Thursday, June 28, 2007

Mitch has a job!!

Wow, that was fast. Pretty much as soon as I hit "publish" on my last post I was feeling better. Right away, I was reminded how blessed we are. We have beautiful healthy children, a caring family, and we are surrounded by great friends who care about us. I was blessed during my "downer" of a day to get to talk to my mom (Janet), and to spend the evening with friends at my father-in-law's house (it's beautiful out there). I felt guilty for wallowing in self-pity--I know that actually life can be much more cruel than that and yet we still will have strength to give God the praise. But don't we all have moments like that? It is easy to get discouraged, and I'm sure there will be plenty more discouraging events ahead. Thanks for letting me whine...even if my problems seem petty compared to yours.

This week started off much better than last week. The kids were off to VBS, and Mitch hit the phones. He finally got through to both the school district office and to the school that had called and left a message last week. The guy at the district office said he would go to bat for Mitch right away and call him back by the end of the day. He did. He left Mitch with the names of 3 or 4 schools that he should call on Tuesday. Tuesday am came and the phone rang before Mitch could even get up! He was on the phone for over an hour--it was the school from last week. That afternoon he received another call and scheduled a phone interview for 12 pm on Wednesday. Wednesday am rolled around and promised to be a very active day. The realtors came to sign papers at 10 am. While they were here Mitch got 2 more calls. Set up another interview for 2 pm, left a message on the other call. 12 pm came and went with another hour-long interview. He liked that job. Phone rang 5 min later, and it was the district office offering him the job that he had interviewed for on Tuesday (following me here?). He was torn. He had promised he would take the first offer he got, but now he was really hoping for the job he had just gotten off the phone with. He asked if he could wait until tomorrow to give an answer. No need--before he could even tell me what was going on, they called back and offered him the second job. Whew! Drumroll please...

Mitch will be teaching 4th grade math, science and history at Dunn Elementary in the Aldine School District in Houston, Texas.

So he is no longer unemployed! And those are his favorite subjects! Yes, there are still a million other details that have to be worked out, but for the moment we are relishing in the victory. And certainly all glory does belong to God. He worked out the timing on those phone calls, that is for sure. And we are certain that He has placed Mitch in the right position in the right school.

We know that He has the right buyer for our house too. Can we trust Him and wait patiently until they come? *sigh* I wish I could say absolutely, but I also know my own weaknesses. I trust that whatever happens He has a plan and a purpose and that He will make it perfect in time.

Friday, June 22, 2007

When I walk through the valley...

I have to admit that today I am crying. Tears of frustration. Tears of worry. Maybe even a little despair.

We have had another long slow week that has brought no answers. Mitch still doesn't have a "for sure" job for the next school year. Our house is still NOT on the market (much less sold). We still don't know answers about when we will move, where we will move, and a hundred small details I wish I could answer. This week we have had to face questions like what will we do if our house doesn't sell by August?

We put in more hours on the basement, though not as fervently as we had in previous weeks. It's looking really good. We're almost done! All the doorways have trim on them now. The closet that had all the wires hanging down in it is nearly finished (we will cut the doors tonight and I will stain them next), I just finished putting poly on the shelves for it yesterday. Mitch is going to work on a vanity for the bathroom tomorrow. Hopefully that will go quickly. Those are the only "big" projects left. Everything else is minor--such as small pieces of trim and outlet covers here and there.

The phone was uncannily quiet this week, unlike the rep from the school district predicted last Friday. Of course I was disappointed. Mitch went back to work at the driving school yesterday, and wouldn't you know it as soon as he was gone he did receive a call from a school. I took a message and he returned the call as soon as he got back. Unfortunately, he got the wrong person, and that person refused to understand that he was returning a phone call. She explained all the proper steps of applying for a job to him, then politely took his information and said, "Ok, we'll call you." did...that's why I'm calling you back. She still didn't get it, and said, "Have a good day" and hung up. Grrr... He called back on the math job but it is already filled. I know that all this is under God's control (isn't that what I preach all the time on here?), but it sure is so hard to see right now!!!

As for the realtors and selling our house... Well, we met with someone this week that *I* really like, but I haven't heard Mitch's honest answer. He says there are still some loose ends to tie up. And he is off to work again today, so will he get to that? I don't know. If he does get to it, then how much longer until our house is listed? Who can say!

I am so sick of NOT KNOWING!!!

I sat down to have a good cry after Mitch left for work (at the driving school) this morning. I actually had the thought that I wish I had never heard of this whole stupid teacher shortage. I wish that nothing were changing. I wish that Mitch were going back to work at the Christian school and that my kids were going there next year. I wish I could go on with my "perfect" life here. I wish I were not leaving my church and my friends and my moms group and my doctor. The streets that I know and the grocery store and the community I brag about to everyone who isn't fortunate enough to live here. Nevermind the fact that Mitch doesn't make enough to balance our budget and that he feels pretty much worthless. That he loathes each hour he has to spend in a drivers' ed car or any other part time job. That he is depressed, and the thought that he is not providing for his family is a major factor. It would be nice to just stay forever pretending that my life is perfect.

No it's not. *I* am not perfect. And God loves me too much to leave me that way. And He loves Mitch, and our kids too. But it hurts so much. Right now I think that the worry of "what if" is going to crush me. What if Mitch doesn't get a job? What if our house doesn't sell? What if health insurance is too expensive? What if things aren't better (financially) in a new place?

My frustration is deepened with each naughty thing the kids do. I feel so unable to teach them and correct them. They are constantly fighting and arguing and acting spitefully towards each other. I feel like such a horrible mom. I just can't seem to help them figure out how to be a family. My frustration quickly turns to anger, and I yell at them and send them to bed. Nothing seems to work. When am I going to be able to control my anger and become a better mom? I don't even enjoy having the kids around right now, to be honest, and so then something inside me just nags and nags...this horrible thought says I don't deserve to be their mommy and I will never be good enough and then mockingly says and you thought you would homeschool them next year??? No wonder they can't get along--they can never do anything right and their mommy is always ragging on them and doesn't even like them very much! Someone said to me last night, quite undeservingly, that I am supermom. No I'm not.

I opened my Bible to Psalms, hoping to find something that would soothe my troubled soul. I read this:

"Restore our fortunes, Lord,
as streams renew the desert.
Those who plant in tears
will harvest with shouts of joy.
They weep as they go to plant their seed,
but they sing as they return with the harvest."
Psalm 126:4-6 (NLT)

Maybe today I will plant in tears and harvest with shouts of joy. But I don't think yelling at the kids is planting the right kind of seeds. So I'll have to go see what I can do about that.

The only reason I was brave enough to share my struggle today is that I hope in a few months I will be sharing the joy of the harvest, and I wanted to accurately convey the weeping as I go out to plant the seed. I know that this whole moving thing is just too big for us. There is nothing we can do to make it happen. There are too many details to factor in. I have no choice but to put my hope in God. When the harvest comes, all glory will belong to Him. It is just so hard today...

Friday, June 15, 2007

Well, Mitch received 2 phone calls this week from potential employers. I already told about the first. The second came for a bilingual first they set up a phone interview with him (it was only a secretary) even though he questioned her on the job description...then she ashamedly called back to tell him that they need someone who is actually bilingual. Imagine that! He received a call today from the HR department at the school district office. The guy was very nice and super impressed that Mitch's file is already complete. He said that with Mitch's flexibility and experience, that he should be receiving tons of calls. He said he would highlight Mitch's name and resend it out to everyone. =) And to expect more calls next week. Let's hope! Not that he wouldn't want to take the math position...but it would be nice to have a list to choose from.

We decided that we could not afford the realtor that we originally contacted. We are in such a predicament! We are thinking of trying to sell the house on our own, but in this market...who knows. Unfortunately, I don't know what our chances of finding a realtor who will accept less commission is, either. We have managed to not incur any additional debt since I quit daycare back in August (what I see as a miracle), and I sure wish that we wouldn't have to go into debt to sell our home. However, the fact is that we have refinanced and the market has not kept up (as has happened to many people), and so this is what we are facing. One thing that we have going for us is there do not seem to be very many listings for 5 bedroom homes. The thing going against us is if we do not use a realtor, it's terribly hard to get the word out about our home. So what do we do?? Pray of course, but what else can we do? The Lord has only one buyer for our house...we just need them to know! As each day ticks by on the calendar, my anxiety grows, and I fear the alternatives. It is growing harder and harder to remember the words of Joshua 1:9 with a promise.

I have been reading "Anne of Green Gables." Well, the whole series. I'm on book 4. Micah is also reading them. I wondered how in the world he made it through all of Anne's "nonsense" talking in the first book. It nearly drove me crazy. Reminds me of myself. And my middle name is Anne and I remember growing up I'd always be particular of that "e" on the end--Just like Anne Shirley, though I didn't know her then. =) Thankfully my hair is not red. But I do have relatives who came from Nova Scotia (Anne was born there--I know she's not real, but the author herself was from Prince Edward Island), and I can't help but think as I'm reading that I am learning something of my own heritage.

I am absolutely smitten with my baby boy. He is adorable. He isn't my prettiest baby. No, I've decided that Eden was the fairest of all of them. But the hair--Oh!! I can't help but "pet" him all the time. And his mouth is a carbon copy of all the others and so kissable. What a dear. He sleeps for 3 hours at a time, then wakes and nurses marathon style for the next 2 hours. I've had lots of help from Mitch so that I'm able to hold him any time he cries. =) I drug out all my cute outfits and diapers yesterday and did a photo session for as long as he would let me. I had lots of fun. Here are two photos from that:

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Poll Update

Ok, the baby poll was a lot of fun. Final Scores? Mitch made 3rd place! I was 3rd from last place. [shameful] Be sure to check out how everyone measured up. =)

Monday, June 11, 2007

Thirteen Point Seven!!!

We enjoyed a nice weekend and I terribly enjoyed not having to go anywhere. It was so nice. We worked more on the basement and other areas of the house. We made a general mess overall, but we got lots of things done, especially trimming out doors and painting other doors. We made good progress!

We woke up this am and I tried to get ready as fast as I could to get to the hospital early. No use prolonging our anxiety, right? Micah alerted me that the doctor's office had called before I got up and I was a little irritated that he didn't just bring me the phone. Thankfully they had enough sense to leave a message (anyone else just inconvenienced by the privacy laws?). =) They wanted to see me after I left the hospital. Well, Dr. Tjaden wanted to see Malachi...I would like to think she wanted to see *me* but I know that she's doing her job. (I love her so much, LOL). It was all good news. He weighed 8 lbs 15 oz. I was mildly disappointed that he wasn't over 9 lbs already, but I'll take it. His bili level was down finally to 13.7. She said that once the babies get under 15 she discontinues phototherapy, so we can ditch the light--whoohoo--and we don't need to go back in for any more heel pricks. I'm so relieved. On the way home I felt like Malachi is FINALLY ours. Now we can all enjoy him. We can enjoy him in clothes and in every room in the house. =) No longer chained to the wall. Even better, I can do my own grocery shopping (not that Mitch isn't capable)!

Mitch got his first real job offer today. The call came from an administrator in a school in our preferred district (still to remain unnamed for the time being), and she offered him a position teaching just Math in 5th and 6th grades. He says he would like that. She warned him that tomorrow his name will be going out to all the other administrators in the district and he should be expecting more phone calls with more offers. Wow...that sounds great to me! God's timing is perfect.

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9

Friday, June 08, 2007

Day 7

It is a new day, right? Even with more of the same, it is always nice to have a new day to start off with. We got up early and headed out to the hospital to get it over with. Mitch had to go into school today and finish his grades. He called a little while ago to let me know what Micah and Eden's standford acheivement test scores came back as. They both performed excellently. I had to chuckle when he told me Micah's weakest areas are spelling and listening. Mitch lamented that he inherited it from his dad. Eden's was environment. I said Al Gore will be calling her soon. He said it is no wonder if you have ever seen her locker you would know. There are four levels of acheivement in the Bible category, and they both scored in the "Advanced" range. We are proud. =)

Malachi's bili came back at 18.7 today. I can't believe it is moving so slowly. I have to admit my concern. She said the lab results from yesterday are still pending. I don't have to go in for another bili draw until Monday, thank goodness! So more of the light this weekend, and any sunlight we can get too.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Day 6 of Life...More Jaundice Drama

So, just in case you didn't notice, I edited Wednesday's post and put in my very looooong birth story.

We went back to the hospital this am for another bili draw. It didn't take the doc long to call us and let us know it was a 19. My mom said "Yay. It's coming down now and won't go back up." I wish the doctors shared her enthusiasm. They sent me back up to the hospital for more blood work. She requested a hemoglobin, peripheral smear, and coombs test. Both the peripheral smear and the coombs test will check for blood disorders. The peripheral smear will uncover if he has inherited spherocytosis from me. At any rate, either will give reason for why his bili is staying so high in spite of treatment.

I have been doing everything I can think of. He is on a bili blanket. I hate to say it, but it is probably the least effective form of treatment, because the light is so small and covers such a small surface area of his skin. However, it's my favorite form because I can still hold him. I have him naked (with a diaper) on this light and in the window as much as possible. I'm nursing him every time he makes a peep or even seems interested. He has lots of wet and poopy diapers. I am praying for a miracle. I have been running by myself to all these appointments and it is wearing me out. It is no short walk from the parking lot to the hospital lab. Going twice a day is no fun.

To top it off the kids at home just need me and I'm pretty much worthless. I'm not healing fast enough to be any help to Mitch either. Not to mention we are trying to get our house on the market to sell...and trying to get a new job...and relocate. Aggghhhhh!!! I am an emotional wreck. We could certainly use some prayers!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Introducing Malachi!

The birth story will follow...
Malachi Jude was born on June 2nd at 5:17 am. He weighed 9 lbs even (ouch) and was 19.5 inches long. (I had to edit that date as a friend lovingly pointed out that I had put in the 4th as the birthday...definitely lack of sleep!)

So last Friday, June 1st, I had my 38 week checkup. I was already 5 cm dilated, and the doc sent me home with an appointment to induce on Tuesday June 5th. We were all worried that the baby would just fall out with one contrax. Yeah...right. Instead I used the morning and the afternoon to run around and get a few more things finished.

I woke up on Friday night about 12:30 am (technically Saturday morning) because I heard the washing machine entering orbit I needed to go pee anyways, so I figured I would switch over the laundry, which was diapers. When I laid back down I had two contractions and decided to prop myself up in bed so I could time them. I timed them for about an hour, and decided that they were probably consistent enough (3-4 min) and working on getting strong enough (but not really painful) that I could wake everyone up and go in. After all, the doctor did say "Don't wait." =D So I drug Mitch out of bed and called Holly to watch the kids and Kristin and Steph to meet me at the hospital. I was so nervous. We ended up leaving when Holly was still about 10 min from our house and called back to check to make sure she made it ok (the hospital is about 7 min away).

So I arrived on the floor of the hospital somewhere around 2:30 am and was all smiles, even laughing with my friends. They were such a great help. The nurses gave me *that* look. The look that says "you're not in labor." Hahaha...joke was on them when they discovered I was almost 7 cm. I had to get down to business if I wanted to use my Bradley relaxation techniques, huh? We got into a real room and got a bath drawn. I had about 2 contrx (great relief in the bath) and the doc came in to break my water (4 am) so I had to get out. She said I was already 9.5 cm. How about that? I had gone with contrx only 4 min apart all the way through transition!! I got back in the bath for a few more min, but the nurse was really nervous, which made me nervous, so I just got out again. I labored in the bed on my side, just like I had practiced. It was wonderful. I was doing a great job and the contrax were mercifully several min apart. The nurses were all out in the hallway just talking about me and how it looked like I was sleeping. =) I had a rim of cervix left and honestly I was hoping it would never go away. On the outside I was a star student but on the inside I was caving at the thought of having to push.

So somewhere around 5 am I decided it was time to push (yeah, body decided) and I got into a pushing position. It was all awful. It was very hard and hurt so much. I couldn't tell when I was having contrax and I really hoped I wasn't doing this on my own! They were all just cheering me on to push, and I did so with my eyes shut tight the entire time. I think I got really mad when they told me to give another big push and push the other shoulder out--I was like "this is my 6th baby, I shouldn't have to push out that part!!" Then *HE* was out and on my chest, and I was waiting for the immense relief and I never did feel it.

So this is where my story really took a downward turn. I was in a lot of pain, and though my baby was beautiful and laying on my chest, I was not feeling better. They had a hard time stopping the bleeding, and the doctor referred to it as a "fountain." She looked at Steph and said "Am I exaggerating?" Steph said no. So they got that iv with pitocin hooked up to my heplocked iv faster than they cut the baby's cord (well, almost). Then began all the afterpains and the hard mashing on my stomach. This continued intermittenly until 3 pm and I was in a good deal of pain throughout the day. I couldn't even call anyone to share the news. I felt miserable, both physically and emotionally. I was supposed to be feeling so much better! By 3pm they finished 2 bags of fluids with pitocin, and I finally started to feel better. I still refused visitors that night (except for my lucky kiddos and my friend Angie).

My hubby got a sitter and came up to the hospital for a few hours. We finally figured out a name!!! And then I was able to make a couple phone calls. I was so annoyed that he waited months to tell me that he liked my first pick name. I told him that it was *his* fault we had a boy, so he had to choose the name. =) That was in the early afternoon. He went home and researched Bible names on the internet and came back with a great list that we narrowed down together.

I recovered pretty quickly after that. Malachi had slept most of the day Saturday and was awake at bedtime and ready to chow. I fed him off and on until 12:30 am, then desperately needed some sleep so I sent him to the nursery for about 4 hours. I could tell already on Sunday that Malachi was yellow. On Monday they drew his bili and it was 15.7. We were discharged with a bili light. His weight at discharge was 8 lbs 6 oz. We went back up to the hospital on Tuesday for a bili draw. It came back at 20. =( The doc on call called and wanted me to come in right away. He didn't bother to look at my chart or the baby's, just made a bunch of assumptions. I quickly informed him that this is baby #6 and all 6 have had elevated bili levels and 4 have been on lights...blah blah blah. He later told my doc "she's a very confident mom." =) I hated being talked "down" to. His weight on Tuesday at the clinic was 7 lbs 7 oz. He had apparently lost a pound overnight?!? I did NOT point this out to the doc, because I didn't want to give him anymore reasons to blame breastfeeding (which was going very well). My doc was back in on Wednesday. I went back to the hospital for a bili draw again, and it came back at still 20. =( Since it was my doc calling to deliver the news, I was able to keep it together. She asked me to bring him in again. Especially since she managed to read his chart and notice that his weight had been so far down. Well, we get in there and he weighs in at a miraculous 8 lbs 11 oz. She weighed him 3 times, and finally another nurse passed by and said, "yeah, we recalibrated the scale yesterday." So all that worry on my part for nothing!!! Grrr. She sent me home with instructions to come in again Thursday am to the hospital for another bili draw. I am sooooo tired of running...

Friday, June 01, 2007

5 cm!!

I saw the doc today, and she says I am already 5 cm dilated--hurray--that's halfway there! I wasn't prepared for the state of panic it would cause. No baby yet. She asked me "How comfortable are you with walking around 5 cm dilated?" I said, "I don't know, how comfortable are you with it?" =) So we agreed to induce on Tuesday if I make it that far. Ahhhh...a VERY near end in sight.

I came home from the doc appt and immediately set myself to sewing to stay busy. I got 6 more fitted diapers done for the baby. Gender neutral this time. ;-) I also met with the realtor, who took measurements of our house and I happily handed over the cd of pictures to him. I hope he wasn't offended. I was glad to be able to check one more thing off my to-do list. That's one more goal met!

It will be baby time soon enough. I am now worried about if I will "know" soon enough or not. Will we be in such a hurry when things finally take a turn towards seriousness? My excitement is often mingled with disappointment as each hour creeps by with nothing progressing. I would love for this to happen all on its own, but at the same time I relish in the thought that Tuesday is the end. So there it is...something to be torn over. I should go sew something. Again.