him in the hospital on Sunday. He told Ralph that we wanted him to fight and get better, but, if he wasn't able, Scotty told him to tell Jesus "hello" for him. What a sweet thought.

We love you, Mr. Ralph. We will never be the same after having known you. I pray that my life is as meaningful to those around me. You have been a blessing!

Wednesday, October 15

We LOVE the Beach!!!

Update -- I edited this post, took out the LONG line of pictures, and inserted a slideshow. Thanks, Heather, for the help. I am most proud of myself!!!

My vacation was wonderful!

It seems that so many times, my expectations get the best of me. I plan how things will/should go; then, I am usually disappointed. However, this time, everything went just as I had hoped. Now, I do think that our trip was a great trip. But, mostly, I believe that three children (who shall remain nameless) have helped to lower my expectations. Therefore, I just enjoy things as they are. This gift is one of the many gifts they have given me.

First of all, Mom, Sassy (that's what my children call Alyson) and I had a blast in Canton. We left the house at 6:30 and did not leave Canton until around 4:00. We were hot and completely worn out but already looking forward to next year. Thanks to "G" and Medow who watched the three C's so that we could get an early start. Their daddy took some time off to manage them the rest of the day. He's the best!!!

I guess you see that Mom did not cooperate with Sassy's plan for all of us to match. She has always been a rebel!

Friday morning, we left for the beach after checking Caleb out of school. We made it in RECORD time. And by record, I mean the fewest traveled miles per hour in recorded history. We left Clinton around 11:00 and made it into Gulf Shores close to 6:00. So, roughly 7 hours in a mini van (key word being MINI) with three children. The first time Caleb asked, "are we there yet?" was around the Madison exit. He and Collin took turns asking that same question in approximately 3 minute intervals for the remainder of the trip. During the time that they were o.k. with the traveling, Claire turned red-faced and tried to bust out of her carseat -- LITERALLY.

I am exaggerating quite a bit -- not on the 7 hours, but on their behavior. They really did a great job. And, they were fabulous for the rest of the weekend.

I think, for me, I can get caught up in our daily routines. The things that I repeat regularly throughout the day; "stop fighting", "clean up", "stop saying bathroom words", etc. make me CRAZY. I begin to think that I am not being heard. But, in a different setting, they were the most obedient, easy going children. They made me very proud.

Claire absolutely LOVES the beach. I was expecting at least some hesitance to the water. After about 5 minutes of the water running over her toes, we were having to hold her out of the ocean. She was ready to ride the waves. It was hysterical, and we got many laughs from others on the beach.

The first thing we did upon arrival was go crab hunting. We were provided nets by the company we rented the condo from, and the boys were most excited about the hunting. I, however, wasn't, because the crabs scare me. They are way too fast. We needed Daddy for this activity, but Sassy did a pretty good job. We did come home with two hermit crabs (yes, two more living things in the MINI van for the ride home!!!), but they were bought from the "shark store". In reading the information provided, Sassy found out that the average life span of these hermit crabs is 11 years. I did not know this fact prior to purchasing the animals.

But, I feel quite certain Collin's crab is going to seriously lower the average. If not, these are the toughest animals ever. He took it to school Tuesday morning to show his friends. When I picked him up, he threw his bag into the van with the crab house in it. Poor, poor crab!! He was looking out for the crab's well-being, though. He told me immediately that his friends scared his crab because they were screaming too loud. His next comment..."boody-head friends". Collin's fans out there can really appreciate that comment. I'm sure you can even picture the face. So, a few more pictures of crab hunting, and I'll leave you until the next post.

I can't say enough about our wonderful trip. And, my words would not do it justice, so I'm giving you the pictures. I still can't make a slide show, so I'm sorry for the many pictures. But, the smiles tell it all.

I know this post was lengthy. If you read the whole thing, thanks for indulging me. I wanted to share much more. But, maybe another day.

Wednesday, October 8

Boasting in Weakness

Well, I have no secrets, so I have to share this story.

Scotty and I had a bit of a "heated" discussion over the weekend. A much stronger adjective is needed, really, to describe the discussion. But, I can't think of the appropriate word; and, if I could, you would all probably start sending us the names of therapists. So, "heated" is best.

The deal is, we have just let the stresses of life take priority. We haven't gotten away and spent some time alone in a long time. That is not good for me, because I feel loved when my type A husband puts the work aside long enough to show ME that he cares. Scotty feels most loved when I encourage him with words of affirmation. But, you see, he hadn't been doing what I wanted him to do, so there were words coming out of my mouth. I just forgot the affirming part. And, there's the problem. We are in a cycle.

Well, I felt good about sharing all that I needed to share. And, I knew that we'd work it out, but on Sunday I really wasn't through pouting about this situation.

Here comes the funny part.

Sunday night, we are sitting in our newly formed small group at church. When I say newly formed, I mean FIRST meeting. We are sharing prayer requests. Four or five have been shared, and Scotty speaks up:

"Please pray for Amy and me. We are experiencing some 12 year marriage struggles..."

O.K. I don't know what else he says, because all I heard was that noise you hear in awkward situations in movies. It sounds like calm music playing on a record. Then the needle suddenly screeches across the record ending it total, unnerving silence. Are you with me? Can you feel my pain? I felt like I was wearing a mask and someone ripped it off of my face without any warning at all. (You know I'm exaggerating a bit, right?)

The group was very kind. And, I have to admit that it did show me he does truly care about us and our marriage. Also, we tend to put on "costumes" for church. We don't let others see that we don't always have it together. We want our small group to be a place where we are completely real with each other so that we really know each other. I just don't know that our group wanted to really KNOW us the first night.

Well, I shared that very long story to say that last night, Scotty and I were able to get away for a date night. I LOVE date night. We ate at Chili's and then went to see Fireproof.

If you have not seen this movie, please go see it. First of all, it's wonderful. The church that produced Facing the Giants did this movie too. It is just as powerful. Kirk Cameron did a fantastic job (as any former Growing Pains fan would agree). But, secondly, I love the fact that such a positive movie is doing so well in the box office. The gospel is shared several times in several different ways. It's just amazing.

So, date night was a success. We love our kids. But, they are kids. They require our full attention. We have to get away every now and then and do something for us.

I guess I've given my secret away. Things are not always perfect in the Rogers' house. We have struggles just like everyone else. If life were easy, if I didn't have the struggles, I would think I could do it on my own. But, the struggles are there, and life is hard.

We need strength that, humanly, we do not possess; and occasionally, we're brought to our knees by the awareness of our DEpendence on God. In my case, this awareness is usually ushered in by some humiliating experiences. Apparently, I have some pride issues God is working on as well.

I will leave you with the words of my new favorite song. The title is I Will Not Be Moved by Natalie Grant. There's a line in the middle that says... "my brokenness helps me to see, it's grace I'm standing on." It's through the brokenness that we can enjoy the grace. It's a gift.

"It is by grace that we are saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God." Ephesians 2:8

Sunday, October 5

Happy Fall, Y'all!

The closer it gets to the Fall season every year, the more I begin anticipating the Canton Flea Market. I love going and looking at the things offered by the MANY, different vendors. I especially enjoy eating the food. But, I mainly enjoy the company. Two years ago, my mom and sister came over for the flea market. We had such a good time, that we made it a tradition. We find great deals, eat good food, but mostly we just laugh.

Our tradition continues, though. On Friday morning, we will leave at lunch time headed for Gulf Shores with the kids. This will be the third year for us to do this. The boys have so much fun. And, although Claire was with us last year, at 3 months old, she didn't experience the beach. So, it will be interesting to see how she likes it.

Mom made the kids a construction paper chain with the same number of links as days until the trip. So, for about a month now, we have been cutting links and counting "sleeps" until our trip. I don't know who is more excited about the fact that there are only 5 more links/"sleeps" -- me or them.

So, Mom and Alyson, I can't wait for the trip. In case you aren't excited enough already, here are some of last year's memories. Can't wait to post this year's pics.

I'm so excited! My sister called as I was writing this post. She has found t-shirts for us to wear to Canton. We should be easy to spot since we'll look just alike, so maybe we'll see you there.