Mar 21, 2012

Light at the End of the Tunnel?

After a full 15 days of sickness...I dare say I may be on the mend. This goes down as the worse cold I have ever had in my life. I have consumed more concoctions for decongestant and cough suppressant than I thought possible. Tea, honey, honey in tea, peppermint, peppermint tea, peppermint tea with honey, cough drops, steamy showers, sleeping upright, sleeping on my back, on my stomach, not sleeping, liquid gels, liquid, pills and even meltaway kiddie meds. I tried it all and in one way or another they all failed. I have suffered every possible ailment related to a cold: tightness in my chest, runny nose, stuffy nose, stuffy head, cough, sore throat, head ache, body ache and general crappiness. At one point last week I had such a ridiculous coughing spell that I actually though I might die of coughing.
Horrible horrible last two weeks. Although I still have a cough, runny nose, stuffy nose and headache, I am a highly functioning sick person now and that is a little encouraging.

Mar 13, 2012

Pseudahistachyoritriameda what?

The funk has rolled in like a summer storm and dumped on our household. I got the funk, then Eli got the funk and now Gabe is trying valiantly to ward it off but I doubt he'll be successful.
Congested is the biggest complaint but cough, headache and occasional fever are bonus features.
I headed to the medicine cabinet to find some magical pill to make me feel better. As I stand in a fog grasping for anything I can find that spells relief, I'm confused, flabbergasted and now just exhausted by all the mental energy required to choose the right medication.
Option A: Cough and Runny Nose
Option B: Cold with Stuffy Nose
Option C: Severe Cold and Cough (nasal congestion, cough, runny nose, sneezing, body ache, sore throat pain, headache, fever)
Option D: Nasal Decongestant
Option E: Antihistamine, Cough Suppressant, Fever Reducer

My first thought is how can the same medication take care of a runny nose and a stuffy nose? In order to get rid of the stuffy doesn't it have to run?
Then I wonder if it is better to take a drug that doesn't cover all your ailments than one that covers ailments you don't have like a fever.
Finally, I pick my drug of choice and now I can't get the darn pill out of that super secure tab.




Mar 12, 2012

Weight of the World

At the end of March, Matt's mom and I are going on a quick trip to Dresden and Prague. The plan is for the boys to stay with Mika so we can have a little getaway without the fuss of entertaining the kids. The boys have already been to Prague and could really care less about seeing another old city anyway.
Eli and I were talking about plans for that weekend and he started inquiring about the details. He seemed torn between missing school and hanging out with Grandma, and staying home with Aunt Mika. After thinking about it for a minute I gave him the option of joining us. I told him he could come with us if he wanted to, but he couldn't complain about walking around the cities all day, eating weird food, and the long drive there and back. He wanted to go just so that he could see Grandma but he decided he was going to go wherever Gabe goes. This seemed odd. The boys usually enjoy their time away from each other.
I asked him why he wanted to do what Gabe did and his response shocked me. He said that he gets nervous for Gabe when they are not together.
"Don't you think Aunt Mika will take good care of him if you were with me?"
"Oh yeh" he said "But I even worry about him when he is at home with you and I'm not here". He went on to tell me that when he was at Swiss Camp last summer he was very worried about Gabe being at home with me. He felt like if he wasn't here something might happen to him.
Is this sentiment because of that one time I lost Gabe in the Luisenpark? Or is this what big brother's love looks like?
While I thought it was so sweet that he truly cares so deeply about his brother that he worries about how he will get along without him, I was sad that Eli feels the burden of responsibility for Gabe's' well being.
The traits that drive us crazy about Eli right now are traits that God has given him in order to make him a strong and noble leader. Eli always wants to know what is going on so he can plan accordingly, he knows the rules and wants to get everyone else in line to follow them, he is pushy, bossy, and he questions why things have to be a certain way. He takes responsibility for everyone around him that is younger than him - even when it is not his place. Right now, this causes trouble for him, but when he matures and learns how to use his innate ability to lead and when he learns how to handle the responsibility of others' willingness to follow he will be amazing.

Mar 11, 2012

Facedown

"Moses and Aaron went from the assembly to the entrance to the tent of meeting and fell facedown, and the glory of the LORD appeared to them."
Numbers 20:6
"Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking."
Ezekiel 1:28
"Fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed the burnt offering and the fat portions on the altar. And when all the people saw it,they shouted for joy and fell facedown."
Leviticus 9:24

The Bible holds many stories of people who come into the presence of God and hide their face or "fall facedown" before God or His angels. Some hid because they were afraid if they saw the face of God they would surely die. Others fell facedown because the Glory of God was simply so powerful it was the only appropriate place to be.
As I listened to the lyrics to Matt Redman's song "Facedown" I started to think about falling facedown before the Lord. I can't say that I have ever fallen facedown. Why? Is it because God is no longer as powerful and mighty as He was in the Old Testament? Is it because I am more worthy than Moses, Zechariah, Isaiah or David and don't need to humble myself before God? Or is it because I simply have not acknowledged His power?

Welcomed in to the courts of the King
I've been ushered in to Your presence
Lord, I stand on Your merciful ground
Yet with every step tread with reverence
And I'll fall facedown
As Your glory shines around
Who is there in the heavens like You?
And upon the earth, who's Your equal?
You are far above, You're the highest of heights
We are bowing down to exalt You
Facedown, Matt Redman

I find myself challenged to see what would happen if I fell facedown before God. In a true spirit of worship, if I put myself in this position, what could happen? The worse thing that could happen would be that I have a good prayer time and get up dirty.


Mar 10, 2012

AWANA Quiz

Once a year AWANA clubs from our little corner of Germany convene on common ground to take part in an AWANA Quiz, Sparkarama, and AWANA Games. The quiz is a three part challenge for teams to answer questions from the material they have been studying. Sparkarama and Games are basically little AWANA olympics. This year both of the boys wanted to participate in the games and some of my Trek kids wanted to compete in the quiz- so that meant we would be spending the entire day in Kaiserslautern for the big event.
The Trek kids have been practicing their use of the buzzers, going over verses and reviewing key definitions and lessons for the past two weeks in preparation for this big event.
Everyone arrived at the church this morning at 9am to put all this work to the test. As the crowd gathered in the church sanctuary my four Trek girls were at the ready with their little buzzer and I sat on the edge of my seat nervous for what was about to take place.
The first question came and one of our girls buzzed in. She missed one word in the scripture making her answer incorrect. Then the next 3 questions came and the girls nailed them all. Question 4 was a question about a lesson on Josiah. No answers. What? I taught that lesson on Josiah! No worries. The next few questions came and the girls got them right as well. Then came a question from our lesson on Mary. MY LESSON on Mary. No answers. One more question came about the three dudes in the fiery furnace (another one of my lessons) and again the girls had no answer. Fail.
The girls were awesome at recalling references, definitions, and quoting scripture but when it came to answering questions about the lessons we taught they stumbled. I sat in the audience feeling like a failure. The scriptures are great, and I'm so glad that they were able to recall them, but the lessons are what explain how to use the scriptures in their lives!
As we reviewed their performance when the competition was over, one of the girls assured me that it wasn't my poor teaching that caused them not to know the answers about the lessons, they were just bad questions! Awesome! See why I love these kids?
The girls dominated the competition. Not only did they take first place, they nearly doubled the second place team's score.
Even though they didn't recall the details of a few Bible stories during the quiz, my prayer is that these young ladies will continue to build on their foundation of faith and recall the things that matter when they matter most.


Mar 3, 2012

Peppermint and Pineapple

These food items have two very important things in common:
First they both start with "P". So if you were ever on Jeopardy and the category was "Foods that Start with the letter P" you would already have two to choose from.
Second and more importantly these two foods have the amazing ability to ruin other foods they come in contact with.
Example: put pineapple on a pizza and then take pineapple off the pizza. It is as if the pineapple never left. Sure you don't have the sickening sweet, soft glob of cooked pineapple to digest but the juice from the cooked pineapple has already done irreparable damage. Pizza must be tossed.
Example: peppermint. I bought some Ghiradelli peppermint bark at Christmas. Each little piece of park was individually packaged. I put the individually packaged peppermint bark in the same candy jar with individually packaged chocolates like KitKat, Recess Peanut Butter Cups, chocolate truffles, you get the idea. Wouldn't you know that when I got a craving for a lovely Lindt chocolate truffle the darn thing had a hint of peppermint. Truffle must be tossed. I went through my candy jar and separated all the peppermint stuff and gave them their own jar and put all the other chocolate in a different jar but the damage was done. The peppermint already osmosicized the other chocolate and everything is ruined.
Those darn foods, peppermint and pineapple.

Mar 1, 2012

Good Kids Gone Bad

These past two weeks have been a little stressful with regards to the kids' school.
Eli is doing well academically and behaviorally. He is smart, but rushes. So if he isn't forced to go back and review his work or to really take the time to read and follow instructions the results are mediocrity. When he spends a little more time with an assignment he does very well.
He does struggle with one issue with his behavior - the hallway. I don't know why the hallway is such a problem for him but 90% of his behavioral complaints occur when he is walking from one class to another. Talking, skipping, dancing, leap-frogging other kids in line and sometimes intentional tripping are all on the list of things Eli is accused of doing in the hall. None are malicious. He is just goofing off and chatting between class. A big no-no in this school where all the halls are interior and when a class of rowdy kids stroll by it can be very disruptive to the other classrooms.
All was going well with Eli until two weeks ago when a parent from the class called me to talk about "what happened today". I had no idea anything happened that day. Eli is honest in the most literal sense. He will answer your questions truthfully. However, he hasn't grasped that omission is a little side shoot of lying. He didn't bother to tell me that he was brought into the counselors office and warned that if he repeated his behavior, the MP's would be called, he could be kicked out of school and his dad would get reprimanded by his Command. What was this serious act? Tickling. Yep. Apparently, at that moment the counselor determined tickling to be sexual harassment, gave it that label, and handed down a stern warning accordingly. At no point was I called regarding the issue.
I had a little chat with Dr. Counselor and made it very clear that he should not use a term such as "sexual harassment" with my child unless he fully intends to have me sitting in the office with him. In the end, he admitted that the term was inappropriate and his warnings were far too harsh. Not exactly an apology, but he has since decided to follow school policy in requiring my permission to speak to Eli for any reason. I think he is afraid of me and I am perfectly OK with that. A successful resolution in my mind.
Coffee break....
Gabe... When I think of Gabe's academic situation I always shake my head and sigh. He is strong academically and not challenged at all in school. Behaviorally, he is a mess. I have on at least 5 or 6 occasions this year been pulled aside by a teacher to talk about Gabe. They all say the same thing "he is smart but...." I could detail all of Gabe's poor choices but most of it is just flat out defiance. Sometimes he thinks the reason in his head for not doing something is far more legitimate than the reason a teacher is telling him to do something. He loves his classroom teacher and rarely ever has a problem when she is around, it is with other authority figures that he pushes the limits. His latest round of disrespectful behavior has been directed to the PE teacher. It's PE. Who has behavioral problems in PE?
Gabe has disobeyed the PE teacher on two occasions. Both times he was told to sit on a specific line and he opted for a different one. Both times this resulted in him being sent to the counselor's office. While he did just flat defy the teacher, he never talked back to the teacher or made any type of violent protest. He is more of a Ghandi: he went silent and statuesque.
In my chat with the PE teacher yesterday he said "I haven't had any problems with Gabe all year until these last 3 weeks". The facts are there have been 100+ days of school so far. There have been two days that Gabe has been defiant. Because of this unacceptable record, I was pulled aside to talk about his behavioral issues. While I do truly appreciate the teachers catching me in the hall and telling me what is going on at school, it is the tone that is frustrating. The way he spoke about how horrible Gabe's behavior was seemed as if Gabe has been a thorn daily for the past three weeks. The teacher seemed simply exhausted with Gabe. Gabe has PE one day a week.
Gabe also has had some issues with other kids in the area of conflict resolution. Gabe has a short fuse. He acquired that from me. He has displayed unfriendly behavior on numerous occasions when he disagrees with a friend. Last week there was an incident where Gabe was pushed and he pushed back. The altercation sent him to the counselor's office...again. Now Gabe is signed up for behavioral counseling "once a week or as needed".
At the end of the day yesterday I slumped down into my chair and assessed the situation: despite my efforts to raise good boys, I now have a 9 year old who has been accused of sexual harassment and displays irreverent behavior in halls, and a 7 year old to doesn't like to sit on lines in PE, doesn't like substitutes, retaliates when provoked, has been known to push and yell at others, and is in counseling for conflict resolution and anger management.
My wallowing was interrupted by the phone ringing. It was Matt: "How are you?" Me: Hahahaha.