Tag Archives: Family

Funny story…

My husband is out of town for work, so I’m in charge for a few days. This is another small victory in my book, as around this time two years ago I was nearly a vegetable. He took this same trip last year, but this year I have that bed-shaker alarm to wake me up in the morning, AND I’ve been feeling so much better, so I was extremely confident in my abilities to hold down the fort sans husband. Pride comes before a fall, folks.

At 8:00 am, the time we are supposed to be AT the bus stop, my daughter was still fiddling to get her shoes on and I was frantically looking for my keys. The coffee was brewing, so that it would be waiting for me when I returned from dropping off the kids. Once Natalie had her shoes on, we headed out the door. I hadn’t found my keys, but figured I would just use the keypad on the garage door when I came back. No biggie. Right?

Fifteen minutes later, the kids are on the bus, and I am back home. However, as I was walking up the driveway I remembered that I had locked the interior door inside the garage the night before. The one I intended to use to get back in the house. Because, you know, my protector husband wasn’t home and I’m suddenly paranoid about people breaking into garages. I guess. This is my first garage, what do I know?

I was pretty quickly on the verge of panicking, but I knew that wouldn’t do me any good so by the grace of God I stayed calm and I didn’t even cry! (Seriously, there were no tears shed in the making of this story) My next thought was that maybe the back door was still unlocked from when Luke let the dog out this morning. I mean, why would he lock the door back up? It’s sort of a responsible thing to do, and not likely for an 8 year old to do without being told. So, I hopped the neighbor’s fence (it’s much shorter than ours, and the gate to their yard is not padlocked as ours is) and tried the back door.

As it turns out, my 8 year old is a responsible young boy.

Did I mention I had also left my phone at home?

Yes, I was in some serious trouble here. But it was still early, and lots of people were home. In fact, I knew the guy across the street was home because he was walking back just ahead of me after dropping his son off at the bus stop. So, I walked over and knocked on the door. Sure enough, he came to the door and let me in to use his phone. I left a message for my husband and then we walked over to my house to see if we could open a window (we couldn’t, not without doing some damage). Thankfully Mike called back while we were burglarizing the house in broad daylight, and he suggested that there might still be a key in the garage where he had left it for his dad. We looked, and it was not there, so we called back and had him call his dad to come and unlock the door for me. BIG sigh of relief!!

I only needed to wait a half an hour, but a half hour sitting in a garage with no one to talk to and nothing to read can feel like an eternity. Also, my freshly brewed coffee was waiting for me just on the other side!! What was I to do?! Well, I swept the garage floor – thoroughly. Then I blew some bubbles in the front yard. And sure enough, Grandpa came pulling up the drive soon enough. I sheepishly kept my head down, embarrassed as ever, and Grandpa just chuckled at me. This stuff happens to the best of us. If you can’t laugh about it, you are taking life way too seriously. So, I’m laughing about it now. And you can bet I owe Matthew from across the street a big batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies!

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I’m not dead! I’m getting better! I think I’ll go for a walk…

That title is a Monty Python and the Holy Grail quote for those in the know… best read out loud with a British accent.

It’s true! I’m still here! Blog still somewhat active! The irony here, folks, is that when there is much going on and much to tell, there isn’t much time to sit down and write about it. But that time is coming. In fact, it’s kind of here, and as soon as the dust settles, I’m sure you’ll be hearing more from me.

Our little family of four (plus the dog) is happy and healthy. It’s beautiful and amazing and I am so thankful. However, I am surrounded by friends and family who are struggling in a variety of ways; sickness, disease, financial struggles, you name it. And seriously, my heart is aching for every single one of them. I am overwhelmed with a desire to help, now that I am awake enough to be aware of others’ needs. That fog has lifted from my internal/mental space. I am free to be aware. Which is a gift, yes, but with my limitations I don’t know HOW to help, other than to pray. So I pray, a lot, and I reach out as much as possible, because I know when I was struggling it meant the world to me when people did that. A note here, a message there, it all made such a difference. People say that it’s the thought that counts, but that’s not true. Unless the thought leads to action – great or small – it means nothing. But those actions do mean a great deal, no matter how small we think they are.

So that’s all I have for today, and I realize it’s a bit of a cheat, but oh well. Life goes on. Ob-la-di, ob-la-da.

Wait, before I go, can I challenge you all to something today? Turn your thoughts into actions. The positive ones, of course. If you think about doing something nice, DO IT. Be kind and courageous. I dare you!

Every Day Is Yours To Win

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The photo above is the view from my back porch. Do you see how the sun casts sort of a glow over the deck? Or is that just me? I took the photo this morning. Our house faces east, so the back porch is still cool from the night air as the sun is rising on the other side, and under the gazebo there is a nice breeze. So this is where I have come to love sitting in the morning (granted, it’s only Day Two), with my coffee and Bible, while Piper runs around the yard or rolls in the grass. When she’s done with that nonsense, she comes and lies down at my feet. It’s lovely. Just lovely. We are so blessed with this new home.

And if that wasn’t enough, we have some really awesome neighbors. All of them. Really. They even have a private Facebook page they use to keep in touch with each other. So while we’ve done some chatting with them leading up to the day we moved in, today we actually got to meet several of them. In fact, when people started getting home from their respective jobs, they seemed  anxious to meet us and say hello. The woman from across the street walked over to say hi, and we discovered we both have sons named Luke. A lady from the end of the street stopped at our driveway as she was leaving the neighborhood, and I was able to meet her and her son (whom I found had already met Luke yesterday). Then after Mike came home we met the man who lives next door to us, as well as his wife and two kids. It’s amazing how friendly these people are. We had heard this was a great neighborhood, but now we’re experiencing it and finding it to be absolutely true.

Oh, and get this – there are at least three other couples on the block whose first names start with the same letter, just as mine and Mike’s do (Mike and Mindy). There are the S’s next door, the D’s across the street, and another set of M’s further down. I love alliteration, I really do. What can I say? I’m a geek, all the way.

The unpacking is moving along. Throughout each day there is a constant feeling that I’m about to hit a wall, but I haven’t actually done it yet. I figure if I just go slow, then even if I do hit that wall, I won’t break anything. Just in theory, of course. I am developing some killer calf muscles, going up and down the stairs. But overall, life is good here and we feel pretty well settled. We have internet now, toilet paper, milk. You know, the necessities.

And here is where my brain is shutting down for the night, whether I like it or not. Good night!

Independence Day 2015

wpid-20150704_220508.jpgI had a weekend to remember. Yes, it was the Fourth of July, which has always been a favorite of mine, but this one was my best yet. The kids played, the husband caught up on yard work and relaxed, and I enjoyed being a part of it all.

Saturday we went up to “The Lake” with Grandpa, for dinner and fireworks. The Lake (which probably has a name, but I don’t know it) is actually man-made, with permanent campsites set up all around it. Grandpa’s friends have campers/cabins up there, so we go every year. It’s actually pretty cool. The people travel within the park by walking, biking, or driving golf carts. And you have to be 16 to drive a golf cart, but you are NOT required to have a driver’s license. I think. Anyway, golf carts don’t go very fast so they let me drive one! All the way around the lake! I was too nervous to do it alone so I had Mike riding shotgun, while the kids rode in the back. And it was wonderful. I haven’t driven in close to 2 years, and I really miss the independence of it, so this was a gift to me. To be in the driver’s seat, pushing the pedal, steering the wheel, with the wind in my hair and the sunshine on my face. In short, it made my day.

Actually, that’s not true. Although, if that’s all it was, it would have definitely made my day. But there’s more.

Natalie and I were at the camp playground, swinging on the swings, when Luke came running up to us and shouted, “They accepted it! They accepted our offer!” See, we had just put an offer on a new house and were still waiting to hear from the seller. Yup. We’re buying a new house, y’all. There are still some details to take care of, but my understanding is that it’s all normal stuff and shouldn’t cause any issues. We bought our current home from my mother-in-law, easy peasy, so this home buying process is new to us. However, we have been praying A LOT through every step of the way, and that has really made all the difference.

I’m excited about this house. We all are. It has a beautiful yard, with a deck, gazebo (great for shade!), a shed, and a firepit. The house is two-story, but the bedrooms and laundry are all on the same floor. If I have an MS relapse in the future and have trouble walking, there are bathrooms on every floor, so I’ll always be able to relieve myself. The stairs were definitely an issue we considered. We really thought hard and prayed about the stairs, because I do have MS, and there is always that possibility that one day my legs won’t work. But I really felt God telling me to trust Him, and not to make this decision out of fear. Mike agreed, so we went for it. The house is located in a fantastic school district, a great neighborhood, is still in the range of Spec-Tran (my ride service), and we discovered that some friends I used to volunteer with live just down the road! So I believe all of those positive attributes outweigh the “what-if” factor of my MS. This is going to be a good change for our family. A big change, but a good one.

Now we just need to sell the house we’re in, which will be another new adventure for us!

Kitchen Disasters

I am a disaster in the kitchen. My dad passed all his chefly talents to my sister and brother, and gave none to me. For years I have managed, sticking mostly to simple meals and the occasional baked goods. However, it seems that ever since I lost a considerable portion of my vision, I have taken a turn for the worst. During that time of visual downturn in the fall of 2013, I was “checked out” for awhile, and it seems I haven’t fully checked back in. I lost a crucial brain cell or two.

For example, last weekend we were having friends over for dinner. I was excited to make one of our favorites, penne sausage marinara. I had the dish mostly prepared ahead of time, so I only had a few simple steps left. I assembled the dish for baking, put it into the oven, and set the timer for 30 minutes. Thirty minutes later the timer went off and to my dismay, the cheese on top had not yet melted. My intelligent friend thought to investigate by sticking her hand in the oven. It was cold. Seems when I had thought about preheating the oven, I had not followed through. The next time someone tells you “it’s the thought that counts”, I assure you it is untrue. Actions, my friends, actions are what count. Doing the thing you thought about doing, like actually turning on the f-ing oven, are what count.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “well, that’s not such a big deal. You didn’t mess it up, you just delayed it a bit.” Don’t worry, I have more.

So then there was the time I decided to try a new recipe for meatloaf (my son’s favorite). Word to the wise, always read a recipe in it’s entirety before you start. I was so gung-ho about trying this new recipe, I just started throwing everything in to mix with the ground beef. Yet as soon as I dropped the brown sugar and mustard in, I had a second thought. I checked the recipe (with my clean hand, the other covered in raw meat, eggs, and brown sugar) and discovered that what I had used as a meatloaf seasoning was actually meant to be the topping. That day I cried. I felt completely inept, that I couldn’t even prepare a simple, classic dish. But! Mike consoled me, told me it would be fine, and insisted I bake the loaf just as it was. And we did, and it was delicious. A little too moist, but still delicious.

Then there was the time I made what my sister and I like to call “Amazeballs Chicken.” It’s chicken breast stuffed with roasted red peppers, spinach, and goat cheese. It’s divine. The trick is to sear it in the pan then bake it, pan and all, in the oven. The problem with that is that my brain is used to holding pans while they are on the stove, which does not require an oven mitt. So when the chicken was done baking, I made the extremely painful mistake of trying to remove the pan from the oven, sans oven mitt. That was a painful mistake, one I had hoped never to repeat.

Sometimes hoping is not enough.

Just last week I had a friend over for lunch. I made a frittata, which is the easiest fancy sounding dish I know how to make. Of course, I make it because it’s delicious, not because I like fancy food. In order to make a frittata, you first do a lot of the cooking on the stovetop, but you leave the food in the pan and finish the cooking in the oven. (Do you see where I’m going with this?) Of course I wasn’t going to make the same mistake this time. This time I was sure to wear the oven mitt when I pulled the pan out of the oven. However, it seems I turned my brain off after I set the pan down. Not three seconds after I took off the oven mitt, I proceeded to move the pan inwards, away from the edge. With my bare hand. I cursed, multiple times. I ran to the freezer to cool it down as quickly as possible, but it was burned pretty good. I had to hold an ice pack on it well into the evening.

I didn’t make it to ASL class that night.

Have you had enough? I have one more. This just happened this week. We had some over-ripe bananas sitting on the counter, just begging to be baked into bread. So I started mixing the eggs and sugar and vanilla, and then had the genius idea to add cinnamon for an extra kick. So I grabbed the spice jar from the cupboard and started dumping it into the batter, while the batter was mixing (love my Kitchen-Aid). As I poured it into the batter, I realized that it felt much different than the consistency of cinnamon. It was not so much like a powder, but more like… crushed red pepper. Not the extra kick I was looking for! All that batter, down the drain. Thankfully, I had not yet added the bananas, and could try again another day.

So maybe I ought to just shake these off and call it bad luck, but it’s not that simple for me. I can’t work outside the home. My identity used to be wrapped up in my job and my education. In the fall of 2013, I lost all that, but was given something greater in return. I’m a homemaker now. I have a renewed focus and appreciation for my husband and my kids, and I strive to be the best at what I CAN do. Those nights I screw up making a meal, I start to feel like I can’t even do that, but then my husband comes and wraps his arms around me and tells me he’s proud of me, and appreciates all that I do.

It’s my family that keeps me going, and if it weren’t for them, there wouldn’t be a fresh loaf of banana bread (with cinnamon!) cooling on the stove as I type. I can’t wait to share it with them 🙂

Hot and cold and hot again

Our furnace is working at the moment, but we’re keeping our fingers crossed. It had shut down again, so the men have been stuck in the basement tinkering with it for yet another day. Our friend, an expert in this subject, says it’s acting wonky, and he still isn’t confident that it will hold. We might end up having to replace the whole dern furnace. But, since it’s Saturday night, and suppliers for this kind of thing aren’t open, the only thing we can do is wait. So we are enjoying the balmy 68 degrees in our house right now, with our fingers crossed. Luke is sleeping in his boxers, I’m sitting in my recliner in shorts and a t-shirt, and the dog is no longer huddled desperately under Mike’s feet (instead she’s sprawled out near them).

At 10 pm I was remarking to Mike that I couldn’t believe it was only Saturday. It just feels like the longest weekend ever, and we still have a day to go. I’m just praying it’s a less stressful day. One can hope.

Poop Emergency

Kids were playing outside with dog, dog tripped girl, girl fell into poop. Hence, Poop Emergency. But girl is clean, dog is sleeping in crate, boy is playing video games downstairs, and mom is thinking of cracking open a beer to help find motivation to fold 4 loads of laundry.

Earlier today we had a contest to see who could scream the loudest. I won, of course, because I was the only one competing.

I feel like we’re surviving okay. No serious injuries, no fatal wounds. And did I mention beer? And laundry? Clock’s tickin’… gotta go. Make it a great one, bloggy folks!! 🙂