Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Confession Wednesday

Confession #1: I've never, ever, ever had my toenails done (until now).

This is Mickie. She sat on the floor for about 4 hours one night last week doing 11 sets of glamorously glittery toes. That's 110 toenails!! I tell you, she's amazing!!

Forty (well, 39 - missed one) toes, as posed by hostess Kay:

Mickie was right. I LOVE them!

Confession #2: I am really bad at enjoying autumn. I love the colors and crunchy leaves as much as the next person, but it's all such a definite reminder that winter is imminent. I dread it every year. I resent all the shoes, socks, and coats required to shuffle children out the door into a chilly car, when mere weeks ago we were sailing out the door for walks in our flip flops. I miss my bare feet and short sleeves. I pine for the sound of sprinklers outside my open window and daylight at 6am. Or even 6pm. And the holidays don't buffer it: they're over and done 10 days into winter.

But the whining isn't doing much to improve it.


My mom used to encourage us, when feeling tempest-tossed, to find three positive things about the situation (you know, Pollyanna-style).

For example: If your 11th grade Pre-Calculus teacher gave you no reason to suspect you had anything less than an A, and then slapped a B onto your final report card and retired before the mailman could deliver the irreversible bad news, thus destroying your hard-earned 4.0 and dashing every hope you ever had of becoming a valedictorian and Benson Scholar with a full-ride scholarship to the only university you ever wanted to attend (you know, hypothetically speaking)(and I hope SOMEBODY played many a golf game in his retirement with a cankered conscience), well then, your father might pull you back from the depths of despair with some counsel like:
1. "Hey, the 4.0 is gone, and the pressure's off. Now you can enjoy your senior year."
2. "Your mom and I are still proud of you, so chill."
3. "Need a hug?"

For the record, it made all the difference. (I love my parents.)

Therefore, three things I can't help enjoying about Autumn:
1. Cinnamon scented everything.
2. The many birthdays and related gatherings comprising the month-long party known as October (oooh! I can't wait!).
3. Wrapping up in quilts made for me by my grandmas.

And Winter:
1. Cold, cold water, straight from the tap.
2. Life slows down, just a leeetle bit.
3. Snow days. Can't beat 'em.

Yep, that helps. (Now I need to work on a list of three good things about what a pain in the rear it is to get four children out the door on time every morning.)

How about you? What's something you're not enjoying, and what are three things that change your perspective?

(12 minutes until October. Let the parties begin!)

If We Had an Award it Would go to.....

Lately when I've been feeling sorry for myself I turn my thoughts to my cousin. He is not too much older than me and is going through one of bravest battles of his life. He has battled cancer throughout his life and most recently him and his wife had to leave their two teenage children in Utah while they travelled to Texas for him to receive a bone marrow transplant. His amazing and brave wife has a blog that details all the wonderful and all the terrible details.

If Year of No Fear had an award for someone who battled on through their fears I would give it to my cousin. A bone marrow transplant takes you to deaths door and then brings you back again. Right now he is in constant pain and doesn't know how he is going to make it. Any day now the marrow will graft to him and he will start to heal. We are all waiting for the day when things finally start to turn around for him. He continues to stay up beat and to hold onto his faith and his love for his family. He pushes his fears aside so he can continue to make memories with his family.

He has been blessed with an amazing wife who continues to be supportive and stay by his side. She constantly encourages him to get up and walk a couple times a day. She is so strong and brave to not walk away when he is in pain but to hold his hand continue to help him in any way he can.

I'm not super close to this cousin, he is older and I only saw him once a year when I was growing up but I have tremendous admiration of him and his family courageously going through this journey. His parents have always been such an amazing example to others. His stepmother's example in a blended family helped shape my relationship with my blended family. They are an amazing family and I continue to hope and pray he will turn a corner soon and start to heal.

I am starting to write an email to them to let them know they are in my thoughts, it is a work in progress. I was almost too afraid to do it because we aren't that close but of course I had to push that aside and continue to write an email.

Update: I started writing this on Wednesday and since then the marrow has started to graft and he is up and walking!

Confession Time: When you are down and out what can people do to help you? visit? stay away? provide meals? call?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

What Would You Have Said?

Why is that confession Wednesday keeps becoming Confession Thursdays? It seems no matter how hard Mrs. B and I try we always get our Wednesday Post out on Thursdays, one day late. Maybe if we change it to Confession Tuesday we will write it on Wednesday and it will be Wednesday Confession once again! Speaking of one day late, I was invited to help direct students on the first day of school this year. I showed up at the school on Wednesday at 2 for orientation, only to kindly be told it was actually the day before! No worries, I got to help anyway.

So today isn't a confession, it's more of a I wish I would have reacted to something instead of sitting in shock. So crazy week this week getting kids ready for school and husband working at least 12 hour days. So to help relax I went to lunch with my mom and the baby. We are enjoying our lunch and the baby was in his car seat, sideways on a chair. I had checked multiple times to make sure he was on there safe, after him cutting his finger badly at church on Sunday and having to take him to a Doctor on a Sunday I was overly protective after that. I kept feeding him my food and playing with him. I had my attention on him the entire time. We are almost done and ready to leave when this lady out of no where who was also eating there comes over and moves a chair behind him and says something like, ok that's better. I sat there and didn't say anything to her. I couldn't figure out what she had done. It hit me and I was in shock. She thought the baby was unsafe! What? Where she was sitting it wasn't like she could see something I couldn't. Why do people do these things? I was so shocked somebody would do something like that, I didn't have a response to say to her and I went out of my way to avoid her when I left immediately after that. So was she rude? Would you do what she did? What should I have said to her? I'm an overly protective mom, my kids aren't allowed to eat when left home alone, I don't let them out of my sight, so really was it important that this lady did this?

And on a positive note, after the baby sliced his finger open I ran him to the bathroom, him bleeding badly. All of a sudden I'm in a panic not sure what to do and this wonderful lady shows up and says she has a first aid kit. She asks what I need. She has Tylenol for the baby to take and she told me to keep it. She had everything for me to use to help the little guy. Then we decide we need to take him in to get stitches and we are trying to figure out how to clean up the blood around the sink and she says she will take care of it. Really? She was a saint! I'm hoping to find out who she was so I can send her a thank you card, she made a terrible situation for me a little bit better. I wish there were more people like her in the world than the woman I met the next day.

Colorado Julie-I consider you one of my sophisticated friends so what would you have done?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Confession Wednesday (ish)

You're never going to guess what I did last weekend! (Unless you were there. Or I told you about it. So maybe you can guess.)

I took my kids camping! All by myself!!

Sort of. Maybe.

Actually, a whole bunch of families were headed up to camp together, but one family went up a night early. For reasons I still can't explain, I suggested to the kids that we join them and camp for two nights instead of one. They readily agreed.

I LOVED camping when I was growing up, but it was one of the things (along with motorcycles and airplanes) that suddenly seemed less appealing once I had kids of my own.

For the record, I love the outdoors and campfires and waking up in the morning in a tent. I just can't seem to enjoy the massive amount of preparation and the never-ending cleanup that accompany the experience. Also, until this year, we've only had a 6x6 tent for the family, and I have yet to buy an air mattress that doesn't leak. Happening into a family-size tent and borrowing a camp cot both have vastly improved my affection for camping.

I'm certain I wouldn't have attempted it without the knowledge that another family would be there (one that included our Home Teacher, no less!). Luckily, one of the few available campsites was right across the path from theirs, and even luckier, that good family helped us with our tent when we arrived in the dark.

I can't deny that I was pretty doggone pleased with myself the next morning when I made pancakes and sausage on the camp stove and set up the rest of our campsite.

The rest of the families trickled in over the rest of the day and we had a fantastic time. Absolutely worth the frenzied preparation and the truckloads of laundry.

Here's what I've learned in the last 2 months of solo-parenting kids through air travel, road trips, and camping:
  • Beautiful scenery and singing with my kids can make me a little giddy, to the point that I might perhaps run out of gas or go 15 miles past a turnoff. Must pay more attention.
  • I have fantastic kids (I knew that a long time ago).
  • I always end up buying way more snacks than the kids will ever eat.
  • I'm beginning to understand what motivated my parents to take a three-week cross-country road trip with 8 kids in a suburban towing a tent trailer 20 years ago. (Not that I'm signing up for that one anytime soon. But I think I get it.)
When is the last time you surprised yourself?