03-22-18 Baby E’s Secret

Baby E- I have a secret for you. You’re the prettiest, prettiest princess I’ve never seen!!

BabyE gave me his cold at the end of last week and it is kicking my butt. Along other symptoms, I have a scratchy throat, which always gets worse at night. So, I’ve gotten barely any sleep in the past few days. Hopefully it let’s up soon cause I am exhausted!!

03-21-18 Magical Moments

“Make sure you walk when you go back to the bathtub, the floor will be sli….”

Crash. Thud. Scream.

Moments earlier Baby E had walked out the bathroom, water dripping off his body asking for more toys for his bath. Baby E loves bath time, and wouldn’t hesitate to spend an hour in the water. This evening I had given him plenty of toys, but apparently they weren’t the ones he was looking for. He stood there shivering and asking me for more. I pointed out one more he could take. He grabbed it, turned, and ran towards the bath. That’s when I called after him. That’s when he fell.

I sprang up from the floor I was sitting on and rushed into the bathroom to find him sprawled on his back with his head resting on the hard tile floor. By the sound of his fall, I knew he was in pain. I scooped him up and held him in my arms as he screamed and screamed. After a few moments he started to calm down. I rubbed at his head, noting no unusual bumps or bruises and he asked to get back in the tub. I gave him a kiss, set him in the water, and gave him strict instructions to not get out alone again. Poor kid. After dinner, he put himself to bed nearly an hour early. But considering he had only taken a 20 minute nap, played in the snow for an hour, and had his little tumble, he was more than ready.

After months of snow disappointment we were finally rewarded for our patience. It snowed all day. Perfect, fat, beautiful snowflakes that danced as they fell to the ground. The air was still, and the sounds were muffled in the wondrous beauty that only a heavy snow can provide. We got between 5-7 inches, more than enough for sled riding, snow ball fights, building snowmen, and making snow angels. We watched movies next to a roaring fireplace. We played games. We read books. The day was pretty close to the most perfect snow day we could have asked for. The only thing missing was Daddy, as he had to be at work today. It’s likely the last (and only) big snow storm of the season, and I enjoyed it immensely. After I put the kids to bed this evening I went out to the van to clear it off for the morning’s commute. When I was finished I just stood in the driveway admiring the goodness of God on full display in the drooping, snow covered branches of the big pine tree near the house, and in the sound of the snow dropping from the highest branches of the tulip poplars. The sky still clung to the last few moments of light before slipping into complete darkness, and in that moment, that completely still moment, time stopped and life felt magical.

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03-20-18 Not Here. Not Us.

“I can help you with that. Don’t do it yourself,” the kind woman at the hardware store said to me as I looked down at the twenty pound bags of Ice Melt. another customer beckoned to her and when she turned her back I started lifting the bags into my cart one by one. As I lifted the final bag she returned, “I could have done that for you! I don’t want you to hurt yourself!” I smiled back and replied, “It’s ok. It wasn’t kicking or flailing like my kids do, so I was just fine.” “Do you need help to your car?” “No thanks, I’m good,” I said as I weaved my way to the check out line. It reminded me of my days in film school… the days where you had to prove you could hold your own among the men or you’d get trampled on as they went by. I learned then if I could physically do it, then I would. It was a man’s world and I had to meet them there. I smiled over those remembrances all the way home. I hadn’t heard the horrible news yet. My day was still good.

But then I heard about it… on social media, on the news outlets- a boy had walked into a school and shot several people. The developing story only offered bits and pieces of information as it trickled in, but it was close to home- about an hour away, in the kind of place these things don’t happen.

That’s what they all say, I’m sure. The parents that watch their children’s schools come under attack. “Not here. Not us.” Until it is here and it is us.

The other parents around the country breathed a collective sigh of relief that this time it wasn’t them. Their kids were safe.

A quick Facebook search brought me to the page of the mom of one of the victims. We have one mutual friend. Two degrees separation. That’s too close. Prayers and condolences flooded her newsfeed from across the country- strangers reaching out to her in her time of despair. I doubt she has read any of them- she’s probably keeping vigil next to her daughter. She must be terrified, finding it hard to breathe with the world closing in on her. She must be on her knees praying for a miracle with tears streaming down her face. That’s what I’d be doing. I’d be begging.

My children don’t know about what happened today. They don’t know about the last time it happened either. Nor the time before that. I can’t tell them. They do ‘bad guy’ drills in school, but the concept that such evil can go unchecked is foreign to them. They worry about best friends telling the truth, about playground arguments, or feeling left out of the crowd. They don’t worry about guns. They don’t worry about death. At school they are safe. Dear God, I pray they are safe.

There are many things my children don’t know about, things I have kept from them. They haven’t seen planes ram into tall buildings, bringing them crashing to the ground with the screams of those trapped inside. They haven’t dodged the ash as it fell from the sky. They haven’t ducked for cover at the sound of a gun going off. They’ve never lost someone that they love. They don’t grieve for a sibling they never knew existed. Do I shelter my children from these things? Yes. I do. They will hear the stories eventually. The oral histories of our families will be passed down as they have in generations past. But for now, I want them to be children. So I temper my stories around them. I guard what their eyes see and their ears hear, for once it is seen or heard it will remain. I choose to let them be little as long as they can, as long as the good Lord allows.

I don’t think there’s an easy answer to the gun debate. It isn’t black and white- but Lord, I wish it was. We all know violence doesn’t end with guns. It takes many forms- knives, box cutters, explosives, vehicles. If someone wants to kill, they need only choose their method. It’s a gun issue, but it’s also a heart and mind issue. It’s a parenting issue. It’s a violent tv/video game issue. It’s a devaluing of human life issue. It’s a socio economic issue. It’s a race issue. It’s an anger issue. It’s a drug issue. It’s a self esteem issue. It’s a social media issue. It’s a government issue. It’s a church issue. It’s a school issue.

It’s a sin issue. 

And until the hearts and minds of people change, it isn’t going away. So we pray. We pray for peace. We pray for those that feel unloved, that lash out in ways that hurt us all. We pray for people to step up and be courageous, to confront evil, to not back down. We pray that our children don’t live in fear. We pray they stay safe. We pray that we can do everything in our power to stop the next time before it happens.

And we pray for the ones that have gone before us- for the parents that didn’t get to say good bye, for the kids that died before their time. We pray for the gaping holes left in their wake and the communities that still feel the pain of their loss. And we especially pray for the day we can all say, “Not here. Not us.”

03-19-18 Happy Birthday

Big E turned six today. I’m not exactly sure how that happened so quickly, but it did. I remember the moment I first saw him. I remember looking into his eyes and being terrified that I was now a mother of a boy, but when I held him and I watched him sleep, I knew he would be easy to love, and he has been. Big E has one of the most compassionate hearts you could possibly find in a young child.

This morning I had the great honor of surprising him at lunchtime at his school. This being my spring break, I went to Starbucks this morning for some coffee for me and a cake pop for my sweet boy. When he saw me as he was coming down the hallway towards the cafeteria, his eyes brightened and he smiled his perfect Big E smile. I enjoyed the time I had with him, listening to him talk and watching how well he interacts with his peers.

I waited around and had lunch with C as well, and that experience was just as enjoyable. When I had said goodbye, I headed home for a quick bite of lunch and then off to the dentist. (Yes, my spring breaks are glamorous, I know!!) I have a cold, thanks to Baby E, so I had taken some Sudafed earlier in the day, and then I had a small amount of my anxiety medicine (have I ever mentioned how much I dislike going to the dentist.) By the time I sat down in the lobby of the office, I was almost asleep!! Not a good combo, apparently! Thankfully the appointment went well and I was on my way to do some grocery shopping before grabbing the kids.

Big E asked for Ledo’s pizza this evening, so we stopped by and grabbed that. When we got home we ate, watched some tv, and then spent the rest of the evening playing. I’m trying to make a concerted effort to spend more time on the ground with the kids, and tonight was a great chance to do it. We played with boats, ships, and cars. We played Telephone, and had a silly, goofy time. We read lots of books and video called daddy, who is away for the evening.

When it was time to turn out the lights, they all obliged and fell quickly to sleep. I was going to stay up and watch a movie, but instead I am turning in early. I have one more day of Spring Break, and I need to spend it cleaning up our basement area. 🙂

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PS- I am totally rooting for snow. The more the better!!! Bring on the flakes. 🙂

03-18-18 Sunday Morning Naptime

Baby E is still dealing with some separation anxiety. It makes sense, considering there are a great many things in his life that he is not in control over and we have had some big changes in the past year, so navigating them can be challenging for him. One of the things he absolutely refuses to do is stay in the nursery at our new church. He doesn’t know anyone and the few times we have tried he has been in hysterics the entire time. So when we are at the new house and visiting the new church, we keep him with us for the entire service. Honestly, I thought it would be a disaster the first week that we tried, but he actually took to it very quickly. He sits very quietly and doesn’t stir much and he is almost guaranteed to take a nap about ten minutes into the sermon.

So this morning as we sat at church, I held him in my arms and he slept. I confess that I loved it. I didn’t mind that the room was really warm, and his sweating little body was pressing against me. I enjoyed the weight of him in my arms. I liked the rhythmic sound of his breathing.

As the pastor drew his sermon to a close and we started singing the final song, Baby E opened his eyes and blinked at me, giving me a huge smile. As long as our Sunday mornings go that smoothly, he can sit with me as long as he wants!

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03-17-18 Celebrating My Boy

Big E’s birthday is in just a couple of days, but this evening we decided to have a little celebration for him out at the new house. We had a cake and presents and sang Happy Birthday. And I have to tell you that I am one proud mama. My sweet boy kindly asked who each present was from, and once learning the giver, turned to them and politely said thank you. He lingered over the gifts and was genuinely excited about each one, whether it was a Mario Pez dispenser or a new video game. This boy has the kindest heart of any child I’ve ever met, and it makes giving him gifts such a pleasure.

It’s so hard to believe that in two short days he will be six. I once heard someone say that the days are long, but the years are short when it comes to parenting. This evening I feel that is true. The baby I held in my arms nearly six years ago is growing in strength and character into a kind, compassionate, loving boy and I am so proud to be his mommy. What an honor. 🙂

03-16-18 Spring Break

This evening was the start of my spring break. I am blessed to have a job that provides a few extra days off in the spring, and I will be heading back to work on Wednesday. Unfortunately my spring break does not coincide with the kids’ break, but we will still have a nice weekend. We came out to the new house, and we’ll stay here until Sunday evening. We are having a tiny little birthday celebration for Big E (he turns six on Monday.) Every morning he asks me if it’s his birthday and when I tell him that it hasn’t come yet, he asks me if I will remember to tell him on the day that it happens. Don’t worry, sweet boy, I won’t be forgetting! It’s late, so that’s all I’ve got tonight. Sweet dreams, friends. 🙂

03-15-18 Wrestling

Between the two of us, Tim is definitely the ‘get on the floor and rough house with the kids’ parent and I’m the ‘dear Lord, please keep us out of the ER’ parent. But a few weeks ago while I was laying on the couch, C crawled up on top of me and I wrapped my arms and legs tightly around her and she giggled and squirmed to get away…. and so began a new game with Mommy. This evening, I laid on the floor and the kids took turns getting all wrapped up in the wrestling mommy monster, and they laughed as they fought their way free. We all had a great time, and I think I laughed just as hard and loud as they did. They are sleeping now, and I’m getting ready for bed myself, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to feel it in the morning, because I already am now! Ha!! I’m too old for this, but I don’t think it’s going to stop me. 🙂

Enjoying some unexpected cousin time this evening. (They’re ninjas… obviously!)

03-14-18 Time Change

“I love this time change,” I keep reminding myself as my children are still adjusting. Every morning brings a new meltdown, and every evening brings fresh tears. But I know this will get better. This evening I had the kids all ready for church when Big E slipped and fell and got a scrape on his back and everything went downhill. He was inconsolable, which caused Baby E to become so as well and as they screamed and cried, I counted the hours until Tim would be home. In the end, I decided we would stay home, especially after I saw Baby E give a big yawn.

But just wait until the weather warms and we won’t even remember the rough week that we have had. The longer evenings will bode us well when we are walking along the boardwalk or sinking our toes in the sand at the beach. So for the next few weeks we will grit our teeth, smile, and plow ahead.

03-13-18 Dental Shenanigans

As a child, going to the dentist always brought a sense of  foreboding, and even now I dread each visit. Thankfully, this was not passed on to my children. They do not mind the dentist at all, and eagerly await each visit.

As we sat in the waiting room this morning, Baby E asked if he could go first. Surprised that my typical stranger-danger child had a look of eagerness dancing in his eyes, I consented. When they called us back, he marched into the room and pulled himself onto the large chair. They prepped him and when the dentist came in, he laid back and calmly followed all the directions. She counted his teeth, scraped away any plaque, brushed and polished the teeth, and used dental floss. He smiled and chatted through the entire experience.

When his turn was up it was Big E’s time in the chair. I noticed quickly that Baby E seemed to get discontented and jealous very quickly, as if Big E had stolen his chair and his dentist. He started to whine and sulk that it was his turn to get his teeth cleaned. By the time C was in the chair, Baby E was nearly in hysterics. Much to all of our dismay he begged and pleaded to get his teeth cleaned again. He cried. He screamed. He threw a fit on the floor.

The dentist and her assistant laughed that they had never seen a child so eager to be in the chair, while I carried his flailing form out of the room for a good scolding. When C was done, the dentist allowed him back in the chair and slowly counted his teeth again. He enjoyed it but quickly realized he wasn’t getting another cleaning and melted down all over again. As I stood in the foyer trying to schedule their next appointment, he laid on the ground weeping at his missed opportunity and refused to be comforted by the dentist and her offerings of stickers.

As I led my children out of the office, carrying a writhing and screaming Baby E in my arms, I comforted myself with the knowledge that we had at least survived the visit and that there were no cavities. I imagine the dental office talked of our dramatic visit all day, and why shouldn’t they? After all if we are going to fail at something, we might as well do it big.