Wednesday, October 29, 2014


It was the perfect day to turn three.

Miss Elle has been longing for her "berfday" since Alvin's party in June.  She was suddenly struck with the full force of realization that everyone has a birthday.  Birthdays mean cake and presents and a whole day dedicated to YOU!  And she was ready to experience one for herself.  (The poor dear doesn't remember her super special First Birthday, sniff)

But first it was Alvin's special day.

The next month was all about  Dee.

We celebrated Cy the month after that.

And all the while, Ell would plaintively query "When's my berfday?  I want a pink cake and a pink dress and a pink house on my berfday!  In Octobuh!"  The poor girl has no idea when or what October is, but she is sure it will be pink.  And it will be all about her.

And she would be correct.

Finally the day arrived.  October 24th.  Maybe it's because she is my first girl.  Maybe it's because after a three month rash of boyish birthdays to commemorate, September is gloriously quiet.  Maybe it's because this day will always hold a double significance as the day God spared my life so I can continue to be a mother to my small brood.  Maybe it's because Thanksgiving is in the air.  Whatever the cause, October 24th finds me ready to seriously party!

I have this  thing with Cinderella.  It started back as a toddler, watching the old VHS tape my grandma had recorded off the Disney Channel.  I loved the mice and the Bippidy, Boppidy Boo song.  I loved the pumpkins and the fairy dust that sparkled everywhere.  Then I grew into a wild, heathenish tomboy that scoffed at such foo-foo frippery.  My inner princess lay forgotten and neglected for the next 25 years. 

Until Elle was laid in my arms. 

She is my princess.

So, guess the theme for her first birthday . . .

It's like Cinderella just grabbed a hold of my shopping cart and started throwing Disney licensed merchandise in.  We had printed plates, and napkins and a printed tablecloth.  Never in my life had I bought licensed merchandise to wipe my mouth on.  But I N.E.E.D.E.D. those sparkly napkins!  And let me tell you about my Pumpkin Votive Candelabra!  It's gorgeous.  That is all. 

There had been a serious Cinderella Void in my life and I was just now recognizing it.

So, Elle's first birthday was a Cinderella-palooza.  So what?  I'm not going to have favorites here.  Every child deserves a super special first birthday with printed napkins (even though the boys never got that, shh!).  That doesn't mean I'll do something that elaborate every year.  I managed to keep myself in check for her second birthday.  I don't even remember what I did for her second birthday, that's how lazy sane and sensible I was.

It was the first of October and her much anticipated third birthday was looming.  I wasn't quite sure how to best celebrate.  I figured I'd bake a strawberry cake and invite a few friends and family over.  But what's this in the mail box?  A flyer advertising the Tulsa Opera's production of Cinderella?  Playing on Elle's very own birthday?  I was a goner already . . .

Rob had already made plans to go camping with friends on that day.  (No stressing over planning the perfect birthday for him!)  He was sad to not get to take his princess to her very first opera, but he managed to survive, strangely enough.  There was nothing left for me to do but to find a suitable dress for Senorita Elle.

I found this dress at Toy's R Us.  When she tried it on, her whole face sparkled.  She knew this was THE dress.  Everything about it made her feel princess-y.  As for me, all those repressed girly notions from my tomboy days came flooding back.  I totally understand how moms can get so caught up in making sure their daughters have their own dream wedding.  I had better get all this out of my system now . . .

Since I now had one extra ticket I called up my good friend, Lisa, and asked her to come with us.  She had never been to an opera before and was really excited to go.  She sparkled too.  There is an inner Cinderella in all of us, I'm telling ya.

Seven thirty finally arrived.  We were seated, the lights dimmed, the first haunting note of the oboe sounded out, long and clear.  The orchestra tuning up always gives me goosebumps.  Then came the National Anthem.  A full house standing and singing at the top of their operatic lungs always gives my goosebumps goosebumps.  At last, the overture over and the curtain drawn, Cinderella is dutifully scrubbing whilst singing.  The evil stepsisters are prancing and cavorting across the stage.  The audience is under their spell, not a whisper or rustle is to be heard.  Save for the three year old diva beside me who demands to know, "When is it my turn to dance up there?"  She did not whisper.

All in all, it was a magical evening.  The night ended as all good fairy tales should, with fairy dust and a kiss.  And Taco Bell.  Most fairy tale books leave Taco Bell out of it.  Holding a princess with a real, live hoop skirt in one's lap for two hours will make one excruciatingly hungry.  The best remedy is a Chalupa Supreme.

The next day we had our pink cake party with a few friends that happen to be family. 

Happy Birthday, Miss Elle!  I hope you have enough happy memories to last you until your next berfday.  It's not until next Octobuh, you know.

Next up, Ana . . . I'm thinking February is the perfect month for a Frozen party.

 I wonder if they have any napkins for that?

P.S. I am excited to announce my new Facebook page.  I'm finally beginning to feel like a real writer now!  You can find me on Facebook under Chores Of Opportunity.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Prayin' For Peace And Patience!

I knew I was in trouble last week when I looked at the calendar and every day for the next 10 days was triple booked.

But what's a girl to do when there are so many fabulous, educational opportunities out there.  Especially a girl whose blog's middle name is Opportunity!

 So, last Monday was Cy's orange belt test.  He did a fantastic job!  I wish I had a picture to post, but I don't.  You'll just have to take my word for it. 

Tuesday was Tulsa State Fair Day. 

Cy is actually on this crazy ride!

Wednesday and Thursday was Cram Like Crazy to get a week's worth of lessons completed.  That didn't exactly work out like I had hoped, but plenty did get done.

Friday afternoon I drove to Oklahoma City.  We spent Friday evening playing Boggle and Scattergories with my crazy brothers and saintly mother.  I don't know how she managed to keep her sanity raising four rowdy boys and two equally rowdy girls.  Maybe I should interview her for a "How Do You Do It?!" post. 

Saturday was spent with my Father In Law, at the Oklahoma International Bluegrass Festival in Gutherie.  It was a very pleasant day, with perfect temperatures, blue skies, happy kids and good music.  Since Gutherie is only 30 minutes from my In Law's house, I drove back to put the kids down for naps (I may have snuck a tiny nap myself).  I went back to the festival in the evening for the headliner shows.  It was so much fun to snuggle down into a lawn chair with baby Ana and listen to folk songs under the stars.

I roused the troops early the next morning and lit out for Tulsa.  We made it to church, only, you guessed it, 3 minutes late!  And yes, my church is worth getting out of bed and making a two hour drive for.  And since it was First Sunday, we had a potluck dinner.  Oh yeah!

Here's where things get tricky.  You might need to tighten your seat belt:

After Fellowship dinner I headed home, unpacked and repacked the three middle kids.  Cy was scheduled for an adenoidectomy and turbinate reduction early Monday morning.  Sweet Aunt 'Nana and Uncle Clint took my munchkins off my hands for the night.  Cy got to spend the evening being an *almost* only child, eating pizza in living room and watching Dances With Wolves with us.  Things got a wee bit hairy towards the middle of the movie.  It's amazing what one forgets over time.  What we remembered as perfectly acceptable, historical drama was suddenly quite embarrassing.  We are going to have to be more careful in reviewing movies online before we embark!

Monday was devoted entirely to Cy's surgery and recovery.  The offending adenoids were removed and the swollen nasal turbinate reduced.  I sure hope this helps him to breathe easier.  The tissue was blocking nearly 95% of his nasal passage.

Tuesday morning came waaaay too early.  I had three wart hogs to get to the dermatologist by 7:30!  A.M.!!  That was not particularly pleasant.  After forking over a hefty co-pay x 3, the Dr proceeded to tell me that because of Government regulations (i.e. ObamaCare) he was not allowed to offer treatment on our first visit.  But I could pick up a prescription version of Compound W to use in the mean time.  Great.  I can't be trusted to get my kid's teeth brushed twice a day.  Treating warts twice a day is probably not going to happen.

We returned home for a few hours before my next appointment.  Sweet Miss Velma took the kids while I went in for my yearly exam with Dr Silver.  I specifically wanted to talk to him about my roller coaster hormones.  The best he could advise was for me to take the mini-pill, Micronor.  It might help.  Or it might make things worse. I guess I'll find out in about a month.  I hope to follow this with a post about what steps I am taking to address some of my health issues. 

After the doctor, I went to the pharmacy to pick up the super duper Compound W that requires a prescription.  My insurance doesn't cover it.

BUT, my trip was not a waste!  I bought myself a couple of quality candles.  So far, this has been the highlight of my week.  You see, waaaay back on Monday morning I "just happened" to read a post by Courtney at Women Living Well.  October is her Making Your Home A Haven month.  I was intrigued.  The first week's challenge is to light a candle every day.  Whenever you see it, the flame reminds you to pray for Peace and Patience.  This is my sort of challenge!  I just needed an inspiring candle first.  I wound up with two.  An Apple Cider one for the kitchen and a romantic Paris inspired fragrance for my bedroom.  But, of course, I couldn't rush home and light them.  First I had to drive back to Coweta to pick up the kids, then back to Tulsa to help my brother move into his  apartment.  The day ended with pizza.  And that, my friends, is a good end to any day.  Oh, and I lit my candles.

Wednesday promised to be a much slower paced day.  I only had to be at the podiatrist by 10:15 and then I was home free until church time!  We boogied out of the house in a timely fashion.  I had just turned the radio up when Rob called.  The exterminator was coming at 1.

We have been plagued by creepy crawlies all year, not the least of which are fiddle back spiders and scorpions.  I am so NOT okay with a scorpion curled up in the tray of the baby's exersaucer.  Especially not when the baby is in her exersaucer!  Thankfully, no one has been bit or stung yet.  But really, that is just disturbing.  I think an exterminator is a great idea in theory.  It's just the details that were snowing me under.  I got home around noonish.  Which meant I had approximately ONE HOUR to empty all the cabinets, drawers and closets.  Cover all the dishes.  Remove all the food and  remove all the children.

I lit my candles.

Peace and Patience, Peace and Patience, Peace and Patience.  That was my non stop prayer.  The kids helped and we got the job done.  The house was a wreck.  Worse than moving.  Worse than evacuating for a wild fire.  My nesting mojo had long since worn off.  The pantry was encrusted in, well, crusts and crumbs.

I drug my weary carcass off to Sherry's house to lick my wounds until our Wednesday evening prayer service.

Coming home was a nightmare.  All the dishes, all the pullups, all the toothbrushes, all the nose sprays for Cy's recovery, gone.



The roofers were due to arrive at the crack of dawn, we had music lessons at 10:30 and I had a chiropractor and an orthotist appointment.  It turns out, one of my legs is shorter than the other.  This would explain why my right knee, hip and shoulder have always given me trouble.  I also pronate.  That is why I wear tennis shoes exclusively.  I am going to need custom built orthotics.  I am so glad our insurance is caught up for the year.  This is why I had so many doctor appointments this week.  We are trying to address all of our issues before the end of the year.  If the pace doesn't kill me first . .

The view from my kitchen
Did I mention our air conditioner is out?  It's 85 degrees in here.  The boys are dripping with sweat.  Why do little boys drip so much?  Just wondering.  Anyways, back to the story . . .

Once I returned home, I set all my candles ablaze.

This is my peaceful candle

 Ah, a tiny haven of peace and serenity.

 Okay, a rather dwindling haven of peace and serenity.

All right, all right, it's just a tiny pin point of light, awash in a sea of tumult and confusion.  And a fire hazard.

But that's okay.  It's a starting point.  Once you light a candle, you kind of have to clean the area around it for safety.  And the peace spreads from there.

Here is a peaceful corner in my room.

No, really.  It's just a corner . . .

How often do you see a beautiful photograph of a serene candle on a serene table with a serene family?  How often do you feel a twinge of jealousy, despair even.  Has it ever kept you from lighting a candle yourself?  Might I suggest that such images are just cleverly photoshopped?  Closely cropped, airbrushed, offending reality completely removed . . .

You don't have to have a clean, peaceful kitchen in order to "deserve" a peaceful, serene candle.  What I am learning this week is that I am the candle.  When I light a candle, I am reminding myself that I am my family's enviroment.  I am also being reminded that I am just a little pin point of light.  The Light of the world is Jesus!  I need to be kindled by Him!

I really didn't intend for this week to be as hectic as it was.  It just sort of happened to me.  I certainly did not begin the week with Peace and Patience on my mind.  But this is the lesson God has for me.  My plans get shot to pieces.  I feel like I could shoot others to pieces.  And I have, with my words.  But then a waft of Apple Cider hits me square in the nose, a glimmer catches my eye and I start mumbling, "Peace and Patience, Lord!"

And you know what?

It works!

Let there be peace on earth and let it begin in my bedroom!