Tag Archive | Sam


Overheard #1: Sam Kills a Spider

Sam: Mom, you know what I did? I did a really big JOB in my nap! I KILLED a spider!!!!

me: oh, really? hmmm, how did you do that?

Sam: Well. I saw a spider, and I didn’t want him to bite me, or my wife, (we do a lot of role-playing that Sam is a “big guy.” Hence the “wife” reference) so I SMUSHED him. You know how I did it? First I smashed it, and then I wiped it off, and then I put soap on it, and then I smashed it all down on the part of the sink that put out all the water. Is that a good way to kill a spider?

me: Yes, I guess it is. Why did you put it in the sink?

Sam: Cause that would suck it all up and make it not ever come up again! Do you think that’s a good way how to kill a spider?

me: You know, I think it’s perfect. But did you say you put soap on the carpet?

Sam: No! Is that the thing we walk on? (Yes.) No!

me: Oh good. Well where did you put the soap?

Sam: On the spider! So that would make the spider gluey so you couldn’t eat it. (?) It was just crawling fast but then I had it!

me: Oh! So the spider was in the sink when you put the soap on it? (Yes.) Why did you use the soap?

Sam: Well, THAT would make the spider’s skin peel off so it would not move again.

me: Wow. Where did you get that idea?

Sam: From my sink!

Of course, from the sink.

me: Well…thank you for killing that spider for me.

Sam: Yes! I killed it BEFORE it went downstairs. Because I didn’t want it to bit you or Ty or my mom or my wife or my little baby or ME! And I killed it so it would not kill anyone else by going (makes “chomp” sound). And I am really happy that I killed that spider.

Brave boy, that Sam. 🙂

Overheard #2: Sam with a Marker

Sam: Mom, can I write on myself like a big guy with this? (holding orange marker)

me:  No. Big guys don’t write on themselves with markers. Little babies do, and then their mommies take away the marker.


Sam: But some big guys do.

me: Like who? I don’t think so.

Sam: But like the big guys who play basketball.

Ahhhh, tattoos…How do I explain a tattoo?

Thank you, “big guy basketball players” for the great example! 🙂


How We Discovered Sam’s Allergies

Whenever I tell people Sam has severe allergies to milk, egg, and peanut, the conversation is always very similar.

Long (awkward? pensive?) pause.

“Ugh, that stinks. How old was he when you found out?”

Literally that is the exact same question every time. I have always wondered if people want to know more but can’t think of a better question, or just don’t know what to say, or what.

I’m assuming today that it is the former, and I thought I’d take the chance to share Sam’s story. It changed me, and 95% of what you’ll find on this blog is because of this story.

The story begins a few days before Sam was born, when I met a prophet in White House Black Market. I really did.

I was at a very upscale mall in our area. I was sitting on a chair, looking very pregnant, waiting for my mom, when a really well-accessorized, flashy-dressed, country-club-looking older woman sat down next to me. Since I was so obviously pregnant, that was a good conversation starter. When are you due? Is it a boy or girl? etc. etc.

“What’s his name going to be?”


This was almost four years ago, but I can still remember the markedly different tone her voice took on, and the way she looked off into the distance as she spoke.

Samuel. Like in the Bible. I’ve always loved that name. Well, may he just be a prophet to his generation. May he speak the truth to all those around him, and tell them how to serve the Lord.

She went on for a while actually, along the same lines. Then my mom returned, and I didn’t know what to say to the prophet with gold and diamonds everywhere. We left.

It was the oddest thing.

I think it’s funny how you pray differently for your children. For Ty, I always pray for his wife. I pray that God would protect him when he’s a teenager. I don’t know why.

But for Sam, her words always ringing in my head, I always pray that he would speak the truth to those around him, that God would use him to tell others how great He is, that he would be a light in his generation.

What in the world does this have to do with milk, egg, and peanut allergies, you’re wondering?

From the beginning, I knew two things. One, he was special, and two, there was something wrong with him.

Even as an anxious, inexperienced new mom, I knew very early there was something wrong. I still remember vividly the first time that Sam screamed. Not cried, screamed. I remember locking eyes with Todd, terror and helplessness clouding our faces. How could we have known that the cheese and yogurt I was eating translated via breast milk to  poison for his poor little tummy?

And then there was the time I fed him a bottle of milk-based formula at church. He was about a month old. On the way home, I heard him throw up. Not only was the whole carseat soaked, but he was lethargic, drowsy, and out of it. I wanted to call 911 when I got to my mom’s, and everyone thought I was crazy. But I knew something wasn’t right.

Eventually, though, it was my mom who noticed it.

Sam wouldn’t look at her.

It might be nothing. We should probably just “get it checked.” But I knew she was right. The moments when the doctor couldn’t get Sam to look at her were some of the most awful, embarrassing, and scary of my life.

What was wrong with him? He cried. He was unsettled. He was withdrawn. He wouldn’t smile at you. He was scared and gittery. What kind of a baby was this?

You will never find “autism-like symptoms” on a checklist for allergies. It won’t say “won’t eat,” or “doesn’t like people.”

But what I want to shout from the rooftops is:

  • follow your gut – there’s something to the “mothering instinct” thing
  • food issues don’t only cause “digestive” symptoms
  • the best thing you can do is pray for wisdom

That last one isn’t just a token, “Christian-ese” language I felt like I had to say.

For us, it was the answer.

Right in the midst of it all – first-time parents trying to calm, engage, and feed a troubled baby, people all over praying for the little guy – we discovered something silly: milk made a rash on Sam’s cheek.

Within a week of a milk-free diet, he was a different baby.

It would be nice if this were the beautiful end of the story. It sort of felt like it. A few months later we learned that his milk allergies were very high, and he also had egg and peanut. And the truth is, raising a child with severe food allergies and asthma often feels like you are living on a cliff. I am such a different person than I was three years, five months, and eighteen days ago, when Sam was born.

  • I worry more.
  • I make 19,651 delicious meals without a trace of milk, egg, or dairy.
  • I sympathize with moms raising autistic kids or colicky babies.
  • I know, I know, I know that God answers prayers.
  • I feel that I have a porcelain-globe-of-a-child. Beautiful, fragile, a gift.

Whenever I am knee-deep in an asthma attack, epi-pen moment, or just worried about Sam, I wonder why in the world God gave a girl like me a porcelain-globe-child to worry about. But in a million more ways, I think it’s perfect. I’m a good mom for him. We’re good for each other. 🙂 (*Mental note: print this out and put in the refrigerator, when you need to read it in two days. 🙂 )

thoughts after playing tennis with a three-year-old

  1. Is it possible I got a workout?!? {I definitely got a workout.}
  2. Is it possible Sam was hitting the ball with backspin?!?? {He was definitely hitting the ball with backspin.}
  3. Good thing I don’t want to make a good impression on my new cool neighbors that I’m trying desperately to be friends with, because I most definitely whiffed the ball, hit it over the fence, and launched it high above my three-year-old’s head numerous times.
  4. Good thing I don’t want aforementioned neighbors to think that even if I’m horrible at tennis, I’m a superstar mom, because Ty definitely spilled his water all of his pants on the way there, and thus was parading around the court in all of his with thunder-thighs, Huggies, and crocks glory while rattling the gate, eating leaves, and licking the bench.
  5. Yet I did receive the following inspirational comments during the match to revive my spirit:

– “Mom, you are hitting the ball in bad, bad ways. But I put it back every time!” (True.)

– me: “Sorry, Sam…bad shot.” Sam: “That’s okay Mom! That’s why I’m teaching you! So you can win the game!”

– Sam: “Mom, you are bad at tennis.” Okay, that’s enough. Here is where I drew the line. We had a discussion at this point about edifying our playing partners, and how they will not want to play with us if we hurt their feelings. I should know.

Also at this point, I had a blister. And I was sweating. And Ty was standing up in the stroller, shaking it back and forth. So we went home.

All in all, it was a wonderful, entertaining, and enjoyable experience that I look forward to replicating. Honest. 🙂

Sam on heaven

It’s hard for me to think about this conversation without getting emotional. Truly, it’s kind of comical, but also on the wrong week of the month, gets the tear ducts moving if you feel me. I tried really hard to remember how it went and even took some notes during…which was a little tricky, as I was driving. Here is the gyst.

Sam: Mom, this is song is Jesus a sigh-a.”
me: Yeah, it says Jesus is the Messiah.”
Sam: Mom what’s sigh-a?
me: Well, it means that Jesus loves us very much and he’s going to take us to heaven one day. (Yes, I know I oversimplified. Give me a break, people. Had to take some theological liberties here; he’s two.)
Sam: Where’s heaven, Mom?
me: Um, it’s…very far away. It’s a really fun place where we will be with Jesus forever, a really long time.
Sam: And God too?
me: Yes, God too.
Sam: Mom, drive there.
me: Well…you can’t drive there. God will take us there when he wants to.
Sam: Is heaven that building, mom?
me: No. It’s really far away.
Sam: Will we take the sidewalk?
me: Not really the sidewalk. We’ll go with God. It’s a great place. We won’t get sick, or be scared, or get boo-boos or anything. And it won’t rain. (It was raining. Sam and I hate the rain. If you want rain in your heaven, then omit this part.)
Sam: Is heaven over there?
me: No, it’s, um, heaven isn’t really near here.

long pause. Brief conversation about why Sam’s shoes are wet on the bottom, and how Ty ate a leaf recently.

Sam: Mom will there be shoes in heaven?
me: (pause.) Do you want to wear shoes? (No.) Then, no. No shoes.
Sam: Is there goin be toys?
me: Yes, lots and lots of toys.
Sam: And me and Jesus will play with toys!

About at this point we were home. I debated prolonging the trip to see if he’d ask any more questions. But I think the moment was over. what a hoot! 🙂

Happy Birthday Sam

Among my many regrets of parenting, perhaps the biggest (although most superficial) is what a horrible memory-keeper I am. Unlike his cousins Jack and Tommy (who have calendars which chronicle the first time they made eye contact, drank from a sippy cup, and got their nose wiped, etc. etc), one day poor Sam will have to grapple with the severely poor job his mother did in capturing his momentous events in photos or journals. I do really feel bad about it, and I’m going to blame my mom for the bad example. (Probably her only mistake as a mom.:) And also I will comfort myself with the fact that I am living proof that one’s ego can survive without a baby book. Anyway, the real tragedy of this whole thing is that everyday I think at least two hundred times, “Sam. You are hysterical. I really need to write that down.” And I rarely do.
So today, Sam, two days after your second birthday, I want to make myself stop eating potato chips, cleaning breast pump parts, and stalking random people’s facebook pages to figure out what is actually in style (because I have no clue), and I want to try to remember.

Sam, it has been the greatest joy of my life to be your mom. We are so similar, from the big hazel eyes and round cheeks of your face, to the tantrums you throw when you don’t get your way, from your passion for tornadoes and french fries and reading and animals and parties and cooking and life.
You love people.I know this because of how bored and miserable you are at 3:30 when all you’ve seen is lame old mom, how you tell random people, “Hi” on walks, and ask me, “His name iiiiiisssssss….” whenever you want to know who is mowing our lawn or serving our fries. When you someone you love comes to visit, you turn around and jump like a bunny away from them. It looks funny, but I know it is because you are so happy they came. You love your daddy, every one of your grandparents, big driver “cyubs” and pretend cooking, pretend drumming, pretend driving the car.
You remember everything. You told me my phone number, you know more lines from the truck book than I do, and you will always tell me “I don’t want to” because that one time you saw a bratty kid say it on TV. Nothing makes you laugh as much as Samules, paps, and big doggie. Now you poop on the potty all the time, because you get “a whole bowl of marshme-yos and to hold dad’s cyubs.” Really, your pronunciation is impeccable, except for a few words which are so incorrectly adorable we will never, ever correct you. Sometimes I say them wrong, too, because I don’t want you to stop. Like computader, banananana, piananano, a-nogger, or every word with an “L” like yook, yove, and yike. We yove YOU, Sam. Also I’m not going to correct that you call breasts “hearts.” It’s probably better that way for now. 🙂
People are continually amazed at your flawless golf swing, your speaking in paragraphs, and that you always seem to do whatever Jack tells you to, even though you have at least three inches and five pounds on him.
You say the FUNNIEST things. Just in the last week, you named a turtle “Doug Smartt,” said a garden worm was doing his exercises, prayed you would ride a bulldozer, told Aunt Julie she was a pretty cool guy, and frequently asked Ty, “what’s going on, baby Ty, how you been?”
You are such a dreamer. I can’t wait to see what you become, whether you do end up riding a jet plane, playing golf on TV, driving a car and winning a trophy, or riding the moon, like you’ve told us you would.
I hope you never stop talking yourself to sleep, pulling up chairs to help me cook dinner, asking to “go Grammy’s house,” or loving to play the fifth hole of the Peninsula from start to finish with me as your caddie.
God already has answered so many prayers for you. Frequently, we look at you, and marvel. You will forever be my living, breathing, laughing, gabbing, squealing example that, as your name means, “God hears.”
Sam, you are the best little boy. We love you always! Love, mom and dad

santa mommy and other reflections of Christmas 2010

If you’re NOT one of those few who were robbed of Santa as a child (like my brother-in-law Dan, who repeatedly reminds us that SANTA is how Satan spells his name when he’s trying to trick us) then adulthood exposes two truths about the fat man who leaves cookie crumbs on the table. First, that he is fake, unreal, a fraud. And don’t give me the crap about the spirit of santa living through our good actions. That is not what we were told, and thus, insufficient. This exposure can be more devastating for some than others, like myself, for instance, who discovered the mythology of Santa, the bunny, and the tooth fairy all at once when I found a box of rotting childhood teeth in my parents’ closet. It was quite a frightening way to be informed of so much at once. The second truth about Santa, though, comes later on, and is much more pleasant. It happens when you realize that BEING Santa is actually way more fun than waiting up for him. This was a huge relief to me on two accounts.

Although of course the beauty of Christmas is Jesus and that can never be taken from you (box of teeth or no), it is still nice to know that all the Christmas fun doesn’t stop when there aren’t mounds of presents with your name on it. And second, I sure feel better about all those times feeling sorry for my parents. ALL those gifts for us and a measly homemade coupon book (which I never fulfilled), a JC Penney bathrobe, and whatever we found at the Dollar Store with Nana and Pop for them. My guilty conscience is greatly relieved to know they did enjoy Christmas after all. This was one of the best Christmases I have ever had, before I even opened a gift.

“Advent” is an advanced theological term that means little to busy adults or preoccupied college students. To parents of a toddler, however, “Advent” means oh so much. It begins in October or so, when you start selling the Christmas tree-getting-trip. Around that time you start digging up the children’s Bible and rehashing the Christmas story. After you get the tree (and turn it on every. single. time you come into the room) you spend the next month picking out recipes for Jesus’ birthday cake, discussing balloon colors, shopping for Christmas presents for cousins and Daddy, playing with the manger scene, faithfully pulling out the day’s Advent calendar item, singing Silent Night at the dinner table, looking for Santas, Frostys, and polar bears on the way to Grammy’s, singing “Hatty Birday dear Jesus” over and over, watching for Christmas lights at nighttime, watering, grooming, and playing golf with the Christmas tree, and, of course, discussing what will happen Christmas morning. Unlike previous years when it’s December 18 before I’ve given Christmas a second thought, Sam and I were VERY ready for Christmas this year. We had given it full mental preparation. A few things I never want to forget about Christmas 2010, when Santa and snow and Jesus came to visit in a real live way:

– An early visit from Santa Johnny. My brother is one of the most generous people I know. We celebrated with a rare dinner outing that night. (Side note: Red Robin is awesome, not only for unlimited steak fries – HeLLLOOO – but also for an incredibly amazing allergy menu. FYI if you have kids with allergies.)
– Sam’s first self-selected Christmas ornament: three golf balls, of course, forming a snow man. This guy is VERY lucky he survived Christmas in one piece. Very.
– a wonderful Christmas eve appetizer party at Grammy’s. We made a special trip to pick up SamMule and some pajamas because I was sure he would fall asleep after the long Christmas eve service. Instead, at Grammy’s he ran laps around the house screaming and laughing, stuffing sausage balls in his face and jumping up and down. He was not very tired.
– the look on Sam’s face when he opened his Thomas bike from santa. Christmas could have ended then, happily. Also, fun moment when Santa was one-upped by Aunt Julianne who gave him a bulldozer, which is actually way cooler than the bike. Thanks, Julie. 🙂 Sam also loves his official (junior sized) football, and kind of his soccer goal, although he calls it a tent and putts the golf ball into it. Whatever.
– My first Christmas entertaining at home. Not only was it a blessing to have Todd’s family with us, some of Sam’s favorite people, I loved picking out the menu weeks ahead of time (ham, scallopped potatoes, cheese ball, raspberry fools, wheat rolls, pear salad for fatties like me who are curious). I love being the host! Although, I was diagnosed with “too much Christmas” (exact words) from the dr. after having high blood pressure from all the fun. poo.
– the snow. Oh, the snow. I have never had a white Christmas before. Unfortunately, we now have to break the news to Sam that chances are he won’t have one again either, despite the pictures on every Christmas book we own and now, his own individual experience. Walking, or rather running, with Sam on Christmas night as the snow was falling was the best moment of Christmas. He also loved making the snowman with Cappy and Daddy. I wimped out after about ten minutes. Give me a break, it was freezing.
– My secret Santa gift. Props to John Haggan, my brother in law, who blessed me with the beginnings of a very effective storm-preparedness kit. Creative, personal, yet extremely useful. Also, I know have actual pictures of tornadoes to show Sam. This is a big moment for us.
– the photo video my sister put together of pictures of our family. (To the song “Heroes” by Paul Overstreet. shoutout.) I was sobbing and Todd was in tears as we watched little Sam, Jack, and Owen grow up in pictures. I was reminded how faithful God has been to us and our little family and all the prayers he has answered. Pictures can be sacred, I think.
I will close with this. First, I am glad I married by husband, who put together the soccer tent and the bike quickly and happily. When I asked him if he was prepared to spend the next few decades of Christmas Eves like this (putting together random presents) he said, “Absolutely!” Me too, Todd. 🙂

the sayings of sam

I keep telling myself, you’ve got to write these down somewhere. And if I had a notebook I carried with me all day, along with my camera and video camera like the Perfect Mommy in my head, I would. But oh well. Overall, I would say I prefer the talking stage to the not talking stage. Although there are moments, like today when Sam demanded “special treat special treat special treat” loudly during the church welcome, church prayer, Scripture reading, and every other moment of silence in between, when I may not. Here are some things Sam has been telling us.
– While driving to see Santa: “Santa, play football, say touchdown.” (?)
– He often wants to “drive it” when he sees any machine/vehicle. To which I have been responding, “maybe someday.” To date he has said, “Drive it, maybe someday…” naming specifically the UPS truck, the dragon at Harris Teeter, the moon (yes), the school bus, a bulldozer, golf cart, Grammy’s car, fire truck, ambulance, mountains, and, perhaps most emphatically, the mailman’s car (?). He’s kind of a dreamer, we’ve realized…The “maybe someday” has also been said regarding “play golf on TV,” “go camping” and “climb mountain with Daddy,”
– Apparently I am an affirmative parent. He notes frequently about his activities, “Sam such a good job __________. ( A few notables he has named: pooping, eating noodles, sweeping the floor, vaccuuming tree mess, throwing clothes down, swinging golf club, singing, and taking medicine.) Glad we don’t have any self-esteem issues thus far.
– We golf non-stop. We narrate our golfing non-stop. “Sam putting ball. Sam look at ball. Mommy watching Sam putting ball. Sam swing. Good swing! Nice putt! Go get it ball. Mommy putt. Mommy putt. Mommy hit the ball…” I am concerned about how crushed he will be when he realizes golf is a silent sport.
– Prayers. We are thankful for the following: baby Tommy, the fireplace, football book (Sports Illustrated), Daddy football on tv redskins and hat (this is was all one prayer), Josephine, Jesus book, and friends.
– Speaking of friends, a children’s book of his references “best friends.” I’m not sure he understands the whole concept, but he enjoys saying it. He will say when we are doing the same thing, “best friends, all eating pizza.” “Best friends, sitting by fire.” “Best friends, watching Thomas.” “Best friends, brushing teeth,” and such and such. It’s precious.
– We are learning prepositions and minor parts of speech. “After” is the favorite. “After Sam go pee, go see Grammy.” and such and such. For about a week he thought “afternoon” and “after” were synonymous. Off the record, this got a little annoying. Another fav is “proby.” “Probby go golfing soon.” “Probby redskins play football soon.” “Probby be more booberries later,” etc. He’s quite hopeful.
– And finally, Todd said they passed a deflated Santa decoration and Sam said, “Santa, laying down, watching jet planes.” Sure, Sam. 🙂
I can’t wait to see how much more interesting this is going to get…