Monday, January 31, 2011

200th Post-Another Countdown

First things first, Ally is doing incredibly well. She was released from Stanford yesterday morning and is recovering at home. We're SO thankful that all went so well. She's a special little girl. Such a fighter and such a love. We just love her so much and are thankful she's on the road to recovery. Keep praying for her healing and thank you for praying for her so faithfully!

Now for my 200th post. Ha! I've decided that I like countdowns. It was fun to do one right before Elliana was born and hey, it's been awhile honor of my 200th post, I'm going to take the next ten posts to give you my Top 10 Blog Posts from the last 200. I know I'll be repeating myself. I know it's not new material. But...nevertheless, it'll be fun.

And to kick it off, I thought I'd start with this one, which was originally posted as my 100th post (I'm into being sentimental and celebratory here, can you tell?) I'm going to update it a little but, in essence it's still the same. Here it is: One Hundred.

Well folks, this is my 100th post. It's been about a year since I started this humble little blog and it's become a dear friend where I can get the millions of words floating in my head down somewhere. So thanks for listening...whoever you are out there.

In honor of my 100th post, I'm going to attempt to come up with 100 things about me and our family. Not sure if I'll make it but I'll try.

1. We are Christians and we love the Lord and do our best to follow Him in everything we do.
2. We've been married for almost 9 years.
3. We've known each other for ten.
4. Our fourth, a daughter, was born on our 10 year dating anniversary of 6/25/10.
5. We have three little boys and a little girl.
6. They're all about a year and a half apart.
7. The boys all have Bible names but we didn't plan it that way. We just liked their meanings and so that's how they got their names.
8. We both graduated from the best university in the world...Cal Poly, SLO! Go Mustangs!
9. I graduated with a BA in English.
10. Steve got his BS in Math. I know, I know, we're a perfect match!
11. If my husband is ever gone overnight I simply cannot sleep. I'm so conditioned now to having him next to me, that I'm like a baby who has to fall asleep the same way and I simply can't do it without him!
12. In order to cope with his absence, I've learned to stay up as late as I can making me so sleepy that I'm literally knocked out until the morning without missing him. Good thing he doesn't leave overnight all that often.
13. I love to sing.
14. I love to bake.
15. I love to cook.
16. I love to entertain and have people over.
17. I'm not so great at all of the fun party stuff (I'm not the life of the party) but I can have my house cleaned and food made on time.
18. I don't like cats much at all.
19. But I do love dogs.
20. I love running. It's a huge stress reliever for me. I love running so much that when I'm pregnant, I miss it like I do a close friend. I ran my first Half Marathon in November 2009.
21. Running that Half Marathon was one of the biggest accomplishments I've made since becoming a mom. It was an incredible experience for me.
22. Russian literature is one of my favorite genres.
23. Dostoevsky is by far my favorite Russian writer.
24. Cake and ice cream is probably my favorite combination in a dessert. Or really, anything fresh from the oven with ice cream.
25. I'm a sucker for sweets although I try so hard to have self-control.
26. Speaking of self-control...after I went to college and earned the "freshmen 15" I ended up having to lose 40 lbs total a year after we got married.
27. I did it with Weight Watchers.
28. It worked so well I've used Weight Watchers after every child. So if you count that up, it means that in seven years' time, I've done that program five times. We're old pals.
29. I weighed more at that time in my life than I ever have full-term with any of my four children.
30. As you can see, I stopped running for awhile in college and that's what got me in trouble.
31. I love my friends and am fiercely loyal.
32. I got married when I was 21.
33. I had my first child at 24.
34. I'm pretty stubborn (ask my husband).
35. Yet even though I'm stubborn, God's really worked on me so much that I've learned to willingly submit to my husband. And really, I'm much happier that way. It helps that I respect him tremendously.
36. I don't like shopping because I don't like spending money.
37. Still, whenever we make a big purchase, I make Steve do it and I have a mini heart attack while he's doing so.
38. Did I already mention...I HATE spending money.
39. But I am a sucker for King Arthur Flour and Pampered Chef. I hardly ever buy anything (only accumulate slowly) but I love fun kitchen gadgets.
40. The last thing I ever want to do in a situation is give up. I hate quitting...almost to a fault.
41. I was in numerous plays and musicals in high school.
42. I still love going and hearing a good choir concert.
43. I was a cheerleader for one year in high school and then I was done with that. Too much drama.
44. I was on Homecoming Court as a senior (our school only allowed seniors on court) but didn't win Queen. But my best friend did so I was happy.
45. I didn't have my first real drink until I turned 21. It was a margarita. I wasn't impressed.
46. I'm still not a huge fan of alcohol.
47. I don't really like coffee either unless it's a frappaccino but that doesn't count because you can't even taste the coffee.
48. I like tea a lot and I drink it black. Who wants to waste calories on honey?
49. Good Earth tea is my favorite.
50. I also love a big Diet Coke with some mini York Peppermint patties.
51. Three to be exact.
52. Because you can't just have one.
52. Two is nice.
53. But three makes you feel like you really splurged and got a treat even though they're really little.
54. I love ice cream.
55. Pralines and Cream from Baskin Robbins is my favorite.
56. But I usually eat light ice cream and I measure it into a 1/2 cup and eat it out of the measuring cup with a spoon. Safeway Select Light Moose Tracks is my absolute favorite.
57. I love to fall asleep on the couch. I get this from my mom.
58. I love it when I have fallen asleep on the couch and my husband scoops me up and carries me to bed...even when I'm huge pregnant. I love that.
59. I don't like scary movies or shows.
60. I usually have nightmares after watching shows with a lot of intensity or suspense.
61. My husband has banned me from these shows. Probably because I wake him up in the middle of the night scared with a nightmare.
62. I like microwave popcorn. 94% fat free to be exact.
63. And I like to burn mine just slightly. It tastes oh so good.
64. I like to chew Extra sugar-free gum.
65. Peppermint is my favorite.
66. I picked up that habit in Jr. High as an act of rebellion (we weren't supposed to chew gum in school) and I haven't kicked it yet.
67. All 3 of my boys have gone breech at some point toward the end of my pregnancies.
68. The little girl is the only one who never did. Figures.
69. My husband didn't kiss me until we had been dating for four months. Believe me, he wanted to, but he held out and I'm glad he did. That helped us slow things down enough to make it to our wedding day.
70. I'm Greek and proud of it.
71. I went to Greek School as a kid. I can read at the first grade level (ha ha). I can speak a little.
72. My two favorite Greek dishes to make are Spanakopita (Spinach Pie) and Pastitsio (like a Greek Lasagna, kinda)
73. I've been to Europe three times.
74. I hope to go back with my husband someday. He's never been.
75. Probably won't be until we're empty nesters.
76. Which isn't for a loooooooooonnnnnnnnngggggggg time!
77. I'm the only girl in my family.
78. I have an older brother and little brother.
79. I also have NO girl cousins. So I truly am the only girl.
80. My siblings and I have holiday birthdays. I'm born on St. Patty's Day and my brothers both share the same birthday (8 years apart) and their birthday regularly falls on Thanksgiving.
81. I love football.
82. I seriously enjoy watching football on TV or at a live game.
83. The 49ers are and always have been my team. Good thing I married a 49er fan.
84. We don't have TV so whenever Steve goes to a 49er game (we have season tickets that we share), I listen to the game on the radio or "watch" it on so that I know what went on in the game and how to talk with him about it.
85. My older brother taught me everything I know about football.
86. Steve has just reaped the benefits.
87. But all other sports don't interest me much (at least enough to sit and watch them).
88. I once took a Calculus class at Cal Poly as an elective to try and understand my husband's love for math. I was the ONLY English major in that class of engineers.
89. If I didn't have a live-in tutor at the time (Steve and I were married), it probably would've been the only class I ever failed.
90. I got a the skin of my teeth. And I cried after every exam.
91. I never missed one class in college. Not one.
92. One of my favorite things to do with Steve is to sit outside, on a warm summer evening after the kids have gone down and talk. You know chit surprised?
93. I hate to iron. If Steve didn't need nice clothes ironed for work I'd never, ever, ever iron.
94. But I don't mind dishes at all.
95. And my kitchen must be spotless with every dish put away or in the dishwasher and the floor swept before I can go to bed. I'm very determined and anal about this.
96. That started when we lived in the country and I discovered that if I wasn't clean, I'd get mice. Yuck!!!! I learned very quickly to love a clean kitchen.
97. I love my husband more than anyone...including my children.
98. I love my children second best but still tons and tons and tons.
99. I love my extended family very, very much.
100. But I love my Savior best of all.

Friday, January 28, 2011

More on Baby Ally

These last two days have been very busy...lots of calls, emails and at times caring for extra pairs of feet. But it's been good work and hearing Ally's mom report on her progress makes everything seem easy and light.

The first day post surgery was pretty tough. Ally's surgery itself went really well. The doctors were able to get in and make adequate room in her skull for her brain to continue to grow. Everything went beautifully. However, with any sort of surgery, especially one of this magnitude, major swelling is a big part of the healing process.

So, pretty soon after the surgery was over, the swelling and pain started to kick in and continued to worsen as the hours ticked by. Yet, despite these things, her mom (who is an amazing and strong mom) found excellent ways to comfort her. And the good news is that as the swelling goes down over the next few days, Ally will be able to open up her eyes again.

Day by day...hour by hour...things are slowly starting to look a little bit better.

And we're thankful.

We're so thankful.

She has incredible care. The surgeon's hands did what needed to be done. The craniosynostosis has been corrected. Her recovery so far is occurring without incident. She is off IV fluids and is drinking a bottle!! Her Mom and Grandma got to hold her today. And we're only two days out.

There is so much to be thankful for.

Our family is thanking God for His grace and mercy today in protecting our little Ally. Or as her brother brother calls her, his "sweet girl". We can't wait for her to be able to come home.

Continue to pray for strength for her parents and continued healing for Ally. And thank you to all who have been lifting Ally up and remembering her in your prayers.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Ally Update

Thank you to all who prayed for our niece Ally. She was out of surgery this evening after a six hour surgery!! Everything went really well. Currently she is sedated and sleeping peacefully. Thankfully, both of her parents are able to stay with her tonight in the PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit).

God is so good to us.

We're thankful for this very good news.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Pray for Our Sweet Ally

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in our affliction..." 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

A few weeks back I introduced you to my niece. If you want the full story, you can find it here and here.

Lift her up in prayer. Today at noon she gets life-changing skull surgery to correct the craniosynostosis she was born with. She's got some of the best doctors in the country working on her but it's still a HUGE deal. Pray for the surgeons' hands to be precise and diligent. Pray for every aspect of the surgery itself to go off without a hitch from the anesthesia to the blood transfusions. Pray that her recovery will be swift and without incident. Pray for her brothers to have a good stay with family over the next week. And pray for the hearts of her parents who will be waiting to see Ally once the surgery is completed.

So we pray and wait but not without hope.

We find comfort in knowing Ally is in His hands.

I'll keep you all updated.

A Little Bit of This...

Means a little bit of that.

What's that?

It's what we call around here a Jammy Ride. Stole the idea from these guys here.

Don't do it often and rarely during the winter BUT super fun to do when celebrating a good report card.

Our kids were none the wiser when we told them it was late and that they were going to bed right after dinner. And then we waited a bit...only to burst in and scream "Jammy Ride!" We then threw them all in the car and announced that we were going to none other than THE Baskin Robbins for some ice cream.

Pure elation.

Fun was had by all.

Even the little darlin'.

He did all the work...but all were blessed.

Not a bad start to the week.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

My One Weakness

Every night, after the kids go to bed, I pull this trusty old friend out of my freezer and let it sit out to soften.

Then I drag out my 1/2 cup and pack it as tight as I can--always putting some extra on top. You know, just so there's some portion control (I learned that trick from my Weight Watchers days post college).

Some nights I have one half cup...some nights two. It kinda depends on what kind of day I had.

I do this every single night and I NEVER tire of it. There's just something about Safeway Select, Light Moose Tracks Ice Cream that I simply adore. I don't know what it is. It's comfort food to me. It helps me unwind.

It's my "one weakness."

What's yours?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Loving the Standard

"When it comes to parenting, you have often heard me say that our parental responsibility does not consist in getting young people to grit their teeth and conform to the standard. The task before us is to bring up our children in such a way as to love the standard. This is not possible to do with externally driven rules. It is a function of loyalty, and loyalty is based on love and relationship." Doug Wilson

This was a great little missive on parenting. I haven't been parenting for very long but the more I do, the more this sort of thing makes sense to me. We can force our kids into obedience for sure...but for how long? And doesn't Christ say, "If you love me, you'll obey my commandments."? Isn't that our goal in training--to get them to want to obey because they love us and are loyal to us?

How is this accomplished?? How do we get our kids to love the standard that we've set and not just woodenly adhere to it?

I guess that's the whole point of Doug's post-loyalty and relationship.

This whole idea challenges me tremendously-seriously it does. I'm a rules person. I like my rules and I stick to them. Although consistency is a huge part of parenting well (at least from my very little experience), it's not the whole picture. It can't be. There has to be more to the equation...there's simply too many variables.

I don't necessarily know how to get there or what it all looks like. But I pray for wisdom in this. Because I think the whole point is that we want their hearts, not just their good behavior.

Our pastor always uses this analogy in parenting: Clean the whole cup...the inside as well as the outside.

Challenging and good. And great for rule followers like me. Check it out.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Ally Update

First of all, I want you to know how thankful our family is for all of you and your prayers for our little Ally. Her parents and brothers felt such an overwhelming amount of love knowing that so many were lifting them up in prayer. The body of Christ is an amazing thing is it not?

Currently, Ally's surgery has yet to be scheduled. There is the possibility that they might be able to get her back in this coming Friday. That would be the best case scenario since her family is already geared up logistically, mentally and emotionally for the surgery. Pray for this!! But if they can't get her in on Friday, then it will probably occur sometime next month.

We're thankful. We're thankful for an excellent team of doctors. We're thankful for their wisdom to hold off. We're thankful that although it won't be easy logistically for Ally's family to do, that the surgery can be rescheduled at a future time. And we trust that God's hand is in all of the details.

But most of all, we're thankful for this little one...

She's the reason we continue to pray, petition and ask for God's protection and grace.

I'll keep you updated.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Pray for Baby Ally-Updated

Ally's surgery has been rescheduled due to her still having a bit of a cough. Thanks for all who have been praying for her. I'll let you know when she goes back in for the surgery.

Meet Ally.

This bubbly little thing is my precious niece and she is just nine months old. Ally has a big day today and she needs you all to be praying for her. Here is a bit of her story (shared with permission).

Ally was born with a cleft palate and craniosynostosis (premature fusing of the infant skull). Early this morning, Ally and her parents have made the trek up to Stanford to have major skull surgery to correct the craniosynostosis. In a few months, she'll have another, less invasive surgery to correct the cleft palate.

They would covet your prayers. Our whole family would. Please pray that the surgeons hands will be precise and diligent. Pray that all aspects of the surgery from the blood transfusions to the reshaping of her skull will go off without incident. Pray that her recovery will be swift and uneventful. And pray for her parents who will be waiting to hold her again upon its completion.

We all just adore her and are so thankful she's in our family. I know she and Elliana are going to be pals growing up as the ONLY girls amidst a slew of boys!! She is such a joyful little light.

Her parents would be greatly encouraged if you let them know that you're praying for them.

And I'll keep you updated.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Some days...

This is just how we make it!

This afternoon I came back from taking Joshua to the bathroom and found that Caleb had taken my spot while feeding Elle...yesterday, Isaac had done the same thing.

I just can't do everything. Thank God my oldest two are getting a bit older and jump in to help even without being asked. Of course feeding sister is a lot more exciting than other things. They don't always jump that quickly.

Joshua really wanted in on the action which I graciously and respectfully declined. I'm sure you can all imagine why.

That little girl has many admirers.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Stroke of Brilliancy

This darling boy has pretty much broken the mold for us. Anything that worked with his older brother did NOT work for him. They're as opposite as can be. That was pretty apparent from the time he was born. And really, this problem is typical in most families I think. At first, we thought it very difficult that he was so different. But now, we're starting to see that his eccentricities are a very good thing because they teach us a lot about changing our methods. In essence, he forces us out of our ruts into the uncharted territories of parenting unknown.

Here's an example. We're not really chart people. You know, the rewards charts. We have some really good friends that use them a lot with great success but, I don't know, we just haven't ever tried them. Maybe it's because we're lazy. Or maybe it's because we just feel like our kids should do what we say because, well we said to not because we did a big song and dance about it. I don't know. Maybe it's some of both. But for whatever reason, we haven't used this technique.

Until recently. We've had a long term problem with Caleb that has needed some fixing. It's not an obedience issue but rather an issue of childish foolishness. We have reminded, we have held him accountable, we have tried every, single angle possible to get this certain behavior to diminish. But it has stuck around like a bee to honey and no amount of anything was helping. He simply wasn't motivated enough to remember. So out of frustration and utter defeat, we threw up our hands and decided to make a chart. He'd get a sticker every time he remembered and if he didn't, he simply didn't get one. Once he filled up his chart, he'd get a prize (very small from the dollar store).

And we waited. All of the sudden, he was remembering. Having something positive put in front of him kept him going. And our jaws were permanently affixed to the floor. We had spent months combating this problem, and in a matter of days, with a different focus on the whole deal, he was doing much better. Whhhhhhaaaaaaaaaaaaatttttttt?!

That pretty much sums up our reaction. Soon after starting him on his chart, we potty trained Joshua and started a chart for him every time he went #2. The treat at the end wasn't really enough motivation for him to go so I thought, "What the heck!? Let's try it!" Worked like a champ. We haven't had an accident in that area for awhile now. Then of course, the oldest needed in on the action and he needed his own chart. I had to wrack my brain to come up with something for him to keep track of but, within a short amount of time, we decided his chart would be related to his chores. Once we're done with the other boys and their "issues" we'll transition them to the chore chart as well.

All in all, we're better people and we're better parents because of his fiery personality. We've simply been amazed at how often, Caleb the stubborn one, pulls us out of our own stubbornness causing us to try another way. It's like God put him in our family to help us see the whole grand picture rather than the measly frame. Some things are totally non-negotiable but in some areas, seeing things from a different angle can be beneficial. There is definitely black and white in parenting. But a lot of it is shades of gray. We just have to learn to discern when to stay in the lines and when to bust out the creativity.

It's all art. It's all learning. But in the end, it's a masterpiece that only the Creator Himself could have designed.

And he uses all the little people in our lives to help create it stroke by stroke by stroke.


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Homemade Granola

Ever go to the grocery store looking for a good granola only to take home a box that looks really yummy on the outside but on the inside, it's half full of air and tastes like cardboard? Plus, it cost you about $5 in the process? Well, I sure have many times. If they're not over-processed and dull, they're over-priced. And it stinks because my kids LOVE granola and yogurt. And I love giving it to them for lunch because it's filling and good for them. But I don't love buying granola. I've been trying to find a solution to this problem for some time now because granola and yogurt is one of my go-to lunches.

So I had a thought last week. Why am I buying granola and wasting all this money on a sub-par product when I could just make my own? A quick google search pulled up tons of recipes for me and I quickly weeded out many of them because they had too many ingredients (that my kids wouldn't really want anyway!). I wanted to make a granola that could be made with ease from the stuff that I already stock in my pantry. This recipe is so simple and it's incredibly tasty.

Let me describe to you how easy it was to make. I had it made and in the oven in under ten minutes which included me getting out all of the ingredients and putting them away. During this time, the boys sat at the table eating lunch (and I ran interference with that while cooking) and Elliana decided she didn't like where I had put her and cried for most of the time. But I was able to get it in the oven before having to go get her. That's how fast and simple it was!! Does that convince you now?

Try it! It's economical, easy and excellent!

Homemade Granola
4 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups raisins (or to taste; I used less-more economical and just as good)

Mix first four ingredients in large bowl. Heat up vegetable oil and honey until just starting to boil. Remove from heat and whisk together. Add vanilla. Pour hot syrup mixture over dry ingredients and make sure it is mixed very well. Spread onto a baking sheet/jelly roll pan and bake at 300 F for forty minutes. Stir well every ten minutes. Let cool completely on wire rack when done. Then stir in your raisins or anything else. You could add flax (add that in with dry ingredients) or any kind of dried fruit. Be creative. It stores one week at room temperature or a month in the freezer. For more complete instructions, visit the exact recipe here.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Make Them Work

One of the things that irks me the most is when my children fight. I just love each of them so much and want them to love each other!! A lot of the time they do but, like all of us know, sibling fighting and rivalry is as old as sin so it's not that I don't expect it to happen. I do. But nothing bends me all out of shape faster. If I find myself needing to take a few minutes to myself on any given morning, it's usually because my children have been bickering at each other and I've been playing referee.

Most of the time, the older two play pretty well together as they've learned their rhythm and they've been corrected enough times to know the rules of engagement and how they're expected to treat one another-with respect. However, throwing their two-year-old brother in there always adds some spice. And the middle one and his little brother, the aforementioned two-year-old, still have some kinks to work out if you know what I mean. It's all learning but it still can get tiresome for all parties involved.

Some days, like today, are just one of those days when everyone seems to have woken up a bit grumpy. Maybe it's because Joshua has a really high fever and has been walking around in a stupor or because their baby sister woke them all up before 7 am and due to vacation, they've been rolling out of bed much later than that! I don't know. But everyone was in rare form, including their mom, and it was just one of those mornings. And really, there doesn't have to be a reason. Sin is sin and my little people are just as prone to it as I am. They're just not as good at hiding it (which is probably a good thing!).

So after some scuffles and tears, I felt like I was starting to get angry. Not really at anyone, but just at everything. That's when I knew, I needed to change strategies. I read an idea somewhere along the way in this parenting journey we're on, that really intrigued me regarding a discipline tactic. Although the usual rules were definitely still in order, I remembered this technique and thought I'd give it a shot. I've used it before and it worked like a champ. Yet, I had forgotten about it for awhile so, it had been sometime since I had last called upon its merits.

And I was reminded again how genius it is. Make them work. If you can't play nicely, you don't play-you work.

I'm happy to report that I know have newly vacuumed floors. All the recycling has been done and they barely missed having to help mop the floor. Now all of these things are chores they'd have to help with anyway at some point but, they had to stop mid-play and work which is NEVER fun. When I first heard of this idea, I read about a father who would make his girls mop every time they did such and such (fill in the blank) and that some days the floor would get mopped multiple times. How brilliant is that? Mom stops playing referee. The children learn to get along. And the house gets clean in the process which puts Mom into an even better mood because she didn't have to do it!

Not bad. And lucky for me, my kids are finally getting a bit older to where this sort of thing actually works and they really do clean (rather than making a bigger mess than when they started). Somehow sharing your train suddenly becomes much more appealing than sorting trash.

Gratefully, they made it through without having to do too much forced labor and moved onto other things like spy work and saving this adorable damsel in distress (the boys insisted Elliana wear her Halloween outfit while they were "saving" her).

I'm not saying my house is all squeaky clean but, some things got done and most importantly, some attitudes, including mine, got cleaned up in the process. Now, that's my idea of some progress.

Monday, January 3, 2011


I recently read an article that piqued my interest. It came to me via one of my free subscriptions in a little pamphlet titled, "No Greater Joy" and was written by Debi Pearl.

Just an aside, this publication and ministry can be controversial at times. So just so you know, I'm not here to endorse their style of parenting. I'm just here to tell you about the article. Some of the things I've read from this ministry have been really helpful and other things have not. So there. Glad I got that out of the way.

Back to the article. It is titled, Obsessions, and is all about men having obsessive tendencies. Let me whet your appetite.

"Let's face it: most men are given to obsessions, for even if they are good obsessions they are still obsessions...Some men like to fix up cars...Some men are into hunting and fishing...And then there are those men who just like to work. Work is a sport, work is a challenge, work is fun...I am sure there are thousands of other strange things that capture the minds and hearts of men. It is not as if your man has a disease and is abnormal. Almost every male I know is or has at some time been afflicted with this obsessive-compulsive disorder. The big question is how we, as stable, hard working, family-committed wives, respond to what feels to us like an unhealthy imbalance." She's speaking of "normal" obsessions here, not of sinful ones like pornography, by the way.

After that quote, she had me hooked. Men in general are obsessive by nature? I thought it was only MY man who was that way. I had no idea. For example: my husband is obsessed with football (especially the 49ers) and I mean obsessed. He knows just about every player on any team and he knows all sorts of random facts about each one. When he finds something he likes, he does it over and over and over again because, well he likes it. Sounds logical-to him at least.

Some of his obsessions are great like his love for Math and puzzles. Yet some are not great in my humble opinion. His sometimes obsession with video games...not so helpful. Good thing that is a thing mostly of the past. It rears its head now and again and I hold my breath until it passes. But I always just thought that my husband had the personality for being obsessive about things and that it was just who he was. I didn't realize that it was simply characteristic of men in general. The more she talked about it, the more I saw it. Men aren't all obsessive about the same things but, it does seem to be the way they're wired. And the more I thought about it, the more I relaxed.

So that got me thinking. So what?! Hearing somebody else say this put it all into perspective for me. I've often wondered about my husband's obsessions and I must admit I haven't always understood them. And sometimes I've been plain jealous of them. Why? Because they distract from poor little know, me the one who wants attention all the time. Yep. And if they're distracting him from giving me attention, then they must be horrible, in fact even sinful at times. Ooooooooooohhhhhh....I better be his Holy Spirit and show him his follies. Because you know, he needs me and all. Am I not his helper?

This attitude is BAD. And you better believe there have been many times I've played the martyr acting like I'm so much better because I'm not given to fancies such as Sodoku puzzles (or the latest fad). But my husband's obsessions are what make him good at what he does contributing to him being a good provider and father. For example: I can't build anything to save my life. Yet my husband is incredibly good at fixing things, seeing how things fit together and building things, even if it's out of tinker toys. His obsession with logic puzzles help him in this area.

So what do we women do? If it's how they're made, they're not going to change. Debi makes a few suggestions that I thought were helpful. She suggests joining him as best as you can in his obsessions. Or if that simply won't work, she suggests finding a few of your own/or simply doing something else. I started thinking about it and you know, she's right. I really am not jealous of football. But that's probably because I've tried to join my hubby in his love for the sport by watching games with him and hearing about the latest news. This one was easy for me because I already had a natural inclination toward football even before I met him. But still, I've embraced his football-ness wholeheartedly (including season tickets to the 49ers-mostly that hurt my pocketbook which if you remember...I'm cheap so I really had to concede here). However, there are other obsessions he has that I just cannot share, like logic puzzles. I just don't think that way and I never will. So I've tried to do other things while he's in his mathy land...I read, bake, run and write. But I admit it, sometimes I nag him to do something else more "productive." Shame on me!

It's hard not to take these obsessions personally. It's easy to think they are tuning us out because they just don't want to be with us, which hurts a woman's relational pride in a big way. But if that's all they are, if they're really just being men, just being themselves, then are these obsessions really all that bad? Are they worth being all upset about? And really, do we really want our husbands to change? And if we do, what do we want that change to look like? Do we want our men to look more like us, like women? If you really think about it...No! We want them to be who they are. That's what attracted us to them in the first place, the fact that they weren't like us. We want them to be strong, silent (well not too, too silent), diligent, capable and rough.

We want them to be the mystery that they are.

For mystery is at the heart of marriage.

God even said it himself through Paul in Ephesians 5: 31-32

"Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church."

So I guess we can conclude this. Our husband's obsessions can be a mystery to us. But we can leave them at that. I guess that's the way it should be. We don't have to understand them but we must respect them. For they are a huge part of the man that we have been called to love, cherish and respect for the rest of our lives. And it's much easier to go with the grain than go against it.

"However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband." Ephesians 5:33

Easier said than done. I need to learn how to do this. But it's worth a try. Definitely worth a try.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Budding Artist

My dear oldest child drew this for Steve and me a few days ago. When he handed it to his Dad he nonchalantly added, "That's you and Mom when you got married." Holding in his laughter, Steve ran to the back to show me the picture and he and I died laughing together while we studied the details.

Then we both looked at each other and said, "Who's who?"

Well, can you tell?

We had to ask him.

What is your guess?

Doesn't it look just like us almost nine years ago?

Yep...just about right.

I love that kid.