Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Pin It update: We have an identification! Apparently it's a "rough earth snake" and completely harmless.

Short and sweet.

This morning, I'm thankful for Gabbi's cat, Bella. We typically refer to this cat, fondly of course, as demon possessed. She does have some psychotic issues.

That said, I'm thankful for her.

This morning I woke up to this:

INSIDE MY HOUSE. That is the hall between the kids' rooms. And a snake. A SNAKE!!

This is SO not what I want to wake up to! I was madly going through my internal rolodex to rent a husband because I don't DO snakes. Even when they're a harmless whatever kind of snake that is. (This IS a harmless snake right? Someone please tell me what kind of snake this is so that I can rest assured that even though there was a SNAKE IN MY HOUSE, it's okay because it's harmless. Please? I know it's not a water moccasin or a coral snake; those are the only snakes I recognize immediately. I think copperheads are more pink than that, but I'm not completely sure. I thought garter snakes were greeen! So SOMEONE tell me that the only harm this particular snake could cause is me hurting myself in a panic to get away from it!)

Then we realized it was already dead. I had heard Bella bumping around quite a bit last night and threw a couple of books at her. (Light sleeper ... and if you ever wonder why books are all beat up around here, now you know why. I throw them at noisy animals.) Turns out she was protecting my children from the evil snake. Again, probably harmless, but REALLY? A snake in my house?!?

So, go Bella. I'm thankful for her today.

I think I shall buy her a kitty treat. Or maybe just not yell at her when she sharpens her claws on the furniture. Naaah, let's go for the kitty treat.

Monday, July 27, 2009

In Need

Pin It I am overwhelmed and in need. I really do not function well when I am overwhelmed. I do well to do just about everything in my power to avoid becoming overwhelmed. It's nearly paralyzing to me to be overwhelmed.

I'm not overwhelmed with things to do (although the laundry came close to that today; thankfully it's now all done and folded and put away!)

I'm overwhelmed with needs. Some of these are my own needs - planning our school year which is supposed to be starting now, finding some magical solution to bedtime issues for every single person in this house, finding a way to get everything done that needs to be done, figuring out how to manage and then recover from a lot of anger I'm carrying around, etc.

Mostly it's the needs of other people though. My brother is deeply in need. His children are even more deeply in need I think. Two of the families whose blogs I follow faithfully have children deeply in need. Various friends have serious life situations going on and are in need.

It's just overwhelming to think of all of these needs. It's hard to pray for them; maybe I'm not doing it right. I tend to pray with solutions in mind, as if God needs suggestions from me or something. Most of these situations don't have solutions that I can see. For people like me, that's really scary because it's just praying for the Lord to just take control. I'm not so great at praying for the Lord to take control and then taking my hands off. Honestly, I know very few people who are good at that though, so maybe I'm not so rare.

I was thinking on all of this earlier today and remembered a song we used to sing when we went to Breakaway at Texas A&M. It's by Ross King and called "In Need". I looked for a youtube but couldn't find one, so I'll just put the lyrics here.

In need of grace, In need of love
In need of mercy raining down from high above
In need of strength, in need of peace
In need of things that only You can give to me

In need of Christ, the perfect Lamb
My refuge strong, the great I Am
This is my song, my humble plea
I am Your child, I am in need


This is perfect. It's not a solution for each of these overwhelming problems that I need. It's Christ. The things I need really are things that only He can give to me. All of my "solutions" are useless. I need his grace, love, mercy, strength, peace. I am desperately in need. In need of things that only He can give to me. Whether I get solutions to these problems or not, I need Him.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Pin It Okay, so I've been feeling pretty lousy lately about various situations going on in my life. I've kind of taken the attitude that I'm not happy and I may as well just wallow around in it. To be honest, this is working pretty well for me. It's making everyone around me (okay, just the kids ... and that one cat, but she's always pretty grouchy, so I don't think she counts) just as pleasant to be around as I am. Yep, my house is a downright joyful place to be right now.

So, in an effort to change that, I'm going to go way way back to my Gymboree and yahoogroups time and pull out the handy dandy Thankful Thursday list. Maybe it will brighten my attitude. And maybe not, but at least it's something positive, right?

(oh - my list is whimsical. I don't have it in me to go to more serious stuff at this time.)

Melanie's list of ten things for which I am thankful:

  1. Psych, the TV show, which makes me giggle every night.
  2. Sufficient disposable income to just buy the series on DVD.
  3. Splenda, with which I make sweet tea.
  4. Bath and Body Works new scent "White Citrus."
  5. Fresh, clean, carpets, except for the spot where Brendan dribbled his gumball machine gum today. :-/
  6. Big Mama and Boo Mama blogs, which make me laugh most every single day.
  7. The 25 books my mother-in-law let me take from her house, which will keep me occupied for a good, long time. (A REALLY long time - I just don't have time to read because I watch Psych every night.) Oh - and we will not be mentioning to my nephew that this could be the reason the suitcases suddenly became so heavy. I blamed it on the pants and two shirts Gabbi bought.
  8. The fact that the suitcases are in the darn attic and I will have no need for them in the forseeable future. (attic issues ... enough said.)
  9. Onion dip and queso, not together please.
  10. The fact that the soft toilet paper was what was on sale. (by the way ladies - this tops "Melanie's List of How to Know Your OB/Gyn is a Keeper" -- if there is good soft TP in the ladies' room, your ob/gyn is a caring, considerate person. If not, then not so much. This has been proven true with my vast experience of three ob/gyn's in my life, so you know it's scientifically accurate and well-proven. And you're welcome for the tip.)

Okay, that's it for my Thankful Thursday list. And it's good timing because my daily episode of Psych is all cued up.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Not MY CHILD Monday

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This is the vacation edition of "not my child Monday". We had no hijinks on vacation, because my children are little darlings!

Case in point: My daughter did not scream for what seemed like an hour while on a float IN A POOL because she was splashed. She did not complain about getting wet while IN A POOL at all. Not even a little bit. I do not have any photographic evidence of the shrieking and squealing.

My other daughter did not get so frustrated trying to stand up on a water skateboard type thing that she used her cousin's head to hold her up. She did not decide that just sitting on his head was enough stability, and she didn't hold on to his ears either. Nope, not my child.

Okay, this really IS not my child. He was there with me though, so he's fair game. My nephew did not cram a ladybug towel meant for a small child ... ahem ... like the one on his lap ... onto his head. He did not then attempt to deny me the opportunity to take a pic. He also did not get the towel stuck on his head and have it take several people to get it off of him. We didn't have to consider cutting it to get it off. I didn't laugh at him at all either.


I certainly did not let my child run around with lunch all over his face for several hours after lunch. We didn't let them play in the winter clothes either. (And I have to admit - I do not for a second look at his eyes and feel the slightest bit sad that the pretty blue color he was born with is long gone!)

I have a few more ... without pics though. My oldest loves her mama. Really really loves her mama. That's why she did NOT, when I was giving her a kiss and a hug when she left to go to camp, essentially tell me to back off, saying "mom, I've got this." Nope, not my sweet mama's girl.

My middle one has not taken over the role of the oldest since oldest left. She hasn't bossed her brother around at all, and she hasn't decided that as the oldest child in the house, she must make herself a part of any adult conversation that might happen. Nope, not my child.

And the little one has not learned how to elicit bribery. I did not tell him that I would buy him a root beer at Sonic today if he'd clean his room, and he did not immediately spring into action. He never dresses himself and puts his clothes on backwards either. And if he did, I would never take him out in public that way.

Ah, well, I feel refreshed telling on my kids (and nephew) and all!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Week Six

Pin It Wow, has it really been six weeks?

We were in Spokane this entire week, so we didn't do a ton of stuff, just kind of sat around. It was NICE!

So, this week ...

The kids spent a lot of time in the pool and thoroughly enjoyed visiting with their cousins.

um ... that's it. Oh, I finished a book.

We came back home to reality and laundry. All of that laundry is washed and is awaiting the arrival of the laundry fairy. She seems to be late again.

I have a real post that I'm working on. Maybe I'll get it up today. Oh - and "Not Me My Child Monday" is coming!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Another brief update

Pin It Troy's plans have changed. For the next month, or from whenever he is released from the hospital, he will be going into an assisted living center for a month, in Missouri. What happens when that month is up is still kind of up in the air. The good thing about him being there is that he will still be able to be around the boys.

Please continue praying, and please know that I really appreciate it.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Troy Update

Pin It I realize my blog posts are all over the place these days, which seems appropriate as my thoughts are all over the place these days as well. Also, it's a little incongruous to be away on vacation while things are in bad shape at home. So, forgive the mixed up posts - Troy updates in the midst of a "not me" post or a "week in review" or various other posts.

That said, things are not going well with Troy. He is not going to recover from this. He's wanting to be in Trinity, and his wife is not wanting that. There seem to be some battles for control going on. Then there are the boys. It's heartbreaking to even think of them, and I've been pretty much trying to keep my head in the sand regarding them. I'm a "fix it" person and as I've sat and thought and thought and thought about viable solutions, I really couldn't come up with any. I'm trying to rest in the knowledge that the Lord loves these boys, and loves Troy, and has a plan for them. I don't have the first idea what this plan includes. I pray that some years from now we'll be able to look back and see that whatever has happened to them has worked together for good in their lives.

All that to say, this whole situation needs prayer and lots of it. There are immediate logistical needs to be worked out, and long term needs as well. We all just need prayer.

Thank you.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Not Me Monday

Pin It

It is not me, who, while at my mother in law's house did NOTHING for a solid day other than read a book. I did not pass off the care of my children to anyone who would care for them, and did not just sit and read and take a nap all day long. I didn't go to bed and leave the girls awake either, just telling them to go to bed when they got tired, and to not forget to brush their teeth. I am a better parent than that, and would not just leave my children to fend for themselves.

It is not me who noticed that Brendan's freckles seemed a little darker yesterday. It is also not me who noticed that some of them washed off in the bathtub. I'd never let my child run around dirty enough to have freckles made of dirt! I'd also never let him get dirty enough that there was an entire layer of sand in the tub after he got out. Nope, not me.

I am not sitting here in a state of lethargy such that any kind of physical activity whatsoever is going to wipe me out. This does not worry me in the least when I plan to get back home and back into my Shred routine. I am not seriously thinking that I'm either going to have to get with it and get off my lazy behind or that I'm going to have to start over.

My children, particularly the two little ones are not going WILD at 9:00 in the morning! Brendan is not RUNNING through the house with a toy golf cart and Madelyn is not shrieking in the family room. Where is the mother of these children? (They ARE having a good time though~!)

One more, it is not me who is missing my BFF's birthday for the THIRD YEAR IN A ROW! Oh my. I love my friend and would never be out of town every single year on her birthday! :( (happy birthday Micah~!! We'll be celebrating your birthday when we get back home!)

Okay, well that's it for this week. What did you not do this week?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Week Five

Pin It Worked with the two year olds in the church nursery.
Did days 10, 11, and 12 of The Dreaded Shred.
Girls went to the Bounce House for Terrific Tuesday.
Brendan spent the whole day with "Dean".
Girls had two friends sleep over.
Went to a friend's house for her little girl's birthday.
Got suitcases out of the attic. (This is kind of a big deal ... ladder, laundry room, attic ...)
Got kids rooms cleaned.
Got the rest of the house cleaned.
Met my parents in Conroe to pick up my nephew.
Stayed the night in Houston and got up super duper early to catch a shuttle to the airport.
Watched what I thought was going to be a serious injury for my son and discovered that he is way more resilient than I am.
Got aggravated at various airport employees and realized that it really was minor aggravation and not worth really stressing over.
Managed to catch the flights and had well behaved children along the way.
I am enjoying visiting with my mother in law.
I FINISHED A BOOK~!!
And today ... I did nothing. Absolutely nothing. All day long. Oh wait - yes I did do something - I took a nap. :-O

So that's it for week five. :)

(I don't have an update on Troy currently. I'll talk to mom in the morning and see what's going on.)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Troy needs prayers.

Pin It I don't have time for a long post with details because we'll be headed to the airport in an hour, but wanted to let y'all know that Troy is in a serious situation and needs prayers. His condition is terminal, and he knows it. He's been spending some time with the hospital chaplain, which I believe is a good thing.

Specific needs: that a way would be found to get him to Trinity (where my parents live), and for the boys. To be honest, I don't even know what or how to pray for them. I am trying to rest in the knowledge that the Lord loves them and can see a plan that I can't see.

I would really like to be able to see him again, so I would appreciate prayers for that as well.

Thank you, friends.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

I'm leaving on a jet plane

Pin It I was just noticing that I've been a busy blogger lately! This is some kind of therapy, or a habit or something. The kids finally get quiet for the night, I put in my nightly movie or Psych, Monk, or House and sit here with my laptop and type. And enjoy the quiet. The quiet is nice. Too much of it and I go crazy, but I crave it at night, especially after the LOUD day we had today.

I could totally feel grace today, btw. I was about to just lose it with my house too loud and my kids bickering and a mess again after I had just cleaned and a mountain of laundry ... then I pulled out the bribery card and my children turned into little angels. The little one cleaned his own room and pronounced himself "Mommy's Helper." :-O I entered the abyss we call "CLOSET" and came out unscathed, and found a bunch of shoes in the process. The girls got their room the very loosest definition of "clean" as well, and hey, even with a loose definition, clean is clean, and that's good enough for me. We confirmed our theory that in case of drought, we need to go to Sam's. All it takes is us at Sam's to guarantee rain. So file that away for future reference.

Unfortunately we did not get everything accomplished that we needed to today, but we got a lot accomplished, and I'm calling it good enough. The things we still have to do are minor, except for that pesky packing thing, which I guess is kind of important.

Yep, come tomorrow, we're outta here. We're grabbing the nephew and headed up to Spokane where I fully intend to pass the care of my children off to a grandmother and aunties while I get caught up on my sleep. And reading. This is incredibly exciting to me. The kids are "climbing the walls excited" which is a grand thing.

I don't know how much blogging I'll get done while we're gone. I can more easily check in on facebook (gotta LOVE facebook mobile!) so I'll do that some.

(so ... show of hands ... who is singing "I'm leaving on a jet plane ..." now? You're welcome. I'm always glad to be of service.)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Well, this explains a lot.

Pin It So I know I've talked about my deep deep love of splenda sweetened tea before. Probably several times. I make a pitcher a day and drink all of it. That's a lot of tea. I used to drink that much coke in a day! I gave up sugared coke for good when I was pregnant with Brendan and realized how much insulin I had to take to offset 8 oz of coke. So, I moved from two liters of regular coke to two liters of splenda coke per day. Then a couple of years ago, I realized that maybe it wasn't such a great thing to drink that much coke. I moved to tea. Probably still not good to have a cup of splenda per day, but it's a vice I'm willing to live with. I *always* buy decaffeinated tea. Always. I buy the box that has 48 family size tea bags, it lasts about four weeks. I've been buying cold brew lately, after the unfortunate demise of my iced tea maker. (PSA -- when the instructions say not to put the pitcher in the dishwasher, please take them at their word. I'll leave it at that.)

So I have now used tea bags # 41 and 42 of 48 in the box. I just happened to look at the box ... and nowhere on it are the words CAFFEINE FREE or DECAF or DECAFFEINATED or anything like that.

I have been drinking caffeinated tea for the last three weeks?!? Are you kidding me?? I go without caffeine for a year (except when I get tea to drink at restaurants) and then suddenly switch back to caffeinated by accident? Wonder if this has anything at all to do with me being as jumpy as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs lately? Oh my heavens, I feel so stupid, in a kind of giggling at myself kind of way.

I know I am definitely dealing with some anxiety issues, but I'm pretty certain that being hopped up on caffeine isn't part of the solution! And so now let's add an inability to read to my list of current ailments. :-P And get me to a grocery store tomorrow to buy my REAL tea.

(Speaking of anxiety -- I decided to take the Calms Forte that I have, and I think maybe it is helping a little. Either that or the exhaustion is just taking over.)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Not Me Monday

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It's barely still Monday, but it is, so this counts!

I am not incredibly (insanely!) proud of myself for cooking a meal tonight. This is not like one of ... um ... TWO times since Jim has left that I've actually cooked a meal that required more than sticking something frozen in the microwave or oven. The kitchen is cleaned too! But I'm not crazy proud of myself ... because that would just be bragging and I don't do that.

It's not 10:19 pm and every single one of my children is still awake.

I'm not seriously considering a round of benadryl for everyone, including myself. Nope, that would just be wrong. (although ... hm ... now Brendan does have a few mosquito bites that just might swell up a little, so it's probably justified in his case ... and well, we live in mosquito central Gulf coast edition, so I'm sure we ALL have plenty of bites and benadryl is really just almost required, right? RIGHT??)
(okay, in all seriousness, I would not ever give my kids medication they don't need just to get them to go to sleep. And I'd never daydream about it either!)

I am also not just tickled pink with myself for finally cleaning my room. Really really cleaning it! I'm not completely horrified that it took as long as it did, and I'm not looking at one corner and one bookshelf that still need to be sorted. I am not in desperate need of doing a big cleanout in each kid's room, and I'm not completely DREADING it either. I'm not thinking that I'm just going to sit back and enjoy my own clean room for a while longer.

Oh, and I know I've discussed my sheet snob issues with you all before, so I'll just let you know that I'm not insanely happy to know that I'll be sleeping on new 1000 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets tomorrow night! WOOHOO~!! It would be tonight except I didn't dry them long enough so they're still damp. (Although ... sigh ... if every LITTLE BODY in this house does not go to bed soon, I'll be up for a good long while, and may just change them tonight. sigh.)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Week Four

Pin It (I think I've said before - these posts are primarily for Jim and will likely bore anyone else to tears. Feel free to skip them over, my feelings won't be hurt.)

Everyone made it to church, and we arrived with no one in tears.
Gabbi spent the night with a friend.
I watched Mamma Mia.
I completed days 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and didn't die, except maybe for a few minutes when I did level 2 and kind of wished for death. (To me or to Jillian, I'm not quite sure.)
I talked with a friend about diabetes.
The kids and I went to Parkdale Mall and left empty handed.
The kids and I went to Sam's and did not leave empty handed. We did leave in the pouring down rain though.
The girls went bowling.
Brendan went to see Kung Fu Panda at the dollar movie with friends.
I went to the doctor.
The kids went to the Roberts' house and had a FABULOUS time!
I did a little shopping all by myself. (I had forgotten what it was like to try things on and actually be able to look in the mirror rather than zipping fast to keep Brendan from escaping under the doors!)
We went to a church picnic.
Gabbi (mildly) sprained her ankle.
The kids went fishing and had an absolute ball. Brendan kept telling me he was sorry he didn't bring me a fish. I was thankful that he didn't bring me a fish. :-P
I had a co-op meeting.
The kids built a massive fort in the living room.
Gabbi spent the night with another friend.
I cleaned my room.
We went to a friend's house on the 4th of July for lunch.
We went to a friend's house on the 4th of July for supper.
We watched a few fireworks, and watched the dog freak out. I'll leave it to you to decide which we found more interesting.
I watched about half of season one of Psych.

As you can see, this was a calmer week for us, and that was a good thing. It's now been a month, and as much as I would like to say we're settling into a routine, well, that's just not happening. I blame summer. We will all be going to Spokane later this week, and we're really hoping for a break from the sweltering southeast Texas weather! Really REALLY hoping.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Our Fourth in Pictures

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First, Brendan got dressed to go to his friend's house for lunch all by himself. Be sure to note the non-matching shoes, and that the Buzz shoe is on the wrong foot. In his "pack-pack" is his blue/green swimsuit and red swim top along with toys he never plays with, but might need away from home. We live in southeast Texas, so I'm thinking that sweatshirt will probably not be necessary any time in the next six months.

Brendan loves going to friends' houses and playing in their "tiny pools." Evidently every pool that is above ground is a tiny pool according to Brendan.


There was lots of fun to be had jumping on a trampoline with water!

We had a very nice lunch with our friends, thank you so much for inviting us!

Then we came home and frantically attempted to get the little one to take a nap. Not happening. So, we loaded up and went to another friends' house for a party, and another "tiny pool."

Sweet girlies splashing!

Brendan had fun splashing again.

Brendan (and his mama ... ahem ...) ate way too much, but it was all SOOOO good!!

Gabbi wasn't with us most of the day, but we met her in the evening. She didn't want to splash and play with the other kids, so I had to bribe her to let me take her pic while watching fireworks.

And how we ended the day ... although it's still going on, we're done. Let's just hope the neighbors finish soon, the dog is FREAKING OUT.

Happy 4th of July, friends!!

Friday, July 3, 2009

We have good days too.

Pin It We really do. :) Today was one of them!

Our plan for the day? NOTHING!

I told the kids that I'm really tired of the TV being on. In all of the flux of the last month, well, the TV has become a babysitter. Yesterday I hit the point where if I heard the Phineas and Ferb theme song one more time, my head was going to EXPLODE. (What, is that played in an endless loop or something??) SO, today was TV OFF day.

It started out with me lounging around in bed a little too long. The girls did too, so I bribed Brendan with some chocolate milk to come snuggle me. He did, and we tickled and snuggled and played. Then the girls got up and laughed at me while I kept my appointment with Jillian the torturer. I had to laugh too, because while they were giggling, SOMEONE stepped up and became the workout buddy that mommy so desperately needed. I wish I could have gotten a pic of Brendan doing crunches. Priceless.

Then the kids decimated the living room, building a cushion and comforter fort and actually giggling and playing together. Oh my heavens, I had forgotten this was even possible. All three??? And no crying, shrieking, hitting, snarky comments? YES!! For over an hour they did this! By this point, I had hit delirium.


The day continued very well, other than one squabble between the little ones about who would have the supreme honor of opening the door. (Yes, my kids really will fight over anything. I do remember as a kid teasing my brother mercilessly because I stepped in dog poop and he didn't ... so I guess my little apples don't fall too far from the tree.) As I think through the day though, I think that was the only battle. Seriously.

I did some random cleaning and am happy to say that I now have a clean bedroom! My bedroom tends to become the catch-all, and it was driving me crazy. There's still some work to be done here, but it is so much better than it was, and I'm not overwhelmed at all at what is left. I'm in a throw stuff away mood (Jim, if you're reading this ... be afraid ... be very afraid) and I'm already scoping out the neighbors to see if they're around ... just in case I need some trash overflow.

So ... totally random post, but after all of my whiny posts, I thought I would just share that we have good days too. :) Praise God for this one, because we all desperately needed a good day after the last few days!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Anxiety

Pin It Okay, time for a serious post.

I seem to be having some anxiety issues. I keep thinking that I will adjust and it will get better, but so far it actually seems to be getting worse. This isn't something that I've experienced before and I don't really know how to handle it. I did have a doctor prescribe anti-anxiety medication for me before, and I took it for a short time, but then my problem was more a reaction to some other medication rather than actual anxiety. I've been depressed before, and this isn't that at all. This is:

- checking way too many times to see if the doors are locked ... even waking up when I'm asleep to check ... cars, house doors ... I sit there and tell myself that I KNOW I already did it, but then wonder if maybe that was last night that I'm thinking about, or wonder if maybe I just THOUGHT that I already checked. It's crazy, I know.

- worrying about the kids when they're out of my sight. (If you've kept my children, please don't read too much into that! This isn't a non-trust issue at all, it's a compulsive worry thing. Or something like that.)

- not sleeping well. I've always been a light sleeper, but now I feel like I have that "mom of a newborn" sleep again, where you sleep so lightly because you're afraid they're going to make a peep and need you. I've considered taking a tylenol PM or benadryl ... or even calms forte and have been afraid to, for fear that it would make me sleep too deeply.

Anyway ... it is worst at night, but I'm kind of starting to feel like I am just losing it. I don't know what to do about it. I know that the Lord is perfectly capable of caring for my family, and doesn't need me to be exhausted and grumpy because I'm living in fear, but I also don't know how to hand this over to Him. I don't know if I need to seek help or what. I'm already taking enough medicine for various things and I really do not wish to add another prescription to the mix either. I certainly don't want to take anything that is going to have a "make me weird" adjustment period, because I'm weird enough without medication, thankyouverymuch.

So what do I do? I guess I'm posting this seeking prayers, just that I would figure out a way to manage this, or I would know for certain that I need to seek external help. Better yet, just pray that this is an adjustment thing that would go away soon. I feel weird even posting this. Anyway ... here's the "how is Melanie doing?" post of the week.