Tuesday, July 20, 2010

My "Business Trip"

My Grandfather who I posted about before died within a week of his stroke. He is with Jesus now, so even though we are sad to say "goodbye for now," we are comforted by the fact that he is in a better place.

The service was in Wisconsin and I wanted to go, so the best option for my family logistically was for me to drive there while my husband took off from work and stayed home with the kids. My husband goes on a few business trips a year, so we kind of joked that this was my "business trip".

It went really well!! I stayed with friends and family along the way and was able catch up with people I hadn't seen in a while :) It was nice. It was a LOT of driving, but worth it. When I arrived in Wisconsin I went to my grandfather's apartment where everyone was going through pictures and papers... a LOT had been done by my Uncle before I got there... I know it had to have been very overwhelming for him.

It was really neat, though... my grandfather kept a file on all his kids and grandchildren. He printed out emails we sent him to put in our file and kept the cards we sent him... so each of us was able to look through our file and remember different special times we shared with him. It was really special :) Even though it was a sad time, it was really a sweet time of reminiscing with my sister and my uncle.

The service went really well. My Grandpa was a fascinating man. He was a veteran and was awarded both the silver star and the bronze star during his service to our country. He was also an engineer that designed a pretty famous bridge in Tennessee. He was also a published songwriter (very talented!). It was special to hear about the little things he did for his neighbors and people in his town. He was truly a special and amazing man. My uncle was presented a flag in honor of my grandfather's military service. It was emotional, but it was truly a sweet and special service.

I had a minor incident during my trip home in the form of an allergic reaction to something. I am not sure what caused it... we think it may have been some fresh basil, but that doesn't make a lot of sense because I cook with basil... but it's not fresh. I don't know.. it's weird.. my eyes swelled all up and were itchy and runny. I also broke out in hives. Benadryl helped, but made me sleepy, so the last day of travel was long. I made it home safe and sound, though :)

My husband is amazing!!! He did a great job taking care of all 5 kids :) He is such a capable and "hands on" dad... that's one of my favorite things about him :) He even got the older three all ready for a swimming party and got them there on time.... and he got everyone to church both Sunday morning and Sunday night. The house was picked up when I got home and it was nice to sit down and relax and be with my family. I missed them!! And I think they missed me too :)

We have wonderful friends that really stepped up and helped out and supported us. My husband didn't have to worry about cooking because several friends brought food for him and the kids (yummy food too!). I know we were prayed for a LOT... and I had a lot of people checking on me. It was easier to be away from my family knowing that there were so many people here that would step in and help if my husband needed them. We even had someone stock our fridge and pantry the day I was coming home so I wouldn't have to worry about grocery shopping. Truly a blessing!

It's inspiring to me when brothers and sisters in Christ step up and help each other during hard and stressful times.

So... it was a long week... it had ups and downs.. it was emotional and inspiring and encouraging. There is absolutely no way around the fact that I am an abundantly blessed woman.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Do I Work?????

What is the deal with people asking me if I "work"? That question really makes me want to laugh out loud... seriously, I just want to bust out laughing when someone asks me that!! Some people ask, "Do you work outside the home?"... I like that question better.

I do understand what people mean when they ask me "Do you work?", and I do realize that most people mean nothing ugly when they ask that question. I suppose that's why I find it funny rather than angering. I do know people who get angry when asked that question, but I'm not angry... just entertained :-)

This question is so entertaining because "not working" is the hardest job I've ever had. And I've had my share of jobs :) Let's see... I worked maintenance at a golf course (mowing grass, etc), I was an office manager, a school secretary, a waitress, I wrote financial reports, and I worked admin in the Marine Corps. I think that's it...

But being a stay at home mom is by far the most difficult of all my jobs. I realize this may not be true of some people... there are some people out there that would find waitressing harder than being a homemaker... I'm just not one of them :-)

It's not hard to pick up after five kids all day... frustrating at times :) but not hard. It's not hard to do incredible amounts of laundry or to cook lots of food or to keep up with the schedule or homework for everyone. Some of it can get overwhelming at times, but it's not "hard", exactly.

The "hard" part is that it is unending. There are no breaks, mentally at least. My babies do not go to preschool, so I am "on duty" all day, every day. There is no lunch hour or chatting with fellow employees... there is no "leaving" work at the end of the day. Most of the time when I leave the house it is to grocery shop or go to playgroup or to a doctor appointment. And when I do leave the house for some "me time" (once a month, maybe?), either I have left after everyone is in bed... or my mind is on whether my husband is okay with everyone or not (thankfully, he is amazing, and is usually just fine). And if I have a doctor appointment for myself, it gets even more frustrating... either I have to take kids with me to my appointments or I have to chase down friends who already have enough on their plate that are able and willing to help me. The other thing that I find very difficult is doing the same thing over and over and over again. I'm not cut out for that kind of "work". But there is a lot of that kind of work in my current "job".

Some people think I am online a lot, and I am. Most days my time on facebook is the sum total of my time "talking" with other grown ups. And most days I get interrupted while doing that. It's the way I keep up with my friends and is my "outlet". It is also where I do most of my "ministering" to others... encouraging people and letting them know I am praying for them. But a lot of the time there is a child asking for something or crying outside my door while I'm on here.

Now, the last couple paragraphs probably sound like I am complaining, don't they? Well, I'm not. :-) I'm just being honest.

Most stay at home moms I know (including myself) would say that the benefits far outweigh the difficulty and that it is worth it. And that's true :) I do have to say, though, that a lot of times the benefits are ones that cannot be described or measured. They are also benefits that don't necessarily make the hard parts easier. The hard parts are still hard... they are just worth it. Watching my 2 year old make his baby brother laugh hysterically doesn't make cleaning up over and over again any easier, but it does make it worth it.

I hear a lot about staying home with your kids being a sacrifice... and they usually mean a financial sacrifice. There are a lot of "things" I don't have... but I am not a "things" person, so I really don't mind that part of it. I'm not saying I never want certain things, because I do... but most of the time I get over it relatively quickly. For me, the part that is a sacrifice is more complicated. To be able to run to the store at 10am for milk without having to pack up diaper bags... or to be able to sit and talk with other adults without being interrupted to take a child to the bathroom or change a diaper... or to be able to take an hour "off" from work to go for my annual "girl" doc appointment rather than have to move heaven and earth to find someone to watch my kids... I suppose I feel like I am sacrificing some freedom? Maybe that's the word I'm looking for? Maybe not? Maybe it's convenience? Not sure...

I have been interrupted like 12 times while writing this post... and I'm realizing I'm saying way more than I intended and now I'm debating deleting half of it and starting over... ha!

But I think I'm going to leave it... maybe it will help someone... maybe not. I do feel the need, however, to add that while being a stay at home mom is the hardest job I have ever had... it is also, by far, the most rewarding. I wouldn't trade it :-) As hard as it may be to believe after reading this... I LOVE my life!!!

So, yes, I work :-) And that's all I've got to say about that ;-) For now, anyway!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

My Grandpa

Sorry it's been so long since my last post! My posts normally happen closer together :)

I got word yesterday that my Grandpa who lives in Wisconsin had a massive stroke. My Uncle who lives in South Carolina flew there today and is with him now. It doesn't look good. The doctors say it's only a matter of time before he dies. My Uncle is having to make decisions and is facing the prospect of watching his father die. Please pray for both my Uncle and my Grandpa.

Most people expect to lose their grandparents and even their parents in their lifetime. It's a hard thing, but it is an expected thing. But we never really know when any of our loved ones will leave us... young or old... healthy or not.

I am reminded to let those I love know that I love them... to call more... to hug more... to laugh and cry with them more.... appreciate more... to just do more.