Saturday, February 16, 2013

Better Days

This post is going to be more cheerful than the last one, I promise.  I am actually feeling a bit better, although life is still nutty and will remain nutty for a few more months, anyway.  I'm also taking some positive steps to improve my outlook on life.

I did suggest to David that perhaps we could put off having him run track this spring.  That would free up some time.  He was more than agreeable, particularly since he's been having some especially fearful thoughts about the upcoming track season.  Will didn't start football until his 8th grade year.  He wanted to do it in 7th grade, but that was the fall that I was pregnant with Sam and we didn't know what was going to happen as it got closer to delivery time. 

We may be delaying the adoption, as well.  I've got really mixed feelings about that, to be honest.  There is a huge part of me that wants it done NOW.  I'm anxious in every way to make the girls totally and completely ours, although it's hard to imagine that there's anything that could make them feel more ours than they already are.  While they are completely free for adoption now, I am finding that the wheels still continue to turn slowly when it comes to the legal end of things.  We have yet to hear from our adoption worker, other than a brief email a couple of weeks ago letting us know that the procedendo had come through and we could now proceed.  And yet - we haven't.  Then, I heard from a third party that our adoption worker had commented that perhaps we (Paul and I) ought to consider waiting for the adoption until after July 1.  That's Ellie's 2nd birthday and in our state, if you adopt a child over the age of 2, you are entitled to a monthly stipend from the state.  It's really, really tempting, particularly when I think that we could use that money and be debt-free within just a few short years.  But yet - we never got into this for the money.  I do believe that God will continue to provide for our needs without help from the state.  But what if this stipend is God's way of helping us get out of debt?  Being debt-free would definitely help the girls - all of us, of course.  So, we shall see.  As slowly as things are going, it could end up being after July 1 before we'd even get into court anyway, even without us requesting a delay.

We had our taxes done a week ago and found out that somebody (I'll leave it to your imagination to figure out who) already claimed the girls on their taxes!  I was just dumbfounded at the sheer audacity.  It's thievery, plain and simple.  I spent quite a bit of time on the phone with DHS on Monday and collected a number of different stories.  I don't think anybody in that dept. knows what the person in the next cubicle is doing or saying!  Fortunately, this guy who did our taxes is also an attorney.  He did some research for us and drafted a letter to the IRS on our behalf.  We can't e-file now, but will have to submit taxes the old fashioned way.  With this development, I'm not sure how long it will take to get this sorted out or get our refund check.  And it looks like this attorney will be doing the adoption for us, which is nice.  That's one less thing we have to find.  It also occurs to me we're going to need legal services in a couple of years - less than that, actually - when we have to file for guardianship of Ben. 

Speaking of Ben...yesterday his life skills class had a Valentine's Open House for his room.  Just this year, the school started a "life skills" room where Level 2 & 3 (the neediest) sp. ed students learn practical life skills.  All of us were able to attend and it was so cool.  The kids greeted us, got our food, poured drinks.  We watched a video that showed how the boys spend their days.  All kinds of staff were popping in and out and they were taking pictures of the boys' families.  It was a good reminder to me to see just how valued Ben is by the staff and students.  He presented us with this metal cut-out of his hand that he had made.  It's shaped into the "I love you" sign - so cool!

We leave this Thursday evening for our trip...maybe.  There's a big snowstorm moving into the state on Thursday, so I'm trying to tell myself that I need to be flexible!  If we have to postpone the trip a few weeks, it will be ok!  But I hope we don't have to.  I'll be so sad!  I had a nightmare one night this week that it was one hour before our plane was due to leave and I had not finished packing.  I woke up with my heart pounding - it was so real!  So the very next day I started packing, more than a week before I needed to!  So now I'm tripping over suitcases in our too-tiny bedroom.  But at least my nightmare won't come true!

Paul got my counters up this past Thursday, which also happened to be Valentine's Day.  I told him I was so pleased, that I didn't need him to do anything else for me for Valentine's Day!  Right now, he's putting up some of the brick mold, which also makes me happy!

I had a complaint last week on the city sign last week.  I put up the announcements on the sign and when we don't have anything to announce, I will put up a quote for people to read on their way in and out of town.  The latest offering is this: "A good scare is worth more to a man than good advice."  It's actually been up for several weeks.  And then last week some resident complained that the sign was "sexist."  Sexist?  I'm guessing they think I'm picking on men.  What's that old saying - "you can't fix stupid" ?? 

Paul almost blew up our house a week ago tonight.  He installed a new water heater and went to light it.  All of a sudden we heard this big bang from the basement and Paul yelling.  Will ran down to see what the problem was and then lit upstairs, dashing under the kitchen sink for the fire extinguisher.  That definitely aroused my curiosity, to say the least, so I went down in the basement.  Paul stood there, stinking like crazy because he had just burned off the hair on his hands and part of his eyebrows.  A huge fireball had erupted out of the heater and he thought the house was a goner.  Holy cow...His forehead has been a little tender all week where he used to have eyebrows, he says.

Will is loving his new job, which is a good thing.  I've told him repeatedly (because I keep forgetting I already told him) how my grocery store years in college were always my favorite.  I loved working in a grocery store because of all the different customers.

The other day he commented to me that he thinks he'd like to get married in the month of October.  He said that's because that's during football season and that would put him in a good mood (like getting married wouldn't put him in a good mood?).  I asked him what he would do if he married a woman who expected to do things other than watch football on her honeymoon.  He looked and me and said in a "duh" voice, "Well, Mom - I won't be marrying anyone who doesn't love football as much as I do!"

David was struggling with his math the other day and finally sighed and said, "I sure hope I can be the kind of missionary someday who doesn't need to know a whole lot of math!"  Hah!  I have known since David was Sam's age that he's headed for full-time ministry.  Lately, David has been talking about becoming a foreign missionary someday (I was thinking more along the lines of him being a pastor here in Central Iowa, though!).

Well, I need to get these kidlets fed.  It's Saturday night and I've got a whole list of pre-Sunday chores to complete before I get to fall into bed.  But a week from now?  Who knows what kind of romantic and exciting Saturday evening I'll be having?  Or maybe we'll just be snoring away in our hotel room, which would also be really nice!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Black Holes of Busyness

Finally blogging again after more than 3 is crazy.  And I'm going to be putting pjs on kids, putting said kids to bed, and cleaning up the kitchen in between jotting things down in this post.

I have been feeling super-overwhelmed lately, which is leading to battles with depression.  I hate that - I determined as a teenager I would never, ever be depressed, but lately it seems like I've crawled into a dark hole and I can't quite find my way out. Apparently, depression is not always something that is matter of the will.   I've been getting some counseling, which helps.  And today, I ordered Ann Voskamp's book, "1000 Joys" (or something like that).  I think it's a book about thankfulness. I've been meaning to order it forever. I also bought a couple of really nice notebooks for jotting down thankful thoughts.  I'm going to get out of this - sitting around feeling sorry for myself is not something I want to do.

So, why am I overwhelmed?  The house thing is getting to me.  We have only 3 1/2 months until Will's graduation and open house and there is SO much that needs to be done before then.  Paul assures me it will all get done, but I don't believe him.  Between now and then we have so much else that needs to happen.  We leave for our vacation in a couple of weeks.  I want to go, I know we need to go, but I feel guilty about taking the time when we could be using that time to work on the house.  I know I'll come back and say I'm so thankful we went, but it's a little hard for me now.  We've got to go to Iowa City the 3rd weekend in March to watch Ben participate in the state-wide basketball championship for basketball skills.  The boys need to start working on their Camp Coin requirements.  Ben is insisting on going to camp again this summer, which means that I'm going to have to help him extensively with his requirements.  The adoption is looming large.   I have to make graduation announcements for Will and plan his party.  I have to get Will's FAFSA form filled out and then we attend something called "Scholarship Weekend" at Faith in a few weeks.

I'm struggling because my baby is graduating from high school and while I know it's all natural and normal and I couldn't be prouder, I'm also sad because it's the end of parenting him.  For the rest of our days, he'll have a life outside of us and we'll take a backseat to his dreams and desires.  Normal, yes, but sad, nonetheless!

A couple of days ago we got the last of his senior pictures taken and I immediately had a flashback to May of 1995 when I took him in at 6 months for his first photo shoot.  I could still remember the little Sears studio and the red and navy baseball outfit he wore.   This was the last time I would ever take him to get his pictures done.  It went by so fast.

And now I have to have sinus surgery.  It's planned for March 22.  I'm bummed because this will be the third spring in a row that I'm having some sort of surgery!  I was really looking forward to not having to spend all our flex money at one time.  My dr. sent me in for a CT scan of my sinuses a couple of weeks ago and I saw the ENT today.  I have a severely deviated septum, which is probably why I've been sick for the past year with repeated head colds.  He was positive I had to have broken my nose at some point, but I told him I had not.  He said maybe I just banged it really hard then.  Could be.  So, he's going to straighten out the deviation and do a few other things while in there.  It sounds promising, even though I really do not want to have it done.

Our water heater sprung a leak, so tomorrow, instead of working on the house, Paul and Will will be installing a new heater.  I have a suspicion that means I'll be without water for most of the day...grrr... Fortunately, we already had a new water heater.  It's bigger than what we have and has been sitting in a corner of the basement for a couple of months, waiting for Paul to get time to install it.  I guess that time is now.

So, any good news amidst all this stress?  Some...

The adoption is nearly upon us.  Our worker emailed me this week and told me she received the procedendo, which means the appeals processes are completely over.  All that remains to be done is for us to sign some paperwork, meet with an attorney, and get a court date.  I've been trying to get ahold of her to set up a time to get together, but am not having much success with that.  I've been praying this would happen prior to my birthday and am hopeful, still, that may happen.

Here is Eleanor's 18 month picture - so solemn, but so beautiful...

Will got a job - PTL!  I've been praying about that so much.  He's going to be working at Hy-Vee.  He and 6 other new employees were chosen from over 700 applicants.  More than 300 had applied for the position Will got (courtesy clerk, or as they used to call them, "bag boy").  It's hard for me to believe that that many people want to work at Hy-Vee! Is the economy really that bad?  He should be able to transfer to the Ankeny store this fall when he starts at Faith. 

I'm so encouraged with the way Will is taking his future in hand.  I was nowhere near this independent or visionary when I was his age.  On his own, he is investigating scholarships.  He's determined to get through school as debt-free as possible and is planning his post-Faith years accordingly.  He's already poring over class offerings and trying to figure out which credits will transfer from Faith to ISU or DMACC. 

He wrote a story this week for his writing class.  It involves Sesame Street characters.  His teacher was so impressed by it that she wants him to submit it to a creative writing contest.  I asked him if he told her that I had edited it, but he said he didn't.  I can't get any credit anywhere, I guess!  It is a really, really good story.  I just have to smile to myself.  I remember 3 years ago being so worried because I could not get this child to even write a paragraph and now look at him!  I need to remember this when I'm worried about other things in life - most things have a way of working out.

Last month sometime Paul told me not to worry about getting him a present for our anniversary.  That was good, because I didn't have anything planned!  But it soon occurred to me that I could still do something.  This is our 20th anniversary AND it's falling on the 20th of the month, which is something that will never happen again, ever.  So, I wanted to do something extra special.  This brilliant idea came to me of doing something small for him every single day, Feb 1 - 20.  So, I've been hiding small gifts, cards, notes, and treats for him to find every day.  But you know what?  Every morning I've been finding a heart-shaped sticky note hidden in the house  with an odd, but romantic,  message on it from him.  I suspect it's going to make a poem or long limerick once I get them all, but I'm not real sure.  So, it's kind of fun this month around our house!

I picked up some silk boxers for Paul Wed.  They're going to be one of my daily surprises.  I had been looking everywhere for them, but could only find them on the internet, but they were too expensive.  I happened to be at Walmart with Will when I spied just what I was looking for only $7!  Will wanted to know why I thought I needed to get those.  I told him, "You'll understand someday."  Will replied, "I hope not!"  Hah!

We got our picture taken a week ago for our anniversary.  I'll get those back this week.  It turned out really good - not too bad for a couple on the non-friendly side of 40!  We chose the shot of us standing up together because I'm guessing the older we get, the more anniversary pictures we'll have taken where we're seated - being old people and all that.

We had a big snowstorm last week.  Prior to that, we had ice.  But part of that hit on the weekend, so Ben only missed 1 1/2 days of school.  Will did put his car in the ditch, though.  He was on his way to get his drug test for Hy-Vee.  Fortunately, our neighbor came by and pulled him out with his truck!  Times like that, I love small-town living!

Well, that's all I know for now.  Things are going to get better.  I will get through the next few months and what needs to get done will get done.  I won't remain in this black hole forever, I don't think.

But I sure am looking forward to June 2 (the day after Will's graduation/party)!