Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Day by day.

Happy Halloween! Do you dress up? Have (or still have) kids in your house who do? This afternoon I will attend my last school Halloween party; next year when Rachel hits Middle School the parties will be a thing of the past. I'm ok with that. I've had my fun. I do love seeing all the kids dressed up, though. And we always have a hoot trick-or-treating ... though tonight I think it's going to be pretty cold and maybe raining, so I won't be sorry to see that over for the year, either.

Geesh, I'm just the life of the party, huh?

I'll actually be glad to have a little something to distract me this afternoon because at the moment I'm just sitting around, bummed out that Steve is already back on the road. He finished up his testing, got packed up and has already taken off for Colorado where his next job awaits. I'm sad. I get more sad every time we part. Steve is the love of my life and my best friend and I just love having him around. But I'm also so proud of him and the work that he does, and I try to do everything I can to support him from the homefront. We're hoping he will make it home for Thanksgiving, which is only three weeks away - very doable, we've certainly gone that long without seeing each other before - but for some reason it feels different this time ... I think because Steve is going to a place we aren't familiar with, and it's so much farther away than he has worked in recent years.

Anyway, that's the news for now. We take things day by day and look forward to being together as a family again. In the meantime the kids and I have much to do to keep us busy - basketball, bowling, Girl Scouts, school work, life in general - and of course, Halloween activities this afternoon and evening.

Boo! Be safe out there!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Clean Slate Sunday: 10.28.12 Confirmation Edition

We've had a busy weekend, one of those times I am happy to see coming to a close so we can return to our usual routine. But it's been good. Steve has been home since Thursday after finishing the project he was working on in Detroit and hauling the travel trailer home for the winter. Before he got home he already had another gig lined up - this time in Colorado. It will be a longer trek than what he's (we've) done in the past, but a shorter time period, too. Like six weeks or so, which would have them wrapping up around Christmas time. The kids are already trying to figure out how we can get out there to visit. I'm thinking Christmas in Colorado would be awesome, but it all remains to be seen as Steve has some training to do on-line and will likely head out there at the end of this week. We'll know more once he's settled in. For now we're just enjoying having him here at home.

Yesterday Rachel's basketball team had their first game. They lost, but they played tough and Rachel scored twice. I was so proud of all the girls.

Today was a big day for Sam, and another proud mama moment. After two years of classes, retreats, camp, community and church service, Sam was confirmed as an adult member of our church. I'm so glad he has a personal relationship with Christ, and my prayer is that he finds plenty of guidance in our church family as he reaches adulthood.

 Sam with Pastor Bill during the service at our church - Victory Trinity Lutheran.

 Sam and his confirmation classmate Ian help with communion at our sister church, Bethany Lutheran, where Sam attended classes. Sam was the only person of confirmation age at our small country church, so he joined two others at Bethany and we attended both services today.

So technically I guess he was confirmed twice.
Which I'm sure you know he was incredibly excited about.
I hope it takes. Heh.

This view just cracked me up. Typical boys ... whispering during church.

And it's official. Doesn't he look happy?
(He was not down with the robe business at all.) 
(Also, there was cake and punch waiting downstairs.)

God's blessings on you, son.

So. Tomorrow is Monday. This week the calendar is decidedly much lighter than it was last week, though we do have Halloween coming up and I'm sure things will fill in as we go along. And if the Tigers can pull off a win in Game 3 of the World Series tonight, it's going to be a long week of late nights watching more baseball. Here's hoping!

Monday, October 22, 2012

We had so much fun!

I took the dogs to a nearby dog park today.

And by "nearby" I mean a 30-minute drive to the next county. Totally worth the drive, though. Even with a hound dog breathing down my neck.

Ladybug and Gunnar ran and ran and ran and played and ran with, at one point, four other dogs - all of them of the designer "doodle" breed, like Labradoodle and Goldendoodle. Gorgeous dogs. Big dogs. I kinda' felt like I had the misfits of the bunch, but Ladybug was so well-behaved and Gunnar charmed the other dogs' people with his handsomeness.

Enough dogs and people came and went that my dogs stayed busy and happy for a good hour and a half. When I got them back in the truck their typical roles were reversed as Gunnar was pooped out and ready for a nap, but Ladybug was uber excited and still bouncing all over the place.

"Mom. Make her stop."

 Here I think Gunnar has actually fallen asleep on Bug's backside.
Look at that smile!

"Are we home yet? Huh? Huh? Huh?"
And poor Gunnar finally gave up and sacked out.

We're all gonna' sleep good tonight!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Clean Slate Sunday: 10.21.12 edition

Can you hear that happy sigh? That's me. I'm tired ... glad bedtime is near. And feeling blessed to have some wonderful memories to think of as I drift off tonight.

Steve was home for the weekend - something I hadn't been expecting. I'm always happy just to have him around, even if we don't have anything special planned. But it was a busy weekend for us: Steve took Sam to his bowling league on Saturday, we had dinner with my folks Saturday night (our annual get-together prior to mom and dad going to Florida for the winter), then today we spent a big chunk of time at church followed by a luncheon/celebration for our pastor's 25th year of ordination. I was so happy to be a part of his special day, and it was obvious Pastor Bill was touched by having so many people there to celebrate in his honor. We would have rushed off to get Rachel to a Girl Scout meeting, but that was canceled because so many girls and their families are ill ... good call by her leaders, if you ask me.

I was happy to have the afternoon free so I could take a nap; I didn't get much sleep last night because I was up and down with a sick puppy. I was awfully worried about him when he didn't eat this morning, but he seems to have recovered just fine, thank God.

So the kids are tucked into bed, the dogs have been taken out for one last stroll around the yard, and I am ready for the clean slate of a fresh week, starting Monday morning. The most exciting news for this week is that the project Steve has been working on in Detroit all summer is complete, so after Tuesday he is done on that job and he will be home - and pulling the travel trailer with him - on Wednesday. We're not sure where he will go next or when, but for the first time in ... ok, ever ... I am not worried about where this road will take us. He has lots of job leads out there, and standing job offers with folks he has worked with before, so we will be fine. I am looking forward to having a few days or even a couple of weeks to enjoy having him here with me and the kids.

Yep. That's a happy sigh.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Biggest. Baby. Ever.

He was all "I'ma kick your ass" when he saw that giant (and not so friendly to other dogs, so says the owner) Mastiff get out of the truck down the way.

And then mama held him while he hollered at the vet tech for clipping his nails.

But then he got a treat and it was all good.

Gunnar: my not-so-much-a-baby-anymore baby. He's four months old and 45 pounds. My guess is he will at least double that weight. At least.

All I can say is he better start jumping in and out of the truck by himself.

Who wants a treat?!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Dude. That was awesome.

I got a massage today. For one whole hour I left my phone in the truck, I left my cares behind, and I let Ms. Julia and her amazing hands do their magic.

OK, that sounds kinda' weird. And honestly, even though I had a massage one other time - five or six years ago when Steve got me a gift certificate for Christmas - I was a little intimidated by the whole idea and only sought out a masseuse again because the pain in my neck and lower back were so intense some nights I could hardly sleep. And girlfriend does not do well without her sleep. Also, repeated trips to the chiropractor (whom I adore) were not providing any lasting relief and the last time I saw him he told me - again - that massage would do me a world of good.

So, like any procrastinating busy mama would do, I thought about it for a couple days. And then I hit the Yellow Pages, checked some web sites and made a couple phone calls. I settled on the lady who has been doing this for 20 years. I figured she has seen it all, so she wouldn't bat an eye at anything I was gonna' lay out on that table, no matter how self-conscious I was.

Because really. Two pregnancies, several handfuls of extra pounds hanging on, and a bit of stress-induced wrinkling and flaking does not a bikini body make. And here I would be revealing it to someone I didn't even know.

I wish I could say that my self-consciousness melted away when I walked in that door. I wish I didn't have so many issues with feeling like I somehow don't deserve the luxury of having someone else take care of me - even if I am paying them to do it! But those issues have been a part of me for a long time and they weren't going to go away over a one-hour massage. I will say, though, that Julia made me feel as comfortable as I could about the whole thing. And I really, really did enjoy that massage.

What I was not prepared for was feeling so lousy by the time I got home. It was like someone had opened the floodgates and any junk - emotional, physical, psychological - I had been holding onto for God knows how long came rushing out my pores. My neck and shoulders felt so much better, and my lower back felt like I had had a good workout - sore, but in a good way. But when I got home I was exhausted. All I wanted to do was sleep. So I did.

When I woke from a long nap I felt refreshed. My body was (is) still a little tender, but I feel like I have hit the reset button. I feel ... good. Glad I did something for myself.

Ready to do a little more of it in the future.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Still raining.

Or very wet, at least.

There was sun in the forecast today.

There is no sunshine outside my window. Boo.

But! It's ok. Because I have laundry to do. And this in my lap ...

So I'm warm and happy ... and optimistic it could still clear up before I head out this afternoon.

Ahh, Monday. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Clean Slate Sunday: 10.14.12 edition

I have just a few minutes before the clothes washer will ding-dong its little song at me, then I'll swap the clothes into the dryer and crawl under the covers ... maybe watch some TV, maybe just enjoy the quiet of the house and drift off to sleep.

We had a busy (and fun) weekend and now Steve is safely back at his home away from home. He will be headed back to work tomorrow morning as I'm getting the kids rolling for another week of school and whatever activities they have going on. It's what we do.

This afternoon before Steve left I wasn't feeling so great about going it alone for one more stinking week. And once he was gone, the kids and I had a rough start to our evening - everybody was a little edgy - but by God's grace I had a burst of energy that helped me take back control of the house and complete a few tasks (and delegate others) to help us get ready for the week ahead. Everybody went to bed with full bellies, everybody will have clean clothes when they leave the house in the morning, and we have a plan for a smooth start to our day tomorrow. Here's hoping.

Have I mentioned how much I love Sunday nights? Maybe a time or two, eh? Tonight is a perfect example of why: I'm sitting here on my big, comfy bed with one dog and one kitty curled up next to me. I'm listening to the rain outside the window which I've left open just enough to let the cool breeze come in. My children are in bed (read: quiet). I have prepared the kitchen for morning, and I finally have some time to digest some of the lesson from church this morning. I feel loved. Safe. Content in this moment. I have done everything I can or want to do for the day, so it's time to rest.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Because J said so.

I need to blog. Because my buddy J says so.

I think every writer needs that one person in their lives who isn't afraid to say, "Hey, get off your ass and write something." I know I sure do. Even if it's a rather meaningless blog post, I need to go through the motions of writing something on a regular basis, or before I know it it's been so long that I start to believe I have nothing to say, and anybody who knows me knows that's not true.

So here you go, J. Thanks for the nudge. Dork.

Truth be told, I have been needing to get off my arse in general. I've been feeling like crap lately. And I'm talking a big ol' steaming Jurassic Park-style pile of poo. And when I feel like poo, and on top of it the universe hands me a few rainy, dreary days in a row, it doesn't take very long for me to spiral downward toward the Pit of Despair. Fortunately I have an awesome husband who will drag me out of that spiral kicking and screaming (or wailing and whining that it's just easier to do nothing than to pull myself up by the bootstraps), and a few friends who seem to know - whether they realize it or not - just when to intervene.

We have begun the process of figuring out what's causing my respiratory issues (that I wrote about in my last post). I've been to my family doctor; she didn't see anything freakish. She did see lots of allergy-related irritation in my nose, and something in the back of my throat that needs a closer look. I've had a chest x-ray which came back normal. I now have an appointment with an ENT to check ... er ... deeper into my ears, nose and throat. My doc suggested I might have damaged vocal cords. I googled the symptoms of damaged vocal cords and I think it's definitely a possibility. We shall see.

Meantime, I've also been dealing with some back and neck trouble. Because it isn't enough that I feel like I can't breathe half the time, I also have to walk around feeling like there's an ice pick or two stuck between my shoulder blades. I know ... I'm a wreck. Next week I'm getting a massage in the hope that it will give me some relief. Like a lot of moms, it's not easy for me to schedule that time to focus on myself, but I really need it. If it helps, this will be the first of many visits to the masseuse.

Who feels like she's 80 years old? Is it Pipe Lifer Jen? Dear God. If only I had the wisdom to go along with it.

And that's all there is to say about that for now.

Steve is home this weekend, which is nice. He's down to the last couple of weeks on his current project and then ... who knows? I would love to have him home for a week or two when this job is done before he heads off to the next adventure, but we continue to take things one day at a time.

The kids are busy as ever. Rachel just started basketball practice this week and will have games on Saturdays. Sam has one more football game next week (hoping the team will stay undefeated), and he started Saturday bowling league today. I'm still not sure how I'm going to get everyone where they need to be at the right time on the right days, but that's another task we take one day at a time.

Other than that? Not much going on. Just lots and lots of everyday stuff, really. We've had some work done on the house - new doors put on the front and back (happy!), and a broken rafter (eek!) repaired.

So ... we're here. We're livin'. At the speed of light sometimes, but that's how it goes.

Tonight it feels good to just sit with my hubby and watch the Tigers in the post season. We're headed to church in the morning, and will hopefully have a relaxing afternoon before Steve heads south again.

I leave you with a couple of pet pictures - because they're the only ones I've been taking lately. Gunnar is growing like a weed and has hit the sassy teenager stage. Patch The Kitty ... well, he's just fun to mess around with.

Until next time ...