Saturday, November 1, 2014

November 1st: What We Did in October

I spent a lot of time yesterday morning re-reading a whole bunch of my blog.  The overwhelming theme I read was the same theme I now write.  I'm a mess, there's no time, and I want to get this season in writing.

There must be a lesson there.

So, I thought I would recap October - a truly incredible month of living here at our house, and worth repeating.

Early in the month, J spent a lot of time preparing our yard for new landscaping.  We decided the overwhelming amounts of ivy needed to go.  He dug it all out himself, pulled out all the old bushes and trees (except those two awesome burning bushes), and ended up needing to grind a stump or two.

Right after I snapped this picture of my man hard at work, our neighbor came out and said this stump belonged to him.  This led to a couple of land surveys - his and ours - that ultimately determined he was correct.  It was a bummer, because our little spot on the planet grew a little smaller, but we aren't persnickety about it.  It was disappointing, but that was all.  Well, that and we now have to move the landscaping that went in before the surveys.

Didn't it turn out beautifully, though?  We love it!  I can't wait to see the new bushes bloom in the spring!

It made me laugh that the kids were *this* into watching the men planting:

This month we also trekked to a food truck fundraiser for some friends of ours who started a foundation when one of their twin daughters was born with a congenital heart defect.  It was pretty chilly, but the food was tasty, it was for a fabulous cause, we saw one of my four chambered heart Bazouki, and Family Time is always fun, regardless!

isn't that sunset beautiful?!
We tried out our new Six Flags Season Passes by attending Fright Fest.  I was not looking forward to this - I *hate* roller coasters, but, like I said, "Family Time is Fun" and the Mister was WAY into it, so I tagged along;).  I road the Mine Train, came off it shaking like a leaf and nearly sobbing, and J let me off the hook the rest of the day.  (Thank you Jesus.)  Meiners did a pretty good job trying a few coasters, too, and Sashi?  Holy Cow she tried a few I don't think she should have, but she only cried after Screamin' Eagle.  She was VERY brave.  The twins, of course, were Dare Devils.  They rode EVERYTHING.  Oh - it was also chilly and a lil rainy, but no one's spirits were dampened by it.

riding the ferris wheel - just about my speed ... and I forgot, that morning we all spoke in front of church about our family's summer mission trip (see shirt)
Moon Cars were *always* my favorite as a child!
me -n- my sweet girl

me -n- my other sweet girl! 

smart alec

to J's surprise - I road this one.  Several times.  I admit, I was freaked out, but not *that* much.  Love this pic!

<3 td="">
I needed some pictures for work and for a new phone case, so we grabbed a few spare moments (and a lot of yelling as two kids duked it out) to achieve these:

In the middle of the month, during the coldest weekend, J prepared for his survival weekend re-do with his two buddies.  They nearly froze to death, but I think they enjoyed it in spite of the cold.  Plus, that temp of 37 degrees in a grass hut adds to the storytelling possibilities!

The twins went to their first overnight church camp:

And these two thought they might sleep out under the stars in this:

I said no.

I ran-ish the St. Louis Rock-n-Roll half marathon in J's place on a cold Sunday morning.

Oh man was it excruciating.  I haven't really run since the same weekend last year in San Francisco.  And that's a long time not to run but to decide to run 13.  lol.

The following weekend, and nearing the end of October, it was time to go Cub Scout camping.  J and Meiners built an award-winning catapult.

Pookie got new glasses:

Our annual bike trip along the Mississippi turned into a hike when Meiners' bike broke 200 yards into the excursion...but we made the absolute best of it, on the prettiest weekend of the month!

After the hike and a drive through the adorable village of Elsa, we ended up in Grafton - with treats for the kids and treats for the adults - who knew there was a party cove on the Mississippi?  It was just a little bit perfect.

We came home to a busy week of crazy hair days, doctors'  and orthodontist appointments, as well as last minute Halloween costume shopping.

And that brings us to Halloween.  This was our first Halloween at our new house.  The kids were excited to go trick-or treating with the neighbors; of course, the twins went to friends' houses.  It was a successful and fun, albeit cold, night for all.

Here is to the wonderful blessing of a grateful November.

Friday, October 31, 2014

31 Days of Writing and Why It Won't Work for Me

I'm too busy!

I wake up at 4:30 in the morning to work out.  Even when I decide it is just not a morning I am going to get out of bed hours before sunrise, I still wake up.  Every day.  {That kinda stinks for someone who spent 39 years of her life as a night owl.}

I worked almost every day in October.  Judge me as you will, but I still have not adjusted to this whole "working mom" gig.  Clothes go unfolded.  For weeks.  Floors aren't vacuumed.  Despite my yelling.  Dinner is pizza.  Again.  And again.  And again.

And again.

I think I used to blog during nap time.  Oh how I loved nap time.  Or I blogged late at night, whereas now, I am headed for bed at the same time as the kids cuz 4:30 comes VERY early if my eyes aren't dark by 9:30.

It's a good life.  It's a good busy.  It's passing too fast and I want it to slow down, I will it to do so.  The reality is, though, that every time I brainstorm ways to cut the extracurriculars or see myself serving pizza.  Again.  I see value in the things that we are doing that are making us busy.

So there was one day of blogging in 31 days of October (two if you count today).  I guess that's a good place to start.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

31 Days: Day 8 and I'm already 7 days behind

I created a loose goal as "31 Days October" neared.  My goal became writing.  Period.

I don't remember why I decided recently to look at the blog again, but I did.  I rediscovered what I once knew more readily - that countless meaningful memories are documented here.  Yet literally for years, the blog lay dormant.  I decided to "try" to write for 31 days in October.  I'm not writing for critics - good gracious they are plentiful, probably well-intentioned(?), and, while free to their opinions, best kept out of mind.   I am writing for myself mostly and maybe for my children a little, as well.

When I opened the blog recently, I recounted a story to Mr. T who happened to be close.  I asked him about his skyscraper gingerbread house, whether he remembered it.  The next time I opened the computer he uses, I found the blog opened on his home page.

<3 br=""> I remembered that it matters.  It matters to me and to my children to journal, to document, to ponder in a space.  I don't believe it needs to be a public space - perhaps it would be best, in fact, if it weren't. But this blog does allow my children easy access into their mother's thoughts today and years from now, plus the venue is open and available and fun, actually.  Plus, I always felt connected to others from the blog.

 I loosely created a goal to write for 31 days to see how it went.  I am already 7 days behind.  I guess Yoda was right.  "There is no try.  There is only do or do not."

And so I do.

October 7th

She is light and fun, sassy but so sweet, a dear and genuine friend.  When Pookie had her seventh open heart surgery last spring, it was she who texted at midnight to say, "I am headed to bed.  You were the last thought in my mind before sleep" and another day at 6AM to say, "Thinking of you, and praying for you right now."  Quiet love.  Constant but not overbearing.  I told her I wanted to be her when I grew up.  To be that kind of friend.

Today is her birthday.  I sent her a text while shopping.  I said, "Did you know there are no birthday cards that read:  Today sucks.  Happy Birthday anyway?"

She is 41 today.  She has cancer and starts 10 days of round-the-clock chemo tomorrow.  I love her and do not know how life would look without the fourth chamber of my Bazouki heart.

Please pray for her, for her three sweet babies.  For their strength.  And for their hearts.  Complete earthly healing Lord, God of Miracles.  That is all that is acceptable.

October 6th


Diana is on vacation, so Kids Day Out is insane.  Those kids need a little Diana-style "don't take prisoners but follow the rules people" kind of leadership.  Kisses don't get wet paint paper pumpkins to dry before 1:00 and little ones to stop sobbing over a transition to chapel that makes a twin echo the sentiment.  Even though he separated so beautifully from his momma right out the gate this morning.

I am not proud, but it was a Margarita Monday.

After work of course.

Praise God for healed tummies.  And progress with 2 year-olds, even if it ends up being two steps back.  And naps in the car during musical theatre, a husband who baked the go-to last minute pizza meal, and early bedtimes.

October 5th

It's a soccer time of year.  We have three in soccer this year.  It's a first.  It's crazy.

This weekend, we have three soccer games at three different times (thankfully, really) at three different locations.  Apparently, it's also against the rules to post pictures of CYC games without written permission from the other team.  So we won't be doing that.

But here are some from the Baptist league - they aren't so picky:

that's Mr. T in the blurry electric blue shorts in the middle yellow shirt - goalie!
It was also a "Let's Make This Place Festive and Get Out of This Funk" kind of weekend, so out came the Halloween decorations.  The kids helped a little.  I really need to let go of that control more.  Everything Meiners put out was perfectly positioned, but my first response when they ask, "Can I help?" is like fingers on a chalkboard and dissonant noise in my ear - I hike my shoulders up to my earballs and sneak off like I didn't hear.  Poor kids.

Happy Fall!

October 4th

Happy 16th Anniversary Honey.  I love you.  Looking forward to celebrating soon.  Right now, I think that Orange Beso from Canyon Cafe wouldn't sit well.  Soon.  You're the best!

pre-celebrating - last week

October 3rd

We went to dinner last night, and my stomach felt a little off.  The hairs on the back of my neck were up since The Mister came home sick from work in the middle of the day two days ago with a stomach bug.  And he *never* comes home sick from work.

Indeed.  Whereas I woke to this handsome face this morning and the prospect of a sweet day spent together celebrating our 16 years of marriage...

I was sick, and his face turned into this:

Mine too.

He went and bought us new phones, and the twins new phones, too.  Which made their faces look like this:

Those expressions are actually pretty tame compared to the screaming Pookie exhibited as she came running upstairs to see her "surprise" after school.

I watched the high school parade in isolation from the bedroom deck.

And stayed home alone while three went to the football game and two went to a Homecoming party.  I watched Mom's Night Out and folded laundry.  It was a fiesta for my soul while my body rested.   I look forward to feeling better as soon as possible.

October 2nd

When I blogged before, I was a stay at home mom.

Funny, but to this day I still write "SAHM" on intake paperwork at doctor's offices and such, even though I now have two paying jobs plus the gig of Mom.  It's just kind of easier to say.  Plus, it's all the same phone number, and not enough space to explain, so "stay at home mom" works.  No one asks questions.  And I don't make much money, anyway, so they won't be coming to me as "Party Responsible for Payment."

At social parties when people ask what I do, I start out by saying I'm a preschool teacher.  And that's true.  Mostly.  I work in Kids Day Out and am paid as a "caregiver" ...but I prefer to say "teacher" because that sounds more significant and meaningful, and because I believe our work in the classroom is not only a job of providing care - changing diapers, etc., but one of teaching, as well.  "We use a chair for sitting, not for hitting." "Crayons are for paper, not to poke in noses or to color on walls."  That kind of thing.  I work with my best friend, and I get paid to kiss on 2 year-olds all day - my favorite age to teach, so it's a double win.

I go on to tell attentive party listeners that my second job is a bit more "convoluted" and difficult to explain.  Knowing they are enraptured at this point, I continue.  "I am a parent actor at the children's hospital where I play the role of mom at the bedside in their simulation department.  They recreate medical scenarios like code situations using a robot baby and real doctors and nurses, and I pretend to be the robot baby's momma.  I actually run their family actors program."

one of my family actors comforting our SimBaby before our scenario begins

I never know if I've lost my audience by then or not.  OK, usually I have.  But if they were to understand, or if perhaps I was better at my delivery, I would tell them how incredible the Family Actors Program is, how much fun I am having this year leading it.  I would tell them about the incredible team I work with and how we are affecting important change in the lives of 100s of medical students and professionals who may one day be better prepared to compassionately interact with and save the life of one our loved ones because of the moments they spend pretending with me and my team.  That's good stuff.  That's important work.

It's groundbreaking, really, as most hospitals - if they have simulations at all - use paid actors or other staff to stand in as parents.  We are real family members who are invested in the hospital because we take our children there.  Over and over we hear from staff how having us there makes the scenario far more realistic as they practice, and that's because we *are* real.  We are being ourselves.

That's what I did today.  I raised my babies, taught others' babies, and changed lives for babies.  All in a pretty darn good day's work.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

31 days of Tired and Worn

I'm tired, I'm worn, 
My heart is heavy 
From the work it takes to keep on breathing 
I’ve made mistakes
I’ve let my hope fail 
My soul feels crushed by the weight of this world 
And I know that you can give me rest 
So I cry out with all that I have left 

Like a tired pair of shoes, I sit at the computer tonight, determined to be renewed.  Today was a remarkable day of new hearts for a 19 year-old beauty queen, fear of leukemia in a Bazouki friend, and an overriding sense that God loves.  Even in our tired, worn-out days.  

Thunder cracks against the night sky as I sit and love Him in return.  We don't deserve it.  I don't "get it."  But He reigns.  He wins.  And in that alone is any hope I have in this screwed up  world.

Thank you, Lord, for a new heart for Angela.  Though my own heart breaks for the family who made the decision to save another in the midst of their loss, God reigns.  He wins.  May Angela live the life He dreams for her!

I pray for my Bazouki Nation.  Rally the Troops.  He reigns.  He wins.

Good night, dear friends.  Supernatural Rest for all.
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