Friday, April 30, 2010

Conversations with Whitney

Setting: my couch, 11:00 pm.
Whitney (from her bedroom): Mom. Mom. Mom! Mom! Mommmmmm!
Me (when I finally get the 20 feet to her door): What?
Whitney (lying in bed with the remote and her cell phone): will you turn off my light?

Don't judge me.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Mt. Everest

I’m a big fan of mountain climbing. I’ve never actually done it, my only extreme sport is marathon running, and I’ve only seen mountains from a distance. But I love to read about the expeditions. One of my favorite television shows is on once a year for 6 weeks and it’s on discovery channel about climbing Mt. Everest. I never miss it. I know a lot about mountain climbing. The gear you use such as crampons, O2 tanks, pickaxes and down clothing, mostly made by the North Face because they make the best hiking/climbing gear. If you showed me a picture of Mt. Everest I could correctly diagram the Lhotse Face, the Khumbu Glacier, the Hilary Step, the balcony, etc. I know that Sir Edmund Hilary and Tenzing Norgay, his Sherpa, were the first to summit the mountain. I know it’s the tallest peak on earth, known as the top of the world. It is in the Himalayas, taking up space in three countries, Nepal, Tibet and China. There is a very brief window of opportunity to summit Everest, mid-May, and it only lasts about two weeks every year. It’s sister mountain in the Himalayas, K2 is actually not quite as high, but is known to be a much more difficult mountain to summit. I could go on, but I won’t. With all the knowledge I have about mountain climbing, I would never give advice. I have no practical experience. I can talk knowledgeably about it, but not from a standpoint of having lived it. And now to my point. This is how I feel about people giving me child rearing advice who have never had children. Or teen ager advice when their kids are still toddlers. Book knowledge is great. Watching Cosby on television definitely shows you how it should be done. But until you have lived it, experienced it, you have no idea. One example. I talked to a friend of mine on Sunday evening for a while. She has a daughter Whitney’s age. This friend is a nurse so she works 12 hour shifts, and she works third shift. Her daughter attends a magnet school that starts at 7:15 in the morning. She told me that one morning as she was getting off work her daughter texted her from school. She had gotten home late the night before and got up late that morning and she was hungry. Would mom bring her something to eat. Her mom told me that she thought at the time, are you kidding? Bring you something to eat at school? But for some reason she found herself at the middle school and signed her daughter out, took her to breakfast and took her back to school. Everybody out there is just in shock right now, aren’t you? (Not me, I would do this too.) She told me she was afraid her husband would be mad at her (he’s a high school administrator). This friend of mine lost this daughter shortly after this breakfast date in an accident over spring break. Was it a bad parenting decision? Maybe that day or the next day, we would’ve thought so. But now, it’s one of that mother’s precious memories of time spent with her daughter. And that lost hour didn’t mean a thing. To those of you who have kids, love and cherish every minute with them. Be careful of the advice you take. Be careful of who’s advice you take. Because you only get one childhood with them and they are gone before you know it. Nate’s at a college visit today. Baseball tryout, admissions, and he wanted to go on his own. I let him. He’s a man. He will soon be gone. Every moment I have with him matters. I may take him to breakfast tomorrow. Or not. He missed all day today. But I have to do it fast, he’s done in two weeks.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Conversations with Whitney

This is not an actual conversation with Whitney, it is the result of a conversation with Whitney. When I'm using a sharp knife, Whitney (and friends) should not be allowed in the area. While I refused the ER and stitches (and it was not easy standing up to Steve and Sheila) I ended up at the doctor Tuesday with an infection and tendon damage. The cut is the least of my problems know. My hand is bruised from the inside of my wrist, the back of my thumb and into the palm of my hand. And it's swollen. Tune in next week for a special edition of "I have learned" for a list of things I have learned I can't do (or can't do well) with one hand.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


When I was at the library with Whitney the other day we walked up and down the aisles as I tried to find books. She would point out and say, you’ve read that one, you’ve read that one, you like that author. I love to read. I love to read everything. Magazines and books being my faves. I also read a lot of blogs. Some on a once in a while basis, some semi-regularly and some I check almost daily for new posts and I’m disappointed when there is nothing new. My favorites end up bookmarked on my droid so I can access them anywhere. Right now there are three favorites on my droid (think Iphone, only not.) One is our youth pastor. Loved his from the first post. One is another lady at church that I have great admiration and respect for, she is an outstanding woman of God. The third is a former youth pastor Steve and I worked with and he is now pastoring a church down south. Great spiritual insight and wisdom from these three. I also have some blogs I read about fashion, running, and just other odds and ends that catch my eye.

My favorites authors are
Robert Ludlum
Tom Clancy
Nelson Demille
Clive Cussler
Jane Austen (doesn’t really fit, does it?)
If they sound familiar, all of them have books turned into movies. The movies are not as good as the books.

My favorite Christian authors are
C.S. Lewis
Max Lucado
Charles Swindoll

Favorite books by other authors
Andre Dubus III – The Garden of Last Days (very disturbing look at one of the terrorists of 911)
Corrie Ten Boom - The Hiding Place.
John Bunyan - Pilgrim’s Progress
Dante – The Divine Comedy

I also read a lot of books about running. This would fall under one of my favorite subjects. I used to read parenting books. Until I discovered everyone has a different philosophy, and none of them have met my kids which would require volumes (think encyclopedic) for each of them. I have a lot more time to read now than I used to. I used to carry books to baseball and volleyball practices, but now Nate takes himself and generally I drop Whitney at the door and pick her up after. I was thinking about my time alone as I realized there were three nights this week that I was home by myself. Four years ago, an hour by myself was unheard of. I’m much more of a loner than I thought I was. I rather enjoy having full control of the remote, if I want to watch TV, or being able to read a book without anyone interrupting me. Or going to the library or Barnes and Noble. I am always looking for new authors to read. So if you have any favorites, feel free to recommend them. I read many more than I listed above, these are just the ones I really love.
Patsy Baker

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I'm that mom...

I go to great lengths to not volunteer at my kids schools. Partly because I'm really busy all the time and hate to fill up my free time with volunteer activities around all the mom's that do everything extremely well and look good doing it. I always thought I was an involved mother until my kids got to high school. Holy overachievers! I cannot begin to keep up. When I realized this two weeks into freshman year, I accepted defeat, not gracefully, but giddily, and have used work and kids as an excuse for the last 4 years. Until....Prom was Saturday night. Nate's group he was going with includes several nominees for mother of the year. Booster club president and booster club vice president. All have more than one child that excels at everything they do. They are always extremely well put together and always look appropriate. I won't post the link to my redneck outfit I wore to the high school, but I will remind you of it. I was supposed to help with decorating for after prom, they were starting at 3:00 p.m. I get off work at 4:30 (ish) p.m. so I said I would be there later. I went home and began supper. Little backstory here, a few months ago I bought some new kitchen knives. They will cut through a penny. And I have been very careful. But I was cutting lettuce and took my eyes off what I was doing to look at Whitney and sliced through the meat of my palm. Steve wanted to take me to the ER for stitches, I used a folded up tube sock to staunch the bleeding and sport pre-wrap to hold it on my hand and said I would be fine. Saturday when I took my make shift bandage off and it was still bleeding, I knew I was gonna hear "I told you so" and he would be right. Today, I'm going to the doctor because I believe it's infected. I washed the knife, but not sure what all I used it on cooking dinner. It's a little fuzzy. Needless to say my left hand is throbbing, so this post is a real labor of love. When I got the text asking where I was, they were missing me at the high school, I told them my story. I got a text back, are you being serious? Did that really happen? Like I would make up a story to get out of the one time I volunteered at school. REALLY!!!
Anyway, prom night I sat in the kitchen while the chef that was catering the meal prepared it (it wasn't anymore expensive than Sumo would've been) and waited on the kids. (He made extra tiramisu and it was extraordinary.) I heard one mom say that she was helping with after prom party too, and her son wasn't real happy about it, he asked if she was trying to be "volunteer of the year". I sat with my bandaged hand and felt vindicated. So on this note, I will not be volunteering for the next four years of Whitney's high school career. I also hopefully will not cut my hand to get out of it.

Nate and Hannah

Nate and friends

Jeff, Drew and Nate. Three of the best teenage boys I know.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Conversations with Whitney

setting: Home (surprised? We are actually at home sometimes)

Whitney comes running from her bedroom laughing hysterically holding a polaroid and a book.

Whitney: "MOM!!! Grandma looks just like Anne Frank! Look at this picture!
Me: "Oh my goodness, she does!"

Whitney has carried the book and the picture with her ever since. She has changed Grandmas's name to Anne Frank in her cell phone and has answered the phone when grandma calls, "is this Anne Frank?" She has decided my mom has lost her mind (quite possible) and just doesn't remember that she's Anne Frank.

May have something to do with this ...

My parents Easter 1973

Anne Frank

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Mother's Worst Nightmare

I was home one afternoon last week. Dr. Phil was on. I wasn't really watching it, but I heard a lady say "It's every mother's worst nightmare. Your daughter comes home and says she wants a boob job for prom." I am a mother. This is not my worst nightmare. I know a mother who buried her 13 year old daughter due to a freak accident. WORST NIGHTMARE! I know a mother who has an 18 year old daughter who has not graduated from high school, is pregnant with her first child and has no job. WORST NIGHTMARE! I know a mother who has a 19 year old daughter currently serving time in prison for multiple offenses and she is raising the 11 month old granddaughter. I know a mother who has adopted and is raising her 15 year old, 6 year old and 2 year old grandchildren as her children because their mother (her daughter) is unfit. I can go on. I won't, because I don't want to be any more depressing than this.
This mother went on to blame reality television for her daughter's poor body image. I blame parenting, not television. If television is the problem, don't let your kids watch those shows. And if you can't stop them, get rid of the television. Extreme, yes, but if this is a problem for you, deal with it. We enforced extremely stringent discipline on our children over the years. One of them was grounded for 6 months. And not just grounded to home, grounded to dad. She went no where there was not a parent or grandparent. At 16 she spent the day at grandma's instead of home with the other kids. If Steve went to church early for practice and stayed for two services, she went. At the end of 6 months, after she had been a model child, obedient, well behaved, she immediately reverted to her old ways. And as far as a boob job? If your daughter wants one, explain why you think it's a bad idea. If she still wants one, tell her when she has the $6000.00 to pay for herself and is old enough to do it on her own, go for it! Patsy Parenting at it's best. That should be your worst nightmare.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The half price Easter Bunny

Whitney came and sat with me and Nate in church Sunday morning. She had spent the night with a friend and then came to church with her. Whitney had a giant Easter Basket with her. That was when I realized I hadn’t done anything for Easter for my kids. No new Easter clothes. No Easter basket. No chocolate bunny. No pastel M&M’s. No hard boiled eggs. No dye stains under my finger nails, in my porcelain sink and on my counter. No rotten eggs left undiscovered in the backyard for squirrels, opposums, raccoons and skunks to find later. We went home from church and had tacos for lunch. No special Easter lunch, Steve just wanted tacos. Nate then went to his girlfriend’s for dinner. They eat fancy. It’s like the difference in Yia Yia’s (them) and Cracker Barrel (us). Works well for the Nate and his girlfriend, best of both worlds. Nate came home with an Easter Basket. Am I the only mom who did not recognize Easter with a basket of candy? I felt pretty lame until I ate Nate’s peeps and somehow those little yellow blobs of marshmallows covered with sugar made me feel almost deliriously good. So later in the week, several days after Easter, I handed my kids a box of Krackel chicks and Dove eggs (not in a basket, in the packaging from the store) and Nate asked why he was getting Easter candy so late. I told him he had been visited by the “clearance Easter Bunny”. He laughed and said, it’s all half price now isn’t it. I confirmed that was true. Nate says he loves the half price Easter Bunny.
All the Peeps were gone which is quite fortuitous for me.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Steve 50

Steve is running a 50 mile race May 22, 2010. We are calling it the Steve 50. Clever, since he's the only one running it. He has contacted the Multiple Sclerosis Society and is running to raise money for this cause. You can go here // to donate.

You can go here

to read a blog post from our friend Sean about his wife who suffers with MS, one of the people Steve is running in honor of.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Conversations with Whitney

A picture is worth a thousand words...

Thursday, April 8, 2010

I'm heeled

Not a typo, just a bad pun. My heel is better. It took a while, lots of hours of alternate training, gained a few pounds, fortunately just a few, but I am able to run again. Ran a 10K on Saturday. I ran the same race last year, and this year's time was slower by a couple of minutes. But a friend from church was running her first 10K and she started out strong, and was ahead of Sheila and I until about 7K mark. When we caught up to her I didn't have the heart to run ahead and leave her, so I lost a few minutes of time. My race strategy is start off at a certain (slow) pace, regardless of how I feel, and then finish strong. I struggled with pain in both calves for the first 4K and then everything fell into the groove and I was good. We were on a pace to finish faster than we did last year, which was a good feeling. But since I never run for time, I run to finish, it's no big thing. I am now training for another 10K in May, a half marathon in June and a marathon in October, all right here in nice flat Wichita!

As I sat in Good Friday service I didn't verbally participate in the worship songs. Since I love music and I love to sing, this is out of character. We were singing "what can wash away our sins, what can make us whole again" and I just had this overwhelming feeling of sadness that I may never feel whole in this life. I have shared pieces of my struggles, and I know that God is working big in my life. We were going to celebrate communion, and whenever I see the communion plates at the front of the sanctuary I immediately begin examining myself. And I saw a few things that I didn't like. Along with that, I couldn't help but feel sadness for some people in my life, people that I love. This is where the concept of wholeness started working on me. Even as healthy, functioning people are we whole? I felt like something was missing. But move forward to Easter and I was reminded me that someday I will be whole. Jesus paid much to high a price for me, and because of this it is worth the constant scrutiny of my life to see what I I continue to need to change as I strive to live a Christ honoring life. I think the brokenness and need in my life keeps me humble before him.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Still not much to say...

So more pictures. Saturday our game was part of the Greater Wichita Athletic League Showcase, and as we tend to do on this day, we drew the top City League team. But that doesn't change the fact that Nate had a great game (has had a great year so far) and looked really good doing it. The game was at Lawrence Dumont Stadium, which is the minor league facility here in Wichita.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Classy, intelligent, well-educated women

Guessing by the title I'm not referring to myself? You got that right. There is a group on facebook that you can join, Classy, intelligent well-educated women who use the word ????? alot. I won't tell you what the word is because it's very offensive. I can't think of single place, time or circumstance that it is acceptable. If someone said it in front of my kids, I would ask them not to say it. The reason this stuck out to me is a woman at church joined this group. I know facebook is for your friends, and I wouldn't call her a friend, but because she knows Steve I am also her friend. When she joined this group, I saw it. And I wondered how anyone could consider themselves intelligent or well-educated and use foul language. I'm a believer that an educated person can express themselves without using foul language. Without using swear words.
The Bible talks about our tongues and the words we use. One I think of often (because I need to) Job 6:24 teach me and I will be silent (hold my tongue). Ecclesiastes 5:2 says let your words be few (I also need to do this). Psalms 10 lists the "grievous" ways of the wicked and verse 7 says "his mouth is full of cursing and deceit". For me as a Christian woman, I have a responsibility to tame my tongue. Refrain from cursing and hateful words and unkindness. Opposite of that it includes being positive, kind, and encouraging. I have so many opportunities for growth in this area, and know that this is one of the works that will be completed...someday.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Conversations with Whitney

Whitney is adjusting to the loss of her friend Regan. She wears pink and blue ribbons braided on her arm as a bracelet, because it was Regan's favorite color. We had to applique #2's on all the volleyball jerseys so they didn't tatto themselves with Sharpies.
This is a rare serious conversation I will share that shows me how important it is to teach your children the truth. And then a couple pictures in memory of a very special little girl.
Whitney's friend: "You mean Regan isn't watching over me from heaven?"
Whitney: "No, when you are dead you are dead. Your soul goes to heaven, and you are separated from earth."
Whitney's friend, in tears: "So she's not my guardian angel?"
Whitney: "No, you have Jesus for that."
Whitney's friend: "But I miss her"
Whitney: "Me too, but even if you could look down from heaven, why would you want to?"

at this point I joined the conversation and helped Whitney, and I have to say this is one reason I happily car pool her and her friends. I had the chance last April to talk to Regan when we were in Kansas City about God and his love and how he doesn't send people to hell, we choose to go to hell when we choose not to accept his gift of love and salvation through his son Jesus. I have remembered that conversation with Regan almost daily for two weeks, and I thank God for the opportunity to have talked to her that day. It's a reminder to me not to ever shirk talking about important matters with my kids and their friends.
Whitney, Regan, Denae and Shawnee

Whitney, Regan and Alexx
Our first place finish, first tournament without Regan. Sharpie tattoos in her honor on legs and faces.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

I don't have anything to say...

I'm sitting between two of my high school friends. Rebecca (on the left) was my college roommate and lives in California. She will be back again in May to run a 10K with me and we will eat at her favorite restaurant, Sweet Basil, where we are seated below. The other two ladies I am privileged to know because of Rebecca. One of her best friends, Deb with the glasses and her sister Anna, in the orange. Sharon (on my right) attends church with me.

This is Steve's grandaughter, Aneshia. I am not grandma, I am Nana. This is at his 40th birthday party. Shhhhh! Don't tell!

When you have nothing to say, post pictures!