Thursday, December 25, 2008

It's Official

I hereby declare that I 100% unequivocally, passionately, and resolutely hate Christmas. Go ahead. Excommunicate me. Tell me what a horrible person I am. Tell me how angry the baby Jesus would be at me for feeling this way, much less admitting it in print. However, I'd be willing to bet that YOU did not spend your Christmas in the ER. Oh, yeah. Because I did.

Abigail woke up this morning with a 103 degree fever. She's been sick off and on for a few weeks now, and we thought she was coming out of the woods. Well, last night she just got really fussy after we got home from the Christmas eve service at our church. Very unlike herself. We had a hard time getting her to settle down to sleep, and she woke up quite a few times throughout the night. When we awoke this morning, she was on fire. Suspecting it might be an ear infection, we called the pediatrician and she told us to go on to the ER. Apparently it's very dangerous for young babies to have fevers that high. So, off we went to spend $900 and 3 hours of our blessed holiday at the hospital, all for some not-so-very-nice doctor to tell us she was fine and to go home. 'Tis the freakin' season.

So, I've never believed in curses before, but after today I am starting to think that we are under some sort of a Christmas Curse. I keep telling myself that next year things will be better. However, I've been saying that for 3 years now. And each year I tell myself that, and each year I have this sinking suspicion that things are getting worse!

So, as I've decided to not participate in flu shots next year, I am also deciding not to participate in Christmas next year. Can I do that? Is that even legal for Christians? Can I opt out? How 'bout a nice cruise instead? We can just tell the kids that's what the Good Lord and Santa would want us to do.

December 26th, you can NOT come fast enough.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Kissing Flu Shots Buh-Bye

So, the kids and I have been sick for over a month now. We've been through a couple rounds of antibiotics (which have had absolutely NO effect), and I'm now convinced that what we've had for the past month is the flu.

And you wanna know the funny thing about all this??? 4 out of 6 of us had the flu shot!!!!!

I've had it. I'm done. This will be the last year I make my family suffer the flu shot. Boy, won't my kids be happy! Seriously, every year we get them, and EVERY SINGLE. BLASTED. STINKIN' YEAR WE END UP WITH THE FLU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I think we're the only people I know that even get the flu shot. And we're also the only people I know that get sick from Thanksgiving until Christmas. So next year, I'm gonna do a little experiment and stick it the pharmaceutical manufacturers, and tell everyone I know to just say "NO!" to the flu shot.

Suck on that, Merck!!!

For more flu fun, I've already Googled for your reading pleasure, "flu shot doesn't work." Knowledge is power, people.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Favorite Christmas Specials, Anyone?

Well, this blog's been pretty quiet lately (and I'm lookin' at you, Reader!), so I'm asking you for some responses on this one. I want you to list your top five favorite Christmas shows of all time in the comment section.

So in the spirit of Christmas, and also a little bit of desperation and paranoia, here are mine in order of favorite-ness:

1. A Christmas Story
2. A Charlie Brown Christmas
3. Elf
4. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
5. Shrek the Halls

What are your faves?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Bonhoeffer on Advent

"Celebrating Advent means learning how to wait. Waiting is an art which our impatient age has forgotten. We want to pluck the fruit before it has had time to ripen. Greedy eyes are soon disappointed when what they saw as luscious fruit is sour to the taste. In disappointment and disgust they throw it away. The fruit, full of promise, rots on the ground. It is rejected without thanks by disappointed hands.

The blessedness of waiting is lost on those who cannot wait, and the fulfillment of the promise is never theirs…

Who has not felt the anxieties of waiting for the declaration of friendship or love? The greatest, the deepest, the most tender experiences in all the world demand patient waiting…

Not all can wait—certainly not those who are satisfied, contented, and feel that they live in the best of all possible worlds! Those who learn to wait are uneasy about their way of life, but yet have seen a vision of greatness in the world of the future and are patiently expecting its fulfillment. The celebration of Advent is only possible to those who are troubled in soul, who know themselves to be poor and imperfect, and who look forward to something greater to come.”

(Edwin Robertson, ed. and trans., Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Christmas Sermons, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005), 20-21).

Friday, December 12, 2008

Christmas is Just Around the Corner and I'm...Excited???

We're already just about two weeks into December and, in typical Christmastime fashion, I have: a sinus infection that turned into a raging ear infection--complete with fluid behind my right eardrum that refuses to drain, leading to about a 30% temporary loss of hearing; kids--including the baby--with sinus infections and very hot pink eyes; a broken washing machine; a broken vacuum cleaner; a broken oven; my wonderful pre-lit SPNCT upon which entire sections of lights keep blowing out, branch by branch--I am afraid by Christmas it will be a pre-delit tree; a misplaced (read "lost") check; and, oh, and absolutely still no clue how we're going to survive this month financially and make Christmas happen to boot.

And yet, I find that I am actually kind of excited about Christmas this year.

*screech* "What the...???"

I know it's kind of strange considering the past few Christmases one can typically find me grumbling and complaining in the Bah-Humbug Lot along with Charlie Brown, the Grinch and ol' Uncle Ebenezer. And this year, as I look at the aforementioned circumstances and forward to our impending Christmas doom, I realize that the forecast isn't much brighter than it has been in previous yuletide seasons. In fact, I would say that things seem even tighter this year as we still have two hideously ugly vacant rental homes tied to our backs, which do not look like they're going to sell any time this century.

This time of year, I always find myself wishing that we could simply call the powers that be and, in the spirit of Christmas and holiday cheer, say, "Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors" and they be okay with that.

But, alas, that's not the world in which we live.

So, why on earth am I excited?

I am excited about the potential we have here. The opportunity. I am excited about what I get to see God do this year. I believe our circumstances are so shoddy that only God can help us. We have no where to look but up. No where to turn to but Him. In fact, I believe that we have all the necessary ingredients for a true Christmas miracle. Like, straight out of a movie. Let's examine them, shall we?

A decent family down on their luck? Check.

A plethora of tiny urchins?

A man who has a positive attitude, generous heart, and could be mistaken for George Bailey? Check.

A curmudgeonly, bitter, angry character who's in desperate need of a heart transplant? Meh. Check.

I jest. But I am actually looking forward to trading in all my stodgy, stale, and materialistic Christmas traditions in order to give God the opportunity to truly move. Listen, I'm certainly not expecting a bail-out. I don't deserve it. We've made our beds. God owes us no favors. I guess I just realize that if we are going to be able to pay our bills AND give the kids at least a gift or two under the tree, that we are going to have to witness a true Christmas miracle. I never thought I'd feel this way, but it truly is a blessed place to be when you have no where to go, but God.

And to top it all off, in the midst of these cruddy circumstances, I feel like my heart may actually be growing a size or two. In each of the aforementioned scenarios, I find myself thankful for God's provision. I am thankful that my washing machine broke AFTER I extended the warranty, thus making the repair completely no charge. I am thankful for friends and family, who are completely willing and able to loan us their vacuum cleaners until we can afford to buy a new one of our own. I am so very thankful that I am able to stay home with my children and take care of them while they are sick, that I am not working and leaving them in the care of someone else. I am thankful that, even though my oven may be broken, at least the stove top still works. I am thankful that, even though things have been tight, we've never missed a meal. And for a self-professed foodie, that is quite a big deal.

And about those houses...Hey, at least we can give our first two daughters homes as wedding gifts. In 20 or so years.

I am able to see God's provision in all of this junk. It may not be exactly what I want or how I want it. But it's there. I can't deny it. God is providing. I'm finding that it really is true that God is in even the worst of circumstances. On my way to the urgent care facility the other morning, my ear on fire, I found myself praising God that I even had a facility like this to go. It was affordable, in close proximity, and clean. I mean, what do people do who don't have access to such common things to us as antibiotics? Seriously. Things that I take for granted. Things I think I am entitled to.

My blasted sense of entitlement has taken a bloody beating this year. I'm not looking to Him for what I feel He owes me. For what I feel I deserve. I don't deserve jack. Everything I have is a gift. I call upon His help because of Who He is. Because of His great love. His eternal mercy.

God, thank You for saving a wretch like me.

And that, my friends, is why I am excited. I want to encourage any of you who might be stressing out over the holidays, worrying about money, and presents, and such. I may not be able to send out fancy Christmas cards this year. I may not be able to do all the festive things that are supposed to boost my Christmas Spirit, yet do nothing but merely end up draining our wallets. But maybe this year, instead of complaining about all the things I don't have, and all the things I wish I had, and all the things I didn't get...maybe, just maybe, for once, I will be completely content, satisfied...even happy...with a roof over our heads, food on the table, friends and family by my side, and our health and sanity intact. Maybe even this year, a true Christmas miracle has already occurred.

A changed heart.

What more could anyone ever need?

Isn't that what this time of year is all about anyway???

God bless us. Everyone.

Friday, December 5, 2008


Has anyone seen this yet? The kids and I DVRd it and we can't stop watching it. It's hilarious. I think it's quickly becoming one of my favorite Christmas specials.

Honestly, I think it's because it reminds me of some of my family get-togethers during the holidays. :)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sunday Night Brain Dumpage

  • We've had a very busy Thanksgiving weekend. Lots of family. Lots of fun.
  • Hence, tonight was the first night we've gotten all the kids to bed at a decent time in about a week. I am enjoying the silence.
  • The weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful.
  • I already have my Christmas tree up. I actually had it up before Thanksgiving. I've never done that before. I'm usually a stickler about that. Last November we had 5 Thursdays, meaning we had another week after Thanksgiving during which to put up and enjoy the Christmas tree. Thanksgiving seemed to come really late this year.
  • I still need to put up the outside lights, but it's been so nasty outside. Wet and cold.
  • Tomorrow's the first day of December. In the words of Charlie Brown, "Good grief!"
  • I made an awesome turkey this year. And it wasn't that difficult. I will definitely be repeating this recipe again for future Thanksgivings. Thanks, Alton!
  • Are you tired of leftovers??? I found an incredible recipe for turkey soup. I made it yesterday and it was a big hit. Whoever came up with the idea for "stuffing dumplings" is a freaking genius in my book. I recommend this recipe wholeheartedly.
  • I sang at church today for the first time in over 3 years. I have been fighting a sinus infection, so I know I didn't sound my best. But I sure had fun doing it.
  • Ren and I watched most of Dane Cook's Vicious Circle today after church. I found it to be pretty disappointing.
  • The kids and I have all had sinus infections for over a couple of weeks now. Then, I woke up today from my afternoon nap, and my eye was red and full of gunk. Nice. So was the baby's. And so was Josephine's. Thank God we have pink eye drops already on hand.
  • I know this is completely freaky and will potentially gross out several of my readers, but I found this to be quite an incredible tidbit of information.
  • My dad is home visiting us for a week. He lives in Detroit due to his job. It's always nice to have him home with us.
  • "Yo man let's get out of here. Word to your mother."

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Well, our blended Thanksgiving went off without a hitch. We had both the Bucklands and the Borgs in the hizouse. And it was great. We all shared the load with the food prep, so it was easy on everyone. It was low stress and very joyful. I can't help thinking how blessed we are to have both sets of parents still with us and still very much a part of our lives.

I grew up in a military family, and many times in our lives we found ourselves in a new location isolated from family and friends. The thought of my poor mother preparing Thanksgiving dinner all by herself honestly made me want to weep. I can't even imagine it. All I had to do was the turkey, stuffing, and deviled eggs. And even that was plenty of work, my friends. I felt so blessed as I tackled my end of the Thanksgiving deal, and the rest of my family theirs. It was community and teamwork at its very finest.

I hope and pray that each of you had a very happy Thanksgiving. Now, on to Christmas!!!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Josephine Saves the Day

Sometimes you hear stories. Stories about the mistakes grown-up, intelligent, decent adults make in this job we call parenting. Stories that make you pause and take notice. Stories that may even leave you scratching your head and asking yourself, "Why on earth did they do that?" Or, "How exactly did that happen?"

Well, my friends, I'd like to share a story with you just exactly how something like "that" happened to me, just yesterday.

I ran in to Ingles to do some grocery shopping. I just needed a few things. I had just enough time to run in, get the stuff we needed, and get home before the bus brought Isabel home from school. I had my 3 littlest ones with me--Josephine, 4; Oliver, 23 months; and Abigail, 5 1/2 months.

We finished our shopping (in record time with 3 small children, I might add), checked out at the cash register, and headed back out to the car. I was feeling pretty confident.

I proceeded to get all 3 kids buckled into their car seats, so I could then load up the groceries into the van. It was then that I noticed a bottle of gingerbread flavored Coffee Mate that had somehow gotten lodged between Abigail's car seat and the shopping cart. I checked the receipt, and sure enough, they forgot to charge me for it.

Now any normal human being would have, at this point, just thrown the bonus bottle of delightful holiday flavored coffee creamer into the van with the rest of the loot and yelled "Score!" and then probably could have driven off, thinking that God had simply smiled on them that day, not ever giving it a second thought for the rest of their lives. Not me. Oh no. I was tempted. But I know myself. I would have been plagued with Coffee Mate guilt for the rest of my life. That's just the kind of person I am. I don't take anything, much to the chagrin of my poor, poor husband, lightly. I shop at this Ingles quite frequently since it's just two minutes from my house. And I knew that I could never, ever, from this day forward, after smuggling a stolen bottle of non-dairy creamer, ever be able to step foot into that Ingles with a clear conscience ever again. Every eye would be on me, even if they indeed were not. Every time I stubbed my toe or something else would go wrong, I would suspect that it was God getting back at me for not taking back the bottle or paying for it like I should.

I decided it just was not worth it. And, I, being the honest injun that I am, decided to go back inside and pay for the bottle of Coffee Mate.

Mind you, I am on borrowed time here, people. My five-year old is going to be home in just 15 minutes. I figured that it would require more time and more effort getting all 3 kids back out of their car seats by itself than it would simply running in and going through the self-check aisle with the pesky coffee creamer. I never leave them in the car by themselves. Surely, I thought, they will be fine this time, for just a few short minutes.

And I'm sure they would have been. I made sure I locked the doors. It's cool outside. Everyone was safe. I ran inside Ingles...

And realized I left my keys sitting in the front seat of my locked van.

Did I mention that I had 3 kids in that van???

Did I also mention that I had to be home in 15 minutes so that my five-year old didn't come home to a locked and empty home???


I didn't have a spare key. I calmly start to coach Josephine to try to unbuckle her car seat. She's a pro at getting the top buckle of her 5-point harness undone, but not the bottom buckle. Her little fingers have just never been strong enough. So I am loudly encouraging her to try as hard as she can to press that red button.

"Honey, use all your muscles. Try harder." Fail.

By that time, I started to gather a crowd. Several baggers and Ingles patrons spotted me shouting to my daughter through the window. We were all coaching her. We even tried to get her to Houdini herself out of the buckle. "Can you wiggle out of it, Sweetie?"

Nope. Not in a Britax.

Several women at this point started offering me other solutions:

"Ma'am I'll call 911."

"Honey, can I drive you to your house so we can get your daughter?"

"Do you have anyone else that you can call? Anyone else that has a key?"

I didn't. There was nothing I could do at this point. Even if I went home with the kind lady that offered, I had no way in to the house. The garage door opener was in my car, as was my house key. So while I could be there to get Isabel when she got home from school, my 3 other children would have still been stuck inside the van in the parking lot at Ingles. Somehow, I just didn't think that was such a great plan. By then, the fire truck that was dispatched from the 911 call showed up. Oliver was very excited about this, even from inside the stuffy, locked van.

Meanwhile, Mama's trying not to have a nervous breakdown.

Just then, I hear a lady shout, "She's out!!!!" Jo, our sweaty little hero of the day, kept working at her buckle, until she finally got it. "Mama, I did it!" I heard her shout. She squeezed through the seats, and unlocked the door. Everyone cheered. And the good fireman of Barrow County totally wasted a trip, and your tax dollars, on us. We thanked everyone, raced home, and we pulled up right behind Isabel's school bus, as it dropped her off just before the moment we arrived.

Crazy day. Everyone was safe. God is so very gracious.

Life in a Nutshell (And a Whole Lot of Parentheses)

Wow. So I realize that I've probably lost all 5 of my readers due to my most recent blogging strike I've been on for the past month or so. I guess I've been too busy experiencing life to blog much about it. Since I last posted, we ended up NOT going trick-or-treating (instead we opted for a family fun night out at Chuck E. Cheese's-we were surprised to find we weren't the only weirdos there--it was pretty hoppin'); I turned 32 on the 1st (which was celebrated with an evening of fabulous dinner at P.F. Chang's, a viewing of The Changeling-which was fantastic, BTW, and the last twenty minutes of It's a Wonderful Life on a portable blow up screen outside the Mall of Georgia pavillion complete with chilly weather, a cuddly spouse, and Starbuck's--it was perfect); Jo turned 4 on the 15th (complete with an inflatable jumpy birthday party); and now we already find ourselves getting ready for Thanksgiving (are you even serious???) next week as we celebrate our first ever blended Borg/Buckland Family Thanksgiving.

I feel like I have a ton of stuff to blog about, and now I'm all backlogged and such. You should expect roughly 453 posts in the next few days as I try to catch up. Hey, it's feast or famine with me. It's the manic happenin'. I hope you're in the mood to read LOADS of semi-interesting anecdotes written by yours truly. I know, who wouldn't be, right?

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Oliver's Favorite Song

My son requests this song no less than 50 times a day. He refers to it as "Come On." And I must say that it is one cool and catchy tune. Brought to you by Mates of State.

Monday, October 27, 2008

It's Already Been Broughten

This is hilrarious, amazing, and incredible. I want to shake the hands of the people behind this work of art.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

You Go, Girl

I strongly recommend reading this great article about Anne Graham Lotz (Billy's daughter). As a fellow female who believes she is called to preach, I cannot tell you how much this article blessed, encouraged, and strengthened me in my faith. I would really love to hear her preach sometime. God truly does use the foolish things of this world to confound the wise.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Around this time of year we as parents like to dress up our kids in costumes that they end up hating and wanting to take off after only 10 minutes. We take them apple picking when they don't even really like apples, and in fact, would rather eat cake. We bring them along on adventurous trips to pumpkin patches. We take a bunch of goofy photos of them amidst fields of brilliant, orange globes, when it's obvious that they're not even sure what a pumpkin really is and that expression clearly shows on their faces. We assume they're going to have a great time. We think that they're going to love it. But really, they try to love it because we've told them they will. We've built up the Pumpkin Patch. We've sold it to them like it's Disney World. When, really, they're just miserable. They're crying. They're tired. They're hungry. They're dirty. We somehow know that by taking them for a ride on a Cow Train, a hay ride, a smelly trip to a petting zoo, and then to pick out a pumpkin (soon to be tossed in the trash, very haphazardly decorated and/or carved, in just a few short weeks) that we've crossed the inevitable, imminent melt-down threshold. We know ahead of time that we will probably end up leaving with someone...or two...or three of them crying. And yet we forge ahead. We plod along. We march forward and stubbornly do it anyway.

What do my children know or even care about harvest except what I've told them and built up for them? About apples? About...pumpkins? We buy all of our "harvested" produce from Ingles. Do they even give a rip?

At the end of days like these, this conversation can always be overheard taking place in the family van on the way home:

"Guys, did you have fun today?"


"Well, why not?"

"Because we didn't get to do..." (Fill in the blank with whatever ONE thing we did NOT let them do and that is the thing they will focus on for the rest of the evening).

"But didn't we have fun doing...?" (Fill in the blank with ALL the numerous things we DID do for them and with them throughout the day).

I think they really did have a good time. I did, even though there were moments when I found myself wandering through a corn maze, questioning my sanity. I sometimes think, though, that stuff like this is really more for the adults, and we get to use our kids as an excuse to act like goof balls. That's what we did this weekend. And we'll probably do it again next year. I guess it beats staying inside and watching television!

For more proof of our pumpkin fun click here. My sister-in-law, Kim, has some more great ones here.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Awww, Junk.

Whew. I've been tagged by my lovely friend Erin. Which I am ever so grateful for, after the last Debbie Downer of a post I last put up. Hallelujah. Here are the rules I've been given:

*Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
*Share seven random and/or weird facts about yourself.
*Tag seven other people at the end of your post and link to their blogs.
*Let each person know they've been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Wow. That sounds like a lot of hard work. More work than I've done in the past two weeks. But I'm gonna go ahead and give it the ol' college try. Here we go.

1. I love beets. I mean. I think they're absolutely perfect and wonderful in every way. I think their sweet, earthy, juicy flavor is probably close to what Heaven would taste like, if it were a root vegetable. Like, I could eat them every day if they weren't such a pain to prepare and didn't stain your fingers blood red for days afterwards, prompting curious questions from friends and family. Actually, I just found some the other day already prepared and prepackaged in the produce section at Ingles. This could become a dangerous habit of mine.

2. I love stand-up comedy. I laugh and laugh.

3. I visited the actual movie set of "The Neverending Story" in Munich, Germany. You can ride on Falcor's back, but they only chose 3 little twerps from my third grade class to do so. I wasn't one of them. I am not bitter about that at all.

4. I have an A.B. in Political Science and I minored in Spanish at UGA. Translation: I am a Stay At Home Mom. Go Dawgs.

5. My dad was born in Hamrun, Malta. Yes, it's a real place, and no, that's not where the malt was invented.

6. I also love sci-fi. I didn't realize this love until after I got married to a sci-fi nerd and had my first child. I didn't get hooked on Oprah or soap operas as a newbie stay at home mom. No. Every day, I climbed aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise with Captain Jean-Luc Picard and the rest of the crew and traveled the galaxy while watching reruns of "Star Trek: The Next Generation." Space. The final frontier. One of the best shows ever made. And, yes, I own every episode on DVD. Jealous?

7. Speaking of Star Trek, my maiden name is Borg. Resistance is futile.

Okay. So I am tagging...

The Hippses

Let the games begin!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Calling a Spade a Spade

I just read an amazing article by Kay Warren (you know, the wife of that dude who wrote that book???) about human nature and our capacity for evil. I found it refreshingly honest, freeing, and a bit frightening all at the same time. I can't say I was surprised by anything she wrote. I'm well aware of our propensity to do wrong and have been ever since I became a Christian over 12 years ago. However, I think there's something inherent in our culture that allows us to pet, coddle, and justify our sinfulness. We're not that bad. We categorize "wrong" things together with swear words and credit card debt. I think that somewhere along the way, it's easy to lose sight of how broken and me...really are. Even those we put up on a pedestal. It's easy to do. It's tempting to want to believe in humanity. To put your hope in a person. In a vision. Believe that we can change. Believe that, deep down, we really are good people. That I can make myself whomever or whatever I want to be. Believe that you hold the key to your destiny and all that rot. But we simply don't. We never have, and never will. From birth, we are broken. And will be until the day we die.

I think the message of this article is a bit hard to swallow. It's not a lighthearted read. But it ministered to me nonetheless.The truth is, I don't think we in America think of ourselves as "evil." We're not burning down villages or committing genocide or anything like that. We're good church-going folk, we pay our taxes, we provide for our families. But I think of the utter selfishness that plagues us, and it frightens me. I see it even within myself. We are willing to go to great lengths to have our "rights," even, and especially, at the expense of everything and everyone else around us. As long as our needs our met, right?

I find myself coming face to face with my own selfishness as I try desperately to mother these 4 precious gifts that God has given me. They remind me, every day, of how absolutely selfish, shallow, and self-centered I truly am. Parenthood will do that to you. Thank God we have a Savior, right?

Anyway, enjoy the article. I really didn't mean for this to turn into a rant. Sheesh.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Round 3

The problem with having so many small children is that any time any one of them gets sick, it's pretty much guaranteed that every one of them will eventually get it. At least this one's old enough to make it to the toilet. Count your many blessings, right?

Friday, October 3, 2008

Food For Thought

I keep coming across some very cool quotes by G.K. Chesterton. I've never read any of his stuff, but the quotes I keep reading are making me want to go out and find something he's written. I just read this, and in light of all the political debates and campaigning and whatnot, I found it to be quite accurate and humorous.

The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of the Conservatives is to prevent the mistakes from being corrected.

Anybody ever read any of his stuff? If so, any recommendations?

Round 2

Just when you think it's safe to put the spew bucket away...

My apologies to those with weak stomachs. The graphic really is much nicer than the reality.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Some Useless Trivia

Do you know what the surfing phrase "Hang Ten" really means? I totally didn't know until today. Hanging ten is a surfing maneuver where the surfer positions his or herself on the front of the surfboard so that all ten toes hang off the nose of the board. Hence the name: Hang Ten. Pretty cool. Or totally crazy. I'm not sure which one!

I may be completely putting myself out there as the dork of the century by admitting to not knowing this, and for the fact that I learned it while watching this awesome show. But hey, what can I say. I live on the edge. I Hang Ten. On LIFE.



The lyrics to this song have been playing through my head this morning. It's funny how you can listen to a song, or read something, or watch a scene from your favorite movie over and over again, and the full weight of its meaning doesn't impact you for some time. The combination of time and a similar set of experiences seem to open up a window in your mind, letting you in on what the author was feeling at the time he or she wrote it. All that to say, I seem to have a deeper appreciation for the lyrics to this great song these days.

Complication's my claim to fame
And I can’t believe there’s another
Constantly just another
I can’t avoid what I can’t control
And I’m losing ground
Still I can’t stand down
And I know, yeah I know, yeah

I know you stay true when my world is false
Everything around's breaking down my chaos
I always see you when my sight is lost
Everything around's breaking down my chaos

It’s hard to trust anyone again
After all the let downs I’ve been through
Haunted by what I’ve been through
Air still trapped while I still can't breathe
And I’m screaming out
Give me hope somehow
And I know, yeah I know, yeah

I know you stay true when my world is false
Everything around's breaking down my chaos
I always see you when my sight is lost
Everything around's breaking down my chaos

I know you stay true when my world is false
Everything around's breaking down my chaos
I always see you when my sight is lost
Everything around's breaking down my chaos

Chaos, chaos
I know you stay true, yeah
I know you stay, yeah, yeah, yeah

I know you stay true, everything around's breaking down
I know you stay true, everything around's breaking down

I know you stay true when my world is false
Everything around's breaking down my chaos
I always see you when my sight is lost
Everything around's breaking down my chaos

I know you stay true when my world is false
Everything around's breaking down my chaos
I always see you when my sight is lost
Everything around's breaking down my chaos

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


I'll spare you the gory details, because I care deeply about all my readers (hey, that's just the kind of gal I am ;). But I will say this...Stomach bugs and small children, when combined, make for a very gross, smelly, exhausting day. Not a lot of fun.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

An Apple-y Day

This weekend we kicked off our love of Fall with our yearly pilgrimage to Ellijay in Gilmer County, the apple capital of Georgia. Every year since Isabel was a baby, we've gone to Hillcrest Orchards, where we enjoy wagon rides, pig races, a petting farm, watching cloggers, and stuffing our faces with all sorts of yummy goodness. A favorite treat of mine are the hot homemade apple cider doughnuts. Oh. My. Lord. I could eat my weight in those things. And usually do.

This year was the first year we actually picked our own apples. The girls are big enough to help us now. They had so much fun. We were even joined by some friends from church, Aimee and her lovely sister, Zinnia, and their kids. A good time was had by all!

As is also our custom, after visiting the apple orchard, we headed on over to Poole's Bar-B-Q, which, in my opinion, is the gold standard of barbecue. Trust me, you don't get barbecue like this anywhere near here. It's a shame we have to drive almost 2 hours to get it. Then again, seeing as how I lack the inner self-control for things like flan and apple cider doughnuts, that's probably a good thing!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Way-Yay-ting is the Hardest Part

Waiting is a theme near and dear to my heart. Hence the name of this here blog. It seems I spend a good portion of my walk with the Lord waiting on Him, waiting for Him to move. Waiting for something to happen, waiting on an answer to prayer, or for a circumstance to change. However, I don't hear very many preachers talk about waiting much these days. I don't think it's a very popular subject. Funny, when you consider the fact that King David included the phrase "Wait for the Lord" in SEVERAL of the psalms that he wrote. Frankly, we don't like waiting. Waiting is hard. It's not fun. To us, it implies inactivity. Stagnation. I think we live in a society where we've come to expect instant results. And if we don't see immediate results, explosive growth, and huge impact we automatically (and incorrectly, might I add) assume that something is wrong. We want everything instant, fast, and easy. Instant oatmeal. Instant grits. Minute Rice. Quick Trip. Fast food. Easy Mac. I was just complaining to the Lord yesterday that no matter what we go through, the results that He seems to bring us come slowly, painfully, and sometimes in minute increments. Hard, slow, small. My question to Him then became, "Can we ever have something BIG, FAST, and EASY???" My mother and I once remarked how the "waiting for your ship to come in" dream that we often have in life is frequently fulfilled, not by a cruise liner filled with glorious riches, but rather a tugboat packed, seemingly haphazardly, enough with a just day's rations. And yet, that faithful little tugboat always comes.

Some might say my faith is too small. It may be. I won't try to argue that, because I can't tell you if it is or isn't. It's my faith, so it's really all I know. But what I think, is that it's not necessarily the size of my faith that matters (see Matthew 17:20), but rather where my faith lies. Namely, is it in God or in my circumstances? Is it in God or in myself? What He can do through me or what I erroneously think I can do for Him? Is it in the tugboat...or the Captain Who remembers me and graciously sends it in my direction?

This is what the Lord keeps bringing me back to: Keeping my eyes steadily fixed upon Himself. Upon His goodness. Upon His faithfulness. Upon His Joy. His peace. Not what He can do for me, but rather Who He is. This is why Paul could say "For I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength" (Philippians 4:11-13, NIV). That's how Paul could survive being shipwrecked, imprisoned, beaten, etc., with his faith still intact. And it certainly makes waiting all the more bearable.

I hear too much about "doing." Too much. What I don't hear enough about is waiting. I felt the Father speak to me this morning as I read these words from my Streams in the Desert devotional that,

"...the Spirit requires not only a service of work but also a service of waiting. I came to see that in the kingdom of Christ, there are not only times for action but times to refrain from action. And I also came to learn that a place of isolation is often the most useful place of all in this diverse world. It's harvest is more rich than the seasons when the corn and wine were the most abundant...Dear Holy Spirit, my desire is still to be led by You. Nevertheless, my opportunities for usefulness seem to be disappointed, for today the door appears open into a life of service for You but tomorrow it closes before me just as I am about to enter. Teach me to see another door even in the midst of the inaction of this time. Help me to find, even in the area of service where You have closed a door, a new entrance into Your service. Inspire me with the knowledge that a person may sometimes be called to serve by doing nothing, by staying still, or by waiting. And when I remember the power of Your 'gentle whisper' (1 Kings 19:12), I will not complain that sometimes the Spirit allows me not to go.--George Matheson

There is no place, I would rather be, Lord, than waiting for You. What else is there, really? Anything else is just an illusion.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

You Know You Need To Get Out More...

When you start to develop a crush on these guys. Their show totally rocks, BTW. Their music is the most non-annoying brand of kids' music I've ever heard. My kids totally love them. And apparently, so do I.

Deactivation Station

For the time being, I have decided to deactivate my Twitter and Facebook accounts. Don't worry. I haven't gone off the deep end. I am just at a place in my life where the Isolation + Facebook + Twitter = Unhealthy Amount of Time Spent on Computer. Don't get me wrong. I am in no way anti-Facebook or Twitter. In fact, I love both of them and have logged many hours on each one. But I really feel that they should be a supplement to your social life, not a substitute. When you wake up one day and realize all your adult interactions are via Cyberspace, it's time to make some changes! Maybe I'll pick them back up later on. But for now, I'm taking a much needed break. Just wanted to give everyone a heads up when you see that Cyber Me has all of a sudden vanished from internet social networking. I'm still here. Still alive. The Waiting Room will go on. But I'll hopefully be interacting with some actual human beings for a change. They may be random homeless people in downtown Winder...But at this point, beggars can't be choosers. Ha!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Happiness Is A Warm Couch

Most of you know how I feel about my couch. Well, I must inform you that it looks even worse now. Ren often asks me what would make me happy. I think I've found just the thing.

Great Interview

I am a huge Sara Groves fan. I have been since her album, Conversations, came out in 1999. I have always appreciated her honesty in her songwriting. She's a Christian, but doesn't sugarcoat things. I found this interview with her about two years ago, and it really ministered to me then. I stumbled across it again this morning, and it still blesses me. I find it encouraging to read that others have grappled with questions, and not always had immediate answers. It is also good to be reminded that God is still faithful, even in the midst of questions, doubt, and fear, and He will bring us through whatever storms we are facing. I hope it will inspire you, too.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Playing Hurt

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day, and I mentioned that I've been intentionally keeping my blog topics pretty fluffy lately. Talking about the weather, DVRs, and the Disney Channel is all pretty safe public forum fodder. You can talk about that stuff and stay pretty guarded. I also mentioned that if I got any deeper or more vulnerable than that, that I'd probably end up scaring or ticking off one or two of the 5 readers that actually frequent the Waiting Room. Truth is, folks, I'm not sure I can keep it up. Allow me some room to vent a little. Warning: Not for the squeamish or easily offended.

To be quite frank, life just sucks right now. There. I said it. You want to know what life with 4 small children ages 5 and under is like? You want to know what it's like with suffocating debt? You want to know what it's like living 30-45 minutes from everything, including the church that you love and helped build and would love to be more involved but simply can't imagine any way to make that happen? It sucks. All of it. Plain and simple. Think: HELL. Now, there are moments of sweetness and cuteness thrown into the mix for grins and giggles, but for the most part it's just plain hard. It's like being in Baby Boot Camp 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There is no break for lunch. There is no time off. There is no vacation. There is no pay. There is no peace and quiet. Ever. There's never enough sleep. There's never enough time to do...anything. Everything that you've assumed were basic human rights simply...aren't...anymore. I can't eat fast enough. I can't breath fast enough before someone else is needing something from me. Everything I clean needs cleaning 20 minutes later. I cook food for tiny little dictators who hate WHATEVER I put in front of them. I think it's safe to say that the majority of my days are largely joy-less. Good times.

It's Sunday and I'm playing hurt. I have to just keep rolling with the punches. I have to just keep moving. Sundays used to be my favorite day of the week. I loved going to church and serving and feeling like I was a part of something big. Having a purpose. Having a vision. Now, it's just flat-out painful. Painful because we live so far away AND our children are so young...and so's just incredibly difficult to be involved in any capacity, which is our heart. Today, we had to listen to Oliver, who is in the throes of TERRIBLE TWO TEMPER TANTRUM TODDLER-DOM, scream at the top of his lungs for 45 minutes all the way home, even after daddy pulled the vehicle over and gave him an "attitude adjustment." That's a PC way of saying "spanking" for the layperson, by the way.

Nothing is easy right now. Nothing. I feel like I'm in a pressure cooker. Having 4 kids is tough enough as it is. I feel like one of the stressors we are dealing with would be enough to drive anyone insane. But our plates are loaded, and I've never felt so isolated or disconnected in my life. We still have two empty houses in Athens that need to sell. So that's, count 'em, THREE mortgages that we are servicing. With the housing market the way that it is, I realize that it's simply by the grace of God that we haven't foreclosed on any of them yet.

But am I really supposed to be smiling and singing "Hallelujah!" through all of this? I try counting my blessings...daily. We're all healthy. We have food. Clothing. And a roof over our heads. I get it. I try to focus on the things I can be thankful for. I try to see the silver lining--daily. And I am sure that in 5 or 10 years or so, I will be able to look back on this time and see what God is doing. But. Dang. Right now, I just don't. I'm sorry, but I want more. Like maybe...Oh, I don't know...some ENJOYMENT!!!!! I so relate to the Israelites in the wilderness. If I had to eat manna and quail for 40 years, I think I'd be pretty sour, too. They had just seen God miraculously deliver them from the hands of Pharaoh through a series of incredible events, culminating in the parting of the Red Sea. They saw what God could do. They'd seen His power firsthand. What I want to know is, at what point do my complaints start to be valid? How much pain does a person have to be in before it becomes legitimate enough to complain about? At what point does my hurt become real enough to acknowledge? At what point do I have the right to say, "Huh. This kind of sucks." And it actually count?

I literally feel stranded on the side of the road with everyone passing by at a 100 MPH. And here's the thing, I certainly don't expect a bail-out. I'm not looking for solutions. I'm not looking for someone to wave a magic wand over my problems and make them all go away. We are in this situation, and we've got to just power through it. I just need some room to vent. I need some room to say, "EVERYTHING'S NOT OKAY!!!!!!" And for that to be okay.

And you know what? I know that we will be okay. I know that God will pull us through this. Somehow. Being around pain makes uncomfortable. And when someone's hurting, we just want them to stop it. It's a reminder that everything is not right with the world. But what I am learning through all this, is that when someone's hurting, they're not looking for you to say anything or do anything profound. They...I...Anyone who's hurting...All we really want is to know we're not alone. That someone gives a damn. That it's okay to vent a little bit. That is okay to be a frickin' human being. And that someone's listening.

They say pain makes you stronger. Bill Cosby says, "You can turn painful situations around through laughter. If you can find humor in anything, even poverty, you can survive it." So, when all is said and done, and we make it through these less than pleasant circumstances, I am expecting to be the strongest and funniest woman alive!

Although, as I write this, Ren is watching a show about living life as conjoined twins, making all of my problems seem all of a sudden so...trivial. Of course!!!

Friday, September 5, 2008

It's Beginning to Feel a Lot Like Fa-all

Well, Fall in Georgia, that is. Meaning that it's been averaging in the 80s. We've had some beautiful weather here in Winder. The kiddos and I have actually gotten to play outside a little bit without the necessary shower and change of clothes afterwards. That's especially nice considering that getting the 5 of us dressed once a day is hard enough as it is! I welcome Fall with open arms. We've been cooped up in the house all summer, so this is a nice breath of fresh air. Pun intended.

Fall is my absolute, 100% favorite season. I love the cooler weather. Cooler weather clothes. The leaves changing colors. Apples. Apple cider. Pumpkins. Hay rides. And holidays that as a Christian, I'm not supposed to like, but totally do. Guilty as charged.

Abby Jean turned 3 months old on the 6th. I'm amazed that we've already reached the 3 month mark with her so fast. In another three months, she'll be 6 months. And in another 3 months will be Christmas. I always say, at the beginning of every September, "Christmas will be here before you know it!" And everyone always looks at me like I am crazy. Well, I may be, but that's beside the point! Mark my words, December will be rolling around in the blink of an eye and you will remember my profound words of wisdom. Naturally.

Thursday, September 4, 2008


Have I mentioned that the wonderful, amazing and free DVR that we were given has already crashed? Yeah, it worked for about 12 hours. Well, to be fair, we were given the thing with the knowledge that it needed a new hard drive. And, Ren, forever the unwavering optimist that he is (trust me, it can be maddening!) set it up anyway believing that, somehow, those rules of broken hard drive-ness did not apply in the Buckland Realm of Reality. This awe-inspiring confidence of his has gotten us into trouble in the past. And it seems that we are being challenged with it yet again.

I will give him credit for trying. But now that he's out of town and we are thusly DVR-less, I am left shaking my fists at the heavens shouting "Throw me a frickin' bone!"

In my closet with the door closed while the children are napping, of course.

Everything Nice

Ren is out of town for the week, so I am juggling (literally and figuratively) 4 little ones solo. Let me tell you, it ain't easy. I have to make sure that one or two or three are settled first before I can tend to another one or two or three. This is especially tricky at nap time, bed time, lunch time, when I shower, brush my teeth, take any number of simple trips to the bathroom, any time I breath...or at any other time of day, for that matter. Well, today I had to get Oliver down for his nap. I sat Abigail down in her Bumbo Seat (I highly recommend one if you have a baby) in the middle of the kitchen floor. And this is what I came back to find:

Josephine is turning into quite the little mommy now that she's the oldest kid in the house while Isabel is at school. She even said she made sure to give Abigail "soft food." Now, the "food" was made out of plastic, but it's the thought that counts!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Happier Days Are Here Again

I must give a shout out of thanks to Stephen Lowe who just gave us a ReplayTV DVR. He acquired it from the McCollums, so I must say thank you to both families for passing on a perfectly functioning, albeit six-year old piece of technology to a desperate family in need. Which goes to show you that if you complain loud enough, someone might just give you what you want in order to shut you up. And I can back that up with scripture, my friends.

It really is true that one man's garbage is another man's (and woman's) treasure. And by treasure I mean idol. And by idol I mean Ren and I have built a small shrine to our newest member of the family and bow down to it several times a day. Nah, I'm only kidding, but I did almost start crying when we got it up and running.

And how did our kids thank us?

By popping in a 17 year-old movie into the VCR.


Saturday, August 30, 2008

Got My Vote

Apparently my husband has a new career plan that he didn't bother to clear with me first. Check it out here.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Disney Channel Temporarily Sucks

Apparently, Disney Channel is still on their summer schedule. And now that we no longer have Dish Network and are subsequently DVR-less *sniff*, we are subjected to watch whatever is determined by the powers that be in TV Land. It's hard times over here at the Buckland House. I have Jo, who will be four in November, and Oliver, 20 months old, at home with me. And the baby, of course, but she doesn't really pack in any substantial television watching at her age. That being said, I am not loving the programming schedule they currently have running. I started to worry that it might be permanent. But now I know it's only temporary and oodles of preschool shows will be returned to us the second week in September. Thank God, because right now we are subjected to hours, and I mean HOURS, of Hannah Montana and Zack and Cody. I believe I may have somehow stumbled into Hell.

Don't get me wrong, I am not anti-Hannah or Zack and Cody. I'm sure my kids will be avid viewers of these shows or something akin to them when they are a little bit older. But I am in no hurry to get my babies into watching those shows right now. Again, I'm sure they're wholesome teen shows, and if you let your kids watch these shows, I don't judge, yo. Just put them on at a more suitable time, is all I'm sayin'. Oh, and Nick Jr. is no better. Right now they're airing back to back episodes of Spongebob Squarepants. I like Spongebob, but the humor is a little over my toddlers' disproportionately over-sized heads.

I browsed around Disney's website in search for someone to whom I could send a "friendly" email, but didn't have any luck. Maybe they are completely out of touch and think that everyone in America has a DVR...Oh wait, maybe they do. Or maybe I just need to get of my lazy duff and get the kids outside more. And shut up and be patient until September 8. But for now we are forced to watch PBS. And I really don't know how much more Caillou I can handle.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Boy and His Cord

As many of you know, my husband, Ren, is in the IT business. Translation: Our house is creatively decorated with miscellaneous power cords, power supplies, hard drives, broken down computers, printers, monitors, faxes, etc., at any given time. We have several drawers dedicated throughout the house to stashed power cords and plugs. Enter in a certain busy-bodied, incredibly mischievous 20 month old boy. You see where this is going. As I write this, he's sitting on the kitchen floor, helping himself to an entire box of Nilla Wafers that he himself pulled out of the pantry. Pulling random things out of cupboards, drawers, and pantries is a favorite pastime of his as of late. Oliver has also developed a love for power cords in particular. Put those two loves together and you have Buckland Toddler Boy Nirvana. He pulls them out, I put them away. This can happen anywhere from 20 to 437 times in one day.

He would rather play with a safe, kid-friendly pile of electrical wires than his own toys. Matchbox cars? Ha! Action figures? He laughs in their plastic little faces! He likes to hold on to said cords and carry them throughout the house. He drapes them around his shoulders and wears them like a prized piece of fashion, as is evidenced in the photo above. He even attempts (and is successful at times) to take a cord in the car with him when we go "Bye Bye." The most interesting place to which he's ever taken one of his cords was blueberry picking. Sometimes he wakes up in the morning and the first thing he says to us is, "I wahn mah coooord!" Any cord will do, in fact. However, he does have some cords that he loves more than others. Take Ren's white iPhone charger, for instance. This one we've literally had to pry out of his hands when it comes time to eat, bathe, or take a nap. This one has made Daddy very upset on more than one occasion.

I don't know what this says about our son. It appears that he not only looks like his daddy, but is also showing some signs that they may have the same personality as well. It has long been suspect that Oliver is actually Ren's clone. This latest development in his character may just be the proof of the pudding.

Friday, August 15, 2008

And I Cried

Friday was Isabel's first day of Kindergarten. After what I witnessed that morning and every morning since then, I now firmly believe we are making the right choice by sending her, and I am convinced she was tailor-made for school. She woke up promptly at 6:15 AM--that's actually normal for her, my little early bird. She came running out of her room, wide-eyed and ready to take on the world. As she ate breakfast, Ren and I explained some rules and regulations to be followed, gave her a loving pep talk, got her ready and she headed out the door to wait for the bus. Yes, the bus. We offered to drive her and walk her to her class, but she insisted on taking the bus to her new school. She wanted the whole public school experience from start to finish. I never rode the bus as a child, and I can't even imagine riding it the first day of a new school. But Isabel challenged that big, yellow, government vehicle with all the Buckland Confidence she could muster. And she was the victor. The bus came, stopped right in front of our house, she bounded down the driveway, climbed up and grabbed a seat, and we waved and smiled as she drove away.

I didn't cry when she drove away. And I didn't cry while she was at school. I was so busy with the other three at home that I barely had time to miss her. Before I knew it the big, yellow bus was bringing her safely back home. She told me all about her day and couldn't wait to go back.

But I did cry. What she doesn't know, is that very first morning I woke up before everyone else and couldn't go back to sleep until I prayed for my precious firstborn child. I cried and poured my heart out to God to bless my daughter with success, favor, and opportunities that I never had. Yeah, I know it's just Kindergarten. So maybe I am being a bit melodramatic. But it's a new beginning for her. And one that I hope and pray that, for her, will be a wonderful start.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A Summer of Firsts and a Two Month Old

Abigail turned two months old on the 6th. There really isn't much new to report. She's two months old, i.e. she doesn't do a whole lot. But she is as cute and sweet as ever. She is still sleeping like a champ, and is officially sleeping through the night. For just about every night this week, she's packed in about 9 hours of sleep per night. That's kind of unheard of, isn't it? Even Isabel, my best sleeper as an infant, didn't start sleeping through the night until she was three months old. We are very thankful that Abby Jean is such a sweet, laid back little girl. I wish she'd start giving lessons to the other whacked-out three.

Isabel, the 5 year old and the oldest of our brood, is getting ready to start Kindergarten in just one week! I was worried with the birth of Abigail in June that we were going to be pretty homebound thus giving us a very uneventful summer. It ain't easy getting out with all four. But so far, we've managed to keep ourselves pretty busy. We've visited the library several times, providing us with hours of book reading--which has led us to a major milestone for Miss Isabel. She's reading all by herself. We knew she was starting to recognize certain words, thanks to her experience in K4. But give her just about any simple sentence, and she can read it. Any simple word, and she sounds it out like a pro. The other night, she read me Green Eggs and Ham without me having to read it to her first. I am so proud of her!

Isabel and Jo have also taken some swim lessons this summer. They both love the water. They are jumping in and splashing around like little fish. Which leads us to our next major milestone--Isabel has learned how to swim. She jumps in and will swim to Ren. She is so proud of herself. We're quite proud of her, too.

I can't believe I have a 5 year old! And a very smart and talented one at that!

Monday, July 14, 2008

More Stronger

This, ladies and gentlemen, is my pastor. Jealous?

Friday, July 11, 2008

One Month Milestones

Miss Abigail Jean turned 1 month old on July 6th. I can't believe a month has already gone by. It really has been a blur. I can truly say that this has been the hardest and most tiring work I've ever done. I've never been so busy and so tired! Yet, Abigail is still the sweetest, most easy-going, sleepy little laid back baby that ever was. She is content no matter what we do with her. She's happy just to sleep, eat, and hang out. She hardly ever cries. She truly is a joy. We all love her so much.

She had her 1 month check-up today, and the doctor said she's doing great. She's already 10 lbs and 14 oz. She's been smiling at us since she was 10 days old; the earliest any of my babies have smiled. And lately she's been trying to talk to us. She still likes to sleep quite a bit during the day, and she's even sleeping some good long stretches at night time. Every time I look at her I am reminded of God's goodness and grace.

It's the other three that cause me to question...

Hee hee. Not really.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Surrendering to My Fatness

There's an old saying that "every baby comes with a loaf of bread under his arm." Now if that were true, that would make for quite an awkward delivery. Epidural or not. However, it is a fact that with every baby born at Fusion Church also arrives an amazing array of diligently scheduled home cooked meals to the lucky family. I've been able to witness (and taste) this miracle firsthand with my last three children. The other night, a wonderful couple, Aimee & Jose Gonzalez, from our church offered to bring us dinner, even though we'd already consumed our regularly scheduled three weeks' worth of good graces. From what I understand, Jose (who's Cuban) is the cook, and Aimee (who's originally from Venezuela) delivers the meals with her lovely personality and smile.

Well last night Aimee brought us Arroz con Pollo (chicken with rice), steamed veggies, and homemade flan. It couldn't have come at a better time, since Ren has been working late quite a bit lately. So not having to worry about the added stress of dinner, with 4 kids, without Ren's help was a godsend. Suffice it to say, I was also able to enjoy the majority of by myself. The Arroz con Pollo was a great dinner last night, and tonight. And the flan...Well, it's been good all day.

Let me just state for the record, that I'm not typically the biggest flan fan. But this flan? I'm not quite sure what Jose puts in it. But if anything can be wonderful, beautiful, and evil all at the same time, I may have discovered it. The only thing better would be Pocket Flan, but only if it were guaranteed to be this good. Something, however, tells me it wouldn't.

I never used to be a big sweets person. I could live without them. Now, however, it seems that I am living solely on them. Particularly with this flan. I, honest to goodness, woke up at 3:00 AM, due to a certain one-month old, and could not go back to sleep until I had more of this sticky, sweet, gooey, confectionery curse. I never imagined myself as one of those people you see in commercials padding down into the kitchen and furtively rummaging through the refrigerator in the middle of the night in search of a snack. But last night, I was that pathetic person.

And guess what I had for breakfast this morning? Flan.

Snack? You guessed it!

What I'm about to eat after I finish this post? Oh yeah.

At first I thought there might be something wrong with me. But after speaking with my mother, who also is familiar with Jose and The Flan, I was relieved to find that I wasn't alone. I can honestly say that I've singlehandedly eaten the entire plate of flan myself. I can also say that I, at this point in my life, lack the inner resources to fight it. I used to be thin. Back when I was in college, teaching aerobics, before kids, and...twenty freakin' four. But I am starting to wonder if maybe this is how I'll be living from now on. Quite frankly, I am enjoying myself too much to do anything about it!

Yahoo for flan!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Life with 4, 5 and Under

We're a little over two weeks into this crazy parenting gig we've gotten ourselves into. And there's no turning back. Even though Ren and I have always said we wanted at least 4 children, and we wanted to have them close together, honestly, it's rather difficult to imagine oneself caring for this many small children at one time. I know, we should have planned and prepared ourselves a little bit more. It boggles my mind when I think of the sheer magnitude of tiny people running around this house at any given moment. We are our own day care center. At times, it even appears that they are multiplying. They seem to be coming out of the woodwork. One will leave the room, and suddenly 2 or 3 or more suddenly appear! In fact, they're a lot like Mogwai. Remember them? They deceptively cute and fun and snuggly upon first introduction. But there's something about getting them wet and feeding them after midnight that turns them into these bad boys. What's even funnier is when friends with little ones come over to visit. It's like one big, energetic, attention span impaired, sassy, K4 infestation.

Basically, my day consists of playing short order cook, wiping multiple tiny hinies, not showering until 4 PM, rescuing the baby from imminent danger posed by her siblings, and watching hours of children's programs. I would be lying if I said this is how I imagined what my life would be like back in high school. I probably imagined something a wee bit more glamorous. But, it is what it is. I know this time won't last forever. They'll all grow up too fast, and when I'm an empty nester I'll be wishing they were all back home pestering me. Unless of course, Ren and I win the lottery. Then we'll be cruising the world, and we'll be too rich and too busy to miss this crazy biz.

Here's something worth pondering: Someone pointed out to me the other day that when Isabel (#1 in birth order) is 25, Abigail (#4) will be 20! How the heck is that even possible? I think we're going to have to win the lottery. Either that or they're funding their own way through college.

Abigail is 17 days old as I write this. She is spending more and more of her day awake now, and she is still just the sweetest, loveliest, and most easy going baby ever. I guess God gave her a good talking to before she made her entrance into this world!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Abigail Jean

She's here! Abigail Jean Buckland was born on Friday night, June 6, 2008 at 11:01 PM. She weighed in at 8 lbs. 6 oz, and measured 19.5 inches long. She's totally beautiful and perfect in every way. And we are all so very happy to have her in our family.

Now her original due date was June 11. So she is 5 days early. A first for a Buckland child. All my other labors were overdue. I've never been a big fan of induction, and thankfully have never had to be induced. However, this being my fourth pregnancy, taking care of three small children, and my last labor experience, were all factors in helping Ren and I come to a brave new decision.

I allowed myself to be induced with Abigail. *gasp*

I didn't really plan on this until the very end. As I was growing more and more exhausted, and as we approached the due date with hastening speed, I was getting more and more nervous about what we would actually do once I went into labor. Isabel and Josephine were present for Oliver's birth, but that wasn't by design. That was by necessity since we barely made it to the hospital. They handled it well, and they were very sweet to have with us in the delivery room. My son, on the other hand, no dice. I knew one thing for certain. I DID NOT want my 18 month old bundle of energy in the delivery room with me. I kept thinking we needed to come up with a better plan.

I kept telling Ren that if I went to my next appointment and the midwives told me I was 4 cm dilated (a common occurrence in all my pregnancies), that I would probably go ahead and check myself into the hospital and let them induce me. I had my weekly check-up on Friday morning with the midwives, and sure enough, she said I was a good 3-4 cm. Meaning: This baby could literally come and any time and when it does hold on to your hats! So, I went back home, got my bags packed, kissed the kiddos goodbye (my mom was already with them), ate some lunch, and waited for Ren to meet me at the house. We left for the hospital at about 2:45 PM. It was so calm and civilized. A far cry from my last labor!

We made it to the hospital. Checked in. Got settled. My sister Sharla arrived. And my midwife started me on a VERY slow Pitocin drip at 6:45 PM. And when I say slow, I mean that in a range of 0-40 cc, she only got me up to 4 cc. Very slow, very controlled. And the way to go, in my case. I've always heard horror stories about Pitocin, that they cause horrendous contractions, that the pain is unmanageable without an epidural, etc. My midwife told us this is usually because the doctor jacks it up too high, too soon. I started having very regular contractions after just an hour of being on 2 cc of Pitocin. I noticed no difference in Pitocin contractions vs. the regular non-induced contractions from my previous labors. They felt the same to me.

I got to 6 cm after about two hours with just the Pitocin. Then she broke my water about 9:00. Labor picked up and started to intensify. Still, everything felt so calm, controlled, and smooth compared to my last labor, that all I kept thinking was--INDUCTION ROCKS!!! Granted, there are numerous factors involved. It depends on the pregnancy, the one performing the induction, how far along you are, etc. And I know it should never be entered into lightly. And in our case it wasn't. It couldn't have gone any smoother. Abigail Jean was born a couple hours after the midwife broke my water. All without an epidural. No stitches needed. Momma and baby both very happy.

We got home Sunday afternoon, and have had a nice time to relax and transition to being at home. Ren has been home with us for two days, so that's been wonderful. I will be sad when he has to go back to work, but somebody's got to earn some money around here! Thankfully, we are surrounded by a lot of loving family and friends, so we feel like we have a good support system already in place.

So far, she's doing great. Nursing and sleeping really well. The other kids are smitten with her. Especially her sisters. They adore her. To them, she's a living baby doll. Even Oliver likes her, which is surprising to me. He wants to hug her and touch her a lot. He's already a great big brother.

God is good.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Summer Days=Fun Days

I've really been enjoying my time with my kids already this summer. Funny, considering that summer hasn't even technically started yet. I may be singing a different tune come August. But for now, we've been hanging out and taking advantage of the beautiful, warm weather. Going to parks, libraries, and swimming pools. We've been so busy this past year, that I haven't really had time to just enjoy my kids. But now that I am unemployed, and Isabel's out of school, our schedule has really cleared up. Being unemployed kind of rocks.

For some reason, taking them places used to feel like such a chore. But compared to our hectic schedule this past year, lately it's been feeling like a walk in the park. Literally, like a walk in the park...since that's what we did yesterday. I've gotten so used to getting them ready and out the door every morning, that now I feel like I'm on vacation. I truly needed this break. Today, we spent all the glorious morning/day with our dear friend, Amy, and her amazing pool. We all had a blast.

Not sure at this point what life with Baby #4 is going to add to our fun equation. Hopefully, we'll still be able to get out and have as much fun as we've been having together. Lately, more now than ever before, I've been realizing how special these kids o' mine are, and how quickly they are going to grow up. And one day, too soon I'm afraid, I'll be wishing they were little again. I am realizing, more and more, how precious this time is that I have with them.

I like my kids.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Less than two weeks to go...

Well, I met with the midwives today, and every thing's looking like it's supposed to. I am now 38 weeks and 2 days. That means we have a little less than 2 weeks to go. If she's on time. If she wants to hang out in utero the way Josephine did, than I still have a month left of pregnancy. I sincerely pray that is not the case.

This has by far been the hardest pregnancy I've had. I guess that's what happens when you carry 4 full-term babies back to back in 6 years. It takes its toll out on you. And the old grey mare, she ain't what she used to be. And let's face reality here people, I'm not getting any younger. When I first started this journey called motherhood I was 24, fresh faced and about to graduate from college, and in the best shape of my life as a recently retired aerobics instructor. Needless to say, the fact that I haven't done a single grapevine in those 6 years, coupled with taking care of 3 little ones, while carrying another little one, has made this pregnancy the most taxing. I'm tired all the time. I'm even convinced that I may have somehow acquired pregnancy-induced narcolepsy. I can no longer stay awake even for my favorite shows. I've never heard of this disorder before, and I've never known anyone else to have it. So I may be the first. But I think it's for real...

I've never been a fan of the pregnancy aspect of child bearing. Give me labor and delivery once a month for 9 months, but do NOT give me 270 days of back pain, cramping, nausea, muscle spasms, heartburn, weight gain, and all the other unspeakable aspects of pregnancy. I guess it has something to do with the way I'm wired. I'd choose sprints--impulse, intensity, sudden bursts of energy--over marathons--steady, paced, in it for the long haul--any day of the week.

To the menfolk--if you get squeamish with pregnancy details, then stop reading here. But most of you are dads, so you're probably familiar with all the terminology. However, for all of you who DO care--i.e., my lady friends--as of today, I am 2 cm dilated, and 70% effaced. The baby is low (meaning she's dropped and ready to go and in the blast off position), and every thing is on course. So hopefully we'll have our little girl within the next two weeks!

Friday, May 16, 2008

I Haven't Laughed This Hard In A Really Long Time

Holly is sweet and simple. Like a lady baker.
I would not be surprised to find out that she had worked in a bakery before coming here. She has that kind of warmth. I'm pretty sure she's baked on a professional level.--Michael Scott, "The Office"

Friday, May 9, 2008

More power to 'em

I find this little clip strangely comforting to me in my current condition. Yet, now that I think about it, I'm not sure if I should feel better about my present circumstances, or if I should feel bad for all the complaining I've been doing. Either way, I'm glad it's not me.

The real question I have is...How is this woman's body still functioning properly? Seriously.