My Goals for 2012

Yes, I know we are now officially one month into the new year but it doesn’t mean it’s too late for goals and it doesn’t mean that these weren’t already my goals…I’m just now getting around to writing them here.

Its better late than never right?

In the year 2012 it is my goal to:

  • Better organize my home
  • Work with my husband to better organize our business
  • Learn to live more ‘frugality’ and use more couponing and sales in my shopping
  • Slow down and enjoy the small moments my daughters are growing way to quickly
  • Continue to expand my researching skills and genealogical research
  • Blog more often and with some regularity
  • Spend more time focusing on my relationship with God because without him I can do nothing and will get nothing accomplished

I hate the end of May

I just realized that I never explained the reason why the song “My Sister, My Friend” makes me cry.

On May 31st, 2011 I stood around a hospital bed in the ICU of the University of Alabama –  Birmingham Hospital with my parents, my brothers and their wives and my Aunt Carla.  Lying upon that bed was my 23-year-old sister.  Thomas was not able to join me at that moment (due to work) and Natalie was in the care of my mom’s best friends in the waiting room.  We were all there to say goodbye.  Amber-Marie “Sunshine” Tucker breathed her last breath after 10am CST.  Her passing was quick and unexpected.  She was born with serious heart defects that should have caused her to pass away before or soon after birth.  Instead she surpassed everything the doctors said she would never do.  She lived a full life and was studying for her MBA in the months before her death.  Infections were always a concern because of her weakened heart and in April she was hospitalized with an unknown blood infection that was traced to her heart.  She underwent a month of at home IV antibiotic treatments to hopefully completely eliminate the infection.

The beginning of May I was at church on a  Sunday when my Sunday School teacher referenced Psalms 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God.”  It immediately jumped out at me.  I remember thinking, “Are you trying to tell me something God?”  After class I went on to choir and our song for the day was written around that exact same verse.  This time ALL the alarm bells started to go off.  I was worried.  I begged God to not let us go through anything with our daughter’s health again.  I was afraid that DCF was going to show up and we would go through that nightmare all over again.  I knew it wasn’t healthy to worry so I tried to just ignore my fears and go on.  If something was going to happen I would just have to react when it happened.

A couple of weeks after that Sunday I got a call from my parents.  My sister was back in the hospital, the infection had returned.  A few days later I was told they were transferring her to Birmingham to be near her surgeons.  We were told she was looking at the possibility of needing a heart replacement and the doctor initially talked about the possibility of another valve replacement (we had previously been told in years past that it would be impossible due to the difficult placement of her heart in her chest).  I never seriously worried.  I knew she was going to be extremely ill for a long time but there was never a doubt in my mind that she would not get better and continue her life and be around to fulfill her role as the ‘annoying little sister’ for the remainder of my life.

I got a call Sunday night, May 29th.  She had been moved to the ICU her lungs were filling with fluid and she could barely breathe (this is a sign of heart failure).    I received a phone call a few hours later that her heart had stopped and they were trying to get her on a bypass machine.  A couple of more hours passed and I finally spoke with my dad about 1am.  It was then I heard the entire story.  It took them a long time to get her on the bypass machine, much longer than it should have.  There was a serious possibility of brain damage due to the amount of time she went without oxygen and a heart beat.  My parents and brother Jason and his wife Mary sat across from her in the ICU and watched the doctors and nurses frantically work on her.  They had iced down her body in attempt to trick the brain into resetting itself.  She was temporarily stable and they would make a decision the following afternoon as to the next steps in her care.  Monday afternoon about 4pm EST I received another phone call.  I was asked to come to Birmingham.  I threw everything I needed for a funeral and several days away in my car, put my 3 year old in the back seat and myself being 6 months pregnant drove half the night on the back roads of Georgia and Alabama to get to my sister to say goodbye.  Just after 10am we did and she left but not before I promised her that we would name her newest little niece in her honor…

Since that day I have lived with a guilt that I don’t think will ever completely go away.  I was never the sister that I should have been to my baby sister.  I kept waiting and looking forward to a day when we would FINALLY be on the same stage in life and could finally be able to better relate to one another.  I was 5 years older and always 2 steps ahead of her it was hard to relate.  I wish with all of my heart I could go back in time and appreciate her more and treat her differently than just my little sister.  I wish we could have had the friendship that I am already praying that my daughters will eventually have with one another.

It is too late for me but I do not hesitate in telling others that they should be grateful that they still have their sisters/brothers (or whatever family member it is for them).  It could be the other way so incredibly easy…

I just realized

I never made the big announcement here when baby girl finally arrived.

Kristen Amber made her grand debut on August 21st at 5.56am just under an hour AFTER we arrived at the hospital (I told you my children are always in a hurry).  She came in at 7lbs 9oz and 20in long.  She has curly auburn hair (much to my dismay) and dark blue eyes.  She has full chubby cheeks and fat little legs.  It’s so different having a chubby baby.  She only ever measures in the 50% for her weight but compared to her big sister she’s a little porker.  Natalie is over the moon in love with her sister and Kristen things Natalie is the best thing on earth. I envision many years of a love/hate relationship between the two of them (especially once they reach their teens).

Kristen is the opposite of her sister in many ways other than her size.  She hates schedules and thinks sleep is for the week.  If she had her way she could be held all day but she’s not much a cuddler if you lay her down next to you on the bed…she definitely likes her breathing room (I think she gets that from me).  She thinks food is wonderful and so far seems to have inherited her daddy’s palette (this is a good thing).  She looks even more like me than her big sister did as a baby all the way down to that hair…She’s a horrible sleeper and wants to eat constantly, all night long.  I’m beginning to wonder if she will EVER sleep more than 2 hours at a time…especially considering she’s 5 months old already!  She appears to be teething but they have not yet busted through (Natalie was 14 months old when her first teeth arrived…most of them, all at once!).  She’s beginning to sit up a little unassisted if she can just keep her balance, she’s also been semi-holding her bottle for a while now (not for long periods of time yet though.  She’s discovered her feet and is constantly grabbing and playing with them.  She discovered her hands early (I think she was about 2-3 weeks) and thinks that’s better than a pacifier any day.  She LOVES to blow raspberries and cackles when others do it back to her.  She drools like a maniac and is constantly smiling.  Her swing is only good for sleeping and only then AFTER she has already fallen asleep (Natalie LIVED in her the first few months).

I am absolutely in love with my newest little girl and I’m so proud how her big sister thinks having a sister is the best thing in the world…maybe aside from yogurt.  God has truly blessed me with two beautiful, healthy, and active little girls.  I am beyond grateful for his many blessings in my life, no more so than these two little girls and their daddy.

Drowning

I feel like I am drowning.  Lately my life has begun to feel like a chaotic storm with no end in sight.  My house, my office, my car all reflect what I am feeling internally.  My husband has been trying his best to maintain order in the midst of my chaos.  He strives for organization so that he can function clearly.  I agree with him, I want to get our lives, things, papers in order so that it will be easier to handle but the thought of that and the realization that there is not enough hours in the day simply adds to my storm.  I see so many things I want to do, feel like I am SUPPOSED to do but I don’t know how to achieve them.  I want to reach a place in our lives where I quit the 9 to 5 and manage the business.  I want to go back to grad school and get my Master’s in History so that I can hopefully become a part-time adjunct professor at one of the local colleges.  I want to create a part-time genealogical research company and get paid to research!  I want to be able to have a more flexible schedule so that I can become involved in my children’s school when they get there ( less than 18 months until kindergaren for my oldest!)  I want to be able to have time to volunteer and be more involved in my church.  I want to be able to travel at least every other year to France so that my daughters can know where they come from and who they are (my husband is French).  I want to be involved with a local organization that teaches English as a Second Language.  I want to write a book on my journey of and to faith when my oldest was just an infant and lying in a hospital bed.

So many things I want to do and think I NEED to do, but I don’t know how to get there.  I know the first step is organization but I just don’t know how to get there.  There’s just not enough hours in the day to do everything and its seriously affecting me and because of it it is affecting my family.  I am not being the rock that my husband needs and I feel like I have not been there for him lately like he deserves.  My oldest thrives on a schedule and a pattern and while the essentials are still in place its the in between times that I am struggling and her behavior reflects that.  My youngest is the opposite of her sister, she eschews a schedule and thinks sleep is for the week and that only serves to add to my disorganization.  I can’t tell you when the last time I got more than 2 hours of sleep in a row was…

I am extremely grateful that 2011 is over.  It was a topsy-turvy roller coaster of a year.  I spent the majority of the year pregnant and to that we mixed in moving to a new house, renovating and renting a condo that we really wish we could just sell, renting out our old house and losing several hundred dollars a month doing so, worrying whether or not I would still have a job throughout my entire pregnancy (health insurance comes through me!), the sudden and unexpected death of my baby sister, and the eventual birth of our baby girl.  Things have seemed to have settled into a semi-routine of monotony and I pray that it continues.  But something is going to have to change and I’m not sure where it begins…