Monday, December 14, 2015

December is always a busy month but for some reason, this time around, things have been so crazy that I feel like my head is spinning! The good thing I can say is that we have had good weather--it's even been warm on some days--which is not typical for us but has certainly made some things around here a bit easier. Today, of course, it is snowing, but it's a first!

After Thanksgiving, Ellie had surgery for her hearing aid again. This was part two of a 2-stage surgery that connects her BAHA hearing aid directly to her head. She has worn her hearing aid on a headband for over 4 years, and now, she will no longer need the headband. It also brings her hearing aid much closer to those central nerves that conduct sound to the brain because there is a direct connection through the bone in her skull. It's pretty cool. It looks similar to a cochlear implant, but it is not the same thing.

We are gearing up for our first Christmas here with Jia Qing! He is well aware of Christmas stuff and has not been too surprised about seeing Christmas decorations. He does get super excited about all things Christmas though, from the Christmas tree to candy canes. We went to a Christmas parade in a nearby town and of course, Santa came through at the end, waving and driving his sleigh. JQ was so excited! He was jumping up and down, waving, and yelling, "Santa!" and trying to get his attention. Of course, other kids around us were also waving and calling to him, but Jia Qing was so dear and sweet when I saw him. I think he really wanted Santa to notice him specifically.

We put up our Christmas tree and everyone was very excited. It is still sitting in our living room without presents, but we're getting to that part, right? I still have about 10 days.

I usually do not wait until the last few days to buy gifts, but this year, it has been very difficult to keep up with things and sometimes, to even leave the house. Taking the group everywhere is an ordeal. It's not's just a lot. And sometimes, it is easier to stay home.

Our car died a couple of weeks ago, so we have had to spend time looking for another one. Can I say this? I hate car shopping. I don't like to do it. It makes me feel like I have zero money and I can't believe that people are able to buy wonderfully large minivans and cross-over vehicles. It's complaining, I know. But hear me out, that will change. About a year and a half ago, we bought a 2001 Kia Sportage for very cheap to replace our minivan that we were driving at the time. That itself is a long story. Russ drove the Kia to work every day; it wasn't great, but it was a running car. We did dream about having something more than a rear-wheel drive vehicle, especially after moving to the country and spending each morning pushing it out of the snow to get out of the driveway. But, we prepared ourselves for at least one more winter with it because time and money are not in huge supply at this point in time.

A couple of weeks ago, I started praying about a minivan. We do not have a van, but it would be very nice. It's easier to get 4 children in and out of. There is more than 18 inches of space in the back to put groceries. The doors slide open instead of opening outward, so I don't necessarily have to worry about the kids banging their doors against the cars parked next to us. People don't have to climb over seats with their wet shoes and leave the person behind them to sit on wet fabric that was just stepped on. I could go on. Anyway, I just thought I might ask to Lord, if He was willing, to help us get a minivan. Maybe it would make life easier, I don't know.

The next day, our little Kia died on the road near our mailbox. We tried to move it in the driveway and then it slid in the ditch. We pulled it out with a neighbor's pickup and then got it into our driveway. It needed a jumpstart to get it going and it seemed to be working fine. Maybe it was just cold (this was a night where it did get down into the 20s). The next day, while trying to get it to our mechanic, it died three times on the way. One time, it was in the middle of a major street, which required parking our other car at an odd angle and trying to get the battery jumped again while other cars went whizzing by. Good times!

We finally made it to the mechanic and were told it was the alternator. The car was in such poor shape that it wasn't even worth it to fix. We decided to sell it for parts. Here is the part that chagrined me: we sold that vehicle in an afternoon on Craigslist. Within an hour of posting it, we had two offers and sold it two hours later. For the next 24 hours, despite listing it as sold, we deflected 10-15 more calls and emails from people wanting to buy it. One lady started crying when Russ told her it had sold. She said she just really needed a car....

So, I guess when I go looking for vehicles to drive and I spend all of my time focusing on these nice vehicles that have heated leather seats, DVD players, sound systems, low miles, no body damage, and they actually, well, work, I only end up feeling bad about myself and not being thankful for what I have. I have a working car that is large enough to fit our kids, even though it is a pain. I'm not getting the minivan that I prayed about, but it's okay. And we were able to bless someone with our Kia, which to us, didn't seem worth it, but to someone else, it was a great deal. Finally, our mechanic knew of someone selling a 4x4 pickup for a very reasonable price that Russ can drive, so we bought it. We were blessed by someone else. And this winter, I won't have to push the car out of the snow to get to the road.

It's the little things.


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