Friday, June 30, 2006

Hit the Wall

So I finally hit the wall this morning. I've known it was coming but was hoping to make it through the week first.

At the end of Cursillo last weekend, several veterans advised us retreat newbies to take Monday off. Rest and recharge the batteries. I already had plans, so I didn't listen.

I got up at 4:45 Monday morning to drive Grandpa R to the airport (THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! for coming out to help). Then exercise class. Then Vacation Bible School. I was tired but the coffee was carrying me.

It's not that I wasn't listening entirely... I did have plans but I also allowed myself to take Monday afternoon "off". Watch TV, rest, and I even got in a nap. Unfortunately it just wasn't enough. VBS seems to drain my (ridiculously low amount) of daily energy reserves each morning. Which doesn't leave much for all the other things I was doing this week - birthday dinner, shoe shopping, and of course the never-ending laundry, cooking, and dishes, especially since I was already on low octane after last week's travels and activities. Oh and did I mention getting ready to go to the beach?

So now I'm at the wall and can't get over, under, or around it. I skipped the run because I was drained. Physically exhausted. Shaking and bordering on nauseous. So I came home. To rest? No, to finish the laundry and get packed so we can leave after school. Thank goodness Ron is driving.

Starbucks, take me away...

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Faster in Pink

So I finally found a pair of cute pink running shoes that fit, don't cost too much, AND meet the rigorous approval standards of The Runner's Edge best shoe salesman ever, Ron.

Now let's take a vote on whether or not they will really make me run faster...

Monday, June 26, 2006

A Time For Reflection

-written 6/25/06

Two blank notecards and 30 minutes to reflect on what this weekend has meant to me and what I have gotten out of it. Let's reflect, shall we...

My decision to attend Cursillo was based on what I have since learned is called "The 4th Day". I recognize in myself my need for external motivation. Other people telling me to do 20 more push-ups or to run a mile further (well, people other than Ron, that is!) because I certainly won't do it on my own. Rather than motivation, in my faith I need external accountability. Other people at a regularly scheduled gathering to keep me challenged, conscious of God in my life, and engaged in the Christian community.

After agreeing to come, I began to get nervous. Everyone I know who has been to Cursillo has described it as a big amazing thing in their life. I talked it over with my sponsor and a few others and eventually decided that Cursillo is a different for everyone and not everyone has the BIG MOMENT that I knew I wouldn't have. I also recognized the 20/20 hindsight of the cursillistas and that perhaps the BIG MOMENT wasn't at Cursillo but a cumulative effect because of Cursillo. I settled down into a period of waiting, knowing that for me, the Cursillo weekend itself would just be a nice weekend away from the kids, making me "official" so that I could "group".

(you do hear the BUT here, right?!)

About the same time I decided to go to Cursillo, I woke up one morning absolutely sure I was supposed to have another baby. I mean I really wanted another baby. Keep in mind that I already have 3 other kids (age 6, 4, and 2). I had experienced similar baby moments in previous months but had always managed, with the help of friends, to talk myself down from the cliff, so to speak.

This time the feeling was stronger and harder to get rid of so I told Ron. He said, "Sure, if that's what you want." I debated some more, pondered whether I really did want to be pregnant again. Ron suggested adoption. Oh yeah. What a good idea.
(I just checked and I blogged about this on March 6 and 7)

But can it really be as simple as that? NO! And so began a 3-month rollercoaster of research, doubts, and what-ifs with no clear decisions in sight.

I finally decided that perhaps it was time to "let go and let God". Time to invite Him in to my prayers (yes, I know he should have been invited all along and was actually there all along, but I wasn't listening), asking for Him to help in hearing his call and help in trusting that if indeed he is calling us to adopt, that he will bring the right child for our family, into our family.

A funny thing happened once I invited God in and began to listen. He sent me a few signs (see previous post, "A Sign From God?"). And if I'm interpreting them correctly, all signs point to Yes! Adopt! (about half of the team leaders on my Cursillo weekend had adopted children as well as a few team leaders with large families - almost creepy how these little signs kept leaping out and slapping me on the back of the head, sort of back-up messages to the first big one, since he knew I would still be doubting if I heard him correctly). And so I say- Thank You, God. Now please stick with me on the rest of the journey.

You may be wondering at this point how my reflections of the Cursillo fit into all of this since the first signs I mentioned came just a few days before I left to come to Cursillo. Which means I had nothing left to worry over and reflect deeply about while on Cursillo. It would indeed just be a nice, relaxing weekend away from home.

(can you hear God laughing? I can!)

Let's begin with our first assignment, our first meditation, to Know Thyself.

Now some things I knew already...
* I do NOT like to be in situations where it is assumed I know what I am supposed to be doing, particularly when I have NO IDEA what I am supposed to be doing. I like to know what is expected of me, especially in structured situations with very specific rules and routines (military, religious, etc). What I should say and do and when I should say and do it.
* I cry. A lot. For no apparent reason, sometimes. Other times the tears are caused by stress and frustration. Let's not forget sad or sappy occasions. And did I mention for No Apparent Reason? That's a big one sometimes.

Some things I suspected...

And some things I learned...
I am not a "Waaaaa" (imagine clouds parting, a light shining down, and angels singing) person. I'm just not. I have been searching for the "Waaaa", trying to force a "Waaaaa" where there was never meant to be one. I suspect this may be one of the big reasons I cry so much in church (in particular this weekend) - the fight of trying to get the square peg into the round hole.

Though I have come later to the church and organized religion, God has been there from the beginning. He has been there everytime I love someone or do the right thing. I do not search out recognition. I am quiet and do quietly.

I do not find God in the church building or the organized prayer. I find him in the people and the love around me.

Recognizing this was an important step for me. Next was hearing/learning that it is okay to not be a "Waaaaa" girl. I must be what God made me, the best me that I can. I think this lesson will continue for awhile but for now I feel I have started down the right path - my path, with God.

And when everything was said and done, I must say that the weekend did turn out to be a "Waaaaa" experience after all. :)

Thursday, June 22, 2006

A sign from God?

~written 6/19/06

There is a lady named Faith on the usa-philippines adoption email list. She has been posting recently about her doubts/concerns as she begins the adoption process/journey. I find that my own thoughts often echo hers. As some people know, I have been on a rocky roller-coaster of what-if's and should-I's for the last few weeks. Faith posted last week that she had been praying about her family's decisions and asking for a sign from God confirming (or not) her decision. On the day she was driving to the post office to mail her application letter, there along the side of her fairly-remote country road, someone had just posted a series of red signs promoting adoption. Wow! Ask and ye shall receive!

I also find it interesting that her name is Faith. I see this name when I am reading messages about adoption - like a little nudge from God... "Don't forget me," he says. "When pondering adoption, I must have FAITH." Faith, faith, faith... a key ingredient missing in all my deliberating and doubting. Fritz also posed an interesting question last week... Is God calling me? Do I feel called by God to adoption?

So my prayers of late have been centered on asking God to help me to be open to his will, to be trusting and faithful in Him, that he knows which child, if any, will fit into our family. Ron says he thinks we have it in us to love at least one more child. All of the kids are so loving and gentle to babies and young toddlers and sometimes talk about having a baby brother. The child shall lead to way to God, yes?

This afternoon I was watching another episode of Adoption Stories (my 3rd in 2 days!). Today's story was about a family of four kids who gets a younger brother (4 years old) from Haiti. In this episode they talked about the adoptive parents' concern about older children and possible difficulty with bonding and attachment. Consequently they decided against requesting an older toddler ( appx. 3 years old) initially and requested an infant instead. The show's narrator pointed out that not every older child has difficulty bonding. It depends on the circumstances. Do you hear the message??? Bonding CAN happen easily and I MUST trust in God to know my limitations and capabilities.

Watching these shows brings me back to my original ideas behind adoption (as opposed to more natural-born children of my own), the ideas I've had all my life. There are SOOOOOOOOO many children out there in the world that need a family to love and to be loved by in return. Heart-breaking really. And of course I was crying while I watched (because, like it or not, I am a CRYER!)

So here I am tonight, driving up the highway to Philly, when I decided to take a break from my audiobook. Without even changing the station, I hear Delilah After Dark. Being a lover of mushy love ballads, I decide to listen for a bit. The caller on the line is telling the story of her husband speaking to her father about adopting her 2 children (not his - just through marriage). A family friend overheard and offered her grandson to them for adoption (she is elderly and has been struggling, no longer physically able to care for the toddler). The caller said she had been praying about having another child. Once again, ask and ye shall receive! Then Delilah played a song, "Blessed" by Elton John...

I need you before I'm too old
To have and to hold
To walk with you and watch you grow
And know that you're blessed
And you, you'll be blessed
You'll have the best I promise you that
I'll pick a star from the sky
Pull your name from a hat
I promise you that, promise you that You, you'll be blessed
You'll have the best I promise you that
I'll pick a star from the sky
Pull your name from a hat
I promise you that, promise you that
Promise you that you'll be blessed
Oh my goodness! Crying, crying, crying... Saying, okay God - are these MY signs? Am I being called to open my heart and give you my faith and trust that you will bring the perfect child to our family?
Wowsers - all these thoughts, prayers, and insights and I'm still just on my scrapbook trip - not even Cursillo yet. That starts Thursday!

Friday, June 16, 2006

What is it about 2 1/2?

What is it about 2 1/2 that makes me cry for all the time that is already lost to me? When each of these kids turn 2 1/2 I have a sudden panic attack... oh no! he/she's 2 1/2 already! Where did the time go? Have I done my best? Have I completely ruined them? How did they get so big already? I can't even remember now exactly what the statement was but something to the effect of, kids are done at 3. You've had your opportunity to lay a good foundation for the future. If you didn't, well then good luck on the next 15 years. I panic because already 2 1/2 years are gone and I can't remember what I've done. Did I lay a good foundation? Is there enough time left to fix all my mistakes? I think my panic is also related to the fact that at about 2 1/2 they usually have a big leap forward and just start acting like a big kid. Good-bye Baby. Even though Felisa has thought of herself as being at least 10 years old for the last year, she has had a big jump developmentally in the last month or so. Sad, scary, hopeful...

Thursday, June 08, 2006

How much is it worth?

So here is yet more evidence of what a train wreck I am as a mother…

I made up new chore charts today (this is the good part- probably the only good part!) and one of the items listed is bath, 3x’s/week. Now when was the last time these kids actually had a bath? I have absolutely no idea. That’s how long it has been. I’m sure at least a week and probably longer. So tonight Melissa is here watching the kids (Ron and I went to dinner for some good food and much needed grown up talk time). Ryan wanted dessert and I told him he had to do his evening chores first. Which is where the bath part comes in. So he was asking if he really had to do that and I was about to say no when I thought a little more about it and realized that it has been too long since they had a bath. So I put no-bath together with Melissa-is-here and came up with this great idea… I’ll give Melissa $5 extra to do it for me! So you all can be the judge… bad mommy or smart mommy? How much are clean children worth to you?!?

In other news…
Ryan and I saw the strangest bugs on the way home from school this afternoon. They were all white, very small, and looked like flying feathers with eyes. Very strange but cool at the same time. But what to call these creatures we have discovered? Flying Feather-Heads? Bird-Bugs? Fox-Frogs? I bet you’re wondering where that last name came from. Well, let me tell you… Ryan says that because foxes eat birds and frogs eat bugs we could call these creatures Fox-Frogs. Works for me!

I was debating whether to walk to school to pick up Ryan or drive. I knew I should walk, especially since we had Wendy’s for lunch (post-dentist treat for the kids) and I was headed out for dinner tonight. And Bailey needed a walk too. But I was feeling tired and lazy and not too keen on being hot and sweaty from the walk. Bella said she thought we should walk so I did the right thing. Of course, she and Felisa were asleep in the double stroller about 2 blocks into our trip. So there I am, pushing about 70 lbs worth of kids and stroller out in the humid air wondering why I let her convince me to do it. Oh well. It’s good for me.

Here’s some insight… I hate to sweat. I hate humidity. Sweating in the right time and place (exercise class for example) is okay but at no other point in the day should I be breaking out into a sweat. Because then I just feel so gross and grungy. Ick. I am an Air-Conditioning Girl for sure. Which is probably one of the reasons I will never be a poster child for energy-saving alternative transportation methods. If I drive my car… I can blast the air conditioning!!!

And now I need to get things wrapped up and get the house settled down, post-bath, so that I can go to bed. I’m soooooo tired and my throat is feeling a bit scratchy. Not a good thing.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The Green Invader

So the retired-CIA master gardener that used to live here planted all kinds of weird things. So far most of it has survived our hands-off/bordering on neglectful gardening practices. We can identify very few plants in our "Garden Jungle" and my theory has been - if it's ugly or in my way, it's out of here! Who knows which are weeds and which are legitimate plants.

One particular plant has launched a major invasion. It started out in a small box next to the house on the back porch. Nothing has sprouted up on the side or in the back which makes me think the root has grown under the house and into the front yard. I took it over to Alexis for ID since she knows a lot of our plants. She had looked it up before but couldn't remember. This morning she emailed me the answer. It is called the Chameleon Plant (Houttuynia cordata) and apparently is quite invasive. Really?!!? What a shocker! It has taken over our entire front plant area along the house. AND there's even more good news... It is resistant to round-up. Nothing will kill it. Too even attempt to get rid of it, you have to dig out every last speck of root. Not an easy task, let me tell you. Even before this official diagnosis, I had been taking to it with the pitchfork and shovel, trying to dig the endless roots out. I've covered a 2 foot square area so far. Only about 100 sqare feet to go!

If I ever survive the Chameleon Battle, I have a very mature batch of Poison Ivy waiting for me along the back fence.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Choose Your Life

Isn't it great how we meet so many different people in life. Everyone has different experiences and viewpoints to contribute.

It started out as a quick trip next door to ask my neighbor to identify the horrid vining plant that has invaded our garden. She said that she didn't know but would look it up. We chit-chatted a bit then I asked for her opinion of our adoption idea. She has no children of her own but has helped to raise several nieces/nephews through the years so I figured she might be a good one to ask. And since there is no such thing as a quick trip when it comes to visiting Alexis (drives Ron crazy but I love talking with her!) we spent awhile talking about it.

I told her about my most recent doubts about getting a kid who is not naturally "good" like our other kids are. She asked me what my worst case scenario would be. And she told me hers - that she would be unable to love a child enough to see it through and give up and that the child would know she couldn't love it and gave up and the pain that would cause for the child. I have to agree, that's pretty bad. There have been several posts on the yahoo board this weekend about RAD (reactive attachment disorder) and the associated difficulties. I couldn't do it. I just couldn't. And so I wonder if we should just call the whole thing off. I have the known factors on one hand (our own children and the likelihood that future offspring would be similar in temperment as well as a different factor of 3 is enough and we don't really need more kids) versus the unknown factors that an adoption would have. The unknown is always scarier.

One thing we discussed was my issues with loud sudden noises and the continuous out of my control noises (and wind!). She thinks that subconciously I feel out of control of my life and don't like it but because I don't admit to this consciously, it is manifesting itself in my wind/noise issues. Ron would say Psycho-babble! I say, worth a little reflection. I don't consider myself a control freak as some people claim to be but maybe I want to be and just don't know it!

As a follow-on to this, she said that I (and really everyone) must CHOOSE their life. Make a conscious decision that what you are doing is what you are choosing to do. I made her clarify that she didn't think I needed to necessarily choose something different. I can choose to be what I am, I just must CHOOSE it. Then be the best IT I can be. And sometime down the road I can CHOOSE to be something else. It is the choice that is important. Again, something to reflect further on but sounds like good advice to me.

This couch better be good!

So, the couch saga continues... Ron came across a nice-looking blue microsuede couch on Craig's List. The people bought it for $1500 and used it for only 2 years. Selling it for $325. (See Grandma R- it's a good deal!) Had to get it today of course. So Ron is headed out to A-brn to pick it up then we are meeting him at the condo to unload it.

Here's the part where I say, "This couch better be good!" ... Supposed to be at Stamp Camp this afternoon and finishing up my client's album. So I am sacrificing my afternoon out so we can have a couch at the condo. Ah, the things we do because we love our parents!

Attention on Deck!

Wow! Those words came out of nowhere! There we were, just sitting at the tables, drinking coffee, chatting, reading the paper, when, with no warning whatsoever, those 3 powerful words... ATTENTION ON DECK! Yikes! We all jumped right up as if we had never left the ranks of active service. Amazing.

So, first the good news... I'll bring home about $150 for yesterday morning's adventure. Drive across town to the Very Ugly Navy Base (why are they always SO ugly?!?) at un uncivilized early hour to sit around, fill out paperwork, and stand in a couple lines. All done and home before 10 a.m. Yawn! Had to take a nap later in the day to recover.

And now, the bad news... The Navy scale gave me 6 lbs more than the scale at home. Which amazingly enough, is exactly the number of lbs I am out of standards. Too bad it didn't give me an extra inch of height to go with it. And since I was over the max weight for my height, the doc had to measure me. Which came up with the grotesque number of 38% boby fat. Holy Toledo! That is not a pretty number. And it is 5% too much. So I'm out of standards no matter how you look at it.

But perhaps this is not all bad. As you may have gathered from my Blob post, the weight thing is weighing on me again (get it - weighing on me! HaHa!). Anyway, I was good during Lent (better once I got my food journal going along with the no sugar thing). God was there helping me I think. Since then, though, my motivation has been low, even non-existent at times. This was what I needed to get me jumpstarted again. My food journal has printed. I did not snack so horribly yesterday. And I even prayed about it last night at church. Need to get God back on my side. :) (Yes, I know, he is always there. But why should he bother to help me if I have been ignoring him? Like I tell Felisa all the time - you just need to ask for help and I will help you. Once again, the parenting analogies used to "get it" when it comes to The Father. Beat it into me long enough, and I just might eventually understand.)

Thursday, June 01, 2006

I'm a blob

Keep on going, and the chances are that you
will stumble on something, perhaps when you
are least expecting it. I never heard of anyone
ever stumbling on something sitting down.

~~~Charles F. Kettering

Was just thinking maybe I should blog. But about what? About how I feel like such a blob lately? Blob in many different ways. The most obvious being that I have gained weight again in the last month or two and am feeling bad about it and yet can't seem to find the energy to do anything about it. I have been going to class in the mornings but the food is killing me. Literally and figuratively.

Blob as in a melted blob of human. It is sooooooooooo *$&%*%(^ hot and humid here I feel as though each time I step outside I melt into a blob upon the sidewalk. Too hot to function.

Blob as in unable to muster the desire to do anything beyond shower and eat. And shop. But only if someone else is paying. Nothing even remotely productive has been accomplished this week nor does it seem likely that anything will be accomplished any time soon.

So the quote above seems appropriate. I just have to keep plugging away in hopes that eventually things will change and I will no longer be a blob. In any sense of the word.

Does eating cookies and watching TV count as "plugging away"?!?