Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Life's Curve Balls

Life has a way of throwing us curve balls, doesn't it? Like when I though we were moving to New Orleans...I'd *almost* wrapped my brain around that when those orders got changed and he was "punished" be being sent to Texas...thank you, Lord, for your punishment!

How would you define a curve ball? In baseball, when a pitcher throws a curve ball, it doesn't take the expected route to the batter...instead, that ball curves like it is going somewhere else first, but eventually comes back to do what was intended...and goes across the plate for the batter to swing at it.

In my life, I have seen a good number of curve balls....things I *thought* were going one way, which ended up taking a different route, but accomplished the same intentions, usually causing change in my life or especially spiritual growth.

For myself, I think I get stuck in the day-to-day sameness, and don't recognize when God is trying to work on me. I think that I sometimes make it a necessity for God to throw curve balls at me, so I will actually pay attention to what He's doing.

So, what do YOU do when God throws you a curve ball?

Friday, September 26, 2008

What a day in my life *really* looks like...

As I was going about my day today, I started thinking about what it takes to maintain life in my household. Not necessarily sanity...I'm convinced that is a lost cause.

I am often amazed that people think that life with a large family is unthinkable. They think that it must take a special person to handle it. Obviously they've not followed me through my days. I am NOT special. I am very average. Average height. Average weight (more than is good for me!). Average educational level. Average. Average. Average.

Then, this morning it hit me. The math. THAT is what people have trouble with.
The eight people in the house.
Which means 7 beds.
And at least 16 sets of clothing every day.
Which adds up to at least 2 loads of laundry, every day (which is why, on any given day, Mt. Laundry IS going to blow!).

The eight place settings at the table.
At every meal.
Which we usually manage AT LEAST 3 of those as SIT DOWN TOGETHER meals, per week.
Which adds up in terms of food.
Like the stew I made this morning.
1 1/2 pounds of stew meat.
1 pound of carrots.
5 pounds of potatoes.
There's a little bit left over...but then Jason and the two oldest kids didn't eat at home tonight.
Milk...3-5 gallons per week.
Cereal...at least one box per day. (We quit buying in boxes...they're too small).
Eggs...one dozen at a time.
Bread...sandwiches for everyone requires one whole loaf.

The sheer overwhelming numbers of activities.
School...3 in elementary school, 1 in middle school, 1 in high school, husband in grad school.
Small groups from church...women's group, men's group, military affiliated group
Marching Band.
Concert Band.
Middle School Band.
PTA activities.
Military community activities.

SO, my schedule today was fun...and I thought I'd throw it in, just so you get an idea....

4:00 a.m. Alarm goes off. I turn it off, shake the husband, and crawl back in bed.

5:00 a.m. Second alarm goes off. I turn it off, dress and wake up oldest child. Fix coffee, go for a walk.

6:00 a.m. Grab a cup of coffee and walk oldest daughter out to meet her bus (which picks her up at 6:10 a.m.).

6:30 a.m. Finish second cup of coffee, grab purse, keys, and list, to run to the grocery store for potatoes, carrots, milk, butter, bread. (had coffee on the list, too, but not enough $$).

7:00 a.m. Back from the store, put things away. Get the rest of the kids out of bed. Spend time doing emails, catching up on facebook, email lists, doing childrens' hair, motivating (yelling at) children. Also wash and cut up potatoes and carrots for the stew for supper, and saute the stew meat, then dump in the crockpot. Load dishwasher.

7:45 a.m. Out the door to wait with the 3 elementary-aged children for their bus, which supposedly arrives at 7:53 a.m. Chat with neighbors.

8:15 a.m. Suddenly remember I have a dental appt at 9:00....gotta MOVE.

8:30 a.m. Out of shower, kicking 12-year-old out to catch his bus...which supposedly arrives at 8:40 a.m. Let my work know when I'll be back.

8:45 a.m. Load 4-year-old in the van, complete with bag of toys, x-rays from dentist in MT, name and address of dentist in MT, and dental insurance card.

9:00 a.m. Pshew...I made it. I can relax and fill out myriads of paperwork, gag on the x-rays, and get my referral to an oral surgeon.

9:58 a.m. Home again, time to get busy on my WORK for the day! First get 4-year-old her snack, because she STARVING, MOMMY, STARVING!

12:00 p.m. Take a break from the computer long enough to fix sandwiches for myself and 4-year-old. Forget that I was supposed to go to gym.

12:40 p.m. Neighbor girl shows up, reminding me that we were supposed to go to the gym at 12:30. Change clothes and head out for 30 minute workout.

1:45 p.m. Home again, and back to work. Started load of clothes.

3:00 p.m. Oldest child home...snack time!!

3:30 p.m. The elementary school bunch gets home.

4:00 p.m. The middle schooler is home.

4:30 p.m. Jason walks in, updates me on things, and leaves again, taking the oldest two with him (he's dropping the oldest off at her school for marching band performance at the football game, and taking the 12-year-old with him to his two softball games.).

5:00 p.m. The 4 left at home go out to play, leaving mom inside to have some peace and quiet.

6:00 p.m. Start gathering everyone in for supper. Get all the riding stock put away in the garage.

7:30 p.m. Supper is done, kids are in PJs. It's movie night...tonight we watched Cars.

9:30 p.m. Movie is done, kids get in bed. I leave to go pick up oldest from Marching Band. Home, feed her (more...she also ate at the game), start another load of laundry.

There's my day. I'm exhausted. I don't think I could cram one more thing in there, today. Maybe another day...but I don't know.

I LOVE having a big family. I can't imagine it any other way. But some days? I just want some sleep!!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

An incredible video

I am not Catholic, but I agree with much that the Catholic church supports. My father-in-law sent me this video, and I think that it deserves to be seen.

Wordless Wednesday: Help! Mt. Laundry is gonna blow!!

for more wordless Wednesday, go to 5 Minutes for Mom

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Memories (installment 29)

So, on August 25, 2003 we moved into our new house in Helena, MT. We camped out for a couple of days, and then our household good arrived, and we got down to the business of settling into a new town.

I was homeschooling still, so I didn't have to worry about getting kids registered, but I WAS 5 months pregnant, so finding a doctor was imperative. To get prenatal care, I had to first find a primary care physician, have another pregnancy test, and get referred to an OB practice. Um. Yeah. Like being OBVIOUSLY 5+ months pregnant, or having in my posession all of my records from the practice in TX was not enough.... So, I found a primary care, peed in a cup, and had it verified that, yes, (surprise!) I was pregnant, and was referred to an OB practice. While still in TX, my PAP smear had come back with an "abnormal" reading, so THAT was a present concern, too.

Before we got to Montana, we had been given the name of a possible church to attend, and since Jason had to be at work the first couple of weeks in Helena, I took five kids and my very pregnant self to visit this new church where I knew no one. Before too long, we decided that Hannaford Street Bible Church would be our church home. They had an excellent children's program, AWANA, youth group, and small groups, plus a thriving women's ministry.

In October, I had my first chance to have a fun get-together with my best friend of more than 10 years...in Fargo, ND. Since we were both homeschoolers, taking off in the middle of the school year was not a huge deal. Karla and I had been friends for more than 10 years, but had never met in person...this was an opportunity to remedy that. The kids and I spent 2 weeks visiting with Karla and her kids, leaving Jason home, getting settled in at work.

We arrived back home, and started getting settled into life and homeschooling again. Several days later, I got a piece of mail that confused and upset me. It was a bill, addressed to my husband, for some surgery....surgery he'd had while I was gone...and I had no idea...he was not intending to tell me about it. I was opposed enough to him having a vasectomy that he decided to go behind my back...though I still don't understand how he thought that it would be a good idea to hide it from me, or that I wouldn't somehow figure it out.

I was HURT. I had THOUGHT we were on the same page, but obviously that wasn't true. Again, I wondered how much I could trust him.

Jason was involved with the Christmas Dessert program that our church was putting on, running the sound and lights. I wanted to be involved, but I was TIRED, pregnant and hurting....and BUSY homeschooling 3 children. Our baby was due in early December, the week before the Christmas Dessert was scheduled to start. Given my history, though, I wasn't holding my breath. I really didn't expect to have the baby until closer to Christmas.

At my one-week-past-due appointment, the OBs office decided that the baby's heartbeat was not rebounding after the contractions I was already having, and they wanted to speed things along. SO, on Friday, December 13, 2003, I went home from my appointment, packed my bags, and arranged for the kids to spend a night or two with one of our pastors and his family.

This labor was one of my shorter ones...Katherine Louise was born by 5:30 pm, and Jason had to be at the church to run sound and lights for the program by 6:00....fortunately, the hospital was only about 5 minutes from the church. We called the pastor's house, to let everyone know that they had a new sister....Justin was 4 at the time. Because of our pattern of children, most of the kids were convinced that this child was going to be a boy. When told that he had a sister, Justin said "NO. It's a boy." It took a while to convince him that he had another sister. After we got off the phone, Jason took off, and I sat back to enjoy a few hours of rest with my brand new baby girl.

( I TRIED to find earlier pictures of her, but these were the earliest I could find. I KNOW I have some....somewhere...)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Plans, and things that interfere

I had a good plan for this week. I was going to be getting back to my normal posting schedule...but my brain interfered, as have a few others of importance...Jason, Frances, Jon, Heather, Justin, Leah, Katherine....and work. And house cleaning. And attempting to get rid of those ugly migraines.

So, my house is getting back to a little better level of control.
And we're eating MEALS again.
And I'm getting caught up on the laundry.

But I still have to find a dentist...because I'm a grump when my mouth hurts.
And I still have to get a referral to my counselor.
And I HAVE TO get some more sleep...I'm doing better, really. BUT, my body still wants to shut down on me (as does my head).
And feeling like I'm falling apart is NOT my idea of a good week....

So, HOPEFULLY, tomorrow, I'll have a post of some substance.

I hope.

Thank you for sticking by me, my lovelies...I cannot tell you how much I appreciate your loyalty.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Week in Review

This week has been hard for me.
I think that coming into it already overwelmed set me up for a not-so-great week.
I haven't gotten enough sleep all week long.
My house is a disaster.
I spent all week catching up on the laundry.
I'm whiney.
I've been snippy with my children.
All I want to do is sleep for a week or two.

I realized this week that THIS is how I was for *3* long years, when I was working overnights at Walmart. I was tired. I was overwhelmed all the time. I was NOT a nice mom. I had to appologize to my kids.
Over and over again. Because they deserve to have a mom who is THERE, with them, not yelling or snipping or angry with them all the time.

So, I HAVE to get more sleep. And I don't know how that is going to happen.

At least I FINALLY found someone to work out with! We go to the gym twice a week, so far. Hopefully this will help me lose some of this weight that is creeping back up on me. AND, this should help me emotional health. I HOPE.

And this next week, I HAVE TO find a dentist, and an eye doctor. And a counselor.
Finding a new counselor scares me. Because I need someone to talk to NOW, and sorting through them to FIND the right one is time consuming, and emotionally wearing. I REALLY miss my last counselor...the one from Montana. The GIFT from God....I am sure I won't find another like him...but I can hope!
I think I am going to go take a nap until I have to get more kids up....

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #37: On staying awake too late

Thirteen Things I did last night instead of sleeping:

1. Sewed new patches on the husband's uniforms...uniform inspections are today.

2. Hemmed his new dress uniform "trousers"....I TOLD him I HATE/dispise/can't stand hemming those lovely polyester bell-bottoms...but he had to order them online, and they don't come pre-hemmed....

3. Washed dishes (in my dishwasher).

4. Drank a gallon or two of hot Spiced Chai....

5. Cleaned off the ironing board, so I could use it for the hemming...

6. Dished ice cream for the husband and myself.

7. Played games on the computer.

8. Watched HGTV.

9. Tried to catch up on some work.

10. Updated my facebook page.

11. Drank some more hot tea.

12. Worked some more on some STAT work.

13. Fell asleep at the computer (at about 1:45 am), cleared off the bed, put away laundry, ran the dryer, fed and watered the cat, herded my sleeping husband upstairs, and turned off all of the lights.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

WWWAT: Beginnings and Endings

Today's topic is Beginnings and Endings. It is now Fall, which signifies the ENDING of Summer, and the BEGINNING of fun things like school, and leaves falling, and color changing....

So, for your enjoyment, some beginnings and endings from my house.

At the BEGINNING of the day yesterday, I had no light in my kitchen...it had been that way for close to a month....and, frankly, that was getting a little old....

By the ENDING of the day, Maintenance had come by and replaced the light switch, meaning that I now have light in my kitchen again, and can actually see how filthy it has gotten in there...

School has BEGUN again...and with it came the BEGINNING OF LOTS of papers to sign and send back....I FINALLY ENDED with signing them all this morning...

This month has also seen the BEGINING of fall softball for my husband...and the BEGINNING (again) of softball paraphernalia all over the house...

This is the ENDING of the season for roses...here you see the rose hips on my rose bushes in the front yard...

And here is evidence that Fall is BEGINNING....LEAVES...

...and Branches BEGINNING to fall....

And for more BEGINNINGs and ENDINGs, go to The Adventures of an American Mum

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Power Outage, again

We HAD warning this time. It was a scheduled outage to replace a power pole. It was NOT supposed to last this long. Usually, when they do something like this, it takes all of 1/2 hour....not today. The power has been out since about 8:15 this morning...and it's now 1:15ish...

So, Little Bit and I are having a bit of a lazy day. We went to the gym, we went to McDonald's, we played games at home and I read my last library book, which we have now (finally returned to the library--reminding me yet again why I HATE library fines...), and now we're sitting at the computer at the library for a few minutes before getting lunch, and hopefully heading home to get a shower, and do some work...because SURELY the power will be back on by then, right?

Monday, September 15, 2008


Wow, what a week.

Tuesday and Wednesday I was SICK.

Work was CRAZY all week long...LOTS to do, not enough time to do it all.

Thursday, I drove to SC for College Homecoming at Columbia International University. THAT was fun...not the ride so much, but seeing "old" friends, and doing the choir reunion thing. We did a concert on Friday night, which was a LOT of fun. You know it has been 16+ years since I sang in a choir...we did two songs we had done when I was in school....it was AMAZING to me that the notes came back to me!

Saturday I had lunch with my amazing sister-in-law, and then drove home.

The drive home was...ummm....interesting? In two days, gas prices SHOT up...I paid $3.50/gal before I left Virginia Beach on Thursday. Friday night, in Columbia, it was up to $4.89, and on Saturday, when I stopped in Charlotte, NC, there was no gas to be had, unless you wanted the 100 octane racing gas at $5.99/gallon....liquid gold!! Then, when I finally found a place that had some, I was limited to buying it 10 gallons at a time. I'm glad I'm not planning to make the trip back down when Jason goes next weekend...

So, I made it safely home, and am recovering from all of the fun over the weekend...and the fact that my children didn't clean house while I was gone, so it's a DISASTER. AND I have a doctor's appointment this morning....and Jason will be home today. Should be an interesting day!

Oh, and I'm on FACEBOOK now...all of my friends from college finally persuaded me....

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #36: Power outage

Thirteen Things about Power Outages

1. The fans will stop working, making it HOT in our bedroom.

2. The HOT bedroom will wake up the HOT husband (thankfully, so we could set the alarm on the cell phones!)

3. The power outage will prompt me to find all of the candles.

4. And remember where the flashlights are stored.

5. And where all of the matches are...

6. And since all of the power in the neighborhood is out, EVERYONE will be getting up late...

7. The house sure smells nice from all of the candles.

8. My son got creative on ideas for making coffee for me...suggesting plugging in the coffee pot to the converter in the car!

9. I nixed that idea and went down to the Wawa to get some coffee...

10. I learned that since we live in government housing, and don't pay for our own electricity, apparently we have no rights to learn what is going on with the power outage, and no rights to report said outages (the &%$#@% power company has an automated line that you have to put in an account number, or recognized phone number or SS# to report or find out anything).

11. When the power IS actually turned back on, nothing in the house worked, because all of the breakers were popped.

12. I learned that my children CAN get ready in about half of the usual time...without the distractions of the radio, TV or video games....

13. It was nice sitting at the table with my children, eating breakfast by candlelight...realizing that we need to go over some history...my daughter said she felt like a refuge in WWII, sitting in candlelight...ummmm....yeah...history review time!

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

And now I know WHY I felt so bad...

...and why I haven't posted on here....

Thanks to my children, I am sick. Fever, chills, headache, achy joints, the whole nine yards.

And then I will be headed out of town for my college homecoming...


Monday, September 8, 2008

Overwhelmed and tired...

I think this past week is catching up wtih me. I am having migraines again, and not getting enough sleep. I am just plain overwhelmed.

THEN, Jason got home this afternoon, and he had cut off his mustache...that he's had since we first got married almost 16 years ago. I cried. I still can't believe he cut it off.

So, in honor of my emotional wreck, I am going to go to bed.


Saturday, September 6, 2008

SpouseBUZZ Live

I'm home from Spouse BUZZ Live...it was INCREDIBLE! We had a bit of a small turnout, courtesy of Hanna...but it was FUN. We got to meet some of the WONDERFUL authors from SpouseBUZZ, and discussed things like networking (with other bloggers), support networks, deployment gremlins, and being there for each other during the difficulties of military life.

We got to MEET, FACE TO FACE....I met Potandkettle and LAW and got to hear from the extraordinary ladies from SpouseBUZZ....
ANDI, who spearheaded a lot of the fun
ArmyWifeToddlerMom, who apparently no longer has toddlers...
Joan D'Arc
She of the Sea
and a few more...

If you EVER get the chance to go to SpouseBUZZ Live...GO!!!! It is refreshing and fun....and you get to meet bloggy friends, IN REAL LIFE!! It's WAY cool!!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Short stuff...

  1. Migraine NOW
  2. Work still to do.
  3. Hanna....hitting here tomorrow...raining now.
  4. SpouseBUZZ tomorrow.

More tomorrow, maybe. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #35: Back to School

Thirteen Things about The First Week of School

1. School buses don't always stop where they are supposed to stop.

2. Transportation offices that are opened at 5:00 in the morning do not necessarily answer the phones on the first day of school.

3. A trip across town to the high school that normally takes over an hour in rush hour traffic CAN take significantly less time, when pushed....

4. Pushing that drive is worth it to make it back in time to put the rest of the kids on their buses.

5. When all 5 school-aged children come home with paperwork, you WILL develop writer's cramp.

6. When signing paperwork, something WILL be missed.

7. There will ALWAYS be something that was missed on the back-to-school shopping list.

8. There will need to be multiple checks written...for varying amounts of money...PE gear, band fees, PTA....

9. Every school needs volunteers...but none allow parents to bring younger siblings along.

10. Younger siblings get VERY bored when their entertainment committee leaves to go back to school.

11. Even the cats get bored when the other kids go back to school.

12. My grocery budget goes WAY down now that my kids have gone back to school.

13. Everyone in my home (except the 4-year-old) is happy that school is back in session.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Expensive

For more of the fun, go to 5 Minutes for Mom.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

In honor of Labor Day....

In honor of Labor Day, it's about...well, labor. And not the kind you get a day off for, either.

How long were your labors?
#1~no labor...early C-section for a frank breech baby

#2~ummm...2 1/2 days, give or take...the induction was started on Monday, around lunch, and he was born on Wednesday, at 4:14 in the afternoon...can you say STUBBORN?!? This was 24 days after his "due date"....

#3~again, induced...about 6 hours of labor..."only" about 10 days late

#4~approximately 6 hours...this was my crockpot kid...25 days late

#5~off and on labor for most of the day, but when it really kicked in, about 4 hours...21 days late

#6~induced again, in about 4 or 5 hours....7 days late

How did you know you were in labor?

#1~no labor, lots of drug, but not for long enough...I knew they were cutting, but couldn't feel it...passed out when they started stitching me up, and I felt every stitch....

#2~when they started the drug cocktail...

#3~again with the drug cocktail

#4~my water broke at home

#5~I was busy all day getting ready for a meeting, went to the meeting, and had to run to the bathroom every 5 minutes or so....I think it dawned on me when I realized there was no way I was going to be able to drive myself home....

#6~again with the drug cocktail

Where did you deliver?

#1, 2, 3, 4~at Lexington Medical Center, Lexington, SC

#5~ at home in Portland, TX

#6~St. Peter's Hospital, Helena, MT


#1~tons of drugs...I barely remember that first day after her birth because I was so drugged

#2, 3, 4~with each of these, I had a small dose of Nubain


#6~I don't think so...can't remember

#1 was a C-section because of our incredbily stubborn first-born's refusal to head out in the normal direction...but rather she stayed frank breech for the last month or so of the pregnancy, though the doctor and midwife attempted an external version...which is incredibly more painful than is labor...

Who delivered?
#1~A doctor I met once before she performed major surgery on me....the rest of the pregnancy I was seeing midwives, but because of the failed version, I had to see a doctor to have the C-Section done.

#2~an incredible Certified Nurse Midwife

#3~a different Certified Nurse Midwife

#4~yet another Certified Nurse Midwife....they were all in the same practice....

#5~a wonderful, incredible lay midwife who was also studying to become a Certified Nurse Midwife

#6~a doctor a couldn't stand, but that my husband loved for some stupid reason....

Anyway, that's my story. And now that we're done, go see some more at Rocks in My Dryer, who apparently started the whole thing.