29 August 2006

girl time

Life has been so crazy here recently. Adjusting to the school schedule, starting the soccer season (okay, that was just last night, but you understand...)

And Ragweed is in bloom, therefore so are everyone's allergies. The "boys" seem to finally have it under control, and Miss C was teething simoultaneously with her congestion, but also seems to be bouncing back at last. Me? Oh, thanks for asking. Mine has settled into my chest and today I feel chilled and yet warm (oh yeah, wiped-out-exhausted-tired to boot). Not so good for a girl who is going on a trip on two days.

Yes, at long last I am going on a mini-vacation--I'm taking Miss C, so it doesn't count as a full one. I will be visiting my oldest, dearest friend for a lovely, long weekend of shopping. Feel those warm fuzzies? Oh yes, coffee, shopping, dining, pictures, shopping, and a bit more coffee and shopping. Those are the extent of our plans (with our toddler girls in tow, so it will truly be a GIRL trip). Ah, I forgot to mention the foot-pampering; we plan to scrub our feet and paint our toes as well. Luxury.

I met Bek in middle school. Our friendship stood the test of time and distance since I moved a mere three months after meeting her. We've written hundreds of letters (which morphed into emails over the years), sent many, many packages, and spent eons of time on the phone. Every few years, we'd have a chance to visit, and now we try to make that once a year. We have the same middle name, and now our daughters share one as well (their own, not ours). It happened to worked out that way, but it's just that much more fun. Our parents remained close friends, as well. Miss C and Melody are 6 weeks apart (no, this was not planned!), and so our trips will likely include them for years to come. I love the thought of a third generation of heart-friends, in spite of the distance. God blessed me the day I met this family, for sure.

And now, I must rest and pack. I bought an extra duffel bag for the trip home since shopping is a dominant activity this coming weekend. There is also a need to gather small, quiet toys for the almost two hour plan ride ahead...ah yes, we must endure trials in order to have that fun!

14 August 2006

the bus

My son has had a lifelong dream. I mean, really. Since he first played with a toy bus, and we'd point them out on the road in passing, he has been entranced, wanting to ride one. Badly. At a young two years old, tears would ensue, tantrums would be thrown, and a little heart would bust open every time a big yellow bus drove by. There was simply nothing his mommy could do to put him on it. "Someday," I'd say, with abundant apologies and wondering if I'd be able to fulfill that vague promise. At that time, we did not know what school we would have him attend, or if a bus would be an option at all.

Of course, the desire to ride a bus brought a desire to go to school. So, as a little enticement toward potty training, I told him he had to go in the big potty before he was allowed to go to school ("Teachers are too busy to change a diaper!"). It was a little motivator, but he was still a good three years old with mommy expecting baby #2 before he potty trained. And he held me to my promise: "Mommy, when do I go to school?" He wanted to go to school so bad he could TASTE it. And so we signed him up for 3 year old preschool at a church one mile from the house. He was so happy.

Then he discovered he would not be riding a big yellow bus to school. Ouch. Only half the dream was coming true, and the best part was the part being left out. My mother had the genius solution that held like glue for the year and half he went to that school. He rode the little white school bus (that parked in our driveway). Now, my son has a frightening sense of drama and loves to pretend--given there is someone to participate with, of course. Daily, he would kiss me good-bye at the door (and later, his baby sister as well), then trot off to "the bus" to greet his "bus-driver" (one of my many hats, I suppose). After Miss C was born, he would routinely ask the "bus-driver" if his sister could please ride along to drop him off.

When we registered Little B for school and he learned he could ride a bus each morning, you could see the fulfillment of a dream in his eyes. Last week, he wanted to ride on his first day, but I was adamant about taking him to his room. I'm glad, too, as he looked so little and lost and I got to hug him an extra time before he walked into that new world; also, the teacher was by the door to take his picture, so took it of us together.

But, Friday morning--oh, he was so ready to ride that bus at last. There was glee shining from his eyes as he climbed the steps. And since we live on a street with a cul-de-sac, I saw them drive back by the other way, and caught a glimpse of his sweet face through a window, leaning forward, hanging on for dear life as the bus jerked him around on his seat, trying to absorb every nuance of this experience his entire soul had longed for. I hope one day he writes, and that he will write of that experience with words a five year old cannot come up with so I can see it through his eyes at last.

Today, just as happily, he trounced off to the bus, eager to start his journey into his day. I pray each day holds that joy for him. I long for a delightful year and only the average number of "off days" any child would have. I hope he enjoys his journey through life, starting with each morning. . .

11 August 2006

"How was your first day?"

With a contented sigh and a soft voice, he replied, "It was great." And my heart slowed and my breathing became regular once more.

10 August 2006

first day

Today, my baby boy left babyhood. He’s off to the great big world of Kindergarten. My heart has been pounding ferociously since kissing him goodbye at his classroom door. Not being a woman who cries easily, I blinked back the burning in my eyes and bit my lip when I walked away. (I didn’t see any other moms sobbing wildly into hankies or I might have lost it, however). Of course, the day is not over, so that burning may win yet.

My anxiety, however, goes deeper than just his first day in school. It’s bigger than his being a “big kid”, and wider than missing his sounds throughout the day. My heart races because I know he struggles with transition; he loathes touching gooey messes; he doesn’t cope when a room is too loud. Later, I’ll worry about his being bored by shapes and letters, for now I worry that he’ll get through the day without falling apart.

During Open House this week, I talked to the teacher and school nurse about his Sensory Processing Disorder. My heart was a bit lighter knowing they cared and would work at understanding—that they would be on his side. Throughout the day at home, we do something called the Wilbarger Protocol—basically a soft bristled surgical brush brushed on his skin combined with joint compressions to help stimulate the nerves and thereby triggering his body to respond a bit more positively to his surroundings. Truly, when he is falling apart sometimes, I realize I have forgotten to do his brushing. Once we take care of it, his whole being begins to relax. To my shame, I forgot in the newness of getting him out the door for school today. However, his therapist plans to teach the nurse how to do this procedure—he will not have to go all day without it during the stress of school.

The school nurse emailed me a little bit ago. What good it did my heart to know he was surviving his first day. She said he had been overwhelmed by how loud the class was, and had come to visit her where she gave him a back rub (my alternate suggestion since she does not yet know how to do brushing) and chatted a few minutes. It soothed him some and he went on back to class.

And so, my heart is hurting for him. How hard it is for a child—deer caught in headlights expression on their face—that first day of Kindergarten. How much harder that your environment is not going to be simple to adjust to. What must it feel like for a typical day to overwhelm your body in so many ways?

I know my heart will continue to beat a little faster until I hold my precious baby in my arms once more. For yes, he will always be my baby boy. That, no doubt, is when my eyes will leak a little more noticeably.

07 August 2006

99 things about me

(since 100 just seemed a bit more than I could find time for!)

So, without further ado, my list as promised (please also reference #34 & 35)...

1. I am a poet.
2. Sometimes the poetry in me is like a dead leaf crumpled beneath one’s foot.
3. This can happen by the year (probably busy with kids or something else in life!).
4. I love reading—preferably Christian romance or suspense. Not poetry so much.
5. I cannot hear a rhythm. In a room of 100 people clapping (or even a dozen people kick-boxing), I will be the one who gets off the beat and stumbles around to get back. (My husband is very musical; go figure.)
6. I believe mommy-hood was my calling.
7. Some days I forget that I believe I was supposed to be a mommy and I stress out over it.
8. I wanted to get married in my upper twenties.
9. I got married when I was 21.
10. I have never regretted it for a single moment.
11. I am now 30.
12. I love to play Clue!
13. Scrabble is my other favorite game.
14. I have recently become addicted to Sudoku.
15. I like playing Nancy Drew on the computer (but what I really want is the Hardy Boys—where ARE they??).
16. I enjoy puzzles.
17. I like having the face of the watch on the inside of my wrist, not the top.
18. I hate to wear shoes and remove them immediately upon arriving home.
19. Thus, I usually have a large collection of shoes by the front door (see below #71).
20. Sometimes, I slip my shoes off under the table at a restaurant (shhh—don’t tell!).
21. I have endometriosis.
22. I love hot showers.
23. I burn my tongue on my coffee more frequently than I care to admit.
24. I love coffee with cream, no sugar.
25. I also love plain lattes.
26. Mostly, I drink my coffee with unsweetened soymilk since that’s now what we have in the fridge (and I almost prefer it now).
27. Dark chocolate is an important part of my diet.
28. I have adult-onset asthma.
29. My favorite flower is the stargazer lily.
30. I have a younger brother.
31. I have lots and lots of extended relatives; almost all of them are out of state.
32. I prefer to drive a manual transmission.
33. I get migraines.
34. I procrastinate.
35. Badly.
36. I have pierced ears—one hole per ear.
37. My dad made me wait until I was 12 to get them pierced.
38. Now, I think I’ll do the same with my daughter, even though I did not understand at the time.
39. I have to wear gold earrings or my skin gets irritated.
40. I have an Associates degree from a private junior college.
41. I went to college in the mountains (around here, they’re “mountains”, some people say they’re just “foothills”).
42. Now, I love the mountains; they are a personal retreat for me.
43. Someday, I’ll take more classes just because I want to.
44. I am trying to teach myself how to sew.
45. In the process, I am falling in love with it.
46. The marshmallows in sweet cereal make my skin crawl when I chew them. {shudder}
47. I got glasses in the fourth grade.
48. I have worn contacts off and on over the years.
49. When wearing contacts, I now (sometimes) add reading glasses to them to help me keep my place on a page.
50. My reading glasses are dark purple and sassy.
51. I have hazel eyes.
52. They change by the weather and what I wear.
53. They look teal when I cry.
54. My hair is dark, dark brown.
55. It is very straight.
56. It falls below my shoulders.
57. I often wear it up in a clip, bun-style.
58. I’m trying to grow it out as long as it was when I graduated from High School (at least 6 inches below my shoulder).
59. I kill plants regularly.
60. I have a new desire to understand plants and develop a “greener” thumb (I wonder how long this will last!).
61. It has taken me seven months to get this far in the list (see above, #34 & #35). Oh, the shame. . .
62. But, I blame the house selling/not selling/buying/moving/etc. Yeah, that’s what it is.
63. I occasionally have to re-read the list to see if I’ve already said something.
64. I love popcorn.
65. I’ve simplified this love and now make my own on the stove with olive oil and salt—no more microwave stuff for me, thank you very much (though I used to love it)!
66. I love lists.
67. I have lists of lists.
68. I must get a gleam in my eye when I want to make a list since my husband (mid-conversation) often asks, “Do we need to make a list?” He’s got impeccable timing since that would be the next request out of my mouth!
69. I use a “Mom’s Plan-It” with a weekly calendar and tear-out list to give myself an organized look.
70. That does not actually mean I am organized.
71. I always have “piles” of things—clothes to fold, papers to go through, books I’ve read/want to read/need to put away, more papers, coupons, shoes (reference #19) and the list goes on.
72. I use cloth diapers on my daughter much of the time.
73. I do that because I like to, not because of the thousand other reasons people list.
74. I wore braces for 3 ½ years.
75. My teeth were already straight; it was for TMJ.
76. I still struggle with TMJ problems.
77. Breakfast for dinner is one of my favorite meals.
78. In High School I worked at a consignment shop.
79. It was the first in the area, which started quite a trend in following years.
80. I liked that job a lot.
81. I was a dental assistant before having children.
82. I also helped manage their front office short-term.
83. Management seems to be what I like best.
84. I hate to exercise.
85. It bores me to no end.
86. I need to exercise.
87. I’m working on ways to motivate myself.
88. I did kickboxing for a little while, but now it’s too far away.
89. I liked it enough I’m thinking about buying a video to do it at home.
90. However, I don’t think I’d do it alone (based on personal experience).
91. I am notorious for returning library books late.
92. I am responsible for packing some library books while moving.
93. I cannot figure out where I packed them, and therefore have renewed them twice now (and they are due again).
94. I have a terrible time making decisions (“But what if. . .”).
95. My heart can be very vulnerable.
96. But it loves fully, wholly and without question.
97. I am deeply in love with my husband.
98. I love the Lord Jesus even more.
99. I think this should have been easier since I love making lists.

04 August 2006


Since I was tired of the old template, and in honor of my new house, I've made a few changes here at "penny for my thoughts". So, welcome to my new online "home". Bear in mind, I am a woman, and entitled to change my mind should it need more redecorating or color! I've also added a new blog, with the intent of posting recipes and meal planning (truly just a self-motivator as this is not a strong point for me). I'm still toying with it--appearance, name and concept. It may turn into nothing, but feel free to stop by in the weeks ahead. In theory it will be geared toward healthier meals and treats, but what is life if not to live a little, right?

at last

It's official. We sold our old house today. I had a moment of doubt when, after signing all the papers, our attorney said, "Okay, we thought the wire would be here already for the loan, so hopefully it will come while I go finish up some copies." WHAT? It did finally make it, though. (I'm suspicious it was the FedEx guy who arrived, looking for someone to sign, while we all sat chatting.)

Who bought our house? Well, a second year college guy will be living there; his mother and her boyfriend (?) bought it for him with 20% cash down. And they had the gall to quibble over a cash settlement of $300 for repairs (we didn't want to pay any, they wanted more--claiming problems we had a very hard time believing; not to mention we had a new exterior paint job done as well as put a new roof on in recent months. Give me a BREAK!). Either way, our out-of-pocket was less than expected and it seems we will also get some cash back from escrow in a few weeks. That eases the way we scraped the bottom of the barrel for closing (it'd have been ever so much easier pre-double house payments!)

Okay, that's off my chest now, and the mortgage is off my back. Praise the Lord! :)

Think I'll go eat bake a few cookies now, to celebrate, of course!

01 August 2006

reunions and college years

Thank you, everyone; I did find something I was comfy and happy wearing. After two shopping trips. I feel this way about clothes: I loathe shopping for them. If I find something I really like, I buy two of it, usually different colors. (I have tons of shirts that have twins in another color.) The capris I found in white for the reunion are also in my possession in a light aqua color. The final touch: the black flip-flops with black beads on them! Capris were a common trend, so I really appreciate the tip. And, I borrowed my dad's digital camera; so pardon the blurriness, but this is the only shot we took of me (the kids were interrupting, need I say more?).

Due to my abiding nervousness at social functions (and the history below didn't help), there was a mixture of anxiety bubbling in my chest and a deep pleasure at seeing my beloved mountains. I saw some friends I'd hoped would be there (one couple I'd "introduced" on campus, with their new baby). Most were of the casual acquaintance type, but it was still far better than I'd expected. I find reunions a bit disappointing in that so many people do not come, however, and I am left wondering about specific friends (and I am horrendous for initiating contact!).

And now, a piece of my heart on a platter, exposed to the world for what it's worth.

My college years were full of insecurities, changes and growth (whose aren't, right?). The choices I made, or didn't make, as it turned out, colored my experience more than some, I believe. I was in a very small, two-year private college. Which was jam-packed with Greek life. I am not a sorority girl, not even close. I don't think I knew just how fully it consumed my campus until my little group of friends all rushed after the first term. There was one exception besides myself, and it was so painful for her that she joined the following term ("When in Rome. . ." and "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em" and all that, I guess). All-consuming is a kind term for what Greek life was for those girls. Please do not get me wrong. I did not think it was "evil", I simply had no place for it in my life. Perhaps I shared the thoughts too easily, perhaps I didn't share them correctly. Either way, I no longer had my crowd of friends, and even the few I had been closest to had no time and the friendships waned quickly.

I worked hard at licking my wounds and finding people who had time in their lives for the non-Greek. Eventually, I began to find a groove once more and settled in a little less sure of myself than before, but did settle. During the Spring term, I was hanging on the edge of a new group of girls who decided they wanted an alternative to the sorority and set about creating their own thing. It was lacking Greek recognition by charter, but essentially the same in principal. Once more, I was left in the dust, unwilling to compromise my feelings on the matter. Through the summer, my heart was battered over this issue of not being a sorority girl. It truly, truly wasn't for me. I had applied for the position of Resident Assistant, and was accepted. My first year I'd had three different rooms, and three different roommates. At last, I was able to carve a small place for me, and other than the first term (we were on the quarter system back then), I had my own room, my privacy and solitude to hide in.

I returned to college depressed. The year unfolded as trying, yet oddly healing. One "previous" friend and I were R.A.'s on neighboring floors, and we worked on our friendship that year. In some ways, the end result was deeper than before, and in other ways, it was so very different and not as deep as I thought it could have been. Regardless, we were at peace, having fought the storm. There were other issues I worked to heal that year--I fought myself and found a way to be more involved, albeit a small way (once in my shell, it is very, very hard for me to emerge). I also fell in love twice, marrying the right one a year after I graduated.

In hindsight, I wish I had been more open-minded in my reactions and had a better understanding of life around me. I was right to stand behind my beliefs and I am stronger for being firm in my morals (not easily accepted by many people during those years!). But, in a small corner of my heart, I feel cheated, in that I feel I sacrificed friendships along the way; some days I wish I could re-live my college years and do a few things differently, less stoic than the first time. As I said, those years were years of growth for me. I like to think I am much more open and more balanced now. While I get a good case of blues at times (I am a woman!), my depression has never truly returned, and I do still enjoy going up to my mountains. Each year, it is a tiny bit easier to see the people from so long ago. And I secretly hope they forget whatever image they had of me, so I can relive a new experience with those who also love it enough to return.

that old house

Well, we did not close today like we'd hoped. Apparently, the loan officer working on the buyer's loan was not returning calls because. . .he got FIRED. And no one had taken over his clients yet. So, the buyers are moving on to the second place that prequalified them. They have ONE week to close (per standard contracts), or we are renegotiating. They've been proving to be quite a pain to deal with, claiming a lot of damage on our siding, all the way around (versus the FOUR boards with SOME issues), etc. Our agent called their bluff and they backed down, but are still being quite nit-picky (wanting a letter proving the roof was "professionally done" since hearing my dad -- a contractor -- did the work; we don't want issues in a year, so we're not providing one. It's BRAND NEW, for crying out loud!!). Anyhow, we're going way out of pocket on closing costs and it's quite painful, so we're not going to sit around and argue. You want it, you buy and find a way to make it work, or we pull the contract. End of discussion. We need time to find a seller if these guys are not going to pull through. For the moment, we are set to close next Monday at 4pm.