29 March 2008

God Always Knows

Before Abe was laid off, he was driving approximately 7 minutes to work every morning. When he was re-hired, he was hired by a different company whose main project, which Abe is working on, is about 25 minutes away. From 7 minutes to 25 minutes--for Abe, who had been making the 7 minute commute for more than 4 years, this was a switch. Just the same, we were so thankful to have him back to work that the few extra minutes' drive was a price we were willing to pay.

We had no idea how fortunate he was to be hired by this company at this time, and how relatively short Abe's new commute would be.

It turns out that the shop he used to work for is encouraging all of its workers to procure cars with good fuel economy because all of its jobs--for the next several months, at least--are not local. Abe spoke with a fellow today who works for Abe's former employer. He lives about half an hour north of us--and is still driving over an hour and a half north to get to work. Some of the locations of the company's jobs are so far removed that the company has rented houses for its workers to live in during the week--the commute there and back would just eat up too much daylight. So these guys travel up there at the beginning of the week and return home to their families on the weekends.

Praise the LORD that He knew all of this! We had no idea this was the case with Abe's former employer. In fact, we were stymied by the fact that there were men still working with the company who had far less seniority, if you will. And when a friend of his got called back to work and Abe didn't, we were discouraged. We couldn't understand why they weren't asking Abe back. We couldn't understand, but it turned out that it was because God was at work with a better plan.

This just goes to show you that God Always Knows. He knew that if Abe worked for his former company, he'd likely be working far, far away from his family--possibly away from us for days at a time. Now we realize that a 25 minute commute is a huge gift. God knew, and worked in His amazing ways to put Abe out of the minds of the people who might have asked him back to work--and into hours of commute. God knew this would take my husband away from me. And when I plan to be in labor delivering a baby in just a few short months, and when you consider that with my last baby, I arrived at the hospital at 8 centimeters, there probably wouldn't have been time for Abe to make it back from whatever distant land he was working at, a 25 minute drive is a blessing. God knew all of this.

We are so grateful that though we don't always understand how or why God works, He always does, and His plan is always best. Amazing!

28 March 2008

It's Quite Easy Being Green

Hello, all. I have a couple posts a-brewin' on the stove for you, namely one about dear, two-year-old Judah, and one about our construction project.

They're just not ready yet.

So instead, I'll say just one more thing about the delights of reusable shopping bags. I posted about how much I loved them several months back, and remain devoted to them as a means of conveyance for all of my purchases. The one thing about them that I lament, though, is that they don't fit very well into a purse, so if you're on one of those spur-of-the-moment shopping jaunts and don't happen to have a bag stashed in your car, you have to use whatever landfill-clogging, environment-destroying plastic bag they throw your way.

Not anymore, my friends!

Today I was at Target, and found a tote bag that zips into its own pouch for easy portability! Super! The tote itself is not quite as roomy as the standard grocery-bag type totes that are made of the same non-woven polypropylene (whatever that means). But it zips to roughly the size of a ladies' billfold, and it holds quite a bit! And it costs 99 cents! I am only slightly excited about this! Here's a link to the company that makes them. It's just an informational site, so if you, too, are interested in carrying this very handy zippable tote, you'll have to go to Target to get your own.

27 March 2008

Dear Judah

Dear Judah--

Well, it's official: You're two years old! I have so much I want to say to you about who you are becoming, and about how proud I always am of you, so I will just jump right in.

Here's the funny thing about being two: you will have absolutely no recollection of this age when you're grown up. That makes me a little bit sad, because I want you always to remember this beautiful time: the time where your sister was your best friend, the "meow" was the funniest thing on the planet, and you were always more than willing to share. The time where you still liked to rock before you went to sleep, still slept with "Muirne,", and still liked to wear footie pajamas. The time where your greatest thrill in life was going out to work with dad, or just going outside for any reason at all. The time where no food was your enemy, and fruit snacks were your best friend. The time when television held little allure, blocks and cars were still a novelty, and wearing funny hats around the house was your idea of being silly.

See? So many good things. Things that you may not even recall.

Will you recall climbing out of your crib for the first time? Or the day you realized that not all four-legged canines were not called Muirne, but were, instead, doggies? Will you remember when you figured out how to say important boy words like couch, pizza, pop, and poop?

More importantly, will you remember all of the precious times you crawled into bed with mom and dad and smothered us with hugs? Some of those other things may slip our minds, too, but not this one. This one will stick forever.

You are shaping up to be one of the best people we know. You are so loving and kind, so pleasant to be around and play with, and just generally a cool kid. You play well with others and share. You love to dance. At night, when Charis asks if we can sing a song, you oblige her with a "La, La, La" creation of your own. Then, you lay down on your back, tuck your hands behind your head and let out a deep and satisfied, "Aaahhhhh." This never fails to crack us up. You love to read, you love to hide under blankets, you love to sneak a hot dog or three out of the fridge. You love to "shovel" snow with my dustpans. You love to help me cook. I cannot say enough good about you, Judah!

For all of that, you do have a stubborn streak. What can I say? Your parents are two headstrong people, so you didn't have a fighting chance; you were always meant to be a little bit strong-willed. We fight those battles with you sometimes, to be honest. But in the end, you always end up with that wonderful smile and charming guffaw, and the whole thing is forgotten.

We marvel at how you seem to grow and mature daily, adding new words, actions, and capabilities to your repertoire at an alarming rate. You are turning into a bona fide boy right before our eyes--no more of that baby stuff for you. It's always fun to watch, and sometimes a little bit sad. The important thing for you to remember, though, is this: no matter how you change, no matter how you grow, no matter how many of these things you remember or discard, we will always love you completely and be awed at the fact that God chose us to be your parents. We feel so blessed and humbled that He gifted us with you.

Happy Birthday, Judah!

20 March 2008

I Be Smary. Smary, Smary, Smary

My father taught Special Ed students for years and years, and one of the most memorable quotes from his students I can remember is this one, by a girl who was writing about her vast and superior intelligence: "I be smary." By "smary," of course, she meant smart. And by "I be," she of course meant I am. (For those of you not fluent in Ebonics.)

What does this have to do with me? Well, since becoming pregnant, my mental faculties have steadily declined. To be truthful, I think the decline started in my first pregnancy and just steadily continued its descent. I have never fully recovered. My theory is that some of my brain power was channeled to my babies, who are now in possession of much of my intelligence. I be smary, indeed. They be smary-er.

Today my smary-ness manifested itself in a new and profoundly absurd way. I was fixing a very sophisticated lunch of hot dogs for myself and my children, and to be fancy, I was heating the hot dogs in a pot on the stove, as opposed to using the microwave, as I usually do. Though my kids take their hot dogs au naturel, I personally prefer eating them with a bun, and a steamed one at that, if I can get my hands on one. Today, since I was using boiling water to heat the dogs, I thought it was only natural to harness the power of its steam to heat my bun. I concocted a thoroughly brilliant (in my estimation) method for this: I set my splatter screen over the pot of hot water and set my bun on it. Perfect, I thought, except that I realized that the bottom of the bun would probably get nicely steamed while the top remained stiff and cold. Aha! I remembered my microwave food cover, that plastic dome that you place over foods while warming them so they don't make a mess of the microwave. I AM PURE GENIUS, is what I was thinking. I WILL HARNESS THE STEAM IN THE DOME. BRILLIANT.

Well, I stepped away from the stove to let the hot dogs simmer away and the buns soften, returning minutes later to retrieve the succulent treats. I was eager to tuck my hot dog (a Nathan's Famous dog--mmmmm) into the perfectly-steamed bun, and proceeded to lift the microwave lid off of the splatter screen to get at the tender baked goods.

Alas. To no avail.

Here's how smary I really am: I had set a plastic dome on top of a metal mesh over exposed gas flames. Needless to say, the splatter screen and plastic dome were now fused as one, and my bun was trapped inside. It was at this moment, when I was picturing the hack saws and metal snips I would need to free my bun from its plastic and aluminum prison, that I vowed never to use this method ever again. I set the plastic and metal glob back over the flame (what can it hurt now, I thought) and pried at the lid with a fork until the lid and my hot dog bun (bought with a price) were freed. The food dome and splatter screen will never be the same.

So it just goes to show you that I don't always do the smary-est things. But almost exactly two years ago, I birthed a boy child of such cuteness and vivacity as to stop traffic and make people of all ages swoon in his presence. That may be overstating it, but only by a bit, even if I may be a bit biased. Once I have regained some semblance of rationale and stopped playing with fire, I plan to post about my precious two-year old boy and why I love him, and why introducing him to the world was the smary-est thing I have ever done (aside from marrying his father and bringing forth his sister). In the meantime, pray for our family's safety. I apparently cannot be trusted.

10 March 2008

Job Update

Well, Abe officially went back to work today! It is 9:30 am, and the kids and I are already tired of each other. Judah woke up asking for daddy, and Charis keeps asking if we can call daddy at work. Then she proceeds to "call him" at the top of her lungs, as if he's just out working on the addition as he has been for the past three months. The really sad part is that Abe plays basketball on Monday afternoons, so he won't be home until around 6 pm. That's a LONG first day . . . for me. And for the kids, because they have to be with me THAT WHOLE TIME.

Abe was offered (and obviously accepted) a job by another shop. He'll be changing management and location, but the job is pretty much the same. Last night, he said he felt a little like a kid on the first day of school--he even had a hard time falling asleep. We are so grateful that he is going back to work, and the timing is, of course, perfect. It is particularly hard on men when they can't provide for their family as they would like to, and I think Abe was really starting to feel that. As an added bonus (if you want to see it that way), his new place of employment is a 30 minute drive away, so he'll actually have time to finish drinking his morning coffee before he arrives at work. Before, his commute was more like seven minutes, and half of his coffee went untouched. That just goes to show you that God's provision is so complete, He even thinks about Coffee Consumption Time when finding where He wants you.

I was a little concerned about my well-being on this first independent morning--Abe usually takes charge right out of the gate when the kids get up, leaving me to wake up a bit more slowly. I was worried that Charis would wake up at 7:15 and I would be a mean, grumpy mess that she would later have to seek counseling to recover from. But that daylight savings time switch couldn't have come at a better time--the clock tricked her into sleeping an hour later than she normally does, so I was able to be awake first. It always helps my state of mind if I arrive to consciousness before the kids do.

So, on the docket for me and the kids today: laundry (Judah's favorite chore to undo), dishes, and probably a rousing game of Cooties. Quite possibly, there will also be some play-doh tossed into the schedule, just to make it interesting.

I also have a transcript to finish up. I'm not sure if I've mentioned this too much before. My cousin Sarah graciously paved the way for me to get set up as a data transcriptionist to enable me to earn a little extra money for our family. Basically, I sit and listen to interviews and type what I hear. I get my first paycheck this Friday! I won't lie to you, I would never have thought about transcribing as a part-time job possibility. But it is very flexible, pays pretty well, and makes me feel like I'm helping our situation some, without sacrificing my time with the family. It is perfect for now. I plan to continue doing it until the demand dries up, and hopefully, it will help us put money back into the accounts we've been draining for the past few months. Plus, the interviews I've been transcribing have been about teaching, which I have a degree in, and more specifically, they've been about teaching division of fractions. So not only have I been plunged comfortably back into the world of education, I've been learning how to divide fractions (which I had apparently forgotten how to do. It seems that I am NOT smarter than a fifth grader.). Again--provision, provision, provision!

Thank you so much for your prayers for us during this difficult time. We've felt and appreciated all of them!

06 March 2008

Don't Hate Me Because I'm Beautiful

So today, we had just finished dinner, and Abe had Charis in his lap. He grabbed her hair, pulling it tightly at the back of her head, then proceeded to do his best impression of scissors. He told her that he had just cut all of her hair off. I tried to look shocked.


She touched her hand to her head. "You can't cut it all off!" She said dramatically. "People LOVE my hair!"

05 March 2008

When It Rains...

Okay, it didn't rain here. But it still poured. On Saturday, I watched the kids ALL DAY LONG while Abe and Tim finished up some of the plumbing for the addition. They pressure-tested it and everything, so things were looking peachy. We went to church on Sunday morning confident that we would return to a house that looked pretty much as we had left it. How naive of us.

When we returned home, I opened the door and, with the keen eye of an expert, deduced that something was amiss. Of course, the large puddle in the new bathroom and the three inches of water in the basement were clues. "Abe, there's something leaking!" I hollered. It turns out that the cap on one of the pipes wasn't soldered on. It had held for something like twelve hours before it decided to blow, but then it apparently gave up the fight. Abe quickly shut off the valve, but the damage was done. We had a swimming pool in our basement.

We have a sump pump for just such an emergency, so we hoped that it would quickly drain the basement once the water supply was turned off. I suggested that we clean up the construction detritus all over the floor, lest it be swept down the drain and clog something. We did the best we could, working feverishly while the kids were down for a (yeah, right) nap. Even so, something clogged the pipe, and clogged it in a location that could not be reached by exterior means. So, in the ensuing days, between much sweeping and shop-vac sucking up of the water and placement of fans for drying, Abe had to replace the pipes in that general area. Which wouldn't have been so bad, if they hadn't been the pipes that carry drain water from the washing machine and kitchen sink to the sewer. So, until late yesterday afternoon, I was unable to do any dishes or cook anything that might have necessitated the draining of water, and unable to do any laundry, even the stuff that had gotten soaked in the flood. I am now caught up on all of the dishes, but still working my way through the laundry. And I've got a transcript I need to finish up today, and choir practice tonight! And a meeting tomorrow morning!

And then, assuming we don't have another water-related catastrophe, I will attempt to nap.

Until Saturday.