Friday, July 29, 2011

This Thing Called Parenting & Girls Night Out

So it may come as no surprise to many of you that everything I thought I knew about parenting is pretty much thrown out the window.  Yes, there are lots of things I've learned in my years of being a nanny and teaching school that definitely get applied to the way I parent and yet no one could have prepared me for what it really was like.  You see, in the years of nannying and teaching and even the countless times I took care of my neices and nephews and thought up all kinds of fun stuff to do with them, there always came a time when they returned to the ones who "parented" them.  But now?  Now, I am that parent.  With these precious souls there is no returning them to the ones who parent them, because it's me.  Well, me and the man I could not do this without. Seriously, I have no idea how single moms do it.

Speaking of "the man"...last weekend we decided to put the kids in respite.  The agency we are with says we can do that once a month.  We thought it would be best to try and not use it especially while they are still adjusting, but after a crazy week we went ahead with plans.  It was definitely the right choice.  The kids missed us and we talked to them every night assuring them we would pick them up on Sunday.  My man and I enjoyed just lounging around, sleeping in, going out to eat and just making sure we were still on the same page on all kinds of stuff.  Friday night we went to Ichiban, a Japanese Steak House, for dinner.  I got sushi for an appetizer and we enjoyed a lovely meal with fun entertainment too!  Saturday night we met our friends at AppleBees at 10:00!  Normally we would be in bed by that time but hey, why not live it up!  Such a fun refreshing weekend we had.  And it was good to see the kids again!

It used to annoy me when Moms would complain and get frustrated with their kids especially when they had a hard time getting pregnant or having kids.  To be honest, it still kinda annoys me and yet, I am definitely a little more sympathetic towards mothers in general!  I feel it is important to spend time with your children and I do not want to put them at a sitter too often, even if it is Ma-Ma, but sometimes we as mothers just need a break.  I am fast realizing how refreshing even an hour of alone time can be.  Yes, I know that we just jumped right into parenting without the 9 month prep but it is the role we chose, and the ministry we feel called too so we (I) need to "suck it up" and realize that my time of being alone and having things the way I like it is over.  Notice all the "I's" in this paragraph.  Motherhood brings out the selfish side of me.  I am realizing more and more how hard it is to lay aside the things that "I" want to do and tend to the needs of my children, even if there are lots of other things that seem more important at the time.

Yesterday, I was supposed to have a root canal done so my dear Mom came and picked up my children.  My appointment was pretty early in the morning and I would've had to wake them up to take them down.  And while I'm at it, can I just say that I pretty much have the most amazing mom ever?  She comes up every Tuesday and hangs out with them while I work at the auction and is always ready and willing to help in whatever way she can.  These kids of mine have stolen her heart and she is an amazing Ma-Ma!  Anway, back to the root canal.  It never happened!  After my consultation the Dr. said she would suggest pulling the tooth because it is cracked and a root canal wouldn't take care of the problem.  My dentist won't be impressed, but that is definitely what I am going to do.  The tooth is in the bottom in the back and no body will notice if I get it pulled.  I would 10 times rather be knocked out and get it pulled than do through the trauma of a root canal.  So after my root canal that didn't happen I came home and got some things taken care of.  Mom said the kids were fine and having fun so I took advantage of the alone time and did some shopping.  One of my stops was a Christian Book Store.  I realized the other day that in about every stage of life I have been in, I have read books relating to it.  Like when I was teaching, I read books on teaching, when I was single, I read books on how to deal with that.  The same with dating and then marriage.  Suddenly it dawned on me that I possessed not one book about parenting.  So I bought a few books that seemed to be filled with tips and advice for mothers.  Ahhh well now, that should make it all better! (yeah right). Would love to have you guys tell me the best book on parenting you've read!  I know that parenting foster kids is different in a way, but alot of things are still the same.

Last night I went with a group of ladies to this darling cafe to celebrate a birthday.  This particular group of ladies is not made up of friends that I grew up with but when we get together it has that comfy feel.  You know, the kind of feeling that you can open your mouth and say anything and you won't get judged?  Yeah, that one.  There is no better kind of friend, I am convinced.
The ever famous tomatoe pie was actually quite good although I was quite happy with my Turkey Panini.  Some of us gals who wanted to try the Tomatoe Pie but weren't quite brave enough to have it as our meal, bought a piece to share.  It really was yummy.  So was the cupcake I had for dessert!!!

I find these evenings even more refreshing now that I am a mother myself.  It was nice to sit with other mothers and share frustrations and tips and advice.  Not all of the group were mothers but everyone participated in the lively conversation.  A few of us are also foster/adoptive mothers so it was good to get that perspective as well. 

After last evening, I decided I needed to be much more consistent in things.  When I say "No", that's exactly what it means.  It's been quite an exhuasting day to say the least.  I think Miss A had at least 15-20 time outs.  Mostly for saying things like "I'm not listening" and "No" when she was told she was not allowed to have candy or watch a movie etc.  I promptly put her in time out without a warning each and every time.  It was exhausting and draining and I told Brad it takes more energy to remain calm than it does to just deal with stuff like I would want to!  By the end of the day though, it was amazing how they started listening right away without complaining.  Hopefully tomorrow and the next day I can stick with it and give these kids the security they need.  There is such security in boundries and guidelines and kids thrive in that. 

Well, this post has been long enough and it's time to join my hubby in bed.  This was written in the course of the day so there are probably plenty of errors!  I have so much I want to blog about and it's so frustrating that I can't blog about all the memories we are making with our kids.  It kinda makes me want to yell at the big bad caseworker person and say "FINE, I JUST WON'T BLOG THEN" (as if they care if I blog or not!).  In reality our caseworker is very sweet and when I think about how it probably is protecting the kids I can't help but comply.  Maybe someday when we can really call them our own, I'll catch you up on their history with us in pics!  For now, it's good-night...

Friday, June 24, 2011

Meltdowns and Garden Sheds

Oh my, my life has changed!  I wish I had time to blog about my days every day.  Truth is, I rarely get on facebook more than once a day now.  Gone are the days of sleeping in, surfing the web, playing swag buck games, reading blogs, taking a nap, watching a movie, meeting my friends for lunch/coffee,  relaxing by the pool and the list goes on.  Sure, I watch movies...only now it's Thomas and Dora!  Relaxing by the pool...doesn't really happen because a certain little lady would dive right in if I didn't keep an eye on her.  Sleeping in...that's getting better, the 6:00 wake up time has stretched to about 7:30.  I set my alarm for 7 and try and get in some Bible Reading and Prayer before little ones join me. 

I'm not complaining though.  These children have become such a blessing to Brad and I.  We really do have it made.  Because they were in another foster home before coming to our home, I know that alot of work went into helping them.  In conversations with their previous foster mother who tells me they spoke only Spanish, ate with their hands, and were "wild", I know we are blessed.  They are very polite, eat well, play together nicely and go to bed without a fuss (most times)!

Sure I've had an occassional meltdown or 2 and spent an evening or 2 crying in my room after Brad gets home.  Just keepin' it real people.  My dear patient husband has been so understanding and is so so supportive.  Saturdays, he keeps the kids entertained while I sleep in and then doesn't mind if they follow him around all day asking him all kinds of questions, while I get my cleaning done and just bask in the silence!  I think that has been one of the biggest adjustments again.  The constant chattering, noisy playing, music going, lots of "Why" and if an answer doesn't satisfy.."But Mom...WHY?"  To say that one of my favorite times of the day is naptime is an understatement.  That's when I should be napping, but like to catch up on reading blogs, facebook and get some work done and just be quiet! 

I've learned a few things in the past few weeks.  If I set aside about an hour in the morning to play games, read books etc. they entertain themselves well the rest of the morning.  Sure there are other things I would rather be doing, and feel like I need to get done, but that hour fills up their love tank for a while.  I also feel like we are finally in a routine.  The bed doesn't have to be made perfectly, the table doesn't have to be set exactly, the washcloths don't have to be in a perfect square, the fact that they love to help and are showing responsibility is worth it!

We've done all kinds of fun things the past few weeks and I wish so so bad I could share pictures with you all.  I think that is one of the reasons I don't blog that much anymore.  I am such a picture person and love to write about all we did.  Maybe I can fnd a way to be able to do both.  The agency we are with stressed over and over again that we may not put pics of any kind on the web.  We've done things like Oregon Dairy Farm Days, seeing Thomas, pool parties, weekly library trips, campfires, days at the park, etc. 

The children have adjusted well and are fitting in so good with our church family and extended families.  This week we had Bible School and the children were so excited to go every night.  I was at a different location teaching the older girls and Brad was busy running sound, but the children had no problem finding their friends and doing ok without Mommy and Daddy nearby.

So now it's Friday and then the weekend.  Weekends are so looked forward to now for sure because Brad is here to help out and give me a break.  We are looking forward to family night tonight and a party with friends here tomorrow night!

The past few weeks, Brad spent hours building a garden shed from our barnwood.  It looks even better than I pictured in my head!  I've got a bunch of perennials waiting to get planted around it this weekend.  So thankful to have a hubby who enjoys making all kinds of stuff that his wife dreams up!


Monday, June 6, 2011


I've been called "Mommy" a handful of times in my lifetime.  Over the years of teaching school it would come out of a students mouth when they needed something or wanted to show me something and then they would get a funny look on their face when they realized what they had said.  My nieces and nephews have also called me mom a time or 2 and when the Leid kiddos were living here I was addressed as "Mommy" every now and then before they realized it!  It was always "by mistake".

Yesterday (Tuesday), Brad and I picked up the most adorable little girl and boy and now, I get called "Mommy" countless times a day.  I have even started addressing myself as that.  We have entered the world of foster parenting.  We are hoping to adopt these dear little children sometime in the future.  As of now it looks very hopeful that "A" will become our daughter someday. 

Yesterday as we ripped her from the arms of her present foster mother my heart was breaking.  Her cries of terror and anger were almost more than I could handle.  I just wanted to gather her into my arms and hug her cares away.  At the time, I was the "bad guy" taking her away from her Mommy.  Finally, her foster mom left and it was us and the caseworkers.   She was still sobbing, heartbroken, while her brother sat quietly in his car seat waiting on his next adventure.  I wonder what was going through his little mind.  He had just had an hour visit with his birth father and now was leaving the home he had known for the last 6 months and now was headed to be in the care of some strangers.  He just sat there quietly, not saying a word, with Brad and waited on the rest of us.

Pretty soon we seen that things were not going to get any better and we should just try leaving.  The caseworker put her into her car seat and strapped her in, as she was kicking and screaming the whole time.  I sat in the front seat quietly crying while Brad held my hand.  As soon as we left the driveway, her sobs quieted and the rest of the way home she just did the whole sighing sobbing thing.  It was almost as if she was just resigned to her fate. 

We didn't say too much on the 20 minute ride home and when we got here they were busy running around exploring everything.  The home they came from sent a few tubs of clothing and toys along and I put stuff away and got organized while Brad played with the kids. Most of the day "A" asked "Where my Mommy", and I would tell her that she's going to live here now.  She didn't say anything but would just go on playing.  I wonder what was going through her mind.
Wow...shows how busy my life really is!  The above was typed and ready to go but I wanted to go over it some more before I posted it.  Now, it's Monday.  Tomorrow it will be a week since these kiddos have joined our home!  Gone are my days of surfing the web, sleeping in, staying up late etc!  These guys sure keep me busy.  They get up around 6 or 6:30 every morning, so I have been getting to bed early so I can function in the morning!  Yesterday was Sunday and as soon as we put the kids down for naps, Brad sent me to bed as well.  They only slept around an hour and a half but he didn't let them wake me until I had been sleeping for 2 1/2 hours.  I so needed that long nap.  It seemed like the whole week just caught up with me.

Brad has been the most amazing daddy.  He does so well with them.  "Mommy, where Daddy" is a phrase I hear a couple of times a day.  After the weekend we had with them getting all kinds of daddy's attention, I know I'll hear it countless times again today!  It seems the children are adjusting well and we are loving them so much and they bring so much joy to our home.  Yes, there are things that I miss about life a week ago, but I sure wouldn't trade it!  I have been snapping pics of them left and right and so wish I could show you all, but the law forbids us from putting any kids of pics of them on the web.  You'll just have to meet them in person to see how cute they really are!

Well, I'm off to start my day!  Pretty soon I'll hear little feet coming down the hall and someone will want some snuggle time.  I think that's my favorite time of the day...when they wake up in the morning or from naps and want to snuggle.  Or maybe it's when we're tucking them in and they each want a hug and a kiss, or maybe it's at supper when all they want to do is chatter, or maybe it's at family time when we teach them new songs and their little voices just sing, or maybe it's when they're playing and all of a sudden "J" will say..."I love you Mommy". 

It's so weird how in an instant I became a "Mommy".  The one whom these children look to for love and help and everything else.  They are so dependent on me. The other times that I was called "Mommy" was a "mistake" and never really intentional, but now I really am a Mommy and I am loving it!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Latest Projects

I have been busy the last month or so finally finishing up some projects that I had sitting around!  I bought this set of night stands at the auction for a dollar.

One was missing a shelf and one had a string for a handle and the other had no handle.

The tops were moldy and gross!

So I got out my trusty sander and cleaning bucket and got to work.  Then, there they sat.  Month after month waiting on me to finish what I started.  Soon they made the journey to the basment from the shop.  I think my poor patient hubby was hoping they would soon disappear!  All of a sudden one day I got the urge and went to work.  After a coat of primer (2 on the tops), I painted them and then distressed them.  We went to Home Depot where we finally found handles that would work.  Love the finished look!

One sits in my kids room, the other was sold to a friend.

This window/mirror/shelf was going to get tossed to the junk pile at the auction until I rescued it.  Nice of me right?!  It was a blueish color.  I took the mirror panes out before I remembered to get a picture of it!

After a few coats of paint, it has the look that I love.  Alas, if I were to keep all of my treasures, my house would be overflowing.  I sold it at the yard sale for $10.00!

Then there's this table.  I had never done a project quite this size, so it sat alongside the nightstands!  This table also cost me only one buckaroo!
It was in bad shape.  The top was awful and it was missing a piece along the back.

Every now and then I would chip away at the top but never really got anywhere.  Finally Brad took pity on me and stripped it for me.  He also made it a lot more sturdy and made a nice custom piece to go along the back.  See how he even made it curvy to compliment the bottom of the drawer?!  He sure is handy!  I loved that we could keep the original drawer pulls on it.  I sold this one at my yard sale and it went off to a good home!

Along with these pieces, I also did another end table, and a few other pieces.  All were either free or a dollar at the auction.  Now that these are all gone, it's time to restock and get back to work.  I love doing this.  It's almost therapeutic for me and the money I make from it is a blessing too!

Catching Up

It's a quiet morning....

The birds are filling the air with praises and my washer is humming away.  Buses are pulling into the school across the street and I hear the sounds of kids talking on their way to school.  I typically am not a "morning person", but lately, have found a beauty in it.   I got up at 5:30 to use the restroom and had every intention of going back to bed till at least 8 or 9 but thought I would take advantage of the cool morning air and get my cleaning done and laundry started.  Maybe I'll take time for a forenoon nap!

Brad has been gone this past week to Alabama.  He is helping to clean up the damage that fierce tornadoes have left behind.  He's been on quite a few work trips in his day and he says he has never seen anything worse.  The devastation is so widespread.  He said it feels like they didn't even make a dent in the damage around them.  How much we have to be thankful for.  Last night there was a tornado watch in our area and as the dark clouds rolled in and then passed us by with only a shower, I thought about how it would feel to lose everything.  Sure, a house, pictures, heirlooms, etc are all "things" but it still would bring such a sense of loss, let alone if you lost your spouse, siblings, children or other family members.

With Brad gone, I've been kept busy.  I thought it would be great to be at home a few days with nothing to do and nowhere to go but it has not happened!  It's made my week fly by though.  On Wednesday, I got a call from our agency asking if we would take a little boy and girl.  They are currently with foster parents but the family they are with, already have a few other adopted children and with summer coming on, feel busy with these young ones.  I'm told they are an older couple and that the boy (J) "asks a lot of questions and has lots of energy".  I really don't know what we're in for but we're up to the challenge!  They told me the children would come next week or possibly Friday.  After finding out Brad was away, much to my relief,  they decided to go for next week.   Since Monday is a holiday and the offices are closed, we will be picking them up on Tuesday.  I would've been ok with getting them Friday (today) but it is just so much better if Brad can be there the first day they are here. 

I love having this time to prepare and get ready for the adjustments sure to come.  I know it's pretty rare to have such notice ahead of time.  Often, the children get placed within a few hours or a day or 2 at the latest.  Having a week, feels to me, like being pregnant!  Minus the bloating, hormones, cravings etc!  I told my sister it's almost like we had an ultrasound now and can start preparing more extensively.  There were some things we were waiting to buy and get ready until we knew the ages, and sex of the children we will be getting.  Now I could go out and buy bedding, toys, etc.  I'm hoping to get lucky at some yard sales this weekend.  We have pretty much everything, but would like to have some more toys for outside since it's warmer now.

It's weird how I love these kids already and have never met them.  Yes, I know it will have it's days and I know that raising foster children has it's own set of unique challenges, but at the same time, we are so ready for this.  There's a pretty good chance that we could eventually adopt the girl (A), but her 1/2 brother (J) will probably be going to live with his father in a few months.  I know we are in for sleepless nights, no more quiet times around the house, etc, but this house has been quiet for so long.  I'm ready for the sound of little feet running around even though it means I'll be sweeping the floor every day instead of once a week or so like I do now!   Brad is so excited too and can't wait to get home.  We plan on spending Saturday and Monday putting up beds, finishing our toybox and garden shed, and doing our mulching and lots of other outside stuff so it's done and we can concentrate on the kids and their needs.

This week I also met with a specialist to talk about possible testing because of all these miscarriages.  Our meeting was about an hour and after discussing it with Brad, we're going to pursue at least some testing to see if we can get answers.  Yesterday they did bloodwork.  There was a long row of vials of my blood on the counter when they were finished!  Next week on Wednesday they will be doing some kind of test where they put a catheter in my uterus and fill it with saline to see if there are any abnormalities there.  I am soo not looking forward to it especially since it will be the day after we get the children.  The test has to be done that day (a certain number of days into your cycle).  My mom or sister or both will be here to be with the children or Brad will take off of work.  We're waiting to see what the children are like before we decide for sure.  The whole testing process looks overwhelming to me and yet at the same time, it will be nice to hopefully know what is causing the miscarriages.

So, knowing all the changes about to descend upon me, I'm going to enjoy these quiet mornings and days while I can.  And yet, I can't wait for this phase of life headed our way!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Barnwood Projects

Sooo..remember that old barn we tore down back in November? 
Well, it has been reduced to this...
After weeks,  months of it taking up all of the room in our big 3 car garage/shop, it finally came to the point where more organization HAD to happen.  Spring is here and it was time to dig out our lawn mower from the piles of rubble around it.  A few weeks ago, Brad and I spent a whole Saturday out in the garage sorting and stacking it all up.  I love watching my husband work.  He goes to great lengths to try and explain something to me about his ideas for it all but it doesn't usually sink in till I actually SEE it.  When he told me his plan for stacking all of this stuff, I went along with it, most of the time thinking he was nuts and that this was never going to work.  But work it did, and splendidly too! 

So now that everything is organized it is so much fun to work out there.  Yes, there is still a GIANT pile of the bigger timbers that we really have nowhere to go with, but for now, we can at least move out there.  Oh, and the tractor is out which is a very good thing.  Our lawn is in dire need of some grooming.

Brad's been spending lots of time out there and I join him whenever I can.  We've been trying to come up with all kinds of things to make with this ole wood.  Some of the ideas came from online sites and some of it is stuff we just came up with!

We salvaged a trap door from the barn and weren't sure what to do with it.  After more thought we decided it would make an excellent lid to a chest.  This was the result.  I so love it but there is no room in my house for it.  It can be yours for $100.00!
We also made a BUNCH of these ladders out of the old tobacco lath that was on the roof.  According to sites we visited, they are a hot item!  You may own one for $5.00!

We also made "baskets" and candle boxes.  I think these baskets would look great with pansies or summer flowers planted in them  $5.00 if you want either one of these. 

I had been wanting to make some signs with some of the siding.  For now I made a bunch like this , but want to get a stencil to make the letters a little more uniform.  I have 2 of these signs around our house here and LOVE them!  One can be yours for $5.00!
Brad also made signs like this for our kids room (more coming later on that).  I painted the letters A, B,C on them and simply love how it turned out!

There are still lots of doors.  We're thinking of making a table with one of them.  I have heard they are in high demand, I just don't now how to connect with the right buyers...
There are also a few of these cool pieces that were part of the frames above the doors/windows.  I think they would look great with WELCOME on them or even a last name.

If you would like to custom order something, or if you've got any ideas of things we could make, let me know!  We're also looking into selling some things wholesale to a shop somewhere.  Also, if you want to buy some wood to make your own thing, we will give you a great deal!  For now, if you have a hard time getting ahold of us, guess where we'll be?!  Hubby's in the middle of making a great toybox for all kinds of kids toys.  Only problem is that it's turning out to be bigger than I thought it would be so we may have to sell it.  It's the size of a traditional like cedar chest but I was hoping for something a little smaller.  We'll see if I can bear to part with it!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Grief...Once Again

Grief..this word is becoming all too real to me.  It seems like there has been so much of it in my life lately. 

Monday, April 4th, something prompted me to take a pregnancy test.  Maybe it was the fact that I was feeling yucky, maybe it was the fact that a week before, my "period" had only lasted 1 day, I don't know.  But finally, I took one.  I did my duty, left it lay on the sink and went about my morning chores.  Then I remembered...and went to look.  There before my eyes were 2, yes 2, pink lines.  So many times in the past year there had been only 1 line and I just thought it would be that way again.  I burst into tears and left a message on my hubby's phone.  He only gets his calls at break and lunch time so I knew it would be awhile before he called me back. Then I called my doctor's office and the nurse asked me if it was a test from the Dollar Store.  Why yes, it was.  I had gotten so tired of spending so much money on test after test, so I had bought a bunch at the dollar store.  She told me that sometimes they are not as reliable and advised me to go and get another test.  So I jetted off to Wal-Mart and bought a pack of 3.  Came home, did my thing again and right before my eyes 2 pink lines shot up.  My heart skipped a beat.  I still had not been able to talk to Brad but had been on the phone with my sister.  She was about as delighted as I was and thrilled to pieces.  I was a little worried that I had been bleeding about a week before but honestly thought that things would be ok.  My doctor wanted to see me as soon as possible so we set up an appointment for the next morning.  In the meantime she had me come in and do bloodwork to see where my levels were and also to check my progesterone level.  The rest of the day I didn't do too much other than smile! 

Tuesday morning as soon as my doctor walked into the room I could tell something was wrong.  I don't really remember exactly what she started out with but something like..."I'm so sorry, but things don't look good".  She said my HCG levels were way low (142) and my progesterone level was 1.2.  Had it been a healthy pregnancy my HCG levels should have been in the thousands and my progesterone level a LOT higher.  I sat there numb, not knowing what to say and think.  I honestly thought she would tell me that things are looking good and get this..I even had myself thinking maybe she would tell me that I was like 12 weeks along!!   Once again, my hopes and dreams were dashed in an instant.  She set up an appointment for bloodwork again in a few days and sent me on my way. 

I got in my car and the tears came in torrents.  I couldn't believe this was happening again.  When I got home, I went straight to bed and just cried for a while.  Tuesdays are the days I work at the auction so I decided to go, hoping maybe I could block it from my mind for a while.  WRONG.  I lasted about 2 hours before nearly breaking into tears a few times.  Thankfully, the people I work for are very understanding.  The next 2 days were spent on the recliner.  My heart was broken.  It;s hard to explain how I felt towards God.  Not really angry...just kinda offended that he didn't see our prayers for a baby as one to answer in the way we wanted.  Evenings when Brad came home from work he would just hold me as I cried and said over and over again about how sad I was.   Speaking of Brad....he has been amazing through all of this.  He has been so strong and yet crying with me.  Yet, there was a peace that wasn't there with the other 2 losses we had been through.  It's like we have so come to the place that we honestly want God's best for our lives.  That doesn't really make things any easier though.  I knew that if I didn't let myself grieve, be angry, sad etc...that one day it would be even harder to work through.  So for 2 days I did just that, and felt I was ready to move on.

Thursday morning I had another appointment for bloodwork and also a meeting with one of the doctors.  He refered me to a specialist and said that we will wait for my numbers to go back to zero and then their office would set up an appointment for me.  Thursday afternoon, his nurse called telling me that my numbers had gone up.  I was in total shock again.  WHAT?  It seemed like some kind of cruel joke.  It had been hard for me to believe that I was miscarrying because with my other 2 there had been sooo much pain and blood.  This time, it was just a day or 2 and nothing painful at all.  I had thought that maybe there was some blood there from implantation or something, but had also accepted the fact that from the looks of things, it was actually happening or had already happened.  So when the report came back I was shocked.  We thought maybe it could be that I was only a few days pregnant but had indeed miscarried one before.  We didn't know what was going on.  So it was back to the recliner for me with orders to come in for more bloodwork in a few days.

Meanwhile that Friday we got a call from our foster care agency wondering if we would take in 2 brothers.  A 10 month old and a 2 1/2 year old.  We talked about it but knew that with everything going on with me it just wasn't good timing.  I wouldn't have been able to care for them the first few days and I just didn't want to put them through that.  We said "No" but now I wish we would've taken them!  Hopefully we'll get another call before too  long.

Monday morning found me back at the doctors office.  By the way, I hate doing bloodwork.  They always have a hard time finding a good vein from me.  The nurse told me to call back around 2 to get the results.  When I called back, they informed me that my numbers were at 42.  So it definitely was a miscarriage.  I cried all over again.  The doctor talked to me about all kinds of things and was very patient in answering all of my questions.  We spent about 25 minutes on the phone.  When I got off of the phone, it was almost a sense of relief in a way.  It had been so hard for me to believe that things could actually be ok after all and I kinda knew in my gut that things wouldn't turn out right but it still was the finality of it all.

Yesterday I had bloodwork once again and my numbers are now at -1.  We plan on seeing a specialist to see what could be causing this.  Now that it is my 3rd miscarriage it is considered more of a diagnosis. "Habitual Aborter" is the word they use.  Sounds awful.  I hate the word ABORTION and it almost feels like that diagnosis makes me and my body an abortion machine.  From research I've done I am almost positive that it is a progesterone issue and from what I hear that is a pretty easy "fix". 

When I tell people that I am at peace with everything they question whether I am sincere.  I love being challenged like that, but I can't explain the peace that I have.  As much as I would love to be pregnant and bear a child from the fruit of my husband and I, I honestly feel like I have left it go.  That doesn't mean that there haven't been times when I am sad or cry or get angry.  We have been surrounded by SO many family and friends who have been praying for us and believing with us.  Alot of times these past few weeks I felt too angry and weak to pray and it felt so good to know there were people "standing in the gap" for us.  THANK YOU.  Yes, it still hits me and affects me, but honestly under it all, I feel carried and just at peace...

Monday, April 4, 2011


This 4 letter word used to have such a grip on me.  But now, through a series of God teaching me things in all kinds of ways, I feel like, for the most part, I have conquered it.  Almost 2 years ago, Brad and I did the Take Back Your Life Seminar.  The session on fear hit me hard.  Then, last year in Sunday School, I was part of a great group of women who shared openly with each other.  One of the books we studied was called So Long Insecurity by Beth Moore.  I learned so many valuable truths through this class.  Insecurity is often fear based.  Brad has helped me with so many of my fears, by praying through them with me and gently correcting me.

But then there are nights like last night.  Out of nowhere, fear comes back.  Brad and I were laying in bed just chatting when all of a sudden I started sobbing.  That familiar thing called FEAR was gripping me so hard.  All I could think about was..."What if Brad would die".  That seems to be one of my biggest fears.  I think alot of my married friends feel the same way.  I couldn't control myself and Brad just held me as I cried.  He had no idea why I was crying until I finally gathered myself and told him what was going on.  I am so so blessed with such a patient loving husband.  He left me cry for a while.  And then, we prayed together, holding onto each other as hard as we could.   He prayed for me and my fears and I prayed and gave it all over to God once again.  I could physically feel relief after I gave it all up again.  The hardest thing to pray is that "I place my husband into your hands, Lord".  Yes, I pray for his physical safety, but in the end, I need to place him once again into the hands of his maker. 

Love is such a scary thing in a way.  It makes you feel so vulnerable to love someone so much.  In the book So Long Insecurity one paragraph goes like this...

     "I have always been afraid of losing my most cherished loved one.  When giving way to particularly advanced forms of self torment, I have even pictured myself at their caskets, (morbid, I know, but don't try to tell me you haven't done it).  But I never once pictured myself several years later, back on my feet to the Glory of God, heart sore and scarred, but pouring my life into hurting people.  Helping other people get through what I've gone through is redemption to me.  It's the only way on earth to plunder the pain."

This paragraph so says it exactly.  Yup, I have done that, and did again last night.  My mind was filled with thoughts like...what would my future look like without him, there's no way I could move on, what would I do with the house.  My head was spinning with fears that are not even founded.  What a good feeling though to know that God is in control.  Imagine trying to control the world and all within it.  As much as I like to be in control of things it feels so much better to give it all over to the one who knows best.

After praying, talking through things and connecting with my husband again...that big ole fear again took a hike!  I'm learning how to work though the fears in my life but am so thankful that they don't come around as often anymore!

This morning, things looked brighter!  There was a sweet note waiting on the counter from my husband, thanking me for all that I do for him and letting me know that I will be in his thoughts all day!  I had also gone out to the kitchen after Brad was asleep last night and stuck one in his lunch box so I thought it was kinda neat that we had each written notes to the other without knowing it. 

It feels like Spring is here to stay...the windows are wide open, birds are singing and my heart is at peace...

Friday, April 1, 2011

Ohhhh Reuben

Ok so before you start assuming there's a new man by the name of Reuben in my life...think again!  The only man in my life is my hubby dear!  Well..other than my dad and brothers and..ok you get the drift. 

So the sandwich Reuben always kinda grossed me out.  Then I discovered I LOVE sauerkraut and then one day when my hubby and I were out to eat, he ordered a Reuben.  When his sandwich came I persuaded him to let me try it.  OH MY WORD.  It was SO yummy!  Now, it's one of my favorite things to eat. 

A few months ago I came across a recipe for Reuben Casserole and thought I had to try it.  It was delish.  Last week, my hubby said "Hey, sometime when you need an idea for supper, make that good Reuben Casserole again".  I LOVE when he does that.  So often I ask him what I should make and he says..."Whatever you make, is absolutely fine with me".  I love that he's not picky and eats anything I make, but sometimes it would be good to know if he's hungry for anything in particular.  Since he suggested it, it went right on my menu plan.  Ok, in reality I don't have a menu plan per say but would love to be that organized.  But I do kinda plan them in my head.
Here's the recipe.  Super simple and so so yummy!

Spread a 2lb bag of sauerkraut (rinsed and drained) in bottom of lightly greased 9 X 13 pan

Put a layer of corned beef on top of sauerkraut

Spread dressing on this

Layer of swiss cheese

Scatter buttered Rye bread cubes over the cheese. 

Bake at 350* for about a half hour-45 minutes

My mom has been saying that they want to come for supper one of these nights so I called her and asked if they like Reubens.  She was totally into it, so we had guests for supper tonight.

I also made 2 pies.  Lemon sponge and a chocloate chess pie.  They were both so good and I was a teeny bit proud of myself! : )
This is all that was left of the Reuben Casserole by the end of the night.  Everyone loved it! 

2 lb. bag or can of sauerkraut
1lb. cooked corned beef, sliced thin
1 cup Thousand Island Dressing
1lb.  Baby Swiss Cheese (thick slices)
12 slices Rye bread, buttered and cubed.

Lightly grease a 9 x 13 pan.  Rinse and drain the sauerkraut.  Spread on bottom of pan.
Layer the corned beef evenly over kraut
Spread the dressing over the beef, top with cheese slices
Scatter the bread cubes over the cheese.  Press down in pan

Bake at 350* until heated through, about 35-50 minutes.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Catching my Breath

Our lives have been so busy the past few weeks and I feel like I finally have time to stop and catch my breath!  This will be quite a long post! 

First of all, like I had mentioned in my previous post, we had 3 children living with us for a while.  They ended up living here for about a month.  Talk about changing things overnight!  It was quite an adjustment going from just Brad and I to an instant family of 5!  I know now why so many of my friends say that at the end of the day all they want to do is lay in bed and be quiet!  It took effort for me to make sure that my "quality time loving" husband, got his quality time!  We talked about it alot, and he was very understanding.  The whole experience was good prep for the foster care process that will be coming our way in the next few weeks!  Speaking of that, we have finished our training classes and this week we have our individual interviews.  Then we need to have our home approved and then we wait for a call!  I am so glad that the bulk of it is finished. 

So Rosie came home from the hospital on a Thursday and she thought maybe it would be fun for the kids to be able to spend the weekend with her.  Brad and I had the weekend to ourselves and we did nothing other than relax and sleep in!  Sunday we picked up the children and they did not want to come home with us.  I sure didn't blame them.  I felt so bad to put them through the trauma of being shuffled around again, but Rosie just wasn't ready to have them with her full time yet. 

That week was tough.  The kids were each sick at some time or another.  We had planned to move them back permanently that Thursday but decided to do it Wednesday instead.  Wednesday morning I woke up to Merle throwing up all over the bathroom.  He spent the rest of the day on the couch and didn't want to eat anything all day.  I meanwhile was busy getting all their stuff together to move.  Thankfully Haley played by herself pretty good that day.  Around 11 I got a call from Brad that went something like this..."Hey Honey, don't freak out but I am on my way to the E.R in Ephrata".  Well, I of course "freaked out".  What's a wife supposed to do after all.  My day was packed full already and now my dear husband was in the E.R.  "Aunt Becky" (Friend of Rosie and I) came to the rescue because the last thing I felt like doing was packing up the kids and taking them to the E.R. with me especially with Merle being so sick.  She came to be with the children so I could go.  Brad ended up getting 7 stitches just above his knee.  He had been running a grinder thing at work and it kicked back into his knee.  He had some pain but the main thing was that he was not allowed to bend his knee untill the stitches get removed. 

The thing that made this worse was that this happened about 2 weeks after he had shot a nail through his hand!  That also required a trip to the E.R. and time off of work.  Then, after not being able to remember the last time he was sick, he got strep throat and was off of work for almost a week.  Now this.  Somehow God always provides though...

After I got him home, we got the kids all bathed and ready to go home.  They didn't know it but Rosie had a big welcome home party planned for them!  What fun they had with all their cousins.  They were so glad to be home again.  All but Merle....he was still sick and spent most of the evening laying on his Mom's bed.  He wanted to come back home with us, but I knew he would be fine.  Rosie gave us a Wii gaming thing for taking care of her children!  We definitely weren't expecting anything.  After lots of hugs to the kids, we left the party.  Brad knew he wasn't going to be working the next day because of his injury so we ended up staying up late and playing with our new toy!

Thursday morning, I headed down to my moms.  Brad and I planned on moving in there for a week to take care of my grandmother while my parents went to Florida.  My Mom's nephew was getting married and my parents needed the break!  My grandma had fallen the Sunday before and broke her arm in 2 places.  Her health had been declining the past month or 2 but this really sent her spiraling.  When I got to Mom's at 9:45, I knew Mommie didn't look good but my parents were still planning on going to Florida.  I knew they needed to get away so I reassured Mom that we would make sure Mommie was taken care of.  Hospice nurses were coming in to help with her care. 

About 30 minutes later when I went back in to check on my grandma, I noticed a huge difference in her breathing.  I told my mom that I think she is dying.  The nurse confirmed that she is really going down hill and could possibly die that day.  What a shock!  We called my dad and my aunt.  Till all was said and done, she passed into Glory about an hour later.  I was so so glad that I could be there by her side when she died.  She breathed hard for a while, then shallow breaths, closed her eyes, took another breath or 2, and was gone.  It was so peaceful.  The rest of the day was a blur of funeral plans, notifying family, and grieving.  My grandma had lived with my parents for 6 1/2 years and I have many many special memories of her. 

Most of my moms family was in Florida for the upcoming wedding.  We decided to wait until Tuesday to have the funeral.  Many of them had planned on spending the week after the wedding in Florida on vacation.  My brother and his family were there and hadn't planned to come home until Saturday after the wedding.  My brother and 2 of my cousins ended up flying home just for the funeral and then back to Florida to their families. 

My grandma had all of her funeral plans made.  Long ago, she had made her clothing to be buried in.  She was still Old Order Amish and typically, they get buried in the clothes that they got married in.  My grandma had made all new clothes.  She had them in a box with the label "Death Clothes".
Inside the box, she had everything neatly arranged. 

There was also a baggie with a note and a hankie in it.  The note read:
"Girls, Fold this hankie in my hand like my Sister Naomi.  Yes, I put her hankie in her hand. How we cried when we visited"
My grandma's sister Naomi passed away a few years ago.  She was my grandmas closest sister.  Their husbands were the first to die in their family, so of her many sisters, they shared common struggles.  My grandma had also made many of her grandaughters hankies to use at her funeral.  I remember when she gave mine to me a few years ago.  She embroidered black around the edge of a white hankie.  I had hoped to never have to use it...

The funeral service itself was beautiful.  Yes, it was Old Order Amish, but I loved the whole cultural aspect of it.  They were so so nice to us and worked with us well in having things the way Mommie wanted it.  She had in her plans that she would like to have a certain preacher from Ohio preach at her funeral.  They arranged it and he spoke a powerful sermon.  Most of it was in Dutch but I could understand lots of it.  He spoke on the Holy Spirit and how wihtout the Holy Spirit in your life "It shofts net" (It doesn't work).  I was so surprised to hear such a sermon from an Old Order Amish preacher.

I took a few pics at the graveside.  I kept my camera in my coat pocket and snuck a few pics when no one was looking!

Her funeral was a week ago today.  I still can't believe that she's gone.  It still seems like she should be sitting on the couch at her usual spot at my parents.  Every time I would walk in the door, she would greet me with "Well hello there Miss America"!   She will be greatly missed...

This week my mom started going through some of her things.  Most of her stuff was sold at auction before she moved in with my parents.  Mom gave me this piece of furniture and told me that Mommie wanted me to have it.  I was one of her namesakes and she had things put aside for us.  I will always think of her when I see it...
Looking back over the past 2 weeks, I so see God's hand in it.  The timing of Mommie's homegoing was perfect after all. 

1.I am so thankful that we moved the children home on Wednesday because I would have had to try and do that after Mommie died. 

2.  My parents were not on the bus in the way to Florida when she died.  I can't imagine if Mommie would've died and I would've been there alone with her.

3.  Yes, it was inconvenient timing because of the wedding, and yet, that gave us time to have her body at my parents house on Sunday.  Mom had always wanted to have more of an informal viewing there. Many of our church family and friends were there on Sunday and it was alot more personal.

4.  My dad was not pressured with work.  He didn't have any work planned that week, thinking they would be in Florida!

While we will miss Mommie so much, we are so glad she's in a better place.  It is so good to see the stress lifted off of my mom.  She had alot to deal with in taking care of her mother especially in the past few months.  Wilma and I are so glad to have "our Mom" back!  It's fun to see my parents with an empty nest for the first time.  I am so thankful for the many, many memories I have of her...