Friday, July 29, 2011

7 Quick Takes (vol. 21)

#1 - Well, I kind of had my day off. Wound up paying bills much of the day, but I did not pack one single box, so that was good. Also had a friend hang out some of the afternoon, and that was a nice blessing. Now Blueberry is sleeping (poor lamb was becoming beastly by 6pm--put her to bed and she conked out so fast--thank goodness. Her mommy was about to go ballistic!). .... Update-- I love sign language. Blueberry woke up and started crying. I walked in her room and she was standing up signing milk, milk, milk with the occasional please thrown in as fast as her little hands could make the signs. Sleeping soundly again.


#2 - Tomorrow is the big day loading the truck. The U-Haul is currently sitting ominously in our driveway. Very large. We'll be starting bright and early. I imagine my start will be even earlier and probably slightly less bright than everyone else's, but that's the curse of the females in my family.


#3 - My brain is beginning to fill up with thoughts of what's to come. I've done pretty good at holding most of that at bay just because I've had so many things around here that I've had to focus on. But now the new adventure anxiety/glee/nerves are setting in.


#4 - I would not have been done with the packing if it were not for the kindness of my sister-in-law baby sitting Blueberry most of the day yesterday. Blueberry's room was the one room I had yet to touch. Got it done along with several other final items. And then she made us dinner on top of it all. Such a blessing. Thank you :)


#5 - I've been cleaning out my emails tonight. Gotten very backlogged (again). I've had to shake my head and laugh at so many of them as they're completely pointless now as they address plans and ideas that are no longer relevant. Convenient as I don't have to deal with a bunch of them. But bitter sweet others. Sigh. I'm excited, but there's definitely some people I'm heart sore to leave. For all that I've been ready to move out of this town for a number of years, I've also planted some deep roots that are going to be painful to pull up.


#6 - My poor sister is inheriting a large pile of things to get rid of. Tried to contact a thrift store to pick it all up as my plans of a garage sale went bye-bye. Unfortunately they all want at least 2 weeks notice. The downfall (for her!) of renting our house. Oh well. I'm leaving her a freezer full of "mana." I feel like I was pretty ruthless on getting rid of stuff, but then I look around at the house and see all the stuff left and wonder if I should have been more ruthless. I guess we'll see when we get down there. I think one of the weirdest things for me in all this is the lack of knowledge I have of what we're really moving into. We saw part of our wing of the cottage, but not the whole thing. So I'm flying blind on making a lot of furniture decisions.


#7 - As the load of freshly dried laundry warming my feet has begun to cool off, I guess I had better go fold and pack it up before bed. I will post as I can. No idea how busy it's going to be the next few weeks. But stories will be forthcoming. Until then, I leave you my favorite Tolkenism:

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Daybook July 26

Outside my window...It is hot and sunny. Not quite as hot as it has been, but definitely still way to warm to be lugging boxes around outside. Chris got up at 6am this morning for the sole purpose of working on the boxes in the garage--bless him.

I am thinking...about how it's Tuesday (not Wednesday--thank goodness--I keep thinking it's Wednesday. I'm not ready yet for Wednesday, so it's with a sense of relief that I realize I'm still only on Tuesday), and I only have 4 days until we pack the truck and 5 till we drive away. I have a goal. I want Friday off. I want a day where I can sleep in without waking up early and fretting. No running around. As I know we're going to hit the ground running in our new home/job, having a day of mental and physical relaxation would be a huge help in my personal sanity and stress levels.

I am thankful for...all the wonderful people in our lives. Various friends and family members have come to help us with our packing. We had the birthday party Saturday and it went great. There were so many people who came--we feel blessed by the amount of people in our lives who apparently like us for whatever reason! God has been so good.

From the learning rooms...[or in our case--the learning brain]...steps, steps, and more steps. Still not consistently or steadily. But walking is definitely occurring. Oh, and she has learned that chocolate is fantastic. And her parents have learned that Blueberry on a sugar high is rather amusing but definitely not something to be tolerated frequently. And we have also discovered that she is most definitely my daughter in how she acts late at night when she's too tired but is not sleeping well (think silly/hyper and very talkative).

The chocolate she got at the birthday party. She tried a bit. Looked at both me and Chris with big eyes as if it check that it really was okay for her to be eating this. Then proceeded to devour her cupcake with great relish. Pretty neat too for a 11.5 month old.

From the kitchen...comes random meals. I'm learning the fine art of frying an egg and flipping it with a knife (without breaking the yolk), as all of my spatulas have been packed (including the one I thought I left out for this purpose but which mysteriously vanished! Also have had to resort to theft as I had a chicken to cook and nothing to cook it in--I have a key to my brother's house, so I snuck in and stole a pan. I did try to ask first, but got no answer. So I turned thief instead).

I am wearing...a green dress--trying to stay as cool as possible.

I am creating...a mess. But it's becoming a more organized mess, so that is good at least. Ooo...and I created gluten free cupcakes for the birthday party. Well, Namaste created them. I baked them and iced them. Yum.

I am take a break on Friday. And that's final. So there.

In my mailbox today.. .I don't know. I haven't checked yet. But we did receive a big, mysterious box for my sister recently. I really should text her that we have that!

I am reading.. . book 3 of the Firebird trilogy. A surprisingly good, Christian sci-fi series. The author has actually written some books for the Star Wars world--this has been an enjoyable if at times fluffy read. Fluff right now is good.

I am hoping...that we can actually manage to fit our stuff into our new house without too much fuss. I've got a huge pile of stuff sitting in the garage that needs to be tossed, garage sale-d (looking less and less likely all the time), or taken to a thrift store. I keep adding more. And yet I still feel like we have so much.

I am hearing...Blueberry chatter to herself over the baby monitor. Hopefully the chattering will turn quiet as she goes to sleep and not escalate to crying as she decides a nap is not in her agenda for the afternoon.

Around the house...boxes, boxes, and more boxes. Things are coming along well. The only room I haven't touched at all yet is Blueberry's room. Tackling that one Thursday. All the rest of the rooms are at least 90% done if not more so. Now to get a chance to tackle the paperwork in the study and pay the bills, and I'll be all set.

One of my favorite things...peppermint foot lotion. Especially when combined with a foot rub.

A few plans for the rest of the week: hmmm...pack?! Dinner with some girl friends Wednesday night. Dinner with my siblings one night. Pack. Pack. Pack. Pay bills. Pack. Load a U-Haul. Drive to Arkansas. Leave house, home, family, friends, start new adventure. Unpack.

Here is picture (or more) for thought I am sharing...
3 days old:

11 months and 2 weeks old:

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

7 Quick Takes (vol. 20)

#1 - So in between packing boxes, selling cars, renting a house, renting a U-haul, planning a birthday party, setting up ways to see friends/family, changing addresses, canceling appointments, getting referrals, and acquiring packing supplies, I've been doing a little bit of research on our new home town. So far Hot Springs is rather lacking in the Asian food department. Several Chinese restaurants, but that's about it. I'm getting the impression that Little Rock is going to be somewhere I have to get to know better as they have a larger grocery store offering gluten free foods than Hot Springs does (Whole foods in Little Rock!) as well as at least one Indian restaurant, Thai restaurants, Vietnamese restaurants, and a slightly bigger selection of decent restaurants that for sure have gluten free choices. Ah well, at least it's only an hour away.


#2 - Charlotte is on the verge on walking. Yesterday she took one little step (which I missed). Then she took another one--bit steadier. She finally strung together 3 before she sat down very hard. Thank goodness for cloth diapers. Who knows what today will bring! And heaven help me, I'll have a toddler.


#3 - Talk about Toddlers: I was just thinking yesterday how glad I am for procrastination. At least in this case. We've been working on baby proofing the house, and by "working" I mean--planning and thinking about. I did get so far as to buy 2 baby gates and some electrical socket plugs and several drawer locks, but we never got them put up. Thank goodness!


#4 - In further Blueberry news, she has taken it upon herself this week to not only start this walking thing, but to also grow two more teeth and lengthen her wake time between getting up in the morning and her morning nap. Oh and she's also finally started sleeping a consistent, solid 6 - 7 hour stretch every night (i.e. at a time I'm also in bed and should be getting that nice chunk of sleep if I weren't being haunted by to-do lists and boxes that need packing). Which has thrown her mommy completely off any semblance of routine as I've been trying to keep up with all this newness. Of course last night she slept horribly, but I'm blaming the walking on that one. She always seems to have a couple of rough nights when she starts a new major skill like that.


#5 - The packing itself is going really well. My goal has been for next week to be primarily a case of finishing up the little bits and having the time to do all the other little things that need to get done around here. Plus see friends and other important things like that. This week has been simultaneously extremely short and incredibly long. The oxymoron's of time always drive me crazy.


#6 - The problem with packing is that once you've packed something, it's hard to use it and sometimes even harder to find it. Case in point--I've packed my address box. Which means that the two packages that were on my to do list this week are currently stuck here because I have to now go and figure out which box I packed my addresses into so I can then address the packages correctly. Bah.


#7 - Because I can....This was taken at the studio when Blueberry and I were taking that Wee Ones dance class together. Just so cute! By the last class she had figured out that the sticks were for tapping together and the froggy bean bag was for shaking. Not exactly in time with any one else. But she was getting there.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Whirlwind

As I sit here ridiculously early this morning, I am trying to gather my thoughts and process everything that has happened to us this last week. As I haven't breathed a word of most of this on here--I now get to spill the beans per say. And such beans they are!

Let's begin with last Monday. On that day I received an email that depressed me greatly as yet another one of my friends informed me that she was moving away. And this time on one week's notice.

As I popped over to her house to help her start boxing up her kitchen (packing kitchen's is apparently my specialty as I've packed quite a few friend's kitchen in the last few years), we began talking about the new job they were going to be doing. The more they talked, the more intrigued I became. Chris and I have had a job that we've talked about on and off since before we were married. Then six of seven years ago we had a discussion about dream jobs--and what she was describing was our dream job. Even more than that, what she was describing to me was an answer to our financial, ministry, job, and even family-goals related prayers for the last two years.

And they were hiring.

Wednesday, Chris and I talked it over. I called the director for the company and he confirmed they were still looking, but not exactly for the position that we were wanting. But it was a similar position, and could lead into the opening we were wanting. He said to go ahead and put in our applications, and that he was actually going to be in town next week, so we could do an interview then. That night we put in our applications and went to bed not knowing what to think.

Thursday morning I check my email first thing--we have an email from him. He had reviewed our applications and would look to see us. Immediately. On location. Could we come?

Ensue a flurry of phone calls back and forth between Chris and I. Quick plans and discussions were made. And by 2:30pm Friday afternoon we were on the road, Blueberry in tow, heading to Arkansas.

Yes, Arkansas. To interview to be Relief Houseparents at a Christian children's home for foster children, orphans, etc.

Saturday morning we arrived at the home ready for the interview. One of the first things we were told was that unfortunately he couldn't offer us the position he originally intended.

Our hearts sank. Five hour car trip for nothing.

And then he went on (I'm pretty sure he was enjoying himself). The position he could offer us was that of full time Houseparent to one of the girl's cottages (the children of the home are broken up into six cottages based on age/grade level. Each cottage has it's own set of houseparents)--specifically the little girl's cottage (ages 0-10ish). In other words--exactly the position type (and gender and even age range of kids) that we were most interested in!

We talked and talked and talked all about the home, what happens, how it operates, what our roles would be. Then we drove around in a golf cart and saw all over the beautiful campus, went into the house we would be parenting (if hired), and learned even more about how everything operates. The more we saw and the more information we learned, the deeper our desires grew to be a part of this ministry. Almost from the first moments of hearing about the job itself several days ago, and definitely from the moment we took that fateful step and submitted our applications, both of us had been so excited, but even more, so sure in our spirits that this was where God was leading us. And every moment of that interview simply confirmed our initial response.

Finally after about 2 hours of talk and viewing, we went back to his office and he offered us the job. We accepted on the spot.

And so, in less than two weeks now (July 31/August 1), we will be driving back to Arkansas this time with U-Haul and puppy dog (and child of course) in tow to start a new chapter of our lives that is so entirely different from anything that has come before, it feels like God just pressed the reset button.

Years of prayers, even more years of dreams, all answered in one fell swoop. It will be hard work, sometimes emotionally exhausting work. But it's work that we are both eager to take on. We get to raise our child as we want to raise her--and we get to raise other children right alongside her. We're going from being parents of 1 to parents of potentially up to 10 or 11.

And even as I write this I can hardly believe it. Although if I look at my "to do" list for the next 2 weeks, the reality sets in firmly!

Already my living room is full of moving boxes. I'm trying to plan a make-shift first birthday party/farewell party for next week, see girlfriends who leaving is going to be really hard, make sure I'm stocked up on some Thai ingredients so I don't starve to death (not really that strong on the Asian food stores that I can tell), and sort/pack/toss/sell every item in my house. Oh, and figure out what to do with our house and sell one of our cars as well! Phew. If this is where God has led us, I'm counting on Him to give me the energy and nerves of steel for the next few weeks!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Daybook July 14

Outside my is baking hot and sunny. My vegetable garden is growing nicely and I have the first fruits of my labor. Well, first pepper of my labor would be more accurate. One jalapeno pepper. What to make? Such decisions!

I am thinking...about Mara Jade and Calista--our two puppies. Calista is currently stretched out at my feet. Mara Jade, sadly, is no more. We've wrestled for a long time (several years) about what to do with her. She has rather bad hip dysplasia that several times has irritated her skin so much she winds up bald, sore, and miserable. While it has been better for about the last year, a few weeks ago we started seeing the signs of it returning. Unfortunately there is very little we can do for her. Between that and the fact that she has been steadily becoming more and more ornery and less and less predictable, we finally came to the decision that it was time to put her to sleep. Not an easy decision as she was our first dog and has been a part of our lives for about 8 years now. However, when we weigh her happiness in life (which has been very up and down the last few years due to her physical problems) as well as add into that our concerns about the safety of our child around her--we knew it was a better decision to put her down with love and holding nothing but good memories of her than to wait for things to get worse or disaster to strike. If someone would have been able to take her in and love her, we would have given her away. But the truth is at her age and in her condition, the likelihood is extremely low of finding someone without kids who was willing to put in the time, money, and energy that caring for her would take to make her genuinely more comfortable. So today we said a sad goodbye. I just hope we can keep Calista happy enough without her pal around.

*9pm update--Well the deed is done. And the vet confirmed that we definitely made the right call both in regards to our concerns about safety around children and also our concerns for Mara Jade's comfort with the hip dysplasia. When she saw the raw patches of skin from where Mara's been nibbling at her hips in discomfort, she said it was definitely time to put her out of misery. Sad but it's always nice to have professional confirmation of a correct decision. Now to comfort poor Calista who is wandering around the house and asking us where her puppy has gone.

I am thankful for...a healthy little girl. For all of our ups and downs this year, the early, early, early birth of a friend's baby has reminded me how blessed we have been.

From the learning rooms...[or in our case--the learning brain]...So much is going on. The skills she has are steadily becoming more natural. Her sign language is really taking off currently. I need to learn some more signs to teach her since she's picking it up so well. And we're literally just waiting for her to take that first step. She'll stand up on her from a crouching position. She'll throw balls from standing. And she'll even walk with help. You can see her considering how to take that step, but it just hasn't happened yet. My bet is that when she does she's going to take off running.

From the a resolution to not go to bed at night unless everything is completely put away. Doing pretty good so far. We'll see how long I keep it up. I need to though as it really makes the beginning of my day so much nicer.

I am wearing...brown culottes, and a red shirt. Nothing fancy.

I am creating...plans for a first birthday party.

I am going...on a road trip.

In my mailbox lately....Came a nice squishy package from Thailand for Blueberry's birthday. Such fun!

I am reading.. . I just finished reading the last in the Rhineland Inheritance series. Well, the last that I have. I think there are more?

I am hoping...for an answer to a long-time prayer. And the strength to deal with the results of that answer regardless of what kind of answer we get.

I am hearing...static over the baby monitor. Pretty quiet otherwise. Blissful.

One of my favorite things...marshmallows. I really do have a thing for them. Which is why I don't normally keep them in the house. Chris wanted some to make a dessert with. Need him to make the dessert ASAP or I might eat them all.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
- pack for the road trip
- pack up a friend who is moving away (sad)
- keep my sanity

Here is picture (or more) for thought I am sharing...


The ball--her security blanket in the pool

The weird little hand motion she does when she wants something or wants to go somewhere.

Daddy cuddles...

Playing ball in the pool

My current favorite picture of my Blueberry

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Monday, July 4, 2011

Words to live by right now

“That which we persist in doing becomes easier for us to do; not that the nature of the thing is changed, but that our power to do is increased” -Heber J. Grant

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Daybook July 3

Outside my window...the wind is blowing up a storm. Rain keeps falling on and off all day in-between brilliant sunshine. My garden has four tomatoes growing and one jalapeno pepper. All very exciting. I hope the storm doesn't crush anything.

I am thinking...of a paper I just finished editing for the Doctoral program I free lance for. Phew--fun citations on that one. My head is now very tired.

I am thankful for...a husband who could watch the Blueberry today so I could get said paper edited without constant interruptions.

From the learning rooms...[or in our case--the learning brain]...We have playing catch, standing up, playing peek-a-boo, and (be still my heart) giving kisses voluntarily! So much fun! We also have a couple more teeth fighting their way through (not so much fun).

From the a mess currently. And I believe it will stay a mess until tomorrow morning as I'm done for the day. However the Masaman curry was fantastic.

I am wearing...a green sundress. Comfy but pretty. All good.

I am creating...a plan for going to bed. And sleeping.

I am follow through on the above plan. Sensible, huh?

In my mailbox lately.. .have come a number of Paperbackswap books--several of them ordered by Hillery for me (thanks Hillery!). A delightful package also came from the above mentioned Hillery with yet another book and some clothes for Blueberry (three cheers for being the "hand-me-down-to" kid), including an adorable swimsuit. Perfect timing as I was about to have to go buy her one.

I am reading.. . the third book in the Rhineland Inheritance. And about to break out some of these books that arrived in the mail.

I am hoping...for a nice quiet week.

I am hearing...fireworks crackling outside my window (since I wrote my first entry regarding the rain and wind--the rain has died down but the wind has not).

Around the house...Blueberry has scattered toys and books and cds and dvds across the floor. But like the kitchen, it's just going to have to wait until tomorrow to be cleaned up. Because this Mama is pooped.

One of my favorite kisses!

A few plans for the rest of the week:
  • possibly taking Blueberry swimming tomorrow (first time!)
  • Wee One's class Tuesday morning (with Blueberry) and Thursday night (without)
  • grocery shopping
  • cleaning up the above mentioned messes and catching up on laundry
  • a bike in the park
  • lunch with a friend
  • no floods, broken washing machines, or any such nastiness.

Here is picture (or more) for thought I am sharing...

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One Year Ago Today

On this day, one year ago, we completely changed our lives. We drove away from jobs and home and loved ones to a new adventure of the very m...