Friday, October 31, 2008

A Defining Moment on Halloween

I had a defining moment today...seem to be having quite a few of those lately. To set the stage: I haven't felt great over the last few days. Millie and I have been battling with sinus or allergy issues or something. Maybe it's this crazy "It's hot...It's cold...It's hot again" Florida weather.

Anyway, Donny graciously let me sleep in a little this morning. Once I did get up, I spent most of the morning letting the kids watch Sesame Street and just keeping them alive. After taking them to the bank and Wal-Mart after lunch, I asked them if they wanted to play outside. And we did.

Hunter brought out a foam sword and a newspaper pirate hat that Donny made for him. He asked me if I wanted to be a pirate. "Sure," I said. Nothing else to do...just biding my time until nap I became a pirate.

More background: Hunter got a Monster Truck for his birthday from his amazing Aunt Becky. This truck has everything...2 speeds and reverse, a truck bed with tailgate, and a working FM Radio. Millie's favorite thing to do with the truck is turn on the radio and scan the stations (Mommy's little girl...I LOVE scanning the stations until I find just the right song).

Anyway, as Millie was scanning the stations, she stopped it on a Charlie Daniel's song. The one they sometimes play for Monday Night football where it says: "All my rowdy friends are coming over tonight." And we danced...I was dressed up in a newspaper pirate hat holding a foam sword, and I danced with my kids (who were not in costume) in my garage to my 4 year old's monster truck FM honky tonk...and I loved it. I paused (rather dramatically) and thought: "Wow...this is the most energy I have had all day...and I am dancing in my garage with my kids." I kinda looked around to see if anyone was watching...but I really didn't care.

After a while, Millie started scanning songs again. Unfortunately, it landed on "What if God was one of us," and she walked away with it playing. I detest that song, so I bent down and started messing with the FM radio in his monster truck. One of the first songs I hit in my scanning quest was all too familiar, all too appropriate, and the 1980's little girl in me leapt with joy (all the while still wearing my pirate costume). The familar intro complete with synthesizer and bass...It was Thriller.

My kids have no idea what that song is. Hopefully they will never know much of Michael Jackson. But I danced to Thriller today while my kids played outside. They weren't even in the garage anymore at this point. I was in a pirate hat, holding a foam sword, and my soul was filled with a pathetic sense of satisfaction. I heard Thriller...on Halloween...and I danced to it in my garage. Alone. In a pirate hat. A defining moment? Perhaps. Not sure what it says about me. But it was fun. To all those who know how your heart leaps when you hear that familiar intro to Thriller and forget the cares of the moment and recapture something of your youth, Happy Halloween. We are kindred spirits.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Hunter's First Pumpkin

I do not like pumpkins. There is nothing at all appealing to me about cutting a hole in the top of one, digging out its innards, and carving a face into it. I don't like the mess mostly...I can't stand the way the inside stuff feels. I told Donny that my favorite time as a kid doing pumpkins for Halloween was the year my mom got us kits to paint faces on the pumpkins rather than carving faces (which, of course, Donny scoffed at). But Donny...he loves carving a pumpkin. He has talked all month about getting a pumpkin. He knew he would have to do it himself if it were to happen. This week came, and no pumpkin had made it into our home yet for the Halloween season. I thought I was going to get away this year without one. Then I took the kids to Wal-Mart on Monday. Their $4.88 pumpkins were on sale for $1. Here's where who I am and who Donny is work hand in hand. You see, I LOVE a deal...and for these huge, beautiful pumpkins, $1 was a I picked one out, put it in my buggy, and brought my husband home a pumpkin. When I brought it home, I actually apologized, because I didn't realize in the store just how flat one side of it was. Donny's response was: "Oh, they're all special." Are you kidding me?

Hunter and Donny carved the pumpkin this evening. Donny asked Hunter what kind of face he wanted to carve. Hunter first said he wanted a "bad guy face." Great. Then he and Donny compromised on a silly face that Hunter made and Donny carved. Millie helped too...kinda...she stuck her hand inside the pumpkin more eagerly than Hunter...much to her mommy's dismay. Hunter, like me, did not want anything to do with the insides, but Millie...give her a mess, and she wants right in the middle. Donny had to work to keep her from eating the pumpkin seeds.

So, here's to the Friederichsen Family Pumpkin 2008. I do like the finished product, and I am thankful the only roles I played in the process were purchasing the pumpkin and wiping Millie's arm once. Other than that, it was Donny and Hunter's creation.

Later tonight, as we were getting ready for bed, Hunter brought a marker to me and said: "This can be the knife. You can use it to cut open the top of my head and put a candle in." Another reason I don't like pumpkins.'s always funny (and sometimes weird) to see how Hunter processes things. I guess, in the mind of a 4 year old, it might be fun to have your head light up from the inside-out...but we'll leave that up to our pumpkin.

Happy Halloween Donny and Hunter...I love our pumpkin.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Is this how it's really supposed to be?

I asked myself this question today: "Is this how I really thought my life would be at 31?"

Let me fill you in on the details. This morning, I, being a diligent wife and homemaker, started laundry at 8:30 a.m. in hopes of getting three loads done before the afternoon. I stripped my bedsheets to get them going after the load of kids' clothes was finished. As I walked into the laundry room to throw the clothes into the dryer and put my mattress pad in the wash, I saw something black sticking out from my mattress pad. I took a closer look. A lizard...a dead and's head sticking out from my mattress pad I guess saying his final farewell. A lizard apparently died in my bed sheets and found its final resting place stuck in the elastic ribbing along the edge of my mattress pad.

I screamed (internally so as not to startle the kids), and then I called Hunter (because I love to discover how he experiences things like this compared to me): "Come here...I've got something to show you. A dead lizard is in Mommy's sheets." Hunter looked with interest. I talked with him (because I couldn't be alone during a time like this) and tried to process how I was going to get rid of this intruder in my home, in my dead. Ugggghhhh!!! I told Hunter: "I'm a little scared. I know I shouldn't be scared, but I'm a little scared." Hunter responded: "Just remember...God will keep you safe." Thanks, son. Part of me wanted to hug him for sharing something so true and right...the other part of me was rather annoyed by his calm heart, because I was freaking out and didn't need a theological answer from my 4 year old. was sweet and hilarious.

The laundry had to get done. I cared more about completing that task than I did about facing my fear of getting rid of the dead lizard...did I mention he was in my bed sheets???!!! I picked up the mattress pad and gave it a shake toward the garbage can. Nothing. That lizard was stuck. His little claws were firmly planted in the mesh. I shook, and his body just flailed around...never bending...stiff as a my sheets. I grabbed a pair of scissors and cut the last string of mesh that was holding the lizard to my mattress pad...and off the lizard went into my Chi-O paint penned trash can from college. Still in one piece...dead as can be.

And I this what I signed up for with marriage, kids, and life as a homemaker? Since we moved to Florida, I have dealt with more bugs, frogs, snakes, and lizards than I care to count. And I deal with them. But still I ask...are you kidding me? I didn't think being a mommy meant saving my children and my home from such rodents. But I do...and that's part of life right now.

I deal with other funny, scary, tedious, and wonderful things during my days. This afternoon, Hunter peed in the front row of the Publix parking lot. Millie was already in her car seat, he could not wait, and I could not stop him. So there he was for all of the Publix shoppers to see. What can you do? Again I asked: Is this how I really thought things would turn out? Ten years ago I was singing opera, living in Massey with my sorority sisters, pining after boys who I just knew would be my husband, and looking forward to my future.

Where am I today? Wiping bottoms, doing laundry (with dead lizards), living in Florida with my seminary husband...and loving where I am. I didn't love it this morning at 9:30 in the laundry room...but I do love it. I am thankful for my "right now," and I look forward to the future. Is this how I imagined it? Not really. could I have ever imagined that a dead lizard and an overfull 4 year old bladder would offer me the adventure and joys and memories I will have forever. I do love being a mom. I don't like lizards. BUT...I will fight the lizards and get the laundry done...and feel a great sense of accomplishment knowing I have done and been exactly who God wants me to be today.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Havin' a Little Church in Here

Hunter is in "room time," and Millie is down for a nap. I usually use this time for cleaning, showering, getting some time with the Lord...but I had to write/type this down.

Hunter just led me in his own little version of church. It was really sweet and hilarious at the same time. He had me get my Bible and sit down in our living room. Here's how the Order of Worship went:

1. Hunter walked in holding his Bible. He opened it up and said: "SO...the soldiers took Jesus on the cross...and then they put a stone over it."
2. We sang the first verse of "Christ the Lord is Risen Today." Hunter sang and conducted, so I guess he was pastor and choir director.
3. He opened his Bible again and said: "SO...this is how we learn to obey God."
4. We sang "Jesus Loves Me."
5. He opened his Bible again, but I can't remember what he said. But he brought his Bible to me and had me touch the page he was "reading." Then he went around the room for "everyone else" to see the page he was reading from. Mind you...we were the only ones in the room.
6. Then he brought over a coaster and said: "Ok, here's where you put the money." And we passed around the offering.
7. Then he passed around another coaster and said: "Ok, you can pick something out." Not sure where he got that from, but it sounds fun.
8. We stood and sang the "Sanctus" by Schubert...affectionately known in our home as "Holy, Holy."
9. Then he took two coasters and had me kneel at our coffee table where he proceeded to serve communion. At our church, the elders share some words and pray for your families individually before you take communion. Although I can't remember everything that was said, I know Hunter said very clearly: "Jesus died on the cross," and then he prayed: "Lord, thank you for today and for Mommy coming to church to learn to obey God." I think I needed that prayer today.
10. After "communion," Hunter told me about Jonah the prophet.
11. Hunter closed with the "Hot Dog, Hot Dog, Hot Diggity Dog" song from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

Amen. To God be the Glory.

I am privileged to partake in these moments. I had to write it down.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

My Search for a Fall Festival

I love activities. I have learned since becoming a Mom that I love to take my kids out to do things. I am definitely not a home body. Don't get me wrong...I love quiet days at home where play is a high priority and where Hunter takes me on great adventures in our living room through his incredible imagination...but I get stir-crazy really easy.

Since I love getting out with my kids, one of my favorite things to do as a family when Donny is home is to get out all together. Poor Donny...he is out all week, and he probably just wants to be home and rest...and I am always trying to figure out what a fun activity will be for us. Perhaps that's why I LOVED Disney so much last year (among many obvious reasons). I about an activity!, I decided that we were going to crash a fall festival. It didn't matter who was holding it...we were going to find one to attend. I actually said to Donny this afternoon: "Let's find a church's fall festival to crash." Pathetic...but I needed to be around pumpkins and hay just to feel a little like fall here in Florida. A few parameters: 1. It must be free. 2. It must be kid friendly 3. There must be some hope that there would be hay or pumpkins...preferably with a hay ride. With those things in mind, we put our kids down for their afternoon naps, and my Google search began. I knew Oviedo (where we live) was having "Oktoberfest," so that's where I began. $7 per person...NOPE, not that one. BUT...on the seminole county web site, it said something about a Hometown Harvest in Winter Springs (the next small town to our west). Oh Lord...could this be the one? This is what I was really was so I was waiting for a treasure to pop up on the computer screen...and there it was...
I found it.

5:30...perfect time...after naps but in plenty of time to go and get home before bed time.
Interactive hayride, Chick-Fil-A Kids Zone, Pumpkin Painting...oh Lord, thank you.

So off we went, arriving right at 5:30 to a pretty hoppin' place. Part of the street was closed off by the Winter Springs town center, tents were full of all kinds of vendors from Farmers' Market to personal embroidery to a myriad of chiropractors (who, of course, told Donny his back was in terrible condition)...but they all had candy...and that made Hunter (and us) happy. He got a plastic bag from one of the first booths we visited, and then the candy/booth hopping began.

We visited every booth, I soaked up the cooler (high 70s/low 80s), overcast weather, and we just strolled the Winter Spring Hometown Harvest. It was a delight to this Tennessee mother's heart who just wanted a little fall fun for her family today. We topped the afternoon off with a hay ride...which we squeezed in right before the rain began. Thank you, Lord, for the hay ride before the rain. If only we had time to see the "Country Western Stiltwalkers" before the rain...but you can't have it all.

The night ended at Chick-Fil-A where we got Hunter and Millie kids meals from free coupons from the festival. All my prerequisites were friendly...hay and pumpkins...and free Chick Fil A to top it off.

I know it's a simple afternoon out for most...but to me, it was a soul refreshing taste of home. For a few minutes, I was surrounded by southern hospitality, the smell of hay, a little boy with a bag full of candy, a hayride through a tiny "field" surrounded by tall trees, my family (kids dressed in Tennessee outfits, of course), and a heart full of thankfulness for the blessing of the treasure I found today in Winter Springs. A Hometown Harvest...where, for a moment, I felt at home.

Daddy and Hunter on the HayRide
Hunter was more interested in his treat bag than the ride itself.

Mommy and Millie...Millie obviously occupied with the little boy
across from us whose face was painted like a tiger.

Hunter at the Winter Springs Fountains

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Millie's Lovin' the 80's

I have wanted to post this pic ever since I took it last week. As soon as I took it, I immediately thought of Olivia Newton John and "Let's Get Physical." With that hair sticking out of that sweatband and her footie pajama's...I just feel like she's ready to jazzercise or something. I have quite a few friends who are self-proclaimed "stuck in the 80's" (some of whom may be reading this), so, girls...this post is for you. Millie is one of us...sweatband and all (although it is Hunter's spiderman sweatband). I know this post is random, but I just had to find a reason to post this pic.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Cracked up by Crackers

Dinner on Saturday night was funny. Cranberry chicken, rice, and green beans...nothing too funny about that. BUT...give my kids some crackers, and let the party begin.

After we finished our meal, Hunter asked for something else to eat. I hadn't served any bread with the meal, so I offered him a few Ritz crackers. Millie, of course, wanted some "nana" too. (That's what she's calling crackers these days...go figure). Well, Millie shoved a Ritz in her mouth (see pictures), let half of the cracker hang out. Let the silliness and laughter begin. Hunter thought Millie's "cracker smile" was the funniest thing. He belly-laughed so hard that he started to tear up. He said: "I'm laughing so hard I'm starting to cry." That has never happened to him before, and you could see the confusion/panic in his eyes wondering..."Why is this happening? I'm not sad...but I'm crying...but I'm laughing...what's going on?"

While this may seem only mildly funny to most, this was HILARIOUS to me, because my sister, Jennifer, and I always know a good laugh when we start to cry. Maybe Hunter has inherited that trait. By the end of the cracker episode, everyone - Hunter, Millie, Donny, and I - were belly laughing. Cracked up by a cracker.