Thursday, June 30, 2011

God's Provision

Ok, so, along with dealing with all the tire drama with the car, Sunday, Charlie and I were on the back deck cleaning up the couple of plates and such left over from the "party" we had Saturday. All of the sudden we hear a "POP" and a long hissing sound. We look in the direction we hear the noise and Charlie notices that the back of our van is slowly sinking down. He goes over to see what's going on and, you guessed it, the left rear tire blew out!

REALLY?!?!? I just went through this the day before with the car and hadn't even gotten the new tire yet and now we have another tire blow out on another vehicle. Turns out, all the tires on the van (despite being hardly used) are dry rotted! Thankfully, we haven't been using the van because the AC doesn't work and it's been too hot to drive it. But, still. It's something that needs to be taken care of because we're trying to sell our car and the van is the only other vehicle we have that fits the whole family in it.

While I was at Sears getting a new tire for the car I asked them to check prices for all new tires for my van. I got 3 prices for 4 new tires and the least expensive option was still several hundred dollars. Major bummer cuz we don't have several hundred dollars to shell out for new tires right now.

Charlie and I discussed it and we decided to ask my parents to loan us some money to get new tires and we'd pay them back a little each month until they were paid back. I brought it up to my mom and she quickly told me it wouldn't be a problem to lend us money.

Little did I know, my dad already had plans to send us money, before he even knew we had a need for it. In the beginning of the month, my parents and sisters went to FL for my cousin's wedding. My great Aunt was also there and had given my dad a check "just because", to help out with any needs they might have. According to my dad, they had no financial needs and thought the best thing to do was to help my brother and me out with any financial needs we might have. He went to the bank the day I called my mom to deposit the check from my great aunt and write my brother and me each a check for half of what he was given.

I called my mom the next day and asked if there was a way to get the money we were asking for before we saw them in 2 weeks to get the tires for the van and she told me I was ruining the surprise. I asked what she meant and she told me that she hadn't even told dad about our need and he had put a check in the mail to us with a note saying the money was for whatever we may have a need for.

I burst into tears at God's provision and goodness. He knew our need before we did and used my dad to carry out His provision for us. My mom assured me there was no need to repay them and that they only wanted to be a blessing to us. I couldn't stop crying. A huge weight had been lifted from our shoulders and I thanked my mom and my Lord. It took a few days to get in touch with my dad to thank him, but, I finally did. I got choked up talking to him explaining what perfect timing the Lord has and thanking him for thinking of us and helping us out financially. Dad kind of laughed it off and said it was no big deal and he was happy the Lord worked it out.

The very day the check came in the mail, Charlie and I went to the bank to cash it and we got new tires for the van. We brought them home and Charlie took the old tires off the rims and put the new tires on and now the van is back on the road with reliable tires (and a recharged AC thanks to our neighbor)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Fix A Flat

Over the weekend I had a tire blow out on me while I was driving. It was taken care of and Monday I took the blown tire back in the bed of Charlie's pickup truck to Sears to be replaced. It was a little more expensive then we thought it would be, but, it was a need that had to be taken care of.

When Charlie got home Monday night he put the new tire on the car and our neighbor took it to work with him Tuesday morning. (2 of his coworkers were interested in buying the car and wanted to see it). Our neighbor was barely 40 miles down the road and the tire that had been replaced (less then 24 hours before) had blown out!

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?! Nick was able to get the spare on and get to work. A few phone calls to Sears later I was basically told I'd have to buy a new tire because it was most likely "driver error" even though the tire was barely a day old and there was no way it could be a problem with the tire or the employee who put the new tire on the rim. I tried explaining I was just there the day before and asked if there was ANYTHING that could be done to help me out because I didn't have the money to pay for another tire. The employee told me he'd talk to his manager and have the manager call me back in the afternoon when he got into work.

A few hours into the afternoon and I still hadn't heard from the manager. I called back to ask for the manager and the person I spoke with earlier said the manager wasn't coming in at all! I was getting annoyed.

I won't lie, I was really ticked off with Sears basically blowing me off. I called the 800 number for Sears customer service to complain about the way I was blow off by the store. They called the store to find out what could be done and they told customer service the same thing they told me, basically, they felt it wasn't their problem and I'd have to buy another tire. But, this time, the customer service rep I spoke to told me to go back to the store with the tire and deal with one specific employee who was told the situation and wasn't who I had dealt with on the phone before.

This morning I packed up the kids, again, and headed back to Sears. This time, I prayed before I did anything. I asked the Lord to be with me and soften my heart and take my frustration away and be able to talk calmly and hear what they had to say about the tire.

The service person I spoke to took the tire and the kids and I went in the waiting area. Several minutes pass and the service person comes to me to say they're going to replace the tire for free because the blowout happened from the inside of the tire and was deemed a 'defective' tire.

WHEW! Thank you Lord! 20 minutes later I've got a new tire and I'm on my way home.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

From Sputter To Sparkle

Today was the day Charlie and I had been planning for weeks. We were going to have a "Kid Free Cookout" and have our friends over for some food and fun. Several of our friends said they would definitely come and were looking forward to it.

We didn't have all that much planned, really, just to cook burgers and hot dogs on the grill, I made a crockpot full of BBQ chicken and I made my famous "Cheddar/Bacon Dip". The thing I was looking forward to was the fact that my MIL was going to be watching the kids overnight for us.

So, the day has finally arrived. Around 11:30am I packed the kids in the car with their overnight bags and headed over to my MIL's. Got there about an hour later and hung out a few minutes catching up with how she's been doing lately and hearing about all the fun things she had planned to do with the kids. After leaving there I stopped at the grocery store to pick up a few more things we still needed for the cookout. I found a display case full of 'fireworks' and picked up 2 packages thinking we'd all have fun lighting them up at the house after the sun went down.

I checked out and was finally on my way back home to get everything put together and await our guests arrivals. About half way home I hear a loud "POP" and feel the car rattle in the back. I quickly pull over to the shoulder and wait for traffic to thin out enough for me to get out and check what happened. Turns out the sidewall of the left rear tire blew out in 2 different areas. I was weary of changing the tire on the side of such a busy major highway. I called Charlie to let him know what happened and he told me to stay put and he'd be there soon. My first assumption was that he was going to bring his tow truck and tow the car home. Since I wasn't sure I proceeded to get the spare tire out of the truck and begin changing the tire myself. I had all the lug nuts off except the last one which was giving me a hard time getting loose. I took a break and sat in the drivers seat for a minute.

A random SUV pulled up behind my car and a man got out. I got out of the car and he asked if I needed some help with the tire. I told him up front I didn't have any cash on me to pay him and he waved off the idea of payment and told me he wasn't going to ask for any money, he said he saw me trying to change the tire and wanted to help. I thanked him for his kindness and he began getting the busted tire off and putting the spare on. Just as he as finished tightening the lug nuts I saw Charlie coming. He didn't have the tow truck which was a bit of relief for me that the tire got changed before he got there. Charlie pulled up and parked in front of me and got out to thank the man who helped me out. I thanked him again, too, and we were all on our way back up the road.

Finally home now, I hurried to get cleaned up from playing with dirty tires on the side of the road and get the last few things done before our friends showed up. Well. Turns out, everyone else seemed to have found better things to do with their day and no one showed up. We had all this food and no one to eat it. Charlie and I were seriously upset and hurt by our friends. We tried calling and texting everyone to find out their ETA's and some people didn't answer or respond and the ones we did get a hold of fumbled around with excuses as to why they couldn't come. We were cut pretty deep at first because of all the prep that went into getting everything ready for a lot of people expected to be here.

After our initial upset about no one coming, our neighbor and another friend (who's typically here every weekend anyway) DID come. It was just the four of us enjoying each others company with a couple beers, good food and a bunch of laughs. The sun finally set and the sky was dark. We took the 'fireworks' I bought earlier in the day and set them off in the front yard.

So, the plans we made fell through, but, we still had a great night. Turns out, only having 2 friends show up to hang out was better then we planned. I was able to really relax and enjoy myself because I didn't have 3 kids to tend to thanks to my MIL. And only having 2 people show up, Charlie and I didn't have to split our attention between lots of people.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Potty Trained At Last!

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Oh, who am I kidding. These past 2 yrs have been some of the worst of times for me in the epic battle of potty training my son, John. I've already written some blogs about potty training him and every time I've made progress with him and mentioned it to others, it would backfire and we'd be at square one all over again.

Shortly after John turned 2 I began easing him into the idea of going potty like a big boy and trying to get him out of diapers. I started with giving him lolly pops as a reward and we called them 'potty pops'. That worked for a short time. Then we tried M&M's. That didn't work for long.

I tried putting him in big boy underwear, going 'commando', all kinds of different treats, yelling and ashamedly I even tried a spank on the toosh if he soiled his underwear. I was at my wits end several times over the past 2 years. Yes, it's taken me TWO YEARS to get this child potty trained.

This past school year John was able to get into the local Head Start program in our county and that was a HUGE blessing to us. He was able to be around other children a few hours each day and many of them were already potty trained, so he saw other kids going potty and started giving it a try himself. The thing about John is he's stubborn and hard headed. He doesn't like being told what to do and when to do it. He does things his way in his time.

His last day of school was last month and I decided that his first full day home for the summer he was going to start wearing his big boy underwear and we were simply going to trudge through and conquer potty training. His teacher said that by the end of the school year he was completely potty trained for her, so I figured, if he can do it at school, he could do it at home, too. So, the day after he was done with school it was big boy underwear and no more pullups (even at night time)

I haven't had much troubles getting him to make a wet on the potty, it's always been a problem getting him to make a stinky on the potty. That's where we fought our battle the hardest. So, when his teacher said he was making #2's at school I knew he could do it at home, too.

It's been a month since school let out for John and he's done wonderfully. A couple accidents over the weeks, but, that's to be expected. Overall he's got the hang of it. I won't lie. Over the years there were lots of tears shed, meltdowns and tantrums thrown, some of them even by John. But, I feel like it's finally safe to say that after this 2 yr battle, John is finally potty trained. Now, I only have one more kid to get potty trained and then we'll be done with diapers for good!