Monday, November 21, 2011

My mother's angels

My mother lives in Spokane, Washington and my trips home are not as often as I would like.  I try to call her when I have moments with no kids on my arm and a good half hour or so. Mom is 87 this year and in good health for her age, considering she is living with 3 leaky valves in her heart.  She gets up and walks on the treadmill most mornings and often does more than she should around the house, which tends to get her in trouble with her kids. I spoke with my mother today and every time I do I am so grateful for the chance to pick up the phone and talk to her.  As she so often does she talked to me about her day, how the weather is there and who she has heard from recently.  With eleven kids one would hope that she hears from people often.  The thing that always makes my heart happy is when I hear of those people who live by her and attend church with her who take time out of their schedules to visit her, call her and do things like snow removal and sprinkler maintenance.  I am so grateful for these people who really have no obligation to this older woman other than the moral obligation they give themselves.  So many times my family has been helped and blessed by the hands of angels who reach out to my sweet mother.  Today I am thankful for these people who have truly touched my dear mother and our whole family. I strive to look around me and find others I can bless just as others are blessing us.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Finding Morgan's Smile

We have what most would consider a stable family. I am very much in love with Doug and as far as I can tell he is pretty crazy about me. We live in a wonderful neighborhood, having great family support and our kids are afforded many comforts do the degree of possibly being pretty spoiled. So all things considered I expected all of my children to be happy, healthy and successful running off to school each day with perfect confidence.  Imagine my confusion when several of my kids started struggling with being happy and fitting in.  There seemed to be a pattern of loss of self esteem and difficulty getting along with the family.  There seemed to be a fight most mornings just to get them to school.  After reading and studying and seeing a really great doctor we realized that the kids that were struggling each had their own version of anxiety disorder. When Morgan started struggling with going to school we already had dealt with similar symptoms but it seemed with each day hers seemed to intensify.  It got to the point that I would have to take her into school and leave her kicking and crying with the principal or have the school counselor meet us in front of the school to make sure she didn't chase my car as I drove away.  Medication definitely helped, which we knew it should, but Morgan's anxiety has always seemed so much more extreme.  Our amazing doctor, Dr. Samantha Bostrom, recommended a counselor for Morgan but we were somewhat reluctant having visited a couple therapists in the past and not having a great experience with either. Then a friend recommended a man they had seen for their son and we decided to give him a try. Best decision ever!
From the moment we met Dr. Ken I knew he was a good fit for Morgan but I was cautiously optimistic because I really wanted her to come away from her visits feeling like she had tools that she could use to overcome her fears.  In the past our attempts with other therapists had been so awkward and seemingly useless as we spent half the time retelling the same information and the other half feeling like they just didn't understand exactly what we were dealing with. From the get-go Dr. Ken has been on the same page and perhaps a page ahead of us, providing Morgan with real life methods of dealing with her fears and connecting with her because he understands her. She not only comes away each visit feeling like she is reconnecting with her best friend but also feeling validated and armed with her next challenge to overcome the next obstacle. I come away feeling like I'm not the worst mom ever and I'm given tools and explanations that I desperately need.
I wouldn't say that things are completely better, it's definitely a journey, but I can say that my daughter is happy a lot more of the time and she gets up and ready for school with a smile most days.  Most of all, she understands herself a lot better and knows that she can be in control of her fears instead of them controlling her.  What an amazing blessing Dr. Ken has been in our lives and I think will continue to be in Morgan's because of the impact he has had on this sweet girl.

Monday, November 7, 2011

I love the walk!!!

My beautiful friend, Eileen and me in Hawaii
About 4 years ago I committed to my friend, Eileen, that I would get up and walk with her in the morning.  Eileen has been walking for around, well, just about forever.  Anyone that lives in this area knows her and her reputation proceeds her as she is the official speed walker of our area.  For years I was just the observer, seeing her every morning and sometimes twice a day out there walking faster than most people run.  Her consistency rivals that of the post office and you knew no matter what every day she would be out there pounding the pavement.  So given this, you can imagine how skeptical I was at being able to keep up with her.  Nonetheless, I decided to try and for the first week I truly knew agony.  You see, Eileen gives you about 3 days to make it or break it and then she leaves you in the dust, not wanting to sacrifice her own workout.  So for days I struggled to keep up and reminded myself that it would eventually get better.  After about 2 weeks I called her and asked her if she really did enjoy the walk or if it was something she just struggled through every day.  She reassured me that she loved walking and one day I would too.  After 4 years I can tell you, I love the walk.  We are now commonly referred to as "the West Point Walkers" and just like clockwork we are out there almost every day.  But something magical happens on the walk...not only are we strengthening our bodies but we strengthen each other emotionally. There's airing of complaints about kids, husbands, family, work, and other stresses in our lives, but at the end of the walk it is done and left at the curb and we leave ready to face the day again. 
No two people could be much more opposite but I have to tell you how grateful I am for my Eileen.  She has healed my heart and taught me courage on many occasions.  I hope that I do the same for her.  Women need good women. 
My Eileen is in Italy this week with her husband so I ran five miles with my friend, Whitney, this morning. Something that 5 years ago I never imagined I could ever do.  I wasn't even tired when we finished.  How blessed and grateful I am for the amazing blessing of excercise and the beautiful blessing of friends. 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Thanking my way to Thanksgiving

Great minds think alike.  As I was surfing the internet and trying to catch up on my cyber accounts today I noticed that my amazing cousin, Saren, was echoing my plan for blogging this month.  Of course she was, the Eyres are all about gratitude--and it shows.
My gratitude post today is that I have been so blessed to have Doug's brother's family move in next to us. For two years now we have finally been able to enjoy cousins living in our near vicinity.  In fact, we are so close that it is a 2 minute or less jont to their back door.
For so many reasons this has been wonderful for our family. The kids now have best friends that they mutually stick up for no matter what. In the beginning there was a period of time where the girls would spat off and on because they spent so much time together, but now those times are few and far between. Instead there is someone just around the corner to make strange videos with and do make up and photo shoots with. Life is never boring when sweet Kelsie shows up and the entertainment value is usually pretty high.  Before college life, Jacey was always here for girl bonding talks and the occasional eybrow tweezing. (Yes, this is what we do with a houseful of teenage girls!)  Even though Chance likes to pretend he is so much older than Kaden and Kameron he tends to spend plenty of time at their house and can't even usually make it through a whole family dinner without taking off before his plate is clean.

 Mark has taken on the role of second father and more than he probably likes is invited or coerced into helping with homework. The kids love his dry humor. Jacob is everyone's friend and is the audio-visual tech fo the family.

Prom Primping

Jacob and Morgan

There's always a makeup job
Sally, Becky and I
As for me, I don't know what I would do without Becky here to save me when I forget things (which is most of the time), and to be my "missed the bus again" carpool when I am at work. She is my Cafe Rio and Costco partner and she always makes me laugh. Most of all she helps me remember that I may not always have it all together but that is life and maybe no one really does. She is a confidant, counselor and sister and I am so grateful to have that right next door..or street.