Saturday, June 30, 2012

cleeean!

You guys! Check out the "before" and "after" photos of my basement:



It took 3 years to actually make a play room in the basement.

SUPER SAD.

How do you keep the toy clutter down? Do you:
1. Throw new Christmas toys away the day after Christmas
2. Refuse to acknowledge your childrens' birthdays
3. Tell them that children in India really DO need that annoying flute Grandpa wittled by hand (FOR SOME REASON I ATTACH SUCH SENTIMENTALITY TO THINGS! I CAN'T GET RID OF THINGS!)
4. I think it'd be a good idea to have someone come in to my house once a year, an impartial paid observer, and just tell them to throw away what doesn't look important.

I may be missing a birth certificate or two, but the rest?

I probably wouldn't miss the rest.

Monday, June 25, 2012

chains

Asher was at soccer camp this morning. Then, he went to a friend's house to play.

He came home, flush-faced, exhausted.

I told him he had to say "please" before I gave him a hot dog.

He melted down.

I told him to go to his room, and he screamed and writhed around on his bed for about 20 minutes and then fell asleep. He slept two hours, and then he woke up.

He picked right up where he had left off:

screaming.

You'd think that the nap would have rejuvenated him; that he would have figured out that the screaming didn't need to continue...that he was free of the bondage of grumpiness.

His bedroom door was wide open and he was free to come downstairs, but he was the only one who didn't know it.

I see the parallels here.

Sometimes the one who wears the chains doesn't want to take them off.

They're comfort.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

In which the people-pleaser develops a backbone.

So. We still have Teapot...it's going fine, but she is two. Very, very two.

If you have had a two year old, just imagine for a minute.

Now, imagine that you are parenting someone else's two year old.

You didn't have this baby when she was a newborn, you didn't know what kinds of foods she preferred at 9 months or who was at her first birthday party. You don't know when she started walking, or how she likes to be put to bed.

Nothing. You have no information. As a foster parent, and, stepping in essentially *as her parent*, you have to learn the ropes.

Fast.

I'll switch to first person here.

So, I've been doing that. As a family, we've been doing that.

This next weekend, my brother and his girlfriend are coming in on Thursday. The social worker just randomly sets Teapot's visit with her mom, which I suppose is OK with me. I just make it work. I take her there, come home, put my kids down for their naps, sometimes wake them up if someone is still sleeping and we need to go get her.

Alot of foster parents have the social workers do the transport, but I haven't.

Anyway, Teapot's Dad gets her early in the morning on Friday mornings and keeps her until Sunday nights. It's worked well, and I actually drive to his neighborhood, 35 minutes away, to drop her off, because, well, he is a very likeable guy and she is very attached and he is where she's going, so why wouldn't I help him out?

Teapot's Mom pretty much just says when she'd like Teapot and I have, up until now, said that whatever day she has wanted works.

The social worker just emailed me and told me that Mom wants the visit to be on Friday. This won't work, as my brother's girflriend is coming in Thursday night and staying overnight with us. I don't want my day on Friday spent driving Teapot around to see her mom, and THEN driving the hour drive to drop her off with her dad.

I'm just not going to do it.

I told the social worker this, and she said that she was going to change Teapot's dad's visit to accomodate Mom.

I sent her another email saying that was fine, but I wasn't transporting Teapot anywhere.

I know, this doesn't seem like a big deal to you.

To me, it is.

I have four kiddos here at my home, and it's a lot of work. Up until this point I've always agreed to whatever. But then, when I think about my plans with my brother's girlfriend, I think that it's not fair to me to have to change that all around when Teapot's mom doesn't have ANY kids to watch during the week and yet we're supposed to change it all up for her.

NO.

I love saying 'no'.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

word problems

I have started writing about 43 different blog posts and delete each one.

Yesterday was a hard day for me. I've had a string of good days and yesterday was a bad one. I always get frustrated when I have a bad one and I have to remember that it's a journey, not a race. It doesn't mean I'm weaker or that there's something wrong with me - it just means I was sad.

Period.

Sometimes, for me at least, I get all caught up in, "Am I enjoying this moment enough? What if X, Y or Z happens? Are my kids enjoying their summer enough? Am I a good enough wife? What if something happened to Scott? Would he know I loved him? Huh? Huh? Huh?"

Scott told me the other day after I posed a bunch of "What if's?" to him that my brain works so fast on all of the "What if's?" that it's like I'm firing all of these word problems at myself and give myself no time to answer.

What if Billy has 4 apples and Dolly has 3 and...oh, wait...What if a train is barrelling along at 35 mph Northwest, and an antelope is walking along at 75.23 mph Southeast? Would a man walking 25mph from the center point to the east...wait, What if????????

I had a friend over yesterday I haven't seen in a really long time. It was SO awesome because we're at the same stage and we just talked about how much simpler life is when we focus on our own families and what WE'RE doing right now and stop all of the outside noise of how people expect us to be, or look, or act...

I'm considering another Facebook hiatus. She's not even on Facebook. Facebook is a real struggle for me.

Writing helps me sort out my head, alot of the time.

Tomorrow night I'm going out with my sister in law to eat at this Hipster place she and my brother introduced us to. Then, we're going to wander around Target and DSW Shoes. It sounds heavenly and I'm very excited for a little respite.

I'm busy planning Phoebe's first birthday party. Her party is going to be on the 14th, and I have a special outing planned with a friend on her actual birthday. I'm going to get something and you can probably already guess what it is!

Anyway. Time to get lunch on the table, and then we're going to run through the sprinkler.

No word problems allowed.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

putting the pieces

On Thursday morning I got to see one of my favorite people to see, Shrink Lady. I've seen her ever since I was pregnant with Asher and quite certain that he was going to die in my belly. I had no reason to believe that he would, only this overwhelming fear and an intense anxiety that only hours spent researching negative pregnancy outcomes on the computer would make go away - for very short periods of time.

this man is anxious because he forgot it was his Friday to bring the office donuts

I've been having more frequent bouts of crying lately, and lots of moments of anxiety. Something's been up and it's been time to get a little outside counsel.

So, I've seen this counselor for 6 years now. I had spent alot of time telling myself the following things, and hearing them from other people - and I still felt bad:

1. You have a perfectly healthy daughter and you survived the experience. Get over it.
2. Why would you be having nightmares about this? It's been 11 months! Again, get over it!
3. There are all kinds of people who have suffered much worse traumas than you experienced. Get some perspective, and...get over it.
4. You should feel excited that Phoebe's first birthday is coming up.
5. Stop dwelling on the negative.
6. Take the positives from that day and move on.
7. Get over it.

OK, so these are the things that have been going through my mind. I have also heard each one of these things from at least one well-meaning person within the last 11 months.

I used about 17 Kleenexes at Shrink Lady's on Thursday. I sobbed, and sobbed, and sobbed.

I'm so angry that I couldn't keep what happened from happening. I look on Facebook and other womens' blogs and see them planning these perfect births, these perfect experiences, and I'm angry mine went so very, very wrong. One thing she said to me really resonated:

Rachel - you learned time and time again that even our best-laid plains fail. Most women of childbearing age have wonderful experiences and they just assume that because they had planned, and because after they planned, their experiences matched up, it must have been all of THEIR planning and hard work that did it. You've been the main actor in the play entitled, 'Crap happens, no matter how hard you try to stop it'.

"YES!" I sobbed, mucus spewing everywhere. "THAT'S EXACTLY IT!"

she went on: "And let's face it. As happy as you are about your three wonderful children and amazing husband, your life has sucked for the last 7 years. And to have it all end on that even suckier note, well? Who wouldn't have alot to process after that?"

OH MY GOSH! YOU'RE SO RIGHT! YOU SHOULD BE A THERAPIST! oh. wait.

and some more wisdom: "Do you ever want to yell at people who tell you you were strong, 'Hey! I'm real! I have real wounds. They hurt! Just because it's over doesn't mean that I DON'T HURT!'"

OH MY GOODNESS SHRINK LADY CAN I MARRY YOU??????????

Let me tell you this: It's not about the birth. It's not about the trauma. It is, in general, I think, about how we respond when we had idea A of how our lives were supposed to go, and God has idea B, and we think idea B BLOWS BIG TIME.

Trying to marry idea A and idea B together in the face of a present reality that is so muchly (a word I just made up) different from what we are presently experience HURTS.

The people who know me best always know when to tell me it's time to go to Shrink Lady. I was praying about it all the other day (prayer usually happens while I'm cleaning the kitchen), and it was somewhere between the puddle of melted butter on the floor and the dirt caked on the side of the refrigerator that I asked God the question, "Where do I go from here? What am I supposed to learn from this?"

and I felt it nudging my heart: "You can be vulnerable. You can fall apart. Stop trying to be strong."

and then I cried some more.

There's definitely been a pride component in some of what I've been feeling. I want to take this raw information that my brain has stored somewhere, the memories that keep coming back to me of July 19 when everything started to go wrong, and turn them into something that makes sense. I WANT IT TO MAKE SENSE, DAMMIT, AND I WANT TO DO IT MYSELF.

A few days after God and I met on my kitchen floor I read this verse:

"You will keep the man in perfect peace who trusts in You!" Isaiah 26:3

The component that has been missing in my grief, anger and frustration over what happened has been my trust in God.

If I'm real honest with myself, I'll tell you that I've got lots of anger about what happened that day. I've tried to candy-coat it with all of my "but at least" statements, but each time I say one of them to myself or someone else tells them to me I want to punch something.

Hard.

Just a friendly note: If someone is grieving something or someone, please PLEASE please DO NOT say, "but at least" in an attempt to make things better. Just say, "This sucks."

So, yah. It's where I am right now.

Lots of anxiety over her upcoming birthday, lots of things to work through. I have decided to take over the party planning this year (my mother in law usually does it), because I need desperately to have control over SOMETHING, even something so trite, this year.

God speaks to my heart in whispers, usually - but that day, He spoke to me in a resounding shout.

As I pick up the pieces of the puzzle and place them where they go onto the table, I start to see a picture the "me before that day" would never have been able to see.

I'm angry about it, but I'm grateful for it.

He can redeem anything.




Wednesday, June 13, 2012

paging C. LaEase

C. LaEase...please email me at pipsersmom@gmail.com

bracelet giveaway!


Hi, my name is Tamara and I own Tamara Kay's Boutique!  I am so excited that Rachel decided to host this give away on her blog! 

I am excited to give away this particular bracelet.  Some days you just need to be reminded that this life is not just boring, hurt filled, plain, or that things that need to change never will.  We all have every reason to believe that miracles are real and that even if today is filled will pain tomorrow doesn't have to be.



Anyway, back to the give away.  Today we are starting a give away featuring the bracelet pictured above.  It has "Expect Miracles" printed on it and I am going to be giving it away to one of YOU!

Here is what you need to do, first, you need to become a follower on Rachel's blog if you are not already.  Then you need to jump over to my website/blog (http://encourageoneanotherjewelry.blogspot.com) and become a follower there.  Then, leave a comment here letting me know you are following my page.  For an extra entry, follow Rachel's blog as well!

That's it!

The contest will end on this Sunday the 17th and we will be choosing a winner at 5 pm that evening.

Good luck!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I am an addict.

I love sugar.

From the moment I first suckled at my mother's breast, I was done for.

Sugar. Any form. Any way. An IV of sucralose? yes, please.

I love it.

Usually, the way it works is this: I have something really sweet for breakfast, but I'll have a little bit of it. Then it sits on the counter because, you see, I've made it "for the family". BWAHAHAHAHA!

2 pm hits and, after Asher has pulled a Mike Tyson on Lucy's ear and I've sent him to his room, the banana bread beckons me from under its encumbering Saran Wrap atop the stove.

"Oh, I'll help you, Banana Bread! I'll be there in a flash!"

I am.

I SO am.

You see, sugar doesn't steal my sheets. It doesn't get frustrated when there's no dinner on the table, or poop its pants, or tell me it's disappointed in me.

Sugar always tells me I'm beautiful, and I can walk out of the room and leave it unsupervised. Know this: Donuts are always better after being left out to harden a bit on the outside all day.

So.

When I am emotional (like I currently am), I just go all out. Yesterday was a GRAND day for Weight Watchers. I stayed on plan, and I planned to have ONE little sweet at Vacation Bible School last night.

4 Maple Cream Cookies, 3 pieces of vanilla fudge, a full glass of Coke, some more cookies and half a bowl of miniature candy bars later, I was...

mad at myself.

And, again, when upset with myself, I turn to sugar. Sugar will always welcome me with open arms.

Of course, sugar also causes me to say, "Oh, I'm dieting, I don't need to sit down and eat with everyone for dinner!" and then my frustrated husband says, "Well, you're just going to eat sweets later!"

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrroooooooooooowl.

That is my stomach, searching for its next sugar molecule.

Is sugar an element on the periodic table? If not, that is a crime against humanity.

I'm addicted to sugar.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

One year looming

Today I loaded up the kids and we went to Costco. Two potty breaks and 7 refills later, we were at the pet store choosing between feeder fish and a sick hermit crab. The kids each got two feeder fish and thought they had won the lottery.

I have been feeling lots of things but wonder what's meant for my bedside journal (don't have one) and what's meant for this blog. I don't know.

I feel like my grief and sadness was gone, I was busy, I was free, and then a few circumstances started it barreling back. I feel like I keep going down that stupid freaking rabbit hole. What if I didn't stop the baby aspirin early enough? What if I had tried for a vbac?

 What about my future health? What about all of the literature that says that sometimes women in my position go into earlier menopause and as a result die earlier? Both of my grandmas turn 100 this summer. I'd always said I wouldn't want to live that long. :)

I now have a whole new set of health concerns that I'm apparently supposd to just sweep under the rug. People are tired of hearing about it so I just shut up. Maybe that commenter was right. Maybe, like that well-meaning person I wanted to punch in the face said, "you're focusing too much on the negative."

Or, maybe this is just pressure I put on myself. Maybe no one is saying any of those things (well, ok...only a few people)...but maybe the most pressure is coming from me.

So anyway, after that whole lovely exchange I cried in front of every one and felt like an idiot. Maybe I need to "just focus more on the positive." Maybe that would make it easier for everyone else.

I know one-year-anniversaries are hard. I can feel it in my bones - it's coming up and it's about to bowl me over.

Nothing to see here...

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Lunchtime

Teapot is leaving soon. Life has been crazy here but we sure will miss her.

Monday, June 4, 2012

an apple love affair

I love beer, but I usually feel guilty drinking it. So far, since April 22, I've lost 12 pounds on Weight Watchers. I'm always looking for "adult" drinks that have 0 points+ points.

I whipped out my classy wine glasses (beer in a wine glass - obviously you haven't read my blog for too long, my fine friends, if this surprises you) and tried it out:

you know you want my manicure
yes, friend, I still haven't finished the book you loaned me which is lying in the background of this picture


I'm not sure why there's a sponge on the sofa table, but....beer!

look at all of the yummy bubbles!!!! a tasty treat, to be sure!

When I discovered Michelob Ultra Hard Apple Cider, it almost sounded too good to be true. Their website states:

Michelob ULTRA Light
• Tastes crisp, light and refreshing
• Can be enjoyed straight or over a glass of ice
• Offers a less sweet, lower calorie alternative to traditional ciders
• Is naturally sweetened and made from hand-picked apples

I kind of figured the stuff would taste like someone poured a package of aspartame into an old can of Michelob Lite.

I was wrong.

The fresh apples on the beer label didn't mislead me; this stuff literally tastes like someone took some just-picked Granny Smith apples, squeezed them into a juice, let it ferment, and God turned it into a beer.

(Yes, I know. My extensive knowledge of beer-making techniques is to be highly coveted. Learn more at next year's Beer Summit where I will be presenting my speech entitled, "The random wine glass: Oh, the 0 points+ point beers you can enjoy while watching your children re-enact scenes from Mel Gibson's "The Patriot" and coloring the walls with that nearly-dead blue marker you should have just tossed.")

Anyway.

I. LOVE. THIS. BEER. I can drink it without feeling like I'm ruining my day, because it is so low calorie! 3.2 carbs! Doesn't water have more carbs?

I have actually bought another pack of it. It was that good.


Which favorite summer meal or activity do you think would go best with Michelob ULTRA Cider?

Raquetball? Midnight feedings (for you, not the baby)? Do tell!

Read more at BlogHer's Michelob ULTRA Hard Apple Cider page here. Read more at the sponsor's site here.

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