Sunday, August 26, 2007

2 weeks down...

How many to go? Yeah...I know...

Well, this was our first week of homeschool. We made all the mistakes the first two days so I think we are good now for the rest of the year! :) Well, that's probably an exaggeration. I did make quite a few mistakes. By Friday I think I had improved greatly, however, and we had a good day. It is hard to go from never teaching before to suddenly teaching 3 different grade levels. No one can say that I don't like a challenge! We are using the A Beka curriculum for every subject. Caleb is in 1st grade, Eden is in 3rd, and Micah is in 4th. I think as time goes on I will be able to be more flexible and change things around, but for now I am pretty much following the curriculum straight through. They make it simple enough. I am so pleased to see how smart my kids are. This has been such a valuable experience already and I wouldn't trade it for anything! We are using Building on the Rock from Summit Ministries for Bible and I'm super-excited about it.

No house news. :( We are considering renting out our Minnesota house so that we can have funds to buy/rent a house in Houston. Even that won't help with our overall goal to get out of debt, it will get us back together and help us avoid (for now) dropping the price of our house and increasing our debt. It is just a hard place to be in. I wish we knew what to do. Is it better to cut our losses and sell now or to hang on to it (pay interest) and hope that the market will improve? Sigh. Sigh. Sigh.

Nighttime is the hardest. I hate going to bed. We typically go to bed at different times anyways, but it's the knowing that he will not be there when I wake up. Last night I actually had a dream and when I "woke up" I was already in the process of getting out of bed--I guess I was dreaming I needed to go do something. It was the weirdest thing. Mitch had a similar experience one of his first nights in the house that he is staying in. I find myself frequently thinking that he is going to be "home" soon, and it's a strange reality that he is not. I can't wait for this to be over. I'm glad that it will be over at some point. I wish I knew how long. :(

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Pictures

I forgot, here are some of my favorite pictures that my friend Angie took (there were plenty more awesome ones!). Also, my computer IS going to the shop, as soon as we get it backed up, so probably on Monday or Tuesday. Whaaaaaaa....








1 week down...???

I don't know if knowing how much longer we have would help any.

But the first week is down. It was ok. Doing laundry was harder than I thought. I rearranged the remaining clothes in the closet so that it didn't look so empty. But I could smell him (mainly his deoderant, since cologne gives him headaches), and that elicited a sob at one point. Tuesday I had a couple friends over to sew, and that distraction helped. We worked until 7:30 pm. Wednesday Kristin came over just to "hang out" and the day went by way too quickly. I got the lawn mowed while she was here, and I earned a nasty blister right on the bottom of my foot over that! (I don't know why, but EVERY time I mow I get a blister, and I've tried using different shoes). Thursday was a down day at home, and I tried to crack open the home schooling curriculum and get organized, but I didn't get very far. Friday was a major errand day. I had a lot of running to do. We were all tired by the end of the day and got McDonald's for supper and played at the new play area. It was a treat. I told the kids we will come back there for phy-ed!!

Mitch found a place to stay finally on Wednesday. It is not the best place in the world, but it is safe and dry. The nice thing is he did not have to sign a lease, so he has the flexibility when our house finally does sell. He has been sleeping on the floor, as he has no furniture. His landlady said she would bring him a bed over this weekend (I sure hope she remembers!). He is staying in a 5 bedroom house with 4 other roommates. He bought a small refrigerator for his room. It feels just like college. He has been busy setting up his classroom and getting to know his coworkers. It amazes him how the secretaries will talk in both spanish and english, even in the same sentence. In all our married years, I have never felt so separated from him. It feels like we are not even married. I'm having a really hard time with it.

The kids just rolled with the punches all week. They are doing great. I made up a list of rules and consequences. It's not perfect, but it has helped a lot. I was afraid that Micah would be too legalistic about it, but he seems to understand when I make a modification. I warned him that we would have to "work out the kinks." We want to start homeschool on Monday. We will if I can get all the lesson plans done by then. I think I am getting the feel for how our schedule will go. I want to get started early so that we can take time off when we move and then still be on track. Before Mitch left, we bought a family cell phone plan. So we have talked to him everyday. It is nice--when the kids ask if they can call daddy, I don't even ask why, I just let them.

Malachi seems to be doing much better. I think the spitting up has increased, so for now the reflux is not going away, but the meds are helping. He has been much more content. He wakes up about once or twice per night. I can usually get 5 hours out of him before he wakes up though. Around 9 pm, he starts getting really cranky. All he wants is to be put in a dark room in his bassinette. He goes right to sleep all on his own--yay!!

Joshua is a little mockingbird. He repeats literally everything we say. He is quite accurate, too, and it is fairly easy to understand him. He has been giving me a really hard time at bedtime. He cries and cries in his crib. He doesn't want to take naps either. I don't know why the change--it had started before Mitch even left--and it drives me crazy. =S I wanted to wait to transition him to a bed after we moved to texas, but it may be time. I have tried a few times to get him to lay down on a mattress on the floor, or to lay in Micah's bed, but he always gets up. I guess *I'm* not ready for that discipline chore. Arrrggghhhh.

Zeke has been so wirey and full of energy. His little biceps are just bulging--man, is he strong!! He is just dying for attention. Today he ripped a good 12 inches of the border off the wall in Josh's room. We have an open house tomorrow and I can't find the leftover border to fix it. I just cried. I scolded him, and he had a pouty face. Then 30 seconds later he was laughing and playing again. I wondered, why don't you get it kid??? When he gets a severe punishment, he gets angry at me, but also tries to climb into my lap for cuddles. I wonder sometimes that he doesn't purposefully get into trouble so that he can get the attention. I have added Dr. Dobson's "The New Dare to Discipline" book to my reading list so that I can work on Zekey-boy.

Well, Holly just stopped by and took Micah and Eden to Papa's house for Grandma Theis' birthday. Zeke, Josh, and Malachi are all (miraculously) sleeping, and Caleb is playing x-box. I'm going to capitalize on the quiet and go work on the remaining 9 subjects I need to prep (yikes!).

Monday, August 13, 2007

First Day

Today I am pulling back the reigns on my grief a little bit so that my excitement can have a chance to grow some. Mitch called and chatted on his way to work. For someone who HATES talking on the phone, this is a big deal that he has called us so much. He described the scene as he pulled up to the high school--this is where he will have 3 days of training with all the other "new" teachers--and said that they looked like a nervous bunch. At least he's not alone!! =) He said that one guy was still carrying the plastic "Aldine" bag that they handed out at the job fairs. To be totally honest, Mitch would probably still have his except I ditched it and filed his paperwork into file folders. He's so lucky I take care of him. Nerd. :)

We have a monarch butterfly that is going to emerge from its chrysalis today. When the kids originally brought this caterpillar home, I was bummed. Normally I love the caterpillars and watching the amazing transformation they undergo (http://stephsoundoff.blogspot.com/search?q=monarch to see pictures from the butterflies we had last year). It usually takes around 10 days in the chrysalis. I knew that by the time the caterpillar emerged Mitch would be gone. That sucked the joy right out of the experience. But the truth is that God is transforming me too from the inside out. The butterfly is a great example of how beautiful the end result will be. :) Micah just posted an update. He said in a strained voice, "Mom, there is a big crack in it, but the butterfly is not coming out!" I reminded him, "the butterfly has to struggle." Oh wow, as soon as I said it, I really heard it coming right back at me in light of my own circumstances.

Thank you, Lord, for the struggle. Help us to emerge.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Safe in Houston!

Mitch made it safely to Houston. He only stopped once for a 2-hour nap, and he made the 1,300-mile trip in just under 22 hours. He pushed himself to drive as much at night as possible because the temps are so high in the lower midwest right now--and the a/c doesn't work in our car. He is staying with his uncle for a couple days and looking fervently for another place to stay. Maybe a cheap apartment or someone who is looking for a roommate.

I have a whole wild range of emotions. I just spent 2 hours with him on the phone as he drove around "finding" all the places he has to be. My emotions ranged from disgust (city life), to fear and worry (where will he live), to deep sadness (missing him), to relief. The relief was the strangest and unexpected. But as I got off the phone, I looked around and in some weird fashion, I felt that nothing has changed (other than the big mental hole of not having Mitch here) and I can still feel secure in my own home in my own town with my own friends. Sigh. I know that that kind of relief is fleeting and not real. Pretending that things will "get back to normal" is unhealthy. So I will allow myself to return to the feeling of grief--I will embrace it and not try to stuff it away.

I feel like my heart is being torn away from me. I hate what is happening to us, but I accept it. When I think about all the big things I am overwhelmed and I start to feel crushed. The little things I can handle though. Tomorrow is laundry day--I can do that! Friday is Micah's follow-up visit with the doctor--I can do that too. Somewhere between now and then I have to get out to the grocery store to get some milk. And Tuesday night is a homeschooling meeting, if I can make it to that maybe I will really get somewhere. Oh, if my homeschooling curriculum would just get here already--I could set myself down to business!!! And of course managing my house (bills, paperwork, etc) will distract me.

And then there's prayer.

If I can just remember to turn to God in my moments of grief, frustration, worry, even disgust, and cry out to Him, He will hear me!

Psalm 40:1-5
"I waited patiently for the Lord to help me,
and he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the pit of despair,
out of the mud and the mire.
He set my feet on solid ground
and steadied me as I walked along.
He has given me a new song to sing,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what he has done and be astounded.
They will put their trust in the Lord.
Oh, the joys of those who trust the Lord,
who have no confidence in the proud,
or in those who worship idols.
O Lord my God, you have done many miracles for us.
Your plans for us are too numberous to list.
If I tried to recite all your wonderful deeds,
I would never come to the end of them.


I went to retrieve my Bible to share some verses that I read this morning when I managed to get up before all the noise makers (well, excluding Malachi), and my eyes fell on these verses on the next page. I thought they were very fitting and perfectly timed! The verses I had intended to share were from Psalm 37. Twice in that Psalm, David writes to be patient:
v. 7a "Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act."
v. 34a "Don't be impatient for the Lord to act! Travel steadily along his path. He will honor you, giving you the land."

I think sometimes I struggle to understand these types of "promise" verses in the Bible. Certainly not all believers are prosperous--they don't all have abundant wealth (on the contrary!), nor do they escape persecution, nor are they promised health and long life. I think I am learning though, that it is more a matter of the soul, and to think eternally rather than the frail existence on this earth. Where in Psalm 39 v. 11b David says, "Human existence is as frail as breath."

In the storm of emotions raging inside of me, I feel the calm voice of my Savior speaking to me and quieting my heart. Even when there is no outward change of circumstances, I feel my burden relieved and my tears dried.

And I'm able to go on.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Well, Mitch is gone now. On one hand I feel so guilty for feeling so bad...there are many wonderful women who have lost their husbands or their husbands are deployed to war...mine is just gone for a "little while." But my grief is still very real, and very raw.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

1 Surgery, 1 Showing, and 3 Days to Go

I can't say that I welcome middle of the night vomit/diarrhea viruses. But what happened Monday night/Tuesday am was certainly worse!

I got to bed around midnight on Monday. I was blissfully sleeping (as Malachi lets me do for about 4-5 hours at night), when I was woken up by Micah rubbing my arm. (Seriously, I would rather he shout at me...grrrr...) He was complaining that his stomach hurt. Not wanting to wake up, I went through the usual questions without really thinking: do you need to throw up? need to go poop? need a drink of water? I suggested he lay downstairs on the couch, and he did. Of course, Malachi then woke up so I wasn't totally back to dreamland, but hoped I would be soon. Nope. Micah soon wandered back into the room, and by this point I was a bit more awake. He was crying and I could tell that he was really in pain (not nausea). Hehe...I sent him to daddy's side of the bed. =P Mitch asked him to describe the pain and where it hurts. Uhoh. Micah was pointing to his right side, down close to the hip. Sigh. One of us would be taking him to the e.r. I got the short end of the stick, so I loaded up Malachi and Micah and off we went. I tried not to say "appendicitis" or give Micah any reason to worry--afterall, it could also be a kidney infection or something else. They checked him out right away--no fever, but the nurse commented as he watched Micah walk down the hall that it was obvious that he was in pain. The E.R. doctor was a hoot. He tried to get Micah to jump and Micah could/would not. They decided to do a c.t. scan, and they hooked Micah up to an iv and also brought in the radioactive water. They explained that he would have to drink it, then wait an hour, then wait an hour for the results. Major groan...I'm never going to get any sleep, and I didn't bring enough cloth diapers for Malachi. I promised Micah a pepsi and he chugged the water. Then he immediately threw up! That's my boy!! Throwing up gave him an immediate ticket to go to the ct scan and he got to bypass the 1 hour wait. The results were back within 20 min too, and the E.R. doc said that it did look like appendicitis and they were calling in the surgeon. It was a little after 6 am when the surgeon walked in, and to my surprise and relief it was a friend from church (score!!). He explained everything to me (at this point Micah was already receiving some pain meds and was loopy). He called and asked for an O.R. "faster than fast." It was not so much an emergency that it couldn't wait an hour, but he had another appointment he needed to be at later that morning and wanted to be able to do Micah's surgery for us. So Micah was in the O.R. by 7 and the first cut was made at 7:15. He was done by 8 and I got to see him at 8:15. He definitely had appendicitis and they removed his appendix. We were home by 11 am. Although I was worried that it was too soon, everyone there seemed to be so calm about it. Micah was in heaven hanging out on the couch ALL day playing xbox. I thought it was hilarious how he would fall asleep in the middle of a game, but hey--play when you can, right? By today he was not in much pain, but he is still moving very slowly. I finally convinced him to have some more tylenol at bedtime. I'm never going to catch up on my sleep! (p.s. That'll teach Micah to wake ME up in the middle of the night again!!)

We had a showing tonight. No word on that yet, but it made for a crazy day trying to keep the house clean. We had previously scheduled to have pictures taken by my friend Angie Chilson (http://www.generationsimaging.com/index.html), so we also had to make it out of our house CLEAN and ready to smile. Yikes!!

Mitch will be in Houston for the 13th after receiving the o.k. to miss Thursday the 9th and make up the hours later. That means he will be leaving on Saturday. So in all our FREE time (yeah...please insert very loud sarcasm), we have been trying to chip away that the last of the to-do list. I am frustrated, scared, nervous, anxious, all wrapped up into one weak and sleep-deprived body. God is my strength...otherwise I could not hold myself together. What am I going to do???

I look forward to the day when my blog entries will be more fun and lighthearted!! In everything that has happened, it is clear to see God's hand protecting us. The timing of Micah's ailment was so good. Mitch was still home. We were still in St. Cloud close to the people we know. Micah hadn't eaten since 8 pm the night before, so he was all good to go to surgery immediately. Dr. Tims was on call and ready to operate. Micah's appendix did not rupture. He is home and healing great. Eden and Caleb are getting extra practice nurturing and caring for their brother. We are all learning and growing. God is good.

p.p.s. My computer has been majorly acting up. We have to send it in for warranty covered repairs (yeah, right...). So when I disappear for 2 weeks, you know why!

Monday, August 06, 2007

The Current Plan

Ok...the current plan is for Mitch to leave Saturday morning. He got the ok to miss the 9th and make up the hours later. He will be there for the 13th. I am so sad. It's mind boggling to think of all we need to get done now. This is quite scary!

Friday, August 03, 2007

We just lost 7 days!!

We just got the mail, and there was a letter from Dunn Elementary saying that the teachers have an inservice day on August 9th. They call it a "waiver day." Also, there is a special inservice for new teachers August 13th-15th. Thankfully, the letter said that we could call to make arrangements for the 9th if not able to attend. Also for the 13th-15th, Mitch said that he may not have to do those either, since it is more for "new" teachers and even though he is new to Aldine, he is not new to teaching. He will call to confirm everything on Monday though. It's just another bump in the road and I am trying to remain flexible for either. Ouch. God is certainly stretching me through all of this!

Oops...I forgot...

Just in case you missed it in a post below, the "Grace Under Fire" movie that Mitch starred in is available on dvd. Just visit www.tenletterproductions.com.

If you get one, please tell us! Our email is mtheis at hotmail dot com. :) Well, that's one of many anyways.

Malachi is 2 months old!

Malachi had his 2 month check up yesterday. He weighed a whopping 14 lbs 4 oz. I just HAD to check (you know I would), and sure enough, my fat baby Caleb weighed 15 lbs 10 oz at 2.5 months. So who wins the biggest baby award?? Funny thing is, Caleb's face was rounder than Malachi's, so he really showed the pounds in his face. But Malachi has fat arms, rolls around his thighs, and may even be working on his ankles too. :)

Zeke was also in with us. He was obedient and did everything the doctor and nurse asked him to. She found some weird spots on him and said it was molluscium contagiosum...so something new for me to look up, huh? Great. Right in the middle of bug season. I have to tell the difference between these and bug bites. How in the world...? It's very contagious, so I am going to check the other kids over and she gave me some cream to treat them. Ick!

Malachi is calling me, so I'd better run.
13 days to go...

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Open House Update

Got a call from the realtor yesterday. He said that there were 2 couples who stopped by during the open house on Saturday. Both really liked our house. One is a family of 5, soon to be 6, and oh that made me so happy! :) But both couples have houses they are also trying to sell. That is the reality of the market that we have here right now. The person who buys our house is most likely not coming from an apartment, which means they have a house to sell, and the person who buys their house may have a house to sell, and it goes down the line. Since houses are not selling quickly around here, it really slows down the process. I cannot waste energy worrying about timelines that are beyond my control. We must lean on God to work it all out. It was much better news than I had thought!

I haven't mentioned it before, but in our cul-de-sac there are 3 other houses for sale. It's so funny to drive down the street and see the signs: 2 are directly next to us, and one straight across the street. All 3 were listed just before we listed ours. The first of the 3, on the market since May, just sold yesterday--hurray! This is just more evidence of what my realtor sent out to us in a letter a couple weeks ago--she said that more of the first time buyers are coming out and buying the starter homes, which means that those home owners are now searching for places to live...and it is only a matter of time before one of them wanders over to our place to make an offer. It is a long process of the market possibly starting to look better.

The waiting is the hardest...and Mitch is really feeling the strain. Only 15 days to go until his first day of work...