Sunday, December 31, 2017

Shut Down

Opposite of what we are used to at UPS, Cummins shuts down from December 23-January 2. As in, Greg was home for ten days rather than at work for extended shifts. We hardly knew what to make of holidays Cummins style but I can tell you, we like it. A lot.

On Christmas Day, I cleaned up and put away the tree and decorations before unloading Kate's room. We tore out her carpet and kicked off the flooring project we have put off since deciding we were doing it last September. Normal people rip out carpet on Christmas Day, right? Both Kate and Ty's rooms look fantastic.

Ty got a robot named Max from my parents for Christmas. He is interactive and quickly becoming Ty's buddy. At one point Max mentioned eating vegetables and Ty quickly shut him down, "go to sleep Max". We cracked up although we may not find much humor in Ty trying to shut us down the same way. Then Makenna reminded us she was leaving for the night and told us to lock the door behind her. Ty quickly offered Max could be on patrol so we no longer have to lock doors.

On his way through the kitchen with piece of freshly cut floor board, Greg teasingly smacked my rear end. I was startled and yelled. Max chimed in, "be careful with that thing!" and Makenna freaked out. She is convinced Max works for the government and is reporting everything that goes on in our house. I have failed to assure her we aren't that interesting.

We are wrapping up 2017 with an early bedtime for most and small gatherings for the girls. I am all too ready to start fresh tomorrow with a new year containing fresh goals. 2017 wasn't an easy year, by any stretch of the imagination and we wrapped with with two out of three cars still in the shop from what was supposed to be quick repairs. Greg will return to work and the kids will return to school this week with us navigating busy life sharing one vehicle and paying two hefty repair bills. I am claiming this as the final blow to 2017. Because enough is enough already.

I plan to be more mindful of my thoughts and perspective in 2018. My ability to roll with the punches was hindered greatly this year and as I age, I need to make more conscious efforts to stay on top of gratitude and grace as they aren't my natural reflexes.

So the cliche Happy New Year applies here. I am happy it is a new year and look forward to turning the calendar to 2018.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas 2017

Yesterday we hosted fifteen for crab and steak dinner. Sweets were out all day as well. We laughed a lot. The chaos was exactly as one would expect with a group this size. Add a couple of dogs and we had a real circus going here but it was perfect. I was too busy to grab the camera and I suppose that was a good thing but anytime we have everyone together, I want to document it because if 2017 taught me one thing, it is life is precious and fleeting. Togetherness is what it is all about after all.

Because I am a little crazy, I supplied all four adult children with marshmallow guns and two full bags of ammunition. Nothing says Merry Christmas like starting a war. Jake and Taylor loved it and said so repeatedly. But the highlight had to be when Ty opened his robot, Max from Grandma and Grandpa. He exclaimed, "I cannot even afford this thing and I am breaking rules because it says ages 10 and up and I am only 8!"

Mom and Dad stayed the night to see the kids open gifts this morning. They were up at 5 am. Ty slept until 7:30 and woke while we were eating breakfast. Grandparents are big kids too.

Ty has been processing a lot this year and been quite reluctant to discuss anything having to do with Santa. The Polar Express was requested quite often and he wants a robe like the main character in that movie. The very first words out of his mouth this morning were, "Joshua says parents do all of this" and my heart broke a little. He wants to believe but simply doesn't anymore. Watching that magic disappear is a tough Merry Christmas indeed.

My mom surprised me with a gift I have loved in her home for decades. This hand carved nativity in all it's simplicity makes me happy. She has found she no longer has space for it and handed it down. I love it and look forward to adding it to the few decorations I now display next year because as anyone who knows me knows, Christmas is over in the Baughman home and all the trees and decor have been put away. I am ready to have my home and routine restored. I always am by this day.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Columbus, Indiana

The kids and I joined Greg on Friday for his daily commute. Leaving the house at 6 am was easier than getting them up at 6:30 on school days because we had a day of fun planned. No one was surprised. Breakfast and then cocoa kicked off our day together once we dropped Daddy off at work. We then explored the kids' museum and play place before picking up some "needed" Cummins gear. We had lunch at the old fashioned ice cream place and explored an awesome local bookstore before heading back to get Greg from work.

To say that we enjoy this city would be an understatement but discussions about making it our next home left Kate a little worried. Whereas she likes visiting, she isn't ready to make a change. Realistically, the hour and fifteen minute drive each way isn't something Greg sees himself committed to for years on end either. We have promised to evaluate again in the spring. 

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Reindeer Food Party

Our annual reindeer food party was a success. Levi and Trevor brought their older siblings to spend the day with us so we knocked a few items off Kate's Christmas to do list. We made Reindeer food and iced sugar cookies. Levi was quite the helper today and loved his assigned "Elf duties".

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Scavenger Hunt

Today was hard. Really hard. I was awake a lot of the night and ultimately gave up before 6 and got out of bed, already fighting a tension headache. I exhausted all my self care options and still couldn't shake the saddness that overwhelmed me. Two hours later, Ty woke ready to conquer the day. He requested a cheese omelette for breakfast and then complimented the one I made him as perfect but "doesn't smell like wet dog". Um thank you? He is unique.
Three of us had eye exams today. The new assistant asked Ty how many times a day someone compliments his beautiful eyes. He sighed deeply and moaned, "it happens every day". He is as humble as his father and equally as amusing.

Ty concocted a plan for our scavenger hunt tonight. This year, instead of filling several long nights driving around seeking every last item on the list as a way to pass time while Daddy works, we challenged friends to join us for a one hour dash to locate as many items as possible. We were excited to have our local friends join us as well as friends in Texas. Ty really wanted a victory and bragging rights. He thought we should buy all the items on the list, set them up in our yard, take photos and then put all the decorations into the attic so we could win. Nothing says Merry Christmas like cheating on a scavenger hunt! By the way, our Texas friends won the hunt and did so in 78 degree weather too! The highlight was FaceTime with them afterward.

 The day was long but the end was as sweet as the hot cocoa we enjoyed with friends.


When contemplating this year's birthday celebration, I needed something that felt more personal. Instead of our traditional full family balloon launch and dinner as a group, I chose a permanent balloon to keep close to my heart. Ryan would be fourteen this year and the reality of that many years separating me from the short time I was able to spend with him doesn't feel possible; the memories still vivid. Whereas I have moved forward in life, it isn't without those raw moments floating just under the surface at times.

The years like this one where I am settled in the weeks leading to this date, feel intense and brutal when the calendar lands on December 20. Years where the birthdate is something I dread for weeks leading up to his day, leave me almost relieved when it finally arrives. Either way, my heart hurts in this season every year.

This year is challenging in a different way as I have fully reconnected with Ryan's birth mom. We are friends so I feel the burden to protect her as much as I can from my emotions and the bitterness some family members still hold in their hearts. I cannot direct that anger toward the broken woman who has been clean for years and struggles to find the strength to forgive herself. The anger instead is focused on the loss itself and the way she was manipulated as a young girl into the drug scene in the first place. The drugs and a lot of unhealthy people created the storm that ended with me rocking my son to sleep and assuring him it was time to let go. To this day, that moment has been the hardest of my life but he deserved peace. I loved him enough to want his suffering to end even though it meant losing a part of my heart in the process.

So on this birthday, fourteen years later I hope my friendship with his birth mom is something he would be honored by. I pray my reluctant family members find peace and ultimately also forgive fully. This remembering someone who was only allowed nine painful days on earth is difficult in the best of circumstances but in true Baughman style, we have complicated it further but I have to remain true to the promise I made Ryan and God in those grief stricken early days. My prayer is to see my son again in heaven healed, whole and reunited with ALL of us who loved him.

Rest easy sweet boy. I love you forever.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

The Christmas List

 We knocked a few items off Kate's Christmas "to do" list this weekend. Countdown chains, hot cocoa by the fire with Christmas music playing and some baking. Erin came to help which cut down the time investment considerably. Next up? Reindeer food bar and decorating cookies with a scavenger hunt competition against friends seeking specific Christmas lights. Christmas is coming and we are ready. Even Layla got in on the action as the only family member who said hello to Santa this year, even if a little white lie about being good was involved.  Our eight year old is seriously analyzing the jolly old elf and isn't convinced he isn't being duped but still holds onto a memory he has of seeing Santa by our stockings. The magic of the season has held longer in our home than most.....with fourteen years between Erin and Ty but the idea we are hanging on by a thread breaks my heart a little.

Not on the festive list, but fun sibling togetherness they created a massive tent for a Friday night sleepover. And on Saturday night we found ourselves home alone with Ty. He cracks us up with his on-going banter about all things Star Wars and views about life in general.

He says he isn't getting married because kissing is gross but still wants to adopt babies.