Saturday, February 01, 2014

I've Lost My Appetite

Dear Chain Restaurant Manager,

BELIEVE ME when I say I took no more pleasure in delivering the message than you did in hearing it when I had to tell you my son threw up under our table. I was mortified and worried and a bit fearful and concerned about those around us and the fact that we most likely ruined more meals than just our own. 

I assure you I had already done my best to clean up the mess before I approached you because unless it's a true emergency, I don't think someone else should have to clean up my kid's puke. 

Let me just encourage you that the next time you make a tearful mother wait while you finish your conversation and her husband RUNS their retching boy to the car in bitter cold, you might want to reconsider saying, "What do you want ME to do about it?" 

Do whatever you want, but I'm not the restaurant manager with vomit in my dining room. 

VERY sincerely,

A Former Customer

p.s. I could hear you talking about me. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Not Fit For Human Consumption

I had a baby seven and a half weeks ago. 
Leaving the house since then has been very tricky. When I'm not in the middle of a panic attack (for real--screaming, shaking,'s delightful), I just can't leave to go anywhere because it's -30F degrees outside ('F' is not for Fahrenheit) and impossible to take an infant outside anyway. 
So, on the random occasions that I have left the house, I've been pretty weird. If you complement the baby, I inevitably will say something VERY weird. Or like when someone asked me how many kids we have and I answered, "Two. Oh, wait. I forgot about her." You can't say stuff like that to a stranger. They expect you to be happy. Content. Glowing. Basking in the joy of the new life you're lugging around Walmart in a 20-pound car seat, desperately trying to find the bread. (Why can I never find the bread? It seems like they're always moving the bread.)
So...should I really be surprised at myself when I FLIPPED MY LID at the Post Office because the kiosk took my $6 and and gave me no postage? Nah. I started to cry and looked around for something to vandalize. I'm not kidding. If I had had matches, I would have started a fire. To make matters worse, I could hear employees behind the (closed) desk laughing and talking. Not one of them came out to offer me assistance. Yes, I know they were closed. But doesn't it seem like common courtesy to come and help a girl out when she's banging on the door crying, and shouting about postage?
Wise to avoid that girl, yes. Courteous? No. 
So… If you see me out and about, give me some extra grace. I'm pretty weird these days. For that matter, if you see any mama with a tiny baby, maybe give her extra grace. Maybe don't talk to her. Let her get in line in front of you at the grocery store. She needs to get home.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Angry Birds: SAHM Survival

My almost-four-year-old son is ob.sessed. with Angry Birds. He has it loaded on his* iPad, and would play it all day long if I didn't set a timer and insist that he participate in human life from time to time. I don't mind him playing video games or using the iPad. I try to manage his "screen time" responsibly, but the reality is that this is the world we live in. 
Here's the thing: Angry Birds are making. me. crazy. The music is annoying, the game is exhausting and frustrating, yeah, yeah...but my son TALKS about Angry Birds all the live long day. My days are filled with an endless monologue about Angry Birds. I wouldn't be so frustrated if I could understand what he was saying. He narrates each game and video as he plays...with no inflection whatsoever, while staring down at the screen. So what he's doing is contributing to the ::NOISE:: bouncing around in my brain, and expecting a response to something I can't understand even when I try. And when he's not playing Angry Birds, he's talking about Angry Birds. Or asking to play Angry Birds. Or whining about Angry Birds. 
The noise. 
The noise adds a LOT of mental stress to my day. 
Here he is doing his thing. In his undies. (It's six degrees in Wisconsin.)
After rereading this post, it kinda seems like I'm letting the boy run the show, doesn't it? ...Seems like I am the mom and I could do a better job of imposing some boundaries here, but we are happy. His feet are little ice cubes and he typically spends more time on electronic devices than he should...but SURVIVAL. Survival is the name of the game some days. Weeks. Months.


*Yes, we have a kid iPad and a grown up iPad. We are a 21st century first world family. Stop judging. 

Monday, April 08, 2013

Successful Close!

We successfully closed on the sale of our home today. It was definitely a bittersweet transition. We have been blessed in that house.
I wanted our buyers to know what a blessing they are and what a happy life we have led there, so I wrote them this letter. Some of you have already heard it if you came to my LATTE talk, but I hope you will be blessed to read it again.

April 8, 2013
Dear Mr. and Mrs.,
Congratulations and welcome to your new home! We are thrilled to be handing over the keys to such a nice couple and hope you will be happy here for many years, as we have been.
You are, quite literally, an answer to prayer. We have prayed for you for three years now—since our second child was born and we knew we would eventually need to move into a different house.
This house has meant a lot to us. It has become a part of our family. We were a lot like you when we bought this house in 2006—young and newly-married with a puppy on the way. We started our lives in this home, and it’s not easy to leave, though we know God is calling us elsewhere. (Isaiah 6:8, “And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" Then I said, "Here am I! Send me.’”)
We learned how to be married in this house. We have fought here. We have loved here. We have celebrated here. We have sought God’s will in our marriage from this dining room. (Song of Solomon 6:3, “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.”)
We learned of our children’s lives in this house. We praised God for them in this house. We prayed for them in this house. We brought our children home from the hospital to this house. (1 Samuel 1:27, “I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted to me what I asked of him.”)
I nursed my babies in this house, looking out the window into the yard. I rocked them in the middle of the night. I urged them to crawl to mama on this floor. (Titus 2:4-5, “Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.”) My husband made late-night runs to Cub down the street on Lexington (which is 24 hours, by the way—Walgreens is NOT!) for Tylenol, milk or diapers. He taught them to take their first steps in this living room. (Titus 2:7-8, “In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned.”)
We have suffered trauma and pain while living in this house. We have grieved losses in this house. But God’s hand has been here to provide and comfort us in this house. He has never wavered. (Job 1:21, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”)
We have been happy here. We have been blessed here. (Psalm 103:22, “Bless the LORD, all His works, In all places of His dominion. Bless the LORD, O my soul!”)
In all things, never forget to pray. Pray together. Pray while you’re doing the dishes. Pray while you’re changing diapers or letting the dog out. Pray while you do laundry. Pray when you argue. Pray! It is no exaggeration that God will answer your prayers. He has answered ours in you. (Hebrews 4:16, “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”)
Many sweet blessings to you, Mr. and Mrs., as you start this leg of your journey together.
Psalm 103:2, “Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits.”
Erin and Richard

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

December 2012
Merry Christmas!
I can hardly believe it’s been another year and I have to come up with a new Christmas card—I was still basking in the success of last year’s card.
2012 has been a good year for our family! Marriage is easy, our children are angels, and life is wonderful every day! We have it together! Smooth sailing in the Desvousges home!
Now that we’ve got that out of the way…
Richard started a new job with American Family Insurance as Fields Claim Appraiser in May. He has been very busy establishing himself there and enjoys his work. He joined a hockey team called the Bullheads and enjoys his practices and games. He makes losing weight look easy, and by December 10 had removed approximately 400 tons of snow from our and our neighbors’ driveways. Some of Richard’s favorite things are silence, the dark, playing hockey or football, and texting (in that order).
Erin also made a job change this year. She left her position as Target Lady to go to work at a counseling clinic called Family Innovations. Erin also took on a leadership position with LATTE, a women’s ministry at Faith Community Church, as the leader for publicity and communications. She will be speaking at the ministry’s January event and is excited for the opportunity. Some of Erin’s favorite things are silence, waking up to clean dishes in the dishwasher, fiction books, and obedience (though, not necessarily in that order).
Shirley Jean started a new preschool this year and has made some very good friends there. Some of Shirley’s favorite things are playdates, horses, baking, and having her fingernails painted. Shirley is especially looking forward to Christmas this year and it’s fun to see her really care about the holiday. She asked me yesterday if she could write to Santa and ask if he is real. I have a feeling Santa will write back and teach her about the real reason we celebrate Christmas, even though Santa is a wonderful person, too. Shirley will be five in March. Where has the time gone?!
Richard Joseph will be three in March and literally gets cuter every single day. His vocabulary and attitude explode every few weeks and in between we deal with growth spurts that usually lead to extra clumsiness and forehead bruises. Richard got to really experience snow for the first time last week and he loved it! Even with his boots falling off in the deep snow, soaked socks and freezing fingers, he still threw a fit when it was time to come in. The boy loves an adventure! Some of Richard’s favorite things are “foo-ball!,” coloring, repeating what his sister says, and sitting on Pam (see below).
Pedro is still here. Not much new to report on him. He’s lost some weight this year and is peeing on fewer things, so he endures.
Kitty’s name changed in 2012 and he now goes by Pam. We would appreciate your respectful acknowledgement of this change when you next see him.
All in all, the Lord has been faithful and good to us in 2012. We look forward to the New Year and send many blessings your way!
With love and peace,
Richard, Erin, Shirley & Richard Desvousges

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Tuesday at Target

I was just approached by a woman in the Target parking lot. She tapped on my window after I buckled both kids in and asked me if I could help her get to a women's shelter in Minneapolis.
She told me she had 30 nights reserved for her there, but she had to get there and is there any way I could help her?
I told her I don't have much cash, but I could pay for one of her bus trips.
She said she hadn't eaten since she got off the Greyhound from New York.
I offered her the choice of any of the groceries we'd just purchased--including the Oreos!
She laughed at me and said, "No thank you. I'll just take the money."
So I gave her every penny I had--$1.95 in change.
As I drove away, I got to thinking...there's no Greyhound drop off near our Target. She laughed at my genuine offer of practical help. She approached another mother with children as soon as my window was rolled up.
I think I was fooled.
And that kinda ticks me off. Don't approach me when I've got my chicks in public. This mama hen is vulnerable in the open with her chicks.
As we neared our home and my blood pressure was nearing dangerous levels, God softened my heart. He reminded me that everyone has a story and what must hers be like that she's asking mama hens for money in a public parking lot? Did she intend for her life to take whatever path has brought her here?
In 2 Corinthians 1:1b-9 Paul writes:
For we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, 2 of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.
It's so encouraging to learn that even Paul suffered discouragement and despair. If the God of mercy comforts me and comforted Paul, what right have I not to show love to a lady--"utterly burdened"--telling me lies through my car window on a drizzling Tuesday afternoon?
It irks me that she was, in all probability, lying to me...but, then again, maybe she wasn't. In truth, if I'd had more money, I would have given it to her. I guess it's perfectly providential that I had just enough to cover one bus ride. I think it's fair to deduce that she IS burdened and in some kind of trouble, so I hope my $1.95 makes a difference and somehow reminds her of the Truth: that she is loved and cherished by the God of comfort and grace.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Ten on Ten

The naked brigade!
Ok, not totally naked...but how would you know?
His and Hers

Act natural, guys.

This note was waiting for me at work when I got there.
It shares fantastic news. :)

Snack time!

Deck time!

This is Jolynn's "CHEEEESE!" face.

Shirley needed a little TLC after falling off the swing.
Sometimes it's hard being four.

Oh my.

Moustache gal.

If you are interested in participating in Ten on Ten next month, click here. It's always so fun! xoxo