Sunday, March 28, 2010

It's Palm Sunday

The season of Lent, and Easter, for whatever reason, has become my favorite time of year. Partially it's because it signals the beginnings of new life (two of my boys were born in May); partially it's because the days are getting longer and brighter, the earth is renewing itself, and I can be outside more; and partially because of the meaning of Easter itself--of sacrifice, of unconditional love, of forgiveness, of rebirth.  The Easter story has always resonated in my heart with feelings of joy and sorrow.  As a child, I stood in awe at the pagentry of Palm Sunday, with the palm branches waving, being a child in a white robe singing the familiar hymns and songs of praise, and listening so carefully to the message being preached.  Next came the solemnity of the Last Supper being instituted, and as an early adolescent in confirmation class, I learned the importance of what it really meant symbolically, rather than it just being an act everyone does every Sunday.  It began to make sense to me why my Mom would prayerfully decide whether she was taking communion or not, based on where she was at emotionally and what she was thinking; and why she took that time to pray after communion instead of returning immediately to the acts of the service.  Then there was Good Friday itself.  I think the first time I really understood the horror of what "death on the cross" was, I was appalled and "grossed out". (I have never seen the movie "The Passion of the Christ"--Mel Gibson's movie). That feeling only magnified when I became a mother, and I placed myself with Mary at the foot of the cross.  How did she bear it? I don't know that I could!

And the joy of Easter Sunday.  The hymns of triumph and praise, the cleanness and newness of the white drapes around the cross, the pretty dresses and new shoes, the celebration of the forgiveness of sins and the hope of ressurection... Not to mention the easter egg hunts, the candy, the treats, and the wonderful family dinner.  As a Preacher's kid, the reason for Easter always overshadowed the secular, but we were never forbidden from enjoying both.  Easter began the "new year" in the church cycle, and it made sense of all that preceded it, as well as added layers of meaning to what comes next.  To this day, the hymns of the lenten season and of Holy Week make me cry, being layered as they are with so many memories from growing up. We sang them as a family around the piano, we sang them as a family in church, we sang many of them in Sunday school classrooms in preparation for church services, and when I hear them, they fill me with joy, with comfort, with nostalgia.

I didn't go to church today, but that doesn't mean I am not remembering.  I have those familiar hymns running through my head as I type this, and I feel at such peace with how our day has gone so far.  The girls got up early this morning and made a waffle and bacon breakfast for Eric as he got home from work.  They also cleaned the kitchen from top to bottom (including cleaning up after themselves from cooking this morning!) and they had made dinner last night so it was ready when I got home from work.  I was so touched by all they did!  Eric had a nice breakfast with the girls before he went to bed (I didn't get up with them--I wanted them to have that special time with "just daddy").  After breakfast they all went (back) to bed.  When I came downstairs to make coffee, the bacon was covered and ready for me to reheat, and the waffle batter and the griddles were ready to make my own; the rest of the kitchen was clean and welcoming, and I made coffee, ate my breakfast, and am enjoying my thoughts. (Desite the fact that there is a boy sleeping on the couch in the living room who doesn't live here--he spent the night with Patrick and Patrick has apparently gone upstairs to bed, leaving Jared down here with me...)

Life is feeling better? More hopeful? On track? I am not sure how exactly to describe it. I of course, am relieved that I got my paper done. I earned a grade of 94/100 on it, and I am very pleased.  Most of the scores fell into the "distinquished" category, and the two I lost points on (3 each) still left me in the "proficient" category.  I feel like such a weight has been lifted from my shoulders.  I still need to figure out the internship piece (and will be calling the school for advice/direction as I don't necessarily want to lose my financial aid if I don't take a class next term)...   But I am feeling content, that I have come full circle with my topic, my proposal, my education.  I took something I began the process of learning about in my undergraduate program, applied it to my real life experiences, and proposed a study that would move things in a new direction or application.  I don't say it often, and in fact, I struggle to say it most of the time, but I am feeling very proud of myself!  This IS a huge accomplishement, and it IS something I have worked very hard on.  Where I will go from here is in God's hands, but I feel like I have done something significant that I set out to do.  I know it isn't over yet, but I feel like I have reached a safe plateau to rest and review for a bit.

On a totally separate subject, I am really struggling right now with how to write this, because I want to explain myself as supportively and tactfully as I can.  Aurora called her mom last night, when she was home alone, and had words with her.  She told her mom that she didn't want to go to IN for Easter, that if her mom tried to take her by force she would never speak to her again, and that if she took her against her will, she would claim she was being kidnapped.  At least, that is the description I was given when I got home last night.  A part of the issue is that her mom is entitled, by the divorce decree, to have Aurora for half of her spring break, which constitutes 5 days total (Maundy Thursday thru Easter Monday). Aurora has a track meet on both that Friday and that Monday, so her mom stated she would pick her up Saturday morning, and bring her back Monday (so she would be home before the meet).  Unfortunately, that meant that Aurora would be missing another Easter with us (she was with her mom last year as well), along with some plans that had been made with Brie for celebrating Brie's birthday as a family (because Eric is off next weekend), and some other things she had been looking forward to down here.  We had made the offer that her mom could come down Thursday, and we would put her up in a hotel room through Saturday, so she could have her time as well as go to the track meet (in other words, be a part of Aurora's life), but that wasn't feasible for her, and she also stated that there was no specification in the decree's language of which half of the break she was entitled to--which there isn't.  I guess we just assumed it would be split into first or second half.  Eric was trying to negotiate with his ex so that Aurora's wishes could be accommodated, but that she would also spend time with her mom, and then was planning to talk to Aurora, to see if he/we could convince her that she should spend time with her mom (we both agree that it is important for the kids to have a relationship with her), however, it was taken out of Eric's hands when his ex called Aurora directly, after hanging up with Eric, and TOLD Aurora what the plans would be on Friday night.  Aurora was so upset and angry when she got off the phone, and she didn't want to listen to compromises or options as she and I talked.  I am not sure when she made her decision in calling her mom, but it was totally her own idea, and she expressed her own stance, no one elses'.

When I took Aurora and Patrick home from bowling yesterday I was talking to the kids, counseling patience and understanding with their mom, that she loves them, and she wants to spend time with them, and that I feel sorry for her that she has alienated them by some of her own decisions and actions.  I encouraged them to be forgiving and to try to see things from her perspective, but it's hard for them. I know I would be devasted if my kids felt about me the way they feel about her, and I realize that these are all things that occurred within their relationship long before I was even a part of this family.  I just hate strife, and discord.  I have such empathy for their mother, and yet I cannot change things she created on her own, and sowed the seeds for long ago.  Her parenting style is so different from my own, and I don't really know her well, so I am hesitant to judge.  I do realize though, that these kids have some very strong opinions and feelings right now, and that these feelings are valid and color how they in turn act.  Which leaves me in a place of trying to support their positions while also encouraging them to forge new relationships, perhaps built on better (or more equitable) ground.  It's really hard though, because I can see both sides, and I feel for all of them. Their mom has essentially broken  her relationships with all three kids now, and only time is going to be able to repair them.  It makes me sad, but as my dear friend was saying on her blog, sometimes the choices we make in life takes us to a point from which there is no return and life is irrevocably changed.  It can be moved on from, it can be made different, but it will never be what it once was.  This is one of those points for all of us.

Well, the girls are both up and wanting to chat, and we just decided we would go shopping for Brie's birthday--she needs some clothes that fit her (e.g. basketball shorts, a pair or two of maternity slacks, and some looser fitting tops).  I also need a few things at JoAnn's because it's Employee Friend's and Family weekend--20% off through today--and I need some quilt batting, and a couple of cuts of fabric for Ms. Alexis' dresses.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

It's gonna be a girl! (Pictures posted with the momma's permission)

A profile view

The infamous "gender identity shot"Another profile shot.

Yesterday Brie had her ultrasound.  Eric tried so hard to stay up to go with us, but alas, his body gave up the ghost before we left and he was out cold in seconds of laying down...  Anyhow, Brie went back with the tech, and I sat patiently waiting in the waiting room, working on my 2-at-a-time socks (using the magic loop technique: one loooooong circular needle to knit with) and chatting briefly with another woman (who commented on my knitting); Anyhow, the tech came back to the room and called...  For ME!  (The base ultrasound generally does not allow spectators in the room for their tests).  I got worried, and went back with him, to see Brie sitting on the edge of the table, wiping off her belly, and proudly announcing she had pictures (the ones above), and that "Daddy got his wish--it's a girl!" to which I responded "Yay!  Another little Princess!" (Brie booed at this point--she doesn't want a fru-fru princess; she wants a rough and tumble tom-boy!). Anyhow, the tech had her lay back down, re-gooped her belly (technical term, lol) and showed me the highlights of the ultrasound, live action no less!  I got to see all 4 chambers of her heart, and the fact that she has a full tummy; I saw her spine, her face, both arms and legs; she was a squiggly squirmy little peanut, and she even stretched out full length as we were watching (like her mama, she is already a camera ham...).  I was so touched to be included in this very special event, and it meant so much to me.  Just as Eric's children are already "children of my heart", so too is this baby.

I asked Brie her name, given I really didn't like the first one being bandied about (same name as some of our harder girls at the treatment center--so bad memories associated) and answered "Skye Noel".  Very pretty, very simple, and yet unique.  Brie and I then went out to breakfast, and had a wonderful 2+ hour chat about everything--what we are going to need for baby things, what her plans for the future are, and just random discussion as one thing led into another.  It was fantastic, and I feel so much better about where her head is at finally.  Obviously many things remain in the air, but at least dialogues are begun and we can move forward from here.  I am very excited to have another grandbaby to love, and 5 months will go quickly.  Our little peanut currently weighs approx 7 oz, and I forget what they said length is; she is gestationally 17 weeks 6 days old (by her measurements) and it puts her due date relatively on track (about a week later than is scheduled, but dates are only approximations anyway). 

We immediately started sharing the news, Brie on facebook (and got like 15 comments in 5 minutes), and me by phone; Eric is very pleased with the news that the baby is healthy and right where she needs to be.  So we are gonna have a girl!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sunday addendum

Sunday afternoon, and what a productive day it has been so far, despite the cold and rain.  I got the kitchen counters cleaned up and did up all the dishes, and I also decided to take out the corner squares on my quilt medallion and reinsert larger ones.  Despite having cut the squares to the size on the pattern, they just ended up being too small.  So an hour later with the seam ripper, and another 45 mins to an hour later to set them and sew them it, and it was ready to be trimmed up and the first border added on (a solid border).  The next border will be pieced, and I haven't started cutting it out yet, but perhaps later today I will...  Eric is up now, so I want to spend some time with him too.

The birds have rediscovered my feeders in the front (I didn't fill them faithfully over the winter) and it's fun to see them in the tree and around it.  Our maple is doing wonderfully, and is all a-bud.  I cannot wait to see if it looks fuller and healthier now that it has been in the ground for almost a year.  Last year even after planting it the leaves were sorta tiny and stunted.  We also need to repair my big bird feeder--after the gale winds of late last summer it got blown into the yard and one of the side walls cracked.  Eric thinks we can just glue and nail it and it will be good as new again.  It's on his to-do list...

It's amazing how relaxed I feel these last few days!  I had taken the week off so that I could finish my paper uninterrupted, and then when I checked on the schedule for this week I only work on Friday and Saturday.  I got called and asked to take a beginning knitting class on Tuesday morning as well (the scheduled teacher won't teach just one student--whereas I prefer to have a smaller class!) so I will get a few hours that way too.  Eric let me order the new scroll rods set up for my system 4 needlework stand (my wonderful Mother in law probably remembers a couple years ago when he made me a frame for it--the scroll frame was great, but HEAVY for it and it kept bowing at the clamp). It should arrive in the next few weeks and I am so excited for it!  I love that stand and how adaptible it can be (with the right parts on it).  Anyhow, just wanted to take a minute to say life is good, and I am so content!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y Night!

It is a quiet night here.  Patrick is out with friends, Brie is home (and exhausted) after a day at drill, and Aurora is vegging on the couch (while Brie hangs out on the loveseat) watching a movie.  Rei is at a Winterguard competition for the evening.  One more weekend of competitions for him, and then they are done for the season.  Eric is at work.  Technically, it's his weekend off, but he took Friday and Saturday nights for a co-worker who needed Wednesday and Thursday off. 

Eric and I had a really nice day on Thursday.  We went out to lunch, then ran a few errands, and went to a movie.  We saw Shutter Island and it was really good! There were twists to it that were unexpected, but only added to how good the movie was.  My guess is it wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea, but Eric and I really liked it.  We were talking to a neighbor about it having some twists, and he offered us the movie Law Abiding Citizen...  I didn't really care for it.  It was another movie with twists that were unexpected, but for me the violence in it was too much (I prefer subtler suspense).  The premise of the movie was thought provoking, but overall, I just didn't care for it.  I don't like movies with graphic personal violence (I can handle building blowing up, or cars, things that are not human or graphically human).  Just my opinion...  Now on the other hand, Eric and I got the first season of True Blood (a Vampire/shapeshifter serial made by Showtime(?)) and I cannot wait to see that...  I have heard great things about it and I have read all nine of the books (to date) that the show is based on.  But unfortunately I promised Eric I wouldn't watch it without him, so I am sitting here bored tonight with Law and Order on in the background.

I took the Aurora and Patrick to bowling this morning, and Patrick had an average of 211 for the 4 games; Aurora had a 174 average. This was lower than her "current" average, of 183, but she didn't seem too upset with about it--normally she gets really frustrated if she doesn't meet her personal expectations.  Then she came home and napped for the afternoon.  When I got home I started working on my new project, a quilt I am making for my niece for her graduation.  I got the central medallion done and while it is lovely to look at, the piecing isn't perfect, and I am a bit bummed by that.  It isn't worth taking it apart and re-doing it--I think it is essentially a problem I am still working on mastering--cutting things out so that they piece perfectly.  I do my best, and like I said, I am ok with it--the pictures I took of it on my phone look good.  But I wish it were perfect.  Some day I will master this!  I pieced it on the sewing machine, which I do enjoy doing (although that is point 2 in things going together well--handpiecing is more accurate for me...) Anyhow, the first section is done.  I will work on the next part tomorrow while Eric is sleeping.

Liisa called me and grossed me out: she just stopped her big dogs from playing tug-o'war with a dead (limp) squirrel in her back yard.  She doesn't know if the dog-babies killed it or found it dead, but they were "enjoying" it when she saw them.  Fortunately they listen to her really well and when she told them to drop it and come, they did.  She said she needs to find someone to pick up the "body" for her--like me she doesn't do dead animals very well.  She made me laugh though when she described the dogbabies standing on the landing of the stairs, staring out at the backyard at their "toy" as it laid there in plain sight...  Ick!

Anyhow, I think it's time to pour my last glass of wine, find my book, and make it an early night. I am really worn out and think a quiet night would be heavenly. 

Happy spring everyone!  We are supposed to get possible snow tonight after having a gorgeous day yesterday (in the low 70's)...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My Paper is DONE and SUBMITTED!!!!!


I am so very happy and relieved to have it finished! I looked at the calendar for the class this afternoon after submitting it, and discovered that it isn't actually due until Friday--I was positive it was due by 5 p.m. today (and I had it done in time).  I am still relieved it is done before the deadline, and that I don't need to rush or worry anymore.

I put my heart and soul into writing this paper, and I am very satisfied by the finished product. 

Now it's time to relax.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

On the final count-down...

My paper is due tomorrow at 5 p.m.  I am plugging away at it, although to be honest I have not started on it yet today (and it's almost noon....)  My stomach has been in knots as I work towards completing it.  I know it's silly, but this is such a huge thing for me, and I have so much emotionally invested into it.  I am probably making this harder on myself than I need to be, but I feel like so much is riding on it and doing it right.  I am planning to work my way through it shortly--I am trying to get the miscellany out of the way first so that it isn't tempting me to stray. 

Rei has been home from school two days now due to vomitting.  I think he is on the mend today--his coloring looks better now than it has been, and his attitude is better too.  Yesterday he couldn't even sit up without feeling dizzy and nauseous.  Brie has her ob appointment today, this afternoon.  Eric is gonna go with her to hear the baby's heartbeat.  I am hoping she asks about her itching (it seems better finally, after three weeks of complaints), and we would love to have her going to bed at a specific time and getting up at a reasonable time; she complains she cannot sleep, but seems to sleep fine during the day...  I do hope she gets her insurance stuff figured out soon too or this will be her last covered appointment. 

The rest of the kids are doing fine, and I think I need to get focused on my paper.  Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Daylight's Savings Time

I just can't get too excited about it.  It has my body all confused and discombobulated!  I got up to the clock saying it was far later than my body felt it was (the kids too for that matter), and I just can't seem to stay motivated on anything!  I have been working on my paper, and it is coming along fine--I am very pleased with my progress.  But I also feel like I am off kilter somehow and that the day is slipping away from me. 

Brie bowled in a Pro-Am tournament last night with a friend (at the base bowling alley) and she won the ladies tournament--got $80 for high scores!  We are very proud of her!  She went to the award ceremony this afternoon and was quite pleased with her scores.  She beat her friend's score by one pin.  Tonight she bought us all subway for dinner, then took Rei and Aurora bowling with her.  It's so nice to see her getting out and getting some activity in that is good for her.  I worked an extra hour last night because we were so busy at work and am glad I now have all of this week off.  I have a lot planned for myself to accomplish, and I am looking forward to having my paper done so I can do "fun" stuff.

Otherwise, not too much is new here.  I am personally feeling the effects of stress--my head and my tummy are not happy--but it's par for the course with all that I have going on right now.  The family is being wonderfully supportive and I couldn't ask for more!  Eric starts his new classes on Monday, and will be in class monday, tuesday, and friday evenings for the next 10 (or is it 12?) weeks or so.  And I am thrilled that my in-laws are coming to visit us just after Easter!  It's going to be wonderful to see them.  They are coming for "Grandma's" 100th birthday on the 8th of April.  I am also planning a trip to MN in the not too distant future.  Tony offered to fly me to MN so I can make him "shepherd's pie", cuz "no one makes it like my mama does!" and I can tell he is missing me as much as the little ones are.  Justin told me that I can stay at his house and sleep in his bed, cuz his "bed is comfy enough for three!" My guess is he means him, me, and Alexis all in one bed.  I just laughed!

Ok, back to reactive attachment disorder!  I have to keep going!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Friday night...

It's a girl's night tonight.  Patrick is working 'til close, Eric is working 'til morning, and Rei is at winterguard practice (they have another competition tomorrow).  There is no youth bowling tomorrow morning (in some regards, I am relieved, because I need to continue on my paper), and I work tomorrow afternoon.  Anyhow, Aurora, Brie, and I sat and watched tv together on my bed for awhile, had dinner together, then did our own thing for a bit.

I am over my writer's block and things are coming together fairly well on my paper.  It is due Wednesday at 5 pm CST and I am on course to have it done and ready to go.  I am anxious, excited, and stoked to see how it all comes together grade-wise.  It has been a challenge beyond alot of things I have ever done.  I think it does a nice job of showcasing my education and personal experiences in a scholarly manner.  Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Eric is done with his term now, and he'll start his BA program (with all of his AA credits going towards it as he is staying at ITT tech) next week.  The kids have two weeks left in their term, then the spring quarter begins.  Brie is excited that Eric will be able to go with her to her next appointment (Tuesday) and he can hear the baby's heartbeat too.  That will be special for both of them.  I know how thrilled I was to be there with her last month.  She is barely starting to show now--has the tiniest of bellies.  She does need a few new things to wear but is refusing to get any maternity clothes at this point (I suggested some might be beneficial if she has job interviews/employment).  She plans to get a bunch of guy's basketball style shorts and just wear those.  We'll see. 

Rei just got home and he has another bag for me to embroider before their show tomorrow morning...  Then I need to go to bed!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Saturday Musings...

This is my horoscope for today:

Saturday, Mar 6th, 2010 -- Just as everything was beginning to settle down, your life becomes hectic again. But it's not necessarily unpleasant; it's just overflowing with a variety of activities that don't give you a chance to get your much-needed relaxation. Nevertheless, there still are choices you can make throughout the day that have a calming effect if you stop long enough to consider your options.

Isn't that the truth!  Life is feeling pretty full at the moment.  Eric is at youth bowling with Patrick and Aurora, and Reimond is on his way to Chicago with the Winterguard.  He won't be home until tomorrow evening.  My hours have picked up at work, both a blessing (we can always use the money) and a curse (it's a time drain because of when I work).  I still have my paper to finish, and Eric is now close to being done with all his finals.  It has been really nice having him home this week, despite the fact that we have had so much going on, and it will be hard to settle back into the routine of his being on nights for a few weeks (he made a request for strictly day shifts for the upcoming term and it was accepted--his three classes are all evening classes as he starts his bachelor's program).

The "musing" part of this entry is in relation to another blog I was reading over this last week, written by a pastor's wife, who is also mother to a fairly good-sized tribe of kids, all of whom were adopted by her and her spouse.  She recently had some fairly serious medical issues and in her reflecting on various things, she made some points that hit home with me that I have taken to heart.  Specificially, extending grace to those around us, and praying for small specific guidances and needs vs. only the "big picture" items.

I have always said that I live by God's grace, and he has never let me down.  But do I extend that same grace to others? Or do I let my own selfishness and pettiness get in the way of offering unconditional love and grace to those around me? Her example was that they have some young adult children who live at home or are moving back home for a period of time, and how they have received (un)soliticited advice about how they should be firmer in cutting the strings, or have rigid rules for what living at home entails (if they even allow said moves to take place), and for those still living at home, they should be punted out of the nest and forced to manage on their own. 

Her response to this was that all responses should be offered and tempered with grace: loving, flexible understanding, that has parameters, but not limits, and that each should be individual to the circumstances, without strings attached or expectation of "reward" (similar to the grace God extends to us, through his son).  I shared some of this with Eric as I was reading it, because it hit me like a two by four where it counts.  We have struggled so hard between us with all that Brie is facing and going through right now, and ALL of us (meaning family, friends, and others) have opinions on how we (or she) should be handling things.  But maybe God needs for her, and for us, to be in this place right now, at this time, for a reason, and instead of fighting it, protesting it, or railing against it, we need to accept with grace that this is as it is and move forward--extending grace and love rather than censure and frustration.  Perhaps she isn't doing things as we would do (or have her do) but she is doing them as best she can right now.  Only she knows where her heart and thoughts are, and if she need needs this time to figure things out, perhaps the best thing we can offer her is the safety and security she needs to do so.  As I said, it was mind opening.  I have always strived to accept the tasks that God asks of me with an open and willing heart, but sometimes I need a kick in the behind to follow through...

Her other point, about praying for (or about) the little things made so much sense to me too, along with the story she told to go with it.  Essentially, she suggested that when we break our prayers down into specific bite-sized pieces it is easier to see God's hand in the answers, than when we just offer up a blanket prayer for whatever.  That isn't to say we shouldn't be asking for his will to be done, in his own time, and to serve his purpose; there is a place for those prayers too.  But when we offer up specific needs as they are occurring, it is sometimes amazing to see how they are answered (as small "coincidences" or "random luck") where we might not have otherwised recognized God's hand in the mix.  I can't count the number of times I was feeling lonely or lost and I got a phone call or an email out of the blue that lifted me up when I least expected it (as many of you know I have a hard time reaching out when in a funk--I don't like to whine and complain.  Vent at time for sure--but not cry).  Essentially her point was that it is easy to overlook God's hand in the day to day functioning of our lives if we don't have our eyes open for it, and that it is all too easy to attribute God's grace to our own "good fortune" or doings...  Again, it made sense to me at a time I needed to hear it.  There is much I offer up in prayer as I go about my day (I keep a running dialogue in my head with God many times a day), but I often forget to pause for his responses.  They are there though, in the little things, if we have our eyes and our hearts open.  It was a good reminder to me.

I like to follow various blogs because I love to hear what other people have to say about their lives, their beliefs, their activities...  Some make me realized how blessed I am, others remind me that there is more I could be doing; some offer me great ideas and inspiration about things I am interested in (my hobbies or lifestyle changes), and all have those kernals of truth: that no one's life is exactly the same, but emotions are universal yet we all respond differently.  I find it fascinating to see some of these "snapshots" of other lives and experiences.

Anyhow, those are the things that are floating through my mind today as I go about my chores this morning, then ready for work.  I actually have a 6 hour shift today, and I have to do some shopping too--double employee discount days yesterday and today!  I promised Liisa I would pick up a couple of new cartridges for her Cricut while they are on sale and I have the discount available; and I need to replace some embroidery needles, tear away stabilizer, and thread (from doing those bags for the drill team).  Butterick patterns are also on sale, so I want to browse their book and see if anything appeals to me... Work is nuts right now because we are heading into the "Coupon Bonanza" starting Sunday, and inventory, and we have been running short handed...  I come home from work ready to drop! And I work all weekend (Friday, today, and tomorrow).  

We had the closing yesterday on the refinance, and I can finally say that this house is now "mine" too.  I hadn't realized how heavily it had weighed on me that my name wasn't on it jointly (Eric's ex's was) until the paperwork was signed and Eric said "now it is legally your house!" Then it was like a huge boulder had been lifted off my heart and I could look around here with new eyes, and perhaps even a greater investment in making changes and personalizing it.  I will admit, I have been struggling with homesickness something fierce this last week.  I have been really missing my mom, my sister, my son, Andrea, and the babies...  I haven't been back since October and I miss them all so much.  Having Liisa here was wonderful and helped immensely, but I need to hug everyone else too! (I miss my brothers and their families too, but it's not the same relationship as I have with Kristi or my mom).  

Now I have to get moving--I have less than 2 hours before I head to work!  Thanks for letting me ramble!


Thursday, March 4, 2010

Just a quick update about nothing in particular.

I realized that I haven't updated for a few days so I figured I would post something so people know we are doing fine.  I think everyone is over whatever bug Aurora had last weekend (Rei was home sick for a day and a half, and Brie was also under the weather).  Eric and I have been fine.  Eric is enjoying his vacation such as it is, and has gotten lots done for school (finals week).  He is "graduating" with his AA the end of March, and is trying to decide if he wants to walk or not.  He is enrolled now in the BA program (still criminal justice, still at ITT tech) and begins classes for that in a couple of weeks.  His credits to date will all transfer forward to that program.

I am not terribly far ahead on my paper--family obligations and work schedules are interferring, but I will be fine.  I have a handle on things now and that helps immensely.  Today my "job" is to embroider the names of 18 students onto their duffle bags for the Winterguard drill team so that they are ready for drill practice tonight...  I really need to get going on it, although it shouldn't take more than a couple of hours to do.  I will also focus on laundry since I will be right next to the laundry room as I work.  Might as well multitask as I let my machine do the hard stuff!  Today is the embroidery club meeting at Jackman's and I missed this morning's version of it; hopefully there will be a "younger crowd" (meaning closer to my age) at the evening meeting... 

I took Patrick over yesterday to retake his permit test in preparation for getting his license (his permit had lapsed).  Unfortunately we needed to have with us a "piece of mail addressed to him that had come through the postal service to verify his home address/residency".  We didn't have that with us.  Blech!  Now we need to make another trip next week to take care of this.  My goal is to have him licensed by summer (so that he can help with driving/drive himself to work etc.).  Aurora needs more time behind the wheel before she is eligible for her license, but we need to focus on that as well. 

We got the Pilot back from the dealership the end of last week and it is now all fixed.  The cost was not as bad as we were guesstimating, but it was bad enough.  Thank goodness for insurance.  We close on the house refinance on Friday afternoon, and got called with the final numbers yesterday.  They are not as low as one estimate we had been given (because that was without the escrow added in) but it will be saving us over $300 a month, so that is all to the good.  I am glad we are doing it, and that I will finally be on the house title (a fear of mine--that I would be "homeless") instead of the ex...  Speaking of ex's, mine called and said I should see a child support payment sometime this week. I have checked daily and so far there hasn't been one, but I also know these things can take up to a week or so to process.  Have my fingers crossed!

Almost noon.  I guess I need to get moving on my day--there is lots to accomplish!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Another gloomy Monday!

What is it about Mondays lately around here?  They are dark and grey and gloomy!  Today is an odd sort of Monday anyway, as it is an "Illinois" state holiday, and there is no school--celebrating/commemorating some Polish dude I know nothing about, other than the kids get a day off from school in his honor.  Thus, at almost 11 am, everyone in the house is still in bed (I think--I did hear someone downstairs just a little bit ago).  

Eric took this week off to finish up stuff for his finals week.  He is off at class this morning, and will spend the day there as he also has class this evening.  He has some things to finish up on, and will be done by Wednesday for this term.  I too need to start kicking it into high gear as I have about 3 weeks or so to get my paper done and turned in.  I am doing ok on it, just still struggling a bit with judicious editing.  My biggest issue right now is that I write best when I am left to my own devices and it is quiet, and that has been at a premium around here (quiet alone time).  There is a part of me that really misses living so close to the U of M libraries that were open at random hours where I could go set up at a big table and just "be" away from the distractions of chores, tv sets, and interruptions.  I really don't have anything similar around here that I can go to for hiding at.  Oh well, self-discipline is an asset, or so "they" say, and I have my Zune to pop in my ears (microsoft's answer to the ipod) with soothing instrumental music that blocks out some distractions. It's charged and ready to go!

Not much to report on the kid front this week.  Things are pretty much status quo.  Aurora was supposed to be at a science olympiad this past Saturday, but she was throwing up on Friday night, and ended up staying home cuz she was sick.  She is feeling better, and has taken the weekend nice and slow.  Rei went to Rockford for a winterguard competition; the group came in 4th, and he made me laugh: I had embroidered the names of two of his friends on their respective gear bags for the team, and now the advisor wants me to do the same on bags for the rest of the team after seeing the ones I did at the competition.  (I had done the two just cuz Rei had asked me to). I said I would, and when they asked what I would charge, I settled on $5 per bag.  It takes me about 5 minutes to set it up and run the machine, so it isn't a big deal, and that amount will at least compensate me for more stabilizer and another spool of thread or two.  Rei says there may be 20 bags...  So then I could have some play money besides!

We didn't close on the refinancing on Thursday as planned; they apparently rescheduled it for this week friday because the title company needed more time to get some things transferred on it.  The frustrating part was that they had played phone tag with us on Wednesday, but never told us the actual closing had been rescheduled, so there we sat waiting on them and when an hour had gone by and no one showed up, we called asking questions...  Grrrr!  We did get our taxes all finished too, so that is nice to have that off our agenda.  Once everything is settled the goal is to pay down some debts and figure out what we need next! Landscaping is on the agenda, as is painting some rooms and redoing some floors...  There are days I really miss my tiny house in MN as it was so much easier to keep up on (had I had the money to do what I needed to do for it...)

My coffee cup is empty, and I need to get going on more writing, so I guess I will end here.  We are doing fine here, just taking things a day at a time and leaving the rest in God's hands.  I know there is a plan and a reason for everything, and I just have to have faith that things will be as they are meant to be, all the way around.