Sunday, July 21, 2013


My mom left this morning.  It was so hard to take her to the airport for so many reasons.  The first one probably was that 4:45 am wake up to get there.  But that wasn't the worst part.  The worst part was that she got on a plane and left!    We had so much fun and she spoiled us all rotten.  She slept with Little Lady the whole week and snuggled and told stories and picked berries and played and played and played with the kids.  My mom is an amazing story teller and she would be famous if she wrote them down.  She did laundry and dishes and laughed and talked with me and helped me make curtains.  And changed all the poopy diapers.  It was like a working vacation for me.  She worked and I vacationed. 

Really, I painted.  I was able to get all of the bedrooms and one bathroom painted.  We are slowly but surely banishing the "candlelight ivory"- or as Hubs calls it, "Cat Pee Yellow" from the house.  I also made linen roller shades for all of the bedrooms and learned how to do some sheet-rocking taping and texturizing of walls.  I also did a little gardening.  But it was really more like trimming bushes back in order to reach the blackberries that looked ripe.

We also spent a good deal of time sharing some our new favorite sites with Grandma.  We hit up the Zoo, spent an afternoon at Mt. Hood, took her to some of our favorite restaurants.  We pulled out all the stops.  And now we're eating zucchini and bread for the rest of the month!  Ha!  (Not really but I think I'd be okay if we were...I love squash!)

But she left this morning.  We were all bummed when we got home from the airport without her.  Little Lady looked around the room saying "Ma?Ma?"  It was so cute and sad.  And Little Man asked me to tell him a story and I am not like my mom and I would never be famous for my story telling.  My stories always end up being really short and having a Legoman go to space or come from space and its always so random and the details are always so sketchy and Little Man usually ends up coaching me with what should happen next and by the time we finally wrap it up well enough to finally be done with it he usually ends up trying to make me feel better by saying something like "Not bad this time, Mom."  He's very sweet like that even when he's lying through his teeth. 

So my inability to tell stories turned into a marathon Narnia reading time.  We read the entire last book of Narnia today.  The Last Battle.  I forgot how much I love Narnia and especially now.  It was my first read through since we lost J.  Maybe even since we've had kids.  And it was wonderful to read it again.  Hopeful.  Exciting.  Special to share with my Little Man.  We started it in August and would go on streaks where we would read for an hour a night for weeks and then put it down for awhile and then pick it back up and remember all of the excitement of it all.  It was a lovely way to spend a year.  Especially the last book. 

The pictures C.S. Lewis paints are so vivid and exciting and so what I long for Heaven to be like.  I found myself bursting with even more excitement for when we all get to go.  But not too much, don't worry...  The pull is so strong!  To think of my Jameson running and never growing weary.  Laughing his sweet laugh and flashing that smile all of the time because he lives JOY.  I have to seek it out and he lives it!  The hope flooded me at just the right time.

It can be so easy to get bogged down in the weariness of the world.  To focus on the struggles and the "to-do" lists and the finances, to lose my temper over the most ridiculous thing and then, after thinking I've learned my lesson to do it all over again.  And again.  And again.  It's human nature, I think.  But it is exhausting and demoralizing and depressing to keep playing that broken record.  And what started out as a bummer of a day -Grandma leaving- turned out to be a day of thinking about the very bright future.  The one that really counts.  The one where we all get to run without growing weary.  And we all get to laugh and dance and live joy.  And that kind of puts everything else into perspective a little bit. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Throwing Out The Bomb

Hubs is working late tonight.  I don't even know how he is going to make it home awake. He left at 4 am and here is is 945pm and he is still at the hospital.  But.  He has two days off in a row.  Two days to sleep in.  And MOM is going to be here, too.  We actually get to sleep in and get a date.  Feeling super blessed. 

So we bit the bullet and are having a cabinet company install new cabinets and counter tops in our kitchen.  Our old stuff was actually being held together by duct tape in places.  It just wasn't worth paying to fix it when it wasn't much more to get new stuff that is much nicer.  No more water damaged particle board.  And did I mention that I don't have to do the install?  Holy Buckets.  You have no idea how much pressure that takes off a mama. 

The guy came out to measure today.  He got lost.  His Garmin couldn't find my street.  I love that.  He was nice and made me feel all awkward when Little Lady woke up and he told me she is beautiful like her mama.  I don't do compliments well.  Unless they are from Hubs.  Those are good.  But he was really nice and kept telling me how beautiful and smart my kids were.  And he said "You have two kids?  A boy and girl?  And they are perfect!  What a perfect family!"  And I smiled and said yes.  And I felt the daggers for just agreeing.  But who really wants to get into it every.single.time?  I love my Jameson.  But talking about my dead son can just kill me sometimes.  The shock, the look, the pity and sorrow.  Sometimes it's just too damn much for me to take.  So I just smiled and said yes.  Because it was easier. 

And he kept measuring.  And we talked about if we could squeeze in a bigger sink.  And he was amazed that I took down a few walls all by myself.  And it made me feel like a good role model for Little Lady that her mama can knock a wall or two down in her flip flops in her spare time.  I want to raise a strong woman.  Hell Yeah. 

And we were doing so good.  He was at the front door.  Saying good bye and complimenting the kids again.  The guy was seriously impressed with my family...he was a very nice and professional guy.  And we almost made it.  And then Little Man just throws it out there.   "My brother is dead.  He died when he was three.  And we all  miss him. And Little Lady never knew him because she is just one and it's sad for her so we have to tell her about him." 

My groan may have been audible.  I couldn't look at the guy.  Just at Little Man.  I could only look at him and smile and nod and shake my head with the grief and the knowledge of how important it is to always tell J's story.  It is one of the first things he tells people when he meets them.  He just wings it out there, not getting the bomb he's throwing out.  Or maybe he does get it and that is why he needs to throw it out and away from himself.  It is a grenade that explodes daily for us.  Hourly.  Jameson is gone.  It defines who we are.  And he can't meet someone without making sure they understand that definition. 

It defines us all.  Every second of every day.  My son is dead.  Little Man's brother is dead.  Little Lady's brother is dead.  She never even knew him this side of Heaven and this will define her life.  It won't be the only thing.  It isn't the only thing for any of us.  But it is HUGE.  If you don't know that part, you can't even begin to know anything about me.  And I sit on the side of the pool at swim lessons and I feel like I have a neon sign over my head saying "my son is dead;" not because I wear the sadness, but because it created such a profound change in my existence.  There is NOTHING not changed from his sickness and death.  Nothing.  I may have carried some things over, but I am a different person.  Completely.  We all are changed.  And we SEE so differently than most of you do. I can't even put it in words, but what I see and live every second is such a different world than it was when J was still here.  And it defines every thought.  Every action.  Every interaction.

When J was dying I used to pray that God would take it easy on Little Man.  I hoped with all of my heart that it wouldn't be this hard.  That after time he would not miss him like this.  That his heart would heal.  Because this brokeness is a pain so excruciating I would never wish it on the devil himself.  And I so prayed and hoped that my living son would heal and not know it like we do.  But he seems to feel the grief and sadness just as much.  He just doesn't have the words.  Ahhh.  I can't put into words the feelings I have right now.  It is too much to bear -the pain of J's death coupled with the pain I see in Little Man and my inability to make anything right.

Oh how it defines us all.  

I need to believe that there is a greater good at work in this.  That this grief is at work in us all and it will make the world a better place.  I need to believe that.  I need to believe that I see differently and behave differently and that it makes a difference somehow.  I picture the way waves can grow in the water and need to think that this can be like that.  That maybe we are defined in this way in order to help define something bigger than ourselves.  I need this belief like I need to breath.  His death has to have been for more.  Our pain has to be for more.    Somehow this all has to be for more. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


Wow.  That is about all I can say about the kindness of my neighbors.  My neighbors have been rallying around us after reading this blog and I'm overwhelmed by the generosity and caring.  I've never known neighbors like this before.  Its really amazing.

They have been bringing us food and fireworks and stopping by to say hi and asking if they can watch the kids or help us paint.  It's so nice.  And wholly unexpected.  Hubs and I are so grateful, but at the same time, we feel bad about it.  We are not receivers by nature.  We like to be givers.  So it feels weird to be on this end of things.   And it feels like we've been on this end of things ever since J got sick.  I'm really trying hard to balance my independent-I-can-do-everything-on-my-own-even-if-it-kills-me-spirit with my gratitude here.  I'm soaking up the love and feeling not alone at all.  And really looking forward to reciprocating once we aren't so crazy.

And I've absolutely decided that cat pee and construction are worth it to have such awesome neighbors. 

I think God put us here for many reasons and we are just beginning to realize the blessings He has in store for us.  I think back to the Set Apart Conference I attended in the winter and Ann Voskamp's talk.  She talked about God's love for us and how he doesn't just sit back and love us from a distance.  He is a God who relentlessly pursues us.  He chases us down to love on us.  Radaph.  We just have to let Him do it.  I feel relentlessly pursued right now. 

And I no longer feel like we are in crisis mode.  We have a good plan and a good timeline and a working kitchen sink and dishwasher.  For a few days this was the only working sink in the house because I had to rip out the water damaged sink cabinet in the kitchen and do some mold remediation in the wall.  Which is always a fun thing to do at 4:30 in the morning. 

I told Hubs I felt a little like a Seinfeld episode.  And I'm really grateful for the temporary set up which allows me to wash the dishes in a real kitchen sink.  

And the other big bonus is that my mom is coming out in a few days to help.  MOM.  There is not a better word right now.  I am so excited to see her and show her our new home.  And I'm so excited to have her here to keep Little Lady under control while I paint and get a bunch of stuff done. 

And now I have to go and take care of the crisis of the day, which is the finding of Little Lady's blankey.  I know we had it at nap time yesterday and we haven't gone anywhere has to be in this house somewhere!!! Thank God she actually slept without it last night. 

I hope your day is full of blessings!

Friday, July 5, 2013


I just the spent the past hour trying to screw 20 screws into the ground.  I couldn't find the the little thingy that holds the screw in place and I was trying to finish something.  Anything.  And screwing 20 screws to hold some of the new sub floor into the cat-pee-no-more closet floor seemed like something.  But it took me a freaking hour to do it. As screw after screw kept falling down and then stripping and I had insulation in my hair and nothing about this should-be-easy-task was easy, I was at the end of my rope for the day.  It shouldn't be this hard.  None of it should be this hard.  But it is all hard.  It seems like everything we start turns out being a billion times harder than it should be.  Every single project has snowballed into something worse.

I can do hard things.  I can do hard things well.  With grace.  With beauty, even.

But as I was trying to screw these screws into the floor in my closet, there was no grace, no beauty, and no well.  I was cursing and yelling at the floor.  At the screws.  At the screwdriver.  At my inability to find that handy little thingy that goes over the end of the drill and holds the screw in place to make this job easy.

And I thought about how while I can handle and do hard things, I'd really rather not.  And the statement that I've made for years about how most things in life that are worth anything are hard just seems so hollow to me.  Because my life before Jameson got sick was easy....comparatively...and that was SO worthwhile.  I'd give just about anything to have that easy back.  And the labors I had with pain meds were just as worthwhile as the natural births.  And if I had to do it all over again, I totally would have had the epidural with Little Lady.  And at the end of the day I'd still have my baby but without all that needless pain.  I can endure.  But I don't want to if I don't have to.

And as I sit here writing this, with insulation stuck in my hair and a house that is so disorganization and chaotic that I don't even know where my socks are yet, I just want to burst into tears.  I keep praying for perspective and I keep thinking about how all those people in 3rd world countries would die to have my cat-pee, construction-zone house and here I am, acting like a spoiled brat because I don't want to do hard things.  I feel like a spoiled, whiny brat just writing this.

I'm just so tired.  I'm tired of the chaos of it all.  And the failing at everything.  Because right now, I'm failing at home improvement as I can't get anything done.  I can't even screw a freaking screw into the damn ground.  And I'm failing as a housewife.  My cooking has been few and far between, I am so behind on cleaning and laundry and it is all a mess.  Everything everywhere is a mess.  And I'm failing at being a good wife as I give Hubs a list at the end of his insane days, where he gets up at 4 am and rides a bike to work to save us money and works a 13 hour day and rides home to get a marginal-at-best dinner.  And then he still plays with the kids and talks with me and helps with the clean up.  And he doesn't complain at all about how he only gets 4-5 hours of sleep a night and does it all again the next day.  And I'm failing as a mother as I put them in the front of the TV for hours every day while I try to get something and anything done and don't.  And I yell too much and say no too much and we don't go to the parks or play enough.  I'm failing epically as a mother right now. And I'm trying to find a job and that isn't going well either.  I am a big failure right now.

Sigh.  I know this will pass.  And maybe someday I'll look back and say it was all worth it.  Maybe I'll learn patience and balance and my kids won't be too scarred for life.  Maybe someday we'll sit around the table and laugh about the time we lived in the cat-pee house and mom poured bottle after bottle of peroxide on the cement floors everyday and watched the splatter marks bubble up.  And how she still can't use a drill right.  Maybe. 

All I know right now, is that I wish there was an epidural for anarchy.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Teal and the Blues

Tuesday was Hubs' one day off for the next two weeks.  So naturally, we woke up to a pond in the kitchen.  Since we didn't already have enough going on.  Apparently the ice maker line had a little pin hole leak in it.  It wasn't so little by the time we got up.  Luckily, the serious damage was contained to just the sink cabinet, which I will be ripping out today.  I have to find a replacement cabinet for our 1979 one.  Hahaha.  Just for fun, I went to a kitchen store yesterday to see how much it would cost to replace all our cabinets.  That was fun.  It was all so very enticing, except that with beautiful new ones, I wouldn't want to paint them.  And I'm actually so hell-bent on having a teal kitchen with red barstools and a yellow door that I seriously want to turn down new cabinets.  And since it's not really in the budget anyway, I might as well. 

After we mopped up the kitchen with every unpacked towel we own, we left and went to the beach.  It was a little chilly, but stubborn me was insistent on wearing my swimsuit anyway.  I was the one making sandcastles in a swimsuit with goosebumps upon gooosebumps all afternoon, if you were there.  It was a nice break from the heatwave we've been having at home.  We found a whole bunch of broken clam shells.  All pearly and blue.  I collected a gallon ziploc and am going to wash them really well, break them up into teeny little pieces and put them into my homemade bathroom concrete countertops.  I can think about my brokenness every time I wash my hands. 

And today is the 4th of July.  We are going to try to play a little more than normal today.  And after Hubs gets home from his 13 hour shift, we are going to see fireworks and do sparklers and have as much fun as we can cram in before we all fall over from fatigue.  We need a little more fun because the ache has been so great.

Little Man talked about Jameson all day long yesterday.  About how much he misses him and how much he wishes we were closer to Heaven.  I overheard him telling Little Lady about her dead brother. And how he hopes she doesn't get sick and die, too.  He's lonely without his best buddy.  And while we've made a few friends here, I haven't been doing a good enough job of taking them out to the parks every day and seeking out more buddies for him.  I need to work on some balance with the home improvement and the everything else.  Because really, that has been it since we've gotten here.  And all work and no play is making Jack a little crazy.  Mom, too. 

So we are all kind of blue this week.  Missing Jameson.  Missing family.  Missing relaxation.  Missing Daddy and realizing just how long intern year is really gonna be. 

We'll stay afloat, though.  I'm going to rip out a sink and some drywall this morning  before the kids wake up and then we are off to have fun.  And maybe go to Lowes.  Because everyday is hardware store day. 

Happy 4th of July!  We are going to add some red and white to our blue and make it a great day.  Aw come on, that was awesome.  I just needed a little cheese to go with the whine.  Yes, yes...I really do think I'm funny.  I hope you all have a great day and awesome fireworks tonight!