Wednesday, September 24, 2008

It's always something

Yesterday I wrote a whole long post about it being enough that God cares, that He never promised to fix all our problems or make life easy, but He does care and promises never to leave us, and that's enough. And then things just keep on coming.

Julian's teacher e-mailed me yesterday. We'd been talking about his difficulties in class, and she had asked about getting the counselor involved. I said that was fine, as I know we all want to see him do well in school, and I'd take suggestions from whatever corner they were offered. He's had a real hard time in school discipline-wise, and I think part of it because Brian is away at work, and that's causing some fears and anxieties that he's having a hard time managing. Well, his teacher and the counselor reviewed his Connor's surveys from last year, and they both feel like Julian exhibits many ADHD tendencies (last year it was just hyperactivity and impulsivity, and that not high enough on the scale to warrant a formal diagnosis). His teacher said that Brian being away may be affecting him, but that he has trouble focusing every day, and there's no real difference in that whether Brian is away or at home. She said she feels like Julian is a very intelligent young man, but that this lack of ability to focus on his work is beginning to affect his performance at school.

I sat at my desk at work yesterday afternoon and tried not to cry. I felt like the worst mom in the world, 1) for not doing more to follow up after we talked to the counselor at his school last year, and 2) for not realizing how very bad it had gotten. I've asked the teacher if she and/or the counselor can give me something in writing that I can take to his pediatrician, and we'll follow up with her. I guess the next step would be to consult with a psychologist, to see if he is at a level where he'd be formally diagnosed, or at least get some ideas for what to try next. I'm not crazy about the idea of medication, but if that's what it takes, I know it can make a world of difference once you've found the right medication and the right dose. My heart just hurts for Julian, trying all this time to do the right thing and just not really being able to do it. He's told me lately that his brain just won't let him pay attention, and I guess it really won't. So that was one thing.

Then there's the garage door. We got ready to leave this morning, and the door only opens about 1/3 of the way and stops. I can't get it to move now, not even releasing the catch and trying to do it by hand. Something is hung up, and hung up good, to where it won't budge. We can't get the van out of the garage, and we're not close enough to work or school to walk. So we're at home right now. The door can be repaired, for a price (yay, more money I don't have that needs to be spent). If the repair guy gets here in time, I'm hoping Julian can make it for part of the school day. Me, I'm giving work a miss. It's not worth the expense in gas and parking for me to go up there for half a day. What a thing to burn a vacation day on, huh?

So, the hits just keep on coming. Money for an eye appointment. Money for a garage door repair. Money for whatever help Julian needs with his behavior issues. I know money can't buy happiness, but it sure seems like having enough of it to go around would make things a little easier.

I'm praying a LOT today. And I'm going to make fudge. Prayer and chocolate have to make things better, right?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Lord, I Hope This Day Is Good

This song by Don Williams came up on shuffle on my iTunes, and it just fits my current mood so well:

Lord, I hope this day is good
I'm feeling empty and misunderstood
I should be thankful, Lord, I know I should
But Lord, I hope this day is good

Lord, have you forgotten me
I've been prayin' to you faithfully
I'm not saying I'm a righteous man
But Lord, I hope you understand
I don't need fortune and I don't need fame
Send down the thunder, Lord, send down the rain
But when you're planning just how it will be
Plan a good day for me

Lord, I hope this day is good
I'm feeling empty and misunderstood
I should be thankful, Lord, I know I should
But Lord, I hope this day is good

You've been the King since the dawn of time
All that I'm asking is a little less cryin'
It might be hard for the devil to do
But it would be easy for you

Lord, I hope this day is good
I'm feeling empty and misunderstood
I should be thankful, Lord, I know I should
But Lord, I hope this day is good

9 weeks, 1 day

In all the whinefest, I forgot to update about my first OB visit on Thursday!

It went well. I love my doc. He's a fairly soft-spoken man with a dry, dry sense of humor, and I'm glad we can both joke about things and also talk seriously about things that need to be addressed. I'm forever indebted to the friend who gave me his name when my former OB retired back when I was pregnant with Julian.

Anyway, the visit. His first comment to me was, "Oh, no, you're pregnant." I said, yeah, that was pretty much my first reaction when I saw the test. LOL I lost a lot of blood with Julian's delivery, so he was doing a lot of joking about needing his nitroglycerine pills for this go-round and scheduling my c-section this time and then making sure he wasn't on the on-call rotation. I can laugh because I know he'll take good care of me and the little bit, and if I didn't believe that, I'd change doctors in a second. Turns out the baby is measuring 9 weeks, 1 day - a bit farther along than I'd figured. (Hey, look, my kid is precocious already!) I got to see the heartbeat, and the baby was squirming around in there just fine and dandy. So that reassured me a lot. (I worry - I'm 40, I'm a fat chick, and there are all sorts of things that can go wrong.)

My doc asked me if I wanted to do any prenatal testing, given the higher odds for something to go wrong at my age. I said I do want to go ahead with it, because if there's anything out of the ordinary to be prepared for, then I want to be prepared. Test results wouldn't cause us to terminate the pregnancy, but if our baby were to have, say, Downs syndrome, I'd want to plan ahead for that. So he'll recommend tests and I can accept or refuse, as I feel is appropriate. (This is another thing I love about my doc - he'll make recommendations, but if it's not something he feels is essential, he's not going to push me to do it. He doesn't have his own agenda to push.)

My next appointment is October 23, and we'll get to hear the heartbeat then. Should be exciting!


This is another topic weighing heavily on my mind. Julian is with Kevin this weekend, and he'd told Kevin he had a blue day at school (the best kind) and gotten a sticker. This is something easily verified - all either of us has to do is look in Julian's folder that comes home from school and see if there's a sticker on the calendar for that day. Kevin looked at the folder, and not only was there a sticker, but there were notes from the teacher. Julian continues to struggle with things like talking out of turn and playing when he should be listening. So Kevin called me to give me the heads up and to tell me that he and Julian had a little talk about the importance of honesty.

The problem is not that Julian got into a little trouble in class. This happens. He's a chatty kid, and he's got a hard time turning it off. Brian said he was the same way in the early years of school, and that it took him until second grade or so to figure out that he needed to be still and listen in class rather than be running his mouth. No, the problem is that Julian told his father a bald-faced lie about it. To my knowledge, I've never told Julian a lie (OK, other than telling him I had no idea what Santa might bring him for Christmas). He's not seeing that behavior here at home. And for him to lie about something that's so easily verified bothers me. He told Kevin he lied because he was afraid he'd get into trouble for getting the note, and Kevin told him no, he wasn't upset about Julian getting a note from the teacher, but he was upset that Julian felt the need to be dishonest about it.

So, parents who are farther along the road in raising your kids and wiser than me, what's the best tack to take with this? Would the punishment be too far removed from the crime to have consequences for the lie here at home (I'm thinking of taking away Wii time, because that's the thing he loves more than anything)? He's six years old - is that old enough to connect what happened yesterday with what happens tomorrow when he gets back home? I don't want him to grow up thinking it's OK to lie to get out of trouble, and I'm just not sure how best to nip this in the bud now and help him realize that he can be honest with me, with Kevin, and with Brian about anything, that a lie will get him in more hot water than whatever the truth is.

Finances and faith

Warning: This probably sounds like a bunch of whining. And in part, I guess it is. If you can handle that, read on.

This is a topic that's been on my mind for quite a while. It's something Brian and I have discussed throughout our marriage, as we both feel strongly that tithing - giving back to God - is something we need to be committed to doing.

Last Sunday night, the pastor talked about, among other things, making time to be alone with God, and asking God to help you identify the areas in your life where He really wanted you to let go and let Him work. He talked about one of his own experiences, when he was the new pastor at our church a number of years ago, things were not going well, and he was concerned that the church would close its doors, or split, or somehow things would fall out that he'd be without a job with a wife and three kids to take care of. He realized that what he needed to let go of was his fear about provision and needs being met, and as he talked, I realized that that was something I really needed to let go of as well. I was the sole or primary breadwinner for my entire marriage to K, and I'm still the primary breadwinner now (although I am very, very thankful Brian is working!), so the responsibility of making sure family is taken care of has weighed heavily on my shoulders my entire working life. If bills aren't getting paid on time, I take it personally, I feel like *I've* failed somehow, like *I* haven't tried hard enough or pinched pennies enough or done enough to bring home the bacon. I wasn't raised to not pay my obligations in full and on time, and it upsets me when ends don't meet like I think they ought to. This is one really big area where I feel like God wants me to get out of the way and let Him work, and even now, I struggle with it.

I find myself trying to put a time limit on God, expecting Him to conform to my timetable and my agenda. Malachi 3:10 says, "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it." God doesn't tell us to test Him very often, but here, He does. So Brian and I will freely admit that yes, we're testing God. We've made our commitment to give, and we're doing it. And logically, I know what the pastor meant when he said that God promises to meet our needs, not to make us rich. But when things aren't getting paid on time, I begin to wonder. (I know, again logically and not emotionally, that the lack is with me and not with God - it's not that He doesn't keep His promises, it's that I don't keep the faith.) And hence, the struggle. I'm not feeling very blessed right now, not in the least, and I'm wrestling with what exactly it means to have faith that God will meet our needs. Does that mean constantly living on the financial edge, scraping from paycheck to paycheck, and just trusting that the money will be there to cover necessities and not much else? Do I have to have faith strong enough to trust that we can be balanced on the edge and not fall over, and is that what getting our needs met will mean for the rest of our lives? Somehow I can't imagine that that's what God meant. But right now, this is what I'm turning over and over in my head.

And on a slightly related but not-quite-identical note, there's Bright Blessings. I love making candles and scrubs and goodies. I enjoy it and I'm pretty decent at it, I think. I'm getting the word out in all the ways I know how and all the ways I can afford, and yet I'm not seeing a whole lot of growth. I'm on a couple of message boards where the chat about bath and body products is pretty prevalent, and I see people talking up what they've gotten and tried. It just seems like people seem to forget to mention when they've ordered from me. I've seen good reviews of my products, so I know people like them. I just don't seem to get the word of mouth that other companies do, and I can't figure out why. So, this leaves me wondering, should I just cut my losses and pack it in? Should I put up all my supplies for sale and take my website down and close my Etsy shop and be done with it? I know that right now, I could not handle a huge influx of orders - I know there are e-tailers who get a ton of business, and I'm not equipped to handle THAT much business right now. But a steady stream of orders would be nice, and just having people mention that they got the stuff they did order would be nice, too. I've been doing this for over a year now, and with the way things have been going, I'm honestly not sure it's worth my while to keep it up.

See, I said I was whining. I'm going to go wallow in the pity pit for a while with the lovely chocolate peanut butter cupcake from Sugar Dreams that my friend Kelly brought to me today.

Friday, September 19, 2008

80s music quiz

Go on, see how much time you wasted in the 80s with your Walkman on!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ups and downs and odds and ends

J had good days on Thursday and Friday, and this week has been OK so far. He's barely hanging on to an "S" (satisfactory) as his conduct grade for the six weeks, though. So I made a deal with him. If he can keep up the good behavior and get the S in conduct this six weeks, we'll go to Game Stop and look at the used Wii games as a reward. We'll see if a little motivation can go a long way - he's got thirteen class days left in the six weeks.

Brian got his first paycheck on Saturday! Woo hoo! It was only about half of what he'll be getting regularly, but still - it was a welcome sight, and I know he's happy about contributing to the family income.

I'm a little out of sorts today. Part of it is because Brian left this morning for his eight-day shift. Part of it is because several of my friends are getting together for a few days, starting tomorrow, and I'm not going to be able to make it, and I'm sad. I've known these women online (although I've met a couple of them in real life) for several years now, and this is the third get-together I've missed, and it sucks. I wish I were going, but the money just wasn't in the budget, and even if it had been, I'd have had to give it a miss once Brian took the eight-on, six-off job. But even knowing logically that it wouldn't have worked out with Brian's new job, money notwithstanding, I'm really bummed. And once again I say, maybe next year.

I'm eight weeks now, give or take, and today the tiredness is kicking my butt. I'm fighting to stay awake at my desk, but I'm sorely tempted to just put my head down and take a nap. Of course, if I do, that will be the moment our big boss on-site chooses to walk down *this* row, so I'm resisting the urge (thus far). Most days I feel OK. Some days I feel pretty crappy, but there's been no throwing up, thank goodness. Some days I feel positively perky, and then I worry that something must be wrong. LOL My first official doctor's appointment is tomorrow, and I'm hoping for a good one.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Today, I got nothin'.

No witty title, that is.

Yesterday was another less-than-stellar day for J. The note from the teacher said she had to ask him ten times to sit down and do his classwork, and he didn't finish it. I told him he was lucky she didn't just wash her hands of it and send him to the office. So we had to finish the work at home last night. Oh, the drama. He screamed and cried and said it was too much and that he couldn't do it. And when he finally sat down and did it, it didn't take long at all.

I'm learning that J needs lots of hands-on attention with his work - he's not internally motivated like I was as a kid. He got through his work a lot quicker with me sitting there encouraging him and telling him he could do it. As he went, he saw that he was in fact doing it and then he probably could have finished it up on his own. But he needed that push, that encouragement from me to get started. How can I help him learn that he can do things, he just needs to jump in and start and keep on going until he's done?

I e-mailed his teacher today. I explained about Brian's job and the fact that he was due home this week, and said that perhaps that had something to do with why J has had such a hard time staying focused this week. I told her I appreciated her letting me know what's going on with him, and let her know we're working at home to address the issues as well. I don't want her thinking J's parents just let him run wild, and I want her to know that we can work together to help J do well in school. This is just so foreign to me. I would no more have gotten out of my seat in class when it wasn't time to do so than I would have jumped off the roof of the school. I hope I'm handling it OK.

In other news, I get to ring handbells! I'd signed up on a list expressing interest back in June, and the director of the advanced handbell choir called. They have two openings, and since they practice at 4:45 on Sundays and there are activities for the kids from 5:00 until 7:00 on Sundays, it looks like I'll give it a shot! I'm so excited. I love handbells, and the logistics of me ringing just didn't work out when I was single - J didn't want to go to Sunday school, and didn't want to sit by himself in the congregation during the times when we rang, so that didn't leave many options. (One time he came and sat by my feet behind the handbell tables while we rang.) But now that he's older, I'm hoping he'll be better able to be somewhere without me and make friends and give me a chance to do something I enjoy.

And Brian is home! Yay!!! He got home a bit after 8:00 last night. So, six more sleeps before he starts it all over again. He went to sub training this morning, and he said that given what he's doing now (working with middle school and high school kids with behavioral issues), he'll take middle school assignments as well as older elementary. Hopefully that will open the door to more sub work for him, and hopefully that will ultimately open the door to a job closer to home.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Would I feel better if I felt worse?

I'm just out of sorts today. Grumpy, surly, little-black-rain-cloud out of sorts. I want to go hide and be by myself until the feeling passes. And I think worry is at the root of it. I feel mostly OK from a physical standpoint - no queasiness-that's-not-quite-nausea, no heartburn, no insane tiredness (still tired, but not so much that I can barely function, which is how I've been the past few days), no growing/stretchy pains. In short, nothing that would really tell me I'm pregnant. And since I feel fairly decent, I worry. I'm scared to death that something has gone wrong, that I'll go to my appointment next week and my doctor will tell me the baby has stopped growing, that it's over. I don't want that. This baby may have been a bit of a surprise, but he or she is already very much loved and wanted, and I want to go next week and be told everything is just fine. I want it to be next week right now. I guess I'd feel better mentally if I felt worse physically, silly as that sounds.

Brian will be home this evening, so that's good news! I think his shift ended at 1:00, but he said he'd have debriefing, and he wasn't sure if that would be before or after he officially got off shift. I'm sure he'll call or send me a message when he's on the road.

J has had a couple of rough days at school - talking, getting up out of his seat, making shadow pictures in front of the projector, that sort of thing. I wonder how much of this has to do with the difference in teachers, how free they were to move around in kindergarten vs. how much his new teacher expects them to stay seated. He also got into trouble for yelling in another student's face. He said the boy punched him first, and I told him that if that happened, he was better off telling the teacher rather than yelling back. (If he took a punch at someone who punched him first, he wouldn't get into more trouble at home, but I'm not telling him that yet.) Hopefully today will be better. He's also going to be part of the PAL program, where younger kids are assigned to a high school student who's taking part in the program as a big brother/big sister. I hope that he'll get someone assigned to him who can be a good role model for him.

Is it 5:00 yet?

Saturday, September 06, 2008

And what was that I said?

I believe I said this just a few weeks ago, on August 14:

Tying that in to the Lone Star interview - how funny would it be (and I don't mean funny ha-ha) if God, in His infinite wisdom, decided that now would be a perfect time for me to get pregnant? I think I'd pull my hair out. I'd be excited, and scared, and all that good stuff, but I'd pull my hair out in absolute frustration at the timing, especially if Brian gets the job. But again, I'll jump off that bridge if I get to it. I'm not there yet.

Well, I'm there. LOL Brian did indeed accept the Lone Star job, as it was the only one that offered and he needed a job (and we needed the paycheck). It's got its pros and cons, like any other job. Pros: it's a job, it's a paycheck, and Brian is excited about it. He feels like he may have more of an opportunity to make a difference in a child's life there than he would in a traditional classroom, and I know he's excited about not being limited by the approved curriculum of a traditional classroom setting. Cons: Well, it's three hours away, and he's gone for eight days at a time. Those are pretty big cons, but not big enough to outweigh the benefit of a paycheck. I did the single mom thing before, and I wasn't crazy about it then - it's even more of a challenge now when when I come home so tired that I can barely keep my head up. There were a couple of teaching positions that came open at the last minute, right before Brian had to make a decision on Lone Star, and he applied, but nothing came of them. So he's working for Lone Star for the time being, and he'll keep taking substitute positions as they come up on his off days, and doing his best to make a good impression at local campuses. Brian is hoping to find something close to home come February or March, closer to when the baby is due, when he'll really need it. But right now, for reasons I can't fathom, God must want Brian at Lone Star, so that's where he is. We'll just have to have faith that things are working out as they're meant to.

And on a completely unrelated note, I was just listening to Randy Travis, and it made me think of my mother. She sure did love Randy Travis, and I sure do miss her. Now her second grandchild is on the way, and I wish she could be here.

Friday, September 05, 2008

One of life's little surprises

Well, I don't guess this is exactly a little surprise:

Rather a big one, in fact! But yes, there will be an addition to the family come late April or so. It got to where my cycle was longer than usual, and I figured it was either pregnancy or pre-menopause, so I peed on a stick. Honestly, I was expecting it to just be another trick played on me by an aging body. Nope!

And what's funny - back in May I'd gone to see my RE (reproductive endocrinologist, for those of you unfamiliar with the abbreviation), to see about getting some help in the getting pregnant department. I never followed up, and just a week and a half before I tested, Brian and I had talked about this very thing. He didn't have a job at the time, and we talked about how we really didn't have the income to pursue medical intervention, and I said I wasn't really sure I could go through the process again without knowing it would work (because there are no guarantees, you know). I knew what to expect if we went through those hoops again, and I really didn't think I wanted to go there. It was a good talk, and we came to the conclusion that yes, it would be nice to have a child, but we weren't going to force it. If it happened, it happened. Well, it happened!

I called my doctor's office right away, given the issues I had with J. My doc had me in for bloodwork twice, and everything looked good - my progesterone was around 24, and my hCG went up nicely, just like it's supposed to. (A couple of people have speculated as to whether I'm having twins - I sincerely hope not, one healthy baby will be plenty for us, thanks!) I go for my first official visit on September 18. Being as I'm 40 and all, I fall very solidly into the "advanced maternal age" category, and I'm hoping that gets me a few extra peeks at the little one.

The grandparents are all thrilled, and all the grandmothers are hoping for a girl. LOL Me, I don't much care, as long as at the end of it all, there's a healthy baby and a healthy me. We've told J, and he suggested we name the baby "Sandwich". Mmm, no. He's also informed me that he'll have a baby sister, but she'll have to learn to play with boy toys, because there's not going to be any girly stuff in his house! LOL Yeah, we'll just see how that goes, kiddo.