Sunday, February 26, 2017

Oh Ty

Ty is one of kind. He is such a serious little guy who says the most hysterical things but has no idea just how funny he is. This week he came home from school pretty upset about his best friend getting a boyfriend because she will no longer play Power Rangers on the playground. Ty stewed about this off and on throughout the afternoon and evening until he ultimately decided he would dress up, wear a cool watch and try to impress his friend. Some push-ups with one arm behind his back took place too. He was pumped up and ready to claim his friend back Friday morning.

His plan back fired. This note came from a different little girl in his class and as he told me about it, he said, "now I have to hide at recess!" First grade is a little more dramatic than I anticipated!

Saturday morning I took him with me to an appointment and then off to see a friend in the hospital. We then grabbed a sweet treat at Panera where Ty informed me my eggs smelled a lot better than the ones at school. When they have omelets for lunch, "they smell like wet dog but taste pretty good." I don't think marketing is in his future because he is just too direct and brutally honest.

Erin's boyfriend Jake has been encouraging Ty to eat more so he can get stronger and be better able to wrestle when Jake visits. We are grateful for Jake's efforts as our little man is honestly too little for his age. Friday night, Ty ate five grilled chicken wings which is a hearty portion for our busy guy so he called to tell Jake. Not only did he tell him about dinner but he also talked about his upcoming birthday party in July. Ty has grand plans for his birthday this year and apparently February isn't too early to start planning. Jake reminded Ty they share the same birthday and Ty enthusiastically invited Jake to join him for a combined Ninja themed birthday celebration. Jake might be just as excited as Ty.

He has had some money in his wallet for several months and this past week decided he needed a marble run. Every day, without fail he wanted to go to the store for a marble run. I finally used Amazon because weekday visits to a toy store are never on my agenda and when we got home Saturday, the marble run was waiting. He is already impressing me with his creations. 

Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Broken Way

"Trust Him in all this brokenness. It is a gift."

I have slowly been working my way through Ann Voskamp's latest book, The Broken Way. She writes poetically, with beautiful language I need to savor in order to fully absorb. Her perspective about growing and changing through difficult seasons is timely.

This year has not been off to an easy start. We have weathered a lot of storms as a family and alongside friends. I kept trying to be a Pollyanna of sorts, looking only at the positive and seeking simple blessings each time I felt overwhelmed. I have a journal full of notations about baby giggles, bubbles on a February afternoon, walks with friends, Makenna's surgical recovery, Ty's endless chatter and many more. But the truth of the matter is, as much as I only wanted to focus on those daily gifts, the reality is that I am being broken.

The broken journey will mold me and grow me and rather than dig my head in the sand, I need to embrace the pain too. There aren't enough bubbles in February to eliminate the pain of watching a friend make her own funeral arrangements. I can't take away the angst a child feels. I can't fathom how a young friend of Erin's can endure a double mastectomy and we are all supposed to be okay with that. Toss in a few broken appliances and a friendly visit from our local fire department for a smoldering water heater and I was literally shaking last night. Enough is enough. This is hard. This season is difficult and I need to be honest about that.

I finally told my bible study partner I couldn't continue working through the book of Job. It has always been the one book in the bible I have wrestled with and this season wasn't leaving me feeling very gracious toward my quiet time. God is big enough to take my critical questioning but it wasn't productive or helpful. I became the whiny child pointing out how unfair Job's story is rather than seeking the deeper meaning and growth. The truth is I saw my friend in Job and I want to fix this for her. I have no such power and the control freak in me isn't managing that well.

My plate is full, my heart is heavy and my body aches. I don't have a quick fix but I do have hope that there is a purpose for these challenges. I know I don't have to look far to see how much worse it can be and that has always been my go-to mantra for coping but I sense God wants me to be in this moment right now. Yes it is difficult and yes I want to fix it all but all I can really do is lean on Him and allow him to carry me for a bit. I am trying to be too many things for too many people and falling short anyway.

"Be patient with God's patient work in you."

Sunday, February 12, 2017


Tuesday night a friend of Lauren's stopped in under the guise he needed to speak with me about a situation at his work. I was cleaning the kitchen when he walked through the front door and then I heard a voice that sounded just like Lauren's. Makenna looked up and burst into tears. I stayed frozen in the kitchen convinced my mind was playing tricks on me. When I finally rounded the corner, I saw Makenna crying in Lauren's arms and still couldn't trust my eyes. Lauren was home and I was shocked. She had been planning this trip for a few weeks but told no one except Taylor and Spencer. About the time it registered she was really here, she was off again to go surprise Erin.

The next day, all my little ones were also surprised to see Lauren. She has been popping up in places all over town surprising friends and family. When I asked her why she didn't tell me she was coming, she said it was because I would have told her not to make the sixteen hour drive alone. She is right. I don't like the idea of her on the road alone. But she is here and I love it.

I went grocery shopping for all of Lauren's favorite foods and planned everyone's favorite dinner Saturday night. We had Thanksgiving for Valentine's Day and it was perfect despite having to replace our three year old oven on Friday. The new one was installed a few hours before our feast so Greg got to smoke a turkey and even the most particular kids were impressed.

Our Valentine's were celebrated, loved and together.

In other news, Lauren and Taylor rescued a couple brothers in Texas. Meet Cheech and Chong, our grand-pups. Rumor has it they are as well behaved as Layla. Also, I am not yet taking kindly to being called Grandma and have insisted Mi-Mi is about the extent of what I will tolerate at this point in time.
Kate started campaigning this morning for a girls day at the outlet stores. Sister has had money burning a hole in her pocket since Christmas. All the girls met for shopping and ice cream because they are all always ready for time together and bargain shopping. It was the perfect way to spend a gorgeous 60 degree day in February.

And while we were out, Greg surprised Ty with a matinée of the new Lego Batman movie. Our little Batman was pretty excited, to say the least.

It has been a whirlwind week around here and the weekend could not have been more perfect.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Ninja 101

Greg is on vacation this week. We usually tackle a project around the house when Greg takes time off but this wasn't supposed to be a working vacation. However, Ty had plans.

Our little ninja is thrilled with the results. It was an afternoon well spent.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

The Weekend Review

Erin and Jake came over for dinner Saturday. Before they left, Erin rummaged through the cabinets looking for a snack. Ty leaned over and whispered to Jake, "Erin always steals from us".

Makenna and I drug Ty to our favorite thrift stores. He brought a book and informed us he would be reading and ignoring us. His plan was perfect for all involved. However, he did score an awesome shark for 77 cents, which was not exactly what he aimed to purchase. The tooth fairy isn't interested in inflation so his $1 wasn't going to buy a video game, much to his dismay.

Greg and I slipped away to join friends for lunch Sunday and then I was able to visit my friend in the hospital for a few hours. Friends should fill every weekend.

Erin gave me an hour massage for Christmas and I used it Saturday morning. It was incredible.  And then Greg and I took Ty to play indoor putt-putt. The course was glow in the dark. It was a fun little date. On Sunday he completed Valentines for his classmates. He cannot wait to share treats with his friends.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Tooth Fairy Visits

Ty has been anxiously awaiting a visit from the tooth fairy for about a year now. Given his opposition to ever having his fingers in his mouth because he is deathly afraid of germs and how turned off by blood he can be, we were bracing ourselves for a drawn out and dramatic experience. He surprised us. Once the dentist assured him it was okay to wriggle teeth, he set to get the first of two loose teeth out of his mouth. Ty lost his first tooth tonight and was so excited to share the news, he had Erin on the phone after just one rinse of his mouth. After a very lengthy and detailed conversation with Erin (the only family member who appreciates the gory details), he called Lauren and Taylor too. He knows who will join in celebrating milestones alongside him even if they aren't actually present.

He woke in a salty mood today and wanted nothing to do with school preparations this morning. He literally sat in front of the cereal cabinet for a solid five minutes with a blanket on his head, hiding from the world. The drive to school was silent which is rare given how talkative Ty is usually. However, when I pulled up to the school, he spotted his best friend and barely allowed me come to a complete stop before he flew out of the van and ran up to catch her. I was a little amused, to say the least. We hear an awful lot about that particular little girl.

And then this afternoon we saw these two pictures in his backpack. Each is from a different girl in his class. Ironically, he also had a progress report from school stating he is distracted. I can't help but wonder if perhaps things might be related.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Hump Day

My alarm rings at 6:15 every weekday. This morning by 6:45 I was more than ready to go back to bed. This day was shot and I had already displayed a less than desirable side of myself. The dogs came in from a mere ten minutes outside smelling of something dead, really really dead. The odor was so intense, I cried out, "oh holy hell" more dramatically than my son has ever heard me react to anything. He was holding his blanket over his nose until he decided the blanket must smell badly too and put it in the wash. Greg came home a few minutes later to me still panicking about the road kill aroma filling my house and grabbed his flashlight to find the poor critter the dogs recently discovered. Too bad for our neighbors who aren't usually up at 6:30 in the morning because their dogs were not happy about Greg walking around with a flashlight in the dark and set out to put a stop to it. I let our dogs out to lead Greg to their "friend" and they eagerly rolled in an area on the side of the house. No remains were located. I am ill thinking about how that's going to end for our dumb dogs. Lord help me. I refused to let them back inside as all my babysitting families were arriving to an energy none of them are used to seeing first thing in the morning and an odor none of them will soon forget despite all efforts to do just that. Greg gave the dogs sponge baths because it is way too cold to use a hose and there was no way I was allowing them back inside until they were clean. He brushed their teeth and Norwex cloths were used in hope of absorbing the remaining odor. The dogs weren't any happier with me than I was with them. Around ten, Lauren called and as I shared the story, she started laughing and the more she laughed, the harder I laughed. It took a while for me to see the humor in this one but once I did, I literally had tears running down my face as I recalled the look on Ty's as I screamed a profanity I honestly don't think I have ever used before. This morning was not my finest hour but we all survived.

Later in the day I asked four year old Anna if she could go talk to her one year old sister who had woken up while I fed five month old Deacon. Anna hesitated. She questioned if we really had to let Ava get out of bed today. Anna thought it would be best for everyone involved if I just kept Ava confined. I asked Anna if she would like to stay in bed even if she was awake all day. That girl looked me dead in the eye and asked, "would Ava be there?" I died laughing.
The moment you realize you have continued buying snacks for that kid who always raided the chips and salsa despite the fact she moved away.

We allowed Kate to join my parents on a trip to Texas to see Lauren this week. First, I cannot tell you how much I miss the extra set of hands she provides and second, I am so jealous. I sent her with enough school work to cover the week she is missing in lessons with me. Rumor has it she had some complaints about me ruining what was supposed to be her vacation. She is starting to sound a little more like the rest of her sisters these days! Overall though, she is still pretty sweet.
Sometimes I think Anna might be on to something. Keeping this one confined would eliminate a lot of stress for a lot of people. There is a reason she is pretty.

Makenna was called into the office last week and asked if she was hacking the school wifi system. She smartly answered, "no but do you think I would tell you if I did?" Awesome. And if that weren't enough, she also told them they should have hired the kid they expelled two years ago who could effectively override the school's system because he was smarter than the techs they currently use. Those techs happened to be present for her unsolicited advice. Lord help me. By the way, she hasn't hacked anything. There was a glitch on her phone. But some days I really do wonder where it all went wrong.