The other day when we went to one of the local parks we had to walk through a golf course. It was a very long walk along a nice paved pathway. The weather was beautiful, albeit a little warm. My sister and I were walking along with C and Big E in front. Baby E was lagging behind but I was keeping an eye on him. All of a sudden I heard a howl coming from Baby E. It was a terrified scream, but not like he had gotten hurt. I whipped around to see him running full speed towards me, eyes wide open, mouth still screeching. It took me only a second to realize what was happening. There was a jogger coming up behind him and he thought the jogger was chasing him. Poor kid was convinced he was about to get snatched. As he ran into my arms I assured him that he was safe and the man wasn’t about to steal him. When he wasn’t looking, I couldn’t help but laugh. Poor kid!
Speaking of Baby E, he has been furnishing us with endless entertainment. He has become obsessed with the bones of the body and will gladly point out his mandible, his maxilla, nasal bone, frontal bone, and humerus. The other day he hurt himself and came crying to me, “I hurt my frontal bone!!!” That’s the forehead, by the way, and it’s the one he hits the most. That’s the problem with having such a large head!
Today we spent most of the day at the shop. On the way home we stopped at a park a few minutes from our house and the kids played. After we got home and had dinner we took a walk in our neighborhood and ended up at a nearby elementary school where the kids played on the playground as well. The kids are loving all the active time we are having outside, and I really am too!
I know I have mentioned on multiple occasions that my sister and I practically grew up in wood finishing shops. I remember knowing the different types of sandpapers when I was in elementary school. We drew faces on paint stir sticks and used them as dolls. We climbed on the wooden horses built to hold panels. A large dolly was our fort and we defended it with wads of used up masking tape. We created racetracks through the dirt with large shop brooms. We dangled from the metal bars on top of the forklift. We knew not to lean too far into a 55 gallon drum. We modeled the outfits we made out of clean rags. We exercised our imaginations every single day, eking out a child’s playground in a dusty, smelly, loud shop.
My parents still own the large fort dolly. I see it every time I go to the shop and it makes me smile, though it is a beast to move when it is fully loaded!
I left the kids with my mom today, and my sister and I spent the day at the shop. I admit that I am still timid there, fearful that I will make a mistake that will cause someone else time and money to fix. I ask a bazillion questions and beg people to look over my shoulder to make sure I am doing things right. I know with practice I will get the hang of it, it will just take time.
The kids spent their day very productively. When I got home, Big E sat on my lap and read me two books! He has never done that before and I congratulated him on a job well done. C has been reading through some chapter books and Baby E couldn’t wait to show me his worksheets where he drew straight lines. We also went for a walk in our neighborhood and the kids built with their legos.
After I got them to bed, I headed down to the treadmill. I hit my 3.1 miles (5k) this evening, a goal I had set for myself when I started last week. I did it in 32:47. I was so giddy I that I actually did it!! I haven’t been adding any inclines to my run, but by this time next week I hope to be doing that!
I don’t think I can express how happy I am that Tim’s sister and family moved so close to our new house. One of the things that I knew we would be sacrificing by making our move was that our kids would not be as close to their cousins as they had been. The fact that they still have cousins a short drive away makes all the difference! Today we headed to their town to check out a huge park near their house. It had a swimming pool, walking trails, bmx biking area, sports fields, an amphitheater, and a playground. We even found a small stream nearby that we will be wading in the next time we go there!
I sat on the front porch this afternoon as a warm breeze floated across the yard and played with strands of my hair. Baby E was pacing the sidewalk with a long piece of grass in his hand when we heard the first rumble of thunder. The forecast had promised the rain would hold off until evening, but with each passing moment the rumbling got louder. The wind picked up and large, heavy drops began to dot the ground around Baby E’s feet. The storm was near. I looked at the map and it looked impressive, the radar populated with greens, yellows, and deep reds.
It rained for a few minutes, but then it stopped. When I checked again, the storm had skirted just south of us by only a mile or so. This time we had been spared.
Life can be like an abrupt summer storm. One moment the sun is shining, the birds are dancing across wind currents, and a hummingbird flits past in a blurry streak of color. But then the sky turns dark. The winds pick up. The rain drips and then drenches. The lightning blinds and the thunder shakes. If we are lucky, we only get caught on the outskirts, but it is only a matter of time before the deluge falls upon us. The storm can come in many ways- the loss of a job, infertility, the death of a loved one, a medical condition, the decline of a marriage, the waywardness of children, and so on and so on. And if it isn’t currently happening to us, it is happening to someone we know.
I have often wondered how people face life without Christ. To me it seems too heavy a burden. I’ve been a Christian since I was 5. I don’t remember a time when Christ wasn’t a part of my life. There have been moments I have kept Him at arms length, moments I didn’t trust him with the most vulnerable parts of me, moments I screamed my frustrations and disappointments to the sky. But His patience has outlived my fear, my anxiety, my endless questions, my continual wrestling. Through it all, the only constant has been Him. He saved me, a sinner, by pure grace- for by my own merit I always fall short.
I’m not sure what you are going through tonight. I don’t know if you are in the middle of a storm, if one just missed you, or if there is one on the horizon, but know this… you don’t have to navigate it alone. God put on flesh in the person of Jesus Christ. He set aside His glory for a crown of thorns and a blood soaked cross, not because you were good or worthy, but because He is.
“He who is mighty has done a great thing. Taken on flesh, conquered death’s sting.”
Oh, the mercy our God has shown
To those who sit in death’s shadow
The sun on high pierced the night
Born was the Cornerstone
Unto us a Son is given, unto us a Child is born
He Who is mighty has done a great thing
Taken on flesh, conquered death’s sting
Shattered the darkness and lifted our shame
Holy is His name
Oh, the freedom our Savior won
The yoke of sin has been broken
Once a slave, now by grace
No more condemnation
Now my soul magnifies the Lord
I rejoice in the God Who saves
I will trust His unfailing love
I will sing His praises all my days
Today marks two weeks since our move. We still don’t have most of our stuff at the new house, but I feel like we are settling in very well. It’s been two full weeks of being with my family. To put it into perspective, the longest I have been with my kids was the twelve weeks after I had Baby E and during that time I was recovering from a c-section and we were moving into the townhouse. This is nothing like that. There is no schedule. I get to the end of each day completely, physically exhausted, but not stressed. Each day brings more joy and wonder as I get the chance to watch my kids, to be there, to experience them day in and day out. I thought this transition would be harder than it has been. I thought I would miss my old home more. I thought I would regret leaving my job. I thought I would have to adjust, but it all feels so completely natural that there is no doubt this is where we should be.
During the two weeks we have been here, we have gone on 9 ‘adventures’ (things that include parks, trails, and splash pads.) We’ve had at least 4 cousin visits, 1 play date, several days working at the shop, and I’ve taken up running on a treadmill. We have definitely been filling up our time.
This morning we decided to cross another park off of our list. For this particular park, we had to follow a paved trail through a working golf course all the way to the river’s edge. The sun was hot today, and the long walk across the golf course wore us out, but we were pleasantly surprised when we got to our destination. We were on the bank of a large river. There were rocks to climb on, animal tracks to examine, birds to watch, and frogs to look for. This was one of the more breathtaking parks we have been to, and while it wore us out, we vowed to return on a beautiful cloudy day!
Today was one of those days I am happy to be putting behind me. From the moment I woke up this morning, nothing seemed to fall into place and I am grateful that I will be crawling into bed momentarily. It’s days like today that I struggle for control and I have to remind myself that God is sovereign. He is sovereign over the things I can manage, and he is sovereign over the things that are too big to carry. He answers my fears with comfort, my tears with peace, and my shortcomings with grace.
Twenty years a video editor is not conducive to a lot of physical activity. My job has always been a sedentary one. A few weeks ago a group of friends from work did a 5k and it sounded like such a great experience and it made me long to try something like that. While working, that would never be an option because our schedules were so jam packed. Now that I am home with the kids we are active all the time. We are hiking, climbing, and adventuring as often as possible. Combine that with working at the shop here and there doing physical labor and I have drastically increased the amount I have been moving around.
This evening the kids were hanging out with their Aunt Julie, so I snuck into the room with the treadmill and plugged it in. It took me a few minutes to get the gist of how it worked, but once I got it started I thought, “why not see how long I can go.”
I went two miles with a mixture of walking and jogging and I did it in about 23 minutes. The time isn’t that great, but I was pretty proud that I had accomplished it! I’m guessing I will have jelly legs in the morning!
My sister in law and I decided to take the kids to a splash pad in an old town area near her new house. We weren’t there more than a couple of minutes when Big E came to me and told me he had to use the bathroom. No problem, I thought as there was a bathroom right there. I grabbed his hand and headed towards it. That’s when I realized that you had to pay for the bathroom!!! It was only 25 cents, but I didn’t have any change on me. I looked down at my boy as he started to do the potty dance pretty emphatically. I looked around and saw a relatively empty parking lot with one SUV that could provide some privacy. I took him to the other side of it and had him stand next to some bushes. At the risk of being fined for public urination, I told him he needed to pee very quickly before someone saw us. He started doing his business and within a couple of seconds I realized that my arm and my face were getting wet. Wait?!?!?! What?!? Why am I wet? I looked down to see that while Big E was aiming for a bush, he was actually hitting a wooden fence, and it was splashing off the wooden fence and ONTO MY FACE!!! I couldn’t step away from him because I was providing cover, but I also couldn’t really speak at that moment because I was getting pee on my face so I tried to dodge as best as I could. I was really glad we were at a highly chlorinated splash park because I washed myself off once we got back. Not my grossest mommy moment, but it definitely ranked up there!
The kids played for about an hour and a half. Baby E didn’t do too much splashing. My one year old niece, on the other hand, was having a blast. We left as the kids started to complain they were hungry. We took them through the drive through at Chick-Fil-A and went back to my sister in laws house to eat. The kids played for awhile before we headed out.
On the way home, we decided to do a little geocaching. The first place we stopped led us through some tall, itchy grass and we never found the cache. The second stop also yielded nothing, however it was underneath a large bridge. The area had a cement boat ramp. Since there were not many people around, I let the kids take of their shoes and wade in the water on the ramp. They splashed and played for nearly an hour. On our way home after that, Big E said it was the best ‘adventure’ we’ve had yet!
I looked down from the table this afternoon as I was sitting there helping Big E with some schoolwork. Baby E had been on the floor playing quietly for a few minutes but I hadn’t paid attention to what he was doing. When my attention finally turned to him I saw that he had found some painting supplies and he had lined up all the brushes on the floor and was taking his time picking them up, pretending to paint and setting them down. All the while he was talking quietly to himself and giggling here and there.
“Whatcha doing, buddy?” I asked him.
He looked up at me and smiled. “I’m Bob Ross!” he said, and turned back to his imaginary painting. This kid is obsessed with Bob Ross. He takes his paint brush out on the front porch and ‘paints’ the sunset.
If it’s bedtime he asks if he can watch Bob Ross before falling asleep. He can carry on whole conversations about Bob Ross and he can even tell you Bob Ross’ son’s name because he hosted a few episodes.
Honestly, I think I prefer this obsession over his Moana one, so if you see him ask him about painting happy little trees!