When life throws you curve balls

Curveballs.  Lemons.  Jeff and I have had a “few” of those since our marriage in 2004.  But that’s life, isn’t it?

During my pregnancy with Cullen in late 2012, Jeff learned that the job he had at Lockheed Martin was in danger of being cut.  It wasn’t imminent, but it was coming so he began putting out feelers around DFW for other job opportunities.  He had such a unique position at Lockheed that we soon discovered would be hard to find elsewhere – at least not in North Texas which would allow us to continue living in Arlington.  In early-2014 a job opportunity out of Tulsa came available.  Everything seemed to click seamlessly, and the wheels were put in motion for our family to leave our Arlington home behind for a new beginning in Oklahoma.  I left behind my job as Director of Interior Design for a healthcare architecture firm, not to mention our family and friends back in Texas.  The first few months were spent at his parents’ while we waited for the house to sell, and we began exploring new cities and towns around the area of Oklahoma called Green Country.  Again, it was like God directing us to our little farmhouse in Skiatook – everything moved along relatively smoothly and here we are well over a year later still building our life in our new home among new friends, our new church and this community.

Suddenly, I was a full-time wife and mom.  In Oklahoma.  What?!?!  While Jeff and I had began having thoughts of me becoming a full-time mom, it seemed to happen pretty quickly.  So, I rolled with it putting my trust and faith in God, and I honestly have never looked back.  My kids need me.  When they’re sick, they need me.  When Liam was in kindergarten, he needed me to drop him off each morning telling him to have a great day, and when he got out of school, he needed me to pick him up and ask all about school.  Cullen has really blossomed into a funny, loving, precocious toddler who is soon to be three.

Most importantly (at least in my mind) are Liam’s needs regarding his Sensory Processing Disorder and what was legal blindness at one point.  He needed a parent who could take him to and from physical therapy, occupational therapy and vision therapy.  And let me tell you, it’s felt like a full-time job being chauffeur!

I have a confession to make though.  Sometimes I wonder how much better Liam could be doing now if I hadn’t been working all of those hours back in Arlington.  Would I have discovered his issues sooner, making it easier for him to correct the vision problems and address the PT/OT issues?  He’s a great kid – please, don’t get me wrong – but we have struggles, and I can’t help but look at Cullen and how he freely hugs me and shows affection, and I wonder if Liam could have been that way too if I had been devoting my time and attention to him rather than my job.  I know what they say about Mommy Guilt Trips, and I try not to let these doubts and thoughts creep up very often.  Still though…. if Liam had spent most of his time with me rather than at a day care, where would he be today socially, physically, mentally and emotionally?

I realize it’s been a while since y’all in blog-land have seen the boys. They’re shaving nowaways.

I’ve had curve balls before in life, but they take on a whole new meaning when your children are involved.  I am forever grateful for the job opportunity Jeff was given that has allowed my focus to become my children, our family and home.   Just when I felt like I was getting the hang of being a “SAHM”, another curve ball was thrown our way.

Liam was blessed to have one of the most incredible kindergarten teachers imaginable.  She was perfect for him and his unique strengths and weaknesses.  She “got” him, and over the course of the school year she nurtured him and worked with him, growing him into a confident kiddo who loved going to school and loved learning.  Our experience in first grade has been very different, and Jeff and I felt helpless watching Liam struggle.  It was like watching him swim against the current.  Every once in a while he would make some headway only to hit a stronger current and get carried backwards even further.  He was so frustrated and so exhausted and so beaten down.  Not only was he losing ground in school, he was losing ground in vision therapy.  We were upset.  He was upset.  In general, our house was very stressed out and emotional much of the time.

Liam reached a milestone at vision therapy in January and earned a special reward.

Liam reached a milestone at vision therapy and earned a special reward.

And then God showed me what I believe is a little glimpse into His plan.

In Arlington, I was working like crazy.  When I was at work, I felt guilty for not being there for my family.  When I was with my family, I felt guilty that I might be perceived as not pulling my weight at work or being devoted enough to the company.  And then came this new job of Jeff’s that gave us a fresh start with me becoming a full-time mom and wife.  Why Skiatook, God?  Why here?  God led us to a great little house with some very sweet neighbors, one of which invited us to her church.  So we went, and we found a wonderful family of believers who welcomed us with open arms and helped provide a family, a base here in Skiatook where we have no relatives and knew no one.  This sweet little church is filled with amazing people including some who homeschool.  We weren’t new to homeschooling but we were pretty ignorant about it.  Since moving here I watched and observed these kids in our church who are homeschooled and saw how intelligent, capable and confident they are.  And then I looked at our son who was struggling every single day in first grade.  He wasn’t learning.  He was becoming more and more discouraged and stressed out.  He was losing confidence in himself because he felt like a failure.  Going forward on the same path was no longer an option, and over the Christmas holiday we withdrew him from public school.  We were going to be homeschoolers!

Our homeschooling started this month, and it’s going pretty well.  We have our ups and downs.  I’ve got so much to learn, but I’m committed to making this work.  The temperament of our house has changed a lot.  Things aren’t nearly as stressful, and we’re starting to see Liam relax and become confident in himself again.  We’re making progress with vision therapy and have one last hurdle to get through (depth perception), but our homeschool schedule allows us to get our therapy done early in the day while he is physically and mentally alert.  We, as a family, are being more intentional about finding educational opportunities in everything while making sure we have plenty of fun while we learn.

The boys loved our field trip to the Oklahoma Aquarium in Jenks earlier this month.

The boys loved our field trip to the Oklahoma Aquarium in Jenks earlier this month.

Last week we studied Mexico, so Liam baked a cake with red and green sprinkles in honor of the Mexican flag.  (Thankfully, he didn't question the Christmas tree-shaped sprinkles!)

Last week we studied Mexico, so Liam baked a cake with red and green sprinkles in honor of the Mexican flag. (Thankfully, he didn’t question the Christmas tree-shaped sprinkles!)

I hope to update our blog as I’m able.  I once had dreams of having an awesome DIY/design-inspired blog like some of the bloggers I admire, but I’ve come to realize that’s not what God created me for.  At least not during this season of my life.

Yesterday marked our first pinewood derby.  Liam had a blast making this OSU-themed truck with his daddy.

Yesterday marked our first pinewood derby. Liam had a blast making this OSU-themed truck with his daddy.

Instead of creating Pinterest-worthy dishes or DIY projects, I’m teaching phonics and running kids to gymnastics.  Instead of attending blogger conferences, I’m happy to socialize in my circle from church and from my MOPS group.  I’d love to make a quilt, create a sourdough starter and repaint my bedroom furniture.  Someday.  Today, I’m in the throes of being full-time mom and teacher.  I’m making lesson plans and looking up activities for Ground Hog day.  I’m saving pinewood derby designs to a new Pinterest board.  I’m looking at never-ending piles of dirty laundry and a dishwasher that seems to always need unloading.  Those fancy layer cakes covered in fondant icing I pinned last week?  Yeah… I’m dreaming!  Today I’m just excited to try out the new elephant-shaped sandwich cutters on Cullen’s PB&J sandwiches for preschool.  I’ve had to reevaluate my priorities in life, and I’m learning a hard lesson: I can’t control everything and sometimes I have to “go with the flow”.  Oh, and coffee helps.  Lots and lots of coffee.

(Click picture for source.)