Thursday

I've Got Nothin'

So I've been to the pool. Once. The water is almost completely thawed and, evidently, after you're in for a while, your body is completely numb and the cold doesn't bother you -- but your blue lips belie your image of comfort.



Gals, THIS is MUST READ. I love when a well-known figure allows us to see that she is human, nay, she is WOMAN. I'm trying to get an image of Beth Moore standing in Walgreen's with two econo-size boxes of feminine hygiene products. If it were me I may have had a huge box of Hot Tamales to go with it.

Yes, still loving being back in my house. We are just settled enough that I don't HAVE to get all of the contents of the hall closet out of my bedroom -- unless I would like to open and close my armoire doors without flipping down a box top. Much to do, even time to do it, no gumption.





I think I need to read The Secret Sisters.





The kids are currently watching ESPN (against my "No TV prior to 4 p.m. rule") in hopes of catching a glimpse of our friend, Matt Phillips, who is in Washington, D.C. for the National Spelling Bee. We understand that he didn't make it to the finals (that's a rumor I've only heard from people under 12 in my home, so I could be wrong about that) but ESPN is supposed to do a feature on him. Matt has Osteogenesis Imperfecta, which you and I know as Brittle Bone Disease. He doesn't let it slow him down, and his parents have done a PHENOMENAL job of creating normalcy in their family where none exists. I look up to them so much and am honored to know them.





Baseball is still in full swing. The Express (our little league team) is going to the city league tournament. Next week we'll be playing in Merkel, America. Can't wait! We had a great little game against our toughest opponent Tuesday night. We played hard and scrambled back. The scoreboard showed that we lost 7-6, but we won on so many levels. It was one of those fun baseball games. See you at the ball park!





My M&M -- she's stylin'!

Monday

When Blogging becomes Procrastination

Yes, it is officially summer, although the '78*' reading on my computer is more of a spring break reading -- but I'm NOT complaining. What weird, wonderful weather we're having in West Texas (this sentence brought to you by the letter 'W'). I have truly enjoyed our rainy spring and I KNOW it won't last, so I'm not quite ready for it to be over.

Even though it's the time to sit out by the pool with your buds and relax, I'm not exactly in relaxing mode. I guess when you keep the pedal to the metal on the accelerator of your life for 6 solid weeks, it's best to coast to a slow roll instead of slamming on the brakes. My only guideline for what I'm doing around the house is doing exactly what I want to do, which is why I haven't been blogging. There's just too much around me screaming that it needs to be done! So I have a list longer than my arm of what all needs to be done and I just flit from item to item and do what I feel like at the moment. Except for today, when I lay in bed with a headache until noon, at which time I felt it necessary to get up to throw up, then head back to bed until 3. I did NOT want to do any of that, but it was definitely necessary. After I finally emerged, Troy was complaining about how little he got done on his day off. I scoffed while I stood there in my jammies with bed-head at 3 p.m.

I'm saying this via-blog and running: but I'm not quite all that fired up about sitting out at the pool this summer. I'm sure I WILL be in a few weeks, but right now I can only see what all needs to be done in my home and sitting at the pool feels like wasted time to me. I'm sure that after a few days of either trying to get my children a) on board with working on or in the house or b) out of my way, an afternoon of sitting by the pool will feel glorious. Until then, it feels like wasted time.

Wednesday

Back At Home...

Oh, there should be much fanfare and excitement. But there is only concrete dust and boxes. Yes, it is GLORIOUS to sleep in my own bed -- and not within 2 feet of one of my children. Yes, it is GLORIOUS to have my pantry and 'fridge full of food to choose from, or not, for dinner. But we still have much to do before it completely feels like home. And, when we relayed a new plumbing problem to our insurance adjustor, he asked, "Is the wall where the problem is already closed up? Oh, that's what I was afraid of." Cutting into my sheetrock AGAIN is definitely NOT in my happy place.

Much to do and much to tell about end of school and the most fabulous bubble day ever but it is late, I still have two days of teaching/ battle in Room 24, and the concrete dust that has filled my nostrils and lungs is giving me fits and I am not entirely well.

Just wanted to post a quick, "We're here!"

Sunday

Hotel Chatter

Oddly enough, I am finding these few days living in the hotel to be some precious moments with my kids. I don't often get to see them blink awake in the morning -- oh, I wake them up, but when I leave the room to hustle on my way, they still have their eyes closed and are moaning unintelligibly. I don't often get to hear them sigh as they roll over in their sleep -- I am frequently reminded of the tiny little bodies that did that what seems to be last week. And I am tickled to be reminded of their morning personalities. Ashley greets the day much like she greets the rest of life -- full of gusto, chatter, and cheerfulness. Riley needs to ponder life and let sleep slowly slide off of him before he can face life (much like his momma).

But he evidently is thinkin' as he awakes (unlike his momma). Friday morning he woke up, blinked at the window for several minutes, then finally turned to me:

"Mom, knock knock."

Mom: "Who's there?"

Riley: "An interrupting parrot."

Mom: "An interrup..."

Riley: "SQUAWK!"

THAT totally cracked me up!

Later, at a further stage of dress and awake, he was singing that well-loved (or not) old folk song, "There's a hole in the bucket". He made it through several verses, and poor Liza wasn't getting any closer to a repaired bucket than the first verse. He finally said, "That song just goes on and on and on and on... I think he just doesn't want to fix the bucket."

That Riley is always getting to the bottom of things!

Thursday

Defining Moments

(note: the following article was printed in my local 'Abilene Families', but the last two sentences were omitted. For your reading enjoyment, or not:)

As a mother, you would think that I would be all about Mother’s Day – a day just for ME, a day to get, get, get, and a day when praise is lavished on all mothers. Who could ask for anything more? Truthfully, mother’s day – especially the Hallmark version of it – makes me very uncomfortable. You know which kind of image I’m talking about – a young mother, clad in a pristine white gown in an immaculate, beautifully decorated home, holding a perfectly chubby, cooing baby as they gaze into each other’s eyes. The poetry accompanying the image details the sacrifices the loving mother makes and how wonderful she is and on and on and on. I simply can’t relate: My home has never been immaculate OR decorated, I learned a long time ago not to wear white while holding a child of any age, and I regret how much time I didn’t spend gazing at my babies before they transformed into galloping toddlers, now pre-teens.

The words are what make me squirm the most. Mothers are not defined by the Hallmark moments, but by the horrible moments. Anybody loves to play with a giggling baby or rambunctious toddler, but it’s mom who cleans up when potty-training is not quite successful. It’s mom wiping heads and doing laundry and providing a clean basin when the stomach virus tears through the house at 3 a.m. It’s mom holding constant vigil at a hospital bedside or waiting room. It’s mom lifting, feeding, bathing, and caring for a handicapped child day in and day out. It’s mom wearing a trough in the carpet next to her bed as she kneels for a child who has lost their way or is fighting in harm’s way or whose heart is broken beyond repair. I don’t know of any woman who would ask to be put in any of those situations, but those are the moments that define motherhood. We don’t want praise or pretty words about things we do that we would rather not do. It’s just what we do. It’s being a mom.

While these flowery thoughts and sentiments make me somewhat uncomfortable, they can be downright painful for many people. Mothers who must wait until they get to heaven to hug their child again, mothers who selflessly blessed an adoptive family with their own baby, mothers whose only children are really nieces, nephews, and friends since life has not brought her children of her own and countless other situations can bring pain and disappointment to this day of celebration.

As you think of the women you know that you would consider “extraordinary mothers”, they are probably women making it just one day at a time in extraordinary situations. You probably don’t call to mind a mom of two healthy children with a healthy spouse still living in the home. You probably don’t think of someone like, well, me. The extraordinary mothers we know may have many children raising them all to be successful individuals, may have handicapped or chronically ill children, may have lost a child, or may go to great lengths for her children to have normalcy in the midst of difficult life circumstances. Few of these women would want the accolades or flowery words of a Hallmark commercial. They are simply putting one foot in front of the other because another being in this life depends on it. It’s just what we do. It’s being a mom.

I can’t speak for all moms, but as much as I love words, I don’t want to hear many about what kind of mom I am on Mother’s Day. For me, it simply reminds me of all the places I fall short or what a bad attitude I occasionally have while doing what I do – being a mom. Oh, sure, I won’t turn down any gifts – diamonds are my favorite, sapphire is my birthstone, and if you’re buying a ring remember that my fingers are crazy skinny – but if you need to use any words, a simple, “Thanks for what you do” will suffice, and I wouldn’t mind hearing that once a week. Not saying, “But I don’t want to” when asked to do your job would be nice, because I rarely want to cook your dinner or fold your clothes, but it’s what I do. It’s being a mom. And, most of all, just grow up to make your momma proud.

Unfortunately, in the past year, my children have been acquainted with several children who have lost a parent to death. Knowing that anything can happen, I have been reminded at those times to let my children know what I want most for them out of life. At one point we were driving and discussing a child who had lost a parent and how hard that would be. I said, “If anything ever happens to me, first I want you to know how much I love you. And all I want for you in life is to love the Lord and to marry someone who loves the Lord.”

This brought a know-it-all nod from one child who said in a satisfied tone, “I knew you were going to say that.”

Very well, then. Carry on. That’s all I need to know for a happy Mother’s Day!

Wednesday

Random Thoughts for a Rainy Wednesday

This scares the b'jabbers out of me.

If I would spend half as much time thinking about what I was about to say as I spend apologizing for something I have already said, I wouldn't NEED to apologize quite so much!

I've never run a marathon, but I'm guessing in the put-the-Stirman-house-aright marathon (there's a t-shirt I need!) we are about at mile 11 -- wondering why in heaven's name we signed up for this gig and realizing in no uncertain terms that the worst is yet to come. Oddly enough, I feel certain that Monday we were at least at mile 14 and we've spent the last two days going backwards. About a week, people. About a week.

Only because I know my blog audience, I would like to send a memo to a certain technology-type-person:
Technology is great,
Technology is grand,
Technology is always there to lend a hand. (at this point even the 2nd grade level poetry runs out)
My campus loves technology, my district loves technology, and I use all $47 worth of technology in my classroom to the fullest! I am whole-heartedly on board with technology and wish the budget-powers-that-be were, as well.

That said, PLEASE don't make me take any more surveys about technology. My plate is full of other things currently.

Tuesday

Question for the Day...

Tomorrow is one month since my house troubles began. Thursday is three weeks that we have not lived in our home. Currently in my 800-square foot domicile the TV blares in the other room – it seems there is some sort of military calamity transpiring – while one child next to me will only cease their running monologue narrating life long enough to listen to the chatter of the Gameboy.

After the day I had in Room 24, this is not a relaxing place for me and oh, how I long to run and hide from the auditory assault. But all my punkin’s are here and safe. Talking incessantly, but safe.

I had forgotten, but it is perfectly logical, that it takes way longer to put a house back together than it does to destroy it. And, at my house, it seems we take one step forward on the putting together, but there is always more destruction to be done. There was more concrete dust flying at my house today. I guess there were 3 square inches in the back of the house not covered in concrete dust.

BST asks some great questions on his blog. Not having seen Jeff Walling’s new haircut, I can’t really speak to that one, but I thought this was a great question:

Can people really experience the fullness of joy without walking through intense sorrow?

What do you think?

Thursday

It was a shirt!

Remember I thought it was going to be tile? I thought some sort of minor housing detail would be what would finally send me over the edge. But, no, it was an article of clothing. This evening was the area- wide 5th grade track meet. Ashley ran and, of course, did us proud!

However, it occurred to me at 4 this morning that she probably needed some specific shirt to wear for this event. So, on her rising, I asked. “Oh, yeah…” was the response. “I think a few weeks ago Mr. Graham said we needed to wear our ‘Just Say No’ shirts.” “Didn’t you get a note about it?” “No, I was with PALS at Mr. Gatti’s during PE yesterday. I saw everyone else coming back with one, but I didn’t get one.”

So far, no sweat. I’ve seen the ‘Just Say No’ shirt recently. It’s in our bedroom, close to the top of her pile of clothes we moved to our bedroom to avoid concrete dust. So, Troy took her by the house on the way to school to find the shirt. It’s all good.

So, as a side note in an email this morning, Troy mentioned, “Also, we found a camo shirt for Ashley in our bedroom but it wasn't THE shirt she was looking for. She says she can make it work.”

Um, no. It will NOT work. Because I said so, that’s why. I start making plans to go to the house to look for it at the house during my conference time. But first it occurs to me to ask the counselor at Ashley’s school if they have any extra shirts that they could throw on her, so I send an email.

I’m not hearing from the counselor, so since Troy was going to meet “tile guy” at the house at lunch, I asked him to please look for me.
His reply, “Babe, I went in with her and pulled all that stuff- it's not there.” I can’t print MY reply to that revelation. I am on a non-stop quest to get my child the right shirt. I can feel the entire fa├žade of my calmness and cheeriness collapsing around this one shirt.
Troy tried to reassure me: “Don't sweat it, she was REALLY fine with wearing the other shirt......” To which I replied, “I know SHE is fine with it, and the rest of the world is fine with it, but i'm freaking b/c not only is keeping everyone calm my job, getting everyone what they need is my job. Getting everyone where they are supposed to be and having what all they need is my job and I'm not doing my job. I know I'm doing the best I can, but I failed on this one and I'm not getting past it. And when I see her tonight in her "make it work" shirt, and everyone else has on the right shirt, I will be reminded that I didn't do my job. Like I said, this is just the little drop that is making me run over...”

I was freaking, I KNEW I was freaking, but somehow Ashley in that shirt was going to make our family appear as if we had it all together, and I could NOT rest until I got her in one. Still not hearing from the counselor. Took my class to lunch and called the counselor to see if she had gotten my email (HELLO??? Life crisis, here! PLEASE respond!!) Left voice mail with counselor. Called school secretary, who, I think, is aware of my crumbling house, looking for the school counselor. She gave me her best, “Please don’t go postal over a shirt” voice and promised she would have counselor check her voice mail.

I returned from lunch to an email from the counselor: “I got her one.” Indeed, heavens opened and smiled on me just in that instance – and shortly after that Troy called all giddy about tile guy AND some other flooring, as well. We were starting to be put back together. Life would go on.

P.S. Meet Ashley at the track meet where she is in the same shirt she left the hotel in this morning. “Didn’t Mrs. Holder get you a shirt?” I ask, incredulously. “Yeah,” she said, “but it’s so hot. I’m just going to run in this one.” Her daddy encouraged her to re-think that choice before every last vein popped out of my forehead. The world returned to its axis as my first-born donned a camo shirt with neon orange writing on it. Sometimes it truly is the little things.

Second Grade Quote for the Day:

Introducing the cursive capital 'Y':

"Cool! Now we can write 'universe'!"

Huh? Do you mean "you-niverse"??
 
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