Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Year in Review 2009

It's about time for the annual Year in Review! We had quite an eventful 2009, filled with much happiness and grief, joy and sadness. It was like a little bundle of "Oh, I don't know what's coming next, but I sure hope it's good news" all rolled into one.

The first week of our new year, was a week that will be hard to push from my memory. I had the worst case of bronchitis ever, I was diagnosed with GERD, I resigned from the worship team that I so deeply loved, I spent four hours in a storm preparing for a flood that never happened, and reality hit that my Grandpa Charlie was dying. On January 10th, he went home to be with the Lord, and I learned what it meant to truly grieve and yet be overwhelmingly full of joy at the same time. The rest of the month was a blur to me, but I do recall Brenden started basketball about the same time Alyssa's season ended. I put in a weekend helping at High School Winter camp, and Bryan and I took the last weekend off to retreat to the coast with our friends for some much needed rest. Also, my baby boy turned six.

We returned from our restful weekend at the coast on the first of February, and had to fetch our children who had been very sick in our absence, and had managed to get their grandparents too sick to drive. Of course a sickness of that magnitude was sure to get Mr. Nice Guy and I sick as well, and it did just that. By mid-month, we were more than ready to send my firstborn to Middle School Winter Camp, and ourselves away to Brenden's Fantastic Birthday Weekend at Seaside. We had an absolute blast and he turned 9 amidst many smiles. During this month, we had to put down our dog, but we also managed to get another one. He's our family's best friend, our protector, and rarely has gas. This is why we love him.

My firstborn is now a teenager! (God help us all) Alyssa turned 13 and got her very own, most-expenses paid trip to Newport for the weekend with her friend and of course me! We ate, we swam, we shopped, we ate some more. It was fun. But I won't be repeating it. There's just some things you have to try once to see if you'd like to repeat it. This was one of those times. Mr Nice Guy went to his first Men's Retreat, and Delayna endured her 8th surgery to her ears. We had a stay-cation during Spring Break for the first time in the history of our family and during this month, my chickens began laying eggs like crazy. I began to see how having a farm could really tie you up with obligations, and I was sick again.

We began the month with a weekend at Grove Camp helping with clean up and getting things ready for another camping season. On the morning of the 9th, we got news that my Grandma Madeline was airlifted to Eugene, where we rushed to be by her side. I was happy to know that she appeared to know I was there. She died soon after. On Easter Sunday, we joined our church family for some emotional support, and gathered ourselves for the trip to Bandon for my Grandmother's service the next day, even while Delayna had Pneumonia. It was good to see all my family, but sad at the same time. Again, the rest of the month was a blur, but my husband had a birthday and I did get to attend the Women's Retreat at Camp, where I participated on the worship team. My passion for helping with worship was renewed, and I realized I couldn't give it up forever. But, I was sick again before I even got home.

I scored my award for Worst Mother of the Year when Delayna broke her foot and I passed it off as nothing but a bruise. She ended up missing a much anticipated four day field trip across Oregon and had to stay home and be miserable with me. We both lived through it and I even managed to reach my 36th birthday. We started harvesting our first homegrown strawberries and enjoyed an unseasonable warm spell that kept the kids outside more than usual. Between numerous trips to the orthopedist, the orthodontist and band performances, I learned that my Aunt Mary passed away. This was shaping up to be a miserable year - or a year where I'd strengthen my resolve and press on. I opted for the latter. We spent Memorial Day weekend at Grove Camp surrounded by friends and fun. Meanwhile our anniversary came and went, and we planted some of our garden before the month was over.

I was crowned queen! Ok, I I mean I received my first crown. Signs of middle age are peeking in, and a fractured tooth is just one of them. My step-daughter graduated, Alyssa had two teeth extracted (misery!) and school ended with much excitement. We had a few days' break before camp season began, and then Brenden got a week away, and then the girls got to go together. More planting, more sunshine, and I realized I hadn't been sick in a month!

Delayna spent her 11th birthday at camp, and since her sister was with her, we made plans to let the boys spend time with their Grandparents at the coast. This gave us a couple days to get some things done ready for the next week when Mr Nice Guy and I would be at High School camp leading worship.We followed up the most uplifting week at camp with a weekend home with the kids, and then Mr Nice Guy and I were off on our first flight together ever... to Chicago. He spent several days in a training course in Wisconsin and then we drove across Illinois, up through Iowa and spent a couple nights in Galena, Illinois. I saw my first lightning bugs, my first groundhog and simply loved my first meal (or three) at the Cracker Barrel. We got home in time for my husbaned's 20th High School Class Reunion, and then he got to spend a couple extra weeks at work while I entertained the kids at home. I realized that 10 years ago this month - is when we first met.

Started off the month with some visiting time with the kids' Great Aunt & Uncle from California. Got in some more visiting with relatives at a family reunion and anniversary celebration with my own Great Aunt & Uncle. Took lots of pictures of the family farm, reminisced and enjoyed letting the kids run around just like I used to do as a girl. We took a road trip to Idaho with all five kids (also known as the "Les Schwab Road tour", because of all the tires we went through on our travel trailer) but we got there safely and spent a wonderful 12 days together. We enjoyed being with my brother and his family, my brother-in-law and his family, and life-long friends and their families as well. We got home and our garden was pretty much a complete loss from the heat, but we had so much fun we didn't really care to weed anymore anyway. The kids went back to school, and we looked forward to September.

One of my favorite and least favorite months is September. I love love LOVE family camp during Labor Day weekend, and I love knowing my kids are going back to school and I get to spend some time with just my hubby until his classes start back up again. BUT, I hate it too, because all of the sudden I find myself all alone again! Family Camp was wonderful as usual, great friends, food and fellowship. This was followed immediately by volleyball tryouts and placements for both of my girls. I jumped in and helped with the 5/6th grade team as much as I could, as well as starting my first year as a Middle School "band Mom". Alyssa had two more teeth extracted by an oral surgeon in preparation for braces. September also included lots of prayer for our Cousin Alice. She was gravely ill. We spent another weekend back at camp for a Marriage Retreat that was simply amazing, but came home to the news that our cousin Alice had passed away. Her service was beautiful, and such a reminder that living a Godly life doesn't affect just you - it affects everyone around you. We attended a new church this month, and started getting good feelings about adopting a new church family.

Eva Marie turned 19! A month FULL of volleyball practices, line-judging at games both home and away, and 2-3 days a week working with the band at the Middle School, helping with Book Fairs, assistant to the Artist in Residence at the Elementary School, Parent Club meetings, planning and fundraisers and Alyssa's first 4-H club meetings began. If you think that sounds like a lot to do - it was! But it kept me busy, and I got to meet lots of people and build on relationships in my community that I'd been putting off for four years or so. October also gave me a weekend away with the girls from the church we had been attending previously, to attend Women of Faith in Portland. A great experience yet again, even including the bomb scare. Our family attended church a few more times, and I started allowing myself to really begin to heal from the past hurts and see that good things were to come - we even started attending a small group. We finished off the month with volleyball playoffs. Both my girls' volleyball teams won their league championships and much rejoicing was heard throughout the land.

The kids took turns being sick this month, and then we whisked them all away to Depoe Bay for a weekend of Family R&R. We did nothing but do as little as possible, and loved every minute of it. The kids were all involved in Veteran's Day band performances or assemblies and each one was beautiful and touching. Our small group ended it's 6 week series during this month, and Alyssa started a new season of basketball. Her head coach is our senior pastor - gotta love that! Delayna made the honor roll at school and then Thanksgiving Break was in full swing. We did our own dinner at home this year, and my parents were our guests for the weekend. We also made a trek to the top of Mary's Peak during that time, leaving us with some really vivid memories!

The month of busy busy! Basketball games, Christmas music Concerts and play tryouts came and went. Alyssa stretched her wings by scoring a couple parts in the upcoming play "Beauty and the Beast" and Brenden performed in "A Christmas Carol Musical" with the entire 5th Grade Class. We participated in the 10th Anniversary Celebration for our new church, and our entire family played a part in a Living Nativity on the main street through town. During Christmas Break, I got to meet, in real life, a new friend that I'd made on Facebook and was absolutely delighted to find out she was even better in person! Then, we got to spend a couple days of our Christmas with my parents and my brother's family. After coming home from Cottage Grove, we brought Eva Marie down on a bus to spend some time with while we were all at home. New Years Eve was spent home with the kids for the first time in many years. We tried to have our own little party, but my seasonal depression hit me prematurely early and I believed I had quite possibly ruined the whole night for my family and especially my husband. Thankfully I am married to a man of great hope and deep love, and he held on to me tighter than ever and we were able to begin a new year with an understanding that even though we had gone through more pains and trials than any family should have to endure in 2009, it didn't change the fact that we were, and will always be, family.

She Lives!

Hello 2010, Goodbye 2009.

I have not been too busy to write, or think about writing, or contemplate thoughts. I've just not had the WANT TO. And so now here I am. Wondering which things to write about in case I don't want to write tomorrow, or the day after... or the next 2 months. I hope it doesn't happen like that, and quite frankly, I know it won't! I know it won't because I say it won't and everything I say happens.

Bahahahaha! You found that funny too, didn't ya?

Things certainly aren't going as I would like them to be, but I do feel incredibly blessed nonetheless. I have spent the last few months worrying about a female-type problem. I guess it's easier to not blog than to put my worries down and feel vulnerable and exposed. And helpless.

I have enough problems, that one more problem sometimes feels like it's going to make my brains explode. But then when my attitude adjusts, I realize that the reason I have so many problems is to prep me for the ones to come! Oh boy, I'm not sure I want to even go there.

Anyway, I went ahead with my resolution to have my annual visit to the doctor. The one I haven't seen since my son was born almost seven years ago (go ahead, flog me now). She said something about nagging me, but she realized quickly that I was repentant enough, so she saved the comments for someone else. When I wrote down my goal list of 101 in 1001 a few months back, I listed "Annual Exam" on there. I was pretty sure I'd have it done right off the bat, but I looked back and it's been a year since I wrote that list. Ugh! I do feel pretty good that I didn't wait the entire 1001 days to cross it off though, so cut me some slack.

I'm not going to sit here and write all about my exam, because quite frankly nobody wants to hear about that, and those who do are probably sick. But I left with a list of new vitamins to take, and another longer list of things to avoid. What sucks is the "avoid" list is quite simply a list of all the things that truly bring me joy in life. I'm really not sure what to do with no chocolate, no sugar, no caffeine, no salt and no breathing. Oh wait, breathing isn't on there, but it might as well be. Gosh... Oh right, it just says "decrease", not cut out entirely. I may live.

I have been experiencing lots of pain. Not back pain, that's normal for me. After all I don't live on the "Back Acher" Farm for nothing. This is girl type pain. So hopefully, my doctor's recommendations will help ease my pain, discomfort, fatigue and... any chances of a good mood too. I'm also on the schedule for a sonogram, because apparently all the probing and prodding didn't show clearly the things the doctor needs to see to help with my issues or to make a proper diagnosis. Oh the joy! The excitement. I can't wait. (I'm taking chocolate with me.)

Now I'm making this short, because I've run out of words and I want to get my Year in Review done sometime this month. Well that, and it's just not fun writing about my problems. Unless you think it's fun how I tried to take my little toe off yesterday while getting in the shower and now I'm limping around again. Now that IS funny. Enjoy a free giggle on the house. The next one will cost ya.

Happy and Healthy New Year to you all!