July 31, 2008

24 Hours

I keep wondering where I’ll be 24-hours from now.

I just put Wild Thing and Ladybug to bed.  Ladybug was thinking up every stall she could.  I was happy to accommodate her.  Wild Thing refused to say his sweet “wuv oo” to me, preferring to blow raspberries at me instead.  I love them.  They are my life.

Oh great God, be close enough to hear my cry for mercy, strength, and compassion on me and those I love.

Hold On

Today is hard. I’m at loose ends. I’m not really sure what to do, how to act. So I’m trying to be normal. Get up, shower, get the kids up, make breakfast, get the kids dressed, read books, play with blocks, put them down for a morning rest/nap. The kids, not the books and blocks.

I’ve already gone through all the “This might be one of the last times I’ll ______.” Twice now. We’ve prepared for and had our “last weekend” as a family. Three times. I’ve visited with my grandparents, spent time with my aunts, laughed, talked, and cried with my sister. Hugged, kissed, snuggled, clung to my babies. Savored being with my husband. Enjoyed the company of my mom and dad. Now I’m just waiting. And hoping. And praying.

I really like the Christian songwriter and singer Nichole Nordeman. On her Brave album, there’s a song called Hold On. Some of the lines from the song that really speak to me right now are….

So baby don’t believe that it’s over/Maybe you can’t see ‘round the corner, so/Hold on, Love will find you/Hold on, He’s right behind you now/Just turn around, Love will find you /To hang between two thieves in the darkness/Love must believe you were worth it

Yeah, I definitely feel like I can’t see around the corner. I have no idea what lies ahead. But that’s ok. It has to be ok, because I can’t change that.

And yeah, Jesus must have believed that I am worth it, because He did it. Died, I mean. For me, too.

I’ve done everything that I can do. Right? I keep questioning that. But I don’t know what else I could have done. We’ve made full restitution. I’ve taken responsibility. We’ve prepared for the hearing, gone through the psychological evaluation, gotten letters of support from family, friends, and community members. We have prayed, and prayed, and prayed. I refuse to do the Christian guilt thing and question my level of faith. As if faith is like currency with God, and He gives us things based on our amount of faith. As if we can take our faith to the God ATM and trade it in for things we want or need. Maybe depending on the outcome of tomorrow’s hearing, I’ll change my stance. Maybe I’ll berate myself for not having enough faith and not believing God enough and if I’d prayed harder or fasted more or given more, then God would have done something different.

I need to shake myself out of this. I can’t begin questioning things, especially outcomes that I haven’t seen yet.

July 29, 2008

Master of Disaster

My son is living up to his new nickname. He hadn’t really earned it yet when we bestowed it upon him. He was just INTO everything. Today? We have had our unfair share of disasters.

For instance, when I was taking Ladybug to go potty, he pulled my camera off the counter. Not long after, I noticed that he was gone… and quiet, a dangerous combination. I discovered him in my bedroom, pulling clothes out of my dresser. A few minutes after that, he completely wrecked the blocks we had set up in hills and tunnels for Ladybug to play with her cars on. By this point you’d think I would have KNOWN what kind of day it was going to be and just resigned myself to closely monitored play time. But no. I figured as long as he was WITH me that it would be ok. So I sat him on the counter (my children are great counter-sitters. They’ve been doing it since they could sit up and haven’t fallen… yet!) while I measured the ingredients for bread into my standing mixer. I was warming the milk, honey, and butter in the microwave (just for a second!!) when I turned back to him and he was covered in flour. Eyeballs to toes. Somehow he missed getting it in his hair. Or maybe I just turned around in time to stop the migration from going any further. And he was having a blast, let me tell you!! I took pictures, and I wish I could post them. I really do have the most adorable children, even when covered in flour.

At THIS point I finally conceded defeat and finished mixing up the bread and got it rising, then turned on Toy Story (the one without Jessie, Ladybug insisted) and we played/watched the movie until lunch time, after which they both went down for naps. Isn’t naptime the most sacred time of your day? Don’t you love the peace and quiet? I love my kids, I really do, but I need a break.

The when-it’s-ok-to-cry victory lasted until 9:15 this morning. Considering that we had our chat last night around 7:15, that’s 14 hours. I’m feeling good about that. The tears were because Wild Thing took her blankie off the chair, or something, and were resolved quickly. The only other meltdown today was when she lost her spoon into her bowl of soup at lunch. Since she has no qualms about eating with her fingers, and usually has to be asked to use a spoon, I’m not sure why there were tears, but again, it was easily resolved. And then it was NAP TIME. Did I mention how much I love nap time?

The bread came out great; I love the recipe I use. It’s just a basic white sandwich loaf, but it’s easy, and homey, and delicious, and since it’s cool and rainy here today it was the perfect opportunity. We’ll eat it slathered with butter and jam, or toasted, or in nice thick sandwiches, and if there’s any left over to go stale then we’ll make French toast out of it.

Today marks 12 weeks, or 3 months. I guess the first trimester isn’t “officially” over until 14 weeks. I should know this after two pregnancies, right? But I always let my breath out a little when I pass the 12-week mark with no mishaps.

I remember being pregnant with Ladybug, and I thought about it all the time. I was consumed with thoughts of pregnancy, and getting ready for her, and making sure I had a dozen of every essential item, and getting her room ready, reading books, thinking about taking classes (we ended up only taking an Infant CPR class, never made it to a birthing class… but we watched a cheesy DVD, if that counts?). I scrutinized my body for signs of pregnancy and couldn’t wait to wear maternity clothes.

With Wild Thing, I casually read What to Expect When You’re Expecting, often having to catch up if I was a month (or two, or three) behind. I skimmed Baby Wise again, glanced at the pamphlets my doctor sent home with me. I reluctantly put away all the cute new clothes I’d gotten to fit my new, postnatal figure, and reluctantly dragged out the maternity clothes. Then discovered I couldn’t stomach the thought of wearing them all again and bought new maternity clothes. The luxury! Being able to buy new clothes just because I didn’t want to wear the old ones!!

Now, with Baby #3, it’s been so shockingly unexpected (even though I really want 4 children, we weren’t planning on a baby right now, not with all the unresolved complexity in our lives) and I have to actually remind myself that I’m pregnant. I don’t feel pregnant. I don’t look pregnant. The only pregnancy symptom I have (besides the positive pregnancy test and the ultrasound in my doctor’s office a week ago) is that I’m excessively tired all the time. And what mother of two little children isn’t?? I’m one of those annoying women who has really healthy, easy pregnancies. I don’t feel nauseated, I don’t gain a lot of weight, I don’t have any complications, I have fast, easy labor (I think I do, I had an epidural both times, and couldn’t feel any pain. I’m assuming it was easy?), and my babies are all delivered healthy and on time. The biggest complications we’ve had with the kids is heavy jaundice, due to blood-type incompatibility. So with Baby #3 I’m expecting to look pregnant immediately. Isn’t that what you hear? After one or two kids, as soon as you get the positive pregnancy test, then your belly automatically pops out and you have to drag out the maternity clothes? And I expect to at least THINK about being pregnant, sometimes. And I guess I do – when I remember to take my prenatal vitamins, or stay away from the caffeinated tea, or steer clear of sushi.

Maybe I just have other things on my mind. And maybe I have other things to keep me occupied. During the last two pregnancies, I worked in an office, in a job that had a lot of down-time. There was lots of time to think about being pregnant, and read online about pregnancy and shop online for baby things. Now, life is a little different. And it’s good, too, in a lot of ways. I just worry about bonding with this baby. Having enough love to spread around between three children. Being able to adequately care for and nurture all three of them, in the way that each one needs.

And I guess it’s kind of silly for me to be worried about that. Thinking back, it was usually after I felt the baby start moving that it actually became real to me. And then the “big” ultrasound at 20 weeks and finding out the gender, and also having the physical manifestations of pregnancy to go along with the practical knowledge. I’m probably worrying needlessly. I may even be redirecting my apprehension regarding Friday to this area of my life. That’s probably what my psychologist would say.

Oh, I didn’t mention that I have a psychologist? How remiss! Another layer of this whole story… and don’t worry, I’m not crazy, it’s simply part of the whole process. But it is interesting, and I’ll share it another time.

July 28, 2008


Why did I think that having a 2 year old was so bad? When she was 2, Ladybug was generally cheerful, endlessly articulate, delightful to be around, entertaining and amusing, and seldom disobedient. Oh wait. There was the week where she decided that she was going to climb out of her crib seventeen times during her nap, but that was easily remedied by me standing outside her door, watching her, and disciplining her every time she tried to climb out. And there have been the issues connected with learning to share her parents’ (and grandparents’ attention) with an intruder, otherwise known as her brother. So I guess it hasn’t all been easy. She’s not near perfect, but she’s pretty good. No tantrums, no sleep issues, no major contentions with her brother, no big disobedience battles.

I guess it just wasn’t as easy as when she was one. Or when there WAS just one.

But then again, that’s when I was working full-time and then some, and I saw her in the morning for an hour, and then saw her in the evening for a couple hours, and we did fun things like play, and have bath time, and read stories, and then she was in bed and that was it.

So ok, parenting is hard. Every stage and every age has its delights and its downfalls. And full-time stay-at-home motherhood is difficult. It is constant and unrelenting, really, and maybe that’s the toughest part.

And yes, there are tensions in our house right now that have nothing to do with raising little kids. So maybe I should cut myself, and my kids, some slack.

But the whining.

And the crying over everything. EVERYTHING.

And she’s not over-tired. She’s not hungry. She’s not under or over-stimulated. She’s not anything. She’s just THREE. And she can’t get her doll’s arm in the clothes. Or she can’t keep the blanket over the doll. Or the ball didn’t roll toward HER. Or she didn’t get pushed high enough in the swing. Or she needs a Kleenex. Tears. Instant and copious amounts of tears.

So I thought, hey, I’ve tried correction, I’ve tried discipline, I’ve tried threats, I’ve tried it all – maybe I should give it a last ditch effort and try reasoning with her. So I scooped her up, and went into her bedroom where we snuggled on the bed for a few minutes until she calmed down (and I calmed down too). And then we talked. About when it’s ok to cry, and when it isn’t ok to cry. It’s ok to cry if you’re sad. It’s ok to cry if you’re hurt. It’s ok to cry if you miss someone. It’s ok to cry if you’re scared. But it’s not ok to cry if you’re frustrated. Or if Mama tells you no. Or if you don’t get a Kleenex right away.

Then we practiced. I asked her, “Ladybug, is it ok to cry if you fall off the slide?” and in her cute answer-everything-in-full-sentences way, she said “Why, of course it is.” “What about if I tell you that you may not watch Finding Nemo tonight, is it ok to cry then?” “No, I don’t think it’s ok to cry then.” “Is it ok to cry if you have a sliver?” “Yes, it certainly is ok to cry if I have a sliver.” Et cetera.

I totally know that there are some readers who are thinking “Reason with a 3 year old? Yeah right.” And I agree, it wasn’t my first plan of attack. I don’t think it would work for Wild Thing. (It’s true what the experts say about having to parent each child differently. What a challenge!)

So anyway, we finished our conversation and she picked out some books to read, and after we read them she wanted to play with her kitchen. When I told her that it was time to go to bed, (I love how, at this age, their feelings and thoughts are so transparent on their faces!) her face started to crumple into the telltale teary mask, and then she caught herself, and said to me with a little quaver in her voice, “Oh, I won’t cry about that.”

I was pleased. And so proud. And feeling like the smartest mother in the whole world. I am so totally patting myself on the back now. We’ll probably start over again from square one tomorrow. But she’s in bed now, and I can savor this for the whole night. TWELVE. WHOLE. HOURS. It’s almost enough to keep me from sleeping, just so I can enjoy the feeling… Almost.

July 27, 2008

Sunday Afternoon

Titles. Who is good at coming up with short, clever lines to sum up a post? (Hint: NOT ME.)

Thanks to all the wonderful people who have left comments on my site. And thank you, Emily, for reaching out to me, in response to a random comment I left on your blog. It has been really amazing, actually, and well, to be candid, people who do not know me have responded much differently than people who do. Perhaps it’s because we all have expectations (for better or for worse) of those we know and love, while many people don’t have expectations of strangers, who therefore cannot fail us in those expectations. Regardless of the reason why, I thank you for your thoughts, your prayers, and your well-wishes for me and my family.

I’ve stated before my desire (need!) to be anonymous, and that’s one reason why I haven’t given the details of what it is that I did. But I can clarify for those who are curious, it is considered a property crime: no people, no families, no children, no animals, no living, breathing, being was injured, or taken advantage of, or compromised in any way. Because it was a property crime, we (my husband and I) were able to take extreme steps in our personal financial life to provide full restitution. Hence the fact that we now have one car and are living with my parents temporarily, have zero investments and retirement, and are essentially broke. I know many people live like this, and I’m not trying to solicit your sympathy. Like I’ve said before, I can handle being broke. It is the idea of being away from my family, on top of giving everything else up, that is difficult to contemplate.

One person asked how long I may be gone. Good question. I wish I knew. For many reasons, I did not accept a plea deal and therefore have no guarantee of knowing what my punishment could be. I know that standard sentencing ranges from 3.5 years to 4.5 years. The prosecutor, however, has made it clear that he intends to ask the judge for 11 years. Considering that there are several crimes that get LESS time than 11 years – rape of a child, leading organized crime, manslaughter first degree, incest, hit and run resulting in death, drive by shooting, to name a few – it seems the request is excessive. Not to mention disturbing. Of course, I’m a bit biased, and I’m not sure my opinion counts here.

Because I’ve been such a good girl prior to this offense, I qualify for something called the First Time Offender Waiver, in which the judge can sentence me to 0-90 days, and a year of community custody (the new-fangled term for parole). Counseling and other things may also be required. The judge has full discretion to grant first time offender waiver, or not. I have a very good attorney (have I mentioned that?) who is a kind, smart man, and willing to argue persuasively and aggressively for my cause at the sentencing hearing on Friday. There are many factors that help in this regard: willingness to take full responsibility, providing full restitution, plus the fact that I’m not at risk of reoffending. No, no, no, never again, I swear.

So that, in brief, is what I did, and how long I may be gone.

Wild Thing is sitting on my lap now as I type away. He’s holding the remote for my CD player to his ear saying, “Allo? Allo?” His new nickname around the house is Master of Disaster. He gets into EVERYTHING. Ladybug didn’t do this. Are boys just different that way? I need to get him into a bath to soften his skin up. It’s time to tackle the slivers in his feet and hands again. YIKES. Wish me luck.

July 25, 2008

The Saga Continues

First off, how in the world do people have time to blog? Especially mothers? I don’t get it. Right now, I’m peeking out the window as Ladybug plays happily on the swing set (which she told me is better than the neighbor’s swing set, because HERS has a TIRE SWING). Wild Thing is with the Man of the House, who took the day off today (in reality, he’s just working from home… one can never stray too far from work email and the laptop). I’m supposed to be filling up the wading pool and figuring out what to make for dinner. Instead, I’m surreptitiously typing away at my computer, hoping my husband doesn’t notice, trying to get this blog post done.

Anyway, I have to be quick, and fortunately there isn’t much to say. I’m sure I’ll figure out a way to make it stretch on for eternity though. Feel free to stop reading halfway through. Just don’t tell me so, or you may hurt my feelings.

I went to court today and got another continuance (rescheduling!) for next Friday. I have been granted (at least) 7 more days with my family. And 7 more days of waiting and wondering and hoping for the best and planning for the worst. I also got assigned to a new judge, one that I have seen before. I liked her. Hopefully she’ll like me, too, and have compassion on me and my situation.

I also gotta say this: Please, hear my heart through all that is on here. I made a terrible, awful mistake. A terrible, awful mistake that has very visible and far-reaching consequences. Before you judge me and my situation, before you decide that I am a terrible wife and mother, before you make an assessment of my character and condemn me as a hypocritical Christian… take a minute and contemplate the concept of mercy. I make no excuses for what I did, and will not seek to justify the bad choices that I made. And I live with the consequences every moment. I also live with the knowledge that, but for the mercy extended to me through Jesus and his forgiveness, I would be stuck in those bad choices for the rest of my life. Instead, that mercy has given me an opportunity to rebuild. To restore good where bad was. And maybe even given me a story to share, and a way to extend hope to other people, that the same mercy that I experience can be theirs as well.

Brief Update

Well, as brief as I can make it.

So lots of stuff has been happening here on the legal front… almost 7 weeks ago I entered a plea, and was supposed to have some sort of resolution on July 15th. That date was continued (legal-speak for rescheduled) to this afternoon. Yes, TODAY. However, this hearing will also be rescheduled because not all parties are available. So we are hoping to reschedule for next Wednesday or Thursday.

All these continuances (reschedulings!) have resulted in a roller-coaster of emotions. I mean, on one hand, I’m all emotionally prepared to accept whatever the judge rules, and eager for the endless waiting to be over. On the other hand, I’m so grateful for a few more days, one more weekend, three more bedtimes, one more trip to the playground, with my family.

We have had the serious, difficult conversations with each other and with my parents. What will happen if? What do you want to tell the children about that? How do you want to handle this? Where is this information if we need to take care of those things? We’ve employed “gallows humor” and made jokes about it. I’ve made my sister promise that she can’t get pregnant and have a baby until I’m “back” – if indeed I go “away.”

I’ve done everything that I want to do “one last time”, just in case I don’t have the opportunity when I return, or something happens to them while I’m away: lunch with my aging grandparents, letters to my aunts, hundreds of kisses and hugs on my tiny children, who will not be so very tiny when we’re reunited.

It has been hard. No, it has been excruciating. And I’m not one to use the big words. But this is hands down the most difficult situation I’ve ever been through. This is more difficult than my father getting a debilitating disease when I was an adolescent. This is more difficult than my very first grown-up relationship going sour (over and over again!). This is more difficult than suffering a miscarriage, and more difficult than all the angst my husband and I have experienced as a result of my actions.

But through it all, I have to be honest: there have been good moments. Things to treasure. Things I have learned to appreciate. Like the everyday moments that as a busy mother, I tend to hurry through, get it done, finish it and move on to the next thing. I have learned that people, relationships, are far more important and irreplaceable than things – houses, furnishings, artwork, vehicles, investment accounts, anything. I am appreciating the simple tasks I do for my family, like folding laundry, making cupcakes, sitting down and having breakfast together.

And I am learning, too. About what it means to sin. About what it means to be broken inside. About what it means to have a Father who loves me unconditionally. About grace, and mercy, and forgiveness. I am learning about what it means to be vulnerable, to let go of my rigid ideas of what is socially acceptable and “Christian” acceptable, and to be honest about my failings, about my weaknesses, about my faults. I am learning how to ask people for help. How to ask Jesus for help. How to depend on God’s goodness toward me, and to trust His mercy, that perhaps it won’t save me from the consequences of my actions, but it will certainly get me through them.

I cannot help but be grateful, and to echo the words of David in Psalm 116 when he sang:

I love the Lord, for he heard my voice, he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live. The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came over me, I was overcome by trouble and sorrow. Then I called on the name of the Lord, “O Lord, save me!” The Lord is gracious and righteous, our God is full of compassion. The Lord protects the simple-hearted; when I was in great need, he saved me. Beat rest once more, o my soul, for the Lord has been good to you. For you, O Lord, have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before the Lord in the land of the living. How can I repay the Lord for all his goodness to me?

Indeed. How can I repay the Lord for all his goodness toward me?

July 18, 2008

Baby's got green eyes...

Or she will, when she wakes up from her nap and looks across the street and gets slapped with a hard case of swingset envy.

The neighbors across from us just got a fancy dancy, super deluxe, really nice, already-put-together complete with a little fort and awning, swingset delivered to their house. And they put it in the front yard, of all places, to the left of their garage. Right there by the road, where there’s no fence. Literally like 4 feet away from a road. Yes, a dirt road, and not a particularly busy one, but a ROAD. And they have SMALL CHILDREN. Seems like a weird placement to me, but maybe the mom there really likes the idea of watching her kids every single second, and not just telling them to go outside and play, while getting other things done uninterrupted around the house, and glancing out at them every now and then to make sure that they aren’t hitting each other with sticks or dumping dirt on their brother’s head. Oh wait, that’s me, not her. I must be getting confused…

Man of the House suggested that we may have to jazz our swingset up a bit. But I’m thinking it may be a good time to learn the lesson of “Sometimes Other People Have Nicer Things Than We Do And That’s Ok.” Which is a hard lesson to learn, especially at the tender age of three. But then again, it’s never too early to learn this important lesson, right along with “I Don’t Get To Have Everything I Want” and “Isn’t This A Good Opportunity To Learn Contentment,” and of course not forgetting the all-important “What Doesn’t Kill You Helps You To Build Character.”

Hmmm, I’ll have to ponder those lessons myself….

July 11, 2008

Mine vs. Yours

Here’s a little poem I’ve had hanging around since I was a teenager. I just remembered it, and it struck me, considering the circumstances I find myself in. Many of my friends and family members are also going through difficult situations. I try to remain empathetic to their situation, but sometimes it’s hard, especially when the empathy doesn’t flow both ways. Money troubles, child troubles, relationship problems, work issues – everyone leads complex lives. And I understand that. And yet, I’m still most concerned with what is happening with, well, with me. So I post this poem, tongue in cheek. I wish I could remember who wrote it, because it is by no means original to me.

Oh, and I found my Belly Balm. It wasn’t in a box, thankfully. It was in a dresser drawer. Now hopefully I will be able to stick around and use it.


If you say you’ve got troubles as big as my own

I’ll have to believe it’s true.

But consider that my problems happen to me,

While yours merely happen to you.

July 7, 2008

Somewhere in a box...

Is my Belly Balm. And all of a sudden it’s imperative that I find it.

Out of all the urgent and necessary things to be taken care of, that doesn’t even make the list.

And yet it’s on my mind.

Ah, the joy of those pregnancy hormones.

Believing Impossible Things

“There is no use trying,” said Alice; “one can’t believe impossible things.” “I dare say you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” – Lewis Carroll

I have led a blameless life; I have trusted in the Lord without wavering. – Psalm 26:1

Abraham believed the lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith. – Genesis 15:6

The first quote is from a magnet on my refrigerator. I don’t know where it came from or who gave it to me, but I like it. And I see it every day, though I don’t often read it. But it’s there, and it reminds me, in the charming way of Alice and the Queen, that one can believe the impossible.

Then I was reading my Bible the other day, and came across Psalm 26. It’s a psalm that King David wrote, and as I read it, I mentally screeched to a halt. Wait a minute, a blameless life? This is King David talking. The guy that saw a married woman bathing on her roof. Then committed adultery with her. When she got pregnant, he sent her husband off to the front lines of war to get killed. This is the man who wasn’t a perfect parent (I only know of one perfect parent, and His kids mess up all the time, but that’s not the point here). This is the youngest son of many, who watched the sheep, killed a bear and a lion, great soldier and warrior, became the king, yeah, a great guy, but a person. A person who still makes mistakes and really couldn’t be classified as “blameless.” But it goes on to clarify: I trusted in the Lord without wavering.

Immediately I thought of the verse in Genesis where Abraham believes what God tells him about how his life is going to be, and God considers Abraham righteous (blameless) because of his faith.

Both David and Abraham had some pretty specific things to believe God about. David was anointed as a teenage boy as the future king. And Abraham was told that he was going to have a son and be the father of many nations, with descendants too numerous to keep sorted out.

But I have promises from God, too. There is a plan and a future for my life that will be good for me. God uses everything in my life for my good. God will complete the work that He began in my life. He’ll never leave me or forsake me or even disown me. It’s not super easy to keep them at the front of my mind, but it’s even harder to trust in Jesus without wavering. THAT’S the hard part.

But, (how many sentences/paragraphs have I begun with “but”??) can I do like the Queen and believe impossible things? Why not? I have a God who specializes in the impossible.

Always be joyful.

Pray continually.

Be thankful in all circumstances.

Believe the impossible. Without wavering.

That’s quite the list.