Thursday, May 29, 2014

Four Hours and Forty-Eight Minutes

One moment he is sitting there, chatting away with his new buddies Phil and Nate about their fantasy football teams and the upcoming draft, and the next minute his mama is rushing up to him with an update on the food and beverage situation, a look of frantic expectation in her eyes.

"They have no more wine."

When I read the story of the wedding at Cana (John 2), I can't help but ask myself what is probably a very un-Christian question:  I wonder what Jesus would be like if he worked as a server on the nights and weekends.  

I mean, he was a handy-man, after all.  It's not like making tables and fixing leaky faucets was going to put him on the fast track to summer lake house and a country club membership.  Wouldn't it have been a hoot if Jesus, the Son of God and Creator of the universe, spent his evenings serving food and wine in banquet halls much like the one he was now sitting in as a guest?  In my imagination, the day described in the book of John is his one day off that week.  The sun is shining, his friends are there, the band is actually pretty good and people are dancing, and he's enjoying not having to run around serving the wedding cake to two hundred people only to have half of them coyly say, " this cake gluten free?"

"They have no more wine," his mother reports.  Eyes wide and insistent, she can already see how quickly this party could go downhill.  I think we all know that once the open bar closes at the wedding, the natives get restless.  I can just picture Jesus' face as he hears the news, lifts his palms up into the air and shrugs a bit with his reply -

"Woman, what does this have to do with me?" 

Now, obviously I know Jesus didn't wait tables for a living.  I'm fully aware that the story of the wedding at Cana isn't about how Jesus' chance to party at a wedding was interrupted by poor planning and a cheap bar budget.  Yes, I know that the key to the message of this story is in the jars that are filled with water only to be transformed into wine, thus launching Jesus' public ministry.

But it's okay to have a little fun with the Bible every once in a while, isn't it? 

I was thinking about this scenario recently when I had a table of ladies sitting out on the patio for a very long, LONG time.  It was Wine Wednesday, which means that every bottle of wine on the menu is half price.  One woman arrived about thirty minutes early, just to soak in the sun on the patio and enjoy her libations.  The second woman landed and grabbed a glass to get in on the action and they were quick to order a flatbread before the Happy Hour special ended and they would have to pay full price.  Their third friend finally arrived and they proceeded to munch away on their appetizer and drink their wine.  Really, all was well for a while.

Now, I have to be very, VERY careful when I write this post.  I'm a big fan of being employed and I want to make sure I stay that way.  As far as I can tell, I haven't violated any of the rules in our employee handbook by what I'm writing or sharing, but if I am suddenly blogging about how I'm looking for a new job.....well, I think we will all know what happened.  Anyway....

After these ladies had ignored their menus for an hour and a half only to finally tell me that they weren't interested in ordering entrees, they started to chat and chat and chat.  Somewhere around the THREE HOUR mark, they asked for more water and part of me wanted to yell -

"Woman, what does this have to do with me???!!!"

I know, I know.  Not very admirable behavior considering that I was on the clock and I was (technically) there to wait on their every food and beverage need.  So, I brought more water.  And more beer and wine.

Here's where it gets fun.  See, sitting next door to my three ladies was another server's table occupied by two ladies who were also apparently in the mood to drink wine and set up shop for a while.  By the time my table had been there for three and half hours, the table next door had been there for three hours as well.  The table of two paid their check and started striking up a conversation - with MY table.

Before I knew what hit me, that two-top had pulled their chairs over at my three-top and suddenly we were all BFFs ready to girl talk all night long.

FOUR HOURS - "Can we get a carafe of water for the table?"
FOUR HOURS, TEN MINUTES - "I'll take one more beer, please."
FOUR HOURS, TWELVE MINUTES - "Oh, well since she is having one I may as well too."
FOUR HOURS, TWENTY-ONE MINUTES - "Can we get the check now?"

What?  The check?  Hallelujah!!!!  By this time, all the rest of my tables were long gone, my side-work was done, and I was just sitting around waiting for this table to skidaddle so I could go home.

FOUR HOURS, TWENTY-FIVE MINUTES - The check still sits there.
FOUR HOURS, THIRTY MINUTES - The check still sits there.

And so on and so forth.

You know how patience and self-control are listed as part of the "Fruit of the Spirit" in Galatians 5?  Yeah, that wasn't really working for me at that point.  The kindness and gentleness were pretty much kaput as well. 

FOUR HOURS, FORTY-EIGHT MINUTES - Jumping John the Baptist!  They're ready!!!

I trudge over to the table and they instruct me to take the cash off the bill first and then put the balance on the enclosed credit card.  Here's how it broke down.

Total Bill - $87.23
Cash - $80.00
VISA - $7.23

I brought the credit card slip back to the table and bit the inside of my cheek a bit as I wished them a good night and thanked them.  When they had vacated the table after what felt like an eternity, I returned to collect the signed credit card slip.  I picked up the envelope, opened it, and all kinds of thoughts that are a perfect example of why I'm relying on grace alone for my salvation ran through my head.

Photo of the receipt that shows I have carefully removed any information that may identify my place of employment or any personal information of the customer in question. 

My stomach churned and I could feel the anger pulse in my eyelids.
I waited on this table for four hours and forty-eight minutes.  I brought them $87.23 worth of food and beverage, which includes the Happy Hour specials.

They tipped me $3.00.

Now, I'm not writing this to bash on these ladies.  I'm not trying to vent my frustration or complain about the injustice of it all (but I think we can all agree that this was a travesty of epic proportions), but rather to shine a light on my own attitude regarding the situation.  It's not something I'm proud of, but I can tell you truly that my immediate reaction was to wish very, VERY ill on that table.  I scowled, whined to my co-workers, hollered on the phone to my husband on the now very late-night drive home after work. 

Was it ok for them to tip me so poorly?  No, I don't think anyone would say that it was ok.  What was also unacceptable was how quickly I abandoned all grace toward people and lost my ever-loving mind.  It's quite possible it was an honest mistake.  I once had a table of nine people with a check of $233 leave me ZERO tip because they took both credit card slips.  I truly believe that was an oversight that left my wallet bruised and bloody, but didn't exhibit any ill will.  Isn't it possible that this was something similar?  Maybe there was a misunderstanding among the women about who was going to leave the tip.  Perhaps someone was supposed to give their twenty-dollar bill as gratuity rather than as part of the payment of the check.  They had consumed a a bottle of wine and a couple beers over the course of the evening, so it's not unreasonable to assume that the painfully low gratuity was not intentional.

All this to say that moments like this are convicting for me.  It's not exactly a secret at work that I profess to be a Christ-follower.  If that's true and if I really claim Jesus Christ to be my Lord and Savior, then the people around me should see more and more of Him in me every day.

Sometimes, it is hard to be a Christian and a waitress.  My sinful nature loves to take control of my gut reactions and start cursing a blue streak at the table who stiffs me.  The temptation to gossip sometimes becomes too strong to resist.  I get stressed out and complain about a rough stretch of shifts and fail to trust in His provision.  My anger boils over when I open up a check presenter to find receipts like the one pictured above and suddenly I don't resemble Christ even in the slightest.  

It's at this point that I flip on over to Galatians 5 and cut myself a little slack.  The truth of it is that there is no way that I can pull this off on my own.  People are just too frustrating and my heart is just not up to the task of living the way I want to in a world that makes it impossible. 

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.  (Gal 5:16)

But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.  (Gal 5:18)

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control....  (Gal 5:22-23)

And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  (Gal 5:24)

I do belong to Christ Jesus.  Alone I am powerless to fight against the envy, jealousy, anger, idolatry, and other ugly works of the flesh that are deeply embedded in my heart.  But He has given me the Spirit, the great Counselor who can overrule the impulses of the flesh and lead me to a life that exhibits something greater.  It's a WALK, not a sprint and I know I've got the help I need to grow increasingly more patient, kind, self-controlled, understanding and even JOYFUL as I go about my job. 

If I didn't know any better, I'd say God is using this encounter to teach me something. 



Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Micah's Special Book

If I were to go back through the blog archives and start counting how many posts could be filed under the heading of "Micah's Big Bag o' Crazy," there would be a lot of posts.  Posts about potty training, posts about destroying his room, posts about him taking off his pants at random inappropriate moments, posts about wandering around the neighborhood dressed as a lion.

It's the dimple on his right cheek that saves him half of the time, folks.  Sure, he may look charming and harmless at first sight, but this guy will eat the dog food, throw a chair at his teacher, use up all the toilet paper, and randomly fall and bust his head on something all within a five minute time period.

There are days when I wake up and ask the Lord specifically give me the strength, wisdom, patience, fortitude, and gag reflex I need to handle whatever Micah will throw at me that day.

Other times, he is just plain hilarious.

I took Micah and his little brother to the library.  Thomas was in a touchy mood already and when I told him he couldn't just sit at the computers and play Dora the Explorer the entire time we were there, he lost his ever loving mind.  Snot streaming down his face and into his mouth as I frantically tried to stay calm (man, is that ever an oxymoron) and handle the situation like a mother who has even an inkling of a clue what she's doing.  I set down the stack of five books I planned to check out and read in my abundance of free time (aka "the 2 minutes I get to sit on the toilet by myself before a kid barges in and starts asking anatomy questions") and started to dig a Kleenex out of my Mary Poppins purse.

While Thomas wailed and howled "Dooooraaa!!!  Doooorrraaa!!!" over and over in the middle of the library, Micah was happily playing over in the adorable little children's activity area, behaving like a saint.  He approached another little girl in the play kitchen and they immediately whipped up a pretend scene of cooking dinner.  I managed to drag Thomas away from the computers and into the family bathroom for a Time Out so he could get himself under control.  After the sobbing stopped, I tried to encourage him to go play with his brother.  It took some coaxing, but he was soon interested in playing with the letter magnets and I breathed a sigh of relief, opening up one of the books from my stack and smiling a bit at my triumph.

Rookie move, Sarah.  Rookie.  Move.

After about a minute and a half, I looked up to see what four letter words my son had created on the magnet board, but Thomas wasn't there.  Micah was now moving pegs around into holes and getting an unusual amount of enjoyment out of it, so I decided to just leave well enough alone there.  Walking around the activity area and searching all the stations, Thomas was nowhere to be found.

I turned to look at the computers and there that little snot-blossom sat - red headphones on his ears and helping Dora find her way to the playground via the Troll Bridge.

"Micah, go pick a book.  We are LEAVING."

Recognizing my Mom Voice, Micah stood up and double-checked what his instructions were.

"I can chose ANY book?  To take home??!!"
"Yes, Micah.  Pick out a book to check out while I go deal with your brother."

He trotted off to peruse the stacks and make his selection while I locked my eyes on the fugitive who was too enthralled with the antics of Backpack to even realize he was busted.  I took off the headphones and told him it was time to GO.  He immediately picked up right where he had left off and started to scream.  Thankfully, Micah was already at my side with his book selection in hand.

"Thank you so much for listening Micah.  We need to go.  What book did you pick?"

He held up his book proudly and proclaimed, "Dis One!!!"

When I saw it, it took every ounce of strength I had not to burst out in the kind of laughter that leads to mild incontinence.  While I simultaneously restrained Thomas from fleeing back to the scene of the crime, I double checked with Micah to make sure that this book was indeed the one he wanted.

He was very clear.  This was the winner.

KEY POINT - Micah can't read yet.

We checked out and headed back out to the van, Micah clutching his prize the entire way.  I couldn't help myself.  I asked him to smile for me with the book he chose.

I suppose it could be worse.  At least he didn't pick up Why Daddy is Going Away.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Itineraries are my Life

Please remind me the next time Evan is away in China (which is going to be very soon, by the way) that his time spent on those hellish 14 hour flights to the other side of the world are what made our anniversary vacation possible.  Do not let me forget that it was his airline miles that made it affordable.  I'm already starting to develop my usual attitude problem that arrives promptly before his departure for China and I really need to get my head on straight about this.

It's because of those trips that our plane tickets cost us $20.


Now I know I don't get to travel much, but I'm pretty sure that was a pretty significant savings right there.  Once we had the flights booked and the car rental reserved, we had to decide where we wanted to stay and what we wanted to do while down in Savannah.

This is where my very real friends on the Internet came through for me.  In a rapid succession of Facebook posts and emails, it was decided that we absolutely had to stay at least a couple nights out on Tybee Island, kind of the Georgia version of Hilton Head.  I have Jessica Turner to thank for that suggestion because I know I wouldn't have thought outside the box enough to have reached Tybee on my own.  Jessica was also kind enough to forward me an email from Stephanie Howell about her favorite places in Savannah to eat, drink, shop, and otherwise.  I had read Stephanie's blog for years and had tweeted back and forth with her from time to time and this email list was pure GOLD.

She's even been commenting on my Pins on my Pinterest board and steering me away from the tourist traps and toward more of the local favorites.  LOVE HER.  

Funny story - when Evan first delivered his decision that we were indeed going to take a vacation and there would be no argument about it, I made a point to promise him that I wouldn't over-plan.  No color coded itinerary, no spreadsheet with every hour of every day accounted for.  In fact, I put it in writing in the form of a lovely little love note that I left on his pillow.

It's a good thing I wasn't home when he read it because I'm sure he burst out laughing when he read it.

In my defense, it was a solid week before I called him at work and said, "I'm sorry, but I just can't help myself.  I'm making an itinerary in Excel on Google Docs for the trip."  Most likely I started to rant about how certain things needed to be booked far in advance so they wouldn't fill up because wouldn't we feel disappointed and stupid if we got all the way down there only to find that every tour was full, every dinner reservation time taken, every hotel booked. No, no I couldn't allow that to happen.

At least it's not color-coded.  Yet.

More posts about our anniversary trip to Savannah can be found HERE

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

An Update on our Punks

Micah just made the announcement that he needs to go poop, so I wager I've got a solid 13.4 minutes to sit down and write before I hear hollering from the bathroom and I need to go see exactly how much of the toilet paper he managed to waste in a single sitting.

When last my sleep-deprived self sat down at the keys, I chattered away about the mysterious pains Isaiah was experiencing and how it landed him in the ER only to experience a very expensive normal X-Ray followed by a visit to the clinic where my co-pay purchased the ever helpful advice of something along the lines of "wait and see if he gets better and bring him back if he doesn't."

I tell you what, I do not envy medical professionals.  The frustration I felt after being awake night after night with that kid was only exacerbated by the lack of answers I was getting about the cause of his pain.  Of course I understand that if any of the lovely folks with RN, MD, or another such acronym behind their name could have given me an answer, I am sure they would have presented it happily.  I can only imagine how it must feel to have to fight off the threat of internalizing the frustrations of patients and their loved ones when answers and cures are hard to come by.

Burning daylight here, Sarah.  That kid is has likely tossed Batman down the toilet by now so you'd better get a move on.

Anyway, thank you for all your comments and prayers for Isaiah.  Thankfully after about a week or so of his troubling symptoms, they gradually went away all on their own and he was back to his normal self!  The bad news is that Micah decided to pick up that torch and carry it for a few nights, awaking in the wee hours seeking snuggles and complaining of a tummy ache.  He did that for about 3 nights and I'm still not entirely sure if it was legitimate or just a ploy to attain some of the attention his brother had been receiving for the last week.  Following right on the heels of middle brother's shenanigans, Thomas started producing the most vile diapers I have seen in a long time multiple times a day for about three or four days straight.  He didn't seem out of sorts otherwise, but his lethal diapers told an entirely different story.  Just ask our poor 15 year old babysitter - he unleashed the beast on her and it was all she could do to get through it without gagging.

All I know is that my boys are back to sleeping normally and bellies are behaving once again.  We still don't really know the cause of all this hoopla, but I'm just choosing to celebrate the multiple consecutive full nights of sleep I've achieved!  I swear, it was starting to feel like I had a newborn all over again, which was just one more reassurance that we are so very much DONE having babies.  :)

I am so much easier to be around when I've slept.

We have also recently started to introduce Thomas to his own Teach Me Time alarm clock, the secret weapon that allowed us to keep both his older brothers in their beds until 7:05 each and every morning.  It glows a warm yellow through the night and then changes to a bright green at whatever time you set it to, signalling to the kid that it's ok for them to get up.  Once Thomas perfected the art of climbing out of his crib, we was waltzing into our room at 5:45 am and silently stealing the iPad while we slept.  We would wake up a couple moments later to the sound of Endless Alphabet or the theme song to Curious George.  Since he was getting up so early, the boy was a hot mess by lunch time and would often wind up like this before we were anywhere close to naptime.  

So we got him his own special clock.  He has learned the concept quickly.  Yellow means "Stay in bed."  Green means "GO!!!!"  Ask him to explain this and he will nail it perfectly.  Too bad he doesn't give a flying fart about the rules and continues to come out of his room at 6 am and then scream bloody murder when we tell him to get his butt back in there until the clock is green.  "No Green!  No Green!" he bellows before stomping back to his room and slamming the door, making it very clear what he thinks of us and our stupid clock.

It's almost like he's the third child or something.

What really pisses him off is when he walks out of his room and into his big brothers' only to have Isaiah walk him back across the hall and scold, "No Thomas.  You can't come out until the clock is green."

Hilarious.  No way that little punk is going to strike up an alliance with his rule-following, type A, by-the-book oldest brother.  Not gonna happen.  

Friday, May 16, 2014

An Unlikely Investment

I remember sitting on a beach in Jamaica with a melted drink of some sort in one hand and a book in the other, taking a deep breath, and letting it out with a smile.  I forced myself to slow down and really take in the experience of doing a whole lot of nothing and loving every second of it.  Evan and I splurged on this all-inclusive resort in Ocho Rios for our honeymoon and we told one another it was worth it because we "probably wouldn't get to take a vacation together again for ten years."

What we didn't know then was that putting any vacation, especially one you can't even remotely afford, on a credit card and calling it a splurge that was "worth it," is pretty stupid.  We had to work for years to pay off that single splurge! I also don't think I ever really believed that it would really be a full ten years before we got to take a vacation.  Perhaps my budget-ignorant brain just assumed we would put another trip on plastic and fly off to Florida, California, or Mexico.

But life happened and before we even knew what hit us, the calendar flipped to 2014...the year that we would celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary.

Sure, we've taken a weekend or an overnight stay here and there in the last ten years and they have been awesome.  I think Evan and I especially enjoyed our baby-moon in Door County and our time in Chicago, but we have been talking for the last couple years about how nice it would be to really do something intentional for our tenth anniversary.  Something sustained and significant that would be a true investment in our marriage.

Evan's job was transferred.
We sold our house at a loss and moved to a new city.
The furnace died.
Our car quit.
A collision with an F-150 left our minivan totaled.
Hail damage wrecked our roof.

The snowblower incident.

So, yeah.  Unexpected expenses have been adding up over the last two years and it became clear that the vacation we hoped for was not going to happen.  We already had to jump back into the world of consumer debt when we bought a car, so the last thing we wanted to do was whip out the plastic we had worked so hard to destroy.

God has been teaching me this year about gifts.  I've always been the kind who works hard for things and I feel uncomfortable when it's clearly not my birthday and people want to give me things or do things for me without expectation of anything return.  If I took some goofy online quiz, I bet I would be placed in House Lannister because I "always pay my debts."  But this year I have had to accept help from people and I've had to submit to the idea that it is OK to do so and that I don't have to feel guilty about saying "yes" when the gift is offered.  Admitting we need a little help paying for preschool doesn't mean I'm not working hard enough and I need to pick up another shift.  Agreeing to let someone bring me a meal during a stressful time doesn't indicate that I can't manage on my own.  Accepting the help from the women around me doesn't mean I am a failure as a wife, a mom, or a friend.

And when God is the one giving the gift, you have to be humble enough to just accept it and say Thank You.

When our hopes for a vacation were gone and we had resolved to wait until maybe next year or the year after that, the Lord made a way for it to happen.  Friends, I am not exaggerating when I tell you that money pretty much dropped in our laps out of clear blue sky and Evan and I both agreed that we would be stupid not to use some of the blessing as an investment in our marriage.

Giddy at the idea of a vacation, a real vacation, I jumped into planning with a frenzy.  One day I would be scrolling through vineyards in California and the next I was researching resorts in Mexico.  Maybe Maine would be nice?  Oh, I bet Oregon or Washington would be beautiful in summer.  Baltimore!  No, New Orleans.

It was dizzying.  I was drowning in my own indecisiveness and finally Evan had to gently force me into a decision.  "Where do YOU want to go?" he asked me.

I said the first thing that popped in my mind despite the fact that I just knew his face was going to curl up.

"Savannah.  I want to go to Savannah."

To my surprise, he was up for it!  Within the next 24 hours, he had cashed in all his airline miles earned from his many trips to China and purchased our plane tickets and rented us a car.  The rest was up to me.

So I got to work.

The is only the first post of what I anticipate will be many about our anniversary trip to Savannah.  I would love to hear your suggestions or recommendations if you are familiar with the city!  Check out my Pinterest board and let me know what else is a "can't miss" when visiting.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Stitch Fix Review - Holy Crap They Have HANDBAGS??!!

Let the awkward selfies resume!!

That's right, friends!  It's time once again for me to share the goodies that came in my lovely box from Stitch Fix boxes and show you the incredibly awkward photos I take in my dirty bedroom mirror.  Glamorous, right?  But it's awesome because I'm still not having to try on these clothes in a cramped dressing room, but in the comfort of my own messy home.

(P.S.  If you're reading this and wondering what the heck this whole Stitch Fix thing is that I'm talking about, I invite you to check out my previous reviews for the more detailed run-down.)

Super Quick Recap of Stitch Fix:
  • Sign up and get on the Waiting List (this usually moves pretty quickly)
  • Fill out your detailed Style Profile
  • Schedule your first "Fix" and work yourself up into a frenzy as your stylist chooses some great clothes for you to try on
  • Pay your $20 styling fee and wait for the goodies to arrive on your doorstep
  • Receive a box full of items hand-picked by a personal stylist, just for you, based on your profile
  • Try everything on, keep what you want, send back what you don't. (The $20 styling fee comes off the price of anything you choose to keep and if you buy all 5 items, you get a 25% discount!)
First Impressions:  Shut.  Up.  A teal crossbody bag????  Oh, Margaret.  This is going to be fun.  I didn't even know Stitch Fix did bags!!!

At first, this top confused me.  It was asymmetrical and had a cowl neck and a hidden magnet.  Yup, a hidden magnet.  I liked the unique look of it and it was very soft and comfy.  It did fit a little snug and the arms were just the teeniest bit too short, but I thought it was a lot of fun, definitely a departure from the typical zip-up hoodie.

Aren't the colors on this top fun?  The teal and purple were very pretty and I loved the sleeves and how the little gathering of fabric at the shoulders created a little added interest.  It was lightweight and flowy, which is always nice for covering up trouble areas.

This one made me kind of raise one eyebrow from the moment I pulled it out of the box.  I wasn't crazy about the strange pattern, but the unique cut-out design of the neckline encouraged me to give it a chance and try it on.  Unfortunately, the shape of this top was terrible for the shape of my body.  It made me look very "hippy" and thick in the middle.  Not a good look.  This one went directly in the bag to send back.

Cute dress alert!  The length of this dress was perfect and I love how the seaming at the waist is body-forgiving.  It is light and airy - perfect for the warming temperatures.  Now if only I could do something about the pastiness of my legs.....

As you can see, there was definitely a color theme to this box and the bag was no exception.  I was very surprised to see a bag in my Fix because I honestly didn't even know that Stitch Fix did that!  I'm usually a one purse at a time kind of gal, but I liked the idea of having a smaller cross-body bag in my collection to use for the spring and summer when hauling my enormous Mom Bag isn't quite appropriate.  I can already see myself using this a lot on our trip to Savannah when we are kid-free!

Before I reveal what I decided to keep, let me remind you of one of the fabulous features of Stitch Fix.  If you keep all FIVE items in your box, you get a 25% discount right off the top of everything

Spend some time perusing the reviews from customers on Stitch Fix Reviews.  Not only will you get to see the honest opinions from real customers, but you'll get to window shop for new items to request in upcoming Fixes of your own. 

After I wore the chevron top around the house for a half hour or so to give it a test drive, I realized that the pattern of it was just a little too busy for me and I didn't think I would wear it enough to justify the $68 price tag.  So, it joined the blue & white top and the cowl neck asymmetrical sweatshirt in the bag to send back.  I kept the dress and the bag! 


Ready to give Stitch Fix a try?  I have really enjoyed using this styling service as a way to mix things up in the wardrobe department.  It's so fun to see what my stylist has chosen!  My favorite part is that it is NOT a subscription service where you are charged every month.  You can get one Fix and be done or not get another one for several months if you choose. can choose to get a box of goodies every month.  It's your call!  CLICK HERE to get started for free!

Disclosure:  I was not paid by Stitch Fix to write this or any of my other reviews and all opinions are my own.  I do use a referral link so I get a credit to my Stitch Fix account when new folks get their Fix on!  Thank you for supporting this blog (and for helping keep my clothing budget under control)! 

Linking up once again over at The Pleated Poppy for some amazing fashion inspiration!

Monday, May 12, 2014

One Orange Flower

The perfect weekend weather around these parts had everyone in Wisconsin bursting out of their skin with excitement.  After what felt like The Winter that Never End, getting two days in a row of sun and temps in the seventies was like a miracle.  We opened up the patio seating at the restaurant and there were people out there all day enjoying the sun and happy hour specials.  Of course, I also had 25 people in the private room enjoying a bridal shower with 30 people right on their heels to enjoy a surprise birthday party and tables in the dining room on top of it all.  When all was said and done, I worked just shy of 13 hours straight on Saturday.  It could have been a little less, but my last table wasn't about to let that happen.  When I brought them their drinks and asked if they were ready to order, the man at the table informed me that I needed to "slow down the tempo a bit because we're going to be here a long time."

Fantastic, sir.  Fantastic.

Needless to say, I was a bit pooped when I got home and as much as I would have loved to just sleep in on Mother's Day, we actually got to church on time and I got to enjoy a fantastic day of appreciation from my hubby and kids.

Makes all the hours running back and forth on my feet seem like a tiny price to pay for such high praise.  They even went to the florist and put together a lovely bouquet for me, each child picking out a different flower to add to the collection. I love how Micah picked out a huge orange gerbera daisy to toss in there amongst all the rule-following roses of his brothers.  :)

Honestly, how cute is this card?

After church I ran into a friend at the grocery store.  Literally, we ran into one another.  He saw me before I saw him and when I finally looked up, I realized there was a cart careening down the aisle headed straight for me.  "There ain't room in this aisle for the both of us!" he hollered as I joined the party and started pushing my cart on a collision course with his.  Of course, we both eased off at the last second because I would assume that the powers that be would probably disapprove of two grown-ups playing Chicken with grocery carts, especially when one of those carts is holding a nine month old.  Right?

Anyway, after my friend scolded me for going grocery shopping on Mother's Day he inquired about the well-being of my kids.  I had to be honest and tell him about the four difficult nights we had experienced where Isaiah would wake up from the sharp stomach pains he was experiencing.  I told him about the emergency room visit and our trip to the doctor where the diagnosis was basically "wait and see if it gets better and come back if it doesn't."  He asked great questions and promised to pray for my son.

I know a lot of you have been praying for Isaiah and I thank you so much.  I have read all your suggestions about possible allergies or stomach ailments that might be causing the issue and I have noted them all so I can ask our doctor about them if and when we have to bring Isaiah back.  As of last night, he still ended up sleeping on the couch because he woke up in pain again.  Rather than keep his brother awake in the bottom bunk, we move him out to the couch to try to get some sleep, but his rest came few and far between for the sixth night in a row.  The pains attack him the worst while he sleeps at night, but they come and go throughout the day as well.  A perfect example is yesterday when he was climbing the tree in our backyard one minute and then found himself grabbing his belly in pain as we walked down our street only ten minutes later.

If we don't see some significant improvement by mid-week, we will be taking him back to the clinic and pushing for some real answers.  Thank you for your prayers and for your suggestions.  Hopefully we can get this figured out soon and get this poor boy some relief so we all can catch up on some much-needed sleep.

Friday, May 9, 2014

A Few Quick Things

First we need to get something straight.  I don't publish posts like the previous one lightly.  I don't do it for a pop in blog traffic (and one such person was so kind as to accuse me of), I don't do it to throw out Bible verses as a way to flippantly brush off tragedy, and I most certainly don't write posts like that in an attempt to get a debate going. Certainly I never expected that publishing a post of support and condolences would be met with such backlash and quite frankly I am just sick of it.  I understand that the Internet is a very big world and that anybody and everybody can do a Google search, but it is so infuriating to open up my email and find accusatory, hurtful, and insensitive comments directed at me.

Part of blogging is opening yourself up to certain attacks.  I get that.  But this was just too much.  I got mad and I started deleting comments, something I don't usually do.  But I wasn't about to stand for such things to be said to me or anyone else because of the tragedy of that sweet boy's death.  Unacceptable.

And if you were among the folks who found that post with a Google search and left me a nice comment expressing your shared condolences for the Saldana family or shared a moment of encouragement - thank you.  My rant is not for you.  

I'm off my soap box now.  Sorry, I just had to get that off my chest. 

Probably part of the reason I'm so punchy today is the lack of sleep and abundance of stress that has invaded our world this week.  Isaiah has been complaining of stomach pains for the last couple days and without going into exhaustive detail of his symptoms, I'll just say that I thought for sure that this kid had appendicitis.  Running on only 3 hours of sleep, I brought him to the emergency room at Children's Hospital early yesterday morning.

After many many hours, a couple doctors, and an X-ray....we found out that his appendix looked fine, he had a clear colon, and there was really no immediate explanation for his pain.  Good news - no appendicitis and no rushing to surgery.  Bad news - No clue why this kid is hurting followed by another night of him waking up screaming in pain. 

I sent him back to school this morning, but I'll be picking him up shortly to bring him to see our primary care physician to see if we can get some answers.  This has been going on for three days now and the poor kid and his mama are both getting really sick of it.

Again, apologies for the lack of posts this week and extra apologies for the lack of the light-hearted snarkiness that has become my signature.  It was pretty cool to play sentry for my neighbors to try to alert them at the approach of the hooligans who toilet-papered their trees and spray painted penises on furniture before dropping them on their front lawn, but that's a story for another day.  :)

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


Micah is upset with me right because he "really wants Cheetos" and I don't have any to give him.

Thomas went to bed annoyed with me because I didn't let him put on his own diaper before naptime.

Isaiah left for school today a bit disgruntled because he didn't have enough time to thoroughly enjoy his new Pokemon cards before it was time to get on the bus.

But they are here.  They are happy.  They are healthy.  They are drawing breath and making messes.  For just a moment more, they are mine.

How quickly that can all be snatched away.

The blogging community is an incredible thing and I have seen it happen time and time again where one of our own needs us and the rest of us rally.  We drop what we are doing, get typing, sharing, tweeting, and most important of all - praying.  Say what you will about the evils of the Internet and the danger of social media, but I have witnessed firsthand the power that it has to be used for good.

Of course, this is a double-edged sword.  Because if the community is awake and moving, it is because it has been roused.

As I scrolled through my Instagram feed this morning, I saw a flood of photos of a darling red-headed little boy under the hashtag #redballoonsforryan and I read the story of Ryan Cruz Saldana, the three year old son of a Californina blogger mom named Jacqui.  On Friday, the family was playing outside in the yard at a family member's house when Ryan went to retrieve a Frisbee that had flown into the street and was struck by an oncoming truck.  He died at the scene.

How many times have I held my breath as my kids cross the street?
Hollered at Isaiah to pleasefortheloveofGod LOOK BOTH WAYS when he rides his bike only to watch him dart out right in front of a red truck that thankfully saw him in time to stop.
Reminded Micah to play in the driveway or on the sidewalk only to turn around and see him picking up something from the middle of the road and pop it in his mouth.

Or the time we were rear-ended on the way to church, leaving our van totaled but my children uninjured.

I have been seconds away from their heartbreak, but we have been spared.  Why they should be chosen to bear this burden, I will never know.

But the sisters of the blogging world have been at work and they have been rallying around this family.  If you feel compelled to read more of their story and perhaps donate to support them in this time, check out Thrive Moms - a site run by loving women of high integrity.  Please pray for comfort and for God to draw near to this family in this time of unspeakable pain.

The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18)

Our prayers are with you, Jacqui and Dan. 

(All photos from @babyboybakery on Instagram)

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