April 11, 2005

Spring Cleaning turbo style

This weekend was beautiful and glorius. R took me out to an early dinner on Friday since both girls went bowling with a friend from church. It was the girl's birthday so they picked M & S up for McDonalds and bowling. The girl, Rachel, has 9 siblings. I can't imagine having 10 kids. Debbie homeschools them all, until they decide to go to the Christian school that J used to go to.

My girls couldn't believe how clean their house was, and how white their walls were. S was like, "Mom they have white paint! And it's not even dirty!" So I said, "See, others do like a clean home and it's possible! We only have 6 in the house, so what's the deal?"

Speaking of white paint. We are painting our kitchen this week. We had to use two coats of primer to cover up the green paint in our kitchen. Today we paint it white, with a semi-gloss washable paint. I have to be able to clean the walls often. Since for some reason (kids?) , our walls always get grimey. Here comes the turbo part. We have a list of to do's that have to be done before this Saturday. On Sunday our French exchange student arrives. Here's the list, and you'll see why it's a turbo Spring cleaning.

  1. Paint Kitchen
  2. Paint pantry
  3. Paint bathroom cupboards
  4. Replace cupboard hinges
  5. Lay vinyl by front entrance
  6. Put new pads on DR chairs
  7. Upholster new pads on chairs
  8. Slip cover chairs
  9. Clean carpets
  10. Re-arrange LR set
  11. Paint girls room
  12. Clean mattress
  13. Wash Pottery Barn Kids bedding
  14. Hang mesh valance over beds
  15. Pack goodwill bags
  16. Sort through toys
  17. Buy frames for pictures
  18. Hang up artwork & pictures
  19. Wash shower curtain
  20. Fix screens on windows
  21. Buy new window blinds

And so the list grows. Can I do it? Can we get this much accomplished in 6 days?

Stay tuned to find out if we're overly optimistic or just plain insane. Maybe both.

April 08, 2005

Happy Birthday, Josiah

A belated birthday wish to Josiah. BELIEVE was updated on March 26th with birthday wishes for Josiah.

Lil' J and I enjoyed viewing his birthday pics posted on April 6th which is Lil' J's birthday. We prayed together for Josiah, and will continue to pray for him. I hope you're all praying as well.

April 07, 2005

Demolition housecleaning

That's my neighbor. The townhouse next to mine was vacant for about two years, which I found to be quite unusual, and enjoyable both at the same time. I don't know why it took so long to rent the place. Could it have been my evil glares when prospective tenants came to view the townhouse?

One day though, about six months ago a moving van pulled up. I watched as a new family moved in. I sighed, and kissed the exclusivity I enjoyed for 2 years good-bye. Someone was bound to move in eventually. At least by this time, S wasn't kicking the bedroom walls at night anymore. The last neighbors were mean, and loved to complain about every little noise. I guess they lived there for an insanely long amount of time before we moved in. The guy was such a jerk, he even called the police to come over and ticket our friends car one night when they were over for dinner. Instead of politely asking if the car belonged to our guests (who mistakenly parked in their spot) he calls the police and lies saying the car parking in their spot had been a problem on several occasions, which was odd, since it was the first time they had ever been to our house.

If our kids were outside, the husband would rant and rave about all the neighborhood 'brats' playing and making noise. He'd yell at S, who was nine at the time, "Get the ____ away from my door!" I guess when he decided to move into family townhouses, it never occured to him that some families have kids? We shared a porch with a small space separating the doors, so if she sat on the stoop and looked at this door, this infuriated him. It was a bad combination since S both likes to look into people's houses, and see the reaction of people she's antagonized. He'd actually yell and scream as loud as he could and run around closing the blinds, slamming the windows and doors shut in the middle of August. Maybe he thought he was a celebrity and his privacy was being invaded. Heck, he might have been growing pot, that could explain for his aggressive, paranoid, and agitated behavior. Or maybe he was just a jerk. I was very gracious though, I never jammed his air-conditioner with a stick.

We were just glad when they were gone, and enjoyed having the end of our end unit all to ourselves. Atlas, moving day for our neighbors had arrived. These new neighbors seemed nice enough. I was glad to see a black family moving in, as we live in a suburb that is lacking in diversity. Having grown up in San Diego, I appreciated the diversity of different cultures and people. I feel my kids miss out on this at times.

Fast forward to today. There's the dad, mom, and 3 kids. These neighbors seem to be pleasant enough. (Although I really wouldn't know, since they never say one word to anyone). I think, he's a pastor, but I know, they enjoy demolition housecleaning. When they vacuum, they are banging and crashing into the walls. It sounds just like it did when the contractors were still over there, banging, hammering, and pounding away. Bang. Thump. Crash. I baffled, what in the world are they doing over there?

I picture them vacuuming while running around the house pretending they are driving a bumper car, crashing into the furniture and walls. Some days you can hear it start in the adjoining living room area, all the way up into the bedrooms. This morning, it was even worse, I think the husband was throwing the couches into the wall. As I ponder, what kind of housecleaning produces such noise, I daydream about buying a house next year.

All this brings me to think about Jesus said was the second greatest commandment.

Mark 12:31 "And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these."

This isn't always easy, that's for sure. When I think of the former neighbor, there were many times I wanted to call him four letter words. In religions, so many people want to add on long lists of rites, rituals, or to do's. Even in Christianity you'll find that people can add on to God's word. Across the denomination you'll see trends on how to dress, eat, and what to do for recreation. There are differing opinions on what is 'proper' or 'right' for a Christian in all aspects of life. There's all these rules and 'what not to do' if you're a 'good' Christian. There's this fine line between works and grace, and what exactly it all means to be saved by Grace through faith only, yet faith without works is dead. (For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works so that no one can boast. Eph 2:8)

We're often trying to please man more then God. Or obtain holiness, and favor by God by doing things that aren't even in the Bible.

Today God has reminded me that nothing I can do will ever make God love me more or make me worthy. My own acts of righteousness are as filthy rags. (Isa 64:6) That my salvation is based upon His unconditional love, grace, and mercy. That my salvation is a gift, an undeserved one. That just as God loved me, when I often don't seem to deserve it, so to am I to love my neighbors when I think they may not deserve it. It can be so easy to be indifferent to the different, and quick to judge. I am reminded that these things, are the most important above all. I can honestly say for me, that loving your neighbor as yourelf can be 10 times more difficult then all of the man-made doctrines, tradtions, rituals put together. Especially when you realize, that everyone is your neighbor.

For those of you that have no idea what I'm talking about, or need review. Here's the text:

Mark 12:28-34 And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?29 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.32 And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he:33 And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.34 And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God.

April 06, 2005

I am five now!!!

Those are the first words I heard from Lil' J this morning as he came running down the stairs at 6:50am with as much enthusiasm, excitement, and curiosity on Christmas day.

"I am five now, I am five now, I am five now."

Happy birthday to my Lil' man. I can hardly believe 5 years have passed. I know we all say that, but for me it truly seems a bit surreal. When we first moved here almost 8 years ago S was turning 5, and my 'baby' was turning 4.

Then all of a sudden I have this other child, a wonderful, adorable, sweet sweet boy that is today himself 5 years old! What happened? How could I have blinked so long?

Last night I made his requested birthday treat to share with his class.

This is at least the second year in a row that he's requested this exact same birthday treat. This year I baked from scratch, including the delicious frosting. Today it's a beautiful day, a fabulous day for a birthday. I thank God for grass turning green, birds singing, warm air, and sunshine. Hallelujah! AMEN!!

We're going on a walk now. Check later for pics.

Here's squishy leading the way. Doesn't he look five now?

April 05, 2005

Don't hate me...

because I have chocolate. Gourmet chocolate.

If this morning wasn't sh***Y enough (sorry for the foul mouthed pun) Lil' J, as usual held off going to the bathroom until he got some on the toilet seat. I don't know what it is about my sons (J did that too) or my kids in general. Such is life though. No need to deny it or be embarrassed. When you become a mom, you deal with crap. Literally.

So when all else seems to fail, and you have a day like I have, turn to chocolate. If your 11 y/o daughter just happened to have traveled to France for a 2 week exchange program like mine did, then you get to eat gourmet chocolate. Mmmmm. Her host family was so kind and generous to send her home with Kinder surprises, Milka bars, Lindt Bunnies, and Poulain Fonde split egg-shaped truffles. The latter were meant just for me. At first having chocolates all the way from Provence was too much of a novelty to eat them. I got over it though.

The Europeans really know how to make chocolate. Rich, creamy, and chocolaty. Virtually no wax, and lots more cacao. Yum. I've been spoiled. How am I going to go back now? I've taken up eating these decadent chocolates the European way. Instead of the whole bar, I'm eating a little square here and there. Savoring every bit. Truth be told, I'm just trying to conserve my French chocolates. ;o)

Deep breath. Exhale. This too shall pass. I can't complain, it only gives place to the devil. I know I'm blessed. I know my struggles are minuscule. I know I can claim God's promises. I can put my confidence in Him. I can believe His Word.

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12

I'm off to have just one more. Then comes the bathroom cleanings.

Sewer on the floor

On my floor. I admit, that might be a tad dramatic here. It's more like a toilet overflow. Yesterday I woke up to cat poo by the front door since J let them out of basement, and forgot to leave the door open so they could get to their box. I might include that he didn't let them out to be nice to them. He was digging around for dirty or clean clothes to wear from the laundry room as he does every morning. Before you say, oh dear, she makes those poor kids wear dirty clothes? First off, he's technically old enough to do his own laundry, that aside, I can't wash clothes that don't make it to the laundry room, now can I?

So this morning, before I even had my morning cup of Chai, before it was even 8am, I am greeted with a clogged toilet. Somehow, I'm not convinced that what remains in the toilet bowl doesn't belong to an elephant. TMI, I know. This wasn't going to go over well. J used the bathroom and apparently thought paper towels were a good alternative to TP. He also apparently didn't think making sure it went down was necessary. Oh joy.

In comes S. She uses it without even paying attention. Which meant she was probably either very sleep or in a hurry before she went, as she is usually almost obsessive about flushing twice before even sitting down.

She goes to eat breakfast. S has reflux and experiences tummy discomfort when eating. She often mistakes the feeling for needing to go to the bathroom. She's been known to go to the bathroom like 3 times during a meal. Most recently she was in there so long her bread got crusty! We've been to all the doctors, and it seems for now, this is just how she is. She's also known for waiting until complete urgency before trying to go. I thought by age 12 kids stopped doing this, but I guess not.

So even though I said not to bother the toilet (who wants to tackle the icky job before they've even woken up completely) I hear this flushing sound. Not once, not twice, but three times right in a row. Oh yeah. The fun begins.

I say, "What are you doing!? I thought I said leave it alone?" S replies, "I know but I have to go reeeeaaally bad. I can feel..." She began to share information that even I didn't want to hear, so I will spare my friends and readers. I began to calmly explain that you can't flush it over and over and think that fixes it. By this point, the clog is obviously worse. I tell her it has to sit for a minute and now I'm going to have to get the plunger and she better hope I don't get nasty sewer water all over my floor and shoes.

I go into the living room for a minute. She starts the crying and whining, telling me again, in detail how bad she has to go. *Sigh* Then she says, "You want me to go in my pants!" Gasp. Yep, she said it. I think I did the eyes-wide opened, forehead scrunched, hand on the hip, "what did you say to me?"

"Yeah, that's it. You caught me. I concocted a sinister plan and conspired with J , to clog the toilet, because I wanted my 12 y.o daughter to go in her pants when she should be leaving for school! Uh uh, that's it. I'm busted. How did you ever guess?" Sarcasm isn't nice. This I know. I'm guilty.

I told her to get out of my way and not say another word. I've already been fed up with her passive-aggressive sassy mouth for months (maybe years). After telling her what a stupid, nasty, paranoid thing that is to say to your mother, I start plunging, against my best judgment. After all, I certainly don't want her to be in discomfort. Apparently she must be pretty desperate to say such a dumb a** thing as that. Oh no, now I'm saying the A word. Ugh.

I hold my breath and close my eyes as I listen to the sound of toilet water splashing onto the floor. Great, just great. Cat poop one morning, kid poop the next. Is this a pattern developing? Heck, I thought kids being out of diapers meant I didn't have to deal with someone else's bowel movements anymore.

I look at her trying my best not to mutter, "I hope you're happy." That would just be immature and spiteful. She is only 12 afterall, with no commonsense at all, and a mom doesn't like to see their kids in distress over having to go to the bathroom. What's the saying, when you gotta go, you gotta go? Hmm. Or was it her plan all along? Was it really she that concocted a sinister plan, in conspiracy with J, to make me have to clean up poopy-peepy water from the floor. I'm kidding, I'm kidding. Of course I don't really believe such gibberish.

I hand her my last roll of paper towels and tell her to start mopping it up. I go to get an old towel that can be used and pitched in the trash. I then suggest she risk using the upstairs bathroom. That's when she informs me she doesn't have to go afterall!! Good morning to me.

Oh, and about that other bathroom. Some of you might have been thinking, surely she has another bathroom with four kids? Fortunately I do. Unfortunately right now, it's inoperable. It has a running problem. For a good mental picture for how often this toilet is running, think Forest Gump. It has been 'fixed' a few times. It's driving me nuts. A very short drive these days. I woke up the other day thinking, is that the heater? No, the curtains aren't moving. Did the kids leave the faucet running for Ash again? No, he's in the basement. Is someone actually washing dishes? Yeah, like that's going to happening. I go to investigate. Sigh. It's the toilet. I tinker with it, and get it to stop. For the night at least. We're waiting on the maintenance man again.

Even though S was pretty desperate, she wasn't about to use that toilet. (She's also a frequent toilet clogger due to her belief that you should use half a roll of TP). Last time it was running, and got clogged, (thanks to Lil' J flushing some unknown object) about 50,000 gallons of rusty colored toilet water came gushing out of the ceiling fan light bulbs in the dining room. All over my beautiful dining room table. (Which is creatively decorated with children's carvings & scribbles). R's laptop was actually laying on the table, lid open at the time. I frantically had to unplug it, risking electrocution, letting the water drip out, then set it on a bed of towels. All the while praying for a miracle that it wasn't ruined. Egads, I had pictures in it!

Nasty smelling toilet water was literally raining on our heads, gushing out so fast that it poured out from the dining room floor to the basement. Every towel I have was soaked, every bowl I had was out, and the kids were running back and forth to the downstairs toilet to dump them. Oh was it ever nasty. Toilet water in my bowls. On my table. On my floor. In the laptop. It was total mayhem. I'm trying to suck water off the floor with my steam cleaner, praying that we don't have some sort of electrical situation as water is gushing out from the light bulbs. The maintenance man, who just so happens to be the father of J's best friend, comes running in after my hysterical call. Talk about embarrassing. He turns the water off, and the breaker for the light. The chair pads were totally destroyed, and to this day they still haven't been replaced. Grrr. The carpet was tinted orange, and stunk to high heaven for weeks. Even after many steam cleanings. So, yeah, she wasn't going to risk using that toilet. You can say we have plumping issues in this townhouse. When the shower curtain wasn't closed all the way one time, water was leaking out from the dining room ceiling, and again out of the light bulbs. The maintenance's man's excuse was, 'well worn water paths." Heh. Great explanation. Makes me feel a lot better for sure.

Now you see why I haven't been blogging lately? Such a glamorous life I lead these days.

Now I get to decide how to mop up the mess. Do I use the basement mop that I use to clean up the cat pee? Mmm, an after smell of cat urine. Or do I use my brand new mop, so when I mop the kitchen floor there's an after smell of kid pee? Choices, choices.

April 04, 2005


"Without struggle...there is no progress." -Frederick Douglass