July 2013

A New Addition to the Family

by Priscilla on July 30, 2013

Look who Twin B hauled back from her recent trip across the border with the grandparents.

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Remind you of anyone?

The cat formerly known as Priscilla

 

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When Tragedy Takes Your Friend

by Priscilla on July 29, 2013

In a day or two, a church in Indianapolis will be filled with mourners – weeping over the lives lost in the recent bus accident. Hymns will be sung. Scriptures and stories will be shared. Tears will be shed. Gravesides will be stood over…and then the hard part will come.

I’m no psychological expert, but I do know what it’s like to get a 4:30 a.m. phone call that changed my perspective on life forever. I know what it’s like to stand with hundreds of others in a graveside ceremony while the casket holding the bodies of my friend and her two precious children was lowered into the earth. One day I’ll share the sights and sounds of that ceremony as it was quite extraordinary – like a scene out of a movie – but even now, five years later, I can’t bring myself to put it down on paper.  I know some of you out there still in shock. It’s all so surreal. Your brain isn’t registering reality yet.

You may not be able to read this just now. I understand, but you will in time; so would you consider hitting the print key, folding up the piece of paper and tucking it away for when you are ready to hear the words? They are written by a friend…a friend whom you may have never met, but a friend nonetheless, and this friend has walked your path, and felt your pain, and processed your grief, and now wants to hold your hand through your journey.

  • Know that people are praying for you. People whom you’ve never met. The death of a friend – especially a sudden, tragic one – is a different experience ,and your feelings will be different than, say, losing a parent to old age or illness. Both my father and grandmother died about seven months before my friend, Leah, but I had time to say goodbye to them. They’d both lived long, fulfilling lives. They both were ready to move on into eternity. Leah, and her children were snatched away in an instant.  It’s a different feeling and a different grief, and I’ve always been so thankful for the people at my church at the time who wrote me or called me or came up to me and said, I’m praying for you. So many of us are praying for you all.  They were speaking of a close knit group of us ladies which included Leah that called ourselves The Oaks who met once a month to laugh together and cry together. To process life and God together. I was so touched that people remembered us, the friends. It was normal to weep for and cry out for Leah’s husband and parents, but her friends were grieving as well, and to be told that others recognized that grief meant the world to me. I love the women who prayed for me during that time.
  • Know that grief has stages and looks different for everyone. Some of you will have a hard time talking about this for a while, while others will process the tragedy by talking it through. Some of you will tear up while others’ eyes will remain dry. Some of you will quickly delete the lingering emails and final texts.  Others will hang onto them. Some of you will have questions. May I gently suggest that questions are okay. Find a safe group of people with which you can ask the questions and pray over the questions. This is not gossip. This is not bitterness. This is not blame. This is simply processing what is in the human mind. Don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise. If you are a Christian, God already knows the questions are on your mind so please lay them down at the cross.
  • Don’t stop talking about your friend – especially with his or her family members.  So many people don’t know what to do with the memories of a late friend especially when they are around the friend’s family members. May I suggest that your words are a balm.  Your stories keep their loved one alive. Your words remind them that their child or mother or father or sibling mattered to you. Leah’s mother once shared with me something that I’ve never forgotten, Imagine talking about or with your child for 40 years. Then imagine waking up the next day and not talking about her ever again. If you haven’t already, forge a friendship with your friend’s family if they are open to it. I’m so thankful Leah’s mom is in my life now. I call her Leah’s Gift. She’s especially close to my friend, Julie, and this fall, five years after the tragedy, they are traveling to Paris together to retrace Leah’s last trip there with Julie. It was a joyous trip filled with laughter and faux pas like Leah getting on the wrong train heading the wrong way and the rest of the group setting off to rescue her. What a wonderful experience for Julie to share with Leah’s mother.
  • Keep his or her memory alive with an activity you all shared. In my case, Leah was the queen of decorating ideas and had the Midas touch when it came to all things entertaining and House Beautiful. She especially loved to add a touch of red to her work. So around my house there are lots of little red things – a red wall, red pillows, a red lamp shade. When I have a decorating project I need to finish, I am reminded that Leah would be telling me to just get on with it already. (She never minced words with me.) So whether it’s golf or reading or running (Leah ran – always wearing her lipstick, so my running friends still do that in her honor. I love it.) or painting or cooking or teaching – whatever it is that reminds you of your dear friend – keep doing it, and may it remind you of the blessings God has shared with us through the gift of friendships.
  • Respect any decisions your friend’s family members make. Period. Remember they are the ones who have lost the most here, and we don’t help them by second guessing their actions.  I’m going to be brutally honest:  when the time came, it wasn’t easy to watch Leah’s husband remarry, but that was my selfish self wanting things to remain the same. He and he alone lost his wife and two children in one fell swoop, and he and he alone bore an unimaginable load of grief. He and he alone had to move forward to begin a new life with a new wife and a new daughter, and I am so thankful God has brought love back into his life.
  • Don’t be afraid if what you once held true about the afterlife changes. As a Christian I believe …To be absent with the body is to be present with the Lord…, but the truth is I simply don’t know what that absence looks like. Yes, I’ve been taught a lot of things at church,  but I don’t know where heaven is or exactly when I’ll  get there, etc., etc., etc.  I’m thankful to have had such conversation with Leah’s parents about this. Please understand our faith is not shaken in God’s promises, but one can’t help but ask different questions when reality hands you such a stark plate of circumstances. You aren’t a heretic; you are human.
  • Don’t be afraid to let your children see you grieve. I don’t mean to treat them as equals and dump your grief upon them, but neither should you shield them from it. My girls were four years old when Leah died. They lost their little buddies as well…so we grieved together. However, sometimes I turned on PBSKids and say, Girls, I’m really sad right now and need to be alone. I’m okay. There’s nothing wrong, but why don’t you just watch TV for a little while without me. Today, five years later they still remind me of an outfit of Leah’s that they liked or how they loved playing in Harrison and Sophia’s playroom. We as a culture teach our children how to drive cars, how to do math in their heads and how to practice safe sex, but we do darn little to prepare them for feelings of grief, and I think this is a huge disservice. There are no guarantees in this life; anything can happen to my husband or me even today, and I want my kids to know what to do with all the feelings they will be feeling, and might have to face alone. The Bible talks a great deal about lamentations and mourning – the modern church does not.
  • In time, you will be better equipped to help others in their grief. You will know better what they need and can offer it freely. You will pray more for people you’ve never met – people you see on the news or read about in the paper. People on the street. People in your school and at work.  There’s something about a deep grief that levels the playing field of all mankind, and from now on, when others hurt, you hurt for them.

Please know how sorry I am for your loss, friend. Please know that you are loved and cared about and prayed for. Blessings to you.

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Holding them a Little Tighter

by Priscilla on July 28, 2013

This weekend has been filled with both contemplating and crying out.

I learned via a Facebook status update that my friend from years ago in Vilseck, Germany, Linda, is battling cancer. It’s back and now in her lymph nodes, and she’s asking God for a miracle. Those of you who are military spouses know that this special sisterhood binds us together forever in our hearts despite the years and miles spread out over time and distance. Linda’s husband was my husband’s company commander when my husband was a platoon leader. This meant Linda and I spent a lot of time together planning meetings for other wives, fundraising for the company and unit, attending coffees and teas and Dining Outs.  We were both fairly new to the whole officers’ wives thing, and we both had a lot to learn, but while I committed numerous faux pas (Shocking, I know.), Linda made it all look so easy. She and Kevin are a great team mainly because they both put people first.  Like my late friend, Leah, Linda doesn’t allow grass to grow under her feet – always working on a project usually for her kids or Kevin. She’s beautiful, creative and thoughtful and fun…all the things one asks for in a friend…and mother…and life partner.

A few weeks ago I learned again via Facebook that another dear friend from our time in Germany, John, is gravely ill.  His photos on Facebook stopped me cold in my tracks. This stuff isn’t supposed to happen to people like John. John and his wife Billie, were Club Beyond leaders on our post. (CB is Young Life for military kids.) They loved and mentored hundreds of kids – meeting them were they were spiritually.  Never judging or preaching. Just coming alongside and saying, Sometimes doing this Jesus stuff is hard, so let’s do it together, okay?  If you didn’t believe in Jesus or God – that was okay.  John was going to love you anyway and hang with you anyway, and care about you anyway.

As I type, the tears well up thinking of the huge heart now pumping inside a now very small, weak body. No one taught me more about loving middle schoolers and high schoolers than John and Billie. No professor or course or seminar. This kind of learning comes only from example.

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These are just a few of the kids who experienced God’s love through John and Billie.  This photo was taken at Rose Barracks, Vilseck Germany in a Club Beyond weekly meeting in 1997, I believe.  I couldn’t scan it as it’s stuck the glass in the frame, and I don’t risk trying to take it out. It’s too important to me. I’ve kept the photo close through every move and every tough time as this group has always reminded me of God’s gift of Time and Place to certain groups of very special people. 

I’ve also been following the story of a friend’s niece, who it appears will be saying goodbye to this world very soon. She’s too young to have to say goodbye.

Then there’s the tragic bus accident in Indianapolis yesterday. I joke about the strict Baptist church and school of my childhood, but the truth is these people love me, and I love them back. We may not see eye to eye on every jot and tittle of theology, but we all love Jesus, and we laugh together and weep together. The bus accident affected a church and school at which I spent many hours playing volleyball and cheering at basketball games. The group was  coming home from the same church camp that my youth group attended when I was a teenager.  I think the English language needs an even stronger word than tragic because tragic that doesn’t even begin to describe events like these.  My mom used to say, The Christian world is a very small one. She’s right. She didn’t mean it was small in number or importance, but simply in the circle of friends made over the years through various church events- those circles seem to intertwine with other circles and so on…and so on.

I’ve been thinking about and praying for all these events and people this weekend as I finished my painting project – the huge fireplace in our family room. While painting, I thought a lot about Leah who had the magic touch when it came to decorating and entertaining, and did so not to call attention to herself, but to she share her love of life with anyone who entered her home. She worked so hard especially for her husband Brian and their children. I giggled as I painted knowing I’d been sitting on all the supplies for at least two months before finally starting to paint. I could hear Leah saying, Girl, it’s about time you got off your butt and finished this! What have you been waiting for?  I thought of her mother, Erma, who visited me a while back, and her interior designer eye looked at the fireplace and suggested I go lighter in color to open up the room. (This is why I am friends with creative types – I’d never even think of painting a fireplace, much less making it look like granite.)

I’ve been thinking about our sweet girls.

They’ve been off to Niagara Falls this past week with my in-laws who love carting their seven grandkids around the country spoiling them rotten. Sure, I make jokes about motherhood and threaten to write books with titles such as Mommy Drink Because You Cry (Thanks Heather, for that title. It will always be my favorite.) or Why Must Everyone Come Into the Bathroom To Watch Me Pee?!  But the truth is I grieve for Linda. Who cares about a little potty privacy when you are staring down the terror that is cancer? I am praying not only for the miracle of healing, but that God would grant her the mental fortitude to fight off the darkness that I know must creep into the recesses of her mind and work its way into her thoughts all hours of the day. I grieve for the parents and the children who lost loved ones in this bus accident. I grieve for the survivors who watched and experienced the horrendous event.  I cry out for John and Billie and their children wondering why bad things happen to good people, and even though I’ve never met this sweet young girl whose time it is to say goodbye, I mourn with her family, especially her parents…

…and today when my giddy twin daughters return from their adventure with their other five cousins, I will listen to each and every story of theirs with baited breath no matter how mundane. I will thank God for the gift of their presence in my life. I never knew how much spiritual and mental healing those two little stinkers would bring. Honestly, before they arrived, I had no idea there were even wounds that needed to heal, but God knew. God knew my heart and how scarred over it was with private pain, and God saw to it that in my inmost being were formed the gifts of life that would bring me into a deeper, richer understanding of Its love for me and all mankind. (I’m trying to say Its more as opposed to His as the older I grow, the more I realize that God is so much more than a Father or Mother – there really is no proper noun or pronoun. God is just so big.)

When my friend Linda shared the announcement of her cancer she also added: We would like to think that only God knows how much time I have left here on this earth and we are hoping for a good long time so I can watch my kids grow up, be at their college graduations, dance and their weddings and hold a grandchild one day. If you believe in prayer I ask you to lift me up and pray for a miracle or successful treatment to keep me here. Sorry for the bad news. Just take a moment to say a blessing for your good health. I’m sending out good wishes to you and your families and am so thankful for the blessing of my family and friends! 

Linda, I’ve heard your words, and today I am praying with you and for you, and  I’m holding my family a little tighter.

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Most people have to worry about the dogs getting into the cat dish. At our house it’s the other way around.

food grab

 

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Parks and Recreation- TIS Teaches Swimming

by Priscilla on July 20, 2013

When I imagined an illustrious writing career, it did not include my typing out stories sitting in the middle of Dressing Room  surrounded by 25 excitable elementary aged dancing female nurses ready to wash that man right outta their hair on dress rehearsal night for the kiddie version of South Pacific.

My imagination needs work.

These late nights of stage parent are at least affording me the chance to update you, my readers, on some exciting happenings these past few weeks.

Like my passing drug, sexual harassment and OSHA tests in order to re-enter the workplace after two or three years of being out. What kind of job you ask? With all these important tests and standards to uphold, I’m sure you are thinking something along the lines of city engineer or project manager. City managers and project managers after all shouldn’t be running around pinching bottoms, smoking dope or mixing ammonia with bleach.

Neither should swim instructors working for the city Parks And Recreation.

That’s right. I signed up to teach kiddos how to blow bubbles and progress to the front crawl for $7.25 an hour. No one asked me if I could swim, but I paid $25 to make sure my urine was free from cocaine and sat in and office reading notebooks telling me it was inappropriate to have sex under the desk in a workplace, and whatever I do, don’t stand on the top wrung of the ladder in the middle of a thunderstorm while trying to saw off dead limbs from a tree with a gas powered trimmer…also, this is another place where sex with a co-worker is inappropriate.

One test question asked if I knew what to do if I were sexually harassed. Since laugh out loud was not an option, I assumed the correct answer was to report the harasser to a higher up. But really, as a mother, and woman with dimples in the back of my thighs, I think it makes more sense to kindly suggest to the harasser that maybe he, or she for that matter, might go home and call the optometrist to schedule his yearly eye appointment. I would have written this in, but there was not a space marked other or please explain further, and since my future boss was already frustrated with me for not bringing my Social Security card, I thought better of it.

Why did I need my actual Social Security card? Why was my Social Security number not enough?

Department of Homeland Security requirement.

I. Kid. You. Not.

Apparently, Al Quaeda has been busy infiltrating Official City Parks Department Swim Instructor Hiring Processes, and now Social Security Cards, Drivers Licenses, Birth Certificates, Voter’s ID and Target Shopper Cards must be produced before even being considered for a position. Once again, I’d like to point out that my swimming skills were at no time verified. No one asked if I could breath bilaterally or knew the standard Chicken, Airplane, Soldier mantra chanted by swim teachers everywhere when introducing the Elementary Backstroke.

But a job’s and job, and this one comes with a suntan, so I  returned to the Parks and Recreation offices with Social Security card in hand, and was hired on the spot. It’s nirvana.  My mornings are spent with overly dramatic kids screaming for their parents and refusing to blow bubbles, and my evenings are spent with overly dramatic kids screaming for bobby pins and refusing to listen to the cues piped into their dressing rooms.

Could be worse.  I could be pitting cherries.

 

 

 

 

 

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Cherries are the Pits

by Priscilla on July 20, 2013

Erma Bombeck had it right when she penned  her wonderful work If life is a bowl of cherries, what am I doing in the pits?

A few weeks ago I found myself up to my elbows – literally – in cherry pits. Couple the mundane task of cherry pitting with my perpetual ADD and what should have been a two hour task turned into a 10 day job. Two months ago my doctor and I decided that for the good of all mankind, especially the mankind living within the confines of my home, I should start taking the wonder drug, Lexapro. Wonder drug? you ask. Aren’t you being a little dramatic? Well, let’s see considering before Lexapro my words for some reason CAME OUT IN ALL BOLD CAPS TO ALL THE PEOPLE THAT I LOVE, and after Lexapro they started coming out in a lovely Brush Script MT.

Besides transforming me from Cruella Deville into Mary Poppins, Lexapro helps me think more logically which is a big deal when you aren’t born with a lick of logic. So, for example, pre-Lexapro, when it came time to go to the gym, and I didn’t feel like it, I’d decide that watching a commercial starring a young mother swiffering her kitchen floor qualified as exercise. After the Lexapro started to kick in, however, and my thoughts began completing themselves,  come gym time, my mind let me know that the logic of watching swifter commercials only left me with cottage cheese thighs and under arms that flapped in the breeze. So instead of making the gym once a week, I got there twice. That’s a 100% increase! I also started to notice that cleaning the bathrooms once a week leaves them looking better than my usual once a month practice, and actually writing down appointments and meetings works much better than trying to just remember stuff in my head.

All of this transformation flew out the window, though, when I brought home the few gallons of cherries that Twins A&B and I picked at my sister’s house. There isn’t enough Lexapro in a pharmacy to keep me focused on the mundane task of cherry pitting.

It started out well enough.  I washed all the cherries, lined up the needed bowls, grabbed the little pitter I borrowed from my sister, and started in…for 32 seconds.  That’s how long it took me to pit two cherries. I don’t know if you are aware of this, but a cherry pit doesn’t just project out of a cherry’s center. It sort of just hangs there, dangling by the fruit’s skin until you yank it off.  After only a few pits, your fingers begin looking as if you completed open heart surgery, well, at least mine did, not to mention when I looked down, my shirt looked like a costume from a CSI crime scene.  While pitting, I noticed the flowers on my kitchen window ledge looked droopy.  Well, I couldn’t have that so I laid down the pitter, threw out those flowers, and walked out my back door to find something better growing in the yard.  This was when I discovered the planters at my front door looked a little droopy and needed perked up with some fertilizer.

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While walking around to the various plants, I noticed  moles had been taking it upon themselves to aerate my yard so I decided to return the favor by dropping poisonous worms down into their delightful little mounds.

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I saw the lamp post garden that I planted and wrote about last year was growing with a vengeance and knew all you readers would be excited about it so I snapped a few shots, downloaded them onto my computer, and searched my writing archives. I started writing a new post updating all of you on the state of this garden, for which I’m sure you have been waiting, when the Lexapro knocked on my noggin, and I remembered all those blasted cherries piled up in my kitchen sink, and I trudged back into the kitchen and pitted four more cherries, before my morning coffee filled my bladder.

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While in the bathroom I saw the mirror needed to be cleaned, and cleaning mirrors believe it or not is better than pitting cherries so I grabbed some Windex and paper towels and took care of the streaks…and then I scrubbed the sink….and then onto the toilet…and then onto the other toilets in the house. It was in the master bath where I saw the Lexapro bottle, and just by noting it, the meds kicked in, and I remembered the gallon buckets of cherries sitting in my kitchen sink calling to me like the island, Bali Hai, called Lieutenant Cable in South Pacific.  (Okay, so maybe it wasn’t that dramatic, but I needed to throw some creative writing in here somewhere, and since while I’m writing this I’m sitting through yet another rehearsal for the musical in which Twin A plays the part of Ngana, it seems like a good enough fit.)

I returned to the kitchen to pit a few more.  A similar scene to this ensued for the next nine days until I pitted  every last #*$@! cherry.

There’s a lesson to be learned from all this. The next time I get a hankering for a cherry pie…I’m heading for the bakery.

 

 

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Standing with the Silenced

by Priscilla on July 18, 2013

Back in January the disbanding of the philosophy department of my alma mater, Cedarville University, troubled me, and I joined in with other voices announcing our displeasure.  I admit I’d been out of the school’s loop for years as I was following Mr. TIS around the country and world during his military career and after.  Every new place I’d stop and start a new job, a new church and a new community.  I was doing and being everything my alma mater trained me to be – salt and light wherever God placed me.  So, when the whole Philosphy Dept. thing came up I began researching the leadership, and this led me down an unexpected path.  It led me to people and websites I’d never met nor read, but whose stories of abuse at the hands of so-called evangelical leaders horrified and angered me. As if the abuse was bad enough, many of these victims were not believed or out right silenced.  Abusive leaders moved out of their now damaged churches and onto other unsuspecting ones with no red flags or signals given. The “good guys” didn’t want to do anything about the evil ones so as not to “hurt the cause of Christ.”  (If I had a dime for every time I’ve heard that phrase used in a controlling context.) The “good guys” promised help and never delivered.  The “good guys” banded together and moved on and sat in places of leadership such as on the Board of Trustees at Cedarville University, in Cedarville, Ohio.

I wrote about my eyes being opened in this post. 

I found more stories of abuse in large organizations at this website.

I followed these two hard working professionals who track the stories of the abused and the powerful who try to continue on in their “leadership” positions.

http://thewartburgwatch.com 

This education hasn’t been an easy one for me…a former little girl who lived the idealic childhood in the cornfields of the Midwest. To think that other little girls my age, growing up in churches similar to mine were enduring horrific sins at the hands of evildoers angers me. Their childhoods were stolen from them. Their bodies, minds and souls were raped. Their stories were silenced….until now.

NETGRACE is a wonderful ogranization offering hope and help and resources to both the abused and churches who choose to stand with the abused and fight abuse in the Church head on. Yesterday, it along with Church leaders and survivors,  wrote a strongly worded message from we the Christian Church decrying the sinful acts of abuse and the silencing of the victims. It asks forgiveness from the victims. It stands with the victims saying, “We believe you.”

Would you please consider reading it and signing it?  The one thing I’m discovering in my eye opening is how much victims need to hear that we believe them. That we believe their stories. That we believe what was done was wrong. That we believe none of it was their faults. And that we believe in justice. http://netgrace.org/wp-content/uploads/Public-Statement-Concerning-Sexual-Abuse-in-the-Church1.pdf

The goal is 1,000 signatures. Each signature is one more affirmation for those who have survived sexual abuse that he or she matters and that his or her story is important to us. Maybe you are like me – completely ignorant of the evil going on around us. Please choose to no longer remain ignorant. Please choose to educate yourself and those around you. The body of Christ is hurting my dear readers. It’s time to bind up the wounded with the love of Jesus Christ.

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The Misfit Mom’s Fabulous Flab Reducer

by Priscilla on July 13, 2013

originally written circa 2008

The other day the tagline on Yahoo! read something along the lines of “Celebrity Moms Reveal Baby Weight Loss Secrets.” Please, there are no secrets to celebrity moms losing weight. They are called personal trainers, personal chefs, personal nannies and personal shoppers. Add those four personal “secrets” together and you come up with no personal post pardum flab.

I don’t begrudge my fellow moms their six pack abs six weeks after delivery. Just don’t try to package it in a neat little “this can work for you too, Mommy” self help book or magazine article.

How about publishers for once making room at the big table of diet books for one more plan from a real live mother living in the real world surrounded all hours of the day by her real live children and only her real live children? Splash in a few revealing photos of stretch marks tastefully done by what’s her name – the photographer in the middle of Ms. Miley’s Vanity Fair Fiasco – and you have yourself a best seller.

In fact, I here and now I submit Misfit Mom’s Fabulous Flab Reducer. Granted my way takes four years instead of four months, but who are you to judge my possible ability to inspire 439 women and pocket a cool $2500 in the process?

Sample Daily Menu (all meals are eaten standing over the sink. It is a fact that standing burns twice as many calories and you are there all day scrubbing sippy cups, water bottles and travel mugs anyway so what’s the point of sitting down.)
Breakfast – four pieces of crusts of toast, 2 ounces of orange juice (left in little Sophie’s princess sippy cup and 1 pot of coffee. Total calories 57

Midday Snack
Five pretzels found in car seat after dropping Seth off at preschool. 1 Pot of coffee. Total calories 8

Lunch
One chicken nugget and two bites of mac and cheese eaten off child’s plate as well as one spoonful of all natural applesauce and the five frozen peas that didn’t quite make it into the microwave steamer. Total calories possibly 150

Midday Snack
This one is tricky. Midday is the princess turns into a bear as she is awakened to pick up older brother Seth at preschool, then the whole gang is hauled onto both elementary and middle schools to pick up two more older siblings who must then be shuttled to piano lessons and swim team practice. You eat what they eat, string cheese, flavored water out of some kind of metallic pouch and the last of the grapes your children have by the looks of things chewed directly off the vine. 87 calories,

Dinner – Some kind of crock pot concoction served with salad and instant crescent rolls. (Sorry no starch free dieting allowed. The kids would starve what with no spaghetti, potatoes or mac and cheese). Tap water washes it all down. You are already at the sink anyway, right? Total calories 600 – inevitably you will cave and eat a second roll. After all, you can’t waste food.

This brings your total caloric intake for the day to 902. Since most physicians agree that adult women trying to lose weight at the healthy rate of two pounds per week should keep their calories between 1200-1600 a day, congratulate yourself. You are well on your way to complete exhaustion as well as anemia.

3 a.m. feeding. 1 pint Chunky Monkey (I never said it was the baby’s 3 a.m. feeding did I?) 3,489 calories.

Never fear. Next I will share with you my exercise secrets. I promise you can burn off that sinful nighttime dalliance faster than you think.

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20 Questions…about Twins

by Priscilla on July 12, 2013

 Originally written circa 2007/8 – I don’t know.  It’s all a blur.

I have to tread lightly on this one.  It’s been a long time coming.  Four years, five months, 30 days and 27 hours to be exact.  Ok, so maybe that’s a bit dramatic, but parents of multiples will all be nodding their collective heads here in a few sentences.  My own experience did not drive me to unburden myself on a very kind, very well meaning unsuspecting public.  No, I am resigned to carry my multiple’s mom cross gladly.  I, however, need to bear the torch for my very exhausted former college roommate. Three days ago she delivered twins….for the second time….in three years.

I was one of the privileged few she told when she received the good news the second time around.  “I’m going to get a t-shirt made that says, ‘No, I was not on Clomid,’” she emailed me. I laughed out loud knowing what she was feeling -what she and I had already encountered as mothers of twins and what was coming again round two for her.

First of all I want to state that I know children are a gift.  I love mine.  I do not take the fact that I am blessed with offspring lightly.  Not for a minute. However….. for my dear college roommate, and for all wiped out new moms of multiples just trying to get in and out of the store in under four hours and 37 minutes, consider this  a public service announcement for those of you who cannot resist a “cute” comment or question every time you encounter us out in public.

Please don’t ask us the personal question, “Were you on anything when you got pregnant?” Next time you do, I will ask you something personal in return like…ok, I can’t write anything here.  I thought of several very personal questions but my mom, my pastor and my meter reader might read this, and I am already in enough trouble with all of them at the moment.

Please don’t ask us if twins or triplets run in the family.  It doesn’t matter if they do or don’t. You really don’t want to know anyway. You want to stand there and tell us that your cousin had twins and your dad was a twin, but you never had any.  During this revelation my twins will have managed to tear the tags off of seven pairs of shorts and yanked five sun dresses off their hangers.

I KNOW you mean well, but if I had a dime for every time a stranger laughed upon seeing my kids, “Double trouble!” let’s just say my castle would make JK Rowling’s look like a charming two bedroom bungalow on Elm Street.

If you see us pushing our double/triple strollers around the store looking down it means we don’t want to make eye contact.  Eye contact means questions.  Questions mean precious time spent in the formula aisle instead of back home on the couch for five extra minutes of rest. Five minutes is nothing to sneeze at.

Please don’t approach all of us in the Mini Mart and say, “Twins?”  If you see two little boys, the exact same size, the exact same face, the exact same outfit, the exact same harried mother or father, you can pretty much guess that yes they are indeed twins.  A smile.  A nod, a kind comment such as “They are lovely,” or “You are blessed,” is always appreciated and understood.  But please, for our sanity’s sake keep your curiosity to yourself.  We know you are just being kind, but what you don’t realize is yours is the  357th time we have answered that question in the last hour.

Finally, and this may be a hard one for some of you to swallow, never, ever, ever make the very, very wrong observation, “My kids are 16 months apart so it’s almost like having twins.”  No it’s not.  I could give multiple reasons, multiple scenarios and multiple examples of why this statement is a falsehood, but trust me singulars it’s not the same. Oh, we smile and nod and say, “Oh, yes, you really do understand,” but inside we are cringing and thinking not very nice thoughts.

Ok there it is.  The truth.  Once again my name will be swiftly eradicated from the  Really Nice Mother Of The Year Award nominating committee sheet.  But I had to say it.  I love you all.  I love your children.  I love my multiple children.  But sometimes love must be tough.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I am going to go watch John and Kate Plus 8 on TLC.  After all, we have a lot on common. I have twins; that’s a lot like having sextuplets.

 

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Banning Barbie

by Priscilla on July 12, 2013

This was originally written somewhere around 2007/8.  I’m sorry to say I’ve succumbed to Barbie and her gal pals over at American Girl, but I did put up a long, courageous fight. 

I am not going to be popular with this one, but, like every cross dressing, who’s- the- daddy, ship-my kid-off- to-boot- camp guest of the Maury Povich Show, I am going to air my dirty laundry in public. Here it is…

Barbie isn’t welcome in my home.  Don’t ask me if Skipper or Ken can come over to play either.  They are banned for life.

It’s not because I am a feminist who believes Barbie is the root cause of the body image problems young girls experience. It’s not because there is no Barbie that correctly represents my children’s ethnicity.  (Anyone see Filipino/European Barbie?)  I don’t even care that Barbie lives in a nicer house than I or insists on walking around on her tip toes all day.  It’s all the stuff that little chippie drags around with her.

Barbie comes with 1,000 pairs of tiny heeled shoes that make their way into heating ducts and bathtub drains.  Barbie has purses.  She’s the Imelda Marcos of purse hoarders. I’m not even going to discuss the clothing.  Then there’s Big Headed Barbie.  You know the one – just the head so young cosmetologists can practice their trade. Big Headed Barbie includes 45 barrettes, nine styling combs and 18 makeup brushes.  Makeup not included.  Pilfer your mother’s bathroom drawers, the instructions read.

“Mommy, why can’t we have Barbies?” is the constant question on my little girls’ lips.

“Well, it’s like this,” I try to explain. “This place has dogs.  This place has a vacuum cleaner. This place has a mother who doesn’t need another ‘Core’  workout video because she averages 2,389 toe touches a day picking up your clothes and toys in order to vacuum and/or wrestle doll parts out the dogs’ mouths. If Barbie and her entourage move in here with her wardrobe and accessories, Mommy will throw her back out, and we will have to make numerous visits to the vet.  Trust me.  I can see the future.”

Despite the absence of Barbie in their every day lives, my girls know her intimately. She shows up everywhere we go. The blonde bombshell hangs out with them at their cousins’ houses.  She’s got a big residence at Nana’s, and she flaunts her shiny pink convertible in my face every time we go to their friends’.  But I’m onto her, and she is not going to win. This mother will prevail.

I do have one question though.  What’s the scoop on these American Girl dolls? They seem innocent enough.

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