Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Best of: Random Questions

If you need some blog fodder, feel free to jump off with one of these questions... some of them got some pretty interesting responses. Random Questions.

Maybe we'll see the return of the RQ fun soon...

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Credit where more than credit is due

I keep telling myself that I have to sit down and write up some proper notes of thanks for so many people who have helped us in the last several months.  But it's not getting done.  It's my own fault.  I'm not going to even pretend to make excuses.  But I don't want those of you who have helped to think for one minute that I don't realize how important, helpful, plainly quite pivotal the various helping gestures have been for us.  So this will be quick, as the girls are asleep and I've not got but a few minutes. I'll type fast and hope it comes out ok.

Family: Our family, immediate and extended, has helped us in so many ways I can't even list them.  From assistance with our down payment, to time spent here at the house physically helping, cleaning, painting, watching the kids, to giving generously to the girls.  We wouldn't be here, like geographically in this place, if it weren't for our family.  From the job M has to the fact that we were able to buy this house. 

It's humbling, and I think sometimes I can't say thank you enough...so much so that it probably gets annoying that I keep saying thank you.  We have those close to us here who are always offering to do whatever we might need.  You have helped with the girls, playing with them, babysitting so we can have an hour or two out, and the financial help toward the girls' daily needs has been overwhelming, to be truthful.

I know there are always a handful of people who I can call when we need something.  I think in 31 months we've paid for babysitting 2 times.  Literally.  That's just amazing.  Some of that was, of course, in C-U, so you guys that are or were there then...you were lifesavers, too.  I don't rely on these people enough, and I know that.  But I'm not good at admitting that I need help when it comes to the deeper things.  I know that.  I'm working on it.  God's working on me, I should say.  But know that I appreciate all the availability even when I don't utilize it every time you offer.

IRL Friends: I've said before that we don't have many friends here, and that's still true.  I can count on one hand the people, nonfamily, who I would call friends locally.  But the few I have I do SO appreciate.  Specifically those of you who go out of your way to do the little special things on the days when I need "cooling off."  I'm not good at being honest about my state of mind all the time, as I'm great at saying, "Fine! We're good," when asked how things are.  Again, I'm a work in progress.  Last week I was actually brought to tears by a small (frozen) gesture, one that was so well-timed, and it got through my self-constructed wall of fake composure.  It was a little embarrassing, but really, the only witnesses to the crack in my armor were very cool about it.

To those of you who have been friends for a long time, though we don't live near each other anymore... don't think for a moment you're not still important.  When you call to check on us, even if you just leave a voice mail message, it's encouraging.  I'm not great on the phone lately, I admit.  It's generally loud around here with the two chatterboxes I've been blessed with. (Yes, they are both talking up a storm, though only Braska is understandable at this point.  Kinlee's sure trying alot.)  And I know that I often can't hide my frustration, disappointment, or just blue-ness well enough on the phone, so sometimes, I just don't answer.  Weird that I've become that way, as that's kind of a new thing.  It's rare though, don't worry. 

Online friends: I'm still a little surprised at how much I rely on you guys.  Some of you are not that far away and I plan on IRL meetings very soon.  You have offered yourselves, your houses, and countless other means of support, and I'm once again humbled.  That people I've never met would reach out like that, would be available, would be honest in order to encourage my openness...it's amazing.  I might be pathetic, but I still am amazed when I get actual emails from online buddies... it's a little shocking to me that someone took the time to sit down and think of me long enough to compose an email and express their concern, encouragement, opinion, or whatever.  The same goes for comments on the blogs...I can't tell you how excited I get about comments.  It's sad, ridiculous really, but they are a highlight to every day. 

You've sent me things for myself.  You've sent me things for the girls.  I'm so overwhelmed every time.  Even just reading blogs...I kind of feel privileged that I get to see into your lives.  Though most of you don't have private blogs, it still seems like sometimes it's the "in crowd" that meets there to talk about whatever you've posted about.  It's always nice to belong...and maybe it's weird to think one can "belong" in the blog world, but I kind of see it that way sometimes.

<The girls are now up...always waking at the same time... so I better finish this up...>

Braska's team: Awesome therapists. Best service coordinator in the world.  I wish I could take you all with us for the next 14 years.  I'm not looking forward to the transition because it will mean that we have to get used to a new team.  I'm sure they will be good...at least they darn better, but still... they've got alot to live up to.  In Illinois, we had a phenomenal team.  And here, after a few tiny bumps, we have a wonderful team as well.  You all love Braska and really get excited about spending time with her. Above and beyond...all of you.  And did I mention the BEST service coordinator in the world!?!

Blog readers: Maybe you've been covered in one of the previous categories, but maybe you've not commented (Please do so...at least once, sometime...I'd love to know who I'm appreciating!)  I get reports in my email every day that tell me how many people visited each blog that day.  It's amazing to me.  I still smile thinking that there are so many of you who have told me that you "look forward" to posts, either here or on the girls' blogs.  Look forward. Anticipate. Eagerly await.  Huh?  We're way too boring to cause eagerness, yet there you are. Even if you're a silent reader, a "lurker" as blog world refers to them--though it sounds kind of menacing, I think--I still am thankful and encouraged by all of you.  It's no small thing that you stop in each day or each week to see what's new.  Lately, it's been harder to find time to put up the cute pictures and the fun stories.  And honestly, there have been fewer fun stories to tell.  But it's a season we're in and it will pass. I appreciate that so many of you are willing to walk with us through it.

We are so blessed.  I often feel guilty that I am not 100% cheery all the time.  I am overall a very positive person, I am optimistic.  I know God is in control, and he is WAY smarter than me.  I have not one shred of doubt that he has our best interest in mind, and I can't wait to see what's next.  That doesn't mean I don't sometimes wish for more peace and less drama, but I am learning to be content in any situation, as Paul said. 

We have come a long way, our little family of 2 then 3 then 4.  Wow, have we come a long way.   And in the big picture, it's not been that long since our lowest, most painful moments. I admit that I hope we won't experience pain like that again, but there are no guarantees in this life, and I accept that. I want to be an example of trusting God, of accepting the occasional lemon with my glass of water and Splenda ready to add for the lemonade.  I want to be the right kind of mom to these girls and wife to M.  And it's not about my plan or what I think, it's about what God has in store, and I'm excited to see it all play out.

So thank you, one and all. For just being there.  For reading this and many other long diatribes. For smiling. For helping. For sharing. For praying.  Especially for praying.  I wouldn't want to do this without any of you.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Sad. Happy. Sick. Relieved

It happened fast. She emailed. She was interested. She asked questions. I answered. She was excited. I was hesitant. She wanted to meet. I offered times. She picked today. We met. She drove. He drove. She handed me the cashier's check. I cried as I drove away. I no longer own my precious Altima. But we have one less payment. Bittersweet.

One down. One to go.

Best of: About me

For the next installment of the Best Of... A little refresher course about me, you might say. Some shallow things, some more complicated. Click here and here.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Best of: The beginning

I'm setting up a few scheduled posts to show up in the next couple days. These will be links to a post or a group of posts that I feel have some particular meaning to me or possibly interest to you. Several of you have mentioned to me that you've been going through the archives during my little break, and I can't tell you how honored I am that you would take the time to do so. Thank you.

So by request, I'll link to a few highlights, or possibly lowlights, we'll see.

Since many of you have joined up with this roller coaster in the more recent past, maybe the last year or so, I'll start from the beginning. Here's where it all began, July 2007. And remember, I still receive comments on old posts, so feel free to leave one. In fact, I'd love to get a take on how you feel about them since time has passed and even my own perspective may have morphed a little.

Enjoy. And thanks for reading.

Amusing Collocation

I'm not one for email forwards, as usually I just delete them before I read them, if I'm being honest.  But this one got my attention because a friend posted it on one of the DS forums I frequent--or used to frequent when I had time. 

Since I've got no time to compose my own posts, I'll borrow from cyber-world and share a cute one.  Or maybe it's just fun to me because I like words. (I have not double checked all these, as a disclaimer.)

When you rearrange the letters:

When you rearrange the letters:

When you rearrange the letters:

DESPERATION: When you rearrange the letters:

When you rearrange the letters:

When you rearrange the letters:

When you rearrange the letters:

When you rearrange the letters:

When you rearrange the letters:

When you rearrange the letters:

When you rearrange the letters:

When you rearrange the letters:

When you rearrange the letters:

When you rearrange the letters:

When you rearrange the letters:

(Note:  That is not my mother-in-law they're talking about.  No way.  She's the best.  Just wanted to clarify.)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Anybody need a car?

Thanks for all the bits of encouragement and checking in on me.  I'm doing ok.  The girls are good and we're hanging out and hanging in there.

For those who have been worried, let me just say that my marriage is intact and I'm not newly sick with some serious disease or anything.  Those seem to be the two big concerns floating around.  So no need to be worried.

Honestly, our biggest issue and stress right now is financial, and I know it's taboo to talk of such things.  I don't really mind discussing it at all, but it seems to make people a bit uncomfortable, so I'll spare you the details.  Suffice it to say that we are making some more big changes, I call it Level 4 in our big downsizing that started when we moved last year.  I keep hoping we have no more levels, but we'll do our best to deal as we can.

This brings us to the point of this post...we're selling our cars--at least one but probably both--and I thought I'd throw up some info in case someone happens to be looking for a good used car.  This makes us, especially me, so sad, because I absolutely adore my car.  I talk often about how excited I am to drive it every single time, even after having it for almost 4 years.  It's not that it's anything spectacular, but I just plain love it.  M likes his alot too, but we feel this is necessary.  We've had a great offer from family to get a very well traveled minivan at a beyond-bargain price that will serve the next generation of our family (us) well, I'm sure. 

So we've got a 2003 Nissan Altima and a 2005 Mazda 3 (with low miles) and we really are just looking to get out what we owe so we are relieved of the payments. If you are interested or know someone who is, please let me know and I'll provide further info or answer questions.  If you're not in the St. Louis metro area, we might be willing to bring it to you...depending on how far that is!

Here's pics of the Altima from when I got it.  When it's clean, it's just as pretty, though there are a few scratches, admittedly.

Exterior above, interior below, black leather.

M's is the Mazda 3, here's the driving-out-of-the-showroom pic.
And this is a side view of another color, same car. We need to do new pics of them both.

Anyway, on the chance someone is interested or knows someone who's looking....  thanks a bunch.

And I really appreciate all the prayers for my sanity and mental health during this period of stress.  I have good days and not-as-good days, but we're gonna make it.  I believe God has great things planned for us, and if this is how we learn the lessons that we'll need for later, then I welcome it. 

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Bit o' break time

I'm going to do what I dread doing. I'm going to pause on this blog for a while. I don't know how long, hopefully not more than a week or so, but I just can't find the time to write about what's on my mind, and really, it's not appropriate to do so since pretty much everyone I know or interact with reads this. (Thanks for reading, by the way. I can't TELL you how much it means.) But that means that I can't be fully open about some things and keep confidences and/or my dignity sometimes.

There are some tough things I need to address at home and with myself. Choices and difficult steps I had hoped I wouldn't have to make again. Nothing's falling apart, but the first little pieces are crumbling, and they're from my foundation.

So there's work to be done, and it cannot wait. All the while, I'll continue being mom to these two cuddly girls of mine. That's where my time goes, and hopefully soon I'll get a little mini vacation of some kind there as well. Not that they're not wonderful, and by all accounts, the easiest two little girls out there. It's just that sometimes a break is a good thing. Time alone is important. I'm not getting any, and it's taking it's toll.

Go enjoy your summers. Splash in a pool for me. Take walks in the evening. And when I get a chance, I'll read your stories about it and live vicariously through you. All you bloggers are a true encouragement every day. I appreciate reading your thoughts and your observations, and I love seeing pics of all those adorable kids.

I'll try to keep up at least pics and bits for the girls' blogs, because that's my documentation for their little lives. I refer to it often to remember what happened when. Someday, I hope to get caught up properly with updates that I've been missing and that I also rely on.

It's not the end of the world, that's what I'm telling myself. But it is just another way I'm disconnecting, and that's hard when I am not at all long on connections right now.

Don't go far. I'll be back.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Time mismanagement

I have so many things I want to write about. Not so much because YOU want to know as that I need to work through them, and it's very cathartic for me to "write through" things. But I don't have time. Or at least I can't seem to find the time to sit down and write for a couple hours... and that's what I need just to scratch the surface. I am not one who can write for a few minutes and then come back to it later to continue. Not on this kind of stuff.

I've debated doing some video blogging, like talking to the camera, because it would be quicker than typing it all out, but I can't get past looking at myself on video. That's a whole different issue. I've debated pulling an all-nighter to get some stuff fleshed out, but I can't imagine missing sleep right now. Again, another issue.

So for now, it will have to wait. I don't want to wait too long, though, because Kinlee's getting older, and I have so much I want to get documented about her birth and first few weeks here, the adjustments and the ponderings. I keep saying I need a blogging/digi-scrap weekend...just me, all alone, no housework allowed, just free-flowing thoughts, my laptop, all 1 million of my pictures from the last 30 months, and time to edit my writing thoroughly. (I'm big into editing.) Don't worry, I'm not holding my breath. I'm not *totally* delusional.

As a reminder to myself....topics I need to hit...
~Kinlee's birth story.
~Why I'm thankful Braska came first.
~Asking for help
~The trouble with helping others
~Current parenting strategies
~Braska updates: feeding, development, personality, IEP prep.
~Kinlee updates: milestone documentation

Those are the ones ok for public consumption...there are many more lately that aren't. Don't know what I'll do with them, but for now, it all waits.