Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Year in Review 2013

Another year has come and gone. In some ways it feels like it flew by. Other times it feels like our last New Year's was forever ago. This year has been one of general busyness. Lots of BOD and visioning meetings, FPU, confirmation, prayer meetings, etc. By May I was so glad for the summer break from most of it.

Some of the highlights of the year:

In April we had family portraits made, our first as a family of 3, and the first professional shots since our wedding almost 10 years prior.

In May I was elected to my second 3 year term on the BOD and one more year as secretary. At the end of these 3 years I will not be eligible to run for at least another year. I'm fine with it. It is a lot of responsibility but I agreed to serve as long as the Lord wants me there. As for secretary, if I am nominated again, I will decline. That's a huge task for a perfectionist and I need a break.

In June we had all sorts of graduations to go to. It was a bit overwhelming but we spent the first two weekends out of town for graduations. Madeline did pretty well, long programs can be so boring for an almost 3 year old. Looking at pictures on the ipod kept her busy during the first graduation but not so much the 2nd one. Luckily, it was so loud in there, her squealing didn't really bother anyone. We missed the 3rd as we still haven't figured out how to be in two places at once.

In July I got to see Wicked with Kay and my SIL's. It was amazing!!! I was in awe from the moment it started until it finished. It just reminded me how much I love theater and I wished I could see every show that comes to town.

In September I joined MOPs. It was terrifying. But has also turned out well. My table is 3 women, we had more but one moved, one came only once, and one never showed up. The 3 of us are able to talk so easily and I've gotten to know one of these ladies a whole lot better.

October was a whirlwind of activity. We were only home for 14 days. We went to Round Rock to watch the boys while J & J went to a wedding in Vegas. I was supposed to take Madeline's birthday portraits (which I still haven't done) but it rained so much and the place I wanted to take them at flooded out. We celebrated Madeline's 3rd birthday while in Round Rock. She got Lightening McQueen and Mater cars, and a toy tool set, or "fix-it" as she calls them. We were back from Round Rock a day before we left for vacation in Tennessee. My new favorite place to visit in the USA! It was gorgeous!! Another item off my bucket list, to see real fall foliage, not just the mostly browns and yellows we see at home. Though, somehow we got more spectacular changes at home this year as well. Anyway, Madeline had fun with Ella, who went as well. Mom and Dad had fun until Mom broke her leg. Hiking was awesome. I got to take some scenic photos that turned out really well. (I still haven't been able to print them because the computer ran out of space and we need to move all pictures to an external hard drive before I can download those pictures.) But, my goal was to take at least one photo worthy of going up on our walls. I met that challenge, now to get it up on the wall. I also got to meet a really wonderful woman who I admire so much and up until then only knew online. It was such a treat to meet her and her beautiful family.

November was much less busy but seemed to fly by all the same. I ran in the Turkey Trot again this year. My time wasn't that great, 33 minutes for a 5k but hey, I did it. And that with minimal running since October. With all the busyness (and lots of rain) I wasn't running nearly as much as I had gotten in the habit of doing this past year.

December was so busy with the Christmas concert, parties all over the place and Christmas. I had to cross some events off the list because taking care to not overdo it was more important. But I got to spend lots of time with family which is what matters.  I got some awesome gifts, a Kindle (still wrestling with feeling like I'm "cheating" on books since I like actual books so much. It does have it's place though), a really nice piano keyboard and some beaded jewelry.  This year was really fun to watch Madeline, more so than the past few years. We got her a "doll" house for little animal families. Once I set it up she played for hours. It was so much fun listening to her make up stories and tell the little kitty family what to do. She also got a Thomas train set which she also loves, as well as more cars, books, puzzles, and games. She has enough to keep her busy for a while so we've put away some of them and will rotate them out. New Year's Eve was quite subdued for us. I had BOD duty at church late that afternoon while Brandon was working to get invoices finished. We were supposed to watch the A&M bowl game with my parents but SIL tested positive for the flu which cancelled their plans and  they remained at my parent's house. Since we had been so busy that afternoon we searched for somewhere for dinner, coming across a place we hadn't tried. It paid off, the food was wonderful and the A&M game was on. We watched the painful first half but had to leave during half time because some one was getting a little restless. We listened to the rest of the game the old fashioned way, while we stuffed, sealed and stamped 400 invoices, apparently missing watching one of the greatest comebacks ever.

Other highlights over the year were cultivating relationships and spending time with some really fun people. Also, shedding off some false images of myself and not allowing other people to dictate how I perceive myself. Realizing that I'm not this horrible person and people actually want to spend time with me.

This was also the first full year that Brandon has worked at the small business he helped found. In August his company was written up and published in the paper. And in December they brought in 4 times the amount they usually do. I have to say it was a bit scary when Brandon approached me about working for this company full time. I was concerned about it making enough for us to make ends meet. It took a while but all of their hard work seems to be paying off.

Here's to 2014. I know it will be a good year even through any rough times that may come. I look forward to growing in grace. I look forward to Madeline growing in grace. I look forward to seeing what 2014 brings.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

One Off the Bucket List

We got to go to the Grand Prix and watched an Indy race. Brandon and I got our redneck on. Literally. (We made sure to put sunscreen on our faces but forgot our necks.) Though Kay reminded me it's international so that makes it a little more sophisticated. ;)

I was just saying to Brandon last week that I think it would be neat to go to a race at least once in my lifetime. Since mom's company sponsors a car they brought the car and driver to work and had a drawing for 4 sets of tickets. She actually won and since dad couldn't go she offered the tickets to us. Awesome! Madeline got to go have fun with Grammy and Papa while we went. I do wonder if she would like it too since she is obsessed with Cars lately.

It was loud but not as loud as I expected. I think the cars sound like a huge swarm of angry bees. . The first start didn't work out as one car stalled. So they went around and did a second start. On that one the same car stalled again (towards the back) and a second car stalled with 2 other cars not being able to avoid hitting him. So the 3 of them were out at the start and it was a few laps of caution as they got them off the track. It took some time for them to get up to speed but, Wow! I have to say the cars seem to go so much faster in person then they appear on TV. We decided to cheer on the sponsored car since that's how we got the tickets. He didn't win, oh well, we still had fun.

After the Indy race we watched a Touring race. Brandon was amazed at the young age of some of the drivers. After the first race we decided we had had enough of the heat and sun. It was close to feeling like 100 yesterday and of course today is cool. That's Houston for you. While we walked back to the car we witnessed a crash up close between 2 drivers. Yikes! Both drivers were OK but of course their cars were smashed up pretty good.

Despite the heat hurting my head (and probably some dehydration as well) it was a fun day and I would probably go again sometime. Next time I will remember the sunscreen for my neck.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

I Joined MOPS

While it may be easy for other women, to me it was an agonizing decision. Why should it be?

First, I have a really hard time joining groups of any kind, it's just not my thing. I am not shy by any means. But I am an introvert. If I get together with people I know I have no problem finding something to talk about. Stick me in an unfamiliar place, with unfamiliar people and they actually want me to talk to them? I feel like a cat backed into a corner.

Second, My road to motherhood was a long and sometimes painful one. At times, I still find myself in disbelief that I actually am a mom. As a survival mechanism I began to identify myself outside of my ability to have children. I spent so long not being a mom that now I have a really hard time sitting around and talking exclusively about mom stuff.

Third, I'm really sensitive to certain topics. We have an only child right now, but we also don't. Sometimes I have a hard time talking about it and really don't know what to say. Other times I am able to share my story more easily. Sarah counts too, her life was of value, but a lot of other people don't see it that way.

I am also sensitive to complaining. I'm not talking about general venting and getting on with it. I'm talking about the excessive, dwelling negativity. I'm negative by nature but I don't want to be so I try really hard to stay away from it. When others do it, especially in groups, it makes me uncomfortable and I want to get away before it drags me down.

Fourth, and this one is really hard to admit, I have a really hard time being around infants. Any other age of children I'm fine with, but infants hurt my heart in ways even I don't understand. And the group I joined is full of mothers with infants, many of the infants will be in the room with us.
 


The first meeting was hard. I felt sick to my stomach leading up to it and all during the meeting. I was afraid if I opened my mouth more than words would spill out.

It hurt when we had to string pink or blue beads on our name tags to indicate how many children we have. Something that should be so simple. Do I put one or two? I ended up only putting one. And then felt guilty. But I also didn't think I was strong enough to continually answer the questions that would come with two beads.

When one of the ladies answered that the best part of being a woman was the ability to have children, it stung. For some of us that "ability" isn't easy at all. My heart hurt for the countless ladies I know who want nothing more in life then to become mothers. But for reasons only God knows, can not. I realize and don't fault the woman who answered, she has a completely different perspective from mine but oh, how life does different things for all of us.

So why am I going? Mom and Brandon have been gently prompting me to join for a while now. And our church just began a new chapter. I also feel that God is calling me to step out of my comfort zone. I need to move on from some of this hurt, from my aversion to pregnancy talk and infants. And exposure will help me get there. I don't expect it will ever completely disappear but I think with time the pain will grow less. Another reason is God desires for us to have relationships here on earth. Although I am well connected at church, I'm not well connected with women closer to my age or at this stage in life. I've found wonderful support online with other women who are experiencing or have experienced infertility and loss. But I need to cultivate relationships face to face. One can never have too much support, especially in person, and I have hope that I might find some here. 

All of this is so hard to admit. Yes, I am weak, but I am also strong. I need to unburden my heart, get some of these thoughts out of my head. It is time to heal, it is time to move forward.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Dare I Say It?

Madeline,

You are in your room asleep!! By yourself! Success! A small victory and I will take it!

You see, a few months ago you suddenly became terrified of your room. One day you were fine, the next, you were inconsolable. From what we can tell you don't like being alone in the dark.

We tried every trick we could think of. I stayed with you until you fell asleep, only, most of the time you wouldn't go to sleep. You knew I would be leaving so you seemed too nervous to go to sleep. I tried leaving you there, coming back every 15 minutes to assure you that everything was fine. But you wouldn't fall asleep and never stopped crying. Then I tried leaving your light on but when I peeked in I would find you pacing your room in circles. We bought you a pretty nightlight, but even that didn't do the trick.

After many nights of disturbed sleep for both you and me, (Daddy could apparently sleep through a hurricane) I waved the white flag. And I did something that before I had children, I said I would never do; I let you sleep with Mommy and Daddy. It was good to get a full night's sleep. But you are a wiggly thing, you kick and hit in your sleep. And you leech your warm little body onto Mommy who also gets really warm at night. So it wasn't a perfect solution.

You've been taking your naps in Mommy and Daddy's bed while I sit nearby taking my midday quiet time. It also hasn't been a perfect solution as you have always taken better naps in the semi dark and quiet of your own room.

We tried a couple of other things. Letting you sleep in the pack and play in our room. You promptly showed us that a determined little Miss could escape that thing in short time. You triumphantly climbed back into our bed. Then we moved your bed into our room. It took a little convincing but you finally accepted it and went back to peacefully sleeping there.

But then you remembered you could get up and climb into our bed. It started to become a nightly thing. Baby, we think it's cute that you can get around so well when determined, but none of us were getting the restful sleep we should be.

We've asked others for advice. Aunt Jessi suggested that we put a picture of Mommy and Daddy in your room so that when we aren't there you have a reminder. She does that with her kids at school. Aunt Jessica suggested getting you a projector. We have one of those!! Grammy gave it to you before you were even born we just didn't really have a use for it. Grandma suggested that we move you back to your room and that Mommy and Daddy spend a couple of nights in there until you feel more secure.

So we moved your bed back to your room and got your projector up and running. The first couple of nights we set up the airbed and Mommy and Daddy slept all night. After a couple of nights we moved out.

Instead of letting you continue to nap in Mommy and Daddy's bed, I tried putting you back in your bed and you quickly went to sleep with no fuss. Just like you used to. Oh, happy day!

It's good to celebrate even the small things. Of course, after all we've been through with sleep over the past few months, it doesn't feel like a small thing. This is a great thing for all of us.


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Have I Made a Mistake?

After not knowing what to do, I agreed to serve another 3 years in a leadership position. Brandon expressed his uncertainty but in the haze of panic I don't know that I really took the time to consider his feelings. I should have asked him to expand further.

Our relationship has suffered with the unbalance of my life. Prior to having children we agreed that, apart from putting our relationships with God first, Brandon and my relationship should have priority over all other relationships. We knew it was one of the best things we could offer our children. Don't get me wrong, we love Madeline, she is a delight and a joy! Not a day goes by that we don't thank God for allowing us to raise her. But who knew how exhausting just the day to day caring for her could be? (And she isn't particularly a handful either.) I'm only half joking, I knew parenting would be difficult going into it. But that's a different topic all together.  At the end of the day I am completely spent, emotionally and physically. By 7:30 my brain is mush and I am useless. Brandon gets home at 6:45 and in the busy time of dinner, cleaning up, baths and bedtimes, (not to mention the noisy little Miss who tries to talk over us when we talk to each other) we don't have any quality time together in the evenings. Repeat that 5 days a week and with church, activities and family time on Sundays, the only day we have left is Saturdays. And we haven't had those to spend together for the past 4 weeks because of travel and various other commitments. Ugh!! Without even realizing it, our relationship's priority has been sacrificed. And that's not good at all!

Because of it I have felt almost numb towards Brandon. Emotionally I am drained. I almost feel like I have nothing left to give. And it's not fair to him at all.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Convicted


Over the past couple of years I've become more and more isolated. I spend far more time by myself. Real tears have not fallen from my eyes since I dealt with postpartum depression following Madeline's birth. I've been "stuffing" all the really hard stuff in order to "stay strong." All of my relationships have suffered because of it. I'm feeling more disconnected with church. I'm feeling the physical distance even more. And the thought of having 3-4 close friends in the congregation sort of terrifies me.

I am friendly with a fairly large and diverse part of the congregation but I have no close friends in church. I have only 2 very close confidants in my life other than Brandon. Part of it is because I'm an introvert and that's just how we are. But I've also been hurt so deeply by others that I have trouble trusting. When I get hurt, I withdraw, it's not my finest trait. So, the older I've gotten the harder I find it to connect with others.

I'm not sure what the answers are. Part of it I need to just really accept who I am as a person and be comfortable with it. Be comfortable with the fact that it doesn't look "normal" to others. The other part I'm sure, is I need to step outside of my comfort zone and try to make more of an effort to connect. I realize I have to put myself out there. And there is always the potential to be hurt. It's just hard to know where to start.