Thursday, April 23, 2009

Get your tissues!

Pin It Seriously, go get a tissue. I'll wait.

Got one?

You'll need it at the end of the post, so just hang on to it.

Okay, so my children have had spring fever or something lately. Just an attack of really bad behavior and fighting and just seeming to deliberately be trying to drive me crazy. Or maybe it's "daddy is leaving soon so I'm going to get out all of my bad behavior now so that I can be a perfect angel for mom after he goes." yeah, let's go with that last option.

Either way, we've had a string of pretty bad days around here.

Yesterday, I got some major encouragement. I had the opportunity to just sit and talk for a while with a mom with kids the same age as my kids, at least two of the three. I realized something.

Her kids are A LOT like mine. Most of the battles we face and the things that drive me crazy really are just the age. I already knew that with the three year old, having been there twice before (although I will say, I never really experienced the total DELIGHT that a squishy mud puddle could bring before ... but I digress ...). The attitude from the 10 year old? It appears to be the age. The shrieking from the almost 8 year old? Again, the age.

WHICH MEANS THEY WILL GROW OUT OF IT. We're GOING to get past this stage.

(hm ... this probably also means that I will grow out of the current stage I'm in, and let me tell you, nothing but good will come from that! 'Nother post for another day though!)

Who knows what the next stage will be for my kids. I suspect that will be more mud for the little one. The middle one will grow out of the shrieking ... but probably not the cuteness she has, and I'll be thankful for that. The older one will continue to take on more responsibility, and the good, sweet qualities she has will overtake the negative ones.

My heavens, as much as I'm adjusting to what our lives will look like soon, they are too.

(pardon me while I go extend some grace around the house ... heaven knows I've asked for enough of it myself lately!!)

And once again, I just realized that this is going in a different direction than it started!

Back to the point!

There are definite blessings, even in the difficult stages. Help me, Lord, to see them, and not get so bogged down by the other stuff that I miss them. Yes, the oldest is bossy, but she's also taking on a fair amount of responsibility around here, mostly without being asked. Yes, the middle one has a shriek that can BREAK GLASS. She also has a sweetness about her though, and being the middle one, a need to make her voice heard. And the little one is just three. If he wants to hang on to mommy for an extra minute, it's okay. And if he wants to play in the mud ... well, he needs to ask me first to make sure we're not about to go somewhere! LOL But if we're not, it's okay. :)

Romans 8:18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

The Lord is going to grow us up! All of us, not just the kids. His glory will be revealed in us!

Okay, so I have two themes going here ... one is He IS growing us up. And the other is, at least with the children, to enjoy the stage they're in now, even though there are bad things there sometimes, because it really will not be like this for long.

It won't be like this for long. (Okay, grab the tissues now.)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Not Me Monday, the parenting edition

Pin It hmmm ... it seems that most of my "Not Me Monday" revolve around my parenting abilities, or lack thereof! Nevertheless, this edition is going to focus solely on parenting. The other areas of my life seem to be in too much of a mess right now to even put a pretty "not me" spin on them!

It is NOT ME who paid the oldest to clean the youngest's room. And we did not dicker and bargain to come up with a price. I did not offer $2, she did not counter-offer $10, and we did not discover that I'm much better at bargaining than she is and settle for $4. I also would not have very happily paid the $10 just to have it cleaned without me having to do it. None of this happened, of course, because Brendan is three and is super fabulous at cleaning up after himself. His room was not a fire hazard or in danger of being condemned or anything like that. I did not have to contemplate a pole vault kind of thing to even get to the closet. Nope, not at all.

And he also did not immediately destroy it again within minutes of Gabbi cleaning it. And I did not attempt to pay her another dollar to clean it again. (And she did not look at me, shake her head sadly, and walk off.)

It is NOT ME with the shrieking middle child either. I know I've mentioned before how high pitched her little voice is. It's a sweet little voice, really it is. It's just that occasionally the combination of the high pitch and the loud volume hit that one nerve in my back and turns me into a stark raving lunatic. Because this is absolutely not an issue here, I've not had to examine my words, as well as my pitch and volume in dealing with the children to see if it's possible that on occasion, I shriek as well. You'll be happy to know that I do not. Ever. So, if we happened to be working on lowering our volumes around here, which we're not, I would probably be asking for help in getting this child to stop shrieking. Glad I'm not having to deal with that!

And then there's the boy. He did not go for a solid week without a bath while waiting to get his stitches out. I am aware that I COULD HAVE covered them well and just not immersed them in water. I did not decide that it would really just be easier to just let him be dirty. I did not have to do a serious scrub down on both him and the bathtub the day the stitches were removed. Nope, not me.

Oh, and I don't think it's so cute when he says "I don't know!" that I ask him questions that I know he can't answer all day long just so he'll say he doesn't know. (I tried to make a video of it, but he was on to me by that point so he wouldn't say it.)

Oh, and I'm not using my free "I'm supposed to be cooking dinner and getting stuff ready for co-op tomorrow" time to type up this post to submit on Monday. I'm way better at organizing my time than that, I'm sure we've been over that before!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

When life takes a detour

Pin It I've been thinking about posting for a few days and haven't been able to come up with exactly what I want to say. I'm getting a little tired of my ongoing pity party, and if *I'M* getting tired of it, I KNOW everyone else is. There's just so much to deal with! I get one area somewhat figured out and something else pops up. I'm really trying to learn to be a "go with the flow" type person ... and well ... I'm just not. If you've parted your hair on the same side every single day your entire life and then suddenly switch sides, it's GOING TO stick up a bit. That's just how it works. So here I am, with my sticking up hair, realizing that I can't just switch it back to the other side ... okay, well, my metaphor isn't working here, but for whatever reason, I can't just make it go back to the way it was. I want to make peace with my sticking up hair, and it's happening a little more frequently day by day, but there are still moments when I catch my reflection in the mirror and it scares me.

The one thing I'm trying to do now is come up with a schedule. That's the one thing that will probably be a little easier with Jim gone. His weird work schedule keeps us on a weird schedule at home, without a consistent bedtime and getting up time. That is going to change, and I think we'll all benefit from it. I'm working on some chore charts too; may as well get that started ASAP. (And I do mean ASAP - Mad just finished sorting the silverware and Gabbi is unloading the dishwasher as I type.) We're going to not take a real break from school other than during VBS and our vacation to Spokane so that we can be finished with school when Jim gets back. Plus, it's just too hot to be outside too much during the summer, and although my kids would love nothing more than sitting around watching Boomerang all day, after about an hour, I start to twitch, and twitching mamas are not good things.

I've also been working on some other rules, mainly to give me a little bit of privacy around the house. Example: you may interrupt my shower to tell me that YOU are bleeding. You may NOT interrupt my shower to tell me about other bodily fluids. You may DEFINITELY NOT interrupt my shower to tell me about the bodily fluids of the pets. (Yes, I had this exactly conversation with one of my children yesterday ... while showering.) Other example: unless it's a gift certificate to someplace for grownups only, you may not slide notes under the bathroom door.

All of this is to say that we're going to be fine. :) I seem to have found my sense of humor again. It was behind the chair, always the last place you look! I'm sure I'll find things I like, to borrow my earlier metaphor, about sticking up hair ... and when it's time to take it back to the other side, I'm sure it will stick up again and we'll have to adjust all over again. (And for a control freak like me, it's entirely possible that that will be the more difficult adjustment.)

People keep telling me that I need to be sure to tell them what needs we have. If you're one of those people, I just love you for offering! Let me just tell you -- that's going to be tough. I will do it, I know I'm going to have to, but I'm a person who would really rather whine and complain and then do things myself than ask for help. Martyr syndrome much? Crazy, huh? I was telling my mom earlier today that I know the Lord has put me in the middle of a large circle of friends for just this reason. I've never, since high school, been part of such a fabulous, and large, group of friends! I can clearly see God's hand in it, and I am so blessed by it! I know one of things I'm going to learn through this whole detour is to rely on the family of friends and the church the Lord has given me. It's funny to think that as shocked as I've been through this whole turn of events, I can clearly see His hand moving over the past few years.

Okay ... as I've typed this, my son has rearranged the slipcover of clothes waiting to be folded on my couch. I suppose the laundry fairy didn't show up ... again. She's fired. Okay, she's me, so I'm not quite sure how well that whole firing thing is really going to work. :-P

Y'all be patient with me as I am still getting used to my sticking up hair.

(it occurred to me that this post DEMANDED a pic ... so I'm adding it now!)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday

Pin It

Had to add this one too:

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

An award!

Pin It

An award!!

Tara at Weighting for Perfection gave me this! Thank you so much, Tara!

Here Are The Rules:

1. Link Back to the person who gave you the award.

2. List 7 Things you LOVE!

3. Link to 7 Blogs and let them know you have an Award Waiting for them on your blog!

Seven (random and silly) things I love ... not counting family and friends because y'all know I love them:

1. I adore iced tea! I seriously make a pitcher every day. I like it sweet, but sweet tea and diabetes don't mix so well, so mine is made with #2 on my list.

Splenda!! (Please no comments about how bad splenda is. I'm aware of its downside and choose to love it until one day I wake up and can make myself like stevia.)

3. Because I know diabetes takes a vacation when good Easter candy abounds.

(okay, enough FOOD on my things I love list!)

This is really the only show that I watch regularly ... although regularly has meant less than once a month this year. (And yes, I missed Mondays but caught a spoiler headline ... and wish I hadn't!)

Woohoo, I love Casting Crowns! (or Ting Crowns because I was too lazy to download and shrink the pic.)

6. Love my camera!!

7. Something has to balance out all of those Cadbury eggs, right?

Now to pass this along to seven people ... that's always the hard part because I have lots of blogging buddies! Trying to choose people I haven't picked before ...

1. Sarah at One Mom Show

2. Emily at Hope Always

3. Jennifer at L I F E

4. Angie at Mosley Musings

5. Meghan at Tuckers Take Tennessee

6. Rachel at My Life My Loves My Passions

7. Kristin at Big Bunch of Monkeys

Thanks again, Tara!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Laughter Lives Tuesday

Pin It Laughter LivesThis post is part of "Laughter Lives! Tuesday" on the Riggs Family Blog. Check our their blog to read everyone else's "Laughter Lives!" posts.

It's been a while since I've done a "Laughter Lives" post, and since I just uploaded this pic to facebook and I'm still giggling over it, it needs its own "Laughter Lives" post.

This is from our zoo trip. We were getting ready to eat lunch, and Brendan was pretending to be an animal. He was all ferocious looking and growling. Cute, see?

Want to know what animal he was pretending to be? Think of all the cool animals at the zoo ... lots to choose from ...

My son?

He's pretending to be an ant. Yes, you read that correctly. Lions, monkeys, alligators, elephants ... my son pretends to be an ant. A FEROCIOUS ant.

I love three year olds.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Not Me Monday~!!

Pin It It's been a couple of weeks and I have a few things I didn't do to share with you!

I'm sure MckMama won't be doing a "Not Me" with Stellan so sick still, but I'm going to link her here. If you haven't read her blog recently, please hop over there and read, and pray for sweet Stellan.

First of all, it is NOT ME who relied on excessive sarcasm way too much in the past couple of weeks. Along those same lines, it is NOT ME who gets so irritated with passive aggression, and yet practiced this many, many MANY times recently. It is not me who is needing to apologize to several people for this lovely behavior. So let's see ... I don't have a problem with passive aggression, sarcasm, OR hypocrisy. Just so we're clear.

It is also NOT ME who used a long, whiny, rambly blog post as a method of communication with a loved one. Talking is always better than dropping strong hints in a blog, right? And since I'm a pro at communication, I would never need to resort to putting my side of a conversation out there for the world to read, but really aiming it towards one specific person. Whew, glad I didn't do that! I'd be really embarrassed if I had done that.

We had a geography fair at co-op this last week. Jim's family helped out so much with the show and tell portion! We dressed the kids up in kimonos and hapi coats, and Jim wore his kendo uniform. Cute family I had! It was not me who wore jeans and a tee shirt while the rest of the family was all dressed up. It was not my daughter who said I couldn't dress up like I was Japanese because I'm not. LOL It was also not me who was relieved with this, after seeing all of the work it took to get Gabbi dressed in her kimono! (So yes, if you're wondering, my youngest daughter sees everyone in the family as Japanese except me, and reminds me of this fact often.) Oh ... and it was also not me who decided that the bag of my favorite Japanese candy that my sister in law sent should be kept here at home ... you know, it was chewy and all, and I wouldn't want to be responsible for hurting anyone's teeth or anything like that ... yeah, that's right. It wasn't me who ate a significant portion of that bag. Nope, not me.

Lastly, it is not me who does not know if I'm coming or going lately. I do not for a second feel like I'm getting 2/3 of everything I have to do halfway done and not even attempting the other third. (Yeah, someone do *that* math!) I'm not behind on laundry, dishes, school, work, and really everything else I could possibly be behind on. I'm not leaving co-op stuff out in the car while sitting here typing up this blog post either, so don't think that for a second. I also did not state, loudly, several times that I didn't have time to fold mount laundry out there, and yet spend ... ahem ... several hours working on changing my blog layout. I prioritize my time very well, so of course that would be NOT ME.

I'm so glad to report that I didn't actually do any of these things this week. :) What didn't YOU do this week?

Troy Update

Pin It Sorry, guess it's been a while since I posted a specific update on Troy.

He has been released from the hospital! He is not yet completely recovered, but there is every hope that he will be. His health does remain fragile, as does his current mental state. He is seeing a variety of doctors and I believe his care is being well managed.

Please continue to keep him and his family in your prayers. My specific prayer for them right now, besides for his continued recovery, is that they would recognize the progress he has made as the miracle that it is.

Again, I cannot thank you all enough for your prayers for him, and the love and care you have all shown me through this.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Fabulous Fun Family Day

Pin It With all the stress of late, we decided to take a Friday and head off for some family fun. We went to the zoo in Houston. OHMY, we could not have asked for a better day! The weather was beautiful, the animals weren't too shy ... except the elusive red panda I would have loved to have seen, the children were cooperative. Oh, and an added bonus, the zoo is FREE for military families, that was a blessing! I can see more zoo trips in our future!

Brendan's preferred method of moving through ... well, anywhere.

Yummy yummy cotton candy!

Madelyn was nesting.

These two children of mine are so close! She's the greatest big sister ever.

Mooching another ride, this time from Gabbi.

I just thought this pic was funny. They're both sitting/kneeling the exact same way.

An added bonus of this trip was getting to meet a long time online friend for the first time in real life. We were trying to figure out how long it had been that we'd known each other. We decided that Gabbi was a baby, so about ten years! It was such a treat to meet her and her family. She is every bit as fabulous as I knew she would be, and her children were so kind and patient with my children. You can go to her blog and see more pictures and find out about their exciting life!

I think this day will go down in history as one of the best days ever. :)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The winds of change ...

Pin It ... they are a'comin'. (or is that a'blowin'?)

Time for a new blog look. Be patient while I get it just the way I want it.

Okay, more changes coming ... but I'm tired and I'm trying to do this in photoshop for some reason that is completely beyond me because I'm so much more familiar with digital image pro ... so the rest of the changes will have to wait.

Except I might redo my signature tonight because it's bothering me.

Okay, all done except for the tags, which are taking a while because I'm photoshop challenged. :-P I'll get it all together eventually.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

My Plate is Full ...

Pin It ... but my cup runneth over.

I'm going to try to make that my new life's motto. Or maybe I need a motto that doesn't revolve around FOOD. LOL.

I am completely overwhelmed with life right now. Overwhelmed nearly to the point where I can't even see straight. In the midst of the things going on with Troy (please continue to pray for him and his family!) and Jim leaving, I'm dealing with my reaction to Jim leaving, and the girls' reaction to Jim leaving, and the various emotions with all of that. Most of these are not pretty, and I should probably just leave it at that.

In case that wasn't enough for me right now, here's a picture of this week and next:

Monday was a wild, busy, crazy day ... fun, but I was completely exhausted by the time it was over. Then Tuesday, we took Brendan to the doctor to get some lymph nodes looked at. I was expecting to leave with a prescription for antibiotics. I left with surgery scheduled. (It's 4/9, btw.) Today was thankfully a quiet, easy day. Gabbi and I got haircuts. Nice when that's the only thing on the schedule. Tomorrow should also be an easy day, and I'm happy dancing about that. Friday, the kids and I are going to meet a long time online friend in Houston. I've never met her IRL before, so I'm really excited about that! Monday, Gabbi goes to Houston for a doctor's appointment, and it's entirely possible that we will leave there with some sort of medical intervention planned. Wednesday, Brendan has to go to the hospital for pre-admission stuff and bloodwork. That oughta be fun, right? Thursday is his surgery.

All of this is going on now, and I'm also making plans for a couple of months from now, just trying to figure out how to make everything work, and just dealing with what life is going to look like then.

Did I mention that I'm overwhelmed? MY PLATE IS FULL. Thinking of things like folding laundry is too much for me right now. I've decided to start thinking of the laundry on the couch that needs to be folded as a new slipcover. You know, that patchwork look. It works in there. Plus, it cycles through pretty quickly, so we don't have to worry about getting bored with it. :-P

Through all of this though ... I have to tell you, my cup runneth over. Amazingly, awe-inspiringly (yes I know that's not a word), blessedly running over. The love and support of friends has just blown me away. The ability to be completely honest and let the ugliness out and know that I'm not judged for it, and to know that I'm being prayed for and cared for and just loved ... wow!! A friend said just today that if the Lord placed her in a certain situation solely for the purpose of putting her in this circle of friends, it was worth it. I have to give that a big, hearty, AMEN.

I'll be honest with you, I'm wondering where the life I thought I had went. I know that sounds all melodramatic, and I apologize for that, but it's where I am right now. Things that I trusted and held on to seem shaky at this point, and I'm wavering between a couple of extremes. Even my faith is shaky, which is completely insane because I've *JUST* seen God's hand work a mighty miracle.

You know what's amazing, though?

God is being gentle with me. He is sending me friends who listen to me, love me, and gently remind me that He is still God. I can seriously feel Him telling me that He knows this is not what I want, but that He is still there, and that He understands. He is all about restoration, and is patient with me while gently bringing me along. I'm doing an awful job describing it. Maybe you've been there and understand. Or maybe you really are starting to wonder about my sanity right about now.

I'm wondering why it is that I start out to write a silly post or just an informative post, and frequently end up putting some really personal thoughts out there! Why is that?

So there's what's going on in the life of Melanie these days ... my plate is full, but my cup runneth over.