Friday, July 8, 2016


As a mom, a good night's sleep is always fleeting. Even if the kids don't wake me up, dreamland can be elusive because I'm worried about their general health and safety.

But this week, between more videos of kids being snatched right in front of their parents, and civilians and police being shot, I couldn't fall asleep last night. Once I did, I kept waking up, imagining my children as the victims of each of these horrific events. Our country is spinning out of control. If we don't do something - and soon - a civil war will result. But what? How do we change something so subtly infused into our culture that it permeates every fabric of our lives without us even knowing it?

And then I pictured a line of women, alternating black and white, marching down the street together. Every one of the victims and assailants in these tragedies has a mother. And I imagine all of them are grieving today. This fight will not be won by legislation - the government has spent the last 150 or so years tackling the legal side, yet still we struggle. The only way for our actions to change is for our hearts to change.

As mothers, what if we reached out to each other, faced our racial preconceptions head on, and formed a bond? And then that bond grew to friendship and love? And we passed that love to our children who we introduced to each other and helped them to develop their own bonds? And that love grew?

“Motherhood: All love begins and ends there.” – Robert Browning

Tuesday, May 3, 2016


I'm going to be baptized on Mother's Day. Part of the preparations include sharing my testimony. This will be the long version; I'll cut it down to a reasonable length for the ceremony.

As a small child, my family attended a Presbyterian church. Sometimes my sister and I went to Sunday school. I remember wearing dresses, learning the Lord's Prayer and the Ten Commandments, playing on the playground, seeing Bible stories enacted on flannelgraphs (I'm dating myself here, so included a link for reference) and the smell of wax melting when they made multi-colored crayons from the leftover bits. (They were way ahead of the times, Pinterest.)

Sometimes we went to the main service with my parents. I remember the cushioned pews in the enormous sanctuary, beautiful stained glass windows, signing the attendance book, passing the collection plate and communion plates, singing hymns - my favorite part - and my dad dozing off. And at Easter, they'd bring in a live lamb.

My mom had been raised Methodist and my dad had been raised Baptist. He had had negative experiences in the church as a child, and only went to appease my mom who didn't want us growing up as heathens. My parents flipped houses, so we moved a lot when I was growing up - 13 houses for me. After we moved to a different suburb that was further away from that church, we went less and less often, until we became Chreasters. By the time I was in 5th grade, we didn't even go on Christmas and Easter anymore.

When I started 8th grade, I was blessed to form my circle of lifelong best friends. It included six girls whose faiths were Nazarene, Catholic, Mormon and non-denominational. I began attending church with all of them. It helped me to learn more about my faith, ask questions about religions and investigate what I really believed.

Two years later, at a retreat with two of those friends, I answered an alter call and accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I love how my church I attend now explains it. I believe:
God is real.
I am wrong.
God is right.
Jesus is life.
Life is better
because I believe.

At the time, it didn't change anything in my life too dramatically. My parents gave me a Bible for Christmas which I read in its entirety a couple of times as is evidenced by the well-worn red leather cover. I continued praying and attending church with my friends.

When I moved away to college, I ended up going to a Methodist church occasionally. It was ok, but I never felt like it was a place I belonged.

I came back to Kansas City when I graduated and began "church shopping" with two of my best friends. We ended up attending an Assemblies of God church for awhile. It was out of my comfort zone - speaking in tongues, a lot of "Amens!" and dramatics. But the sermons were incredible. One that stuck with me was about tithing. I'd been very cynical about tithing and hearing about churches who misused the money, and ministers who stole it, so I gave a little bit but more as a token, than anything else. But the pastor gave a sermon that got me to understand it differently (that's a long post for another day). I also made some new friends there through which I began attending a Bible study at a local coffee shop.

After a year or so, I decided to move on to a different church, but kept attending the Bible study. The new church I found was non-denominational. It was the first place I felt plugged in and really a part of. I became part of the 20-somethings small group, volunteered in the food pantry, nursery and with the cleaning crew, joined activities like caroling, etc. It was during this time that my relationship with God was at its strongest. I felt His presence in my daily life and found myself in constant prayer - in the shower, in the car, just going about my day. There was a time when I felt as if Jesus was sitting in the corner of my room hanging out with me.

When my husband and I got married, I moved into his house which was about 30 minutes away from my church home. I kept going for a few months, but it was difficult. Eventually I stopped going. I began attending the Presbyterian church I'd gone to as a child on occasion as it was nearby, but slowly the constant presence of the Lord faded.

A couple of years later, we moved to another suburb. We had a 2-year-old and one on the way. After our second daughter turned 1, I started looking for a church nearby. The first time we attended, I knew Cedar Ridge was our new church home. Their mission statement is Love God, Love People, Serve the World. And they DO it. They don't sit and talk about what Christians should do, they go out and do it. Our pastor is one of the founders of What If The Church.

The last six years have been tumultuous for my family. My husband and I found out I was pregnant on Christmas Eve one year, and the next week, we both found out we were going to be laid off. That pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. My mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and moved into a facility. My father sold their house and moved into an apartment and then had a heart attack and spent two weeks in the hospital. We had a third child; being a mother is greatest blessing I've ever experienced, but it's also full of stress and incredibly exhausting. My husband has been working on his master's degree off and on since our oldest was born. I've let myself be distracted by these worldly things and lost my heavenward focus. But every time something terrible happened, God was there anyway. And I felt a peace and a joy in the midst of whatever calamity we were facing.

And as I find to be true more often than not, every time I read the Scriptures, something speaks to me in a new way. Lately, verses about baptism have caught my attention. And I would think, I should really get baptized. But. But I have a lot on my plate. But I need to lose weight before I get dunked in front of the whole church. But DH might have to go out of town for work for 6 months. The list goes on.

A few months ago, one of my good friends at church was baptized, and it felt like God nudging me. She has a lot going on, too, you know. And then last week, it hit me what my real issue was: I was afraid to be baptized. Not because I was ashamed of acknowledging Jesus as my Lord and Savior, but because I didn't want Him to be ashamed of me. As soon as I get it together and stop sinning, I'll be worthy of baptism. I relate closely to Paul on a daily basis: "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do." (Rom 7:15) I'm a hypocrite.

But I'm never going to have it all together. And God knows that. He wants us to be authentic; it's ok not to be ok. "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." (Matt 11:28) 

So I'm done waiting for that day to come when I'm good enough. It's time to take the plunge.

Thursday, February 18, 2016


It all started the Sunday after my last post. Baby R started throwing up in the middle of the night. By lunch the next day, S was also sick. Thankfully that wrapped up by Tuesday evening. However, Wednesday morning, Baby R said her head was itchy. DH and I, having had zero experience with lice, initially dismissed it as a stalling tactic and wanting another stay home day. However, after looking more thoroughly, calling the school nurse, calling the pediatrician, posting on FB for advice and, of course, Googling, we confirmed she did, in fact, have lice.

DH ran to Walgreens to grab a box of RID. I sent S to school with the neighbor. Got Baby R shampooed and combed out in about 2 hours. Then, per school protocol, sent her to class. I took the rest of the day off so I could take everything in the house that could be washed to the laundromat and  do 10 loads of laundry at once, get my car cleaned, bag everything in the house that couldn't be washed and put it in quarantine in the spare bedroom, and vacuum the carpets and the couches and under all the furniture.

In the last four years, our experience has always been that whenever there was a case of lice at the school, a note was sent home to let everyone know they need to be on the lookout. FYI, this year, the CDC downgraded lice from a health risk, to an inconvenience. If you've ever had to deal with this pesky bug, you know that's an understatement. Our school district, as well as others nearby, no longer notify anyone - not even the teacher of the classroom in which the afflicted child attends.

I checked everyone else in the family every night and every morning. Each night, I spent an hour combing out R's head to get rid of the nits just like the instruction video showed. Each morning when Baby R woke up, I had her get undressed in her bed and go straight to the bathroom to put on clean clothes while I stripped her bed and washed the sheets. And yet, Saturday morning, as I was checking S before taking her to cheerleading, I found she was infected.

DH had stocked up on RID after the initial discovery, so I immediately treated S. She has a tender head and hair that's so long it's almost down to her rear end. Several friends recommended professional lice removal services after my initial inquiry, but I couldn't fathom the idea of paying $90/hour for someone else to do it, regardless of how daunting a task treating S was going to be. But after spending 3 hours combing out her hair, I simply couldn't get the nits out. I called Combers and they were able to get us in right away.

While there, I asked them to check me, and I, too, had it. Obviously, I was going to have to have them treat me as well. DH is amazing at many things, but this was a bit outside of his skill set. Thankfully, Combers just had a flat fee instead of an hourly rate.

Sunday morning when I was combing out R's hair, there were dozens more nits than there had been the previous few days! Clearly another one had hatched; R had scratched one spot so much she had a scab. I felt terrible; clearly I wasn't doing a good enough job myself. I bit the bullet and took her to Combers, too.

The woman there was very supportive and told me I'd done the best I could. I found out that part of the reason I was having so much trouble was that the comb that is provided in the OTC products is inferior and only gets about 50% of the nits out. I purchased one from the salon, and it was much more effective. I also found out that the RID is a pesticide. Not something I would have used on my kiddos had I known!

I continued checking the boys twice a day, combing out the girls nightly, and having DH comb mine. He was a trooper about doing it, and I bit my tongue through the painful pulling. Unfortunately, a few days later, I found nits on DH, so he treated his hair with RID, and I added him to the combout routine. I thought we'd made it without Cinco getting it, but unfortunately, he finally had it, too. I wasn't going to treat a toddler with the pesticides in RID, and I wasn't going to spend $120 on professionals either, so we just shaved his head. My poor baby!

We girls had a follow-up visit 9 days after our treatment, and we were all clean. Hallelujah! Finally, it seemed life would be back to normal.

And then the next morning, Cinco had a fever and we had to keep him home for 2 days.

I'm happy to say that we had our second follow up visit at Combers this week and it also came back clean, so I'm optimistic that the plagues have finally ended at our house.

(This was not a sponsored post, but I'm including a link to Combers website because I thought they did an amazing job and would recommend them to anyone unfortunate enough to have to deal with lice. They also have a lot of good information on the site regarding myths and facts about lice.)

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Little Man

These are notes from the last six months that I never got around to posting. Sigh. Added a few new ones at the end as well.

Cinco is adorable in his uniqueness. S loved to hold my ears when she was nursing/snuggling before bed. Cinco likes to hold my hair, and unlike most babies, he doesn't yank on it. Usually. :)

If he's lying on the floor drinking a bottle and near a wall, he'll crawl his feet up the wall so his bum is up in the air. Silly boy.

He started putting his head down on the floor when he crawls like a bulldozer, though usually with his head turned so his ear is what is rubbing on the carpet. Our dog used to do that when he had an itchy ear. But buddy, you have hands, not paws. What are you doing?

He took his first steps when he was 11 months old.

He's not doing much signing, but he does say "mama," "dada," "baba," and "mi" for milk.

He waved bye-bye for the first time while DH was in Germany.

He had his 1-year checkup today and he's

Skip ahead to August

He's singing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.

He stomps his foot and says "No!" when he's angry.

He holds his legs so you can't take his pants off when he doesn't want his diaper changed - smart kid.

When I carry him downstairs, I say "boom" as we go down each step - "boom, boom, boom, boom."
So when he wants to go downstairs, he says "BoomBoom."

He started calling his blankie "KiKi" so the other day when he wanted to take his blanket downstairs, he said, "KiKi BoomBoom." I briefly wondered if we were in a brothel.

He loves to snuggle and he reaches his little arms as far as he can to get around to your biceps and squeezes as hard as he can to hug.

He tells me to "Sit!" when he wants to keep rocking before bed.

He says "foffee" for coffee, "hee haw" for horse, "bo-bots" for robots, "hoopsy" for oopsy, and now he calls blankies "gankies."

He pretends to be a kitty and meows.

He holds  a cracker with his thumb and his first two fingers.

When his hands are dirty, he makes fists and picks up his cup to drink.

He's slept in his big boy bed off and on a few times always climbing back in his crib in the middle of the night. He finally slept in it for a whole night this week!

He's become an expert at stalling at bedtime, just like his sisters.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Happy New Year

So many things that were great from last year I never got around to posting about. I'm hoping to remedy that this year. But after talking to people who read our Christmas letter that summarized 2015, I realized how much we really went through, and cut myself a break for slacking on blogging. I definitely spent most of the year getting by with Dory's motto to "Just Keep Swimming" and focusing only on the task at hand. So here's to a mellower 2016!

Monday, November 2, 2015

One of Those Days

End of daylight savings wasn't as bad as it could have been. Halloween landing on the Saturday night before worked out well. Still, Cinco was up at 6am on Sunday, which explains why a lot of what happened yesterday, happened.

While eating breakfast, he slipped off the chair and hit his cheekbone and bruised it.

At church, he pushed the "Call For Help" button on the elevator. The fire department came.

In the playroom after service, he slipped and fell and got a bloody nose.

We decided to leave before anything else happened and walked over to the park where he promptly fell and scraped his cheek climbing on a retaining wall.

And then got a second bloody nose when he fell on the playground equipment.

We got home, and while I was putting him down for his nap, Baby R decided to "color" with stamp pads and got ink all over her legs, hands, and in places on her arms and stomach, as well as the kitchen floor.

And then I ran away. But I came back. And we had lots of snuggles that made it all worth while.

That, and then the Royals won the World Series for the first time in 30 years. And suddenly it became the Best. Day. Ever.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

So This Happened...

My cell phone rang yesterday afternoon while I was at work. I didn't recognize the number, so let it go. When it beeped a couple of minutes later to let me know I had a voicemail, I went ahead and listened to it. It was R's kindergarten teacher calling to tell me R had cut her own hair at school. The teacher went on to say she wasn't sure when it had happened, she hadn't seen it happen but had just found the hair sitting in her spot. She asked R about it, and R said she didn't know and thought maybe she had pulled it out. The teacher told her it looked like it was cut with scissors. R said she didn't remember but maybe she had cut it. So the teacher is keeping her scissors on her desk for a few days until R can earn them back. She was very apologetic in the message, and ended by saying they usually make it a few more days into the year before someone cuts their hair, and that she was sending the hair home in an envelope.

I could not stop giggling at my desk. R is the most thoughtful and kind-hearted soul, but she's also mischievous and a bit of a rascal. It doesn't surprise me at all that she cut her hair. It's kind of a rite of passage. I feel like most kids either cut their own hair, or have a sibling who cuts it. It's definitely nothing to get worked up about in my opinion; natural consequences are really effective and there's no permanent damage as her hair will grow back. And since I was prepared with the knowledge before I picked her up, I was able to use it as a learning opportunity. She was adorably chastened when I asked her how her day went. Guess we can check that off the kid experience list for our house!

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