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.


Friday, November 23, 2012

I Did It!!!

I ran in my first race, a 5K and finished!!

In an effort to first, motivate myself to get out and regularly exercise. And second, to lose those last 6 or 7 pesky pounds to meet my goal weight. I began the Couch to 5K training program back in August. Well, I should back up to say that I have started it many times in the past couple of years and then gotten ill and derailed only to have to start again.

But this time I was even more determined. I got up at 6 a.m. every other day to go out to jog. I forced myself up, giving myself pep talks and stayed motivated throughout. In all the other times I've tried, I never got past week 4 of training. Sure enough, I finished week 4 and promptly got sick.

I researched when I could get back out, as long as the cold wasn't in my chest I was fine. Well, it did get into my chest so I was forced to rest for 2 weeks. But I got back out after that and picked up where I left off. Sure, my pace slowed considerably but I had a deadline for the race, the 2 weeks of rest ate into my 2 weeks cushion I had arranged. But, I was determined to run in it and finish the race.

It wasn't always easy. When I moved out of the intervals into the long periods of running, I didn't always make it. But that day that I ran 2.25 miles, I couldn't stop grinning when I finished. That was the farthest I had run in years!! When I hit 2.5 miles, it was the longest I had ever run!! The first day I tried 3 miles I didn't finish. The first day I completed 3 miles was 2 days before the race. My times wasn't pretty, 29.41 minutes, but I did it!

I ran the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning. I found it most challenging trying to run around all the obstacles (walkers spread all the way across the path at times) but I found myself not running out of breath. I crossed the finish line at 32.44 minutes which was pretty good for me considering the obstacles and the extra bit of distance.

I was so proud! Setting a goal for a non-runner like myself and making it! It felt so good!

My next step is to increase my pace. Brandon helped me out with some ideas from his distance running days. And then I want to find other events to run in.

As for the Turkey Trot, I plan to run in the 10K race next year, this time competitively. Of course, my biggest competition is me. And hopefully I can get Brandon to join me. I can't wait! It was so much fun!!


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Taking Care

I've been looking out for my Mother for the past few days. It hasn't been easy. She had surgery and at first I wanted to spend time with her so she wouldn't be bored stuck in the house for 2 weeks.

But she had complications. She experience a scary bleeding episode afterward. I was at a meeting, had to be tracked down and called away. Fortunately, I had dropped my Grandmother off to visit with her at the time, so she wasn't alone.  My original plan to alleviate boredom turned into needing to be there in case of an emergency.

The next day the bleeding started up again and just would not stop. We tried everything. And then she had me call 911. Recently, I took a first aid course so I was able to stay calm with the dispatcher. They asked if we tried this or that, we had. She elected to be taken by ambulance to the ER. She said I could have driven her but in the event that it got worse or she passed out, she didn't want me dealing with it while driving.

I called my dad to meet us there. I called Brandon to come exchange cars with me so he could take Madeline home. I actually beat the ambulance to the hospital and even waiting for 10 minutes for Brandon to meet me, made it in while she was being triaged.

I stayed with her when she was put in a room. For a long while she wasn't even hooked up to any kind of monitoring so I wouldn't leave even to go to the bathroom. I tried to stay as calm as possible, not letting the emotions, the worry show on my face. I don't do well with a lot of blood, but I handled it fairly well. At one point, while he was dealing with my Mother, the ER doc told me to sit down because I was standing, kind of pacing, trying to keep it together and he told me he didn't want me passing out. I had to leave the room for some of it. Fortunately, though it was extremely painful for Mom, the bleeding was controlled. And she was eventually released to go see her doctor across the street before being sent home.

She didn't have anymore bleeding after that and I arranged with Dad and Katherine so she wasn't ever alone for the next several days. She is thankfully doing very well now even though complete recovery is 12 weeks. I'm hoping by then she will be better than ever, the surgery alleviating the problems she has experienced for years.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Angry

I have physically dealt with this illness for almost 4 years now but sometimes I think emotionally I haven't.

I just don't understand it sometimes. The majority of the time I look fine. Physically I'm in good shape. Most of the time I feel fine. There is almost no indication that I am sick.

But it's what lurks underneath. My numbers are rarely in the normal range, they are usually just outside of normal. Normal for me, I guess. Like I said, most days I feel perfectly fine. But there are days I can barely move to get out of bed to take care of myself, much less our daughter. Days I am in pain. I am blessed that these days are few and far between. I work hard to take care of myself. Exercise to keep my joints from hurting all the time. But I still have hard days.

This disease has affected so many aspects of my life. I have been rejected for life insurance. Rejected for health insurance and in 6 months current insurance will run out with no foreseeable options. Rejected because even though it is well managed I'm still too much of a risk. Rejected! Not Normal!

Because of the medication I take, my immune system isn't as strong as normal. I try everything I'm able to do to boost it, exercise, supplements, but I can't help that a side effect of the medication is it destroys white blood cells. Because of this I have to take extra care beyond what is normal around sick people. I hate that some don't understand, I try to explain but they just don't get it. Fortunately, in 4 years I have not been seriously ill. But getting something like the flu or even just a fever is potentially very dangerous for me. As in, going to the hospital.

It also affects our family. We have not been able to try to have another baby because of all of it. I'm not even sure where we stand, still. There are all kinds of extra risks and considerations. Sometimes I wish we could just be carefree about it. Not something that we have to plan around.

Still, I am blessed. I live in a time where this disease can be managed and observed, there is less of a chance it can get out of control. Very little chance that it will claim my life. I am physically able to exercise and have the resources to make healthful eating choices. Blessed to have a husband that supports me in sickness and health. Blessed to have a God that provides. I know He can do something amazing with and through this. But it doesn't always make it easy to handle.

It's such a confusing jumble of conflicting emotions.
I don't have all the answers.
I struggle.
I cope, sometimes, not very well.
By the grace of God, I survive.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Getaway

This past Christmas Brandon and I received a gift certificate good for a bed and breakfast in Fredericksburg. We decided to use it for a little getaway to celebrate our 9th anniversary.

I found myself really looking forward to some uninterrupted time away with Brandon. We see each other daily but rarely have real, quality time together. By the time he gets home from work I am physically exhausted which means I usually mentally shut down as well. Once dinner is finished, dishes (sometimes) done and Little Miss in bed I am spent.

So we had a long drive out there, complete with construction traffic pretty much every town we went through. But we had time to just talk without cute commentary coming out of the backseat and eventually country scenery surrounding us. 

We got there and checked in. The house we chose was an adorable Victorian and fortunately quiet. We quietly (as we were conscience there may have been others staying there as well) explored the common areas of the house and the grounds and then rested a little while before going out to dinner.

The next day we walked up and down main street, checking out shops along the way, and even picked out some Christmas presents. We headed back to the house to rest for the afternoon. Then we headed up to Enchanted Rock to climb and watch the sunset. We were even serenaded by a musician at the top recording a music video.

It was a very restful couple of days and it taught me some very important things. I have been struggling lately with what I thought was indifference toward Brandon. The last couple of years have not been easy and there have been a lot of things that have gotten in the way of our marriage. Most of the time I thought I felt emotionally numb towards him. What I realized is that I have been exhausted and most of the time I'm exhausted coincides with when I see him. I haven't felt indifferent or numb, I've just been tired. One on one time proved, much to my relief, that I still love him more than ever, our lives have just changed. And I have to be a lot more intentional about time spent with him. It's hard for us to find time or resources (or babysitters) in order to go out together. But we have to make more of an effort to spend quality time together.

All in all, it was a good trip together that proved educational as well. It's sometimes hard to believe we have been married for 9 years. Sometimes it feels like we've been together forever, probably because we've know each other for half our lives. Either way, I don't say it enough; I love Brandon and am blessed beyond words to be a part of his life.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Finally Germ Free?

The entire month of October has been a germ fest in our household. And I'm hoping to start November (and our anniversary) out right.

First I caught a cold. The worst of it was over by week 2. But as they all seem to do, it moved down to my chest so I had to put my C25K (more later) on hold for 2 weeks. Even after 2 weeks was up the congestion has lingered and while I am much improved I still have a bit of leftover.

Fortunately, neither Brandon or Madeline caught my cold as I took as many precautions as I could. But Madeline ended up catching what I think was a viral sore throat from her cousin. She had a fever with no other symptoms. I tried to look at her throat but getting a toddler to say, "Aaahhhhhh" is rather comical. From what I saw it looked a little red. Fortunately, it held off until the day after her birthday and after a miserable several days she was back to herself.

I called my prayer warriors into action asking for God to guard me from catching the virus. I still wasn't over my cold by then, my immune system is suppressed because of medication, and Madeline has a habit of stealing sips out of my water cup, which she did a few short hours before I realized she had a fever. So by all accounts, I should have caught it, but I didn't! Praise the Lord!!

Next, it was Brandon's turn. We aren't even sure if he caught what Madeline had or not. He ran a fever and was sick to his stomach, but his only lasted a day. Again, I took precautions and spent 3 nights sleeping on the couch or an air mattress in the other room. Not restful sleep in the least, but so far I am still symptom free.

And since, our anniversary is the end of this week, and we are actually taking a trip away just the two of us, I am being paranoid cautious and avoiding contact with any small children other than my own and any people who have been even the tiniest bit sick lately. For that reason (although I didn't tell J when she called late last week) I declined watching K this week and I'm glad I did, since they have all since come down with colds. We haven't really celebrated our anniversary in years and I'm really looking forward to a relaxing couple of days away. I really need it and our marriage really needs it.

So, we have a couple more days in October. I am preparing for and getting excited about our trip later this week. And I am praying for health in my household for the entire month of November.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Happy Birthday Madeline!!

Happy Birthday to my sweet, little girl! Today you are 2! How did the time go by so quickly? Sometimes it seems like only yesterday you were that small bundle who loved nothing more than to be rocked and held in Mommy's arms. Now you are an independent Miss, running from one thing to the next, hardly stopping to give Mommy a hug.

Some of the things you love: 


  • Your "friend" Violet. She goes just about everywhere with you, sometimes both small and large Violet.
  • Your books. Often times a stack of them have to go with us too. You even try to swipe them from other people's houses. Just about every morning you grab a stack, sit down, and "read" your way through all of them. You announce, "All done, the end!" when you finish one and then move to the read stack and move on to the next.
  • Wonder Pets. You recently discovered this show on Netflix. Up until that point you didn't really care for any TV show, you would never sit still and then you would find something else to amuse you. But not this show, that first time you sat mesmerized. And when I turned it off, did you ever protest. So it has become something of a treat and not an everyday thing.
  • Looking at pictures. You could sit for hours watching the slide show of pictures on the computer. You love to tell us who is in the pictures.
  • Dancing to music videos on Youtube. The Halloween light show set to Party Rock Anthem is your absolute favorite. We turn this on and you run around the room, squealing with joy as you attempt to dance and sing along. A new addition is Gangnam Style.
  • Being thrown up in the air. 
  • "Sigh" Your word for outside and your preferred "Sigh" activities are swimming and playing on the playground.

You are changing in other ways too:


  • You have gotten finicky about food. Some days you will eat everything we put in front of you, other days nothing will do. But you are learning the ways of our household. I make one meal for dinner, no special meals for picky little girls. If you don't eat dinner, you just make up for it the next day.
  • You are stubborn. I wonder where you get that trait from?
  • Communication. You speak many words clearly and you parrot nearly everything we say. But there is still much we don't understand so you let your frustration be known to all.
  • Tantrums. Oh, you will not like us one day for mentioning it but it is so hard not to laugh when you throw a tantrum for absolutely no reason. Lately, you will be happily standing with a stack of books and the next moment you throw them on the floor and then scream in frustration. If we could only know what is going on in your head at those moments? We've also caught you throwing yourself to the ground. The first time you did that you looked up in genuine surprise, who knew the hard floor hurt that much. Now, that makes it impossible for me to keep a straight face.
Oh, my dear, sweet Madeline, we love you so very much even when things aren't particularly easy. I hope you will always know that. Today we celebrate your life. We celebrate your triumphs, your failings, and your trying again. We celebrate everything that makes you, you!

Happy Birthday Madeline! May the Lord continue to bless you in the coming year as you grow in His grace.

Remembering Sarah


Today is a bittersweet day. Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. While we celebrate with great joy the birth of our sweet Madeline, I also remember our precious Sarah who we never got to meet here on earth.

It's a strange mix of emotions; missing our baby with sadness, but no longer the raw, deep anguish it once was. I guess wistfulness is closer. Sarah is in heaven, she knows the loving arms of her Father, she knows no earthly pain. So I rejoice that she is home. But it doesn't mean I don't wonder what she would look like now, what she would be interested in, what our lives might have been. I rejoice that one day I will be able to hold her in my arms.

I never knew October 15 was Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance until October 15, 2010. Early that morning Madeline entered the world and our hearts. A long awaited and much anticipated little miracle. Later that day, while on Hannah's Prayer, I found out and I struggled with the conflicting emotions. A day to remember my sweet child gone too soon, and yet a day of unspeakable joy that my daughter was laid in my arms.

So there is the bit of guilt that this is Madeline's day. A day to celebrate her birth and thank God for allowing us to raise his beautiful little girl. Does thinking of and remembering Sarah today somehow take away from that? I'm not sure. I will probably wrestle with these emotions for years to come.

But for now I will remember that small life that gave us hope after such disappointment even if we never got to meet her. And I celebrate with joy the sparkle of life that smiles at me every morning.

And I'm blessed to have a community of sisters who remember my sweet Sarah with me. I am grateful to Mandy, who in addition to lighting candles for her 4 heaven born children, lights a candle for my little Sarah and countless other children every year.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

"Night Night"

Parenting isn't always easy. Some days are really rough and I wish for a "do-over." Some days my little sunshine is a little black rain cloud. And then there are days when her preciousness just hits me and melts my heart.

Today she was sitting on the couch, surrounded by her usual mountain of books, reading cheerfully and energetically. Suddenly, she said, "All done, the end!!" snapped the book closed and then announced, "Night Night." She climbed off the couch while looking around until she found what she was searching for. "Friend!!" She gathered her big Violet and small Violet into her arms, and walked over to her bedroom door. I opened it for her and she stood in front of her crib waiting for me to lift her in. And then she quietly lay there pressing buttons on both Violet's to play music.

It's sooner than the usual time I put her down for a nap but I guess she just really wanted to lay down early. Even now she's still in there pressing buttons, playing music, but I guess she's tired and she wanted to be in there.

It's just too cute, I had to record it to remember on the hard days.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

M is for Mischief

Oh boy, are we in for it?

Madeline and I got back from the grocery store today to find the railing leading to our building had a nice stinky layer of fresh black paint on it. So I carefully ushered her into the house, gave her a cup of milk and left her on the couch with her books so I could run back to the car for the groceries.

My arms loaded, I came back to open the door. Only it wouldn't open. She locked me out!!! Snickering, I rattled the door and knocked. I heard her come to the door and I said, "Madeline, please unlock the door," and the little imp started laughing at me!! Big, huge baby chuckles. After that, I couldn't contain my laughter.

Cracking up, I walked into the apartment office, asked for the key to our apartment, explained what a model parent I am, and walked back to unlock the door to find the little dear innocently sipping her milk.

Yes, I have learned my lesson. Next time, she sits in the crib and I always take my house keys with me.

Silly, precious child!

And so it begins...

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The End of an Era

It was bittersweet watching the space shuttle land in Houston today, for one last time.

The shuttle program has been a part of my history. I remember the excitement of watching the shuttle launches in class and at home. I remember the terrible Challenger and Columbia disasters. And it was sad when the program was retired. I know they outlasted their original timeline, but still.

Even more sad, after the many years of work JSC put into NASA, Houston, Space City, was not deemed important enough to house one of the actual shuttles. All we get is a replica.

So we say farewell to a piece of history. It's amazing how far we've come.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

From Busy to Busy

I'm always happy to have summer come because I figure I'll have time to relax since regularly scheduled activities stop for the summer. And every year I'm wrong. Summer flew by, weekend after weekend filled with activities or visits to family. And before I know it, the fall is creeping in and regular activities are starting.

Wednesday we begin the new and improved FPU. We aren't quite ready to lead at our own church again but we want to check it out. Since we have a lifetime membership we just picked a class in our area, in fact, right down the street. It will be interesting to see how Madeline does in an unfamiliar nursery, I'm sure she will be fine.

Choir has started back up again and sadly I didn't really miss it this time. It's not a huge commitment but I guess I'm just in a rut.

Confirmation starts up in a week or so. I haven't heard anything about us being guides again this year. I suppose I should ask.

Mom, Jessi, Kay and I are all going to Women of Joy at the end of the month. It should be a great time to spend with them as well as perhaps a spiritual spark to wake me back up.

And in one short month my baby will be 2. I still can't believe how fast time is going by. More on our plans later.

Then our 9th wedding anniversary is coming up. Which reminds me, I need to book a B and B to use the gift certificate Mom and Dad gave us for Christmas. We were saving it to use in the fall and we need to use it before it expires in December. Our anniversary is a good excuse. It also reminds me that we need to plan a trip for our 10th. We need to figure out where we want to go and make a plan to save money over the next year.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Determination

I keep reminding myself that Madeline's stubbornness and determination aren't qualities. While it is trying for us to deal with it now, in a lot of ways it will shape her and in turn help her in making decisions when she is older. So I strive to not correct her at every turn. To not readily jump in to "fix it" when things aren't working for her. To try to allow her some grace to figure out parts of her world on her own.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Swim/Survival Lessons

I have been looking into starting swim lessons with Madeline. I want her to start learning as soon as possible. The more she knows, the safer she will be around water. And I know it's a little crazy but I don't want her using floaties or other swim aides that are worn because they would teach her to rely on an unnatural position in the water not conducive to swimming and they are a false sense of security.

So, when a friend mentioned ISR lessons and what they do, it was a little hard for me to believe. They go beyond just getting babies and toddlers comfortable with water. They teach babies 6 to 12 months how to turn over and float independently on their backs until help arrives. Over 12 months, they also teach them to swim to the side and wait for help. My skepticism vanished and my eyes began to mist while I watched the amazing videos of these tiny little creatures using survival skills all on their own.

The lessons entail going for 10 minute lessons, 5 days a week for 7 weeks or so. At the end of her lessons she will have to demonstrate her skills fully clothed in both summer and winter clothes.

But there's the cost. It's really expensive. I understand why the cost is high due to the training, insurance and medical assessments. And there is only one instructor in a 20 mile radius of where we live. So she charges more than the instructors I found in the suburbs. And we might have to wait for availability. But can I really put a price on Madeline's safety?

We live in a city that has a high incidence of child drownings. We also live in an apartment complex that has open streams and ponds as well as a gated pool. Madeline is already able to open our front door if it isn't locked, though we always keep it locked she is very close to being able to unlock the deadbolt. She is nearly always supervised while in our living room but it could only take a moment of me putting the laundry away or going to the bathroom.

So I guess in the meantime of saving for the ISR lessons and waiting for availability I need to continue looking into some actual swim lessons for her. I don't want to do the Mommy and Me type class that just gets her into the water for fun, she already does that with us, we don't need to pay for the privilege. I want her comfortable with the water but also have the ability to save herself should she ever be in a situation that would require it.

Friday, June 22, 2012

TGIF

It's been a long week, but it is now over!! (well, almost)

This week was Sky VBS. I was crew leader for 5, 3rd graders and let me say, I think it's easier to wrangle cats! They were pretty good kids for the most part, but keeping an eye on them, keeping them on task was exhausting! But I energetically participated with everything to keep those kids motivated. I did all the singing and dancing, made crafts with them, helped them with theirs and played the games with them.

Because of VBS, Miss M's usual wake up and nap time was messed up. She is used to waking up on her own around 9am every day. On Monday we had to be there at 8am so that meant we had to wake her before 7, the other days it was 8:30 which was a little easier. Not a happy girl that first day. Because of her early wake up, she cat-napped in the car on the 30 minute drive home each day. Which in turn meant that she didn't want her usual nap in the afternoon. Which then caused a serious case of crabby pants in the evenings. But Mommy is struggling hard with fatigue so yesterday I gave into it, turned off her monitor, put her in the crib where she quietly (relatively) played for a while while I took a long nap. I was awakened out of sound sleep by a pointless phone call at 4:30 (grrrrr) and couldn't go back to sleep. During my nap she had fallen asleep and I finally had to go in and get her at 6:30 so she would be able to sleep last night. We are 2 very tired girls!!

She has a birthday pool party to go to tomorrow but I've already decided Brandon can take her while I rest. I woke up this morning with a sore throat which makes me angry! I get sick every....single....year I work at VBS. (that would be 5 years in a row) I was extremely careful. I washed and sanitized me hands whenever I could, didn't touch my face with my hands at all while there, and I still managed to catch something. And because of my last liver test I have to repeat it in a week or so I don't want to take any OTC cold meds that will effect my test.

We survived the week and some change with 3 cats. Tig improved, came out of hiding, began to roam around and even played. And "Bad, Bad, Bad Kitty" (as Madeline calls her) stopped going after him. Still, it will be nice to take him home tomorrow. I've had enough of his unearthly howling, just because, in the middle of the night. 

Well, I'm off for another short nap and then time to brainstorm what to get an 8 year old for her birthday. I'm so out of touch with what kids are into these days. Which means I'm old. Sad, yes!

But that's another story for another day.

Friday, June 15, 2012

This and That

Ugh! Have to get that last post off of the top. Every time I open my browser it pops up with that. And I'm not about to go down the road of feeling sorry for myself.

Good news on the job front, Brandon has a year long contract! So yea for steady work. I am struggling with his decision a bit. He had a couple of choices to choose from and the other seemed a safer bet. This one raises some concerns. But I voiced my concerns, all of which he has considered, and I felt he needed to make the decision. I need to learn to trust him again when it comes to work. I have a lot of anger still with how he handled things at his last job, choices he made there. I'm still not sure what to do with it, it's not as if I want to sit here and be angry. But there it is.

This past weekend we stayed with Katy and Michael while my aunt and uncle were out of town. They are great kids but it's a little sad, they no longer want to hang out with us. I guess at 12 their friends are way more interesting then their "old" cousins. Imagine that! But they were sweet to Madeline and did play with her a bunch.

One funny thing I want to remember from the weekend, is when Michael went "missing." He had a tournament that weekend and friends took him back and forth to it. Sunday's game meant that he needed to get up at 5:30 am for his friends to pick him up at 6:20. He is generally responsible, his mom said he gets himself up no problem. So the night before we made sure he had his alarm set. Just in case, Brandon set his own alarm for 6:00.

At 6:20 or so I woke up to the sound of someone knocking on the door. Since Brandon was far more decent he got up to answer it. About 10 minutes later he came back to tell me that he couldn't find Michael. ?!?!?! Ok, the thought that he snuck out at some point was so beyond ludicrous, knowing him. He had to be somewhere. Brandon said he checked everywhere. While he went to tell his friend's dad that he couldn't find him, maybe he got a ride with someone else, (Yeah, right) I went up to check. He wasn't in his room. Ok, so maybe he's in the media room, they are known to sleep in there. I opened the door. Katy was on the floor pillow, I turned on the light and saw one foot sticking out of a dark blanket on the chair. So I shook him awake, told him it was really late and he needed to move. So we got him on his way.

Brandon told me he checked the media room twice, but he did it without his glasses on and didn't turn on the light. Katy later told me that Michael's alarm was going off and it annoyed her, the 2nd time it went off she told him to get up, that she was turning it off so she could sleep. He told her he was up. So next time we will be helping out instead.

This weekend and all next week we are watching Katherine's cat while she is on vacation. Yesterday was a little scary. I apparently have a very mean cat. Midna was screaming and trying to hit him, like all out alley cat, cat fight. It was really frightening, Madeline started screaming in terror. Between all that noise, nice!! I ended up having to fight Midna off with the broom and closed the bathroom door to give poor, scared Tigger a break. At least he's making progress, he spent all yesterday in hiding, now at least he's out in the open. Perhaps tomorrow he will actually allow me to pet him. And the screaming from Midna has simmered down a bit as well, though there is still hissing all around.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Sick. Again.

My heart is heavy. I feel like my body is failing me yet again.

My routine liver test came back high again. I'm facing another possible relapse of autoimmune hepatitis. And this time pregnancy isn't the catalyst. Maybe I'm getting ahead of myself, my doctor is in wait and see mode. He doesn't want to step up treatment until he is sure it's a flare up and not some outside issue. I test again in a month.

I've been feeling poorly for a few weeks now. At first I thought I was just having a bad couple of days of just generally not feeling well, but those days turned into a week. Then my digestion started messing up, eating meat especially didn't agree with me. And then a few days ago I noticed my stomach would start hurting within 30 minutes to an hour of eating, last for a couple of hours and then go away only to repeat when I eat again. It seemed a little too familiar, like the pain when I was having all sorts of trouble 3 years ago leading up to my diagnosis.

All this throws thinking about another baby into question. Brandon and I agreed to wait a full 2 years after Madeline's birth to give my body time to rest, heal, and build back up. I finished increased treatments for her post-birth flare up just before she turned 1.

And of course this increases those old fears of whether I should be even trying to get pregnant period. Is it wrong considering my health issues? My pregnancy with Madeline was picture perfect and she is perfectly healthy so I know God is bigger than that. But the human in me can't help but question my broken body.

And then there are the thoughts that I'm a burden on my family. Any tests mean paying a deductible and we've cut way back on expenses because of Brandon being out of work. Reminders of my battle (and so far loss) to obtain private health insurance or life insurance. What happens in a year when COBRA runs out and I'm completely out of options?

And I've been trying to push myself to eat even better and exercise more. Since I have no control of certain aspects of my health, I know eating right and exercising are things I can do to stay healthy. A recent succession of various colds, allergies and sinus infections derailed my jogging program. I've been going for walks and jogs sporadically but with the heat kicking in I've been having trouble settling on a good time to go. Because of the heat I'm also suffering headaches and struggling to take in enough fluids beyond the norm.

So while I wait I'm going to increase rest, more fluids, not eat things my body is telling me to avoid, no OTC medications of any kind, (other than multi-vitamin and fish oil) and exercise when strength allows. I also need to really listen to my body and not push myself too hard. If I have a busy morning, nothing in the afternoon but rest. If I'm going to have a busy afternoon, no hard activities in the morning.

Besides that all I have left is to lean on God, ask Him to hold me up where I can't hold myself up. And that's a struggle. I want to yell at myself, "Stop getting down about this, it was nothing you did!! Your attitude can affect your health so pull yourself up!" And so it goes...

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Family Visit

We got to spend this past week visiting Jeff and Jessica and co. in Round Rock. I had discussed with Brandon going to visit Jessica for her birthday since that would probably be the present she would like most. Of course, her birthday snuck up on us, who knew? One would have thought she moved it this year. ;) But really, May has seemed to just fly by.

Not only was it fun just getting to chat and hang out with my friend of a sister-in-law, but it's was fun getting to see Madeline doted on by her aunt and uncle and getting a chance to play with her older cousins. They adore her and always ask when she can come visit again. Plus, visiting now I was able to tell Jessica to pick any dessert on my Sweet Treats board and I would make it for her birthday. She chose hummingbird cake, so she (and the rest) got to be my guinea pig and it turned out quite good.

We got to go around looking at model homes since they are on the verge of buying a house and had narrowed it down to a few plans and wanted to show us. I don't know if our family is weird but looking at model homes is a source of entertainment for us.

We also got some bonus treats on our visit. Matthew informed us Wednesday night that he had a concert the next evening. Awesome! I had been wanting to see one of his concerts since he has been sticking so diligently with learning the bass. It was a full orchestra concert which is rare for junior high and I made sure to tell him how cool I thought it was. We also got to attend his awards ceremony on Friday morning where he made 7th grade honor roll. Two years in a row on honor roll, way to go Matt!

Friday night we got to go sit on the lawn at a Round Rock Express game. It was fun though Little Miss saw all the other kids running around on the hill and she wondered (loudly) why we wouldn't let her just join in the fun. We ended up taking turns walking around with her so she could get some wiggles out. The game lasted past her bedtime and her eyes started getting heavy. But we stayed to see the fireworks afterward which was a pretty good show. She still doesn't quite know what to think of them but she only whimpered a couple of times as she watched wide-eyed from Daddy's arms.

All in all it was a good trip and we all had fun. Still I wish we lived closer together.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Real Thinking

"The reality is that most people don't think; they only rearrange their prejudices. Real thinking can be disruptive to the status quo and requires a great deal of courage." -Will Mancini

I'm currently participating in the Church Unique visioning process with staff members and other leaders at church. While reading the material the above quote really stuck out to me. On a personal level, Ouch!! How often do I not think at all because I'm just too busy with this or that? How often do I just push the thoughts and feelings aside and think, I will deal with them later? I need to stop doing this.

I'm supposed to be working on my "homework" for my role as the journalist. I need to write something to report to the congregation what this process is and what we hope to gain from it over the next several months. But life keeps getting in the way and the thoughts rolling around in my head on the subject won't come together. Story of my life lately. I realize that's not an excuse, I agreed to take this role on (with apprehension, I might add) and I must fulfill my duties.

On a side note, I am thoroughly enjoying reading this book, not only is it helping to unravel some perceptions about the church but I am also finding some good tidbits to employ in personal life as well. It hasn't been an easy read. I began reading, eyes "went cross", started over, still wasn't internalizing anything and began a 3rd time before things started to sink in. I look forward to continuing the journey as it is helping me better connect with and really dig deeper to serve the church and community in the best possible way we can.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Helpful

Getting some of my thoughts out was very helpful, more than I lately realized it could be. It's so easy to get into a bad habit that climbing back out of it seems nearly impossible to do. Even when the opposite was the older habit.

Writing used to be a real outlet for me. A healthy way for me to get some of my feeling out so they don't just build up until they feel like a crushing weight.  But somehow life seems to always creep up and get in the way. Something else always seems more important.

Can I keep this up? I think I need to in order to find a better balance in my life. How can I take care of others, take care of other responsibilities when I am always neglecting myself in the process?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Progress with Water

Little Miss hasn't been the biggest fan of water. Her experiences with bathing and swimming are long and storied.

From her very first bath she screamed until she was red in the face. It took her months to warm up to the baby bath tub, each bath time was crying from start to finish. (And nerve wracking  for mommy too.) Eventually it got better but we continued bathing her in the baby tub until she was 7 months old.

When it was time to graduate to the big tub, it was a disaster. She screamed so hard that she threw up. After a couple of day of this, I gave up. So she began showering with mommy instead. She still hated it but didn't scream so violently and eventually stopped crying all together for showers.

By the time she was 1 she was getting too heavy and squirmy to continue holding while showering so it was time to try the bath tub again. After several days of trying everything I finally started getting in with her which made the tears stop completely. After a day or two of this I was able to put her in by herself with few tears. Things progressed well until after not listening to mommy's request of, "sit down so you don't fall", she slipped and momentarily dunked her head. That scared her badly and she began screaming violently for every bath after that. So it was back to showering with mommy again.

After a month of that I decided she needed to get used to the bath. So we bought a few new toys and popped her back in. Surprisingly she didn't cry from that time on and happily splashed and kicked around.

Swimming was much the same. Last season she was only happy tightly clinging to mommy or daddy. Eventually she warmed up to being in a baby float but these were the only 2 positions she liked. If we tried to lay her back or swing her around in the water she became frightened.

Since it's been warm we've taken her swimming a few times this season with her where she has acted much the same as last summer.

Until today. Today she made huge progress! After several minutes of just hanging onto daddy he turned her around, her back against his chest. Trying this with her in the past has only elicited panic from her. But this time she laid back and started furiously kicking her little legs. A huge smile broke across her face. This is fun!!!! Many delighted squeals followed. And Madeline was pretty excited too. ;)

After that she began throwing her head all the way back into the water and she was able to practice her floating form.

I can't express how proud I was watching her overcome one of her fears. I have been planning to take her for swim lessons this summer so maybe now it won't be an ordeal. The sooner she can be taught to swim and how to be safe around water, the better.

Way to go baby! Mommy and Daddy are so proud of you!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Trouble with Me

I haven't disappeared off the face of the earth. But sometimes it feels like my mind has. While it's been a difficult past year in some ways, it has been equally joyous in other ways.

Joyous because of watching Madeline grow and change every day. I am thoroughly enjoying being able to spend so much time with her. Not a day goes by that I don't thank God I get to be a part of her life. That's not to say there aren't times when she tries my patience, quite the contrary, it comes with the territory of having a strong-willed, independently minded child.

Unfortunately, for the not so pleasant things I haven't been dealing with them in the most healthy ways. I've been suppressing the difficult stuff in an effort to not give in to stress and worry. I don't want stress and worry taking over my life, but I do need to stop shoving the thoughts and feelings aside. Instead I need to figure some of it out so it doesn't become this overwhelming array of thoughts swirling around my head. I need to be honest with myself. Just, what to do? After having a bad habit for so long it's hard to change it.

I think part of it is finding a healthy balance of everything that is going on. It's easy to devote a large amount of time to caring for Madeline. Squeaky wheel and all. And I've got pretty well under control planning and making meals for our family, we eat out so rarely now (mostly due to having no income at the moment) and I'm also not left with many days where I can't figure out what to do for dinner. Household tasks have gone downhill since Madeline arrived but I'm still keeping up with all of it pretty well.

The areas that are lacking; quiet time for me, or any personal time really; time spent on my marriage; time spent in the Word; finding regular time to get out for a jog; projects around the house; reading...this list goes on and on. All things I enjoy and want to make time for but have shifted over the last year or so.

So like I said, I need balance.  I realize I need to enjoy my life where it is at this particular moment, but I admit in a lot of ways I struggle with it.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

A Year of Changes...

...a year of uncertainty. We are starting 2012 without full-time employment for Brandon. His company gave him a "great" Christmas present by replacing him with newer models. There is a nice long story to go with it including them expecting him to interview a person they knowingly wanted to replace him with while we were on vacation, but I won't waste my time on all the details.

Suffice it to say this is a good thing and we are happy about it. This job has interfered with and caused damage in our marriage not to mention interfering with our family time. No more! I have a peace about him finding the right replacement job for him, I know it's out there. And that's despite the scary business of figuring out stuff like health insurance, which isn't easy for me considering my options are extremely limited.

I refuse to see this as a curse. I know we will be taken care of, everything will work out the way it is supposed to.