If you could sit where I'm sitting and see what I see...

This week was awful. And it's only Thursday. Sometimes I just want to give up. But if you could see what I see, you'd see a husband who loves me, a mom who takes care of me, a son who works so hard, another son who makes me laugh, a daughter who is the bravest person I know right now, and sunshine and blue sky and snow melting off the trees.

So even though my circumstances tell me I'm screwed, I look beyond them and feel blessed.

Faith. Hope. Love.


Oh Baby
It was 13 years ago today that I officially became a mom. Carver was placed in my arms and we celebrated becoming parents. Today is awfully special. Man, I love that kid.

Today is also crazy. Doctor's appointment for Lily, grocery store, bank, laundry, parent meeting at Carver's school, wrestling, pick-up Z at a friend's house, blah blah blah. When I tell people I live in my car they think I'm exaggerating. But I'm not. I really live in my car.

This weekend and today are spectacularly gorgeous. Highs in the 70s. Pristine blue sky. Yellow and red leaves everywhere. And on Wednesday it's supposed to snow with a high of 30. Which means digging out the jackets and gloves and hats and boots and I am so not ready for all of that. What's funny is that here in Colorado, it usually warms right back up again after it snows, so a lot of times I just tell the kids to grab a sweatshirt and remind them they'll be warm again soon. Mother of the year, right here!

We made some time yesterday to drive up a dirt road and find a secluded lake in the mountains. At 9,000+ feet, the leaves were mostly gone, but the sky and the water were gorgeous. My kids did what most kids do in this environment: get dirty, throw rocks, and goof off. It was awesome.

David's birthday is on Wednesday, so for all of you who are friends with him on Facebook, be sure to wish him a happy bday. He leaves on Thursday morning to go to Minnesota to visit his mom. He'll be gone until Monday, which means it will be a battle between me and the kids for who goes crazy first. I'm putting the odds on me.


What The...?
I am homeschooling Lily.
Bring on the alcohol.

This is crazy. Totally crazy. And yet kinda fun. Despite our best efforts to keep Lily in school, she was missing enough days that it felt unfair for us to expect the teachers to work around our lives. Their jobs are hard enough as it is without us coming and going and not knowing when she'd be able to attend. Besides, right now Lily wants to hunker down and stay home most of the time. (Don't we all?) So it felt like the best option.

For now.

Our long term goal is to get Lily back to school and keep her there, but a season of homeschooling won't kill us. And I admit I was a wee bit too giddy at the teacher supply store yesterday. It was so fun looking at workbooks and curriculum. Being that Lily is my middle child, we've done fifth grade before and I have a pretty good idea what gets covered and what is expected throughout the year. So we got a great 5th/6th grade math book, two social studies books on the American Revolution and Colonial life, and a writing book. Everything else I can supplement, because homeschooling aint cheap. Lily was very distracted by the books on Australia, and I had remind her that's why we go to the library. A lot of reading and projects we can do ourselves just by checking out different books. We are easing into our schedule, doing what Lily can handle. I'm sure there will be days when I am her least favorite person in the world, but we're making the best of a crummy situation.

Hence the alcohol.


Bike Ride
We were able to get out on our bikes yesterday. It was a bee-you-te-ful fall Sunday and we had "forced family fun time." You know what I mean. The kind where you have to make your kids go do something with you so you can be together as a family, and they drag their feet at first but once we get out there they have the BEST TIME EVER!!!! It usually goes like that around here. We let Lily take the small digital camera in her pocket, because she was going to take pictures of animals and document them. However, it turned out that she was mighty impressed with the yellow leaves and pretty scenery and she stopped her bike every 30 seconds to take photos. It made our bike ride a wee bit longer than we'd anticipated, but the results were worth it.
*photos by Lily, age 10


What Life Feels Like
Life disrupted, that's what it feels like. Over the last three weeks, Lily has been to school a total of 3 days. Fortunately, her teacher is amazing and she's keeping up with her work at home. She started a new medication today and hopefully that will help her feel better and get back into her routine. Keep her in your prayers--that the medicine will work and she won't have any crazy side effects from it.

It's the end of the first quarter school wise, which means tests, quizzes, concerts, assemblies, and David being gone most of the week. I miss that guy. Things should settle down a bit after today, thank goodness. I can only feel disjointed for so long before my eyes start twitching

We have extended family coming into town this weekend, which should be so fun. Seeing them always makes me happy. There may be a trip to the mountains for the boys, which makes them happy. And I plan to drink tea and read a mindless, trashy novel. Hooray!

Photos to come. They're just stuck on my camera. Too bad there are no "camera elves" to upload your photos each night onto your computer. That's what I want for Christmas. Photo elves.


Checklist for Monday

Up early to get blood test for Lily: check
Buy a donut for Lily because she had to get a blood test: check
Volunteer at school: check
Think about what we're having for dinner but not necessarily commit to anything: check
Ignore unmade bed: check
Wear new fuzzy warm boots because even though it's supposed to be 65 this afternoon it was 35 when I woke up and I hate cold feet: check
Stare at the pile of paperwork on my desk: check
Dream of taking a nap: check
Hug the dog (very good therapy): check
Try not to think about the fact that we may have to postpone our trip to London: check
Read Z's favorite Halloween book 20 times: check
Love on my family: check!


Feeling Low
I took this photo a month ago at the hot air balloon festival in our city. It makes me feel good when I look at it. And I need to feel good. I cannot remember the last time I was this tired and wrung out. I think it was when Zinabu came home from Ethiopia with the mumps and he was in the hospital. David and I have basically had the crap beaten out of us. It's not a good day when your husband is crying as hard as you are. Our life pretty much sucks right now. And it will for a long, long time. I know you're dying to know what's wrong with Lily. I understand. I know you want to help and you want to know how to help her. Maybe someday we'll share what's going on. But for now, just know that it's not cancer and we're keeping it to ourselves because she deserves to go through life without people pitying her or feeling sorry for her.

Feel free to feel sorry for me, though. I have no problem with that.

I am trying to live minute by minute. I pray. I get through each hour and try to focus on the positive. What else can I do? One thing that's been hard is eating. It's hard to want to eat anything when you're so sick and ill with grief. However... here's a list of good things:

Even though we've been handed a nightmare, I was able to admit that I am already a better parent for it. Gone are the frivolous worries and stupid hassles. Gone are the irritations and inconveniences. I poured myself wholeheartedly into my children this week and they are better for it.

We live in an age of medicine and doctors and specialists. Even 10 years ago we would be in a much, much worse place.

I don't work. This was the year I was considering going back to work. But Lily is going to need me round the clock for a while and I have the freedom to do that.

There is a very strong possibility I will be homeschooling Lily, which is so absurd it makes me laugh out loud every time I think about. I need to laugh.

We live with my mom. There aren't enough words to describe how this is going to affect us. It's the biggest blessing in the world.

I have a husband who is going to help me see this through.

Thank you, all, for your kind words. Thank you for just being there.


It Looks Different
I have a friend on Facebook (she doesn't read my blog so I feel safe saying this) who is insanely positive all the time. And I mean all. the. time. Her twice-daily posts read something like this:

"It's Monday! Time to rise and shine. It's gonna be an awesome day!"
"Woo hoo! 4:30 am run and my head is swimming with great ideas. Today is gonna rock!"
"Aahhhhh! Sunday! Time to recharge and relax. Love, love, love it!!!"
"Super excited for my conference this morning. Life is good!"

I'm all for a positive attitude, but sometimes I want to stick a fork in her eye. She's a wonderful person. Truly. And I certainly don't like the opposite--the whiny, constant complainer. But there is a balance, right? So if you're wanting a happy post right now, you might need to go elsewhere. I just need to process for a bit.

I had often thought that we would adopt again. I especially thought that we would adopt a special needs child. I was most open to a baby or child with Down Syndrome. But the timing never felt right, and waiting for that right moment to start the process or even look into it never happened. I've often felt a loss over the years, that I was missing out on that special someone. My desire to take care of a child that faced a difficult medical future never left. What I didn't know was that child was already in our home and her life would be difficult because of a medical condition. It just wasn't the one I would have "chosen." As if we have any choice in what our kids struggle with. That's me just being a control freak again. We see a specialist tomorrow, and hopefully we'll have some more answers and a direction to take--rather than this aimless wandering in circles, wondering what the heck is going on. So even though I'm not feeling very positive at the moment, and even though the medical condition looks different than anything I had ever anticipated, at least I'm finding some comfort in the fact that at one time in my life I was up for the challenge.

I'm hoping to find that energy again.


How Long Till An Arm Gets Broken?
When your son builds a race car out of a dolly, an old office chair, rope, and a scooter, you have conflicting emotions. First, you are incredibly proud. Such ingenuity! Such creativity! Such awesomeness! Then the other side of your brain takes over--the part of your brain that reminds you of your co-pay at the Emergency Room--and you think, "Good grief! How long until someone breaks an arm?"
Any guesses?