Sunday, October 27, 2013

Family Time

Moving is a lot of hard work. My body is exhausted from packing, carrying, cleaning, painting, and many other tasks that need to be done before we sell the house. But there is one good thing about moving...

Family time!

These two pictures were taken just before Hubby left for Seattle. If I was better at photoshop, I would have included everyone that was there in the picture. I'm not, so you get to see who took each photo!

I am so thankful for my family, who helped me with the moving sale Saturday. It was nice to let others run the sale so I could get more things done.

In the lull times, they were able to relax on the sofa on the sidewalk! I tried it. It was pretty nice.

I won't be able to do that in Seattle, at least not at the end of October!

There is so much to accomplish these next few days, but thanks to awesome family and friends, I think we can get the most important things done. I am blessed!

Grandson helping to pack the pod.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Receiving Help

I wrote about how difficult it was for me to receive help in my last post. Yesterday, I received it!

A friend came over. I almost turned her help away because Mr. I was complaining of a cold and I'm so bad at receiving. But she came anyway and helped me clean the ceilings, take down some shelves, and organize cabinets so I could get more things off the counters. I am so grateful for her help!

Then last night, the kids and Grandson came over to help with packing and to see Hubby for one last time before he left. We got some takeout Chinese food so that we could continue packing and moving. The pod is almost completely packed! It was so good to have everyone over.

We even had some fun!

Though the house looks a little chaotic now, I can see how we can get things done in time. I'm praying everyone stays healthy and safe, and that I'll ask for help when I need it. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


I have a hard time asking for help. I can be in a very difficult situation, and I can't bring myself to call my friends for assistance. I don't know if it is some kind of Midwest German work ethic, years of doing things frugally and independently, if I don't feel worthy of asking people to make time for me out of their busy schedules, or I'm so overwhelmed I don't know what to ask. I've been in situations where I've been over my head, yet still tell myself that I could do it if I just worked harder. Sometimes I am surprised that I could accomplish so much, but other times I fall on my face.

I am a bit envious of those who can ask for help and get it. I know one woman who is moving with her husband in a month or two and already has a paper shredding party scheduled. She is going to have movers, yet she doesn't hesitate to ask for help. I am in a much worse situation. Hubby is leaving in a few days, I have to get our house ready to sell in a week, painting, repairing, and cleaning. I have two kids at home who are a handful in normal circumstances, and we are packing ourselves to move out of state. Yet I freeze when someone asks me how they can help.

Fortunately, my older kids know me. They understand me well enough to just show up. Their help has been amazing!

When I'm not as busy, I'll have to figure out what is wrong with me that I find it easier to help others than to receive. But now I need to get a few more things done before I head to bed. It's been a tiring, but fruitful day.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

A Courageous Woman

I am so in awe with my friend D.

She went with her adult daughters to see their father while he was deathly ill this week. This same man abused my friend and her daughters before she left him years ago. The youngest daughter, not fully understanding the extent of the hurts this man had caused, wanted to have a relationship with him. I understand the draw, because my own children gravitate towards their birth family, despite the abuse and neglect they have suffered. It's hard to understand the pull, but it is real.

My friend could have said, "Good riddance!" My friend could have held onto the resentment and the hurt. But because she loved her daughters, she went with them to the hospital. It takes a lot of courage to look in the eyes of someone who has hurt you so deeply. It takes a move of God to have compassion on a sick and dying man who had caused so much grief. My friend had that supernatural compassion.

D is a courageous woman!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Why Does the Moon Have to be So Bright? II

The moon is too bright tonight. I had to put the visor down as Hubby drove me home.
The lights are too bright. My computer is too bright. 

I have a headache. 

I wrote a private post to process this evening.  It will stay private because I'm in a crummy mood and am stressed. And I have a headache. I'm sure I'll offend someone if I published what I wrote. Some things are best left unsaid, though writing them down is therapeutic.

There is a lot to do, and I have a lot to be thankful for. I'll feel much better in the morning, and this evening will be something to laugh about. It's just not funny yet. 

Sometimes you just have to get over things and move on. That's what Hubby said to me tonight. He's right. We'll make it through this week and the ones to come.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Pod Arrived...Let the Move Begin

The pod arrived today.

We plan to spend the next week packing the pod up with whatever we want to take to Seattle and don't need to use for the next couple of months. We've been sorting, purging, and giving away many of the things that we don't want to move. I find it's easier for me to give to someone than to think of selling or tossing. It's nice that our older children are just starting out and can use what we don't want to drag up with us.

Yesterday we signed papers to sell our house the first of next month. I was a little panicked last night when I realized just how much there needs to be done. I didn't sleep well, though laying awake worrying didn't help matters at all. Of course, when I woke up in the morning and started to work on things, the whole process seemed a lot more manageable than at midnight. You'd think I'd learn. I have awesome sons and daughters who are helping me and that I can call upon when needed. It's not like I have babies underfoot, though we do have a puppy! I have friends who have offered to help. We just need to empty the house, do a little painting, minor repairs, and cleaning and have over a week to do it all. I really don't have to worry!

The kids are more accepting that we are moving, and one is even a little excited. It really helped to have Mr. I look for new houses for us. Giving him the ability to tell us what he would like is making it easier for him to not worry. He can see we aren't going to stick him in a dangerous place, and who doesn't like a say in where you live? And today, Microbio Daughter, Ms. D, and I were talking about how many eighteen year old young adults move to college or for a job, and Ms. D is just doing it two and a half years early. I think she felt good about being able to do something an older girl would do.

There is a lot to do in the next week or so, but it will be easier now that the teens aren't as upset. Thanks to all who have been praying for us and to those who have helped. You are all so awesome!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Fear and Trust

Our plans to move have been bringing up deep fears in some in our family. It's easy to say you trust God, or you trust your parents to care for you, or you trust your husband to make good choices. But faith and trust aren't real until they are tested. 

And we have been tested! 

There is so much to accomplish in the next few weeks. Hubby starts his new job in two weeks and will be moving ahead of us while we stay until the house is sold. We have to do some final minor repairs and paint, pack, make our house look like a showroom, look for a new place to live, teach the kids, move out of state, and start a new job. This would be a lot to handle, but I have also had the fear that the kids would somehow sabotage the process in the hope of staying in California. How will I be able to pack and keep the house clean while Hubby is in another state? Will there be any crises while he's gone? Will we all like the new home? 

I figured out that Mr. I's greatest objection to the move has been related to fear. Will we move to a high crime area? Will he be safe? Will his sister be safe? Will he be able to make friends?

To help Mr. I, we have been asking him to tell us what houses he likes. Sometimes having choices reduces fear. We also have been assuring him that we will only look in lower crime areas. So Mr. I hasn't been as fearful.

As for my own fears, everyone's prayers have helped. The kids are settling down. We are taking care of tasks, and things have been working out. I'm beginning to see some hope. 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Church Meltdown!

Guess who had a meltdown at church?

The gathering was at our house. I was exhausted, since I couldn't sleep well last night, getting maybe four hours total. I had a busy day cleaning house and spending time with family, since I couldn't do a thing last night. No nap. We were wrapping up the evening with some sharing some really cool insights on a really difficult passage in Judges. Then a certain boy sits behind me and whispers in my ear, "I don't want to move. The crime rate is worse in Seattle than it is here. Why do we have to move? I don't want to move! I don't want to move..."

So who had the meltdown?

It was an awesome meltdown, one that could have been embarrassing, except our church is small and close knit. You can't hide much from a church like that. I told Mr. I loudly, in front of everyone, that I didn't want to here the phrase, I don't want to move, one more time! Then I jumped up and ran to the kitchen so that people didn't see me cry and fall apart. Cleaning the kitchen is my "go to" for releasing bad energy. If you know me, you would know that I must be at my limit, or even beyond, for me to choose to clean rather than socialize.

I understand that Mr. I is afraid. Moving will be a big change. But we aren't going to live in Seattle, but in some suburb near there. I looked up the crime rate and Seattle's is falling as San Jose's is rising, making the rate pretty close, so he really doesn't have to worry. The unknown is pretty frightening. But he doesn't know we will keep him safe. He doesn't trust that we will take care of him. His past trauma is stirred up by our moving, and it will be difficult to comfort him. My meltdown won't help him. Though I am hoping that he won't continue the dripping water torture of repeating the same phrase over and over. There is a lot to do in the next few weeks. I can't let him get to me.

So if you pray, please pray for peace. Pray for joy, for a sense of adventure. And most of all, pray for healing of hearts. I can't continue without God's help.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Big Change

We have had many changes the past few weeks, and now I can let others know the biggest change that I have been holding back until things were more sure.

We are planning to move to Seattle.

The teens have been freaking out, which was expected. I have been dreading this day for weeks. I just endured an evening of listening to the same line, "I don't want to move!" Add sobs, tears, f-bombs, threats, and hours long whining and it's no surprise that I'm in a numb state right now. It's a good thing I practiced ignoring loud crying years ago when my babies had colic and cried for hours on end. Fortunately, both kids are off to their friends houses for the night. I don't think I could have held it together much longer if I had to listen to it more. 

I knew moving would be difficult for the kids. Because of that, we haven't made the decision lightly. There are many reasons for our move. We will be in a better place financially because of the difference in the cost of living. Hubby will have a more secure job with better funding. We will be closer to our parents as they get older and near others in our extended families. We will be away from some of the negative influences here. It doesn't mean that the kids won't find trouble in the new place, but maybe it will slow things down. The University of Washington is in Seattle, which has been doing research and treatment for fetal alcohol since the 1970's. I have been so frustrated with the lack of resources and awareness of FASD in California.

We have to go through the transition time, which I don't expect to be easy. We not only have to get our house ready to sell, move out of state, and settle into a new place, but we will have to do it with two teens who are fearful of change. But not everything that is good is easy.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Mommy Wars

I just read an encouraging blog post written by a dad and husband. It was encouraging to me, a stay at home mom, though I'm sure it would be the opposite for my friends who work outside the home. So read it at your own risk. Nothing can cause more division than the Mommy Wars.

We are all a bit insecure. We all have self doubts. Did I make the right decision to drop out of college, or quit my job to raise my kids? Would they have been better off if I had continued to work and be able to afford to send them to music camp, an SAT class, or a better college? Or are my kids and I missing out because I am working and someone else is seeing my baby's first steps, or keeping an eye on my teen after school?

Sometimes I talk to women and they start acting defensively, like I or those around them have been judging them for every little decision. They ask me where I work, which in the Silicon Valley is a pretty safe question since not many families can afford to live on one income. I tell them I stay home with the kids and sometimes add that I homeschool. If the woman works, she will typically start telling me how she can't imagine how anyone could afford to stay home, or that she doesn't have enough patience, or that she found a great nanny. If she stays home with her kids, she then tells me all the places she takes her child, every sports practice she attends, often in minute detail, as if she has to justify not working.

Those of us who have special needs kids have a different kind of Mommy War going on. I sometimes talk with people who have a child with autism, or cerebral palsy, or a learning disability, or whatever. When I tell them that my kids have FASD, I get some pretty interesting responses. I get an earful of this therapy, or that diet that changed their child's life and will definitely help my children too. It doesn't matter that my children have different conditions than theirs, or I may not have a few grand to spend on something that may or may not help. I don't mind getting some advice from others, but sometimes it seems like the other mom is trying more to defend her handling of the challenges of raising her child than to help others.

I am declaring a truce!

I honor all women that are trying to raise their kids. And to broaden it further, I honor all women who are trying to make this world a better place, whether or not they have children. I do not judge you for your decision to work outside the home, or not. I don't look down on anyone who sends their kids to school or teaches them at home. I don't really care if you feed your children gluten free food from Whole Foods, plant a garden, and are vegan. And I also don't care if you are seen in the drive through at McDonald's or feed your kids frozen pizza, especially after a hard day at the doctor's office. I think it's great if you choose to try every therapy around to help your child. But I also want to give a hug to the moms who have given up hope for a cure and are just trying to make it through the day.

Yes, I am still a bit judgmental towards those that abuse or seriously neglect their children. I am one of those moms who have to pick up the pieces after my kids' first mom permanently and continuously harm them. I have to practice forgiveness, and try to suppress my mama bear instincts, which isn't a bad thing. It is hard for me to honor an addict who abandons her kids, though I do have pity.

But for all the rest of you women, I salute you!

You may make different decisions than I do. You may have circumstances in your lives that I can't imagine. Or you may chose a different fork in the road, even though we started on a similar path. We have different strengths and weaknesses. Yes, we can give each other advice, but with humility, allowing others to take that advice or try something else. We are all weak in areas that we would love to be strong. We will all make mistakes or be so tired we don't do what we know we should. Other times we will stumble upon something brilliant. Good for you!

Life would be so much better if we stop our squabbling, our comparing, and our judging. We women need to stop the Mommy Wars and start supporting each other, rejoicing in the good times and lifting each other up in the hard seasons. We need each other, especially those who aren't like us. I need my women friends, those who have kids and those who don't, those who have a career, and those who homeschool, those who think like I do, and those who I can't understand.

I can't stop everyone from engaging in the Mommy Wars, but I can stop it in my own life. I need every one of you. Hugs and loves! You are awesome!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Girls Night Out to a Hockey Game!

My friend, K, took me to a hockey game last night!

It was my first one!

I haven't seen much hockey on TV. It's so hard to follow the game, the players and puck move so quickly. It was much easier to see the game in real life, and I learned so much.  I'll enjoy watching and listening to the games better, now that I can imagine what is going on.

Of course, there were some things that I couldn't experience at home. The NOISE! The crowds! The intro!

And of course, the Zambonis!

I got to eat an ice cream sandwich made with chocolate chip cookies after the second period. Yum!

It was an amazing game! I hope I don't get spoiled by the 9-2 win or the hat trick!

Cleaning the hats off the ice!

Yes, Hertl got a Hat Trick and ended up scoring four points in one game! I loved his smile and apparent awe of the whole experience. He looked so young! I told K he looked like a baby, and sure enough the smiling kid is still a teenager!

Yes, I think I was spoiled.

Thanks, K, for such a wonderful night!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

LOL! I'm Not as Forgetful as I Had Thought!

In my last post, I wrote about how I couldn't remember getting the yearbook I found sitting on a table the other day. I thought I was being very forgetful.

Well, the mystery is solved. I didn't remember buying the yearbook because Microbio Daughter bought it as a gift for me a year or two ago, knowing how much I wanted one. She found it while packing for her move and left it for me to see!

I wasn't going crazy or falling into dementia. No one was trying to gaslight me, though I think "Gaslight" is a great movie. I have been forgetting minor things lately, but that's one of my migraine symptoms. But I didn't forget about having a yearbook that I wished for in order to reminisce about some of my high school years and as I come in contact with more high school friends online. I can relax and enjoy the book!

On a similar note, I found a couple of videos from when I was in marching band. The quality of the videos aren't the best, but you can see how awesome our band was. We spent our summers practicing and marching, and you can see the results of hard work.

Summer 1977

Summer 1978

Friday, October 4, 2013

How am I Doing?

I had two people ask me how I am doing this week.

One was my dentist. She was able to tell by my x-rays that I clenched my teeth. I told her, "Of course I do!" Who wouldn't, if they lived my life the past few months? It hasn't been easy.

The other was my daughter's therapist. She knows more of the situation, though not of my anemia, hormones, and headaches. If she would have asked me in her office, I may have told her more. But I just told her, "It's been hard. I've had headaches because of it. But I knew from the beginning it wouldn't be easy and that we'd have rough patches."

I try to avoid crying in hallways. Or coffee shops. Or anywhere else in public. So when people ask how I'm doing, I admit that things have been tough, but then give myself and others a little pep talk. I'm trying to be strong. But there are cracks in my strength, which come out in odd ways.

I'd like to say that the major crises are over, and that I'm following my typical pattern of falling apart after the storm. Ms. D really is improving. At least I hope so. But there is more to come, more changes, more loss. I don't feel ready.

So how am I doing? I am not as patient with people. I say things I later regret. Some people hear too much at the wrong times, because I can't hold it in any longer.  Have you ever been in the middle of a sentence and think, "I can't believe I'm saying all this right now! How do I stop and change the subject?" I've thought this more than once the past few weeks. It is hard for me to pray, or worship, or be at peace. How can I concentrate? I don't get as much done, and feel like I spin my wheels. I procrastinate or avoid things that remind me of the trials of the past few months. I just sent out some paperwork that was due a few days ago, because I just could not bear to look at the different reports. Hopefully it was satisfactory, since I really don't want to repeat it. I found a yearbook on a table the other day and couldn't remember when I got it. That was pretty scary. I get tired but have a hard time sleeping at night. I've gained a few more pounds. I clench my teeth, at least that's what the dentist says.

So if I say something odd, look disinterested in what you are saying, or interrupt, please don't take it personally. I really do want to be a better listener, a better friend. I'm just trying to make it through a difficult time while things around me are so unsettled. But don't worry too much. Despite my anxiety, despite my exhaustion, I know that this is just a season, that there will be good times ahead. Life is good. It's hard sometimes, but good. I just need some hugs.