Friday, June 26, 2009

Yo God...

From the voice of my oldest three-year-old in bed tonight, about 10 minutes after we prayed and tucked into bed:

"Yo, God. Pix my broken toesies now and make 'em nice and shiny again. Got it?"

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Where do the checks go?

It's been a year where I've written out more checks to medical providers than anyone else, including our daycare lady, who I pay each Friday. Not a good sign.

Between dental disasters with the twins and a new crown and upcoming filling for myself, new contacts (more than twice as expensive as those I used to wear), meeting the $1000 deductible for each of us, a lump on my uterus that magically disappeared the day after an ultrasound, exploration of naturopathic care and chiropractic for Bell's Palsy, the upcoming visit to a podiatrist (tomorrow - to see about fixing these damn bunions) and an upcoming trip to an ENT to talk about fixing my Bell's Palsy symptoms, I feel broke. And sick of running.

Last month, I honestly wrote out more in medical/dental bills than either of my paychecks brought in. What do people without savings accounts do? Is that why so many people have rotting teeth? Maybe I just need to find a few more hours in my weeks to pick up some more freelancing. Or not. (I do wish I could squeeze in a little more writing - not for the money so much, but the relaxation. Oxymoron of the month: it's too stressful to try to fit in time to do something relaxing and rewarding.)

I realize that none of these issues is earth shattering. Nothing is critical or unbearable or deadly. For that, I am truly grateful. But man, they are expensive when you add them all together. I'm hoping for a good visit tomorrow and some quick results to get back to feeling somewhat normal again. Someday...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The buzzing in my brain

If you know me at all, you know there is no 'turning it off' time for me. I don't have a TV in my house and I don't read fiction. If my kids are asleep and my husband is working (every week night), I'm thinking about work and ways to improve how it all comes together.

A main priority of my office (the communications office) is to redo our website. The current one is more than a decade old and hasn't been improved upon since the initial build. Needless to say, it's horrible. Everyone I know is convinced that we just need to start from scratch and build a new one from the ground up - and do it right with the ability to adjust it as user needs change.

Unfortunately, the team of 12 who hired me have no idea what our needs are, in terms of skills, technology, personnel, etc. I recognized that the entire group is near retirement age, so when I interviewed, I purposely understated my capabilities (I secretly was hoping to not get the job offer because it would be such a huge change, plus I knew that if I did the job, it would be way more rewarding to exceed expectations rather than the opposite). I bluntly said that I do not have graphic design skills, nor do I have website design skills. I have an eye for design and a head to comprehend the big picture and getting the right message to the right audience. And I have a great understanding of the importance of web content, ease of use, and so on when it comes to a website. And I can write web copy well, which is a totally different writing style than ads or brochures.

Shoot, what these folks need is a cross-platform IT person who is also a graphic designer and a PR specialist and a public spokesperson and a writer and a marketing manager and a videographer and about a million other specialties. When they told me about the robust staff who handles all of the graphic design and web design, I was relieved. I could handle the rest.

Little did I know that I was inheriting a "graphic designer" who had community college training back in the day when folks literally cut up pictures and taped them onto paper and made copies in order to make an ad. And that the website guy has a master's in theology and just happens to tinker on computers at home after hours, but has no formal IT training. Plus, he doesn't even work in the communications office - so any time he gives is borrowed from his office. He's an awesome smart guy, but our structure makes the whole thing screwy. The "designer" has since quit during our hiring freeze, so now it's all me.

I am bucking the idea of having to learn how to code a website. In a big way. Ick. Icky pukey ick. And I'm against using some lame template system that doesn't allow for the classy artistic design we've been establishing as our brand. As I'm trying to figure out where to go with all of this, I've been enlightened by a few people who are way smarter than me in this area, and now my mind is swimming. I'm going to do my darnedest these next couple days to simply ignore the whole issue. It really is overwhelming and tiring and daunting. So on to focusing on very unrelated things. Like accounting work. And press releases. And networking/schmoozing opportunities. And a manicure. And making sure I have fresh creamer for coffee in the morning.

Boy oh boy.

Friday, June 12, 2009

June 12th - the most emotional day of my year

My darling daughters, who turned three a full 6 weeks ago, were due to celebrate their birthday today. And each year since their birth, their due date has brought on an onslaught of tears and hugs and an overwhelming ache of relief.

Six weeks early. Who ever knows what prematurity is until you visit a baby in the NICU who is too fragile to even stroke, much less hold. Just remembering the intense fear of having to bury our babies, whose odds were less than shitty, my heart is pounding and it hurts to breathe.

I had a really tough time playing the mean mom role tonight. With DH working nights and me being a single mom each evening, bedtime is certainly not fun for any of us. The girls, Breanna especially, really pushes - often not staying in bed for good until 11 or later. (Thankfully Grant is the most wonderful little guy in the universe - he likes to cuddle for about 1 minute, give a kiss goodnight, and then nuzzle into his blanket and go to sleep.) With the twins, though, it's a constant, draining battle, both physically and emotionally. Like most nights, tonight I just wanted to rock these miracle babies without having to worry about the consequences of overtired kids tomorrow. Unlike most nights, however, I let my emotion dictate the decision to rock the girls to sleep late into the night.

As I smelled their soft, clean hair and stroked their smooth little hands, I couldn't hold back the tears of gratitude. Thank God for letting these children live. And live so well! They overcame every obstacle the doctors told us to expect and really, they are perfect little beings.

June 12 will never be the same.

Monday, June 08, 2009

A week in the life...

I woke up late on Sunday morning to the smell of bacon. Not only had my extremely wonderful husband let me take a turn sleeping in, but he also got up with the kids and made a real breakfast. And then delivered a plate to me in bed. Honestly, could there be any sweeter gesture?

Listening to the chaos out in the kitchen, I felt guilty, so I picked up my plate and joined the rest of the crew in the kitchen. Grant was wearing no pants. Neither was Lillian. And Breanna had on her jammies upside down with two different colors of socks. Gotta love it.

With DH working evenings M-F, our time together as the whole family is pretty limited, which is why we really treasure our weekends. It's also the only break I get from our three little darlings, so I often find an errand I need to run - even if it's just to the grocery store - alone. Or the hardware store. Or anywhere.

Last week was really exhausting, but I had a very brave week, and I'm still questioning why I felt such a desire to get out. Luckily, our out-of-home adventures all turned out ok. No one was abducted or injured, so I guess you could say we had some successes.

On Tuesday night, I took the kids to my office, where the production crew was filming TV Mass. I've hired a wonderful young man to take over that aspect of my office, and it was his going to be his first night without me being there for the whole thing. The kids were curious and cute and having a ball looking for God in the chapel as I made sure everyone was comfortable and ready for me to depart. The girls also searched for God up the stairs. And in the closet. And at the candy machine, where my dear colleague rejoiced in teaching them how fun it is to get Skittles from the machine and eat them all at once. They were hilarious little jumping beans for hours afterwards. From there, we came home and our sweet next door neighbor, who is a beautician, made a house call and cut the girls' shaggy mops. Luckily, she was able to bounce with them on their sugar highs and the bobbed haircuts turned out really cute.

The school where the twins will be attending preschool had it's spring picnic Wednesday evening, so I packed up all three and off we went. I was shocked to see 300-400 people. Sheer madness! But the kids had fun and I just accepted that I couldn't see all three at all times. Thankfully Grant wanted to be held a lot, so I only had to keep an eye on the twins. But what a heavy 25-pounder to lug around all evening. My blood pressure was probably very near stroke stage, but we made it and the kids had a BALL! They even got to jump in an inflatable jumphouse and eat cotton candy and go potty in little toilets for little kids in the little school. (Lillian blurts the last sentence to anyone who asks about school. More like squeals it out. Loudly. And then has to take a really big breath.)

Thursday night was catch-up night and bath night, and then Friday we went to a surprise 50th birthday party for a friend of ours from the TEC (Together Encountering Christ) retreat program. It was out in the middle of a bunch of gravel roads, complete with beanbag-tossing folks who rode 4-wheelers and drank beers and the works of true country living. Again, as a single parent that night, I was a little panicky, but it went well. Our dear friends stepped up and helped me to relax and enjoy a bit before I packed the kids up and headed home. We made it home just as it was getting dark, so everyone conked out right after we brushed our teeth. That NEVER happens that easily, so I was delighted.

This week, we're staying home so I can recuperate.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Status Quo

No one will ever accuse us of overbooking ourselves nor living exotically. Our basic routine is pretty darn comfortable, and though often challenging just based on the logistics of having three little ones always underfoot, it's still nice enough.

We've unofficially boycotted a summer of racing all over the place, trying to squeeze in time with various family members at various lakes, constantly packing and unpacking. It's taken us a few years, but we're finally getting wiser, although certainly not more popular.

This isn't to say we sit home and repeat our days, but in the big frame, we're pretty predictable. We still do a trip to Grandma and Papa's here and there and are bound to make an appearance at my folks' cabin once or twice, but we're doing way more weekends at home than away. The kids are happy. We're happy. We're tired. But not extra tired due to the packing and unpacking. Hooray!

This weekend, we're staying home