Thursday, January 31, 2008

The strongest woman I know...

Mimi and Will
from Mimi...
"So, after living all this, HOW can we survive and stay sane as grieving parents?
How can we make thru an hour, never mind a day without feeling the excruciating pain of not having our baby to hold?
Because you can’t just set everything aside, or try to forget and go on with your life. I don’t mean forget about your child, I mean about the pain, the endless longing for a kiss . Everything, I mean EVERYTHING around you reminds you of his absence.
Well, how about this, how about, instead of seeing his absence in everything, YOU decide to see his presence. What if everything around you brings back his presence? What if instead of crying when you see a stuffed animal, his favorite show on TV, his blanket, the smell of his lotion, his world, what if you smiled instead?
What if instead of trying to put away his things all in one safe place, so you don’t always have to see them and be sad, you just hang pictures of his sweet face everywhere, let his little brother wear his clothes, play with his toys, ride his bike, and for his big brothers make sure you turn on the TV and show movies of them all playing together.
I believe it will make a difference in our grieving process and in order to keep his memory alive. Keep him close to your heart and close to your eyes… And yes, there are and will be times where it gets to be too much, the pain too deep and the emptiness too great.
I know my bathroom floor won't ever be lonely. I know my boys will have melt downs and me with them, it is hard to comfort them when you are broken yourself, but it helps for them to see you crying, too. I know one of my hands will feel empty and stay in my pocket for many more years. I know that William won’t ever truly remember Julian (up to us to give him memories).
And I also know that thru those time, I won't ever be alone. I know that He will always be there to pick me up from my floor, I know He will always wrap His arms around my boys when they are sad, I know that He will give me strength to comfort the boys, I know that He will take my hand when I miss my lil’ man, and I know He will guide us to make sure Julian is never forgotten…
The promise of God’s presence thru good and bad times is what keeps me going… I couldn’t even imagine going thru such horror as a non believer. God has been, is and will always be my rock and my strength thru the struggles and the fun times…And I am so blessed for that….
And remember, never forget to kiss your children goodnight, even if they are asleep, they know…. Mimi"
Mimi,Ken and the Boys 111 Aviator Dr.
Fort Worth,Tx 76179

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Scribbles in my sketchbook...

Newest picture book excerpt...

I am counting the days until our adoption is final! So excited! I have always told our little man "his story" - how much he understands at two, I am not sure. But I always wanted to write a picture book that would make adoption magical in a child's eyes. It is magical to me as the mom, but I want him to always know what a miracle his placement in our home was and continues to be...here is an excerpt from the work-in-progress... YOU ARE MY FAVORITE COLOR! *************************************** What is in her belly, Momma? A baby, my sweet. How did it get in there? God took little pieces of Heaven and tossed them into the air. They fluttered and fell to the earth and nestled themselves into the bellies of many different women. Sounds scary, Momma. Not scary, my love. A miracle. A sweet, sweet miracle. Was I in your belly, Momma? You, my dear, grew in your first momma’s belly. But how did I find you, Momma? What a wonderful story. It was God. God helped you to find me. How, Momma? God chose for us to be a family. Your forever family.

How does he choose, Momma? He matched the color of your heart to mine. A perfect match.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

B-O-R-I-N-G....

So, I have decided that I have got to be the most BORING person in the world. Here is my day at a glance...get the toothpicks, use them to hold up your eyelids and continue reading...humor me. 6:00am - for some reason I am awake...the only person awake in the house...this NEVER happens. get up, shower, heat up left-over coffee and sit down at my computer. work on an adoption picture book manuscript for a while. 7:00am - baby is up. snuggle. start making lunches. 8:20am - kids on bus. play in rain with golf ball - baby's idea, not mine. 9:30am - head to Target. buy a potty seat, a booster seat, laundry detergent, liquid plumber, baby slippers and chocolate covered Altoids. 11:00am - head home. 11:45am - eat lunch. 1:00pm - my mom pops in for a visit. 1:30pm - baby down for nap. 1:30-3:00pm - laundry and editing of picture book. answer some emails. 4:00pm - speech therapist comes for baby's therapy. kids come home from school. 5:30pm - eat dinner. roasted turkey breast, peas and butternut squash. 7:30pm - baby to bed. 8:00pm - American Idol. fold laundry. 9:00pm - big kids to bed. 9:20pm - web, email, blog, editing, other writing. eat some ice cream. 11:30pm - chat with Dawn and Steph while I teach myself about site feeds...what?! 12:18am - still here. craving more ice cream. I struggle each day with feeling not-so-productive. Now I know why! Sheesh.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Tagged...

You all know how much I LOVE LOVE LOVE being tagged for fun things!! And Julie over at I love my Life left me a heads up that she had just tagged me!! YEAH! So, read on...and be sure to see who I tagged at the bottom of the MEME! (Can ANYONE tell me WHY it is called that??!) It's THE 5 RANDOMS!! THE MISSION: Share five random/weird things about myself. Share five places that I "want to see or want to see again." Tag five random people and link to them...and let them know they've been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog. Alrighty...here goes.... (and those of you who have read my "randoms" (example 1) (example 2) (example 3)before...this is getting harder and harder to do without repeating! Does that make ME random??) Five random things about me: 1. I quit the field hockey team after the first practice because the coach scared me. 2. I am very double jointed 3. I once told my little sister that her favorite toy was in the bottom of the sleeping bag and when she went in to get it, I rolled it up and sat on the end so she couldn't get out. To this day she is freakishly claustrophobic...you don't think I had anything to do with that, do you? 4. I live a mile from the house I grew up in a development that used to be the dairy farm of twins I would ride to Penn State with to see my boyfriend. I ended up marrying that boyfriend's roommate and bought my headpiece for our wedding in the Bridal shop that was owned by the mom of those twins (the Bridal shop was in her house). I now live on that property with the roommate (aka: hubby). 5. I am afraid of the dark. Five places I want to see or want to see again: 1. Switzerland - have been there - would love to go back. 2. Bar Harbor, ME - where we honeymooned 3. Disney - AGAIN! 4. The Oprah Show - never have been, would PEE if I went! 5. ANY island! - have only been to beaches on the east coast Five random people I have to tag: 1. Dawn - because she ROCKS! 2. Steph - because she ROCKS! 3. Heather - because she ROCKS! 4. Tracy - because she ROCKS! 5. Kendra - because she ROCKS!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Fly High...

A celebration...

Because laughter is the best medicine...

Hello blog family. It has been a rough week. For all of us. Most of all Mimi and her family.
It has been hard for me to "think funny" during this week and I know most of you feel the same way. I was chatting with Dawn about my feelings on this...do I keep writing funny, do I take a hiatus, how do I start back in the swing of things while our dear friend Mimi mourns?
Dawn told me (she always has the right thing to say) that awhile back Mimi told her to 'keep the humor coming' so SHE would have a place to escape to when things got to be too much to bear. So, in keeping with that request...
I am back (still sad) but BACK!
Here's what's been going on in my nest.
So, a funny thing happened yesterday...SOMEONE wrote about ME in our LOCAL PAPER! My old editor is now a contributing columnist and he gave me a huge pat on the back. Thanks, Brian! Although I have been writing for quite sometime now, I have NEVER been the subject of an article! I think I actually blushed! Now, to give you the full picture, our town has about 3,000 people in it...although the paper says, "We deliver hometown news to more than 50,000 readers." But, anyway, it was cool! The line for autographs starts to the left of my big, swollen head!
I have also been following the miracles on the Confessions of a CF Husband blog. Amazing story! Another amazing family in need of prayer. Because of this blog I came across a beautiful woman, Amber Nicole Metz, who wrote a book called Breathtaking, she is so amazing...her faith is so strong. I have not yet started her book, but will fill you in as I read her story.
I have won my FIRST blogging award for which I am thrilled, thrilled, thrilled!!! A very special Mommy over at Life with My Special Ks gave it to me! You can peek at it in my side bar. I am passing it on to Dawn because if it wasn't for her, our plight for Julian would not have been so successful...so Dawn, here ya go! Copy/Paste and Pass it on.

I have also been considering doing a video-feed blog every now and then...like Ross Mathews, my funny man from NBC! Although I have done a couple takes and for some reason, I have severe "malformation of the face" when I talk on video. I certainly hope that is NOT what I look like when I talk for real....friends who have seen me in person, please respond to this! Do I look like one side of my face is paralyzed when I talk? Does the left side of my bottom lip try to switch places with the right when I say vowels? What the heck is the deal? I have seen ROSS do a 'Talky Blog' from his bed...on a sick day and he looks GREAT! Oh, creative ones...what will my Talky Blog be called - I can't copy Ross's name. OH - HAPPY BLOGGER-VERSARY TO ME!!!! Jan 22nd was my ONE YEAR! You are all BIG chickens! I put out there about a week ago that I thought it would be fun to do a Spring Cleaning Advice Swap with all of you - my thousands of readers. I thought we could post pictures of your home's trouble spots and then have the creative/organized freaks readers give us some OCD helpful hints to remedy our problems. You know what I got in my inbox? More than one of these... "(sigh) You are not going to believe this, but I just finished organizing my whole house right before I sat down to read your blog today. Seriously, my spices are alphabetized, my toilet paper has been fluffed, windows washed, closets cleaned, nothing is under anyone's beds, the dog has been groomed and I weaned my husband from his addiction the the remote. ALL in the last five minutes before I sat down tha the computer. Would have LOVED to have been a part of this, though!" Ya know what I say? COC (translation: CROCK OF CRAP!) You are all just big chickens! And I say that with a smile...although if I am on camera it would be a strange-looking one! So, I think you are all caught up...so I leave you with a photo of what my week was like and my mantra for you to steal, if you like...

Imgoingtomyhappyplace...Imgoingtomyhappyplace...

Oh, sheesh, I almost forgot!! Today I sent off (with a prayer and a kiss) a completely REVAMPED Macy-Sue manuscript to Marshall Cavendish Children's Books in NYC. I was at the SCBWI conference in September and all the editors there were from publishing houses who do NOT accept unsolicited manuscripts. As an attendee you can send in an unagented manuscript for up to 4 months after the conference and they will consider it.

Here's a snippet:

“Oh dear, this just won’t do,” Macy-Sue looked around her room at the peeling purple wallpaper. “Mommy’s tea party should be fancy, not falling apart.” She picked at the tattered, curling edges. R-r-r-r-ip. She ripped the paper from the walls, strip by strip. She ripped, twirled and giggled as the purple ribbons trailed behind her and tickled her ankles. Her dance sent her foot right through the picture window of her dollhouse and she landed with a THUD.

Mrs. La Rue was distracted by the noise and scolded from her office chair, “Macy-Sue La Rue, find something else to do!”

So she did.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Saying Goodbye...

Image from Julian's "treasure box"...

Last night was Juju's viewing, the funeral is today at 11am...PLEASE pray at 11 for Mimi and their family and friends!

My brain will not let me go to where Mimi's must be. I cannot even begin to imagine how badly her heart aches for Julian. And today she has to put her baby in the ground. Forever.

Her words from this morning... "Last night was so bitter sweet... I couldn't get myself anywhere near Julian's caskett. Nope, wasn't gonna do it. I saw him fight for his last breath, I held him multiple times that day. I went to see him at the funeral home on Monday. But last night, I just couldn't do it. Quinn's mom Diane told me a story about a nine year old little girl seeing a child's caskett, she said it was so pretty it looked like a treasure box, indeed, it is a treasure, you put your treasure in there, your most valuable treasure, and then you burry it... So many people showed up. I dont know how many but it was quite overwhelming . Familiar faces, total strangers...Well strangers to me, not to Julian. They all knew about the King. A few know him from the care page, a lot are friends of friends. And then our close support group. Our Angels, Cindy,Linda and Carla, Dr O. , Sam, Tamye were there. Sam's 4th grade teachers came and brought him a bear from build a bear. Renee brought a yellow care bear, which ended up in the treasure box. So many people so many gestures... One present was the hardest to look at but I hold it so very close. It is a drawing from Kiley, beautiful, sweet Kiley. A coloring of Cinderella and her Prince dancing. She says Julian will be her prince for Halloween. What do we tell her? Then there were my boys, (well Teresa's boys) Ethan(15) and Oakley(12) who hadn't seen Ju since the beginning of Dec. when he was still interacting, playing, talking, laughing, telling them to shut up, then now just still, quiet and cold in his treasure box... They were so sad, their heart broken like mine, he was their little bubba... Anyways... I need to get ready. I dont know how to get ready, who could...We will take pictures of the balloons." I can hear her pain. I ache for her and I feel helpless...what in the world could I possibly do for her? I considered flying out to the funeral, I thought of flowers and gifts I could send, I thought of poems I could write and portraits I could draw. But, right now, is that what she needs? Something else to look at? Something else to write a 'thank you' for? No. What she needs is a FEELING, a special TOUCH from God. She needs to feel an overwhelming sense of peace that can only come from her Father in Heaven. Philippians 4:7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Please visit Julian's guest book and leave a message. Please light a candle...even if you have already, they only stay lit for 48 hours so you can go back and re-light one. PLEASE put a link to this post or post your own prayer request for the Avery's. Feel free to email me with messages for Mimi - I will pass them along. michellebrownlow@yahoo.com My heart is breaking for them. I will spend the day praying for her peace, will you? In lieu of flowers, Mimi is asking that anyone who wants to give makes donations to either Make-A-Wish or Cook's Children's Hospital in Ft. Worth, TX. Just google those names and follow the links to the donations page.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

OK, my praying friends...

Dear friends,
Our Mimi needs us now MORE than she ever has. She is hurting so badly and she needs our prayers!
She writes: "Empty shell are the words that came to my mind today as I laid my eyes on Julian's so very still body. It made it so real, so final... I felt like I was at the wax museum, it looked like Ju but it was just a cold, hard ,wax copy of Julian . It wasn't him , how could it ? Surely I left him at home playing with the boys... Seeing him laying in his caskett was unbelievably painful, my heart cracked a little more, a little deeper. I won't EVER get to hold my child again, EVER... Nothing is more final than that."
Julian's viewing is Wednesday night from 6-8pm at their church and his funeral is Thursday at 11am where yellow balloons will be released. (yellow was Juju's favorite color)
You can read his obituary and sign his guest book here.
You can join the near-thousand people and light a candle for him here.
I am hoping that everyone reading this will post a picture of Mimi and/or Julian on their blog and ask your readers to pray for the strength she will need not just in the coming days but in her lifetime without her baby Ju. PLEASE.

Monday, January 21, 2008

A Dedication...

The song you are listening to is "Gone Away" by the Offspring... dedicated to a little boy who has changed my life forever. I may have never laid eyes on you, Juju, but you have filled my heart...truly FILLED my heart! See Mimi's poem below... grab the tissues. Mimi is asking that in lieu of flowers anyone who wishes to give will make a donation to Cooks Hospital or Make-A-Wish Foundation in honor of Julian.

A Poem from Mimi...

Fly high…
Fly high, lil man,
The sun and you are one.
You won’t ever be cold again,
I will always keep my eyes to the skies…
Today, the sunshine was a little warmer,
Tonight, the Milky Way a little brighter.
I feel your hand in mine and your face on my chest.
I feel you looking up at me, Begging for a kiss.
“Just one more kiss, Mama…
One more dinosaur kiss,
Because I really like you"
Come closer baby, It is ok now,
You are done fighting ,
You are done hurting.
Give me one more smile,
One more silly face,
And one more hug…
You can go, now,you can go,
The boys will be fine,
Daddy and I will love on them for you…
My heart is shattered, baby,
But so much bigger,so full of love…
I will miss you forever…
So for now, Fly high, lil man…
With your brand new wings,
Fly high, all the way to Heaven…
Good night, sweet pea, sleep tight,
Your mama (1-20-08)
Check out how many candles have been lit for Julian.
618 from 20 countries (in less than 48 hours!)
Light one for him (just click on one with no flame)...keep the flames burnin' for our little hero!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

My God lives in Morgantown...

After the news of Julian's relocation to where we all will meet one day, I cried, I sobbed and I thanked God for bringing him into my life. What a precious gift I will never forget...my family and friends will never forget. We all mourned (thank God for IM) last night and comforted each other. I told my children this morning and my oldest son (10) broke down and sobbed. He cried for a long time. He asked why God didn't show us a miracle and let Julian live. I told him that I BELIEVE God DID perform a miracle, it just may not have been the one WE thought he should perform. And that has to be OK. God's plan is PERFECT. I told my teary-eyed little man that maybe the miracle was that Julian lived to have one last Christmas with his family. Maybe the miracle was that he got to celebrate two of his brothers' birthdays before he went home to be with Jesus. We will know someday when we meet Julian in Heaven. If your heart has been touched by our King Juju, if you prayed for him, if you cried for him...I believe you have a hug waiting in Heaven...a hug from our little warrior. Tonight as I looked out our back window I was reminded of out God's love. He and Julian painted the sky for us tonight.

My sister sent me an email about living in Pennsylvania. So, to lighten up this post and give you all a well-deserved smile (as Julian would like)...here it is! Let me know if you have any questions...I will clear up any confusion in one of my next posts. About Pennsylvanians: You've never referred to Philadelphia as anything but "Philly" and New Jersey has always been "Jersey" You refer to Pennsylvania as "PA" (pronounced Pee-ay). How many other states do that? "You guys" is a perfectly acceptable reference to a group of men and women You know how to respond to the question "Djeetyet?"(Did you eat yet?) You learned to pronounce Bryn Mawr, Wilkes-Barre, Schuylkill, the Pocono's, Tamaqua, Tunkannock, Bala Cynwyd, Duquesne and Monongahela. And we know Lancaster is pronounced Lank aster, not Lan kaster. You know what a "Mummer" is, and are disappointed if you can't catch at least highlights of the parade. You know what "Punxsutawney Phil" is, and what it means if he sees his shadow. The first day of buck and the first day of doe season are school holidays. At least five people on your block have electric "candles" in all or most of their windows all year long. You know what a "State Store" is, and your out-of-state friends find it incredulous that you can't purchase liquor at the mini-mart. Words like "hoagie," "crick," "chipped ham," "dippy eggs", "sticky buns," "shoo-fly pie," "lemon sponge pie", "pierogies" and "pocketbook" actually mean something to you. That's PA slang for purse! You can eat cold pizza (even for breakfast) and know others who do the same. Those from NY find this "barbaric." You not only have heard of Birch Beer, but you know it comes in several colors. You know the difference between a cheese steak and a pizza steak sandwich, and know that you can't get a really good one outside PA, except Atlantic City on the boardwalk. You live for summer, when street and county fairs signal the beginning of funnel cake season. You know that Blue Ball, Intercourse, Paradise, Climax,Bird-in-Hand, Beaver, Moon, Virginville, Mars, and Slippery Rock are PA towns. (and the first three were consecutive stops on the Reading RR). You know what a township, borough, and commonwealth is. You can identify drivers from New York, New Jersey, Maryland or other neighboring states by their unique and irritating driving habits. A traffic jam is 10 cars waiting to pass a horse-drawn carriage on the highway in Lancaster County . You know several people who have hit deer more than once. You carry jumper cables in your car and your female passengers know how to use them. Driving is always better in winter because the potholes are filled with snow. As a kid you built snow forts and leaf piles that were taller than you were. You know beer doesn't grow in a garden but you know where to find a beer garden. You also know someone who lives "down the lane". You actually understand all this and send it on to other Pennsylvanians for former Pennsylvanians! YEAH! THAT'S "PA" AND WE LOVE IT (side note: SPell-checker went FRIPPIN' NUTS with this post and all the PA-things! haha)

See the end of my last post to light a candle for Julian. This started last night and he has 383 candles lit from 13 countries! He TRULY has touched the WORLD!!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

One last and final hug...

If you hugged your babies today at 11, you helped hug Julian to Heaven.

from Mimi:

"Time of Death ,11:22am ... Never thought I would ever hear these words about my 4 1/2 year old son. But this morning , those words got engraved in my mind and my heart forever.

Julian fought until the last painful breath. Again NOTHING peaceful about this process until , until he stopped gasping for air. Julian looked like a fish out of the water, trying so hard to fill those lungs, but nothing. You could see the normal breathing motions his body made, but nothing got past his throat. Finally he stopped fighting.

When he started having a hard time breathing I went to get Ken . He stood on one side of the bed and I was on it with Julian. We talked him thru his transition. We told him it would be ok. We told him we were proud of him. I told him to say Hi to Jesus for me. I told him that Cody and Jacob were waiting for him . I told him that we would be ok. I told him he wouldn't hurt anymore. I told him good night. I told him I loved him. I told him to play and run.

The nurse took his shirt off and told us to touch him, that he could feel us and we needed to feel him . I put my hand on his chest. I could feel his heart beat. Then it slowed down . Then I could not feel it anymore. I heard his first heartbeat and felt his last one. I was texting Debra right before, texted her Julian was gone, she called and got in her car and came. I got Mamie, she told Ju bye. And Papy. We got the boys and told them . Sam asked if we were sure he was gone. Then he said it was wierd because he didnt feel like crying. Then he asked to hold him. I needed to clean and dress Ju first.

Debra got here, helped me a little, cried a lot... They are not supposed to get attached, how can you not get attached to Ju? I held Julian. Debra gave him a bed bath, as she had been doing for the past few weeks, put lotion all over him, loved and kissed on him. 1 month ago , she didnt even know him, now she is grieving just as we are. That is what Julian is all about. LOVE, unconditional love... He touched Debra, she touched my heart... Ken , Debra, Mamie, Sam, Gma and I held Julian. Maybe others did, I am not sure.

Dana and Jessi came. Pastor Kevin and Vicki, Zach and Sam.Diane came by, Pastor Blair and Pat. Vickie and Gerald. Nanny. It is now 6 something pm. Dana and her family are still here with us . I love those guys! Thank you ... Funeral home men came to get him this afternoon. Ken carried him to the van, with his blankie (his Christmas blankie he would share with every one) one of his mimis and one of his dinosaurs. We don't know any details on viewing and funeral yet. We will let you know, just make sure you have your YELLOW SHIRTS HANDY !!!!

FLY HIGH MUNCHKIN ... I love you all the way to China, you are the best, you know that? I love your smell too baby... Your mama ..."

Do not stand at my grave and weep, I am not there;

I do not sleep. I am a thousand winds that blow,

I am the diamond glints on snow, I am the sun on ripened grain,

I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you awaken in the morning's hush, I am the swift uplifting rush

Of quiet birds in circled flight.

I am the soft stars that shine at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry, I am not there;

I did not die.

Click here to light a candle for Julian...thanks Sasa G. from Slovenia

For cards and flowers, feel free to send to: Ken, Mimi, Sam, Alex and William Avery ........111 Aviator Dr. Fort Worth, TX 76179

Wanna have a contest?...

So, it's Saturday, I just finished making some charms for my girls in children's church tomorrow, my husband is at Lowe's, the baby is sleeping, my 10 year old is making Pokemon artwork and my 9 year old is making friendship bracelets. I am in the office alone. I should be re-working Macy-Sue, right? Nope. Blogging. But I had a fun idea!!!!! Because we are all headed into the dreaded season of Spring Cleaning what if we HELP each other get organized. Here's what we will do... 1. Email me a photo of your biggest mess that needs the most attention - a closet, someone's bedroom, a dresser filled with junk that you have no space for, etc. 2. Describe your dilemma - not enough room, too big of a space, etc. 3. I will post your mess and your dilemma and that day all my readers will help you out by making suggestions in the comment section. 4. Promote the "call for help" on your own blog and get your readers in on the game, too! 5. When your project is complete, I will post your before and after...your prize is the satisfaction of completing the project!! Do you love this idea? If I have enough entries, I will post one a day...I know, Manic, "What the (BLEEP) are you thinking with a daily post?" WOOPS! Hubby is home - need to look busy. :) EMAIL YOUR MESSES TO ME and we can start tomorrow - or later today... PS....NEED a really fun name for my contest - any ideas?

Friday, January 18, 2008

A salad, some chocolate and a bookstore...

You are all so amazing to be pumping me up after my Macy-Sue's untimely demise at the hands of an agent today. So many comments and emails of building me up and encouraging me to not give up! Thank you! I have to tell you though, this is not my first attempt at the submissions game - I have been submitting (for 2 years) a variation of 15-20 picture books, a chapter book, a crafting book and a few inspirational books for women. Boy, how I could have used you all along the way. Although I have had well over 100 rejections, God tells me this is His plan for me, to touch more lives then I could ever imagine. So, in order to win the favor of my Father, I should get my life in order, right? I struggle with this. I am a very intense person when I get an idea and I have a hard time focusing on anything but the project ahead of me. On most days, the baby's nap time is my computer time. I may blog, research or just waste time clicking my acrylic nails across the keyboard on my DELL-friend. Yesterday, I sent my Macy-Sue book dummy off to the agent via email and got to work...not on my computer but in our office. I straightened, reorganized and set up an extra table for my scrapbooking and art supplies. I set up the kids' computer on that table and dusted the areas that I had cleared...although it was with the sleeve of my torn sweatshirt I was wearing at the time... but things were dusted nonetheless. Today, while I was out running errands (actually, I was mailing Heather from Rice-A-Roni-ville her bumblebee painted gourd as her prize for guessing cheese in my last "What's in the Lunchbox" game) I passed a few fast food places and thought how great it would feel to sink my teeth into something bad for me while I agonized over whether I was getting voted off the agent-island or staying for another round. I felt God's gentle nudge telling me to glorify my body with what I put into it. I was starving and making a salad when I got home was not going to happen so I opted for an Arby's salad. I ate most of it - it was yummy...I LOVE SALAD! My 2-year old decided he needed to have some to and he proceeded to take large mouthfuls, chew a bit and spit it out back in my bowl. Rather than eating previously chewed lettuce mush, I grabbed a Cadbury raisin & nut bar and ate most of it. How is that glorifying my body? Yeah, I am not sure either but man it tasted good! I promised God yesterday that no matter the answer from the agent, I would praise Him and be thankful for the opportunity. I do. I am. Tonight we had a babysitter and my dear sweet hubby and I went to our favorite restaurant, VIVA and headed to the jewelers to pick up my mother's ring the kids bought me for Christmas...IT IS SO PRETTY!!!! Their names are engraved on the band next to their birthstones with a special "We love you Mom" message on the edge that faces me. Then he drove us over to my favorite place in the whole world besides snuggling with my kidlets in my big comfy bed...BARNES & NOBLE!!! I sat with my notebook (and my sweet husband)at one of those mini-picnic tables in the children's section and jotted away. Ken read motorcycle magazines with his kneecaps embedded deep in his nostrils from the 6" tall benches we were sitting on. I scribbled names of publishers, authors and websites. I also had the honor of paging through The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick...the newest Caldecott Award winner!!!!! AMAZING! 239 pages of illustrations with an amazing story spread throughout! VERY COOL! VERY INSPIRING! So, happily I go back to the drawing board and make Macy-Sue SPARKLE! Show me your BLING baby girl!!

Drum roll, puh-lease...the agent said....

NO! She was very nice and I appreciate her time she takes to answer so quickly and honestly... hey michelle, thanks for sending these along. Macy sue is a charmer, but in the end, just not feeling that extra "sparkle" needed for me to champion her through the publishing process at this time. sorry, but, of course, i am just one humble opinion and certainly, others may feel differently. i appreciate the look and send all good wishes, Back to the drawing board...

Julian update...

From Mimi, "I am so gonna miss that kid, his face, his smile(dimples) , his " someone is being to loud , can somebody be quiet !" all these little things that make my little man who he is. I am so thankful for technology , I can't even tell you how many videos and pictures i have of this kid!!!I guess I will be able to share a lot of those when I don't have anymore updates to give on Julian's condition. Julian... He is ,well you know, just holding on still... no change really. Fever is down again. So we are still playing a cruel game :the waiting game... " Somehow this week got away from me and I am ashamed that I did not do my weekly Wednesday call to Fast. I hope you all did it without my reminder. The Avery family has got to be aching and we need to lift them up in prayer. Pray for a miracle, pray for peace, pray for Juju's brothers, whatever your heart leads you to pray...just pray. Don't forget that Saturday at 11:00 am is always NATIONAL HUG JUJU DAY, send a WORLDWIDE squeeze to King Juju by hugging your children at 11. Mimi said they have people in from out of town from now until the end of the month. She thinks Julian is postponing his trip to Heaven until it is just him and his family. PLEASE PRAY! PLEASE PRAY!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Nailed that one...

This is some web-fun-thingie from a dad of 6's blog that asks you to type in your name and it gives you a personality read-out. I think the only thing that didn't ring true was the "You are overbearing" line - haha - I am a big, squishy push-over!! Those of you who know me well will laugh your butts off!
What Michelle Means
You are confident, self assured, and capable. You are not easily intimidated. You master any and all skills easily. You don't have to work hard for what you want. You make your life out to be exactly how you want it. And you'll knock down anyone who gets in your way! You tend to be pretty tightly wound. It's easy to get you excited... which can be a good or bad thing. You have a lot of enthusiasm, but it fades rather quickly. You don't stick with any one thing for very long. You have the drive to accomplish a lot in a short amount of time. Your biggest problem is making sure you finish the projects you start. You are very open. You communicate well, and you connect with other people easily. You are a naturally creative person. Ideas just flow from your mind. A true chameleon, you are many things at different points in your life. You are very adaptable. You are truly an original person. You have amazing ideas, and the power to carry them out. Success comes rather easily for you... especially in business and academia. Some people find you to be selfish and a bit overbearing. You're a strong person. You are friendly, charming, and warm. You get along with almost everyone. You work hard not to rock the boat. Your easy going attitude brings people together. At times, you can be a little flaky and irresponsible. But for the important things, you pull it together. You are relaxed, chill, and very likely to go with the flow. You are light hearted and accepting. You don't get worked up easily. Well adjusted and incredibly happy, many people wonder what your secret to life is.

The evil white particles fall to earth...

While my babes were out playing in the snow and I was thinking how warm my non-frozen butt was...see past SNOW post! I found a great recipe in my Kraft Foods magazine! If you don't get this magazine - you need to. The cover price is $4.95 but if you sign up online it is COMPLETELY FREE! The recipes are so good and the whole premise is that you can make great recipes from ready-to-eat, semi-prepared groceries. So, I found a great recipe that would be easy, quick to prepare while watching my 2-year old bounce off the walls and something that I could keep warm while the snow bunnies played without the fear over overcooking. It is called Shipwreck Dinner and this is what you do.... Brown 1 lb of lean ground beef and drain. Add a box of Mac n' Cheese dinner (unprepared) noodles and powdered sauce Add a can of stewed tomatoes (I used Italian diced tomatoes) with liquid Add 1 cup of frozen peas Add 1 cup of milk Bring to a boil then reduce heat and cover. Let cook for 12 minutes or until noodles are cooked. Sprinkle 1 cup of mozzarella cheese on top and let melt. Everyone loved it! That's always a good thing! Check out that Kraft Foods Gig! I save every single issue with my cookbooks! It is a phenomenal resource!! *********************************** Will keep you updated on Julian as soon as I have today's news. Will shout from the mountain tops when that agent says..."sign on the dotted line!"

Macy-Sue...

"Macy-Sue La Rue, find something else to do!"
(it's 1:07 PA time and I just hit SEND, thrusting my Macy-Sue dummy into cyber space headed to the agent!! GULP!)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

General gripes...

There are few things that truly annoy me. I am generally a glass 1/2 full kind of gal. But, unfortunately, I think when you have few complaints about life in general the complaints you DO have hit unnatural levels of annoyance. I decided today was the day to share my gripes with my best blogger buddies. So, grab a Venti Skinny Carmel Macchiato or your Mama Cap and giggle with me while I vent! Butt cracks and Underwear. If your pants are so low that the base of your spine peeks out from between the cheeks you sit on, you need new pants. I am not thin by any stretch of the word but I am quite sure that no matter my size I would not feel the need to show off my butt crack. Can someone explain this to me? I understand that we all have different tastes in clothing and that is fine but do I really need to see YOUR underwear? Do, I need to know that the colored dental floss you call your "panties" are riding up and peeking out over top of your way-too-low jeans? My biggest gripe about these thongs...what is the point? What are they doing for you? I am pretty sure the absorbent cotton crotch the size of a postage stamp is not worth the superior wedgie you are experiencing. My suggestion...take off the undies and get jeans that actually fit or wear a top that comes to your mid thighs. That would make me happy. Condescending Stares. Those of us with children have experienced this at least once in our mommyhood. You know what I am talking about. You leave from your house with no sleep b/c your child has decided to be awake for 14 days straight. You head for a place where you can lull your baby to sleep in the stroller while you get a little well-deserved "Me time." Your little angel is sound asleep as your walk the aisles in the mall gazing through the windows at all the latest trends that wouldn't fit your left thigh thanks to that little non-sleeper in your life. All is good with the world until you have to go to the bathroom. You head for the stall that will house you and your SUV of a stroller. You sit and wait for your body to relax enough to "go." That's when she does it. She is pissed, the stroller has stopped and she wants OUT! You finish what you were there to do while your baby hits decibels that should not be reached within a concrete box of a restroom. Her shrieking folds your eyelids, it pierces your eardrums, you could swear that even your armpits ache from the sheer vibrations she is sending out. You emerge from the bathroom knowing she is fine and will nod off as soon as the stroller is in motion but you find that every childless person in the mall is now standing in single file on either side of the door to the restroom. They are all glaring. You can hear their thoughts."What was she doing to that baby?" "Who is calling children's services?" "She must be one of those cruel 'let them cry it out' moms!" My only hope is that I am there when one of these women has the kind of day that makes her want to rip her folded eyelids off. I just want ONE, "I told you so." moment with them. Britney Spears. I am a very empathetic person but if I see one more chapter to this disgusting mess of a woman I will puke. I was a fan way back when before she performed 1/2 naked and I was giving her the benefit of the doubt until lately. Would someone just keep her in her house so she doesn't add to her own chaos? I am sick of hearing about her. She needs help but I don't feel the need to watch her spiral out of control. Chewing of the cud. I know Dawn is with me on this one and I laughed out loud when she mentioned it on her blog. I try not to let this bother me especially when it is my own children. I never want them to feel that I am annoyed by them. But when someone allows me to hear the crunching, slurping maceration of food within their facial hole, I want to scream. My son has a certain way he eats Popsicles that makes my skin crawl. I have had to ask him to sit in another room so I can't hear it. My husband is a major cruncher and loves loves loves to eat cereal...IN MY EAR! Give the man an ice cube and I think I could punch him square in the head and not feel badly about it. You can scratch your fingernails on a chalkboard for hours and it wouldn't bother me as much as the gnashing of food between your lips. And slurping? Oh, someone help me. It's like a switch in my head that flips when food and lips are involved. I can't explain it but I go from ever-so-sweet-and-gentle mom to I-need-to-inflict-physical-harm-to-someone crazed maniac. My dad is the same way...I think it is genetic. I just had a call from the WalMart photo center and the girl leaving the message was eating something...I think it was pickles...I memorized her voice and will be visiting her later... Diets. I am a recovering Bulimic and life-time dieter, I know the drill, I can get skinny if I need to but for some reason all these diet commercials are getting on my nerves. I could care less if Kirstie Alley and Valerie Bertinelli shed a few pounds. Does anybody realize that if these diet scams really worked, we would all be thin and Jenny Craig, Nutra System, Medi Fast would all be out of business? I truly think the only legitimate weight loss program out there is Weight Watchers and even that, I am not thrilled with their maintenance program (just my personal opinion). I am annoyed that the media makes us feel that if we weight more than 17 ounces we NEED a diet. God made me round...I started out round...what is wrong with round? I don't think I will ever need my left leg to pick a lock so do I really need to wear a size zero? Probably not! I am just waiting for the medical procedure that just induces a coma and feeds you only fruits and vegetables through a tube until you are skinny. That's a lot less effort on my part. I am headed to the fridge! Smelly people. I understand that we all have our own unique smell and there is a scientific reasoning behind it. Fine. But if my eyes are watering as I stand next to your hairy butt while you are paying for your cigarettes and SKOAL, you HAVE to be able to smell yourself. What about that smell makes you think it is OK? Where in our society did you grow up to think that smelling like you rubbed an Italian sub in every crack and crevice of your body was acceptable? Bathe. It's that simple. Water and a little soap. Not too difficult, right? OK. I am done. I think. I am not really sure where this came from but, man, that felt good! Now, because I am so considerate...I am opening this up to you, my loyal readers - GRIPE AWAY! Invite your FRIENDS...let's have a NATIONAL GRIPE FEST!! The funnier the better! No holds barred!! I will surprise you with a unique post regarding all the interesting/quirky/one-of-a-kind pet peeves you all have so...dig deep, collect your gripes and lemme have 'em! You won't be disappointed. It will feel good to vent but it will also make you wet yourself when you see my next GRIPE POST!!

Monday, January 14, 2008

I have surfaced...

From under a huge pile of photos, stacks of specialty papers, with sticky-thingies stuck to my forehead and a few empty wine bottles, I emerge!
Me and my girls had a blast this weekend! We ate good food, watched good movies, scrapped good pictures and had more than 1,000 good great big huge cross-your-legs-or-you'll-pee-yourself laughs!
Here's the proof! Proof that we were productive. Proof that we scrapped more than we imbibed. Proof that when you have a retreat at your own house, you don't get NEARLY as much done as when you are held captive in a hotel and someone else feeds you for the weekend! We actually SLEPT this time!

(see the rectangular hole I cut so the words show through a page-turn?? Love that!)

So, there it is - that is ALL I got done! BUT, the "girlfriend stuff" was worth a few less layouts!

I am blogging and simultaneously working on a book dummy for Macy-Sue that I will send to an agent who requested it tomorrow or Wednesday. Keep your fingers crossed.

Thank you so much for all your words of advice and for your votes on my Macy-Sue versions. Someone asked me to post all my versions of her, I thought about it, but I figured it would just add to my indecisive confusion on what the market wants! I think I am going with the original Macy-Sue but just spruce her up a bit...and I may just add unruly red curls. That was the concensus...unruly, red curls! Love it! *****************************************

Julian is hangin' on! His breathing has slowed and he sleeps alot. Mimi says he is just skin and bones. The 24 hour hospice was deemed not necessary by a doctor that has never even laid eyes on our sweet boy...Mimi is now 'Nurse Mommy' - like she needs one more thing to do...pray for her. She is sick and although she rarely mentions it, I am sure she is exhausted...physically and emotionally. Continue to pray for Juju! He is hangin on...literally hanging! Mimi says it is as if he is waiting for something.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Just a scrappin' fool...(& Macy-Sue, take 2)

Well, the time has come. Once a year, my best buds and I take a weekend to catch up on our scrapbooking and THIS is the weekend!! We usually go to some organized retreat. We try to do a different venue each year. This is our fourth. Our hubbies fund the event as our Christmas present. Easy for them...no shopping!
We told our hubbies that on the 10th year we want the cruise!
This year, simply due to the fact that the three of us couldn't find a weekend that we were all free AND there was a scrapping retreat available so....
My hubby and the two big kids are in Lake Placid for a long weekend and mygals are here! My littlest guy heads to bed at 7ish so, they arrived last night after bed time and we scrapped until 4:30...yep, AM! Got about an hour and a half of sleep before he was up for breakfast.
My mom just came and snuggled him up and he is headed to her house until after dinner. We will make a trip to the Flower & Craft Warehouse and go out to lunch on our well-deserved afternoon break . F&CW is, by far, one of my favorite places in the world, second only to the beach...and, yes, for those of you who read my previous post about the "URGE"...it happens EVERY TIME I walk in the door of this place alone! Just goes to show you how much I love it there!
So, if anyone wants to see what I accomplished, I will post some pictures tomorrow...if my sleepy fingers have enough energy to press the button on the camera as I doubt we will sleep AT ALL tonight. We have movies, wine and lots of yummy snacks!
We will most likely scrap together another time this year since our hubbies got out of the EZ GIFT and no money was spent. I doubt we will be as productive this weekend because we have a TV, fridge, etc involved. Usually it is about 300 women in a banquet hall all set up on 6' office tables. We start scrapbooking Friday afternoon and call it quits Sunday morning. We usually don't sleep more than 2-3 hours the WHOLE FRIPPIN' WEEKEND! I usually complete an entire album.
The other benefit is that when we go on these retreats, we have 5-6 Creative Memories consultants at our disposal. They all have their tools/templates/sizzix machines, etc. available for us to use, not to mention all of their inventory. Working on a beach page and need beach stickers? Take ten steps to the left and ya hit pay dirt! Every stinkin' beach sticker you ever imagined at your fingertips...it is a beautiful thing! And they feed us...all day!
I am headed to the shower to refresh and then it's 'nose to the paper cutter' for me. See ya when I come up for air!
*****************************************
Thanks to those of you who pumped up my self-esteem about my Macy-Sue character. I never thought of it before but what a way to make sure I nail the market with my story line...take it to the 'market' (you!) and ask what you want and what it should look like.
So, without further ado...the NEW Macy-Sue...I think...lemme know what YOU think, please!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Meet Macy-Sue La Rue...

“I’m not afraid of you,” Macy-Sue told the monsters in her closet. “Don’t waste your time,” she said to the bully across the street. Macy-Sue was an imaginative five-year old who insisted on being brave every day. But one summer something changed. The sound of one certain word gave her brave little body scaredy-cat goose bumps. That word was, “S-C-H-O-O-L.” So, if you were in publishing and I told you that I had three picture books written and illustrated (not formally, but in sketch-form) all starring Macy-Sue La Rue as she deals with typical kid frustrations and fears in her quirky, not-so-typical way... You would say, "Hmmmm, tell me more..." ...so I would... She gets in a lot of trouble when her mom is busy and she gets bored in Macy-Sue La Rue, Find Something Else To Do. She is one heckuva picky eater in Macy-Sue La Rue, Please Try Something New. And she is nervous as all get-out to go to school in Macy-Sue La Rue Has the Awful, Awful Flu. Then you say, "Nah. Thanks but no thanks." I say, "ARGH! Back to the drawing board." I am currently re-vamping Macy-Sue's look hoping to appeal to an agent that asked to see the "dummy" of my first M-S story. Any thoughts? Anybody?

Just look...

Click here...that's all I have to say....oh, yeah... BWAAAAAHAAAAAHAAAAA!!!

Drum roll, puh-lease...

CHEESE!! It's CHEESE!! Meunster to be exact! Heather from Rice-A-Roni-ville is our WINNER!!!! As soon as I get my camera back from my travelling family, I will post a photo of what Heather won!

It's a conspiracy...

Alright already! I am really a good mom! I am on top of things (mostly). I don't have my kids pack their own lunches and get on the bus alone (well, if I am in my jammies, they walk across the street when we see the bus coming and I wave from the door). I help them pick out their clothes (although, the usually pick something else to wear), I make sure they take their medicine (even if I have to tie them to a chair to take it...TOTALLY kidding!) Because of the science experiments found over the last month in my son's lunch box, I keep a close eye on what is left in there. My daughter NEVER packs. It is her mission in life to buy lunch...every single day...no matter WHAT it is. So, I thought she was in the clear of the 'Funky-Food Science Award.' But I think she has won! Yesterday she pull THIS out of her backpack. Scary. Beat her brother with this one!

Of course...you will win something for guessing correctly!! Would I embarrass myself like this for nothing? Nope. I do it for my readers!! For the prizes!!

I don't have a photo of the prize because my big kidlets and my hubby have the camera with them. They are out galavanting today.

But, here's a hint...I used to own a 9-room craft shop filled with locally hand-crafted items. When I closed up shop, some people never came back for their items and I have them stock piled in my studio.

You are guaranteed to be pleased with your prize! :)

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

FAST on Wednesday for the Avery family...

Wednesday has been our day to fast for Julian the past few weeks and he has been a little trooper - holding on when even the doctors and nurses felt he would not make it one more day.
Mimi has written an amazing post on Julian's Care Pages tonight that I would feel guilty not sharing with all of you. She pleads with those who know Juju's story not to be angry with God.
She is an AMAZING woman. I hope Oprah gets her hands on this sweet soul!
Today, I hope you will fast for the WHOLE AVERY FAMILY. They need strength, peace and prayer. Let them feel your love by what you sacrifice today. God Bless!
(please remember that fasting can be dangerous to those with certain health problems. Use your best judgement and fast only what is safe for you.)
From Mimi:

"So ,how did we get here? Here it is January 8th 2008 (wow 2008??) , our family of 6 humans, 1 cat, 2 dogs, 3 lizards and a bunny is about to be amputated of one of its main limbs.

The rest of the body won't ever work the same. Unlike the lizards and their tails, we all know it WILL NOT grow back. The wound itself will heal but something will always be missing. The body will have to find a new balance, and for sure lean on something for support... A friend? or two? try thousands!!! For sure we will need a rock. This rock , I have personally grown to rely on more and more along this journey.

Long ago, I believed rocks were just an annoyance on a soccer field, they made you trip, you skinned and bruised your knees on them, and they could send you to the hospital if you got one thrown at you! Just a matter of perspective. Then this Psalm just keeps floating in my head since Chris brought it up in Sunday school...

"Find rest, O my soul in God alone, my hope comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation. He is my fortress, I shall not be shaken. My salvation and my honour depend on God, He is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in Him at all times, O people, pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge"Ps 62:5-8

God is my rock...What a concept... Strong, unshakable,unbreakable, what an amazing support to lean on when you are the most broken! HE can be strong and unshakable for me, and caring, loving and gentle for Julian. Who else can bring you such peace and comfort? For those who have been following Julian, I hope that if anything, you turned to HIM for support or even it made your faith stronger than ever.

I am afraid that with Julian not being healed on this earth, it will bring anger to some hearts and God will be blamed. God, the one who let me have 4 beautiful boys, the One who gave Julian such a beautiful and amazing soul, God, who gave me the strength, patience and wisdom to get thru every single day of this journey so I could care for Julian, his brothers and still be able to share my little king with you all...

So thank God for our little King, thank God for what he has taught us and is still teaching us daily (that you dont have to be big to be brave), thank God for His will to share this little guy with us...I know I thank God for Julian and for his brothers...

Good night... Mimi"

Monday, January 7, 2008

The gift of friendship...

Heather from Rice-A-Roni-ville made me cry today! For those of you who don't know Heather, she is owner and head jewelry-maker extraordinaire of FAITH CREATIONS, LLC. This is not her first attempt at creating BLING, I did my Christmas and Birthday shopping for all my girlfriends with her in November. Go to her archives and find her Nov 1st post to see them! As a surprise, she made me a necklace from her new line she calls "Charming!" This time she has outdone herself. She has started making photo charms necklaces. Picture it...hand-soldered framed photos as reversible charms from necklaces. They are beautiful. Breathtaking...especially when its your own kidlets staring back at you from the photo around your neck. Here's mine!

Head over to her blog, email her some pictures of your kids and place your orders or just leave her a comment about how beautiful her work is. Let her know that you, too, think she ROCKS! 'Cause I do!

Thanks friend!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

"Grow up, Mom"...

They didn't actually say this but they were thinking it...I just know it! My 10 and 9-year old cornered me not too long ago to fill me in on some things. Bring me up to speed. Give me the low-down. Down-low? What? OK, let me ask you, when you are leaving the house for a long car trip and you know your children have a bladder the size of a pee, what do you ask them? "Does anyone have to go potty?" Apparently not anymore in my house. Apparently, my children have had a meeting and decided that the word "potty" should never come out of my mouth again unless I am talking to the baby. My instructions? From now on I am to refer to the potty ,ehem, toilet as the "restroom." Restroom? Really. Seriously. Am I at Starbuck's? Have I hauled their butts into Starbuck's so many times that they are now convinced it is the hoity toity thing to do to say "restroom"? Please. The conversation did not stop there. Let me give you the low-down...down-low? I still don't get it. When your child gets a paper cut and you head upstairs to get a band aid, what do you say when you enter the room of the wounded one? "Here. Let me see your boo boo." Um. No. Not at Chez Brownlow. We are evidently, WAY past the "boo boo" phase. My instructions? I am now to refer to all things that need band aids as "lacerations or abrasions." Now they have medical degrees? Will they soon start saying things like, "OW, Mom, I just stubbed my metatarsus!!" or "When I fell off my bike, I hit my mandible on the handlebars!" ? Oh, it gets better. I'll just cut to the chase. This was the pièce de résistance (big enough word for ya kids? sheesh!) "And when you talk to us about yourself, can you NOT refer to yourself as Mommy? Like when you say things like, 'Mommy will get it' and stuff. Can you just say 'I'?" Really. Really. What do I do with that? ALL of that? When do THEY get to decide for ME what they are too old to hear? Is there an Elementary Caucus I don't know about? Was there a vote? A book of laws referring to ages that you are banned from hearing the words "poopy," "hiney" and you're my "snuggly wuggly buggly"? WHERE'S MY #$%^&*() MAMA CAP? To top it all off, one of my dear friends suggested today that I should be thinking about when and where I want to have "the talk" with my little man big kid. HOLY CHEESE! ARE YOU FRIPPIN' KIDDING ME? Why do they grow up so fast?

Friday, January 4, 2008

NATIONAL HUG JUJU DAY!

Saturday is...
National 'HUG JuJu' Day!
written by Lisa Brooker (copied from Julian's Care Page) I think Saturday, January 5th at 11:00 am should be National Hug JuJu Day - if we could all hug JuJu all at once and let him know how much we appreciate his message to us and to our own children. We should then in turn - hug our own children in honor of JuJu. Last night I was looking at my 2 year old son who is also fighting a life threatening disease and watching his face, his eyes, his nose, his mouth....and I thought of Julian and you, Mimi. You have touched us all in a way that we will never forget. We will miss you JuJu and we will miss your updates Mimi....but we will always love you and remember how much one little boy touched so many lives out here and so far away. Always in our thoughts, prayers, and in our souls forever. LOVE to the Avery's. Lisa, Nicole and the little man, Collin.

Self-prescribed...

SYMPTOMS: pain in ear, feverish, crazed maniacal tendencies, lots of crying PRESCRIPTION: turkey, bacon and lots of mayonnaise followed by a lemonade shot with a chocolate chaser. ok....the baby's symptoms and MY prescription...for ME! He got antibiotics, I got Arby's! Only 48 hours since I wrote about HEALTH being my WORD and I was hogging out with an Arby's toasted sub. What is it about sinking your teeth into something chocolate/buttery/sugary/fatty (pick your poison) that makes a temper tantrum-filled day seem to go away? There are days that I am driving with screams from the back seat piercing my eardrums and boiling my blood and my mind is taking a mental inventory of what bad-for-me snack is waiting at home, tucked into an out-of-the way corner of my tallest cupboard. If that inventory shows a depletion, there is one stop to be made before I exit toward home. Never, and I mean NEVER! have I been enduring a full-scale battle-of-the-baby during a trip to the grocery store and not had a fleeting thought of what I would grab in the check-out aisle. I never head to the produce section to calm my nerves. It is always chocolate that does the trick! Sometimes I can trick my body into thinking that coffee is a sinful snack and then I get the added bonus of a boost of energy to get me through to naptime. Or until hubby gets home and I can meet him at the door like the changing of the guard to head to the nail salon, WalMart or craft store to have a tantrum-free minute ALL to myself. Do you know what happens to me when I head out alone on nights like this? (TMI ALERT!) I will be browsing through my favorite books store/craft store/any store that does not come with a screaming baby in the cart and it will hit me. An urge. I have to poo! What is that? WHY? Why must I be yanked out of the sheer bliss of having a complete thought without being smacked in the face by a flying pacifier by the urge to defecate? WHY? WHY? WHY? I used to LOVE card stores and this would always happen to me in the Hallmark store - so much so that my mom will STILL ask me if I need to head to the Ladies Room before we walk into a card store. I think, as moms, we are insanely stretched in so many directions that our bodies have a hard time TRULY relaxing. When can we just BE? It is hard because our jobs are literally 24/7. Even when we are IN the bathroom to USE to bathroom, everyone in the free world joins us. Where is the relaxation in that? I had another post that dealt with this exact scenario called Why SAHMs get constipated. Think of Dawn from BECAUSE I SAID SO, does this woman ever have a moment to relieve herself? Anyway, I digress... I am trying to be healthy but sometimes I have to choose between healthy and SANE, right? I would be interested in knowing how many of you reach for ooey-gooey when life gets tough? BTW...I know I often "vent" about my 2 year old but PLEASE know that he is the apple of my eye - I adore him! I am not always aggravated with him - it is just good fodder for blogging when he is in "a mood"

Thursday, January 3, 2008

More lessons in the lunchbox...

OK, ladies!
A couple weeks ago I found something scary in my son's lunchbox and I decided to hold a contest for those who wanted to guess what the masserated item in the ziploc was.
Teresa Arnold won a set of 6 hand-made greeting cards a'la MOI! :)
Well, we were just off school for over a week and guess who left food in his lunchbox? Guess who almost puked up her coffee when she went to pack a lunch this morning?
Here we go again. Throw out your guesses.
What the.....?
(there is something of a orangey-color behind the offensive food - that is NOT related to the food you are to be guessing)

This time I actually have your hand-made Kemper-Brownlow creation ready and waiting for the WINNER!!

To welcome in the highly anticipated Spring season is this set of 3 hand-painted ladybug gourds for your decorating pleasure!

Gotta love a give-a-way! Start guessin'!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

What's your WORD?...

My father-in-law had a great sermon on Sunday while we were visiting for the Holiday. I was not in church (heathen) as I was home with a way-too-energetic 2-year old who would never last in a church with no wee-one place-to-go. I am also VERY picky as to where and with whom I leave my children so even if there WAS a wee-one room, unless I saw the volunteers' criminal history print out and background check, I would not be comfortable. Anyway, my point was in what I heard from my husband about the sermon. "The WORD for 2008" Can you sum up all of your resolutions with one word? After dinner tonight we all sat around the table...the youngest of us ran around the table...and talked about many things and we ended on this subject of WORDS. My husband reported that his word was INVEST...He is resolving to invest more money this year to add to our nest egg, to invest in our family with his time, to invest in the people around him with his friendship and to invest in our church with his heart for leadership. I told my sweet family that my word was HEALTH...I will be making healthier choices for myself as well as while doing the shopping, packing of lunches and preparing of meals. This word will also follow through to my banking as I will resolve to keep better track of my transactions and I will be making better choices as far as spending...i.e. less Starbuck's - YOUCHEE! My oldest son determined that his word would be HELP...He has a heart for others and is always so quick to shed a tear for those who are hurting or less fortunate. He is also a very good helper around the house and is resolving to take the initiative to do more without being asked. My good boy! My daughter's word is SAVE...and she does it well! She has chosen to continue her habit of being the frugal gal of the family and sock away money for....ummm....what exactly do 9-year olds save their money for? Actually, the mention of a car and college came up. Did you think about saving for these things when you were 9? Me neither. I gloat! I am so proud of her. My baby, my last born, my out-of-breath two-year old was now riding his trike around the table as we wrapped up our conversation and my husband asked, "What's your word, little buddy?" My newly verbal wee one appropriately yelled, "GO! GO!" That's his word. GO! I would love to hear what your WORD is for 2008! Join our chat about it and leave a comment!

Julian update...

Julian had a seizure-free, pain-free New Year's Day. He smiled the day away and wanted to eat spaghetti AND meatballs, lots of chocolate pudding and donut holes of course. He was in good enough spirits to want to watch his brothers play video games all afternoon. Yesterday, Mimi mentioned Juju talking to her about someone standing next to her in the room where they were obviously alone. Julian's 8-year old brother thinks our Julian saw Jesus. PLEASE, continue to PRAY AND FAST* for the Avery family. "Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we could ask or imagine, according to His (mighty) power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen." (Ephesians 3:20-21) *fasting can be dangerous for people with certain medical problems or those who are pregnant or on medications. Please use your best judgement or fast something other than food.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Communal germs, lots of snow and a FAT welcome home...

I am back! I survived! I am on my OWN couch, on my OWN laptop! and I am smiling from ear-to-ear! Although, I love my in-laws dearly, their house was a Petri dish of gargantuan germs this week. After the first day of our visit, my sister-in-law took her family home so they could hack up a lung on their own turf. My poor niece and nephew were heart-broken that they had to leave their cousins at Grandma's but I heard my nephew say to my s-i-l, "Wait, if we go home then I can play Webkinz, right?" See, even a 4-year old misses high speed when he's at Grandma's! Last night, my mother-in-law came down with the nasties. Fever, snot-filled sinuses, he whole she-bang! But, she was quite the trooper and played scrabble with my daughter until the ball dropped! This morning, one look into my daughter's big hazel eyes told me she was next in line for the IFEELLIKECRAP train! And she had a morning of crazed packing up and a 3 1/2 hour drive home with two loud brothers and a big black dog riding home next to her to look forward to. She slept some of the way and as my favorite girl always does, she kept her sweet smile the whole way. Precious! To expand on Dina's comment from my "help" post... Yes, I do live in PO-DUNK central (a.k.a. Amish Country) (Dina can call my town PO-DUNK because I could walk to her house from mine! haha!) but my in-laws live in PO-DUNKIER upstate New York. It is quite beautiful. They own/live on a tree farm, have a huge pond, an organic garden and lots of wildlife; and this holiday weekend, apparently ALL of the snow in the free world. Sheesh! My three kidlets were thrilled when they woke up yesterday morning to almost a foot of snow! For those of you who have more than one child, you know how ridiculous it is to get multiple children into snow clothes. Boots filled with crumpled socks, pant legs uncomfortably folded inside thick snow pants, untucked shirts twisted around sweaty torsos and gloves that don't quite reach the too-short sleeves of last year's winter coat. Then the mad search for a hat that actually covers their ears...by then kid 1 and kid 2 have disrobed and are on their way to the bathroom. Have you ever seen those queer hats that have the beer cans on them and the long straws that reach the drinker's mouth? Yeah, I would like one of those with a tall Mojito on either side JUST for getting them out the door and into the snow. Call it my Mama-Cap! This time, though, my hubby was tag-teaming and we got the three of them and the dog out the door in record time. That's when I realized I had not packed my boots, gloves, scarf, coat OR snow pants! Some of these items I refuse to even own because I pretty much HATE HATE HATE cold weather. I only pretend to like snow for my kids. We make snowmen, forts, and the like and I do it all with a smile (except for the getting dressed part). But I hate it! Really. So, I went sledding in 12+ inches of snow with a pair of too-small, ripped gloves that I found in the mudroom, the only pair of boots that came close to fitting...probably too low for the depth of Binghamton snow, some kind of fuzzy hulahoop for your ears, my mother-in-law's coat and NO FRIPPIN' SNOW PANTS! Somebody give me that dang Mama-Cap! We walked and sledded and walked and climbed and sledded and threw our share of fat snowballs... and my snowpantsless BEHIND was FROZEN!! Freezing to the point of causing me severe pain. I had visions of having to have my butt cheeks amputated due to frost bite...although that thought made me pause and contemplate that beauty...I needed to get inside. Quick. My Mama-Cap was no where to be found and I was grumpy! So, as I sit on my warm leather couch in my clean house (hubby helped get everything back in order after my minivan PUKED its contents upon our arrival home) in my snowless town, I realize... EVERYONE had a good trip. So, thanks for asking. Thanks for reading. Thanks for validating my pain. :) (of course I have at least 3 other posts in my head but fear I will lose you if I ramble too long...need to space 'em out)