Friday, December 31, 2010

Avalyn's Room

I'm sitting in Avalyn's room right now, thinking back to this time last year.

My pregnant belly was hardly showing then, the lovely pink and green walls in here were cream colored, and the room was filled with odds and ends. Every room in the house is filled with odds and ends now. It's what happens when a family of four tries to cram their lives into a 950 square foot home. But even though this little room is cluttered I don't think I'd change a thing. Well... maybe I'd put a picture or two on the wall. ;)

This is the room I sat down in when I first found out I was pregnant. One of our couches was in here at the time. I knew that this unloved spare room would not be the same ever again. Rather than being the room that we threw unwanted or unused items into, it would hold someone very precious.

In fact, that someone is so precious I can't make myself get out of this rocking chair.

Avalyn has been sleeping in our room ever since she was born. Christmas Eve was the first night she slept in her room. She handled it fine. I did not. I haven't slept this poorly since I was pregnant. I don't like not having her next to me. I like listening to her breathe and toss and turn, it helps me sleep. However, part of being a parent (the not-so-fun part) is things stop being about you. Totally cliché but true. This is why Keith usually gets the last cookie... and the first. :)

So, here I sit, unable to sleep and unwilling to move, hoping that this will get easier with time.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Time

Christmas is always a busy time of year for most people. This year I had all of my shopping done before December and all of my groceries and necessities taken care of before Christmas Eve. Or so I thought.

On Christmas Eve day Matt got called out to a site in Petoskey that had an alarm tripped. This happened at 2:00 PM and that's when I started to get uneasy. I figured I'd be going down to Morely to pick up Keith by myself but it was nice to know he'd only be an hour and a half away, not 3 + hours. After he left I started packing the Jeep. Let me state for the record, my Jeep has been the most reliable vehicle ever, it's never broken down or had a horrible mechanical malfunction. The worst thing I've dealt with were windshield wipers that only have one setting. Not that bad, really. However, all day I had a feeling that I needed to pack warm clothes for Avalyn and myself, just in case. I never have these thoughts! Not with my perfect purple Jeep. I listened anyway. I've learned, over the years, to trust my gut. It's usually right.

So, I packed Avalyn's snowsuit and my heavy winter coat along with some hand warmers and bottles of water. I left the house a little after 4:00 PM and noticed I had a half a tank of gas, maybe a little left. Enough to get to Morely and back anyway. On our way down I stopped in Big Rapids for gas, and every open gas station was packed. So I got back on the road and went the extra fourteen miles to Morely. As I was turning off the exit ramp to Morely, Matt called and let me know that Dominique called to let us know she was running late. I said okay, and told Matt I would just head into town to get gas there, instead of waiting at the car park and getting gas after the drop off.

The gas station was, thankfully, still open and I filled the tank. I was talking to Matt the entire time and complained about how much gas was. I had put in nineteen gallons, which was more than usual, so of course I paid a little more than normal. I twisted the cap back on and closed the door and when I took my receipt I heard (and felt) a thud. I could see Avalyn through the window and her eyes were wide. I wasn't the only one who heard/felt something. So, I looked around. There wasn't anyone else in the parking lot, so no one hit me. There were no rouge animals wandering about, no nothing ran into me. Then I looked down. The gas tank was on the concrete.

I could only stare. One of the two straps that hold the tank in place had snapped under the weight of nineteen gallons. So, I said to Matt, as I knelt on the ground, "So, um, we have a problem... the gas tank fell out of the Jeep."

There was silence followed by, "What..?"

"Yeah... um... I'm going to go inside and see if anyone knows what to do."

So, I unbuckled Avalyn and we went inside in search of someone. I told the three ladies behind the counter what happened and they all went to see what it looked like. I asked them if they knew what to do, they didn't, but they knew of someone they could call. So they called him while I waited. In the mean time, Matt called Domi and told her what had happened and she was more than willing to meet me at the gas station. After a few minutes a man showed up to look at the damage. He said that I would just need some ratchet straps to get the tank back up where it belonged. Before I had to go inside to buy some, Domi and Bill showed up. They said we could borrow their straps (one of the women who worked at the gas station originally said we could use hers, but Domi or Bill (I don't know who) suggested to use theirs since we could return them easier). So the guy got to work, and I put Avalyn's snowsuit on her. Domi, tried to take her, but Avalyn is experiencing stranger anxiety so I took her back. She's a little heater so being out in the cold doesn't bother her. She likes being part of things anyway. :)

After about fourty minutes the man had the tank back in place and secure. I don't carry cash, so I tried giving him one of my credit card (good anywhere) gift cards, but he wouldn't take it. :-\ I felt weird about not giving him anything but I guess the Christmas spirit was in the air! I thanked Domi and Bill and headed on my way. I drove slowly on my way home and called Matt to let him know we were okay. He had me call him every fifteen or so miles so he would know where I was. I also called my dad to let him know I wouldn't be going to Midland the next day. He made the suggestion for he and mom to pick us up and go. I was excited about that because I hadn't seen my grandparents since July.

We got home safely and we had a great Christmas Eve and Christmas. The next day we went to Autozone for parts. Thankfully it will only cost $60 to fix everything. The gas tank wasn't damaged but a fuel line was. Things could have been so much worse! I'm so thankful I packed warm clothes, and thankful we got gas before Domi and Bill dropped Keith off. This is why I like the Christmas season. Even though a lot of store patrons are jerks, there are still good people out there. Really good people!

Belated Merry Christmas Everyone!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Random Update

I am so tired of group projects at school. I always end up doing 75% of the work. I don't mind doing the work, but I hate finding out at the last minute that no one else has done anything. Ugh! Oh well, at least it's over and I have two weeks off!

In other news Avalyn had her six month check up and did great! She only cried for a few seconds after getting her shots, and she didn't have any side effects! I'm so proud of my baby girl! She is also becoming a lot more vocal and has been testing out new sounds. We watched The Princess and the Frog the other day and when Tianna said "Daddy" she started saying "Dadadada!" It was so amazing!

We are done with our Christmas shopping as well - and Keith is with his mom until Friday so at least the presents are safe from snooping! ^_~ He's doing very well in school though (even though he's been testing us lately) and made the honor roll. The thing that's bad: He's trying to turn Matt and Dominique (his birth mom) against each other. Little does he know, they don't like each other already!

Last week when Dominique called, Matt told Keith he needed to spend more than five minutes talking to her because she lives far away and this is her only chance to hear what's going on in his life. Keith apparently took this as: "You're not allowed to talk to your sister." So what does he do? Tells his mom that his dad said he can't talk to Jalynn. Nice work Keith. Needless to say, Dominique was upset and asked Matt about it. Matt explained what happened but I don't think she believed him. Now Matt is stressed out and Keith realizes that he can manipulate his mom. Great...

Keith tried telling us things Dominique says to him about us, but I take it with a grain of salt. One gem was: "My Dominique says I don't have to listen to you because you're stupid." I replied by telling him I have a college degree and if she thinks I'm stupid, that's fine, but he's in my house and he has to follow my rules, even if she does think I'm stupid. Then I got, "My Dominique says I don't have to listen to you because you're just my step mom." Pretty much the same deal, it's my house and he has to follow my rules... then I add, but I love you just as much as I love Avalyn because you're more than just my step son. That one made him cry. :\ The one after that was that Dominique and Bill punch him. Not sure if I believe that because I check him for bruises every time he comes home, I haven't seen any that raise questions. A couple of scraped knees, some scratches and small bruises, basic wear and tear for an eight-year-old. The latest contradicted the punching thing, now he says he never gets punished while he's there and doesn't have to clean up after himself. Val and Dominique have told us more than one time that he gets disciplined and has to pick up his things. Those are just a few - there are so many other times that he's tried to manipulate us and it hasn't worked. It's a shame that Dominique seemed to fall for it. Things have been going so well...

Oh well!

I suppose it just shows how smart Keith is. Even if it is being too smart for his own good!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas!

So we had Christmas already! Well kind of. We went to GR and had a celebration with the family early (since Keith is with Domi from the 17-24th). The kids got lots of toys and we had an eventful drive home! We were welcomed back to good ol' northern Michigan with a blizzard. Boo!

Thankfully we made it home safely. I've already gone out in it again (yep, that's what we do up here, drive in the snow!) to get a new camera with my Christmas money! Woot!

Here are some pictures of the festivities (you'll be able to see the difference on picture quality for sure):

Avalyn's first snow


Keith's bed!

Someone likes Christmas lights!

So sleepy!

This is how the crib is set up in our room!

Good thing she likes the snow!

Keith likes shoveling (which is awesome because I don't!)