12 years, 3 roommates, 4 kids, and a decade later

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In the name of God,

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I take you.

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To have and to hold,

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from this day forward,

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for better or for worse,

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for richer or poorer,

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in sickness or in health,

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to love and to cherish

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‘till death do us part.

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This is my solemn vow.

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Hurt

Ever have one of those days where you just want to go sit on a friends couch and cry into a cup of tea?

Please tell me I’m not the only one.

Right now I just hurt.

Not “pity party” type hurt, but genuine I’m sobbing at my computer screen in the middle of the afternoon as I type this hurt.

I can’t tell you why exactly, but I do.

Toby’s birthday is next week and I know that’s part of it.  Seven years since our life flipped upside down and inside out.  Seven years of hurt, and guilt, and pain, and anger, and remorse, and confusion, and knowing it’s not my fault but having to remind myself of it.  Seven years since part of me went on to Heaven without the rest.  Seven years of everything.

All I know is right now I want to feel comforted, while at the same time not having to explain why.  Not having to talk it out.  Just being aloud to just be.

11:16 am on a Tuesday: Impromptu Canning

I had zero intentions of canning today, wasn’t even on my radar. Then on a break from my regularly scheduled choers I was looking through Preserving with Pomona’s Pectin which I brought home from the library yesterday.

I got as far as a recipe for Jalapeño-Confetti Jelly, and made it no further.

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I couldn’t help it, the cookbook was sitting right next to a pile of peppers from the garden, I knew I had everything I needed, and I’ve been wanting to make jalapeño jelly for years. So, I am.

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Thursday and Sunday

Thursday is my hubbies birthday.  I am so grateful for Chris, and so grateful for God putting us together.  I’m excited to celebrate him, and love on him.  But, there is one deeply hidden thing that I am thankful for year after year after year – his Birthday is always days away from Mothers Day.

 

We are not big celebrators in this house.  We don’t make a big deal out of Valentines Day, St. Patrick’s Day, our Anniversary, our own Birthday’s, or many of the “minor” holidays.  We celebrate big for Christmas, Thanksgiving, Inara’s birthday, and for her on Valentines Day, but that’s about it.  And even those “big” celebrations tend to be small affairs compared to many other people we know.

 

We weren’t always like that though – so why the shift over the years.  Well, I wont lie some if it is simply budget, we cannot afford big to-dos on the budget God has given to us.  But the other side of it, with almost every holiday, somehow there is a hurt attached.  There are a lot of days with hurts attached when you’ve lost three babies.  There are a lot of moments with hurt, awkwardness, and random tears after the path we’ve walked the last seven years.

 

Mother’s day is hard for me, not only because it reminds me of all the babies I will never get to see or hold or watch, or giggle with this side of Heaven, but it reminds me that three years ago on Mother’s day I peed on a stick and it told me I was pregnant for the third time.  Which reminds me that a month later I had a miscarriage, and six months after that I almost died due to complications from my fourth pregnancy, and second still-birth.  All of which reminds me how many statistics I now represent and embody – non of which are good, or happy.

 

This, this is why I am happy that Thursday is Chris’ birthday, because this one day, allows me to focus on him and my love for him all weekend and push the hurt and tears and pain and awkwardness to the side at least for the most part, and celebrate him.

 

So, to my Mother in law who went into labor early 31 years ago – thank you for the amazing son you raised and that very special mother’s day you had that year.  And to God, who had the whole plan in His hands even then – thank you for bringing Chris to the world almost two months early – just so that almost 30 years later his birthday could be a comfort to me through all the hardships we’ve faced.

 

And to all my other friends and family out there with less than “normal” motherhood emotions headed into this weekend, please know that you are not alone, and you are loved.

 

An open letter to pastors {A non-mom speaks about Mother’s Day}

Summer sanity

Durring the school year, weather you homeschool or not, there is a schedule simply made by what time your kids start and end school, what activities are going on, and any activities you are doing.  Summer starts and that all goes out the window.  In some families there is even more going on (swim lessons, gymnastics, sports, vacation, and others) in some families, it’s a chance to take a break from a lot of things and have more relaxed days.  For me, either way, things seem to get more chaotic.  Either we are running all over the place doing all sorts of stuff, or we are home several days in a row and Inara starts bouncing off the walls with cabin fever.  It’s too stinkin’ hot here to just send her out to play all day like I did growing up, and without structure she ends up watching TV all day getting more and more antsy.

Enter the summer schedule.  When we are doing homeschool, I use a schedule strip to keep us on track.  A few months back I expanded that and made a second schedule board for Inara to use all day because she is a girl who loves routine, structure, and to know whats happening all the time (so NOT her momma).  It’s been great, but I have found both through general use, and especially now that we are in “summer mode” some changes needed to be made, so today I took our regular schedule strip/board set up and revamped it to be more summer friendly as well as to include a few more things that were missing before.

I also have a place in the center of our board where I keep the current bible verse we are working on memorizing.

The way our board works is that I print all the activity cards out as well as two blank grids (I’ve included a download below of our cards) and then laminate them.  You can do this at home using clear contact paper, peal and stick laminate, or a home laminator.  My preferred method is actually to take them to my local lakeshore learning and use their self laminator it’s only .29 cents per linear foot so you can do a few pages for under a dollar and the results are fantastic.  Then I cut apart all the little activity cards leaving the blank grid whole.  I attached my two blank grids to a peice of poster board but do whatever you want, I’ve seen them in binders, on clip boards, tacked right to the wall, hung on a magnetic surface you name it.  You just want to make sure that they are firmly attached because of the next step.  Using self sticking velcro (either dots, or long strips you cut to size) put the same side of velcro into the center of all your blank grid squares and the opposite side onto the center back of all your activity squares.

I keep our extra squares in a tupperware container on a shelf next to our board near Inara’s chore sticks (post coming soon on those)

As we go through the day, she takes off the card she just finished and puts it into the container.  Be wise though parents in letting your kids have this accountability with their schedule, I’ve caught Inara more than once, taking off two cards at once if she doesn’t like/want to do the next activity in the list (namely chores) so be aware of whats coming up so you notice if something doesn’t happen.

TA-DA you are all set to make a fully customizable daily schedule.  This is perfect for kids who don’t read yet since it’s all graphics, and it allows every day to be different (something I find to be true year round, not just in the summer), and I love that there isn’t a time associated with it, so if Inara want’s to play with her dolls for two hours awesome, if she only stays occupied for five minutes, great onto the next thing.  I do limit TV shows to one (or maybe two depending on what’s happening) episodes at a time, but otherwise it’s however the day goes and if she’s done everything and is at bedtime at 6pm great, if it takes till 9pm thats OK too.  Also, because of the free flow of the day, things can easily be added, removed, or rearranged depending on what’s going on, behavior rewards or punishments, etc.

Download our schedule set in PDF form here: SummerSchedual

Like I said, it’s our set so most of the figures are girls, and the shows featured are our favorites (mostly the educational ones) if there’s something you want let me know and I’ll see what I can come up with. 😀

Our new normal

Yesturday, after her Christmas party, I picked Inara up and brought her home from what (unbeknownst to her) was her last KDO.  We made the decision, that the tuition was something that no longer had a place in our new budget, and was one of the easiest things to remove as we looked into 2012 and figured out how to pinch a couple more pennies.

I’ve been more than a little aware for the past week, and thinking about it a lot, that a year ago I almost died.  It’s been a good year, a long year, a hard year, and a year filled to overflowing with more challanges and changes, but a year full of gratitude, and praise for all of lifes Blessings.  It took a while, and I’m still not sure if it has, for the events of last December to sink in.  It’s more than a little sureal at times when the truth hits me of how close I came to seeing Heaven on that operating table (or in the two days before).  I have thanked God frequently for the chance to be here, to watch my little girl grow up, and to enjoy life and even to endure it’s struggles.

In August, after a lot of prayer, tears, and hard conversations, my midwife put me on medication to help control my out of control moodswings, depresion, and less than awesomeness.  She diagnosed me with PMDD, and after adjusting to the medication, life really has improved.  Part of me wishes I would have had the strength to do this years ago, it makes me wonder how much more of my life I would have enjoyed.  I won’t lie, I remember being a high strung biatch in High School, massive mood swings, depresion, anxiety, agressive and stand offish.  Until recently, I haven’t really enjoyed motherhood – at all.  But in the last few months, I find it easier to laugh, to play, and to have fun with Inara, Chris and my friends.  In fact, I find it easier to socialize in general.  I am still intraverted, but a bit less painfully so.

Life has changed a lot in the last year, but slowly, over time, I’m adjusting to our new normal.  With Inara being home all the time now again, it’s going to take another big adjustment for me.  I’ll be rearanging our homeschool schedual, getting back to actually doing homeschool after floundering over the past month or so, and trying to figure out how to keep her occupied without us both going crazy every day.

I can’t help but laugh a little because, I know that 2012 is going to involve more change, more “figuring it out” and more twists in our journey when all I really would like is a little bit of flat straight road to meander along for a little while.  However if that were possible, I know there would be no growth no development, and then I’d complain that life were boring.  God has a way of knowing whats best for us, and in retrospect I know no matter how twisted, hilly, or rocky life has seemed, that God really does make our paths straight for us.

So – here’s to 2012, whatever it may hold.  I hope to spend the last bit of 2011 enjoying my family, and my friends, and sitting in the quiet dark from time to time just watching the twinkle lights on our tree because still and simple is something I have truely come to appreciate. 🙂

Merry Christmas everyone and a New Year filled with all God’s glories!

PS – for anyone who may not have gotten it, I’m also including a copy of of Christmas card and letter if you wanted to see or read it. 🙂

Holiday letter ’11

Contentment

 

The Lord has brought me here, and left me.  He has lead me on a path I did not expect, nor would have chosen if the choice had been my own.  It took me a LONG time, years, to be at peace and find contentment in my life.  It took me a long time, and a lot of money, to learn how not to compair myself with others, or even my own dreams.  It took me great sacrifice to lay down the things of this world that I have wanted to badly and trust God to provide me with what I need instead.  The journey has been long, hard, painful, treaturous, and full of both darkness and imesurable joy.  I was finally at a place of happiness.
Then life happened.
Sometimes I have to look around and wonder if somewhere in the great kosmos someone decided to do a “remake” of the book of Job and cast me in the lead.
Over the last two weeks our family has had much to celebrate.  We welcomed a new sister to our bunch with much happiness and open arms.  We all got to see each other, and spend time together, and love one another.  Inara was a super star on our trip to Portland as far as travel, schedual upset, and overall mood.  We spent an AMAZING week in a beautiful part of the country enjoying some of my favorite weather.
Then we came home.
To the house and life that God has richly blessed us with.  In a city where we are surounded by friends that we love as dearly as family, and to our pets that for me at least are as precious as children.
And within 24 hours I felt my mood darken and my heart harden.
Why did we have to live here, in this place, with this heat, and the horrible allergies?  Why do we have to be in a home that is falling apart around us?  Why can’t I live near family, or trees, or rain?  Why can’t my daughter just behave?
What happened to my contentment?
Where did my peace go?
What is it that I’m striving for?
What is the real goal?
I could use prayer again my friends.  Prayers for peace and joy to come back.  Prayers to find contentment in the life God has given me.  Happiness in the mundain, grace with love.  Mostly, I could use a shift of focus and a softening of the heart.
Please God, help me to focus on your truth and love now and always.  Amen