Today is just a little bit of everything. Mostly because it's somehow been over a month since I posted anything. And partly because I have so many things on my mind.
For one, I missed Daniel's birthday. Not "missed it entirely as a family", just "missed posting anything about it..."
Somehow his photos are still on my phone. But at least I took them. We had Grandparents come have goodies with us, and sweet aunts and uncles who gave him some fun gifts. Ones with lots of noise, of course. Because what's life without a little noise?
Then our closet fell apart. Quite literally. The shelf not only fell off the wall, but was broken in half on one end. Brackets were broken as well. Clothes were hanging on any surface they could fit on for over 3 weeks while I repaired the wall, puttied, textured, and painted. New shelves were installed, and our dresser is partway through a makeover also, so that it looks like a built-in.
The disaster we walked in on. It's been a hodgepodge mess since we moved in and threw stuff in there to deal with later.
Done with the taping, and texturing. Halfway through painting, just to show the awfulness of the "white" that was no longer white compared to the gorgeous clean white that's now in there.
It's not done yet, I'll take another picture when the dresser is done and everything else is in. We raised the shelf so the clothes weren't puddling on the dresser top anymore. Yay!
Halloween came and went, with loads of candy and face paint. And class parties with date mix ups, so my children went to school and had to go wash their faces. Oops!
In November, Mark lost his job. Which we expected, but we honestly thought the company would have a few more weeks of work left before the jobs cut back for the winter. No such luck. He put in so many applications that I lost track. When he had an group interview for UPS we were excited, seasonal helper would be perfect since permanent, long term employment really isn't optional right now. He starts school in a month and may not be able to work if he has to take more than minimum full-time credits. And so he called every day, for 2 weeks, to see if they needed him that day. Meanwhile, even more applications are being sent in to various companies, phone calls being made, emails sent. Bills looming, stress mounting. Saving dwindling. Yes, he could claim unemployment insurance. But working part-time during school managed to nip us since it's based on the work hours/pay per quarter. So it was barely enough to pay for the house, with no wiggle room.
Wednesday when he called, he was finally told that drivers needed him! All the boxes from Black Friday were starting to come in! It's still a huge pay cut, and still isn't going to cover much other than the bare necessities unless he gets a lot of overtime. And it's still going to be very tight until funding comes in from school/GI Bill. But it's still a relief to have something coming in. It's still hope.
One of the big things that at least I, personally, have been dealing with is the stress of uncertainty. I can't speak for Mark. It's one of the things I try hard not to bring up because I don't want to put any of it on him, none of my stress is his fault, and it's not his burden to bear. Instead, this time, I tried just quietly putting it aside. Especially with the holidays rapidly approaching, and wanting to provide my children with both the things they need and the things that they desire.
These children are wonderful. They have so little that they ask for, no long lists of "I want's". That changes a little right before Christmas, when they are bombarded with ads for various awesome things, but year-round, their desires are simple. This is a blessing that their father and I appreciate, especially right now when our resources are limited.
Part of me putting the stress aside was to simply say "I will do what I can. I will look to the things that I have, and rely on my creativity to give them memories this year. I won't worry about what I can't change or can't do." And my heart was calmed.
Then the most amazing thing happened.
Angels, literal angels on this earth, took my little ones into their hearts.
Blessings have been poured out on my family from many who love us. Even Mark and I were remembered by someone unexpected. We feel so touched and grateful, and loved.
We weren't able to visit my family as planned, but we did have the opportunity to sleep in our own beds while still spending 4 days enjoying the company of Mark's family. That's the best part of living here. We can see everyone, and then go tuck our children into their own beds, and unwind with some quiet time, recharge our batteries, before going back into the fray. :)
Santa provided stocking stuffer funds, and Grandma watched the boys while we had "date time" on Black Friday. Mark is probably one of the few men I know who would not only willingly go into the mall with his wife, but be the one to suggest doing it. We looked through all but 2 stores that sell women's clothing looking for a fitted/tailored black or blue dress for me to try on. Just because he wanted to see me in one. Window shopping at it's finest!
The power went out that Sunday, multi-town wide. We were all in a panic about how to cook lunch for nearly 30 people with no electricity, and were on the verge of lighting the grill when the power came back on early. It wasn't until the next morning and I was fixing breakfast that it occurred to us that our house has a gas oven, and a wood-burning stove for heat. Where was my brain for that one?
Somehow over the past month I got down to 65 lbs lost. Not sure how, I wasn't eating very well thanks to stress. And working out hasn't been very frequent thanks to the temperatures. But the couple of times I was able to go running, it felt great! Mark has forfeited his windbreaker pants... Hahaha. I'm thinking that experiments with cupcake flavors are slightly to blame for the slow-down, but I can't offer holiday flavors that I haven't personally tasted.
And finally... Nathan's speech therapist had brought up some concerns about his physical abilities and wondered if I would be okay referring him to an occupational therapist for an evaluation. And sure enough, the OT agreed. It's not all "awkward movements due to his size for his age", but she's confident that he won't be a long-term patient. He starts that therapy in a couple weeks.
How blessed we are that my children's medical needs are taken care of right now!
So much goes on in our family on a daily basis that it's really impossible to include everything. But I wanted to at least touch on some of the highlights on what's going on in our lives.