Archive | February 2012

worry, and heaven, and C.S. Lewis

There are things that become incredibly relevant when you are a mom, things that didn’t mean as much before. Printable coupons. The flu season. Whether or not your husband will be home EXACTLY in time for dinner. And other sorts of things like that.
Also, C.S. Lewis. I have mentioned this before, but quite a few times I have found myself remembering a quote, and baffling that he was a middle aged mostly-bachelor who lived almost a century ago. Because, he knows me.

Like this quote: “There have been times when I think we do not desire heaven, but more often I find myself wondering whether, in our heart of hearts, we have ever desired anything else.”

That first part, about not being quite as holy as we think we should – now that rings true here in momland. See I used to be quite holy, back in college. I had daily, sacred quiet times, in which I prayed for all of the lost, and nearly all of fruits of the spirit (not just patience). I journaled; I sung (with my eyes closed, mind you) at worship night; I discussed. Oh, how I discussed. Heaven, in its official self, was near.

These days are a little different. Actually I have quite a complex about that holy Jessica of long ago. She has been replaced with someone who gets annoyed easily, who says her prayers mostly in bed, with warm covers on (you can see where this is going), and…I think I know where my Bible is, but a journal??? Forget it.

Which makes me wonder, comparitively, if I will be knocking on heaven’s door one day and somehow have forgotten my verses, and theologies, and…feel out of place.

I hope Mr. Lewis is right, then, that the inklings of heaven are still right here with me even if books and Bible studies have been replaced by dishes and diapers. And if I look at my heart, I think he is right.

Behind all of the vitamins and check-ups and seat-belt-buckling and baby-gate-installing and sneaking of vegetables into things, is the hope that nothing bad will ever, ever happen to my family. Heaven. Everytime I worry about my own health, it’s just because I want to live forever with the ones I love. Heaven. Everytime my heart breaks for yet another family with sick kids, heaven. Everytime I’m hungry, and tired, and need strength for another day, heaven. Everytime I’m struck with how perfect my children are, and somehow hugging them tight is not enough – I want the moment to last forever…heaven. Everytime I’m lonely. Everytime I’m worried. Everytime I hurt. Heaven.

“If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”
– C.S. Lewis

Come quickly, Lord Jesus.


ramblings from the deep end

First, I want to answer the obvious question here, the one I am getting all those comments about. (Not the comments below, they text them. I get lots of text comments.) And that question is, Jessica, what’s up with all these blog posts recently? You’ve been MIA, and now three in one week! Well, folks, the truth is, it’s not that anything more exciting is happening here than usual. But there’s an equation concerning blogs, which you might know if you have one. The equation is, the longer you wait between posts, the more important the next post has to be. And thus, the more recent the post, the lamer your next one can be. See, now I can post about my new favorite shampoo now or a funny comment Sam made about poop. But, if it’s been three months, people start to wonder about you. “Three months, and she’s posting about that? She thinks that is important? But once you get that first welcome-back post out of the way, the sky’s the limit. Which is why you are getting this post, which may or may not be full of helpful/odd tidbits of life here (off in the deep end).

Sometimes, I feel bad for Todd. When he calls me, he really never knows what he’s going to get. I could giddy about a surprise I just made him. Sometimes the whole family is giggling and tickling each other. Sometimes I share my amazing (next) idea to make a million dollars and be famous. Of course other times, I am screaming my head off at someone who is unravelling/shredding/eating the toilet paper. Sometimes I am on hold with the credit card company and about to rip someone’s head off. Sometimes I am weeping, and, moping, and forloin about how untan and mushy I’ve gotten. It’s a shot in the dark.

The point is, I waffle. Here is the latest little experiment Todd got to witness. I am sure, for not the first time, he was sure his wife was jumping face-first off into the deep end. Basically, I have self-diagnosed myself (here is Todd’s cue to groan and roll eyes) as being overloaded with toxins and irritants to my sinuses. So I’ve determined there are ways to reduce my body’s toxic and/or stress levels. I know that phrase sounds funny coming from me, sort of like when I heard my sister Jenny talking about the Giants’ defensive strengths. It seems odd. But really as the purpose of this blog is to entertain and inform, I am sure that my clever little list of life and body cleansing tips will do either amuse or help someone. Here are the things I have tried.
– Eliminating additives and dyes. Now this includes all the obvious fun stuff – oreos, pudding cups, bacon, coffee creamer, mayonnaise, etc. etc. But darn it, you can also find these stupid things in places that should never be black-listed. In the name of purity I also said goodbye to Colgate, Motrin, mouthwash, my precious Bath and Body works body wash, lip gloss, hand soap, emergen-C packets, fabric softener, and foundation. In what world should one feel guilty about brushing your teeth and taking vitamin C??? I know, I know, it sounds crazy. But read the labels!! It’s shame!
– In the process, here are all the things I’ve discovered you can wash effectively with vinegar: kitchen floors, my hands, the bathroom sink and toilets, unorganic produce, clogged drains, kitchen counters, and, my sinuses. And judging by the overall stinging sensation I got from that last one, I’m pretty sure the rest of them are clean. real clean.
– Here are some “greener” substitutes I have found for aforementioned items: Dr. Bronner’s body soap bars (found them at Trader Joe’s… But, as my cousin Sarah pointed out, great soap, WEIRD guy), baking soda and peroxide for toothpaste (this one was not fun), and coconut oil for lotion/lip gloss.
In case you’re curious, I’m back now, from that brief retreat into the life I should really be living. There are a few things I will leave in that life. Things like baking soda in my mouth, unless it is minisculey mixed with sugar, flour, and chocolate chips. Also, the vinegar in my sinuses routine. I think Sam thought I was a crazy person when he kept seeing me with an afghan over my face at the kitchen table.
However, I do plan to continue utilizing vinegar to clean everything other than my nasal cavities. I read somewhere how a lady cleans her bathroom with three paper towels and a squirt bottle of vinegar. Intruguing, is it not? Additionally, I found those natural soaps quite pleasant, and I plan to research natural makeup products. But you know, here is my conclusion. In the words of the very wise Bob Wiley: “Baby steps.” As wonderful as my week-long toxic fast was, and as many things as I learned, I think am going to baby-step my way into Green Land. This is essentially my tactic to buy a few more years of Oreos in my life, but whatever. Baby steps.


Aren’t faults so much easier to see in junior high kids? The insecurity. The desperate throwing the stapler across the room for attention. The distinct need for braces, and definite lack of deoderant. And, the ifs. If I had a boyfriend. a girlfriend. if we didn’t have uniforms. if this test was cancelled. if i had a boyfriend, or better parents. if we win our game. if i had a boyfriend. did I say a boyfriend? That one was always popular. They never listened to me when I told them that, trust me, living with a man, pleasant as it is, is surely not heaven itself.

Those middle schoolers. I was always so amused, and so critical. And here I am, a middle schooler for a mom. Whatever irritation, fear, or imperfection there is – it colors everything I see. If I am sick, that is all I think about. If Ty is fussy, that is all I think about. If I have gotten no sleep, or have a headache, or worried about a decision I must make, it is all I think about. It is a shame of a way to live a life, with one olive poisoning the rest of the delicious salad (blech).
Like my abs, my optimism muscle has gotten weak with age, so I am going to exercise it. (Okay, neither were that great to begin with.)
Today was a wonderful, beautiful day.
I slept through the night!
At dinner Sam thanked God with scrunched eyes for all our dinnerrrr, and all our luuuuunch, and all our foooood (he draws out syllables when he is extra grateful.)
Both of the boys thought it was hilarious when I tickled them with an orange. Come on, anything for a laugh.
We drove the airport and saw two planes land. On the way there, a plane flew over our heads. The excitement in Sam’s voice when he saw it was priceless.
Before Ty’s nap, he threw all his animals out of the crib and then cried when each one hit the floor. I had to laugh.
Sam gave me a hug, unpromted, when I got him out of his high chair, and told me, Mom, I love you.
At lunch he said, Mom, I love Dad. I just love that guy.
Ty snuggled me on the way up the stairs.
We played outside, and it was beautiful – sixty and sunny. In January.
Sam gave Ty a “gently, gently hug” when he bumped his head. It’s only taken ten months, but, gosh, I think they like each other.
I got to chat with two friends from college, the disability insurance guy, AND the mailman gave me an especially personal smile. Good day for a stay-at-home mom!
I got to hear Sam and Todd wrestling, throwing the football, and saying their prayers.
The only casualties for the day were a broken candle, a cup of oats on the floor, and a ripped magazine. Not bad considering we spent 90% of the day inside.
Right now, I hear the most adorable voice in the world calling Mommy Mommy to give him some more big boy cup. Yes, the big boy cup is basically a graduated bottle habit we need to kick, but it is the cutest sound in the world.
I can see, and I can walk, and my kids smile back at me and we spent all day in our home, and not in a hospital and I have more than I need.
Today was a wonderful day.

why I hate pears

I owe some of you an apology. Well, probably most of you, for some reason or another, but the ones who are getting one today are sinus sufferers. Yup, that’s what I said. See, there are two kinds of people in the world. There are those of you who read that last phrase, with the mention of the sinuses, and thought, “booooring. Poo. I half thought this blog was going somewhere juicy.” And then there are others of you, who have actually had sinus problems, and your precious hearts went out. Having undergone the agony of the throbbing head, the gucky drainage, and the stuffy nose, ears, hair follicles etc, you FEEL for those sinus sufferers.
Unfortunately, until about October, I was one of the former. And yes, if you ever told me your sinuses were bothering you, I confess that the words you were saying were interpreted as something in between, “I stubbed my toe a few weeks ago,” and those sounds that Charlie Brown’s mom makes on the videos. Basically, I ignored you.
Well thanks to the world’s. worst. january. in Charlotte, NC (always fall, never winter), I now get it.
I will tell you how I experienced it, so if you have kept reading this scintillating entry you will get the distinct priviledge of experiencing sinus drainage issues from the standpoint of a hypochondriac. Now if that isn’t an interesting story plot, what is.
Anyhow, at first I thought I was dying of a throat tumor. Yes, I webmd-ed “throat cancer,” “lump in throat,” “hard to swallow,” etc, etc. Yes, I visited the ENT. I inwardly scoffed at (and dismissed) his diagnosis of “sinusitis.” As the weeks turned into months, and we plotted through January slushing through mud puddles one day, sweating the next, and rummaging for gloves by the weekend, let’s just say our sinuses have been through the equivalent of an air-pressure blender. And yes, I turned into one of those people (they’re not all over 50, apparently) weeping and moping about “my poor sinuses.”
Luckily, I have a few listeners more sympathetic than I’ve been. Todd repeatedly reminded me (still reminds me) in periods of fear and trembling that, probably, you don’t have a tumor in your nose, and probably, we don’t have mold growing irrevocably in the foundations of our house, and most likely, it will eventually turn into spring. Most likely.
Also, my mom. She listened, she commiserated, she suggested remedies. And here is where things turned a bit south, in referenced to the pears formerly mentioned. Somehow between the two of us, we determined that there was probably a group of foods tormenting those poor sinuses even more. Call them allergies, if you will (I will; she won’t), call them triggers if you’d rather, but the point became, why don’t you try an elimination diet.
Now if you know me, you know that any sort of “diet” (unless it is some sort of experimental, eat-appetizers-every-three-hours diet), should be suggested timidly, tenantively, and with no expectation of success, as one might approach a wild bear with hopes of a hug. It’s a bad idea. And, truly, this was a most terrible idea, because between the two of us the lines of communication got crossed and through my head-throbbing fever somehow the list of foods I believed I should eat was whittled down to about four. Chicken, bananas, rice. And pears.
While I was sick with a sinus infection. And a headache. Needless to say, we’ve seen more cheerful family moments. I wasted away to a shadow of myself. I exaggerate not. I dreamed about cheese, fantasized about ketchup, drooled over Sam’s breakfast sausage. It was bad. And it was only 72 hours.
At that point, Todd walked in the closet and there occured a conversation that went something like this:
Todd: Why are you sitting on the floor in the closet?
me: I’m praying. I’m asking God if I can have some Papa John’s.
Todd: (chuckling, because he has no idea what it is like to eat a pear for every meal) Well why don’t you come out?
me: This is taking all my strength.
Later, when I had somehow traversed to the living room:
me: You never answered me about the pizza. You’re not helping at all. You aren’t even paying attention. (If this seems harsh, remember, he has had a chili dog for dinner, and I have consumed less calories all day than I usually eat for breakfast.)
Todd: Well, I’m not sure if the pizza is a good idea right now. You’re sick. But I have questioned the timing of this plan.
And that, folks, was somehow the snap back to reality. Today, as I speak to you, I am on day 2 of antibiotics for, wait for it – nod in sympathy – THE SINUS INFECTION. Are you sympathizing??? You should be. Also, I have eaten more foods. Some bread, which tasted like heaven, and a waffle, and, I do admit, a pear. But it’s because I wanted to. Not because I like them, but because I preemptively bought three bags, and I am too frugal not to. But when the bags are done, that’s it. No more pear diet. I can promise you that if I do ever do an elimination diet, I will choose an alternate fruit. And it will be more clearly planned. And it won’t be during, you know, the dreaded S.I. !!!!