Sunday, December 28, 2008

Missing Items

My deodorant has been missing for 2 days, and I was getting very stinky. Today I was doing laundry, and I found my deodorant at the bottom of the laundry basket. Apparently, someone knocked it down the laundry chute. The moral of the story pays to do laundry. Now I'm missing my left slipper. Sarah is high on my list of suspects....

Thursday, December 25, 2008


Last night, I played every Christmas song I know on my harp at the Apostolic Christian Home for the Handicapped. They were a rowdy crew, which is my favorite kind. Sarah had a pretty dress on, and she danced her little heart out while I played. Then we went to the Christmas Eve service at our church. Just when you think you've heard every Christmas sermon, our pastor delivered a fresh, great one, and the kids were good listeners. At the end, everyone held a candle and we sang "Silent Night". Sarah looked like an absolute angel with her pretty face lit up by candlelight, as she held her candle high. I leaned over and whispered to her, "You're beautiful," and she put her arm around me and whispered back, "You're beautiful." That's a lovely picture, isn't it? Unfortunately, she was up too late last night and didn't get enough sleep, so the OTHER Sarah appeared this morning, grouchy and disagreeable. The first present she opened was from Noah. He had picked out a glass bubble gum ornament for her because he knows she likes bubble gum and pretty things. Noah asked excitedly, "Do you like it?" She promptly dropped it on the ground and said, "No. I didn't want an ornament." Then she followed the clues in her treasure hunt to a new game. We started playing it, but she grabbed all the pieces and declared the game over because "it's boring". Just when I thought the little grinch was going to ruin Christmas for everyone, she turned back into the Sarah we all know and love. The neighbor across the street had given Noah and Sarah $20 for Christmas. A homeless woman that we've been helping called this morning and said she needed $20. Immediately, Sarah said, "She can have my Christmas money." So I was reminded...never give up on Sarah.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


I'm playing my harp at a home for mentally challenged people today. Since I'm taking the kids with me, I had a conversation with them about what to expect and what not to do (i.e., don't point and stare or make comments or ask loud questions). After I tried to explain how the people's brains don't work quite the same as ours, Noah said, "Are they very contagious?" I'm glad he asked that, because I wouldn't have thought to explain that we don't need to be afraid of catching anything. Later, Noah asked me how TVs work, so I was explaining about how our brains assemble pixels into images, and Noah asked, "So...the people you're playing the harp for, can they watch TV, or do their brains not understand pixels?"

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Kitchen Helper

After dinner tonight, Noah asked if he could help me clean up the kitchen. I never turn down help. He filled water bottles and put them in the fridge, put the leftover food in the fridge, wiped off the table, and washed the dishes. While he was washing, he said, "Is this what you do every night while I'm playing with Dad?" I said yes, and he said sincerely, "Thanks for doing all that, Mom."

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Mike arranged a getaway for the two of us for the first time since we've had children. He asked both sets of parents to take the kids while we stayed at the Embassy Suites in East Peoria for two nights. I've always considered it the ultimate selfishness to expect our parents to take on our responsibilities. They've already raised their children and deserve to just enjoy being grandparents. But this mini vacation was important to Mike, and I knew I had to submit. I knew Noah would be very sad, and leaving them felt like cutting off my right arm. I worried, prayed, and cried a lot in anticipation of the weekend. I had several realizations that caused me to come to a certain peace about it. I realized that maybe I was the one being selfish by keeping the kids all to myself, and maybe the grandparents would actually WANT the kids overnight. I realized that maybe Noah needed this opportunity to grow and see that he will be ok without me. And I realized that since it was so hard for me to even think about letting go, maybe I needed to too. I started thinking about two nights in a hotel with a pool and a hot tub, reading a book, sleeping late, talking with my husband uninterrupted, not having to cook or clean, and I started warming up to the idea. In the end, the kids did great and had a good time on their first sleepovers with Grandma & Grandpa and Nana & Papa, and Mike and I enjoyed a fabulous time together.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Rudeness and Sweetness

The kids were being rude to each other, and I was discouraged. A few minutes later, Noah was lying down with his head next to Sarah's leg, and she was very tenderly stroking his hair. The sun was shining on them, and nobody was saying a word. It was heavenly. Then it got even better. Still petting his shaggy hair, Sarah said, "Your hair is getting long. I think you're going to grow up to be a woman!" Noah laughed and said, "No matter how long my hair gets, I'll always be a male." Sarah said sincerely, "You are a beautiful person." I think it was the sweetest moment I've ever witnessed between them, and I cried for joy.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Healthy "Chips and Dip"

I told the kids they could have chips and dip for a snack. They were totally excited. I set before them...hummus and baked pita chips. They eagerly dove into it. Sarah dipped her chip, put it in her mouth, and scowled. She pointed her finger up in the air and said unhappily, " NOT dip. And THIS is NOT a chip." Noah thought it was great and unquestioningly ate his share in addition to Sarah's. I never did tell them that it was hummus. Why does the healthy stuff have to cost ten times more and taste one tenth as good as the bad fatty stuff?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Sarah Sayings

Sarah has been extra funny today. Here's a sampling:
We were doing math during lunch, and Sarah asked me, "What's six plus six?" With food in my mouth, I answered, "Twelve". Silence for a few seconds, and then she said, "Don't you know what six plus six is?" I told her that I already said twelve, and she said she thought I had said, "Weeellll...." as if I was thinking about it.
Mike and I were referring to each other in terms of endearment. I said, "What kind of cookies would you like me to make, Honey Biscuit?" and he said, "Chocolate chip is fine, Sweet Muffin." Sarah piped up, "I like chocolate chip too, Toasty Bread."
While we were making the cookies, I was teaching her the names of different groups of animals. I told her that a group of penguins is called a colony, and she said, "We're making a colony of chocolate chip cookies!"

Friday, December 5, 2008

Nutcracker & Embarrassment

I took the kids to see The Nutcracker today. They loved it. At the end, the dancers came out so we could meet them. Sarah looked up at one of them in awe and said, "You are so beautiful!" Sarah was complaining of ear pain the whole time, and she went face down near the end of the ballet, so when we got home at 2:50, I called the doctor to see if I could get her an appointment. By some miracle, they had a cancellation at 3:00, so we left immediately. On the way to the office, I was explaining to Sarah that she would not be seeing her usual doctor because he was not available. I knew the doctor she was seeing, so when she asked me what he looked like, I said, "He's young and cute." Of course when he walked in the room, Sarah said, "Oh, you ARE young and cute just like Mom said!" I actually blushed.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Henry Kissinger

Sarah looked at this picture on the box of vanilla wafers and said, "Look at that vanilla ice cream with the vanilla wafers." I said it was probably strawberry ice cream since it's pink, and she stubbornly insisted that it was definitely vanilla. I asked her why it was pink, and she said, "Because they put food coloring in the vanilla ice cream." I was staring at her, trying to rise above these ridiculous kind of arguments that we've had since she first learned to speak. Noah, always the mature diplomat, gave me a histrionic wink and said, "I'm sure you're right, Sarah."

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Bad Words

The kids were playing pleasantly together in Noah's room while I was in the kitchen, and I heard them having a discussion about bad words. Here's how it went:
Noah: Why can't we say whatever words we want to say?
Sarah: I don't know.
Noah: Go ask Mom.
Sarah (coming into the kitchen): Mom, why can't we say whatever words we want?
Me: Because some words are not good for you to say.
Sarah goes back to Noah's room and says: Because some words are not good to say.
N: Which ones?
S: I'll ask Mom....Mom, which ones?
M: Well I'm not going to say them because that would require saying them.
N: We've heard you say them before anyway.
M: Well, I'm trying not to say them.
N: Can we say butt?
M: No.
N: Stupid?
M: No.
N: Shut up?
M: No.
N: [unrepeatable expletive]?
M: Certainly not.
N: But you say it when you're mad.
M: Yes, well...I shouldn't.
N: Why can't we say it? What's so bad about it?
M: It hurts people's feelings and makes God sad.
Several minutes of relative quiet, and then Sarah comes out again, sent on another mission.
S: Can we just say the bad words quietly to ourselves?
M: No. Because if you say them in your mind, they will eventually come out of your mouth.
She reports this to Noah, and he laments, "Oh, man. I really want to say bad words!"

Frog Funeral

Slimy Guy, our pet frog, died yesterday. Noah didn't want to have the funeral without his friend Maddie, because she's the one who found the tadpole at the lake last summer. She kept him in her garage in a cooler for a week, but then her mom needed to use the cooler, and somehow we were awarded custody of the tadpole. By fall, he had become a frog, and we were feeding him flies and crickets that we captured. When the weather started getting cold, I suggested that we release Slimy Guy at the lake so he could "find a wife" before winter. Noah became so upset that he cried hysterically for days. He kept sobbing about how he wanted Slimy Guy to have a wife, but he just couldn't bear to let him go. I ended up buying a fire belly toad at the pet store to be Slimy Guy's wife. So instead of getting rid of the one frog we had, we ended up with two. I had to buy crickets at the pet store to feed them. All was well for several weeks, until yesterday when Slimy went belly up. I called Maddie and invited her and her sister to the funeral. After school, they dutifully turned up to mourn. Sarah hugged them both and said, "I'm sorry for your loss." We gathered around the toilet for a lovely ceremony, and Sarah flushed the body. Noah seemed fine, but later, we were looking at a picture of Noah taking a bath with Slimy Guy, and that started the tears. It took him a long, long time to fall asleep last night because he was so sad. The pictures show Slimy Guy on Noah's head, and the sad mourners at the funeral.