Wednesday, September 28, 2011

New Responsibilities

Wyatt looking cute. :) He has his first tooth and we're going to be trying adding cereal to his diet in the next couple days... Nathan and his new "responsibility" Cinder.
Jillian already dressed Cinnamon up and said, "Look Mom, he's a princess!" Chloe loves Maxwell and as an added bonus, Maxwell will be going to Chloe's classroom tomorrow to say hello. Such lucky kids!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

My 300th Post

There is a test that therapists and doctors can use to determine the level of stress in a persons life. Its a simple self-report test meaning that you can take it anytime and the score is based on what the person reports about their life. I took it today because I was thinking about all the things we've been though in the past 12 months... We've moved, we had three surgeries, a birth, a death, bought a new car, I took a break from classes and then started my internship, Lowell became the sole bread winner for our family, my mother in law lived with us for about two months, my father in law lived with us for about two months, and so many other changes...
The highest level of stress on this test is anything over 300 points... I'm at McDonalds using the Wifi and laughed out loud when I got my score... It was a whopping 615. I'd say I qualify as experiencing high levels of stress. :)
I must clarify that negative changes in life are not the only ones that produce stress. Positive changes also lead to stress, it is the cumulative effect of the changes. I definitely have a lot to be thankful for and I am giving all credit to God that I am not a bumbling idiot drooling in a corner somewhere. Its only by His power that I can make it though each day. I'm bathed in His love and humbled by His mercies. I must be since I haven't totally lost my mind. At least not yet.
His shirt says "PICK ME UP  I dig older chicks"  :)
For no reason other than the fact that he's adorable (and the source of much of the above mentioned stress. :)) here's Wyatt with his newest obsession - trying to fit his huge little fist into his very little mouth. Sometimes he tries to get both fists in at the same time. He's completely given up on the pacifier idea - the fists are too much fun.


Born Tammy Lynn Woden on August 16, 1965, she became Tammy Wood at age 16, just a couple months before I was born. About ten years later she became Tammy Bradley and a few years after than, Tammy Wade. I'm not sure if Wade was a legal change or just one that honored someone very special in her life, but she definitely loved him. Other than these name changes, I know very little about the woman who played such a huge role in my life. The things I do know seem inconsequential. And yet, they are special because growing up, I clung to whatever nuggets I could glean about her life.
She loved sunflower seeds and Dr. Pepper, and today, so do I. She loved sunbathing and I have inherited that bad habit as well. She always wrote little smiley faces and drawings on all the letters she ever sent me and seemed to light up a room when she entered it. She had tattoos and liked to dye her hair. She swam in cutoff jeans and a bikini top and always smoke Camel cigarettes. She loved old (to me it was old) rock and roll but never seemed interested in TV. She was right handed and always had her finger and toenails painted - usually some shade of red. Almost every memory I have of her involves the summertime. She loved to swim and wasn't a morning person. I remember getting jealous of her relationships with other people whether it be her brothers or her latest boyfriend and she would find it amusing that I wanted her undivided attention.
My dad says she was very smart and they met because she would do his homework in high school.  I definitely remember her being a reader. Whenever she came to visit me, she was always reading. Usually Stephen King. She also liked beer and hated it when I commented about how she shouldn't be drinking. I never had a problem with the smoking because it never took her away from me... The drinking usually did. She would go to a bar and meet someone and that was usually the beginning of the end.
She was always meeting people everywhere we went. She found friends at the supermarket, on the bus, at the lake... She never met a stranger. She wanted my kids to call her Granny because she thought it sounded younger than 'Grandma'. And she hated it when I called her Mother.
I'm sure I could think of a few other little things. As for big things... I know she never really got along with either of her parents and I know she struggled with addiction. I know she also struggled with being a mom and with feeling like she was pressured to lead a "normal" life. I think I know that she loved me, at least as much as she was capable of... And I hope I know that she knew I loved her too.
She read the letter I wrote her so I guess the last thing I ever "said" to her was 'I love you'... She died around 10pm Sunday night, September 18th at the young age of 46. I hope I can learn more about her as time goes by from people who knew her better than I did.

I love you Mom. And I miss you.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Learning from My Children

I started thinking about trust today because of my kids. Chloe actually started the train of thought. We were at the park this morning taking a leisurely walk because the temperatures were actually in the low 100s when Chloe ran past me with a suggestion for Jillian. "Close your eyes and run a little bit and shake your head like this. Its fun!" She was running in the field, eyes completely closed, shaking her head back and forth. I was in awe. There are times when the kids want to surprise me and ask me to close my eyes as they lead me to their room, or to another part of the house... And I have a very difficult time trusting them to lead me when I can't see. The field Chloe was running through has trees, light poles, a hill, holes in the ground... All potential hazards, but she was carefree enough to close her eyes and run. Not walk, run. And not just that - she was shaking her head back and forth completely enjoying the ride.
Trust is not something that comes easy for me. It took a long time for me to develop trust in Lowell and even now, I still have moments where I have to stop myself from worrying and remind myself that its okay to let go of my fear. I even question God at times. There are situations where I find myself or my family where I look around and wonder if He really does have it all under control. Or I hear direction from Him that freaks me out and makes me question if His wisdom really is infallible or if His way is really the best way to live life. Walking on faith takes a lot of trust and sometimes causes a lot of sleepless nights.

I love that my kids haven't grown up having to question the people in their lives. They have been surrounded by people who make promises and then keep them. We mean what we say. I know that time will teach them that they can't rely on everyone and that there are people in the world who will misuse their trust, but I'm hopeful that by having our family be a place of reliability, they won't struggle with the same issues that I do.

God never gives us a reason to question Him, but that doesn't mean that trust comes easily. Faith is something that grows as we trust God and then see that He is faithful. The problem comes in learning that I don't know better than God. There is always a sense of ego that gets in my way. I think I can do a better job managing my life that He can. The same problem shows up in my relationship with Lowell because I am supposed to submit to his decisions and, sometimes, I question them and do my own thing instead. I think I'm learning slowly. At least I hope I'm learning. Pride, ego, fear... All difficult things to get under control. Its a good thing I know Philippians 4:13 -- I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

My Prayer

Our Father in heaven, may Your name be made holy. May Your kingdom be established in my life so that Your will is done – just like in heaven. Lord, give me what I need for today – the patience, strength, wisdom, peace and love that I need - just for today. Tomorrow will care for itself. And let yesterday rest in Your grace –forgiven and at peace. Forgive me for the thousands of sins I commit and remind me Lord that the sins of others are no worse than mine. Give me humility and a heart of forgiveness. Give me strength to flee temptation and wisdom to avoid sin. Lord, create in me a heart of joy and love for my husband, my children and the life You’ve given me. Thank you Father, for Your blessings are many. Lord, let You be enough for me. Create contentment in me, Lord and help me be forgiving of myself as well.

This is a prayer that I found amongst some papers. I've been going though all my boxes and getting rid of things that I haven't looked at in at least two years. I found all the cards and letters that Lowell and I have given to each other as well as the cards and letters from my mother. That was definitely emotional and I could only read one or two of them...
I don't know when I wrote this prayer, but it is certainly appropriate today. All but the last sentence since I'm learning that I can't forgive myself; I can only accept forgiveness and let go of the guilt.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sad News

September 10th
It looks like we’re having a séance in my living room. There are candles lit all over. My kids are waving their hands over the flames, watching them move. I have no idea why I’m letting my children play with fire. I think it has something to do with the fact that I’m completely emotionally exhausted. I told the kids about my mom today. She has stage four cancer that has taken over. It has attacked her liver, kidneys, stomach, bladder, colon, and ovaries. She has just been hospitalized due to kidney failure and is refusing dialysis. According to those who have spoken to her, even though she isn’t expected to ever leave the hospital, she is in good spirits.

The kids took it a lot harder than I expected them to; Jillian and Chloe actually cried. I explained to them that we wouldn’t be able to see my mom because we can’t afford to travel to California right now and that I can’t call her because her hospital room doesn’t have a phone. However, when she had her cell phone, she wouldn’t answer my calls anyway so I suppose the lack of phone is a moot point. I was discussing my situation with my friends on Facebook and got some excellent advice from a childhood friend - Amanda. She suggested that I write my mom a letter so that, even though I won’t be able to say goodbye in person, I will at least be able to say the things that are on my mind and heart. And that way, at least I’ll know that I made every attempt to create the harmony and peace that I’m longing for. I wrote the letter and mailed it yesterday. I included some recent pictures of the kids and one of Wyatt so that she can see him before…

I’m not sure how to feel now. There are moments where I break down and cry, especially when the kids (very innocently of course) bring up all the thoughts that I’m trying to avoid. They have a ton of questions – why didn’t my mom love me when I was a kid; why can’t we go see her; when they have kids, will I be part of their lives; how do I feel about losing my mom… At least after I talked to them, they were able to understand why I’ve had such a short attention span lately and why I’ve been disappearing to hide with Lowell for the past few days.

Speaking of Lowell, we talked more about how I was feeling and how he didn’t understand my pain. He decided that, understood or not, the pain is real and so he’s just going to support me through it. And he has. Honey, thank you for letting my cry, for giving me permission to hurt when it doesn’t seem rational and for doing everything you can to let me get to California. I love you and all that you do for us. I love how hard you work for our family… And how hard you work to help me be the kind of mother that I want to be. And to accept myself for being an imperfect mother – but a good one nonetheless.

I wish I could go to California to see my mom again but I accept that we can’t do that right now. I’ve loved my mom forever regardless of the status of our relationship. And I will continue to love her. I’ve come to accept, or at least begin to accept, that there isn’t a single major act that I can do that will fill all the holes, right all the wrongs and solve all of our problems. There isn’t anything I can do to keep my mother from dying and nothing that can ease her pain or mine. So, I wrote a letter and I’ve left the rest in God’s hands. This has given me some peace. I continue to cry and I still hurt, and I don’t imagine that will lessen soon; it will probably get worse when I actually feel the loss... For now, I’m dealing with my pain and sharing it with my little family. And they are wonderful.

Tonight, I broke down and needed a minute to myself. Well, that lasted all of 30 seconds. Chloe came into the bedroom to bring me my Bible. That I totally appreciated. Then she gave me a piece of paper where she had written, “Mom: I love you. Mom’s mom: I love you too.” It was a simple little gesture, but showed that she understood my pain… so sweet and so mature for an 8 year old. Bless her heart, she couldn’t leave me alone; she got her own Bible and laid next to me. Next came Jillian who also had a note for me saying that she was sorry that I was sad and that she wished I could be happy. I spent some time snugging on them and then Nathan came in. Nathan wanted me to come watch a commercial on tv for a new and improved light saber. There’s no rest for the weary. I reminded myself that I am so blessed to have three children who want to spend time with me and who love me enough to try to help me through my pain. Family is God’s greatest gift after salvation. I am devastated that I’m losing the chance to have the relationship with my mom that I’ve always dreamed of, but I am increasingly thankful for the time I have with my own children. None of us is promised tomorrow and I don’t want to waste any of my days…

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Buckeye Pool

Today was our last trip to the pool. Sad, for sure, but we all had a good time. :)

This is my new favorite picture of Wyatt. Its horrible quality because I took it with my phone, but his expression is priceless!!!! :) He loved being in the water again, he kicked his little feet and just floated around taking it all in. He ate and napped in his little chair and then swam again. It was great.

The kids love seeing him in the water and love telling everyone that he's "our baby". I am very thankful for how much they love him. I can only hope and pray that they will continue to love him as he grows. I think they'll really appreciate when he can talk and laugh and interact with them, but I'm pretty sure he will drive them nuts when he's mobile and destructive. :)

Such a handsome little man.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Dreaming of Being Mobile

Wyatt loves the backpack. I should emphasize that: Wyatt LOVES the backpack. I've been doing a lot of housework and purging while wearing his 10 pound body. :) This provides both exercise for me and entertainment for him. I think we're going to have to invest in an exersaucer very soon because he is completely done with the idea of being flat on his back. :)

He is very good at holding up his head now and can push himself up alittle when he's laying on his stomach. He talks a lot and also smiles when we talk to him. He seems to really enjoy the water; he's even taken a few showers with me and doesn't seem to mind the cascades of water at all. He seemed to LOVE when we went to the pool a couple weeks ago. He floated happily and let me enjoy the pool while the bigger kids went down the slide and off the diving board. He's such a good baby. :) I am very blessed.

Trombones and “’Me”

Nathan is in 4th grade. One of the requirements of 4-8th graders is that they participate in band so Tuesday night we went to an instrument rental night at the school. The students had an opportunity to play around with some of the instruments a few days before so they had an idea of what they wanted to play for the year. Nathan chose, you guessed it, the Trombone. It is nearly as tall as he is and I was really surprised at his choice. He’s the only one in his class that chose the trombone but he seems thrilled about it. We are renting it for now, but we have the option of purchasing it or another instrument when he decides what he wants to play long term. Early Wednesday morning – really early, like 5:30am, Nathan woke me up because he wanted to practice. I told him it was way too early to play in the house, but he could go outside and play it. When I was fully conscious about an hour later, I realized that the neighbors probably didn’t like being serenaded by a novice trombone-ist before the roosters crowed. :) Oops.

Jillian’s homework for this week was to create a model of herself. She started with a generic cardstock figure. She used brown yarn for the hair and then tied cute little yellow ribbons for pigtails.Yellow is her new favorite color. True to her actual fashion sense, she made a pink tank top, butterfly patterned skirt and blue boots all out of fabric that I had in my scrapbooking stash. She drew on an adorable face and was very proud of her creation.
And especially proud of herself for doing it with minimal help from Mom.

August 2011

I know its been awhile since I’ve done a “day in the life of the Trent family” post, so here’s one. :) This was last week, the kids were pretty bored and so they decided to get creative. It started with Nathan wanting to draw something on his face so that he could look like a Star Wars character. (I have no idea which one.) When I saw the kids again, their faces were completely covered in marker. Nathan even drew himself a six pack on his stomach. Next in the line-up of boredom-busters was a circus put on by Jillian who was a clown. Her act ended by her holding up her shirt to show that she had written “Kick Me” on her stomach. Quite entertaining.
The dresser that I have been using for Wyatt’s clothes broke recently so while the kids were creating their masterpieces, I was going through his clothes organizing, sorting and purging. When the girls realized that the little tiny clothes were going to the thrift store, they busted out with their stuffed animals to see if any of Wyatt’s clothes would work for their “babies”.
Nathan spent some of the afternoon playing his new favorite game on the internet but then decided to set up a battle in his room. The purpose of the string? I have no idea, but he had various Star Wars characters hanging from it. I'm not sure if the string was to emulate bullet trajectories or to mimic some building infastructure that was used in the seige. Crazy little boy imaginations. :)

This scene is the site of a wrestling match between all three kids. They used all the pillows in the house so that no one would get hurt. Pretty smart. This is Jillian's room which had remained surprisingly clean for two days, I was very impressed that when they needed space, Jillian's room was the cleanest. :) I was also impressed at how well they played together. I love those moments of peace. Even when they come in the middle of a wrestling match.

The youngest and the oldest boy in the family both spent a lot of time sleeping. Wyatt was recovering from a cold, and Lowell was recovering from, well, life. That boy never sleeps enough.

This is my creation for dinner. I totally made it up as I went along. Chicken breasts, frozen broccoli and cheese, rice, cream of chicken and chicken broth and chunky salsa. I was AWESOME! Yay, me!
This is the rest of my day – devotional time, reading a new book from the library, ripping songs from CDs to my computer in an effort to downsize more stuff, a little TV (I’m newly obsessed with Bones -- Totally love it!!!) taking care of the baby, and cleaning.

All in all, a fun, productive, fairly normal and memorable day. :)