Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Day 624

Feb. 18, 2015

Day 624


A month from today will be my birthday.  I'd like to figure out something special to do that day, but I haven't settled on anything yet.  I'm not even sure if we'll be able to go out to eat like we normally do since it's a Wed. and we'll have church.  But I'd like to do something to make it more than an ordinary day.  I'll keep thinking.


It is so-o-o cold today.  I've been trying the kids' summer clothes on for the past week or so, which seems somewhat ambitious given the below zero wind chill today.  I talked to my contractor over the weekend.  He says I am first on his list as soon as the weather breaks.  Not looking forward to the mess, but I can see my newly dressed house and garage in my mind, which makes me smile!  I think in honor of Paul's second Homegoing date this June I'm going to get a barn star for the garage.  It's something I wanted anyway, but tying it to a date of significance makes it more special - and easier to spend the money!



I have learned something very disturbing this last week.  I made a cake for Valentine's Day and it rose less than an inch.  The exact same thing happened a couple of weeks ago when I attempted to bake a different cake.  At that time I just assumed I messed up the added ingredients somehow.  But this time I didn't.  So, I googled the issue.  I figured I'm not the only one having this problem and I'm pretty sure the altitude of my  house hasn't shifted - there has to be a reason WHY my cakes are no longer rising.  Here it is - cake manufacturers have decreased their boxes by about 3 oz and boy, are bakers mad about it!  I found forum after forum on the internet decrying this new practice.  The cake manufacturers are shrugging their shoulders and saying, "Hey - all you have to do is buy TWO boxes and then take about 1/2 C from one package and add it to the other."  Seriously - that's what they are advising their irate customers.  And, of course, they haven't decreased the price of their cake mixes, either.  From my reading, it looks like if I add 6T of flour to every cake mix and beat it extra long I should be ok.  But I shouldn't have to do this!


I was contacted by the girls' birth mom this morning on Facebook.  It really bothered me because I have taken steps (I thought) to ensure our privacy.  I know there are further things I could do, such as delete my Facebook page altogether and make my blog private.  But the drawbacks to doing those things outweigh the benefits - right now anyway.  I'm also torn because I do have a certain amount of compassion for this woman. She is not a horrible person.  If I had lost my children, I would be desperate for any scrap of information I could obtain about them.  But...there is a reason she lost her children and why I was able to adopt them.  That doesn't happen for petty offenses.


Someday, I fully expect the girls will want to meet her.  I'm pretty sure if I had been adopted I would have desired  that, too.  Everyone wants to know where they came from.  I'm not sure how I'll feel about that when the day comes, but I hope I will find it in my heart to support the girls in their endeavor.  I also hope that by adulthood they will be equipped with knowledge, understanding, maturity,  and clarity that they can't possess right now.


So I blocked her friend request on Facebook.  I didn't even realize that was an option.  Will suggested it.  It keeps her from seeing anything on my page, including pictures.  It means she can't send me messages.  I feel kind of crummy about taking these measures, but I have to protect the girls and the rest of us.  My heart is at war with itself.


But, I will continue to pray for her.  As time has gone on, I have found it easier to do this.  Every so often, Lizzie prays that someone will tell her birth mom about Jesus.  Wouldn't that be an amazing, full-circle event if this woman came to Christ someday?  In the meantime, the girls are mine.  I am under no obligation to share them or to expose them to people who may cause them eventual harm.


I just hope that I'm not the one causing them harm by slamming the door on any type of relationship right now.



The other day the vice president went to Ankeny.  Of course, that's where Will works and attends school.  He happened to be working that day when the motorcade first went by his store.  The streets were all blocked off for the event.  I believe he had a presentation on why community college should be free over at DMACC.  He wrapped that up and left town during the start of rush hour.  Will said people were trapped in the parking lot at his store and were NOT happy!


The other day I was driving along I-80 and kind of in a "zone."  After awhile it occurred to me that I was still behind the same white van I had been behind quite a few miles ago.  And not only that, but everybody was passing us.  So I passed the van at the next opportunity.  As I did so, I read the sign on the side of his truck.


It read, "Spee-Dee Delivery Services."


As I mentioned, I am weeding my way through the kids' summer clothes.  Ellie had about 150 tops/outfits that would have worked for this summer.  I am NOT exaggerating.  Between what has been given to us and what has been passed down from her sister, she is more than set.  I am narrowing that amount down to a month's worth of clothing, and saving the rest for next summer and giving away what I know won't fit her a year from now.  What a job.


I was trying clothes on Ellie today and just like last week when I was trying things on Lizzie, the other sister was hovering nearby, curious as to what cute things I might pull out of the tubs for them to try on.  Ellie made some sort of odd noise and Lizzie commented, "You're weird, Ellie."  Without missing a beat, Ellie snapped back, "I'm not weird.  I'm pretty!"


I ran across one shirt that read, "Daddy's Girl."  Ugh.  This has happened before.  That went straight to the give-away pile.  I don't know if I'll ever lose the guilt that comes from not being able to provide a dad for these Littles.  But, one thing I am noticing as time goes on is how much all three of them cling to Will.  It's probably more apparent now that he doesn't live at home.  So often with Sam it's "Will this" and "Will that" in his conversation.  Will is taking David and Sam to the Deer Classic in Des Moines in a couple of weeks.  Sam is SO excited about that event and, apparently, Will has promised to take him rifle shooting the weekend that the rest of us are all gone to Florida, Prom Alternative, and a friend's house.  He can't stop talking about that, either.  The girls are always hanging all over him when he comes.  I like it on one hand.  But the other hand worries that it's not natural and it's not ok, for Will especially.


I have decided not to send Ellie to preschool next year.  I think I probably knew what I was going to do from the time I hung up the phone a week and a half ago after chatting with the preschool director.  Also, they have not sent me the paperwork that they promised to get in the mail that day, urging me to get it filled out right away.  I wonder if that's a divine "sign."


I've talked to a number of people about the decision, and like I knew I would, heard a variety of opinions.  I've sensed real bafflement from those that encouraged me to definitely send her.  It's like they can't fathom why this is even an issue for me to have to think about.   But in the end...I just can't.  I'm having a hard enough time with the idea of sticking Sam and Lizzie in school full time next year.  This will be my last year with Ellie.  And she will only turn 4 this July.  That's still pretty little.  She needs me.  And I have a lot that I need to be teaching her between now and the day I drop her off for kindergarten in about 18 months!


I do have an appointment set up for the other two to visit the school on March 6.  I didn't hear back for a week so I called the school again and talked with the principal.  He told me he'd have to check with his superintendent to get permission to have the three of us tour the school and sit in some classrooms.  I'm puzzled.  To me, it's a no-brainer that of course, you would want to provide a certain comfort level for children who had never been inside a classroom in their lives.  It's not like we were asking to move in!  But he sounded young on the phone so maybe he's still afraid to make decisions on his own.  I don't know.  But to his credit, he called me back that afternoon and we set a date and time.


 I also checked this week on flag football for Sam.  He'll have to give that up, along with homeschool softball in the spring if he does start going to school.  So I had had the thought that perhaps he could join the league in Pleasantville.  I inquired yesterday but found out that the teams practice for 2-3 nights a week in the fall.  Wow - that is a real commitment!  With a half dozen kids I just don't think I can do that.  And I'm not so sure it would be conducive to good family life, either.  Will never played football until 8th grade.  I don't think it's going to kill Sam to have to wait until he's a little older.  But I wish there was a way to do it all.



Sunday the Littles and I went to a swim party put on by Amanda the Panda.  It took some coordination to get the older ones squared away for the afternoon, although they would have been welcome to come, as well.  They just didn't want to.  David stayed at church to eat lunch and attend this special group for the teens he's involved with.  He was starting to get pretty miserable with a head cold by that point and I offered to run him home, but he was convinced he could make it.  He told me later that was a  mistake.


Then, I drove up to the Merle Hay Fazolis and met Will for lunch.  The Littles hardly ate anything because their excitement about swimming was mounting by the moment and they were anxious to get moving.  Will and Ben spent the afternoon doing respite stuff.  The Littles and I ran up the road to the Ramada Inn. 


I heard a few years ago that they had put in a water park but I didn't know what exactly that meant.  A lot of hotels are doing this now to attract those tourist dollars but there can be a big disparity in what "water park" means to different people.  I was pleasantly surprised by this one and would like to return at some point.  It's a really nice set-up


I figured I would spend most of my time chasing Ellie and making sure she didn't drown, but I honestly didn't have to do that.  After awhile she discovered a little slide that was just her size in the one foot pool and found a gaggle of preschoolers to play with.  "They're my fwends, Mommy!" she proudly told me.


Sam and Lizzie stuck pretty close together and spent a lot of time going down the water slides and playing in the 3 foot pool.  That left me free to sit on the side of the pool area reading and sitting in the blissfully hot-to-boiling hot tub that was only open to adults.  Ah-h-h...


I enjoyed it.  The relaxation was nice.  And it was all free.  And they fed us.  Of course, the Littles were anxious to get back in the water and didn't want to sit and eat.  Plus, they must have eaten something at lunch and complained about being "too full" for more pizza.  I didn't blame them.


I have decided that I need to remember to bring a hair band the next time I am at the pool.  I always forget how curly and frizzy my hair gets when wet.  As I've aged it generally behaves itself outside of the pool and a lot of people are surprised that I actually have quite curly hair because I am now able to style it pretty flat.  So, I was pretty appalled at my appearance at the party but consoled myself that it was ok because there was nobody there that really knew me. 


Until one of the women who had been in my support sessions last winter spied me and ran up to me and gave me a big hug.  It was nice to see her, but I was hoping that my wild, frizzy do would make me unrecognizable to others.  Evidently not.  This woman actually doesn't speak English well but her daughter was right beside her interpreting for the two of us as her mother talked a mile a minute in Spanish.  I asked her if she was doing better, a year out now from when I had last seen her.  She said she was.


Time heals.


And then while the kids and I were sort of eating a young gal came up and said, "Hi-i-i!  I thought that was you!"  And I'm looking at her thinking, "I don't know who you are!"  But after a couple of minutes it dawned on me that I did know her - she goes to my church!  Oh, my memory is getting so bad these days...So we had a nice little talk.  It turns out she works at the hotel.  I did not know that.


And then, this bar employee comes up to me and says, "I know you from somewhere."  And I seriously had no clue who this woman was.  It wasn't my faulty memory this time.  She was a stranger.  But I've had this happen over and over since I became an adult.  People are insistent that they know me from somewhere or that I must have a sister they know.  I think I must have a universal face that makes people think this.  I don't know.  So this woman just stands there staring at me, trying to figure out where it she knows me from.  And I'm in a swimsuit with crazy, curly hair, feeling very, very uncomfortable.  I wasn't sure what I should do - start listing every single place I've ever been and see if there's a match with her life experiences?  Eventually, she shrugged and went back to the bar.




And, last Saturday, was, of course, Valentine's Day.  I was perfectly fine leading up to the day, so I was a bit surprised when, late that morning, I found myself beginning to battle some bluesy-type feelings.  After a few hours, though, they dissipated. 


The girls made Valentines for me and insisted on giving them to me first thing in the morning.  That was so sweet.  I wonder if it will ever occur to their brothers that they could make Valentines for their mom, as well?  We had our heart shaped pizzas that night and I gave the kids their candy and gifts.  I really did enjoy that.  Without children, the day could have been very long and sad.  Of course, it would probably help if I learn to just stay off Facebook on that day (everyone posting pictures of their Valentine flowers and gifts from their husbands), too!  Overall, though, it really was not a bad day. 


And in two days it will be Feb. 20th.  So far, I'm ok.  I remember last  year feeling like there was an oncoming train with "February 20th" emblazoned across the front - and I was powerless to hop across the tracks to safety.  I absolutely did the right thing by getting out of town and being busy that day.  That made the impact from the train a lot more bearable.  And I know I'm doing the right thing again this year by having plans in place.  It sounds like it's going to be snowy on Friday, but nothing that will interfere with the places I plan to take the kids.


I don't know how I'll be on Friday.  I know this morning I felt this momentary zap of pain right to my midsection.  It was grief - I know that feeling all too well by now.  But as quickly as it came, it left.  And I've been ok today.  Who knows, maybe in time, I will cease to regard Feb. 20 as the Day that Should be Celebrated Differently than it Is and I will simply think of it as our annual Family Day.


But I will never, ever forget what that day was the first year it became important - and all the years afterward.  Some things are engraved on the heart too deeply to ever be forgotten.


I miss him.  I don't think that's ever going to change.  But, I'm learning to live without him more successfully with each passing day and more than I ever thought I could.


They say that time heals all wounds.  For the most part I would agree.  But as time goes on I am becoming convinced there is a spiritual component to healing the grieving spirit.  I am a member of a few Facebook widows groups.  The contrast between the saved and unsaved is nearly like night and day.  I don't know that the saved grieve any less than the unsaved, but there is an element of hope that is so evident.  They don't seem "stuck" in their grief like so many of the non-Christians.  I've met women who are more than 7 or 8 years out on this journey and have barely moved a bit.  I know there's no reason to rush the process but moving forward is healthy and needed at some point.


God heals the broken hearted.  That is the only way it happens.  I guess maybe that's why I had the reference of Psalm 34:18 engraved on my widow's ring. 


I'm not ready to date again and I'm not taking Paul's picture off my desk or boxing up the last of his belongings.  Tomorrow or Friday I may be a sniffling mess again.


But I am being regenerated from the inside out.  A miraculous thing is happening in my heart.




































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