7.27.2014

Slow and Easy

Over the past week my house has slowly emptied out.

Each day, a couple more pieces of my life went out the door.  Some in boxes in the garage, most out the door and into another family's memories.

It's been a slow transition from a home back to a house.  And like Andrew reminded me yesterday, it's a blessing that it's happening this way.


I've never been good at Rip The Bandaid and Get It Over With when it comes to change.

I need time to process and mourn.  Pay my respects to each material item and the memories it carries with it.  Andrew is quick to remind me of the time he surprised me with a night away for Valentines Day and I decided not to go.  Too much to process in a two hour time span.  (please note: I now see the psychosis in this and am still kicking myself for not going.)

So while this whole process of having to deal with the loss everyday has been back breaking and sad, I'm seeing the grace covering it.

The other day the playground and patio table left within a 24 hour period of each other. 


I stood at the sink and stared at the unfamiliar view and it struck me that this house was every one's house.  A place where people gathered and were instant friends.  People helped themselves to our kitchen, their children made themselves at home.  Our doors were always open.

The table that used to sit there hosted countless parties, witnessed deeply personal conversations, some of our greatest fights.

We built that swingset when Josie was three and even though it took seven days and slightly resembled a death trap, I loved it.  I watched my kids make friends out there.  Sometimes with other people, sometimes with themselves.  They learned to pump their legs out there.  When I think of what embodies their time here, that swingset is a big part of it.

And now it's gone. 

Another family is going to make memories on it and I love that.

I love that someone is using our washer and drier and our couches and our dining room table.  That one of my best friends little girls is sleeping on Josie's bed and so many of our decorations are now hanging in loved ones homes.

I'll get to make my new home soon.

And we will get to fill it with new memories and laughter and hospitality.

But tonight I'm thankful for slow transitions and the grace that covers us in the moments that are hard.

7.24.2014

Our First Goodbye

Last Wednesday, Gabe had his last heart check in Georgia.

It was a little bit of a tear jerker.

I love his cardiologist so, so much and trust her completely.  It's hard to imagine starting over with someone who hasn't watched his little body perform miracle after miracle.  The new doctor won't be as amazed at his pink lips or 99 O2 stats.  Dr. Streiper has talked me down from many ledges and never once made me feel crazy for asking my strange questions.  She loves Gabe and puts up with his very, very active self during our long appointments.

She pointed me towards the most patient doctor on her list of suggestions as we walked out the door.

Bless her.
 

This visit wasn't technically needed since he just went in last month.

But last time, he really didn't want to do an ECHO, but before she released him to another doctor she wanted to get a peek at what was going on in there.

I'll be honest, I was a wreck at this appointment.

With everything going on with Livi, I'm already on edge.  Add that to not having an ECHO since right after we left the hospital and I had all kinds of ideas running through my head.  He's been sweaty and a bit clammy lately.  And not eating as great as he had been.  All hints towards fluid accumulating in his chest cavity again.


But she gave us the all clear.  His blood pressure and stats were all great and he is growing.  Slowly, but growing.  His heart function (squeezing) isn't great.  It's not awful, just not where they were hoping it would be post Fontan.  She thinks that this may just be how his heart is going to be and since it obviously isn't slowing him down at all, she isn't concerned.

As we walked out of her office and down the hall it hit me.

This is it.

Our first goodbye.

I turned around and walked back in, looked her in the eye and said, "thank you."  And those two little words got me all choked up because, man, they just don't cover it.  We hugged and said goodbye and walked out the door.


Since then, I've had a hard time keeping my thoughts straight.

I feel like it was moving so slow and now all of the sudden we only have single digit days left.  We've sold all of our big furniture and reserved the uhaul.  We have airline tickets purchased and everyday the house is more and more empty.

I'm so super excited, but man, leaving is harder than I expected.

7.23.2014

TOS Review - Flourish: Balance For Homeschool Moms

This review is a little different.

Normally, I'm using products with the kids and sharing how they fit into our homeschooling methods, if they worked for us or not.  Our schooling has been so incredibly enhanced by these review products, many I'd never heard of before signing on with The Old Schoolhouse Review Team.  Honestly, I can't even imagine what the kids education would look like without the products we've been able to test out.

This review is different because it was something that I got to use.

When I first read the description of Apologia Ministries new book Flourish: Balance For Homeschool Moms, I knew I had to have it.  In fact, it took a lot of restraint to not just go ahead and order it.  But I was good, I waited for the chance to review it and was pretty excited when I made the cut.


After what I consider to be our first real school year, one in which I had to juggle an open heart surgery, a job change, and the beginnings of a cross country move, I am feeling a bit unbalanced.

This year was fabulous and solidified in my mind that homeschooling is the absolute right option for our family, but it was hard.  I was stretched and there were many days that I felt flat out unequipped.  I knew that a book like this could be just what I needed to start our next school year off on the right foot.

First things first, the book is pretty.

I love pretty books.

The author, Mary Jo Tate, specifies that while the title says "for homeschool moms," it's really for all moms.  After reading it, I totally agree.  Managing a household is only made slightly trickier by educating your kids at home.  Even if your kids go to school, if you work inside or outside of the home, family life and get out of balance.  This book has words of wisdom that can benefit any mom.

There is quite a bit of talk directed at women who are homeschooling and running an in home business.  In fact, I'd say that if you are in that category, this is a must read.  However, I felt that her discussions on how to manage homeschooling and your business could easily relate to a lot of other tasks.



What I loved most about this book is that if made me think about where I was unconsciously placing my priorities.  One of my favorite quotes was when she says that by saying yes to one thing, I'm saying no to another.  That really made me think about what those other things I was saying no to were.  I quickly learned that most times, I was saying no to the more important.  It's a work in progress, but I'm starting to see that the urgent isn't always the most worthy of my time and energy.

When you purchase the book, you also get access to a downloadable file that is full of things to use to help you manage your time.  To do list, schedules, planners.  I'm already a planner and to do list enthusiast so I didn't use these, but if you are new to this sort of organization this is an awesome resource.

I really enjoyed this book.

It's so easy to get our priorities all mixed up and in doing so, lose out on the things that we really want to be doing.  If you are looking to find more balance in your day, I recommend you pick up a copy of this book.

You can get a copy of Flourish: Balance For The Homeschool Mom at Apologia for $15.00.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FlourishAtHome
Twitter: https://twitter.com/maryjotate

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7.21.2014

My Village

If it were up to me, I'd leave town in the middle of the night.

I'd load the truck and sneak out of town and hope that all of my friends would think I was on vacation until they forgot about me.  I'm no good at goodbyes.  They are awkward and sad.  I want to say, "I'll see you soon!" but I have no idea exactly when I will see them or if I'll see them again.  I don't want to cry and I don't want them to cry.

But I can't sneak of in the dead of night.  I owe them more than that.
 
They say it takes a village.

And I don't think anyone knows that as much as a Mom that has battled for her children's lives as much as I have.  Through infertility, foster care, and open heart surgeries my people have carried me through some very dark days, celebrated some monumental victories by my side.

They have cheered me on, kept me going.  Provided roots to this displaced Northern girl trying to find her way through Southern Belle-ness.


And now, as I'm counting down the days until we get to pick Andrew up at the airport, I'm suddenly very aware that I'm simultaneously counting down to the day I leave My Village.

Some of these girls I've known since my first month in Georgia.  Others I've picked up along the way.  A lot of women don't have many girlfriends, but I'm not one of them.  I have an abundance of friends that I know would drop it all and run to my aid.

Or sneak out after bedtimes to sit on my porch and make my lonesome self laugh.


My friends are real and true and I'm pretty sure I'll never be able to replace any of them.

I'm going to miss My Village.