Friday, March 28, 2008

I've Been Interviewed


At some point today there will be Q&A from your's truly on another blog. Ariel Lawhon, a budding author and mom to 3 boys, will be posting it on her blog http://www.themoabclub.blogspot.com/ .


Ariel has written a book called, Daddy Do You Love Me? It's about the relationship women have with their earthly fathers and with their heavenly Father. She is currently working on childrens books, the proceeds of which will be given to adoptive families as grants to help in their fundraising efforts. I encourage you to support this young woman! Her heart is very in touch with adoption, and she has several neices and nephews who are adopted from Liberia. She patiently waits for the day God will let her own family step into the waters of adoption. Meanwhile, she continues to be an advocate for adoption in all that she does.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Come To Jesus, Please!

It's been a hard couple of weeks with Nia. The lying and manipulation takes it's toll on us all. I just can't trust her. I want to, but I can't.

God keeps reminding me over and over how my relationship with Nia mirrors His relationship with me. He wants me to embrace Him, come to Him when I'm hurt, communicate with Him about my deepest desires, obey Him, seek to please Him. I wish I could get inside Nia's heart and head to know what's really going on in there. All I see is the acting out of the pain and hurt that's inside. I'd love for her just once to say, "Ma, Ah very sad." or "Ma, Ah so happy to be part of dis family." I know I need to look to Jesus for my Kudos, and it's not Nia's job to fill my tank. Still doesn't make it easy to swallow.

I feel like a failure to her as a mommy. Half the time I don't know how to parent her. It's just not at all like anything I've ever experienced. I honestly don't even know if she likes us or likes being in America. Her behavior would tell me she doesn't, but I also know that she lies a lot. Therefore, maybe she really DOES like us but is just too afraid to let us know. It's like she's afraid we'll have the upper hand if she is vulnerable.

Tonight I had one small, teeny window of hope......she admitted that she lies to us quite a bit. Of course, this was only after we confronted her about something, but I still can't believe she actually said it out loud. I asked her if she understood why I don't trust her. She said, "Because I lie." I nearly lost it right then and there. That may have been the most honest she's ever been with us.

God, please bring our daughter to You! Please break down the walls that so closely guard her heart against any love. Show me how to love her when she is unlovable. Protect my heart against apathy towards her. I truly feel that for her to change will be a miracle that only You can do. Glorify Yourself. Be Big in her life and mine! Father, give me a sense of humor when I'm feeling heavy from the daily grind. Lighten this load.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Come To Jesus

Yesterday morning I had a Come To Jesus meeting in our living room. The mess in our home had reached a plateau that even I could no longer handle.

I sat all 6 kids down in a circle. We had to have some standards about picking up our toys and clothes. I waved a spatula around while I talked, just for effect.

New Rules:
1. If I find it on the floor, it's mine. This is my basic foundational rule.
2. Shoes always go in the bucket, or they are mine. This one really got Nia moving into action.
3. Clothes go in the appropriate places, or they are mine. They might find themselves with nothing to wear some day because everything has become Mine.
4. Toys go in the right places when you're finished playing with them, or, once again, they are mine.
5. We must, we must, we must decrease this dust. I decided not to go for a record. The thing about dust that has always bothered me is that it's always there. Less than 24 hours after dusting, there it is again. You just can't win with dust.
6. All Super Hero apparel must be contained. Hudson and I sat down in the floor and went through the costumes. He reluctantly let me ditch the 3 that had the most rips. We found a place for them, and if they aren't in their Place, then guess what? Mine.

That's all I could think of spur of the moment. So, we started at the front of the house and worked our way to the back. Didn't quite get the kitchen up to par, but at least the counters are clean for the moment.

If anyone has advice on how to keep wood floors under control, please let me know. Right now I trust our kids' socks to pick up a certain level of dirt while they walk around the house all day. Some days the floors feel like my 7th child. You might notice that I didn't put that picture on the blog. Some of you might not have been able to handle it.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Things are Looking UP!

OR maybe I should say things are turning up. As I was brushing my teeth on Saturday morning, I looked down to see my wedding ring laying on the counter. I had told the kids that if one of them took it, they could return it back where they found it and I wouldn't ask any questions.

The freezer key turned up in the Deli drawer of the fridge. Thank goodness we can eat frozen pizzas again.

Matt fixed the toilet. I bought more toilet paper. There's nothing like running completely out once to make you a believer in stocking up.

I finally figured out that the paper filters were collapsing allowing coffee grounds to clog everything up, so I bought one of those permanent coffee filters to keep the grounds out of my coffee. :- )

I bought some Easter chocolate on clearance today. :- )

Lucy found a new home, complete with a grassy yard, secure fence, and 2 kids.

Meet Lily, our new 1yo Rott/Lab mix. She weighs in at 85 pounds. That's her on the LEFT wearing the pink collar with red name tag. That's Ox on the right. She stands about 1 inch taller than him, but that hasn't stopped him from putting her in her place. He protects the kids from face-licks by nipping at Lily and head-butting her. Lily licks faces with zealous passion. In fact, Isabel's hair often ends up wet from such a licking. Matt and I were awakened to Wet Willy's in our ears on Saturday mornings. She's very affectionate.


Sunday, March 23, 2008

On Wisconsin, On Wisconsin.......

Matt here. Wisconsin is playing awesome, but don't just take it from a homer (moms, that means someone from Wisconsin), listen to what Dickie V has to say about my Badgers!!!

http://sports.espn.go.com/broadband/video/videopage?&brand=null&videoId=3307430&n8pe6c=1

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Having It All Together

Lest you mistakenly think I'm All That and More as a wife and mommy, let me just blow that myth right out of the water with a few inside pics of my house.

This is my morning Cup o' Joy. It's sitting on the bar with some of Nia's meds, receipts, mail, empty fruit bowl, a broken incense burner, and some mittens. I just can't figure out how I lost my wedding ring and the key to the freezer....


The is one corner of the boys' room. Now, this is the bane of my existence. Hudson (5yrs) is mostly responsible for this. When you are multiple SuperHeroes, then you must make multiple clothes changes throughout the day, or so I'm told. The white square is the intended target for the t-shirts. Those open drawers hold pants and shorts, or at least they did for 2 minutes after laundry day. Hudson is our Tigger. That's all you need to know when you look at this mess and think of him. He has no idea he is bouncing all over my carrot patch.


This is the dust on my mantle. I swiped away a little so you could see the contrast better.
Maybe I should try to set a record...

This is one corner of my bedroom, my sanctuary, my retreat. No, we didn't just move in last week. We've lived in this house for 9 months. Do you think this is affecting my sleep and sanity?



This is my homeschool area. To me, it's Organized Chaos. To Matt, it's an eyesore. As long as nobody touches or moves anything, I can usually find what I need. Now, if I lived alone doesn't that sound like a good plan? That's a pack of toilet paper in the lower right corner.
I went to Kroger yesterday. :- )
Now, before you think I enjoy living like this, let me say that I've learned to survive with a certain amount of mess over the years. This tolerance of mine has come in handy during our renovation process we've been in for the past year.
But then there are days when it reaches a level that I can no longer tolerate. I get these urges to throw everything out in the front yard and put a match to it. I want nothing but books and candles and Bach in my home. Ahhhh. I can already feel my blood pressure lowering.
But this is my Reality for the present. Don't judge. But for the grace of God, it could be you.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Wah. Wah.

It's been a hard week. Nobody likes a Complainer, but I'm overdue.

I lost my wedding ring. I can't think about this one too long or I'll end up in fetal position with drool hanging on my lower lip.

My kids pulled up the only pretty things growing in my backyard (Grape Hyacinth, according to my mom).

I lost the key to my large, upright freezer that contains all our frozen pizzas, chicken, meatballs, etc. It's been a lot of pasta and sandwiches this week.

One of the toilets isn't working, which leaves us with one working toilet.

We ran out, and I mean Ran Out, of toilet paper today. What a great time to get to know the neighbors. Thanks, Ray!

Nia has been, well, Nia.

The coffee pot has been acting up all week, leaving me with grounds in my coffee and at times coffee spilling out onto the countertop for unexplainable reasons. This alone would have been enough to warrant complaining.

Lucy has run away nearly 10 times this week. She wriggles under a spot in our fence and then runs like a bat out of hell. She actually got hit by a car Wednesday night, but unfortunately was not injured or killed. We're currently looking for a new home for this rebel who insists on prostituting herself around the neighborhood. One day I actually caught her by the collar for a brief millisecond before she turned on the turbo. I ended up falling into somebody's rosebush.

There is not so much as a smidgen of chocolate whatsoever in this house.

My flat tire was last week, so I can't mention that one. With all 6 kids along.

Let me think, I'm sure there's more......Oh yeh, Survivor was on WEDNESDAY night instead of THURSDAY, and I totally missed it!! Could we have a little Heads Up?? Is that too much to ask?

Okay, I'm done. Thank you. I promise not to make a habit of these outbursts.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Running

It seems our 2 latest additions to the family are both having adjustment issues. Lucy, our new yellow lab, made a break for it on Sunday. She even went to church, doing a couple laps through the Big Harpeth Primitive Baptist Church on the corner, before heading off towards the Salvation Army. Matt and I drove 2 cars around the neighborhood with cell phones in hand, "I've got a visual on 2nd and Berry." She's a fast little booger. After an hour of chasing, we finally cornered her in an alley up against a fence. It was like a cop movie when the bad guy tries to scale a chainlink fence but ends up sliding back down. He's caught and stares wide-eyed into the eyes of the cop. That was Lucy on Sunday.

Today she made another run unbeknownst to us. Once we realized she had somehow escaped, the kids and I drove around the 'hood searching. One man said he nearly hit her with his car at the local BBQ. She was gone for at least 4 hours before a neighbor reported her sniffing around their yard. She was dirty, smelly, tired, and nonrepentant.

I said to the kids, "See what disobedience does? It makes you dirty, smelly, and tired. It steals your joy. Lucy put herself outside of my protection and placed herself in danger. Look at Ox (our other dog) who receives our love and wants to stay within the boundaries of our yard. He's clean, shiny, happy. Jesus wants us to obey so that we can enjoy fellowship with Him. He wants us to have joy and embrace His love for us."

Please, God, let Nia (our other Runner) take all of this to heart. Please help her to understand that our Family Rules are for her own good. We set boundaries because we love her. Once she steps outside of those boundaries, she places herself at risk for danger (spiritually, physically, emotionally).

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Back Yard

This is our back yard. Yes, it's a lot like what you'd expect the Clampett's to have pre-Beverly Hills. Now you know why I applied for a Back Yard Makeover on HGTV (the verdict is still out on whether or not we've been chosen).

So, today my kids came inside to tell me about all the grass they'd pulled up. "Grass?", I said, knowing we don't have any grass. They beckoned me to follow, so I did. What I discovered was a pile of hundreds upon hundreds of flower bulbs. Bulbs that would've soon bloomed into little blue flowers to provide me with the only beauty our back yard might ever behold. I fell apart. I bawled. Out loud. I'm talking heaving, can't catch your breath bawl. Somehow these bulbs (maybe hyacinth?) had managed to survive 40 years of renters using their precious earth as a parking lot, and in one fell swoop these "onions" were destroyed by the Pregont Children one sunny afternoon.

I remember my own mother's face when I showed her my art on the driveway that I created with her marigold blooms. I was so proud of myself for being so resourceful. And I remember when the fellas from church unknowly mowed down her shrubs in our backyard. Hell hath no fury like a woman whose shrubs have been mowed down.

And so now I lament over the loss of my own precious blooms, the name of which I don't even know. Let's all bow our heads for a moment of silence, please.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Pity

We're only on Season Two of Little House on the Prairie. There are seven seasons all together.

Patricia Neal plays this woman who is dying and needs to find a family for her children. She tells Charles, "I don't want someone to take my children out of pity for them. Pity wears out pretty quick, and it's a poor substitute for love."

God, help me to love my children well. Some days are harder than others. Help my life to represent Christ to them.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Turning a Corner....NOT!

Just when we think we've turned the corner with Nia, she goes and pitches a royal knock-down, drag-out fit. The hardest part for us is to keep calm, remain emotional disengaged, and not let her drag us into it. You have to understand, these fits are loud and violent complete with kicking, thrashing about, and screaming.

Last night she even went as far as to tell each of us that she doesn't like us and doesn't even care about us at all. So now we've added verbal abuse to her arsenal. Even though I'm 38 years old, those words brought out my Mama Bear. I just can't have a member of our family telling my little ones that they are not liked or cared for. They don't understand that she is trying to hurt with her words. They simply believe her and find themselves utterly wounded. We told her that we still care about her, and even if she really doesn't like us to please not tell us again.

Another difficulty is to see Nia do all of this and not scream at her something along the lines of "After All We've Done For You!" I can't expect her to be grateful. I can never make her feel like she owes us anything. She was powerless in coming to our family. She doesn't owe us anything except respect because we are her parents. I know this, but I still long to see some small speck of gratitude, gratefulness, thanks, appreciation. But we get nothing. Again, God lets me feel a little like He must feel sometimes. Ugh.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Score

Angel - 6
Matt - 1

(See the Abs post on 3/7 for more details and on 3/8)

Amoebas and Tapeworms and Parasites, Oh My!

Nia's latest test results indicate she has an amoeba, tapeworm, and some parasite I can't remember the name of. This is all in addition to the possible parasite in her liver. More meds in her near future to get rid of these scoundrels!! I kept thinking her stomach was too bulgy. And her appetite is ferocious. She can put away more food than a very large grown man. Hoping that the removal of said scoundrels will help.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Lucy, it is!

Wait!, you say. Lucy wasn't one of the choices for the new dog's name!

You are correct. Lucy has been a long-time favorite name of mine and the more I looked at this dog's quizzical face, she just looked like a Lucy to me. So, there you have it.

Lucy is very disobedient. She's gonna have to go through a LOT of training. Actually, Nia seems very interested in learning to train Lucy. Nia has kinda taken Lucy under her wings. Maybe it's because Nia can better relate to what it's like coming into a new place with new rules, new faces, new routines, new food. Maybe Nia has compassion on Lucy. That would be a nice character trait to see in Nia.....compassion.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Our New Dog


Okay, like we needed another dog. But isn't she cute? She's 28mths old. You can tell the previous owner was especially attached having stated her age in months instead of years. We are this yellow lab's 2nd owners.

I wasn't particularly fond of her former name (don't ask; I'm not telling), so we are going to re-name her.
Up for consideration:
~Sugar
~Spirit (this is epecially descriptive of her energy level)
~Biscuit
~Mable
~Scout
I'm gettin' out my dictionary tonight for more options. Meanwhile, let me know what you think.
~angel

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Keeping Score

Matt finally here - I believe the score should be Angel - 2; Matt - 1. Granted I didn't go to the YMCA, but I did take down a roof and a deck today at a friend's house.

With that settled, I will move on.....

I am reading Randy Alcorn's great book called Heaven. So, I would like to take a quick Pregont Poll.

Have you heard a sermon about heaven in the last 5 years?

Have you meditated about heaven in the past 5 years?

Before reading this book I would answer NO to the first question. I can only answer yes to the second question because I've read Randy's other books.

I challenge you to get this book and see how easy you find yourself "not reading it." It has been a battle to hunker down and read it (I've had the book for 3.5 years). It has been a battle with fear that this very thick book will be too heady and also that lying voice on my shoulder that says "don't read it, you know enough about the fluffy clouds in the sky...that boring place where only harps play" .

I am learning to "set my heart on the things above,..." Col 3:1, and I'm praying that God would "open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law." Psalm 119:18.

My Abs

I did go to the gym again on Friday at 5:30A.M. My friend is very persuasive. She insists it's like a party every morning that we can't miss. I'll admit that the people who work there and the one's who are already breaking their sweat by 5:30A.M. are freakily friendly at that ungodly hour. And so I can't laugh, cough, or sneeze without pain today because of all the crunches we did. Add that to the fact that I'm already at risk of wetting my pants when laughing, coughing, or sneezing since birthing 3 children. As we're lying on our backs squeezing our abs, I asked, "So, how many do we do?" She replied, "Until you can't do any more." I was done before she was.

I've lost about 15 pounds since last fall, and Clive in his sweet, straight-forward manner said to me, "Mommy, you're getting easier to hug." Love that kid.

Trips to the Y:
Angel - 2
Matt - 0

Friday, March 07, 2008

My Inner Child

Yesterday afternoon the kids ventured out into our vast wasteland of a back yard to play. They built forts and clubhouses out of scrap wood, sticks, trash, just about anything they could lift. I just love it when they do this. When I was little, I stayed outside all summer long. My feet would be greenish-brown and tough as nails on the bottom. I'd sit in our willow tree and daydream about adventures yet to do, mysteries to solve, castles to be built. I'm still hoping we'll win that Back Yard Makeover from HGTV. Grass, is that too much to ask for?

For today, our forts will be built inside since it's 34 degrees and raining steadily.

Here's my list of toys that I think every kid should have. Sometimes I go through our toys and cull them out until this is all that remains, and this list is still PLENTY, if not excessive. Culling out means anything with batteries goes to Goodwill. I'm not at all good at the art stuff, so I consider anything artsy, including Play-Dough, an outside toy.

1. Unit Blocks
2. Legos
3. Baby Dolls
4. Play Kitchen stuff and Play Toolbox
5. Dress-ups
6. Rubber or plastic animals (farm, zoo, dinosaurs) and a few vehicles to work with the blocks.
7. Art stuff (playdough and cookie cutters, crayons, paper, glue, glitter, scissors, colored paper)
8. Finger Paint
9. Sturdy dollhouse
10. Anything that encourages physical exercise (jump ropes, balls, skates, riding toys, basic sports equipment)
11. Age-appropriate board games.
12. Something for making rhythms and music (pot and a spoon, jingle bells, etc)

Again, this is my dream list. You know, kinda like a Mary Poppins playroom. I just wish I could sing a song and make the room clean itself up.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

A.M.

This morning I did something I haven't done in 20 years. I got up at 5:15 A.M. to exercise. Yes, it was dark. Yes, it was cold. But I promised my friend last night that I would break in our new YMCA membership bright and early, I mean, dark and early this morning. I envisioned myself being on the treadmill with The Few, The Proud, regarding each other with puffy eyes and a nod. The reality is that by the time I arrived at 5:30A.M., at least 40 people were already breaking a sweat, having arrived when the doors open at 5:00A.M. I felt like I was late by arriving at 5:30A.M. Reminds me of my "mamaw" (yes, I live in the south), who used to "get up with the chickens" and feel like she'd lost a lot of time if she slept in til 6:00A.M.

Who ARE these people? What possesses them to put their bodies through this unnatural routine? Where was the coffee? Will I be one of these people some day? Well, time will tell if I become one of them.

For today, I feel like I need a Star on my chart.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

CDC

The Pregont Family is officially on file at the Center for Disease Control. The docs at Vanderbilt were intrigued with Nia yesterday. In fact, several docs were called in to see this girl who may have such a rare parasite. Ultimately, her bloodwork will be sent to CDC to confirm nasty presence of Schistomoniasis. The results should come back in about, oh, say, 6 months. Meanwhile, we are going to treat as if she has it. After a few days of meds it should be gone. The symptoms of enlarged spleen and elevated liver functions and anemia should disappear if this is indeed a parasite. Otherwise, I'm sure there's more tests to be done.

I've applied for a backyard makeover on some HGTV show. Please, please, please Lord. I just want some grass. That's all. And a pool if You're feeling especially generous towards me. Thanks.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The Beach

Nia and the baby jellyfish.
Sisters.

Clive.


Isabel.




Monday, March 03, 2008

Schistomoniasis, or something like that

That's the most recent trail we are following with Nia. Her biopsy result indicates that she may have a rare parasite called Schistomoniasis living on the lining of her liver. This parasite comes from being in infected waters. Some people have symptoms that would lead a doctor to think of auto-immune hepatitis.

Here's a short summary of what we think this nasty parasite does: Children who are repeatedly infected can develop anemia, malnutrition, and learning difficulties. After years of infection, the parasite can also damage the liver, intestines, lungs, and bladder.

This all makes sense because Nia is anemic, and I personally think she has learning difficulties beyond the language barrier. I'm wondering if it accounts for the size of her belly. She's put on 5 pounds since November.

So, off we go to Infectious Disease in a couple of weeks to determine if this parasite is the Real Problem.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Re-Entry

Re-entry is never easy after being away for a time of reprieve. Our's was especially difficult. We had a flat tire on our 15-passenger van right out of the gates. The spare wasn't reliable enough to drive the remaining 7 hours, so we stopped at a Sears in Montgomery, AL for a new tire. Remember Gilligan's Island, how a 3-hour tour ended up being eternally stranded? Well, our 8-hour drive turned into 12 hours. In the rain.

Ox, our 110-pound black lab welcomed us home with diarrhea in our master bathroom and bedroom. A friend would put him out every day and in the house at night. Apparently, the smell went unnoticed and we spent an hour cleaning up poop. Welcome Home, Pregont Family.....only is wasn't Ty Pennington saying those words. Instead it was Ox's "gift."

And so I continue to pine for the beach. At least today is sunny weather, which always helps. I've done a little scouting on the internet and decided that Ocean Isle, NC, sounds like a good place to raise a family. I'll let you know what God thinks about that plan.