Sunday, October 30, 2011

Night, night, sleep tight

Some of my sweetest moments in life happen when I'm tucking my daughter into bed at night. One might think that is because the day is finally over and it's time for some *me time* (and on many occasion, that is true) but most of the time it is because of the sweet and honest talks we have. If you have kids, you may find the same is true at your house.

On Friday, O got her hair cut and for a special treat, I let her get a piece of tinsel tied in her hair. We were going to a wedding reception of our dear friend, and former nanny, Linnea that night. Fast forward to tonight as we laid side by side on her bed and I saw tears welling up in her eyes.

Her bottom lip started to quiver and I asked what was wrong. "I'm just afraid I'm going to get in trouble at school tomorrow for my hair."

The kids are not allowed to wear costumes to school for Halloween, nor are they allowed to wear jewelry any day. She was afraid that her teacher would see her tinsel and she would get in trouble. I dried her eyes and assured her that she would be fine with the one piece of tinsel. I also asked her what would be the worst thing that could happen if she DID get in trouble? (Her fear seemed so irrational.) She squeaked out that Ms. Shirley would take it (the tinsel) out. We then talked about how that would not be so bad. I then reassured her that she would be fine. And if she did get in trouble, I would take the blame.

Once again fast forward a few hours later. I spent some time talking to God about some things I've been mulling over regarding my life, my circumstances, life, death, a sermon at Church this weekend etc. All of a sudden it was like I heard my words come back to me. Only this time, I was the fearful, tearful daughter with irrational fears. I felt like this time HE reassured ME that I would be fine and that I have zero fear of punishment, because Jesus already took my blame.

Friday night, after Linnea's reception I snuggled up to O for a *quick prayer* (it was late, after all, since we stayed out late.) As I prayed for her and her night, I gave thanks for Linnea and Brandon and their new marriage. When I did, I started to cry (I know, I know, enough with the tears around here! It's enough to think someone might be a touch hormonally challenged or something!)

The tears were a result of my realization that this wedding was being planned pretty much through the duration of my chemo.

Honestly, some days the joy and giddiness of wedding planning were a tough pill to swallow. But on Friday night, as my kids and I danced and celebrated Linnea's new life, in some ways it felt like I got a chance to celebrate my new life. With hair. With energy. With health. And as I prayed, gratitude flooded over me like an enormous wave.

Although, some nights bedtime feels like a chore to *get done*, I'm so thankful that recently I've slowed down enough to learn a thing or two.

P.S. How cute is that couple? Couldn't you just hate 'em?!!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Some things you can't plan for

Friday evening, Steve and I went to a wedding. It was a lovely, outdoor, at 6:30 pm in October wedding. It was a chilly wedding. It was one of the most unique weddings I've ever been to. I had to sit alone during the ceremony because Steve was the one doing the marrying. He did a great job. I was secretly hurrying him along in my mind though because I was freezing my stuff off. Once the sun went down, it was COLD!

During the evening something caught me off guard. In all the beauty, in all the sweetness of fresh vows; I seemed to slip somewhere that seemed a little *off.* Unfortunately, I couldn't really articulate it until the next morning. But as I sat on it, as I tried to figure it out, I realized... grief had reared it's ugly head. Duh.

A daddy giving his daughter away. A mommy dabbing her tears as her baby joined another. A grief for my own parents. A grief for cancer (now gone... but always haunting, if I let it.) A deep desire to allow thankfulness beat down the self pity that lurks below the surface. A frustration at grief itself. An understanding that I'm in process, but wanting it to be over. A happy occasion for my friends, a reminder of sadness for me.

Identification of emotions for me is always helpful. I've been a bit sensitive the past few days. It catches me off guard. I think what I'm finding out is that there will be events, situations, words, songs, movies, quite frankly, anything, that might catch me off guard... and that's okay. I just wish I could schedule for it.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Mother Nature must have *issues*

Didn't I just do a post about how two weeks ago I experienced one of the loveliest, 80 degree October Saturdays EVER?

Yesterday, we could have used that day! It was field day to the apple orchard with the kids' classes and because of the forecast, we needed to make an emergency run to Target the night before for hats, gloves, boots and snow pants.

In a moment of pure crazy, I took all three kids with me. (In the cold, dreary, driving rain.) We pulled in the Target parking lot where I discovered I had left my wallet at home. You don't have to use too much imagination to guess what kind of mood that put me in.

We went in anyhow, just to make sure they were carrying what we needed, hopped back in the van, went home, grabbed the wallet and went back to Target.

I let the kids pick out their own hats and gloves. They did a stellar job for sure.

It rained and was cold for the field trip and today it is even colder and windier. I may be a bit biased, but these kids sure are cute and these pictures have brightened my day. Although, if you had been with me the other night during our SECOND trip, you may not have called any of us cute. There *might* have been some yelling in the check out aisle as I had had enough "togetherness" at that point.

And for the record, NO, I did NOT make my Chinese kid pick out the panda hat. He totally wanted it!

And boy am I glad he did. Isn't that the cutest, most stereotypical thing you've ever seen???

It's a good thing we hit the store that night though, because man was it rainy and cold and windy. Although it wasn't snowy, the snow pants came in handy because, sweet mercy, the mud! (Although I did make one colossal parenting mistake when I opened the closet on filed trip morning to find that we had already given away her winter coat from last winter and have yet to replace it. We made do with an extra warm fleece). Oops.

This is Olivia and her sweet friend Lillian. I had to escort the brothers, but the kindergartners got to fly solo. I ran into O and her friend every now and then and they were holding hands each time. Don't you just want to eat them up?

Kindergarten sweetness is my favorite!!! Can I please press pause on this season? It may be the first season of kid-ness that I've said that for.

3 year old boy kid-ness?


Although, faces like these help.
It's been fun to spend a bit more time with my kids' classes over the last few weeks. My kids are in class with kids who have recently moved here from Nepal, Ecuador, Iraq and Mexico.

What a great experience to grow up alongside people who are different from you in so many ways. Especially for Quinn, who was also born in another country.

At the apple orchard there was a little time for goofing around. Turner found that if he swung from this rope and then let go, he would land flat on his back and it didn't even hurt. At first I was about to tell him no, and then I caught myself and thought, "Shoot, why not?" He giggled his little heart out every single time.

And so did I.

Part of the field trip was a hay ride to a pumpkin patch (aka mud bath).

It was cold, windy and no one seemed to notice except the grown ups.

Something about this picture really makes me smile.

Maybe it's the big hats on the little heads.

Maybe it's how close these two are sitting and yet so unaware of each other.

Maybe it's the bags we had to put the pumpkins in because they were so muddy.

Who knows why, but it sure is fun to have a reason to smile on a dreary day like today!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Deck the Halls

You may remember back in late Feb/early March, my friends over at Mommin' It Up did a really special and generous thing for me. They did a campaign to help us raise money to pay for our nanny, Linnea. Many of YOU and plenty of strangers contributed, for which we are super grateful. Last month, they had me do a guest post for Ovarian Cancer awareness month. These two ladies (Jenny and Emily) are *just moms* but have used their *super famous* blog for several good causes. They are doing it again.

A mutual friend of ours, Jeni, is a foster mom. She and I have been Facebook friends for awhile now. We ran into each other at the grocery store a little while back and we got to talking and were kinda like, "We ought to be real friends" so we had coffee a week and a half ago. We spent about two hours together but I could have spent all day with her. We had lots to talk about.

Jeni sent me a Facebook message the other day with an idea she had and asked me to help. After the love people showed me during my blog fundraiser, how could I say no?

Jenni, being a foster mom herself, knows the needs of kids in foster care. She has had an amazing idea to do a fundraiser to provide these kids (foster kids in Greene Co., OH) with brand new Christmas presents. Not hand-me-downs. Not crappy Dollar Store gifts (like MY kids get;) ) but a special gift.

My friend, Jenny (yeah, the other Jenny... what was WITH the 80's parents and their need to name their kid Jenny??) over at Mommin' It Up has a way for you to give. Please click over here to get the details on how to give. We are asking for a small donation of $5 or more if you can. I know our family will be doing this. And I will be involving my kids as well. What a great way to bless some kids who don't have much. I know the Internet can be a dangerous place, but isn't it so cool to see how it can be used for good? And to make friends. And to provide smiles.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

4 and one week

A week ago (ish) Quinn Jian turned 4. I say *ish* because we don't actually know when his true birthday is. So, I have a few days on this, right?

The orphanage called October 10th his birthday and so do we. We figure it's pretty accurate because he still had his umbilical cord attached when he arrived at the orphanage. We have pics to prove it!

We gathered nearly 20 of his friends on the most gorgeous 80 degree and sunny October Saturday I've ever seen. We played a few games outside before several of the kids nearly had heat stroke. I guess you can hack the heat in July, but come October, little bodies have already made the leap to fall. Complaints abounded. (Isn't that just the cutest little line up of friends you've ever seen?)

He wanted a Spider man party this year. It's all I heard about for months. So, by golly, we had a Spider man party!

The cake was the main attraction and I had to threaten bodily harm to keep little fingers out of the cake. The good news was that it didn't come to that. Although, I did catch Quinn in the corner before guests arrived shoving cheese balls in his mouth AFTER he was clearly told no more snacks before friends arrived. We had a small lesson on grace and he escaped without punishment.

I had to include a pic of the cake for posterity sake. And for the sake of my wallet. We spent waaaay too much for a few plastic rings and an action figure plunked on a cake.

It's been a while since I've been emotionally overcome by the fact that my sweet son is adopted. *Rescued* if you will, from a life of who knows what. But when I looked at his little face (covered in cheese ball powder) looking at his cake as his 20-some friends sang him happy birthday, my eyes filled with tears. He has dear friends whom he loves and who love him back. Not that he wouldn't have had that in China, but I get to know him and those friends here.

I get to experience that love, that sweetness in my life. I am blessed and amazed at how God arranged for Quinn to be in my life.

He is smart, and funny, and sneaky and a people person. He sweats a lot. He is bossy and generous and a brother.

He is mine.

And all he wanted for his 4th birthday was a Spider man party.

With a Spider man Pinata.

Candy from heaven. What could be better for my sweet son?

Only perhaps cheese balls from heaven.

Happy fourth, Quinn. I love you.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

one of these days.

on the road again. one of these days you'll get to see pics of Quinn's birthday party. But now, we're loading up the van and heading to Cleveland for a little work and a little Grandma/Papa time. I'm being summoned... so I'm off. Have a great weekend.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Sorry, mamaw's been at the park

Shoot. I was suppose to get back on the bloggy horse. But out of nowhere, we were blindsided by the most gorgeous weather week I may have EVER experienced in Ohio. Every day was clear blue (almost hurt your eyes, cloudless kind of blue) skies, mid to upper seventy degrees and spot on perfection. The kind of perfection that should be a crime to stay in your house and blog perfection. Affected by weather much?

Have I mentioned that I might have turned into a 80 year old lady last winter without telling you? Because, seriously, I would be more than happy to hunker down in some retirement village in a warm climate state, buy a golf cart and just roam around in the lovely weather all day long.

But I digress. With all that UH-mAZING weather (another reason I'm 80 and you didn't know it... apparently all I can talk about it my health and the weather. No offense to the 80 year olds out there...) we were at our favorite park 4 out of the 5 school days for evening play last week. Saturday was Quinn's big Spider-man birthday party (with pics to come just as soon as the Ohio weather turns on me again) and yesterday was major clean the house day. So obviously, blogging once again has taken a back seat to life. But I swear, if you hang in there with me, there will be plenty more life changing talk of ailments and weather related excitement. I swear on my last tube of Ben Gay.

Monday, October 3, 2011

I have a new motto

I've been reading a new book lately. Today, while I was at chemo, I came across a quote that I really, really liked. I'm not a huge quoter, but this one I may adapt as my new life motto. Are you ready for it?

"Life is not an emergency."

For some reason, that really resonates with me. My life seems to have been one crisis after another during this past year. But life itself is not an emergency.

My crazy short hair? NOT an emergency! In fact, over the weekend, four different people asked me where I get my hair cut. You better believe they are not exactly lining up outside the Kettering Women's Cancer Center to get theirs done too.

Getting dinner on the table? NOT an emergency! Especially since I've found Pinterest. If you have not gone to Pinterest, do so. Right now. You, and your family can thank me later.

This weekend was super fun. I took the kids to do lots of fun stuff, including a fall festival at our Y on Friday night and a kid thing at the Mall on Saturday. Olivia got called up on stage by the magician.

Needing to vacate the house while Steve did home projects? NOT an emergency! Although my attitude by Sunday was nearing emergency lows. Too much activity with not enough downtime for a grieving mommy may not have been the smartest choice for me, but life is life and it's not an emergency.

Life lately
has tested me, that's for sure. I wish I was a bit more like Quinn, because sometimes you just need to lay down and take a little nap. Emergencies can wait. Life just isn't one of them!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Some good, some bad

I've been meaning to blog for days. It's kind of been haunting me. Like one of those things you kind of want to do, but more know you *should* do. Should because so many of you have been so kind with comments on my dad's passing. In all honesty, this week has been down right busy. Lots of life going on. Last week we totally closed out my dad's apartment. Goodwill. Craig's List. Garbage. Laughs. Tears. Arguments.

I came across something on grief this week that said, "Don't be in a rush to get rid of your loved one's belongings." Too late. "Don't be in a rush to close your loved one's house." Too late. "Don't hop back into your normal life too soon. Take some time off if possible." Not possible.

I've caught myself several times this week getting ready to call my dad. For the past 5 years I've called home daily to make sure everyone was alright. That responsibility is now over. Some of that is actually a relief.

That is my brief update. I've really enjoyed this past week in the midst of grief. I laughed. A lot. Found much to be thankful for. Had another great report from my doctor. Exercised. Cooked. Baked. Enjoyed time with some girlfriends. Celebrated my husband (he turned 41 this week.) Watched The X Factor. Totally loved it!!! Bought my kids warm clothes (it suddenly turned fall here in Dayton; leaving us a bit unprepared.) I did lots of stuff. Blogging just wasn't one of them.

Here's to getting back into the blog swing of things. Have a great weekend and GO BUCKEYES.