Friday, March 30, 2012

Blanky Returns, Part 1

When Number 1 was a baby we got a ton of lovies as shower gifts.  You know, those perfectly sized little blankets that moonlight as a stuffed animal. As, apparently they all do, she gravitated to one special elephant lovie.  It was oh-so cute!!  I loved that she grew fond of a favorite blanky.  I had one growing up and I remember it as such a great source of protection and comfort.  Her dear little plush friend is (yes, present tense) in her mouth anytime she needs comfort, or goes to sleep, or gets in trouble…....So, after a couple of years of oral punishment and being dragged around all over, I decided it was time to get a replacement so that we could go back and forth between them.  HA!!  Do they have that market figured out!  They don’t make that particular lovie anymore, DISCONTINUED.  As though that is necessary.  Reminds me of the ridiculous “vault” that all the Disney movies end up in if you don’t hurry out immediately and buy yours!  Anywho, I could acquire her lovie on ebay for the low low price of $60!!!!!  Holy Moly.  She could chew on it till it disintegrated for all I cared!!  And she has done just that, almost. 

She is now 6 and still MUST have it to sleep.  My husband keeps telling her she has to give “Banky” (as IT is so lovingly referred to) up soon, to which she snarls her nose at him and looks to me for protection.  I disagree, why take it away?  It is not hurting her or me.  Well, except that one time.

We lost it a couple of years ago.  I allowed her to drag Banky e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e   So naturally, it accompanied us to a wedding reception…at a farm…almost 2 hours away from home.  There was dancing, eating, playing, and at the end of the night, time to exit.  Where was “banky”?????  This is where mommies do the most ridiculous things for their children.  I had grown men, in ties and jackets, crawling around in the grass looking under their tables for it.  IT!!  Grandparents will, apparently, do even more ridiculous things for their grandbabies.  My mom suggested that I ask the lead singer of the band to make an announcement to the entire reception of party-goers.  WHAT?  I WILL NOT.  After what felt like hours of searching (really was probably about 20 minutes) we never found our friend.  Number 1 had devastation on her face, but the friend we rode with had to get home to her children.  We left.  Without IT.  But before I left, I went to the beautiful bride and said….NOT, “what a lovely party, you are gorgeous and we had such an amazing time.”  Nope.  I said, “When you guys are cleaning up, would you PLEASE make sure EVERYONE helping and all the workers know that we are desperate to find this missing blanky?? It is a big deal! PLEASE???”  She graciously said she would and gave Number 1 a huge hug and promised to do all she could. 

On the 2 hour ride home, I was consumed with a terrible sense of the drama filled night to come.  It was not hard to sense, as it was already playing out.  It was late, she was exhausted, and there was NO Banky to stuff into her mouth so that she could blissfully drift off to sleep!  How was I to explain to this baby that things like this happen….AND we still must sleep, and go on about our day.  I could already feel the loss that Number 1 was about to be introduced to. 

Not sure where IT was found, not sure who found IT, but IT was found.  I got the call the next day from the bride that all was well {heavy sigh of relief and a bit of a jig was inserted here}, but she was not heading back to town for several days“ {Another, more upsetting, sigh.  And a fast frown appeared here}   SEVERAL DAYS?!?!?!???  Clearly said bride had NO idea how pressing in nature her delivery job was.  If she had, she would have high-tailed it back to town immediately.  Dropping all post-wedding-party-plans!   But, Truthful Mommy said, {through gut wrenching stomach pains from the thought of having to tell Number 1 that IT was found, but would not be home today, or tomorrow, or maybe even the next day} “ok, super.  So glad you found it. Thank you.  Oh and by the way, the party was awesome and we had a great time.  You were beautiful.”   It was unbearable.  Number 1 could not get to sleep.  Which meant Truthful Mommy and Daddy could not get to sleep.  Occasionally she would fall asleep; when she woke up looking for it, IT was not there!!  BAAAAAA WHAAAAAA  All night for almost a week.   We took her shopping to let her pick out a replacement.  NOT.  My mom found her another one that was also a pink elephant.  NOT.  I can’t even remember all the stories we told her to try to make it better.  Nothing worked. 

Banky was eventually returned by the bride, who, to this day Number 1 considers a  HERO.  But that week before she made it back to us safe and sound felt as though we had lost a real part of our family.  Even the husband was pitiful.  It was truly dreadful.

In hindsight, TOTALLY should have made the band make an announcement!!!

(Tune in to the next post for Blanky Returns, Part 2.  We did not learn our lesson)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

It Got U.G.L.Y.

After I wrote the following blog entry and reread it, I decided I better give a tiny amount of background.  Volcanos do not erupt all of a sudden; there must be signs of active unrest first, the pressure builds up then….EXPLODE.  I have been boiling and simmering for days.  Little things have turned into enormous things.  Number 3 will not stop crying, all day, every day.  He stands at my feet like a little troll crying and screaming and tries to climb me like….a volcano….so that he can find his proper place on my hip.  Number 2 is seeing just how many times he can get in trouble for not listening.  It has gotten so blatant that when he does something that he knows he shouldn’t, he looks at me and runs to put himself promptly in the time out chair.  All by himself.  Number 1 is Six going on Thirteen.  Actually, she is not so bad.  But she is another body I am in charge of, and on days like this one, that is just too much.   I have way overextended myself.  Period.  I have volunteered, socialized and given away too much time.  But the volunteering slots never fill up and the bake sales must go on!!  And I can’t find a place for breathing.  So here is this day…..

This day is just REAL.  No helpful insight as to what I learned from it.  No warm fussy’s from my faith.  Just raw, real mess.  I am a mess today.  It has been snowballing for a few days.  I can always see it coming.  I just pray that it doesn’t get to this point, but it does.  Always. 

It began this morning with Number 2 at breakfast.  What did I fix him???   Chocolate and butter toast on WHITE BREAD!!!  That is like a donut!!  The Husband thinks white bread is the devils food.  He thinks that our children will die an early death from diabetes and heart disease because I bring this bleached flour product into our home.  But typically it leads my kids to eat All. Their. Food.  And to me that trumps wheat.  Always.

However, being the stubborn, button-pusher that Number 2 is, he snarled his nose and gave me the ‘tude.  I sent him straight to his room for speaking to me rudely.  First timeout…7:15am

Beautiful Number 3 has her school pictures today and what did she do this weekend?  Tried to move an 80 pound tree log down our yard into the woods.  The log won.  Her face did not.  But I let it go.  Her outfit will more than make up for the bloody scratches all along the side of her face.  I choose to not let this one bring me down. 

Last night The Adorable Husband was kind enough to stay up with me and clip coupons.  

I am doing it for him, ultimately.  I have SWORN off couponing more times than I can count.  The massive hours that are involved in preparing for double coupon weeks at the Teeter are overwhelming.  But when they tell me how much I have saved at the end of my order, and the college students behind me in line look to me with such awe, I am motivated to return to the coupons.  NO MORE.  This day has sealed the deal for me.  After hours of researching, printing, matching, stacking (coupon-ers will understand), clipping, and just general preparing, I was armed and ready to go.  Triple coupon week, here I come.  Now, at this point, going anywhere with Number 3 is like a reoccurring bad dream.  But I am prepared, it will not take more than an hour with all the prep work I have done and…I have suckers, in my pocket, ready to go.  One hour and 2 suckers later I arrive at the check out. I smile proudly at the cashier. He has no idea how successful I am.  My child may be sticky from head to toe, but this was NOT the baby he heard screaming for the last hour.  AND I have accomplished the EXACT 20 coupon limit for the day.  “Ma’am, your total is--way more than I expected it to be--today”   I stop, my heart drops.  “It is not triple coupon day today is it???”  “No ma’am, that is tomorrow.”  STOP CALLING ME MA’AM!!!  I want to cry.  He has no idea how extremely unsuccessful I am.  Yes, you guessed it, I made him give me back all of my coupons.   Not sure why, because I am so done with the couponing.  I make him cancel the order and I leave with only a sticky baby to show for it.  Before I made it to the car, I was in tears. 

In hindsight, there were 2 red flags raised trying to protect me from this experience.  One was that the parking lot was empty.  I am certainly not the only coupon mom in this town, and typically the lot is FULL by 7am for the big coupon events.  Also, EVERYTHING that I wanted was available.  No shelves were cleared.  That has never happened.  I made note of both of these things as I shopped.  Still I continued.   I was there at 9:15am.  How proud I was of myself  being the first one here today.  RIGHT.

I gain my composure and make my way home.  I decide that I need to get home and do something that makes me feel productive.  I get home, try to be productive but Number 3 won’t get off of my leg.  He screams, he cries, he begs.  It is as though if he is not on my hip at all times he will surely die.  I might die instead.  It is hard to be this loved.  I put him in his crib.  He has to be tired after all that crying.  He cries more, I fold laundry.  I realize I have ruined my favorite pair of pants, I can’t even be bothered with this.  I have entered that dark hole in my mind.  I put laundry away.  He still cries.  I go get him.  Clearly he is not tired after all that screaming.  I put him on my hip.  He smiles.  I don’t smile back.  He is cute, but not that cute today.  I will need a hip replacement at an early age if he keeps this up. 

We head to pick Number 2 up at preschool.  His teacher, for the first time in his school career, tells me that he was bad.  He didn’t listen; he had to be put in time out.  I am still in the dark hole in my mind so I stare at her blankly.   On the way home, I tell him that he is in trouble.   I go to that place I have found where I can speak without yelling, “God asks us to obey. You didn’t show God’s love to your teachers today.”  He will have to go to bed without his milk.  “Can I have juice instead??”  NO!!!  I pray all the way home.  Both boys down for a nap, I head to get some more clothes to productively wash.  Maybe I can control the laundry, if not the children or the fury in my soul.  On my way back up I hear something in the bathroom.  It is Number 2 standing on the back of the toilet seat looking out the window at the man mowing our neighbor’s grass.  It is very alluring because the window is open.   He did this yesterday and I got him down, explained to him, ever so patiently, how dangerous that was, and made him promise that I would never see that again.  And yet, here he is.  I spank his bottom, as this is the 501st time this week that he has not listened, and this time it is about safety.  Or because I am at my wits end.  Either way, I am ok with his spanking.  I DO NOT want to find him splat on our driveway.  However, after I send him to bed I let myself boil over while thinking about my unproductive, dreadful, overwhelming day and his mischief at school.  I yell, I slam doors, I get very very ugly.  I cry, I fall to my face and beg for the patience to do this job.  Yes, it is all this dramatic.  So there I am on my face, literally, just sobbing into my very dirty carpet.  Because Number 2 was standing on the back of a toilet?  No.  Because Number 3 loves me too much?  Probably not.  Because I fail royally at couponing?  Nope.  I have just allowed myself to reach the end of the rope.  I have given in, given up and gotten lazy today.  It takes a lot of work to stay patient.  It takes even more work to discipline and raise children.  Unfortunately it is a J.O.B. to remain deliberate about staying positive in your chaos. 

The enormous-little things continued all day, these are just the ones that pushed me into the crying stage.  I stayed ugly all day.  I cancelled Bible Study.  I dug my Zoloft out from underneath my bathroom sink.  I sent the Husband out to McDonalds with the kids for dinner and I popped open a bottle of wine.  The Faithful Husband reminds me that the evil one is winning.  I agree, but I am too tired to put up a battle with him right now.  He may have won this round today.  Luckily, His mercies begin afresh every morning!  I can tell you one place I will not be on my new day God will grant me tomorrow, in line-at a grocery store-with my coupons, or my sticky baby!!

Monday, March 19, 2012

God Grant me Patience!!!

If you have read even a few of my blog entries you know by now that patience is top of the list on my mommy struggles.  If you don’t struggle with that, God bless you.  It is not pretty, it is not nice, it does not make for warm fuzzy feelings for you or the children.  After a good yelling session, I look inside myself and think, who are you, and what exactly did that accomplish?  Don’t get me wrong, I have certainly found that a firm, loud, quick “I said NO!!” can accomplish a nice little piece of peace and quiet.  But to just lose your temper and start spouting off nonsense is not productive.  So why do I let myself get to that point?  I like to blame my kids.  Don’t they know when to stop?  Can’t they see that I am about to blow???  If only they had stopped asking to do that thing that they are not allowed to do 10 times ago, I would have kept my sanity in tact.  It is totally their fault.  Right??

One time I even threw my favorite pair of designer sunglasses at a wall and broke them.  Not proud of that one.  That was a BIG wake up call for me. (Unfortunately I have had several of those) Favorite sunglasses ruined, kids stunned, me shamed, and absolutely nothing accomplished.

I am hard on myself about the yelling.  It is not my favorite behavior.  Just to be clear, I might yell .9%  (that is POINT 9) of our time together, but when it happens it causes 99% of my motherly guilt.  I am not a hitter, I don’t know how people can do that to their children.  I have seen the movies and those innocent eyes staring back at the camera asking “why me, what have I done?” is enough to break anyone.  How a parent can continue to hit their children is beyond me.  But alas, it happens and I hope those parents feel the heavy heavy guilt of it and are on their knees in prayer to change it.   However, I have been in mommy-meltdown-mode situations before in which I could see where, in a hitting home, insert-blow-here would occur.   I can see the situation where a parent might get hot enough to hit or shake, but I can absolutely refrain.  Why then, can’t I refrain from yelling at high octane moments?

I used to think I was going to ruin Number 1.  Several years ago, I was admitting my fault, as I am prone to do, to a sweet mild-tempered friend, and she told me that I could not possibly be ruining her yet.  She was much too young to remember.  See, that is the kind of friend I like right there!!  I assure you that this particular friend was appalled.  She is a soft-spoken, non-yeller.  But she didn’t beat me down and make me question myself.  Her words were sweet but sharp enough for me to hear them.  It was high time for me to get my patience under control before she WAS too old to remember.   

It became very clear to me that I could not take this on alone.  I love my children beyond words, as all mommy’s do.  There was no joy or satisfaction after a good yell.  So, I turned to my amazing Savior and begged, on my knees, for help.  I asked my precious prayer warriors that love me to pieces, to pray for me.  I was specific, I told them I need help with patience and I can’t do it alone. 

I promise you, it is only after I admitted that it was something I needed help with and began fervent prayer over it that I saw incredible change.  I found myself speaking softly, smiling while disciplining and being patient enough to stop and explain the big “whys” to them at the same time.  I started giving them choices to make and guiding them to choose the right ones.  I started letting them mess up and not yelling at them for it, simply helping them understand how they could have made it easier on themselves (and me).  Instead of yelling at them to “STOP YELLING AT EACH OTHER”, I said things like “show each other God’s love” and “Be a blessing.”  Amazing how these positive words can do amazing things.   I did not read a great parenting book, I was given strength to do it with His help.  Some of you do not believe in all that.  I am sorry for those of you that don’t know where to turn.  Maybe you should give it a whirl.  The Bible is, afterall, our greatest Life’s Little Instruction book!

I still mess up a lot.  I get the crazy idea in my head, time after time, that I have it figured out enough to be on my own now.  It loses its top priority, no, it completely falls off of my prayer list.  I start to feel rage boil up inside again, I find myself losing control again.  I have had to make this a constant prayer, every day, all day, forever. 

I still mess up a lot, but I am careful and mindful.  I can’t remember the last time I BLEW up and spouted on for lengthy bouts at my babies.   I am quick to apologize for ridiculous behavior.  I have had to apologize too many times to Number 1 for me to admit.  Which has in turn taught her to be a great apologizer.  So, score one for Truthful Mommy’s fault, at least!  God has a way of turning our flaws into teachable moments sometimes. 

Be sure, I still give the occasional nice sharp reminder that I AM in charge and I CAN lose it if I have to.  But our house is much more lovely than it started out and this Truthful Mommy is always on her knees in prayer for patience.  I still get impatient, I still get ugly, and my house still has PLENTY of chaos.  But now I say things through gritted teeth and a smile.  

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Caring or Fun? Both!!

When Number 1 came home from school with grand aspirations of starting a club, I grinned from ear to ear.  Obviously the delight did not come from how much work that this project was going to involve on my part, that realization was not lost on me, but because of my pride in my little protégé.  I, too, had a very successful club in elementary school; that I started all by myself.  I, of course, was the president.  I, of course, always got to sit in the cool rocking chair.  My throne did become a bit of an issue that, I believe, we may have had to vote on at one point.  I won.  I got to pick our order of business and our outings.  It was super awesome fun!!   And, I expect, if you ask any of my subordinates, you will find that they agree and have very fond memories of our little club.  We even made neon-colored plastic visors (it WAS the 80s!) with the initials of our club’s name written in puffy paint.  Everywhere we went as a club we wore our very trendy visors.  It was our equivalent of a Girl Scout vest.  Our mission statement?  We didn’t have one, but in hindsight, I would have to say that it was nothing more than…to have fun.  The name you ask???  The GJWHF Club.  And that is what we would have told you if you asked.  “The GJWHF Club.”  It still rolls off my tongue like a song. 

Our moms were very accommodating.  My mom let me host the club every time; it was, afterall, my fault the other moms were in this mess.  They came along very willingly to our outings.  I have no idea what this club was to them. Now that I am a Truthful Mommy, I can only imagine that to some of them it was quite a bother.  But to most it was probably a time to catch up with each other, and probably gossip.  Just a way to pat us on the head and say, “I am glad you are having fun, dear.”  But to me, it was HUGE…Really Big!  

I began to ask Number 1 about her plans for her new club.  I began to ask her…only after I finished telling her all about my very successful GJWHF Club.  My abounding pride in this elementary school enterprise was perplexing.  Still is.  But apparently this little club did something for me.  To this day I am always looking for a way to have some committed, routine socialization.  Just since I married The Husband, I have started a monthly GNO (Girls Night Out, I love to abbreviate) for my neighborhood girls, a Bunco Group, a Bible Study in my house and have taken on the roll of social planner for my Life Class at church.  I recently started a Dinner Club that is SUPER fun and, yes, you guessed it, successful.  We have a blast.  And eat really really great.  All of these are still going strong, except the Bunco Group.  But even that was a success, because I came out of that with a few of the best girls a Truthful Mommy could know.  And one thing I know for sure, I cannot live without a TRUE, good friend…or several!!  I mean, I write a Truthful Mommy blog, the friends still hanging around have to be real at this point! 

I did find a few differing themes between Number 1 and me after hearing her strategy.  The name of her club?  The Caring Crocs Club.  Why Caring?   Because she wants to do things to help raise money for people that don’t have enough food.  The name of my club?  The Girls Just Wanna Have Fun Club.  (STOP IT!..... Cyndi Lauper was far-out)   Why?  Cause we just wanted to have fun.  Period.  No raising money for others, no thinking about others.  So, the only thing I can figure is she gets her social aspirations from her momma and her tender heart from her daddy.  Whatever, I am still grinning from ear to ear with pride!

After being able to be on the Mommy side of this thing, I have done some analyzing of my own elementary school organized club experience.   I have ZERO time left in my life to develop another GJWHF Club, much less with the addition of values, morals and a mission.  But now that I am able to have some vision on the impact it has very probably had on who I am today,  I feel the only choice I have is to nurture this thing!  She told me again tonight that she was going to be needing my help this weekend with the invitations.   Oh joy.  I do love stationery.  But that is a whole nother blog!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Cryin Myself Ugly

 Sometimes you have to be willing to put yourself in a position where you cry yourself ugly and feel the hopelessness in order to find strength. 

This blog is intended to give me a way to lend some funny to my chaos.  To give other moms (and dads) a way to feel better about their mess, or at least to feel like they are in good company.  But I haven’t been feeling so funny lately.  Guess that is why there have been fewer posts.  I thought maybe I was just running out of steam, out of funny, out of chaos, out of creative writing juices.  But I don’t think that is it.  For sure the chaos and mess continue, and, over time, I still find the funny.  But my head is in something much much more serious.  So, writing a blog about my comical mayhem has seemed insufficient. 

I have a sister.  She is amazing.  She is strong, gorgeous, tall, thin, blonde (well, her hairstylist is awesome), smart, deep, positive, nurturing and loving.  I was in Texas with her for 2 weeks recently while she was recovering from a mastectomy and this is her story. 

When she had her daughter, (who is now a beautiful 24 year old that I adore with all of my soul), she was a single mom with very little help or money.  My mom was there for her support-wise, for babysitting, etc.  But very little financial support.  She worked hard, but it wasn't enough.  When she sought help from the government so that she could go back to school, they told her she made too much money.  That is the way it goes, isn’t it?  Stop working and we will help you.  Try to make it in this world and we will N.O.T.   That was small potatoes compared to what God would challenge her with in her life.

14 years ago, she and her husband welcomed to this world what they term their "million dollar baby."  My sister has had kidney trouble since she was a child so the pregnancy was too hard on her body.  She went into labor at 23 weeks and the baby was 2 pounds.  The doctors told them to start planning the funeral.  They never did, they never needed it.  My sister is much too positive for that kind of talk. That sweet baby was so completely underdeveloped; the doctors told my sister that his sweet little parts may not fully develop and they needed to start making decisions as to if it was ok with them to make him…a her.  They did the research about it, worried themselves about it, wrapped their brains around it, but a change was never needed.  God is good, all the time.
He is an amazing and healthy young 14 year old boy that I am so super proud to call Nephew!!!
Over the years following that my sister had been experiencing alot of fatigue, chronic pain, and just the plain old "feeling older than she should's."  She couldn't do much of anything, even shopping with her sister, before she had to take a long nap.  No doctor could figure out what was going on.  Finally, after many many years of searching and doctors visits, she ended up at MD Anderson Cancer center in Houston having portions of her large and small intestines removed because she had a Carcinoid on it. Thanks to a surgeon willing to x-ray, test and do exploratory surgery, she felt like a new woman.  It was amazing to watch my sister come alive again!!  It caused her some lifetime GI issues, some of which have given her a sharp understanding of just how much her husband loves her and is willing to put up with for her!!  Man that girl be smelly!  She has also lost a ton of weight because of it, but she soldiers through!
She was feeling amazing.  Exercising again, traveling, and, just recently, she got REALLY into planning my niece's wedding coming up this June.  Then on a routine visit to her kidney doctor she found out her kidney's were digressing and functioning at around 17%.  She began the process of having a fistula implanted in her arm for dialysis and getting on the kidney transplant list.  This woman has amazing friends all over.  There were people popping up from everywhere willing to give this beautiful lady a kidney.  It looked as though I was going to be the best fit, but there was still some testing to do before we knew if it was official.  After some real wrapping-my-mind-around loosing a kidney and being that connected to my sister; I was good to go.  I was actually a bit delighted at the thought that I might have to be told to REST for a few weeks after being a kidney donor.  Surgery was likely to be a walk in the park compared to 3 kids, right??  So, there we were.  Worried her kidney's would not make it through the process of getting to the actual transplant but happy for all the provisions so far.  
Then just before Christmas I got a call from my niece.  My sister had found a lump in her breast, had a mammogram and would know the results after Christmas.  AFTER Christmas????  We were told, "She doesn't want to talk to anyone, but she wanted you all to know so that you can pray."  After Christmas came.  She has breast cancer.  Breast cancer in and of itself is scary.  But then we are told you must be cancer free for 5 years to be eligible for a transplant.  Now the kidney transplant is null and void.  We (she) must all wrap our heads around breast cancer and the chemo that comes along with that.  How will that affect her already failing kidneys??  No one knows, at that point, we are just focused on the mastectomy that is scheduled for Feb 21, or is it.....
I get a call on February 14 thinking it was a "Happy Valentines Day" call.  Nope, my sister is on the other line in the hospital.  She had trouble breathing accompanied by severe pain.  They admitted her into the hospital for pneumonia.  This news concerned us because we thought this meant that the mastectomy scheduled for the next week would have to be rescheduled.  God worked his miracles once again and the mastectomy happened.  Just as planned.  On February 21, 2012. 
Her daughter and husband were there with her for the surgery and the week after.  I got there on February 25; 4 days after the surgery and 15 days ago.  It was a roller coaster ride from the moment I got there.  As though the weeks and months leading up to my visit weren’t emotionally draining enough.  Doctor visits everyday.  It is amazing how many doctors you need when you have renal problems, part of your intestines missing, unexplained lung infections, breast cancer and a looming reconstructive surgery.  Not to mention the massive pile of meds I had to learn to navigate for her.
She just seems so sick.  I thought maybe it was just par for the course for a woman recovering from breast cancer surgery.  But, she is nauseous, lethargic, pale, frail and weak.  At the visit to her renal doc we find out why she seems so very very sick.  It is not just “par for the course.” It is because her kidneys are failing her.  It is all just too much for her weak organs.  They admit her to the hospital.  I go too.  I am not about to leave her side.  I am her advocate. 
After 5 days of I.V. fluids, hospital food, doctor’s rounds, 5 mornings of hospital coffee, she is looking and feeling much better.  There is no real explanation for her improvement except lots of meds, love, prayer and the abundant and amazing grace of our precious Savior, Jesus.  For 5 days we were sent nurses that fed our faith and nourished our confidence in those that care for the sick.  We were commissioned with hospital staff that needed our grace and love more than we needed theirs.  It amazes me how God tangles us in each others lives in such a way.   It is certain to both me and my sister that we were sent one angel in particular.  Ms. Linda.  At the heaviest time of need and hopelessness, she came to us.  She sang songs of the gospel to us.  It was not awkward.  It was beautiful.  She cried with us, she held us both and she sang.  She was a nurse tech, and she held us and sang to us and called us her “sisters in Jesus.”  She was sent to us.  By God.  She was amazing. 
A busy busy lady doesn't stop the busy just cause they put her in the hospital.  Here she is working on the very cool broach bouquet for my niece's wedding and making very important phone calls. 
We were strengthened by faith and we (she) soldiered on.  They got all her crazy levels worked back out, and finally sent us home.  I had grown fond of the hospital staff and their services.  Going home meant that I had to cook again.  And clean up after myself.  Now I was in charge of her massive pile of meds.  Making sure her blood pressure stayed in a very narrow window of not too high and not too low.  Making sure she ate and, let me just tell you, a renal diet is NOT easy.  Rice, bread and fruit. That is about it, my friends.  Try coming up with a creative menu for that.  
I was supposed to leave last Saturday, it WAS NOT time for me to go.  So, I am on my way home today.  A week later than planned.  God knows what he is doing.  He worked out so many logistics so that I could stay and be there with her.  We had an appointment with her oncologist the day before I left.  I don’t think we had any idea the hidden anxiety we had going in to that appointment.  This doctor was about to tell us her fate.  Anyone going through this knows that chemo is a scary treatment option.  But when you have so many things going on with your body that chemo could make worse, it is even more unsettling.  We wait and wait.  As you do at doctors offices the magnitude of MD Anderson Cancer Center.  She entered the room.  She spoke to us like normal humans of no medical knowledge.  She told us about her cancer and what she had, what she DIDN’T have now and she told us…….she did not recommend chemotherapy or radiation for her!!!!  Come again??  We just need to hear that again.  In her getting-well-process that we know is far from over, we have gotten bad news after bad news.  Just when we allowed ourselves to understand the last prognosis, we got more.  Who gets a lung infection just before a mastectomy??  Who gets breast cancer while awaiting the kidney transplant team to find her a new organ??  As positive as we were about that particular visit to the oncologist, I had to prepare myself. 
Just another day in the life for my sister.  This particular blood pressure made her very proud!
I could not have been more relived.   We left that clinic, made the 1 hour commute back to her home, making very happy phone calls all the way.  Then she and I both fell in the bed and slept.  Like rocks.  For hours.  Guess we were able to rest for the first time. 
During our 15 days together we cried ourselves ugly, we laughed till she peed her pants (look, this is the very least of her troubles), we hugged each other so long and so hard I was sure we’d never let go, we traveled many miles between doctors offices and hospitals, we watched bad television that made us feel much better about our own lives, we studied the Bible together, we talked a lot about God and what we thought he would have us understand.  I guess we basically had a 15 day sleepover because I never left her.  If she is anything like me, she doesn’t like to be alone, especially at times like these.  So I just never left. 
But, it was time for me to go.  I have a lot of hugs to catch up on at home!  I was able to leave today on a very happy note.  I left her in good hands: her husbands, her daughters, and most of all in Gods gracious hands.  She is on her way to doing much better.  She has a long road ahead, but she is tough.  She has faith.  She has me, and I have her.  
This same sister has been in the hospital room with me for the birth of all 3 of my children.  No matter what was going on in her world, she was there.  She has been the voice in my head through choosing my husband, training up my children and lovingly arguing with our mom.  In all cases, she has been "right on!”  She still whole-heartedly focuses on my niece's wedding planning and home schooling my nephew.  (Did I not already mention she home schools too!?!?)  Her husband stands beside her every doctor visit and rush to the hospital.  Believe me, they are fighting these things together.  They are amazing.
I am not sure how much refining fire God can grant one person, but I hope her lesson's are almost learned.  I hope that those that God has chosen to teach their lessons to through her journey are getting to their destination.  Be sure, we have all learned alot through all of this.  God is still so good.   She has an amazing positive outlook.  Her words to me a few weeks ago..."I am going to come out of this thing on the other side a whole new amazing woman.  I will be skinny.  And I will have perky new boobs!!"

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

No spend...Total bust

No spend January…what a bust.  It has taken me until March to reveal the very disappointing outcome.  The Very Frugal Husband and I agreed, at my suggestion, to have a no spend January this year.  This is something we have never done before.  I thought the Husband would fall right out of his seat when the surprising recommendation came from my mouth.  I must say, as it came out of my mouth the little voice in my brain was wailing, "STOP, don’t you know what you are getting yourself into by saying this out loud where he can hear you!?!?!?"  But, being the good wife I attempt to be, I decided to try my hand at helping out his stress-filled-financial-brain once again.  It seemed a lovely idea.  I knew it would not be fun, it would not be easy, it would probably not be pretty.  But I had stocked a pretty good amount of food in the pantry.  I had my hair done just before New Years Eve.  Certainly, I could go one month without a mani/pedi, a restaurant outing, a visit from my lovely cleaning lady or a massage.  No problem.  And, I am happy to report that I stayed quite committed to the plan in those departments.  I didn’t even visit my chiropractor during January.  Although, I am not sure that was such a great idea as I have had to frequent that place ever since. 

It is a good idea in theory.  After Christmas, funds are tight, so January felt like the right time, and I guess looking back it was a good thing I committed myself to not spend on those extra expenses.  But you forget how expensive January can be.  It is the time for EVERYTHING to be due.  The annoying and dreaded Homeowners Association bill comes in.  

Let me just get off subject for a moment on that note.  For what we pay our neighborhood should have a pool (both indoor and outdoor), a lavish Clubhouse and impeccable landscaping.  At the very least we should have a green area and a park for the kids.  Nope!  None of those.  Apparently we just have a storm water drainage system that, I imagine, must be top of the line as drainage systems go! 

Anywho, summer camp registration is due.  Enrollment in preschool.  Don’t DARE wait until February to secure THAT very very important spot!  The sweet little Girl Scouts come selling those decadent cookies that I CANNOT say no to.  I believe I even had to pay for Number 1’s dance costume that she will not even be wearing until June.   Just to name a few.

So, for those of you that have been wondering how a no spend month went for the Truthful Mommy…it was a bust.  We spent a lot.  Our rule of only buying milk and bread at the grocery store was broken quickly.  Naturally, since the plan was to not spend money at the grocery, I didn’t do any couponing so we ended up spending more than usual.  I believe I pulled out my checkbook MORE in January than ever.   All this particular month left me with was terribly uncared for feet, a sore back, grimey bathtubs and really dirty floors. 

Maybe we will try again sometime, I am not sure.  I am sure the Frugal Husband would tell a different story about our no-spend January, but he doesn’t have a blog.  So there.