Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Delayed reactions

I have a confession. I am like Meg Ryan's character in You've Got Mail. When confronted, I usually have nothing to say. Sometimes I have retorts, but more often than not, I am left speechless. So then I spend days thinking of what I should have said.

So I have a neighbor whose daughter is pregnant and she has cystic fibrosis and well even without the cf, her pregancy isn't necessarily ideal. So I have encouraged her to consider allowing her mom and dad to adopt the baby. My neighbor is on her fourth husband (there were abusive marriages, so she isn't some woman who can't commit) and they desperately want a baby. This girl is still young enough that this will seriously damper her childhood and the childhood of her boyfriend. Anyway, she came to my house and "confronted me". Let's call it what it is - she came to talk to me because she thinks she is protecting her daughter. And her daughter has spent a lot of time stressed worrying about what other people think. And after she finished talking to me - she decided to move on to the fact that we walk Lizzie over and she asks if their younger children can play. She assumed that I must need a break - okay so first, this explains the short play periods when Lizzie goes over!

Okay, what happened to the days when you would send your kids to a friends to play and no one whined about it or said it wasn't fair to them to have to say no. Now I should also point out that her girls come over w/o calling first and I let them come and play. But the real sucker punch was the look of relief over her husbands face a few days later when he came around the corner while I was heading somewhere. On his arm was this huge blown up ball that the kids could crawl in and then others roll it around with them. I couldn't hear everything he said, because I had the car running but I was ensuring that he wasn't taking to my house - then I caught it, he was going to this open grassy area next to our house and I could see he was worried about Lizzie seeing them. So I told him I'd be sure she stayed in, because I would return very shortly and that she didn't see. The relief on his face, well it really bugged me - okay it was like a knife to the heart. It wasn't just relief, I could see that he didn't like Lizzie and he didn't want her to come over.

So now I am stewing of course, because it really bugs me. First, it bugs me because I have a few things I'd love to say to this woman who is practically throwing a party for her unwed daughter who is pregnant. Yes, she wants a baby, but everything I've researched says, this baby will kill her (worst case) or take ten years off her life (that's best case scenario). It helps that I have a friend I met online several years ago who is an ob/gyn - he's explained a lot to me about why it's not good. Anyway, this woman said a lot of things that I have retorts for now, but of course, I won't go confront her because there isn't any point and honestly, I don't know if I can do it and hold my temper.

I think at this point I am just going to have to resign myself that this is only the beginning of people who don't care for Elizabeth. The kids like Elizabeth, but not so much the parents. So I have to find her some friends or something, except that the other kids in church shy away from her too. She is different and they don't know what to do with that. So here's the question, do I resign myself Lizzie being alone for a long time w/o friends? Or do I push this and ask people to step up and outside of their own selfish desires and talk to their kids so she can have playmates?

I have decided this, I won't send Lizzie over there anymore, but we will not close the door to the kids if they come over to play. Now the real challenge is this - I have to get a swing set and I am found a nice playhouse that I can purchase for the girls to play with outside. Maybe this will encourage Lizzie to stay at our house for a while and she hopefully won't notice that she can't go over to her friend's house for a while.

I know I have been somewhat vague in this one, but there are some factors that can't be divulged and if I gave a lot of the conversation then it would give a lot away. And it's not my information to divulge anyway. So now I am heartsick and not sure what to do about this or how to help Lizzie with this. So for now, we'll keep to ourselves and invite Saidra over a lot, because she has siblings like Lizzie and she likes Lizzie and I know her parents like Lizzie too.

I hope you all have a good week.
Maureen

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Working on renovating the living room

I have spent these past three weeks working on the house and here are some of the photos for you to enjoy. This is the semi-finished product. This one above is the the wall leading to the foyer.
This is the outer wall of our living room - it has what looks like a mini-turret window setting. The wood isn't painted yet, it's going to be painted white to contrast with the yellow. I love yellow - it's such a friendly and happy color. And below is a photo of Bud putting up the trim as a test run. We decided that we like it a lot so he's going to pick up a few more pieces and I have to finishe the wall where the couch is sitting and then this room is finished until Spring - there are two walls that have to be torn out and we have to reinsulate them and put in new firestops and then put in drywall (the walls are plaster and lathing right now).

This is the wall with the window that Bud has reframed. The wall has been primed in an antique white. If you look carefullyyou can see the difference between the starch white and the antique white.
This is the wall that is going up the stairs in our house and as you can see, it is crumbling. This is one of those quick fixes we are going to take care of for winter, but in the Spring we are going to have drywall and insulation put in to make the house more energy efficient.

This is Bud working on the window. I thought I'd show you the difference between the old wall color and the new wall color. Bud has done an amazing job and has helped a lot.

This is the beginning the painting process for the final color. I got up this morning and started at 9:30 a.m. and didn't finish until 4:30 p.m. That is my hand. I told Sarah to take a picture of me painting, but she missed me a bit, so I cropped myself out.

This is Bud working on priming the walls before we put on the color. He did a lot with the trim work and helping fix stuff. I have to say, it's help me a lot and I can't express how thankful I am to him. We are taking tomorrow off, because honestly, I am pooped out. I need a break. But it helps that the girls played with Beka and Sarah helped with some of the painting. Beka was a doll and was very good. She played in her crib while we needed her too, so she needs a day off just as much as I do.
This is once again the finished product. We will paint the wood white and put up the trim, then it will be mainly done.

I have to say, I think this is going to be my project to work on whilst Chris is deployed. In all honesty while this cost us about $200 to do, if I'd had known I could have spent about $400 in total to finish this room, that includes new wiring, insulation, framing, and drywall. Okay maybe $500, but that really isn't too bad in all. So I am going to work on purchasing what I need a little at a time and then we'll get to work on a room as the money is available. Oh and the tree, is our Christmas tree, but we had to forgo breakable items. So I made a paper chain and we had some plastic ornaments and there are lights on there. We won't put gifts under until the girls are asleep Christmas Eve, but in all I think it will be a good Christmas.
Chris will be home on Sunday and we are all excited to see him. Hopefully, we'll make it to church that day. I missed church this past week because I felt like death warmed over. I inhaled a lot of dust while sanding down the wood and it kicked my allergies into overdrive.
Either way, I want to make it to church. I really like our church and I miss it when I don't get to go. I hope you all have a great week. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
In Christ,
Maureen

Snow day

Well it is December 16th here and it is very cold. The low this morning was 3 degrees (according to KSN Channel 3 news website). I let the girls stay home from school, because honestly, I think USD 259 is insane. When the high isn't supposed to be even near 30 degrees and there is continuing snow, then they need to cancel school. But they didn't, so I told Sarah to turn off her alarm clock and I let the girls stay home. It is so cold that I sent Elizabeth outside to walk the dog, because she wanted to go out anyway. She is usually our warm one, who can warm me up (she's like Chris she has a higher body temp than most people) and she came in after only a few minutes freezing cold. She had to wrap up in a blanket to defrost.

We are painting and working on the living room. When I say we, I mean myself and Bud (Mom's boyfriend for those who do not know this). He came over and fixed the areas in the living room where the plaster has cracked or is missing and we are doing the primer over it and over the wood and we are going to paint it and make it look gorgeous. I will put another post up soon, with photos of before and after so you can see it. I think it is going to look great. Fortunately, we are also going to have a nice sized tax return this year and I am going to use some of the money to fix the Chrysler and some of the money to put up drywall and insulation in the living room and in the dining room. This house is going to look great when we are done with it. I will do a little at a time as I have the money. I have decided though, that I will hire contractors to drywall the stairway because I have very high ceilings and so I need to be sure that it is done correctly and because I don't have the right tools to go that high myself. So I will let the pros take care of that problem. Probably a little at a time I will put in new windows as well to help the house be more energy efficient. I know I am purchasing a new front door and a storm door to go with it.

I hope you all are having a good week. Only a few more days until Christmas and I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Wonderful New Year.
In Christ,
Maureen

Monday, December 8, 2008

Fixing our house

For those of you have been fortunate enough, not to see my house. It is old. I mean truthfully, it is old - it was built in 1911. At first, we thought it might have been a Sears & Roebuck kit house. It has plaster and lathing and cotton for insulation - no kidding - I think it has cotton for insulation in some of the walls.

So Mom's boyfriend Bud, has offered to come and help us make some repairs. Now I love my husband very much, but he is such a huge procrastinator that I have decided to take Bud up on his offer. I really need a house that isn't falling down around our ears. The wall that goes up the stairway is crumbling in several places, and Bud thinks he can fix it, even though he knows that when our tax money comes in, that it means I am going to rip out the plaster and have them reinsulate and put up drywall so that the house is even more energy efficient. I also plan to have them finish the bathroom. This means I am probably going to have them put in a pocket door so I can put a vanity in the bathroom to hold the towels. I have a closet in the foyer that is a coat closet and a pantry in the kitchen that I can't use, because it is still one of Chris' unfinished projects, and 2 small triangular closets that don't go all the way up in my bedroom and one in Sarah's house - oh and the crawl space in Sarah's room that we sometimes use for storage. I love my husband, but I could kill him for buying this house - although, I have to give him props, he finally confessed that had he known that we would live right next to a tornado siren, he would not have purchased this house! AAAAAAARRRRRGGGGGHHHHH! I told him if he purchased another fixer-upper house that I might go to prison for homicide. He promised he wouldn't do that to us again. Of course, in his defense - when he purchased the house he didn't expect us to marry so quickly and have a baby the same year. He thought he'd have plenty of time to fix the things wrong with it and that he'd sell it before we married.

Anyway, we are going to finish it little at a time and I plan to use our tax money and get as much done as we can so that it is more valuable. Then we might actually stand a chance of refinancing it and paying it off faster. Chris is just glad that we are going to do well enough that it is an option. Last year, we did well enough that we paid for our wedding vow renewal. It was great and worth every penny and all the time it took to make it go smoothly. Even if I did want to call the whole thing off by the time we were finished. It was insane getting it all to come together - it reminded me why we married in our living room in the first place.

Okay enough of my kvetching. I hope you all have a good week.
Maureen

Sunday, December 7, 2008

A week gone by

Well this has been a week. Not a good week or a bad week, just a week. Chris left on Monday and Beka woke up that night croupy. So Tuesday we got into the doctor's office and sure enough, she had croup. Shocker! I knew that, Heaven knows I fought it enough when Elizabeth was small. Thank goodness she outgrew it.

Anyway, we spent that week fighting croup and trying to keep Beka happy and get her better. It worked, she is now happy and almost completely healthy. She still isn't 100% but she's getting there. We both take lots of naps and try to rest and stay healthy as much as possible. I take my vitamins and Mom told me about this concoction she used on us when we were little. She ground up and stirred in Vitamin C with 2 cups hot water and boiled it until the chewable tablets were completely dissolved and then added honey to it and put it in a jar. She then fed us a teaspoon each day to help us stay healthy. It worked and we loved the taste, so I am going to buy some Vitamin C in the next few weeks and take care of our Vitamin C needs. Back to my point though, we actually made it to church, which is nice, but I didn't get to stay. Beka needed to go home because she was too restless and wouldn't have been able to sit through the service and I couldn't put her in the nursery - okay I could have, but I wouldn't, since she was still getting over her illness.

I just hope the next two weeks are more uneventful. At this point, I am glad I am doing a good job. I have our bills paid, except for the three I will take care of with Chris' military check in a few weeks. So as of now, we are current until January on our bills. I am actually proud of myself. Last time I didn't do so well. Of course, last time it was very sudden and completely unexpected, this time I have had a year to think about what I want to do and how it needs to go down. Chris' mom is helping me too.

Okay I need to get going. I hope you all have a good week and MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Love,
Maureen

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Sarah's birthday and Thanksgiving Weekend

This is Sarah with Beka and with Kent our hairdresser. Yes, this is the man responsible for turning Sarah into a bruise - with black and blue hair. He enjoyed doing it and he's great with Lizzie and loves the girls, to pieces - and no he isn't gay.





Here we have Sarah showing off her digital camera - it was a gift from her Mom and Grandma Alice. And this is her with her birthday cake.


We picked her up early from school and took her out to lunch, then we picked up new sneakers for me (mine began to fall apart) at the mall and then took her to Kent to get her hair colored. We meant to go to the Olive Garden, however, Lizzie threw up Sunday morning and her tummy hurt so we went to Taiwan house instead where Lizzie ate Jell-O and Sarah was able to eat for free, since it was her birthday. We ate cake later and Lizzie sadly, went to school Monday, but had to miss Tuesday.


She came home Monday, sick with a fever and was very unruly, so I sent her to bed early. She crashed on me before 7 p.m. So I kept her home on Tuesday. In fact, there is a picture of her a little later here where she's on the couch with the dog.




This is Chris and Sarah at Taiwan House during her birthday lunch.









This is Beka crashed out and she was too cute to not take pictures.



Here is Chris, Sarah, Elizabeth, and Rebekah, the day after Thanksgiving. We had a good day on Thanksgiving. We went to Sheri and Damion's house for lunch and we helped them move on Saturday. They now live North of us, in fact, they live just up the block from us. We spent Friday just enjoying the day together and trying to spend as much time as we can with Chris. He left on December 1st for three weeks of training in Nebraska. He'll be back for Christmas.




Friday night, we played Rummy with Chris and Sarah. Yes, he's wearing clothing -it's a robe. I think he won the main battle, but Sarah and I won a few games. It's fun to watch him and Sarah play together, he loves to try and antagonize her - she's getting pretty good about ignoring him. Now if only she could teach Sheri to ignore him - he can really get her going. It's very entertaining to watch him purposely get her riled up. I think Damion and I have almost as much fun watching him get her all geared up as he has doing it.

Here is Lizzie on the couch with Sofie - who I believe is licking her from her expression. She was home this day sick from school





























Here is Sarah playing rummy. She and I still enjoy playing with Chris gone, but it's a lot more fun with more than two people. We had a good time playing cards. Now if only we could get Chris in the mood to play more often. We always have a good time playing, but he only likes to play for so long. Maybe someday, I'll get him and Sarah on video tape doing their little Happy Dance - it is quite amusing.
3, December 2008
Chris is in Nebraska now. It's boring around here. Okay, that's not entirely true - because Monday night about 11:30 Beka woke up croupy. So I spent several hours with her helping calm her and getting a breathing treatment in her. I got her in to the doctor Tuesday morning - she indeed has croup. So the nurse practitioner put her on an oral steroid which she loves, but I love it because I only have to give her medicine once a day instead of four times a day. However, this means I had to pay Allison (she's the teenager who lives around the corner from us) to drive Sarah to her therapist appointment and she's taking her to tomorrow evening's concert since I can't take Beka out and Allison cannot get near Beka. Allison has Cystic Fibrosis, so being around a sick Beka who has a respiratory illness is a very bad idea. So she is Sarah's driver instead. It means I don't have to take Beka out in the cold (and it's going to get very, very cold tonight) and Allison can still earn money without exposing herself to something that could make her either very ill or very dead.
Beka is having a hard time. She misses Chris a lot. She's used to him being her buddy and running around with her often. She actually went to the door today and looked out and called for Daddy and tried very convincingly to say, I miss you. Talk about ripping my heart out - okay she did say it, "I miss you" but most of you won't believe me, but I heard her clear as day. I'm not sure which is worse - when he was gone last time - Lizzie couldn't tell me how much she missed him, she was locked in her own world. Or Rebekah who can tell me she misses her Daddy, but I'm not sure how much she gets that he's going to have to leave us. Either way, each one ripped my heart out. Lizzie, falling apart but unable to talk and Beka who can talk and sort of tell me she misses her Daddy. Now if only I could figure out how to explain it to Beka.
I hope everyone has a good week.
In Christ,
Maureen

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A Lazy Day

Welcome to the Koeppel Clan Blog












We are the Koeppel Family and we live in Kansas. This is my husband Chris and I at our wedding vow renewal ceremony in August 2008. After 7 1/2 years of marriage and 8 years of being together we thought it was time to renew our love and committment to one another. Ironically, our original idea was to take the girls to Vegas and renew our vows with an Elvis impersonator (Wow Mama - sorry inside joke), then we were decided and had it all planned to go to Chris' mom and dad's in Idaho. This way Mary and Ted could be with us, because they weren't able to make it when we first got married of a month later when we had a "family ceremony" at my aunt and uncle's home. Ted is a disabled veteran and his health hasn't always been the best, so we planned to renew our vows in their backyard. However, they told us that they wanted more of our friends and family to be able to celebrate with us, so after some rearranging and changing of dates and times, we renewed our vows August 5, 2008 at Westside Church of the Nazarene. When you first get married you think you have a good idea about love, but in truth it isn't until things get tough and you survive them that you discover the depth of love. Sadly, in our world today most people never make it past the worst time that they promise to stay together through. We've faced a lot of challenges - deployment, a special needs diagnosis of our daughter Elizabeth, gaining custody of Sarah (our daughter from Chris' first marriage), re-integrating Chris back into our family after his deployment, and several other obstacles, we are still married and very much in love and it is getting deeper with time.
This is our Rebekah - she is our youngest. We thought we were done, but God had other plans, so we welcomed her with great joy April 30, 2007.











Being her parents has been a lot of fun, because she is always happy and smiley. Okay most of the time, although lately she's become quite opinionated and vocal in her displeasure with things, we take it all with great joy and abandon.

This is Elizabeth. She is seven years old and cracks us up daily. She is a total goofball. The other day she told me was sick - she had the flute. It has only recently changed that she no longer talks about herself in 3rd person tense. I used to tease her that she was Regis Phillbin. May 2006 she was diagnosed with autism and pervasive devolopmental disorder and it was devestating at the time (at least it was for me). Now she is succeeding in school and she has made huge gains and we couldn't be prouder of her.

This is our oldest daughter, Sarah. She joined our family July 2, 2005. She is in eigth grade and is doing marvelously well. She has come so far since then - she is no longer the gangly, awkward young girl who was so unsure of herself and felt like she was always a victim. Now she can stand up for herself and is very kind and compassionate. We are so proud of her - I think she will be able to do anything she sets her mind to.


And last, but not least - this is our puppy dog, Sofie. She is a little over a year old and we've had
for six weeks now. By the way - she looks like quite the different dog now - and so we will be posting new photos soon. She is doing much better - she was hit by a car a few days after we got her, fracturing her pelvis and she had matted fur when we first got her. Now she looks like a different dog, she is short haired and no more mats, with a lot of spunk. I got her to help all of us, (okay, to help me) while Chris is deployed this time. She is so small and loveable - in fact, she is currently curled up beside me snuggling and getting petted between keystrokes.

This is the final photos. This is Chris and I at our Wedding Vow Renewal. We did it August 5, 2008 this year and it was wonderful, but we decided to only renew our honeymoon from now on. It's less expensive and time consuming. LOL! And a lot more fun. I hope you all have a good week and I'll keep this updated as often as possible.
In Christ,
Maureen