Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 in Review

It was a full year. We've all grown, some more than others. Some spiritually and others? Well, I'd rather not discuss that. We wrapped up some projects and started more. We were certainly in touch with our creative sides this year. We fostered puppies and hosted lots of extra kids. Friends visited and babies played. There were some health scares and praises to follow for good friends and for our sweet Colby. We celebrated holidays and birthdays. We said good bye to my Grandma. We met a few city employees and saw the inside of a courtroom. I sent my baby to prom and onto the road alone. Letting go appeared to be a theme for me personally this year. End of school years were celebrated and new beginnings started. A few times. Chapters were closed and contentment rediscovered. Trips "home" were enjoyed and we had to let Colby move away. Illnesses were fought and won. A swing set was built. Kate lost teeth and wrestling matches ensued, although the two are not related. Lessons were learned.

2012 is ready to go. We aren't marking the New Year the way we traditionally would with my sister's family and my parents. It makes me rather sad but if there is one thing I have learned this year, it's that I don't have control and that is okay. I have been letting go a little at a time. Only when I let go can God lead the way. 2013 is sure to hold many blessings, challenges, growth opportunities, milestone birthdays and joy. Bring it.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Nicely Played, God

The onset of Erin's fever last night raised our flu toll to five. It is not pleasant in my house. This bug is miserable and leaves quite a path of destruction in it's wake. We cancelled our weekend plans to see Colby's family and also had to make the call for New Year's/Christmas with my family tomorrow night. Both decisions leaving us all disappointed. In the midst of all of this, my friend Jennifer was taken to Cleveland Clinic in hopes of saving her leg. Several tests have been run and she is in the best hands, God's and the surgeon's. Surgery was post-poned until this morning so they would have a more comprehensive picture going into the O.R. As I was getting ready for bed last night, I prayed for her. I was in that flu-like fog that hasn't lifted in the number of days I have been wearing the same pajamas but I wanted to keep praying, desperate to DO something. Each time I would start to drift off to sleep, our smoke detectors would go off. It appears there was a malfunction of some sort. Greg drug the chair out to reset it and went back to bed. An hour later, once again, the shrieking started. We were up dealing with smoke detectors four times (and not the same one each time). So, at 4am the house settled into sleep for a few hours. God worked out a little more prayer time than I anticipated. He's got this.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Ruff Week

Ty started running a fever Monday night. He ran temps of 103-104 for three solid days. He was miserable. His fever broke last night but congestion and restlessness remain today. I started running a low grade fever on Wednesday and the chills were literally painful. I am still coughing and achy but no longer feverish. Kate and Makenna started today.

My friend, Jennifer is being admitted to Cleveland Clinic in a final effort to save her leg as I write. She is my age and this news is devastating. I swear I think of Job when I see Jennifer's life. She is one of the most generous, loving ladies I know and yet, she can't get a break. It is always something. I care so deeply for her and wish there was some way I could fix this for her. We are praying we can get healthy here so we can keep Shelby next week to help out in that capacity if nothing else. It's a helpless feeling to wait on information and yet be unable to do anything. Praying for healing and restoration. God is good even if I don't understand.

This dog is not supposed to be on furniture. He was well trained. The kids in the house? Not so much. I often fail to notice when he's breaking the rules. After all, he's encouraged to do so. Our good friend, "Uncle Mark" had to put down his second Boxer today. Perspective. It's just furniture.

My parents are enjoying a fabulous anniversary trip in Cancun. They told Theresa and I they would call us on Christmas Day and then did not. Theresa and I convinced ourselves we needed to check up on them on Wednesday. It took an entire day and several means of contact but they were tracked down, safe and sound. I think they were getting even for our teen years. Or they discovered just how much it was going to cost to call internationally. Either way, I am glad they are safe and hope it is a dream vacation. They deserve it.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Ty was up and down all night with a high fever. He has been miserable but able to perk up for gifts and some playtime in between naps. He noted Santa had arrived around 2 am but didn't seem too interested in checking out the loot yet. Thank God. Erin created a Lego table for him out of an old end table we no longer needed in the girls' room. Ask him what gift he liked best and he will tell you "Legos and not drums". "Not drums" because he didn't get any drums. He decided at bedtime on Christmas Eve he'd like to have drums for Christmas. Even if Santa had known prior to that, I highly doubt drums would have found their way under our tree. A daddy on third shift would not mix well with a three year old and drums. I honestly can't think of anything that would mix well with a three year old and drums.

Kate loves her stuffed puppy named Peppy, short for Peppermint. Santa had him made special for her and attached a note about not being able to bring a real puppy. Peppy's had no accidents and doesn't appear to shed. I like Peppy.

Just hours after brunch, Greg headed to bed in order to go back to work tonight and the older girls helped me restore the house. Erin removed all the tree ornaments and made countless trips to the attic to retrieve boxes. Makenna vacuumed and Lauren aided in the heavy lifting back into the attic. I was shocked. That chore typically falls to me alone; but this year, I mentioned leaving it all up until New Year's and the girls said I couldn't. It's tradition. It does feel good to reclaim the house. And the help was awesome. I think I'll count on their help as tradition moving forward!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Prepped and Ready

Santa's countdown to Christmas beard is filling in nicely.
 The tree has been decorated. Twice. Stupid lights.
 The kids are on a sugar high that should last well into the new year.

Reindeer food has been prepared with extra glitter so the reindeer can more easily locate it.
Christmas eve service has already been attended. Sigh. Local churches aren't offering them this year on Christmas Eve. Sad. 



Thursday, December 20, 2012

9 Years Later

 
Dear M,
I pray for you. Often. I love you. I struggle with you even though it's been years since our paths last crossed. You gave me a beautiful gift after choosing me to be your son's forever mom. You chose me. You said God chose me and I think He did too. You made choices though that were detrimental to our relationship. You lied to me even though we were friends.
 Your family was always welcome in my home so I have scrapbooks full of photos of our children growing up together; your beautiful children. I look into their eyes and wonder what their world looks like now and what it was really like then. When you told me my son was going to be born early as result of your drug abuse, I was first concerned for you. You never let on that drugs were a part of your life and yet, my sweet Ryan was going to be born way too early, malnourished and drug addicted. I prayed with you and forgave you. I begged you to get clean for those other children I also loved. They needed their mom. Do you remember that conversation? Your doctors were present. They pleaded with you to tell me the truth, the truth that changed too many times in the next week and a half. To this day, I can take anything but being lied to. No matter how hard the truth, I want to hear it. I have heard hard truth. Truth that my precious baby was going to die as a result of your choices. Truth that my relationship with his birth mom was based exclusively on lies.

I had nine amazing, busy days with Ryan. I treasure those memories. He was tough, determined and feisty. He had a lot of your personality. As his birthday approaches each year, I struggle but it has gotten easier as the years have passed. It still hurts, just not as severely.
 
 
 
I no longer get as angry when demands of the season can't be quieted. I spent years trying to make people see the reason for this season is to stop and reflect on the amazing sacrifice made on our behalf by a precious baby and yet, in reality, Christmas traditions were going to be celebrated that year despite a helpless baby in the hospital.
 As his forever mom, it is my responsibility to make sure he's never forgotten. I note his birthday every year with our family, retelling his story and reiterating how our decisions effect others. None of this is done in anger toward you, but we do talk about you. We talk about your drug usage during your teen years and how drugs forever changed who you would become. We talk about the damage drugs have done to you and your family. We discuss how to love you even though you hurt us. I naively desired a happy ending during those days immediately following his death. I wanted you to be healthy and clean. I needed your children to grow up in a loving home with you as their mom. Now, I simply pray my teens will stay sober because they've learned a painful lesson about choices and consequences. As much as I wish I could have shielded them, I do believe God can and will continue to use Ryan's life to make a difference in theirs. Perhaps he already has.
 
 
 I just wish we could have had the happy ending and I was sending you birthday photos, like we agreed. I am afraid our celebrations would pain you more than me. I would never do that to you. I pray you've found the strength to forgive yourself. I fear you have not. I know you still fight the demons and the drugs. I want you to win this battle. I pray for peace over you. In closing, I want you to know I will be happy this Christmas. I plan to allow God's healing over the brokenness my heart feels every year as I balance celebrations and memories. I hope you can too. In His Love, Sherri

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Oh boy.

This little boy of mine is rather endearing at times like these and it's a good thing we have these moments because they redeem the moments that are the complete opposite of adorable. It was not a good mommy day. It was not a good day to be three either. If I were watching me in public with this child, I would have been thinking, "get a grip lady and let that kid know who's in charge around here". Yes, I would. I am not proud of my judgemental attitude or the way I carried him out of the barber shop in a football hold while he screamed after a 45 minute wait for a haircut he then refused. Sigh.
video




Front Line Teachers

Our weather lately has been a lot like my moods, swinging from one crazy extreme to another. Yesterday we had two thunderstorms, hail and in the middle of it all, a gorgeous rainbow. Snow and ice are in the forecast while we are out in tee shirts. December has done a lot of showing off this year.

I have been processing the shooting in Connecticut. I still cannot put into words how I feel. I don't know that I am supposed to have words for something so terrifying, horrific and sad. I can; however, share my thoughts on teachers. My dad was in the air force as I grew up so moving was a constant in my life. I have had more than my fair share of new schools and teachers. Looking back, I have memories of favorites and not so favorites. With five kids, I have also had relationships with teachers from a parental stand point. Once again, there are favorites and a few I prefer to not work alongside again but I will say there isn't a single one out there I don't believe wouldn't have stepped in front of a gunman to protect their students. I pray none of them ever have to.

In reality, our teachers are in the front lines daily. My eyes have been opened to this truth more so in the Montessori school because they welcome families to participate in their learners' education. As a family, we commit to volunteering a minimum of ten hours per year so we are involved and better understand the philosophy. In getting to know my kids' teachers, I have witnessed their compassion toward hurting kids. They have to maintain professionalism when faced with parents who are anything but parents. They struggle with the Momma bears who believe their cubs are perfect. The poverty stricken, drug addicted and struggling families are a package deal. Our teachers are in the front lines every day loving on the not easily loved. They pour into struggling learners while balancing their own families. They see more than I could ever understand and yet they are called teachers. In reality, they are security. They are therapists. They are coaches and role models. They are leaders. They are teachers and I appreciate them.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Surprise!

Yesterday's afternoon news of 20 innocent children being taken from their families in an act of violence so incomprehensible shook me to the core. News like this just reiterates the presence of evil in our world.  When tragedy strikes, my first instinct is to pull my family closer. Wrapping my head around the unfathomable is not possible. I cried and prayed a lot throughout the afternoon and evening. And then the pendulum swung the complete opposite direction.....a tiny knock indicating the surprise Greg mentioned had arrived. I opened the door to find my sweet Colby holding a rose and saying, "I play trains with Ty". Tears of grief turned to tears of joy just seeing him. His parents did not ship him to me, even though as a two year old, they have considered it once or twice! They were hiding just out of view with their beautiful daughter, Josie Grace. It was a perfect evening.
video
 
 
 
 
video

Monday, December 10, 2012

12 crappy hours of Christmas

On the first hour of Christmas my true love gave to me broken wiper blades.
On the second hour of Christmas my true love gave to me our second $300 water bill.
On the third hour of Christmas my true love gave to me our third water leak.
On the fourth hour of Christmas my true love gave to me two kids vomiting.
On the fifth hour of Christmas my true love gave to me five screaming kids.
On the sixth hour of Christmas my true love gave to me a teacher conference.
On the seventh hour of Christmas my true love gave to me a kid in detention.
On the eighth hour of Christmas my true love gave to me a three year old temper tantrum.
On the ninth hour of Christmas my true love gave to me two plumbers calling.
On the tenth hour of Christmas my true love gave to me a teen in a relationship breakup.
On the eleventh hour of Christmas my true love gave to me a migraine.
On the twelfth hour of Christmas my true love gave to me a hair appointment alone because he really is my true love.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Baughman Christmas Celebration

This airplane from Uncle Brad and Aunt Jessica was the only gift Ty opened. He didn't need anymore and played with it all afternoon. It is a very cool toy.
Lizzie couldn't wait for "Cousin Kate" to arrive. They are buddies.
Lexie wasn't sure about us. Family or not, she wasn't letting us get too close. From a distance though, we could exchange waves and smiles.

It was a Bieber Christmas for Kenna. She was pleased.

Kate Bug loves "footie pajamas" and hoped her traditional pajama gift would be both Christmas and footie. Grandma's good.

Grandma's girl and the puppy I should have considered when Kate requested one...this one takes batteries.

Did I mention he liked the plane? He got to assemble it with the included drill before playing with it. It really is a very cool toy.

I only photographed one plate of cookies. It would be a little incriminating to photograph all we actually consumed. We were spoiled.



Saturday, December 8, 2012

Sleep

He wakes up talking and moving. Within mere seconds of his eyes opening, he is out of bed and literally running through the house, on whatever mission has already filled his head. There isn't enough caffeine on the planet to aid me in keeping up with him. He moves constantly and I suspect his brain moves even faster. He typically falls asleep mid-sentence after fighting a needed nap. Bedtime is similar; however, if we need to keep him up late, he will reach the point of asking to go to bed. On that rare occasion, I can almost hear the Halleluiah choir singing in the heavens. It's glorious. Bedtime is oh so much smoother when he is ready to concede to needed rest.  

Unlike my son, from the fourth night after my parents brought me home from the hospital, I have made it clear sleep would be a priority in my life. Mom put me to bed at 6 pm and woke up at 8 am the following day, scared to death I had died in the night. As she peered into my crib, afraid of what she'd find, I was just starting to stretch. I've required a lot of sleep ever since. I had a middle school friend who hosted sleep-overs where the only goal was to stay up all night. I always found space in the guest room to sleep anyway, despite the consequences of being the first one to to so. I ultimately stopped attending her sleep-overs. I was the only one I knew in high school who still had to go to bed at 9 pm because by 10, no one wanted to be around me the following day. Not much as changed as I still have an initial feeling of anger when the alarm goes off in the morning. If I can wake before that horrendous noise, all the better. It is safe to say, I am not a morning person.

Greg gets up pretty easily no matter what time of day or night that happens to be for him. His sleep schedule would wear me out. I asked him today if he remembers ever being the kind of person who would hop out of bed ready to conquer the world. He can't remember ever hopping out of anything but suspects that has more to do with his aging memory and body though. His mother reports he wasn't difficult to wake until his teen years but doesn't recall him ever being overly energetic first thing in the morning either.

All four of our daughters are very much like their mother. They sleep hard and aren't very social in the morning.  We were a family who enjoyed peaceful and calm mornings until the arrival of this precious boy.
He's totally worth it.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Reality

Am I the only one who stops in the middle of chaos and looks for cameras? There have been a lot of situations lately I have thought, "there is no way this is really happening" and looked to see if I had been set up by some reality-based practical joke TV program. On Tuesday, Brutus refused to walk. He was lethargic and clearly not feeling well. I literally looked up toward Heaven and asked, "really?" Today though, Brutus is fine. God has a sense of humor. I think.

Erin took her driver's exam yesterday. Ty packed accordingly. I think he already understands the speed in which the BMV typically operates. By the way, she passed. She drove the truck to school today. Against my better judgement, I did not follow her. Or call her. Or put a GPS tracking system on the truck. Or notify all four of our neighborhood police officers. Only because it would solidify everyone's suspicions I have clearly lost my mind.
Because I swear, it was just a moment ago she was in this phase. Where did the time go? It's been years since she last sat on my lap and yet, I can still remember vividly how that felt. Time has flown and I am supposed to be ready to watch her soar. Part of me is. I am so proud of her. She is ready. Me? Not so much. When she got home today, I casually mentioned it would be oh so helpful if she'd tell me she thought she'd be home at 4:15 when 4:00 was her plan. Today she said 4 or 4:30 and at 4:02 I was certain she was involved in a tragic accident and would never come home again. I was completely level headed and reasonable. I thought I'd played it cool but Lauren and Makenna ratted me out with sarcastic comments about pacing and crying....whatever. It was the first time my baby drove herself away from home. I will relax with time. Perhaps.
The "under 10" crowd is out of their minds. The fat guy in the red suit can't come a moment too soon. They're a little excited. Decorations are up. Gifts have been made. Christmas photos have been attempted. Twice. Twas the Night Before Christmas is being read regularly and our little advent calendar is being filled in....this year, Santa's beard with cotton balls. It's cute. We've received three Christmas cards in the mail. They are displayed on the memo board in the kitchen, taunting me. There may not be Christmas cards from this particular branch of the Baughman family this year. I am actually okay with that at this point. Life is too short to stress Christmas photos. After 18 years of marriage, the only opinion about that decision that bothers me is my mother-in -law's. She's pretty strict about traditions. We see her on Sunday. Maybe she hasn't noticed? Of course she's noticed! Maybe one more try? As I said, sometimes I think reality cameras are watching and people are laughing at me.