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 credit...so 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

Retreat

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 others...lol. 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

Starbucks

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 case...no "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 peas...so 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

Temperature

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.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Still getting older.

Chris' birthday cake. We were all wanting to skip dinner to dig in to that guy! Happy birthday to the best father and husband a girl could hope for! (this picture makes me laugh. It looks like Mark knows he isn't getting any and is less than pleased at the prospect.)
 
 
For Chris' birthday, Mark decided to let me capture a picture of him sitting in the boppy smiling. Precious boy. Now, if he would only sleep. :) 


December 4 project

Joyous.
 
The picture quality of my iphone in a pitch black room is poor...but, on his 6 month birthday, Mark decided pulling up and cruising would be a fun thing to add to his resume (!!!). He is giddy with delight at his new vantage point, especially playing with the learning table. I am less than giddy when I go in multiple times in the early evening helping him learn to get back down. :) Growing up before my eyes...
 

More catchup

 
At Adam's birthday party. Ryan with his sweet, bestest bud, Henry. Love these two!
 

Anna-Kate and Adam. She insisted upon wearing a "pretty party dress" instead of something more practical for a home depot party. Lol.

Love this close up of Anna-Kate with the tiger. Loved the precious time together (when I could actually pull it together and get out of the house...)


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Christmas movie

Today's 25 days of blogging December is...my favorite holiday movie. Personally, I have a special place for "It's a wonderful life", but my favorite is "White Christmas". I love the music, the dancing...love it.

However, I want to remember a little thing, that wouldnt even be a blip on some people's radar, but is a big deal for me. Last week, (on a school night!) "Frosty the Snowman" came on tv at 8. Our kids were already tucked into bed, and my to-do list, let me assure you, is quite extensive. I decided to forget my list and schedule and went and got the big three out of bed, told them to grab their blankets and follow me. We all piled in our bed to watch Frosty together. It was only 30 minutes, but they.loved.it. It was so nothing for me to do, but it was the biggest deal to them. Made me realize how little effort it takes to make a huge impact for them. Such a fun little memory as we all sang along. Just today, Frosty came on the radio and Anna-Kate said, "remember when we got to stay up late and watch that? I love that!".

Little memories.

Dates

We spent the summer mostly at home. Between recovering from a C-section and learning to balance 4 munchkins, I was hard pressed to leave my four walls with all of them. :) I did try really hard to go out and do special individual things with the kids a few times. I love the insight into their thoughts when they are alone with me.
 
 
Anna-Kate was an awesome helper to me. I dreaded the start of school wondering how I would do carpool and get on without her help. She loved to feed Mark (though, to be fair, after this picture was taken she said, "OK, I'm done with him now").
 
 

While the big kids were in Macon Jack got special time with Mommy and Daddy. We went out to dinner with him and Mark and he didn't know what to do with all of the attention. :) (that's a lemon he's sucking on...)


Ryan and I had a date in when Chris took Jack and Anna-Kate out. We had corndogs and grapes on the couch (!!) and watched old Adam West Batman reruns. He thought that was the best thing ever!




Anna-Kate and I at her most requested restaraunt...Waffle House. Sigh. At least she's a cheap date! :)


Saturday, December 1, 2012

A new leaf

So, ever gotten to the point that you are so behind with something that it is overwhelming to contemplate starting? Ya. Me too. Well, here I am, ready to re-start the blog. I'm *planning towards* blogging every day in December and hoping that will give me the ol' ooomph I need. I know, you're welcome, (mom) all of one's of readers.

As shameful as it is, I am going to back-blog the fall events that I've missed...there have been quite a few. :) My attempt is to blow up your google readers. Ha! So, here goes life in our house from late summer through the fall...

The boys had their first days of school....

Jack was so excited to go to school that this was the best picture I could get. You can see his feet blurring from moving towards his teacher. No tears, or even "bye mama" from this guy! He goes twice a week (and wishes it was every day!)


Ryan was also excited to go to preschool. He was thankful for Lydia to be in his class. Ryan goes all 5 days, 9-1.


Saying goodbye!
 

Obligatory front door pictures. :)


December blogging

December 1 blog challenge...my view today. Mark is 6 months old today! He is sitting, crawling and pulling up. I think he's been so unhappy because he wanted to be able to sit up and see and try and keep up with the big kids! Happy half birthday, sweet Mark!



Sunday, September 9, 2012

I spy

As we drove to church this morning the big kids were playing in the back.

Anna-Kate: "I spy with my little eye something blue."
Ryan: "I know, it's your shoe."
AK: (full of superiority) "Ryan, this shoe is black, not navy blue."
R: "Umm, I know, it's your shoe!" (totally reminded me of Dory from Finding Nemo).
AK: "No!"
R: "It's the clouds!"
AK: (very teacherly) " Now Ryan, clouds are white."
R: "Not the sky, the air--it's the air!"
AK: "Ryan, it isn't the air, it's the firmament. This ones too hard for you. I spy with my little eye something pink. It's on me. It's my dress."

We were rolling.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Perspective

I was bemoaning getting out of bed to go downstairs to go pack the boys' lunch. Chris reminded me that in a few years there won't ever be a need to pack a lunch again. Perspective.

I was driving home from picking up the boys and Mark was screaming hysterically and I found myself longing for the day that he is old enough to just chill in his carseat. Then I remembered I will never have a little one who needs me and wants to be held so desperately again. Perspective.

I was frustrated with Jack...for having his hands in everything, for typing while I was typing, for having an accident, for asking me "why" so.many.times...I put him down, out of my lap and his sweet little voice said, "Sawry Mommy. I want to smuggle wit you Mommy". Pangs of guilt. This is the two year old season. Perspective.

I spent another day in the car (drove carpool 4 different times that day) and was resenting my new life lived in my car with no time between carpool and nursing (another thing I feel like I'm always doing) to string 30 minutes together to actually accomplish anything. Then the feelings of guilt for running an errand in the 30 minute block of time that Mark could actually get a nap in his bed. And guilt for schlepping him everywhere. And guilt for his schedule constantly being in flux. And guilt that I just want him to stop crying and be a laid back baby, which he just is not.

But then I remembered, I'm living the dream. My dream, my goal in life, to be a stay at home mom to the four children I had always prayed to the Lord to give me. I signed on for carpool, and soccer practice and cheerleading camp and packing lunches and crying babies and snuggling (and even manipulative) two year olds. I signed on for poopy pants, spilled milk, toys always under foot. I signed on for dirt tracked in, muddy clothes and bloody noses. I prayed for sweet moments of joy--praying with my kids, seeing their hearts, dancing to Disney songs, playing in the rain, making cookies...

Perspective. Above all else, I am blessed beyond words. Now I just need to pray my heart to fully "get" what my head already knows.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Favorites, the Pre-school edition

                      Favorites, the Pre-school edition.
                         Ryan Aug. 2012


     1. What is your favorite toy? Spiderman and Capt America
2. What is your favorite color? Blue
3. What is your favorite fruit? Cantelope and watermelon
4. What is your favorite TV show? Batman (old Adam West)
5. What is your favorite movie? Robin Hood
6. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? Fish sticks (and Fish tacos)
7. What is your favorite outfit? Turquoise polo shirt (has a rainbow ribbon on the inside of the collar that he is obsessed with)
8. What is your favorite game? Candyland
9. What is your favorite snack? Spiderman cheezits
10. What is your favorite animal? Horses
11. What is your favorite song? Hakuna Matata
12. What is your favorite book? The cookie book
13. What is your favorite vacation place? White Water (or Animal kingdom water)
14. What is your favorite thing to play? Dress up
15. Who is your best friend at school? Lydia
16. Who is your best friend at church? Henry
17. What is your favorite sport? Baseball and basketball
18. What is your favorite thing to do outside? play chase
19. What is your favorite drink? lemonade
20. What is your favorite holiday? Halloween and Christmas
21. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Blanket, Max, lambie, brown bear
22. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?  oatmeal
23. What is your favorite restaurant? Pizza
24. What do you want to be when you grow up? Army man
25. What is your favorite thing about school? Playing with friends and the computer
26. What is your favorite school subject? Reading!
27. What is your teacher’s name? Ms. Mary Ann
28. What is your favorite thing you did this summer?  Watching baseball with daddy
29. What is your favorite date to do with mom?  Watching batman shows
30. What is your favorite date to do with dad? baseball games

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

"yes ma'am"

So Jack believes that saying yes ma'am is the sum of obedience.

For example:

Me: "Jack, sit down on that rug and wait for me."
Jack: "yes ma'am." then proceeds to trot off in the other direction.
Me: "Jack, I told you to sit here and wait. Obedience is first time quickly."
Jack: "WHAT?"

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Favorites...first grade edition


Back to school questions
           Anna-Kate August 2012 (1st grade)

1.     What is your favorite toy? Baby Kate
2.    What is your favorite color? Pink
3.     What is your favorite fruit? Cherries or plums
4.    What is your favorite TV show? Jake and the Neverland Pirates
5.    What is your favorite movie? Snow White
6.    What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? Mac and cheese
7.    What is your favorite outfit? Flower girl dress (Uncle Hunt’s wedding)
8.    What is your favorite game? Hide and Seek
9.    What is your favorite snack? Milk and cookies
10.  What is your favorite animal? Zebra and giraffes
11.  What is your favorite song? None
12.  What is your favorite book? Samantha books (American Girl)
13.  What is your favorite vacation place? Disney, especially the Polynesian
14.  What is your favorite thing to play? with my dollhouse
15.   Who is your best friend at school? Grace and Marin 
16.  Who is your best friend at church? Natalie 
17.  What is your favorite sport? Basketball
18.  What is your favorite thing to do outside? Swing
19.  What is your favorite drink? Pink lemonade
20.   What is your favorite holiday? My birthday!
21.  What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Pinky the pig, blanket, & lambie
22.  What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? White donuts
23.  What is your favorite restaurant? Uncle Julios
24.  What do you want to be when you grow up? A Mommy
25.  What is your favorite thing about school? Getting to see friends and my teacher
26.  What is your favorite school subject? Art and reading
27.  What is your teacher’s name? Mrs. Farrar
28.  What is your favorite thing you did this summer? Be home with Mama.
29.  What is your favorite date to do with mom? Icecream date and going to the mall.
30.  What is your favorite date to do with dad? Starbucks to get cake pops.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Just a fun little comparison picture. She looks a lot the same--thinner face and she is almost 3 inches taller than last year. Still my sweet precious Anna-Kate!


First day of kindergarten

First day of first grade
The report is that school is awesome! She came home and had snack yesterday and asked if she could go back to school. I consider that to be a positive statement! :) I told her she has to sleep first. She said, "Ok, I'll go take a nap and then go back!". So, so thankful for our wonderful school, her sweet friends and a teacher who loves her, has prayed for her and has made this re-entry to school so easy and smooth.