Monday, May 18, 2015

One Year...


One year... 
All our earthly belongings spread between friends' garages and horse trailers and a motel room.
Struggling between anger, despair, excitement, and confidence. 


 I thought I was moving toward forgiveness.  It's a process.  Amazingly in a town this small, I had not seen the cause of all this chaos in these pictures since he stormed out the door yelling.  When I saw him this weekend at a book sale, my heart rate skyrocketed and my chest tightened in a way I've not felt since leaving that house.   Fear was illogical, yet it wasn't really anger I felt.  Was it because of a lack of forgiveness?  Was it essentially PTSD taking over? Will I ever be able to see him and not have a fight or flight response?


What I do know for sure is that God provides, as the pictures for tomorrow remind me.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Making the cut...

You wouldn't think hospital employee's take business trips, but occasionally they do.  So while the Mechanic is in Chicago training on a likely multi-million dollar piece of lab equipment, the kids and I get to relive memories of our single-parent time in Tennessee.  Then, I single parented for two weeks at a time, so this less-than-a-week doesn't seem bad.  Of course I have more children now, and they are bigger handfuls, but we'll see how it goes.  I'm actually looking forward to seeing how disciplined I can be and how much I can get done as the only adult in the house!  

One thing I'm excited about doing this week is continuing work on something that definitely made the cut even though it isn't specifically in my lifetime goals.  There is a wonderful organization started by two cranio moms called Cranio Care Bears.  They send care packages, free of charge, to any family with a child undergoing a surgery for craniosynostosis.  Completely volunteer and donation driven, the most important part of their care packages is the prayer ribbon chain.  Each link has an encouraging verse or saying on it, usually written by someone who has been touched by cranio in some way... some parents make them while their child is in surgery, others do ribbon drives for birthdays or class parties. 
Ladybug with her prayer ribbon chain just before leaving for surgery

Care package goodies and BooBooBear (from their store)

With the handmade blankie from her care package, post-op
 In honor of Ladybug's first "cranioversary," coming up in June, I set a goal for a certain number of ribbons I wanted to send.  I'm about half way to my goal and have till June 18th to meet it!  I stocked up on books on CD and Waltons DVDs from the library that can play in the background while I write on ribbons this week! 
I might be slightly addicted. 
If anyone wants to contribute to this organization, their website has instructions for how to donate , through money for shipping, ordering from their Amazon wish list and shipping it directly to them, collecting needed items yourself, or making prayer ribbons.  You can also shop for cranio awareness items in their store; all proceeds go to the care packages!  

Friday, May 15, 2015

On Social Media and Goals...

Pondering my goals and priorities... 

Time is in short supply.  There are many things that are okay, aren't sin, aren't harmful.  There are things that can be used for good.  But are they worthwhile?  (And yes, I'm spending time on this... because writing out my thoughts helps me think)

I'm stuck on Facebook.  I've taken a break from it twice this year already.  And it just keeps coming to mind.  I have excuse after excuse for why I don't delete it completely.  There are good things that come from Facebook.  I share pictures with family and friends far away.  I claim I get to know people better through Facebook.  I say I get to encourage and educate other moms of cranio kids.  I say I get to find out prayer requests.  

But what is Facebook causing me to miss out on?  Because everything I chose to do means I'm choosing not to do something else.  

So when I log on, what am I saying "no" to?  Cleaning.  I don't have a dishwasher, and saying I'm "waiting on the washer and dryer" is a joke, because in this house there is ALWAYS laundry to be put away.  Reading, either quality books for myself or reading to my children.  Playing with my children, or paying attention to them at all.  Praying.  Studying Scripture.  Meditating on a hymn.  Giving serious thought to anything.  Cooking.  Exercising.  Managing money. 

What am I saying "yes" to?  I can encourage people on Facebook.  I can see prayer requests and say a short (distracted) prayer.  I can gossip.  I can come across harsh and judgmental.  I can get irritated, or stressed, or worried about the way other people live and raise their children, or the viewpoints of others, or their opinions of me.  I can be encouraged and held accountable for healthy living. 

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."

Does Facebook fit this definition?  Does what I read, and what I post, follow the command of this verse?  If I'm honest... no.  I can pretty much count on one hand the people on my "friends" list who spurn me on to a better life, whose posts, shares, and comments fit the qualifications of that verse.

It's pretty clear to me that I need to make changes.  Intentional, flexible, focused... 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Progressing or Drifting?

As part of a healthy living and exercise group I'm a part of on Facebook, I have been giving thought to my goals, my values, and my passions.  I'm a relatively analytical, unemotional person, at least compared to most women, so I've had a hard time getting in touch with any emotions regarding my lifestyle.  I'm okay with that though, and am focusing on the benefits that being unemotional can have.

This morning, I took the time to put that anaylytical side to use in evaluating my life.  I thought about what I had stated as my overall goals, thought back to what I remember writing as my goals and purpose for my life back in high school/college, and then thought about my typical day.  I asked myself a hard hitting question: is the way I live each day pushing me towards my goals, or am I simply drifting?

Then I thought about the things I complain about, the excuses I use, the things in my life that drive me nuts.

The one big thing, the common link that stood out, was time.  I always claim I don't have enough of it.  I've said this week I needed to freeze time till I could figure out what I'm supposed to do.

Every human is allotted 24 hours in a day.  Some people accomplish a lot in their 24 hours.  Some accomplish pretty much nothing.  So the question isn't how much time I have, but rather, how I'm using it.  Am I being a good steward of my time?  Or am I wasting it?  Am I spending my time on things that have nothing to do with my goals, my purpose?

And I feel like I'm on repeat... which means this is a chronic problem for me.  Maybe I'm feeling time slipping by and that's why these same thoughts are occurring so often.  I'll have two children in preschool next fall, my baby is on the verge of walking, and I feel like they were just born.
So if I drop off the face of social media, nothing's wrong.  I'm just streamlining and focusing. =)

Thursday, April 23, 2015

What Does SPD Mean To Me?

After reading The Out of Sync Child and realizing sensory processing disorder (SPD) describes my Ladybug far better than any autism spectrum disorder, I mentioned to her pediatrician that if SPD is real, she has it.  And she asked me what that meant to me.

That is an excellent question.  I either think I am crazy, over-diagnosing completely normal childish behaviors, or I feel like no one else has any idea what my life is really like.

So for me, SPD means...


  • As my child gets older, she requires more effort and attention, not less.  She gets physically and mentally harder to parent, not easier.  I look back at nights of colic and think, that was easier.


  • Any mistake costs me time.  A cabinet not latched.  The kitchen not blocked off.  A jar not put away.  And typically, it doesn't cost me a few minutes.  It often costs upwards of 30 minutes, sometimes more, by the time I clean both the child and the surroundings, in addition to the cost of the item wasted.  There is NO room for error. 

  • I must weigh the need to go to the bathroom or anything that takes me out of sight of the kids against the risk of finding mayhem when I return. This means simple things, like showers, toileting, personal hygiene and maintenance, must either happen at 6am or it doesn't happen at all.
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  • Every event, every day, is approached with "how will she cope with this?"  Meltdowns are more likely after social events.  I decide whether or not the benefit outweighs the possible consequences.  Changes in plan are often accompanied by screams and resistance.  She may appear very placid in public, but when we return home, the windows may rattle as she apparently simply can't cope with anything else.

                                                                
  • I am to the point of deciding my time would be better managed by devoting myself 100% to my children during their waking hours, rather than trying to get anything accomplished around the house.  Because if my attention is elsewhere, she is likely causing mayhem that will take even longer to repair.
     
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  • I am continually running on empty.  I am mentally exhausted.  I am constantly trying to come up with things for her to do, ways to stimulate her senses and meet her seemingly unquenchable desires.  Ways of handling her meltdowns.  Forms of discipline and training that will work.
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  • I struggle with hope.  Because things are getting harder.  I look forward to her being in school.  But I wonder if I will need to home school, and how in the world will I do that?  Every time I've thought things are getting better, they've stopped improving.  And I try to focus on what has gotten better.  Such as, she is no longer obsessed over closing doors.  Yet what has that been replaced by?  Painting herself in oatmeal & Nutella. Can we go back to the door closing?                                             
  • I feel guilty.  Because I'm living the life of which I dreamed.  And yet... I can't wait for bedtime.  I want to enjoy my children.  I reach the end of the day and my creativity and patience are long gone.  I feel foolish for having so many children in so few years.  I could never have known what it'd be like, and I wouldn't trade any of them, but I still sometimes feel guilty for putting them through a childhood like this. 





     This is part of why I have started making extra effort to get pictures of the grins that come when she's enjoying something.  Because I need that visible reminder that something I'm doing is working.  That I'm not making her miserable all the time.  And I take pictures of the messes, because as much as I'd like to forget them sometimes, I want to remember so that when my children are grown and I see a mom struggling, I will remember that these years that are supposedly awesome can be really tough.  
And I am aware that every child has their own unique challenges.  Just about all kids get into things.  Many kids enjoy getting dirty.  Most kids pitch fits.  And 3 is a tough age.  Each individual thing depicted in the pictures above, for example, is not what bothers me.  It's all of it together.  It's the daily, multiple times a day, stuff that exhausts me.  Perhaps, in another year, I'll say to myself "you really were nuts.  She's grown out of all that and is a completely normal kid and you over-reacted."  But in the meantime, if using techniques created for kids with issues helps, then I'm going to read those books and use those ideas.