Tuesday, January 31, 2012


My verse for January has been written on my heart.

My verse for February is Philippians 4:8

"Finally, my friends, keep your minds on whatever is true, pure, right, holy, friendly, and proper. Don’t ever stop thinking about what is truly worthwhile and worthy of praise. You know the teachings I gave you, and you know what you heard me say and saw me do. So follow my example. And God, who gives peace, will be with you."

It's a good verse to write on my heart this month because we have some serious changes happening here in the Dyer house.  On Monday, we took Sophie to see a developmental doctor.  We've had the appointment for months and I've been hoping and praying to hear "speech delay" and "moderate behavioral therapy" and "nothing time can't fix".

Instead we heard this;

"Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) is one of the autism spectrum disorders and is used to describe individuals who do not fully meet the criteria for autistic disorder or Asperger syndrome. PDD-NOS may be thought of as “subthreshold autism," or a diagnosis one can give a person who has “atypical symptomatology.” In other words, when someone has autistic characteristics but some of their symptoms are mild, or they have symptoms in one area (like social deficits), but none in another key area (like restricted, repetitive behaviors), they may be given the PDD-NOS label."
 - Autism Speaks

So now we're reading books and websites about how to communicate with our daughter.  We're making appointments with medical doctors to have her records updated so she can be seen by Special Education programs.  We're reading other parents' stories and realizing how much they sound like our baby.

There are a lot of tears.  There is fear that makes my hands shake.  There is a quiet panic that I can't let my extra-sensitive daughter see because now I know how much it can affect her.

So I go to my verse.

I praise God for Sophie's health.  She's an active little girl with no motor skill delays.
I praise God that Sophie is good and pure.  She loves her family with all of her heart and is keen to our joys and pains.

I praise God for what is true.

I am Sophie's mother.  I am the one who carried her in my body for 34 weeks.  I am the one who stayed up on the futon in the living room while Sophie slept in the baby car seat, wailing if I stopped rocking it in my sleep deprived haze.  I am the one who strapped that baby to my chest with a sling and marched all over the house.  I am the one who sang lullabies to her in the NICU.  I am the one who sat with a cranky toddler in a government office waiting for my turn to speak to someone about food stamps.  I am the one who wipes the tears off of her face when she is scared and the poop off of her butt when she's stinky.

I am the one God gently reminded that this was His baby given to me to care for only a short period of time on this Earth when I was still pregnant.  He trusts me with His child.

I will focus on these things and I will feel God's peace.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Gideon is the only one of my children who loves stomach zerbets.

He climbs onto the couch beside me, lurches over, raises his shirt with a giant grin on his face and then plasters himself on my face.


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Prayers and Lessons

I haven't really posted about any resolutions for 2012.  There are not too many things I want to do this year.  OK, that's a lie, there's a ton of stuff I want to do.  This is one of the most important things.

I want to learn a new Bible verse every month.

Now when I say "learn" I don't just mean memorize the words.  I want to write those words on my heart.  I want to dissect the verse and truly get to the bottom of what God is saying to me through that verse.

January's verses are Romans 8:38-39

"For I am convinced that neither death nor life; neither angels nor demons; neither present nor future nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation shall separate us from the love of God through Jesus Christ our Lord."

Now I'll admit that I wrote that by heart and them immediately checked You Version.  I left out the part of "nor anything else in all creation".  I'm still getting there.

The part that hooked me today is that God never mentions the past.  He states that "neither present nor future" will separate us but the past is not in there.  One could argue that the past is lumped in there with anything in all creation...but God is specific in His words.

I guess the reason this caught my attention was because there are still parts of my past that I haven't settled.  There are people that I still have to wake up and daily ask God to put forgiveness in my heart for them.  There are choices that I made that still shame me.  There are people I pray over only because God puts them on my heart and I know that I'm supposed to do what He tells me to do.  Before I pray, I ask him to search my heart for Black Spots and cleanse me.  Then I ask Him to only let me pray with a clean heart.  Sometimes it takes a long time.  He brings up people that have hurt me.  He brings up someone that I used to call my best friend until they cut me out of their life.  He brings up people whose lifestyles I don't think are Godly.

Then He always reminds me that I'm not perfect.  I still make mistake after mistake.  However, just as He promises in Romans, because of the decision I made when I was 10 then I will never again be separated from the love of God.  He reminds me that these people need these prayers.  They need to know His love.  They need His conviction.

So I pray.  First for cleansing and then for whoever God brings to my heart.

Because I am convinced.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Potty is Not Going To Eat You

Look, the majority of the content on this blog is going to revolve around potty training my stubborn 4 year old daughter for a while.  I might break it up occasionally but right now her shiny little heinie is pretty much the focus of my days.  If you're getting bored then go look at cat videos.

Today was day 2 of Operation Break Sophie's Will or Possibly Pop Her Kidneys.

She came out of bed with the diaper that ate Manhattan.  I cleaned her up and left her pantsless.  My sister calls this the "Winnie the Pooh" or "Donald Duck" method.  Sophie knew what this meant and started getting cranky right away.  I offered a potty trip and she fell to the ground howling.  I said "OK!" and walked away.

She got up.  Stared at me.  Looked at the bathroom.  I could see her little brain working it out.  I didn't care?  I wasn't going to make her do anything?  What's the catch?

I watched her fight all day.  I gave her cup after cup after cup of juice.  Finally, I was sorting clothes in the hallway when it hit.

Sophie came SCA-REE-HEEMING down the hallway like she was on fire.  Again, I calmly looked at her and asked her if she wanted to go potty.  She screamed all the way to the bathroom and I heard clanking, banging, crashes and finally...a small tinkling sound.

The sound of victory.

Granted, she had ripped down my cute little potty chart and peed on it.  She was also just hovering over the potty and had peed in / on it.  It took 15 minutes to calm her down and convince her that she was not going to turn inside out and die right there on the tile floor.  I cleaned everything up and brought out the stickers.

"Stickees?", she said while sniffling.

"Yes, baby!  You get to put stickers on your chart now!"

She gleefully put a sticker in the box and another at the top of the chart.  Then she came out to the living room and paced around and around.  She kept going over to the laundry and bringing me her pants because she knows that pants mean a diaper as well.  I knew she still had to go so I asked her again.  She yelled as she ran into the bathroom...and then ran right back out into the living room.

It's OK.  Mama has Resolve.

After getting everything out of her system, the fight just left her.  She sat in my lap, exhausted and worn.  She slept for 15 minutes that way.  (Me praying the whole time that she didn't pee all over me.)  When she woke up...something clicked.

5 more times today, she went to the potty and did her business.  This time it was with clapping, dancing and elated stickering.  One time, she even ran to me in the kitchen to tell me she had to go.  She went to bed tonight with 6 stickers on her chart and a Pull-Up on her butt.  She fell asleep in minutes.

I know not every day is going to be like this.  Some days will be great.  Some days will go through a whole can of Resolve and most of my resolve.  Today, however, ended with 6 stickers.  I feel like I earned them, too.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Mama Welcomes the Springtime

Mama Welcomes the Springtime


Dear Sophie,

Right now you are in your bed with only ONE TOY.  I'm a monster, I know.  You're used to sleeping with about 4 but, since you keep pelting your brother with them, I now limit you to one.  You've been potty training all day.  Since 10:00 this morning you have been totally bare bottomed and have not gone in the potty at all.  No accidents, no potty.  Just pure stubborn I-refuse-to-do-this-on-your-terms.  You went to bed early tonight because you didn't nap and were manic with trying to do the Potty Dance all over the house.

Honestly, you annoyed the crap out of me today.

Four years ago you were lying in the Baylor NICU with a feeding tube in your nose, 3 monitors on your body and an IV in your scalp.  You weighed 5 pounds and 2 ounces.  You were the smallest baby I had ever seen up close.  I remember standing by your bassinet with your Daddy as the nurses told us about your feeding tube and what to expect over the next few days.

God, I was scared.

You were my first.  My first baby.  I thought I had done everything right until my water broke at midnight on the 16th.  You were only 34 weeks along.  After laboring with you for over a day, you entered the world at 6:48 AM on the 17th of January.  Your little head was cone-shaped because you took your sweet time.  You didn't cry.  You were very alert.  The doctor put you on my stomach and all I could see was your tiny right hand waving around as they dried you off.  I was scared and asking why you weren't crying.  As they tried to convince me that some babies just don't cry, I tried to convince myself that you were real by taking that little hand.

You held my finger and my heart shattered.

I was a Mama.  I had always wanted to be a Mama and here you were.  My baby girl.  My Sophia Sakura.  I held you for an hour that seemed like 3 seconds.  Then they took you to the NICU and I didn't see you again for another 7 hours.  It was a tiny taste of the most perfect feeling in the world and then it was snatched away from me.

That first night, I couldn't sleep.  I crept out of my room at 3 in the morning and slowly made my way to the NICU.  They were just about to feed you and offered to try breastfeeding.  We couldn't make it work so they suggested Kangaroo Care instead.  I sat in a comfortable glider with my feet up.  You laid your tiny head on my left breast and tucked your feet under my right breast.  The nurses put warm blankets over both of us and then put a screen around us.

Every muscle in your tiny body relaxed and you fell asleep over my heart.

I sat for hours just marveling at the wonder that is You.  I sang lullabies.  I told you about your cat.  I examined your face to see what family members you resembled.  I will remember those hours for the rest of my life.

Happy birthday, my Sophie-chan.  Please go to the bathroom.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Not Giving Up

"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Romans 8:38-39

Do you hear that?!?

It doesn't matter that Sophie still couldn't understand my instructions about potty training and had a massive meltdown.

It doesn't matter that Gideon tried to destroy everything whenever I went into the bathroom with Sophie because he was jealous of all of the attention his sister was getting.

It doesn't matter that Milly freaked out whenever I not only left her sight but went out of her reach making nap time a really difficult thing.

God was still with me all day.  He still loves me.  He still believes in my ability to mother these children.  He's going to be there as I cry tonight.

I'm still OK.

Potty Training is a Go

The bright pink potty chart has been decorated with pictures of Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck.  The sticker bribes are ready.  When 10 stickers are stuck, a prize is won.

The waterproof panties are ready.  We go barebottom the first day, waterproof the next few days and then the Minnie Mouse panties from Grandma are coming out.

The Special Bubbles are next to the potty.  The Special Bubbles can only be used when cheeks are on the seat.

All systems are go.  Operation Potty Train Sophie is ready.

Let's do this thing.

Mama is So Demure

Mama is So Demure

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tracts of Land




Did you know that about 80% of brassiere wearing women are wearing the wrong size?  Are you in the 20%?  A well-fitted bra can completely change the way your clothes look and how your back feels.

But you didn't come here to listen to me talk about sensible things.  You want to hear about the tiny menopausal Latina woman who unabashedly wrestles with my Mommies every time I go to the lingerie shop.

There is a wonderful intimate apparel shop in Dallas that has been here since 1934.  They sell robes, pajamas and swimwear but mainly deal in custom fitted over-the-shoulder-boulder-holders.  My mother brought me here a few years ago after I had Sophie and everything shifted.  She recognized that I needed something a little more supportive and that I needed some expert opinions.

Now I've always been a big girl.  I don't think I ever wore a training bra.  I've always sighed wistfully at strapless dresses and matching bra and panty sets.  I once tried on a Wonderbra and nearly collapsed when all of the oxygen was cut off from my brain because my nostrils and mouth were completely covered.

I left my mother on the couch in the waiting area and went into the dressing room.  I expected the tiny woman to measure over my existing bra and then pass in some options that I would then try on and say Yea or Nay.

What happened was that tiny little woman marched over to me as I removed my shirt and just flat out grabbed me.  She began lifting and searching and pushing and squooshing and holy monkeys I really want my Mama.


Lady, I will tell you anything you want if you will just let go of my chachies and for the love of GOD close the door to the dressing room.

That woman measured me and ran off LEAVING THE DOOR WIDE OPEN STILL and I called my mommy back into the dressing room because now I was terrified.  The lady came back with a few options.  She showed me how I had been putting bras on wrong for my entire life while my mother smothered a smile and quietly closed the door.  I think she got a kick out of my dinner-plate sized eyes and how her most talkative child was finally rendered speechless.  Once she helped me into the first one ("MAKE SURE ALL OF THE GIRLS ARE IN THE CUPS!") I stood up and felt...relief.

You mean bras are supposed to be comfortable?!  What witchcraft is this?!?!

They tweaked a few more places and I left with a bag full of the first proper fitting undergarments that I have ever worn.  Granted, they cost a little more but that's because I wear sizes normally reserved for Viking women.  I go back and get wrestled and prodded but now I do it knowing I'm coming out of there more comfortable than when I went in.  It doesn't bother me as much as the first time.

I also remember to close the door.

Now will someone please go pick my mother up off of the floor so she can answer the phone when my grandmother calls and asks her why I'm talking about this on my blog?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Imitation Is the Sincerest Form of Flattery

I'm settling the kids down for their naps.  Sophie usually has a "quiet time" in my bed since she shares a room with Gideon and keeps him up the whole time.

Sophie snuggles down into my bed with her dozen dolls and grabs the sleep mask I use when I sleep.  Nesting herself into all of the pillows on the bed, she puts the mask over her eyes.

Me:  "Are you going to sleep with Mama's mask?"

Sophie:  "Niy-niy!"

What a little cutie.  She's imitating her Mama!

I kiss her sweet little forehead.

Me:  "OK.  I love you, sweetie."

Sophie:  "I SAY NIY-NIY!"


Me:  (under my breath)  "Have a pleasant nap, Missie Sahib."

Monday, January 9, 2012

Get Out Of Jail Free

I'm sitting on the couch with Gideon snuggled under my arm.  We soon realize that he's asleep and it's time to move him back to his crib for a nap.  Ben comes over to pick him up and Gideon rolls over and snuggles onto my chest.  My heart bursts into a million pieces and I hold my little man closer.

Me:  "Awww...you look so cute and you're so sweet!  Just for that you won't get in trouble the first time you wreck the car!"

Ben:  "THAT'S IT!  Give him to me!"

Ben hikes him up and mutters "Don't listen to your mother!" as he carries my baby away.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Things That Made Me Smile

Watching Sophie knock on the door of the Little People Ark and announce loudly "Come in!"

Watching Milly take two wobbly steps and then drop to the floor to crawl psychotically fast to what she wants.

Looking around frantically for Gideon only to find him lying behind the couch cushion where I usually sit almost totally camouflaged.

Target Tantrum


Yesterday, I was That Mom.

Sophie and I had gone to Target to get just a few things.  Meaning we went into Target with a list of 5 things and left with a cartful of stuff.  That's just what you do at Target.  We had just come into the store and Sophie was acting very good.  She held my hand through the parking lot, counted the handicapped signs and tried to pick up the giant red ball at the front like she always does.  We picked out a cart - Sophie requested the red one and I complied - and headed into the store.  Sophie trotted beside me with a grin on her face.  All is going well.

Then came that dadgum Dollar Spot.

Now I love that Dollar Spot.  We find all sorts of cheap crap there.  Sophie loves funky socks and I regularly pick out 4 to 6 pairs every few months for her because I don't care if they get lost or fall apart.  We found 2 pairs of Minnie Mouse socks for Sophie and 2 pairs of Mickey socks for Gideon.  Great.  Now Mama's ready to leave and do the rest of the shopping.

Sophie has different ideas.

I take her hand and begin walking away and she somehow makes herself triple in weight.  Seriously, she just willed her kidneys to turn to lead or something.  So I tried the method of OK, I'm going to just leave you here!

Lalalala!  Mama's walking away!


I glance back after 20 feet and Sophie is standing there.  Defiant o'Pigtails with her arms firmly crossed over her chest and her little pigeon toed feet planted.

About that time, my Mama calls.  I answer the phone and tell her what her precious gem of a granddaughter is doing.  She tells me to go over and put her in the cart.  I sigh and turn the cart around.  The Little Nutjob just glares me down as I approach.  As soon as I touch her arm, she goes completely boneless.

"Mama, I have to go.  Your granddaughter is a jellyfish."

So, without ceremony, I haul my defiant little nutjob jellyfish up and dump her into the red cart.  As I begin to push the cart down the aisle with a now scream-fake sobbing mental patient nearing 11, I lean down and whisper what every mother has said...

"I hope you have a daughter someday JUST LIKE YOU."

Monday, January 2, 2012

2011 Movie Review and 2012 Previews



Captain America
X-Men First Class

This was a banner year for superhero movies.  I enjoyed every one of these movies but, if pressed to choose, I would take Captain America as my favorite.  That's taking into account my previous deep dislike of Chris Evans so that's saying A LOT.  That man drives me bonkers and I still enjoyed every minute of this movie.  Thor was a pretty movie; not a lot in the way of story but very nice to watch.

No, Jessica, I don't just mean Chris Hemsworth's pectoral muscles.

Although those were very nice.

X-Men did a good job introducing the mutants that I hold so near and dear to my heart.  James McAvoy is a wonderful young Charles Xavier with just the right amount of arrogance and intelligence.  Michael Fassbender is heartbreaking as Erik Lensherr.  I like movies that make me rethink how I feel about villains and this one did.  I really hope they make this into a trilogy to go with the Singer movies.

Super 8


Oh, Jaybrams.  Dude, I really want to like your movies.  I liked Alias...the first two seasons and some select episodes of the remaining seasons.  Star Trek made me weep with geeky tears of joy.  Lost held my attention for more time than many other TV shows.  I'm enjoying Person of Interest but we'll talk about that later.

I just couldn't get into Super 8.  Kids that know a secret!  Single dad who wants to know the truth!  The military is hiding something!  The girl is gonna kiss him!  WHO LET THE DOGS OUT?!

Honey, please just let M. Night Shyamalan be M. Night Shymalan and go back to working on the Star Trek sequels.


At first I agreed to go see this movie because I knew my husband wanted to see it.  Math and baseball combined?  Dude, my husband is THERE.  I actually ended up liking it.  Good story, easy to follow during the technical parts and awesome actors.  I would gladly watch this movie again and I'm even considering skimming the book sometime.
Cowboys and Aliens
The Muppets
Sherlock Holmes
Iron Lady

These are all movies that came out in 2011 that I have not yet gotten to see but have every intention of watching.


John Carter

Dude.  Duuuuuuuuuuuuude.  This movie is going to be so cool.  The movie is based on A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs who also created Tarzan.  The story is basically about a Confederate veteran who is mysteriously taken to Mars and caught in a battle with two races of Martians.

How can that NOT sound interesting?!

The Hunger Games

I've already talked about how much I enjoyed the books and I only have one thing to say about the movies.


Don't lighten it up.  Don't pretty up Katniss.  Don't take out too much.  Don't make Cinna overwhelming.  Don't make the Arena any less terrifying.

Just let it be.

The Avengers

Sweet mother of all that is Holy and Geekified.  "Looking forward to this movie" cannot convey all of my emotions.  Every time I watch the trailers, I get goosebumps and I squeal.  I analyze screencaps to see what might be important.  I study the backgrounds of the characters.  I'm going into this one READY.

The Dark Knight Rises

"Oh Kelly, another geek movie?"


Chris Nolan is finishing his Batman trilogy.  Gary Oldman, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman are all amazing in these movies.  Even Christian Bale makes a good Batman and I really never believed that he could.  Anne Hathaway is the sultry Selena Kyle.  This movie is going to rock my argyle socks off.

The Hobbit

I read The Hobbit for the first time when I was in eighth grade and now I have almost the whole book memorized.  Peter Jackson is coming back after 10 years from The Fellowship of the Ring and putting his spin on this glorious tale.  I'll be there to make sure Kili and Fili are as feisty, that Balin is as loyal, that Thorin is as fierce and that The Battle of the Five Armies is as epic as I remember.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2011 Book Reviews and 2012 Previews


Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan
Percy Jackson and the Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan

Let's take these two series together.  I loved these books.  In fact, when reading the first series the third time, I realized that I liked them better than the Harry Potter books.  That's saying quite a bit.  If you are a fan of Greek and Roman mythology and like YA fiction then I have no idea why you aren't at the library, bookstore or on an e-book site right this second.  You must have these books in your life.  You must know the story of Percy, Annabeth and loveable Tyson.

The Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan

After falling so in love with the Percy Jackson series, I found and read the first two books in the Kane Chronicles.  I wasn't as impressed by these books but they are still good.  These books are based on Egyptian mythology.  After reading these I truly wonder if Riordan is gearing up for a Norse mythology series.  I would totally snap that up.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

WOW.  I read the first book on my Kindle after hearing about 9 gazillion friends tell me that this is a life changing series.  I plowed through the first book and then bought and devoured the last two all within two days.  I gave myself a few days to process the books and then spent two more days reading them again.  I read this whole trilogy about 10 times during 2011 and will probably read it even more through 2012.  I will give these books to my kids when they are ready.  There is no age limit to me.  These are difficult books to read in subject matter.  I'll gauge how ready the kids are and introduce them when I believe they are ready.  I could see these becoming required reading in schools at some point if they aren't already.

The Seven Realms by Cinda Williams Chima

Before Thanksgiving, I was whining on Facebook about having nothing new to read.  A friend pointed me to this YA fantasy series and now I am in her debt.  Chima has created a world of royalty, clans and wizards.  There are traders, craftspeople and hunters in the clans.  She weaves a story of warriors fighting for their lands; some with magic and some so opposed to magic that they kill anyone with a trace of wizardry.  There is a line of queens ruling the land and the books focus on the latest heir.  I was entranced with this new world and read quickly through the three books.  I love authors that create a new world for me to explore.

The Redemption Series by Karen Kingsbury

This is a 5-book series about the Baxter family written by Christian author Karen Kingsbury.  I read these books because they were on the Kindle I was graceously given by my MIL when she upgraded.  They are very easy to read and great for people that like warm-fuzzy books where the family overcome hardships with grace, love and family togetherness.


I read them because they were there, I was bored and I had a newborn so I couldn't turn pages.  If this is your thing, then go for it.  I will only poke a tiny bit of fun at you if I know you well enough.


Percy Jackson and the Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan
The Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan

The third book in the Heroes of Olympus series is being released in fall of 2012.  The third book in the Kane Chronicles trilogy will be released in the spring of 2012.


Divergent by Veronica Roth
Insurgent by Veronica Roth

A teen thriller trilogy set in dystopian Chicago.  Chicago is divided into five "factions" all representing a different virtue.  When children turn 16, they must take a test and choose a faction.  The trilogy follows a young girl named Beatrice who just turned 16.  I am on this like stink on Gideon's butt.

Inheritance by Christopher Paolini

It took him what felt like 385 years but that little butthead finally finished this series.  Now I just have to read the last book and find out what happens to Eragon and Saphira.

I say butthead affectionately.  I love this series and Paolini brought dragons back to the public eye.  Dragons are awesome.

 The Wilder Life by Wendy McClure

As did nearly every other young girl in America, I read the Little House books.  I still read the Little House books and I can't wait to read them to my kiddos.  Sophie has already listened to a chapter here and there.  Wendy McClure took this to a new level and wrote a book dedicated to figuring out the truth and fiction surrounding Laura Ingalls Wilder and the Little House books.  The woman made a green pumpkin pie, for crying out loud!

There are, of course, more books that I plan to read in 2012.  I'm set up on Goodreads and have set a goal of 50 books for the year.  Honestly, I would love to blow that out of the water but you never can tell when you're the mother of three.