Sunday, August 26, 2018

Life as we know it

I took the girls to the dentist Friday, just like I did six months ago. Like clockwork, we work all of us through the semi-annual routine cleanings. However, just as I was making the girls' next appointment in February, it occurred to me Ty was not on the calendar with Greg in October. So I asked when he was due. He was last seen in July 2017. Awesome. We are winning at this parenting gig. No one tell Erin. Please. She will freak out. I looked at the receptionist and announced he was the fifth kid. I choose to assume they were laughing with me and not at me. Then our hygienist recalled Greg had been bringing Ty and when they made his follow-up appointments, Greg would make his own but tell them I would call back to make Ty's. You see, I am the person in charge of all the things around here. This transition into me finding out who I am going to be when I grow up may be painful and colorful in ways I fail to anticipate. If I am not home to take care of the aforementioned all the things, who will? Ty is by the way, seeing the dentist next week.

We took the kids to see our favorite football player Saturday. The weather was perfect and it was fun to surprise Benjamin. He and his big brother, Greyson are on the same team which made it nice to interact with both boys for a bit afterward. But as the team was taking the field, I asked what number was on his jersey and Greg immediately pointed him out. "He has to be number six. Look at those shoes. Only Benjamin would choose those shoes." He was not wrong. We love this boy and his unique style.

Greg and I slipped away for breakfast Saturday morning because he had an audit and we barely spoke last week as result. We are planning our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary trip next year and wanted some time to determine a destination and figure out who might want to run our crazy home while we hide away together. And then we started dreaming of our empty nest which is totally normal with a nine year old in the house, right? A bonfire and smores wrapped our day beautifully. 

On the way to church Sunday, a brother bopped a sister upside her head with his bible and she declared people don't hit with bibles which triggered a conversation about the longevity of old school bible thumping. On the way home, we discussed rap music and artists. And then Erin discussed the appropriate reasons one can indulge in recently re-discovered coconut almond chip ice cream. In her mind, only high rated celebrations are worthy. I accidentally located it in a quiet aisle in Kroger where I had pulled over to double check my list and happened to see it. "We may plan our way but the Lord guides our steps" Erin Gabrielle Baughman. We are an eclectic group, to say the very least.

This afternoon we all went out for ice cream; preserving the above mentioned of course. And afterward the girls and I went shopping. It was a Sunday well spent. This evening though, I pulled out the vacuum to deal with ceiling fan blades. Can someone explain to me how something in constant motion accrues so much dust? Anyway, it was during this grand adventure, I broke my Dyson. It is at the curb level of broken and I am a little distraught. Greg laughed and held a family funeral. He won't be laughing when he realizes what we will spend to replace it. The Dyson withstood a tumble down the stairs ten years ago that cost us a ceramic floor, fifteen years of long hair and insane levels of pet shedding. It was the only vacuum to stand up to our level of filth beyond two years; may she rest in peace.

We are planning for a very full week ahead and I am counting down to Saturday when I can decorate and snag my first pumpkin spice chai tea latte. It's an indulgence I preserve for this season and I cannot wait; fall is my absolute favorite time of year.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

We are family

They left together Friday morning for a few fun days in Georgia celebrating Taylor's birthday. No sooner than they left, Kate made herself comfortable in their room. She cannot wait to permanently claim this space as her own.

On their way out of town, they stopped for breakfast at Grandma's house. It was a nice way to break up the drive and gave Grandma a quick snuggle with Austin. No one can get enough of those.

While they have been out, typical shenanigans have ensued with the four-legged family members. At one point, Ada was hanging from my curtains and I was less than pleased. I told Oliver he was my favorite and Greg walked by him immediately after me and told him he was his idol. Take a load off buddy.

Saturday night, Greg and I attended a married people event at church. We had no idea what to expect but joked it had to be better than our typical date at Home Depot. No sooner than we finished that conversation than I saw this:

We would claim it was actual footage of one of our dates, but they both have better hair.

We had a special visitor Sunday afternoon. It's been quite a while since we last had Devyn over to play and it was fun to talk with big kid Devyn. She was not yet in school the last time she was here and is now dominating second grade curriculum. 

Kate bought herself a cute new jumper and wanted some photos wearing it in the field of wildflowers behind our house. I wanted to wait on sunset lighting and long before sunset, the cloud cover became so dense, we had almost no light to play with. That didn't stop Kate from having a good time though. 

Greg and I debated the merits of fall decorating this weekend, as I am already craving cooler temperatures, pumpkin spice chai tea lattes and my fall wardrobe complete with cozy sweaters. He believes I need to wait until after Labor Day but I maintain September 1 is late enough. He countered, "what's three days?" And I argued, "it's already two weeks."  I will be decorating September first.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Something Had to Give

My world is so loud. I am too many things to too many people and it has caught up with me.

I was sullen last Sunday as I realized my weekend was ending. I hadn't yet charged my batteries in order to face another week of caring for others. After twenty years of providing in home childcare, I have been feeling depleted and not much like I am providing ministry but simply enduring the days. I have had a heart issue for sure.

The truth is, Greg talked me out of resigning last spring. I wanted to let all my people know I would not be available this school year. He knows I love running my home and he is right. But I also want to reclaim my home for my family. As it stands, they are getting leftover attention, energy and time. My family no longer comes first. In fact they haven't for a very long time.

However, in my bible study this week I read where Hannah offered her son to the Lord as a bargain she made in the temple begging for a son. At age three, she handed her only child over at the temple gates so he could serve the Lord his entire life. Whoa. My momma heart cannot imagine. But then these words smacked me.....
Parents, like Hannah, do a tremendous service to their children when they rear them to worship and adore God and God alone. Hannah could not train Samuel to depend on her because she knew she wouldn't be there. As we witness his life, we will never see Samuel confuse God and man.
Ouch. The conviction of those words stung. And I wasn't alone. I am in bible study with three other moms and we all sat there stunned. We have somehow confused our call to motherhood as being responsible for all.the.things when in fact we are responsible for teaching our children to love God and to depend solely on Him. I have failed. My children depend exclusively on me. Many people do. 

Monday morning as I had some quiet time reading Matthew, I was distracted by this feeling things were going to come to a head and I was going to have to make some hard decisions. I had no idea that would involve a serious health scare with one of my children where God quite literally was asking me to trust him and have faith. I was shaken to my core and realized in one moment exactly what mattered to me.

I am not certain what the change will look like but I am making movements to re-prioritize. I have resigned a twenty year childcare career. As of Fall Break I will be doing something for me while still being mom, but my family will get to learn some independence. I will discover if I am still capable of speaking in complete sentences with grown-ups. I suspect the hardest part will be the inability to but said grown-ups into time-out when they are disrespectful.

I am at peace despite how uncomfortable it is for me to disappoint people. The families I have supported the last four years are friends and making those calls was difficult. Once I finished though, a weight was lifted. I feel much better this Sunday about facing the week ahead. 

Friday, August 17, 2018

Life Changes

We entered this week thinking the biggest threat in our life was the little boy having a crush on our daughter. Life has a way of throwing curve balls.

Kate stunned her leg doing an aerial (hand-free cartwheel....I had to ask) and was convinced she hurt her knee. Kate has a lot of knee discomfort because her joints are overly flexible so I didn't pay much attention at the time. Monday she was limping when she got home from school so I had her put on shorts to ice her knee. It was then I saw the giant knot protruding out of her leg, above the knee. It was rock hard but was not at all painful when I pushed on it or manipulated her leg. She only felt discomfort when she was weight bearing. I took her swimming that night and noted she was running and jumping into the pool without favoring the leg at all so I was confused. Here is this obvious problem but her pain level simply didn't match the evidence. I took her to see the pediatrician Tuesday morning because I wanted to know what it was before allowing her to run in gym class. As soon as the doctor started her evaluation, she ordered x-rays and let me know we would likely need a c.t scan and possibly blood work too. She told Kate she would not be back to school that day and bought herself at least a week out of gym class until we had answers. At this point, I assumed the doctor was as confused as I was. However, she was getting ready to leave the country for a week so she got the other doctor who would be on call this week to examine Kate in order for him to know who he was working with as the week progressed. He quickly and verbally assessed the knot as a tumor. My heart sank. It was not on radar at all for me. I was worried it was the start of knee issues like Makenna's not something potentially more serious.

We went to the hospital for x-rays and the tech pointed out the tumor on the image and asked us to wait in the waiting room so they could get our doctor on the phone to give us results. All the while, I kept my cool, not wanting to scare Kate. Completely oblivious, she sat and played with the baby bead table in the waiting room while I fought tears. The radiologist determined the shape and edges of the tumor were consistent with a benign tumor called Ostechondroma. The doctor declared this good news and said we would follow up in six months. Relieved, I left the hospital and fell apart in the parking lot. All the pent-up emotions boiled over and at that moment, Kate said she could tell I was a little nervous but she still didn't fully grasp my fear. She thought I was afraid she was going to have knee surgery like her sister.

It didn't take long for my brain to catch up and for me to start asking questions. Erin's surgeons at work were livid we were told it was benign based on an x-ray and furthermore could not believe we were told to wait six months to have it examined again. The tumor was not present just five months ago when Kate had a full physical. I suddenly felt it was irresponsible to wait as well and scheduled a second opinion with the pediatric orthopedic surgeon we used for Makenna's knee because we know she is smart and thorough. Obviously, we wanted nothing more than to hear she agreed with the initial assessment but were not comfortable assuming all was well simply because we wanted it to be.

Dr. Brey was able to see Kate Thursday afternoon and also fully agreed with the Osteachondroma diagnosis. She was able to give us a list of symptoms to watch for and how to access if anything changes. There is a .0001% chance of this becoming malignant unless some of those other symptoms appear. The exhale was audible as we left the hospital that second time. We are not naive enough to think cancer doesn't happen to kids with parents who pray. We are currently lifting three families in our community facing that harsh reality now.  Their experiences are brutal to observe and even a tiny glimpse into their world was shocking. There simply aren't the right words to express it fully.

Kate asked to attend that boy's football game last night and I quickly agreed. As it turns out, there are worse things in the world than middle school crushes. Her daddy wasn't as convinced and decided to accompany her. She was genuinly delighted; missing completely his facetious intent.

Our Katebug is still sweet, still healthy and still blissfully unaware of how scared we were. We want to keep it that way.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Mother's Day Flower

On Mother's Day, Ty gave me a cup with a single sprout growing out of it. When I asked him what kind of plant it was, he was literally very disappointed in me as he slowly and sarcastically answered, "A Mother's Day one".  Well a few weeks later I transferred that plant into the garden because it was outgrowing it's original cup. This is that plant today. It is seriously impressive as the marigolds I purchased to help keep bugs off my tomatoes aren't nearly as large and they started as flowers in bloom at the same time.

Kate's watermelon slipped out of her hands and Layla was eager to help clean it up. However, not everyone was impressed with treats at my house this weekend. It appears the green beans lacked something Austin believed to be necessary.
Little man has strong opinions.

Celebrating Weekend with Special Visitors

There's a boy in math class who has a crush on Kate. She appears to like the attention. I am not ready for this even though their texts are kinda cute. On Friday he wore a suit and tie to impress her. He might be adorable or public enemy number one. The jury is still out.

Want to know how to spend less than $200 at the grocery store? Carry a coupon for 400 bonus Kroger points with a $200 purchase in your wallet. I can guarantee you will fall short every visit. Of course this does not prevent you from forgetting needed items and returning two days later.

Pops took Austin out to man the grill Friday night.  Apparently five months is the perfect age to start lessons.

On Saturday, we took a family walk around the farmer's market so Greg could talk to some farmers about getting a fresh side of pork belly. He wants to cure and smoke his own bacon again. No one objects. And then I had the bright idea to trim back a shrub that has more than doubled in size this summer. The more I cut back, the more apparent it became the shrub needed removed. And then this happened.

Lauren and Austin arrived Wednesday afternoon and will be spending a week with us. We are in loving every minute of it. He prefers his momma to anyone else and will not allow her out of his sight. They have a beautiful bond.