Sunday, August 31, 2008

September 1st

Around the first of June...I thought there was nooooo way I would ever make it until today. I can't tell you how many times I said or thought, "If it would just be
September...". I figured if I could see may way out of the oppressiveness of summer...surviving until September...I imagined I would be able to find my footing and start to climb out of the deepest darkest hole ever.

And if you had told me on June 1st...that by Sept 1st I would have moved, prepared two kids to start a new school year, done two garage sales, be a soccer mom, survived a week without my husband, and done a myriad of other things...I would have literally thrown up on your shoes.

My heart is still broken. I miss Gary. I miss Neal having Gary for a brother. I miss Kim. I miss having that sister. I miss hearing their names. I miss their jokes. My heart THROBS every time I walk by my closet and there is Kim's shirt hanging there...or glancing over at the bouquet from her wedding...or finding her picture in some spot I wasn't expecting it. JUST today I found baby pictures of Gary in my MOM's garage leftover from a project I was working on.

It still hurts on September 1st. Its not over. Its not gone. I still can't make decisions very well...or handle stress like I could before...or make it through a single part of church without crying. Even a budget meeting. 3 months...might as well be 10 years.

I am finding my footing. Finding a new normal. I started really cooking again...we haven't eaten out all week. I made roast, pretzels, homemade pizza, homemade macaroni and cheese. I'm surviving hard changes in the relationships around me...and not being shattered by them. (Loving people is hard and messy sometimes.)

And each degree that the thermometer drops...I know we are getting closer and closer to fall. And that oppression of summer and heat and lifting. Not so much that I'm free or healed. But enough I can see small changes.

I even need to get my hair trimmed. (I cut it mostly off -- in an effort to have a way to proclaim grief -- and to mark time).

I even have a little to give others. Or at least I try. If you had told me on June 1...that by now I could handle anyone else's pain on top of my own...I would have to hand you a mop again for your shoes.

I feel stained. Stained with death, horror, grief, ugliness, smallness, brokenness. And at the same time, I feel redeemed. Redeemed by understanding, rebuilding, compassion, grace, and defeated death.

Without God, I would be nothing more than ash. Burnt up and destroyed.

A friend and I are working our way through Beth Moore's study, "Breaking Free." We have found this study to be timed to reach directly into our day and announce -- Here is the message from the Lord your God."

--From the study this week:

God never allows or appoints a fire unless He can bring beauty from the ashes. He can bring you through without even smelling like smoke. (Lord...the smell of the smoke chokes me sometimes...can you really remove even the smell??? Please, Lord.) We cannot often refuse the fire, but we can refuse to be refined by it. (Please Lord, refine me. Don't let the fire be for nothing.) The ultimate goal of the Refiner is to see HIS reflection in the precious metal. (I could not ask for more.)

Isaiah 61:3 -- To all how mourn in Israel, he WILL give beauty for ashes, JOY instead of mourning, praise for despair.

Genesis 32:26 -- But Jacob panted, " I will NOT let go until you bless me."

Friday, August 29, 2008

Our newest Netflix love:

Its as good as I know...watching the re-runs as a kid!

Welcome Back, Kotter! And Epstein, and Barbarino, and Horshack, and Washington!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

More Box Fun

The only thing better than turning your boxes into rocket ships while mom is turning them into boats for all you lovies while mom is unpacking. :) I found Ellie today conducting a cruise line for her lovies.

Here is what happens when she yells out..." All Aboard!!!!!!!!!!"

Last night she declared this same box full to the brim of lovies her "lovie box bed." Then she got really mad at Neal when he informed her she could in fact NOT sleep in the box.

Can I tell you something funny Ellie said that has nothing do with the box boat? Good. She looked all squinty up close at my freckled face and said, "Mom, you have polka dots all over your face."

Anyway...I have been working on their bedroom. Here is a picture of a good chunk of their toys and books unpacked and organized on my boat shelf.

And here is a special picture. While my mom was packing up her house, she came across these super cute Care Bear things. She made these for my nursery when I was born. I think they are so fun, and I took them to college with me. I asked the girls if they liked them -- and of course they did. So now they are gracing the girls wall with cheer and ... well ... care. :)

Step by step its all coming together...and in the mean time...nothing like playing in a good box.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

My NEW HOUSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Alright already. I have been scolded. My first priority today is updating my blog!!!!!!!

My newest moving tips.
1. NEVER move at the same time as your mom. You can't help each other very well. And then EVERYONE is melting down with no safe place. :) Mom hands over her keys to her house today.
2. NEVER move at the exact same time school is starting. Too many changes at once causes the little people to melt down.
3. NEVER move at the same time a sport season is starting. I was already struggling to find clean clothes everyday for me...but to also find shin guards and soccer socks, AND cleats. Whew.
4. ALWAYS have an amazing small group to help you move. My small group from church came over...and in ONE hour had my entire townie emptied. And in the next hour had everything unloaded at the new place. And in the next hour...beds together and made...fridge pieced back together and cleaned...banister taken down put back up and bathed and ready for school the next day. It is an incredible feeling to be loved. And I've watched many amazing friends swoop in and do similar things for my mom.
5. NEVER send your kids to your inlaws house to be babysat on moving day when they are about to come down with the flu. Having to rush over and pick up your kids so they can puke in peace makes your head spin. My house got moved and I wasn't even THERE!

Here are pics of what I have been working on...instead of blogging. :)
My front porch. Notice I covered up my address so that the whole world doesn't know exactly where I live. :) This duplex feels a lot like a house.

This is my favorite thing in my new house. It is a shelf that my FIL made from the door of a barn at the Hamm family farm. I just got it...and I think it is fabulous. 100 percent "me" and it is so special. It sits in my living room.

I have already gotten Neal to hang up my quilt. I have a really special one my mom made for me that goes up in the fall. I can hardly wait each year for fall to get it up.

I took this picture standing in the corner of my front door looking into the VERY open living room and kitchen!

My fabulously awesome kitchen!

The view from the kitchen into the living room:

A peek into my unpacked and finished bathroom:

Here is what the not yet worked on parts looked like. I'm working on this part today. Its the stuff on my desk in my bedroom.

Here is what the girls call their "Secret World" out in the back.

A view of the side yard and wonderful shade tree:

And a view pics of the biggest down side. Here is the major water leak going on under that shade tree-- that is on the city side of the water pipes. "It's on the agenda." the mean time we are like a mosquito factory.

I'm still super excited...and loving the new place. Neal and I both feel like we are living in a town for the first time in years. And that 5 minute amazing. :)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

My townhouse

Tonight is our last night in our super special little townhouse. I always thought it looked so cozy and a little cabin tucked away. I loved living here. I loved the neighbors :), the sidewalk circles, the well maintained grounds, the super nice manager.

I am however, so so so excited about our new place. It is bigger...and better. The kitchen is bigger and open and nice with new appliances. I have a laundry room, a nice yard...a private patio. I will love not driving like a maniac lots of times a day. For less dollars.

Goodbye little were fun.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

My Fabulous First Grader

School starts today!!!!!!

Addy: (this morning as we are getting ready) Yesterday, I was nervous, but today I am just exCITED!!!!!!!!!!

And she was so totally giddy.

I'm pretty excited about this year too. I got the teacher I requested, fall is coming, Addy will be learning and doing such awesome things -- its alll good. And while she doesn't get to be in the same class as her buddy Tristan...he was waving and glad to see her. And she gets to be in a class with some of my friends its alll good. :)

Here are some of her super cheap or re-used supplies that we "sparkled" up for the new year.

And here is her fabulous outfit and backpack which she totally picked up on her own.

And here are the fabulous cinnamon rolls I got up at 4AM to make. Her big eyes and smile when she saw them were totally worth it. :) (That's a caramel ooey gooey icing in the middle) Laura made a fabulous suggestion to use the whole wheat soft pretzel dough recipe as the dough for these...FABULOUS!

And the must have pic with the school sign:

And the picture of the "enough already mom" face:

Monday, August 11, 2008

I was warned.

Grief sucks.

Lots of people had gently warned me that just when you thought you were ok and had a handle on things...something would trigger you and you would have some hard times.

I think that mostly...I'm on the verge of over-extension...which leaves me feeling tired and emotional.

Neal spent the entire last week in Tulsa, OK for work. I did really good while he was gone...managed the kids, my packing, my time...fairly well I think. I melted a little on the last evening he was coming home. I'm glad it wasn't for a second week as originally planned.

I cannot pack up any single room in my house without running into something that reminds me of Gary and Kim which always brings a fresh stabbing to my heart. Including this morning when I was dealing with utility issues for our new place. They handed me list of "town rules" including which dogs were not allowed. I fully intended to e-mail Kim and inform her that pit bulls were not allowed in the town I was moving to and give her a bad time about it. :) It took my brain about 10 minutes to realize I couldn't. That made me sooooooooooo sad. Even though I really hate pit bulls. :) Here is a picture of Kim's dogs. :) Oreo and Jonah. Mostly because every post is better with a picture.

And finally this morning...I took back over the black dress I borrowed to wear to their funeral to my friend Jill. So stupid. I totally got all teary when I handed her the dress. I'm crying just sitting here. Stupid dress. Stupid dress that I was so grateful to have.

And I went to a funeral for the grandpa of one of my long time friends -- Rachel. I was so sad for her to lose a fixture in her life...and I started crying the minute we hit the parking lot of the church. It was awful...the remembering of Gary and Kim's funeral. It was horrific to watch their family walk in and out...remembering so clearly how that felt. And how it felt to sit in those stupid green velvety chairs beside the graves.

And as I'm wrapping my mind around the fact that no one gets a "fee pass" against their own funeral...I'm just...feeling...teary.

Jill loaned me C.S. Lewis's book on grief. I'm so excited about that...I had been meaning to look for it at the library.

Oh...and 3 out of the 4 of us have colds. Isn't that awesome. No charge.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The advantages of moving

Boxes. Many many boxes. And for kids...its like heaven. Why don't we just get them new shiny boxes at Christmas???

Addy and Ellie have turned two of my boxes into rocket ships. And their creativity totally reminds me of Davi's amazing boys over at Little Band of Brothers. is picture of Addy in her rocket. And notice how dressed up she is for her visiting the dudes on Jupiter.

Her rocket comes complete with a lever for take off and landing, a power button, a space phone, and a space food vending machine with dehydrated food. She's all set. Except for a helmet. Ok, No Problem.

And here the two rocket ships had a near space collision.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Ellie and Nana: An Ode to the Blue Popsicle

The Homestretch of Summer

Signs it's the end of summer:

1. Invitations to super huge pool parties.
2. I go a little crazy trying to cram in as many swimming sessions at my mom's pool as possible. I swam twice one day last week.
3. Furious packing sorting and deciding about all the stuff in my house as the end of summer move date approaches.
4. Ten thousand promises made of shopping for a back to school first day outfit. School starts for Addy in about 9 days.
5. Ten thousand reminders to Ellie that even though she doesn't start until September, she is going to school too.
6. Soccer kicks into full swing with three practices a week until the games start in about 2 weeks.
7. Regrets over the things that I didn't do or teach my kids this summer. (I have an excuse this summer. The lack of functioning really did me in.) I did manage to make sure that Ellie knows ALL her letters and the sounds they make before preschool starts. 1 point for Mommy. :)
8. A mad dash to finish seeing the summer blockbusters on the big screen. I finally managed to take Addy to see "Kit Kitridge: An American Girl." And I manged to swing that at the drive in. 2 more points for Mommy. It was really good.
9. Papa Murphy's sent out "Back to School" coupons. I'm in heaven.
10. Ummm...I never finished blogging about July and I only have 9 days of summer left before school starts.
11. The peak of summer hotness has hit. At the same time I hate 101 also means the max of summer is hitting and there is only place to go from here. Fall.

BRING ON FALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!