Monday, April 29, 2013

Apparently If You Blink A Week Or Two Will Fly By

Or maybe that's a whole month. At least it certainly feels like it. It's been a crazy month and that's sort of an understatement. It's been wonderful and awful, terrific and horrible.

Oh, come on - this is me. Did you expect anything less?

Had a great stay-cation. True to form, it went by too fast. We had something for everyone. Fred and the older 2 went camping, Jared and I had a movie marathon - even got to take him to see Wreck It Ralph at the repeat theater.

Fred and I got out to have a day just for us, but it was cut short when we had to come home as the basement flooded from all the heavy rainwater. Take Lake Michigan and dump it on a city in 15 minutes and that's pretty much what happened. I'll give the guys credit for their quick thinking. They got all the electric cords off the floor and was able to move a few things out of the way.

I did mention our bedroom and family room was in the basement, right?

We had 2 more flooding episodes at 1 a.m. and at 3:30 a.m. but Fred and the mighty shop vac was able to keep on top of it. Thankfully, it was just that night that we've had flooding and even more thankful that the carpet remnants were saved. I was really worried they were going to be ruined but no mold or musty smells have remained. I was able to prop up the carpet edges and run fans so air was able to get underneath it and got the whole thing dried out pretty quickly.

We did have a few huge earthworms that were hiding under the dryer that caused me to scream and go running out of the laundry room. The guys got a good laugh about that and declared me such a girl. I'm not even sure how to answer that one other then duh! and nice to see you passed anatomy.

The comment sort of irked me and clearly it was a sign I needed to get away from the men folk. And just my luck, our church was having a ladies conference. It was weird because I'm still like Ack! People! Get away!! But since I'm bored out of my mind, have resigned myself to suck it up and go mingle.


However, God showed up and it really was a great conference much to my surprise. Had a couple prophetic words spoken over me that was spot on, and a couple I sort of cocked an eyebrow at God and said we'll see. I've been having some good bible studies lately too! Lot of growth and I'm liking it. After feeling dead for such a long time, nice to see some life.

Got my lil sissy moved. Bummed that she moved farther away but glad for her. Matters of the heart always seem to cause a lot of drama. My guys got an earful about relationships. But we got her all loaded up in little over an hour and then hung out and had pizza. God certainly opened up some doors for her so that's cool.

Got glasses for everyone except J. He was pitching a fit about it to the point I was ready to shove him in a box and mail him to some far distance away from me. He doesn't need them and I didn't feel like wasting another eye exam to be told, again, that he doesn't need them. The eye doc said I made the right call but have him checked at 16 before he does any driving. Relieved to have that round of mom guilt put to rest. However, we are still waiting on Michael's glasses to get in. Nicholas has had his for a few days. This is something that I really hate about having twins - someone is always waiting and someone is always disappointed and there is nothing that can be done about it. Happy for one, frustrated for the other one.

Jared's birthday is a week away and he's been a bit spastic. Guys have just over 2 weeks of school work left and then we're on summer break. Not bad when you consider we took all of March off of school. I'm not sure who is more ready for summer break - them or me. I feel like I'm constantly waiting on someone else.

Our ancient dryer has now decided to do an impersonation of a cement mixer, so anyone doing their school work on the downstairs computer can't hear a blooming thing if the dryer is running. I have to babysit the washer because we never know when the drain is going to back up and spew water out of the floor. We at least have the gurgling toilet as a warning sign to shut off the washer before Lake Erie shows up. And I can't do any laundry at night because I'm pretty sure Fred would like to actually get some sleep.

And let us discuss laundry while we're at it, shall we? The older the kids get, the more laundry there is. And sadly, they still wait until they are down to the last whatever before announcing this dire circumstance. The frustrating thing is I never know when the drain is going to cooperate. Some days I can crank out laundry and other days it takes all day of starting/stopping the washer while I'm usually standing near the drain yelling at it to just suck it up and take it.

My life - it's messed up.

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Annual Freak Out

I would first like to point out that ya'll are sick. I get like 75 hits on my post of yet another epic fail of a move, but when I post the lesson learned in the middle of it, I get like 13 hits. Really? The train wreck is that exciting, is it?

Well okay, then.

But back to my annual freak out. Can you figure it out or should I just assume you have no clue what dribbles out of my....fingers?

It's curriculum ordering time! Said with as much enthusiasm of the thought of getting an enema - from a total stranger.

Although, I can say this freak out has been the worst. Granted, I say that almost every year but this time it's for real. This order will be the last order for the twins. It will be their senior year. I am having a hard time with this for a couple reasons. At this stage of the game, there isn't much curriculum to pick out. We've done almost all of it. Science isn't their thing even though they actually are understanding their chemistry now. Even to the point that they are making thermodynamics jokes that fly over my head.

Hilarious.

They both get an A in the sarcasm department but I'm sure I'll leave that off their transcripts.

They've completed a lot of the required stuff to the point where I think they could graduate now but we haven't done a government/civics course yet. Since I've turned down my mom's offer to teach them government (don't even get me started), I think we'll get that covered in case she tries to add her 2 cents worth. I would like my children to actually know what the law says and not some mad conspiracy that never seems to work out the way she sells it.

But I digress. Or I'm making an effort to beat the angst down. Take your pick.

Foreign language turned out to be an epic fail for them, and at this point, we all decided it would be wise to just step away. I get an A for the effort but you know that old saying? You can drag a horse to the water, but no matter how many times you dunk his head and hold him under - he ain't drinking it if he doesn't want to! The same applies to school.

Kerri and I were talking about how overwhelming it all is and I added that after all that stress, praying and guessing on what to get, shell out hard earned money - you get to spend the rest of the year listening to someone whine and complain about some of it or all of it.

Why yes, I am still pissed off about it. Thanks for noticing.

I did mention that the pickings are slim, right? Because it is. Just in case you didn't get that the first round. This leaves electives and I have yet to find an underwater basket weaving group. I'll wait as you process that mental image through your head.

Switched On Schoolhouse is 20% off for the month of April. They actually have a couple electives that haven't caused the guys to roll their eyes back into their heads from all the angst of, like I want to study that because why?

Truly is a miracle that I have let them live.

I'm also going to have to space out what I order and when. Jared flew through all his science that I'm scrambling to get him stuff but he's dragging his feet on history. No need to order history when he's not ready for it. But he's mad about this because he was looking forward to next year's history. I told him then he should put in extra effort to get through his history and he asked why would he want to do that?

That banging noise you hear is me beating my head.

I'm also struggling because I can't help but wonder - did I do enough?!? I remember when we started kindergarten and how I was freaking out and wasn't sure I was up for this and now we're going to be facing our last year and while exhausted, I know I gave it my all. But....I still wonder, was it enough? Did I do a good job? I didn't kill them and they can read and write, so I'm thinking why, yes! Yes, I DID do a good job!!! And judging from current society, I'm thinking they are way ahead of the average knucklehead.

God has had to repeatedly remind me that my identity isn't in the boys. That I had to let them be free to make their own choices (within reason) and the freedom to make mistakes so they could learn from it. But the kicker is not to be devastated thinking my mothering skills sucked big piles of dirt because they made mistakes and made poor choices. Goodness knows, I've made my share of them. I was also encouraged not to give up either. I'm doing my job and trusting God with the outcome. And the strength not to kill them.

I heard someone say, raising teenagers is like being slowly pecked to death by a chicken. I don't why but it makes me laugh every time. There are days......it feels like it. I've had a few of them this week. Or maybe because we had more drain issues, plumber took forever to get out here, only to have more issues the next day.

It's been a week, I'll tell ya.

So I'm glad we are actually having a stay-cation this next week. I feel bad that after having to take a month off of school and finally getting into the swing of it - we are now taking a week off. We are so close to being done but, sadly, the motivation to finish is at an all time low right now. Believe me, that's saying something because we've hit some lows before.

Hoping to get lots of stuff done, not to mention some fun.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

In The Middle Of The Storm

After all that mess and what have you, I found myself flopping into yet another pit of despair. It was only a brief visit mind you, but enough for me to notice that the decorating hadn't changed much.

It has been beyond freaky how all this junk has been sort of a repeat and to have it twice in a year did not help matters. I think that was triggering the swan dive off the cliffs of insanity, but since I've been there before and nothing was new, I pulled myself together and quickly exit - stage left.

Some of that had to do with the new bible study I'm doing. I had just picked up Jennifer Rothschild: Missing Pieces. Right off the bat she was talking about in Mark where Jesus said they were going to go to the other side and then fell asleep as a huge storm hit the boat and everyone panicked to the point of accusing Jesus of not caring.

I perked up. Big storm, epic panic, and Jesus sound asleep - yep, could totally relate. 

While I'm sure none of you would freak out and pull the whole, "God, don't you flipping care?!?" I, however, seem to pull that card all.the.time. Such a proud moment for me.

Jennifer, I say that like we're BFFs, pointed out the differences of accusing verses inquiring. Inquiring seeks, accusing criticizes; inquiring asks, accusing demands etc. Well, snap! Actually, I said something else but why go there? Way to start this off with an uppercut, Mrs. Rothschild.

Here's the thing, I struggle to trust God. I have so many experiences where I stepped out in faith and went ker-splat! I dusted myself off and tried again, only to have a bigger splat than before. The hard ones are when I was told, and I obeyed, and it still ended in epic failure. Those are the ones that aren't easy to get over. You can give God understanding if you missed it and blew it, but when you know that you know that you did what you were told to do and things still shattered into a million pieces? I, myself, tend to point an accusing finger at the Almighty. I'm beyond inquiring - my hurt is demanding. Accusing.

Not the brightest thing to do but it seems to be something I've done....repeatedly as I have a lot of hurt. And that stung knowing I was using that hurt to justify accusing.

While God hasn't fried me like a french fry, or pulled away from me in those demanding moments, I certainly haven't gotten the answers I'm in desperate need for either. There is always that reassurance that He is there, He does care, and He is fair. I'm still in a rock, paper, scissors battle with Him over that last one. Because my brain has a hard time understanding how all this crap can be fair or for my good. I understand seasons but we're talking y-e-a-r-s.

What is it about numbers on the calender that can make us so crazy? Or maybe that's just me. I honestly don't know.

I didn't think I had issues with numbers until my 15th anniversary showed up. It seemed every ounce of grace I had for my husband instantly vanished like vapor on a hot day. I had no idea why it was there one day and loooong gone the very next. And it didn't look like it was coming back anytime soon. I think I had it in my head that by that many years of marriage, we should have our act squared away and clearly, we didn't. 

It's like you think when you're 30 you will know everything and have accomplished everything there is to accomplish. That thought flies right out the window on your 30th birthday. And you realize you still don't have it all figured out. Not even close.

Jennifer, my pretend BFF, was saying how the disciples immediately went to worse case scenario. "Lord, don't you care that we're going to die?" It didn't say they were going to die but that's what they felt was going to happen. Oh, those feelings! They have gotten me into more trouble than what I really want to admit. I've been called a Negative Nelly many times, so that whole worse case scenario? I can bring it!! It's like that's the one thing I excel at....besides sarcasm.

Many times I've found myself flopped on the floor, totally exhausted after accusing God of not caring about the latest worse case scenario I was sure that was going to be thrust upon us. In my defense, I've gone through a lot of unusual stuff and since some of what I was freaked out about did happen, it's sort of made me both paranoid and cynical. I have repeatedly said, "this doesn't happen to normal people, Lord!"

I'm not sure if I should take comfort in the fact that He agreed with me or be a bit concern. Still a toss up.

She closed off that day with when it seems like God is asleep in the middle of the situation, to rest in the fact He said they were going to the other side. That God will get you to the other side of the storm. While I'm still sort of feeling shipwrecked and floating in the water, some Pollyanna out there will say, "yes, but you're hanging onto that driftwood and it's keeping you from drowning."

I hope she paddles far away from me or it's going to get ugly here real quick. Might have to beat her half to death with that driftwood.....twice.

I'll let you figure that one out.

But I can say that we are in a better place. The house is working out better then what I first thought and it has a dishwasher! Thank you, Jesus! Amen! Not once have I heard a gunshot, and I don't have to stand guard at the van while the guys unload the groceries.

It's just hard to understand the why as we're going through it. It's hard to hear God give us cryptic assurances that "It's coming" and "Hang in there" when all we feel is spent, confused, and not sure what to do next. Hang on to what? Hope? Because mine left a long time ago.

But....

There are days when I do get it. This is a fight. And if your life is just a bowl of flowers and happy songs - you might want to paddle away from me because I still have some driftwood.

One thing about living with guys - you watch a lot of war/combat movies. All of them talk about battle. The bible studies we've done with the guys have all talked about being in a war between good and evil. I've heard a lot of battle talks. A lot.

I love the movie Facing The Giants. When we were moving, we all hit the wall of exhaustion but there was still a lot to do. I grabbed the guys, and with a voice beyond shot and barely above a whisper, I reminded all of us about the part where everyone was tired but the guy yelled out Stone Wall! We had been talking about being unstoppable and I told them now was the time to dig deep and be an unstoppable force. That no matter how hard this gets, we were going to be a stone wall that was not going to crumble!

You should have seen my crazy self. Every time I walked by the guys I was scream whispering, "Stone wall!", "Unstoppable!", "Strong tower!" anything I could think of to keep us motivated to keep going. Every word I tried to say that day felt like a hot poker was shoved in my throat. Every word of encouragement I was trying to give was causing me physical pain. In my feverish state, I kept saying I was like Debra of the Old Testament and we were in battle and we were on the winning side. You would not believe all the crazy bad things that kept happening one right after another. I can't even begin to list it all.

It was like we were in a boxing ring. We would throw a punch - the enemy would throw a punch. Back and forth for the whole weekend. We were duking it out. You see those boxers that are bloody, puffy, and exhausted taking blow after blow and you wonder how can they endure? I watched all of us dig deep and pressed on through sickness and pain, bloody noses, weird circumstances and numerous outbursts of you got to be kidding me! and got the job done. And after all that, got to face all the goofy crap that happened with the house.

I'm still not sure who won. At the time, it felt like we were knocked out....again. But weeks later, we're still standing.

A week before the move, God reminded me of the time when we went camping and the truck broke down and how, while it wasn't fun, we had pulled together and were stronger for it. It was like that only make it in a lot worse.....and then times it by six. I don't know what God has planned on the other side but if this is training for it? I am now a bit skert.

They say what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, my cousin said I should be able to bench press a Buick by now.