As many of you know, the 81st Session of the Texas Legislature is underway. I know this isn’t big news for a lot of people, but just hearing “legislative session’ makes me cringe. I guess that is a bit ironic when you consider that being the team leaders for two different legislative teams at the PUC was what caused Brian and I to finally speak to each other back in 2001. None the less, “session” = suckfest. The automatic worst 6 months of every 2 years. Hate it, hate it, hate it. By the end of May, Brian and I are always at a terribly low point – physically, spiritually, and relationally. And don’t get me started on the impact it has on the kiddos – newborn and all. Whew!

This go round, I challenged myself to change my perspective. Why should I automatically prejudge and focus on all of the “downsides” of session? How is my being bitter and resentful consistent with being Brian’s helpmate? Shouldn’t I be rooting for him during this endurance test? I resolved that this session would be different. I don’t want May to roll around along with my eyes every time I see Brian. It’s not healthy and I’m sure it doesn’t please God one bit.

All though my pregnancy with Kip, Psalm 37 was extra meaningful to me – do not fret. Fretting only leads to evil. I don’t want to fret. I don’t need to fret. I’ve carried that over into this season of “session” as well.

In an effort to help keep my focus positive, I’ve been keeping a list of things that I am thankful for, that encourage me, or remind me that God is helping us. It’s amazing what a change of perspective can do for the soul. I’m not 100% in my resolution, but I am moving in the right direction. Here’s what I have on my “thankful” list so far (in no particular order):

One cold and rainy day it was necessary that the boys and I go to the grocery store. When we arrived in the parking lot, the closest parking space to the door was waiting for us. We got the same space the next time we went to HEB as well.

The help of a stranger brightens the day. Once, an elderly man waited for me to put the kids in the car and load up my groceries, and then he took my cart for me. I naturally assumed he was going into the store. Nope. He put the cart away, walked to his car, and drove off. When we took our car in for a hail damage estimate, two men went inside the hail damage estimate location to ask a question to ensure that I was in the right place before I parked and took the kids out of the car.

When our water heater had a gas leak, we were able to get it repaired quickly. When the plumber arrived to install the new water heater, he discovered several things that needed to be changed to bring our 25 year old house up to code. He completed that work and refused to charge me anything above his original quote that only included the new water heater installation. He wanted to keep his word. What an awesome example for our boys to see.

Josh can make Kip laugh and smile like no one else can.

My wardrobe contains hand me downs from no less than four friends.

Brian’s late nights at the Legislature were few and far between during the first 2 months of session.

The boys and I have not been sick with a cold or virus since Kip’s birth despite it being the season for those sorts of things.

Kip sleeps. He gets up to eat, of course, but he always goes right back to sleep. No middle of the night parties for Kipper. Even on his worse "no napping and screaming in pain all day" days, he sleeps come bedtime.

Josh incorporates all aspects of life into his imaginary words. For example, he told me that the Decepticons (Transformers) live in Oklahoma because “Jesus put them there.” How cool that he applies the truth of God as Creator to play. BTW, he says that Jesus is easier to say than God and since God is Jesus and Jesus is God, then he will just call God Jesus. Oh, how do you explain the trinity to toddlers?

Although I loathe playing Transformers, Josh is relentless in including me. He hasn’t given up on me.

Josh says he wishes there were two of me. (I’m taking that as a positive.)

Josh says he needs to keep growing so that he’ll get big enough to hold me. (Should I prepare a mom-sling?)

We have numerous friends who care about us, pray for us, offer an ear to listen, and eagerly help when we humbly admit that we need it.

My dad mows the lawn and cleans up our yard when he visits.

My mom is coming to stay a week with us later this month. Help is on the way!

We seem to have figured out which foods aggravate Kip’s gut. Though it is a laundry list, there are foods that I can eat and he doesn’t scream in pain. I am thankful that we have identified his issue so early, that it can be managed so that his gut can heal, and that I feel really healthy eating the “Kip diet.” As I did with each round of the diabetic diet, I’ve learned more about nutrition, discovered new yummy recipes, and begun cooking from scratch – something I’ve wanted to do but haven’t made time to do. Now it is a necessity. Our whole family is healthier thanks to the path Kip has led us on.

The boys have an awesome pediatrician.

When the HVAC man left our backyard gate open and Shadow ran out, he found Shadow and put her back in…while it was raining.

Josh’s preschool occasionally sends home snapshots of his day.

Josh helps me cook.

Josh sings to Kip, especially when Kip is upset, and Kip loves it!

Kip is generally a smiley baby who doesn’t mind being passed around from one set of loving arms to another.

The hail storm – what a sight to see, none of us were hurt, our insurance claims have been easy to deal with thus far, we’re getting a new roof, the kiddos have been great during the car/house estimate, repair, and contractor appointments thus far. There’s a whole list of praises wrapped up in there.

One day when I was feeling especially in need of some quality one on one time with Josh, Kip and I went to the “farm day” at Josh’s preschool. Kip slept in the stroller under a tree while I was able to get in the caged area with Josh and play around with him alone the entire time.

When I was driving home from an HEB 20 minutes away from our house quite stressed, God heard and answered my prayer. Let me paint the scene for you. Kip was having a food reaction, he had not nursed in 4 hours, and he had a very dirty diaper. Josh pee’d his pants in HEB. Brian’s arrival time that evening wasn’t looking good. The trunk was full of groceries. I wasn’t really sure how to do everything that needed to get done once we arrived home or even what order to do them in. Once home, Kip was asleep in the car and remained asleep long enough for me to get Josh in the bath and the groceries put away. When he woke up I was able to focus on caring for him while Josh played in the tub. Brian made it home just as we were reading Josh’s bedtime story. All was well.

Josh loves his preschool and is busting through his own personal social barriers there. Kip and I can rest and play together while Josh is at school.

Due to the “Kip diet,” we can’t eat out. Nearly every time we’ve tried he’s had a terrible reaction. I confess I have spent a fair amount of time stressed about eating – what to eat, when will I be able to cook it? Even more, how am I supposed to cook from scratch, take care of two kids, keep the kitchen somewhat clean so that cooking is possible, get to the grocery story to get fresh food, and oh, maybe shower every few days? It’s quite the pity party at times. I am thankful that I can recognize and choose to stop the spiraling thoughts. I’m thankful that I make the right choice on an increasingly regular basis. I’m thankful that Brian often cleans while I take a shower or run to the store in the evening.

I’m thankful that 3 and a half only lasts six months until 4 hits. I’m sure Kip’s birth and the change in Brian's work schedule have contributed to Josh’s behavior, but this 3.5 years phase has been a challenge. I could be so insecure if I listened to all of his “advice” on how I “should” do things. Geez!

Sometimes Brian surprises me with breakfast before he goes to work in the morning.

I have been remarkably healthy.

I shouldn't be surprised at the abundant list of blessings, but I am. I'll keep the list going as we press on till the end of May. Sine die, baby!


cheryl said...

What an encouraging post Mel! Thanks for your sweet spirit, and for sharing your exciting praises with us!

ivybarnes said...

I love your list too! It got me thinking the same way.
Thanks for sharing with us.

Cheng family said...

I love your list. I especially like how specific it is. We really do have so much to be thankful for. I know I'm thankful for your friendship.

J-Man said...

I've been thinking about this post for awhile - building my list - but felt I should definitely post it yesterday. How funny - Kip and I are sick with a cold or something today. We're gunna be alright and it certainly doesn't make the past 3.5 months of wellness any less wonderful!

kerin said...

Thanks for the post, Mel. It's encouraging, and I can deeply empathize with the overwhelmed feelings when it comes to allergies/cooking/time management. It was a good while before I didn't dread meal time and the angst I would have in what to make in the allotted time that was available. You're doing a great job reorienting your perspective even through the out of control times. I love you, and can't wait to see you soon:)