Sunday, November 13, 2011

What a week...

I believe I posted last on Monday, the beginning of this week. I haven't posted any Thankful posts or any progress on my goals. Or anything, at all.

Since Monday, there was been much going on--and sadly, I don't mean in the way of progress on my 2012 goals.

Monday, approximately 9:30 p.m.:
there was much stomach aching and vomit at our house. #'s 1 and 3, the odd numbered kids, the curly heads, as we call them, both started in at approximately 9:30. Even though they are 11 and 6, one a girl, one a boy--they have a lot in common. Both do well at school with little effort, both have the same crazy sense of humor, both have sometimes wildly curly blonde hair. Poor Eleanor in the middle at age 8--has to really work to get good grades, but is wildly creative. Has super straight, brownish hair, instead of their curly blonde locks--and is usually concerned for characters in movies when her odd-numbered siblings are laughing uncontrollably. But that's a post for another day. ;-)

So I guess it should not have surprised me that these two, in tandem, became ill. Not to mention, they (and Eleanor) had just the day before, closed a play they were in, with 40-some odd other kids, more than likely carrying around 40-some odd sets of germs and who knows what bugs.

So anyway....these two began on what would prove to be a nearly week long (or longer, possibly, but let's hope not), vomit fest. Up and down with them all night, holding buckets under them, and changing blankets, bringing them tiny sips of water. That's being a mom, right?

Tuesday, approximately 8:30 a.m.

There is something oddly peaceful about having recuperating children at home. They were not vomiting Tuesday, but were both lounging, weak, in and out of sleep on the couch, requesting sips of water and occasionally, another movie in the dvd player. On days like these, there was no refereeing to deal with, no arguing, no requests for snacks repeatedly (yes, I have a 6 year old boy who constantly wants to eat), not even any wanting to get on the computer and play games. No fever and no vomiting since the wee hours.

Just peaceful recuperation.

Wednesday, approximately 7 p.m.

Or as we have affectionately dubbed it, Round 2.

The Mailman and I coordinate the Junior Bible Quiz program at our church--our second meet of the season was yesterday, and we had a practice Wednesday evening. Right about the time to start, Eleanor began to complain that her stomach and throat hurt (which, at the time, I thought sounded odd--stomach and throat?) I told her to rest a minute, then to practice when she felt up to it. I went about my business, up to help a different group of kids I was helping coach.

5 or 10 minutes into practice, one of the kids' helpers came in and told me Eleanor was vomiting in the restroom.

Yup, I should have known. I don't know why I thought she could escape it. Without going into the gory details, another long night of vomiting awaited us.

Which was punctuated by

Thursday, approximately 2 a.m.

I woke up knowing exactly what Eleanor meant when she said her stomach and throat hurt. First hand. Needless to say, between me and her, it was another loooooooong night.

Thursday, all day

Another day of peaceful recuperation, although not so much when I'm one of the victims.Eleanor, Bea (who was not sick but willing), and I lounged on the couch most of the day, in and out of sleep, watching several movies. It hung on longer with me than it seemed to with the others.

I did not feel fabulous the next day, but I was not really sick. I will say, though, having purged for several hours, was really a good jumpstart for getting back to losing weight. Cha-ching.

I think Friday was for the most part, uneventful.

Saturday, approximately 8:30 a.m.

Our poor van got sick. On the way to our Bible Quiz meet one hour from here, on Interstate 69 North, our van started losing its ability to accelerate. Twice we felt like we hit a speed bump (at 70+ miles an hour?). He thinks it's probably the transmission slipping, but we're still not really sure. At the end of the meet day, we had it towed (and as luck would have it, our roadside assistance only pays for towing within 15 miles, so we got to cover the extra), so our mechanic will be able to look at it tomorrow, hopefully. (more on this later)

Saturday, approximately 10:30 p.m.

Round 3

no more needs to be said, just that last night was a really, really, really, long night with Bea. Let's just say that four year olds aren't so good at knowing when they are getting ready to vomit. So suffice it to say...

Sunday, Now

is another day home with a child instead of being at church. Recuperating (her from vomit, me from lack of sleep).

and catching up on lots and lots and lots of laundry.


Even though it's been a tough week. And will probably be tougher once we hear the prognosis from the mechanic.

I AM Thankful

My problems are vomiting and laundry and smelly old buckets that need bleached. And seven year old vans that quit working. The kids argue, I cry that I need a break, the house gets messy. My tummy hurts--their tummy hurts.

But I have a friend whose 13 year old son has leukemia. and there is a 3 year old granddaughter of someone we know who needs a heart transplant. And a 42 year old relative of a member of our church is dying and there is nothing anyone can do. She has 4 young sons at home. I can't imagine.

and that last item on my list, about sending a Christmas letter to Abhash and Kelebe? Those are boys who have NOTHING. They live in impoverished countries, and help them monthly, but it's not enough. We can't even send them any gifts, bigger than what will go flat into a business sized envelope.

They are excited to get stickers and a letter in the mail. They tell us in their broken written English that they pray for our family daily. Do we always remember to pray for them? Sadly, and ashamedly, no. We get caught up in everything here. The vomit, the arguing kids, the messy house, the clutter.

And yesterday? A friend of ours whose daughter was also going to the Bible quiz meet happened to need to follow us to the meet, because she didn't know the way. So when our van broke down, and we managed to get it into a rest stop, she was there. We all piled into her van and rode the rest of the way there. We weren't even late. We have it too good.

At supper the other night, one of the middle kids complained that they had to eat something that they didn't want to eat.

"it's not fair!" they whined.

Paige, in her eleven year old wisdom, repeated something that she had heard from someone else (and I know it's nothing new, but I was blessed to hear her repeat it),

"If life were fair, we'd all be starving."

I'm not saying I don't want new carpet or a van that runs well, or all those little things that would be nice to have. Because I do. And I'm sure you'll find me again, whining, and venting and telling how it is. And working towards those goals.

But I'm done complaining (or at least I'm going to try to be...). I have more than I need, more than I could ever ask for, and way, way more than I deserve.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Thankful, Day 7

I so hope to have a better week this week than last. I am rearranging my to do list to accommodate not finishing up last week (and barely making a dent, to be honest).

And lest I forget to mention it....

Today I am thankful for the peace and quiet and Bible reading and coffee while everyone is gone but me. When Bea is at preschool, that is when I am able to really focus on my Bible reading. I am in the middle of 2 Kings, which, to be perfectly honest, is not totally inspiring to me (not like Psalms or Proverbs or much of the New Testament) but it is my desire to know the whole Bible and not just bits and pieces that provide me encouragement. I see God's hand at work throughout all of the Old Testament, even in the parts that are hard to understand, and the parts might seem a little boring (dimensions and materials used in the temple, anyone?).

It's my desire to know where all of it came from, and to know all of God's word (it was all inspired, so I figure, who am I to pick and choose?)

(and that red paper is the "heart" that Bea made for me, it's those little things that little kids do that make me want to squeeze them and not let them grow up.

In all the madness and chaos, I am thankful for the peace and quiet.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Thankful Days and Days I'm not so sure...

Well, yesterday got away from me and before I knew it, I didn't post. The business of the kids' play and the bad funk I've been in for a week plus...I just didn't have the time or focus to post.

And as it turns out, today brings to a close Week 3 of  (Be ready by...) PROJECT 2012. 

Can you say FAIL?

I'm being very honest and very serious when I say that often, I wonder if I need medication for this rollercoaster of emotions I ride. When I'm in that bad place that I was in this past week (and really, some of the week before, I just had a brief respite last Sunday), it was hard to tear myself out of it, except for a few moments here and there.  But when I'm feeling better, more energetic, motivated, task-oriented, today, I think I can do it all, with a prayer and some good music playing. And so it goes til the next dip in my emotional road (oh, who am I kidding, it's not a dip at all, it's one of those super tall peaks that I come crashing down from at lightning speed........or perhaps it happens slower but the intensity and depth of the valley is the same).

And it happens, inevitably, and I still can't pinpoint why. Sometimes it's something that gets in my head and makes me begin to worry needlessly and stew about some problem. Sometimes I wake up and can't get going, and it begins. Sometimes it's an argument with a loved one (okay......the Mailman normally...not just any loved one).

But when I'm up, I feel I can conquer the world. And that's where this challenge came from. So on an off-week, my to do list seems hopelessly insurmountable. And overwhelming. In a week where I can't even seem to function enough to wash dishes, my challenge seems ridiculous. So this week was.

I did manage to cross off just a few things, but suffice it to say, I'll be backtracking a bit this next week, to try to make up for some lost time.

In a nutshell, regarding my BIG list, I didn't get much done. And much of what I got done was accomplished on the 2 days that the Mailman was home. Having him home motivates me, makes me feel better all the way around, and keeps me going somehow. Too bad he normally works long hours 6 days a week.

So tomorrow I am going to revamp my lists a bit, and I'm wondering, maybe they need to be made more do-able. ?  Could it be I've, once again, set my expectations too high?

Before I forget, I did not forget to be thankful. Today's item I am especially thankful for, and really it sort of covers both days, I guess.

That one extra hour of sleep last night! Got a really good night's sleep and I do feel more refreshed today, despite a nagging headache.

So even though I hate "springing forward", it should be noted that I love, love, love "falling back".

Here's hoping that the extra rest, the renewed motivation, and the sort-of clean house will be enough to get me going tomorrow, and for the rest of the week. We shall see.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Thankful, Day 4

Yesterday I was having a particularly hard day. Maybe you can tell it in my post, maybe not. ;-)

But I was. I was having some guilt about not being the best parent. About being at home with Bea but not fully being home with her--having my thoughts and my energy somewhere else, not fully at home.

And thinking about going to find a job somewhere other than home.

Yesterday she and I went nowhere til we had to pick up Henry and Eleanor from school and take Henry to his violin lesson. It was a Thursday, and generally Thursdays are pretty empty for us--for Bea and me. And I asked her, "do you like days at home with mommy, not doing much of anything...or do you like days where you go to preschool and PDO and gymnastics and grandma's? Which kind of day do you like better?" (trying to get a feeling for how much she wants me home with her--and how guilty I should feel if I find a job away)

"I like bofe of them better" was her reply.

So where does that leave me?

Still searching for answers, and trying to be content with where I am. Still working on that one.

On a totally unrelated note, no matter what, whether or not I find a job somewhere, I am thankful for this today: God's provision in my (and my family's) life.

This morning after preschool Bea and I ran to the grocery to pick up a few forgotten items for our slow-cooker dinner. When we entered, two older women gave us a small slip of paper and asked if we would consider giving to Christian Ministries for a food pantry.

Cans of soup, cans of vegetables, cans of tuna. Bea asked me what those ladies were doing and I realized how hard it is to explain to your 4 year old that some people don't have enough food, or money to buy food, or even warm homes to sleep in at night.

and that makes me feel so thankful that I do have those things.

We've had tough years in our past, where we really didn't know how our bills would get paid--before Nathan got his job, when we were just piecing money together here and there. And we had lots of blessings from God: little blessings, big blessings: a few meals brought to us, hand me down clothing, even cash from an anonymous source through our church. We never did learn who it was who gave us a generous gift in an hour when we truly needed it, but they knew--somehow--what we needed and they provided.

I hope to help someone else out in a big way someday, but until that day, I am thankful for what I have. I hope my children learn to be thankful as well.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thankful Day 3

I feel broken today. I just feel so swallowed up in overwhelming emotion and defeat, I feel so physically worn out, I'm just spent.

I know...bring on the drama. (oh, the humanity!)...........

This is not the post I wanted to write today. I thought I was going to wake up this morning with a song in my heart and a spring in my step. I thought I would have yet another do-over today. Because I need it after yesterday.

But instead I woke up so tired, and so sluggish, with a slightly-sick child (who just happens to be losing her voice on the eve of a theater performance of which she is Drizella, the nasty stepsister), and a slightly-sick feeling in my heart.

and I can't explain it.

We are all worn out here. We are overscheduled, overwhelmed, overtired, overburdened with responsibility, indecision, and a general feeling of..ugh.

And I know we all (meaning the general population of women, men, children and families) have these same feelings. I know my own family of 6 is not the only one who feels this way. Believe me, I know.

But some days it just hits me more than others. And lately, it's been hitting me a lot.

So this morning, as I made Eleanor a concoction of honey, lemon juice, and warm water, as I hurriedly wrote a note to her teacher explaining that Eleanor's voice is about shot........I worried.

When I drug myself into the van to take my kids to school, wearing my oh-so-fashionable snowman pajama pants, fuzzy socks, crocs (I know, I'm so 2009), and fuzzy hoody, with non-travel coffee cup in hand (and yes, I spilled in my hurry to get out the front door), I really worried. I really felt it.

I told Eleanor I was worried about her voice. I was worried she wouldn't be able to perform at her dress rehearsal tonight (where I would be video taping, as would many other parents), I told her even more so, I was worried she wouldn't be able to perform tomorrow night at opening night.

And it was not just her voice that had me worried. I know her losing her voice is small potatoes to some people. I have children with no major health problems, we have just/almost enough money each month. Our circumstances are not nearly as tragic as other people's.

But sometimes it is just all of the above. It just hits you all at once. Not just worry, but anxiety and stress.

And on the way home, I pondered all of this in the silence of the van. Halfway home, I turned on my favorite radio station, and heard an ad for the Moody Bible Institute Bible verse of the week.

Philippians 4:6
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."

And then I realized, yet again (you would think I would get it by now): God really cares for us. He knows how things are going to turn out. He knows all the big and little things that worry us. He knows!

Why should I worry when I know God is taking care of it all? Because I'm human. I am still learning to immerse myself in God's word, to not be swayed by my emotions, to not ride the rollercoaster that I have ridden for so long in m;y life. I'm still working on me.

and God is too. Little by little, changing me and shaping me

Just like with my house, and my health and my family, I will never be perfect. The closer I get to God, the more I see how imperfect I am. But rather than let that bother me, I need to learn more to just throw myself into knowing Him more and relying more on his grace and his faithfulness.

I'll be honest. Today I'm not sure how things are going to work out (I don't just mean Eleanor's voice, I mean so many other things that are on my mind and on my heart). The voice is really the least of those.

But I am thankful that He knows, and that He will be there, I just need to trust Him with all that weighs on me.

And for that I am thankful.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Thankul, Day 2

Not just the children but the laughter they share. I don't remember what was so funny but something was said while we were trying to get them to smile for our annual Halloween photo, something that struck them all funny at once. And it  just makes me smile every time I look at this photo.

They are not just sweet, smart, and healthy, but even though they have plenty of moments that are not so nice...they love each other and really enjoy each other's company.

And for that I am thankful.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


November gets neglected a lot on the whole. When it begins, our Jack O Lanterns are still smiling and lit, and candy bags are dripping full. By the end of it, we've stuffed ourselves over Thanksgiving and are caught up in a flurry of Christmas planning and activity. It starts with piles of leaves still and ends (sometimes) with piles of snow. And sometimes in between we forget the Main Event of the month. (and I don't mean Black Friday). Perhaps we have the big meal and pore over the ads, but I know personally, I rarely stop and think to be thankful.

It's a tragedy, really. And I know this is no new concept but I am going to stop. Everything. And take time to be thankful. I'm going to stop the to do list and the self-improvement scheme and stop long enough each day of this month to think about what is more important than my plan to make life more livable. And more organized and all that jazz.

Because I really am thankful, deep down, for so much. I'm sure I don't do the best job of expressing that, but I really truly am.

So, today, November 1,  I am thankful for

These Five People (the husband and children of not so Supermom )
These people mean the world to me. (never mind the grumpy, Strangers with Candy look on the little one's face, she does not usually cooperate for photos... ;-)

From the husband who tells me I'm beautiful daily (and I do mean daily, even though I roll my eyes daily, because I not feel beautiful) to the kids who wrap their little arms around me and tell me they love me, and tell me I'm a good mommy, and tell me how pretty I am (again, I try to resist the eye rolling but I don't feel it at all). And they seem to quickly forget all the times I get impatient and yell (yes, yes, I do), or forget to sign the permission slips, or burn dinner.

They are a wonderful group of people I get to live life with (and at this point, my  8 year old would likely tell me I can't end a sentence with a preposition...she has learned a lot in 3rd grade so far!)

And not just because of the compliments, because one could chalk all that up to flattery, if one felt like it, and it would be easy to wonder what they are looking to get by complimenting me...though they never ask. But just because. I am blessed to have them.

The Mailman just told me this morning (well he texted me this but I'm sure it was sincere).........that God loves me so much and that God wants me to be at peace. He lives daily with my personal turmoil, he is on the receiving end of most of my stress, and as much as he tries to make things better for me, and make me feel like a better mom/better wife/better housekeeper/better person...he knows he's just another person, and can't do it all.

So he took the time and effort to remind me that it's not just him on my side...God is on my side.

And for that, I am so thankful.