Saturday, October 31, 2009

Letting Him Lead

We're are still battling sickness here at the McCoy house. My brain is in a Sudafed induced fog, complicated by sleep deprivation. Since I do want to put up a new post, I am going to "recycle" some thoughts I wrote down in my journal several months ago... unless you really do want to hear about mucus, vomit, fevers and laundry...?

This was originally written to myself, and not for my blog, so some opinions may have seeped through. If you disagree with the idea of the husband being the head of the home, you may want to skip this post.

One of the first grade students in my class while I was student teaching was a delightful little boy full of sweet smiles and unintentional but hilarious little sayings. He was obedient, eager to please and, I will admit, my favorite student. One Sunday in the church foyer, I saw him with his entire family, which included four small children and his parents. From the first glance, it was obvious that his father was disabled. I later learned that he suffered a traumatic brain injury while serving in our armed forces. My husband was better acquainted with him and said that although he “wasn’t all there” and had several odd mannerisms from his injury, he was a man of character and was coherent enough to be aware of his disability and tried his best to live as normally as possible. They were quite a ways off so I began walking toward them to say hello to my little student. As I got close enough to hear their conversation, I overheard that there was a dilemma as to how to get all the children to their various Sunday School classes. The solution was fairly simple to me, and probably to most people; however to this father, it was a genuine concern. The mom did not do as I have seen, and unfortunately done many times. She did not confidently state the answer to their problem while thinking her husband was such a lucky guy for having a clever quick thinking wife like her. Instead, she nonchalantly made a statement. This statement started her husband’s thinking process in the right direction. For the next minute, the father “thought out loud”. He took a moment and verbalized what had taken me seconds to realize, finally arriving at the solution. He declared the plan of action and his wife smiled and agreed that it was a good idea. I never did greet my student that day because he never noticed me. He and his brothers and sister were too occupied staring up at what they believed to be the smartest man in the whole wide world. The little smiling faces reflected so much love that I remember the expressions 6 years later. And I stood staring at one the smartest women in the world.

Why are there so many men who are perfectly capable, in body and mind, to be the leaders of their home, but the wives shudder at the thought for fear that the sky would fall? Is it the gratification that we feel at being so “needed” to fix the family’s problems? Is it genuine concern that he would fail? Is it impatience in waiting for him to lead? Maybe he is trying but it doesn’t take the form and appearance that were think it is supposed to… his leadership doesn’t match the expectation we had pre-marriage. I don’t know. I examine myself constantly. I have a “let’s get it done!” personality. I am “gong ho” about everything I do. My husband is not. He is slow to speak, slow to action and slow to wrath. Those are three attributes I have been so frustrated by and at other times… more times the longer we are married… have been so thankful he possesses. I need some more “Seth” in me. But my natural tendencies verses my husband’s calmer, quieter manner makes me fearful of being a “hairy legged woman”. The truth is I hold way too much power over my husband. He REALLY loves me and wants to see me happy- so much so that I think I could lead him if I pushed hard and long enough. Except in matters of good and godliness. I am grateful to be able to confidently say that without a doubt, I could never get Seth to desert God. He has too much integrity for even me to destroy. How this is all connected, I am not sure! I just keep thinking of that brilliant lady, whom I have never spoken to or even know her first name. It would such a shame for me to have a husband full of health and vitality, soundness of mind, spiritually discerning and of pure character and NOT allow him to be the head of our home.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Sick Day

Today, I took a sick day. No laundry got done, very minimal cleaning and no cooking. Seth had the illness earlier in the week, then Maddie, now me and Eden went to bed early with a low fever and slightly runny nose. Seth made it possible for me to get a nice long nap today which has helped me greatly! Hence the energy to even write this short post!

Most of our day has been spent lying around with blankets and tissues scattered about. We watched "Swiss Family Robinson" about 3 times through. At the point when I was no longer entertained by it but was rather lying there picking it apart for how unrealistic it is, I finally turned it off. Eden has been wanting to be held all day; I'm guessing she has body aches too because she doesn't even want to run to me to be picked up. She'll just lie face down wherever she is and cry in the most pathetic way until I go get her. Thankfully, Maddie is feeling fine now and she really has been very good today. She has been helpful and independently playing and going potty. She was on her own a good part of the day and was perfectly fine. What a big girl she was today!

I think I am on the mend now... if we can all get a good night's sleep tonight, that would be wonderful!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Washington's Rules

I borrowed a little booklet from my father in law (who is an enthusiastic student of American history) which I think is a very interesting little read. I included it, in it's entirety, below. George Washington wrote these rules for living at the age 14. When you read through them (if you choose to), keep that in mind! Do you know a 14 yr. old young man with such thoughts?

This may not be of interest to anyone else at all, so sorry if today's post is disappointing! But I honestly do think it's pretty fascinating... some are even humorous (number 2 and 3, for example, made me smile but maybe I'm still a junior higher at heart!) A few are not really relevant today with modern customs but the vast majority are still appropriate and sadly lacking, myself included in the majority of Americans with a puny sense of propriety and etiquette. Many of these thoughts are simply Bible verses reworded. Enjoy!

George Washington's
Rules of Civility & Decent Behaviour
in Company and Conversation

Every Action done in Company, ought to be with Some Sign of Respect, to those that are Present.

When in Company, put not your Hands to any Part of the Body, not usually Discovered.

Show Nothing to your Friend that may affright him.

In the Presence of Others Sing not to yourself with a humming Noise, nor Drum with your Fingers or Feet.

If You Cough, Sneeze, Sigh, or Yawn, do it not Loud but Privately; and Speak not in your Yawning, but put Your handkerchief or Hand before your face and turn aside.

Sleep not when others Speak, Sit not when others stand, Speak not when you Should hold your Peace, walk not on when others Stop.

Put not off your Cloths in the presence of Others, nor go out your Chamber half Dressed.

At Play and at Fire its Good manners to Give Place to the last Commer, and affect not to Speak Louder than Ordinary.

Spit not in the Fire, nor Stoop low before it neither Put your Hands into the Flames to warm them, nor Set your Feet upon the Fire especially if there be meat before it.

When you Sit down, Keep your Feet firm and Even, without putting one on the other or Crossing them.

Shift not yourself in the Sight of others nor Gnaw your nails.

Shake not the head, Feet, or Legs roll not the Eyes lift not one eyebrow higher than the other wry not the mouth, and bedew no mans face with your Spittle, by approaching too near him when you Speak.

Kill no Vermin as Fleas, lice ticks &c in the Sight of Others, if you See any filth or thick Spittle put your foot Dexterously upon it if it be upon the Cloths of your Companions, Put it off privately, and if it be upon your own Cloths return Thanks to him who puts it off.

Turn not your Back to others especially in Speaking, Jog not the Table or Desk on which Another reads or writes, lean not upon any one.

Keep your Nails clean and Short, also your Hands and Teeth Clean yet without Showing any great Concern for them.

Do not Puff up the Cheeks, Loll not out the tongue rub the Hands, or beard, thrust out the lips, or bite them or keep the Lips too open or too Close.

Be no Flatterer, neither Play with any that delights not to be Play'd Withal.

Read no Letters, Books, or Papers in Company but when there is a Necessity for the doing of it you must ask leave: come not near the Books or Writings of Another so as to read them unless desired or give your opinion of them unasked also look not nigh when another is writing a Letter.

Let your Countenance be pleasant but in Serious Matters Somewhat grave.

The Gestures of the Body must be Suited to the discourse you are upon.

Reproach none for the Infirmities of Nature, nor Delight to Put them that have in mind thereof.

Show not yourself glad at the Misfortune of another though he were your enemy.

When you see a Crime punished, you may be inwardly Pleased; but always show Pity to the Suffering Offender.

Do not laugh too loud or too much at any Public Spectacle.

Superfluous Complements and all Affectation of Ceremony are to be avoided, yet where due they are not to be Neglected.

In Pulling off your Hat to Persons of Distinction, as Noblemen, Justices, Churchmen &c make a Reverence, bowing more or less according to the Custom of the Better Bred, and Quality of the Person. Amongst your equals expect not always that they Should begin with you first, but to Pull off the Hat when there is no need is Affectation, in the Manner of Saluting and resaluting in words keep to the most usual Custom.

Tis ill manners to bid one more eminent than yourself be covered as well as not to do it to whom it's due Likewise he that makes too much haste to Put on his hat does not well, yet he ought to Put it on at the first, or at most the Second time of being asked; now what is herein Spoken, of Qualification in behavior in Saluting, ought also to be observed in taking of Place, and Sitting down for ceremonies without Bounds is troublesome.

If any one come to Speak to you while you are are Sitting Stand up though he be your Inferior, and when you Present Seats let it be to every one according to his Degree.

When you meet with one of Greater Quality than yourself, Stop, and retire especially if it be at a Door or any Straight place to give way for him to Pass.

In walking the highest Place in most Countries Seems to be on the right hand therefore Place yourself on the left of him whom you desire to Honor: but if three walk together the middest Place is the most Honorable the wall is usually given to the most worthy if two walk together.

If any one far Surpasses others, either in age, Estate, or Merit yet would give Place to a meaner than himself in his own lodging or elsewhere the one ought not to except it, So he on the other part should not use much earnestness nor offer it above once or twice.

To one that is your equal, or not much inferior you are to give the chief Place in your Lodging and he to who 'is offered ought at the first to refuse it but at the Second to accept though not without acknowledging his own unworthiness.

They that are in Dignity or in office have in all places Precedency but whilst they are Young they ought to respect those that are their equals in Birth or other Qualities, though they have no Public charge.

It is good Manners to prefer them to whom we Speak before ourselves especially if they be above us with whom in no Sort we ought to begin.

Let your Discourse with Men of Business be Short and Comprehensive.

Artificers & Persons of low Degree ought not to use many ceremonies to Lords, or Others of high Degree but Respect and highly Honor them, and those of high Degree ought to treat them with affability & Courtesy, without Arrogance.

In speaking to men of Quality do not lean nor Look them full in the Face, nor approach too near them at lest Keep a full Pace from them.

In visiting the Sick, do not Presently play the Physician if you be not Knowing therein.

In writing or Speaking, give to every Person his due Title According to his Degree & the Custom of the Place.

Strive not with your Superiors in argument, but always Submit your Judgment to others with Modesty.

Undertake not to Teach your equal in the art himself Professes; it Savours of arrogance.

Let thy ceremonies in Courtesy be proper to the Dignity of his place with whom thou converses for it is absurd to act the same with a Clown and a Prince.

Do not express Joy before one sick or in pain for that contrary Passion will aggravate his Misery.

When a man does all he can though it Succeeds not well blame not him that did it.

Being to advise or reprehend any one, consider whether it ought to be in public or in Private; presently, or at Some other time in what terms to do it & in reproving Show no Sign of Cholar but do it with all Sweetness and Mildness.

Take all Admonitions thankfully in what Time or Place Soever given but afterwards not being culpable take a Time & Place convenient to let him him know it that gave them.

Mock not nor Jest at any thing of Importance break [n]o Jest that are Sharp Biting and if you Deliver any thing witty and Pleasant abstain from Laughing thereat yourself.

Wherein you reprove Another be unblameable yourself; for example is more prevalent than Precepts.

Use no Reproachful Language against any one neither Curse nor Revile.

Be not hasty to believe flying Reports to the Disparagement of any.

Wear not your Cloths, foul, ripped or Dusty but See they be Brushed once every day at least and take heed that you approach not to any Uncleaness.

In your Apparel be Modest and endeavor to accommodate Nature, rather than to procure Admiration keep to the Fashion of your equals Such as are Civil and orderly with respect to Times and Places.

Run not in the Streets, neither go too slowly nor with Mouth open go not Shaking your Arms kick not the earth with R feet, go not upon the Toes, nor in a Dancing fashion.

Play not the Peacock, looking every where about you, to See if you be well Decked, if your Shoes fit well if your Stockings sit neatly, and Cloths handsomely.

Eat not in the Streets, nor in the House, out of Season.

Associate yourself with Men of good Quality if you Esteem your own Reputation; for 'is better to be alone than in bad Company.

In walking up and Down in a House, only with One in Company if he be Greater than yourself, at the first give him the Right hand and Stop not till he does and be not the first that turns, and when you do turn let it be with your face towards him, if he be a Man of Great Quality, walk not with him Cheek by Joul but Somewhat behind him; but yet in Such a Manner that he may easily Speak to you.

Let your Conversation be without Malice or Envy, for 'is a Sign of a Tractable and Commendable Nature: And in all Causes of Passion admit Reason to Govern.

Never express anything unbecoming, nor Act against the Rules Moral before your inferiors.

Be not immodest in urging your Friends to Discover a Secret.

Utter not base and frivolous things amongst grave and Learned Men nor very Difficult Questions or Subjects, among the Ignorant or things hard to be believed, Stuff not your Discourse with Sentences amongst your Betters nor Equals.

Speak not of doleful Things in a Time of Mirth or at the Table; Speak not of Melancholy Things as Death and Wounds, and if others Mention them Change if you can the Discourse tell not your Dreams, but to your intimate Friend.

A Man ought not to value himself of his Achievements, or rare Qualities of wit; much less of his riches Virtue or Kindred.

Break not a Jest where none take pleasure in mirth Laugh not aloud, nor at all without Occasion, deride no mans Misfortune, though there Seem to be Some cause.

Speak not injurious Words neither in Jest nor Earnest Scoff at none although they give Occasion.

Be not froward but friendly and Courteous; the first to Salute hear and answer & be not Pensive when it's a time to Converse.

Detract not from others neither be excessive in Commanding.

Go not thither, where you know not, whether you Shall be Welcome or not. Give not Advice without being Asked & when desired do it briefly.

If two contend together take not the part of either unconstrained; and be not obstinate in your own Opinion, in Things indifferent be of the Major Side.

Reprehend not the imperfections of others for that belongs to Parents Masters and Superiors.

Gaze not on the marks or blemishes of Others and ask not how they came. What you may Speak in Secret to your Friend deliver not before others.

Speak not in an unknown Tongue in Company but in your own Language and that as those of Quality do and not as the Vulgar; Sublime matters treat Seriously.

Think before you Speak pronounce not imperfectly nor bring out your Words too hastily but orderly & distinctly.

When Another Speaks be attentive your Self and disturb not the Audience if any hesitate in his Words help him not nor Prompt him without desired, Interrupt him not, nor Answer him till his Speech be ended.

In the midst of Discourse ask not of what one treateth but if you Perceive any Stop because of your coming you may well intreat him gently to Proceed: If a Person of Quality comes in while your Conversing it's handsome to Repeat what was said before.

While you are talking, Point not with your Finger at him of Whom you Discourse nor Approach too near him to whom you talk especially to his face.

Treat with men at fit Times about Business & Whisper not in the Company of Others.

Make no Comparisons and if any of the Company be Commended for any brave act of Virtue, commend not another for the Same.

Be not apt to relate News if you know not the truth thereof. In Discoursing of things you Have heard Name not your Author always A Secret Discover not.

Be not Tedious in Discourse or in reading unless you find the Company pleased therewith.

Be not Curious to Know the Affairs of Others neither approach those that Speak in Private.

Undertake not what you cannot Perform but be Careful to keep your Promise.

When you deliver a matter do it without Passion & with Discretion, however mean the Person be you do it too.

When your Superiors talk to any Body hearken not neither Speak nor Laugh.

In Company of these of Higher Quality than yourself Speak not til you are asked a Question then Stand upright put of your Hat & Answer in few words.

In Disputes, be not So Desirous to Overcome as not to give Liberty to each one to deliver his Opinion and Submit to the Judgment of the Major Part especially if they are Judges of the Dispute.

Let thy carriage be such as becomes a Man Grave Settled and attentive to that which is spoken. Contradict not at every turn what others Say.

Be not tedious in Discourse, make not many Digressions, nor repeat often the Same manner of Discourse.

Speak not Evil of the absent for it is unjust.

Being Set at meat Scratch not neither Spit Cough or blow your Nose except there's a Necessity for it.

Make no Show of taking great Delight in your Victuals, Feed not with Greediness; cut your Bread with a Knife, lean not on the Table neither find fault with what you Eat.

Take no Salt or cut Bread with your Knife Greasy.

Entertaining any one at the table, it is decent to present him with meat; Undertake not to help others undesired by the Master.

If you Soak bread in the Sauce let it be no more than what you put in your Mouth at a time and blow not your broth at Table but Stay till Cools of it Self.

Put not your meat to your Mouth with your Knife in your hand neither Spit forth the Stones of any fruit Pie upon a Dish nor Cast anything under the table.

It's unbecoming to Stoop much to ones Meat Keep your Fingers clean & when foul wipe them on a Corner of your Table Napkin.

Put not another bit into your mouth till the former be swallowed. Let not your morsels be too big for the jowls.

Drink not nor talk with your mouth full; neither gaze about you while you are drinking.

Drink not too leisurely nor yet too hastily. Before and after drinking, wipe your lips; breath not then or ever with too great a noise, for its uncivil.

Cleanse not your teeth with the table cloth napkin, fork, or knife; but if others do it, let it be done without a peep to them.

Rinse not your mouth in the presence of others.

It is out of use to call upon the company often to eat; nor need you drink to others every time you drink.

In the company of your betters, be not longer in eating than they are; lay not your arm but only your hand upon the table.

It belongs to the chiefest in company to unfold his napkin and fall to meat first, but he ought then to begin in time & to dispatch with dexterity that the slowest may have time allowed him.

Be not angry at the table whatever happens & if you have reason to be so, show it not; put on a cheerful countenance especially if there be strangers, for good humor makes one dish of meat a feast.

Set not yourself at the upper of the table; but if it be your due or that the master of the house will have it so, contend not, least you should trouble the company.

If others talk at the table, be attentive but talk not with meat in your mouth.

When you speak of God or his attributes, let it be seriously & with reverence. Honor & obey your natural parents although they be poor.

Let your recreations be manful not sinful.

Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Easy Enchiladas

I am in love with making enchiladas lately! They are easy, inexpensive and make GREAT leftovers for lunch the next day!!! I searched and search the Taste of Home website but never found one I really liked... I wanted them to taste like the ones I had growing up in Southern California at all my Mexican friends' houses. Of course, they never used a recipe (they are simply born knowing how to make them!! ) so this is what I eventually came up with:

pack of burrito size tortillas ( 8 )

can of refried beans

big can of enchiladas sauce (I like red not green)

shredded cheese (whatever you've got is fine... I usually have cheddar)
Finely chopped onions, optional

hot sauce or salsa (I like Ortega Taco Sauce)

1 cup. sour cream

about 2 cups cooked chicken or beef... the beauty is you just use what you have.

I usually have a bag of frozen chopped cooked chicken in my freezer. I like to roast a couple of whole chickens every so often so I have a nice dinner, plus plenty of leftovers to freeze, and bones to make broth. Sometimes, if bone-in split chicken breast are on sale, I’ll simply boil a couple to chunk up for various meals. Leftover pot roast works very well too! It’s a great meal to make with leftover meat of any kind from earlier in the week. Whatever meat you use, it just needs to be cooked first.

Pour enchilada sauce into a pie pan. Place tortillas in and make sure they are all being coated in sauce. This will soften them and make them more workable. Assemble other ingredients and preheat oven to 400. One at a time, spread each soaked tortilla with a tablespoon full of refried beans... just eye ball it. That one can should be a perfect amount for all 8. Spread a small handful of meat/chicken, sprinkle with cheese and add whatever you like: onions, olives, etc. Again, great place to use that small handful of leftover onions or whatever. Add a little bit of salsa or hot sauce. Fold down ends and roll to close. Place seams side down in 9 x 13 in. dish. Repeat with all 8.

Whisk 1 c. sour cream into remaining enchilada sauce (stir it right in the pie pan) and pour over enchiladas. Sprinkle with a little more cheese. Bake, covered, for 30 min.s.

I serve it with additional sour cream and salsa. Spanish rice and corn on the side. Learning to cook these kinds foods has helped me not to miss California as much. It seems like a small thing, but the area food favorites are actually a big part of what makes a place home. Taco Bell or any other “Mexican” restaurant just does not compare to homemade authentic Mexican food. And Seth loves this meal as much as I do.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Little Mamas

Here is Maddie holding a very newborn Eden... in the first picture, Eden is a few days old, and in the second, she is in my recovery room (yes, they provide a rocking chair!) with Eden at a few hours of age.

Parenting in one word is humbling. The person who believes themselves to have it all together... to be organized, to be capable, to have all, or at least most, of the answers... needs to have a baby! Somehow those little wiggly creatures reveal so much about ourselves... some of which we hope the world will not take notice. But our own deficiencies are hard to ignore when so rawly exposed by the behavior of our "sweet little darlings."

Sometimes though, when they mimic us, it provokes a different form of humility. Lately, Maddie has taken to being Eden's second mother. I will often overhear the girls in another room playing out this conversation, almost verbatim every single time:

Maddie: Eden, come see Maddie. I need to put your shoes on! We're going to church. (Picture Maddie "dressed for church" herself... a fashionable ensemble of "Boston, Mass" souvenir t-shirt, colorful undies and dress shoes... that's all. Her outfit of choice.)

Eden ignores her sister and continues playing.

Maddie: Eden, when I call your name, you come right away! You are being naughty! OBEY RIGHT AWAY! Now come see Maddie.

Eden is unresponsive.

Maddie: Eden, you are being a very naughty girl! Come here right away! Say "yes ma'am" and come HERE!!!!

Eden is still uncooperative. Madison tries to soften her approach.

Maddie, in a sing song voice: Eden Grace.... I just want to help you get ready! We will have lots of fun when you obey! But when you are naughty, we can not do fun things. Are you ready to be a good girl??

Eden is oblivious to Maddie's patience wearing thin.

Maddie: Eden, what will happen if you do not obey me?? You will have to get a spankin'! Okay, I have to do it because you're not obeyin' me! Now you will bend over and hold still, do you understand??

And at this point, I intervene before Maddie climbs up to retrieve her Daddy's belt.

Hearing these exchanges actually is not in Maddie's best interest as far as she is concerned... for it confirms more fully how much she really does understand when it is her turn to be "oblivious" to my directions! And it makes me realize that I can sound like a broken record and should actually and truly expect them both to obey right away! Thanks for the discipline tips, Maddie!

Eden takes her turns playing the mommy, too. Her lectures are usually limited to "Na-no!! Na-no!! Na-no!!" and Maddie is as equally disobedient to Eden as Eden is to her. Thankfully, they both are getting better at heeding my words! We started right away with Eden, working with her as soon as she was mobile. It is so wonderful to have a baby who actually comes to you when she is called! The frustration I felt as Maddie would toddle off the other direction every time I called her name was enough to force me to seek out better tactics! I have been helped very much by a book called To Train Up a Child by Michael Pearl. I feel as though I should include a disclaimer that I don't agree with every one of their beliefs, but that seems redundant. It there an author on earth I'd agree 100% with? I will simple say to use your discretion but don't reject an idea based on the fact that it is new to your way of thinking. Whatever ideas that I did choose to implement have been very effective. Maybe one of these days I will write a post entirely on my discoveries in what I once thought to be the scary, intimidating land of disciplining children. For now, back to my little mamas.

Isn't it amazing how mothering seems to be a natural desire in little girls' hearts? Not to say that we are all domestic goddesses by birth but I never had to teach them to hold a baby doll gently cradled in the crook of their arms, and I've never had to instruct Maddie to say soft consoling words to Eden when she falls... there is somehow in little girls a mini-mama. I had some precious pictures of Maddie pretending to nurse her baby doll (which we sadly lost when my hard drive died), and most days you can catch Eden putting a play bottle to the mouth of her doll. This is what I mean by "a different form of humility"... like Wow, they are copying me. In a large part, I will be the model for what kinds of mothers they will be one day. Humbling.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Just some updates....

For those who may be still wondering, I thought I would update you on a couple of things:

Firstly, Maddie is feeling just fine. To those who prayed, thank you so much. I feel quite inconsiderate for not letting you know that she has been totally recovered for about a week now. We all had little illnesses in the days that followed but nothing bad at all. Everyone is back to 100% at the McCoy house!

Secondly, we bought a vacuum! I researched and researched for about a day and decided to go with the Shark Navigator and so far, I am completely thrilled with it. Of-course, time will be the true judge. It has a 5 yr. warranty, which was a major selling point. It was very difficult to find many negative reviews, and those I did find were not things that bother me (a small head and small dirt canister being the primary complaints). It is very maneuverable which is a must for our small crowded home. The hose is easy to switch to which is also a must for the daily (and more) high chair cleanings! It claims to be the technology of a Dyson for half the cost, and the way it sucks the dirt amd keeps it away from the incoming area is pretty nifty. The "never loses suction" promise will be put to the test at the McCoy house. We purchased it at Bed, Bath & Beyond, using a 20% off coupon. The one they sell also comes with a few extra attachments, and BB&B has a very good return policy if it disappoints. The offer on the Shark website is appealing (free steam mop with purchase of the vacuum) BUT $50 in shipping costs is not so appealing. And honestly, as much as I love lavender, I really didn't buy it for the color! I'll make sure to tell you if it turns out to be just another junky vacuum or if my hopes will be full filled!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Fabulous Fall

Today was a pretty typical day for us... the girls and I have our own little routine during the morning hours and then when Seth comes home after the school day has finished at our church's small academy, we eat lunch together and run any errands, whether church or personal or both. We had several stops to make today and our girls were ROWDY! Not naughty (thankfully) but full of energy! In Target, they were both singing at the top of their lungs and talking a mile a minute. With everyone in all the check out lines taking notice, Seth decided to take them out to the car and leave me to make the purchases. As Seth strode out with his arms full of noisy but happy little girls, people were smiling and shaking their heads at me. I felt like assuring everyone they we really don't feed our children speed.

Sensing the need for some running around, Daddy surprised us by pulling into the park on our way home. It's a wonderfully warm day... short sleeves in late October... in upstate NY? Hallelujah!!! We've had a somewhat busy few weeks lately due to our nightly revival meetings at church. I don't believe I have ever witnessed or experienced such a thing as TRUE revival but I dare say we are getting pretty close around here! Our church is an exciting place to be right now!!

You can see in these pictures how much the girls enjoyed being outside and having fun with Mommy and Daddy. Now we are back to our usual custom: Seth, and our car, are occupied with other church responsibilities while the girls nap and I do whatever I need/want until dinner preperation. Then, all dressed and back to church for singing practice and services. Pretty tough life, right? ;)

What a hunk!

Wishing she could do what the big girls can!


Eden, ever so helpful at lugging my purse to me... even if I didn't actually want it!

"...for the joy of the LORD is your strength." Neh 8:10

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Remember me...

My thoughts are still on Madison’s 3rd birthday. The day will come, far sooner than I can even understand right now, when her birthday will not be celebrated with a heart shaped cake and toys and cousins. One day she will reach adulthood. Where will she go? What will she do? Trying to imagine her future, I tend to picture her following a similar path as I did: a Christian college and marriage. But perhaps that will not be the path she takes. And if she does, where will that path lead on to? A fair away state? A far away country? Only the Lord knows. But it will most likely not be a path which includes her sleeping in a pastel colored room next to mine and eating dinner across from me with spaghetti all over her face. I hope I will always remember her childhood and her carefree ways. I hope I never forget her smiles and the many many questions she asks and her “dig in her heels” stubborn nature, which I am sure will one day be an asset. (That day is not today but...) I hope I always remember her temperament and personality. But what will she remember me as…?

Maddie, I hope you remember me as the mommy who always managed to muster up just a little more patience, instead of a mommy giving in to weariness and irritability.

Remember me as the mommy who had a willing servant’s heart when you made extra messes with your childlike clumsiness and not as the mommy who let her frustration show.

Remember me as the mommy who had encouraged you softly when your fears held you back from being friendly and not as the mommy who was more concerned with her daughter making her look good in front of others.

Remember me as the mommy who told you how proud of you she was when you conquered your fears and finally said “Hello, Mr. Grant.” And not as the mommy who didn’t realize how hard it was for you to do.

Remember me as the mommy who took time to build a tent and sit in it as long as you wanted to and not as the mommy who decided laundry was more important.

Remember me as the mommy who loved you enough to discipline you… again. And not as the mommy resorting to begging and yelling.

Remember me as the mommy who appreciated your daddy for all the help he so cheerful gave and not as the mommy who always had a better way of doing things.

Remember me as the mommy who had died to her own selfishness instead of a mommy putting her own comforts and desires first.

Remember me as the mommy who wore a smile everyday and loved the life the Lord gave her and not the mommy full of complaints and whines.

Truthfully, I am both of these mommies. I hope Maddie only remembers HALF of me.

“He hath made the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye the LORD.” Psalm 113:9

Monday, October 19, 2009

It's my birthday and I'll buy if I want to....

well, not really.

Today is my 26th birthday! Woo-hoo! We had cake and iced cream for both Maddie and me yesterday after church. I have always been very amused by people gathering around me on my birthday to sing "Happy Birthday". Isn't it such a funny tradition? You just sit or stand there and everyone stares at you with big goofy grins and sings at the top of their lungs the same song every year. All demographics of Americans do it the same way. People who would never sing in public for any other occasion will without any hesitancy sing right out "Happy Birthday to you.... Happy Birthday to you..." It's just fun to me to have people singing TO ME. Even as a kid, I got a big kick out this tradition... in school, I'd tell the lunch ladies' that it was my birthday with the hope that they would organize the entire student body to stop eating their lunch long enough to all turn to look at my with cheesy smiles on each face and sing the birthday song. Makes me laugh!

On Saturday, which was Maddie's birthday, she walked out her bedroom first thing in the morning and was greeted by a few decorations. Excitement warmed her face and she asked "Are people coming over here today?!" "No, honey, it's your birthday!" we explained.

We gave her a few presents but before she would open them she INSISTED that we sing "Happy Birthday " to her... like mother like daughter??? Well, not exactly....

When the number of singers grew to include some of her cousins and her grandparents, and a visiting evangelist and his wife, she seemed to have changed her mind about all that attention. At this point, she was ready for everyone to stop looking at her and just get down to business: cake.

And while everyone was distracted with Maddie, Miss Eden helped herself to that cake:

I had "nursery patrol" yesterday and snapped these pictures of my adorable nephew trying out my shoes for size. I'm sure his father would be thrilled to see these pictures on my blog!

And now back to "It's my birthday and I"ll buy if I want to"...

We were literally on our way out the door this afternoon to go pick up Seth's birthday gift to me: Photoshop Elements 8. YEAH! For a few years now I have wanted a photo editing program but got along well enough what what was already on my computer.... I don't need anything too fancy anyway- I basically take pictures of my kiddos and that's it! However my hard drive died a few months ago and that (and many other things) was lost. I wanted to put our vacuum away before leaving but was having trouble getting the canister to "pop" back in place. I asked Seth to help me and when he was examining it, he discovered that it was broken. A piece had snapped right off... the piece that should hold the canister in place. There is no fixing it. Oh fooey! I knew that little vacuum was on it's death bed but I had been hoping it would hang on just a little longer for me. I'm not upset at it: it served me well. For $60, it had lasted over 4 years. I guess that's not too bad. Rest in peace little Optima. But did you have to die TODAY? Because you all know what this means. No Photoshop Elements 8. My gift has been changed to a vacuum. Now to decide which one I want. Whenever I have asked friends what vacuum they have and/or recommend, Dyson always is the adamant reply. So for a while I have been hoping that when this little guy kicked the bucket, we could get the "mac daddy" of vacuums: a Dyson. And when I heard Seth remark about that fancy ball design, "That's neat." (which is man-talk for "What a super awesome vacuum! I love it!!!!") that got interpreted in my ears as "Kayte, my love divine, I will buy you a Dyson when we next need to buy a vacuum". Weellll... clarity has come. Since we have not yet won the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes, it will not be a Dyson. So I am really unsure what to get! For sure, an upright, with a hose attachment, and bagless. There is a Hoover that is reasonable, and I have 20% off coupon for Bed, Bath and Beyond... but I'm not sure!!! I don't want to regret my choice, but I do need to decide soon. Every second that goes by without a vacuum in this house is just asking for disaster to strike! Maybe we will all fast until we get a new one to limit the mess? lol

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Do you know my husband?

I love him. I really really love him. I almost feel sorry for every other wife in the world because you are not married to Seth McCoy. Okay, okay... am I making you nauseous yet?

Let me introduce him to you. His name is Seth I. McCoy. The “I” stands for Isaac, according to his birth certificate but I know the truth: it actually stands for “integrity”. He is the same man on Sunday morning that he is 24 hours of each and every day. His compass of right and wrong is always on and ready to discern, even in those murky situations that make me think twice. He is HONEST in every way.

He is “Mr. Steady” (for those who have read Created to be his Helpmeet, you know the full definition of that term). There is never an excuse on his lips and he never grants himself permission to not be what he ought to be. A good day, or a bad day, Seth is always dependable. Always willing to do whatever he can to make my day, and probably yours if he knows you, better. He is FAITHFUL.

He is a gentleman… the old fashioned kind that is hard to find in 2009. I am SPOILED. Will you hate me if I confess that I never one time pumped my own gas since I have been married. Okay, once I did while on a church ladies’ trip but it really more for fun than necessity. These spaghetti arms of mine are weak for a reason: I carry very little; I open few doors. I had better stop lest I make every other husband in America look bad.

Honestly, he’s as good as they get. The typical scenario for couples is that before the “I Do’s” are said, he is perfect in her eyes. Even his flaws, if she sees them, are cute to her. If he says the earth is flat, she whole heartedly agrees. And then, marriage… ah, and then… disappointment. He is not all that she thought him to be. I testify of being fortunate enough, blessed enough, to have experienced the opposite. He impresses me more and more the longer I know him. I was an immature Christian in a lot of ways when Seth and I got married. I’ve learned so much about the attributes of a Christian and believe (and hope) he has rubbed off on me in the past 5+ years.

I think that I understand him better in recent days. In our college days and for the first few years of our marriage, I was perplexed at why he did certain things, and mostly why he didn’t do other things. Seth does not run toward promotion or title or accolades. He will only accept a position of responsibility and leadership if he within himself believes God to want it. No “wifely persuasion” will do. For a long time, my selfish motives would question this and did not fully understand it. I thought any young preacher would be delighted to have an expanded arena of influence. I thought it would be great to have others recognize his potential and ability. I wanted him to put on the outward image that so many ministry workers do: I have it together. I am being used by God. I have arrived. I hope that doesn’t sound critical. Only God knows the motives of another. I just mean to say that Seth has never been interested in impressing people with great numbers on a church bus route or with an articulate sermon or any other ability. In college, he had a bus route that was probably quite unimpressive to some. But here we are, over 5 years later, and he still gets letters and phone calls from several of the teenagers (now young adults) that rode his small bus route in Joliet, IL to a church 45 minutes away. He never won a single attendance contest. Never even came close. But that doesn’t matter to me anymore, and it never mattered to Seth. Several years later, about 5 of “his kids” know who they can call when they need a friend on the other end of the line. And again, no criticism is intended… great numbers on a church bus route is awesome. Each of those numbers represents a soul. All I mean to say is that I am learning from my husband, that this life is not about me, or you, or each other and how we appear in one another’s eyes.

Much of my efforts in my Christian walk have been about producing glory for myself. I’m ashamed to admit that. But from the time I became a Christian at 9 yrs. old until today (and I turn 26 tomorrow!) I have sought to have an impressive resume before other Christians. I want to end that trend in my life. I want the rest my days to be about bringing glory to the One who actually deserves it.

“My soul doth magnify the Lord”

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Happy Birthday, Madison!

Today my beautiful Madison turns 3 yrs. old! She’s been enjoying her birthday so far. Her face lit up when she walked out of her room this moring and was surprised by pink decorations and a few gifts from Mom and Dad. As the day and activites went on she was thrilled by getting THREE WHOLE DOLLARS from Grandpa and unexpected gifts from her little friend, Lexi and an iced cream cone all to herself. We’re planning to celebrate with cake and more gifts tomorrow after Sunday morning service.

I remember her actual birthday well. Seth and I were completely thrilled with our lovely new baby. After two difficult pregnancies that both ended with our babies in Heaven, we were holding a real life miracle in our hands.
Madison Anise
October 17, 2006
3:17am, 6 lbs. 15 oz., 21" long

I know every newborn is "perfect" but honeslty, even other mothers said she was the most beautiful newborn they had ever seen. Here she is 2 days old, on my birthday- Oct. 19th. She had that wonderful healthy color to her skin from the minute she was born, along with striking features and a nice amount of dark hair.Smiling for Daddy:

Enjoying bath time at about 6 mo.s:

I spent hours and hours just cuddling her.

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and cometh down from the Father..."

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Happy Harvest!

I put out my fall decorations today, which took all of 3 minutes. I don’t do a whole lot of decorations for most seasons, Christmas being the exception. I wouldn’t mind having a wee bit more fall things to put out, but when it becomes more of a chore to get out and store away again, then I am done! Each of these little things has some sort of sentimental value to me.

This welcome sign was a gift from my friend, Lisa. I had been wanting one for a while when she unexpectedly gave this to me. It's so much better than anything I had been tempted to buy.

This centerpiece was a gift from my wonderful in-laws. They brought it to the hospital on the day Maddie was born. So next week, this centerpiece will be 3 yrs. old! =)

This is actually just a bundle that I threw together myself when I was a broke newlywed... but that cutie in the background, I am rather attached to.

I truly do love fall here in upstate NY. Growing up in California, there really wasn’t the dramatic change of season that we enjoy here. Not that we knew what we were missing, or would complain if we did! 70 degrees on Thanksgiving isn’t exactly cause for depression. But now being so close to the Adirondack Mountains affords us plenty of beautiful scenery for even just a mundane drive to Wal-Mart. The trees are bright and beautiful right now. And I get to enjoy their vibrant colors indoors as well… they sneak into the house on the bottoms of shoes and decorate my kitchen floor. See why I have no need of lots of autumn d├ęcor?! I would take a picture to show you, but wouldn’t you know it: that floor actually got cleaned recently! Sometimes the house wife around here actually gets her act together.

We are in the middle of two weeks of revival meetings at our church. It’s been wonderful so far, both in attendance and spirit. Here is a picture of the Children’s choir singing “Do Lord” on Sunday evening.

Madison has been talking about singing in the Children’s Choir when she is older every day since then. Here is her rendition:

(Please excuse the mitch-matched Pjs, messy house and mattress in the middle of the living room... we were in "Swine Flu" mode... although she was pretty chipper here, huh!?)

Hope you're enjoying a wonderful fall day where ever you are.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

My vision ...and what's up with the bizarre name?

Yada Yada Yada: I was very close to naming this blog “Just another blog”… because I cannot promise any originality or any special characteristic that will make it be any different than the hundreds of blogs on the web. Yada Yada Yada also seems to fit since I tend to be long winded in my writing.

The Mayhem: That would be referring to daily life. My husband is a youth pastor, which provides plenty of mayhem, and of course mayhem comes in the form of 2 pretty little girls named Maddie and Eden. I see myself as a busy person- not that I necessarily have a packed schedule and pressing demands… I’m just busy. One reason is I ALWAYS do things the hard way. I somehow imagine the result to be better, which of course it isn’t but still, I tend to choose the hardest path to every destination. I’m learning though that some short cuts are really okay. In fact sometimes short cuts are best. So much of the mayhem I speak of is self inflicted.

Some examples of the mayhem of which I speak:

Some of the best teenagers in the world at a youth conference this summer.

Maddie was fast sleep in this awkward position.

Eden loves her some corn on the cob!

There is always mayhem when the piggy tails are pulled out... grrrrr!

My little clown!

The Musings: I am a thinker. Not to imply that I am deep or wise… but I do think constantly. It’s almost annoying. So many times I have looked at Seth as we sat in silence and asked him, “What are you thinking about?” And he honestly answers, “Nothing.” As a newlywed, I would press him. “You can’t be actually thinking of nothing. It’s impossible! Some thought must be in your mind!” And he would try to explain that he can literally sit and relax and empty his mind of everything entirely. Hmmm. Strange. I’ve never experienced such a phenomenon. And please understand that I am not bashing my husband; I’m a bit jealous that he so fully relax and shut thoughts out. Especially since so many of these abundant thoughts are shallow, or negative, or useless or just plain wrong. So I will try my best to exclude such thoughts from here. You have to realize, as I am sure you do, that I am not perfect and therefore my life is not perfect. I am not a “Polly Anna” kind… those who know me in “real life” know that I am a professional nit-picker. I can find the flaws in EVERYTHING. But who really wants to read about the negatives of my life? And I certainly don’t want to waste time recording them. Despite the imperfections that exist in me, my family and my life, overall, it is a GOOD… even GREAT life. God has been so so good. If I had a scale with the blessings that the Lord has placed in my life through His grace on one side and the other side of the scale weighed the amount of praise I have offered back to Him, we all know it would be drastically unbalanced. And of course it never will be balanced. But I hope this is another medium to praise Him for all his goodness to me… and not bore you with things in life that didn’t go as I wanted. I don’t want this blog to resemble “verbal birth control”. Do you know what verbal birth control is? It’s the words of a tired frustrated mom falling upon the ears of other women who immediately schedule their tubal ligations. Come to think of it, maybe the musings will have some mayhem mixed in just ‘cause it’s ME!

I am still tinkering with the appearance and technical end of things. I’ve been somewhat of a lazy computer user in that I have always only learned just what I needed to get by. So I’m learning as I go. And I have placed my official birthday request with my awesome hubby: photo editing software. So I think that would enhance things around here too. But we are planning a move here soon and so I gave him a less expensive choice as well: one of the scented candles that crackle as you burn them! That sounds just about as lovely as fancy spancy photo software.

AND my vision for this blog includes COMMENTS- lots and lots of comments! I don’t want to have one sided conversations here! Chime in with your input even if it just to tell me that I am a silly goose! At the very least, check one the boxes so I now you’re out there. Okay, okay… if you really are just a reader and not a participator, that will be allowed. In a real way, it’s just nice of you to take the time to read something from my heart.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The New Face of Swine Flu

That is correct: Madison has the H1N1 virus. This picture was of course not taken today... that sparkle is not twinkling from her eyes today and that smile is no where to be found. We saw our trusted pediatrician today and he assured us that we don't need to be freaking out (and I was all prepared and ready!). He said he's seen dozens of cases in the last month. The one element to Maddie having Swine Flu that naturally does alarm him (and me) is her asthma. So we have filled our prescriptions, she is sleeping, the girls and I are not attending the revival meetings tonight and we'll see how the night goes. We'll speak with Dr. Taylor in the morning.

Please pray for her asthma to behave.

The good news is that I can stop worrying about her catching it.

My poor Maddie seems to catch every little thing! She has asthma, food allergies, last year had the weird "Hand, Foot, Mouth Disease" and so I shouldn't have been surprised when she is the first person I personally know to get the Swine Flu. Makes me wonder if I should have nursed her longer than 8 months. Or have looked harder for that plastic bubble I wanted to put on my baby registry.

UPDATE ON WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON: Maddie had a hard time getting to sleep last night but when sleep finally came, it worked it's healing wonders and she is feeling much better today. We're still doing breathing treatments and steroids for her lungs but I can see that she is on the mend. Thanks for praying and praise the Lord for healing.

Monday, October 12, 2009


Inspired by a favorite blog, A Thousand Words… and then some, a topic in honor of Columbus Day. (Amy’s other blog Daily Pleasures is a worthwhile stop on your blog hopping adventures too… when I’m having a day when I am tempted to desert my family and check into a hotel with the sole purpose of sleeping, eating and non-cleaning, feeling that they would only miss me when they run out of clean dishes… you know… one of those days… I sit down to read the latest post of Daily Pleasures and I remember: I dreamed about this job. I prayed for this job. I landed this job. I love this job. It’s so much more than a “job”. And I cancel my reservation at the Holiday Inn. Daily Pleasures has become one of MY daily pleasures.)

Anyway, back to the subject: Discovery

On Labor Day, Eden discovered the awesome sensation of gritty mud between her toes, the fun of squishing it in her hands, the “delightful” taste of it in her mouth. She had HOURS of fun playing right in that little patch on mud by the West Canada Creek. She filled and emptied that Mr. Smoothie’s cup a bazillion times. And I discovered that eventually her soft baby skin will come clean again… eventually.

I personally have been discovering some things recently as well. I’ve been realized anew that Jesus really does love me. Sure, I’ve known that for years but I don’t know if I’ve ever really truly KNOWN that. Maybe it was that my head knew it but my heart had forgotten? What does this silly California girl mean?!! Girl, your guess is as good as mine.

Okay really… let me see if I can explain it better. This summer I was not feeling well. Nothing dire but I was nauseated all the time and had terrible headaches and was feeling dizzy several times a day. Dizziness is very annoying when you are busy! I ran into a lady (she is that grandmotherly type who treats everyone as if they are who own child- what would this world be like without those sweet kinds of ladies!?) who had not seen my in several months. Immediately, her mothering begins. “Kayte, are feeling all right? Have you lost weight??” I acknowledged that I had… I was down to 114 lbs... I know no one like to hear a skinny girl complain about being skinny (please unclench your fists girls!) but really, 114 lbs. on a 5’8 frame don’t look good nor does it feel good. (Poor grammar for affect… get used to it.) I felt lousy. Coincidently, we were right by my primary care physician’s office. “Kayte,” she sternly said, “I don’t want to pry, but please go right in to Dr. Taylor’s and make an appt. You really need to take care of yourself, you’re worth it.” And it’s that last phrase that stuck out to me… I actually bristled hearing it. The first thought to fly into my head was No I am not. I think being in a world full of so much emphasis about “self –esteem” and “loving yourself”, I had unconsciously been associating thinking “one was worth it” with that same kind of prideful and putting yourself first attitude. Those words kept coming back to me… “You’re worth it”. And in my heart I was thinking that I was worth nothing… just trailer park trash with yucky yucky origins.

How many times when giving the gospel to someone, have I used the phrase “If you had been the only person on earth, Jesus still would have come and died for you”. Almost every time I witness to a person, I emphasis how worth it they are to God. But all these years of telling that to others, I had never applied it to myself. I mean I knew that God was good, and that He loved me… but not in that same way like He loves the best people I know. It’s hard to explain… and let’s remember this is only my second post as an official blogger. ;) When I entered adulthood, I stood by that metaphorical baggage claim and said “Oh yes, that one is mine… and that one too… and that big one over there… oh and that really nasty beat up one… uh huh, yup, just pile ‘em up right here.” I had Baggage with a capital B. But I sat under preaching, I felt God move in my heart, I dealt with it all. Well, maybe, just maybe, not ALL. Is it pride or just plain foolishness to think that we can deal with things once and kiss them good bye forever. I had done a good job digging out bitterness, forgiving, moving on. But then come children. And that additional wonderful new relationship reveals that you have more work to do within yourself. But because I like to carry my heavy baggage solo and insist that “I’ve got it- I’m good!” with a smile on my face, I didn’t want to admit that I more issues (“issues” is a great word- it covers so much without needing to be specific). Finally, when making decisions regarding our will and who would have custody of our children should Seth and I both die, I had the morbid and embarrassing to admit thought: “They’d probably be better off with them anyway”. That’s when a girl even as stubborn as I must sit back and say “Hmmm… I think I’ve got a piece of luggage around here to get rid of”. To my heart, the Holy Spirit seemed to say ”Start with Hosea”. So I did a bit of studying in Hosea and it has helped. I’m not quite willing to say that I am baggage free… I suppose NONE of us will be free from ALL our baggage until we enter Heaven and it’s perfection. But am happy to know that Jesus really loves me and that I am worth Calvary to Him.

I am also discovering that I use italics way too often.

And in case you want to discover what was wrong with my skinny, tired run down self, my miracle cure was eating… and apparently Iced Coffee from McDonalds doesn’t count. Who knew?

So I started a blog....

I think I may be one of the last stay at home mommies in America to not have her own blog. I have considered the idea for so long... but the thoughts the held me back were too numerous to ignore: What's the purpose? Would I have time to maintain it? Who in the world would care to read about the cute things my children did today or what thoughts ran through my head today? Are my writing skills too poor to make reading my blog fun and enjoyable? And perhaps the biggest reason I did not start a blog sooner was that I did not need one more avenue to express my many many opinions. I do that MORE than adequately as is! But the desire to chronicle my family's happy days, which I think will in turn help me to focus more on the blessings and positive parts of the day, have over ruled the previously mentioned reservations. And maybe there actually is a person out there just dying to hear what adorable things Maddie, my almost 3 yr. old going on 14 yr. old, said today. Or the endearing little quirks of my beautiful Eden, who is 17 mos. And if you spot a typo or two (and I am very certain you WILL) you can use that proof reading practice to keep your sharp eye in good practice. And I hereby pledge to NOT express my many strong opinions about anything and everything from the best way to refill the toilet paper roll to what I really think about culottes. But I do hope that my reader (that make believe friend I have imagined) will keep a sense of humor as she reads, and I will try hard not to let sarcasm rule this blog... or me.

So here we go... I am real life blogger now! I will post more later about my vision for this blog and what is up with the bizarre name.