Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Great Snowstorm of 2010

Aiden's friend, J, came and played with us for a while, too.

Drezden only got to go out for a few minutes, but he had a blast enjoying the snow with his sister.

Rachel had way too much fun in the cold.

CJ decided he was cold

Aiden's "Giant Snowball"

I've missed a couple weeks of blogging due to chaos at our house. Chaos? I know. Shocking that there would be any kind of craziness in our neck of the woods. Things are usually so ho hum around here, right? Ha!!

At any rate, there is certainly plenty to catch up on. Perhaps the most exciting thing was a visit from Old Man Winter. It wasn't a very long visit, but still enough to leave behind some lasting memories. The kids were so delighted.

The snow started on a Thursday morning, and just kept coming and coming and coming. I could tell the kids would be released early from school, so I ran to WalMart for some boots and gloves for the kids. For some reason, in the middle of February at WalMart you can find a thong bikini and pool accessories, but not snow gear. Go figure. So, I settled for rain boots and some clearance gloves. It was a good choice to buy the gloves, too. We were the only ones on the block with any gloves and ended up outfitting the whole neighborhood. One would think that would make me the coolest mom EVER, but my children say it really doesn't. It just means their friends don't have to wear socks on their hands. Figures.

At any rate, you can see that we got a LOT of snow that day. It turned out to be the snowiest single day in recorded history of our area. That's cool, I guess. It was also a great photo day.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Aiden's Big Announcement

Aiden has been bugging me for weeks about wanting new shoes. He goes through these weird phases where he gets an idea in his head and won't let it go. I told him we'd discuss it after he got his room cleaned. Apparently he REALLY wanted new shoes because his room is clean. Well, at least the parts I can see are clean. I didn't check under his bed or in his closet for fear of what would jump out and attack me.
I took him last night and we started at Payless. He found a pair of Converse hightops he wanted, but each one took no less than ten minutes to put on. This is a kid who never even unties his shoes. He just takes them off, dumps them where they are, and hopes to slip them on in the morning after going nuts trying to find them. Our mornings are crazy enough without adding another ten minutes per foot to it. So, I put my foot down. (Get it? Put my foot down. I know. I'm so punny.) I insisted that I would not pay for those, but he could use his own money to pay for them, and suggested we go to Target.
Praise Target, I tell you. They were having a Converse clearance. He found two pair he couldn't choose between and then a third pair that were more supportive, and he kind of liked. All three were on clearance and the total was still less than the cost of the one pair he'd originally chosen. So, I let him have all three. I'm not really sure who honestly won that battle. He didn't get the pair he wanted, but I somehow walked away having purchased him three pairs of shoes instead of the one we originally went for.
As we were walking through the store picking up the few other things we needed, Aiden decided completely out of the blue and in full voice to make an announcement. I mean it was totally out of the blue.
"Mom, I'm going to be hitting puberty soon, you know." Ummmm. Wow! Thanks for the heads up on that, son. I'll be sure to mark it on the calendar.

Monday, February 1, 2010

He Loves All His Children.

I woke up this morning with a list a mile long of things I need to accomplish throughout the day. Shopping was one of them. We had nothing in the house. I hustled around, got the kids out the door, ran a couple small errands, and finally wound up at Wal Mart with the three littlest ones, the oxygen tank, and a shopping cart the size of a small train. (You know the ones that hold three kids, but are impossible to steer).

By the time we got there, it was well after lunch time and Rachel and Drezden were hungry. Since they'd been so patient all morning, I took them to the McDonald's in the back of the store for some fine cuisine. I had to take the shopping cart in with me because I didn't want to hold Liam or have him crawling all over the place, and their high chairs are all a broken mess.

I ordered our meal, got the kids situated (no small task), and started to enjoy my thoroughly malnutrious meal. As I was eating, I noticed a man I'd seen on the streets come into the restaurant. I didn't recall him out there with the few panhandlers we have, but I'd seen him under the overpasses before. It's the first of the month and so very cold outside right now, so I figured that's why he was there.

He was wearing a flannel shirt, a bright red stocking cap, a denim thick 80's style coat, and some, blue jeans, and some worn out sneakers. The years on his face looked about double his actual age. He looked tired. So tired. But delighted to being enjoying a BigMac. I watched as he carefully placed his burger and fries with a drink on his table, and then to my suprise he bowed his head and said a rather long prayer. By the expression on his face, it was clear he was putting a lot of thought into his prayer of thanks.

I didn't want to stare, so I averted my eyes and focused on my children. Rachel was bugging me to dress her "naked frog from my bag" and Drezden wanted his lego race car put together. You just gotta' love the, I mean lovely toys...that comes in McDonald's happy meals. I fixed their toys, talked to Liam, and just went about my business.

While all this was going on, I had this very strong, very nagging feeling that I should buy this man some cookies. What?? This is entirely out of my character. I never turn down anyone who asks me for food, but I don't ever initiate somethin like that, either. I pushed the thought aside and continued to go about my business.

The more I tried to avoid it, the stronger the feeling became. There was a voice in my heart that spoke as clear as day. "Get that person some cookies and let Rachel give it to them." Again, I tried to avoid it. I was thinking about what I'd do with the kids, etc. Finally, the feeling overtook me and I gave in. I told Rachel and Drezden to stay in their seats and wheeled the giant buggy through the restaurant to order three sugar cookies. It cost me all of a dollar. I thought about throwing $5 in the bag, but didn't want to offend the person.

I took the bag to our table, sat down, and handed it to Rachel. "Do you see that gentleman over there? I want you to give him this bag and tell him Happy Valentine's Day.". She looked over. "The man with the red hat?" "Yes. That's the one. Go do it." I couldn't believe what I was hearing myself say. I spend forever teaching my kids to avoid stranger danger, and here I was sending her over to a stranger to give him cookies. She was only going about 8 feet away and I was watching. But still.

I watched her every move as she went over, patted him on the shoulder, and got his attention. "This is for you. Happy Valentine's Day." And she tried to walk away. Then I saw it. The smile that came across this person's face was like something I've never seen. Though there were no more than 10 teeth in that mouth, it was a radiant smile. I mean, really. There are just no words for it.

"This is for me?" It was the voice of a young woman. It was at that moment that I realized just what life had done to her. Walking wherever those shoes had taken her has taken its toll. I nodded back at her with an awkward smile. Rachel didn't seem at all awkward. "Yep! That's for you. My mom said so. Happy Valentine's Day." And she walked straight up to me. "Mama, that's not a man. That's a lady." "I know, Rachel. I made a mistake."

The woman stood up. "It's not Valentine's Day. It's my birthday. Praise God, He remembered me. It's going to be a good day afterall." I smiled back, "Well, happy birthday then." "God bless you, ma'am. This is a gift from God for my birthday. Thank you."

I couldn't believe it. I think that woman did far more for me today than I could have ever done for her. I wished I'd have put the extra $5 in the bag, but maybe next time. I did my good deed. I apparently answered her prayer asking God to remember her.

She saw us in the store later on, and thanked us again. She was purchasing one of those sterno things to keep warm with. It made me remember to be grateful for the incredible blessings I already have. Here was a woman without a friend in the world pouring out her heart in a restaurant offering thanks for a Big Mac. A Big Mac! And it was a lengthy prayer. And here I was, warm in my home having plenty to eat and safety, too. I don't often remember to give thanks, at least not like that.

Happy birthday, ma'am. May you be blessed, and always know that you will never be forgotten by your Heavenly Father. He loves all His children.