Monday, October 31, 2011

A Hard Workin', Hard Playin' Halloween

After a brief lull in work on our rental rehab project last week due to volleyball and Halloween party prep, we were back in the groove this morning.  We were anxious to get the remainder of the outside work completed as the forecast calls for a strong chance of snow this week, so we knew we had to kick it into high gear.  Once again, it seems I ended up with the easy end of it, as I drove here and there paying for things and picking up needed items, as well as getting dinner ready early so we could be ready to hit the streets for Trick or Treating.  I am sure I will more than make up for it in the coming days, as Dominick finally has some detailing work scheduled and will be absent from our project for awhile.  We are grateful that his phone started to ring suddenly today, so will gladly sacrifice to have him bring home the bacon.  Kenny alone eats enough to feed a small country!

The kids all pulled together to get the gravel finished, and Kenny chopped away at a large and deeply rooted evergreen of some sort, as Matthew learned how to use the chain saw and took out a lonely half dead shrub of some unknown variety.  They each took turns painting trim, which was completed today as well, and FINALLY the fence staining was finished, which I took on as the majority of my work for the afternoon! 

I am glad the kids had a sense of accomplishment today, as it has continued to be a rough time here in some ways.  When I say that, it is not what some would imagine with mouthy pre-teens, etc.  Thankfully, for the time being, we have been spared that for the most part with an occasional lapse here or there.  No, unfortunately Kenny is really walking through a bad spell with lapses in memory and logic...putting on a long sleeved church shirt this morning to go paint in along with his old faded paint pants, or asking me a question about exactly what I just said that he heard but somehow didn't process.  Doesn't sound so bad until it happens 8 or 10 times a day, then frustration rises which is pointless to give voice to because he can't do much about it.  He is forgetting everything under the sun, having to go back into the house when we leave 2 or 3 times to gather whatever it is he needs for wherever we are going.  He is forgetting words he knows as well, stumbling to describe things as he reaches for words that have slipped away for awhile.  It is really challenging for all of us when he goes through these phases, but somehow we manage to help him make it through the day unscathed and feeling positive about himself, at least for the most part.

Joshie is deeply into the throes of his regression, waking up with night terrors again and now permanently residing for the unforeseen future on our bedroom floor so he can be comforted, even if he can't be truly wakened.  It is scary for his siblings when they hear him in the middle of the night and he sits straight up in bed crying out, and won't wake up when they try to help him.  Kenny and Matthew led him into our room around 11:00 PM the other night, and although upright and moving, Josh was completely not with us, very much in a dream state and unable to pull out of it.  It took me about 20 minutes to get him to lay down, and he promptly fell back into a deeper sleep within moments.  During the day he is exhibiting signs of being more insecure as well, checking up on me often to see if I am still there, wanting to be near me.  Interestingly, he would never even see that he is like this if I tried to explain it to him.

I was telling Dominick Sunday afternoon that there are times when I don't even realize how very tired I am, how I need a break just to clear my head.  I am not the first Mom to ever deal with such things, for sure, but homeschooling and being around the kids 24/7 means there is little time to recharge my own batteries.  Then there are the other things going on, swirling around my life which need attention too.  Sometimes I am better at balancing it all than others, right now I am not doing a good job of it. 

I ended up taking several photos today, and as sometimes happens one kid happens to be in better light more often, or is doing something that photographs better than the others.  It all eventually evens out over time as each child has "their day", but this time it seemed to be Joshua who was front and center.  Oh yea, two paragraphs above might explain that! HAHAHA!!!  What a hoot, I didn't even think about that until this very minute!!!  Duh...

Here are some photos from our work today:

Learning how to hold the brush.

Practicing with Daddy.
I can do it myself!

As I took these photos this morning, I thought about how blessed I am to be parenting with Dominick...a man who adores his family, would do anything for them, and spends more time with his kids than most Dads I know.  He is firm and patient, strong and yet cuddly.  He is playful and silly in ways I could never be, and is the one whose work ethic has rubbed off on the kids.  They see a wonderful example of a man committed to doing whatever it takes to make sure his family is provided for, who trusts that God will help him if he puts the effort in, and who expects more out of himself than he expects out of others.  As I see the kids working so faithfully on this project, willing to put in such incredibly long physical hours hauling gravel, painting tedious fence board after fence board, ripping out carpet and doing so without complaint, I know they have already begun to internalize lessons from their Dad that will carry them far in this world, no matter what they do.

Matthew painting the trim up high...the only one not afraid to be up there!

Gosh, he looks like a man these days, one we are very proud of.
Our Fence Stainer Extraordinaire moving on to trim paint.

Angela has worked so hard, as she spent most of the day hauling gravel and still had the desire to paint trim.
Kenny ready to help unload the car, heavy with flooring!

"Hey, at least I don't have a paint brush in my hands for a change!!"

These two were really having fun together today, wait till you see their Halloween costumes below!  I loved this photo of the two of them, as I thought about how homeschooling has really enhanced their relationship with one another.
"It's heavy, but if the big kids can do it, so can I!"

Our numbers kid, counting the cases.

Maybe the baby of the family, but certainly not a baby anymore and well on the way to being a young man we all respect and admire.
And now on to some Halloween fun!  The kids all brainstormed on ideas for their costumes one night over dinner a couple weeks ago, and came up with some good ones.  A special thanks to our lovely friend Miss Jill who shared some of her own garb with the girls.

Olesya as a Business Woman.  Dominick thought she looked like a Flight Attendant!  It's a skirt, you KNOW this didn't come from my closet!!  Thank goodness for friends who dress better than I do!
Josh as a sort of zombie-ish Kyrgyz cowboy.  Don't ask, it was the look he was going for and he was pleased!

Angela who added the webbing and spiders to her costume, and I did her face.  She loved the green look!

Our special pair of dice!  They may look mismatched in some ways, but they are both totally goofy and had great fun creating these and going out tonight dressed alike.  Love the joy I see on their faces, simply because of being together.  That's worth more than anything to us, that our children love one another and are willing to show that to the world.

It's really hard to hug when you are a big ol' square! HAHAHA!
It doesn't matter how hard things are, it doesn't matter how much we struggle financially or emotionally.  We are together, we find wholeness in one another.  A cardboard box and some paint is all it takes sometimes :-)  Ultimately, how can that not help heal us all?  How can our work together as a family not help us succeed in ways none of us can imagine?  How can keeping God in the center of it all not be the key? 

When I see the pictures here today, it helps me re-center myself and recognize what is real, what is good, what is...dare I say it...Holy.  Looking at Matthew and Kenny, unabashed in their delight with one another, that surely is what Holy doesn't have to be solemn.  Seeing Olesya dressed up, looking for all the world like a bright business woman, how can I not have hope that indeed one day she will see what we all see is possible for her?  Seeing Angela gain a little piece of the childhood she was long denied, dressing up like a little girl and pretending, how can that not have a thread of God running through it?  And Joshua, growing so strong and capable with each passing day, learning to count on himself and see himself as able to conquer anything, God's healing is right before my eyes.

We have a long way to go, all of us together.  There are times when I get discouraged, times when I am overwhelmed, times when we doubt and fear the future for the kids AND for us.  Today the kids asked us sincerely about the risk we are taking with the purchase of this little house, and they know Dad hasn't had a lot of work lately so they wonder how we can not be afraid.  We the dark, when we are tired and the receipts are adding up, and we whisper about the bills sitting on the kitchen counter.  We speak of things like faith in God's leading, of life not offering guarantees that it will always be easy, about hard work and stick-to-it-iveness paying off, about making commitments and trusting that honoring those commitments will be a reward unto itself.  Mostly though, we pray and back up that prayer with action as best we can.  We laugh as we talk about other risks...with every single child we brought home, with moving to Colorado in the first place and trying to make a life here with no jobs...just dreams.  We share about ways in which God has blessed us over and over again in ways not measured on a calculator, and how THAT is the stuff that is important.  And we look around the table at one another and say "We are LaJoy's, we can do anything.", and we mean it with all our heart.

These tough times shall pass, as they always do, and more will blow in behind them.  But if we can live in joy in the midst of it, if we can feel loved and supported through them, then we can accomplish a great deal in this world.  If we can stick together, if we can hold on to what so many lose every single day as families break apart, either literally or spiritually, then we will indeed be blessed even if Top Ramen is on the menu for dinner.  Been there, done that, will be there again I am sure...and never happier :-)

After all, I have a king sized set of dice to roll, and from the looks on their faces, we will be winners!

Happy Halloween, One and All!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You are so truly blessed, Cindy! Thank you for sharing your perspective, and the joy you find, even in the midst of challenge. May you always find the Presence of God in the midst of your life -- individually and as a family.
Peace and blessings!