Sunday, October 28, 2007

He's Home!

I'm so glad my hubby is home!!! =) =) =)

I want to blog all about it later (and post pictures), but right now I'm gonna go hug him again. It feels sooooooo nice!!! =)

His homecoming has not been without incident. Today on the way home from church a driver pulled out in front of Mitch (making a left turn across our lane of traffic), who was driving the van with the 4 youngest kids inside. I was following behind with Micah and Eden in the car. He could not avoid hitting her, with a force that very likely has totaled the van. Our family is ok! We thank God for His protection. It could have been a much, much different story.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

On the Road Again!

Where has the week gone? At times it has crept so slowly, yet I have been so busy that I couldn't possibly get enough done (much less blogging).

Mitch did not tell his class that he was leaving until Thursday afternoon. He was met with mixed reactions, the worst of which came from his two hardest students. One simply put his head onto his desk and sobbed. :( One of the two didn't even come to school on Friday. :( :( The students said things like: "Now we will get a mean teacher!" or "I finally had a good teacher." or "You are the 3rd teacher to leave me in the middle of the school year." The hardest for him was the blank stare he received from his "favorite" student (yeah, I know you're not supposed to have favorites). The hardest for me was the fact that he never took a single picture of any of them. Arrrggghhh! In fact, he didn't take any pictures while he was down there!

He had to pay over $250 to ship some stuff home because it won't all fit in his car. I hope it's worth it. =P He is so packed in tight that he cannot even lay his seat back. I called him right at midnight to check in and he was stopping at a rest stop. He had no idea if he could get in a nap, though! He has a lot of miles to go, but he is already north of Dallas. He should be home by tomorrow night. I can't wait to watch the kids' reactions. I just can't wait period!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Almost done!

Wow, it's almost over! Mitch says he is glad for the morning to come so he can get through with this last week of school. He has not told his class yet. :( My kids are simply beaming and telling everyone. I can't tell you how much better I feel knowing the end is in sight.

But then, I never want to forget the feelings that I have experienced the past few weeks. The up and down roller coaster of emotions. I hope that doesn't sound strange. I fear that when Mitch comes back we will settle into our new routine and after a while the novelty will wear off. We will get back to that point where we take each other for granted. I know it is inevitable, but perhaps writing it down to recall once in a while will be good. Even though it is painful.

I want to remember the way he held me tight as we fell asleep together the night before he left. How he caught his breath in a cry when we hugged goodbye. How I walked into our empty house (well, it seemed empty without him there) afterwards. How I buried my face into the few shirts he had not taken with him just so I could "smell" him again, and sobbed as I did laundry. How I paced the floor at midnight and cried out to God to make it all be over--NOW! Or the times when I broke down and cried even when the kids were watching. Oh the tears! There were so many times that I just knew the cell phone was going to short out because it was getting wet. He only wrote me one letter while he was gone, and he didn't have any aftershave to scent it up any, but I read it and reread it and smelled it and even slept with it under my pillow! It seems wrong even now to sleep on his side of the bed or to park my van even a smidgen over the middle of the driveway--because I never know when he might show up.

I try to imagine the joy we will feel when he is home. How exciting it will be to feel his arms around us, to hear his voice for REAL, loud and clear. (And how fun to hold him down and shave his head--trust me, we've seen him on webcam and he can sure use a cut)

(small quiet voice) I have some fear and apprehension too. It's hard to go there, but I have talked about it with him at length.

Well, whatever happens, I am excited to move ahead!

On another note, Malachi tried out rice cereal for the first time today. He did awesome. Eden fed him while I took pictures and videoed. He was grabbing the spoon and getting her all messy. =) I realized this weekend that I haven't given him any reflux meds for about 2 weeks now and he's been doing fine. So I guess that's that. He is still spitting up a lot, but doesn't seem to be any fussier without it. He has been rolling over from his back to his tummy. I felt sure that he was too fat to lift that body over, but he's doing it. It's so cute. Now he sleeps on his tummy sometimes. I think he's a bit happier that he's a little more mobile now. He is learning to sit up and can hold his balance for a few seconds on his own. The thing that impresses me is he doesn't seem to slump forward as much any more. He holds his back straighter, and if he startles he's more likely to go backwards or sideways than forwards. I usually say "why do they have to get big so fast?" but in his case I'm a little relieved. Because he's so BIG weight-wise, I'm glad to not have to carry him so much (though I still do quite a bit of carrying). Eden has been helping me out with him a bit more lately, and I've been liking that. I wish I had given her and Micah more responsibility from the start with him. They could have been changing diapers all this time, too. Guess it's time to train my babysitters! =)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Leave it at the Door

In an effort to deal with Micah's behavior, I grabbed my copy of "Creative Correction" by Lisa Welchel and came across this idea. She suggested when a child says something that hurts another sibling, send them outside to hammer a nail in the fence post. Do this for about a week, and then the next week send them out each time to remove a nail. After so long, you may make the point that when we say something hurtful, we may not see the wound, but it does leave a wound. And even though we may apologize, the damage is done and the "scar" will remain. Well, we only have a chain link fence, so I had to compromise with boards to be found in the garage. I didn't bother to take time to look for decent nails, so the kids ended up with bendable galvanized nails. But the effort was there. It hasn't exactly turned out like I thought. I figured it would be fun at first but grow old quickly. It hasn't. In fact, the kids beg to have a break to go hammer some nails, lol. So I can't make Lisa's analogy, but we are making one of our own. Yesterday I stepped outside onto the porch where the kids had been "working." I had previously been oblivious to the mess they were making. You could barely find a place to stand among all the boards and bent nails!! What is so cool is it represents a place where they can beat out their frustrations (when they are not having fun). So I thought, yeah, we want this to be a safe house, so when you come to our house, please "leave it at the door." Get rid of your anger and frustration out there, and be peaceful in here.

So they are working out a little frustration, getting exercise, and possibly even getting some experience hammering nails...though Papa (Mitch's dad) doubts that since we are using the bad nails. =) A collaboration of ideas led to the making of a cross, though Eden tries to claim full ownership. Caleb brought me a board that had about 20 nails in it and he wanted to tell me what each one was for as if each was a gear on a dashboard. I had to wave him off on that one, lol. Eden smashed her knuckle on her left hand and didn't even cry...Micah told her too bad it was not her writing hand so that she could get out of writing. (Which tells you that his critical thinking wasn't working so well or he would have realized most people use their writing hand to hold the hammer). E's knuckle had a nice purple bruise when she showed me. Mostly I just get a kick out of looking at the piles of bent nails among the boards, contrasted with all the dead box elder bugs (yuck). I'm probably letting them use the wrong boards (hopefully Mitch doesn't have some project planned), but oh well! Here are some pictures...

Good Country Boy (or girl) Sense

(Don't let this post distract you from reading the more important post just below. This one is more of my typical sound off babbling.)

So I loved the class I attended last night. Russ has written a book and we started taking it apart bit by bit. I am finally really getting a grasp on why I didn't get a grasp on Einstein's theory of special relativity when I was in school (where I had arguably more time and focus to spend trying to understand such things). As Russ says, it defies "good country boy sense." I am eating it up now! The main topic of the class is establishing a case for geocentricity, but also for debunking the big bang and other evolutionary topics. "Geocentricity" in plain sense is the earth at the center of the universe, motionless (ie: not even rotating on its axis), and the universe revolving around the earth. "Heliocentricity" is what Copernicus tried to prove--which is the sun is the center of the universe (or at least the center of our solar system). There are some other popular viewpoints, of which one is that any object in the universe can be the center therefore there is no center of the universe. In fact, the data that we have collected supports all of these viewpoints and NONE CAN BE PROVEN. Ha--thought you learned in school that Copernicus finally "enlightened" all of us with the "correct" model of the universe, huh? Nope. It cannot be proven any more than the earth is the center of the universe. The Michelson-Morely experiment attempted to establish a proof about light, yet the results caused all sorts of problems--the data suggested that the earth was not in motion (which M&M had assumed it was). This caused panic in the physics world, and enter the savior, Albert Einstein. Einstein's theory of special relativity goes ahead and assumes that everything is in motion (which cannot be proven, I mentioned) and from there he makes 9 postulates. It's all a bunch of nonesense. I love it! With Russ explaining things to us, it all made so much more sense than it ever had (too bad it wasn't for a real grade). We also got quite a bit of trivia about Einstein's personal life, and this "savior" left much much much to be desired.

A sigh of satisfaction...ahhhhhhhh. I don't feel stupid now for sitting there looking at my physics professor in college thinking that special relativity was bogus. It is! I was such a good girl and tried to give the right answers. After all, Einstein was really smart, right? And if we want to be smart, we should at least pretend to understand him right? Because we certainly don't want to argue or disagree with him. Ha! What a bunch of manure! =) (I feel a little vindicated...thanks for listening).

Monday, October 15, 2007

Mitch is coming home!

Mitch put in his resignation and it was accepted by the district. His last day is the 26th. Sal and Steph G have offered him a job driving a FedEx truck, and he has accepted.

deep breath...

But the battle is not over. I am thrilled and relieved beyond measure to have him heading home. In fact, every inch of my house reflects this (translation: it's a mess). Yet in my desire to have everything in perfect, reliable, predictable order, I am biting my fingernails and praying everything will fall into place. (God, can I really trust You?). Mitch is in the midst of a struggle too. He admits to feeling defeated and like a failure for "giving up." He most certainly is not, but knowing that doesn't take the immediate feeling away. He also feels like he is betraying his students. (Yes, in spite of everything, he loves them. Isn't that something?). So on one hand I am rejoicing, and on the other we are mellow.

The reaction from the kids has been funny. Micah was in the midst of being disciplined, and he decided that dad was a "big ole meanie" and didn't want him to come home. Yet for all that fussing he did, on Sunday he dressed up in his suit and slicked his hair down with some gel. Kristin overheard him say that he dressed up so people would notice and talk to him and then he could tell him that his daddy was coming home. LOL Caleb had a "serious" conversation with Mitch. He was very calm, as if talking to a close friend. He said matter of factly, "Dad I don't want you to quit your job and come home. [pause] I want you to stay at that job so you can make more money. [pause] I want to move to Texas so I can be a cowboy." LOL again! Poor Mitch was so deflated at this one. I said, now Mitch, let's think about this from Caleb's point of view. This whole 'Texas' thing began months ago. It began with talking to the kids about it, and they said, "We don't want to move to Texas," and "Why do we have to move to Texas?" And our answer was so dad can make more money, etc. He had finally accepted this reality and here we go changing it on him all over again. He just needs to know what's up. He too was soon shouting it from the rooftops that daddy is coming home. Zeke understands that daddy is coming home, but that is no more clear than we are moving to Texas. In fact, I don't know how long it will be before he really understands that we won't be moving. Neither he nor Josh have any real concept of time yet, so I guess it will be pretty much when Mitch walks in the door that they realize what we mean.

Anyways, instead of talking about what's supposed to happen, I guess I'll just have to post as it does happen. Mitch talked with Sal today and I guess he'll be doing paperwork on Monday the 29th, here in St. Cloud. They had talked about Mitch trying to get it done while still in Houston. Instead it turned out to be much more complicated than that. Mitch is lamenting that he now owns a few more things than he did when he left for Texas. When he left here, his car was crammed full, so how does he expect to get it all back? We'll see.

Tonight I had the joy and privilege of leaving ALL SIX of my children in the care of our friends the Mickelsens. They actually got Malachi (after much persuasion) to take a bottle. I was completely in another world under the teaching of retired SCSU professor Russ Arndts. I love tickling the deep recesses of my brain every now and then just to make sure I can still think! =) I'm sure God will have a place in heaven for all that part of me too. Hehe.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

No Big News

That's good, right? =S

Mitch spoke with his administrator today and seemed encouraged. According to her, he may resign from his contract with as little as a two-week notice. Now, that said, I am not sure I trust that there are no other implications...but it all seems really good. She offered him a week off to come home, or even a longer leave (1 month or more). She said she would hire him again if he changed his mind and wanted to come back.

Micah is having some pretty wild emotions right now. I'm not sure what I should do with him. One minute he hates me and the next he is friendly again. He knows all the "right" answers, but certainly doesn't display them in action. He bullies his younger siblings, even hitting them when they don't "obey." He hits in retaliation or in anger as well. Before you get all really bent out of shape, though, these are not usually very forceful blows (unless by accident)'s how they could easily grow that worries me. I think he is still too young (10 years) to be hitting puberty kind of attitudes. Also, I know he gets depressed about things. I am hoping that Mitch's return will be a remedy.  When he is out of our house, he displays excellent manners (for the most part) and self control. When he is home, he tends to let down his guard more and act like a weird animal. (And you wonder why you have dreams about giving birth to animals during pregnancy!!!) Maybe it's all just normal pre-teen stuff. I guess I've never really been here before, especially since I'm a GIRL. Come on, God, why did you give me all these boys??? =)

I will post more details when I feel comfortable doing so. I am quite a bit gun-shy with the way plans keep changing. (Especially since I don't have a crystal ball, lol).

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Deep Thinking

Wow, I have been completely unable to gather my thoughts. I have been really doing some deep thinking, and it's fun, but it sure doesn't make good blog material. Mostly I'm still chewing at the fat of that Craig Barnes book. That is mingled with a little of the kids' worldview training, then some of that big atheist-christian debate, and some really good conversations I've been having with Mitch. Mostly it all boils down to how God is trying to reach and teach me.

I'm going to try to find a sitter for the next two Monday nights, preferrably someone who can come to my house and put kids to bed. I've been invited to be a part of a discussion of a book on apologetics called "Geocentricity, Relativity, and the Big Bang." It was written by a retired Chemistry professor from our church, Russ Arndst. I am very excited about the subject, and it would be fun to clear my befuddled mind and think about something else for a while!

Malachi went to the doctor today. He weighed a healthy 18 lbs 7 oz!! I don't remember his length off the top of my head, but he was 97% for length and for height. It was great to see my doctor again. She told me if I can find time I need to see a speech therapist for my voice and she wrote out a referral. While I was there, I read a poem I had seen on the wall before. It really stuck. I had to come home and look it up on the internet. (of course) It has been inaccurately attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson, as stated on this site. It is actually not a poem, but it is a passage written in prose. Here is the poem/prose/passage with the real author (and I've probably killed it by hitting the 'enter' button so much):

What is Success?
by Bessie A. Stanley
To laugh often and love much;
to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children;
to earn the approbation of honest citizens and endure the betrayal of false friends;
to appreciate beauty;
to find the best in others;
to give of one’s self;
to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation;
to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived—this is to have succeeded.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Sorry I have not posted in a few days. There is just not much to say, and then there is too much to say. We have been doing a LOT of talking and praying. I am pretty sure Mitch is going to quit his job and come home. He should be finding out this week about the possibility of a new job we'll see. The kids don't know anything yet.

I had a good weekend. The kids were, by a small surprise, all metered out to various places on Friday night. =) But I didn't enjoy a relaxing evening alone. Instead Kristin came over and we nearly killed ourselves staying up until 4 a.m. Would someone please remind me that I'm not 17??? I want to plan this next time and have a couple of our other friends over and just have a big 'ole slumber party. I'm thinking...November, anyone?

I got to go to Joann Fabrics without all the kids! I have not been back since the last disastrous attempt when Zeke was doing laps around the aisles and Caleb was asking the clerk if she was married yet (because she was getting kinda old...he said). It was much easier to shop, let me tell you. And our favorite clerk asked where her little married buddy was. ;-)

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Random Thoughts

I spent a little time updating my Pampered Cheeks website today. If you would like to see Malachi's diaper stash (and his cute round legs), here ya go:

I am still jazzed about the selling spree that is going on over there. It's about now that I start to get a little panicky. I think about crazy what ifs such as "what if all my diapers fall apart?" Utter humiliation would follow, of course! But they're not going to fall apart. They have been well tested. Still...the irrational fear of failure is there. I'm looking at 3 white packages sitting beside the computer that will get labeled and mailed tomorrow, and it just amazes me. People want my diapers. I'm even further obsessed. I'll sit and do google searches to see if people talk about me. LOL. Yes, they do. Mostly it's good, too. =) So where do I go from here? My paypal account sure is looking healthy. I need a plan. I've been running a couple around in my mind, but since I threw out my crystal ball (hahaha), I am not sure what is next.

We enjoyed a gorgeous walk out at St. John's University Arboretum today. The temperature was in the 70s and the sun was shining. Micah and Eden both enjoyed recalling facts from school field trips out there. Paul (Mitch's dad) was our tour guide today.

I bought a huge bag of cheap candy at Sam's club yesterday. This morning I stuffed a bunch of pieces into my pockets. As the kids worked diligently, I rewarded them with pieces of candy, but did not allow them to eat it. There were times when I took back pieces of candy (being naughty, for example). At the end of the day I decided I had had more cooperation from them than normal...all for 4 or 5 small pieces of candy which they enjoyed after supper. That was a pretty good deal, I think. Mitch is not allowed to use this kind of reward in his classroom for two reasons: the poverty level and health concerns. I think that is good too.

We listened to most of the big Atheist-Christian debate last night on the radio. Micah understood some of it. I let out a loud whoop at the end when the Atheist declared he was not really an atheist. He said, "We cannot know for sure that there is no God." Well, my friend, if you do not know for sure there is no God, then that makes you an agnostic, not an atheist. Of course, there really is no such thing as an atheist, but that's another long explanation!

Oh yeah, here is a great pic from our walk...

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Throwing away my crystal ball...

Well, if I had one I would ditch it. I am giving up on trying to predict the future. (At least until I forget again).

For example, a friend stopped by today and took all my kids on a walk to the park. It looked like rain, but she was ok with that and they went. She asked if I wanted her to take Malachi along. I declined. She asked if he would take a nap for me. "No" I said, "He just woke up from a really long nap." Yeah...I swept the floor, got the diapers out of the drier, and he had managed to fall asleep on the floor. No fussing. Just a peaceful drift off to sleep. Hahaha. Make a monkey out of your mom!

But with this whole life change/move to Texas/selling the house thing, I am totally done trying to guess where the road ahead is going. People ask me questions all the time that I am perfectly incapable and unqualified to answer, yet I try. For example, "So, do you think Mitch will come back?" Or "What are you going to do?" Or "How long do you think it will take?" Or "Will he get a different job?"

Let it be official: I don't know.

I thought for sure we'd be in Texas by now one way or another. Will he come home? I have no idea, but depending on the day or the time of day, sometimes the answer is "yes" and sometimes it is "no definitely not." The point is, I try to make judgements about the future based on our emotional experiences, and it's not going well. Let's hope that the decisions that we do make are not based on emotional responses, but are made according to what we feel God is saying to us. Pray that they are!

Demand exceeds Production

Alright...somebody must think this is funny. Update the previous numbers to include 3 more diapers. 5 diapers in 2 days and all I have produced is 3 diapers. Ummmm....Kristin....can you come back to help??? (LOL...she's actually on her way over) At this rate I will be out of inventory soon. Ahhhh, I love it, it's almost as good as a nice cold bubbling Pepsi! =)

Pampered Cheeks

Wow! Sales have really been up at my store. I decided that I would take a couple of custom orders. Got those done...made a couple diapers to stock in my store...that was all fun. Then I decided that maybe I could find time at the end of each day to sew just ONE pocket diaper. After all, it doesn't take much time and something is better than nothing. I shouldn't have said that out loud, I guess. In 24 hours I got 4 requests for custom orders. Not to mention that of the 3 diapers I made in 2 days (Kristin helped, so I exceeded my production plans, lol), 2 of the 3 diapers have sold already! I know it's a really small business, but when demand exceeds production, I will be in trouble. Heh--whoever is leaking the word that I'm back on the job....thanks. I love all the attention! =)

Yesterday was a better day. Not because the kids were better kids or anything had changed. I just managed a little better. I think Mitch did ok too. And trust me, his class was just the same as always. There is no explanation for the renewed strength but it must have come from God. So the glory and thanks be to Him!