Thursday, November 29, 2007

Dear Miss Anonymous

Dear Anonymous Commenter,

I saw that you posted a comment in response to my skinny legs post. I just measured, and my calf is 10 1/2 inches around at the widest part, and barely 7 inches around my ankles.

Let's just say I've been called chicken legs more than a couple katrillion times in my life.

Mostly by my adoring sisters.

Love, Angie

P.S. I did find some cute tall boots at DSW, but sadly, they didn't hug my legs like I'd hoped. But they were cute and reasonable, so I went for it! I'll post pictures if I can get some.

P.S. It's interesting to see how visitors get to my site, and I have to say that half of my visits each day are from people Googling, "tall boots for skinny legs" or "how are these boots supposed to fit my skinny legs" or "Praise God I don't have skinny legs like Angie" or "thin calves and tall boots" or "cheap boots for thin legs" ... I think I've found a new niche if anyone is in the shoe making business!

We're not destined for celebrity...

There's Brangelina. There's Tomkat. I even heard Zanessa the other day (Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens of High School Musical fame - but I had to look it up to know!). And way before these there was Bennifer - Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez.

It occurred to me a while back, that if Gary and I were a celebrity couple, we'd be "Angry." Angie + Gary. Hmmm... what could that mean? I know one thing it means, and that is that you won't ever find us on the cover of any entertainment tabloid with that moniker!

(Oh, and for Word Nerds like me, I learned that there's an actual phrase used for combining names. It's a Portmanteau word: Formed by merging the sounds and meanings of two different words. And it's been around forever. Who knew?! And I always thought I was being so clever when I thought of "Krolson" in high school. But that's another story...)

But lately, I think I've been hit with the realization that sometimes I really am just that: angry.

I know I'm not the only mom in the world who has days when her kids just IRRITATE her. I can't be. If they're not bickering with each other, they're making a mess or getting into something when they know better. After following them around the house, cleaning up mess after mess, just to turn around and find they've made another, sometimes I feel like a ticking bomb (ticking mom?) who's about to blow.

And sometimes I do.

I'll find myself gritting my teeth, literally feeling hot with anger, and sometimes this hideous roar comes from me. I always feel ashamed and ugly later. Seconds later. Years ago at a MOPS convention in Nashville, my friend Kerry was accidentally signed up for a seminar on anger called, "She's Gonna Blow!" We laughed, after all, our babies weren't even one yet, what possible need would there be for this?! (Incidentally, it's based on a book by Julie Barnhill that I'm putting on my Christmas list...)

What triggers it?

Sometimes this:


Do you know HOW MANY results come up when you Google, "How to get Vaseline out my kid's hair?" It could've been worse - check this out. Thankfully, we didn't have to go to those measures (can you even imagine?!). Instead, here's what worked (for all you moms who are reading this as a result of a Google search!): We saturated her hair with Baby Oil (I know it sounds weird), then washed it 3 times (lather, rinse, lather, rinse, lather, rinse) with Dawn dish soap. Then we shampooed and conditioned because the Dawn can be drying. It was nearly perfect. By the next bath it was fine. But sooo not fun. It was all over our comforter too. Grrr.

Or this:

She said she wanted to look "pretty" before bed. Not only was she in trouble for getting out of bed, but for dipping into mommy's make up drawer. But I was secretly impressed by how well she actually got the mascara on. Oh, and she "did her hair" with greasy Eucerin lotion. Only the best for my daughter.

Or when my girls repeatedly fill up cups of water from the dispenser on the fridge. No big deal, except they use the play cups that have holes on the bottom, and I end up mopping up the lake in my kitchen. Take away the cups, you say? But they go with a play set. The anal part of me just can't do it. (I know, you don't feel sorry for me now.)

Or when they goof around at the table.

Or when Emma wakes Addie from her nap 2 hours too early.

Or when Emma experimented with, shall we say, fingerpainting?


Granted, this one was two years ago, but it still feels fresh. I mean, it still seems recent.

Or when they spill Goldfish crackers all over the floor and decide to have a dance party on top of them because it sounds like they're tap dancing.

Or when Addie takes to my Pottery Barn glider cushion with a Sharpie. I googled nothing successful for this gem.

I've just been trying to remind myself to take a deep breath, suck it up, and clean up the mess and discipline as necessary. I've got to control myself. I would never want to hurt them - and I haven't - but I have to admit that I can totally see how it happens. Sometimes I feel so furious inside that I'm afraid of myself and pray QUICKLY for some self control. Thankfully, God's answered that prayer every time.

The summer before my senior year in college, I lived with a wonderful family in British Columbia doing some short-term mission work. I met a wonderful man while we were there named Earl Johnson. He was older, maybe 70 or more, and was so wise and really loved Jesus. I remember driving down the road one day with he and a friend, and my friend shared how sometimes other drivers make him SO MAD. Earl gently corrected him and said, "No Andrew, you ALLOW yourself to get mad. You choose how you want to respond, and you choose anger. YOU make yourself mad." It really stuck with me. I think about it a lot, and especially now that I'm a mom.

Being angry isn't a sin, I think it's just how we handle it and what the result could be is what can make it so bad. Afterall, didn't Jesus get angry?

I figure if I can pause to take a picture of it, it can't be that bad. Often stopping to take that picture is what helps me calm down. I guess I've just discovered my own brand of anger management. And you know what? The more pictures I take and the more stories there are, just means more to scrapbook about. Or blog about. Now that's not so bad!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sick

This post isn't about my kids being sick... although I feel like I've been wiping noses for months now.

It also isn't about how I was sick for the long Thanksgiving weekend... all those plans of Christmas decorating dashed!

Instead, it's about how sick my heart feels for an 11-week along pregnant friend whose doctor just confirmed today that her baby has acrania, which means that her baby is developing without a skull. They were told that she's likely to carry the baby to term, but that it would not survive outside the womb for more than a few hours.

I can relate to the devastating feeling of dreams disappearing in a moment, and the notion that every expectation you once had has changed dramatically. When I try to imagine what she is going through, I just cry. While I can relate to her loss in one sense, carrying a baby to term that you know will not live is unbearable to imagine, much less have that be your reality, and one that I can't relate to. Honestly, it's so very hard for me to think about right now. I wish with all my heart that she didn't have to go through any of this.

It seems so cruel. I can see why people witness life changes like this and think our God is mean and abusive of his power. It's easy slip into that train of thought, especially when you're in the midst of a nightmare like this. God could have let Joshua live. God could have developed this baby's skull completely so there was never a cause for alarm. God could have let every sweet, tiny baby live whose lives were way too short. God could have saved many moms' and dads' hearts from breaking into a million pieces when doctors broke the news to them. But he didn't. WHY NOT? I've only asked myself that a thousand times, and I'm sure I'll double it by year's end.

But the thing that doesn't make any sense to me, is that although on the surface it seems so awful (and it is, trust me it is), God is still good. I don't love God for the things he does or doesn't do, I love him for who he is. When Addie throws a tantrum in the mall (like today), it doesn't make me stop loving her. I love her because she's my daughter. I probably do a lot of things that make God roll his eyes and slap his forehead, but he loves me because I'm His daughter. He also doesn't love me any more on Bible Study days or days I'm especially loving towards my husband. Likewise, I don't love God because he does great things for me, or hate him because he doesn't. I love him because He's God, and He's my father. Just because he's thrown some twists in life our way that we don't understand or like, doesn't mean I should stop loving him. I can be mad and ask questions, but I can't make myself stop loving him. He's my lifeline... I just can't. I've got to hold on for dear life, even when that's the irony.

I know that God is good and His purposes are good too. Even when that thought seems unfathomable, I know it to be true. I've seen that truth played out in my life and countless others. Why do we think we're so great and know what's best, anyway? Proverbs 19:21 says, "Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails." I have to keep trusting him. I have to keep trusting him. I have to keep trusting him.

Joshua is still as near to my heart as he ever was, even if not physically now. I longed for the day I could hold him as close to my heart as possible, and still have to pinch myself that it just isn't going to happen this side of heaven. But time has helped to start healing the wounds Joshua left behind, and I know that joy will be restored. I've already felt sprigs of green grass coming through the barren surface of my heart. I just have to pray now that my friend Erin will feel God's presence around her as she and her husband walk this road. I'm thankful that her trust in the Lord has been great ever since I've known her, but this is enough to shake even the strongest person. No one could've told me on August 31st that joy would come again, but it has, and it will. Same for Erin.

Lord, we don't understand your plans for us, but we know that you had written our days long before we born. Erin's baby is not an exception. Your plans are mysterious and seem confusing and unfair to us. Help me to see that your way is the best way and that you love us more than we can fathom. Be with my friend and her family, and catch every one of their tears in your hands. Teach me how to be a good friend right now and love them through this. And Lord, I will keep praying for a miracle like I've been doing these last few days. I know that it's possible, and I'm refuse to not expect it. But if that's not your will, then use this experience for your glory, and ease Erin's pain knowing that it makes you shine.

Those who sow in tears
will reap with songs of joy.

He who goes out weeping,
carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
carrying sheaves with him.

Psalm 126:5-6

Monday, November 19, 2007

This isn't what I expected

November is more than half over.

I expected to be sifting through my sister's maternity clothes this week, finding the perfect 8-months-along Thanksgiving outfit. I expected to be giddy with excitement at the Thanksgiving table, because I could stuff myself and justify that I was indeed eating for two. I expected to be painting a nursery blue and decorating with a sweet but masculine bedding set, all while trying to stay awake because I've been up all night trying to keep Addie and Emma in their own beds, in their shared room.

But none of this has happened.

Instead, I'm still paying hospital bills from August 31st. Each time a new bill comes, it's like someone is tearing off the scab of hurt. We've paid A LOT of money so far for our son... our son who we knew for such a short time. It seems so unfair. I wouldn't mind paying a million dollars if he had gotten to come home with us that day. I can't say we're paying for nothing because that would just imply that his life was nothing to us, and it wasn't. It was everything to us.

I went shopping this week and saw some cute Christmas outfits for the girls. I just couldn't stop myself from looking at the teeny tiny baby boy Christmas outfits though - the very ones I was going to have on hand, in case Joshua had decided to arrive a week early. It's hard for me to think about Christmas sometimes, knowing that a few months ago I didn't know where we'd be celebrating Christmas. Would it be at my parents' house... or the hospital room? I remember telling Gary more than once that I wanted a Christmas tree in that hospital room, and I think he thought I was crazy. I know that now he'd make sure there were THREE in there if it were up to him.

The last few days have been so hard. Grief is funny. It comes and goes with no warning. I never seem to have a lot of warning before it hits me, and then I feel myself get hot with emotion and there's no turning back. There's rarely a minute that Joshua isn't on my mind, but thankfully, the waves of grief seem to come less frequently. Instead I just feel like I have a veil of sadness over me everyday. I can fake it pretty well for most people, but the truth is, my heart is still broken. Sometimes I wonder if I'm struggling with post partum depression, which my doctor said I was more prone to after losing Joshua. It's hard to distinguish whether it's that or just the normal grieving process.

Someone told me recently that the way they moved on was to get pregnant again. I'm not sure. I can see how another pregnancy will bring joy, but the other feelings that will accompany it make me anxious. I never worried about my babies during either of the pregnancies with the girls. This next time might be different. I also worry about feeling like I'm dishonoring Joshua or forgetting about him should I get pregnant again. They're strange feelings that I can't explain and that don't even make much sense to me. But that said, I'm very eager to have another baby. Another baby won't replace Joshua, but I know our family isn't complete. I can't wait to cuddle another tiny baby, for Addie to be a big sister, and to watch our family dreams unfold. I miss Joshua, but I can't help but think about the rest of the plans God has for our family. Life didn't stop when Joshua died. It often feels like it should have, but it didn't. Sometimes when I'm out running errands and I see people going about their daily business, I feel frantic inside, wondering how they can't know that Joshua died. It makes no sense, I know.

Today I was going through an old check book and found check duplicates I wrote this summer, when life seemed so normal. I just stared at the checks for a second, and thought to myself, "You had no idea." I flipped a few checks forward and found checks written after August 31st. The handwriting was the same and yet it's a different person that wrote those checks.

I sort of can't wait for the day that this sadness isn't a part of everything I do and everything I think. But I don't want to forget what happened, because it's part of my life, and because God's taught me so much through it. I just wish things had happened the way we expected them to when we saw those two purple lines. None of this is what I expected.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

TAG! I'm it.

Joanne tagged me to share seven weird/random things about myself... so here we go. (I'm glad I can't see those of you who are rolling your eyes and thinking to yourselves, "This should be easy!")

1. I truly love the smell of cow manure. It really makes me happy. No, I didn't grow up on a farm, but I did dream of marrying a cowboy. My sweet husband Gary is FAR from a cowboy, nor does he like the smell of cow manure. It just goes to show we can't have everything, right?!

2. I do this weird thing when I cross the Colorado state line. I think to myself, "Whew, I'm back in Colorado so it's okay if I die." WHAT?! Who does that?! I guess I have this weird fear of my life not beginning and ending in Colorado. I know - morbid and weird. And who really wants be proud of the fact that they never got far from home?

3. The first real dinner I ever made for Gary was lasagna. Yummy, except I forgot the noodles. It's sort of a critical part of that recipe. Needless to say, my family will never let me live it down.

4. I love to make up words. I'm most famous for "Jeepyshaneepylu."

5. I have a mole/freckle right on the very, very tip of my nose. It's the center of my face.

6. There's this weird game I play with myself, mostly on road trips. I try to make myself stop, but I can't, and I've done it ever since I was little. Let's say you're in the mountains - I find a tree on the mountain and pretend that God and I are the only ones who have ever noticed that particular tree... or flower... or blade of grass. What's my deal?!

7. The first swear word I ever said was the "S" word and I immediately burst into tears. I won't divulge all of the details, because it will make for a fairly humorous post someday. I'll just say that I was terrified - PETRIFIED - of a funnel cloud that was probably 20+ miles away that never ended up touching down. My friend Kathleen was there as was my sister Amy, and I promise you'll all get a good laugh when you hear the story.

That's it! So now I'll tag seven...
Amy, Kathleen, Michelle, Christy, Kelly, Cam, Heather and Heather. You're it! I'll be checking your blogs for your answers, so get going! (Please note: I said I was tagging seven, but I counted the two Heathers as a two-for-one. It's my blog. I can do that.)

And now I'm editing this to tag Gary as well, even though I'm not sure he'll play my little game... if he doesn't, I've decided that I WILL write seven weird things about him. :) Just kidding, my love!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

It scares me when...

...I hear Emma say, "Kids, don't try this at home!" and then I hear a bunch of racket and screaming and then giggling.

Luckily, she and Addie were just being silly with a little ride-on toy.

But where does she get these funny phrases?

I should be writing them down more often. Some of her other favorites are:
"It sure seems that way."
"It sure is ________." (use any adjective you want for the appropriate situation.)
"I'm 'fraid so."
(I'm going to have to come back and add more because this afternoon I had about a dozen in my head that I should've written down at the time!)

Oh. And then this afternoon, I heard Emma saying to Addie, "You be the little girl and I'll be the mom and we can pretend we're going to Bible Study. Okay?" So I saw her pick up my Bible and Addie's backpack, tug at Addie's sleeve and say, "Hurry! We're going to be late!" The end. That was the end of the game. I'm not real happy about that game.

Silly girls.

Friday, November 09, 2007

I am tiny

Gary and I took the college group to the Chris Tomlin/Louie Giglio concert last night. It was AMAZING. If the tour has yet to hit your town, GO. Even if you've never heard of those two guys, GO. Seriously.

Chris Tomlin was wonderful, just as I expected him to be. Several of his songs brought me to tears, just as I expected them to do. He really is just so gifted as a songwriter and singer. I found this quote by him today that really affirms to me why I'm such a fan of his music: "...God's blowing a fresh Wind of His Spirit in so many people who are coming to realize that anything that just builds us up as people isn't worth much. What gives God the spotlight is important. And that's all we're about." Awesome.
Before I go on, I love - LOVE - that the words to the songs were up during the entire concert and nearly everyone was singing along. I love that. It wasn't as much a concert as it was a giant, awesome worship service. At one point EVERYONE below (we were in the balcony) was jumping simultaneously and singing and it was just amazing to see. I laughed to myself, trying to imagine Boyz II Men displaying the words to their songs during a concert so everyone could sing along. Funny. (Boyz II Men? WHAT? I had to throw that in. Someone laughed at me the other day when they learned that I'd gone to a Boyz II Men concert. Yes, I did. Boyz II Men. I know, funny, huh?)

Anyway, midway through the concert, Louie got up to share a message with us. Okay, this is where I should just stop. I'm about to summarize it, and it is SO not going to do justice to it. I feel like I have to though, because I don't want to forget it, and it was amazing. I've decided I might get the DVD. So this is it in a nutshell. But don't take my word for it - try to get a hold of the DVD if you can. I'll even let you borrow mine!

So, in a nutshell, here we go. Louie said that all God had to do was say the word, and he created the entire world. Galaxies, stars, planets, humans, animals... BAM! That's power. He held up a golf ball to illustrate the size of the earth in comparison to larger things in the universe. For example, if the earth is the size of a golf ball, the sun is 15 feet across. What a great visual! He then went on to talk about the sizes of three other stars (and I'm sorry, I don't remember their names). If the earth is the size of a golf ball, one is SIX Empire State Buildings end to end. One is the length of two Golden Gate Bridges put together. The largest star found is Canis Majoris, and get this - if you put the earth at sea level, Canis Marjoris is the height of Mt. Everest from sea level to the top! WOW. I think the earth is pretty darn big. That makes me feel so very small.

After showing us how grand the universe is and the amazing wonders that God created for his own glory (have you seen the core of the Whirlpool Galaxy? It's a cross. So cool. You should Google it.), he told us that we're nothing. It's true! We're born, we live for a short time, we die. We're tiny and virtually unnoticed in our universe. "As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more." (Psalm 103:15) And yet, we were made intentionally by the Creator of the universe. How cool is that!? He showed us a few cells that are the meager beginnings of a human. And in the part of the night that shook me the most, he showed a five month old baby in utero and explained how amazing it is that this baby is fully formed and perfect just by a bunch of cells doing their thing. I mean, truly, life is such a miracle. In his grand finale, he explained to us what a molecular biologist shared with him at the end of one of his talks last year. Our bodies are held together by a protein called laminin. It's what helps hold our skin to our muscles and our muscles to our bones. You know how all of those super smart science people know how to draw protein structures and all that? (Can you tell I hardly know what I'm talking about?) Well, laminin doesn't resemble some crazy Tinker Toy creation, it's the shape of a cross! I literally heard gasps across the room when he told us that. He showed us an actual microscopic picture of laminin, and sure enough, it's a cross. And it hold us together. God is so cool.

Anyway, it was an emotional night full of ups and downs, but I left feeling full and in awe of our God. He loves us. He cares about what happens to us. Even in our darkest days when the pit seems too deep, he's holding us together and will see us through until the end. Of all the amazing, beautiful places in our universe, God chose to send Jesus to earth. To us. FOR us. He totally didn't have to and he did. How great is our God!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Tall boots, skinny legs

It seems like cozy sweater dresses, cute skirt, wrap dresses and TALL BOOTS are in the fall fashion forecast. Of course, I have none of those things. I think I'm a little fashion impaired.

But I admit, I just lied. I actually DO have a sweater dress that I just bought. It's not even been taken out of the bag yet. I think I'm a little afraid of it.

So when I bought it, my Mom and my sister Amy told me I needed tights and tall boots to go with it. Okay, great! That only meant I'd have to go shopping for them. I thought to myself, how do I not have tall boots? Haven't they been "cool" for a few years now?

Despite feeling crummy (yes, my entire family just got over the nasty stomach bug, and now the girls and I are plagued by some yucky sinus thing), I went to the store today and took my first shot at trying on some tall boots. Then I remembered why I don't have tall boots: they never, ever fit me.

My legs are too skinny.

I don't think they're supposed to look so baggy on your leg, are they? I could bend my knee and they hit the front and then the back of my legs like a bell. Is that right? They looked ridiculous on me.

Now before I'm hit with the fake "oh too bad your legs are too skinny" pity party, let me say that it really is a drawback. I tried on skinny jeans the other day, and they too were baggy on me. I wish the weight I gain on my hips would go to my legs.

Don't believe me? Let me wrap up with this amusing little tale...

Once upon a time when I was in 3rd grade, my friend Kathleen asked me to play on her softball team with her. My mom was quick to say "no," claiming that my legs were so skinny they'd break as I ran the bases. Mmm-hmm. Right.

About ten years later, my senior year of high school, I got the brilliant idea to go out for cross country. Now, mind you, I was not a runner. So that summer, I went from running nary a mile to running 5+ miles a day. After my first meet, my legs were burning as though on fire. I have a high pain tolerance, so I like to think that I'm no weenie, but it did not feel normal. So I went to the doctor, and he showed me x-rays that proved I had stress fractures in both legs. My mom had been right - my legs were so skinny that they broke when I ran. Okay, I know it's not because they were skinny, but still!

I don't know what my point is. I guess if you know of any tall boots made for people with skinny legs, do a sister a favor and please let me know. Thanks.
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