Sunday, January 27, 2013

Just Keep Swimming

If I am being honest, I would describe our life right now as "a bit heavy".

Doug's work continues to be really tough. Lots of hours, too much stress that is affecting him both physically and emotionally, and no end in sight. But he has a job. A good paying job. With amazing co-workers who he cares about and who care about him. For that we are thankful.

I feel like my "job performance" as a mom the past 6 months has taken a nose dive. I have little patience, snap at them way more than  I should, and spend way too much time on facebook. I crave "down time", something I don't get much of these days with the way Doug's job is right now. But to be able to stay home with them, to really be there for everyone moment of their young lives..  I am thankful.

The kids have their "moments" more often these days, sadly feeling the effects of both the things described above. Evelyn can drive me me nuts sometimes with her lack of attention, lack of listening, lack of kindness toward her brother, her whining, and her constant need to be twirling. But she is so smart, creative, pensive, and hilarious.. and loves me to the moon and back. She can be the kindest, sweetest soul, crack me up, listen well, be a huge helper, and obey "the first time".. and in those moments, which are in actuality quite often, she absolutely shines and she makes my heart smile. Matthew is three and when something doesn't go his way (which, apparently, is quite often these days), he handles it the way any three year old would. By crying and fussing.  A lot. Oh, and he throws things too. But just one look at his face sweet face makes me melt. They way he is so kind, thoughtful, and loving toward me, his dad and his sister is so endearing. His laugh and smile light up a room. His energy and love for life  is contagious. For the amazing gift of my kids, I am eternally thankful.

We have had at least one of us sick since Thanksgiving (yes... 2 months!) We truly have never had this much illness in our house! I was told that this might happen when Evelyn started school, and boy, that was true. And it is getting old. Fast. It has kept us off our game and causing us to miss important things like church and school and fun classes and play dates, and creating lots of cabin fever for the one(s) who aren't sick at the time! But, even tho I am writing this because I cannot sleep due to my incessant coughing and stuffiness, I am thankful it has been nothing too serious and that I made it through the first 6 weeks of "sick family" being the healthy one and able to take care of the rest of the ones I love so dearly.

Then the cat died. That really wasn't what we needed. At all. I'd say we are doing okay, but we miss him terribly. The kids are still processing the best they can. Matthew hadn't asked about Sam for 3 or 4 days, but tonight he asked, "Why did Sam have to go away?" and "Is he broken into pieces?". Such hard stuff for kids who are young and who have never gone through loss. Hard stuff for parents who are also reeling over this loss yet want to be strong and completely available for the little people. But, I am thankful for Sam, the life he had, and how much joy he brought our family. 

Heavy. Things are a bit heavy. We are trying our best to have an attitude of thankfulness in this "season". We know so many have it WAY tougher than we do. As I write this I think, "I am toally whining.. I need to suck it up", but this is just where WE are right now and for us, it is hard. Yet we have so very much to be thankful for. Truly we do.

This morning Evelyn and I watched "Finding Nemo" while Doug and Matthew were at church (currently her and I are the sick ones). I don't know why, but I was struck by the profound yet simple wisdom of Dory. When Marlin was scared, feeling low. heavy hearted over his lost son, Dory modeled and spoke these words to him more than once:

"Just keep swimming."

Just. Keep. Swimming.

And so we do...

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose" ~Romans 8:28

Friday, January 18, 2013

Our "Boy in the Black Pajamas"

 Our beloved cat Sam left the world today about 12:30pm at the age of 14. He became very ill, very suddenly this week. While there may have been things that could have been done to help him live (for maybe only a short time), we decided against those things and let him go in peace and without pain. It has been a long, exhausting, and sad few days to say the least.

Doug and I got Sam from my mom after my dad died. He was my dad's favorite cat, and since my mom wanted to get a dog and Sam was not going to do well with that, Doug and I took him in. He has always been Doug's buddy, too,  even when we were dating, so it seemed only right that he come with us.

The past 10 1/2 years with him have been such a joy. He loved us dearly, as we loved him. We will miss him so.

One of the hardest part of this whole thing was telling the kids. They have known Sam their whole lives. They love him so much. He was so gracious and kind to them, and, despite his efforts to convince us otherwise, he loved them a lot, too.

We told Matthew and Evelyn the situation with Sam Wednesday night at dinner. We weren't sure how or when to even tell them, but it naturally came up when Matthew asked if we were going to get medicine to help Sam get better. We did our best to explain things in very simple and concrete terms, not giving too much detail. Evelyn was so sad and just cried and cried. She had good and thoughtful questions ("Does he know how much I love him?") and just wanted to be with him. Matthew understood what he could for his age, and we didn't elaborate much with him. It went as well as it could have gone. It just was, and is, so hard.


Thursday was a day that I saw my kids shine. They loved on Sam so well. They were so gentle and so compassionate. Every time we left the house or left him they would tell him goodbye and kiss him. Evelyn came to me in the morning and asked if we could throw Sam a birthday party since he wouldn't be here for his next birthday (in April). With tears in my eyes I helped them make cupcakes. We brought Sam to the table and the kids sang to him. It was the sweetest thing ever. Evelyn had a lot of tears throughout the day but also was very matter of fact about the whole situation, too. She continued ask questions and process things. I am glad that we had that day, knowing what was to come but still having Sam with us. I hope the kids, above all, remember that day.


Sam got progressively worse last evening and into this morning. We really thought he might not make it through the night, but he did. So Doug and I took him to the vet while Evelyn was at school (Jody came over and stayed with Matthew while he was napping). Our vet Dr. Cochran was so gentle and kind, reassuring us we were doing the right thing for Sam. With tears in our eyes, we loved on our "firstborn" as he took his last breath. One of the hardest things I have ever done. Period.

We told Evelyn and Matthew that Sam was gone after Evelyn got home from school. I think having a full day to process things made it easier for Evelyn to take the new of his death. There were some tears and some questions, but as I type this she is playing with her brother and doing well. I am sure there will be more tears and more grieving for all of us, but I am thankful that my sensitive girl is doing okay.

There are so many wonderful memories of our sweet Sam, ones that I will cherish. Always. The way he would almost always come in from outside when you called him in. How he "puffed" you in the face with his paw when you were loving on him. They way he always hung out on the stairs to Doug's shop to keep on eye on Doug while he worked. How he would try to coerce us downstairs for "couch time" after the kids went to bed. They way he would lay his head on me and put his paw on my arm when he sat next to me, but never sit on my lap (Doug's lap was the only one he sat on!) How he could take on two cats at one time and win handedly, yet be so afraid of mice and other small creatures at the same time. How he loved Doug. How he loved my kids. How he loved me. So many memories. Sigh....

He wasn't perfect and sometimes could be a real stinker... but mostly he was such a good ol' boy who lived the life of ease. I wouldn't have traded a hair on his head! I miss him so much already!

One thing that I will remember most about him is all the funny names we would call him, including:
  • Sambo
  • Samma Jamma
  • Sammers
  • Budduh
  • DooDah
  • Samhound
  • Furhound
  • Dude
  • Bubba Joe
  • Silly Rabbit
  • Freak (haha)
  • Hound
  • Purr Buckets
  • Kitty Kitty (Evie's first name for him)
  • Kiiiiii (Matthew's first name for him)
  • The boy in the black pajamas
Our sweet Sam will be missed forever. I am grateful for his presence in our lives.




We love you, buddy.. rest in peace.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Win a Few, Lose a Few...

I am very grateful and thankful that my kids are, for the most part, very well behaved. I would love to say that it's because of our stellar parenting, but I know that it is only by God's grace that my kids are so wonderful!!

When it comes to getting myself showered and ready for the day, I have tried many different ways to go about it. Shower before the kids wake, shower when the kids are watching their show in the morning, or after breakfast while the kids just play. For the most part, I now shower after breakfast, but it usually involves settling arguments, reminders about being kind and sharing, and kissing booboos... all while dripping wet trying to get cleaned up! They play pretty well together and have never EVER been destructive while unattended (phew!), but there still needs to be some policing! That being said, my shower is usually pretty short!

Yesterday I didn't hear anything but fun playing while I was in the shower. I thanked God for that and enjoyed an extra long shower.. which was heavenly!! I got out of the shower and heard lots of laughter coming from Matthew's room. I dried off and went to investigate.

This is what I found:

Yes, friends, that is EVERY toy from EVERY toy bin in his room on his bed. They apparently were playing "store", having a great time. Sigh....

I LOVE that they were having such a great time and playing together so nicely.. but guess who had to play mean mommy and make them clean it up? That's the tough part... and let's just say that mommy did a lot of the work!

Take the good with the not-so-good... I love those two faces with all my heart.

And my showers will continue to be short...HAHA!!