Saturday, August 27, 2011

Thing #713 That Annoys Me

There are a lot of things that annoy me: being hot and sweaty, kids with sticky hands, people who stand too close when they are talking to me, parents who let their kids run crazy in public, my neighbor who stands in his driveway to call Korea at 2am, slow-driving in the fast lane (see previous post), not getting enough sleep, strangers who touch your pregnant belly, and cold coffee, to name just few.

Yesterday, I had a follow-up appointment with my gallbladder-ectomy surgeon. It has been six weeks since my surgery, and this was to be my last appointment with him. I have been having no problems, no complaints, no pain. But I still had to meet with him one last time. I arrived 15 minutes before my scheduled time, and noted with irritation that his waiting room was chock-full of people who looked extremely frustrated. (Also, I was the youngest person in the room by at least 30 years.) I resigned myself to a long wait, found a seat, and silently congratulated myself on having brought a book.

So there I was in a room full of strangers, trying to read, but instead found myself very distracted by things that probably only bother the very high-strung (which was me after one of the most craptastic weeks of my professional career). The lady sitting directly across from me was at least 112 and appeared to be snoring while wide awake. Someone's hearing aid kept "going off" (not sure what the appropriate term is, but we all know how unexpectedly shrill that sound can be). The guy sitting next to me was texting (and therefore beeping), and a couple of patients on the other side of the waiting room were having a very loud conversation about vintage cars. The office ladies were joking and laughing on the other side of their closed partition, and I had the devilish urge to ask them what was so damn funny over there, because we sure as hell weren't having any fun over here. To make matters worse, it was about 100 degrees in the waiting room and someone needed to change his Depends.

ONE HOUR AND FORTY-FIVE MINUTES LATER they finally called my name and I was shown into an exam room. The nurse insincerely apologized for my wait, to which I said something inane like, "Oh, that's ok." Why do we say things like that? Clearly it was not ok. I just lost almost two hours of my life that I'll never get back so that the surgeon can tell me what I already know - that I'm good to go. There were a lot of things I would rather do with that two hours - sit at Starbucks, go shopping, watch my fingernails grow, ANYTHING but sit in that waiting room feeling my blood pressure go up by the minute.

And, as you can probably predict, my "visit" with the surgeon lasted about a nanosecond. He looked at my incisions, announced that I apparently "heal well," and then told me to call if I have any other trouble. His perky receptionist, completely oblivious to the fact that she was separated from a horde of angry, mutinous (albeit old) people tired of waiting in the hot, noisy, stinky waiting room by a thin little partition, said "Bye, now! You have a good evening!" Sure.

So, thing # 713 that annoys me is having my time wasted for a completely unnecessary reason, especially at the end of a long, tiring work-week.

Maybe next Friday afternoon I'll go to the DMV.


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Blessings

Laura Story has a great new song out called "Blessings." My favorite line goes "what if the trials of this life are God's mercies in disguise?" My aunt recently gave me a book called Blessings are Everywhere which has me looking for blessings in unlikely places.


We certainly have had our share of trials over the past couple of years. And each one has brought its own "blessings in disguise," some we are probably not even aware of yet. Recently we've had a couple of new trials, and in each I have been struck by the mercies of the Lord.


A week and a half ago Caleb climbed out of his crib and broke his right arm. As best we can tell, he leaned over the front railing (maybe looking for a toy or paci in the floor), tumbled out, and broke his arm as he was bracing himself for the fall. No parent wants her child to break any bone, but standing in the emergency room I was suddenly aware of how much worse it could have been. As far as breaks go, Caleb's was simple, uncomplicated, and "easy" to fix. No surgery required, no physical therapy, and the cast should be on for no more than three or four weeks total. We clearly have a "climber" on our hands, and this accident served to make us all the more careful in our "toddler-proofing." Our bookcases have been bolted to the wall, we got a crib tent (to prevent further "escapes"), and we don't take our eyes off of him. Perhaps this "trial" has mercifully prevented later, more traumatic injuries.


On Father's Day, my mom was pulling weeds in her flower beds and she ended up with poison ivy. She had to take steroids which caused her to have pancreatitis (who knew steroids can do that, but they apparently can). She had an abdominal CT scan to make sure nothing was wrong with her pancreas, and in the process, discovered a substantially-sized mass on one of her adrenal glands. There was no way to know if it had invaded other internal organs and no way to know (for sure) whether it was cancer unless it came out.


Mom's surgery was this past Tuesday morning and it went very well. The actual surgery lasted only two hours (they expected more like four), and she was able to go straight to a regular room (rather than ICU as was originally planned). She came home three days earlier than expected, and on Friday we got the news that the mass was benign. I think that might be my new favorite word - "benign."


Did God allow us to find the mass early before it became cancer? I don't know. But I do know that the Lord was in that operating room. I know that he brought us all a sense of peace and comfort while we waited for the news. And I know that we are all more aware of what really matters in our lives as a result of this experience. I am certain that this recent trial is God's mercy in disguise. I am so grateful for his protection and provision in my life and the lives of my loved ones, even if we don't understand all that happens this side of heaven.


One of my friends recently posted to Facebook, "What if you woke up tomorrow with only the things you thanked God for today?" That is definitely food for thought...


Count your blessings. They are all around you.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me

Yesterday I had my first *real* surgery experience. I had my wisdom teeth removed when I was 23, but according to some people, that doesn't count. I think anything that includes an IV should be officially categorized as a "major, scary, surgical experience." But that's just my opinion.

So. Those of you who know me well know that I am deathly afraid of needles. As it turns out, I am also a "passer-outer" which is the official medical term for those of us who see a needle going into our skin and immediately lose conciousness. I have passed out at the dentist, the eye doctor (that creepy glaucoma test where they press on your eyeball totally wiggs me out), the dermatologist, and the OB/GYN. You can imagine how much I was NOT excited about having my gall bladder removed - a procedure that definitely requires an IV, in addition to several surgical instruments being inserted into my abdominal cavity. Also, they would be REMOVING AN ENTIRE INTERNAL ORGAN.

Darrell had to work the day of my surgery (because it was the week of July 4th, he couldn't get the day off), so my dad took me to the hospital the morning of my surgery while my mom kept the boys. I swear I was the only person in the whole hospital, which was kind of nice, but a little creepy also. I went right into the surgical prep area, and met several very nice nurses who instructed me in all of the humiliating things I needed to do to get ready for surgery (pee in a cup, get naked, put on a horrid, ugly mumu that dozens of other people have already worn, and then try to hold it together so I wouldn't moon anybody). I proceeded to share my tendency to pass out (I have learned that medical personnel prefer that you share that information up front), to which they responded with extra TLC (numbed my hand before inserting the IV) and a delightful "you will know what's going on but you won't care" drug directly into my IV. Within just a few minutes, I was feeling no anxiety. I was even able to get off the rolling bed onto the operating table without my heart stopping (which would have been completely impossible without that drug - I wonder if it comes in pill form for every-day use?).

The next thing I remember, I was waking up in the recovery room. My vision was blurry and I had an oxygen mask on my face. The surgeon came to tell me some very important information that I don't remember at all. They gave me saltines to eat and apple juice to drink, but my mouth was so dry I couldn't even chew the saltines up. It made me think of that game you probably played as a kid (a favorite with youth pastors during all-night lock-ins) where you chew up a bunch of saltines and then the first person who can whistle wins. I couldn't have whistled to save my life. It was kind of comical in a "I can't breath and I'm choking and also my stomach hurts and who are you again?" kind of way.

Then it was time for me to put my clothes back on and go home. At some point (I don't really remember when), my dad had arrived in the recovery room. The nurse asked me if I wanted her or my dad to help me get dressed. Before I could respond, my dad had launched himself out of his chair and was halfway out the door. Guess that answered that question!

Fully clothed and armed with a prescription for high-powered narcotics, I arrived at home and went immediately for the couch. All in all I was gone from home for four hours. That is just amazing. Thank God for modern medicine!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Two Down, Six to Go...

School has been out for two weeks, and I am only just now recovering from the "mad-dash to the finish line" that is the month of May. For some reason, this year seemed more hectic and chaotic than years past. But it probably had more to do with age and exhaustion than actual events.

Caleb's April CF appointment (and throat culture) revealed the miraculous absence of pseudamonas in his lungs. PRAISE THE LORD!!! We have had no breathing treatments (now only do the vest) since mid-April and it has been PURE HEAVEN! We are trying to enjoy every moment because we realize there is a good chance he'll have pseudamonas growing in his lungs again at some point in the future (probably sooner rather than later), but for now we are enjoying the lack of this arduous task in our lives (and damaging germs in Caleb's lungs). We see the CF doctor again next month.


May was filled with many "firsts." Caleb's baby dedication was May 15th (see previous post). May also brought Caleb's first outing to a public place (a restaurant on Mother's Day). He did great, and I only wiped down his area a couple of times, so I was pretty proud of myself, too! Joshua "graduated" from preschool May 19th. He and his classmates put on a performance that still has me chuckling. Darrell and I had no idea that Joshua would be so comfortable "performing" in front of a room full of people. But I guess he comes by it honestly... :)

On May 21st, we participated in our first Great Strides walk. Our team raised $5,000 for the CF foundation, a much larger amount that I originally hoped for. I am still blown away by the generosity of our friends and family. Seventeen people walked with us, and our red "Caleb's Crew" t-shirts were a hit. We were the only team out there wearing eye patches (arrgggghhh, matey!) I can't wait to walk again next year, and I hope we'll be able to raise a lot more money and have a lot more people walking with us!



Sometime in May, Caleb starting walking. At first he did this funny "side step" and he kind of looked like a fiddler crab walking across the floor. He now puts one foot in front of the other, but he still has a "hitch in his get-along" as my dad says. At least he now walks faster than he crawls (which is saying a lot, for those of you who have witnessed Caleb's "speed crawling").

Joshua started "playing" soccer this month. We found a great organization (i9 Sports) that caters to kids who have very little to no experience playing sports. We practice and play on Wednesday evenings (6:45-8:15) for the months of June and July. This way Joshua can get some experience and decide if he likes playing soccer before we commit ourselves to multiple practices and games every week. So far he likes it, and in the fall we may sign him up to play t-ball (same format, on Sunday evenings). I'll admit, it's pretty entertaining to watch a bunch of kids who really don't know what they're doing trying to "play" together. And the coaches are just awesome. No pressure. Just fun.



I also found out this month that I have gall stones. I had my first gall bladder attack a few weeks after Caleb was born, and I've been trying to manage it with my diet since then. Over Memorial Day I had another bad attack, and realized it was time to go to the doctor. "Numerous gall stones" were visible on the ultrasound. I saw the surgeon on Monday afternoon, and it seems inevitable that I'll have to have it removed. It must be a rite of passage in my family - both my grandmothers, my mom, my aunt, and several cousins have all had their gall bladders out.

I am so grateful for the respite of summer. Even though the heat is sometimes unbearable, I love the opportunity to "do whatever I want" most days (of course, as a parent, that is somewhat modified by the whims of my children). I am catching up on my reading (mostly fluff) and spending time with friends. I am determined to slow down and savor the "rest" of these next few weeks. August will be here before we know it, and I want to soak up all the relaxation I can before then!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Letter to our Son

(Written for Caleb's baby dedication on May 15th):

Dear Caleb,

In Hebrew, the name "Caleb" means "faithful, devoted, whole-hearted." The Caleb for whom you were named was a warrior with a heart for God. As spies in the land of Canaan, only Caleb and Joshua trusted God's promises to the Israelites. Caleb was loyal to God when others ran in fear; he was fearless in the face of overwhelming odds.

When we gave you this name, we had no idea how well it would fit you. You certainly have embraced life whole-heartedly and you are fearless in exploring your world. You have your own set of overwhelming odds that you don't understand yet but, at 15 months, you already shoulder the daily burden with a resilience that amazes and humbles us. Through your eyes we get to experience the wonder of God's creation as you discover new things every day. You have brought so much joy to our lives; we cannot imagine our family without your precious smile and infectious laugh.

You are a gift, Caleb. God created you exactly as you are for a very special purpose. As your parents, our greatest hope is that you will come to love the Lord with all of your heart and you will devote yourself to seeking His will for your life. God has entrusted your upbringing to us and we soberly accept the responsibility of guiding you into adulthood. We pray that you will strive to bring glory to God in all you do; as your parents, we commit to bring you up in a home that seeks the Lord above all else.

To that end, we promise to show you with our own lives what it means to have an intimate relationship with our Savior, Jesus Christ. You will see your parents "bring the full tithe into the storehouse" with joy and thanksgiving for God's provision. You will see your parents praying and reading our Bibles. You will know by our actions that we love and respect each other, and that we put our faith and trust in God alone. You will attend church regularly and will be involved in Bible study as you get older. And you will have our support and encouragement in whatever God calls you to when you are a man.

We love you as only parents can, and we pray for you without ceasing. We trust that your story will be one of faith in God and whole-hearted devotion to his call. We commit ourselves to raise you with the hopeful expectation that the Lord will accomplish mighty things in and through your life.

With love,

Your Parents

Jeremiah 17:7-8:

"But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit."

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Typical Morning

A recent post on one of my favorite blogs (dooce.com - parental advisory - contains many, many curse words) inspired me to blog about a typical morning in the Sprinkle household. The only reason I have the stamina to even think about this is because we are currently on spring break.

So, a typical day starts at 5:00am. This is what one refers to as an "ungodly hour." No human being should ever get up at this time of day. I drag myself out of bed and stumble to the shower, hoping that Darrell is almost finished (he gets up 10 minutes before me, the poor man). Shower, blow dry, apply makeup, get dressed - all the while hoping, praying, and keeping everything crossed that Caleb does not wake up. Because if Caleb wakes up, all bets are off.

Next comes 10 precious minutes of quiet. If I have properly prepared the night before, I can pour myself a cup of freshly brewed coffee (thank you auto-brew feature) and do a little facebook stalking. Then I get Caleb's breathing treatment ready, everything plugged in, and cartoons turned on. Caleb usually gets up without too much fuss, and if I play my cards right, I can get him strapped into his vest and hooked up and both machines going before he's fully awake. If he gets fully awake before all of this happens, again, all bets are off.

Thirty minutes later, treatments are done. Bags and lunches go in the car, and then it's upstairs to get Joshua out of bed and dressed. I (probably stupidly) leave Caleb downstairs during this process. By the time Joshua and I make it back downstairs, it looks like a tornado hit the living room. It's like Caleb knows he only has a limited amount of time to do as much damage as possible - and he is very talented at multitasking.

Now comes the putting on of jackets and shoes. For those of you who do not have young children, you don't realize the sheer amount of willpower it takes to put a jacket on a 14 month old and not succumb to the temptation to do violence. All the while Joshua is bemoaning the fact that "the sun is not up, why am I?" I don't have a good answer to that question because, as I mentioned before, this time of morning is just impossible.

Everyone into the car and buckled; remaining coffee re-heated and in the car (as opposed to on top of the car, which has happened on more than one occasion. Joshua now reminds me, "Mom, did you get your coffee off the roof of the car?") and we're off to Miss Jamie's.

It takes five to ten minutes to get both kids into our wonderful babysitter's house. She allows me to come a little before her regular drop off time because I would never make it to work on time otherwise. A couple of minutes sharing pertinent information (last time Caleb ate - generally sometime around 1:00 or 2:00am) and not-so-important information (the state of our sinuses given the latest pollen count), and I'm back in the car headed to work.

If all has gone well, I am pulling out of Miss Jamie's driveway no later than 7:02. Any later than that, and I have no prayer of making it to work by 7:30. I drive through something like 124 traffic lights on my way to work (see previous post about the nimrods who don't know how to drive on a four-lane highway) and I inevitably get stopped at every light if I'm running even two minutes late.

You can imagine how I look when I finally arrive at work. Disheveled doesn't even begin to cover it. If it weren't for a constant stream of coffee, I would not even be coherent. Close my eyes, take a deep breath, say a little prayer, and... wait, is that the bell ringing? Oh crap.....


Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Gap

My daily Bible reading has me in Ezekiel right now.... not the most uplifting reading material. Mostly it's about how God's chosen people have turned their backs on him time and time again, and now he has sent the prophet Ezekiel to tell them that they are toast. He goes into great detail in describing all the "detestable" things Israel has done, even saying their behavior makes Sodom look righteous in comparison (wow.) I am disturbed by a few passages I've recently run across; they seem a little to "close for comfort."

Ezekiel 16:49-50 says "Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed, and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen." These two verses really stood out to me. I am in the process of reading a book called Radical by David Platt which discusses the reality of America's "watered down" Christianity. It's a fascinating read; I highly recommend it. The short version is: we've become so caught up in our own creature-comforts, we've forgotten what the gospel of Jesus is really all about. I have to admit that whole days, even weeks, go by when I don't think about all of the people in the world who live in abject poverty. To them, my house is a palace and they would gladly eat the food I throw away. The money my family spends on clothes would easily support their families for a year. In that context, these two verses in Ezekiel seem like an indictment.

Ezekiel 22:28 says "Her prophets whitewash these deeds (ignoring God's laws) for them by false visions and lying divinations. They say, 'this is what the sovereign Lord says' - when the Lord has not spoken." This verse reached out and grabbed me because I tend to gloss over the parts of the Bible that make me uncomfortable. Let's face it: the constructivist idea of no "absolute truth" has invaded modern Christianity - in the form of "what's right for me may not be right for you." But God's law has remained the same... Jesus himself said he did not come to abolish the law but to complete it. I'm not saying I have it all figured out, but I am saying that I think we (American Christians) have become too comfortable with ignoring the parts of the Bible that don't "fit" with our modern lifestyle. And I wonder if the consequences are more dire than we realize.

But finally, I came across something in Ezekiel that comforted me. On it's surface it is perhaps the most damning indictment of them all. But it served to remind me of how grateful I am for Jesus. Ezekiel 22:30-31 says (God speaking) "I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none. So I will pour out my wrath on them and consume them with my fiery anger, bringing down on their own heads all they have done, declares the Sovereign Lord."

Like I said, not the most uplifting reading material.

If each of us had to stand before God on our own merit, we could not hope to be righteous enough to be in his holy presence. We would deserve his "fiery anger" simply because of all the times we have ignored his laws and followed our fleshly desires. But praise God, in his mercy, he provided a way for us to be restored to relationship with him. Jesus lived a sinless life and then offered himself up as a sacrifice to cover all of our sins; past, present, and future. He stands in the gap between us and God's perfect holiness. He is the Way, the Truth, the Life. No one comes to the Father except through him. (John 14:6). I am so grateful that a way has already been made. The least I can do is offer my life as a living sacrifice (Romans 12), wholly submitting to God's will.

Reading through my Bible in a (little more than a) year has been a tremendous blessing in my life. It has also been a challenge in that I am finding a lot I have yet to "wrestle down" in my Christian walk. But the effort is worth it... the discomfort of conviction leads to repentance and realignment. And a closer walk with the Lord is the greatest reward.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Five Minutes of Silence

For anyone who has kids, you know that the moment you conceive, your moments of silence are numbered. Pictures of sleeping, angelic babies crack me up because that is so not how that goes; there is a lot more crying and fussing than those pictures let on. Yes, they do sleep eventually, but who has the time to photograph them while they're asleep? You have to use that time (however short it might be) to bathe, do laundry, wash dishes, fix your hair, put on makeup, cook dinner, clean up the house, you get the point. The fussing and the crying that happens during the awake time put me totally on edge. It was excruciating to listen to either of my boys "cry it out" so I just refused to do it. Probably contributed to the whole "no sleeping through the night and you have lay down with me until I go to sleep" situation we find ourselves in, but I really don't care.

Then there are the baby and toddler toys. I swear, I think the toy companies got together with the alcohol industry and conspired to drive parents to drink. The noise that comes out of these toys is unbelievable. And of course the typical child will have more than one toy "going" at the same time. The exersaucer makes noise; the activity table makes noise; even books have those buttons on the side that provide annoying little sound effects while you're reading the story. Couple this with kiddie DVDs like Elmo's World and Little Einsteins, and you've got yourself a cacophony of "learning" going on! Meanwhile, mom is in the corner smoking her Virginia Slims, sipping her scotch and twitching.

Let's not forget the grandparent factor. My dad has given Joshua a harmonica and a guitar. Joshua has already blessed our lives with an abundance of noise - he never stops talking and with his hearing loss, his "whisper voice" is about as quiet as a football stadium during the SuperBowl. I suspect that Dad's gifts, while intended to help spark a love of music in Joshua, also carry the ulterior motive of providing "payback" for all the times he asked me for five minutes of silence while I was growing up. To my knowledge, I was never quite able to provide it and now I'm getting my just desserts. I am only just now beginning to understand the fortitude it must have taken to not strap my motormouth to the roof of our car during the three-day cross country move to Arizona when I was nine years old.

The irony is that my house no longer feels "right" when it's totally quiet. If I happen to get home before Darrell arrives with the kids, the house seems almost too still, too quiet. I actually look forward to the arrival of my boys and all the noise they bring with them. Within five minutes of their arrival, however, Joshua is telling me about his day, Darrell has turned on the TV, Caleb is fussing for a snack or a bottle or some attention or because he loaded up his diaper, the toy I kicked on my way in is singing a song, and the Leapfrog crap on the fridge is telling me what the letter "A" says.

And I am once again longing for five minutes of silence.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

My Cousin Andy

My dad is one of three brothers. Between them, they have five girls and one boy. We lived far apart when we were kids, and didn't get to see each other very much. But I have many fond memories of my cousin Andy. He has always been "loaded up" with personality and kept our family gatherings very entertaining.

Andy always did everything with his whole heart. And now that he is an adult, it is no different.
When he was in college, Andy went on a mission trip to India and fell in love with the people there. That trip sparked a deep and abiding desire to serve widows and orphans around the world. I'll be honest, at times we wondered what was going on with Andy. He would load up everything he owned, spend his last dollar getting to India, and then give away everything he had while there. He has been critically ill with meningitis in a foreign, "developing" country. He has been down to his last penny, not knowing how he would pay his bills, when God miraculously intervened and provided a way. But Andy always said there is no safer place to be than the center of God's will. His life of ministry has certainly proven that time and again.

As Andy once put it on his Facebook page, "Just because you aren't serving widows and orphans doesn't mean God didn't ask you to." He and his beautiful wife, Susan, spend every moment focused on just that. They now support four orphanages in India, Ghana, and Haiti. Their company, Chunky Junk, sells jewelry hand made by a group of ladies in Dehli, India with proceeds going directly to the support of these orphanages. I have a couple of beautiful pieces that I would love to show you if you're interested in seeing the craftsmanship up close. You can be certain that in buying this jewelry, you are participating in a ministry that truly loves the Lord first and then loves every neighbor, especially the least among us.

I hope you will consider supporting Andy and Susan in their ministry efforts. Be blessed!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Jeopardy (or the Big Nerd that lives at my house)

Sitting here watching Jeopardy, I am reminded of how I used to intentionally make my sister think I was a genius. My dad had a laptop for work (back when laptops were the size of washing machines) and on it was a Jeopardy computer game. I discovered that if you played the game up to "Final Jeopardy" and then turned the computer off, the next time you played it would be the exact same game (I think you know where we're going here). So I would play the game up to the end, turn the computer off, and then find my unsuspecting little sister and invite her to play with me. Since I rarely invited her to play anything with me (especially where she wasn't required to be my servant, the student, or a secretary), she was usually more than happy to accommodate my request. The rest is relatively easy to guess; she was amazed that I knew the gross national product of Lichtenstein and the scientific name of the dung beetle. I know, I'm pathetic.

As an adult, I watch Jeopardy almost every night. It is the only show that I will stop what I'm doing to watch. I love the feeling I get when I know an answer that none of the contestants knows. Never mind the fact that I'm sitting in the comfort of my own home with absolutely no pressure to know the correct response. Never mind that there is no chance I'm going to win any money due to my intellectual prowess. Never mind that I am not risking humiliation in front of millions of Americans if I don't happen to get categories that I am knowledgeable about (do millions of Americans watch Jeopardy?) I sit on my couch and make fun of how "dorky" the contestants are while they're "chatting up" Alex Trebec (hello. you're watching Jeopardy, you big nerd.) And then I race Darrell to see if I can answer before he does. It doesn't matter that he's not playing. And heaven forbid I get the final jeopardy question correct. The gloating is, I'm sure, unbearable. Darrell just tunes me out.

I'm not sure why I felt it necessary to write a blog entry about this topic. It's not something I'm proud of (although if you happen to be at my house while Jeopardy is on, you might beg to differ). The Jeopardy Tournament of Champions is my Super Bowl. I am a big nerd. It's part of my charm.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Not Winning Any Awards...


Here is how I know I won't be winning any "Mom of the Year" awards:

  • Joshua's Legos have completely taken over our dining room. You can't even eat at the table, there are so many Legos. We are now calling the dining room "Joshua's office."
  • It really doesn't matter that we can't eat at the dining room table. We don't eat any meals together, and we rarely eat at a table.
  • We almost never eat the same thing for dinner. Darrell generally fixes his first dinner around 3:00pm when he gets home from work and his second dinner around 7:00. I usually fix myself something to eat around 5:30. Caleb eats his baby stuff, and Joshua usually requests a PB&J at some point in the evening. The weekends are even more disjointed.
  • We leave the TV on so long that the auto-shut-off turns it off.
  • We allow our 5-year-old to watch YouTube (ok, so it's only Lego stuff, but still).
  • We almost never make Joshua pick up any of his toys, and we routinely let him build complex train tracks in the foyer and down the hall upstairs. And then we leave them there for days. And we expect any guests to just step over them like we do.
  • There is no set bedtime at our house.
  • I do not ascribe to any laissez-faire, nature-loving, free-spirited philosophy of parenting. I am just lazy.
The real kicker is that Joshua is a well-adjusted, happy, well-behaved kid (for the most part). He talks to adults and kids alike, and he's very easy-going. He's a delight to spend time with (unless he's grumpy). So, I guess I'm not messing him up too badly! And as much as I'd like to resolve to be more organized, disciplined, etc., I think it's safe to say that won't be happening anytime soon. I would probably feel less overwhelmed if I had more of a schedule, but the thought of making the schedule wears me out. So I guess that won't be happening either. Oh, well. Here's to motherhood!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Great Strides - Walking for a Cure

I just registered "The Sprinkle Family - Caleb's Crew" for the 2011 Atlanta - The Burger Bowl at Georgia Tech Great Strides walk on May 21st at 8:30am. I am so excited to have an opportunity to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation - an amazing organization that works diligently to support research for much-needed, life-saving drugs and treatments.

The CF Foundation receives no federal funding and relies solely on donations to fund drug development and clinical trials. Only 30,000 people in the US have cystic fibrosis so it is considered an "orphan disease" meaning the pharmaceutical industry will not invest in new medications on its own because because there is little financial incentive. Though there is still no cure for cystic fibrosis, the money raised for the CF Foundation has funded aggressive drug treatments and therapies that have increased the life expectancy for people with CF to 38 years. That is amazing progress, but if you know and love someone with CF, you know its not enough. Like all parents, we want more for Caleb and all the families that deal with CF every day.

You can help! Your generous gift will be used efficiently and effectively, as nearly 90 cents of every dollar of revenue raised is available for investment in vital CF programs to support research, care and education. If you would like to donate to this very worthy cause, please follow this link to my Great Strides page and find the "Click to Donate" button at the bottom of the page.

If you would like to walk with us and have a Great Strides page of your own, please click the "Join My Team" button at the bottom of my page. We'd love to add you to "Caleb's Crew"!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Winter Holidays 2010

To say that our winter holidays were great this year would be a vast understatement. I enjoyed this year's Christmas and New Year more than I have any in recent memory. The Winter Break from school began with a three-day pajama-wearing-chick-flick-watching-book-reading love fest while Darrell and Joshua visited the in-laws. I don't think I showered the entire time they were gone. I slept when Caleb slept (at least 12-15 hours each day) and I ate junk the whole time. It was wonderful.

My parents and my sister spent the night with us on Christmas Eve. What is it about having your whole family under one roof that brings a feeling of contentment and "all-is-right-with-the-world"? After an inspiring Christmas Eve at 12 Stone, we opened presents (as is our family tradition).



Joshua was "into" Christmas this year in a way that made his excitement in past years pale in comparison. He not only enjoyed tearing into his presents, he got to "help" Caleb with his, too. Of course, Caleb was not in the least bit interested in the contents of his gifts; he was perfectly content to play with the wrapping paper and crawl into the boxes.

After everyone was asleep, I got to "play Santa" and put out the Santa gifts. This was our first year actually being in our house on Christmas Eve (I know, sad, isn't it?), so we haven't really done the whole Santa thing before. On Christmas morning, I heard Joshua's feet hit the floor and as he rounded the corner to come down the stairs he yelled, "C'mon Aunt Amanda! Santa's been here, Santa's been here!" And then he saw the Lego Rescue Fire station, the item he had asked for literally for months, sitting in front of the fire place. I never really understood the joy of watching your kids on Christmas morning... until this year. Joshua was thrilled beyond words and I was all choked up with the joy of the season.

As a side note, this was my first year buying items for our stockings. I'm afraid frugality won out over creativity, and "Santa" provided everyone with an assortment of personal hygiene products. I know, pretty lame.

Grandpa made his famous pancakes for breakfast and then sacrificially set to work building Joshua's fire station (unfortunately, Darrell had to work on Christmas morning and missed the "building" portion of the Christmas holiday). After lunch, Joshua went home with Grandma and Grandpa, leaving Mommy and Daddy a relatively quiet house for the evening.

The day after Christmas, Amanda and I drove to Gatlinburg to meet up with our parents and extended family. Darrell stayed home with Caleb and had his manly version of "pajama love fest." (I was very sorry to miss three days of HGTV, SpeedVision, and Star Wars.... not). Driving was a little dicey thanks to the Christmas Day snow, but it made for a beautiful trip to the Smokies.
We spent three days talking, laughing, shopping, lounging, and eating. A great time was had by all.

After returning home, we still had several days before going back to work, which were spent washing clothes, cleaning house, and generally laying around being bums. And by the time my neighbors were ringing in the new year (we have small children, we don't "ring in the new year"), I was rested, relaxed, and ready to face the challenges of 2011.

All in all, this holiday season might be one of my all-time favorites. I can't wait to see what God has in store for us next year. 2010 was hard and I can't say I'm sad to see it go. But the trials of this year have served to bring me to a greater awareness of God's provision, grace, and mercy. And for that, I am grateful beyond measure.

Wishing you and yours all the best in 2011!

Thankful

Dear Senator Collins (and McCain), My seven year old son Caleb has cystic fibrosis and I want to THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for...