Sunday, February 28, 2016

A Decade with Delainey

     Ten years ago, there were four Predmores in our little family.  I doubt that any of us had any idea idea how much one more would change everything for all of us!  Dylan was 12 and not sure about a baby at all.  If we had to have a baby, it better be a girls were needed in our family.  Shane was 15 and really excited about the thought of having a long as he didn't have to change diapers.  Jim and I just couldn't wait to meet this little person that we had been praying for and dreaming about for so long!  We all had our own ideas about this baby that was about to be born, but from the start, she had her own ideas about everything.

     Through the past 10 years, I have watched Shane and Dylan with their baby sister.  From the moment she was placed in their arms, they were in love with her.  Those boys wouldn't put her down, I was afraid that she wouldn't learn to walk (no worries with that, at 10 months she was up and hasn't stopped since).  They still carry her on their backs when she asks.  They have played dollies, had their hair put in pony tails, sat for tea parties, gone to dance recitals and horse shows, all for the love of their sister.  They draw the line at allowing her to practice her make up skills though.  They have gotten just a little taste of the love that they will some day have for a child of their own.  She makes them want to do better and be better.

     During the last 10 years, Jim has come to embrace the color pink, know more about about Disney princesses than he ever wanted to know, and has been wrapped around his little girls' finger from the start.  I watch the two of them together and am overwhelmed.  They created a bedtime routine of Pirate Daddy that I couldn't even begin to explain, but makes my heart happy.  Last night, they attended a Daddy Daughter Dance.  Their eyes were shining when they came home and their joy was radiating from them.  There is a special bond between a father and a daughter...and it is a strong bond with Jim and Delainey.  She might make him crazy sometimes (probably because she is so much like me), but you can see the love that is always there.

   During my tough times, it has often been Delainey that has motivated me.  With our move to Salem, I followed her lead and put myself out there to meet people.  I have become friends with the parents of her friends that she has made through school and other activities.  I watch this child, this young lady, handle things with so much grace, and she gives me courage to do the same.  She isn't afraid to stand up for herself and her friends.  I watched with amazement as she stood up in front of her classmates and their parents to sing an a cappella solo at a school concert...she had no fear at the microphone.  She did the same at church during Advent when we were asked to share a reading with the congregation.  She faces her fears and teaches us to do the same.

     Delainey was baptised when she was 4.  There was a moment in the service when our family, friends, and members of our church all came up and laid hands upon Delainey while our pastor prayed.  I felt the Holy Spirit that day filling the church and blessing Delainey.  She told me once that Jesus was her best friend and lives in her heart all the time.  I know that the seeds were planted at her baptism (she was old enough to remember), for I see His hands at work in her life all the time.  Our family has been blessed for the past decade with Delainey and I look forward to seeing what the next decade brings.

"For I know that plans I have for you," declares the Lord,
"plans to prosper you and not harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future."
Jeremiah 29:11

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Our Miracle Journey

     One thing that I always knew I wanted in life was a family with lots of kids.  The timing of my life was never right and babies didn't happen.  Jim and I got married in June 2003.  It was a second marriage for both of us.  Right away, I got the family that I always wanted in Jim's boys.  Shane and Dylan welcomed me as part of their family.  We never had the ugly stuff that so many blended families go through.  I was lucky enough to avoid that.  Jim's ex wife and I have always gotten along well and the three of us always put what the boys needed before any issues that we might have had.  I know how lucky I am that I was not treated as the ugly step-parent.

     Jim and I really wanted another child...and nothing happened.  I saw my doctor who said everything looked great and gave me a fertility medication to take. It didn't work.  In January 2005, I saw another doctor who did some more testing...and that testing told a different story.  He told me that medically I would not be able to get pregnant without surgery or IVF or something.  I was upset to say the least, as was Jim.  Insurance didn't cover treatments, so that was the end of that dream, or so I thought.  God had other plans (like He usually does).  

     I called Jim during the Superbowl of 2005 and asked him to stop on his way home to get a pregnancy test, in spite of what the doctor said, I just had a feeling.  And I was right, I was pregnant.  For 12 weeks, I was so sick...not just morning sickness, but all day sickness.  It was horrible.  And then in March, I lost the baby.  I was devastated, as were Jim and the boys.  The one thought that kept me going was that I was able to get pregnant, something the doctor didn't think I could ever do!  So I tried to stay positive.  I prayed and kept living, although there were some dark days mixed in.  

     In June of that same year, the year that I turned 40, I became pregnant again.  Jim and I were quietly optimistic.  We kept the news pretty much to ourselves, just in case.  The boys knew, as did our bosses at work.  After 12 weeks, we started telling people.  We began to plan for our baby that we called Odie.  We didn't want to know the gender and we wouldn't tell the names that we picked (Owen James or Delainey Kaye...I was not a huge fan of our boy name).  My pregnancy was carefully monitored by my doctors, who were well versed in high risk pregnancies like mine.  Two weeks before my due date, the doctor felt that my blood pressure was getting to high (even with the medication that I had been taking through the entire pregnancy) and it was time to induce.  I was able to pick the day, time, and doctor that would deliver.  Jim and I picked February 28, early in the morning, with the doctor that first told us that we would not be able to have any children.  

     When I say that Delainey is our miracle baby, she truly is a miracle.  Only God could have given Jim and I such a precious gift when medically there was no way for her to be here.  Every day, even on days when she is driving me crazy, I thank Him for her.  Tomorrow, I will get up and write more about my girl, but today, I want to remember the miracle of her creation.  I want to say thank you to the One who gave Jim and I this child that we call Delainey...our miracle baby, whatever her age!  We are truly blessed beyond all that we could ask for with this little girl, she teaches us things every single day!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Out of the Blue

     While I was wasting time on Facebook Thursday, a friend posted a link to a blog by one of my old classmates' mom.  She is an artist and I wanted to see more of her work.  I clicked over to the blog and saw a post that she had written about her son, my classmate.  He had cancer.  We haven't been in touch in the years since I left my home town, other than once at a benefit for another classmate who had cancer.  Sunday morning when I got on Facebook, the first thing that I saw was a post by his mom saying that his journey is complete.  I am just at a loss on how to express my sorrow and why I feel so much sorrow.

     I don't want to make this post about my classmate.  I don't know him well enough to tell you all about him. He was a good guy.  He was a great basketball player back in the day.  We went to church together..which means we went to Sunday school together, youth group, and catechism.  From everything that I have seen, he was a great dad and grandpa, son and brother.  He will be missed by his family and friends.  He left here much to young, 51 is not a long life.  At 51, I have a lot of things that I still plan on doing.  I am sure that he had things he wanted to do as well.

     I think under the sadness of the loss of classmate, I am feeling my own mortality.  He was just six months older than me.  I will be 51 this summer.  I hope that I have many years left and I want to make the best of them.  I don't want to continue to put things off until tomorrow.  When the weather is nice, I need to get off my but and take my family out hiking.  I need to dance with Delainey.  I need to make time for dates with Jim.  I need to take time for myself to be creative, to read, to exercise.  I need to make sure that I am at peace with my past.  I need to forgive where it is needed.  I need to show and share love whenever and wherever I can.  

     I would ask anyone reading this, please take time to say a prayer for peace for families that have lost a loved one.  Then, I would ask that you give your loved ones a hug.  Let them know that you love them. Forgive others, forgive yourself.  Don't wait until tomorrow, next week, or next it now.  None of us are promised tomorrow.  In the blink of an eye, life can change.  Don't let it change without making sure that you are being the best you possible.  Make things right in your life with your family, your friends, and God. Consider yourself hugged from me...unless your not a hugger, nah, who I am kidding, I would still hug you right now.  Embrace every moment today and every your best life all the time!  I truly love you my friends!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Delainey's Best

     This morning as I was driving Delainey to school, I looked at her in the review mirror and saw my baby girl.  Only she isn't a baby any more.  She is becoming a young lady.  In less than two weeks, she will be ten.  How on earth did that happen...I swear only yesterday she was a toddler.  I told her that I couldn't believe that she was almost ten.  I asked her what some of the best things are that she has done in her life and I honestly was surprised at how she answered.

     Her first response was taking dance classes.  She hasn't taken a dance class in five years.  The response might have been because we just saw a Facebook memory of her last dance class that she had before we left Indianapolis.  But if she truly loves dance that much, maybe Jim and I need to look into dance lessons again.  She loves to dance and spin around the house all the time.  Dance is one of her passions.  I want to support her in doing what she loves.

     Delainey's second response took me by surprise...moving to Salem.  The thing that has been hardest for me has been one of the best things for not only my daughter, but for my entire family.  Delainey feels connected to Salem.  I have struggled with the move a lot, but am finally at peace where we are.  It was hard at first, but now D is happy here.  The times that we have talked about moving, she has voiced her opinion quite loudly.  Unless we are moving to Maine (or possibly Michigan), she doesn't want to go any where.  She has grown roots here, it's where she is growing and blooming.

     Her third response was learning to ride a horse.  I expected this answer because she is my child and I love horses as well.  She is getting to do something that I would have loved to do at her age.  Three years ago, we found an amazing place for riding lessons, Cedar Ridge Farm.  Delainey has learned not only to ride horses, but how to take care of them as well.  Her instructor expects the best from Delainey and usually gets it (everyone has an off day, D is no exception).  D has made friends not only with the horses, but with the other lesson students.  Her confidence has grown so much around the horses that she is able to get onto any horse and know that she can do it.  What a life lesson she has learned from one of her best things!

     The last thing that Delainey said was one of her best things that she has done was making the swim team.  Again, we were lucky enough to find a swim instructor in Salem who expects the best from Delainey.  When D started lessons, she was afraid to be in water over her head.  Jim and I kept Delainey in private lessons for several months.  When lessons stopped, Delainey was asked to be part of the "pre-team" and we said yes. At the final pre-team practice, she was invited to be part of the team.  D has learned so much about working hard and not giving up from the team.  She has been supported and encouraged by her teammates and coach.  Last weekend, she was in her first swim meet.  She enjoyed the meet so much and was quite sad that swim season is over for her. Again, such life lessons that she has learned!

     The things that Delainey said were her best things were not easy things.  She didn't talk about our family vacations (and I think that we do some pretty cool vacations), those would have been on my list.  She talked about things that pushed her out of her comfort zone, that make her work hard for the end result.  The conversation with D this morning makes me think that Jim and I are doing something right while raising our girl.  It also makes me realize that I have a lot to learn from my little girl about working hard, getting out of my comfort zone, and pursuing my passions!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Fat Tuesday!

     I love to celebrate special days and events.  From St Patrick's Day to Christmas, we acknowledge the holiday in some sort of way.  I have towels, window decorations, table cloths, and wall hangings for many holidays.  We do crafts for holidays, have special meals, and silly traditions.  It should come to no surprise then to learn that we celebrate Fat Tuesday in the Predmore home, with our own special twist.

     Fat Tuesday is the last day of the Mardi Gras celebration, which for some places start right after Christmas.  Traditionally, it is the last hurrah before the season of Lent begins.  People used to eat all the foods that they did not consume during Lent (sugars, meats, fatty foods...all the good stuff).  Foods like pancakes, paczkis, and king cakes are traditionally eaten on Fat Tuesday.  We generally have bacon and pancakes, along with our version of a king cake (one day I want to try a real king cake until then we have regular cupcakes with purple, green, and gold sprinkles...and a baby hidden in one of the cupcakes).  Some years we have a jambalaya type meal, but whenever I can have pancakes for dinner, I am there!

     Last night Delainey and I (Jim had to celebrated Fat Tuesday in a different way.  Our church decided to have a Fat Tuesday Dinner.  A few of us cooked things like biscuits and gravy, waffles, sausage, and pancakes for anyone who wanted a good meal along with some fellowship and laughter.  We had whipped cream to top the waffles, blueberries and strawberries in the waffles and pancakes, coffee and Coke for everyone to share.  We passed out some beads to the guests and enjoyed the evening!  We didn't have a huge crowd because it was cold, windy, snowy, with a chance of ice under it all, but everyone who came, went away with a full belly and hugs all around!

     The serious side of Fat Tuesday is that it leads to the season of Lent.  Lent is the forty days before Easter.  In earlier times, people used this time for fasting, repenting, and sacrificing.  Today, some people give something up, others add in extra prayer time, and still others do a service project.  In our home, we don't force anyone to do anything...although last year when I gave up caffeine, Delainey wasn't happy that she didn't get any coffee (really, she only gets enough coffee to turn her cream and milk a light tan...I am not feeding the child a pot of coffee).  This year, I plan on giving up soft drinks...including my beloved Coke.  Jim is giving up chips of all kinds (which means he won't bring them home and I won't eat them-a win for me).

    Fat Tuesday is just a fun day in my life.  It doesn't have serious meaning, if I couldn't celebrate it one year I wouldn't be heart broken.  Going to New Orleans for Mardi Gras was always on my bucket list, but I am not so sure that I would enjoy it as much now as I would have in my twenties (or even my thirties), but maybe someday.  Until then, I will keep my simple Fat Tuesday celebrations with my pancakes, beads, and most importantly, my family!