Welcome to the craziness....

Thursday, March 29, 2012


....with 3 kids.

By myself.

9 hours.

(at least)

God, please grant me the serenity to accept the fact that my children may scream excessively for 9 hours straight...

That they will mash cheerios into my van carpet...

That they will not pee when we stop at exit number 74...however, they will suddenly be overcome with urgency by exit number 78...

That we will have to listen to the same Barney video fifteen times in order to appease the baby...

And give me the courage...er, the patience....

not to "pull this van over and knock them into next week".

I kid.

Sort of.

Anyhoo, we can all imagine how this will turn out... It ain't gonna be pretty.

But we will survive.
And then we will drink excessively.
Rather Mommy will.
And Mommy doesn't even drink.

I think I just broke out in a sweat writing all that.

I am looking forward to getting there though, and I know we will make it and it will be fun!

And then we will do it all over again next week when we drive home.

On a totally unrelated note... (I am terrible at transitions)

I need to change my title page.

We are no longer a family of five with 3 dogs, 1 cat, and one hamster.

We are now a family of five with 2 dogs and a cat.

The dog had to go when he bit the baby...whew, that was a rough 48 hours.

And the hamster...well, they just don't live long.

Sadly this happened like three days after the dog incident and I couldn't bring myself to tell the kids little Pooh Bear had gone to hamster heaven.

So we are still "looking" for him...

Although the search parties are becoming less and less frequent.

My oldest said, "he probably went to live out in the field with the mice".

I'm just gonna agree with him on that one. And leave it at that.

Until next time...
Have a good one!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Two Girls and a Van

I wanted a place where I could share all about the efforts of an organization I am part of called, "Two Girls and a Van". We have a Facebook page but if I typed a status about this trip it would take up a whole page!

Two Girls and a Van was started by a childhood friend and I. Last year we collected items for the survivors of the Alabama tornadoes. We thought we would pack the back of my minivan.
We packed a 14 FOOT TRUCK!
And still had to leave stuff behind!

So this year, when the tornadoes hit so close to home we knew we had to do something!

About 3 weeks ago we decided that we would divide and conquer.
Ashley (the other girl in the van) took Henryville, IN and I choose to focus on eastern Kentucky.

When I first began to collect items I heard the same things I heard last year...
They don't need anything.
Let someone else do it.
The "X organization" will take care of them.
Can we even make a difference?
We need to just give money to "X organization".

I will admit...I was discouraged.

However, the donations slowly trickled in and I could feel the momentum shifting.

Sure enough, just like last year, we packed a 15 FOOT truck again!

We also had lots of gift cards donated!
$450 in Walmart gift cards
$685 in Lowe's gift cards
AND around $800 in cash donations!

So, sit back and relax, and let me tell you about our journey...and how 100's of people's generosity made a difference!

Our first stop was West Liberty, KY (Morgan county). We met two teachers at the new elementary school that had been constructed in an old warehouse.
It was amazing to see what a group called, "God's Pit Crew" had done in 6 DAYS!
The ladies there were thrilled to see us and were so very grateful for all that we had brought! We got a little tour of the school and they all shared with us about the night of the tornado and how life had changed since then. We really enjoyed our visit there and were ready to pack those teachers in the back of the truck and bring them home with us! ;)

On our way out of town we took a quick tour through downtown West Liberty and it was devastating. Piles and piles of rubble. Buildings crumbled. It was hard to tell what the buildings had even been before. On a positive note, there was lots of activity going on, clean-up, rebuilding, and a sense of community. I have no doubt that this town will be back and better than before!

Our next stop was Salyersville, KY (Magoffin county). We partnered with a clinic there and the ladies were waiting in the parking lot for us and ready to go when we arrived. They had picked out several families that were in need and we packed about 40 or so boxes full of supplies to hand out. We essentially made little "care boxes" full of toiletries, cleaning supplies, and non-perishable food items.
We loaded two pickups worth and went out with a few of the clinic staff to deliver items.
It was humbling to go door to door to these people who had lost absolutely everything they had, yet were still thanking God that they were alive.
One family had taken in 19 people. 19 people in one trailer.
One man had taken in a couple who had lost everything, the wife had a broken leg and the husband had broken ribs from their trailer caving in on them in the tornado.
In one section there had been three trailers in a row...one basically disintegrated, one only had a toilet left standing, and one had miraculously survived. A woman that lived in one of the trailers that had been destroyed had sought shelter (for whatever reason) in the ONE trailer in that row that had made it.
Just story after story. Lots of tears, lots of hugging, and SO mush thankfulness.
We handed out 2-6 boxes per household based on their needs as well as a few Walmart gift cards to each family.
The ladies from the clinic fed us a quick yummy home-cooked meal at their volunteer center before we hit the road to Lovely, KY.

There was a slight detour... Which is a whole other blog post in itself...

Around 9pm or so that night we finally pulled into Lovely, KY (Martin county). We had partnered with a church there called Freewill Baptist church. Their main request had been building supplies and Lowe's gift cards. We unloaded about $800 or so worth of donated building supplies and nearly $700 in Lowe's gift cards. They were so grateful for everything that we had sent.
They shared a sad story about a couple who had been trapped after the tornado and were calling out for a help. A couple stopped to help them and pulled them to safety... However, after saving them they went back to their destroyed home and stole the couple's savings/nest egg that was around $4,000.
So sad.
More tears...
More hugs...

We circled around the church's parking lot and said a quick prayer with the pastor and his church family before we loaded ourselves back in the truck and headed for home.

There are no words that I can type that put into perspective the things we saw and did.
I struggle even writing this because I feel like it doesn't do it justice.
There is still so much pain, hurting, and loss going on.
But out of it all I think we would all agree we also saw...
And love.
And giving.

I cannot say thank you enough to those that gave...your time, your material goods, your prayers, and your support.

Without you it wouldn't happen.

People have said, "it's so great what YOU are doing..."
But it's only so great because of those who gave.
It wouldn't have been the same had I driven an empty truck.
We all did it.
We all made a difference.

Thank you from me and from every single person we met along this journey.

**My friends Cammie and Holly went along with me...I have to thank them as well!
I'll have some more pictures soon!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Houdini Baby

So this third child of ours has totally thrown me for a loop!

My first two stayed in the crib until they were at least 3 years old.

Now I know that is crazy, but hey, why mess with a good thing?!?
They weren't escaping and I liked knowing exactly where they were at night/nap time.

Welllllll, all the sudden last night, the baby decided he wanted NO part of bedtime, NO part of the crib, and NO part of being left alone in his room.

Mind you, up until this point he has been a FABULOUS sleeper!
12 hours at night, 2-3 hour naps...
DREAM sleeper.

Soooooo, after repeated attempts at rocking, having him barely asleep...him jolting awake at the teeniest creak in floor I decided to just throw him in there...throw caution to the wind and pray he closed those little eyes.


Of course not.

Now, mind you, we didn't exactly plaaaaan for baby number three, so the poor guy is stuck up in no man's land.

His room is up above the garage.
On the second floor.
By himself.
With his very own kitchen/living room/bathroom.
It was designed to be more of an "in-law suite". We didn't plan on that room ever being a nursery.

Evidently neither Jeff nor I paid attention in health class...

But alas, we love our spirited little baby and cannot imagine life without him.

He has always been up there and it's never been an issue.
In fact, it has been great because he can sleep and the big kids can have a monster truck show down here and he can't hear it.

So anyhoo, last night, I throw him in the bed, bolt outta the room, shut the door, sprint through the living room up there and close the door at the top of the stairs.

Next thing I know I hear "boom-boom"....pitter patter, pitter patter, pitter patter....then said door at top of stairs opens and there he is in all his glory, so proud he has escaped the confines of the dreaded crib.

Um, no.

This ain't happening.

No sir.

You are 20 months old.


Back to the crib.

So, yeah, I did this about 2 dozen times...until I was at my wit's end.

Daddy decided to take over....PTL!

After about 20 minutes or so (10:30 PM...we had been trying since 7:30 PM)daddy comes down and says he's asleep.

I said, What did you do!?!?!

He said, I got in the crib with him.


That's one way of getting it done.

Needless to say, nap time was not easy today.

I put one gate at his door and figured if all else fails at least he'll be in room.


I put another gate up and he pushed it over like a toy.


Finally, I laid on the floor beside his crib and played watchdog while reading the latest FB status updates.

It worked.

But I CANNOT do that everyday/night!!!!

So, I am ordering this:

And I hope it works....

Next thing you know I will be ordering these...

I never thought I'd be one of those people that leashed their children.

I really do wish I had seen this before though:

How handy.

Oh well, as grandma always says...
This too shall pass, this too shall pass.

Now somebody hand me the whiskey.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Break my heart for what breaks yours...

I have a passion for people.

I love people.

All people.

I am a "helper".

I like to help people.

I hate to see people hurting, suffering, or struggling.

It's who I am.

It's how I am wired.

Have you ever heard the song "Hosanna" by Hillsong?

There is a line in there...rather several that absolutely grab me.

Every time I hear them I want to raise my hands and sing.
And I DO NOT raise my hands and sing.
I wish I did.
I have always wanted to be one of those people.
But I'm not.
Instead I am a helper.
Who doesn't raise her hands.

Anyway, the lines of the song are....
Heal my heart and make it clean
Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love like you have loved me

Break my heart from what breaks yours
Everything I am for your kingdoms cause

And every time I hear it I want to pray this prayer...

Open up my eyes God to the world and all it's suffering.
Help me to see outside my comfortable bubble.
Show me how to love with the same inconceivable love that you have for me.
Break my heart for what breaks yours.
Help me to see those hurting the same way you see them.
Don't ever take the compassion from me.
Make sure that everything I do I do for the glory of you.
And make sure that every person that I touch feels your love.

And so I pray...Lord guide me, lead me, teach me, show me how I can continue to be a helper.
For Your kingdom.

It's not always easy being a helper.

People don't always want to help you be a helper.

But I can't let that get me down.

Because I am a helper.

It's who I am.

And hopefully who I will always be.

And even if I just touch one life...

I will be glad to know I made a difference for that one person.

And I hope they'll know that I did it in love.

Because HE loves me.

And how can I ever repay that?

I can't. He doesn't want me to.

But it is how He made me.

And so I will continue to help.

Because it's what I do.