Saturday, June 30, 2007
You like me, you really like me!

Susan over at Learning for Lifetime and Rebekah at Sweet Tea with Lemon have both blessed me with me "Rockin' Girl Blogger" awards! Thank you, thank you, and thank you.

Now, it's my turn to share the love:

1. You know from my writing that I'm one of Amy's biggest fans. Her writing is humorous, insightful, and above all, honest.

2. I don't know how Carla finds time to write while homeschooling five little people, but I love the joy she finds in being a young wife and mother.

3. Beck, right back at ya...I love keeping up with old friends via the blogosphere, and when you get to come away thinking as well, it's quite a bonus!

4. Boomerang nomination to Susan as well--it's one of my favorite spots on the web, especially when it describes the adventures and exploits of some of my favorite young men.

5. Sally doesn't write as often as she'd like to, but no one rocks harder. Love you, girlfriend!

  posted at 4:27 PM  

Thursday, June 28, 2007

I'm cheating this week. In honor of fifteen years of marriage...a Thursday 15 of some of our "landmarks" for each year.

1992: We are married (by Susan's dh) just five days after my husband's 21st birthday. We move into a family housing shoebox, er apartment, at University of Florida. I enter the OT program and he juggles his senior courses, some graduate school, and an internship.

1993: School, school, and more school. Dh graduates and takes a job with the company he was interning for. We're thankful, as there just aren't too many jobs in his field in the Gainesville area.

1994: I move in with my in-laws for six months to complete my internships. We survive a "weekend" marriage and the loss of my dad. We cap off December with my graduation and a much-delayed honeymoon in Jamaica.

1995: Less than four weeks into a one-year contract with a local therapy practice, I discover that we are expecting! We move out of Family housing and into a rental home in Gainesville. I work for the practice until we welcome our daughter home in October.

1996: I just can't seem to bring myself to go back to work full-time, and take on some PRN contracts with local practices and the nearby rehab's just as well, because I'm pregnant again! Dh is still working full time and plugging away at graduate school. We begin working together in parenting ministry.

1997: Our oldest son is born at home. Two days later, my husband defends his thesis and completes his graduate work. In short order, he leaves for North Carolina to begin a new job. We follow him six weeks later. It doesn't take too long to figure out that small town NC is not for us and the end of the year finds us moving yet again...this time to Phoenix.

1998: We meet our best friends, who will in short order become our Phoenix family. We purchase our first home. After a year of apartment living with toddlers, four bedrooms with a pool seems huge to us.

1999: We begin to explore Arizona, even sneaking away for a romantic weekend in the mountains and dabbling in family camping. After one camping trip in October, I'm not feeling too well--and the nausea just won't go away. Hmm....good thing there's lots of room in our house.

2000: Princess Piggy is born in at home. The next morning there is a huge power outage in our neighborhood AND the baby needs to get to the pediatrican's office AND my mom and sister need to be picked up at the airport. We end up at McDondald's for breakfast with our preschoolers and 8 hour old baby. Our anniversary "date" was a quick jaunt for bagels while our six day old snoozed at home with Grandma.

2001: We take our first major trip as a family, all the way to Ohio for my cousin's wedding. We share a van with my sister (who is pregnant with her first child), and stop to visit Steve and Laurie in Indiana. Dave and Steve "bond"...Laurie and I figure out what we knew already: Some people are just kindred spirits!

2002: Wow, has it been ten years already? We tentatively make plans to travel to Spain wiht my sister and her husband, and renew our vows at a castle outside of Madrid. After a whirlwind season of invitation, prayer, and outpouring of support, Spain is set aside, and my dh sees me off on a mission trip to Uganda the day after our anniversary.

2003: We're in the swing of homeschooling two plus a preschooler. We begin "travel" soccer, and for the first and only time ever, our son and daughter are on the same team (ahh...those were the days...).

2004: More family cross country travel...this time to NY to hook up with my sisters (one is now living in Australia) for our father's wedding, down the coast for few days in Williamburg and Jamestown, further down the coast for my cousin's NC wedding, then to see Laurie and Steve again (they've moved). By the end of this trip I'm not feeling too well...and our house is beginning to look much smaller than when we purchased it.

2005: We take our first vacation without extended family...and kind of our last with three children (does it count when you're 37 weeks pregnant?) We welcome baby #4 to the family, and dh chooses to romance my socks off by bringing flowers, a sushi dinner, and an "upgraded" engagement ring to me at the hospital. Juggling four turns out to be rougher than juggling three...especially when #4 is refluxish and high need, so homeschooling gets back-burnered for charter school.
2006: Things are leveling out...but dh isn't so happy with his job, and trouble is brewing at church. We celbrate our anniversary early this year, at a Weekend to Remember, before dh takes off for extended business in Europe. We do our longest family road trip ever...beautiful Lake Tahoe, with our buds Steve and Wendi. In early October the Great Kidney Drama ensues... In the middle of said drama, we make plans to move to Florida.
2007: Chemo, chemo, and more chemo. Plus some homeschooling and lots of soccer. Which brings us up to yesterdays' celebration dinner.
I love you, sweetie...I'd still say "I do" to all of it.

  posted at 8:42 AM  

Happy Anniversary
I'm not one for suspense writing (sorry, Amy!), so here it is:

The scan (with the exception of some "post surgical" changes that had been there before) was clean.

Dh and I (and our loved ones) were able to let go of our collectively held breath, at least until the end of September, when we scan again.

The news was the nicest anniversary present we could have asked for yesterday--although the fifteen roses and dinner out were lovely, too (Thanks Dad for the "manny" services).

Big thank yous and hugs to all who've been praying for us.

  posted at 8:20 AM  

Tuesday, June 26, 2007
My friend and old roomie can testify to the fact that back in our Gator days our dorm room/apartment was never cleaner than during exam week. Straightening and scrubbing seemed "productive" alternatives to the papers we were putting off writing or the studying we needed to do. After all, we were cleaning, right? Not laying out by the pool or cruising the mall.

Not much has changed for me. I've baked and cleaned myself through the last months of four pregnancies (I remember my irritation when my husband made me go to the hospital with our first, leaving the piles of folded laundry on the living-room floor), scrubbed layers of grief off of bathroom floors, and targeted rage at garden sod beds that needed to be turned over (the garden was exceptionally well prepared that year).

My three month check-up is tomorrow, and you could eat off of all of the floors in our house right now. Every bathroom is clean. Surfaces have been dusted. The laundry would be caught up, if the dryer weren't on the fritz. I'm contemplating setting a few pans of bread or getting out the hedge trimmer.

I'll be up and driving to Tampa by 6; drinking contrast by 8. Labs are at 8:30 and the scan at 10. Then the wait to meet with the doctor at 2.

I wonder if they'd let me clean the lobby?

  posted at 2:07 PM  

Thursday, June 21, 2007
Happy First Day of Summer!
Thirteen things to SMILE about:
1. Today is the Princess Piggy's seventh birthday. Her sunshine (and storms!) add so much to our family. We're blessed to have her.
2. In honor of the princess, we tried out this yummy new recipe for breakfast.
3. We really like little guy's new speech therapist. Finally, someone who seems to really have a grasp on what's going on with his processing and pronunciation!
4. My mom and sister are coming this weekend to help me throw PP's party. It was a tough choice, but Strawberry Shortcake was the winner this year. Aunt Sarah will be baking the cake, strawberry and pink, of course.
5. I'm so proud of my oldest daughter. She volunteered at the local VBS that the middle two children were attending. She got the decidedly unglamorous job of nursery assistant. It's not what she hoped to be doing, but she's faithfully served there all week.
6. I'm proud of my oldest son, too. The VBS offering was twofold this year--socks/hats for a shelter and money for mission-trip Bibles. I told him that I'd take care of the socks, but the offering was up to him. He dipped deep into his piggy bank, and two lives will be enriched by the Word thanks to him. God loves a cheerful giver, and so does this mommy.
7. I got brave this week and went out in public without a hat or scarf. The looks haven't been too weird (grin). I guess boot-camp crew cuts are hot this summer.
8. My dh's birthday is tomorrow. I could write a slew of TTs on the gift he is to me and to our family.
9. My aunt and uncle in LA sent this to the kids in the mail yesterday. Let the summer fun begin!
10. The contract with our relocation agency appointed realtor expired last Wednesday. We did NOT want to renew her contract, nor did we want to go with another "unknown". The relo. company graciously allowed us list the house with people we trust and still maintain our relocation benefits. Keep the prayers for a buyer coming.
11. My sweet friend Lynda sent me chocolates as a symbol of "sweet news" that she's praying for at my upcoming check-up. Lynda, the prayers are even sweeter than the chocolates (or you!). Consider yourself (and Fred and Joseph) cyber-hugged.
12. Steve and Laurie are celebrating their anniversary today. Congratulations and we love you.
13. Julie in NC shares my dh's birthday...have a great one Jules.

  posted at 1:40 PM  

Friday, June 15, 2007
You know it's summer when...

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  posted at 9:23 AM  

Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Very early on on my mommy career, I remember seeing something scrapbookish trumpeting the sentiment that little boys are essentially "noises with dirt on them".

"Humph!" I muttered over my small, pink and ruffled, golden-haired bundle,"How sexist! There really can't be that much difference between boys and girls!" After all, I had been the oldest of three girls, and had very much enjoyed dirt and noise, camping and sports.

Little did I know that I would very soon have the chance to find out. Less than a year later, my husband would breathlessly announce to me, "We have a BOY!" And "boy", would my perspective change.

My boys both chose noises (cars "vrooming" and crashing) over actual words for their early vocabulary.

They never walked when they could bounce, stomp, jump, or crash (actually, they still rarely walk). Hugs often take on the form of tackles (especially if the hugs are directed at a brother).

They get dirty--track mud across the house, smell like puppies, leave thick grime ring in the tub dirty. My oldest son also seems to take pride in just how gross he can get--and after hearing my (high school senior)nephew boast about his post-soccer game "ripeness" last week, I'm not holding out for a change in this trend.

Clothing (or it's state if cleanliness/repair) is not a high priority for my guys--although I do see from my older nephew that this might change. A clerk in a clothing store once snootily pointed out to me that I had purchased three pair of identical denim shorts for my son. I told him that since shorts and t-shirts were basically the staple of said child's wardrobe at the time, this way I held out some faint hope that the shorts would occasionally land it the wash. I'll spare you the gory laundry tales from abandoned sports bags.

Now the mom of two girls and two boys, I'm using by blog to publicly repent of my young-mommy arrogance. As equitably as we try to raise them, boys and girls are different. It's not that my boys won't learn how to do housework (they are), or my girls won't be able to use power tools (they will); it's that they were assigned to grow up and perform complimentary roles. I've learned to delight in God's amazing design for my sons and my daughters--as individuals and as future men and women, husbands and wives, daddies and mommies.

While I love all of my children fiercely, madly, and protectively, my boys have a unique ability to stir in my heart the wildest, most primal tenderness. Perhaps because I know that someday, they'll belong to another woman (insert cheesy adage here: "A son's a son 'til he takes a wife..."or the very real Biblical call to leave and cleave). Perhaps it's because their displays of affection are quieter and more rare that that of their sisters (In fact, I think my 2 year old gave me an unsolicited kiss for the first time in his life yesterday). I don't know...but my time to ponder is pretty short right now.

I have a small, scrambled egg and yogurt coated someone standing next to me loudly quoting Elmo and demanding a diaper change and a cuddle.

P.S. Everyday Mommy is sponsoring a contest for a book I think one of my "noises with dirt on them" would is the last day, so hurry up and get your entries in!

Hat tip to Rebekah for the heads up on the contest.

  posted at 8:16 AM  

Sunday, June 10, 2007
Trying to beat the Bloggity blahs
A weekly meme for giving thanks and/or for noting important events in our lives.
Thanks, Susan...and remember, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!
1. We celebrated my father-in-law's birthday this week by actually gathering all eight grandchildren in one room! It's such a blessing to be within a reasonable drive from family. Have carrot cake, will travel!
2. Sometimes, it's the little things that count. I absolutely love having enough eyebrow/eyelash regrowth to wear makeup again.
3. My dh and I spent most of Saturday hanging things on the walls of our home. It was yet another small step in truly settling in and making this our home, not just a new house.
4. Our youngest qualified for developmental services through the state. After an almost six month hiatus, he'll be starting speech on Monday. We're delighted, but will probably miss him saying "GO!" for "milk" and "BAA!!" for "up".
5. After swimming lessons on Friday, two other moms (who I had only chatted with briefly before) invited my brood and I to have lunch with them. As I was leaving to pick up some $5 pizzas, I realized that my neighbor was at the pool as well, and offered to grab some pies for her as well. "Would you like to join us?" can be one of the sweetest phrases.
6. My husband did a Y*hoo search for "church" plus our zip code. He found a local church pastored by a church friend from his college days. We enjoyed visiting there today and the welcome was the warmest we've received at any church visited so far.
7. After church, we went to grab lunch and ran into a single lady we had heard testify in church that morning. We greeted her, and then went to our table to eat. When it was time to pay, the waitress informed us that our bill had been taken care the young woman! We were overwhelmed by her kindness and can't wait to get her contact information to write to her and let her know how much she encouraged us.

  posted at 8:01 PM  

Saturday, June 02, 2007
My sister "in love" (like that one, Dad?), Susan, wrote about how our expectations shape our choices and reactions. She (and the other bloggers that she took inspiration from) did a great job of expressing thoughts that had often rattled around in my head as well. How often have I suffered from disappointment and even bitterness because a actual event failed to live up to the picture I had created in my head?

As I begin my s-l-o-w process of recovery from chemo and general getting on with my life (thus the appalling lack of posting), I realise that one of the gifts of my season with cancer is that by and large, I've been able to let go of how I think people "should" act, or how events "should" happen. The result? An increase in my ability to take joy in whatever comes...and I imagine I'm a more pleasant person to be around.

One of the outside (or internally created?) pressures that I've succumbed to in the past has been elaborate birthday parties for my children. I've specialty ordered ridiculously expensive coordinating decorations and paper ware--it takes really pretty pictures, but still ends up smeared with icing and ultimately in the trash. I've spent hours on elaborate cakes that are demolished in minutes, and too much money on "goodie bags" that are forgotten, or cast aside.

My son turned 10 on Memorial Day. We were in North Carolina with our friends Steve and Laurie, and celebrated with a barbecue in their backyard. The paper ware was from the Dollar General, the cupcakes I made with the help of my 6 year old, and Laurie's 4 year old. There wasn't a goodie bag in sight. We had a marvelous time--the birthday boy, a child who once announced in the middle of a party that he was going to take a nap (okay, he was three at the time)-- had a marvelous time as well. Our entire long weekend with them was infused with this joyous, laid-back casualness. We delighted in lingering over coffee, talking for hours, and helping putter around the house and yard.

Of course, this is NOT to say that I'm "cured" from the pressure of outside pressures and self-created expectation. We're in the process of wrestling through the best school choices for our children next year. I struggle with trusting God for our Phoenix house (aka the Albatross)to sell in His perfect timing. I'm guilty of being self-critical when I look at the boxes of pictures waiting to be hung in our new house, see my running shoes sitting forlornly in the corner of my closet, even when we continue to eat (gasp!) store-bought bread. I cringe with resentment at the newly-delivered box of medical supplies that means the home-health nurse will be coming soon to maintain my port and tire of trying to find headwear to match whatever outfit I choose to wear (especially while looking for a church).

But the joy comes in unimagined places. I mowed the lawn yesterday--there was a time when I barely had the strength to walk from my bedroom to the living room. I went on vacation with my family--not to the hospital without them. I had the blessing of baking my son's birthday treats. I'm growing my eyebrows and eyelashes back! (Ridiculous, but I really wasn't sure that was going to happen!).

I'm looking forward to our "lazy, crazy, hazy days of summer"...and trying not to "expect" anything but to be surprised by joy.

  posted at 7:40 AM  

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I'm a work in progress, a stay at home mom of four, a beloved daughter of the King.

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