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Help wanted: long road ahead

Warning:  lots of honesty ahead.
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I haven’t talked a lot about what this MS diagnosis has meant to me or our family.  I haven’t shared a ton about the infusions I am doing, except to let people know that we’re doing them and to look for help with the little boys.  But the truth of it is the path that we are on is hard.  This diagnosis sucks and the treatments aren’t super fun either.  Physically my body is not “normal” and probably won’t ever be again.  Going to Seattle every month for my infusion is expensive, it’s hard on our family, physically taxing for me while I’m there that day and requires a lot of planning and preparation to make sure everything is organized back at home while I’m away.  All of this, plus it is incredibly emotionally draining to get through another day of something I DO NOT want to do .  All of these things aren’t things that I (or our family) broadcast regularly.  We do our best to be positive, play the hand we’ve been dealt and live our life as well as we can in spite of the circumstances.
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I’m writing today because we need help.  Every month there is another infusion, every month we need help.  Right now, we are not getting the help we need.  I don’t say that or write these words to point fingers or blame.  Everyone is busy, our friends and family have lots going on.  I think it’s easy to see when help is needed when there is a crisis or a “big” event – a death or a new baby for example.  It’s easy to see what needs to be done.  We are not in crisis and every infusion isn’t quite a “big” event.  It’s not easy to see what help is needed and we understand that.  In a perfect world, I wouldn’t have MS and I wouldn’t be doing these treatments.  In an almost-perfect world, our friends & family would be mind readers and just intuitively know what we needed.  But those aren’t the worlds we live in.
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I will be going for an infusion once a month indefinitely.  None of the MS treatments have an end date.  None of them “make you better” or produce a “cure”.  So this will be something our family will be doing for a while.  Hopefully, it will begin to not be as physically taxing.  We’ve heard that it is a possibility that as we continue to have infusions, the physical effects of the infusion process begin to minimize.  So for now, we really need to ask for your love, help & support.
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Here are some specific ways we need help:
  • we usually need some help with the little boys the day of the infusion – a play date at your house or at the park, or someone to come here and hang out for a few hours
  • the kids often need rides to/from school or activities
  • the trip gets expensive, the costs out of pocket are usually around $100 for the day
  • help with dinner would be nice sometimes, even bake @ home pizzas ease the burden for Alex & the kids
  • the day after my infusion, I have tried hard to block my day out and do nothing otherwise I exhaust myself. Having a friend over for coffee helps force me to stay home and not do much. Help that day with fixing dinner or kids’ rides would be welcome also.

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The tangible help is needed because otherwise all of us – me, Alex and the kids – are all scrambling to make these days work.  It has been stressful these last few months and I’m not always resting the day after like I should be.  The stress of it just adds to the emotional toll that it takes on our whole family.  The help we get from friends and family will help to alleviate the stress and get the tasks accomplished.  But the intangible aspect of that help is that our family will feel loved and supported and NOT ALONE in this process.  And I’m sure you’ll agree that’s the most important help of all.

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Thank you for reading this and taking it for what it is – an honest request for help from the people who love us, an acknowledgement that we can’t do this alone, a way of giving specifics to our “tribe”, who we know *WANT* to help, but maybe just don’t know how.  And thank you for considering how you can help us in the months to come.  We are thankful to be blessed with a lot of family in the area, and an amazing community of friends.
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A Decision Made

I’ve agonized over this decision for days now.  The rumblings of the need to make the decision have been under the surface for weeks.  I was putting off even making a decision and then I had a conversation with my mom about something she was thinking about and I told her that not making a decision is making the decision…..that the inaction or delay just makes your decision for you but in a passive way.  And after that conversation, I knew I needed to do some more talking to my husband and some trusted friends and proactively decide what to do.

My decision was whether to continue to pursue success in my Thirty-One business or whether to let it go.  It’s difficult because I really believe in the company, the product and the opportunity.  So far, my experience has been overwhelmingly positive and I know I could continue as a Thirty-One consultant and likely be very successful at it.  The problem is that there have been some major changes in our family.  Changes that create pretty big roadblocks to Thirty-One being a wholly positive venture for me and my family.  So, the decision has been made and I am going to “retire” my role as a consultant with Thirty-One. 

One of the two  most significant changes are that Alex is now working second shift.  This means he is gone in the evenings and I don’t have him to rely on when I am doing evening parties.  Second shift as a whole is a HUGE game-changer for our family.  We’ve done it before and it’s hard on everyone.  It takes a lot out of me, in fact Alex & I both recognize that out of everyone, second shift affects me the most.  It adds a lot to my plate and is pretty mentally, physically & emotionally exhausting as I become the main/only parent – at times even feeling like a single parent – in the evenings.  So adding a night or two when both parents are away (Alex at work, me doing a party) to a schedule that is already tough for everyone is not the best idea.

The other major change is that I am now homeschooling 2 kids.  When I signed up as a Thirty-One consultant, all 5 of the big kids who are still in school were enrolled full time in public school.  I now have had one at home for the last 8 weeks with another transitioning to homeschool at the semester.  Obviously, this drastically changes my role at home and adds a lot to my plate.

I really agonized over this decision.  I have so many mixed feelings about it.  I feel like one aspect is that I really care about the people involved with my business:  my customers and hostesses, my upline and director and others.  I feel like they have invested in me and I hate to let them down.  But someone emailed me a link that said “I want to remember to put the people I love before the people I just care about.” and Oh boy!, that hit home.  I do care about the people I have met since I’ve been doing Thirty-One, and I realize that is a big factor in why this has been such a difficult decision for me.  I don’t ever want anyone to feel I am letting them down.

There is a part of me too that wants to just be Super Mom.  There is a part of me that wants to be the one with 8 kids who “does it all”.  But that ego driven part can’t have a place in my home.  And I have to be honest that with our new second shift schedule and adding homeschooling back into the mix, I can’t do it all.  It’s just not going to be done well and at the end of the day, I know it will be my family who suffers most.

The last piece to all of this is following my dreams.  I have had a dream, goal, wish, passion, burning desire…..to become a doula.  It’s been on my heart for 13 years.  I have started pursuing it here and there but never like I should have.  Over the last few months, there have been so many moments, conversations and situations where Alex & I have been reminded that I need to be pursuing this dream.  He asked me why I hadn’t been working on it and I told him honestly that I couldn’t do both Thirty-One and work on my doula “homework”.  The time and finances don’t exist in my life for both. 

His response was to tell me:  “When I see you talk about Thirty-One, you’re excited and it’s interesting and it’s obvious that you like it and it’s fun.  But when I watch you talk about birth and breastfeeding and those types of things, you light up.  You are so passionate about it.  Women are drawn to talk to you about their experiences and to ask you questions and I rarely see you in a crowd of women for long before that is the topic of conversation.  There is a difference between liking something and being absolutely passionate about something.  You can be good at Thirty-One.  You’ll rock it if you want to and I’ll support that.  But just because you can be good at something, doesn’t mean it’s the thing you’re meant to be doing.”

And that right there sealed the deal.  I’m letting Thirty-One go.  I’m so hoping that 2012 will be the year that I find myself truly following my passion for babies and mamas and birth.  And I’m trusting that my friends, customers, hostesses and everyone that I’ve met in this short lived adventure will support me and understand why this is what needed to happen.

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Help make Christmas AWESOME for local families!

For whatever reason this Christmas, I have something really weighing on my heart & mind. Every Christmas our family does our best to donate, volunteer or help – in some way – a local organization or family. It’s part of Christmas for us and I love that part of the holidays (even if I’m a bit Scroogey about everything else!).

This year, I really want to help Sharenet’s Christmas store. Our family plans to purchase a gift or two and our housechurch is working on a project for stocking stuffers, but I have seriously been laying awake nights trying to figure out how to do MORE.

I’m not sure why this cause is so heavy on my heart this year. The bummer is that our family is still making our way out of a hard time and there is no way we can do much but buy a few toys to donate.

So that’s where YOU come in. I’ve brainstormed and thought and – like I said – have been laying awake at night trying to figure out how I (we) can do more. And I think I stumbled on it last night. I have a voice, I can use this blog to put the word out and I have TIME.

Maybe you can’t get out to purchase the gift. I will be your personal Sharenet Christmas store shopper! Maybe I can get some friends and family to donate – $5 will buy some stocking stuffers, $10 can buy a toy for a child, $15 or $25 would purchase an iTunes gift card or something nice for the teens that often get overlooked.

So here’s what I’m asking. Will you donate? Can you be a part of this? I will come pick up donations of toys or gifts or cash or checks. I will do the shopping. Our house church will put together the stocking stuffer packs. I will coordinate getting it all to the Sharenet folks.

Here is a list of some ideas of what you can donate: (this is just a starting point, you may have other ideas!)
NEW toys
NEW clothes (think hoodies, hats/scarves, etc.)
stocking stuffer items: small toys, pencils, coloring books, crayons, etc.
candy
gum
candy canes
chocolate Santas
Items for grown-ups (earrings, perfume, wallet or money clip, nice things for the mom/dad in the house)
gift cards: iTunes, Target, Old Navy
MONEY – $5 to whatever your family can give. It all makes a difference.

Call me or email and I will come and pick up donations. I can give you my paypal address and you can send $$ that way if it’s easier. You can drop a check in the mail and I will do your shopping.  I would like to have all donations collected by Friday, Dec. 16th.

Here’s my promise: I will be an AWESOME shopper. I can s t r e t c h a dollar like no one’s business! I will post pics here on the blog of what I collect and donate so you can see what we did together.

Help me get this DONE for Sharenet! I know what it’s like to be strapped at Christmas. The model of the Christmas store – allowing families to have the dignity of shopping for their own kids and the joy of picking out those gifts for the ones you love, is just amazing. I really want to support their efforts and make sure they have a great selection and an amazing Christmas store this year!

Let’s do it. I’m excited to see what happens.

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It’s Been Busy Around Here! 2

Well, hubby left for Africa AND came back again & I never posted once.  That’s ok, you didn’t want to hear my whining, I’m sure.  Him being gone was hard.  Mostly on me.  The kids handled it better this year than last.  I decided I’m not cut out for the staying-at-home-while-hubby-trots-off-to-Africa thing, so next year we’ll either both go or we’ll both stay.  The second I’m not preggers or breastfeeding, I’ll be getting my immunizations so I’m ready to go.

We continue to work on getting the back room ready for my mom.  The bathroom needs to be tiled and her living space finished off (trim, carpet, paint) and then it’s ready.  I know there will be ‘off’ days, but I think for the most part we will all really enjoy having her here with us.

Looking around at my messy house today….thinking about all the junk I’ve been eating and the not-exercising I’ve been doing….and just thinking I need to kick myself into gear.  That’s what this blog was supposed to be for, maybe I should actually get busy so I have something relevant to post!

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It’s been busy around here!

Hubby left yesterday for Africa.  We’ve been so busy getting ready for him to be gone, right up until 3am Friday morning (Thursday night, sort of).  I drove them to the airport yesterday.  See our Senegal blog for more info on this trip.

Any-hoo, an online friend said this about my stairs:  You know, my mom always says “if it won’t matter next week, don’t let it matter now”. You’ve been unwell, the baby has been unwell, you have a major trip to help your husband plan for, the children are probably in all kinds of activities and need to be chauffeurred – I wouldn’t give 2 shakes over the stairs. Is everyone fed/ clothed/kissed…then you’ve done the stuff that matters.

I took it to heart & so they’ve sat.  My goal is to get them done now while Alex is gone.  I think it would be a nice surprise for him since it annoys him like crazy to see the pile of stuff just sit there.  I think I’m sending a bunch of it off to some girl scouts for a project they’re doing.

I’ve been doing a lot of knitting.  Just finished a scarf that I think is going to go to my mom-in-law.  It is blocking now.  I wonder if blocking pins would work better than sewing pins??  Don’t really know.  The pattern is one that I copied from my local yarn store.  It looks super cool and I love the way it turned out.  BUT…I stopped in at that yarn store just the other day and their version of the scarf looks nothing like mine!  So I double checked the pattern & realized that I put an asterisk in the wrong place.  Re-copied the pattern.  Went home.  Cast on with some new yarn.  Still looks different than what I remember, but still very cool.  Maybe I am just really good at getting patterns wrong and in the process making cool new patterns!

I would love to get my yarn stash photographed & posted to Ravelry while Alex is gone.  That would definitely keep me busy.  That and the various swaps I am signed up for.  I think doing swaps really appeals to my “gift” love language (there’s a book….5 Love Languages….look it up).  Anyway, I got my first ever Ravelry swap package on Thursday & it was awesome.  I am currently assembling 2 for other swaps & I’m sooooo excited about them!!
Here’s a pic of my package from the “Ten Dollar Swap”:

Once again, this baby is sick.  Don’t know how or why, but he is.  He is asleep in my lap, most of today has been spent holding him because that’s all he seems to want.  My dad helped get the kids back & forth to their basketball games and I’ve mostly just sat here with a fussy baby.  It figures…daddy leaves…baby gets sick…mom goes crazy!  Actually the kids have been a big help and I’ve been able to hold him propped with pillows so I can still knit!

And here’s some pics of the baby, because even sick, he is stinkin’ cute….but soooo sad!!!

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Booger!

Didn’t do it.  Obviously.  Since I didn’t post the “done” update.  It’s getting done today or those boxes are going in the garbage.  And it would KILL me to put them in the garbage.

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Is there a connection??

Could there possibly be a connection between the fact that I didn’t finish the stairs – but instead just sort of shuffled the mess from one spot to another – and the fact that I never posted an update???  Hmmmmm…..thoughts to ponder.

Well I’ve had a sick baby these past few days but that is really no excuse since the last post is over a week ago (10 days?  more?).   The house isn’t falling apart but I’m sure not getting done what I’d like to get done.

I did buy a blank journal to try to keep myself & my thoughts a little more organized.  I seem to do better when I’m writing stuff down & making lists.

The stuff on the stairs was ebay stuff that either needs to get listed or get gone.  I’ve got weird (maybe not so weird) sentimental attachments to it.  It’s a lot of paper art, rubber stamp and collage stuff.  The problem is that it’s hard to give up those things that for a long time defined a very artistic side of me.  I haven’t had time or desire to work with this stuff for a long time and I made the decision to send it off to other homes & that’s ok.  But I definitely sense that a part of me is having a hard time with the finality of it all being gone.  But on the other hand it just clutters up my life where it is (not to mention annoys my hubby) and so it needs to go.

I have other outlets for my artistic leanings and I know that someday my kids will be older and I can go back to some of these pursuits that I have enjoyed (and probably have much more time to invest & enjoy them!).  For now, I am loving knitting…and it is something that feeds that very artsy part of me (the colors! the textures! the fun arty things we can all wear!) and I am still beading (FYI- they combine…there are such things as ‘beaded stitch markers!!!) and occasionally I dream of doing other things.

So my plan for tomorrow is for it to either be listed on ebay  OR be in my van on the way to the Goodwill.  And now I’m realizing this blog post become much more insightful than I originally intended it to be.  Wish me luck.  If I do it, I’ll be back with the promised before & after pics!

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