Should I write about this? I'm afraid I'll jinx it.

Jeremy has a job interview tomorrow in a small town two and a half hours from here.
It is an engineering job - he would finally be able to do what he went to college for.
It is day shift - we would finally get to see each other during the week, not just on weekends.
It would be a pay raise - I might finally be able to stay home with our kids.

An ice storm is predicted for tomorrow, so Jeremy is planning to stay overnight at a hotel. He is REALLY nervous about the interview.

His current employer has announced the possibility of lay-offs and hours cut to 28 per week until next October. So even if Jeremy doesn't get this job, we will have to find another position somewhere. God may be riding to our rescue right now.

If Jeremy gets the job, he will move immediately, and the girls and I will stay here until Kimmie graduates in May. We will probably be able to see each other on several weekends. Hopefully, the distance won't feel too horrible. But just knowing that we will someday get to live together all the time and see each other EVERY DAY!!!! Wow!

I am actually trying very hard NOT to think about all of this, because I don't want to be so terribly disappointed if we don't get the job. I know, NO MATTER WHAT, that God will give us what is BEST for us, even if it is not what I thought was best for us. So, I'm really trying hard to just trust God no matter what the outcome is. But I have been asking Him to let us have this, please.

If you want to pray for us, you can ask God for Jeremy's interview to go well tomorrow, for him to be safe, for them to love him and give him the job, and for us all to TRUST and be CONTENT.

And, if he gets the job, you can pray for us not to get big heads and forget about our constant need for God's provision.
Have you ever watched the movie Sarah Plain and Tall? There's a part where Caleb, the little boy, requests a harmonica so that he will always have some music in his pocket. My sister-in-law, Melissa, gave me an early Christmas gift yesterday. She sent Kimmie a box with six harmonicas in it. When Kimmie opened the box and realized what was inside, we first laughed in puzzlement. Why did we need six harmonicas?

But later that evening, I listened as Kimmie made some really beautiful music with hers. Liberty tried to copy, but couldn't quite get the hang of how to blow into it. Instead, Liberty held it up to her lips and made harsh humming sounds with her mouth. The two of them walked around the house together, one playing and the other pretending to play their harmonicas. It made me laugh.

Even later, Kimmie stood at the kitchen sink washing the supper dishes. One hand wiped at the dish while the other held the harmonica to her mouth and continued her happy sounds. I was trying to read a story to Liberty, and at first I opened my mouth to ask Kimmie to stop playing for a while. Then my heart listened. How happy she looked. Content. As she worked on a mundane assigned chore. My heart swelled with happiness while I watched her peaceful countenance.

"Wead." Liberty interrupted me.

I shook my head. "No, HoneyBunny, I want to hear Kimmie's song. I'll read in a minute."

The joyful song did not seem to have an ending, so I eventually read through it. But all the while, I was thanking Melissa for the wonderful present she had sent me.

I've tucked this memory away in a pocket of my heart, and now I will always have some Kimmie music in my pocket.
One of my favorite things about snow is all the phantom people I get to meet after its done falling. Footprints take on personalities, and I get to imagine who walked before me. Where were they going and why? Sometimes, I pick up hints of their life from their steps. For example, a dragging print could portray dread or laziness or that funny, carefree feeling you get at times when you are just walking around and enjoying the day. Was the person skipping in the snow?

I've recently made friends with a set of prints that I call "The Man With the Argyle Shoes." The bottom of his shoes have a quirky dashed argyle pattern that stand out from all the other patterns in the snow. He has an unusually long stride, so I guess that he either runs every morning, or is very, very tall. I've decided that he must be tall and lean (and at first you thought nothing but a streak of mean could make a man look so downright strong, but one look in his eyes, and you knowed you was wrong) --sorry, had to break into the Kingston Trio song. Done now.

Anyway, so my friend, The Man With the Argyle Shoes, is business-like and purposeful in his daily life. He is quick to smile, has dark, close-cropped hair and a smaller head than normal - not too small, just smaller than most people. He works out, but it's not noticeable. I think he's a banker. (Mainly, because I find his footsteps more often around the bank across the street from my work.)

There is another man whose shoes I am learning. His soles have a wavy pattern to them, and I imagine that he is more laid back. He's shorter than Argyle Man, with light brown hair and a thicker body style. He enjoys surfing, but doesn't get to do it much. Which makes me slightly sad for him, but he is a generally happy man, so I don't get too sad for him. I think he has a medium sized family, with children ages 8, 10, and 6, and he may have a dog.

The past few days, I have enjoyed getting to know these guys, so this morning, you can imagine my dismay when I exited my parked car and found that the sidewalks had been swept clean of snow. It was a very sad moment in my life.

Which probably says a lot about me, but I'm not going to go there. And I really hope you don't either! *Cough*Jeremy*Cough*Zach*

So, I'm looking forward to the next silvery glitter storm so that I can find my friends again.
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I am home!

And a six hour car ride with three kids and a husband ended up not even close to as bad as my nightmares had predicted. We left Iowa at 2:30 PM yesterday, and pulled into my parent's driveway around 8:30 PM where a welcoming committee of Zach, Faith, Pete, my mom and our beagle, Rosie enthusiastically greeted us.

I'm thankful to be home.

"I really hope we didn't forget anything important," I worriedly told Jeremy once we had officially gotten on the road.

"Impossible," he reassured me. "Not after all those lists you made."

I mentally reviewed all my lists and relaxed into the roomy passenger seat of our van. "You're right. We should have everything."

"Where'd you put Mercy's bottle?" I inquired after glancing at the clock a few hours later. She would be ready to eat any minute now.

"Her bottle?" he glanced at me strangely, "I thought you had packed that in the side pocket of her diaper bag."

"I did last night, but I grabbed it out this morning to feed her. I thought you were going to wash it and put it back for me."

"You're kidding, right? Tell me we didn't leave her bottle at home."

"Uh, I think we left her bottle at home."

Jeremy groaned. "I'll start looking for a store." It took two hours before we found a town large enough to hold a bottle-selling store, and thankfully, Mercy overslept.

I'm thankful for car vibrations.

After all the enthusiastic hugging and lugging of suitcases, I walked into the old farmhouse, wondering where my two youngest daughters had been kidnapped to. I discovered Mercy lounging on my sister Charity's lap! Charity lives in Ohio, and she told me she wasn't going to be able to make it for Thanksgiving. Her almost-fiance' Caleb sat on the couch next to her. They both wore pleased little smirks.

"You tricked me!" I shouted out happily.

"Yep!" she acknowledged. "But it wasn't my fault. Caleb and I were planning to have Thanksgiving at his mom's and Christmas here. At the last minute he changed his mind and surprised me...and you."

This means that all of my brothers and sisters will be in town at the same time this Thanksgiving!

I'm thankful for surprises!

They put us in Faithy's large room with a queen bed for us, a crib mattress on the floor for Liberty and a playpen in the corner for Mercy. The arrangement worked wonderfully until Jeremy and I climbed into the bed. It moved. We froze. A clunking sound occurred. "Um, did we break the bed?" Jeremy asked gingerly.

I sighed, "I sure hope not." We waited tensely for the bed to go crashing down to the floor. Nothing happened. "I think we're good?" I ended on a question mark, and we continued arranging ourselves into the bed. It swayed again. We froze again.

I carefully exited the mattress and laid down flat on the floor to peer underneath at the metal bed frame. Good news. It was on wheels. The swaying did not indicate brokenness. But the center bar with one end resting on the floor did. Apparently, my 98 pound sister isn't heavy enough to sink her mattress down, but the combined weight of Jeremy and I pushed it far enough that it sagged slightly in the midde all night.

I'm thankful for my bed at home.

This morning, Mercy woke up at 5:00. I didn't want her to wake Liberty up with her crying, so I quickly scooped her up and took her downstairs to eat. The four gigantic picture windows surrounding the living room displayed a gorgeous sunrise over the cornfields that Mercy and I enjoyed immensely. Pinks, blues, oranges, and yellows smeared across the sky as far as I could see.

I'm thankful for God's paintings.

An hour later, my dad came downstairs. After putting his socks on and finding his glasses, he eagerly took Mercy from my arms. He began talking and cooing to her. Happy noises oozed from both of them. They discussed vocabulary words like vargueno and the archaic meaning of virtue. They moved on to the policital state of the Union, and finished with plumbing and electricity. Mercy is much smarter now than she was when she arrived.

I'm thankful for her Grandpa.

As I sit here at the computer, waiting for the rest of the family to begin stirring, I think of my brother Nate and his wife Suzy and two month old son Abraham Michael who are driving right now from Ohio to join us here today. I think of my sister Hannah and her husband Craig and two kids, Roman and Destiny who are probably still in bed (if they're smart) at their home in town and who will join us tomorrow. (His family is in town today.) I think of my sister Charity and her boyfriend Caleb who drove from Ohio a few days ago to surprise us all. I think of my brother Joe and his fiance' Melissa who are at her family's house today, but should stop by here later. I think of my brothers Zach and Pete and my sister Faith who live here at home still. I think of my mom and dad who have always loved us, and still provide a safe place where we can all retreat for laughter and warmth and love.

I'm thankful for home.
Guess what?

Kimmie got her driver's permit on Friday!

AHEM!!! KIMMIE GOT HER DRIVER'S PERMIT ON FRIDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So, in honor of the fact that there are only THREE days until I get to see my newest nephew, Baby Abey, I give you: THREE Car Rides.

I picked Kimmie up from school around 11:30ish and took her to the testing place. Almost two hours later, she came out with a permit card waving proudly over her head. And we proceeded to take
Car Ride # 1.

I handed her the keys, and she freaked out, "No! You can't make me drive right now! I just got my permit. I don't have any experience!"

I just smiled at her. After a few minutes of protesting, she adjusted the seat and the mirrors and put her seat belt on while I went over a few preliminaries with her like:

"If I ever say stop...even if you don't know why I said stop...STOP IMMEDIATELY!!!"


"Do you know which pedal is the brake? NO! It is NOT the long skinny one on the right!"

I stood behind our minivan to help direct her as she backed up into the empty street, and I told her over and over. "KEEP YOUR FOOT ON THE BRAKE. PLEASE DON'T RUN OVER ME." She did a great job backing up and getting herself situated and ready to drive. I hopped into the passenger seat, and we prayed together.

She said, "God, please help me drive well."

I said, "God! Please keep us alive! AND don't let our insurance go up! AND let me still have a minivan in one piece when she's done! But if that is not Your will...please let Jeremy remember which flowers I want on my tombstone. THANKYOUVERYMUCH. AMEN." Then I tied myself down and gripped the overhead handle.

She stomped on the gas, and our heads flung backwards. "Oh. Sorry."

"No problem," I smiled. "Just a little less gas next time."

We proceeded down the road.

She stomped on the brake; our heads rushed toward the windshield. I looked around for a car, or a small child, or a squirrel. After finding nothing, I asked, "Why did you stop?"

"There's a stop sign."

I looked ahead...twelve miles. "So there is. Good instincts, Kimmie. Let's inch slowly towards it. And next time, you can stop closer to the sign if you'd like."

We rolled forward three inches and abruptly jerked our heads towards the windshield again. I smiled, feeling safer. "Okay, now go forward some more..."

Fifteen minutes later, we arrived at the stop sign.

Car Ride #2
On Sunday afternoon, I handed Kimmie the keys. "But we don't have time to drive around the neighborhood before work," she informed me.

"I know. You're driving to work, instead."

She immediately panicked. "No! I can't drive on the highway! I've only driven once so far!" She then appealed to Jeremy, "She's going to make me drive on the highway! Tell her I don't have any experience on the highway!"

Jeremy came to the passenger side of the car and leaned into the open window for a long farewell hug. "I love you." He seriously informed me. He didn't seem to want to let go.

Kimmie adjusted the seat and the mirrors and put her seat belt on while I went over a few preliminaries with her like:

"If I ever say stop...even if you don't know why I said stop...STOP IMMEDIATELY!!!"


"Show me again which pedal is the brake."

Then we prayed together. She said, "God, help me to do a good job on the highway, and keep us safe, please."

I said, "GOD! Don't let it be painful. I want to go quickly, please. Amen."

Then she backed carefully and accurately out of our driveway. I breathed a sigh of relief...followed by a shrill "NOOOOO!!!!!! STOP!!!!" And maybe a brief swat at her arm. "STOP!!!" As she zoomed quickly backwards towards our neighbor's mailbox.

"Oh, sorry." She said sheepishly, "I forgot to put it in drive."

I began breathing again. "That's okay." I wheezed out. "Now you know."

She drove amazingly well on the highway...I didn't want her to travel above 50 miles per hour, even though the speed limit was 65. Although, when I thought that logic through, I wondered what I was hoping to gain by that. Fifty is still a LOT faster than 25 which is what she drove in town on Friday. And when I got to the hospital, would a doctor be able to tell me, "Boy, it's a good thing you were only going 50. If you'd been going 65, we wouldn't be able to help you right now."

Kimmie maneuvered the curves and allowed the four cars on the highway to pass her without getting flustered. She approached the town turn-off well, and even managed to stop AT the stop sign at the end of the ramp. She did NOT look for cars before she jumped on the gas pedal again, but thankfully, there were no cars around. She even pulled herself into a parking spot at her work and managed to stay almost between the lines.

I am very proud of her.

She sat at the wheel and breathed for a while. Then she shakily informed me. "Driving is fun! But I don't want to do it again for a while. Please don't make me drive home."

I grinned at her in understanding. "Okay."

She walked into the building, and I headed home.

An hour later, I received a phone call.

"Hi, it's Kimmie. I'm not off work yet, but when I am...can I drive home tonight?"

I had to tell her no, because it would be dark and even I am horrible at driving on the highway in the dark, but soon she will be able to.

Okay, technically, there is no Car Ride #3,yet, but if I told you there were only two car rides, then it wouldn't have worked with my countdown. So pretend there was a third, and enjoy your day.
In SIX days, I will get to see my newest nephew for the first here are SIX random things about me that will make you wish you had your SIX minutes back after reading:

1. I always, ALWAYS read after I get into bed.
If I am extremely tired, and I skip reading, then it will take over an hour for me to finally fall sleep. However, many times my habit backfires on me, and I get so caught up in the book that two or three AM creeps up on me.

2. I make friends with trees.
My earliest tree memory comes from when I was four years old. I used to climb into a beautiful dogwood tree named Rosebud and sit for hours imagining or reading. When I was eight, we moved to a new house (my family and I...sadly, not Rosebud and I) with new trees:
  • two apple trees named Caleb and Jane (I spent most of my time in Caleb)

  • one giant oak tree named Big Oak, who was the leader of all the trees in our yard

  • one regular-sized oak tree (which actually was two trees that grew together) named Watch Eyes. I would perch in the crotch of the twin trees to spy on our neighbors or to look out for King's Men who may be coming to destroy our village

  • one wonderfully twisted dogwood tree named Rosebud II whose limb split in the center one day when my brother, sister and I all decided to bounce on her together. After that, I had an excellent hiding spot to put secret love notes to a handsome prince. Thankfully, when I wrote notes back to me from the handsome prince, I knew where to find them inside the split branch.

3. I was overjoyed to find out a few years ago that my grandma names and talks to her trees. My poor mom - who has NO IMAGINATION - wants to claim that she was adopted, which dissolves her relationship with Grandma, but she knows I wasn't adopted. Since she's stuck with all the crazy...she might as well enjoy it!

4. I collect recipes, but rarely make time to use them.
I usually stick to tried and true, but when my sister Faith came after Mercy was born, we had a blast pulling out stacks of recipes that we tried with great success. Now that she's gone, I'm back to tried and true with the occassional adventure food thrown in every two weeks or so amidst protests from the fam.

5. I am told that when I read, I talk to the characters in the book as though they can hear me. I have even caught myself praying for several of them on various occasions throughout the years.

6. I love speed, and I have won several spontaneous drag races on rural highways.
I blame my dad for this, because (although he would never consider speeding even if he were being chased by aliens trying to take over earth) every morning on the way to school he would pretend we were in a NASCAR race, and he would narrate: "The Blue Goose is coming up on the Black Turtle. They're neck and neck! Will he make it? He does! The Blue Goose passes the Black Turtle! But it looks like the Blue Goose may be in serious trouble if he doesn't hang onto his slight lead. The Golden Rocket is right behind him..." But the truth is, the love of speed comes from my mom.
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I was tagged by Tiffany to answer the following questions.

1. In January, a man told me he wanted to marry me. We discussed the logistics of it all.
2. In February, I found out he was being frisky with someone else.
3. In May, I finished my freshman year of college.
4. In September, I was shocked to discover I had fallen in love with my best friend, Jeremy.
5. In November, he asked me to be his girlfriend!!!!

1. Prep turkey for supper tonight
2. Email Kimmie's teacher about driver's test
3. Deliver thank you note to friend
4. Give Liberty amoxicillin dose for her ear infection
5. Take notes on Trenches book for work

1. Invest and use the interest to:
2. Pay off debt
3. Pay off parent's house
4. Set aside for kids' college
5. Find a family (or several) to help

1. Illinois
2. Tennessee
3. New Jersey
4. Florida
5. Iowa

1. Construction
2. Human Resources
3. Energy
4. Recruiting
5. Finances
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Sorry it took me so long to update you all on my dad's finger status, but here it finally is. He went to the doctor on November 12th to get his stitches out. They could not find them due to all the dried blood, and they have a policy not to pull anything that is hidden from view. (A sensible policy, I believe.) He is supposed to go back in three weeks. In the meantime, he has started physical therapy, which is not like a trip to Disneyland, unless of course you get sick on all the rides at Disneyland, and then it is like a trip to Disneyland. Also the doctor says that the swelling should have gone down by now, and it has not. Now the swelling has turned into scar tissue (I have never heard of that before, but I'm trusting the doctor on this one, since you know, I never completed medical school) and the scar tissue may require surgery before Dad can use his fingers again.

Dad's keeping his fingers crossed.

(Okay, you groaned, but I got a tiny snicker out of typing that. Admit it, it was funny.)
Dad's stitches were supposed to come out on Tuesday, October 28th, but his fingers were too bloody for the stitches to be found. While the doctor dug, Dad began to go into shock from the pain, so everything has been called off until Wednesday, November 12th.

Also, the doctor had told Dad not to return to any type of work until his stitches are out. My dad is not a lounger. He tried to finish his home project of remodeling the front porch, and he hurt his fingers again slightly. Then he began "directing" Mom as she home-schooled, but now he has taken over home-schooling completely. Mom is thrilled because now she gets to sleep in a little, and Dad is happy because he feels useful.

A win-win situation.

In other news, my sister and I will be wearing yellow on Saturday because it is supposed to rain. (Well, in Ohio,where she lives, it might rain. In Iowa, where I live, it's supposed to snow.) Together, we will represent the sunshine. I'm here to represent, yo!

Although, really, YAY FOR SNOW!
(Remind me in February that I said this.)
I am so sad. All of those stores that are giving out free food if you vote are not within reasonable driving distance for me. At my parenting group which meets every Tuesday at lunch time, we discussed organizing a protest in front of Smokey Row and Sports Page here in town to get them to give us free election food! Well, we discussed it, at least...

Yesterday, I was crossing Main Street to get to my car after work, and someone honked and yelled at me, "Go vote Obama!" I had a cup of water in my hand, and I looked around, wondering who I needed to throw it at. I didn't see anyone looking particularly guilty, so I continued walking. After a little bit, an SUV pulled up next to me. My friend Jackie sat inside grinning at me. "Did you hear me yell at you?" she asked. I know she voted for McCain, so I wondered why she had just promoted Obama. She continued, "I saw you look around for who yelled, so I figured I'd better pull around and let you know it was me. I didn't want you to think you had a stalker or anything."

My eyebrows scrunched in a confused expression. "What?"

"I yelled, 'Whoa, Hot Mama!'" she explained, "and I didn't want you to think some crazy person was stalking you."

"Whoa, Hot Mama?" I thought she had said, "Go vote Obama!" HAHAHAHA!

Yesterday, I wore red and white representing that I wanted McCain (the red team) to win. Today, I am wearing purple (because red and blue mixed makes purple. I'm silly--I know this.) to represent that we are one nation, and I am an AMERICAN who will support our new president-elect and respect him. Even if I disagree with his standards. Sigh.

But having these made up themes in my head has helped a lot when choosing what to wear. I'll have to think of a good theme for Thursday.
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It's time for me to be honest. I haven't been posting recently, because I feel like I'm dangling right now.

A friend of ours died this week. While we were waiting to hear each bit of news as it developed and praying for a miracle, it didn't feel right to post mundane bits of fun. And now that he is gone, it still doesn't feel right. I'm glad that he is in heaven, but I am beyond sad that his family is left here without him, and I am having a hard time believing that he is truly happy over leaving them behind. I'm feeling slightly foolish for grieving so much when our contact with him recently hasn't been so drastic that he's left a hole in my life...but he HAS left a hole in my life.

Why is that?

I'm sick over the thought of his wife and kids having to move on without him, and the fact that there is not one blessed physical thing that I can do to help out. Other than pray. Which I know is the best thing I can do, but it doesn't feel like it. I feel guilty that this post has been all about me and how I feel. What about Liisa and how she feels? But truthfully, I don't even want to go there. It is too sorrowful.

When Liberty climbs backwards out of her highchair, blindly feeling for a rung that is two inches below where her foot naturally can reach...that is how I feel right now. Dangling.
Last Friday, Jeremy surprised me with a gift certificate for a haircut and manicure at a local "spa-lon" because he knew how draggy I was feeling after spending four nights in a row up with Mercy. Here is my new hair style. (Ignore my allergy-swollen, sleep-deprived eyes.)

And lest you fear that my new glamorous-ness will go to my head. (I crack me up!) Let me share this story.

My stylish new haircut and red-painted nails inspired me to dig deeper into my closet for outfits that actually matched and didn't host spit-up spots. I paired a nice black shirt and a short khaki skirt with open-toed, silver-buckle enhanced, black heels, and I even painted my toenails red to match my fingers. Oh yes, I was feeling beautiful.

I prepared to leave Mercy and Liberty with Kimmie for a couple hours so that I could attend worship practice at church. While I stood at the door giving Kimmie last minute instructions, Liberty chose to cling to my leg, hoping to insure that I would not leave her. She began by cradling my foot, then she stood, raising my leg to her height. I balanced on one foot in my three inch heels while simultaneously ignoring Liberty, instructing Kimmie and hoping that I wasn't forgetting anything. This is the first time Kimmie has babysat since Mercy was born. To say I was distracted would be putting it mildly. Liberty soon began to run one finger up and down my leg. This continued for several minutes while I ignored her and continued talking, all the while my brain was watching the clock and plotting how I could disentangle myself from Liberty's stranglehold on my leg with the least amount of fuss. I put off the disentanglement too long, and I knew that I would be late for practice.

I glanced down to talk to Liberty who had set up shop between my legs, and that is when I noticed a purple marker in her hand. My first anxious thought was for my khaki skirt. Oh no! She looked like she was all set to begin her artwork. I desperately grabbed at the marker, one foot 24 inches off the ground, my hand stretched between my legs, holding on for dear life (well, maybe not for my life, but definitely for the life of my skirt) as Liberty began pulling away behind me. She had a death grip on that marker...but so did I.

I finally won, and I didn't fall! I turned so that Kimmie could see the back of my skirt, and I asked her, "Do you see any marks on it?" She told me everything was fine, and I quickly ran out the door.

Half-way through our practice, I noticed some stares being directed at my legs. I glanced down, and yes, I had bright purple stripes running up and down my right leg. What I thought was Liberty's finger had actually been that marker. I'm still not sure how Kimmie missed telling me about those streaks. Maybe some selective blindness?

One day, all of my girls are going to wake up with black mustaches on their faces, and I will gleefully announce, "Payback time!"
Morning dawned, dark, cold and dreary.

The blanket felt warm and snuggly.

A blaring alarm clock received a much deserved slap.

The blanket felt warm and snuggly.

A spouse warningly shook her shoulder.

The blanket felt warm and snuggly.

In the distance a baby awoke.

The blanket felt warm and snuggly.

Thoughts arrived in a morning haze: breakfast, clothing, preparations.

The blanket felt warm and snuggly.

"We're gonna be late!" A stress-filled cry.

The blanket felt warm and snuggly.
Last night, my devotions were in Psalms. Chapter 56 to be specific. After reading the first line, I lost it. Just completely cracked up laughing.

Here it is:

"Have mercy on me, oh God, for men hotly pursue me..."


It reminded me of a single friend of mine in college who told me her life verse was Song of Solomon 2:1, "Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth, for his love is better than wine."

Hee-hee :-)
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"Is everything alright, Melissa?" the fearful urgency in the distant call cut through the sleep-fog to the depths of my brain. My eyes popped open by their own volition and immediately sought the alarm clock. Large red digits burned into the darkness - 5:46 AM. My brain slowly attempted to process the origin of the urgent call.

A female voice. Kimmie's? I continued listening. But Kimmie doesn't call me Melissa. Silence. It must have been a dream.

I easily returned to my lovely sleep.

This time, low-pitched, quiet voices disturbed my sleep. With eyes still closed, I decided it must be Kimmie and Liberty in the living room. They are both horribly early risers. I drifted into dreamland once again, but a thought niggled at my mind. Those were adult voices. Some women, and at least one man. Sleep slowly drifted away.

Kimmie must have the radio on, I decided, and comfortably zoned out again.

"When I saw your front door standing wide open like that, I pretty much freaked out. I knew I had to come over here! I'm glad everything is okay. Have a good day." Once again, the same distinctive female voice cut through to my brain, and this time, after a few seconds (or minutes?) my mind reported to me that the voice belonged to my neighbor, Angie.

With that mystery solved, I dozed off once again...then violently jerked awake! Wait a minute! Why was Angie over here, and why was she talking about my front door being open?

I forced my body out of bed and pushed my arms into the sleeves of my thick navy bathrobe. Hastily double-knotting the belt around my waist, I pushed open my bedroom door and stepped into the dark living room. My skin instantly registered the unusual chill in the room. I looked around, expecting to see Kimmie or Liberty somewhere, but the entire house was dark and still. From down the hall I could hear Kimmie's shower, and a light shown under her bathroom door. Remembering my neighbor's claim that our front door had been standing open and noting the coldness of the living room, I decided to check on Liberty and Mercy. They both slept peacefully, apparently unaware of the recent neighborly visit.

My curiosity somewhat appeased, I returned to my own room, happy at the prospect of climbing back under the covers. But once back in my bed, my brain finally woke up. If our door was standing open, why? Who opened it? I thought back to the previous night. At midnight, I had been up feeding Mercy, and the door had been closed and even locked at that point. Was it locked? I couldn't remember that for sure. I do know that it was closed at that time. I thought through some options.

1. Jeremy came home after midnight. He rarely uses the front door since he parks in our attached garage, but it could have been Jeremy.

2. Kimmie may have chosen to take an early morning walk and forgot to shut the door on her way back in.

3. Liberty may have finally learned how to open doors. (A frightening thought!)

The more I pondered, the more I wondered. I watched my sleeping husband while I wondered. Finally, the suspense wore me down. I woke him up. "Did you use the front door at all last night?"

He hadn't.

We discussed the possibilities, and Jeremy came up with two more that I had not considered.

4. The door may have looked closed at midnight, but not have been completely latched so the wind could have blown it open.

5. Someone not belonging in our house may have entered.

"Oh," I said while his words sunk into my mind.

I continued looking at his face.

Wordlessly, we climbed out of bed and donned our matching bathrobes, belting them at the waist. Together, we exited into the cold, dark living room and looked into the shadows with newly aware eyes. The bathroom door creaked and Kimmie stepped out into the hall illuminated only by the light spilling from the doorway behind her.

"Kimmie," I called quietly, "did I hear Angie's voice earlier?"

"Yes!" Kimmie excitedly called back. She walked towards us, describing her startling morning. The doorbell had rung twice, but she had remained in bed, assuming Jeremy or I would answer it. (She greatly underestimates our sleeping abilities!) When she heard Angie call, "Is everything alright, Melissa?" she rushed to the living room and found Angie from across the street and Denny from next door framed in the open doorway, concern etched on their faces. Angie told how her husband had called her cell phone after pulling out of their driveway on his way to work and informed her that our front door was standing wide open. Angie went to our next door neighbor's house to recruit strong-man Denny to help her investigate, while Denny's wife Kelly watched both families' children and prepared to call for help in the case of an emergency. Kimmie immediately checked on our two little girls and reported their safety to our neighbors, then she knocked on our bedroom door to see how we were doing. Apparently, our loud snores reassured her that we were breathing at least. The neighbor's left; Kimmie headed for the shower, and I slowly woke up.

(Did I ever tell you about the time when I slept through three consecutive fire excavations of the apartment building where I used to live? Well, that's a story for another day!)

At the close of Kimmie's tale, Jeremy decided to see for himself if his daughters were okay. Liberty had buried herself under a mound of blankets, and we both experienced a moment of panic before we realized where she was.

We soberly returned to the living room, where Jeremy decided we should verify the emptiness of the basement. I stood quietly looking at him before turning to retrieve a saucepan from the kitchen. I handed Kimmie my cell phone and half-jokingly told her to call 911 and get the girls out of the house if we didn't return or if she heard anything strange once we got down to the basement. She took the phone and began dialing immediately. "Don't call now!" I exclaimed.

"I'm not. I'm just getting ready in case," she responded.

I followed Jeremy down the stairs with my saucepan poised overhead, ready to strike. We split up at the bottom, Jeremy investigated the left half while I searched the right. I finished first and turned to watch Jeremy complete his rounds.

Suddenly, the scene struck me as funny: the two of us in our matching robes, flushing out an imaginary intruder in the basement. Me with my shiny saucepan, and Jeremy who had not thought to grab his light saber, but who no doubt would have been brandishing it vigorously if he had thought of it, and Kimmie upstairs with her thumb hovering over the call button. That last thought shushed me quickly because I hoped my laughter had not given Kimmie cause to panic and call 911. "We're fine, Kimmie," I called up the stairs. "There's no one down here."

Jeremy and I climbed back up to the first floor. "Check the garage and the refrigerator," Jeremy mumbled as he ambled towards our bedroom.

"What?" I questioned.

"The cars and food," he explained. I checked the garage first. Both cars sat quietly, waiting for their call to service; no thief had disturbed their slumber. As I opened the refrigerator, I tried to remember exactly how the inside had looked the night before. A twinge of disappointment showed itself when I realized that we had not provided emergency food and shelter for some poor soul in the middle of the night.

It remains a mystery. Can Liberty open doors? Does someone in our family sleepwalk? Did we have an unknown visitor in the middle of the night?

Hey, some have entertained angels unaware. Wouldn't that be cool?
Thank you so much for praying for my family. Dad went to the hospital over the weekend because his fingertips were numb indicating loss of blood circulation. The bandages were re-wrapped, a little looser this time, and he was sent home again. His appointment was on Monday at noon, and his boss showed up unexpectedly at the doctor's office, just to show he cared! That was very kind. After looking at the finger tips again, the doctor was surprised to tell Dad that they looked amazingly good, and he is sure that the tips will regenerate just fine. He gave Dad a one and a half to two and a half month approximate healing time, and he couldn't believe the progress that had been made already in the fingers. The doctor had fully expected to be removing them. God is AWESOME!!!!

Dad's boss offered Dad an easy job in the shop instead of a vigorous job on the worksite, and the doctor agreed that Dad could go back to work as long as he wouldn't need his left hand fingers for it. I forgot to ask Dad when his first day back at work would be, but I think he needs a few more days of rest. He went to church Sunday morning, and it wiped him out.

Additionally, Dad's boss let him know that the company is going to pick up the tab for all of the medical bills, physical therapy and 60% of his lost time.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for praying. God said yes!
Thank you for the feedback on my new blog templates. I'm trying out several more now. What do you think of this one?

UPDATE: I got rid of the pumpkin colored was pretty, but it just wasn't me. I am REALLY liking this red and yellow flowered one. It is called "Petals In My Path." I even love the name!

ANOTHER UPDATE: The dots are starting to remind me of a small pox breakout. I like everything but the dots. Sigh.
Would you please pray for my dad. He is a carpenter. Yesterday, he had an accident at work with a table saw and cut the tips of three fingers. After emergency surgery yesterday, the doctor said that on Monday, he will check for signs of degeneration. At that point, they will determine whether my dad will be able to keep the tips of those fingers. Right now, my dad is home on pain killers. He has had a fever and chills and vomitting most of the day. Also, he will be out of work for an undetermined time frame. I still have three siblings in junior high and high school living at home who enjoy eating...a lot! Mom is concerned about their future finances. Will you please pray for clarity of thought for my mom as she sorts through various insurance and income paperwork?

Thank you!
I'm having fun trying on outfits for my blog. Can you tell? :-)
I imagine a gray craggy cave pounded by ocean waves. White water foams loudly on the impassive crevices. Hard minerals stand firm. Waves relent not. Roars echo throughout the cavern. Created and controlled by my powerful Lord.

A small girl in a tiny pink night gown cuddles trustingly into the palm of a giant open hand. Huge masculine fingers curl ever so slightly inward forming a protective canopy over the sleeping child. Peace. Warmth. Safety. Tenderness and love provided by my gentle Father.
Liberty is now an interior designer. She has discovered the joy of creativity, and she has some definite opinions on how her bedroom should be decorated. On more than one occasion, she has displayed her fondness for the color brown and her desire for her bedroom to be covered in brown.

Fortunately for her, the color brown is easily and unsupervisingly (probably not a word) accessible during nap times or night times. A few grunts, a removal of protective clothing and voila! New brown paint for her walls and her sheets and her windows and her previously clean clothing folded and sitting neatly on her shelves. She's lucky that she's so resourceful and creative. Otherwise, what would she find to keep herself occupied while she should be SLEEPING!
Do you know how wonderful my husband is?

He is watching the kids right now so that I can have some free time. Alone. Silence. Peace.

And it was all his idea!!

I headed into town to work out at the gym, and decided to make a quick stop at the office to check something on the internet. My quick stop has turned into a two-hour catch-up of all things internet related, and now I am realizing that I probably don't have time to work out. But maybe I do. I will just hop onto a treadmill to walk for thirty minutes, and then head home.

Or something like that.
Anybody want my baby?

For a couple of nights only, she's free to a good home.

And then I want her back!

Cuz she's mighty cute...even when she's preventing me from snoring.
Inspired by Donette, here is my list for today:

1. I'm wondering . . . what the prices are going to be for Kimmie's Senior pictures. She's really a Senior this year!!!

2. I'm reading . . . A Brother Beloved by somebody whose last name starts with an A. It's an old book that I found at my church library, and so far, fairly interesting. I'm wondering when the plot will twist, and if it will twist.

3. I'm feeling . . . content about everything.

4. I'm happy . . . that Jeremy and I have a plan in place to pay off some bills by February!!!

5. I'm thinking . . . about twirling around in the sunshine outside.

6. I'm hoping . . . that my leftover, leftover spaghetti that I brought for lunch yesterday and today will magically turn into a sub from Jersey Mike's (which we do not have in this state).

7. I'm dreaming . . . of beautiful white Victorian houses with wraparound porches containing flowers and wicker furniture and porch swings. Of lush green grass dotted with large old trees. Of peaceful tranquility and happy summer days.

8. I'm going . . . to eat my lunch as soon as I finish typing.

9. I'm wishing . . . my bike seat were fixed.

10. I'm enjoying . . . the perfect azure sky as viewed through my office window.

11. I'm planning . . . to be out there soon.

12. I'm laughing . . . at Jeremy's last email to me concerning his Mountain Dew addiction.

13. I'm loving . . . Jeremy.

14. I'm thankful for . . . all of my girls, and I'm really enjoying my newest one.

15. I'm clinging . . . to an idea revealed in Psalm 31. The entire chapter shows anguish and calamity, but in the center of it all, the author writes, "I will be glad and rejoice in Your love," Ps 31:7. So, I too, will be glad and rejoice in God's love, through everything! Yay for me!
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Catching up on work is keeping me too busy for a real post, but never fear! Pictures and stories coming soon.
My first day of work.

I've been worried that my still hormonal brain would wimp out on me today, but so far, I'm organized and focused for the first time in a long time.

Wish me luck!

the birth of Mercy Jane

Born July 25, 2008 at 7:49 AM
7 pounds 0 ounces
20.5 inches long

She's finally here!!! Yay for us!!!
Today is my last day at work, and my last day near a computer with Internet access for a while. After the baby is born, I will attempt to send a family member to the library to post the info for you.

Until I'm back, know that I will be missing my blog desperately!
Kimmie came with me to work today, and the following conversation took place...

Kimmie: "I'm going over to the library across the street so I can send you a message on facebook."

Me: "Why don't you just send me a facebook message from the computer that you are sitting at right now?"

Kimmie: "I can't send you a message from here. I'm sitting in the room right next to you!"

Me: "So?"

Kimmie: "So, if I send you a message from here, then you can't send a message back to me."

Me: "Sure I can. As soon as I get it, I'll write something back."

Kimmie: "But we're practically in the same room!"

Me: "Uh, yeah, so why don't you just TALK to me?"

Kimmie: "Because I want to message you! I'm going to the library."
This is an email that I sent to some of my friends after Liberty was born. Since the new baby's birth is only DAYS away, (yippee!!) I've been remembering Liberty's birth, so thought I'd post it for you.

Liberty Grace was born Tuesday, September 26, 2006 at 1:03 PM.

The previous Tuesday, September 19th, I went to the doctor because I was experiencing spotty blue vision, a terrible headache, and disorientation. I had extremely high blood pressure when I arrived at the office, even though I had had no blood pressure problems before or after that. My doctor sent me to the hospital for tests and observation. My blood pressure went down as soon as I arrived at the hospital, and it never went back up so I was released the following day but put on bed rest until the baby was born. My wonderful mom decided to come stay with us at this point. (And I am very glad because I would have never been able to get the rest that I needed if she had not.)

On Saturday night, the 23rd, I started having mild contractions. They intensified throughout the night until I woke Jeremy up on Sunday morning and told him that we needed to go to the hospital. At this point, the contractions were about 4 minutes apart.

We stayed in at the hospital for seven hours, during which time the contractions increased to two minutes apart, and I dilated to 3 centimeters. My doctor was away for the weekend, and another doctor was on call at the hospital. We never did see the on call doctor, but my nurse relayed a message from her that we should go home since it was taking so long for any progress. My contractions were still two minutes apart, but I was more than happy to go home because the bed was EXTREMELY uncomfortable, and I had been telling God how much I wished that I could be back in my own bed to have this baby!

On Monday afternoon, I had another doctor appointment. When I showed up in his office, he took one look at me and said, "You're in labor! You should be at the hospital, not here! Would you like to be induced?" I was still having regular, strong contractions, but I had not dilated past three cm. I immediately said YES!!!!

We had to go to another hospital because the first one's birthing center was full. (I am very thankful that we went to a different hospital because their bed was so much more comfortable!!!) They gave me Petocin at 10:00 that night. At 7:00 the following morning, my doctor showed up to see how I was doing. He saw that I was still not dilated past three, so he broke my water and told me that things would progress very quickly from here on out. He said he was going to go to his office and planned to be back around lunch-time, but he figured he would receive a call before then that I would be ready to deliver.

At noon, my doctor returned. I was dilated to five cm, and he was surprised that I was not progressing any faster. He told Jeremy and me that at the rate I was going, I probably would not have the baby for another several hours...possibly not until seven pm or so. That's when I decided to ask for some pain medicine! I figured I could handle another two hours or so of the pain, but SEVEN??? Forget it! That is also when Jeremy asked me if I would mind if he went down to the cafeteria for lunch since nothing would be happening any time soon. I told him no problem. (I figured there was no reason for both of us to be miserable!)

Jeremy left, and the anaesthesiologist arrived to give me some narcotics. I heard my doctor in the hallway telling my nurse that we had a "situation" and that he believed we were going to have to do a C-Section. She told him that she would begin preparations for that.

The medicine that I received caused a strange reaction for me. Apparently, I stopped breathing, because the nurse kept slapping my face and telling me, "Take a deep breath; Take a deep breath." I thought I was falling off of the bed, so I kept correcting myself in the opposite direction...which of course pulled my IV and all the other things they had hooked up to me. By this time, several people were in the room, and they were all running around doing things to me. I was drifting in and out of consciousness, and I knew it, but I couldn't do anything to stop it. Every time I came back to consciousness I was completely aware of what was being said and done, but I couldn't seem to respond. I felt like I was sleeping and it was all a very vivid dream. At one point, I heard the doctor at my side. I looked over, and he was showing my nurse the print-out of the fetal monitor that was attached to my belly. He told her that the baby was in distress, and they had to act quickly. I could hear Liberty's heart monitor. Every time I had a contraction her heart would stop. After what seemed like forever, it would VERY SLOWLY regain its original rhythm. Because of my medication, although I knew that the monitor belonged to Liberty, I kept wondering to myself if that was my heart stopping or hers. (The fact that the nurse kept slapping me and telling me to breathe also contributed to my wondering.)

At some point, the nurse lifted me to the side of the bed, and the anaesthesiologist gave me an epidural. After that, I felt absolutely NOTHING. He showed me a needle and told me he was going to prick me with it. I was supposed to tell him how much I could feel on a scale of 1-10. I never felt it at all. In fact, I was having a hard time telling him that I couldn't feel it, because I also could not feel my mouth! That stuff numbed more than it was supposed to! (But I am definitely not complaining!) :-)

There must have been about 50 people in the room by now...I am exaggerating, but it definitely seemed like there were 50 people in there, and there was a feeling of frantic movement. I remember thinking to myself, "This must be pretty serious if they are all so worried about it." But I must have been too out of it to be worried myself. I felt very pleasantly comfortable and drifting, although I was extremely hot. I suppose the only thing that had brought me down to earth before, was the contractions every minute or so, but now that I couldn't feel those anymore, I was just as happy as could be. I wonder if the narcotics helped to make me feel that way, but I also know that God was keeping me calm. This song kept running through my head:

Why should I feel discouraged,
Why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely
And long for heav'n and home,
When Jesus is my portion?
My constant Friend is he:
His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know he watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know he watches me.

I would like to take this time to say that I had to sign some papers telling the hospital that it was okay for me to have a C-Section. I remember someone shoving the papers in front of my face, and I remember that my signature did not look right to me after I signed (probably because my hand was numb!) But I also remember laughing to myself, thinking, "Oh sure, get me all drugged up and then make me sign things." I always like to read everything before I sign it, and this time I couldn't. They sure have great timing! I think they need to have you sign that stuff with all of the registration paperwork.

I had been asking God to bring Jeremy back from the cafeteria before the baby was born because I wanted him to be there for the birth. They were finally ready to wheel my bed into the operating room, and just as we came out of my room, I heard Jeremy's voice from down the hall. "Hey, what are you doing? What's going on?" I was so glad to hear his voice! The doctor and our entourage were running with me to the operating room, and they did not stop to explain to Jeremy. He came running with us, asking questions the whole way. When we got to the doors, someone threw him a gown and told him to put it on. The doctor called over his shoulder, "Your wife needs an emergency C-Section. She's okay right now, but if we don't do something fast, you are going to lose the baby."

I don't remember much of the surgery. I felt so warm and comfortable, it did not occur to me that I was lying there naked on an operating table. Poor Jeremy tried so hard to keep his head down by my head (he faints at the sight of blood, and he has a great imagination, so any painful thing that he sees done to someone else causes him great pain.) He held my hand the whole time, which I was glad for even though I couldn't feel it. He looked scared and desperate. I kept telling him everything would be okay and that he could trust God even if things went wrong, but I don't know if he heard me or not. I'm not sure if the words ever came out of my mouth or if I was just repeating them inside my head?

Liberty's cord was wrapped so tightly around her neck that the doctor could not lift her out of my womb. She was wedged into the birth canal, but the cord had prevented her from going any further down. They had to cut me more than normal so they could get inside me to cut Liberty's cord from her neck. Then they un-wedged her and lifted her out. She wasn't breathing, and a smaller group of people took her off to the side and worked on her for a while. I lay there, straining to hear a cry that never came.

They gave her oxygen and did a bunch of stuff. I have no idea what, but my nurse told me later that they didn't think she was going to make it. I finally heard her cry. It sounded more like a sick kitten than a baby, but boy was I ever glad to hear it! She only cried once, but I guess that was okay. Eventually, someone brought her over to me. My body was still numb, and I couldn't move. The nurse put Liberty up close to my face; she was trying to let me kiss Liberty, but I couldn't move my lips. She put Libby so close to me that she covered my nose and mouth. I couldn't breathe, but I couldn't move my head to get away from her either. I remember laughing to myself over the irony of going through all of this only to be smothered by my own baby in the end; this thought flashed through my head as I struggled to get a breath. Finally, they took her away to finish whatever they needed to do. And I was very glad to breathe!

The doctor had finished stapling me up, and several people were cleaning the room. I could hear my doctor talking to someone else in the room. He was showing them the placenta, and they were exclaiming over how small it was. One of them said, "There is no way that placenta supported that baby for nine months." I was looking at Jeremy like I had been through the entire surgery (because I couldn't move my head), and I noticed that he looked funny even though all I could see were his eyes and his forehead because of the mask. At the same time, someone else must have been looking at him, because I heard someone say, "Hey, Dad, are you alright over there?" Jeremy said, "I'm fine," in a very high, thin voice, and I thought, I hope these people don't believe him!

Three people quickly lowered Jeremy off of the backless stool where he sat, onto the floor. They helped him take off his mask, gown and hat, and I think they gave him some juice, but I'm not sure about that because now he was out of my line of sight. When they finally moved my bed to take me back to our room, I saw him again. He sat slumped over on the floor against the wall. They had to put him in a wheel chair and wheel him back to the room! :-)

I think Jeremy had the worst time in the hospital because he felt every contraction that I had (and he was probably imagining them worse than they were), then he felt the C-Section (and I didn't), and he was so scared that Liberty and/or I was going to die during the whole process. He just didn't have any fun at all. Which is sad, because it was a pretty cool adventure!
T minus 7 days...

...and counting!

Does anybody know what that T stands for? I've always wondered.
I have finished statements...early!

I've been working like crazy to get them all finished before I have the baby, and I've been wondering if the baby would come early and upstage the statements. But lo, the statements are done, and there is no baby in sight.

Can I get a big disappointed sigh?

Because you know I'm doing my share of sighing (both in relief and in disappointment...and in just normal trying-to-catch-my-breath breathing because this child is WAY too big for her current location.)

And now, boys and girls, a story for you:

This morning, the office phone rang, and I answered in my usual cheerful manner, "Good morning, this is Melissa. How can I help you?"

A low-pitched voice demanded, "Why do you keep calling me?"

I paused, "Excuse me?"

"I've had enough," the voice ranted, "I just got back from a weekend at the hospital, and I am tired of getting these phone calls from you! Who are you, and why do you keep calling me?" The raspy voice could have been a man's or a woman's, and the thick Polish accent could have been a speech impediment. I scrounged up all of my brain cells trying to place the voice, trying to make sense of the conversation.

Many times, Craig's friends will call leaving rediculous messages for Craig, and many times I have been the victim of their prank phone calls. "Moe Skeeto" frequently calls. "Earl Acker" has called a few times. "General Johnson" leaves messages at times, and these are just a few. Some more imaginative gentlemen call with stories that I have fallen for, and this phone call fit right into that particular genre of prank call.

I determined not to make a fool of myself this time. But, I still wasn't sure if this was a prank call. So I had to hedge my bets.

In a polite, I'm-Really-Just-Playing-Along tone of voice, I asked, "May I ask who is calling?"

"Who do you think is calling!?" the out-raged voice yelled out. "I'm not putting up with this any longer! Why do you keep calling me and hanging up, anyway? I've had enough of this! I'm going to report you to the police for harrassment if you don't stop!"

"Calling and hanging up?" I inquired politely, my guard still up.

"Listen, I am 85 years old. I don't have time for this! You stop calling me! Who are you, anyway?"

I began to wonder if my prank call theory might be wrong, but I hesitated to cave in too soon and play the fool once again. "This is a place of business located in Iowa." I stated politely, "When have you received a phone call from us?"

"When have I received a phone call from you?" the voice repeated incredulously, "Every hour on the hour for the past month! This is stopping today! What kind of business is this, anyway?"

"This is a financial business," I stated carefully, not sure how much information I wanted to give out, and still wondering when the punch line would pop out.

"WELL! I know that I've been behind on my payments, but I've been in the hospital this weekend, and my neice stayed at the house this weekend, and I've been trying to pay things off slowly. Just last week, I payed off a large chunk of my bills, and I'm still getting things in order. This is nothing more than harrassment! You cannot keep calling me and hanging up, day and night! That's no way for a financial corporation to operate! I am calling the police! What's your name, young lady?"

By this time, I had determined that the voice belonged to a woman. "Ma'am," I interjected in a hopefully not too placating way, "No one from our company has been calling you. In fact, we leave the office at five o'clock pm, and there is no one here to call you after that time."

"Then we'll just talk about the calls that I've been getting BEFORE five pm. Never mind about the ones that come after five pm! Tell me about the phone calls during the day!"

"Well, I can promise you that no one here is calling you repeatedly and hanging up during the day," I started in a respectful tone.

"Don't tell me that! I have caller ID! I see your phone number! I know it's you!"

I glanced at my phone display, disappointed that I did not have caller ID. "Would you mind telling me the phone number that has been calling you?" I asked.

"It's this one! The one that I called!" she rattled the number off to me. It was our toll-free number. The one programmed for incoming calls only and not capable of making out-going calls. But the fact that she had dialed the number from her caller ID and reached us only further proved her accusations.

"Hmm, do you mind if I call my phone company and find out what they can tell me about these calls?" I asked.

She seemed pleased, "You certainly can! And tell them that I won't stand for any more of this harrassment!"

"Yes, Ma'am. Would you like me to call you back with the information that I find out?"

"You'd better!" she responded. She gave me her phone number, and I wrote it down and repeated it to her. Then she told me her name was Rose, and I was happy to confirm that she was a woman, since I had been calling her ma'am!

I called our long distance carrier, who confirmed that our toll free number was incapable of making outbound calls. They tested the line and determined that it was working properly, then they told me that the problem must be occuring on her end of the line. Her local phone company must be accidently routing something through our phone number to her line. But since no one was actually on the call, she was getting what she thought were hang-up calls.

I dialed Rose's number and waited. Boo-doo-boop: The number you have dialed is not in service. Please check the number and try again. I dialed again, paying closer attention to the numbers as I punched them into the phone. Boo-doo-boop: All circuits are currently busy. Please hang up and try your call again. 041T.

I laughed out loud, realizing that I had falled prey once again to one of Craig's friend's elaborate phone pranks! I waddled into Craig's office, and I related the story to him. We both got a big laugh out of the whole thing, and we tried to guess which of his friends had set me up.

A few hours passed.

"Good afternoon, this is Melissa. How can I help you?" I answered the phone after lunch.

"You never called me! I waited by my phone for hours, and you did not call me back!" Rose's raspy voice accused.

"Hi," I stated, surprised, and wondering what to think. "I actually did try to call you, but my call would not go through. I found out some information for you."

She calmed down slightly, "What did you find out?"

I related what my long distance company had told me, and I stated that she might want to call her local company to find out what they could tell her.

"It most certainly is NOT my local company! I've had this same phone number since 1949, and I've NEVER had any problems with it. I have not changed a thing! That is a bunch of rubbish you are trying to tell me, and I won't stand for it! I'm reporting this number!"

"Yes, ma'am," I replied, "That's a good idea. Write my number down, and here is my name," I spelled it out for her. "Call your phone company and report this number. Make sure you give them my name so that they can verify with me when they try to check out the problem. That's a great idea!" I tried to sound enthusiastic and happy and helpful. The truth was, I was really beginning to enjoy our conversation. She made me laugh (internally) with every new sentence, and I really felt sorry for her. I wished I could meet her in real life.

In my mind, she had shrunk to a tiny four foot three inches, her tanned skin hung in wrinkles around her face, and her curly white hair bobbed with every exclamation point. She wore a floral dress, elastic at the waist, and her small home was filled with green plants, magazines, a small dog, and a parakeet.

"Wait a minute!" she interjected, "You said you are in Iowa? I live in Maryland, but my granddaughter and her husband moved to Iowa...I think. Iowa. She works...somewhere. Do you know her?"

Because I live in Iowa, do I know her? I remained silent, not sure what she meant.

"Maybe she works for your company. Maybe she has been trying to call me from your company."

"Oh! No, ma'am, I don't think so. There are only two of us who work at this company. Your granddaughter does not work here."

The suspicion was back. "Only two of you work at that company?" she questioned sharply, "Only two? Well, who else works there?"

The phone call was getting long, and I did not see an end in sight. "I can check our records to see if your granddaughter works here." I abruptly changed my tune, "What is her name?" Rose did not seem to mind my switch in stories.

I waited the approximate amount of time it would take to check employment records and then informed her, "No, we have no one here by that name. I'm sorry."

She sighed, "Oh, I guess it wasn't her then."

In closing, I gently suggested again that she contact her local phone company and report the calls she had been receiving, and she adamantly refused to entertain the idea that they could have anything to do with the problem.

She finished by blessing me. Blessing me! Over the phone. How fun! She told me how wonderful and helpful I had been, and how blessed she hoped I was for all the trouble I had gone to for her. The blessing really surprised me, because she had been acting as though I were lying to her about the whole situation.

I think, though, she was lonely. Talking to me gave her something fun to do that day, and it definitely gave me something fun to do! I wish I had a recording of our two conversations because they were both much longer and much more diversified than what I have typed here.

I'm so thankful that God made people!

PS> Only 8 days until the baby is due! :-)
We interrupt this blog to bring you the following news:

At my doctor appointment this morning, they determined that the baby is in position.


Hallelujah! So am I!
Posting will be sporadic for the next several days due to quarterly statements. My goal is to have them finished by July 16th.

Did I say that out loud? Yikes!
For my birthday, Jeremy gave me an iPod. Do you have any idea how I have been longing for an iPod? I have thousands of tapes that I want to transfer to an iPod.

Yes, I said tapes. Jeremy laughed at me when he realized I own two boxes full of tapes, fifteen record albums and only nine CD's. The CD's I can easily burn onto the computer and then install into my iPod, but the tapes and the record albums I haven't figured out yet.

So I'm surfing around on iTunes, because there are millions of soundtracks that I want to buy. But somehow, I can't seem to find any of them. Either I am REALLY old, or REALLY pregnant.

Maybe both.

Help me out here. If I want to type in the name of an entire soundtrack and search for it, how can I do that? It's only letting me search for songs.
My fingers hover over the keys. I know what I want to say, but I struggle still to put in all into words.

I suppose I could just start at the beginning.

Jeremy and I were married five years ago this month. (Woo-hoo!) And for most of that time, Jeremy has worked from 4:30 PM to 3:30 AM with lots of overtime and weekends thrown in randomly. His body has not been able to switch from "night shift" to "day shift" over the weekends like some people's bodies can. Therefore, he and I have seen each other every Saturday afternoon and every Sunday afternoon for the last almost five years.

I won't lie to you. It has been lonely and hard.

Then Kimmie came to live with us, and Liberty was born: it became exceedingly difficult.

I begged God to put Jeremy on days. I pleaded with Him. I persuaded Him. I bowed to His sovereign will and experienced joyful peace. I became angry and bitter. I shut Him completely out of my life for about five months straight. I repented and realized God is good. Always. Even when I can't see the good. Over and over I cycled through emotional feelings versus reality and truth. In five years, I have not seen God move in this area. I have not heard Him speak.

Part of me has given up hope. But then I evaluate that sentence and all that it entails, and I think, no, I haven't given up then what is that feeling? Submission? Resignation? Peace? Endurance?

I still hope for a day-shift job for Jeremy. I still long to live with my husband. I see the family across the street: a mom, a dad and two little girls who work in their yard together, go for walks in the neighborhood together, ride their bikes together, and I want that so badly it hurts inside. The commandment not to covet my neighbor's life jumps into my heart and I tell God, "I don't want to covet their lifestyle. I'm not trying to sin. In fact, I'm trying very hard NOT to sin in this area. But the truth is, You have given them exactly what I want. So I need You to grow inside me until You alone are enough. Until there is no room left for other desires."

Like I said, this is a struggle. Some days God and I are winning, and some days we are losing. In thinking back, I will say that for the most part, God and I win more often than we lose. This is especially true more recently than it was a while ago, and I am thankful to God for that reality.

However, about a month or so ago, in my prayer journal, I spelled out my heart's desire to my God, my Daddy. He already knew it. We had already discussed it in detail. But you know me...I have to write. So I wrote. I described my pain, my anger, my longing for a right relationship with Him as well as my longing for a more detailed relationship with my husband. I believe those two desires can and should go hand in hand. They are not mutually exclusive. I told God how overwhelmed I felt from constantly making the household decisions, from being the primary and almost only care-giver to our children, from trying to survive the end of this pregnancy completely on my own.

I cried.

I described.

I worshipped.

I submitted.

I left it in His hands.

In short, I did the same thing that I have done repeatedly over the past five years. Nothing different.

A few days later, Jeremy's manager called him into his office and told him that he would be on day-shift at work until our baby was born. (Not because of the baby, but because of circumstances at work.) That was three weeks ago.

Jeremy has been on day-shift for three weeks! Three wonderful, blissful, incredible weeks!

Do you know why I haven't mentioned it?

Because part of me is still in awe over the wonderfulness of God. Part of me is afraid that if I talk about it, it might disappear. Part of me couldn't find the words to describe how great it feels to have him home, to have him lead, to have him make decisions, to have him help me, to have him rub my back at night and force me to put my feet up during the day, to have him chase Liberty, to have him answer Kimmie, to have him be my MAN. I love watching him love our daughters. I cannot describe that feeling. Kimmie is happier. Liberty is happier. I am happier. And really, we weren't sad before (although everything I wrote prior to this paragraph has made it seem like we were). There is a completely different feeling in our house. Maybe all of us girls needed some testosterone floating around. Who knows?

But I am telling you, I am thankful.

According to the plan, Jeremy may be back on night shift for next week only, and he is scheduled to go back to night shift after the baby is born. But I want to shout from the top of the world,

My daughter has a hero.

This weekend, Liberty followed her hero wherever he went. His name flew from her lips repeatedly, "Daddy! Daddy!" If he sat down, she climbed onto his lap. If he walked into another room, she followed closely on his heels. When he switched directions, she whirled around, fell over, picked herself up and trotted after him.

Daddy cleaned out the garage this weekend and pushed his to-be-restored 1983 Camaro into the driveway. He talked about washing the car, and Liberty dragged out the bucket and sponges necessary to complete the task. Daddy pulled the garden hose over to the driveway and began spraying his beloved machine. In her pink and green sun-suit, Liberty followed directly behind. When the wind blew droplets of water onto her skin, she squealed and ran away laughing then quickly returned for more, her little blond curls bouncing as she ran. Liberty kept Daddy supplied with fresh, soapy sponges, and she scattered bubbles delightedly in between sponge deliveries.

When Daddy walked to the other side of the car, Liberty walked to the other side of the car. When Daddy backed up suddenly, Liberty got stepped on. But that did not deter her from her hero-worship!

I really can't blame her. He makes my heart go pitter-patter, too!
Yesterday was HOT. Ninety-five degrees hot, to be exact, and I told Liberty she could swim when we got home. We walked into the blessedly cool house, but when I opened the shades on the back patio doors, I realized Liberty would not be swimming for a while.

A largish, pure white bird was sitting in our kiddie pool.

I stared at it for a moment, trying to classify it in my mind. It was about the size and shape of a pigeon. Ruffled feathers and a strange bump on it's beak made me hesitate to call it pretty. It must have been residing in our pool for most of the day; multiple bird droppings marred the liner at the bottom of the pool, and small floating feathers and crud swirled around the surface of the water.

Liberty and I pulled up a dining room chair and discussed the bird for several minutes. I slowly wrapped my mind around the task ahead: empty, scrub, disinfect...and even then, I wasn't sure that I would let Liberty swim in that pool again. I pondered the power of bleach, all the while dreading the energy required to bend over my enormous belly-bump AND keep Liberty away from the pool AND work in the 95 degree sunshine. Finally, Liberty insisted on going out. I hesitantly opened the door, ready to grab her back if she appeared too close to jumping into the contaminated water.

I expected the bird to fly away in a flurry of feathers and rushing noises, and I prepared myself not to flinch. (I am scared of birds...blame Alfred Hitchcock.) Instead, the bird just stared as we slowly slid the patio door open. Liberty squealed and ran onto the deck. The bird just stared. "Hi!" Liberty proclaimed to her new friend, and she ran over to the pool. The bird looked very nervous and poised for flight but remained in place, just staring. The two of them were less than two feet apart, and my warning radar jumped into full alert mode. Birds SHOULD be afraid of people. Birds SHOULD fly away immediately, and it scared me that this one did not. I pulled Liberty back inside amidst much protesting.

I sat back down at the patio doors, and watched The Bird. That's when I noticed the blue rubber band around one of his orange legs and the white band with tiny marks around his other leg. I decided to call a wildlife preserve a few miles away from our house. Rick answered the phone. After I described The Bird, he thought it might be a homing pigeon or a carrier pigeon.

A Carrier Pigeon! For the tiniest fraction of a moment, I considered checking that white band around his leg to see if a secret message was being carried by The Bird. My adventure radar and imagination were in full bloom. But my fear quickly tackled that thought and shut it down. America could be taken over by terrorists, and I would not lift one finger to stop them as long as they used birds to frighten me into submission. (Unless I had a gun.)

I'm sorry! Birds scare me. I enjoy them from a distance or with a protective barrier in place, but too close is entirely too close. When I was about ten, I watched a group of blue jays peck my brother's skull repeatedly until he ran into the house crying. And this was my tough brother. And he hadn't done anything to them.

Rick then asked the unthinkable. "Why don't you go out there and tell me what the markings on the white band say?"

"Uh. NO. Can't you come out here and do that yourself?"

"Wal," he drawled, "I could, but I would have to charge you for it."

"Oh." He didn't seem very interested in the possibility of a rare and glorious creature being recaptured and put back into it's natural environment. I hung up with nothing accomplished. I flipped through the phone book some more. Then I called the local animal clinic.

My new best friend Bev was enthusiastic about the whole situation and eagerly peppered me with questions over the phone. I just as enthusiastically answered them, thrilled to finally have someone who seemed as excited about this fun happening as I was. She decided it was probably a dove released at a wedding and lost. With this new insight, I examined The Bird again...through the patio doors. "Is it a dove?" she asked.

"I don't know. I always pictured doves as prettier than this. But maybe." The odd bump on the beak and the out-of-place feathers gave it a scraggly appearance. Then I noticed the strange dark markings on the chest. It looked like a spatter of mud or blood had hit The Bird squarely in the center of it's chest and then leaked in irregular lines down the front of its body. I strained to get a better look. I told Bev about it. "I wonder if it might be hurt." Small stirrings of sympathy struggled to slip free in my heart.

Bev and I chatted in some detail for a while, but she could not leave her clinic, and I was not about to collect The Bird and take it to her. She suggested I call the state wildlife department. I did. They were closed. She suggested I call the police. I did. They didn't plan to come out to see a bird...not even if it could have been a jailbird. (I'm so funny.)

Bev and I hung up, and I continued gazing out the window at the motionless bird standing in our pool.

Jeremy came home. I excitedly informed him of The Bird trapping us in our house. He wanted me to leave the window and begin making supper. I explained to him why that would be physically impossible. "But I can't watch him if I'm making supper. That would require me to step away from the window."

"Is he doing anything?" Jeremy asked.


"Has he done anything in the entire time that you've been staring?"


"Then you probably won't miss anything if you decide to make supper." He pointed out so logically. I sighed and left the window.

For 23 seconds.

I couldn't help it. I was drawn to The Bird. Even Liberty had stopped being fascinated long before this and gone to the living room to play with her toys. Why couldn't I?

I forced myself to stay by Jeremy's side as we prepared supper, but every so often I would make a quick dash over to the glass doors to check on Fred.

I had to leave the house to pick Kimmie up from work several hours later, and on the way home, I told her all about our new pet Fred. We eagerly ran to the patio doors as soon as we got home to check on him.

But he was gone.

I checked the yard, my body in a permanent ducking position in case he dive-beaked me from the sky. But it looked as though Fred had flown the coop.

Now, I just have to deal with his poop.

Maybe I'll buy a new pool.
After that horrid post on Thursday, I took a deep breath and decided to claim a vacation day for Friday...which was also Jeremy's 30th birthday!!!!

We began the day just like any other ordinary the hospital. (Don't worry. I was at the hospital for an ultrasound. Hee-hee! My sugar level has been up and down at odd times, and my doctor wanted an ultrasound run to be sure that the baby was doing okay.)

My technician was named Donna, and she began telling me about her recently deceased husband. She was so sad. She revealed memory after memory as we explored the interior of my tummy, and we cried together there in the darkened room behind the curtain. While we cried, I prayed that God would use me to comfort her somehow, and I believe she just needed someone to talk with, to listen to her. While I am still very sad for her, I really enjoyed our time of story-telling and memory-sharing. Her husband sounds like he was a fun-loving man, and her stories made me smile through my tears.

My baby is due on her husband's birthday, and I am glad to share it with him. It's more special that way.

After the ultrasound, we dropped my van off for an oil change, and to our delighted surprise the shop gave us a loaner car with a FULL GAS TANK!!!! We stared at each other gleefully, and Jeremy announced, "Let's go to Des Moines!"

The sunny day, bright blue sky, beautiful temperatures and happily singing birds all encouraged us on our journey. I settled deeply into the luxurious passenger seat and snored away as Jeremy piloted us down the road.

Our first stop was Barnes & Noble to return a purchased book that did not live up to its cover. This provided us with an in-store credit that burned a hole in my pocket immediately. I haven't mentioned this before, but I've been testing my blood sugar twice a day for the past week, and the levels have been great! So I decided to reward myself at the Starbucks in Barnes & Noble. I marched happily towards the counter with my in-store credit card waving high above my head.

"I want something with lots of chocolate and caramel in it! Iced!" I proclaimed to the barrista. She laughed and pointed out a couple options. I chose one, and then hesitated. "Um, do you happen to know the nutritional information on that drink?" Inwardly, I sighed at myself. I knew that I didn't want to know the real answer. She pulled out the paper bearing the information. I fainted dead away in complete shock. There were enough carbs in that one drink to eat up my allowance for lunch and supper together!

"Oh. Nevermind."

She must have taken pity on me because she valiantly flipped through her nutritional info book, pouring over page after page of drinks, trying to find one that didn't use up so many of my valuable carbs. Fifteen minutes later, I decided to try a strawberry lemonade.

Because that page was missing from her book.

And it sounded less carb-ful to me.

I hope it was.

Anyway, it was good!

Jeremy and I continued on our adventure into the mall, and I felt my body relaxing as we held hands and laughed our way through the stores. I marveled at the lack of responsibility I felt. My shoulder muscles un-tensed. I sighed happily, reveling in the freedom.

After purchasing a few items for him, we decided to find a place for lunch. On the way to the mall, we had passed a new restaurant called Johnny's Italian Steakhouse. It looked fancy. We decided to check it out. The darkened lobby and thick carpeting informed us right away that this was no ordinary eating establishment. The prices on the menu resting casually at the "Please Wait To Be Seated" podium quickly confirmed that this was no ordinary eating establishment.

We fled. Quickly. Before a host could captured us and wrestle us to a table.

Instead, we dined at Red Robin, where I further ruined my diet by sharing onion rings with Jeremy before finishing off the fries that came with my meal.

And boy, was it worth it!

I had forgotten how good food could taste!

I did, however, NOT eat any of the rest of my meal in an effort to reduce the damage I was probably causing to my blood sugar.

I took it home in a doggie bag and ate it for supper.

It was good.

We stopped at a swimming pool store to look into buying a pool for our yard. Yeah. The prices were a bit steep. We gazed longingly at the sparkly water and the refreshing blue promise of coolness. And a sudden sharp pain stabbed my abdomen. I gasped and stumbled backwards. Another knife-thrust knocked me into a nearby seat. I sat, quietly enduring, while a saleswoman explained the benefits of a new pool to us, but when I attempted to rise from the seat, my grimace triggered her concern. With Jeremy helping me, I staggered to the car, all the while evaluating my pains. They didn't feel like contractions. At least, not like anything I had experienced with Liberty.

The pains continued most of Friday evening and intermittently throughout Saturday. But my newly relaxed attitude and muscles prevented me from being too concerned. The family spent a casual Saturday together. We celebrated Jeremy's birthday. Kimmie bought him a new shirt. I bought him a MANLY GRILLING COOKBOOK. A manly one.

Sunday continued with more of the relaxed feeling, and a couple stabs of pain to the abdomen in the morning to keep me aware. We emptied and scrubbed Liberty's kiddie pool, then re-filled it. I sat in it and enjoyed the sparkly water and relaxing blue coolness while Kimmie and Liberty ran and splashed. Jeremy stood on the back deck and watched from a careful distance after Kimmie "accidentally" splashed him.

That afternoon, we explored some dirt roads that we had never traveled before. We examined peaceful looking farmhouses and pastures waving with wildflowers. The wind pushed our hair back from our faces and off of our necks. The sun kissed our cheeks. In the evening, we walked around our neighborhood. Liberty collected pretty-looking rocks from the sides of the road. She ran in ovals around us as we strolled. She laughed in sheer joy, a delighted sound bubbling from her lips. We laughed with her.

Back at home with Liberty in bed, I made brownies for Jeremy to take to work. We tasted them to be sure they were not poisoned. I ignored my sugar tester. Then we watched "The Bridge to Terabithia" which Kimmie had borrowed from the library.

I closed my eyes in sleep on a soft bed and a newly laundered summer bedspread courtesy of my husband who dug it out of storage and washed it prior to putting it on our bed.

All good things must come to an end, but this good thing -- this mini-vacation -- has given me enough happiness and relaxation to help me face the next month or so.

James 1:17 - "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."

PS> Only 31 days until the baby comes!
I don't know what's wrong with me. I feel tired and worn out, discouraged. I am ready to stop being pregnant. I'm tired of feeling sick; I'm tired of being slow. I'm getting impatient to meet my baby, but I'm also dreading adding another little responsibility to my crowded days.

I just want to yell loudly at somebody and then cry like the world has ended.

Or better yet, I would like to go on vacation to a beautiful deserted island where I can laze around in a hammock all day and sip icy lemonade from a pretty glass. An island where I can have servants (so much for the deserted part) who bring me delicious food, and I don't have to worry about the sugar or the carbs involved. Where I can read books and write stories all day or all night until my brain is finally relaxed. Where I can find some peace and quiet without running after a tantrum-throwing two year old, or arguing with a teenager who already knows everything there can possibly be to know in this world. I don't want to move or think or talk until I'm all sorted out inside.

There is no reason for these strange feelings that I can tell. Other than hormones, I guess.

Nasty little hormones!
For his Father's Day feast, Jeremy requested roast, green bean casserole and corn on the cob. I popped the roast into the crock pot early in the day, and just before supper time, I began creating the green bean casserole. Kimmie sat at the dining room table to shuck the corn, and Liberty crept closely up to Kimmie, fascinated by the shucking process. After a short time, Kimmie lifted Liberty into a nearby chair and handed her an ear of corn to shuck. She showed her how to pull the leaves away from the cob, and Liberty delightedly went to work. She finally finished her first ear of corn at the same time that Kimmie finished all the rest of the ears.

From time to time, I glanced up from my casserole making just to drink in the picture of my two pioneer girls shucking corn side by side at the dining room table, the afternoon sun lighting their happy faces through the nearby patio doors. A peaceful and happy scene that still makes my heart smile in memory.

Once the shucking was finished, Liberty attempted to eat her newly naked corn. Kimmie quickly guided it from her lips and interested her in the tiny silky threads still entwined in the kernels. While Liberty pulled the threads, I handed Kimmie the cleaver and asked her to divide each corn cob in half. Now, Kimmie has a healthy fear of knives, especially one as cool-looking as the cleaver. So with her thumb and pointer finger she gingerly held the end of a cob, and with her other hand, she gently tapped the cleaver onto the corn.

Nothing happened.

She tried again.

Still no results.

I smiled and told her, "You've got to be the boss of it!" Then I took a cob and showed her the violent action required to chop that thing in half.

She took a deep breath. "Okay, I'll try it, " she whispered with grim determination. She gingerly held the corn again and told Liberty to watch out. She raised that cleaver high over her head, until even I was scared that it would come down in the wrong place. She chopped quickly down, and the corn separated and flew in two directions, spinning to the opposite ends of the table. Random kernels flew up in the aftermath, bathing Kimmie, Liberty and the wall behind them. Liberty's first shocked expression dissolved into giggles of glee, and Kimmie grinned broadly.

She grabbed another corn cob and repeated the process. This time, Liberty almost fell off her chair from laughing so hard. Kimmie and I joined her. The laughter was so contagious! This process was repeated for each ear of corn, and the three of us were almost helpless with mirth by the time all the ears were divided.

I plopped all of the corn cobs into a pan of boiling water, and watched as Kimmie cleaned up the table, the wall, Liberty and herself. And I wished for a video camera to capture this memory forever.
I feel like a lab rat that has been poked and prodded and sleep deprived and food deprived so that scientists can learn what NOT to do to a lab rat.

My lovely little daughter, Liberty, who is not yet two has been sleeping just fine in her big girl bed for over a month now. But this week, she decided the big girl bed is not for her. She gave it a fair shot, and that bed just doesn't work out. Instead, she prefers to throw her body violently against the closed bedroom door while screaming as though a vital organ were dangling from her abdomen. Because, you know, it is so much more pleasant to spend your nights and evenings practicing to be in a horror movie than it is to loll lazily against fresh-smelling sheets while a gentle fan-created breeze blows over you.

Since Monday, I have tried everything imaginable to get her to go back to bed, to stay in bed, to fall asleep, to just be quiet, but NOTHING works. On Wednesday, I slept a total of three hours, and on Thursday, I had glimpses of sleep in ten minute stretches at a time until 5:30 in the morning when Jeremy took over. I do now know what he did, but after all the screaming I had endured over the past four nights, the silence from her room was eerie enough to prevent me from sleeping. There is nothing more frustrating than NOT sleeping at 5:30 in the morning when you haven't gotten any sleep to speak of during the previous four nights.

On top of my sleep deprivation, the new gestational diabetes diet is wreaking havoc on my normally sweet and wonderful personality. (See my halo?) Who knew that carbs were in so many foods? Who knew that carb withdrawal could create homicidal tendencies in a person? Who knew that carb withdrawal + sleep deprivation could create a mental imbalance that prevents the curbing of those homicidal tendencies?

Huh. They say you learn something new everyday. I'm just getting my quota of knowledge, I guess.