Saturday, August 28, 2010

She's Just Kate

I cannot believe that today my babygirl is 3 years old. It is just not possible. But she is. And man has she filled our lives with a lot of joy in the last 3 years! I adore my Baby "Cake". She just has one of those personalities that make you feel a little smilier around her. Josh always says that I have a smile that is a "Kate smile". She is the only one that can make me smile that way. As a baby it was her good natured, laid back personality.  Her sweet smiles and precious cooing. Now as a big 3 year old I laugh at least every hour as we have "real" conversations. Her favorite activities are dancing and playing with her Little People. Everyday after lunch I ask her what time it is and she says, "Bedtime. Need my people." She puts them to sleep first. :) Today in my ballet/tap class I discovered one of my CD's was missing. I didn't even have to ask where it was. I knew. Kate's new favorite thing is raiding my bag, stealing my CD's and dancing in her room. She will need to put on a dress, swimsuit or a leotard. If I protest she tells me, "I NEED to dance!!!!!!!"

As I write we are having a conversation about robots and aliens. I've learned that a little girl with a big brother is sometimes different than a little girl without one. The kids used to be so rough with her and we would tell them that one day Kate would be able to defend herself. That day has come. I've watched her fly across the room and tackle Eli straight to the ground. (There is only about 5 pounds difference between the two of them.) She thinks the moon rises and sets with Sarah. She wants to do EVERYTHING Sarah does. I try to pretend she is my baby, but she is more and more independent every day. She loves going to class at church, dance class, Mommy and Me and Moms Morning Out. MMO is also known as "her school" and she loves it. As I held her hand walking her in the room last week it hit me that this time next year she will be starting pre-school.Okay, I'm going to move on before I have to stop and bawl.

Everybody talks about Kate's hair. Strangers in the store comment on how pretty it is. I want so much for my girls to have healthy self-esteem, but I may have to watch out for Kate. She came up to me the other day, flipped her head of curls and said, "My hair beuful". :) Yes, it is. While it is probably not best for her to become totally conceited, I hope she will always feel beautiful!

Lately, Kate's new thing is to tell us, "I jus' Kate." If I ask, "Are you my babygirl?" "No. I jus Kate."  If I say, "You better sit down, Miss Priss" she responds with "I jus Kate." And today when I said, "Are you the birthday girl?" she answered with.....yep you guessed it. "I jus Kate". She is just Kate. No labels, nicknames or extras added. She has as much personality as she has curls on her head.  Three is such a fun age. So much learning and growing. And lots of eating cheese and grapes and watching "carsumes". It's so much fun to be "fwee"!!


Friday, August 27, 2010

The Night the Lights Went Out in Florida

I am so frustrated right now I could scream, but I DO NOT want to wake my 3 sleeping babies, so I will blog instead. I am frustrated because I really need to call my BFF, Karen. We actually planned a phone date tonight. And even if we hadn't, I really need to call her. You know how sometimes you just have to talk to somebody? Yes, this is one of those times. Are you wondering what happened to my phone? You wouldn't be shocked one bit if I told you it was a long story, would you? That's what I thought.

Well, our Friday was going so well. Josh and I both went together to pick the kids up from school and went by the Pig to order a cake for Kate. Then, we picked up some steaks for supper. Josh is totally taking advantage of my needing to eat more iron right now. Very good excuse for steaks. :) Anyway, all was well. We even had a spiritual moment. At least Kate did. At least she thought she did. When we pulled into the parking lot she said, "There's Jesus!" It was actually just a pirate. You may remember him from this post. Somehow he has been moved from the fishing store to the Pig. What can I say, that pirate is getting around.
We came home and had a great supper. We let the puppies out to run and it is so fun to watch them. One of the puppies, Ida, looks just like Daisy and is so her mini me. She stays right with Daisy wherever she goes. I told Josh tonight I have the feeling we will be adding 7 names to our Christmas card this year. There have been no takers for the puppies and we just get more attached every day.

Well, the drama really started after supper. Sarah is finally able to change her earrings and was so excited to put in a new pair. We had a really hard time getting the other ones out and then an even harder time getting a new one in. My child is totally wearing two different earrings right now.  I'm hoping we can change the other in the morning. If not, my new fall trend may be two different earrings. Will y'all join us in that trend, please?

So, we finally survived that drama and got the kids to bed. We began the nightly clean up and we realized that something was leaking under the fridge. Well, Josh pulled out the fridge and the line to the ice maker was spewing water. Josh announced we would have to turn off the water. I of course asked, "Say what? For how long?" Josh gave me a very annoyed look and asked me if we have a flashlight. I headed to the laundry room which is where a flashlight would be if we had one. But the light is blown in the laundry room so I couldn't look for one. So, we decided to use the light of our cell phones. Um, don't try that. We stumbled through the yard (our light at the front door is blown too) and I started calling for Josh because I couldn't see 2 feet in front of me. If anybody else could see us I'm sure we were a sight holding our phones up in the air calling for each other. We soon realized this idea stunk and so I offered to drive the Jeep over so he could see by the headlights. He looked for about 5 seconds and discovered he couldn't get the cap off.

We went back in to do a temporary fix. I recommended a Wal-Mart bag, a washcloth and some duct tape wrapped around it. Josh laughed at me, but said to try it if I wanted to. He went to find a bucket to put under the leak. As he headed out back to look for a bucket I noticed, you guessed it, the light out back was blown too. As of now it is wrapped in a Wal-Mart bag, and washcloth and my trash can from the bathroom is catching the waterfall of water coming from the ice maker. Josh just left to go find a part. I changed into my pj's to get ready for a long phone call and couldn't find my phone. Oh no! Did I leave it in the Jeep???

Thankfully, during the writing of this my phone began vibrating in the cushions of the couch. So I'm going to sit in my dark, leaky house and have a good conversation. Tomorrow will be the changing of the light bulbs. Please pray we won't be swimming through the kitchen!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Because, Like

My sweet girls are 5 years apart in age, but they are both expanding their vocabulary on a daily basis. Sarah's new favorite word is "Like" as in "I was, like, gonna eat my snack, but like, I didn't have time." Kate's new word is "Because". Everything is because. Like tonight when Sarah commented on the fact that it is torture sleeping with Kate every night (they have their own beds, but Kate doesn't seem aware of this fact). Kate responded with, "Because, because, I bonk you on your butt."  That explains it all, right folks?

Well, I thought I would give you an update on our lives in the words of Kate and Sarah.

*Like, we have got to get rid of these 7 puppies because, like, I have got to repaint and refloor the playroom before Kate's birthday this weekend.

                         Softee says, "PLEASE, LIKE, TAKE ME HOME WITH YOU!!!!!!"
* Like, our church people are so sweet because they gave Josh a surprise birthday party after church the other night. Are you impressed I was able to keep it a secret??? Well, like don't be too impressed. It was because I kept forgetting about it!!!! The kids and I also ALMOST MISSED IT! We were headed out the door Sunday night and the bottom fell out. Like, I wasn't willing to run to the church because, I like, didn't feel like getting struck by lightening.  We finally risked it though because, like, we had to be there!

* Today I am like totally ill because I took some medicine to help me sleep last night and I am, like, STILL waiting for it to wear off!!! I took it because I've been in pain. I mentioned I thought it was sad that I may have injured myself in the 3-4 year old tap/ballet class. Like, Josh was a total smart butt and asked if it was from head, shoulders, knees and toes, jumping like a frog or popping like a pea. I, like,  told him I was gonna pop him like a pea!!!!! The truth is that last week my little 8 year old assistant asked me why I couldn't touch my toes to my head. I should have responded with because, like, duh I'm old and out of shape and like, who does that anyway????? Instead, I tried extra hard to do it. Because, like, I usedta could. But, like, I totally can't now.

*My son like, just asked me where he could take a bath tonight because the bathtub is dirty. I suggested that maybe we should clean the bathtub. Nah, he didn't like that idea. Like, why clean his bathtub when he can just use mine right?

*Like, I am trying to increase the iron in my diet because I found out I'm really anemic. Like, when I told the dr. I'm tired all the time she informed me it's because I don't, like, have enough blood in my body. So, I am like so excited because I have fallen in love with Nutella, almond butter and cherries. (Not together) Did you know that cherry pie filling has iron in it?????? So, like, I eat cherry pie filling for medical reasons now. :)

*Like, I'm gonna stop now because I'm annoying myself and like, other than dance class and eating all forms of nuts all I have done is laundry, because like, apparently all we do around here is change clothes. Like, I hope you are having a great week because you deserve it! :)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Age is Just a Number

As I was searching my archives to see if I had written anything for Josh's birthday last year, I came across this blog and remembered what was going on this time last year. It brought back a flood of memories. It still feels like yesterday that I was walking through Sam's with Karen looking for birthday presents for Josh. I got the call that my Dad was going into the hospital.

This has been a fun, happy weekend and I struggled with whether or not to post these private, personal struggles of mine. The year before last Kate turned 1 the week after Josh's birthday and so his kind of got overlooked in the hoopla. The year before that Sarah was starting kindergarten and I was fighting pre term labor. Then, last year I left Josh alone with the kids to travel to be with my Dad in the hospital. So, I really wanted this year to be special for him. I hope it was.

Still, as we celebrated I just haven't been able to shake the thought that this time last year my Dad was coming home from the hospital. He was "fine". That's what the dr. told us. The last time he had gone in for a cardioversion (on my birthday the year before) the dr. had mentioned the possibility of a pacemaker. This time when I questioned the dr. he assured us that everything was fine and that while that might be an option in the future, it wasn't needed. My Dad was so relieved. He felt way too young for a pacemaker. I still remember my friend Philip sent me a message on FB right before I left for Florida asking for my Dad's room number so he could visit. That meant a lot to my Dad. I remember that my sister surprised him by coming and we all had a good laugh after the cardioversion was over and my Dad sang the praises of the meds they had given him.

A year ago, everything was "fine". I mean, it wasn't great. I knew that. I knew that my Dad's health problems were more serious than he let on. More serious than any of us wanted to realize. But still, I know that in my heart I felt like we had time. Time for new medicines to work. Time for some of the stress in his life to be alleviated. Time for him to grow old before he got "that bad". I actually have an e-mail he sent me after we had talked about an experience we had together. He wrote, "I will never forget that drive to Mentone, Alabama even if i get Alzhiemers." I went back and re-read that after he passed and felt so conflicted. It broke my heart that he didn't live long enough to get Alzheimers, but of course that sounds crazy. So then a part of me felt thankful that while he is missing out on many of the joys of this life, he also missed out on much of the heartache and pain that is growing old.

I'm just sharing tonight. Hoping it will bring some healing to write these thoughts out, praying someone else might benefit from reading them. I am now less than a month from my 30th birthday and this time last year that seemed tragic. I was neck deep in the stress of planning my 10 year high school reunion, facing the last year of my 20's and feeling "so old". I wonder how my Dad felt when he turned 30. I'm sure he never in a million years thought he only had 25 years left. As I approach this milestone age I'm torn between feeling really old and also like a baby. Some of the experiences of life have left me feeling much older than my almost 30 years. But, as we serve our sweet congregation full of mostly elderly, retired members, I feel like a kid. As my Sunday School class passed around a birthday card to sign for Josh one of the ladies asked, "What, is he gonna be 19?"  I had to laugh. I know that is how they feel about us. We really are babies to them. Bless their sweet souls for putting up with us!

I've always heard the saying "Age is just a number" and it has become very true to me. I am so over dreading my 30th birthday. In fact, I want to get on my knees and say "Thank you God!!!" that He has given me this many years here. Many of the tough life experiences I've dealt with (many of which include losing loved ones before their time) have taught me that we are so greedy with our days. Instead of making the most of them, treasuring them and praising God for them, we waste them. We throw them away. We let precious time pass waiting for something better to happen. It may not, y'all. These may be your best days. Your sweetest days. Your only days. We just don't know. I sure hope I get to grow old with Josh. We've already planned our nursing home days and the list of instructions our caregivers will have. (I want my toenails painted at all times and 80's music on the radio and we will continue to share a bed even if it means we get kicked out of the nursing home.) I pray I get to be the 90 year old grandma that people half my age can't keep up with. (That is highly unlikely though, considering how slow I'm already moving!!!) It would bless my socks off to serve Thanksgiving meals attended by my great great grandchildren. So, please don't think I'm being fatalistic here. I LOVE life! Much of that love, however, comes from realizing that the days we have are gifts, not guarantees.

These are the things I'm reflecting on tonight. Celebrating my sweet hubby and overwhelmed with gratitude for the time I have with him, and grieving my Daddy and the experiences my Mom is missing with him. I'm so thankful I made that trip to see my Daddy in the hospital. I'm thankful for his 55 years. I'm thankful that life isn't just about the number of years we live, but what we do with the years we're given.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Stranger Than Fiction

I present to you: My life in pictures. My crazy, creepy, strange, weird life.

First, a picture my husband posted on FB. He hasn't added the first picture of me or the kids yet. But a fast food restaurant sign? Oh yeah.....

Now, I give you a picture of the porta potty on a boat I told you about. Josh got behind the truck towing it on the bridge. Do you love that my hubby proudly brings me pics of porta potties? Me too.

On a random note (more random than the rest of this so far) I am showing you a pic of my son's underwear. Because they creep me out. Are there any other Moms of little boys that just can't adjust to greeting these faces in the laundry room? Creeps me out everytime.... On a side note, did I tell y'all about the day that Kate had a TOTAL meltodown in Kohl's over a pack of boys Scooby-Doo underwear? Probably not, I think my brain has just now unrepressed that memory.

Finally,I would like to share a pic from a very special moment in mine and Josh's relationship. I surprised him last night with a baby-sitter (thanks T!) and a night out. I took him to the restaurant we went to that very first birthday I celebrated with him. I have a cool story to tell about that, but tonight I am just going to share this picture.

In case you are currently scratching your head and asking (as Kate would) "What's in the world?" let me explain. We dined at Black Angus in Panama City, which is actually a very fine dining establishment. I got some of the best coconut shrimp ever made. But somehow, in a divine seating arrangement that could only happen to me, I sat down and turned to look out the window only to be greeted by......Humpty Dumpty. FOR REAL! I spent a great deal of time examining him and would you believe that we both do our eyeliner and lipstick the same way? My lips are missing in this picture because I had just inhaled my shrimp and baked potato. Is it just me or does it look like Humpty Dumpty is shocked by my presence in his life? Or that perhaps he is ogling me? I just thought all those men on Eli's underwear were creepy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, August 20, 2010

A Gift

This may be a first in the history of my blogging. Have I ever written a blog at 8:30 in the morning???? I'll have to check my archives, but I'm pretty sure this is a first. There are two reasons for this. 1. I try really hard to avoid being awake at 8:30. Of course, that is not normally possible so the second reason I don't normally blog first thing in the morning is because even if I'm awake, I am not functioning. Does anybody else have that problem? I mean, my body has gotten dressed, fed the kids and puppies, taken the kids to school, fed Kate again, wrapped some presents....but my brain.....well, I guess we'll see how this goes.

So, if you are wondering what special occassion would possess me to blog at this time in the morning I will tell you. Today is August 20th. More importantly, it is the birthday of  the love of my life. Yes, today I am experiencing the happiness of staring blissfully into my soul mate's eyes. Well, I will be when he gets home and hopefully my eyes will be a little more awake and not so squinty. :) Anyway, if you can handle some mushy gushing and bragging first thing this morning, I want to talk about this special person and this special day.

First, I have to tell you that just a few nights ago I remembered something that has made this day even more important to me. You see, 12 years ago (yikes!) I was "friends" with a guy named Josh. His family invited me to join them at a restaurant to celebrate Josh's 17th birthday. We had a wonderful time, but it was what happened that night after dinner that forever changed my life. (You may think that was a dramatic statement, but just wait. It really did change my life.) That very night Josh gave me a gift that was so amazing it is still to this day only rivaled by the 3 babies he gave me. It was a poem. But not like a generic, Hallmark card poem. A real poem he wrote and it told me exactly how he felt about me and why he loved me (GASP! We hadn't said the "L" word yet). My man can write, y'all! I'm so glad because the written word is definitely my favorite form of communication. I was just thinking the other day that I am so glad I dated in the days before texting. I might not have ever gotten that poem. I may have just gotten a text that said, "I luv u". And that would have been fine, too, but just not the same. :)

Okay enough rambling. What I'm trying to say is that my life was never the same after that night. As I sat on my bed and read the words a boy had written about me I knew he was the one. I was a month shy of my 18th birthday and I was already planning to join a convent upon graduation because my love life had been such a lost cause up to that point, and then, in one single night it all changed. There was no doubt that his feelings for me were much more than "friends". Even more than that, he had said every.single.thing I had ever wanted a boy to notice in me, to feel about me, to love about me. Of course, until that point I was pretty sure there must not be much about to notice or love. There are no words to describe what a gift those words were to my fragile heart. It was his birthday, but I definitely got the best gift!

That brings me to what I want to tell you about Josh. He is a gift. He really is. You might think that after living together, paying bills together, changing diapers together and chasing dogs together that the hearts have faded from our eyes. And honestly, there are for sure days when the music of our lives is not "I Will Always Love You" or "Unchained Melody". Some days the theme songs of our life are more like the theme from "Jaws" or "Mission Impossible". But that is just because of life. Getting to share it with Josh is the gift that keeps on giving. :)  In the last couple of weeks I have not been feeling well at all and I have gained an even greater appreciation for my hubby than I've ever had. He's juggled the kids, the church, and ME with perfect skill. He even made time to tint the windows at the dance studio. (That was one of his jobs many moons ago. Our resumes are diverse, if nothing else. :) Josh is truly one of the hardest working, most caring, patient, and thoughtful people I have ever met. In the 12 years we've been in each others lives he has remained calm and steady and in the midst of some pretty trying things that would leave most people anything but.

As I've thought about it and planned for Josh's birthday I've realized what a gift Josh is to the world. I know lots of people who think they are a gift to the world, but Josh really is. And one of the reasons he is, is because he is too humble to know it!! He has had such an impact on so many people, and while some of it has been through his preaching, most of it has just been with his presence. He is one of those people who doesn't have to preach a sermon to feel God. God's presence just flows from him. In the way he loves people, the way he is always willing to do anything to make someone else's life easier, the words of encouragement and optimism he speaks. I know how much my own children have personally benefited from having one parent who is mentally and emotionally stable. :) Anytime people ask me for marriage advice I feel bad, because I can honestly say that the secret to our marriage is Josh. His patience, his ability to put up with me, his willingness to make a Twix run at any given moment. :)

The world was blessed on August 20th when Joshua Fidler made his entrance into the world. I can't wait to see all of the ways God is still planning to use him!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOSH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Happiness Is......

Just sayin'.......If you were looking for something like "Happiness is staring blissfully into your soul mate's eyes" or "Watching your sweet baby sleep" come back next week. Maybe I'll feel that way. For now, I'm hot and I'm cold, I'm grumpy and bold, too tired to wake up or wear my make-up. Um, okay and maybe a wee bit silly. I'm going to eat a Twix and hook myself up to my Diet Coke IV.

What is bringing you happiness this week?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Can You Believe I Get Paid to Do This?????

So today was the first day of dance classes at our brand spankin' new dance studio. I had the wonderful opportunity to teach the very first class. It just so happened to be Kate's very first dance class as well. A prouder moment in my life you would be hard pressed to find.  After picking the kids up from school Josh dropped us off at the dance studio. I wrapped my ballet skirt, slipped on my shoes, put my baby's hair in a bun and laid out my CD's for the class. You tell me, whilst packing for your workday have you also gathered a beach ball, Scooby-Doo snacks, stickers and hair nets? Just curious.....

I made sure we got there pleny early 1. to ease my nerves and make sure I wasn't running around like a crazy person throwing hair nets and spraying parents with hairspray and 2. so that I would have ample time to take pics of my youngest in all of her dancing glory. You know there is no activity under the Fidler sun that goes unphotographed. :)  (Well, there used to be a lot if I forgot my camera, but NOW I have learned to upload pics from my phone! Yes, please feel free to throw me a party welcoming me to the 21st century.)

Okay, so it's a little blurry. I did not say I had mastered my phone picture taking skills.

I wanted a pic of her in her ballet shoes but she insisted on wearing her "high heels".

No, I didn't get a single one of her smiling, but I love Eli in the background of this one. :)

                                        I started dancing when I was Kate's age. Full circle moment!

God is so good! I don't know about the girls, but I had the best time. I think the girls did too. Well, maybe not Kate. She was the only one who wouldn't cooperate. She didn't do the first thing in ballet or tap. Wouldn't even march in our little parade when we got to play really fun instruments. Maybe next week....

She finally decided to join us when we were doing backbends. Then she took over the mat doing front rolls.  Thankfully I had finally gotten her out of her "high heels" for that part.

After an hour and a half of walking like ballerinas, doing the twist, rolling like logs and ending with some fruit snacks all I could think was, 'Really, I get paid for this?' Wow, I'm blessed!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Enjoy the Scenery

Isn't there something so special and stimulating about "new"?  I remember our first fall in Mississippi. Florida isn't exactly  known for it's splendor of changing foliage, so September in Mississippi took my breath away. Those were the days I was working and spending most of my working days driving winding, backwoods country roads. There was a certain day that the beauty of the purples, gold, and reds captured my senses. I've always been weird. I prefer wildflowers to expensive bouquets of flowers and almost got Josh arrested becuase of it. He was going to pick me wildflowers off the side of Tyndall Parkway when we were in high school, but somehow he was informed that it is illegal to do so. So, he paid lots of money to buy some wildflowers from a florist and covered my car in them while I was at work one night. *Sigh*..........

Anyway, back to that day in Mississippi. It reminded me of a time when I was younger that my Papaw had taken me down some backwoods country roads in Mississippi and pulled his big ol' truck to the side of the road and picked me some flowers, right there off the side of the road. Maybe that's when my love for wildflowers blossomed. Well, we lost Papaw back in 2003 and on this particular day in 2006 I was flooded with memories and a fresh amazement at the beauty of God's creation. When I got home that day I loaded Josh and the kids up in the Jeep and we took off on those country roads to enjoy the scenery. We stopped on the side of the road (I'm hoping it wasn't illegal in Mississippi) and we picked flowers for Papaw.

After moving to Florida this past March, I realized how much I had always taken the breathtaking beach views for granted my whole life. I grew up in Florida, but was always about 30 minutes from the beach. Now, we are literally overlooking the bay when we stop at the end of our street. The first few months we were here I would just sit there in awe and think, "Do we really live here?" As I would make the drive into "town" I would take in the sights of the world's most beautiful beaches, a place people come from all over the world to experience. And I live here.

Well, as it seems to so often happen, I realized a few weeks ago that my awe is gone again. Instead of taking in the breathtaking scenery, I'm grumpy about the tourist slowing me down. My eyes are focused on the tasks to be done and missing the wonder and excitement of life happening around me. As I thought about that sad fact it occurred to me that I am so guilty of doing the same thing spiritually. The other night I was deeply burdened and anxious and I confided in Josh that I don't feel God the same. Just to utter those words was painful. I was wanting so much to pray about the heaviness on my heart, but I just felt like I couldn't. Not when I was dealing with these issues. Not when I had said and thought some of the things that I had. In that very moment I felt like God gave me a vision. (Please don't think I'm crazy, even though I know you already do). I was kneeling down and He was covering me with a white robe. And He said, "It's never been about you.It's what I did for you."  Does that take anybody else's breath away? Does that knock your socks off?

I had lost sight, not only of the beauty of God's creation around me, but also of the beautiful work He has done within me. The work that had nothing to do with me, and everything to do with Him.

"I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels."

Isaiah 61:10

What a beautiful, amazing God we serve!
I read this quote on this blog and felt like it spoke to my heart about my desire to fall in love with my Creator in a fresh and new way.
A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we. The repetition in Nature may not be a mere recurrence; it may be a theatrical encore. Heaven may encore the bird who laid an egg. (See Part IV “The Ethics of Elfland” in Orthodoxy) G.K. Chesterton’s Orthodoxy

There is something about the Baptist in me that feels the need to be stuffy and suffer a lot. Does anybody else struggle with that?  Well, I don't know about y'all, but I have found that suffering makes itself at home in our lives enough without seeking it out. I've also found that it has a way of choking the joy right out of us and stealing the beauty of our relationship with our Bridegroom. This weekend I'm going to worry less about laundry and more about the people in my life who need to be loved on. I'm going to slow down and smell the wildflowers. I'm going to marvel in the God who designed them.

I hope you have a great weekend and enjoy the scenery!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

So Many Firsts

Kate's First Packpack

First Time Using Raincoats (Please note that the object in Kate's hand is....our doorknob)

First time my child (who had just announced it would be totally embarrassing to have to wear glasses at school) wore her sunglasses from the Dr's office while sitting inside a restaurant

First time I've ever witnessed an immediate sugar high....

And crash....

I think this was the first time Dandy had been to a Mexican restaurant. He kept asking Eli if he could order a chili dog.

Of course we can't forget the first day of school!

The kids had a blast. Eli loves P.E. He told me he kept passing all of the other boys. Sarah said that when she was running 20 laps (do you think she may have inherited her mother's gift for exaggeration?) that she was "thinkin' I'm gonna tell my Mama I don't ever wanna come back to this school again."  Bless it, she's my child. Sweet thang perservered and she's gone back every day with bells on.  :)

Kate's first pair of dance shoes......

Monday will be her first dance class as well as my first "real" class as a teacher. 3-4 year old ballet/tap/tumbling. If all I accomplish is some really cute pics of her in her dance get up, that will be cool. If the rest is total chaos and pandemonium.....well.....that won't be a first!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Is It Safe to Drink the Water?

I think the reason I began homeschooling was to hide my incompetence from those at Sarah's school. Seriously, I wish I could remember at what point I lost my brain.  Just a little over 2 years ago I was a Hospice social worker with an almost 60 person caseload (the status quo was between 25-30) and I was juggling enough paperwork to make your head spin. Now, the night before my children head back to school, I cannot get it together. Not only did I write my own name on several of their supplies (am I the only doofus that has done that?), but also left both of their folders out on the dining room table where all of the paperwork got mixed together and I'm not completely sure what belongs to who. I can already see their teachers rolling their eyes, muttering under their breath, "She's going to be THAT mother." To top it all off, despite the fact that we've traversed the planet this last week shopping for clothes, backpacks, school supplies ( and a few accessories), I have just discovered that the school supply list Eli's teacher sent home Friday has two extra things that the original list I got, did not. For the love of 16 count crayons, I will be heading to the Pig after Josh gets home for some ziplock bags and hand sanitizer. Will you judge me if I tell you we stayed home from church tonight? That my kids have already eaten and are now bathing so that I can put them to bed at 7:00? That I am blogging so that I can make all of this sound funny instead of sitting on my bed and crying over my inadequacies as a mother?

If I sound a bit melodramatic to you, well it is probably because I am. I have experienced a lot of anxiety over the decision to put my kids back in public school. Please understand, I've never had a problem with public school. Josh and I are both the products of public schools. (Okay, maybe I'm not the best example to use here, but Josh is totally smart.) It actually never occured to me that my kids wouldn't go to public school until we moved to Mississippi. When we began talking with the church in Montrose they wanted to make sure that we understood the school situation there. It wasn't good. The public school was extremely low performing and the only other option was an expensive private school. At the time we didn't have any kids in school and we were moving into the pastorium and figured that whatever we saved on a house payment could go toward the private school. Well, those were very tight times for us and after I felt led to quit my job and stay at home I began bouncing around the idea of homeschooling. I will be straight up honest and tell you that the grand appeal was the money we would be saving. The really great thing was that the private school used a homeschooling curriculum that we had already paid for, so when I took Sarah out during the second part of the year I was able to finish using it.

Well, this last year has been quite the struggle. From planning my class reunion to out of town trips and then the devastating loss of my Dad, it seemed like homeschooling became a task too daunting for me. I am thankful that with everything that went on (oh yeah, I forgot moving, too!) I was homeschooling. Sarah would have missed a lot. But, the truth is, I just began to feel like I couldn't give her the best. I have issues with "the best" y'all. I can't tell you how much I struggle with never feeling good enough if I'm not "the best", which frankly, is pretty much all the time. :) We've moved to a much better school district  and just having the option was such a relief. I knew before we moved that I might consider putting them in school, but I still wasn't sure. There are parts of homeschooling that I loved. The time with the kids. The flexibility. But truthfully, those became some of my biggest obstacles. I don't know if I can put into words how isolated we became in Mississippi. We lived in the middle of nowhere and while I made efforts to involve the kids in things like dance and t-ball, we still experienced a great deal of isolation. This is so hard to admit, but sometimes the time with my kids was TOO much time with my kids, if you know what I mean. There. I so hate saying that. Another tough part of homeschooling was researching stuff online and coming across these people who had 15 kids and they were all 4 grades ahead of where they should be and they all played instruments and the Moms homeschooled them all, sewed all of their clothes, made all of their meals from scratch, AND they never, not once expressed that sometimes, they just needed a break. That's a lot of pressure to live up to, y'all.

Of course, there are extremes in all things. I met some amazing homeschool Moms who became some of my dearest friends over these last couple of years. I have so much respect for them and the amazing job they do and the sacrifices they make.

The flexibility became another issue. I am not a structured person. I'm just not. I tried and tried and tried, but with a 2 year old all up in the middle of the homeschooling it added a difficulty level that equaled trying to walk uphill in roller skates. As I put the period on that last sentence I had to go remove said 2 year old from the bathroom where she just broke the toilet seat. I am not even kidding. So.......all of these things to say, I NEED A BREAK! And not that being at home with Miss Independant is going to be spa material, but we'll see....

I've dreaded writing this post 1. Because I feel like I'm revealing just how selfish I am and that I am not super Mom (I know that is so earth shattering to y'all :) and 2. I don't want it to become a debate on public school vs. homeschool. Believe me, that debate in my head is what has caused a lot of anxiety in my heart over the last several months.  A verse that became important to me while homeschooling is still important to me now. Deuteronomy 11:18-19 says, "Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." I felt like the greatest lesson I got from homeschooling is that I am my child's most important teacher when it comes to teaching them about the love, grace and forgiveness of God. That doesn't change because I send them to school.  I will still remain their most important teacher and the one who will have the most lasting impact. Can I admit that is a large reason I don't feel qualified to homeschool right now? As I have worked through a tremendous amount of stress and grief over this last year, I've had to accept that I really, truly cannot do it all. I have come to the realization that my heart, mind, soul and even my body, have got to have a chance to recover from some of what I've been dealing with before I can be my best for my kids, Josh, my family, friends, our church family, and those in our community that God calls me to minister to. While I've been tempted to fall prey to my pride and convince myself that I can do it all, I know that deep down the Father has been whispering to me that right now, I can't. And that while there are seasons of growing and perservering during the challenging experiences, there are also times when God leads us to the Water of Elim. After times of bitterness He brings us to sweet, refreshing water.

"22 Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea and they went into the Desert of Shur. For three days they traveled in the desert without finding water. 23 When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter. (That is why the place is called Marah. [e] ) 24 So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, "What are we to drink?"

25 Then Moses cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a piece of wood. He threw it into the water, and the water became sweet.

There the LORD made a decree and a law for them, and there he tested them. 26 He said, "If you listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, who heals you."

27 Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs and seventy palm trees, and they camped there near the water."

Exodus 15: 22-27

I just realized that sounds very dramatic, as if homeschooling were this bitter pill I had to swallow and tomorrow I am going to do leaps and cartwheels through fields of flowers and gulp fresh spring water with excitement after I drop my kids off at school. Well.....maybe. :)  Just kidding. I realize this has been very emotional for me, not because of the issue of homeschooling, but because of the place that I am at in life. The place where instead of taking charge as a "have it all together, look at me!" leader, I feel that God is showing me that my lesson is that part of my growth right now is admitting I can' t do it all, that I am dealing with some tough things right now, and that He is probably getting ready to take me to some quiet places of healing and growth. I hope I'm ready.

For now, I have to go to the Pig. Think I will buy one of everything just to be safe...... :)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Friday Night Funnies

I have story after story and picture after picture to share with you of this, our week in preparation for school. Yes, I'm sending my kids to school this year. Yes, I feel like a total failure and a homeschool Mom dropout. That will be another post for another day. Anyway, all the stories and picture taking of this week have left me, not only tired, but a little lacking in the forming complete sentences area. So, I was browsing through some old blogs and found these short little stories from days past that made me smile. I love that Sarah and Eli were the ages that Eli and Kate are now. Hope they make you smile too.....


March 8, 2008

I have a funny that I just had to share. It comes courtesy of my 5 year old Sarah Beth, who has recently developed the talent to say the most hilarious things and have no idea what is so funny about them.

Sarah Beth has also developed the ability to read in the last few months, something we are very proud of. Before I share this story I must first tell you that Sarah is the same child who on the first day of school when her teacher asked her if she could write her name replied, "No, that's what I'm here for." :) That's my Sarah.

Well, tonight Sarah had her reading book out and was going through and sounding out the words. Then she would tell me what the word meant. She read several and then she sounded out "Cute". She looked at me as serious as a heart attack and said, "That's what we are sometimes when we behave"!!!!!!!!!!!!! Out of the mouth of babes! :)


April 11, 2009

As a mom I know that I can't shelter my children forever. I've always felt that my goal shouldn't be to shelter them, but to teach them how to deal with the reality that life throws their way.

Boy, has the teaching started sooner than I thought! A few weeks ago Josh told me about a conversation he had with Sarah Beth. Eli was wanting to watch Dora and normally Sarah would have wanted to also. But this day she told Eli, "Dora is a Mexican." Josh was taken aback. He asked Sarah, "Do you think it's bad to be Mexican?" Sarah shook her head yes. Josh asked her why and she didn't know. Josh then explained that being a Mexican just means you live in Mexico like Sarah is a Mississippian because she lives in Mississippi. She understood.

Well, a couple of weeks after that Sarah had a story to tell us. She said that some kids at her school were calling her friend a Mexican. She said, "I told them she was not a Mexican because she don't live in Mexican she lives beside me! Those kids in my class think they know everything but they don't, I'm the only one that knows everything!"

I'm very proud to have a child who stands up for her friends. And yes, I will be voting for Sarah Beth for president. She'll have her kindergarten degree in May!! :)

June 5, 2008

A while back one of the ladies at our church asked my 3 year old son Eli if he was going to be a preacher like his daddy. He replied, "No, I'm gonna be Superman!" Duh!

Well, despite his insistence that he will not follow in his daddy's footsteps I'm fairly certain he is already a Baptist preacher. For those of you who may not be familiar with Baptist tradition, there is no dancing allowed. I once did a ballet dance to a Christian song at a tent revival and the preacher later preached about how I caused people to fornicate. At the time I did not know what that meant. Now that I do I think I may have chosen the wrong career! Ha! Just kidding!

Anyway, on Sunday we were in the fellowship hall after a baby shower and Eli was putting his shoes on. (My kids cannot leave their shoes on for 5 minutes). I was holding Kate and I had on a new dress that was long and flowing. I just couldn't help it, I had to spin. I may be the preacher's wife, but dancing is in my blood. I think I used to be so skinny because I would actually stand up and dance around while I was eating. Well, Kate enjoyed the twirl, but Eli was not amused. He got his very serious face and said, "Stop dancing!" I said, "You don't want me to dance?" He answered, "No. We don't dance in the fe-fe-shellowship hall." (That's a hard word for a 3 year old!)

I had to laugh. To make it even funnier after he told me we don't dance in church he said, "We only dance in cages." What have my kids been learning in Sunday School?

I'm just happy to report that whatever church tradition may be I serve a wonderful savior who "turned for me my mourning into dancing". Psalm 30:11. How can I help but dance?
How was your week? Do you have any funnies to share?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Blog, Blog, Blog

Tonight, I celebrate a milestone of sorts. No, it's not one of my children's birthdays, my anniversary, or even a celebration that Kate has been going pee pee in the potty (kind of) for the last few days. Although believe me, you KNOW we will be celebrating the official completion of the potty training!! No, tonight is a different kind of milestone. I am celebrating the fact that when I publish this post it will tell me that I have written 300 posts. 300, y'all. 300 times I have shared some kind of story, some grasp at spiritual understanding, some pest control wisdom, and y'all have read it. Blows my mind. Are we all bored or what?!?!?!? :)

I'm not sure why this number gets me. I just happened to notice a few posts back that it was getting close and couldn't help but think, 'What in the world have I been talking about? What in blue blazes have I had to say that could total 300 blogs? And why on earth has anybody wanted to read it?' I don't know. It's a mystery to me, but I sure have had a lot of fun. I've always loved writing, but there was a time when my life was consumed with so many other things. At the point that I started this blog I was a young Mom finishing up my last semester of college and raising two babies under the age of 2. Y'all just think I'm looney now! Josh had just answered the call to preach and our life was in total upheaval as we were starting out on a journey of faith that left us dangling somewhere between stress and complete and total amazement at the ways God provided for us and directed us. Here's a peek at what we were looking like in those days....

                                                                 Summer 2006

My babies back in those days....when they really were babies.
These were the times when he was Baby Eli

I have no idea why I started blogging. I had gotten on MySpace because my sister, who was living in Alaska at the time, was on there and it was a great way to keep up. Pretty soon I was sucked into the world of social networking and one day I just decided to write about how I was feeling. Josh had informed me after a trip to visit some friends and family in Mississippi that he felt like God wanted us to move there. That was not the plan Josh and I had been working towards and believe me when I tell you, God didn't allow us to do much planning at all! He pretty much took over and wrote that story out for us. It's too long to share here now, but for whatever reason, I started sharing with family on MySpace and others started reading.

I have to stop here and let you know that this was almost 2 years after God healed my depression. For me to be experiencing feelings, let alone writing them for other people to read, was a huge thing for me. I had isolated myself so much in the years after I got married and started having babies. I wonder now how different things might have been if I had the benefit of sharing my mothering woes and tribulations with groups like I see now online when I experienced motherhood at such a young age. Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that blogging became my therapy. I got stuff off of my chest. I reconnected with people. I started to learn things about myself I never knew. I started to remember that I was still a person and not just Josh's wife or Sarah and Eli's Mom. I remembered that I LOVED to write and the fact that I could get immediate feedback was just an added bonus.

After we moved our internet connection was terrible and I went from being a Mom in school to a Mom working full-time. My blogging was pretty infrequent. Three months after we moved to Ms. Josh was called to a church and I added "preacher's wife" to the list of my titles.

Josh's Ordination Service Jan. 2007

Isn't that the most terrible picture of me? It's okay, you won't hurt my feelings, I know it is. We spent the weeks leading up to this service repainting all 9 rooms in the parsonage and by this point I was WORED OUT! Well, just a week after we got home I learned some interesting news that made me feel a little better about the size of my stomach in this pic. I was pregnant!!!!!!  August of that year Katelyn Ann Fidler made her appearance and Sarah started kindergarten. We also lost our sweet cocker spaniel, Abby. Have I ever told y'all she died the day I had Kate? My parents found her that night when they took the kids home. So sad. I don't think I ever blogged about the fact that I had a day when we were getting ready to leave Ms. that I spent the whole day crying about the fact that Abby is buried there and we were leaving her behind. Okay, so let's face it, I had a lot of other emotional stuff going on at that time, but that just seemed to hit me that day.

Okay, enough with sad stuff. If you've read any of these 300 posts, you know I have had my share of sadness over these last few years. But that has been another great thing about blogging. You've been there for me. Whoever you are. I have recieved so much love and support through this blog. From people I've known since elementary school, but no longer live nearby, to complete strangers who have become my friends through this crazy world of blogging. Isn't that the coolest thing? People who you may never find yourself associating with "in real life" become soul friends. You don't know a thing about where they live, what car they drive or what social circles they run with. You just find a common bond and a relationship grows where you didn't expect one. Love that!

Oddly enough, my most commented on blogs are the ones about stuff like mice, hormones and lingerie. Seriously, I have some family members who keep telling me I need to write a book and I always find myself pondering what I would write a book about. Let's face it, I'm pretty random. Maybe I need to embrace fiction and write a story about a hormonal mouse that wears lingerie. What do you think?

All of this is to say that I love y'all! I can't tell you how many times I have considered giving up this blog. A comment hurts my feelings, I go through times that are just too tough to blog about, or to be honest a lot of times it hits me that I have really put ALL of this out there for whoever comes along and googles something like "hormonal mice wearing lingerie".  But I just can't do it. This blog has become as much a part of my identity as being a wife and Mom. I look forward to hearing from y'all. I love knowing that there are other people who, God bless 'em, can totally relate to what I'm going through. I love that for a few minutes at night after my kids go to bed, I can tell my story and pretend that there are people who care what I have to say. I love that my crazy, racing brain has an outlet to document these memories, however mundane or exciting and especially my thoughts that are ever changing. I love that for a brief time, people get to see me as just Emily, not the Mom, the Preacher's Wife, or the crazy lady with all of the puppies. :)

Don't get me wrong, it has its downfalls. My poor husband didn't sign up to be the subject of probably 245 blogs, but he is. He is the one who suffers when he goes to tell a funny story about our kids and somebody says, "Oh yeah, I read that on the blog." Poor Josh. My kids have no idea that I've told countless stories about them or posted pictures of them riding swiffer mops. One day, I'm gonna have some 'splainin' to do. I try to be very sensitive to the people and situations in my  life. If y'all had any clue the things I DON'T blog about, it would rock your world. So is the life of the preacher's wife and a social worker. Confidentiality just totally ruins my storytelling. :) The ones who really suffer are my sister and my best friend, Karen. They are the ones I tell, "This isn't going on the blog, but.....". Bless their hearts. Y'all say a prayer for them, k?

All in all, the fact that I just wrote a blog about blogging probably tells you I'm a little obsessed and a lot dorky. Yes, I do know I need a life. Man, just think of all the things I could blog about if I really had a life!!!!!!

Thanks for reading y'all!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Save a Horse, Ride a Swiffer

One of my high school friends, Ann, just started a new blog at She said she started it to be a support group of sorts for Moms, and man have I needed one this week! ( I keep forgetting today is Monday. I still haven't recovered from last week!!) Anyway, this is going to be one of those posts where I am just as honest as it gets. Mostly because I'm too tired to pretend to be anything else. And what I mean is that I am just going to let you know that if you averaged out a grade for my mothering skills over the last week, I might get a D+. Maybe, if someone was feeling lenient.

I'm tellin' ya, there are times when you feel as though you've really got the mothering thing down. Your children get fed, bathed and vitamaned properly. They even wear cute, matching clothes and say yes ma'am and no sir. Then, before you know it, out of nowhere, they throw a fast one. Just when you think everybody is on a routine and knows the rules, the 2 year old who will soon be 3 decides she needs to make the most of her last few weeks of terribleness. The 5 year old pushes every boundary and the 8 year old gives you looks. You  know the looks. The "I'm old enough to know better than to smart off, but I will sure give you the look". I always got in trouble for my looks when I was little. Josh assures me I still have the look. What can I say, she gets it honest. Still drives me CARAZY!

I had so many instances I was going to detail for you of how I have failed in this task of mothering, but I seriously can't even remember them. It's all a blur of  emptied $8 ear cleaner and emptied bottles of brand new shampoo and unrolled toilet paper rolls, laundry and puppies, and puppy poop, and screaming over video games, and puppies, and couch cushions and pillows covered in milk and, yep, puppies. This whole week (let's pretend it's been a week since today felt like one, k?) I have been on the verge of tears, screaming, and giving in. Giving in is the worst, y'all. I hate when I do it. I'm so weak. I'm convinced that all 3 of my children will go on to law school.

Well, I don't want you to think it's all been bad. The thing is, I think it has just been rough because after dance camp we left for Georgia and so we've had weeks on end of interrupted schedules and Daddy time. I love my kid's daddy and they love him too. He is awesome and does an amazing job of taking care of our kids. But I'll just tell ya, I'm the mean one. Totally the bad cop. I never knew I would be. My Dad once told me he never knew I would be such a tough Mom. Me either. It just happened. So, I've been having to re-establish some rules. I call it having a come to Jesus meeting and oh boy, the meetings we have had! So,that's where we're at. Josh has been running a bread route since we got back from Georgia and today he went in about 2:30 this morning and got home at 9:30 tonight. For real. So, I don't think it has helped that I've pretty much been a single Mom this week. Can I implore you to go right now and hug a breadman, a single Mom, a working Mom and a stay at home Mom. Just reach out and hug 'em. They all need it. You will never find me on one side of the working vs. staying home debate. I've done them both and I personally believe that trying to decide which is harder is like asking someone "Would you rather tow your car with your pinkie toe or your pinkie finger?" It's just hard, y'all. They are different kinds of hard, but they are hard. Okay, I will get off of that soapbox. :)

Well, I totally meant for this blog to have a point, but I am quickly losing it. I just thought I would let you know that I was feeling so confident in my parenting skills that I volunteered to keep 3 more. My friend Audra (she moved and I'm still in a funk about it and one day I'll blog about it) was back in town for the weekend for a wedding and I thought it would be so much fun for the kids to get to play. Would you like to hear how crazy that was???? Okay, so you need to know these things. 1. Our door knob is broken. Like, you have to have special skills to get the door open. 2. A lady I've never met was dropping Audra's kids off at my house. 3. Daisy and the puppies are now residing in the playroom because it is complete CHAOS when they are let out to run. Okay, so Audra's friend comes to drop off the kids and her youngest is crying and doesn't want to stay with me. (She obviously has heard how my week in mothering went.) Well, while we are trying to coax her to stay with me SOMEBODY ( whose name starts with K and ends with ATE) let the puppies out. So, the older kids were totally excited because they haven't seen each other in a month and are running through the house like wild people, all 7 puppies are running everywhere and the baby is crying hysterically because really, who wants to stay at my house? I know many times this week, I haven't wanted too either. :)  Well, we finally got Hannah to come to me in Sarah's room, but when the lady dropping her off started to sneak off I sent Sarah with her to open our door because Sarah has mad broken door knob opening skills. Well, by the time I get out to the living room, the sweet lady who I had never met before this encounter was running across the street chasing Daisy!!!!!!!!!!!! It is making me laugh now to think of it, but seriously I was humiliated. Can you imagine? This poor lady is dropping off a screaming baby and leaving these innocent children in the center of chaos. AND she had to catch my dog!

To top off the fun I had fixed, of all things, tacos. Because there is nothing more fun than 6 kids wanting to fix their own taco. Please, someone take me to the dr. I have got to be suffering from a concussion. Or just good old fashioned stupidity. Is there a cure for that yet? Here are some pics from that special occassion.

                                               Oh yeah, that's red Kool-Aid too.....

I know you want a puppy. Come on, you know you do!!!!!

A rare moment where both of the baby girls were accounted for....

Welcome to the Wild, Wild Fidler's!!!!!!!!!!!!
                             Who needs 50 million dollars in toys when we have cleaning supplies????
I'm not sure if Audra will ever let me keep her kids again. I hope she will. I really like them and they play great with my kids. But I just don't know. Today I found a pair of shorts that I'm almost certain belong to her firstborn. Which begs the question, WHAT IN THE WORLD DID HE HAVE ON WHEN HE LEFT MY HOUSE??????

All I can say is tomorrow is a new day. (I've been saying that for like 8 days now.) God's mercies are new too, Praise the Lord!!!!! Last night was a fresh promise of hopeful things to come. The kids were playing in the sanctuary and I told them that it wasn't a place to play, but to pray. This is what they immediately did....

Do you think they are praying, "Dear God, please make me a bird, so I can fly far, far away from here." ?????

It's been one of those weeks, y'all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!