Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Mittwoch Ramblings

It seems as though every kid in the known universe has returned to school but my three. Don't get me wrong, I am loving the late night movie-watching with my brood and sleeping in during the week, but I'm ready for the next chapter. It has been a productive, eventful, eye-opening summer I will not soon forget. But it's time to push the chickies out of the nest: Mama has earned those 2.5 hours a day to herself.

I spend too much time in cyberspace. Driving down the highway the other day, I noticed a car with one of those country stickers on it--you know, those oval ones that are white with black lettering. My immediate reaction to IRL wasn't "Ireland", but rather "in real life".

Maybe not everyone is a racist. Mariah's playing soccer this fall. Saturday was the parent/coaches meeting. During the "what to wear at practice" portion, the head coach looked directly at me and said, "Nothing hard in the hair. Last year we had a young lady with beads in her hair and she was required to play wearing a stocking cap." Oooooookaaaaaaay. So what does that have to do with me? What--just because I'm black that automatically means my daughter is going to show up for practice looking like Rick James? Because yeah, black girls have to have 50 million barrettes in their hair! Before I could explode, I counted to ten and glanced around the group. That's when I realized why the comment was aimed at me: Mariah was the only girl on the team.

Once we move and Isaiah is in full-day kindy, I'm going back to work. Outside of the home. I've been a stay-home parent since Savannah was born, 12 years ago next week. I just hope being a childcare provider, referee, chauffeur, counselor, bookkeeper, nurse, chef, and maid all these years has given me enough life experience to be viable in the job market. I'm not holding out for a management position, a part-time gig that gets me home before the kids do will fit the bill just fine. I'm blessed to have had the opportunity to stay home as long as I have. J and I designed it that way. Even when times got hard, instead of deciding that I needed to work a job to make ends meet, J would very often get a second job. I love that man. I am admittedly anxious about going back after all of this time, but I always knew the time would come ~ time to bring home some bacon.

Mmmmmm, bacon...

Friday, August 21, 2009

Just Add Water

Mariah graduated from her Level 2 swim class with a ceremonial walk off the plank ~ in this case, the diving board. Watch out Level 3--a fish named Mariah is well on her way!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

My Testimony

My personal life has had to endure some strife lately. I thought about sharing my testimony once the trials and tribulations were over. But as any Believer knows, they are never truly "over". That's what builds our faith. And God has been faithful through it all ~ reminding me with His continuing miracles that He is still in control.

Life is full of ups and downs, triumphs and disappointments. We don't always know why we go through until we're through it and look back. But in some situations, we'll never fully know or understand. The beauty of God is that His love is constant. Even when we mess up, He's there to help us clean up. Even when our own poor judgment brings us to a crossroads, God is still right there, nudging us to choose His path--His best for us--and walking beside us every step of the way. He's even there to carry us when we can't muster one more step.

So instead of waiting until my victory is won, I'm going to praise God now. For testing my faith. For working on me. For working in my life. For opening my eyes to His goodness and mercy. For loving me despite my past and the unwise decisions I have made. For loving me enough to not leave me the way I was. For opening and softening my heart.

For all of this, I give the Lord a great big Madea "Halleluyer!"

Can I get an "Amen"? ;)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

32 Ounces

That is the amount of water I was instructed to drink prior to my first non pregnancy-related ultrasound today.

I thought I was going to bust a gut on the drive over. It didn't help that it was sprinkling outside. Of course I had to park a mile from the hospital entrance because naturally, that's where the only spaces are. I made it inside the hospital and all the way down to the waiting room without incident (or accident). But when I finally settled into a chair and looked up, what did I see: the biggest painting of waves crashing ashore I have ever seen. Hey Army--that is seriously sadistic.

I would have chuckled at the irony of it all, but I was seriously one sneeze away from being a "clean up on Aisle 12". After what felt like an eternity, but was actually 5 minutes, I heard my name. The tech was looking directly at me:

Tech: Sharon?

Me: Yes?

Tech: I could tell it was you. You have that look on your face.

The look like I'm about to wet myself if a fly so much as lands on me? That look? Then yeah, I'm your girl.

He was kind enough to get the bladder business out of the way right off the bat, God bless him. He and the chaperone then returned after I was excused to the bathroom. At one point during the ultrasound, the tech informed me he was checking the blood flow to my parts "down there". All of a sudden, the sound of a heartbeat filled the room. He must have seen a new look on my face because he said, "Don't panic. That's your heartbeat."

I told him I would have some explaining to do seeing as how my husband is deployed. But I got the distinct feeling they've seen it all---"Immaculate Conception" during a deployment included.

He couldn't provide me with the test results-whether there's a cyst or something else-but told me to call my doctor myself if I hadn't heard back in a week's time. I couldn't read his expression, but if I were really dying he wouldn't have just let me walk out like that, right? Right?

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Newsflash: My son can walk!

Just in case you didn't read about it on Facebook, Twitter, the parenting message boards, earlier in the week on The Blog, missed the sky writing, or didn't hear the announcement on "The Today Show": at 5 years + 2 months-old, my son, Isaiah, has learned how to walk.

For parents of typical kids, I realize this milestone is also huge. After all, I have experienced it twice before. But very often it's taken for granted....sort of par for the course. It's the natural progression after scooting, crawling, pulling to a stand, and cruising. But to a mother of a child like Isaiah, the terms "late crawler" or "late walker" take on a whole new significance. A mother of a typical child who measures her child's delays by weeks or even a few months should spend some time with a mother who measures the same delays by years. It's all about perspective.

So bear with me and my pride as Isaiah is making his transition from non-ambulatory to ambulatory. He isn't walking quickly. He isn't walking steadily. He can't walk up or down stairs. And he is far from being a "safe walker". His primary mode of transportation is and will continue to be his chair for as far as I can see. And we'll still need to live in a handicap accessible home. But the key word in all of this is walking.

Slow and unsteady he goes, but as far as I am concerned, he's already won the race.

Just 8 days after wowing us with his maiden promenade...

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Going Postal

Big props to anyone who has ever sent a a care package to my husband while he was deployed. Thank you.

I experienced a bit of "shell shock" last week when I went to the post office to ship hubby a couple of boxes. I was used to sending care packages from Germany--through the MPS (Military Postal System). Basically from one APO address to another APO address = free shipping. All I needed to do ahead of time was fill out the customs form. And I kept a stack of those in the house. My spoiled husband received at least one box a week from his loving wife and kids during his last deployment.

So when it came time to mail him his first set of care packages of this deployment, I dutifully bought the big roll of brown paper and packaging tape and commenced to wrap the perfect boxes. I proudly loaded them into the van and headed over to the local post office. A few things that would have been nice to know ahead of time would be:

(A) The green customs forms are obsolete for shipping downrange from stateside. So I had to redo both of them.

(B) Brown paper packages are apparently very 2006. The Post Office has "Flat Rate" APO/AFO boxes that would have saved me a little money on shipping...which brings me to (C)

(C) Shipping those boxes cost me a small fortune--more than the value of the items inside.

As I walked away from the counter with my wallet a little lighter than I had anticipated, I came to the conclusion that less is more. Once a week is definitely overkill.

Well, earlier this week J asked me to send him more of his favorite foot cream. My first thought was "has it been a week already?" But I sucked it up, bought the cream, and headed back to the post office ~ definitely a little wiser and more prepared this time.

Counter Guy: You'll be sending this 'Priority'?

Me (not about to get duped again): Oh no. Just send it the cheapest way.

Counter Guy (with furrowed brow): You sure about that?

By this time, his co-worker had wandered over.

Counter Guy to Co-Worker: Hey man--she wants to send this the cheapest way. Does she WANT the man's feet to fall off before he gets his cream?

Co-Worker: Ha! Send it that way and the war will be over before he even gets it. He'll be on his way home--with no feet! And not even combat-related...shaking his head

By this time, I was doubled over laughing.

Counter Guy: Your man's fighting a war in the desert and you want to send him some relief by BOAT...

Me: OK! OK! Put it on a plane! Just put it on a plane!

That seemed to appease the Postal Gods. They accepted my sacrifice and it should arrive in 5-7 working days. J's feet rejoice!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Hell Week: Images from the Hottest Week in Puget Sound History

It's nearly impossible (and rather dangerous) to get a good picture while driving, but I couldn't believe my eyes. Yes--the van recorded 106 degrees outside on Wednesday.

It "cooled off" to 103 by the time I reached my destination.

The fire department came to spray the kids at the club where Savannah went for her math and science enrichment program.

Sweet relief.

I could have used one of those at the house.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Sea Legs

There's a reason why I've been dragging myself out of bed at 6am every Friday ~ my unofficial day off. There is a reason why I've been driving 20 miles each way to get Isaiah to aquatics therapy every Friday.

Almost 8 months after taking his first official steps, Isaiah has decided that being in the water is just what he needed to take it to the next level: