Monday, November 29, 2010

Day 29: Super Muscles

Heh, I am bad about skipping a day on the weekend. Too much football I suppose.

Smart and quirky. Fun and lovable. Carefree and hilarious. My Super Muscles is a boy after his daddy's heart. From the way he thinks to the way he talks to the way he dances... it has his dad written all over it and I LOVE it. He is super intelligent and talks like hes 15 quite frequently. He loves puzzles and reading and writing and art and math. He adores showing off his new tricks and the new knowledge he has gained. He has brown, thick hair and amazing, intense blue eyes. His nose and cheeks are starting to be dotted with freckles (which is one thing he is getting from me!). He is getting long and lean and starting to look like such a boy and not so much a small child. He is timid to try new things until he has conquered them in his head first. He wants to work it all out in his mind and have a firm grasp of a new skill before attempting it. And... it works for him. Once he tries something, he usually gets it very quickly. He isn't great at pretend play and sometimes has problems relating to other kids... those are also things he gets from his parents. I am not exactly socially skilled and Daddy is admittedly an introvert and he likes it that way! And so far Super Muscles likes it that way too :) He is not much for cuddling but he gives some of the best hugs ever. And I LOVE that he pulls arms fulls of books onto my bed in the morning and reads to me and his brother. Today I am thankful for Super Muscles! He is my first born and the boy who changed my whole entire world at first glance. A lot of the selfishness I had before he was born just melted away upon his arrival and I am so thankful that he has taught me what love and selflessness look like.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Day 27: My Slobber Rocket

Blonde hair, hazel eyes, 30.5 inches tall, 19.5 lbs of... pure energy! My Slobber Rocket is a complete and total blessing. He is very animated and happy. Nearly always laughing or trying to get laughs out of others. Funny and ALL boy. Crashing cars, riding bikes, throwing balls. He has a big personality. He shows all of his emotions in a huge way. You know exactly what he feels and what he wants. He is a super communicator. He has the cutest stink face I think I have ever seen and he gives it to people he is unsure of all the time. They can't help but laugh because even though hes trying to be mean, its so cute. He is very adventurous and curious. Always climbing and jumping and spinning. He keeps my heart in my throat if you know what I mean. He is social and sweet. A cuddler. He loves his mama and daddy and bubby so much. When he is scared or wary of the situation he pats my leg and tells people I am his mama and just tries to make sure I am close. He is stubborn and refuses to listen at least half of the time. My husband says his stubborn is all me. lol. He is probably right. But the point is, I am absolutely in love with my youngest son. He has added so much joy and fun to our family. He has taught us a million and four lessons. Patience and how to adapt being two of the biggest. He has had some struggles with sensory problems and with growing "normally" but even those things have taught us so much. I can't imagine life without those bright eyes and his big, fun personality. So thankful for my littlest boy today.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Day 26: Motherhood

Life changing, world shifting, huge responsibility... children. I am so thankful today that I have had the opportunity to be a mommy to my two fabulous sons. I will talk about how thankful I am for them in the next couple of days but motherhood seems a bit different to me than being thankful for them.

Becoming a mother has taught me so much. It has sent me on a path to try and find healing for myself which is one of the biggest gifts I can think of at the moment. It has taught me care and concern for others. Love and compassion. Selflessness. It has made me face so many fears. Trivial fears and huge fears. It has made my heart jump out of my chest when I have thought something was wrong with those tiny people. It has taught me about the words *I choose to use and how they come across to people. Gentleness. Strength. Courage. Enthusiasm. It has made me evaluate what I want out of life and from the people around me. It has made me stand up for myself numerous times in an effort to protect my little ones. It is like there are these things inside of you that you really never knew were there. This strength that being a parent has brought out of me. Lessons I would have never in a million years learned without my sons. Laughs that I would have never had. Tears I would have never cried. Love that I would have never known.

So thankful and blessed to be a mama.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Day 25: Thanksgiving Day

Today is a day to take time out and intentionally and gratefully think about all the blessings in your life. It is amazing how overwhelmed I feel when I think about all the blessings in my life. Most of them are in my house right now laughing and watching "Kung Fu Panda" on tv or pacing around the house really wanting to go outside to be with her master who is starting up the grill to smoke the epic turkey he has worked so hard on. Oh he is very excited about this turkey. It is my husbands first official thanksgiving turkey. He has spent days preparing it. I love how he wants to do everything in his life well. It makes me so thankful and proud of him. The man has an awesome work ethic and amazing integrity.

Children laughing. Loving marriage. Food for our bellies. Friends to share the day with. Healing. Happiness. Warmth, Love.

It is all in my house today. And I am so thankful for it. I am thankful for a day being set aside each year to be intentional about sharing what you are thankful for. To force you to think about blessings instead of trials. Because no matter the trials in your life (and goodness knows my life is chaos right now), there is always hope and there are always things to be thankful for.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with laughter and love.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Day 24: Mentors

I am thankful for the mentors I have had in my life. These would be women who have led me in faith and have taken me under their wing and nurtured me. Been there to give tough advice and help me through crisis in ways only a mentor can. A friend but a different kind of friend. Maybe not someone I see so much anymore but people that I KNOW that I can call anytime and they will make time for me and care for me. These ladies are trust worthy, generally older than me (though one of them isn't much older than me!), compassionate, great listeners, wise, battle tested, strong... So thank you Becky and Amy and Carol... I truly appreciate your role in my life.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Day 23: People who "get it"

I have 3 girlfriends who "get me". One of them is my best friend who I mentioned on another post. She certainly gets me. My jokes, when I am sad and hiding it, when I am frustrated... she knows it. All about it. But I have 2 other friends who get me in a way that is hard to explain. Both of these friends are long distance friends. I have met one of them... once and the other one I have never actually met. They both have kids Super Muscles age.  And they both just... get me. I think we all share some personality traits and life experiences and think in ways that are all similar but its more than that too. They have helped me so much in the past 6 months.. helped me to see myself in ways that others see me, helped me to realize when I was stuck doing actions just because I was used to doing them that way, helped me to try and find courage when I pretty much thought that I could never do the things I was trying to do. They have been there for me through thick and thin. And I have been through some tough stuff with them too.

L and T, thanks ladies for sticking by my side through it ALL. Thank you for seeing the good in me and for being honest with me.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Day 21 and 22

Sorry.. the weekend got the best of me again. Lots of fun to be had with my family and I just didn't get a chance to blog yesterday. Please forgive me :) I am completely committed to getting all of my days in though so you get 2 days worth of thanks today!

Day 21: My peeps who always help me find those important Christmas gifts (or any other random thing I am looking for) for my boys. I posted on facebook about trying to find a duck pillow pet and got loads of helpful comments! I had a good friend call me yesterday to tell me she found one even and would get it for me. See... isn't that brilliant? I have had friends from CA and NC and ME and MD and various other places send me clothes for my boys right at the moment I have needed them the most. It just blows me away how many people I know all over who are always ready and willing to help make my life a bit easier. Help me hunt down bargains or provide something my family really needs. And it is rather impressive the way communication works now that I have a wide network of friends all over the US and even the world (lots of buddies in Canada and Australia and Germany and the Netherlands) who though sometimes we don't KNOW each other we care about one another and help one another. Its really a neat thing. The girls I was in a due date club with when I was pregnant with Super Muscles is about to launch our yearly Christmas ornament exchange... we have been together for well over 5 years now getting to know each other and watching our Feb 06 babies grow up. It is so neat.

Day 22: Work! I am so thankful that in this economy my husband has a job. I have known so many people who have lost jobs and had to switch jobs and all sorts of things. And sometimes I tease him that he doesn't have a "real job" because he is still in school. But the fact is that he works very hard and has a good reputation and is daily proving himself in grad school. But even as good as he does at his job, for many people production doesn't matter. The bottom line matters and people have to be let go to make the numbers balance out. No fault of their own and I realize that and I am very thankful today that my husband has a job and that we are able to provide for our family.

Freebie: this weather is AWESOME. 60 degrees in the middle of November. It is making me seriously happy :)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Day 20: Sports and Competition

I am a very very competitive person. Anyone who knows anything about me knows that I love to win. I love to play sports and games. So I am thankful for sports and competition today :) Thankful for the softball teams and volleyball teams I have been on since I came here. Thankful for the friends I have made playing sports. Thankful for the fun and the laughs. Thankful for the undefeated fall ball season. Ha! I am thankful for my new goal of running the half marathon and that its teaching me a new kind of competition and motivation. One that is with yourself rather than against others. I love conditioning and training my body and pushing myself. I love the high of winning and the tense moments and the camaraderie. It is all awesome. Losing sucks but you always learn something from it. You always figure out what you as an individual need to work on and what your team needs to work on.

I feel like with sports and athletics... I can always get it. I might not be good right away but there is this idea that more practice and more time will improve you. I am naturally athletic and coordinated which definitely helps me think about sports this way but it is a place in life where I feel comfortable. I feel confident. I feel like an important part of what is going on even if ultimately a game is pretty insignificant. It is hard to explain. But it has just always been something that I have connected with. It is a way that I can meet people more easily and build relationships. In pretty much all other areas of life I feel inept at making relationships. But there is something simple about teamwork. Something that forces interaction and communication. And for these and about 100 other reasons, this is why I will play sports and enjoy competition until I am 99 :)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Day 19: Community

I saw that a friend today posted about how much she loves the community we live in. And... I kind of agree with her! I love the place that we are calling home right now. I love the massive amounts there is for families to do here. I love that there is a lot of culture. I love the University and all the opportunities it provides. I really enjoy the people I have met here. It is so... mid west. People are just... generally nice. I like all of the amazing organizations that support people in our community. It is just a nice place to live and a great place to raise a family. I admit, I will be sad to move from here in about 18 months. I will be sad to leave my house, my church and my community. But until then, I am so thankful to be part of this community.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A perfect heart

Slobber Rocket's doctor's office just called to let me know that the little man has a perfect heart. Completely normal! This doesn't really help us know why he isn't growing well but it does let us know that it isn't because of a heart condition. The leading theory is still a hormone problem so we plug forward with that next... well, we are hoping to enjoy a rather medical free, test free holiday first and then we plug forward with that. Our pediatrician here is trying to get ahold of Slobber Rocket's endocrinologist (the hormone dr... most often works with diabetes) to see what kind of testing he needs before he goes down there. So he may have a bit of blood work soon but I am really hoping that we can just sit back and coast through the holidays and tackle this after we enjoy lots of family time and holiday cheer together. Anyway, just wanted to post a quick update so no one is worried about us.

Day 18: Child Life Specialists

A what? Yea... I had never heard of one either. But SR had an echo-cardiogram today and when I was preparing to take him for this I asked for some advice on how to get him through a pretty lengthy test unscathed. One of my dear friends suggested I see if the hospital we were going to had a Child Life Department. I had never heard of that either. So I searched the internets and found nothing. That is when I emailed my friend who works at the hospital and she hooked me up. And because of that... about 10 minutes before my little guy went back for his test, 2 sweet ladies came into the waiting room with a bucket of toys and sat down and started playing with my son. And they went back into the room with us and they spent the next half an hour with us keeping Slobber Rocket calm and still. They had all kinds of tricks. Bubbles, lights, flashing spinning toy, animals, suggestions for me to help him. Amazing. Of course he had his binky and blankie too but they made the process so much easier than it could have been. And sped it up too since the tech didn't have to deal with any fits.

Actually the tech doing the ECHO had no idea that child life specialists could come help. One had never been to help a tiny patient before and she was beyond amazed as well. Told them she would call them when little people come in and see her. They are rock stars whose jobs are basically to help children with all of the stresses that come along with medical procedures, hospital stays and diagnosis. So... I guess I wanted to let people know that the super awesome people exist. If your child is ever in a hospital or needs lengthy testing, as your pediatrician or call the hospital about this service. Smaller hospitals are not likely to have them but the "big" hospital here has them and all children's hospitals have them.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Day 17: Church

I emailed a church friend the other day because she works as a doctor at the local "big" hospital where my son is going to have his echo done tomorrow. I wanted to know if she could help me figure out if the hospital offers a certain service. I couldn't find any information on line and I have major phone anxiety. Phone tag is probably one of my least favorite activities on the planet if I am honest with you. So she got ahold of the department and even got them to agree to help if they can even though SR won't be in the "main hospital". And this is one of the 900 things that people I go to church with have done for me. The list is long and extensive in ways that my church family has taken care of me and my family. And of course, I would do pretty much anything for the people I go to church with as well.

I think its easy to focus on the problems that churches have sometimes over the actual ways that they are being successful and ministering. My church, like all churches, has it's struggles but... we are really good at taking care of one another. I am so thankful to be a part of a church congregation that cares about one another and helps one another. I am thankful that I know if we ever need something, someone in our church will step up and help (they have too!). I am glad to know that if someone comes to our church and needs help, we will help them as well.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Day 16: Needs are met

I was doing the bills today. My husband gets paid once a month. So... every month on the 16th (or the friday before if it falls on the weekend), I set out to pay all of the bills that we have for the month. This is a discouraging thing for me. Like sometimes I get really upset. When I pay all the bills and see how much money is left for food, gas, and fun (or in today's case: Christmas gifts)... it can make me rather grumpy. And I am feeling a bit like that today. So I thought I would try to think positively and write my thanksgiving post about the fact that my needs are met.

I can pay my bills, I can feed my children, we have a warm home, we have transportation, my son has a safe place to learn and grow at school, my family is generally healthy, we have had the advantage and joy of education (MW and me), we have very little debt... our needs are being met.

It takes work and diligence and a bit of pouting sometimes. A lot of sacrifice. But I am thankful for the fact that we have the basics in life and are also enjoying some luxuries (gym, internet, saturday morning breakfast out with my family). That our children are fed and loved. That I am fed and loved. Thank you God for your provision in my life.

On a completely unrelated note unless you count the fact that food is a basic necessity... Meijer has canned veggies for 39 cents a can! Our church stocks the food pantry hard core every year the Sunday before Thanksgiving. Maybe your church does something similar or you know of a canned food drive... this is a great way to get a lot of food for one of those! Go check it out :)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Day 15: Doctors

I know I posted being thankful for my Slobber Rocket's overall health and included a blurb about his doctors. But I wanted to add to that. I took my tiny guy to the doctor again today and was reminded how much I appreciate doctors. SR and SM see a female doctor who is kind spirited and calm. She is very easy to like. But most importantly, she really cares about my children and their health and she listens to me as their parent.

Slobber Rocket's growth is still a big concern and we go every 4-6 weeks for a weight and height check. We toss around new ideas and see if there is anything we are missing. Today the little dude is measuring in at 30.5 inches tall and 19 lbs 10 oz (he is near 22 mos old). He did grow a half inch in the past two months which is great growth for him BUT he is still very under normal height and normal height velocity for his age. He is also TINY in weight. He netted about 2 oz in the past 3-4 mos. He was 19 lbs 8 oz a few apts ago but dropped some weight when he stopped nursing so he has made up that weight and added 2 oz. So that his his update. His dr. though is sending him for an echo to make sure his heart is doing okay. She is not that worried about his heart so DO NOT BE ALARMED. But it is one thing that hasn't been checked that could contribute to poor growth. She has, however, not heard any indications on the stethoscope that he has something abnormal going on. But she is also contacting his endocrinologist again and seeing what we can do while we are here for him (labs and any other tests they may need that there is easy access to here) to make our trip to St. Louis in a couple of months smoother and she might convince them to see him sooner (I hope... the end of feb is a long time!).

Anyway I am just overall very impressed with the Doctors I see here. And I am so thankful for medical technology and for the fact that there are tests to figure out what is wrong with children and treatment to help them if there is a problem.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Day 14: Rest

The weekends are generally days of rest and recuperation for me and I am so thankful for them. Saturday morning me and my boys always go out for breakfast, we run errands together, we take naps, we play, I have lots of daddy help with the boys. It is so low-key and relaxing. Actually my anxiety is generally as low as it gets on the weekends when I am spending time with my husband and boys. I look forward to the weekends so much. Sundays is church and football and generally, grilling out (I have a husband who would literally grill in any weather). Sometimes more naps on Sunday too :) Writing, thinking, preparing for my week.Going to the gym when I have time. It is all good stuff. And I love the time we get to spend with Daddy! He works a lot through the week and a lot of days the kids only get to spend 1-2 hrs with him. I know they look forward to our weekends as much as Mommy and Daddy do. So yea, restful weekends... so thankful for them :)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Day 13: Finding my voice

I have been really stretching myself lately. Figuring out what is best for me and for my family. Letting go of expectations. Speaking out about past abuse. Setting boundaries. Refusing to own other people's feelings (this is SO hard for me... people pleaser and typical peace keeper). It has been terrifying in many ways. I have confronted some of the hardest and scariest situations in the past 4 months or so. But... it is liberating in ways I had not expected. I had never really known before now that I am holding myself to standards that are way too high. Standards that no one can meet. I can't make everyone happy. I can't always do something that is right and it please every person in the situation. And letting go of trying and expecting that... it has helped me key in on the things I find important. Helped me start trying to make decisions based on what is right for... my family. Not for my extended family or friends. Not for my brothers or mom. Because I just can't please them in all of my decisions. I am finding the things that I value. I am learning about what really matters to me and learning how to prioritize my needs and other peoples needs in a way that is more manageable. And all of this is because I am finding a way to express what happened to me and am starting to learn to accept it. I still have lots of work to do. I have to learn how to make and maintain friendships, how to let go of anger, how to forgive people... the list seems pretty endless sometimes. BUT today, I am thankful that I am finding my voice and refusing to be a victim any longer.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Dad, I'm hungry!

So my Super Muscles is a thinker. He really is. He definitely contemplates what to say and how to say it and he is kind of... dramatic.

So Mr. Wonderful admitted to me this morning that he was being rather lazy and still lazing around in bed at 7:30. The boys were in their bedroom. I am sure SM was playing and the toddler was in his bed talking and such. And I guess Super Muscles tummy started grumbling and talking to him because he yelled to his father...
"DAD! People will die if they don't eat... but they won't die if they get a pop tart"... NICE.

So... Dad got up and got them some food so that the small people in our house wouldn't die. I was out on my Friday morning adventure so didn't get to hear this gem with my own ears. I do get a little sad when I miss the hilarious things my boys says. Maybe next time!

Day 12: Motivation

I have been wanting to set some pretty big goals for a while. Work out goals, life goals, personal goals.... I find myself getting into a pattern of getting kind of stuck in life. Feeling like I give a whole lot but that I have very little purpose other than taking care of my child. And while that purpose is amazing, I am at a point where I just need something more. I put my schooling on hold when I had my oldest child so I obviously haven't finished school yet and I haven't started a career. So last may when I had lots of amazing friends running the Illinois marathon, I thought maybe that should be my shorter term goal. Well not the marathon... I have never ran a day in my life outside of suicides and a mile here and there when I played basketball. But the half marathon seemed doable for me. So I started talking about it like I was going to do it. And I got some friends to join me. So right now I have a wonderful friend from TN coming to run with me, a friend from central IL, possibly my best friend (still working on her though) and a girl who went to high school with me all ready to come run on April 30th with me. And it is motivating the heck out of me! I am so excited to be training for such a big personal goal for myself. It feels awesome to have people training with me and doing something they have never done (with rare exception) with me. It is encouraging and it feels like I have something to be excited about outside of just being a mom and a wife. It is helping with my anxiety as I train day after day (wee endorphins) and it is just generally giving me something exciting to look forward to in my life. Something that feels like a big accomplishment.

So today I am thankful for friends coming along side me and providing me with encouragement and motivation. I am thankful for the accountability that comes along with committing to do something with other people. I am thankful for a challenge (yea, I am not a runner... at all) for my body. I am an athlete and competitor by nature... but I have never much done anything that is all about self and self-improvement. And now that I am fully embracing a journey to take care of myself, I am looking forward to a new sort of competition.

So here is an invitation: April 30, 2011 is the Illinois Marathon in Champaign IL. You can sign up for a 5k, 10k, half marathon or the full marathon. But I am inviting you to come join me and some other awesome women as we do something challenging and rewarding together. As we leave behind "mommy", "wife", "patient", "professional", etc for a while and focus on our bodies and stretching our limits to achieve better fitness, endurance, mental stamina, anxiety control or whatever else you want to accomplish... join us :) I am thinking we will be having some sort of celebration Saturday night too though I have not got the details ironed out yet. And I fully admit that I might be dragging my tired, broken self to any celebrations we have that evening :) Anyway, you really are invited... contact me if you are interested!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Day 11: Veterans!

Of course on Veterans Day I HAVE to give a shout to out all the veterans out there. You all amaze me and I am so thankful for your dutiful service to our country.

I will be the absolute first to admit that I do not understand war, I can also be the first to stand up and say that I value soldiers immensely. I understand the sacrifice, at the very least, that families make in sending their loved ones into a war zone. Because I have made that sacrifice. But more importantly... my brothers have made that sacrifice. Both of my brothers have fought in Iraq and both of them have brought back wounds from the war (the emotional kind and I can't even say thankfully because I don't wish physical or emotional wounds on anyone). And they are noble and kind men and women with moms and dads, and brothers and sisters and children. They have husbands and wives who missed them when they are gone. And so so many of them have given the ultimate sacrifice to protect freedom. The principle that our nation hinges on. With out it, we have no guiding ideal or goal. And I find the concept of freedom to be brilliant and refreshing and it is one of the things that makes me so proud to be an American.

So while I can honestly say that I hate war. I hate what war does to the men and women who fight for our country. I hate that lives are lost. I hate that lives are forever marked by violence, death and fear... I am so thankful that we have men and women who are willing to answer the call of service. Who have gone out and fought hard. Who have done everything their countrymen have asked of them and who have done it with honor in their hearts.

I have only ever known, personally, one fallen soldier. He was a good kid. Really... he died at the age of 21 in Iraq. He was a kid in so many peoples eyes and I still remember him as a kid. I mean, had he been home... he likely would have been in college and still on his parents' insurance. I remember him as one of my high school class mates. As a kid that my brother wrestled around with frequently (he was in my younger brothers class). The first picture I found after his death was a picture of him in like... 5th grade across my younger brother. They both had pretty silly faces in the picture. They were the kind of friends that got into lots of mischief together and who, honestly, fought and bickered a lot. But... they always came back to each other looking for some fun and more mischief. He had a huge smile and a very goofy personality. He never seemed to take anything too seriously. I had a Spanish class with him in High School... I was always serious and he was always... not. Always trying to make people laugh and rarely doing his work. It is funny how when I was 17 I didn't see the value in that. I didn't see the value in being playful and fun. Anyway, I didn't know him well and his death and the life that he lived have been profound for me. I can't even imagine how this has and still affects his parents, family and friends. I see so many people from my brothers class who knew him well and who literally take a moment every chance they get to remember him and to keep his spirit alive. His life had weight and significance. His life was profoundly important to so many people.         

And I also just want to take a moment in thinking about veterans to let Cpl. Will Powell's family know I am thinking about you. I am sure the likelihood of them reading this is slim but there are people still thinking about and praying for you. There are constant reminders of Will all around for me and I no longer live in Evansville. But I know lots of people who love Will dearly and they make sure he is remembered. There is not a anniversary or occasion to celebrate his life that goes by unnoticed.


Thank you to all of the veterans out there. Thanks to the ones still here and thanks to the ones who have gone before. Thanks to all of the families who have servicemen and women overseas right now. Thanks to the families who have supported service members in the past. And may God provide rest, peace and comfort to those of you missing you soldier today... and everyday.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Day 10: 70 degree weather...

in NOVEMBER! That is right baby, I am super excited about the 70 degree weather we are getting at a time when it is normally freezing and snowing. I am not at all a fan of cold weather. Not only do I hate being cold but its hard for me to go anywhere because as soon as the cold hits my face, my lungs get mad. Thankful for the extra time to play outside. Thankful for the added weeks of good health before the first winter illness settles in on our house. Thankful for the sun and the fact that I don't have to warm up my car before I make a trip... anywhere. Thankful that I have yet to put blankets in the car... oh and since I mentioned that let me give everyone a public service announcement... randomly and on the fly...

PSA: If your children are in car seats... do not put them in their seat in a big puffy coat. Remove their coat before strapping them in! I often times put a fleece sweatshirt/jackets under the boys coats and leave blankets in the car so they are nice and warm. The coat separates the harness from the childs body so they can be thrown from the seat if there is an accident.

Now back to your regularly scheduled day 10 post.

Thankful that sweatshirts have been enough so far this year since I don't have a coat. Rotf. And that 5 am mornings, while chilly, have not left my car windows a frozen mess. So... yes, I am thankful and loving these last few days of warmer weather. Although... my husband is shooing it away and praying for snow.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Day 9: Preschool Musings

Well, as much as a preschooler can muse, I guess. Mine sure tries hard. He is a thinking boy! Super Muscles says some hilarious things when he is trying to figure something out or concentrating hard on something he has learned. We hear gems come from hidden conversations he has with his brother...

MW was just telling me about a conversation he overheard on Saturday night... he had put the boys into their halloween costumes because my very verbal and stubborn Slobber Rocket threw his tiger costume at his dad and demanded that it be put on him. So the boys got into their costumes and went to play in their rooms with blocks and toys... Then Mr. Wonderful hears these words come from our 4.5 year olds mouth. "Touch it baby. It is very necessary." I giggle every time he tells me this story. I guess Super Muscles liked the feel of his silky race car driver costume and was trying to share the experience with his baby brother. But... yea, epic!

Then on another day he was eating a leaf shaped cookie that had some edible glitter on it. Before he would take a bite, he examined it closely. He pondered for a moment what the stuff on the leaf was and then asked "Mom, why does my leaf cookie have pollen on it?"

He also thinks very hard about the rules that we have set for him. We have a "no hands on the goods in public" rule. I am not opposed to my 4 year old exploring his body. Apparently those things are fascinating for some reason. But the rule is that if he wants to touch or examine the thing... he has to do it in the bathroom or bedroom with his door shut. So I caught him messing with himself one day and I said "Buddy, you need to stop touching yourself in the livingroom. This is not a place where you may do that." He thinks... then gets a big grin on his face and says "Okay mom but I CAN touch my p**is (wouldn't want anyone getting to my blog with naughty word searches)  in my bedroom... I will just shut the door when I go in there so no one can see me!" And that is just what he did. And I laughed at him, quietly, for a long while.

Today I am thankful for all of the silly but well thought out things that my son says. He is such a bright child and I love him dearly.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Crisis and Conformity

*another excerpt from my brain... may not be completely coherent or even remotely. Please forgive me but I am in a raw kind of mood right now so this will be a raw sort of post. Honesty though, is one thing that is pretty uniformly found in my writing  So, if it doesn't make sense, chalk it up to my brain being special and if it does... I hope it helps you to see life through my lens a bit.

I make no point in trying to hide my past. It seems like wiping out a significant part of myself. It seems so false. It seems like I am lying to make my life look more peachy than it is or to feel like I have no faults. The truth is I have all sorts of faults and learning and understanding my personality and what makes me tick is one way to slowly unravel lots of the unhealthy habits and thoughts that I have.

My family has been... somewhat aggressive in trying to talk with me recently. It has slowed finally and I even knew that it was coming. I prepared for it. I made a plan for it. I had a midweek crisis phone session with my counselor to further solidify my plan and strengthen my resolve to stick with the boundaries. I actually wrote super huge in my journal "STICK TO THE BOUNDARIES". My whole life... I have been honest in my words and in the intentions behind my words but rarely could stick it out. I have an intense need to please people. It is fierce. It colors pretty much all of my actions and in some ways it has been a useful coping mechanism and kept me functional. There is no staying in bed when I am depressed, I have children who NEED me. I do things out of obligation so often that I am really sometimes not sure what my own feelings on the matter are. If I am just trying to meet expectations or if I actually feel I am doing the right thing.

Anyway now to crisis... my family in crisis is an odd mix. We really are not good at communicating with one another. Not on a normal basis and not in crisis mode. There are lots of personality conflicts. A whole lot of black and white thinking going on. The problem... my black is their white and vice versa. So we end up getting very frustrated with one another. The communication skills are just... not there. Well, generally speaking... I don't talk to my family. We see each other a few times a year but we have our own lives. We have our own minor and major problems. We have a hard time communicating. We, in some ways, function better with some distance. At least I feel that way. I can't speak for them. I think we would all like a closer more "normal" relationship with one another but it has never worked out like that. And we do okay. We are not close and we are not normal but we love each other in our own ways. And generally speaking, I know my mom and brothers would cut off their right arms if they thought it would help me. Which is where crisis mode comes in. My families crisis mode overwhelms me. It is like we can not speak for a year and if they feel there is a crisis it is overload. And I don't know how to process it. I don't know what I think of it and I really don't like all of the attention. (especially not in the form of pity or figuring out who is to blame). I mean they definitely want to band together and be this super family when there is a crisis but there is no... foundation... for it. So it is very forced and uncomfortable. Like I said... I expected it but I want to morph it into something that works for me instead of something that brings me anxiety and makes me feel overwhelmed. Which is the importance of all the "boundaries" I guess. It is complicated and I know they are trying to help me in their own way. But I just want people to stop... trying to solve it on their own end. It can't be solved. There is no box and bow to wrap it in. No neat little solution. And the "black and white" thinking is blowing up in my face... people strongly suggestion to me the right way to handle it. Me feeling very obligated to do what is the absolute best possible thing. Because it is bigger than me. But... I don't have to answer to their right and wrong and I don't have to feel obligated or coerced into taking on their feelings and emotions too. And I guess that is the point of needing space. I just can't handle all of their emotions in addition to mine.

Which for as much as I am learning that I can't conform to what they need me to be or how they think I should act. I am starting to really discover and dissect my own issues with wanting/needing/feeling owed that they conform to how I want them to be. When I can no more conform someone than they can conform me. I have to have their permission for one (and I give people permission to conform me by my own personality flaws and insecurities) but  also I just can't ever spend enough time with someone to perfect and groom them into someone I want them to be. It just can not be done. Not to say I am giving up and declaring that nothing needs changed. But I am trying to be realistic and slowly trying to tweak my thinking on the subject. I want something from my mom and something from my brother and something from my step dad, etc, etc, etc that they can not give. I want the "ideal family". I want what I often think that some of my friends have. I want good, healthy relationships with my family. I want to feel loved and respected and valued. But maybe it just can't be done. And maybe I need to... I don't know, stop basing my expectations on something I have never had and will probably never have. I need to stop trying to conform people who I don't have permission to conform and accept that maybe these relationships have to be different than I always imagined and pictured. Maybe I have to figure out how to find additional relationships that fill some of the voids and find a way to love and accept them where they are right now. I know there are going to be some things in myself that is going to be incredibly difficult to change and this might be one of them. Even as I write this and try to reassure myself that this is healthier thinking... I am incredibly unconvinced. I still "want" in my heart to have a different family. Not different people. I see such good in these people, I just think its buried under all of the hurt and pain. And the poor communication skills we have with each other doesn't help. It is me too... it is my hurt and pain and it is my very inflexible thinking on right and wrong and it is my avoidance and my lacks of good communication. I fully admit that I contribute to it. I am trying to change. And I am sorry that I have spent so many years being part of the problem. I don't want to be part of the problem any more. I am trying.

Day 7... AND 8

Yea, I know... I blew my 30 straight days. Ha. It was a busy weekend.

Anyway I am going to post 2 things I am thankful for today to make up for it!

Numero 7- Alone Time! And that awesome husband of mine who makes sure it happens. It can be exhausting being needed 24/7. It is actually very hard sometimes. I am not a big toucher and my kids (especially Slobber Rocket) LOVE to be touched and cuddled and kissed and tackled and rocked and I sometimes get over-touched. I hope no one takes this wrong because I love being able to stay home with the boys and most of the time I don't even mind the sacrifices necessary to make it happen. But as much as I love it, I appreciate that I have a husband and partner who is willing to take the boys by himself and give me some much needed rest. Every week he makes a huge sacrifice on monday and friday. He handles everything and even goes into work late so that I can go to the gym, spend some time by myself and go to session. That is 3 hrs, twice a week. That is time away from work so that I can take care of myself. Time away from work so that I can do some things to take care of myself without adding anxiety to my day (I would be seriously stressed if I needed a sitter twice a week... trust is not easy for me). I love my husband and am so thankful that he can see my needs and that he works hard to meet them. My best friend visited this week and he, again, kept the boys for several hours so we could spend time together. He took them to the library and I am sure they played lots of football in the house :) It is truly amazing for me to see fatherhood in way that is healthy and mutually beneficial to both father and children. <3

Day 8: Slobber Rocket's health. I know I have the ability to get fixated on problems until they are fixed. That is part of what makes SR's sensory issues (he is improving so much here though!) and tininess hard on me. I don't know how to fix them. Hopefully the upcoming appointment in Saint Louis will help but I am thankful for these words: "He is very tiny and not growing well but he looks and acts so healthy!" I am thankful that he is learning and mastering new skills. That his language is exploding and that he is such a happy, joyous little person. I am thankful for the people who provide him with care and who are working hard to make sure he is okay. And I am so very thankful that he has not had a major illness in a while or a fever. *finding wood to knock on* I am praying that this winter is not as rough as last winter was for him but seriously... big picture stuff is that he is doing amazingly. He is intelligent, funny, physically coordinated, verbal. That is all a comfort to me even when we aren't exactly sure if there is an issue with his growth. And the good news is that all the big scary stuff has been pretty much eliminated (rare illnesses, CF, kidney and liver stuff).

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Day 6: Best friends

Every have a friend that is totally like... I don't know... living inside your head? Well, I do. I don't have many significant relationships in my life (again this is not a reflection on people that care about me but more the inability for me to maintain trusting relationships or relationships that are not superficial... I am working on it!). So this friend is pretty special to me. The fact that we have been friends since our freshman year in college is quite an accomplishment for me. But she understands me and she loves me anyway. We get each others jokes and I totally love her sense of humor. And she is always there for me. She is honest with me even when it is something kind of hard to hear and I am like that with her. And we never get mad about it, that is just how it is. She is like a sister to me and I want what is best for her and she reciprocates that.

She has taken text message after text message and phone call after phone call from me the past several months and let me cry and vent and sit silently on the phone and talk about unimportant stuff to take my mind off of the heavy stuff. She checks in on me on days when I feel like pretty much everyone has no clue how I am feeling and wouldn't care even if they did. That is usually precisely the moment I hear from her.

I am also super proud of her. She is accomplishing so many of her goals and has a job that helps people. She is confident (mostly) in the decisions she makes even when people around her question them. When are you having babies anyway? ha!

There is a lot more I could talk about but I don't want to make her cry or something like that. Anyway, thanks so much for loving me friend. I can't wait to spend some time with you today.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Day 5: Preschool Teachers

Today I am taking a moment to express my thankfulness for Super Muscles preschool teachers. They are fabulous. He has 3 teachers in his head start class and they are all extremely kind and patient. You can tell that they enjoy their job and they are all such compassionate people.

School has been fabulous for SM. He loves going and I know it is because of M, F and Miss L. They spend one on one time with him and really help him through some of the sensory struggles he has. They also somehow manage to give my kiddo one on one time even though they have many students. I worried a lot about this but they do well with my boy. The teachers always take time with just him during nap time because he is one of the 2 kids that refuses to sleep but he gets to read and learn with his teachers instead so I think it works out nicely. lol. Mostly it has added to my sons life more adults that he loves and trusts which is always a fabulous thing! I am very glad I got over some of my anxieties to finally put him into a preschool program. It was very hard for me to do but it is working out quite well.

Right now my little man is at an all day pajama party reading bedtime stories and doing puzzles and I know he is happy and safe and being well taken care of.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Day 4: my home

Almost 4 years ago... MW and I set out with our tiny 10 month old Super Muscles to explore central IL to see if it was a place we wanted to move to. Really the options were few considering Mr. Wonderful was starting school as a grad student in the spring rather than the fall. It is very rare to do such a thing. But we decided that UofI was an awesome school and there would have to be very big reasons not to come here... Like tripping over a dead body during the campus tour big. This school or one like it is what my husband has dreamed about for a long time. So when we came up here I had already contacted a realtor because we needed a house... or at very least a yard with a fence and I didn't know how to do that without a house. I had just gotten MW a surprise for graduation... a very large dog. So... we did the school thing, had dinner and decided this is where we would be. The next morning we met with a realtor thinking... well we can look... if we don't find something today though it would be pretty unlikely that we would be able to buy a house anytime soon. The logistics just weren't going to work if we didn't put an offer in that day and have it pretty promptly accepted. So... we went and looked. Our price range was pretty low... MW was going to be a grad student and I was going to stay home with our boys. We had to do some work to get a loan because of how grad students are paid. And most of the houses we looked at were going to require too much work.

Then we came across a tiny little gem near downtown Urbana. And by tiny, I mean... some days I am not sure how we all fit. 890 sq feet and in wonderful shape for the age of the home. The price was a little more than we had set out to pay but there would be far less work to do on the house than other places we had looked. I fell in love with the tiny blue house. It was near the bus line, in a great school district, right across the street from a church and a preschool (which my son now goes to), and a couple of blocks from the police station and fire station. It is also very close to campus and you can easily get to anything you need since it is only a few blocks from down town (the library, food, small mall, starbucks, groceries). So we put an offer in that day. Had to haggle a little bit to get it all to fall into place. The electrical was terribly outdated and we had to work getting it fixed into the agreement. But, we did it. We put the bid in the day before thanksgiving that year and closed on Dec 23 2006.

I often tell my husband that even though we will be moving on to a bigger and more comfortable home at some point... I KNOW I will miss this house. There are so many memories here and it is the only home my children have ever known. My boys in Christmas pjs and opening gifts on Christmas morning. All the messes and art projects. The new experiences. Both of them had there first steps here. Well pretty much most of their firsts have been here, in this house. This tiny little house that seems smaller every day that my kids get bigger.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Cute kids in costumes :)

And a cute daddy with his adorable blonde haired look alike. <3 this man and all the ways he takes care of us.

Day 3: my counselor

Yea, no joke... this week in particular I am very thankful for my counselor. She spent a half an hour on the phone with me yesterday helping me work through some stuff and talking out the events that are unfolding right now. She is infinitely patient with me but also very firm and wants to push me to change/succeed and reach my goals. Sometimes she pushes me right to the edge but she always seems to know what I am capable of even if I don't quite know. But mostly and more importantly I am learning to trust someone who isn't my husband and who isn't my best friend.  That is kind of a big deal.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Crazy week.

Be superforwarned... this is a very disconnected brain purge. If it makes no sense, please don't say I didn't warn you.

I am pretty sure this has been the most emotionally draining week of my life. There is too much that is too private to go into but I think I can hit some of the highlights in order to document how I am feeling without getting too into it all. So far this week I have let go of a huge secret, been contacted by my biological father (who left my family when I was 2 years old and who I haven't seen since I was 5) and also been contacted by one of my half/step brothers (not really sure completely of the relation at the moment. He has a different last name than me so I don't know if he just considers my bio dad his dad or what).

There has been a ton of emotions flowing through my body in the past several days. From making the biggest decision I think I have ever made and how it affects everyone around me to just feeling confused about... everything. Confused about my place in the world. Confused about the value of some of these people to me and my value to them. Wondering where intentions are and if things are really as they seem. Or if it is just how it is today and it will change as fast as everything else does. Frustrated with feelings of guilt and anger. Stressed out. Super anxious. I have spent 4.5 hrs at the gym over the past day and a half. My anxiety is very high right now. It seems to be one of the only things I can do to calm myself down and talk myself down from near panic attacks. And I am not even sure why I feel documenting some of this is important. I just know that writing helps me for some reason.

I just don't even get most of what is happening, how it is happening and why it is happening. I don't understand the consequences. I don't understand people approaching me wanting relationships with me when they haven't seen me in 20 years. I don't get the outpouring of emotions to me when I have so much of my own stuff to take care of. I don't get the disrespect. And I hate all of the vulnerability. But I can only stand on the truth and that is what I have done. I can be at least sure that it was the best thing for everyone even if there are lots of consequences. Protecting the people I love and standing on truth... that is what I am doing. I will rest in that knowledge and keep trudging forward I guess.

Learning to set boundaries has been hard for me. Right now it is near impossible. I have already called my counselor once today and made a new game plan for maintaining a healthy distance from some of the fall out. It is frustrating that I have a hard time figuring this stuff out on my own. I am sorry if you guys don't understand right now. I hope sometime you will though. I have to do what is healthiest for myself and right now, that means I need to focus on myself and my family.

Keep praying and sending good thoughts. I need them in a big way right now. Still striving...

Day 2: carefree childhood

Since I can't do anything to change my past, I have been damned and determined to give my own children the childhood they deserve. The childhood all children deserve. When I think about all of the things I am thankful for this is right up at the top of my list. I am so very thankful that so far my sons have had a carefree childhood. They don't have to worry about their daddy leaving. They don't have to worry about being abused. They just have to worry about being children. No growing up really fast or adapting to situations the best they know how because we are there for them to help them grow and learn. I am really thankful that in my brokenness I still managed to chose a man that is an amazing father to our children. A man that helps me heal a bit everyday by restoring my faith in the hope and fact that there are some good dads out there and some amazing husbands out there. A dad that daily sacrifices for his children. I mean, not that I am doing a bad job either. I am trying so hard to be the mom they need. I am trying to get help with the problems I have with relationships now before I pass on the same fears and anxieties to them. And I know by our daily interactions that they feel safe and secure and know that they are loved. They are just precious little people and I am so thankful to be given the honor of providing them with the care and nurture they need.

Monday, November 1, 2010

30 Days of Thanksgiving

Day 1: Gym Membership

I don't like Christmas music very much... true story. But I do love Thanksgiving and I think Lindsay has a great idea in her "30 days of Thanksgiving"  blog extravaganza. So I have decided to participate.

I will post either one entry about what I am thankful for every day or I will add it to the end of a post if I have a different one for the day :)

I am thankful today for the gym membership I have. I hate working out in front of people, as I have mentioned. But going to the gym and working out is pretty helpful in combating my anxiety for a while. So this morning I got up at 5am and got ready and went to the gym. Worked out for an hour and got my endorphins kicking to start my day off. Seems small but my husband is making a big sacrifice in money to let me have a gym membership. He is pretty much the best. Also I have asthma so running outside is no longer an option. So it is fabulous to have a warm place to go so my lungs stay semi-happy. And the quiet, kid free drive on my early mornings... listening to music..., heaven! Oh and child care when I can't make it super early. It is all fabulous. And group cycling... it is pretty much my fave.