Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Morning and Night--when does the fun stop?

Hey Peeps—

Billy just told me that any idiot can get their own show in Vegas.  I don't know how or where Billy gets his information, but I'm pretty excited about this news.  I haven't figured out what my "talent" is, but if they are giving shows out like Halloween candy, I'm totally gonna get one. 

Speaking of Halloween, it's here again, and I hope you've got your candy ready.  I bought some and had to hide it, so it wouldn't be all gone by the time Thursday rolled around.  I did buy some pre-holiday candy corn, to get me geared up and ready for the massive amounts of candy that will soon be in my pantry/armoire, and I'm not afraid to tell you I've been known to hoard it.  

Beside the excitement of candy and costumes, Billy and I spent a morning downtown this week.  We felt very cosmopolitan and chic.   I had an early morning job at a flu clinic, and begged Billy to drive me downtown since I always get flustered amongst the tall buildings.  Once I can no longer see the mountains I panic.  I drive the wrong direction on one-way streets, and I get in turn lanes when I don't want to turn.  There are downtown rules and they confuse me.  Naturally Billy agreed to drive me, and I told him I would let him, only if he agreed to call me Miss Daisy all the way to and from the job site.  Which he did. 

Driving downtown at 7:00 am did create a bit of a problem for me.  We have 3 kids that had to get to school around 8:00 am so I worked my motherly charms and pawned them off on my sweet friend Mona.  The kids were very excited to go to Mona's house at 7 am.  We had one of our smoothest mornings ever. Nobody even yelled at each other for not flushing.  And when Mona greeted us at the door, I knew their day was only going to get better as she said, "Hello Repenning children!"  (it was a bit sing songy and I think there were chirping birds flying over her head)  Then she said, "Would you like some coffee cake?  I made it for you!" They didn't even say goodbye to me, as they walked into a world of rainbows and unicorns. 

Billy spent his morning geeked out at the Tattered Cover, using their wifi, and enjoying the ambiance.  As I worked, I happily imagined Billy fitting right in with the hipsters and liberals.  He can pretty much blend in anywhere.  I told him to be careful because if anyone was making a commercial called, "I am Colorado", they might ask him to star in it.  He was wearing his rugged vest, with his graying hair spiked up all sassy-like, in his sneakers and North Face backpack, which of course was carrying his Apple laptop.  He just fits in the Colorado lifestyle with ease.  I was proud to be walking the streets of downtown with him.  I carried my sharps container, and he carried the cool factor. 

We were almost giddy when we met up around noon, and it was time to get Miss Daisy home.  Both of us spoke excitedly about our unique morning.  There was nothing dramatic that happened to either of us, but being away from our average and ordinary routine was a sweet gift during a rather hard week.  Instead of being confined to a cold, smelly basement, Billy was surrounded by a little culture.  And I enjoyed a break from laundry, foot care, and letting someone else drive me around for a change. 

Tomorrow night will be a whirlwind of crazy here as the kids scramble to find last minute accessories to their Zombie, Nerd, and Batman costumes.  Most likely there will be a few tense moments as they have to get it all just right before hitting the streets.  Jack will need his hair just right, and Faith is going to need me to help with her pigtails.  Will's cape will need safety pins, and his mask is going to hurt his nose before we even get to the end of our street.  


 By the end of the night, we will be cold and tired, and all 3 kids will need to dump their loot out on the kitchen table to assess their plunder.  Billy and I will supervise the candy intake, while I fight the urge to hoard it all.  This kind of night is extraordinary for our kids.  They have a diversion from a monotonous night of homework and piano practice for a night of running around outside gathering candy.  There's nothing redeemable in tricks and treats, except for the simple joy we find in being together, meeting our neighbors, and escaping real life for a couple hours to have fun.  No doubt by bedtime 3 tummies will ache, but in the end, we will have made a few more sweet memories of a night on the town.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Fostering Love

Hey Peeps—

I'm terribly sorry to give you a visual of me at the moment, but I feel you should know that I am currently wearing long underwear.  I tried to be brave and pretended Indian Summer was still a reality. But the second I put cold, stiff denim next to my bare skin, I was done.  It was a wise decision in the end, as we had a soccer game to attend this afternoon, where I'm pretty sure it was about 32 below.  Billy said it was actually 53 degrees, but I think he was just trying to put a positive spin on the fact that winter is here and it's time to layer up.

Sometimes Billy really irritates me, like when he makes me face realities such as winter is cold or the fact that we have mold in our crawl space.  But then again, there are times when I really like the guy too.  Just last night when Will announced at dinner, "I need to build a Roman Forum and take it to school tomorrow", and Billy came to my rescue.  I think he noticed I started taking shallow breaths and then my eyes began to roll back in my head while Will described his project in detail.  Billy saw this and knew it was time to act, rather than reprimand.  In between taking Jack to and from soccer practice, my two peas in a pod worked in the garage with blocks, glue, and a hammer.  Faith and I sat inside watching The Voice, and hoped no one would need us to hold nails in place or give advice. 

For some reason Billy just knows how to go with the flow.  Like when I called him up at work about five years ago and said, "I'm gonna start Nursing school soon".  And his response was, "Okay.  I think that's great".  Or like when I thought African water frogs would be neat for the boys, he loaded them up, went to the pet store, and got everything they needed.  (This turned less successful than Nursing school, as frogs require care.  And food.  Or they die.  Which they did) Billy's just up for the adventure of life, and he believes our family is capable of changing the world. 

Recently we started training to get certified with the state of Colorado to become foster parents.  Oddly enough I don't know whose idea this was…I don't think it was mine.  And I don't think it was Billy's either.  Honestly, when you live life surrounded by people who want to make a difference in the world, it's contagious.  For example, we've experienced life with my sister and her family as they adopt four young kids who need a mom and dad.  We've seen our church take trips to Kenya and Uganda and serve folks who live in absolute poverty.  We've seen our friends visit the elderly at a nursing home on a regular basis, and others we know drive homeless people every weekend to a shelter when the temperature actually drops below 32 degrees.  God has put amazing people in our lives who advocate for others and invite us to live out the Great Commission as a calling rather than a deed. 

Are we scared to open our home?  Are we afraid we might mess a kid up worse than they were before they came to live with us?  Isn't quality time with our own kids already limited with school and activities?  Will we be devastated to have to say goodbye when it's time for them to go?  To all of these we say "yes".   Neither Billy nor I feel proficient to give a foster kid everything they need.  Heck, if you know us, you know we are about as goofy as they come.  We are impatient.  We speak with a tone.  We argue about stupid stuff like what channel The Voice is on.  We go to school wearing the same underwear we've worn for 3 days.  We reward ourselves with Dairy Queen and television when we've had a bad day. We talk about Bob and Jillian as if they are our actual friends. We are wildly imperfect, but we are willing to take a chance. 


If you ask our kids how they feel about having foster kids, you won't get a whole lot of information.  Believe me, I've tried.  Like Billy and I, they are uncertain and anxious about all the unknowns.  But they are cautiously open to the invitation, even if it means they have to share their stuff.  Thankfully our family has a leader who rolls with the punches, and goes with the flow.  Life is an adventure isn't it?  Time to layer up and live out loud! 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Perspective

Hey Peeps—

Can I offer you just a small piece of advice?  Never, ever, go to Costco when you are hungry and tired.  And maybe a tad bit hormonal.  I thought, in my exhausted and slightly hormonal state of mind, I should run to Costco tonight while Faith was at her piano lesson.  I had one hour to get what we needed, including dinner, and be back in time to pick up Faith and head home.  It all made perfect sense as I was driving to the big box store, making the list up in my head.  And as it often does, I came home with items I don't understand.  Like I'm ever gonna use a 20 lb. bag of potatoes.  I certainly have no idea what Quinoa is, although I own quite a bit of it now.  Do you eat it?  Do you plant it? Is it a nut or a grain?  People, what is happening to me?

I'll tell you what's happening.  It's called being a wife, mother, and nurse.  I've never worn so many hats, and at my last count, that's only 3.  I have no idea how you other women do such things as: work full time, serve on the PTO, run Girl Scouts, save the whales, and have perfectly highlighted hair.  Besides my daily duties as wife and mother, my job has also been particularly busy the last couple of weeks.   I wish I could say I was part of a team of nurses developing a cure for cancer, however that would be a lie.  My official title, "Wellness RN" means I do things like flu shots, footcare (yes, it's a real thing), and educate folks on a variety of topics related to their changing health issues.  There's nothing fancy about what I do, but I sure get to meet a lot of interesting people and listen to their stories.

Every now and then I lose my perspective and need to be reminded that what I am in doing in my job is important, even if not glamorous.  Just today, after I complained to a fellow nurse that I am not gaining very many new skills in my current position, she decided to give me what I like to call a "come to Jesus".  She pulled me aside, while eating her sandwich in the hallway next to the bathroom, and told me, "Listen, what you are doing is getting a big picture of the patient, from head to toe.   It's not a high intensity job, but that's okay.  You leave here and you still have time to get groceries, go pick up your kids from school, and get home to make dinner for your husband so he won't divorce you".  I almost laughed at the part about where my making dinner will help Billy not divorce me, because I am a horrible cook. And it's not my food that's keeping him around.  My friend's point was that she's seen many women come into nursing, pour their lives into a job, and then end up losing her family in the process of gaining a career.  She reminded me today that I was exactly where I needed to be.  She was 100% right.  Sometimes you just need someone to say it again, am I right?

And even though dinner was a microwavable pasta dish from the refrigerated section at Costco, our family ate a meal together, just like we do almost every night.  When homework was done, we gathered around to watch a new show about super heroes that Jack keeps calling "sick", which oddly enough means it's good.   When that was over, all the kids ended up in my room to listen to me read aloud.  I don’t do funny voices, and I yawn about every minute or so, but the kids know it's a special time for us because we are together. 

When I can absolutely read no more, they are off to brush teeth and get in bed.  For years that process was hard and chaotic, with sticky toothpaste trailing down the hall, and cries over losing Pooh Bear, or someone's favorite "holey blankey".  Now my babies are growing up, and they know the routine very well.  Minimal supervision is still required for a variety of reasons, like when one of our kids forgets we have rules ands streaks up and down the hallway in all his glory.

Once they are settled in bed, I visit their rooms to say prayers.  Faith always makes sure to ask God to have a good week, and remembers our whole family in her requests.  Jack always asks God for a good day at school tomorrow, and thanks Him for the good things in our lives.  Will's prayers are filled with gratitude for the way we can rely on God, and for the ways He provides in our lives.  The sincerity in their voices as they acknowledge their Heavenly Father fills my heart with joy.  Hugs and kisses are given and received.  As I turn out the lights, I tell them once more how special they are.

I head to bed, my perspective in tact, weary from the day, but content.  I have more than I need.  I have more than I deserve.  I have potatoes and quinoa.  And I have three sweet kids who teach me every day how to appreciate the life I've been given.