Thursday, January 30, 2014

Just doing our "thang"

Hey Peeps—

Today I had a choice to make.  I only had enough time to either 1. Work out or 2. Bake oatmeal scotchies.  Duh.  It took me about no seconds to figure that one out.  The first batch is baking away as I type, and if I have any amount of self-control, I will only eat five today.  If you had seen what I went through to get my jeans on a little bit ago, you would have told me, in love, to take a pass on the cookies.

Today is one of those days I cherish as a mom.  Because I work part time, I have days when I get to go to the kid's school.  First I went to the cafeteria to have lunch with Will.  I didn't actually eat, and it's not because I filled up on oatmeal scotchies.  Seriously, have you ever watched 100 eight year olds eat lunch?  The smell alone is enough to turn my stomach.  And watching the food sort of make it into the children's mouths…oh my.  It's sticky, smelly, loud, and somewhat gross.  But it's not the food that drew me there.  Sitting across from Will in his element brought me such joy.  Will did ask me before he left for school, "Mom, please when you come to school, don't tickle me like you did last time."  You will be happy to know I honored his request.  However, at recess after lunch, he did have to ask me at one point to stop dancing.  His loss though, cause I have some serious "Elaine" moves down.  It's kinda my "thang".

After I spent some time in the company of 3rd graders, I headed over to the mature 5th grade classroom and worked there for a couple hours.  Faith also gave me a few parameters for coming into her classroom this morning.  One of them was to "Mom, please don't talk to me".  The other was "don't hug me in this position"--now try to picture Faith as she stands like Mary Catherine Gallagher doing the "Superstar" pose—one in which I have claimed as my own. (yes, another "thang")  I have to ask other parents out there, are your kids mortified by your presence at school too?  And I don't mean your teenage kids, that's a given, but your younger ones.  Only respond if you are an embarrassment.  If you aren't, then I probably don't want to hear about it. 

I love working in Faith's classroom.  For one thing I love to watch her work, glancing up at me from time to time to smile, and then she's heads down again.  I love to hear what she's learning about, so I can ask her about it later, and take pride in the brilliant mind God has given her.  I also love Faith's teacher.  She's one of my best friends, and getting to see her do what she loves is so fun.  I love walking down the halls of this little school, with so many memories, and say a prayer of thanks for the people that have invested so much into our kids' lives.  Today when I left I was about to sneak out quietly, and I mentioned to the T.A. I wasn't allowed to say goodbye to Faith but to tell her I said "bye".  Amanda got a devilish look in her eye, and said, "hang on".  Then she announced to the class, "Boys and girls, Mrs. Repenning is leaving now.  Can you give her a round of applause for all her hard work today?"  And then on cue, I walked through the aisles of desks waving and bowing, and ending with my signature "Superstar" move.  Amanda then asked the class to give me a standing ovation.  Every kid stood up to clap, except Faith, whose hands were buried in her face, completely mortified.  I laughed all the way to the car.  And when I picked her up 30 minutes later, she tried to be mad at me, but deep down (very deep) she knew it was funny.  And I think she might even be happy to have a mom that doesn't mind being silly. 

2014 started off with a bang didn't it? Now that we've gotten rid of a variety of viruses, we can focus on some bigger things.   We have a lot of hopes and dreams for 2014.  Billy would be thrilled to find a job that he loves.  Jack dreams of not having homework.  Faith dreams of new ways to style her hair.  Will dreams of how to wire a security camera so he can watch what happens in our basement at night.  I dream of having a little extra money so I can get my roots done professionally.  Many of you are dreaming that the Broncos bring home a Super Bowl victory!  I love that we can dream big and small, and that as silly as they might be, the details and dreams of our life matter to God. 

And right now, one of our biggest dreams is adding another little Repenning to our family.  Originally we planned on only fostering, but because God loves to blow our minds, we may actually get to adopt.  We won't know much for some time but we know enough to pray for a miracle.  Adoption is complex and there are often many obstacles.  We are facing these obstacles while asking God to lead and guide us in this process.  He knows what our family needs, and He knows what the Little One needs.  So we wait with hope.

Tonight as this giant snow storm moves in, I plan on living large with some popcorn, cookies, and quilts, sitting on the couch and watching some tv with my family.  These are the kind of nights where abundant life is at its best.  We cuddle, we laugh, we may even get a little irritated that we've outgrown our couch, but by the end of the night we go to bed knowing we are blessed.  We don't know what tomorrow will bring, but we know Who brings tomorrow.  No matter how much snow falls, He's got each one of us wrapped up in His big ole' hands.  Stay safe.  Stay warm.  And don’t forget for a second that you are loved. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Zombie Apocolypse

Hey Peeps—

You know you've reached an all time low when you and your 8 year old son are sharing the same bottle of eye drops.  Yes, I thought I was at my maximum capacity for malady, right about the moment my eye felt itchy.  And then weepy.  Quickly my ocular miracle bypassed weepy and went straight to goopy.  Twelve hours before this irritating realization, a respectable physician told me the inside of my nose looked "angry".  I almost didn't hear her say it, as my trachea was collapsing due to a coughing fit. 

I am a hot mess.  Minus the hot.    

A little over a week ago Billy was diagnosed with pneumonia, which I had suspected due to his symptoms, and bits of lung particles all over the kitchen table.  He was put on antibiotics right away, and I decided right then and there I had to make him rest.  I couldn't ask him to run to Target, or pick up the kids, or even go get me a Blizzard from DQ.  I made him be still and rest.  Jack joined Billy on the "unclean" couch with a hardy cold and sore throat.  His turned to an ear infection rapidly.  Thank the Lord for antibiotics. Will, being a male who believes in solidarity, called us from school the next day saying he was "sick".  I didn't believe him, but his fever was 102, so I get an "F" in both mothering and nursing skills--unfortunately not my first.  Anyway, his eye decided to join the fun, and went nuts, swelling up and oozing with none other than pink eye (aka: conjunctivitis for you fancy types). 

At this moment Faith and I were holding steady, the lone girls of the family were healthy and avoiding the males at all costs.  Being a mom and not a sister, I was less than successful.  By the end of the week I went down.   And it hasn't been pretty.  Which brings me to this moment.  Besides having no voice and competing with Billy for loudest cough, I have a washcloth on my eye, and am quarantined from the others.  How is it after 14 years of being a mom, I finally catch pink eye?  You would think I would have contracted it years ago, when my kids were preschoolers, all snotty and sticky, sitting in my lap, and sneezing in my face as I yawned with exhaustion.

We all had a really rough night.  There was a cacophony of coughing coming from Jack, Billy, and myself.  One of us would start to drift off to sleep, and soon, the hacking began, and ended two minutes later with gags and tears, and maybe even a little tiny bit of incontinence.  (TMI?  What? I'm 41 and have birthed 2 kids.  It happens, deal with it)

As Sunday morning rolled around, and we began to emerge, the decision to skip church went like this: Me to Billy, "Are you going?"  Billy to me, "No, me need sleep".  We all needed another day to recover, and thankfully the kids let us rest all morning.  After they obviously became stir crazy and were using phrases like, "Dude I'm totally gonna kick your butt" we knew we had to get them outside into the beautiful sunshine.  We knew the fresh air would help us, and hoped it would remind the children how much they loved being together.  Oddly enough it worked.  For one full hour, they had an epic nerf gun battle at the park, even including kids they didn't know, while Billy and I looked on from the blacktop, laying on the ground hoping no one would think we were dead.  Or part of a Zombie Apocolypse. 

This has been one of those weeks where we questioned why life has been hard, and why it feels like everything has been working against us.  Still, even in the absolute germ festival happening under our roof, I am thankful.  Right about the moment I feel like complaining about how I don't deserve to be sick, I swear my mind flashes to millions of moms in 3rd world countries who have to walk miles to get their child medical care.  And in just one short week, how many times have I been able to call the doctor, or go buy medications, when so many don't even have clean water to drink.  It's sobering to think about how kids can actually go blind from pink eye, or die from diarrhea.  I know it sounds contrite and cliché, but seriously, this week has reminded me that I am blessed.  Why is it that the real lessons in life happen when I am my weakest?  It's the upside down economy of God, I guess. Blows me away, every time. 

A new week lies ahead.  The Broncos have won.  The sun has warmed us.  The sheets have been changed and hopefully by tomorrow we will all have new toothbrushes.  The kids have a day off from school, and because of my still pinkish eye, I will skip work as well.  What could be better than a day with my sweeties?  Absolutely nothing.  Life is good.  And God's got us all. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

In the midst of germs, 2014 is alright!

Hey Peeps—

Either the Spinach Artichoke dip container is lying about how many servings it contains or I just participated in the social sin of gluttony.  Stupid Costco.  I have such a love/hate relationship with you. 

Isn't the New Year lovely?  I'm finally back to work, the kids are back to school, and the weather is going to be in the 50's this weekend.  I don't know about you, but after a few weeks of no routine, things get a little wonky around here.  I knew it was time for the long break to wrap up when my children complained I was taking them swimming.  "We have to swim for a whole hour?" they cried out in unison.  It was at this point, I took a cue from my sister's parenting and reminded the kids they could be sleeping on a dirt floor, waking up at 3 am to go work in a sweatshop, only to return home to a bowl of rice, and another night on the dirt.  None of this worked on my children of course, and they only resented their time in the swift current of the lazy river even more.

Side note: to my surprise, our kids finally mastered the art of sleeping in this past Christmas break, for the first time in their lives.  I was so proud of them, until I realized the first day of school is going to be very hard for Billy, when he has to wake us all up.  (post script: it was)

There's more bad news.  You don't have to sit down though, because the only person it was bad for was our son Jack.  His 14th birthday was on the day they started back to school.  He was down.  He was dejected.  He was devastated.  Will and Faith were sad too, but not for Jack.  More for themselves, as they weren't ready to go back to school either.  To be honest, I wasn't happy it was over but I was happy to get back to work.  It's time to pay for all the fun, and there's a whole lot of foot care clinics out there that aren't gonna care for themselves.  No my job is not glamorous, but thank you Lord, that I have a job.  And I happen to like it, to boot. 

So just like you, we are trying to get back into a routine, but it's no easy task.  Two of my sweeties forgot their homework yesterday, Jack's been sick since his birthday, and Billy is on month 3 of a nagging cough that he just can't shake.  And don't think I haven't given him plenty of advice either.  Now that I'm a nurse, I like to diagnose others, even though I'm wrong 97% of the time.  According to my assessments, Billy's had a nasty case of tuberculosis, pleurisy, phlebitis (I just guessed on that one) and most probably, pneumonia.  He's been to the doctor twice, for two very expensive medications.  They work great for a few weeks, and then boom, like Miley Cyrus, the cough is back, no matter how hard you try and ignore her, you find yourself watching Barbara Walter's 10 Most Fascinating People just because you think "Maybe it's me.  Maybe there's something I'm missing" And then sadly you discover, she was not fascinating at all.    But I digress.

At this moment, I'm pretty sure Billy just coughed up a chunk of lung particle somewhere in the dining room.  If I ever have you over for dinner, try to forget I just told you that.  It's going to be another rough night, even with a little codeine in his system, he's in for a long night.  And tomorrow, there will be another trip to the doctor.  I probably won't send with him my list of possible diagnoses, otherwise, they'll steal all my ideas, and next thing you know, there will be an Iron Lung in the living room. 

Even though we have hit a rough patch or two, life has been very good.  I mentioned a few months ago that our family has been pursuing becoming foster parents through the state.  Our home study will be finished by February 1st, and God willing, we'll be certified shortly after that.  I can't say a whole lot at this point, but there are some neat things happening, and hopefully we will have a child in our home by early Spring.  We began this journey while I was still in Nursing school, praying that if it was the right path for our family, then God would lead us.  Here we are a couple years later, and we can sense His direction as we finish up our state requirements.   Certainly we are in for a roller coaster ride, with many ups and downs, twists and turns, but if we can hold on tight, and keep our eyes locked in on the purpose, I think it will all be okay. 

Another day is done.  All the teeth have been brushed, medications has been dispensed, and all the prayers have been said.  Hugs and kisses have been given to those who aren't coughing, and love has been spoken over each person in our home, including the one who God might bring our way.  We are thankful for the gifts we have been given.  We are thankful for the gifts that we are able to give.  And God is good.