Friday, September 28, 2012

How about a family update? Just in case you were wondering how things are with the kids.

Kyle and Christy closed on th house on theeir new house this week. He has tenure at his teaching job and she just got hired full time in the same district so they built a house! They are very excited ... I've seen pictures. It's really nice.

Speaking of houses, did I tell you we are closing on our Mankato house sale on October 23rd? This is a HUGE answer to prayer.... we secured a loan to pay off the third mortgage so by the end of the month we will have one mortgage and a loan instead of three mortgages. God worked it all out very well -- it just wasn't quite according to my timing. But it will be SO nice to have that done.

Rand seems fine. I haven't checked his account for a couple weeks so I'm hoping he hasn't spent the money he is supposed to keep for bills... but we hear good things about him from our Mankato friends.

John got out of jail! After being there since January, he got out on Tuesday morning about 9:00. At 11:00 Mike went back in for a parole violation -- something minor -- but it's funny that we couldn't go even a whole day without one of our kids being in jail. Apparently according to our friends Mike and Kari John is heading to meet up with Salinda. Maybe he is going to stay with her for a while. He hasn't called us. And I'm practicing the "out of site out of mind" philosophy with the kids that don't live here. I'll be happy to talk to them if they call -- but if they don't, I'm good. I am way too focused on my own stuff to get drug into drama I can't help with.

Mike being in jail postpones Aiden's baptism that we were looking forward to for October 7th. So we are back to square one with planning that.

Salinda and Gabby seem to be fine. I haven't heard from her in a couple weeks -- since the carnival weekend.

Sadie took her GED tests this week. She thinks she might have failed the math. I didn't want to warn her that that might happen because she would have just argued with me. But if you can't pass math from 6th grade on, the GED test might be a bit difficult.

Tony called and he "got in trouble" at Job Corps. Not sure what that means. But at least he's getting disciplined there by them instead of here by me. Makes a big difference in my stress level.

Leon is working hard in school -- can't say he's enjoying it but he's trying. He hasn't made many friends and misses mankato a great deal. Moving a kid between Jr. and Sr. years isn't easy.

Wilson seems to be fine. Says he is making friends. Is doing well in school.

Dominyk's going camping with his best friend Nick's family -- and Nick's parents happen to be our friends Deb and Nate. THANK YOU Deb and Nate!

We don't hear from Ricardo. It makes us sad.

The three grandkids are doing great as far as well know.

Life is good.... and I'm off to work!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Breaking the Record Again

Now it has been eight full days since I blogged. My life is a whirlwind right now. Between church and work (and a bit of time for friends) I've just been so swamped I can barely move. Let me just tell you about the last few days...

Last Wednesday I left for the office at 6:50 (I drop Leon off at school on the way) -- went and worked until 5, had dinner out with some new friends and Bart and then he and I went to pick up Leon. We ended up getting home after 7:30.

Thursday -- again left for the office at 6:50. Worked until 5:15 -- headed straight to bells and then to choir practice, got home at 8:50.

Friday -- tried to sleep in but couldn't. Ended up leaving for work at 7:30. Worked til 10:30 p.m.!!!! We had an open house in Willmar for Bethany there to mingle in a dress for 3 hours. (Yes, I've had to grow up).

Saturday -- didn't go into the office, but spent most of the morning working on budget. Funeral in the afternoon -- again amazed at the way these people love each other - then at night I got to speak at an adoptive mom's retreat. So fun to see Deb, Ginny and Kari all at the same time in the same place. Other people there were those I had known in the past as well. A great time -- my only job was to make people laugh and that I did.

Sunday -- wow! Church, then transporting people to activities -- shopping for more clothes (I have to speak at two Gala events in November) and then hanging out with friends until 4 -- cleaning the house to get ready for people over until they came at 6:30 -- took Sadie back to testify.

Monday -- left for work at 6:50. Worked until 5:45, then came home and actually ate at home with my family! Bart made the most delicious salmon..... mmmmm. Then at night we did paperwork together and I headed to speak at practice for our praise band who is singing at this conference. Please register if you are planning to come. We have worked really hard on the conference this year and registrations aren't coming in so if there is anyway you can come it would be great to see you. Some of you from other parts of the state should carpool together! Maybe we could have dinner after .... hint hint hint. Deb and Kari are both speaking there as is Bart and I think Ginny is coming -- it's going to be so good. You could hear Sadie sing.... really guys, this is going to be good.

Yesterday I left for work at 6:50 -- worked all the way through til 8:45 p.m. as it was my first Board Meeting. Came home and went straight to bed. Leon drove himself this morning because Bart is in Duluth, but my day today looks to be about the same. I have meetings tonight (church related) and a doctors appointment after work so I'll be pulling in about the same time.

Tomorrow -- same routine -- work, dinner with a friend, possibly some bell practice -- choir.... home late. Friday night is our coffee house where Sadie will be singing with Testify -- now THAT is something fun to come to. Praise and worship music -- people come and sing along, or read, or play games, or visit -- very casual and fun.
And Saturday -- lunch with Tim and Sue (YAY) and dinner with Nick and Joy, new friends of ours from church who are quickly becoming old friends -- or feeling like that -- even though we have only known them a few months.

So, since I don't blog from work, that explains some things right?

Here is a pictures that I promised from the carnival (my favorite of the day). The others are refusing to upload at the moment....


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Feeling Guilty

SO the one thing in my life that is getting neglected is YOU. I haven't posted for a full week and that is a record in the 7.5 years I've been blogging. I have been gloriously and intensely busy... I hearaven't even read any one else's blogs this week.

But since Leon overslept for the first time (school starts at 7:20 so he has had to get up mighty early) I have 10 minutes....

My weekdays have been up early, to work by 7:30, work til 4:30 or 5 or 5:30, evening activities, etc. I have been intensely involved the whole day at work with meetings and appointments and interviewing others so I haven't had any free time during the day to blog. Since I leave at 6:40 to take Leon, no time to blog before work. And when I'm home - either time with the family, church stuff, or out with friends.... it's nuts. I did go to the gym twice last week, but this week I only have one day that I can do it.

This past weekend was my 49th birthday. The day of my birthday was challenging -- with the high point being dinner with Mike, Kari and the kids who were up from Mankato -- even though I messed up picking the place to eat and traffic made me almost an hour late -- not a good thing while several kids with special needs are waiting and hungry. Later some new friends were supposed to come over for cake but they were with friends who were saying goodbye to their friend.... he died hours later.

But Saturday was awesome. Our church had a block party -- Carnival of Community -- and it was so well attended. About 250 people from the neighborhood and over 50 volunteers made it an amazing evening. Sadie sang in the praise band and the atmosphere there was incredible.

Pictures and this quote are on Facebook. I will post pictures here tonight (hopefully) -- Gabby and Isaac and their moms were with us -- a very fun time But the whole weekend at our church reminded me of this quote:

One of the most profound comments made regarding the early church came from the lips of a man named Aristides, sent by the Emperor Hadrian to spy out those strange creatures known as "Christians." Having seen them in action, Aristides returned with a mixed report. But his immortal words to the emperor have echoed down through history: "Behold! How they love one another."

- Chuck Swindol

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The New Normal

After 16 years of working from home, this morning I was at my new office by 7:30 in a dress. Seriously???? yes, seriously.

I worked a full day, stopped on my way home to work out, at dinner alone -- delicious, but Bart had an early meeting, did a few things on my computer, had a fun phone conversation, went with Bart to pick up Leon and Dominyk from Leon's work, and now I'm finally blogging.

Great day full of challenge and fun. Our kids are doing well. Bart and I are loving challenging jobs and new friends. It's good.

Our other kids have some drama. But right now they are not needing to share much of it with us and we are really enjoying the break.....

I'm heading downstairs to get to bed so I can get up tomorrow and do it all over again.

But there is SO much good to do in this world.... I love getting paid to be part of it.

Wanna have some fun with us on Saturday? Bring your kids to our church's block party!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Transition Day

I can't believe I haven't blogged since Wednesday. Time is just speeding by. I'm not sure what happened Thursday, but Friday and Saturday I was in Owatonna doing the last 16 hour pre-adopt training of my life. It was bittersweet. It is a very tiring experience, but I like knowing that I am doing my part to prepare families on a very personal basis. Both Friday and Saturday nights Sadie and I worked on a project with my friend Joy and got black and white pictures of my kids and grandkids ready to cover a wall of my new office.

Yesterday was a great morning at church followed by lunch with friends and an afternoon of errands including getting a fitness center membership -- with people from church over last night for 7-layer bars that Sadie made.

For just a couple more hours I am finishing up some loose ends for Downey Side and Adopt America and then I will be heading off for lunch with my co-trainers for the adoption competency class I teach -- and then heading to Bethany to begin my first day there.

I'm having some pretty conflicting feelings. Even though the work can be emotionally exhausting, I love the relationships that I have had with the families I have worked with providing direct service to those in the adoption process. The relationship is a very intense one -- not like some professional relationships and I love the way I have been included in their lives.

I will now be moving into a supervisory position where I will be one step removed from that. I have always enjoyed management -- in fact ever since we got married I told Bart "The only thing I'm really good at is telling people what to do, and ever since we started parenting I've been surrounded by people who won't do a thing I say."

When I was a college VP I loved being the leader of a team who was passionate and working together. I already know a few of the people at Bethany here in MN and I know it is going to be great.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

10,000 Reasons......

Here are a few of my 10,000 reasons why I sing, "Bless the Lord, Oh My Soul!"

One of the best days I can remember in a long time -- State Fair August 31st. Everyone's faces show how much fun we were having. Really great day.

First Day of School pics for the kids still living at home who are doing so well.

A Day of Isaac Swinging with Grandpa

I love this picture -- his look of admiration and expectation -- and the connection that they have is so obvious.

Bart dared stop the swing before he was done....

A very long day....

Fast asleep 5 minutes on Grandpa's shoulder after his bath:

The Weekend of the 18th we had some of the kids home for a while...

This is Gabby with her Uncle Kyle:

and her Aunt Christy

Gabby feeding her new cousin Aiden

Gabby enjoying the bubbles we brought home from a wedding we attended...

And finally, the Sunday afternoon nap, father and son...

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

New Patterns

Being a workaholic isn't too tough as long as you don't try to fit a social life in as well. When you do ... things just don't all fit!

It appears that we are developing some new patterns at our house. Mornings without meltdowns, evenings with friends, cooperation (for the most part), and apparently a lack of blogging!

Our weekend was full to the brim with all kinds of stuff. Wilson and Dominyk helped a friend clean his garage, and in the middle of the day we had lunch as a family with a couple other families. Sunday was church.... awesome... then lunch out with friends and an evening of having people over. Monday I did work some but we also had dinner out with friends after doing some thrift store shopping on half price day. It was crazy.

SO here it is Tuesday morning and I'm finally getting around to blogging. I'm reluctant to blog when I don't think I will have time to do a good job. I don't know why it bothers me now -- it never has in the past ;-)

From 4 a.m. until 7:30 a.m. early Sunday morning I was awake, tossing and turning, and working myself into a real dither. So many things going on in my life and so little time. After being in tears for a while, i realized that there was one thing in my life that was somewhat flexible and that is the TFA conference I had agreed to speak at coming up on the 14-15 of September in Atlanta. The more I thought about it the more I realized how stressful trying to fit that in was with transitioning jobs, starting the new year, and settling into the new fall activities at church.

So this morning I"m going to, for the first time in my life, cancel a trip when my name is already on the program. I'm not doing the keynote -- they were breakout sessions -- but I just can't find it in me to do this on top of everything else. I was doing it on a volunteer basis so I think that may be making me feel even guiltier, but it was a decision I needed to make.

So as soon as I can talk to someone about this and get my parts cancelled I will be feeling much better. I"m sorry to any of you who had planned to attend .... and especially bummed that I'm going to miss seeing Cindy and a few other really good friends.

But it's a good decision. I need to start focusing on my job at Bethany beginning on the 10th and I still have several things to clean up for my Adopt America and Downey Side positions before my last day.

I haven't put a picture on here for ages -- but isn't this one great -- Gabby took it of Salinda. She's a better photographer than I am ;-)

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Who Needs a Beer? It Just Doesn't Get Any Better Than This!

Yesterday was right up there in my book of a perfect day. It started early when our new friend Nick, one of our church youth sponsors, drove to our house to head to the fair with us. The boys were sleepy but within minutes Nick was able to get Dominyk talking -- and I even heard a chuckle out of Leon and Wilson who are NOT morning people. We got to the fair and rented a scooter and let me tell you -- I should have done that years ago. I had SO. MUCH. FUN! I was able to have a pain free day.

In the midst of it I realized the extent of my dysfunction as a human because I was able to actually SEE all the stuff at the fair... stuff that I never knew was there because I was constantly looking for the next opportunity to sit down and rest my back. But yesterday, I rested the whole way through. I saw things -- cows, and horses in the barns, cool items in the expo places, and I shared several tasty food items with Bart. Dominyk, for the first time in his life possibly, was able to enjoy an outing like that with nobody teasing him. Leon and Wilson went on his own and Dominyk was thrilled having complete attention from three adults. He didn't obsess, he didn't beg, he just enjoyed his day.

About an hour after we arrived I was sitting in the shade with Bart, sharing some chopped up apples with caramel and nuts and cinnamon ice cream. I remember thinking to myself, "It just doesn't get any better than this." But then it did!

I posted something to my Facebook about being at the fair and I got a text from Sarah saying that her family -- our awesome friends from Mankato -- were at the fair too! We ended up getting to spend a couple hours with them too. It was so good to see them and to have our new life intersect with our old life. I'm wondering if people could hear my sigh of contentment around the world.

Came home -- went to pick up Sadie who was thrilled to announce that she has made it to Level 3 in her Culinary Arts program at Job Corps. There are only 3 levels and she just started May 29th, so she's making good progress. She's very proud of herself. We also got a text from Tony saying he has passed 6 of his 7 tests to get his HSED. He is very proud of that fact.

Last night the group "Testify" of which Sadie is now a part did their "Spiritunality" event -- which is similar to a coffee house. People bring stuff to read, or their laptops, or they just come and sit and the praise team sings for two hours. Great songs, great people. There was an after party at Nick and Joys (yes, the same Nick whose wife lives up to her name but had to work all day and couldn't go to the fair much to our dismay).

Get this: Bart and I were out until 11:30 p.m.!!!!! Our bedtime is 9:30 or 10:00 and there were some Friday nights in Mankato when we were in bed by 9. But apparently we have a new life because last night we WENT to a party that started at 9:30.

I have some pictures from the fair that hopefully I can post -- if I ever find that thingy ... you know, the transfer thingy that the kids keep borrowing.....

It was one of those days where, completely sober, I had more fun that anyone should be allowed to have. It just doesn't get any better than this (OK, it could have been better if Joy had joined us -- and if Mike and Kari had been there. Now THAT would have been perfection).