"May the God of hope fill you with great joy and peace as you trust in him." Romans 15:13

Thursday, October 25, 2012

He makes us laugh!

I have not taken nearly enough time in the last 5 months to record the things little man does that make us laugh.  It is time I remedy that!

  • Joshua HATES spiders!  This week at school, they are studying spiders.  Yesterday when I asked him how school went he said, "They are talking about spiders.  I hate spiders!  I listened to my teachers talking, but I should not have though.  I did not like it!"
  • Today they made spider hats at school.  Joshua made one too.  He proudly tried it on for me.  Then he explained, "It is supposed to be a spider hat.  I pretend it is a witch hat though.  A spider on my head would be scary!"
  • We were shopping this afternoon and I noticed footy jammies for moms.  I joked about how silly I would look in footy jammies.  Joshua told me, "You would not look silly.  You always look cute!"

  • Jamison helped Joshua get ready to swim tonight.  Joshua insisted on wearing his new snow boots along with his swimming trunks and life jacket when they met me in th lobby.  He made everyone smile when he came through the lobby strutting his stuff.  I laughed out loud when Jay told me that when Joshua came out of the bathroom dressed in his crazy outfit he proudly exclaimed, "Don't I look amazing in my new snowboots and swimming clothes?!?" 
  • I let him swim without his life jacket in the shallow end for a bit. He and his siblings were playing catch with a big ball.  Twice he slipped and his mouth went under the water.  After the second slip he told me quite seriously, "Mom, I drowned two times!  Good thing I am good at drowning!  It could have been serious!!!"
I am so thankful for the laughter that this little guy brings to our family!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Construction Update:Relocated

Thankful tonight because,
 I no longer have to worry about Joshua stepping on exposed tack strip.
 Chad and I will be sleeping in a bedroom rather than the dirty dining room.
And our kids are playing in a pool rather than watching TV in the midst of chaos.
You guessed it,
we moved out!
I am so very thankful.
Repairs are underway.
The sheetrock has been replaced.
It is being taped this week.
We will paint over the weekend.
Within another 7 to 10 days the carpet will arrive and then be reinstalled.
What was ruined will soon be restored to nearly as good as new.
Until then, I will be safely tucked away with my 6 favorite people in the universe.
I am so very thankful.
Living in the mess was unsafe, sad, and depressing.
Hanging in this lovely location is a blessing.
Oh how I wish all things could be restored as easily as my home.
Praying my sweet young friend is soon restored as well.
Trusting He who restores, for as her daddy says, "God is good all the time."
(I really admire her daddy.)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Holding On To His Promises

Last week was one of the most difficult weeks of my life.

It began with me grieving the mess that a broken water line made in our home.  I was so incredibly sad.  That took me a bit by surprise, but surprising or not, I was crushed that a summer's worth of hard work was ruined in hours.

My grief was quickly deepened from one simple text from a friend.  It read, "on our way to hospital..."

I have spent the week trying to get a grasp on how life can completely change in a matter of minutes.

I have cried, raged, prayed, wrestled. . .

While I rejoice in the prayers I have seen answered, I struggle with the ones that we are waiting on.

I have been really angry at times this week.  There is too much sad.  There is too much stress.  There is too much loss.  It is not fair.  (Yes, I do know how immature those words are.  Yet - they are also true.)

From the beginning, God has been playing this song in my mind - over, and over, and over.

I wanted to tune it out.  I tried to block it out, because I was too mad to want to listen.

I'm still mad.  I'm still sad.  I still do not understand.

But, I am trying to listen.  I am trying to trust.  I am trying to allow Him to comfort me.

I know many of you have had the same week.  Many of us are trying to hold on together.

Maybe this song will soothe your souls a bit as well.

I look forward to the day when it all makes sense.

Until then, I choose to hold on to His promises.

And I am relying on Him for healing and hope.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

WDA Meet 2012

I am so thankful for today!
We headed out of town to watch both Jamison and Sierra run at the WDA Cross Country Meet.  It would always be a fun day, and today it was a delightful distraction from the troubles of life.
 I got dressed this morning in the first CHS shirt I have had in almost 20 years.
Alumni, did you know they switched from baby blue to navy?
 This photo makes me laugh!
The boys both decided to be silly and never told us girls!
 Our runners!
Sierra ran with Horizon as a 7th grader.
Jay ran in the High School boys race.
 Jay's race was first.
Here is the team meeting on the course.
 Chad and Brenna were resting up pre-races.
Cross country demands that spectators be active to!
I just love it!
 They are off!
 Today was a big race for Jamison.  It was his last chance to qualify for state.  It was also the toughest course of the season.  The temps were just perfect for spectators, but a bit hot for runners.
One thing he needed to do to make the state team is beat this teammate.
 They have been running neck and neck for the past few weeks.

 The ran the same way this race as well.
The boys are good friends, but a race is a race.
In the end of this race, Jamison out sprinted his teammate at the finish. (sorry, no photo!)
It was a tough tight finish.  Brenna said, "Mom!  You should have seen Jay! His muscles were all tensed up and he looked amazing!"  (I was just down from the finish a little bit, so I missed the final sprint.)
It looks like Jay is in!
He is quite sure he will go to state as an alternate.
Whether or not he qualified for state, I am so proud of his season.  His progress has been simply amazing!
Jay finished, and Sierra's race began.
I had not hardly caught my breath between the two!
 Because Sierra had been hurt much of the season, this was her first big race.

 She did a great job!
 I was especially impressed by the way she powered up hills.
I am so thankful that Sierra was able to run today!
It was so fun to watch her!
 We finished this evening with a little swimming.
Little man loves swimming!
 Always inventing some type of competition, my racers decided they should play a little chicken!
I love this photo!
These two being wild and carefree is a sight I adore!
***As far as a house update, we moved out on Friday evening.  The heaters, fans, and dehumidifiers used to dry the house have heated the house to more than 110* degrees.  It is truly unbearable.  We checked into a hotel, and it has been a much needed break from chaos.  I am thankful for a fairly good night's sleep last night.  I am thankful for the fun and distraction of the day.  This loss has hit me pretty hard.  I am really, really sad.  Sad about the big things - more time in crummy living quarters, more work, my kids learning how quickly and easily hard work can be destroyed.  That is the tough one for me.  We are building a beautiful home, nicer than we need.  However, our kids have been far from spoiled and coddled,  my kids have worked side by side with us every step of the way.  They gave up their whole summer.  When asked what they did this summer that was fun, they can think of nothing!  (They can think of things they did that were satisfying and crazy though!)  I HATE that all that the majority of that work has been destroyed.  I hate that my new home feels ruined.  It sort of feels like it will never be new.  It feels cheapened.  So many things will be patched together.  There will always be vent homes in the sheetrock under the base boards.  There will always be patch spots in the drywall.  There will always be more seams in the carpet than necessary and mismatched dye lots (which may or may not be noticeable.)  The trim will always have the extra nail holes from being put on, removed, and reinstalled.  It will be pretty.  It will be close to perfect, but there will be scars.  I don't want the scars.  I don't want the extra work.  I don't want to live in a messed up, contractor filled, partially finished home any longer. It makes me sad that I do not have a choice but to persevere.  I do know how much worse it could have been.  I do know that most people will never see the scars.  I do know that most of my gripes are petty.  I will get over it.  I will throw my whole self into fixing what was broken.  But today, I am sad.
I am not sure when we will be able to move back into the house.  I am not sure how quickly we will have approval to start fixing.  For today, I am thankful to be where we are.  I am not ready to go home and face it all again quite yet.
Sorry for the pity party.  I am OK.  I have truly enjoyed the day.  I am also grieving, and that is important too.  Thank you for the encouraging comments, texts, and calls.  I appreciate each one so very much.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Construction Update:Water Damage

It has been a very disappointing, nearly devastating, last 24 hours.

Last night the kids and I got home from church at about 8:15 PM.  Brenna was the first one into the house.  Before I could even get out of the car, she came running back in a panic.  "There is water everywhere!" she kept telling me in frantically.

I searched my mind trying to remember if I had left the dishwasher or washing machine running when I had left at 3.  I was soon inside the back door sloshing through water, which I could hear rushing through the house.

It did not take long to realize the source.

The hot water line on one of the bathroom sinks on the upper level had disconnected and water was flowing freely.  The bathroom was soaked an inch deep.  The hallway, loft, and parts of Jay and Sierra's rooms were very wet.  There was also water flowing through the ceiling fan and light fixtures in our main floor master bedroom, master bath, and closet.  The water had  seeped into the hardwood outside our room and into Joshua's room.  It had also flowed through the wall of our closet into the back entry and main floor bathroom.

I quickly turned off the water and called Chad.

He came home and started vacuuming up water.  My parents joined us.

At about 10 PM we called in the professionals.

They worked until midnight.  Between all of us, I think we sucked up about 200+ gallons of water.

We assessed the damage (as best we could) and tried to sleep.  That was not an easy task.  We were stressed to say the least, plus there was a deafening roar of dehumidifiers and fans blowing through our house.

The kids had gone to bed hours earlier.  They slept pretty well through all the vacuuming and blowing.

Today the crew from Arrow was back.  Their task was to stop any further damage - aka demolishing our home.  I know they were helping.  We certainly do not want to live in a mold infested house, but I was totally unprepared for just how much damage the water caused.

 Our master bedroom has been gutted to the studs.
I had really hoped to never see those studs again.
They even had to pull out the insulation I sweated over.
 The carpet in the entire house, minus 2 bedrooms, was wet.  It will all be replaced.  The hot water ruined it.  Base boards have been pulled off and holes cut into many walls to release the moisture.
Much of the flooring in both the master bath and the bathroom where the flooding began will need to be redone.  The hardwood will need to be tore out.
My happy spot has disappeared.
The loft, which had been our gathering ground, is a wreck.
The questions of the day are:
1. How are you?
Sad.  We feel a bit like we have been kicked in the stomach.  All the wind has left our sails.  We have much work left and this feels very overwhelming.
Thankful.  Had we not been living here the water would have run all night and the whole house would look like our bedroom.  Also thankful that nothing important was ruined.  All our family photos and other emotionally valuable possessions are fine.
2. How can we help?
I am not sure yet.  We are waiting on insurance.  For now, we need to complete the list of things we had to do before this damage occurred and live with the mess.  If you love to grout, tape sheetrock, hang garage door openers, insulate garages, or hang metal sheeting in garages; give us a call.
We do not know the timeline.  We are supposed to have everything done in about 40 days.  We do not know yet ow this damage claim will play into closing.
3. How are the kids?
My heart is broken for my kids, totally broken.  It just stinks so much.  They worked like troopers to get this house done.  They lived in crummy conditions.  They were kind, polite, and selfless while working their tails off.  We finally have one really good "normal" week and it all gets wrecked.  Less than 2 hours of running water ruined a summer worth of work.  Any tears I shed today was for them.  I can not stand that they are living in chaos once again.
They, however, are being extremely brave.  One of my girls texted me today "Mom, I am praying for you."  That was the nicest thing ever.
Brenna and I cried together.  Then she wrote this poem:
"One step forward and two steps back
We're gonna get through step by step
I know it's hard but we're gonna get through
With God everything's possible to
It seems like everything is a wreck
But worse things can happen to
One step forward and two steps back"
So while it is hard and we are all really stressed, they are doing ok.  I am so proud of them.
For now, please pray that we are filled with peace, hope, and energy.  Pray that the insurance company makes decisions quickly and fairly.  Pray for our protection from the evil one and that chaos would no longer seemingly reign in our home.  Pray that we will take two steps forward and NO steps back for a change.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

One Persistent Racer Girl

Sierra has been dreaming of cross country racing for a long time.
She was so happy when practice began in August.
Unfortunately, 2 weeks into practice, she developed a pretty severe case of tendinitis.  A trainer advised total rest.  After she could comfortable walk on her leg, we had her fitted for custom orthotics.  Then we waited for them to arrive.
During her recovery time, she attended every team practice.  She did the things she could, and she spent the rest of practice cheering for her teammates.  She biked when she was able to try her best to stay in shape.
In all honesty, she was much more persistent than I.  There were days that I was tempted to advise her to quit.  Was her time really worth it when she would only be able to race once or twice in the whole season?  Was the gas and inconvenience of driving her into town for practice really worth it?  I battled those questions.  I also worried that she would end the season heartbroken because she was never able to race OR that she would be unable to race as well as she had hoped. 
I asked her more than once if she were sure it was worth it?
Did she really want to continue?
Maybe waiting until next year would be a better idea?
(I know, it was a really supportive and encouraging mom moment.  I never claim to be perfect.  Sometimes I stink.)
Sierra was completely committed to her cross country dream
Which made watching her race today so special.
The weather was terrible.  It was really cold.  It was terribly windy.  It even spit little balls of sleet.
The course was tough.  It was very hilly and all pavement.
Yet, our Sierra girl was triumphant.
She raced!
She finished 23rd.
It was a total victory!
Sierra Faith Dietrich, I am so proud of you.  I love your determined spirit.  I am in awe of how you commit to something and follow through to the best of your ability no matter what.  I was thrilled with how encouraging you were to your teammates while you were injured.  Choosing to cheer your lungs off, while your heart was longing to race showed maturity and grace.  The character I see in you will take you far my daughter.  I can not wait to see just how far. 
It is an honor to be your mom.  Thanks for loving me when I stink!
***I am SO excited for Saturday!  We get to watch BOTH Jamison and Sierra race at the WDA meet in Jamestown.  I can hardly wait!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Savoring Simpler Times

As we settle into our home, I am shocked at how simple regular life feels.  Washing clothes, buying groceries, preparing meals, bathing kiddos, and getting ready in the morning are all so much easier with enough space and "normal" American appliances.  The stress level in our home has decreased in a major way, and I am beyond grateful.
(Not that the work is over.  As I type, Chad is plumbing in a toilet.  Last week he tiled the kitchen back splash and Krissy and Brenna's bathroom.  He also installed the mailbox. Over the weekend we grouted the master bath and closet, installed door locks, etc...  But even though we are still working every evening and all weekend long, life is much simpler now that we are in the house!)
Last week I marveled at how wonderful it felt to listen to my kids doing normal things.  Hearing them chat as I cook dinner, listening to them watch TV, sing along to the radio, and exchange advice makes my heart so joyful.  Being together again, doing normal family things is just such a treat.
Here are a few photos I snapped when my heart was bursting with joy.
 They may be 10 years apart, but boys will be boys!
These two tease and wrestle constantly.
It makes my heart happy.
(And this photo will be a treasure - I just love it!)
 One of my favorite times of day is when my kids are hanging out in the kitchen chatting with me, picking on each other, doing homework, and playing on their phones.  I have missed relaxed meal prep these last 3 months.  Having the kids near me while I cooked last week was dreamy!
 Seeing the kids happily hanging out, cuddled-up all comfy and cozy makes me feel  content.
 We stopped ALL work for a couple hours Friday night and watched a movie.
It was glorious.
 Yep, we look and feel totally exhausted.
It has been a hard summer and fall.
I rejoice in the fact that through it all we have worked side by side, (almost always) happily supporting each other.
 Joshua having room to play makes my heart grateful.  It is hard to be an imaginative, playful, exploring little guy in a teeny-tiny camper.  Having room to drive his trucks, build roads, and sing loud songs makes Joshua a much happier camper.
We have one more reason to rejoice today, Brenna is no longer on restriction.
After 3 months of doctor instructed restrictions, like NO running, NO climbing, NO gym class, NO swimming, NO biking, because she broke her collar bone quite severely this summer - Brenna has permission to PLAY!  She was so happy she jumped right into my lap and hugged me for like forever!  Then we drove straight to her school so she could try out the monkey bars.
She is one very thankful girl tonight!
I encourage each of you to take a moment and savor the simple this week.  I know how crazy life is.  I know that it is sometimes hard to be grateful when you are emptying the dishwasher for the third time in the day or folding your fifth load of laundry.  I know it is hard to remember to be thankful for a toilet that flushes and a shower with ample hot water.  I know the kids gathered in the kitchen during meal prep is sometimes more chaos than your brain can contain.  I totally get it. 
Even with all the conveniences, life is still hard and full and crazy.  Gratitude is easy to lose in the shuffle.
Fight it.
Hold on to gratitude.
Marvel at the conveniences.
Give thanks for the chaos in your kitchen.
Enjoy the comfort of a couch.
Because, unless you notice your blessings,
you are missing out on how blessed you truly are.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

He's A Racin' Machine

Jamison raced in Rugby today.
It was chilly!
He had a stomach ache (the remnants of this weeks flu bug).
Yet somehow,
he set another Personal Record!
I don't know how he does it, but it sure is fun to watch.
You are quite the racing machine, my son!
Congrats on another great race!