Monday, March 30, 2009

Log Cabins, Beaches, and Monsoons

I feel bad...I was just getting back to my regular blogging, when I decided to take off again. I started to tell you before I left, but something feels dangerous about announcing on the world wide web that you, Jeremiah and Abby Maddox of Birmingham (why don't you just go on to and get our address), will be leaving a vacant house for the week. Any takers??? Not that we have a whole lot to steal,
but still. Jeremiah went to Montana with his Dad and brother, to learn how to build log homes. Not one to sit at home and sulk, I packed the girls up and we headed to the beach. Thankfully, Dad has a beautiful little place he lets me stay in for free, so that we could indulge in this luxury.

We had a few days of this beautiful weather, a COOL 70 (with those breezes off the ocean) but it didn't keep us from getting out there in our swimsuits and my tough children even braved the water. I did manage to spend a couple of afternoons in the pool (which was either heated or very easily sun-warmed), so that the girls could really practice their swimming (Mary Aplin with swimmies. Don't get too excited.).

Then, the weather got a little chillier and we had to resort to light jackets at sunset, but we were still happy.

Pace still asked me every night at bedtime if we could stay at the beach forever. The girls were tuckered by the close of each day, so I was putting them to bed early and watching girley movies or reading my book. There is something a little sick about the fact that I literally SQUEALED with delight one night because it was only 8:30, and I was already nestling in my bed, in a quiet clean house, with the ocean rolling outside my window, and my little book in my hand. Oh the simple joys!I think part of that joy was that I was no longer having to deal with the little devil on the left. The one who has NO FEAR and runs straight into the red flagged ocean, laughing all the way. Or straight off the side of the pool, without caring if I am looking or not.Does this swimsuit just make anybody else laugh? Something about the fact that the only other red, white, and blue swimsuits I've ever seen are cut into tiny triangles with big boobies behind them :) You can see, Dapples wasn't so happy about the suit either--serves her right after all that trouble she'd been giving me.It got colder and cloudier as the week went on. We tried hard to fight it. The girls just played in the sand with their clothes on, but once the torrential downpours had set in for a solid 24 hours, we gave up the ghost, and went back to Dothan Thursday evening.Caroline and Kendall came to Dothan for the weekend, and we had a really fun time riding out the storms together. On Saturday, we all stayed in our PJs until the late afternoon, ate more doughnuts than I would care to admit and watched a movie while stinkers were napping (Can you tell I had the girls by myself for a week? I feel like I've called them stinkers or rats this whole blog :)) The rain let off late afternoon, so we went to the mall and did a little shopping, and then my grandparents came over and kept the girls so that Dad could take us all out for dinner and a movie (we missed you Taylor!!!) Talk about your banner days!

I want to add here, that you know you've got a good Dad when, you're running late for your movie, with no time to get that buttered popcorn and Diet Coke you crave (and REALLY needed after all those doughnuts from earlier), and suddenly he disappears from the theatre. Only to emerge moments later with both items in his hands. Didn't even have to ask, he just knows us!

I'll end with these sweet profile shots of the girls, and the note that Jeremiah did indeed graduate from log home school. He has asked, in all seriousness, that I frame his diploma so that we can hang it along with his MD. He may jump off roofs and build log cabins, but we sure did miss him this week.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Little Less Talk, and a Lot More Pictures

I have been spending every free moment for the past week, working on that little jumper, and I am still not finished. I think that my grandmother could have made an entire wedding dress in the same amount of hours it has taken me to construct the "simple" (as the mean Frannie Baby pattern keeps pointing out to me) jumper. In my defense, I have never made corded piping or done a full liner in a dress, and all my pattern said was, "attach corded piping." Oh, OK! I thought. Thanks for all the stinkin' help! I proceeded to watch You-Tube videos and read other advice on (can you believe You-Tube even has sewing videos??), made tons of errors (with the lining more than the piping) and have ripped out a lot of seams. I feel like I've grown quite proficient at seam ripping :)

On to a slightly greater success story...I started these little numbers almost a year ago, and I have JUST finished them/taken them to get monogrammed. Pace's is going to be more like a shirt than a dress by this point :) In order to sew (without a sewing room), I either have to let the house go, make a big mess, and just do it OR leave it all down in the basement until the urge takes me again. Obviously, the urge hasn't taken me in a while, but since it did and since I had to go pick these finally finished dresses up in Homewood...
We decided to make a little trip to Homewood park! This child will not, under any circumstance, keep her left shoe on her foot, but look at what a little gymnast she is.

And this one too.

Look who else came with us to the park--Aunt Caroline! She really was a sweet sister to come spend the morning playing with us. Especially since she and Dad took the girls to the zoo for half the day yesterday to let me have some alone time (and some time with that wretched sewing machine). THANK YOU!!!!! Does anybody else do this? Kill two birds with one stone by putting BOTH of your children in the same baby swing? It sure is a lot easier than trying to push two different swings, and they love it (even though it's not looking like it in this picture). After play time, it was off for Friday's Special at Tazikis. If you haven't partaken, then you are sadly missing out. They really do ONLY serve it on Fridays though. Don't go in on Thursday thinking you're going to weasel it out of them--I've tried :)
Dapples and her grilled cheese.

Just in case any of you were getting ready to post an "aren't you a good, crafty mom" comment, I'd like to leave you with this.

Ummm, yep. Those are BREAKFAST dishes still on our table at 2:30 this afternoon. Congealed oatmeal in the bowl and all. Not one bed is made, and I just remembered that I forgot to feed Locks this morning. ARGHHH!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

If Publix Can Do It...

I did not find out about the "Cookie Club" at grocery stores until after Mary Aplin was born. I am guessing you all know, but just in case you don't, at Publix, Walmart, and Sams (maybe others but these are the ones we frequent) you can walk up to the bakery and ask for a "kid's cookie" for however many youngins you are totin' in the buggy, and they'll give it to them. Glory of glories! Now, at first I thought this was the coolest thing since sliced bread--a way to distract my girls while I filled my cart--but after some experience with the cookie club, I've also found that it is a pretty good marketing strategy. Pace may GET a sugar cookie with colorful sprinkles but what she's BEGGING for are the big doozies (I don't know if that's a universal name, but that is what I've always called the cookie sandwich that has icing oozing out of the center) staring at her through the glass case. She just can't understand why they never hand her one of those. And honestly, I can't say that I blame her, because I've started craving them myself...knowing that I can never break down and buy one unless I plan on appeasing her from here on out. So, I decided to make them. Even dip half in chocolate like they do at Publix. It was simple and oh so delicious, and I just wanted to pass the idea along in case any of you other Moms are suffering from the cookie club marketing plan. It seems kinda silly to spell it all out, but here goes:

You'll need: Mini Chocolate chip cookies from the fridge section--always slightly undercooked. A tub of white icing, and Candiquick microwaveable chocolate tray (if you're like me and bought too many of these at V-Day for your marshmallows, then you're in business).

I think the rest is self-explanatory, but a couple words of advice on the icing. A) Don't get over-excited and try to ice the cookies while they are still hot, 'cause the icing will melt everywhere. B) Remember the joy of Double-stuff Oreos and don't skimp on the icing. Keep in mind this technically has to be enough icing for TWO cookies.

While I'm at it, I think I'll tell you about the other half of the lunch that I made to go with these cookies on Saturday. I have a sandwich that I've been perfecting, and I think I may just have it down (unfortunately I did not get it all figured out before my guests came on Saturday, but such is life). It's a roll-up, so here's what you'll need:

One packet of ranch seasoning
8oz. cream cheese
1/2 small container of sour cream
One package of flour tortillas
Thin deli-sliced turkey and ham
Thin deli-sliced provolone cheese
Shredded lettuce
Guacamole (Recipe to follow)

Mix first three ingredients together and use as a spread. Layer turkey and ham, then spread ranch mix across top of meat and cover with cheese. Place sandwich under broiler to warm (which also melts the cheese and ranch mixture together to form something fabulous). Cover with lots of lettuce (so it will taste like you're eating a yummy salad instead of a fattening sandwich) and then dob large amounts of guacamole down the center. Roll, cut in half, and serve.
Now the guacamole. I'm just going to be honest, I LOVE my guacamole. I have been perfecting it much longer than the roll-up (for a while I was just putting sliced avocado and tomato on the sandwich--such a mistake!), but it really is an individual art. What I crave in my guac may be quite different from what you crave, but here's what I do.

5 or 6 ripe avocados (Not the big giant ones, the normal size ones. And they need to squish a bit to your touch when you pick them out at the grocery store. If they are hard, you will be sorely disappointed. But don't go buying rottenly soft ones either. I would also recommend--I am so thrifty--calling your local grocers to find out what the price is that day. These boogers are expensive and this weekend they were "on sale" at Publix 2/$3 and on sale at Walmart for $0.78 That was a difference in me spending $12 and $6, and that is a whole fun meal at McDonalds!)
3 or 4 Roma tomatoes
1/2 of a yellow onion
3 limes
1 handful of fresh cilantro (stems and all. I love this stuff, but Jeremiah says it tastes like dishwashing liquid if I use too much, so be warned.)
3 or 4 heaping tablespoons of diced (pickled) jalapenos
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a food processor, combine the onion, cilantro and the juice of one lime--puree (I like the taste of onion, but I HATE a big chunk of raw onion in my mouth in a dip. That is why we food process.) Peel and take the seed out of your avocados, placing the "meat" in a big bowl. Dump the onion mixture into the avocados and mash (I use a potato masher.) Don't over-mash because you want to leave chunks of avocado in your dip to be sure that everyone realizes it is homemade :) Chop the tomatoes and spoon in, along with the juice from your other two limes, the jalapenos, and the salt and pepper. It is DELICIOUS and fresh and beautiful with its bright reds and greens. Be sure to serve it as an appetizer with chips before your divvy out the roll-ups :)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Heart Update

Have you ever noticed that when God decides to teach you something, it comes up EVERYWHERE? Suddenly each Sunday school lesson and sermon comes back to that same "nagging" lesson you've been reading in your morning devotion. Then your friend across the street brings it up; even that movie you're watching has some comment about it, and before long you throw up your hands and say, "Alright Lord I'm listening. This is you talking; I get it!" Maybe it's just me and my stubbornness that keeps wondering if I'm hearing God or just my own thoughts, and so He has to use numerous methods before I wise up, but anyway, I thought I might share with you the couple of things He's been teaching me over the past weeks.

First is community. What it is. What that means, and why I should stop being so selfish and embrace it. In all honesty (it is oh so disgusting to admit), I shy away from "community". As soon as somebody starts talking about "showing love to our community" and "the fellowship of believers," all I can think about is how many casseroles I need to make and who all has had babies that I STILL have not taken a meal to. Then, my mind jumps to the people who have loved me that I still have not written a thank you note to. There it is, in all its ugliness, I am selfish and have been thinking that I was not a big fan of "community"--because in some sense community was tied up in work and guilt.

No sooner had I admitted these ugly sentiments to my husband (who is always wanting to expand and embrace our community, and who looked at me like I was a monster that he didn't even know when I admitted that stuff to him) than the Lord started land-blasting me. I have shed tears two Sundays in a row over the powerful ways God has used our church community to minister to me specifically. When all of that stuff was going on with Mom, the way my parents' friends and church reached out and loved our family was nothing short of miraculous. It was (and still is) incomprehensible to me--the way there were always people bringing food and performing the little tasks that just needed to get done and even just standing in our front yard to pray...

So, I had been in Dothan, living with Mom through the hell that was her last weeks of life, and being sustained (literally) by the community there. Then, I had to make a trip back to Birmingham because both of the girls had doctors appointments. I was only going to be here a day, but I woke up that morning to the sound of raking in my yard. I looked out the window to see Cohen Ezelle, who had left his wife at home to care for their three small children, while he spent the day raking the leaves in our yard that had grown knee-deep. Now, Cohen and Amie are some friends from our Sunday school class (who are also now missionaries in Belize), who we had grown to love over the years, but we'd never even "hung out" outside of church activities. He just found out where we lived, drove over to our house and thought, "What can I do to serve this family and show them God's care?" I suddenly understood why my Dad kept saying he "felt humbled" by all the things people were doing for us back home. Seeing Cohen out there with a rake in his hands, doing a thankless job that he (assuming we were still in Dothan) never even planned on us knowing he did, and knowing that my Creator had taken the time to prompt his heart to just DO something for us in the little sphere that we now called our own, touched me profoundly. I don't know that I even felt all of that then, as overwhelmed as I was by Mom's sickness, but last Sunday as I sat in church listening to a sermon on "community," all of that was laid clearly before my eyes. What I realized was that community is not about feeling guilty about every person in your church or neighborhood who might need a casserole that you have not come through for. It's about listening to the promptings that God lays on your heart for specific people, and ACTING on those burdens. It might be just to pray for them and love them from a distance, or it might be something that feels ridiculous, like showing up to rake their yard, but the fact is that God uses us as His ambassadors, to be tangible evidence of the love He's pouring out from above. What an honor that is! And what a pity that I shy away from it, because I think I am too busy. (There are many other examples of ways that friends loved us--or me--specifically during that time, and God has been pouring each one back over my head lately. I just listed the first that came to mind.)

The second lesson (and I'll try to keep it quick because this has already gotten really long) is a true thankfulness for my afflictions. This feels sort of weird to say, but my heart has realized that BECAUSE God loves me, He has allowed hardships into my life, in order that my relationship with him might take on a greater sweetness and sincerity. I've written about this before (shows you how long God has been teaching me this one), but it just keeps coming back. The writer of Hebrews (12:7) says, "Endure hardship as a discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons."

After going through something really hard (which I know that losing your Mom is nothing compared to what MANY suffer), I find that all Scripture is tinged with more meaning, that God is more real in my life, and that I relate to others in a more intimate way than I did before. To know that God took the time to love me through a hardship, to discipline me even, is (again) humbling. And while I wouldn't have chosen it, I grow increasingly thankful for the experience of it. Is that sick?

So, in a nutshell, community and hardship are good. Thank you Jesus that I've experienced the blessings of both.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Book Review

Boring, but here it is. (I have waited 7 months between reviews, so at least they aren't too frequent).

The Bird in the Tree by Elizabeth Goudge: I CANNOT say enough about this book and Pilgrim's Inn which will be down a couple on this list. It has everything I love in a book. The beauty of the English countryside, love and all the turmoil that comes with it, the thoughts of children (and even a couple of beloved dogs), and it is set in another time period (although more recent for me than usual--the 1940's). Goudge creates memorable characters that will implant themselves in your heart, while growing in you a greater sense of value for home and family and the importance of unity therein.

American Pastoral by Philip Roth: Quite frankly, I hated this book. We got a little crazy in our book club and invited a guest speaker to recommend a book and then come and "teach" us. Everyone felt like having the guest was a nice change-up, but the book he recommended... It is the story of THE All-American man, who himself grew-up in "the War years," but who raises his family during the sixties. The message I got from it was, "No matter how hard you try, no matter how much you succeed, your life can still turn out like utter crap, because in the end, you just are not in control. In fact, for the simple reason that you do try to be good, your life may turn out extra crappy." It got great reviews, and I am sure it is a good piece of literature, but it was most definitely not my cup of tea. (I will also add that there is a healthy dose of lude and bad language, and since I was listening to it on CD it was extra hard to swallow).

Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: Jeremiah and I read these short stories out loud to each other, sitting by the fire or curled in bed at night, and made some wonderful memories. We enjoyed it so much we even named our dog after the book :) Tales of intrigue, solved by superb deduction skills, and set in, where else?, England. It was fun to stop throughout the stories and ask what the other predicted would happen, and they are just the right length for reading out loud. We even read a couple with Jeremiah's whole family while we were home over Christmas. Truly great, and I am still wishing I could give Watson a big fat hug!

The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards: This is the story of a family in the sixties, who has twins, one of which is born with Down's Syndrome. The father gives the Downs baby away and tells the mother that the little girl died. (I am not really giving anything away because that all happens in the first couple of chapters.) The rest of the book is the back-lash of his decision. The storyline is appalling, and you will want to find out what happens, but the writing... At first I thought, "Wow, this lady is creating some good imagery and I can see she's going to use a lot of symbolism." Oh but then, she used the exact same imagery in the next chapter and the next... And then she felt like we weren't smart enough to catch her "deep" symbollic meaning, so she would EXPLAIN the symbol, right there in the middle of her story, and it cheapened it so much. Anyway, this is just another example of a decent book that is ruined because it was written in the last fifty years :)

Pilgrim's Inn by Elizabeth Goudge: I've said it before, and I'll say it again--I LOVE THIS BOOK! It's the second in the Eliot family series, and it will warm your heart and make you smile--I PROMISE. It's hard to tell what these stories are about without giving them away. So, you'll just have to trust me :) I have posted this quote before, but in case you missed it a couple of years ago:

They had both been married and borne children. Lucilla knew always, and Nadine knew in her more domesticated moments, that it was homemaking that mattered. Every home was a brick in the great wall of decent living that men erected over and over again as a bulwark against the perpetual flooding in of evil. But women made the bricks, and the durableness of each civilization depended upon their quality, and it was no good weakening oneself for the brick-making by thinking too much about the flood.

That quote right there partially explains why I hate books like American Pastoral so much. I feel like I am always fighting the flooding in of evil--into my own heart, my children's hearts, and my home in general. Why do I want to read a book that weakens me more--that drives home the knowledge of the evil that's seeping under my door? I know it's there, I feel it, but I chose not to dwell on it. What good does that do? Ok, off my soap box.

If You Want to Write by Brenda Ueland: My friend Lauren gave me this book, and it affected me profoundly. It is not just about writing, it's about (as the subtitle says) art, independence and spirit. Any person who has an inkling towards any artistic endeavour could benefit from reading this book. I think it is best described by my two favorite quotes:

For what we write today slipped into our souls some other day when we were alone and doing nothing...It is on another day that your ideas and visions are slowly built up, so that when you take your pencil there is something to say that is not just superficial and automatic,...,but it is true and has been tested inwardly and is based on something.

[And the note I wrote at the bottom of this page in my book. I will also add that I've been doing some other writing besides the blog. It will probably never amount to anything, but I have been working on a couple of things.] I have felt so guilty about how slowly I seem to perform tasks--simple things like cleaning the kitchen, making the bed, or taking a shower--knowing that a lot of the cause of my slowness is that my mind is always forming thoughts, trying to wrap itself around ideas. But this quote is so true. It's these "idle," slow times when my writing, the hard part at least, is done. I should NOT always be telling myself to save that thinking and mulling for my "writing time."

In fact that is why the lives of most women are so vaguely unsatisfactory. They are always doing secondary and menial things (that do not require all of their gifts and ability) for others and never anything for themselves. Society and husbands praise them for it (when they get too miserable or have nervous breakdowns) though always a little perplexedly and half-heartedly and just to be consoling. The poor wives are reminded that that is just why women are so splendid--because they are so unselfish and self-sacrificing and that is the wonderful thing about them!...

So, if you want your children to be musicians, then work at music yourself, seriously and with all your intelligence. If you want them to be scholars, study hard yourself. If you want them to be honest, be honest yourself. And so it goes.

And that is why I say to the worn and hectored mothers in the class who longed to write and could not find a minute for it:

"If you would shut your door against the children for an hour a day and say:'Mother is working on her five-act tragedy in blank verse!' you would be surprised how they would respect you. They would probably all become playwrights."

They look at me wistfully and know it is true. But after all of these centuries of belief that women should be only encouragers and fosterers of talent in others, and have none of their own (as though you can effectively foster or encourage other people's talent unless you have a great deal of your own!) it is hard to do, I know that. But if women once learn to be something themselves, that the only way to teach is to be fine and shining examples, we will have in one generation the most remarkable and glorious children.

I would like to highlight one point that she sort of skims over. I fully believe it is important, as women, to cultivate those parts of our lives that give us joy and meaning OUTSIDE of our children. However, she does say to close the door for an hour, not all day :) and I am fully aware that you can't very well close the door on LITTLE children,...but they do nap (most days :))

East of Eden by John Steinbeck: My Dad gave me this book for Christmas. He RARELY reads fiction, but a friend of mine suggested he try this one out, and he could not put it down...I couldn't either. It is the story of Cain and Able, played out merry-go-round fashion in the lives of a family in, where else, but Salinas Valley California. Your insides will writhe at the competition between the sets of brothers and you will be dying to know how Steinbeck will make it work out in the end.

One thing of note is that Steinbeck creates a flat character that is the epitome of evil. I was amazed by his ability to give her NO redeeming qualities-conscience, kind acts, reasons from childhood to be mean, nothin'--but still make her believable and keep her out of the annoyingly archetypal realm.

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer: But Mom, everybody's doing it! That is the phrase that comes to mind when I admit to you that I read this book. It is a page-turner. The story line is captivating and creepy and sensual, all rolled into one. So I see why everybody is doing it, BUT the writing is such crap, I was rolling my eyes and yelling at the CD player (I listened to it after renting it from Cracker Barrel on one of my many recent road trips), "You have got to be kidding me?! If you describe, one more time, in the exact same words as 2 minutes ago, how perfectly beautiful that guy is, I am going to come in there and smack you in the face!" It drove me nuts. The same exaggerated adjectives over and over and over about the same cheesy boy-vampire. Anyway, I haven't read any more of the series, because I refuse to waste brain cells on it. BUT, I am not saying if I walked into a Cracker Barrel and saw book 2 on CD, that I wouldn't immediately snatch it off the shelf to find out what happens.

One more thing and I will gladly leave this one, but a sweet friend of mine (who has read all however many books in the series), quietly defended these to me the other night by saying they were meant "for high schoolers." I am sorry friend, but after some deliberation I've decided that that is no excuse. The Secret Garden, Heidi, The Chronicles of Narnia...all of these books are for adolescents and yet they are still BEAUTIFULLY well written. Just because it is meant for young adults, doesn't mean it is allowed to be crap.

Growth of the Soil by Knut Hamsun: I did not actually read all of this one, only read parts of it aloud to Jeremiah, and heard the rest of the story through updates from him. I wanted to list it because it is so different from anything I have ever read, but it was still very good. It is the story of a man, who steps into life with no other plan except to work hard and live off the land. He heads into the Norwegian wilderness all alone, to do just that, but of course life keeps coming along to try and complicate matters. Jeremiah loved the story-line, I liked it but am not sure I would have been as enthralled as he was (are you surprised :)?) BUT, the thing that captivated me was the simplicity of the writing, and how a lot of it was still so beautiful that it sounded like poetry. Hamsun uses no extra verbage, in fact, he leaves much to be inferred by the reader as to his character's true personality and motivation. I think Jeremiah put it best when he said (after finishing), "I feel like I just sat down in a dark whole of a pub, and had a beer with a salt-of-the earth kind of guy, who told me the life story of his best friend. He didn't glorify it or dance around any of it, just told it straight and let me make up my own mind. But, now that it's over, I feel like I've made a life-long friend."

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte: If you've never read this classic, you are missing out. If you have read it back in high school (and eighth grade, like I did) and you think you should check it off your list, then don't. I got SO MUCH more out of this book as an adult, and married woman, than I did back in the day. I understood the deep love and humor and sacrifice, in a deeper way than I could before, and it is always nice to re-visit an old friend.

If you don't know, it is the story of a poor, abused orphan girl and her road to happiness. It is a bumpy road, and the book is very Gothic--with screams coming from the attic and eery, surprising twists. It is GOOD.

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin: Here is another example of a children's book that is still of superb quality. It's a quick read, but you will love Rebecca, with all of her spunk and mistakes and well-meaning heart. There is not really a love story, but the one in there, I must admit, is a little disturbing for our day and age. This would be a great book to read out loud to a little girl (she just needs to be a bit older than either of mine). I actually bought this book randomly at an antique store because I remembered Mom telling me it was one of her favorites as a child. I'll leave you (FINALLY!) with a quote from this book that rings very true in our house:

Her love of books she inherited chiefly from her mother, who found it hard to sweep or cook or sew when there was a novel in the house. Fortunately books were scarce, or the children might sometimes have gone ragged and hungry.

Maybe I need to buy a few less books :)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Quiet Summer Mornin's

I am here and I am HEALTHY. These are two conditions that have not been met in what seems like a lifetime. Sorry I've been such an unfaithful blogger, but we have seriously either been out of town, deathly ill, or some member of our crew has been deathly ill and needed their Momma to hold them, for the past 2 months. I had a fever (that I stayed on a strict regimen of Tylenol/Advil for because Jeremiah was out of town and mothers don't get sick days), that when allowed to reach it's heights without medication, was 102. And it lasted SEVEN days. SEVEN! I've never had a fever that long. Has anybody else? The flu, for me, normally lasts a week or so, but the actual fever usually subsides after two or three days. I've had enough body aches and weakness to last the rest of my life, thank you very much.

I informed Jeremiah that if he told me one more time that I, "just had the flu" (like he did), that I would kill him. This was something that deserved a far greater name than "the flu." Something like Ebola virus, or Legionnaire's Disease, or (what I finally settled on after watching a girl die from this in a movie a few nights ago)...Consumption. Good 'ol tuberculosis. That immunization must not have worked back in the fifth grade, because that's what I felt like I had. Can you tell I am pretty dramatic in my sickness :)?

Yesterday was the first morning I'd slept through the night (without waking to uncontrollable shaking and little needles poking into my body and waiting until I could summon the strength to get out of bed, medicate myself, and await the 2-hour process of sweating off the fever), and I woke up feeling like I had won the lottery. I was rested. I was not in pain, and lo and behold I had forgotten the wonders of what you can accomplish with a little energy. I had us all up and dressed and fed and the beds made and the laundry started in the same amount of time it had taken me to just get OUT of the bed the day before. I am feeling like a super-hero.

Then, to add to the wonder of it all, it feels like summer has crept up behind me while I wasn't paying attention. I stepped outside early yesterday morning and a smile spread across my whole face. The chill was gone, vanished. There was a cool breeze blowing through a warm sunrise. My kitchen was flooded in morning light while I made my coffee, and the promise of swimming pools, and beaches, and green fields, and strawberry picking seemed spread out before me. I love summer mornings, and now that I have made a miraculous and unprecedented recovery from Tuberculosis, I am ready to embrace them!