08-13-18 The View From The Floor

This is where I find myself most evenings, long after the kids have fallen asleep and the house has slipped into silence. I choose a music playlist or a show to watch, stretch, and I start to run. In the first few weeks I walked a lot, peppering my time with short bursts of running, but now it’s nearly half and half. At the end of my run, after I cool down, I lay on the floor next to the treadmill, stare at the ceiling and listen to my heart beating and my lungs breathing.

Six weeks ago I would lose my breathe climbing the steep and uneven stairs to my third floor office, a chore I had done for the better part of ten years. Tonight I went eight miles on the treadmill in 74 min 18 sec. There’s room for improvement, but I’m proud of my progress.

08-12-18 The Crayfish

I heard the sounds drifting down the stairs as Tim was putting the kids to bed. I was standing at the kitchen sink washing dishes and a smile crept across my face. They were singing my favorite hymn. Of all the hymns that I have ever sung in church, it’s the one that resonates the most with me.

Come Thou Fount 
Come, Thou Fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace
Streams of mercy, never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet
Sung by flaming tongues above
Praise the mount, I’m fixed upon it
Mount of Thy redeeming love
Here I raise my Ebenezer
Here by Thy great help I’ve come
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure
Safely to arrive at home
Jesus sought me when a stranger
Wandering from the fold of God
He, to rescue me from danger
Interposed His precious blood
Oh, that day when freed from sinning
I shall see Thy lovely face
Clothed then in the blood washed linen
How I’ll sing Thy wondrous grace
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry
Take my ransomed soul away
Send Thine angels now to carry
Me to realms of endless day
Oh, to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be
Let that goodness like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to Thee
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here’s my heart, oh, take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above
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This afternoon we decided to take the kids to the creek to splash around for awhile. They had never been there with Tim and he had been wanting to take them. It was raining for most of the afternoon, but as it began to let up we pulled into the parking lot. Because of the weather, there weren’t many people out. We did manage to come within ten feet of a deer eating in the woods, we came within sight of a large heron, and we ran across a very large (dead) cray fish, (which honestly looks more like a lobster!)

08-11-18 Pie

I had a rough day today, but when I got home this evening and walked in the door my mother told me she had made me a cherry pie, my favorite kind. Moms are pretty special like that, taking care of you when they don’t even realize they are doing it, and clearly my mom is one of the best!

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08-10-18 Officially Homeschoolers!!

Big news in our house this evening. The kids are officially ‘registered’ for homeschooling this year. It was a very simple process of filling out a form and providing information about the subjects they will be studying. The kids and I dropped our notice of intent off this morning and the superintendents office.

Such an auspicious day deserved a celebration! Knowing how much they enjoyed swimming on our vacation, I decided to take them to the pool for the day. When we bought our house we got a complimentary pass to a nearby pool for the season, but today was our first time actually going.

The place was perfect. They had two pools- one for the little kids and then of course, the regular one. The kids spread their time equally between the pools. We got there around 2pm and left at 6, more because we were hungry than the kids were actually finished swimming. Since the pool will be closing in a few weeks we will be trying to make multiple trips over there in the weeks to come!

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08-09-18 The Lego Day

Weeks go my sister in law and I purchased a Groupon for an exhibit at a museum near her house that was going to be displaying large Lego sculptures and today we redeemed it. There were 13 huge lego statues spread out over a large historic estate. We got to walk through beautiful gardens and paths as we wandered around looking at each one. It was hard to narrow down which one was their favorite because they were all very cool! I think mine might have been the peacock.

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08-08-18 Adventures with water shoes!

Today seemed like a perfect day to try out our new water shoes. The kids and I headed to a nearby creek (one we had visited before but didn’t get to explore) and we put on our shoes. Within moments we were wading our way down the stream. The water was moving pretty fast, but it never came up too high and we could always see the bottom. We saw some Appalachian Brook Cray Fish, some Damsel Flies (which we learned yesterday were not the same as dragon flies), some water spiders, small fish, and of course some fungi. We probably traveled about 200 yards down the stream and only headed back because the water was getting too deep. It’s been so hot lately that the frigid waters of the creek were a welcome respite!

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08-07-18 Flowers and Fungi

This morning we met up with friends from church at a local pick your own flower place. It was such unique idea. They provided large cups, water, and clippers and you got the chance to wander down the rows of beautiful flowers and pick what you wanted. You paid for the size cup you filled. Big E did most of the choosing of the flowers while C got to handle the clippers. Baby E informed us of every bug he saw.

Afterwards we sat and had a snack and devotion and the kids played tag. They really enjoyed their time there and Baby E has even made a new friend (which is no small task for him!!)

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I’m pretty sure I have mentioned before but Baby E is obsessed with mushrooms. We can’t take a walk without him stopping, pointing, and squealing “FUNGI!!!” at every mushroom he sees. This afternoon I dropped by the library and picked up a 400+ page book all about the mushrooms of North America. With over 1000 pictures of fungi I knew he would be thrilled. So this evening while my mom was reading Curious George to the big kids, Baby E and I curled up on the couch with our mushroom book, flipping through it, pointing at all the pictures, and trying to pronounce all of their scientific names. Just a normal evening with a three year old right?!?

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08-06-18 The Reason

There’s a reason our annual pilgrimage is so important to us.

It isn’t for a swim in the lake.

As fun as the gator is, it’s not worth the hours in the car.

The farm is beautiful, but that’s not it either.

The reason we go is because of Tim’s grandparents.

I never knew either of my grandfathers (though I met one of them a couple of times when I was very young), let alone any of my great-grandparents.

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My twenties gifted me with an unwelcome case of PTSD which manifested itself in anxiety and panic attacks which stemmed from living just down the street from the World Trade Center on 9-11 during my college days.

I learned early on that my symptoms were triggered when I was in an unfamiliar place. Going to a mall or restaurant was hard. I eyed every exit. I scrutinized everyone around me. I heard every noise, saw every movement. I was waiting for it to happen again.

As the years progressed, my world got smaller and smaller. It got easier to turn down offers to hang out. I liked my little house. I was comfortable with my routine. I knew where I was ‘safe.’ But even I knew I couldn’t stay there, so I began to fight it tooth and nail. I would try to do things and fail. I would end up a blubbering mess in my bed convinced my brain would never heal.

When Tim and I got engaged he wanted to take me to his family reunion to see his grandparents. (I had met them before, and had even visited their farm when we were younger, but not in a ‘family’ capacity.) I agreed to go, only to back out at the last minute. I couldn’t do it. It was too far. It was too unfamiliar.

When we got married, he asked me to go again and goodness I tried. We got in the car and we hadn’t even gone an hour when I was vomiting on the side of the road, begging to go home. He turned us around and dropped me off and went without me.

I felt like a failure. I had disappointed my husband and myself. I knew by the look on his face that while he wasn’t mad at me, he was incredibly sad.

The year C was born, Tim didn’t go to visit his grandparents. It was too close to my due date so he stayed home. Holding C in my arms, I vowed to myself I would keep trying for her. I would not let my illness define her upbringing.

Much to everyone’s surprise (mine included) the following summer we visited them three times. I can’t tell you what it felt like to pull into their driveway and see them. They hugged me. They welcomed me. Immediately I felt at home. It had been a goal for so long and when I finally conquered it, that place became my happy place and I absolutely fell in love with them. Every year since then we have made it a point to take time to visit. We try to go up a few extra days before the reunion in order to get more time with them. We love watching our children interact with them. Last year I watched as their great grandfather taught them how to put up their tent. I’ve seen Baby E fall asleep in great grandma’s arms. I love listening to the all the family stories. Without them ever knowing it, they were a huge part of my healing process and I am so grateful for them.

So this year I was so excited that 22 of their 26 great grandchildren were able to make it to the reunion. (They even have a great-great grandson, but he was not able to attend.) Watching all the kids crowd around for this picture was such a wonderful moment. What a blessing indeed!