Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Making sense of horror

My computer has been acting up. I've tried, unsuccessfully, to upload pictures three different days. Then I just gave up as I've been busy hugging my kids and trying to process the elementary school shooting in Connecticut. I found myself crying. A lot. I cry as much as the average girl, but I could hardly talk to friends without bubbling over with emotion. Kissing and praying over my kids as they slept, like I do every night, became a sob fest. I have tried to shield my kids from the media...I'm unable to process these killings, how could I possibly expect them to make sense of it? I saw an article floating around the facebook world..."I know what 6 looks like", and I avoided it. I was too emotional. Then, last night a friend emailed me the article, so I read it. This Mama hit the nail on the head. I am just heart broken over this incident, and seeing my kids, especially my 6 year old first grader, makes me realize much more fully what these parents have lost. I know that every single day I am to thank the Lord for loaning my kids to me for another day...that they aren't mine, but His. And that is good. And comforting. But at the same time, it's terrifying and uncontrollable. Grab a kleenex (and I have no idea where this originated to give here it is...from the internet, somewhere.).


 I am not really a major cryer. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I cry–when it’s appropriate to do so. Funerals. The occasional wedding if it’s particularly beautiful or meaningful. Schindler’s List. Things that normal people cry at. I am definitely not an over-cryer. I don’t cry at commercials or cheesy Hallmark movies or at the drop of a hat. And, when I do cry, there’s usually a beginning and an end. I cry. I get it out. I stop. Normal crying.

However, since I first started to understand the magnitude of what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday morning, I have cried a lot. I cried when I heard the terrible news. I cried when I went to pick my son up early from school. I cried when I told my husband what had happened. I cried when I talked to my girlfriends about it. I cried at church when we prayed for each victim by name. Off and on for going on three days now, I have cried. And this is despite going out of my way to not watch anything about it on TV or read too much about it online. I’m actively trying to avoid it, but I still find myself crying more than usual.

I mentioned this to a friend last night and she said that she couldn’t seem to stop crying either. When I asked her why she thought that was, her answer was, for me, a revelation. She said, “I think it’s because we know what six looks like. We see it every day . . . in all its glory.” And she was right. Because, you see, this friend and I both have a six year old child. I, a six year old son. She, a six year old daughter. Both are in first grade. Both, I imagine, so heart-breakingly similar to those twenty kids who were so brutally and senselessly killed on Friday morning. And we do, indeed, know what six looks like. We do see it every day. In all its glory. We see the good, the bad, and the ugly. The beautiful and the infuriating. It’s in our face. We live it and breathe it.

We know what six looks like. We know what it smells like. How it can go from the fresh scent of shampoo and soap to the musky aroma of “dirty child” in what seems like minutes. How it resists getting in the bathtub . . . and then resists getting out half an hour later. How sweet its hair and skin and clean jammies smell when it sits on your lap and asks you to read it a bedtime story. We know the unmistakeable fragrance of the occasional accident in the middle of the night caused by too much milk and no last-thing-before-bed visit to the toilet.

We know what six looks like. We know what it sounds like. How it cries and whines. How it sings and laughs. How clever it is and how much more clever it grows every day. How it sounds out words on signs as we drive past in the car and how happy it is when it gets them right. How annoying it sounds when it teases its little sister and how kind it sounds when it soothes her when she falls down and hurts herself. We know how lovely the words “Mommy” and “Daddy” and “I Love You” sound in its six-year-old voice.

We know what six looks like. We know how it tastes. How picky it is. How it thinks chicken nuggets or macaroni and cheese are gourmet foods. How much it loves candy and cookies. How it tolerates broccoli and carrots. How it absolutely abhors brussels sprouts. How it thinks french fries are a vegetable. How it thinks chocolate milk was created by God himself. How it thinks pizza is its own food group. We know that six is happy when it finds “I love you!” written on a napkin in its lunch box at school.

We know what six looks like. We know how it feels. How big it’s getting. How fast it outgrows its clothes and how it’s no longer a baby, but not quite yet a big kid. We know the weight of six in our arms. How we can barely carry it anymore, but try anyway because we can’t quite bring ourselves to accept the truth. We know how easily six gets its feelings hurt if someone says just the wrong thing or if this friend or that one doesn’t want to play with it or it gets in trouble at school. We know the velvety softness of six’s skin. We know the still-silkiness of its hair.

Yes, we know what six looks like. We know six’s gap-toothed smile and its gangly arms and legs. We see how it jumps and dances. How it twirls and runs. We know how funny six is. How absolutely charming it can be. We know six’s terrible jokes. We know how obsessed it is with “Minecraft.” We know its crooked “S” and its backwards “3.” We see how it teeters on the cusp of the world of books and all the joys of reading, but how it’s not quite ready to fall in yet. We see how six can’t decide if it wants us to stand beside it or not. We watch it take two steps towards independence and one step back towards us every day. We know how sturdy and strong six is . . . and yet how frail and fragile.

We know what six looks like. How beautiful it is. How precious. How brightly it shines with promise. How much it looks towards the future . . . toward seven, eight, nine, . . . How much it looks like forever.

We know what six looks like and can only in our worst nightmares imagine how devastating its loss in this senseless and evil way would be. We can only barely imagine the wreckage and the despair and the utter hopelessness that would be left if six were brutally and suddenly taken from us. We know we couldn’t bear life without it.

Yes, we know what six looks like. And we know that, to us–like it must be for those other mothers and fathers in Connecticut–six is the whole world.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Every other year our church does a whole-church retreat. We always really look forward to it--great worship, teaching, time away and concentrated time with friends. This year, our family officially outgrew the hotel room. :) So, the day registration began I booked a chalet--for our whole dinner club! So fun. 4 couples, 12 kids, plenty of room. :) We put the kids down and sat, ate, laughed and chatted for hours (we even watched SNL together!)
The girls. Kathy, Leigh-Ann, Me, Megan

What happens when the photographer is new to her job and over a foot shorter than her subjects. :)
Jonathan and Leigh-Ann, Me and Chris, Megan and Dave, Kathy and Mark.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Time away

I'm embracing my age. :) I thought it would be fun to start a dinner club this year (and it is!). I invited three of my dear friends (and their respective spouses-ha!) and we divided up the calendar. We each hosted once. SO FUN! We do appetizers and cocktails, a full seated dinner and dessert. And, it is concentrated fellowship and good times as all of our kids (between us, there are 12) are tucked in at home with babysitters!
Well, the girls decided to get away for a night, and the guys agreed (some more willingly than Thankfully, Chris was fully on board.).
We got  a hotel in a fun area, spent the day shopping, had a fantastic steak dinner, then headed back to the hotel and chatted for hours in our comfy pjs. We slept in (which for me was about 7:45, lol) then went back to the mall and got starbucks. The girls slowly left for various commitments but Leigh-Ann and I hung on until the very end. :) We found a dress for me to wear to the wedding and had a late lunch before reappearing at home.
Where was Mark, you ask? I left him home with Chris and pumped. I've never left a baby that young before. Chris was a saint for doing it and I cannot tell you how wonderful the time was. I came home refreshed physically and emotionally.
We were accousted at Macy's and got makeovers. It was A LOT of makeup, but tons of fun too. :)

At dinner


Yum. So blessed by these friendships!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Half a year!

Hard to believe Mark is 6 months old. Took him to his well-baby and was confirmed that he is a wee lad. :)  He is 25.75 inches tall (22% for height) and 14.14lbs (7% for weight). He isn't losing weight, but he dropped a lot in his weight percentage so she wants me feeding him 3 table meals a day. Sigh.

Feel a little bad that I put off solids so long (started him November 20) but I'm finding it difficult to find the time for spoon feeding a baby not so interested in being spoon fed. :) He is quite interested in puffs/table foods, but hasn't mastered chewing yet, so can't eat enough for the calories he needs. So far, we are booking it through our foods--chickfila icecream was his first bite, (lol) but since he's had, oatmeal, apples, peas, (his favorite) sweet potatoes, blueberry and banana puffs, mashed potatoes, blueberries, cheese, bread, ritz crackers, guacamole, and pizzza.

On his birthday he began pulling up and this week decided he wanted more of a thrill so has begun cruising around his crib. He has discovered his learning table and L-O-V-E-S it. His other favorite toys are his Sophie giraffe and his rattle keys.

I'm finally figuring out Marks sleep needs. He is pretty solid 7:30-7:30/8 every night, and he will take one killer nap (3 hrs +) a day, but the other one is utter crap (anywhere from 15-45 minutes). He's pretty flexible which is nice as it makes carpool not quite the disaster it was a couple of months ago. We are in the process of dropping his 3rd catnap in the evening. If he is held he can skip it, but put him down and it's a disaster.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The longest 45 minutes ever

It's been a long day. One of those days where I have repeated to myself multiple times, "these are precious moments...fleeting moments...treasure them..."

I've been having some odd health things, which I'll save for another post another day, but, I've had a lot going on. After a long morning and driving carpool a million times I finally put the baby down for a super late nap. No dice, he wasn't having it. Cried. His whole "nap time". The kind of crying that doesn't stop when you pick them up. Do you know what that does to my nerves? I finally gave up and fed him and moved on with my day. Amidst that, there may or may not have been four different opporunities for me to tangibly teach first time obedience to a couple of unnamed children. Sigh.

Anyway, I put the baby down, turned Praise Baby on (thinking we all needed the encouragement) and started making dinner. I then hear, "Mommy, Mark threw up everywhere." That isn't shocking, so I wasn't in a rush to get there. Upon arrival I saw that he had not just spit up, but had spit up on the Jack in the box...or should I say in (throughout?) the Jack in the box. Ewww. I cleaned up the baby and started on the floor and toy when I saw Jack standing there with a white powder all over his face (similiar to how one looks after devouring a powdered donut). I instantly knew what it was--Mark's teething tablets. I ran Jack upstairs and told him to show me what he had eaten and where it was. Sure enough, he had eaten over half a bottle. They were completely gone. They are natural so I wasn't too worried until I read the "if more than allotted dose is taken contact poison control immediately." So, off I went to call (amazingly, for the first time). I was on hold for a while as a couple of people consulted on my "active" ingredients, but lots of ingredients for a little boy to have at once. While on the phone my home phone began ringing and Anna-Kate picked up--telemarketer. She didn't keep talking when I said I was speaking with poison control. Helpful tip, I suppose. Had a long talk with Jack about not taking medicine unless I give it to him. The baby was crying most of the phone call, but I had my hands full cleaning Jack up and then tackling the Jack-in-the-box  (oh, and I introduced green there was that.). I finally went to get the baby, picked him up and noticed he was warm. Sure enough, his first fever. Despite starting dinner preparations at 4:45, at 5:45 there was no dinner.

Amazing what can happen in 45 minutes, huh?

See? Don't you feel better about your afternoon now? You're welcome.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


Ironic, I was going to post about the temperature anyway, even it wasn't on my December blogging list...

It is hot, hot, hot! I believe we hit 75 today! While I'm not wishing for a blizzard, and I would be perfectly happy with this weather in January, I just feel that it should be cold in December. I'm having a hard time decking my halls in flip flops. :)

Old stomping grounds

This fall we took the kids to Chattanooga for a weekend trip. We took our annual trip to Disney over spring break, to accomodate Mark's birth, so it had been quite a while since we were able to get away. Anna-Kate always talks about the place she was born, "Chagganooga" so, off we went. We ate a delicious dinner at Tony's in the art district, walked over the walking bridge and then stayed in a hotel. The kids thought it was the.greatest.thing. :)
At Tony's. This boy is happiest with a carb in hand. :)
At dinner.
On the walking bridge with my girl. :)
Anna-Kate is thrilled to be our photographer.
The next morning we had a fantastic breakfast in the hotel then walked over to the Childrens Museum. We had so much fun! The kids were wide eyed the whole time as they ran from one activity to another.
Learning about the different kinds of bees.
Hiding in a tree house. :)

On the walking bridge. Sure love these crazy kids and their goofy daddy. :)

Back at the childrens museum on the roof.

Jack was crazy about all of the instraments and music. I wonder if he will be my musician?

Us girls gotta stick together! Love her.

Glow in the dark legos. He was in hog heaven.

Hit up the playground on Lookout Mtn. Weird that it was completely different from when we lived there, but it was super fun and, despite the downpour, the kids loved it (Chris let them play in the rain/mud....that was fun coming home in a carful of wet clothes.).

At Clumpies for a little pre-dinner appetizer. Sheer joy.

Hey, look! Mark was there too. :)

Such fun family time for us. Loved being able to get away for a couple of days and enjoy seeing our old world through our little ones' eyes.