Showing posts with label churchy-stuff. Show all posts
Showing posts with label churchy-stuff. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 14

Happy Valentine's Day!

Or Ash Wednesday (although it feels wrong to wish someone a "happy" Ash Wednesday). So, just know you're loved.

Em was particularly torn. She has theater! It's Valentine's day! But ... somber. Oy, what to wear? (How is she even my child? God is good. Amusing, but good.)

It's been a crazy couple of weeks. Nothing new added to the mix, but as I told a friend last week, I'm a sprinter, not a marathoner, and I've just hit the half-mile mark. I needed to take a few days to simply vacuum the carpet and stare forlornly at the stains that seem to multiply like Adipose. (Parenthetically, carpet in the dining space of a rental just shouldn't ever be a thing.) Needed to prod the children forward a bit. Needed to not check the calendar to see where to be next. Financially, it hurt, but mentally, it was necessary.

In less stressful news, our sweet church hosted its first-ever Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper last night. It was a wonderful opportunity to just hang out with everyone. Just visit. No point, no purpose, other than fellowship. I'm glad we did it, and appreciate that we have the kind of congregation that's learning to really live together. Good stuff.

Today's gonna be a little nuts. I've got work this afternoon, so I'm having to skip out on book club (it was that, or I'd have to take my children with me to work, which seemed a bit much). John agreed to haul the children to Ash Wednesday services, and Jacob's gonna have to find his own ride home after rehearsals. Nuts, but good. Everyone is capable of doing what they need to do. Again, I appreciate that. (Whether they will may be another story, but I'm choosing to appreciate what's possible at the moment and just embrace that.)

We hoped to have a visit from Z by now, but so far, no love on travel plans. Thankfully, technology makes distance so much easier to navigate. Jacob was telling me this morning that without Dad here to just talk science and math with, he's losing his mind. "That's why I send him so many links." Aww! Turns out, he's been emailing Z links to news and articles that he finds interesting and wants to talk to someone about. (Although to be fair, he still talks to the rest of us about all manner of stuff. I had no idea he was doing this, but I love it! The rest of us just can't hang with the theoretical math and science.) He texts and calls, as well. This is really no worse than a standard TDY, thanks to technology! I love it!

And now, it's time to prod again.

Be encouraged!

~ Dy

Sunday, February 4

Building Community Takes Work

But it's worth it. I think we forget that. Yet, when we look back at the things we've loved the most about our lives, it's been about our community. Sitting around a fire (be it a small fire ring or a blazing bonfire), sharing food, sharing stories, building community in a very real sense. Biking to the courthouse to meet friends at the festival, pulling chairs and benches into a circle to share conversation, pitching in in the kitchen to get a meal ready, taking someone's children for a day or to an event that the person can't make, are all simple examples of building community in ways that are rock solid and that will make a difference. 

We've missed that. I'll be honest. We've fallen prey to the god of busyness. Too busy to have people over. Too busy to accept an invitation. Never setting a date on the spot because we "have to check the calendar".

But if I stop and think about it, how much extra effort, really, does it take to ask someone to share a meal you're already going to prepare, already going to eat? How much planning does it require to drag another chair out of the garage and set at the table? How hard is it to say, "It won't be fancy, but we would love to have you over for dinner"? What myopia allows us to think that's a legitimate thing? But we do it. We all do it. 

At Bible study on Tuesday, Father Geoff admonished us to be cautious about several things, one of which is not acting in a spirit of unity. (Or, rather, the author of Hebrews cautioned us -- Father Geoff just pointed out that there's nothing new under the sun, and we're not immune.) 

The verse that struck me hardest (and most beautifully) is Hebrews 10: 24-25:

 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

I thought about our amazing book club, and what a struggle it is for many of us to make time for it. We love it, and we cherish the people in it, but either we feel it's a frivolous way to spend an afternoon, or it's too much (time, gas, juggling, whatever) to get there, or that we "ought" to be doing something more (important? responsible? what?) We love it, but we struggle to make it a priority.

Geoff mentioned that a church family ought to do more than socialize between worship and Sunday School. They ought to hang out together, help each other with their children, their illnesses, their worries, their joys. They ought to be a family. We punt around the word, "family" as if it doesn't have any tangible meaning. It does. It definitely ought to. It's up to us to give it meaning.

And this goes beyond the church walls. Z told me last night about taking an unused fryer base that his brother had lying around, rigging it up to hold a plow disc, and setting up on the back patio to make dinner. They had the fryer going, Pandora playing on someone's phone, dragged chairs out, and just hung out for the evening. It was a great end to the day, and they all really enjoyed it. What Z told his brother is that there's some nourishment that's non-tangibly-nutritive in eating together, in spending time together. It feeds more than just your body. He's right.

After study on Tuesday, a friend said, "We keep saying we want to get together, but if we don't put a date on it, I'm afraid it's not going to happen. Would Saturday work for you guys?"

She's a genius!

Last night, we went to their house and enjoyed an evening with them. They made dinner. We brought dessert. We played a game after dinner. Simple. Easy. We thoroughly enjoyed getting to know them more intimately. The kids really enjoyed spending time with them. I'd been on the go, go, go since early in the morning, so I hit the wall and had to be a party pooper long before anyone else was ready to go, but I'm so glad we went. I'm so glad she put a date on it and made it happen.

And it reminded me that the very thing we've been missing lately is the very thing that WE have failed to do lately: just ask people to come. Feed them. Talk with them. Pull up a chair. It's easy. We love it. We miss it. But we also have the power to get it back. That's something that's been put on us to do: do not neglect to meet together.

So, that's a good tip for making it a priority to build your community. Put a date on it. Just do it. Don't worry about having time to make something special. Don't worry about having time to make it an all day affair. That's not where family lives. Family lives on the back patio at the end of the day, snatching chicken off the plow disc. Family lives around the coffee table, figuring out the rules of a new game. Family, community, lives together, not alone. That's all it takes.

Be encouraged!

~ Dy

Sunday, August 27

It's like Military Maneuvers

... if your military were staffed by clowns and hippies.

We pulled into the parking lot with one minute until prayer began. The car doors were flying open before the thing was in park, and I heard from somewhere in the back, "All right, troops, move, move, MOVE!"

I clambered out, gathered my things, and was formulating a response when I heard, "Or, you know, eventually. That works, too." It was John, who was standing there, holding the door open as the little moved ever so slowly toward the door, chatting, gathering their things, putting on their shoes.

I stifled a laugh and grabbed the rest of my things.

That one little interaction pretty much summed up our Sunday mornings. We may have grand plans and ambitions, but we're only going to move as quickly as our least-focused cadet. And yet, we made it without any yelling, or making anyone cry. Sometimes there's a bit of resignation, though.

I do wish I were a more consistent photo taker. Jase was wearing shorts and big, heavy shoes, and he just exuded Christopher Robin. It was precious and wonderful and made me smile every time he scampered off somewhere. I hope he's the one who picks my clothes for me when I'm old.

Be encouraged!

Saturday, August 26

Oh, A Day to Rest!

Folks, I cannot tell you how much I am looking forward to tomorrow! Sure, we'll be driving into town (or rather, Z will drive - I will sit in the passenger seat and field random observations from Jase in the third row - it's how we roll). But when we get there, we will worship, we will learn. We will be still, we will give thanks and praise. We will comfort those who are grieving and hurting, as well as rejoice with those who are rejoicing.

And then, we'll eat together - all of us in our loud, messy, loving, wonderful, sometimes-cranky, always-thankful glory. I think our regular pot luck and prayer meeting is one of the highlights of my month. And tomorrow, I am going to sink down into a chair and just appreciate that we can do that.

Absolutely none of the things that have harried my mind of late are settled. In fact, some of them have gotten worse. Ha! Didn't expect that! But you know, it's OK. It really is. It will come together, one way or another, and there will be so much good to be had, regardless. I got that this week. I mean, I'd known that in my head, and I'd have encouraged any of you to remember it if you'd asked, but it's so nice to feel it deep, deep down in my bones. It's like exhaling when you didn't realize you'd been holding your breath.

The week was insanely busy. Jacob had auditions for The Nutcracker. No clue what he'll be doing, but he doesn't care. He's just so excited to be IN the very show that brought him this love and life that he's building. They could make him one of the wee mice and he'd be content.

The rest of it? Mostly driving. Driving and working. It's all good, but it makes for very boring prose. I'm sure a good DJ could knock out a rollicking good recap of the week's mileage, but us? Not so much. We ran through our Pimselur recordings. Jacob read in the car (but he won't read aloud to me while I'm driving, so that part is very boring). He quizzed me on the specs and histories of various armament, and I failed miserably at recalling any of the information, at all. So he told me all of it, again.

Oh! I did get to see James last night! (Yes, he still lives here, but between our schedules, we're just out of phase enough that we might as well live in different time zones. It's weird.) Anyway, we crossed paths for about half an hour at a party. He had popped in to say hi and visit a bit, but when he started to go, the hostess suggested he stay for a bit and see his mom (I was on my way to drop Jacob off and retrieve the Littles). So he did! Ha! That was brilliant on her part. We do greet in passing in the hallway, and occasionally bump into each other at the washing machine, but other than that, I just don't see him much. He looks good. Happy. Enjoying work and school. He has one instructor, in particular, who he just thoroughly enjoys.

Maybe I'll get to see the rest of them sometime this week?

Be encouraged!
~ Dy

Monday, June 26

*POOF* Busy weekend!

I thought for sure I'd posted over the weekend, but no. Know what else I didn't do? Sleep. Clearly, I should have thought things through a bit better.

Although, to be honest, I don't know where to cut anything, or how to make it happen in a sane way. It feels like we're holding everything together with surface tension at the moment, and I'm afraid if we poke it, the mess is going to be enormous.

Friday, we ran errands, we cleaned the house, we had a little Come to Jesus about the condition of the house, and we worked on the Volvo some. Normal stuff. The Volvo wasn't yet up and running that evening, so Z stayed up to retrieve one of the boys from his shift at Hamacon.

Saturday was full of trek prep, home repairs, more errands, more Hamacon retrieval, Volvo work, and a show at the VBC (Jacob walked, so that was 4:00-9:30PM, there).

Sunday, we had worship, which was fantastic. And pot luck, which is always restful. I am thankful we can do that. Then I had to be at a casting (nothing glamorous, just helping with sign-in -- although I did get to dance and snuggle with a precious baby for most of it, freeing up her parents to be more productive than I could be - that was a win), and Z took the kids to a birthday celebration for a lovely young woman we know. I headed over after my shift at the casting and passed the keys to John. He left for work. James arrived at some point and...

We all sat. We sat and visited and just did. not. move. It was glorious. We stayed WAY too late, and I feel a little guilty about that; however, it really was glorious to just be among kind people, chatting about hopeful things, listening to kids laugh and talk. Balm for the soul, right there. Also, how can I cut *that* out in exchange for sleep? That was just as rejuvenating as anything else we could have done.

Again, thankful.

There is so much I am thankful for, amidst the exhaustion.

This morning, I tried the Fat Coffee I'd purchased for the trek. (Realized, after a discussion with someone else about how coconut oil just, erm, tears through them, that I ought to try some NOW for the first time, rather than on the trail.) It tastes like 1970's-era instant decaf. So, not exactly something I'll look forward to on the trail, but I'm working up some kind of nostalgic affection for it. We'll see how that goes.

This afternoon I head in for six-month labs at the cancer center. Praying for a clear report. Actually, if you want to be very specific about it, I'm praying for labs that are good enough that we can punt the next scan another six months further down the road. So, if you're up for it, that'd be magnificent! There's more to the day, but that's all I'm focused on at the moment.

Be encouraged!

~ Dy

Saturday, April 15


So, we got the doors in and all was well. Then the blinds just conked out in one of the doors. We followed the instructions on how to fix them if they break, but evidently something... else broke. It didn't work. Today, Z called Jeld-Wen to find out what our options are, and they'll be sending someone out to replace the dorked up bit, themselves. Mad love for Jeld-Wen right now, I've gotta say. (Because if they'd said, "Sure, just bring the whole unit back and we'll replace it," I might have cried, cussed, and curled up in a ball. Bless them for not doing that.)

Meanwhile, the boys and I painted the background for the basement wall.

Then, this afternoon, the kids decorated it up. I haven't been down this evening, but just before I headed up to get ready for church, it was looking pretty fun.

We're definitely going to have to raise the bar on the rest of the decor so the whole place doesn't look like a back alley in the midst of a gang war. (The Russian is a nice touch, though. Heh.) Aaannndd, do something about that couch. The wall isn't doing it any favors. So, projects lined up. That'll give us something to do this summer.

All in all, it's been a fun project. The kids all joined in with their own ideas and experiments. Z and I even put a few tidbits on there. They'll enjoy it for a while, and when they're done (or when we need to sell the house), a layer of Kilz and it's a fresh slate.

Tonight, we attended Good Friday service. The service focused on praying through the stations of the cross. I'm thankful for waterproof mascara, humbled by how little I know, and encouraged by how much there is to learn. Also? My youngest children have no concept of how to be still. Just still. Even the shushing brought noise in reply. What on earth? It was like worshiping between Heckle and Jeckle. So. We've gotta work on that. The congregation is great, and nobody shot us the hairy eyeball or anything, but it's just not good for your spirit if you can't hush up and just contemplate once in a while!

This is the last weekend to prep the house before the cookout for the models and photographers next week. I'm a little nervous, wondering what we were thinking - there's no way this place is going to be Lovely by then - but it is Better, and that's a good thing. Fortunately, the bulk of hospitality is creating a space where guests feel welcome and at ease. I think we don't stink at that, at least. So although, as I told a friend this morning, we aren't good at Martha Stewart style hospitality, we'll play to our strengths and feed them well.

Be encouraged!

~ Dy

Sunday, March 12

A Sleepy Day of Worship

We awoke this morning, bright and early. Oh, so, early. Fortunately, it's been so cloudy and overcast this winter that we've stopped relying on how light it is outside to gauge the time. We just had to believe the clocks when they told us it was 6:30 *yawn*...

Somehow, Em and I both got slated to serve in this morning's worship service. I maintain that it was part brilliance (as we might not have made it with the time change), and part evil plan (as helpers have to show up half an hour earlier to get squared away) that they put two of us in on this Sunday. But we made it. On time, even. And nobody fell asleep in their seat. The drive up and the drive back? We lost several, there. But we held our own in the pews.

Yesterday, we had a Philmont training hike, so John and I were out the door at 6 in the morning. The high was something like 39 degrees, and it rained on us nonstop after the first mile. It was a really great opportunity to identify weak points in our gear and training. My gear is basically composed of weak points held together by gravity. My training is essentially at the whim of gravity. But it's good to know.

The Vibram Five Fingers, however, held up admirably, and today, my feet are about the only part of me that is not sore and tight. No blisters, either, in spite of doing the entire 12 miles in wet feet. The thighs, I can blame on the hills we did. (So many hills!) The back and shoulders on not having adjusted the internal frame of my pack before I loaded it up (d'oh!) Also, 400mg magnesium is not near enough to stave off DOMS. See? We learned a lot! Never stop learning!

I'm getting a handle on what food to take for the trail. Blessedly, pre-cooked bacon is shelf stable and fairly light. Guess what I'm eating on the trail? Oh, yeah! The Oberto original jerky trail mix is also nice, although it won't make a full meal substitute. The carbs are a little high for regular consumption (within the context of nutritional ketosis). I pitched the idea today to Z of making jerky from an entire roast before we head out. We'll do a practice roast, first. I'm thinking if we salt it and dry it properly, we can vacuum seal it and it should hold up OK. Will keep you updated on how that goes.

After the hike, John and I split and headed to a bonfire for their ballroom dance class. That was hosted by a family that just started this year, and it was a delightful opportunity for the kids to visit and get to know each other outside the formal setting of the dance floor. They had a blast. I had a blast, too. We got in a lot later than we'd anticipated, but it was worth it. Even at 6:30 this morning.

Be encouraged!

~ Dy

Monday, December 19

Party Fun

We made it to the church's Christmas party last night, and I am so glad we went. (It was dark, and cold, and we were kind of ready to pile up on the couch and watch Foyle's War...) But we went, and I am so glad we did!

The teens took The Resistance to play - it's a guaranteed ice breaker, and, in fact, the families with teens were the last to leave because they were waiting on the kids. Gotta love that.

We brought ice cream cones for the little ones to decorate as trees, with frosting and sprinkles. Yes, I brought sugar. I know. But the sticky thank you hugs I got were totally worth it.

Father Geoff came dressed as a Wise Man. He also brought Frankincense (in the form of incense), which was rather clever. Next year, we're going to have to step up our "festive garb" game, for sure.

The food was amazing. The hosts had a shrimp boil, and everyone brought sides to share. There's just something about shared food... it's good for the soul. It's good to nourish and be nourished in turn, and while "potluck" doesn't sound particularly inspiring, it's actually quite an ennobling way to gather for a feast when you think about it.

And people shared - they shared their happy memories of years past, their concerns and hope for the years to come, their experiences and their ideas. Truly, it was a wonderful evening. Totally worth staying dressed and braving the cold for!

I'm not sure what series of thoughts brought this plan to fruition,
but it's hilarious and I could not resist a photo of it.

Tuesday, December 13

BIG Weekend

Saturday was kind of quiet. Then Sunday was packed with church and a photo shoot and headshots, and it bled over into Monday with school and parade prep, and now we overslept on Trash Day. Oops!

Em was acolyte at church on Sunday. She's not a Center Stage kind of person, so this is a challenge for her. She'd gladly decorate the church, make blankets for the homeless, sew hats for babies. Being in front of people, however, is hard for her. And learning new things (skills, routines, steps) in front of people? Oy vey! But she does it sweetly and with a good attitude. We have enough children serving that the kids only have a turn once every six weeks or so -- she appreciates the reprieve, but I think she needs to do it every week for a month straight so it'll stick. Right now, it's a little like it's her first time every time. She's adorable, though, even though she's probably not much actual help for Father Geoff. And I love our vestry for being so sweet about directing her when she gets lost.

Did I tell you all James is modeling? He started in June, and he loves it. We're all moderately surprised at this (not because he's not lovely, but because he's so cerebral and analytical - we just always assumed he'd be an engineer or a scientist -- this is what comes of raising your children to work hard, study hard, and find their joy -- it doesn't usually look the way you thought it would, but it will be good). He is good at it, he works hard at it, and he's learning so much. Then Jacob decided to give it a go -- he was selected in November to work with the Alabama Fashion Alliance. This incredible organization is hosting Fashion Week Alabama, which is in March. (I'm sure I'll talk your ear off about it as it gets closer. Good stuff happening in North Alabama.) Jacob was cast to walk in it, and James got his first paid walk that week, too. Very exciting stuff.

This was Jacob's first shoot, and he could not have asked for a better first experience. From the stylist (who is a dream stylist!) to the photographers (who are fantastic), to the other models, the whole thing was fantastic. James brought his A-game, LeJeune (the AFA director) found a tremendously talented designer of men's clothes, and I cannot wait to see the results in the look book.

This is just friends hanging out after the meeting at the end of the day. We should all look that good at the end of a work day. :-)

Monday was the Christmas Parade. John is doing a prince role for a local princess group. They do a lot of charity events, but also hire out for parties and dances. It's an incredible group of young people who make it all happen. I just showed up to drive the trailer. We had to wrap up school in the morning so we could hit the car wash before going to get the decorated trailer. Then the normally five minute drive to downtown took about 30 minutes because we couldn't go over 20mph. But the end result was fantastic!
Prepping the float - he's not only handsome, he's helpful.

We got home and everybody crashed!

Today, we read. And make coffee, pot after pot. And rest.

Be encouraged!

Sunday, February 16

The Week in Review

We had Snow Week!

 Not just a day, but four days of snow and fun, cold fingers, wet pants, snowball fights and gimpy snowmen. It was wild, and wonderful!

Then Friday was so beautiful we were still able to get out and hike with friends! (The hike also involved cold fingers, wet pants, and a fairly awesome 11th Doctor snowman. But it was warm enough that we only needed light jackets and t-shirts. Double bonus, if you ask me.)

This coming week of school is going to be... hard. We're all sort of girding and trying to find a way to not cringe when we think about it.

Jacob had his second week of communicants class. I ran some errands to get ready for small group, and so missed most of it. Of course, this was the night they asked some pretty in-your-face questions about church membership (and we don't plan to join this church, but it's a somewhat nuanced position that's challenging for a 40yo to explain, let alone a 10yo...) JakeRabbit sounded like he'd handled it fairly well, though. He's cool like that. And he enjoys the class, overall.

Our small group also had its first gathering. That was, oh man, so nice. Good discussions, a lot of laughter, and some very real conversation about things that matter, and why. I'm glad we're in this group. Hopefully, we won't be the weird ones. (Or if we are, maybe it will be in an affectionate way...) There aren't any teens in the other families, so James sat in with the adults. He may be the one to pull up our average score from the judges - such an insightful kid, and so thoughtful.

So now, it is with a good deal of gratitude, wet clothing, mud on the floors, and wood chips in the foyer that we head into another week. I can't complain. (Obviously, I can't clean, either.) Right now, it's all about the Good Stuff.

Kiss those babies!

Wednesday, February 16


Yes, I'm posting between breaths, lately. Right now I have a freshly cleaned and turned mattress with clean sheets awaiting me (compliments of the one who fell asleep and peed on the other sheets... *aherm*) and I can barely keep my eyes open.

First thing: Our Pastor's wife is a saint. I know, that sounds cliche, doesn't it? But no, she really truly is amazing. Any woman who doesn't even *blink* before offering to triple the number of children in her home all day long when you need emergency child care? Made of some fantastic combination of angel dust and titanium.

Second thing: *argh* Zorak's final, official, really-real diagnosis is a torn ligament in the rotator cuff *and* a broken bone. He's more than a little freaked out by the sheer math involved in the odds. (I'm still weirded out that he was wielding a chain saw just this past weekend...) End result? Surgery, and a minimum 3 months of physical therapy. End goal? 100% recovery. Could be worse. Could be much worse. We'll have our minds wrapped around it shortly. I hope.

Third... oh, lunch at Logan's Roadhouse. I cannot believe we've lived here nearly six years and hadn't eaten there, yet. Oh, but we will go back. Yes, we will. We might even take the children. AND they have a gluten-free menu, too, which I thought was pretty awesome business sense.

And now, good night!

Kiss those babies!

Sunday, February 7

Scout Sunday

Or, so I heard. Tonight. After the fact. *sigh* This whole schtick about putting the boys in charge of things is really not panning out well, here. I keep telling myself it's because he's new to it... but there's not a lot of conviction behind this particular mantra, to be honest.

As it was, we at least nearly made it to our church on time. We're meeting in the fellowship hall right now, because it's easier to heat. I have to admit I kind of like it. Even if we have to sit "in the back", we're not that far from the pulpit, so the kids can still pay attention. Plus, the bathrooms are right there, and there's no trekking across the breezeway in the cold to get to them. Of course, there's also nowhere to take Jason when he gets loud(er), except outside. That's not so much fun.

Me-Wa and Me-Tae showed up today. The kids absolutely lit up when they saw them walk in. EmBaby scurried up to sit with them, and she was as quiet and attentive as you could ever hope (in those wild, crazy daydreams mothers have, where their children are suspiciously quiet, but nothing's actually being damaged... yeah, she was *that* quiet!) Smidge was a little appalled that he didn't get to go sit with them, but I didn't want to just dump all the kids on them unexpectedly. I did warn them that next time they'll probably be buried in the deluge of migrating children as soon as they sit down. (They didn't seem phased. They are so cool.)

We had grand plans for the afternoon, too. But our Netflix had arrived. And there was caramel corn to make. And once we got the fire going, everything was so cozy. Not to mention, I think lunch was laced with a sleeping drug. (The smoked venison, sliced thin, served on fresh whole wheat bread with horseradish, cheese, onions, mustard... baby carrots, and green olives on the side... pintos with cheese... mmmm...) Everybody was somewhat lethargic after lunch. (Imagine that!) What's a family to do, right?

Tomorrow's a marathon day - dental checkups, follow-up visit with the chiropractor for John, and back to the grind for school! Guess I should catch up with Chuck or Modern Family and get to bed!

Kiss those babies!

Sunday, November 8

And then, all at once...

Wednesday was my surgery. This was the dental surgery that we've been putting off, saving for, then putting off some more, for a year and a half. Yeah, nothing like letting your dual natures duke it out while you stand back to see what happens, right?

For me, it was less harrowing than I'd feared. Significantly so. Kudos to general anesthesia and Percocet! For Zorak, it was... probably about as bad as he feared. I'm not sure. I still catch him looking at me occasionally like I'm a half-starved, Parvo-stricken puppy he found in a back alley (which, to be completely honest, freaks me out, because I *feel* fine... until I see him looking at me like that).

I stayed contentedly drugged up for the first two days, then eased up so I could function and remember when to take what. (MUCH easier to do if you're not leaning too heavily on the pain killers, and I have enough respect for chemical reactions not to taunt the Clotting Gods by drinking alcohol.) Even so, the rest of that week is a bit of a blur.

The doctors were wonderful about filling me in on what to expect, from the swelling, to the fact that the surgery was extensive enough to alter the shape of my face. The swelling was quite impressive, and somewhere around day five, I began to worry that perhaps the Manimal snout was the new shape of my face. (Thankful for health, and bone grafting and technology, but there were a few Panicky Vanity moments. I'm not going to lie!) The doctor was able to do all that he'd hoped to do, so that was good, and the follow-up visits I've had indicate things are healing well. I am also happy to say that I'm free of cheezy, early-80's special effects.

In the meantime, Halloween and all its attendant activities were in full swing. The boys got to give their outfits another round at the Reformation Party at church. This was the first year for it, and it was, from all accounts and pictures, a fantastic success. Pastor's wife put it together as a spur of the moment thing, and she did an amazing job. I'd give body parts to have her organizational skills and talent for party hosting! Next year, we'll plan ahead more and she'll have more help.

Then, Halloween. Good stuff. Busy stuff. I slept. Also good stuff.

The kids shared all their softer candies with me - peanut butter cups, mostly. So sweet, and so thoughtful. (Also, so tasty!)

And, that pretty much brings us up to the present! I'll post pictures separately, because they don't want to be in with the surgery re-cap.

Kiss those babies!

Tuesday, August 18


Too much to post, and not enough time without people touching me, climbing on me, or digging their bony little elbows into my leg. I could blog regularly and well with a few minor modifications. All I need is voice recognition software, a laptop, a gilly suit, and a caramel launcher. Is that so much to ask?

Tomorrow, ask me about the cool new Grammar program for 1st and 2nd! It's awesome! We're going to use it, and we don't normally use a Grammar program at all. But this? This is cool.

We had a splendid Sunday, hanging with Me-Wa and Me-Tae. They met us at church. Actually, they got there on time. We slipped in even later than usual. But I *had* to mop. There was simply no way around it.
Death by Irony point: this, right after Zorak helped talk me out of mopping Saturday night, by whispering sexy things into my ear, like, "It's okay to drop your standards a little, just one more time..."
See what happens when you listen to the Siren's Song, people? You have to panic-clean before church!

After a typically fantastic service (we are SO fortunate for this church), they came to the house, where I did not have to choke down convulsions and horror, because at least the floor was relatively clean-ish. We ate a weird lunch (I don't remember what we made.) Then the guys sighted in a few things, the kids blew bubbles, and played the piano for Me-Tae, and just generally enjoyed the lovely afternoon and the good company.Monday was gorgeous, but we didn't realize that until about 12:30, because it's the middle of August, and seriously, who expects a gorgeous day in the middle of August in the South? Once we clued in, though, we hustled through the rest of our lessons and then got out and enjoyed it.

When, what we should have done was work in it. Because today it rained and rained and rained. And now everything we should have picked up, or mowed, or harvested, is all sparkly and highlighted by droplets of sparkling guilt. But it's beautiful enough that we really hardly felt the guilt at all.
Dishwasher's still not fixed, another part will arrive Friday. I'm running out of one-pot meals we can all eat straight out of the pot, with our hands.

And that, my friends, is the week so far.

Monday, August 3

Routine, Sweet Routine

The company and travel and more company of the last month has been so wonderful. Still, it's nice to be back in school (yeah, you can remind me of this is February, when all we want to do is sleep and take pictures of daffodils), and back to the daily grind of living.

We made it to church this morning, and managed to remember to take some of the hog we brought back from our trip down South. Pastor's going to try smoking it. Should be fantastic!

We'd planned to be productive when we returned home, but John's not feeling well, and I've been s-l-e-e-p-y, and the next things we knew, everybody who was still awake was already jammied up. So, we just played and snacked and read and snacked. Of course, come bedtime, the children (who had done little else but graze all day long) realized we hadn't eaten supper! So, of course, we had to have a "proper supper". (Could have fed them the same things they'd been eating all day, as long as it has been deemed An Actual Meal, they're good. Are my kids the only ones who do that?)

Of course, the rain stopped, but even that wasn't motive enough for us to get out there and work. It was just too nice looking out the window, doing nothing for a bit.

Tomorrow, we hit the library, switch out the laundry, and put our thinking caps back on for the week. Today truly was a day of rest. And togetherness.

I'd planned to be in bed long before now, but Zorak offered to fix up a little midnight steak and eggs for two. How could I resist? But it smells ready now, so I'm off!

Kiss those babies!

Thursday, June 25

It's not all nosebleeds and starting fluid

But it's felt that way.

We pretty much slept through Sunday, although we kinda-sorta made it to church. None of us was rested up. The Adults were a little off our game (namely defense), and the Littles were on FIRE. We sat in the back, which was a bad call, as EmBaby refuses to believe Pastor is talking to *her* if she cannot see him. She talked, hummed, sang the whole time. I suggested to John that perhaps she has Pentecostal blood. (The story being fresh in his head of the time I took my strict Southern Baptist mother to a FourSquare Pentecostal service, and the prophecy of the morning seemed directed pointedly at her, he got it.)

Zorak got even later on, though, when Jase started throwing things (mostly hymnals and Bibles, since I don't have a purse to ransack) into the aisle before I could react, and John had to bury his head between his legs to keep from cracking up. Zorak whispered to James, "Pretend we don't know them." Honestly, we are not usually an irreverent wrecking crew. We probably should have just slept in, in retrospect, but we were trying to the right thing. We hope to make it up at the pot luck this Sunday.

The rest of the week has been a bit of a blur. John's had a few nosebleeds, which is weird, since he's not a bleeder, really. We stayed home from the art-oriented reading thing, since we figured nobody would appreciate an impromptu exercise in hazmat containment. I keep checking him for other symptoms. Any symptoms. So far, nothing, but if it keeps up, we brave the malarial swamp to see the Wonderful Doctor.

EmBaby, Jase and I, all three, seem to have developed some kind of pre-summer narcoleptic superpower -- able to fall asleep at the slightest provocation any time between two and five. Thankfully, I haven't gone down while they're still up. But it's a struggle. I can only envision the Bigs taking wild advantage of that by eating all the chocolate chips in the pantry and playing video games until their eyes pop from their heads.

James has a new hobby. He's taken to mocking my first attempt at starting the car, loudly (and somewhat humorously, to be honest) wondering why I don't just pop the hood, spray it, and *then* try, instead of going the long way around. If I had a good reason, I'd share it with him. Totally irrational hope. That's all I've got. We thought we'd found a good replacement vehicle, but it turned out not to have the third row seat. Three of the five children balked at the idea of riding on the bumper buddy (Smidge thought it sounded fun), so we figure that extra seating is somewhat integral to the new car criteria. Still looking. :-)

And the days just keep coming and coming. I've got to go in for the follow-up on Joe tomorrow. (Thank God they called to remind me, or I'd have been wondering around mid-August if maybe I wasn't forgetting something.)

Meanwhile, the garden keeps on growing. The compost-raiding raccoons keep getting fatter. The pears are coming along beautifully and seem to have stopped dropping at a horrifying rate. The "blueberries" sign is out at the intersection. (We don't know for sure what's down there, and that's literally all the sign says, "blueberries". We suspect there is a pick-your-own farm somewhere down that road, but nobody in town seems to have been there. Ever. It's a bit odd, but now our curiosity is piqued.)

We did have a wonderful experience last week, though. The Suburban wouldn't start (not the wonderful part), and the starting fluid was empty (definitely not the wonderful part). I called down to the corner store to see if some kind soul would be willing to drive a can to us. (Because yes, we do live in the wonderful kind of small town where you can do that.) The sweet gal at the corner got off in a few minutes, and ran us up a can. *happy sigh* That's the wonderful part. It's nice to know you're only as stranded as the nearest helpful soul, isn't it?

I've heard it said it'll be the little things that break you, and to some extent, I think that's true. But I also believe it's the little things -- the humor, the kindness, the grace, the encouragement -- that get you through, and put it all in perspective. So, blurry as this week's been, it's been full of the right kind of little things, and that's good stuff.

Kiss those babies!

Sunday, May 31

A Weekend To Remember

The first words Zorak spoke this morning were, "I'm getting old, aren't I?"

And men say we ask no-win questions? I wish he'd just asked me if his jeans make his butt look fat. I mean, technically, yes. (On getting old, not looking fat. He looks great. And I know better than to ask - either question.) The whole birthday observance does tend to note such an accomplishment as surviving another year. That yearly survival thing is tantamount to getting older.

But on several levels, I do wish he'd be a bit more cheerful about it. First, it beats the alternative. Second, um, I'm not far behind, and I'd rather not face my ensuing birthdays with the fear that he thinks I'm getting old. Gah. Way to set the bar, honey. Happy Birthday.

Zorak half-jokingly confided that he has a plan to arrive 20 minutes late for church, which puts us in about halfway through the opening prayer. PCA'ers do love their corporate prayer, that's for sure. We nailed it today, and slipped in (as quietly as seven people can slip into a completely silent room that has no sound dampening). Church was lovely. You know you have a good preacher when the verses are Genesis 46:8-27, and he can actually make an interesting, applicable sermon out of it.

We spent the rest of the afternoon trying to convince ourselves that we should go out and work. But it was "warm" out. And when it stopped being "warm" (yes, I'm using euphemisms), the "vampires" were out. So. We stayed inside and worked. Hung out. Played a bit. It was, after a holiday of sorts, right?

James lost a tooth this weekend.
John lost two teeth this weekend.
Smidge is just dying of anticipation over tournaments and the team party.
Jason FINALLY started walking today.
Emily is one tired child, trying to keep up with her brothers.
AND, I have to find the disks for my camera, because this computer doesn't have the stuff it needs to upload pictures from the camera or the memory card. So, no pictures just yet. (If you know where I've put it, though, please shoot me an email, okay?)

And so ends another weekend. As usual, we did not accomplish all that we hoped we would. We did accomplish the important things, though - time with the kids, and getting the skivvies washed for the week. Good stuff, that.

Kiss those babies!

Friday, April 24

Easter Pics

Hey, look - Easter pictures posted before the Fourth of July!

Jase finally overcame his fear and loathing* of the grass...

To be replaced by utter curiosity. (Hey, Mom! Did you know there's stuff living in here?)

EmBaby loves all things "flower", and there is no such thing as a weed, if it will flower.

We had more fun than one would imagine possible in such a small space, but it was such a beautiful day out (and we got there early - a total fluke)

After the service, since everyone was relatively clean, awake, and all in one place, we thought we'd shoot for trying to get everyone facing the same direction...

AND, we got it.

(Though EmBaby insisted on the Victory Pose. We took eight shots, and she's standing like this in every one. Ah, may she always be that comfortable in her own skin.)

THEN, since there were Other People there, while we were all, as I've pointed out, relatively clean, and kind of facing the same direction, we thought we'd try for a family shot.

It almost worked. :-)

This was our first year celebrating Easter without company at the Forever Home, and it was quiet, and odd, but coming on the heels of the Month of Ills, we didn't have time to gather the Loved Ones. The big boys did get to help the Easter Bunny this year (John worked up to that one by asking, "Mom, does the Easter Bunny know Santa?" He's a clever one.) And we enjoyed our church family tremendously. It was a beautiful day, in so many ways.

Kiss those babies!
*bonus points if you know the reference

Monday, February 9


Ah, this was, perhaps, an overly productive weekend. It hurts. I'm glad it's Monday, and we can get back to shredding papers and digging around for important documents. Oh, wait, I did that this weekend, too. Well, that's okay. Gotta get it done. (In the meantime, I did post finished photos of the Weekend Warrior project from this weekend. They're at the bottom of the page.)

We had lunch with the pastor and his family after church on Sunday. It was very nice, and the kids had a fantastic time. Zorak and I felt horribly awkward, but that's pretty normal. It's us, not them. We aren't quiet, demure, well-appointed homes kind of folks. Put us in a quiet, demure, well-appointed home, and we both feel like we just tried to crash a party at the wrong home. Like we're the only ones wearing togas.

In trying to locate the boys' birth certificates, I have now filled four 13-gal trash cans with shredded paper to be composted. Thrown away just as much trash. Absolutely stuffed the filing cabinet with things-to-keep-but-not-what-we-needed. And there is nary a birth certificate in sight. WHERE did we hide them? I'd already ordered a new one for John, but now it's looking like I'll need to order one for Smidge, as well, and I don't think they're going to make it in time. Gah. I'm asking Santa for a Personal Secretary for Christmas.

Meanwhile, it's supposed to be 72 degrees today! We're going to get out and roam about a bit. That's always good for the spirit.

Kiss those babies!

Sunday, February 1

Sunday Somethings

Does anybody know why there is a little pink tricycle in my hallway? Two possibilities come to mind:

A) It's too cold to use it outside, but too much fun to leave it alone out there.
B) It's a Burmese Toddler Trap

I'm thinking B. Or a combination of the two.

Or maybe it was a mermaid trap? Nah, they don't live in hallways. Everybody knows that.


I want to go back!

Today we nearly didn't make it to church. I hung in there through the oversleeping, and the children who evidently decided underwear weren't a necessity when laying out their clothes last night (but suddenly decided they were a must-have item that they were OUT OF this morning). I didn't lose it when breakfast kept going and going, long after that pink bunny's batteries up 'n died. But when church had already begun and only half of us were loaded into the car, and I turned around to find Smidge wearing sweats, still barefoot, I lost all will to fight.

Zorak asked me what I wanted to do, and I told him I wanted to stay home and yell at people. (Well, he asked.) He offered to take everybody to Lowe's and let me have some quiet time to do... whatever. It's a good indicator of my mental state that I didn't pounce on that, but instead said (half jokingly) that that wouldn't work because it didn't leave me anybody to yell at.

So, we went to church. Better late than never. And certainly better than yelling at people for no good reason. I've gotta say, the service sure does fly when you're only there for the last fifteen minutes of it.


Then we all went to Lowe's. Not necessarily as much fun as napping on the beach, but definitely a bit more productive.

We came home and I washed every stitch of clothing we own. I swear, if anybody runs out of anything tomorrow morning, I'm giving up and declaring us a nudist colony.

The guys ran wiring and installed a new light fixture in the Scary Room. It's not so scary with warm, UV-showering light in there. That's how you eat an elephant - one bite at a time. We'll have this baby dished up with a stucco side dish in no time at all!


And then I edited pictures. Which has nothing to do with this post, but there you go. Tell you what, to tie it in, I'll throw random vacation shots in throughout the post. That should tie it all together nicely.

(Much better.)

Kiss those babies!