Thursday, August 21, 2014

Keeping Our Cool.... Sort Of.



It has been 5 months since my last post.  I will try to not go into too much detail about what's been going on since then... not because it's not hilariously entertaining, but because it would take forever and a half to type it out and I have three humans to raise!

Just know that since that last blog post, I went for a walk with a friend at 33 weeks and after that, the baby dropped so low I swear he was about to reach out and tie my shoes for me. (which would have been equal parts terrifying and helpful at that point)  I had contractions every time someone asked me when my house was going to be finished, and would we be in before the baby came.  Not to mention, getting out of a chair, brushing my teeth, opening the fridge... I quit keeping track of them somewhere around 35 weeks.

Then, after 3 years of our somewhat urban nomadic lifestyle, we moved into our finished house over the course of a week, finally sleeping there on a Friday night.  I was 37 weeks pregnant and was in early labor the entire week we were moving.  That Sunday morning at 7:21am, the Boy was born.

He was perfect and huge and quickly became the newest subject of the sisterly game we like to call "But it's MYYYY TUUURRRRN!!!"  Holding him, bringing me a burp cloth, getting his passy, unwrapping his swaddle; you name it they fought over it.  All out of love though, I'm sure.

Summer has been a wonderful blur.  It started with a family road trip when the girls were flower girls in a family wedding; Boy was 3 weeks old.  After that, everything went into high gear.  Settling in, unpacking boxes, hanging pictures, going to the pool and the movie theater, a road trip to Texas, working out, and then preparing for another school year.  All thanks in large part to the help of our saint of a baby sitter that came to play and feed and spoil the girls.  No doubt I would still be 40 lbs overweight, sleep deprived, and just plain mean without that girl.  (you read that correctly, I did it big this time.... "Forty Pounds" Big..... future post "Out of the Fog and into my workout clothes")

Last week Bug started First grade with two loose teeth and four already gone.  Peanut is approaching the age of 4; hilarious and in a constant state of "let's pretend".  And Boy has moved into his, newly finished, nursery.  He is sleeping through the night and no longer needing a swaddle.  He argues with me the least, so naturally at this point I like him more than the other two.  I will eat those words in about 5 months when he starts to make me crazy with a "is he going to die if he climbs on that?" thought pattern.

My husband and I managed to pack in (almost) every marital stressor into a 15 month period: Living with In-laws, pregnancy, moving, financial discussions, starting a new job, having a new baby, and traveling with children.  All along the way our sense of humor and our prayer life keeping us sane.

There are so many great stories between all those lines.... from the stress and pain of moving when you are 37 weeks pregnant, to the 10 minute time span of my life when I both met the OB on call, and then interrupted his introduction to tell him I was pushing and he better be ready.  The ups and downs of married life through it all.  And now back to school.  Back to routine.  Back to life.

I have such a hard time with change, it was only a blessing to have too many changes at one time to process each on it's own.  I blinked a few times, swiped the credit card a few too many, and cried quite a bit and finally I'm waking up to see my life and my purpose and my floor that needs sweeping.

After all of that: My husband and I are still married.  We still genuinely like each other.  Our children have not (managed to) run away or kill each other (yet). Everyone is fed and goes to bed "on time", and they seem to still genuinely like us as well.

We have made it to the end of an era and we are all better for it.  There have been hard times and hiccups, and many opportunities to ask for forgiveness.  As we practice thankfulness,  the path is cleared for us to see the blissful moments through our earthly first world problems, and we were able to count them as blessings in stead of stressors.

As the next phase of our life presses on past it's beginning, I have looked to 2 Peter as my August 2014 pep talk:

The whole book is great, but just for starters:

(3-8) "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.  Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.  For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.  For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."




Thursday, March 6, 2014

Bringing Home Chocolate Milk and a Diagnosis...Again.





We have been in the trenches as of late.

My brain is already fogged with pregnancy, home building, and being uncharacteristically unorganized in ALMOST every area of my life.

On top of all of that, there are the dealings and stresses that come with having two small children who require food, clothes, baths, attention, and frequent rides to various activities and appointments.  Not to mention, breaking up fights, picking out movies, changing dress up clothes, playing "Hungry Hippo" referee, and trying to make sense of the random tear-filled, complete and utter meltdown; happening in public, in private, or (my personal favorite) in front family members whom we currently "room with".

To say that I expect a high blood pressure reading at each pre-natal check up is an extreme understatement.  (my BP is fine, by the way.... as of yesterday)

If you know me, at all, you know I am a bit of a germ-a-phobe.  Which at this point in time, I would like to say is a misnomer.... I like to think of myself as having more of an appreciation for germs than a fear.  I get them.  I know how mean, strong, lasting, and scary they can be.  I appreciate how awful they can be.  My germ awareness came about after a few years teaching small children, followed by my baby being diagnosed with a condition that compromises her immune system.

After her diagnosis at 9 months and our 6 night hospital stay, we left with a lot of information, books, gear, toys and clothing from the gift shop, and with one bit of information that stood out to me like it was surrounded by a flaming hoop, in neon letters, with fireworks and glitter and a soundtrack:

"You should be fine unless she gets strep throat or the stomach virus... those two could send you to the ER pretty quickly."

Enter: my hand washing, Clorox wiping, and Lysol spraying regimen.

Five years later, we have survived multiple bouts with the stomach virus, among many other illnesses so, please don't allow yourself to think my efforts have kept us illness free thus far.  Although, I think it has kept us from getting sick often; even with a weak immune system and a little sister that HAS TO touch everything... every.thing.

This Winter has been nasty for everyone, I know.  The snow, the ice, the germs, the doctor visits... gross gross and more gross!  (My husband always says I'm reptilian, and I've never felt more so than Winter 2014.)  As expected the dreaded stomach virus started it's tour around Bug's school about a month ago.  I was on *high alert*... level Red, or whatever the worst color is for a terror attack alert.  We had our armor in full effect.  We did probiotics, Lysol the backpacks, wash hands, wash clothes and coats VERY often.... ALL the crazy person things you are thinking of, I did them and found comfort and pride there in my wintertime crazy person place.

PAUSE FOR A...

*Diabetes Education Moment:  When people with type one get a virus it makes their blood sugar go up.  They still need insulin to combat the high blood sugar, but with strep and GI issues they are usually unable to eat so it gets tricky when deciding to give insulin.... worrying that giving insulin to correct a high blood sugar will give her a low that you won't be able to fix because she can't keep down the juice or the sugar to bring her back to normal.  When the blood sugar is high, her body makes something called ketones:

(from webmd)
Ketones are substances that are made when the body breaks down fat for energy. Normally, your body gets the energy it needs from carbohydrate in your diet. But stored fat is broken down and ketones are made if your diet does not contain enough carbohydrate to supply the body with sugar (glucose) for energy or if your body can't use blood sugar (glucose) properly.

Ketones leave your body through urine, and to make urine you require hydration.  If you are dehydrated from a virus and your body doesn't make any urine, the ketones just camp out and make ACID in your body.  (does that sound as scary to anyone else as it does me?!)  If you can't get rid of the ketones and you can't rehydrate, your blood becomes very acidic and starts to break down the fatty acids, and your body begins to break down.... everything in your body hurts, your heart rate elevated, your breathing is labored, you start to vomit and you have now gone into a complication called Diabetic Ketoacidosis: DKA.  

DKA untreated results in death.  

This concludes our Diabetes Education Moment.* 


There will be a time in your life when all at once, a great fear is realized and materialized too quickly for you to blink and understand.  And when you do finally blink; it's a slow blink.  When your eyes are closed, it's gone; the fear, the sadness.  And then your eyes open to a your life in front of you.  And you see it differently; the awful and sad, scary, great realized fear.  For me, this is a reminder of the promise of Heaven and the end of all the heaviness and the grey that you want to ignore and forget with every fiber of your selfish being.  Breathing DEEPLY with something along the lines of "I didn't want this cup Lord..."  or maybe if you're me: "this is awful and I hate it and it's really just not fair".

On Sunday, Bug woke up with a stomach virus.  One I had been awaiting due to the amount of cases going around her Kindergarten class.  All the other moms were saying "It's not a big deal, she got sick one or two times and then it was over."  So I was ready.  And true to trend: she got sick two times and then was fine!  Her blood sugars were not crazy high, her mood was great, she seemed fine and by lunch time she wanted to go for a walk.  I left her in front of a movie and went downstairs to work on the laundry and attend to the other human I raise, whom I had sequestered to another TV watching situation, in hopes of keeping the virus in one location/human.

When I got back to the patient 30 minutes later, things had turned drastically.  Her face was grey, she looked listless and was asleep.  I checked her blood sugar and it had jumped up almost 100 points in an hour.  I gave her some insulin via her pump and watched and prayed and waited.

Over the next 12 hours she got sick every 15-30 minutes as her blood sugar climbed quickly; not responding to the insulin corrections we were giving every 2 hours.

I called the Endocrinologist on call to make sure we were doing everything right.  I was so confused!  How could this quick "not a big deal" virus have turned into THIS?!  He said we were doing everything right but if her blood sugar continued to not respond to insulin, we would need to go to the ER.

Doesn't that sound so drastic?!  Of course I brushed it off (slightly) and decided she needed a shower and we'd be fixed!  The Emergency Room seems so serious and final!  The ER is where you go when you aren't breathing, or you break a limb, or your bleeding so badly they have to cut your clothes off to get to the wound to hold your body together.... too much TV watching on my part???

3:30 AM rolled around and Bug woke to get sick and I checked her blood sugar, getting a 595 reading. (normal blood sugar is 180)  I woke my husband to look at her.  She looked so skinny and her skin all over her body as a weird grey color.  Her nail beds were blue and purple and there were circles under her eyes that were a dark grey/navy color.  Her blue eyes were more blue than I've ever seen them; (another side effect of a high or low blood sugar in her specific case.)  She was completely out of it and making no sense... babbling about random things and asking for warm milk.  Her breathing was labored and quick.

We packed a bag and carried her to the car, too weak to walk.

By 6:30 AM we were settled in our room in the ICU and I finally felt relief in a strange way.

I can't fix it.  But all these lovely smiling people in matching clothes seem to be extremely confident and have it all under control.  I sat at the edge of her bed, remembering how tiny she was when we were there the first time 5 years before.

She laid still, almost lifeless, with her eyes closed while they poked and prodded and asked her what day it was and what her name was.  She was completely emotionless but managed to open her eyes long enough to ask for chocolate milk multiple times and "is it almost time to go home?"

A full day of worry, number and level quoting, advice and questions, doctors and nurses, visits from friends and so very much hand washing.  I laid down to sleep that night on the foam-cushion-bed provided, feeling the same emotion I felt 5 years ago, in that same spot.... total and complete defeat and exhaustion.  I did everything right!  How did we get to this point?!  All at the same time, grateful to be safe and no longer in charge of keeping her alive.  I watched the nurses come in every hour to take labs and check blood sugars while she slept, amidst the beeps and honks and constant noises of the ICU.

If you have ever reached the point of total defeat, it's hard.  It's hard to admit you are not enough.  It really really stinks to know and feel inadequacy on an (almost) daily basis.  But as soon as you do; as soon as you throw your hands up and say "TAKE IT, LORD, BECAUSE I CAN'T",  as soon as you stop trying to do it all, or be enough, or make it work for you... as soon as you just flat out lose and submit to the mystery of the Will of God; that's when you win.  You WIN.  You close your eyes.  You let go.  You breathe again.  Your heart remembers to beat.  You find rest in your loss and in knowing Someone else, Someone greater controls your days and nights, and will take on your great fears for you.

I finally gave in at 4:30am and went to sleep.

With the morning she woke with pink cheeks, asking for food and her daddy.

The rest of the day was full of more tests and pokes and blood draws, naps and jello, scrambled eggs, and yes, chocolate milk.

By the afternoon we were packing up to leave the ICU, and the hospital all together.  Still weak but happy to leave, she asked to get her nails painted on the way home.  Her daddy, of course, obliged.  We arrived back at her grandparents' house with red sparkly nails, flowers, balloons, and big hugs.

We got home and I jumped back into laundry and cleaning up all the things we brought home from the hospital; for fear that if I stopped to think, it would all come tumbling down and I would melt.  I tried to take it all back again.  The control, the order, the need for a normal.

My husband could sense I was on the edge, gave me a huge hug and I finally cried.  I couldn't breathe or talk or stand and could only get out the words "that was awful".

That is the only way I can describe it.  Watching your child's body be taken over by a condition you thought you knew and could control.  It was almost like being diagnosed all over again.  To re-feel the fear and uncertainty.  To remember it all again.  Remembering how serious it is.  Remembering how much I hate it.  Remembering that she will be living with it forever.  Remembering I can't fix it or take it on my own.

It WAS awful.  But it's over now.  I hate that it happened and that she has a "chronic illness" but I'm thankful in the midst of it ALL.

Still weary of germs and a do-over, and conscious of my defeat and my limits; I am grateful for the reminder of Heaven, thankful for the opportunity to see a light in a dark place, and in awe of how the Lord shines through those bright blue eyes.

He cares.  He loves. He takes it all because I can't.

Not that for one second I deserve it; but challenge accepted.




Monday, December 2, 2013

Building a Life and Living Through It



Aside from sitting next to my husband on the couch and drinking red wine, or listening to my kids laugh together, writing is my favorite.  It makes me happy and makes me feel smart, so why would I go three months without a blip?!

We have had a BIT going on lately.  All of the bits put together would make a hilarious sit-com and are fabulous fodder for blog writing but alas, I'm going to jam it into one post.

After a year of looking for the perfect house to remodel, we decided to start from scratch.  Like tear it down, scratch the dirt, wood and nails.... "build a whole house for real people to live in" type scratch.

It's a great story, really.

My husband's best friend since the 6th grade... (like if he had to move to a desert island and take one human with him, he would chose to take this man and then write me letters in a bottle, instead of be romantic and take me with him and teach me to build a fire and clean my own fish.)  So this friend and his wife (whom I also love dearly) were adding a second story to their house. (*you can check out that story here!)  Their neighbor, who also happened to be their builder, had bought the "tear down" across the street and planned to build a house there once he found the right client.

Enter our little family in need of something amazing to fall into our laps.

So now we are building the "perfect for us" little house across the street from some of our nearest and dearest, on a busy little block with a lot of happy people under the age of 8, and their parents who like to stand in the front yard with a glass of wine after dinner and watch the kids play.

See: sit-com worthy.

Our house is now a house with walls and windows and a chimney and a garage and we don't deserve one inch of it.  A few (or many) months left to go, but when we get there and get to stay, there will be happy happy tears.

Whilst we are building our house we are doing our absolute BEST to wear out our welcome at my in-laws house.  Again.  (We lived here for a few months almost two years ago before moving away for my husband's fellowship; I'm sure there's a blog post about that somewhere... two Aprils ago)  We are more than comfortable here and I have told many people that the good/great/amazing things about living here FAR outweigh the frustrations of living in boxes and in my husband's high school bedroom.  Although, this is where the sit-com really kicks in.

I go to sleep and wake up every morning to the shrine that is my brother-in-law's news paper clippings from his amazing basketball career; beautifully framed and displayed as they should be.  Then when I roll over to lay on my back, a stuffed bobcat stares at me and perches on a piece of drift wood; this is good motivation to get out of bed in the morning.  Then as I get up, too many deer heads brush my shoulder on my way to the bathroom.  Then the bathroom.  My favorite: a stuffed squirrel, terrified, clinging to another piece of wood.  Mounted on the wall next to the sink, it's huge glossy eyes watching you brush every tooth and apply makeup and dry your hair.  It's strange, but a dead almost-rat keeps me in check after I've admired my eyeliner job and leopard heels in the mirror before heading out to a fancy dinner.

Other than that our living situation is only a luxury.  The girls have their own bedrooms and bathrooms, we have a playroom which serves as our living room, complete with a huge TV, a small refrigerator and tons of space to store our BOXES!  I call the upstairs of this house our apartment and remind myself daily; that were it an actual apartment it would be huge and extremely out of my price range!

Then there are two lovely people who live downstairs and split utilities with us, and happen to love and understand our children sometimes better than my husband and I do.  Our personalities are different just enough to keep things running smoothly and between the four of us our children want for nothing and are completely, and in the best ways  possible, spoiled!

In the middle of all of this I have felt so awful.

I have felt sick and exhausted and forgetful and angry at my skinny jeans.  I have driven across town for specific sandwich because their tomatoes are better and I have seriously debated asking a certain bakery in Dallas, TX if they would air flight a cake to me with extra icing.  I have fallen asleep in the car pool line and let my children log entirely too many hours watching TV.

I am four months pregnant.

Isn't it crazy how excited we can get about a new baby?!  Of course we would.  It's another human life!  Another heartbeat that the Lord has entrusted to us.  Another heartbeat that has me standing in front of the refrigerator every 30 minutes and sleeping as often as possible.  Another heartbeat that has me crying during every commercial with puppies or babies or people sleeping soundly.  And storming away from the mirror every time I get dressed because "this outfit used to fit me!"

I am now about 16 weeks along and finally coming out of the first trimester mess.  With my first two I started feeling sick at 7 weeks and better at 12 and 14 weeks.  This stinker has had me feeling gross and tired from week 4 to week 15.  I have no clue as to the flavor of this baby and I won't be making any guesses; but we will find out in a few weeks.

The baby is due in May and I'm afraid to ask, but I really hope our house will be finished by April.  I do have realistic expectations, and I realize that in the sit-com respect, I'm sure it would be great for ratings if we brought a baby back to the in-laws' house and had to move into our house with tiny, screechy, pink, baby in the mix.

But wouldn't it be nice if it all just went smoothly?!

HA!

In the mean time we will continue to build our life and do our best to live through it gracefully and humbly.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Walk It Out.


Getting back to the reason I started this blog.  (And if you don't want to read all of this.... at least scroll down to the bottom to watch a little video that will take about 3:30 minutes of your day.)

My Bug has type 1 diabetes.  

I started out hating diabetes and that feeling has only grown as we have gotten to know each other better.  I still hate you, diabetes.  There is nothing I can do to fix it, heal it, make it go away.  But I can raise awareness and money and send it all in the right direction.  

For our family, that right direction is JDRF; Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.  The money we raise for JDRF goes toward raising awareness of a need for a cure and to research.  Those labs filled with scientists and doctors, spending all day thinking, planning, working, and losing sleep over the need for a cure for type 1.  

They are close.  But not close enough.
The little box that Bug wears strapped around her waist is most definitely not a cure.  We stick her with a giant needle every 3 days so we can "plug her in".  She lives every second of every day with a little clear tube hanging from her site and attached to her insulin pump.  And we have to make her tiny fingers bleed every 3 hours so we can decide if she can have a snack, or lunch, or a glass of milk.
As a parent you go to every length to protect your kids from dirt and germs and mean kids and bad dreams and Spongebob Squarepants.  I can't protect her from this or make this go away, or fix it, or take it for her.  I can't even reason with it or blame it on something.
There is no cure for type 1 diabetes.... at least for today, there is no cure.  

Help us make this mess go away.  Join us in spirit or in person.

To register or donate: walk.jdrf.org
JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes
Dickey Stephens Park
North Little Rock, AR
9/21/2013


video






Monday, August 5, 2013

"Excitement and Adventure!"



Summer is almost over and I feel like I'm finally waking up to notice it even arrived!

Our summer has been very busy!  To save myself from days of "fill you in" posts.... a list.

-We moved from North Carolina and into my in-laws lovely home.  Returning to the second floor "apartment" we inhabited after selling our house and before moving east.
-We vacationed with my family
-We have all had our maintenance done.... dentist appointments, check ups, hair cuts, manicures.
-We went to the lake
-Bug had her FIFTH birthday!!!
-Peanut decided to potty train herself!!!
-We have scoured the neighborhood for the perfect home.... still yet to be discovered.
-I spent two months in a first trimester fog.... and now have spent two weeks in the post miscarriage fog.
-Bug has taught herself how to play 5 songs on the piano; and is practicing NON STOP.
-My husband started his new job and we are all enjoying his "home before dinner" hours.
-And now we are preparing to send Bug to Kindergarten in her adorable plaid uniform jumper; excitement is at an (almost) all time high.

Summer is my favorite time of year.  I actually love the smack you in the face 100 degree temperatures that come with Summer and the sticky skin and sweaty necks.  I love the colors at the dinner table with fresh vegetables and fruits.  The grill and the pool.  The beach and the car trips.  The freckles and pink cheeks and bathing suits hanging on every door knob.  The lazy mornings and long sunsets.  I could live in summer forever.

However, this year I'm excited for a new season.  The fun things that came with Summer 2013 have been completely overshadowed.  June and July feel like a strange dream.  A dream where I took a bunch of pictures.  A dream I wrote about in my planner.  A dream involving packing and airplane trips and car trips.  A dream with pregnancy tests and champagne toasts in praise and excitement; a long awaited blessing.  And a dream ending with a very dramatic doctor visit, tears and sleep, phone calls, and a major loss of appetite.  A dear friend of mine told me, days after it all started to end, "People always try to say 'this too shall pass' but I hate that.  Right now you're in it and it's awful."  It was so validating to feel right and normal in my funk and sadness; one strangely bright spot that stands out above the fog.

This has not, by any means, been my most difficult hurdle.  I'm surrounded by people who have been there, felt that and I will be forever grateful.  My husband has walked and learned, and done his best to feel everything right along with me.  My friends and family have listened and been patient with my emotions and energy level.  And all the while I have been greeted daily by two giant smiles and tiny arms that squeeze my neck and bring me back to my normal.

My expectations for my return home were set too high.  I was ready to move into MY house, pregnant with MY third child, and continue to build MY life.  All of MY plans have been taken out from under me and I'm reminded that this life is not MY own.  I am, again, giving up control of my plans and awaiting the revelation of a bigger and better one.  It's not easy... it sometimes feels impossible, but overall, I feel redirected and re purposed and renewed.

My husband and I like to sarcastically say "excitement and adventure!" in reference to things that seem the opposite; cleaning up dog throw up, screaming children on the airplane, you get the idea.  This summer has definitely been one of "excitement and adventure!", but I have every confidence that the Lord will bring about a true Adventure.  I won't be able to plan for it, but I will be prepared for it and I will welcome it with tiny open arms, a big smile, and an excitement to discover a "normal".

Thursday, June 13, 2013

That's a Wrap.

*side note: clearly I am experiencing blog design block/frustration/ignorance.... it's on my list of "to do's" but for today....



That's a wrap.  Actually that's a wrap it up, put it in a box, seal it with tape and a very detailed list of the contents.

We are moving.  Again.  Everything in our house is now boxed and stacked and smells very dusty and cardboardy.  I wake up at 3 a.m. and stress about things like "what do you do with WD-40 when you move?  I can't pack that in a box.... do I leave it?  It's a full can!  I'll just leave it for the next renter, the doors here are squeaky in the Winter."

We are in "clean out the fridge and pantry" phase and I am trying my BEST to avoid another grocery store trip before we leave.  Last night even Bug noticed our food scarcities when she started crying, "Mom! We are running out of FOOD!!!"  It's gotten to the point of being able to see the back of the fridge and the shelves of the pantry are close to bare.  I have rationed the kids' food and planned their meals for the next few days, although I'm sure they will still have multiple drive thru meals before all is said and done.  We have plenty of apple juice, cheerios, milk, and red wine... safe to say, we will all survive.

Putting a bow on this year has been an interesting process.  Finishing a year of ballet, a year of tiny person pre-school, a year of home school (praise the LORD.... that was harder than I anticipated), and saying goodbye to the few friends we have made and enjoyed.

My husband is finishing up his last week of work, which will most likely prove to be a very anti-climactic event.  It's his final graduation!  He has been through four years of med school, 5 years of residency, and now one year of a Fellowship.... that's 10 years people.  TEN.  Ten years of studying, reading, learning, NOT sleeping enough, working late, working early, dealing with academic medicine politics, and over all.... he has finished and finished very well.

He has risen above all the drama, the late nights, early mornings, the uncertainty of what comes next, the good cases and the lost cases, coming home to screaming children and ragged wife after a long day of saving lives.  I continue to be amazed by his work ethic, patience,  and humility as he has earned the respect and won the hearts of (almost) every patient and co-worker, while still reserving enough energy to break up a fight, cook dinner, and get the tangles out after bath.  To say I am proud of him would be understating an understatement.  He is our very own super hero and we will never cease to be amazed by him as he leads our little family here and there and everywhere.

Our little family has grown up a little bit.  When we moved in here we had a baby in a baby crib with a passy and diapers.  We had an almost 4 year old who chose only to wear smocked dresses or dress up clothes.  Now we are potty trained, passy free, conversation having people, and we have an almost 5 year old who can CHECK HER OWN BLOOD SUGAR (huge accomplishment).  And she tried on her new school uniform for Kindergarten yesterday and said it was "totally awesome."

They have gone from toddlers to actual people that you can sit and have lunch with and they will wipe their own face.  They tell jokes and stories and dress themselves.  I have so loved watching my girls become best friends.  They play together all day and love each other very well.  Aside from the occasional fight over who is going to turn off the T.V. or wash their hands first; they always end it with a hug and an "I love you sister".  I am beyond grateful that they have each other.

With the growing and the changing always comes growing pains.  This year we have run through every emotion possible: joy, sadness, loneliness, frustration, anger, uncertainty, thankfulness, gratefulness, and so many many more.  Each one met with prayer, some tears, and almost always (thanks to my husband and my children) laughter.

We are more of a family than we ever have been.  We are a team and this year we have proved it.  We have lived, traveled, eaten, played, and cleaned up together exceptionally well this year.  It has been a really hard year for us in limbo and in waiting for the next step, but it has been so great to get to know my family and myself in ways only made possible by our lack of a comfort zone.

Our parents helped us get here and move into this house and when my parents left I stood on the front porch, crying and hugging my daddy.  He said, "Aren't you excited about the adventure?!  It's going to be great!"  Of course I cried more and said, "NO!"  And then we both laughed.

Now we are days away from moving out of and leaving this house on our own.  Just our little team.  The movers will come and take our things away and we will load up in our giant vehicle with our animal and our people.  As we drive across the country, back to my beloved Central Time Zone, we will remember the adventures that we didn't know we wanted, and in my case I didn't know I needed.

Farewell to the "First in Flight" state, we will miss your seasons, your beaches, and your mountains.  We will miss your people and your restaurants.  And we thank you for your hospitality.  This has been the perfect place for all of us to do a little bit of growing up and we will be forever grateful for our little side step over to the east coast.




Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Death by Comparison.... and Oreos



Comparison is like a poison, in my personal opinion.

Some people think of it as a motivation, or a measurement.  Which is fine.  If it is motivational to think that someone is doing "x" better than you and you should do better, then by all means.... go for it!  For example: "Jenny works harder than you on the soccer field so she gets to start in the game."  In that case, yes, use that comparison to motivate you to work harder.

However!  In the specific case of parenting and being a young mommy; comparison is a poison.

"She is crafty and I'm not."
"She has Tory Burch flip flops and I don't."
"Her kid is walking and mine won't even roll over."
"She got dressed today."

I know you say these things because I did.  I DO! STILL! Which blows my mind, after the advice I've given others.  I have a lot of friends that are either pregnant for the first time or have a baby under the age of 9 months, and my main advice to them is "Do what works for your family.  Don't compare your family to another because you'll never measure up to what you think you SHOULD be doing or wearing or eating."  That and, "Your child WILL roll over eventually, who cares if her kid did that at 6 weeks!"

But I'm still victim to the grocery store line strip down.

Me behind another young mom in the grocery store line:

Ugh, her perfume is too strong and her baby has graham cracker all over himself... hmmm, I'm going to guess her name is Tricia.  She looks like a Tricia..... Oh goodness, Tricia's baby is such a mess.  Maybe I should hand her a wet one from my bag..... oh no, now her kid is screaming for more graham cracker.... I would totally help out but my kid is going through my bag and playing with credit cards so she doesn't scream..... oh no, look at MY kid.  She is playing with credit cards and has milk from breakfast still on her face and it's 4 o'clock!  Ooops, totally forgot to brush her hair today.  I hope no one else noticed...... ugh, the perfume! gross.  Wait, she's wearing perfume.  She is also wearing make up and something that she took off of a hanger...... I'm wearing... oh no.... I'm wearing my stained Uggs in public and my work out pants, that have milk from breakfast this morning smeared on the leg.  Great.  I probably smell her perfume so much because I haven't been out of the house in two days and I'm so used to smelling cheerios and bananas paired with toothpaste and dryer sheets..... oh shoot.  I forgot dryer sheets.  Back to the aisles.  Tricia totally has it together better than I do.  I'd better grab some Oreos.  Oreos make me feel better.

Seriously.

I've also been on the other end of that.  Where I've been dressed well and my kids are behaving well and the family behind me is in shambles and the mother looks like she gave away all her mirrors and hasn't caught her reflection for DAYS.  I have been so proud of myself and prideful about how lovely and wonderful my girls are in matching clothes and hair bows and I imagine the mother behind me is jealous of my togetherness.  It's so gross that I've done that, but I have.

I'm so grateful for what follows my pride almost every time...... the fall.

We get in the car and all in a matter of 30 seconds; our happy family is reduced to the shambles we just witnessed inside.... or worse:  Peanut steals the loaf of bread (from my special cloth grocery sacks.... also a source of pride... ugh), she tears open the sack dumps out the bread, Bug yells, trying to parent her little sister; hair pulling and screaming ensues as my tomatoes and avocados roll out into the parking lot.  I'm running out to grab my produce and drop my phone that was in my hand because I was trying to Instagram a picture of my kids being cute in the silly hats from the Dollar Spot.  Food smashed, phone cracked, children crying..... and now we have no bread and are late for lunch time.  And when you're late for lunch time, nap is late, and if you miss the nap window.....  T.R.O.U.B.L.E.

Suddenly I remember the mom without mirrors and realize, she was probably buying food to make a fabulous meal for her family who doesn't watch TV and her 18 month old can already read and speak French.  She totally has it together in areas where I don't.

See.  POISON.

The only way I have been able to combat this comparison poison is to just be aware of it.  I catch myself, looking at Facebook, Pintrest, and blogs and trying to measure up.  Usually I don't catch it until it's too late and I'm wallowing in my inadequacy and dark brown Oreo dust.... too late.

Right now I'm reading Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist and she said she had to write down all the things she doesn't do.  I love that. I love that there can be a reminder to myself when I'm thinking, "oh what a great craft she made!" or "Look at that baby's first birthday party!".  I can look at my list and remind myself "oh, right.  I don't do those things.  I hate play doh and I don't do the blow out kid's birthday parties!  Off the hook."

My List of "I don't do"s
I don't go running
I don't throw the super cute blow out birthday parties for my kids
I don't leave the house a mess so I can craft with my kids
I don't clean my baseboards
I don't do fancy calligraphy or other fancy lettery things
I don't let my kids eat without washing their hands (some see this as a negative which is fine... to each his own)
I don't call people on the phone just to chit chat
I don't (usually) wear perfume during the day
I don't wear lip stick
I forget people's birthdays
and
I don't wear bikinis

There are many more things I'm not currently thinking of, but that's a few that are on my brain.  I don't do those things and I doubt I will start any time soon.  It's somewhat freeing typing those out and looking at them.  So next time "Tricia" is in front of me in line and I start the strip down... I'll remember my list of don't do's.  Then I'll be able to enjoy her perfume and messy, smiley child as she talks to her friend on the phone and pays for her cute bikini, birthday cards, and calligraphy pens.

Try to catch yourself in comparison, then stop it and change it.  You probably won't even need to leave the house.... between Facebook and blog reading, you will poison yourself to the point of 10 Oreos in a matter of 10 minutes.

Do what works best for you and YOUR family, and let that other girl run hers.  You never know, she may think your stained Uggs are cool and edgy.... is that a thing now?