Friday, February 26, 2010

National Pancake Day!

Yes, folks, this past Tuesday was National Pancake Day. For many of you, this 'holiday' came and went without you even being aware of it's existence. At the Kingsbury's, however, this day was marked with elation and celebration. Especially by one particular family member. Patrick. To say Patrick loves pancakes is like saying Lance Armstrong likes riding his bicycle. If it were left up to Patrick, he would eat pancakes morning, noon and night. Seriously. Every day for breakfast he eats pancakes.
At this point, some of you may be asking yourselves why seemingly responsible parents would permit such an eating habit to be established. Well, the parents are wondering that, too. In all fairness this came about over a long period of time during which the main objective was this: Find something...ANYTHING...that this child will eat.
Patrick started out like any other healthy baby. He nursed like a champ. He started on rice cereal and then finger foods at the appropriate ages. The only thing that could have indicated the battles to come was that unlike every other baby in the free world...Patrick REFUSED to eat Cheerios. I can actually count for you how many Cheerios my son has ingested in his eight years of life. One. Just one Cheerio. And really, technically, we shouldn't even count that one. After a visit to the Pediatrician (not his regular one) we came home armed with determination that we were not going to be manipulated by an 18 month old little person who drooled and walked around in a droopy diaper. Not gonna happen. Yeah, right!! So, following this Dr.'s advice...we sat Patrick in his booster chair and told him firmly that he needed to eat some Cheerios before he ate his lunch. It went like this:(Mommy) "Patrick, just eat some Cheerios for Mommy". (Patrick, vigorously shaking his head) "Noooo" (Mommy) "Come on, Buddy...just try one" (Patrick, still shaking his head) "Nooo"! It went on like this for some time until Patrick finally fell asleep in his chair.
(We decided that the Dr. was a complete wacko and never went to see him again!) David was so frustrated with the situation that he put a Cheerio in Patrick's open mouth while he was sleeping and took a picture. "There", he said. "Looks like he ate it to me". So, you see, we can't really claim that he ate the Cheerio but beleaguered parents will take what they can get, won't they?
At about 13 months old Patrick ate pretty much everything we put in front of him. (Except Cheerios, obviously). Then one fateful day I got it in my head to feed him some oatmeal flavored with maple syrup. And he loved it. Even asked for a second bowl. And then asked for oatmeal for dinner. "Great!" I was thinking. "He loves oatmeal". "I'm such a good mommy". But then Patrick refused to eat anything but oatmeal the next morning. And the next day. Aside from a few vegetable baby foods, my child would literally eat NOTHING but oatmeal for the next 6 months of his life. (At least he was 'regular'!) Then one morning I was making pancakes and bacon and Patrick said the words that are music to the ears of every mother of a picky eater. "Some of that, Mommy?"
I gave him the pancakes and bacon and he loved it. And wouldn't you know, he has never eaten oatmeal since that day! But he has eaten pancakes. A lot of pancakes. We have grown creative and add a lot of secret ingredients to his pancakes which include, but are not limited to, oats, wheat germ, milled flax seed, and granola.
These days Patrick's repertoire of foods has increased to grilled cheese, broccoli, Dino chicken, yogurt, apple slices, an occasional banana and various meats and cheese pizza. This may not seem like much variety but we are very satisfied with his (slow) progress. I remember being judgemental of a friend who fed her toddler fish sticks and ketchup exclusively. (This was before I had kids of my own). I would say "I'll bet if she didn't have the option to eat those fish sticks she'd get hungry enough to eat something else!" I have since called and sincerely apologized to my friend and begged her forgiveness. Having a picky eater has humbled me and revealed that I have NO BUSINESS judging other parents or thinking I have all the right answers. Because for the most part we are all doing the best that we can with what we are dealt with. Sometimes you just have to roll with it.
Which is why I took my son to Cracker Barrel on Tuesday to celebrate National Pancake Day. We had a wonderful time playing checkers in front of the fire. Patrick knows that eating pancakes every day is pretty quirky. He also knows that his mother loves him anyway and embraces his quirkiness along with all of his finer points.
By the way, to my knowledge there is no National Cheerio Day.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Who Do Yo Think You Are...Goofy?

"Be All That You Can Be" That slogan shouldn't end there. It should read: Be all that you can be, but don't be something (someone) you're not. I consider myself qualified to speak about this because some of the most boneheaded things I've ever done came about as a result of not following that simple rule. I won't bore you here with embarrassing examples of aforementioned boneheaded-ness, (is that a word? Well, it is now) just take my word for it.
The trick is...or was for me...finding and identifying our authentic selves. There was a serious shortage of role models when I was growing up. Not blaming anyone...just stating a fact. Thank heavens for grandparents and aunts and uncles. My point is, that many of us didn't have healthy, emotionally intact, spiritually fit grown ups around when we were children. So we looked outside of the family circle to help us define who we are. For the longest time, I wanted to be just like Carol Burnett when I grew up. If you're too young to remember Carol Burnett, I don't want to hear about it! Just kidding. She was a comedian with a TV variety show that we watched as a family when I was a little kid. I loved that she made people laugh. But it goes deeper that that. I really identified with her all-out goofiness. She wasn't too dignified to try anything and really put herself out there just for laughs. I liked that she would start out the show dressed in an evening gown and would take personal questions from the audience and then next thing you know, she would be made up like an old lady or with her front teeth blacked out for a comedy sketch. She didn't take herself too seriously. Neither do I. (Take myself too seriously, that is).
There were times in my young adult life when I forgot all about Carol Burnett. When I did take myself too seriously. Or not seriously enough. I was all over the place trying to be like this pop-star or that movie star or a popular friend. Trying to please everyone or to be what a boyfriend thought I should be. A lot of young girls (and boys) do this. It is unfortunate and it can be trouble. By the grace of God, I made it through.
I am happy to report that deep down when I was very young, a little seed had been planted by my daddy that finally sent down roots and began to grow. Slowly at first but it is now flourishing in my spirit. What seed? When I was really young we saw my dad pretty infrequently but when he was around he was fun, silly and bigger than life. He used to whisper in my ear sometimes: "You are going to do great things in your life" and "you are have everything it takes to make it big in this life." I don't really know what he was referring to exactly and frankly, it doesn't really matter to me. When I was a little older he used to say "You are a living child of the living God. Your Daddy created this planet and don't you forget it!" He would remind me constantly to stay close to Jesus. He said someday I would use my voice to 'sing for Jesus'. The important part of this story is that I BELIEVED HIM! Deep down I really believed he was right.
You may not think you are much of a role model. Neither was my dad. But there is something in you that you can share...a seed you can plant that may make all the difference in the life of someone close to you. Something as simple as a whisper into a child's ear.
As for me...I am special. I feel like I have made it 'big' in this life. I have done great things in my life (and I've only just scratched the surface). And Daddy, I am singing for Jesus and loving every minute of it. I am putting myself out there, I am silly, I'll do almost anything for a laugh and most would agree that I am certainly goofy!
I think Carol Burnett would be proud!

Where'd Everybody Go?

I will always remember 2009 as the year of peaks and valleys. Elation and then deflation. In March of 2009 my maternal grandmother, Nana passed away after suffering from Alzheimers for many years. It was so sad but I felt that she had been released from the prison that her own body had become. I had missed her for a long time and had already made peace with her being 'gone'.
One day in June I was in the laundry room, sorting socks, when the phone rang. It was my eldest sister. "Cathy, I'm so sorry...I have to tell you something....Mom died this morning. Words are so powerful. Before that phone call it was business as usual. My mom had already passed but the words had not been spoken and my life had not been altered. And then the phone rang. It was so surreal. I was not ready. I will never be ready. And just like that, my mother was gone, too.
During that time I was living with an almost unbearable pain in my stomach. I had been to the GI specialist and had been diagnosed with gallstones. Not fun. I had been praying for healing and for wisdom about what to do in this situation. Of course, surgery was recommended but I had heard from others that it might not even solve my problem and I was looking for a way to avoid it, chicken that I am. I recall feeling very raw and vulnerable at this time. I told a friend recently that I felt very small in this big, big world without my mom and dad. Not that they were such great and supportive parents...they weren't. Sorry, but they weren't. I'm pretty sure if you could ask them they would agree completely. They divorced when I was 2 years old and I can only remember a handful of times when we were all in the same room together. Sad, but true. Oh, I've wandered off topic, haven't? I do that sometimes. You'll get used to it!!
So it's the end of June, my mom has just passed away, and I am struggling with gallstones. Oh, and we are about to take a family vacation to Maine. I decided to buck up and go to Maine and then have surgery when we got back home. I have to throw one more thing into the mix, here. I have been a member of the Lakewood Church Choir for over 2 years now. A week after Mom's passing they held auditions for Voices of Lakewood which is a group of singers that helps to lead worship during church services. I had been feeling a tug in my spirit that I should audition but with everything that was going on I thought maybe I should put it off. I prayed very fervently and very often and felt that my mom would have wanted me to go for it and that the time was right. So I did and found out a few months later that I was selected for the worship team, praise God.
We went on our vacation to Maine and I was determined not to be the proverbial 'wet blanket'. I put a smile on my face and soldiered on through the gallbladder pain and the pain in my spirit. And I had genuine fun with my family. Until July 6th. That's the day I checked my messages and heard the news my Aunt Elayne had passed away after a valiant battle against breast cancer on the 4th of July. Ugh! Talk about feeling hard pressed on every side...I prayed so much in those days just for strength. Supernatural strength. My reserves were all used up. And just like that, my aunt was gone, too.
After returning from Maine, I know the Lord really lifted me up. I felt His hand firmly guiding me through the process of scheduling the surgery. On a Thursday I was in excruciating pain and was laying in the bed being miserable. The Dr's office said the surgeon wouldn't be available to see me until Monday. As I was laying there, I felt compelled to just call the surgeon's office directly. The receptionist said "Oh, my goodness, I happened to run into the nurse from your GI's office in the cafeteria. She told me about your situation. Then, when I walked in from lunch we had a cancellation. Can you be here by 2:00?" I said I would be right over. I was praying the whole way over there for God to step in and make a way for me to have the surgery ASAP! As I walked into the surgeon's office the receptionist greeted me and said "you are the luckiest person I have ever met". Apparently while I was racing over there someone called to cancel their pre-op visit and I was put on the schedule for the following day. I said "that is not luck it's a huge blessing!" So I had the surgery, made a freakishly quick and complete recovery and was released from almost two years of chronic pain. Halleluia!
In October my Grandmother, Mattie had a stroke and I was so blessed to be able to go to Dallas and sing to her and love on her and whisper words of thanks and comfort in her ear. On a Monday morning I came into her hospital room and told her she was safe and that she had done a good job. That we were all so proud of her. That if Jesus was calling her it was okay to go. I wrenched myself away from her and tearfully headed home to make it back to Houston in time to get the kids after school. She passed away peacefully an hour after I left. All I can say is what an honor and a privelege it was to be with her in that time. As Forrest Gump would say: 'That's all I've got to say about that'.
One of my friends said jokingly the other day; " Man...the women in your family are dropping like flies." I had to laugh. What else can you do? At family gatherings it will be strange. Like...'Where'd everybody go'? But we will adjust. At no other time in my life have I become more acutely aware of the "peace that passes understanding". Or that "I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me". He does. Without a doubt. Regardless of what came to pass in 2009...I am so grateful to God for the grace and mercy and miracles that came along with the heartbreak. It is when we are at our weakest and most vulnerable that we seek Him most earnestly. God is good all the time. Even when we are too miserable to notice. The blessings are always there. It's only a matter of looking up to see them. Be blessed.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Christmas Miracle: From Tears to Cheers in just a year!

Okay...I said I would introduce you my family. So here goes: For starters, I thought I'd give you some background info. My husband David and I were married May 24, 1997. He was the perfect answer to a very fervent prayer that God would not send me any more 'frogs' to kiss. I wanted my prince and nothing less! Well I got him! David is the smartest, sweetest, most conscientious and fiercely loyal man I have ever met. He accepts me for who I am and shows me such love and affection. I could go on and on but I'll spare you any more sappy sentimentality for now. We decided we wanted to start a family but knew we had some obstacles to overcome first. I had a pregnancy that ended in a life-threatening ectopic rupture. (When the embryo implants and then grows in the fallopian tube which in my case, lead to a rupture causing a hemorrage and ending in miscarriage). So I only had one tube to work with but was in faith that it would be functional and that I would conceive and have the babies I was praying for. Well...God had other plans for us!
After lots of tests I ended up in the operating room for a laparoscopy to check out and repair any possible damage to my remaining tube. As I was coming out of the anesthesia, I overheard the surgeon saying this to my husband: "I'm so just doesn't look good." Certainly not what we wanted to hear. It turned out that my remaining tube had actually twisted completely and there was a lot of scar tissue as a result. He speculated that this was what had happened to the other tube and that was why I had the ectopic. Final diagnosis? We had a 1% chance of conceiving naturally. Not good. At all. The surgery was on December 23rd and I went home to recuperate and 'celebrate' Christmas. I had been praying for a Christmas miracle...that we would be able to fix my problem and get on with trying for a baby so this news was pretty devastating for me. Christmas came and went and I was feeling better after the surgery but still pretty bummed. While I was putting some things away in David's closet, I saw a wrapped package up on a shelf that appeared to be a Christmas present. When he came home from work that evening I asked him about it and he said that the package was for me but that he was 'not ready' to give it to me yet. Of course I wanted to know when he would 'be ready' because I have a hard time waiting in suspense for anything! So he said "I'll let you know when the time is right." Very mysterious. After a while, I just put it out of my mind.
The Monday after Christmas I woke up with a feeling of resolve and determination. I had been praying about my infertility issues and just did not feel that I should take 'no' for an answer. So I called my OBGYN and said "okay, so now we know what we're dealing with...what are my options?" As it turned out I didn't have option(s) just one option. In Vitro Fertilization. Our only hope. A very expensive option. But all I heard was that there was hope! I began to feverishly (sometimes obsessively) research in-vitro on the internet. I joined an online support group. I investigated success rates and clinics. One obstacle we were facing was the lack of a clinic in Corpus Christi, TX at that time. The closest one was in San Antonio and our insurance didn't cover any of the costs associated with in-vitro. So one night I felt led to check out if there were any states with mandated coverage for infertility treatments. Turns out, there are. Hawaii, Rhode Island, and Massachussetts to name a few. One night David and I were talking about what we were going to do about having a baby and I said "Well...all we need to do is move to Massachussetts and then we can have a baby and it won't cost us anything!" (I cannot stress to you enough how 'out there' this statement was at the time). But God loves to go 'out there' when he answers prayers. A few weeks later, David called me at work and said "are you sitting down?" I sat down. He went on to say he had just received a call from a headhunter who had an interesting employment opportunity but it was in (you guessed it) Massachussetts!! Simply amazing.
The night before David left for Mass. for the job interview, I was helping him pack and he asked me if I wanted him to get this job. I said yes and he said (I'll never forget this) "then it's in the bag!" At that time he went into the closet and brought out that Christmas present he had been waiting to give me. The note on it read "Cathy, this is not to make you feel pressured. Just to let you know that when our hearts are united toward a similar goal there is nothing we can't do." I was already crying before I even opened it! Inside...a baby boy outfit with little lambs all over it!
So David went to Massachussetts and landed the job. We moved into a beautiful house at the foot of a mountain covered with apple and peach orchards. God sent us to the best Reproductive Endocrinologist around and our procedure was completely covered by insurance. On December 13, 2001...Patrick, our little Christmas miracle was born and we brought him home from the hospital in that baby outfit with the little lambs on it. God is so faithful!
2 1/2 years later we did another cycle of in-vitro which resulted in our beautiful and healthy twin babies; Mattie and Michael! Never give up on your dreams. Pray with your whole heart and then give God the gift of your faith. Trust Him to know what the perfect timing is to answer you and be obedient to follow his lead in all things. Surrender, trust, and then wait. That is all that's required. My children are living proof. Be blessed.

Thanks for visiting this site. Keep checking back in...I'd love to see your comments and hear your stories, too. Post comments/feedback below. Thanks!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Something New To Do

Well, here is the beginning of something new. It is absurdly late and I am attempting to set up a blog to capture the essence of my life in words. I'll bet I know what your'e thinking. (You, yawning) What essence? How many words are we talking about here? Oh, nooo...another 'mommy blog'. So,'ve got me there. I am a mommy. And a wife. And a writer. And a singer. I'm also a lot of other things which we will get into later. (As interest permits).

You may be wondering what my motivation for doing this might be. Well, so am I. Actually I have had some friends and family members suggest that I give it a try. I have been wanting to chronicle my family life so my kids will have an insight into their childhood from my perspective. I am fully aware that this might not be particularly interesting to them, especially during their teenage years, but maybe someday they will read it and have a few laughs. There...I've just discovered what I want this blog to be. A collection of thoughts and memories to make us laugh. Or cry. Or feel proud. Or shake our heads in disbelief. Whatever. We'll take it as it comes.

One other thing. I can't really leave it there without mentioning that in this process you will hear me refer to God and Jesus a LOT! Why? Because my faith is a huge part of who I am. My love of God is the glue that holds me together and keeps me intact. So be aware that I will talk about God and His mercy and grace which never ceases to amaze and inspire me. Can you handle that? Yea...I figured you could.

So, more later. I'm excited to see where this goes. Next time, I'll introduce you to my family. They're great. And I'm not just saying that.