Wednesday, July 29, 2009


I know it is Wednesday and I haven't done a post in a few (OK, several) days... I'm writing now listening to the girls trying to be quiet but still being too loud to be going to bed. They just don't want to slow down! They definitely like being busy.


We (I and my kids) spent the day hanging out with one of my best friends and her kids. We just chatted, caught up with each other, shared some laughs, and some struggles. She home-schools, too, so we were talking about the challenge of teaching our boys (who are 11, hers, and 12, mine)---By the way, I expected the girls to hit puberty (eventually) and have attitude changes, and mood swings, but I am surprised to hear more and more mothers of boys talking about this phenomenon! I guess the guys go through it, too! Add in some unique needs, and we are talking about some creative planning for the year ahead!


So, we also chatted about our faith, and she was telling me about her amazing epiphany that she had today in Mass. Her great vision had to do with the story of Mary and Martha: the one about how Mary listened at Jesus' feet, while Martha served; and the reading of John 1: 7-21 which is about love and God, and being in God, by love and Christ. Well, someone had to serve, and it is through love that some of us are called to serve. It is all connected, how people love and have faith, and serve. Let me tell you, my friend, 'E' (same friend having the epiphany) is amazing at helping people out, and serving with love! And she is just so smart about stuff that we all struggle with, and things I've been struggling with; I just know God sent her today to me to tell me about her epiphany, because it made so much sense, and meant so much at the right time. Now, I need to go read my Bible, and look up these verses, and just think. You see, serving can also be the million little tasks we do each day that may seem monotonous, but if done with love, and the intention to serve through love, with Jesus in our hearts, even laundry has a greater meaning and purpose!


See? --We just have so much to be thankful for!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Random...

Ok... so there are WAY too many people living in Northern Virginia! The traffic is unreal-really- unreal. We had to go to Fairfax for a doctor's appointment for Mr. T (our son), which was re-scheduled (we made the original appointment six months ago, for a Monday) for a Friday afternoon (crazy) in July (even more crazy). I used to drive during rush hour (ages ago), but I am humbled by the amount of people, more people that must be living in this area. I know that Friday also means a crazy amount of travelers (all heading south), but it was ridiculous how many cars, trucks, trailers, buses, etc were traveling today.


The study of genetics is fascinating (switching subjects). It is amazing to think that there is a cellular component so very small to our make up, and that everything has a purpose and a place. To think that our Creator put everything (in the whole, wide universe) together in such small, meticulous pieces is so very over-whelming, and humbling, and amazing. In the end, though, we are His, and we are who we are, including all the little pieces and parts. Nothing changes, really, by knowing what parts of what parts are whole, or fragmented, or even present, because we still have these beautiful, wonderful parts that are working just fine, and they make up the beautiful wonder standing in front of you. I know this doesn't necessarily make sense, but it feels good to write it. And it feels good to know that everything IS present, and whole, and not fragmented... but we still seem to be looking for answers that may just not be there; but as parents we want to do the very, very best we can, to the best of our ability, for our children.


I love to write. I need to write more. It is not only therapeutic; it is helpful to catalogue the daily thoughts, the amazing memories, even the pictures, tastes and sounds of our lives.

I want to remember that tonight I sat and watched a whole movie with the kids... hard for someone always wanting to "get things done".



Last night the whole family watched a video about the Blue Angels, and my youngest (5) said, "Wow! We just had family night! Cool! Can we do it again?" and the middle-child, 'D', has decided that being a pilot would be the coolest thing in the world (I know, I'm surprised it isn't dance, perhaps she will have multiple careers, she wants to be an artist, as well).


The thing is: I want to remember these moments.



I also need to remember, or have for future reference, that golf on a hot afternoon, after a storm, in the sun does not work for 'T'... it would be best to avoid these situations in the future, as he doesn't cope well with no shade (heehee). He loves golf, just not a blazing, hot sun, with no shade.






Thursday, July 23, 2009

(image from www.Christart.com)

It has been a busy, busy week. I have decided that deep, deep, deep breathing is helpful, and prayer is better. I've also decided that moving, and doing instead of sitting and stewing is a bit more constructive to get to feeling more organized. Also, the organization helps. I just read an article that said take it one room at a time... how about one issue at a time, as well... even one drawer at a time?


One of my bestest friends really uplifted me yesterday. She confirmed that while I think I have no more on my plate than anyone else, I do have a lot on my plate. Feeling overwhelmed, and embracing that feeling, then learning tools to work through it all is the way to go... and especially to keep praying, and keep faith. 'E' (said friend... like a sister-type-of-friend) is the person that tells you what you need to hear with kindness and grace. She not only helped me realize I do have a lot to get organized and working properly (anxiety under control, curriculum in order for the fall, etc.), but that it isn't impossible (she is really good at problem solving), and I've done pretty well so far, and that I have, indeed, had a lot to go through (she was actually much more flattering... she made me feel so much better).


So: friends moving is not a blase- type of thing; a gluten -free diet and medication management for an autistic son is really not just a challenge, but a huge change; it's OK to feel sad and overwhelmed when things don't go as planned (think camping trip); and incorporating three very different children and a husband in to all sorts of plans, trips, activities, and schools (home school for the kids, and college for the husband) is actually not just a job... it's an adventure (sorry, had a Navy dad)! But, anyway, it's OK to say it isn't easy, because it's not, but I try to believe that it is (easy, and no big deal).


Arise, and cry out, I say! Pray hard and loud! I believe the Lord is leading me, I just need to try to listen a little harder, and meditate on His words more.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

changes


Well... I'm finding out some things about me. I want to be this laid back, never- gets- bothered -type of mom. However, the more laid back, or relaxed I try to be, the more anxious and up tight I become. What is up with that? I'm trying to make what I think is an improvement, but all it does is create a negative environment around me. I get snappy and snippy, sullen and depressed feeling. So, I am trying to learn more about this side of me... the side that is always there, you know. Being laid back and relaxed may not be the answer... I am praying (and have a few friends and family members praying) very hard about this! I'm wanting improvement. Lists and schedules may just be the way to go.

As usual, summer is turning out busier than expected. We started our allergy shots, which counts as an excursion; once, if not twice a week. Also, summer dance is very intensive. As much as we (the girls and I) like it, it makes for long Mondays and Wednesdays. Also, 'D' is still doing piano, and I kind of promised her tennis camp, so she is doing that this week, as well. She likes to be busy... I used to be like that, but as I get older I think I just want more down time.


Our last camping trip was shorter than expected. We had such a fun trip before that I had high expectations for this last trip, too. It started out great! We went down to Virginia Beach, traffic wasn't terrible. Aside from forgetting sleeping bags, everything was in order. We got everything set up, had dinner and a camp fire, went to bed. Friday we had a great camp breakfast, then headed off to the beach. It was a fun day! Then, it got dark and stormy... seriously dark, and the storm came on quickly. Honestly, we didn't think it was a catastrophe, we just planned on waiting out the rain at a store, or something. We were shocked to find tents moved, the canopy destroyed (like, with metal sticking out everywhere, and laying on its side, and shredded parts of the canvas laying on the ground), the cooler was on its side, everything (literally, we had to throw books and a nameless stuffed animal away) was soaked! We had to pack up the car (with lightening and thunder cracking all around us) and leave. We looked like refugees on the way out: dirty, wet and unorganized. Thank goodness we were not from Canada (it would've been a long drive). Traffic was beautiful going home- no tunnel back ups ( I loathe the tunnel).

So, we have a lot to be thankful for. It helps to focus on these things to keep from being totally ticked off... it softens the blow, anyway. We weren't hurt. We didn't have to watch our campsite get destroyed, we arrived after it happened. Also, traffic wasn't heavy going home. The beach time was a lot of fun. I love the beach. Thank God (literally) for the beach!

John 16:33 says, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." I know Jesus is not talking about everyday strife and worry, here, but I do take comfort that He is with me. I know I need to take Him seriously, not what happens to me so seriously. So, this is where I will finish my post today... have peace, pray, and know He is with you!




Tuesday, July 14, 2009

should have warned you...

We were out of town, and it's summer. I know I haven't written, and I didn't warn anyone I was going away. So sorry about that! We are actually going away again the day after tomorrow! We went camping, and it was so fun that we are doing it again. It really was fun! We really were dirty-- but I guess we proved we could live with it for four days.

I think I've mentioned before that I am a high maintenance camper... I haven't changed a bit (except that I let go of the whole nightly shower routine for a few days). We had to have water and electric hook-ups so we could have a fan, light, and an electric bug zapper -- it is summer, after all; the water, of course, so we could brush our teeth without having to walk to the "comfort station". I had to have the comfort station, too. I'm not big on using the potty in nature. I prefer plumbing.
The kids love-love-loved camping! 'T' is my "no shirt, no shoes, no problem" kid. He has hated (loathed/despised) shoes for about four months now. This is not a reaction to gluten free eating, as it happened before the diet. Shoes are either too tight, they hurt, or make his feet sweat... Anyway, he went shoeless, and shirtless for about the whole time. No problem! While it is hard to take a vegetarian-gluten-free child camping, it is not impossible! We were able to do it. Bean dip, it turns out, is good and has protein. Cheese puff chips (those nasty, orange, puffy things) are also gluten free, and they wash off well in the pool.

'D', it turns out, is part mermaid. She swam constantly- at the beach, at the pool, at the pool again. She loves being outside, too. She loved putting up the camp, helping her dad. She enjoyed the camp fire and sleeping in the kid tent with 'T'. The only challenge with 'D' was that she didn't want to stay in her swimsuit the whole day, and needed multiple wardrobe options.



The youngest, 'K', is also turning into a mermaid. She swam the entire length of the pool our second night at the campground. Being five, she took more breaks out of the water, and at the beach, but that child moves until she falls asleep! She go-go-goes until she is literally falling apart, and sleeps immediately. This amazes me because I could be exhausted and will still stare at the ceiling (sky, tent top) for a while before I can finally nod off. The husband can do this too-- fall asleep the minute the head hits the pillow. I wish I could!

Camping, for us, was a great exercise, and a fantastic vacation. We all had to cooperate with one another, and help each other out to set up, and break down the camp. I had to let go of some rules, and loosen up a bit. The kids had to do a little work. It was great, all of us actually being together. It was nice to be outside. It was great to play! The beach was awesome, too. Plus, where else is God more obvious than at the beach? All you can see is water and sky! It is awesome being at the beach... very contemplating, relaxing and fun.


My friend, 'A' is moved into her house out in "Twilight" land -- and her mom is flying out today to help them get a little more settled. It sounds beautiful (and a little over-cast and misty). I continue to pray for their transition (:

I'm trying to catch up with my local friends as well, but the week is proving to be busy! My friend, 'J' is going to Scotland to visit family soon, and my friend 'E' is just back from New York! It has been fun to hang out with with 'S' (and just across the street, yea!), and they got a fun trampoline! I can't wait to try it, and the kids love it. I am very thankful for all my friends (Thank you!)

And, finally, we can't stay away from dance. Our five week session started this week, so Mondays and Wednesdays are full of tap and ballet. My whole body is sore from ballet and pointe last night! 'K' is trying tap, and seems to like it. 'D' continues with her tap and ballet. She actually gets to tap with her sister, because the summer session combines level 1 and 2. So far, so good with that one. It's good to see them enjoying being together.


I don't mean for posts to be so sporadic, here, lately-- but I guess summer helps us relax a little, and shake up our routines a bit. Change is hard, even when it is good. But, I guess that is where we all learn the most: from moments of change.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

once upon a time...


What to write about? My husband just suggested I write about my love for him... and it was not a joke... or it was not meant to be one, anyway. As this is a challenging topic, I am up to the task. Even at 11:00 at night, on the laptop, in bed.

Our story started many years ago, in a hospital, far, far away. For real, we did meet while working in a hospital, but it is not that far away from where we live now. We were both young (20 years old when we met). We both decided not to finish college the "traditional" route (what I consider traditional is going away for four years to a school and finishing within the four year window). We were both living at home with our parents, working and taking some classes at the local community college. The story goes on and on, but the major point is that we had a lot in common. We were going through similar circumstances. We were (are) even the same age (OK, two months difference). And we have really grown up, a lot, together.

Growing up is hard work! Falling in love, getting married, and starting a family is hard stuff. I think it is interesting how it seems so long ago, but just yesterday, at the same time. I can remember our first meeting, and first date with great clarity. So much has happened since then, but the details remain forever clear. The memories of our first years together are bittersweet. We had so many struggles learning how to live and communicate with each other, but so many fun times, and passionate moments. In truth, the struggles and passions have only changed some, but they are still there-- we are still growing up, I suppose.

So many events have occurred during our lives together. While we were busy growing our relationship and our family, we have experienced some crazy things. We've witnessed tragedy, and have been separated by war. We've seen and experienced birth and death. We've finished and continued school. Four different Presidents have been in office since the start of our relationship. My husband and I have experienced so much history together--not just the kind we will read about in books, but the kind that changes us! While life hasn't been smooth and easy, it has definitely been a whirlwind-ride of a time.

I think most marriages have their ups and downs, and ours is no exception. The love is a constant emotion mixed in with passion, anger, sweetness, exhaustion, laughter and tears. As we continue to grow and nurture each other, and our children, we experience new challenges just as we figure out how to get through the current crises. Life is constantly changing us, but we continue to look to each other for advice and encouragement. Our love has weathered many seasons, it is both loyal and sweet. My husband has said it best when he comments that we balance each other. I think that is the truth of our love, our relationship. We may have a lot in common externally, but emotionally we are very different. He tends to be level-headed and objective; I am emotional( and more emotional). He has more of the temper, I am more patient (most of the time, anyway).

God has lead us together, and we are both committed to our relationship. I pray that we both continue to grow closer to God. I pray that the love we have continues much the way it has started: constant. It (our love) has developed and grown--just as we have developed and grown, and continue to develop and grow.

Growing up. Together.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy July, Fourth!!!!

Our country is an "amazing experiment"... someone famous has said that before, many times. It is amazing! While some people may bemoan the government, the rules, the courts, the taxes, etc. It still remains amazing. I am not a political "junkie", but I do love being an American, living in The United States of America, and I enjoy the freedoms provided to me (at great cost, the ultimate cost for many). I am a patriot! I greatly and respectfully support our military , and our leaders. I love my country, and have great respect for the people who are voted into office. I try to research issues and candidates before I vote, so I can't complain after, without having made an educated decision. Today is about celebrating our country's birthday! Reflect on how grave the decision to sign the Declaration of Independence must have been! There were some BRAVE and bold men in 1776 who really started the foundation of this great experiment!

Happy July, 4th!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

summer squabbles

What is it about summer that makes the siblings start to fight. A lot? I mean, arguing over lint from the dry cleaner vent type fighting? The kind of "don't look at me wrong" fighting, that just GRATES on my nerves kind of fighting. EVERYTHING is more dramatic, more his/her fault, he/she started it, "don't smile at me"??!! What is that about? Everyone has a temper, and they aren't afraid to use it!



'K' displaying her determined personality... and a missing front tooth!





I can chuckle, slightly, as I write this because I am slightly removed from it (they are watching a movie). I have to say, though, that I feel a bit like a jail warden might feel, herding inmates from activity to activity, just trying to keep the peace. I've always craved harmonyand I don't like to upset anyone; I'm actually pretty decent at keeping the peace. Until lately. I think my kids have figured me out! I have had to settle more arguments, and host more peace talks than I've had to do in a while, this past week.

I can attribute the dis-harmony with the start of summer, and new schedules. We are all getting used to being with each other again, full time. Even my husband is home more! It is an adjustment to having everyone together for the whole day, as opposed to having kids in opposite directions for the greater part of a day (with 'K' being at school all day). We will once again have "adjustment" periods of time in our house, for all of us, as we all start home-schooling together this year! I'm already praying for peace and wisdom... and it's only July!


Another change (that continues) is my son being on the gluten-free diet. I guess he has been on the diet for about six weeks, now. It's not a lot easier, I have to be honest. I'm getting better at reading labels, and figuring out what means wheat, and what doesn't. I haven't got it memorized, though, and that would make everything easier, having the list of safe vs. un-safe foods memorized! Hmmm... maybe I should start some memory exercises. The negative behaviors associated with gluten allergies do seem to be improving: the digestion of foods seems to be improved, also, 'T' has stopped having a lot of fine-motor tremors, which is interesting, meaning his writing has improved. The occupational therapist noticed this first, not me. I do notice he still has meltdowns, though! He still flaps. He may be a little easier to reason with... sometimes. It's a change. It's one I'm monitoring closely.

The great thing about summer, too, is a relaxed schedule. This isn't necessarily easy in a house with children that are 1) autistic/OCD/anxious, or 2) possibly (very possibly) hyperactive. This could, possibly, contribute to my fighting issue between siblings. I'm smiling, again, because it's evening, and all are happily watching a movie. There is harmony right now, for the moment...

On the Pacific Northwest front, my friend's house closed on Tuesday! Thank you for all the prayers, and well wishes for her and her family as they sold a house in a seemingly IMPOSSIBLE market. It is weird to know that their house is no longer their house; but thrilled that a success has occurred! What a relief!



Other news: my husband has remodeled our garage. I think it is funny that the garage is such a priority to the men-folk. Funny in an interesting way, not really a humorous way... by the way. He worked really hard for 4 days installing shelves and tracks that host hooks and all sorts of organizational buckets, and bin holders. It is quite amazing! I wish my closet was as organized and compartmentalized as the garage is! I tend to be more externally organized, where as my husband wants the organization to be complete. The garage looks great! --The system is called Gladiator Systems, and we have this litle project-keeper, pictured here, from the Whirlpool website.

Kudos to all of us wives, and mothers trying to make the world better by being harmonious with our kids and spouses! Kudos to the ones who tolerate us, as well (wink, 'M', I know you read (: ). Congratulations, too, to all the successes. Continue to pray...

(May)..."Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her." --Proverbs 31:28, New Translation