Sunday, June 29, 2008

We're baaaaack

We are home from our trip, and decompressing, for lack of a better word.
We saw so many things, did so many things and learned so many things, and now, I need to process it all so I can share it with you.
But for now, know that we are home, and full of tales of adventure!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The worst is over

I am happy to announce that the worst of the sickness is over.
Daniel suffered through a pretty terrible day yesterday with fever and pain.
The doctor said it would last several days.
We prayed.
God healed.
Sometimes, it's a simple as that.
Isaac has a great little immune system, and has not contracted what his brothers could not avoid.
I am worn out, but thanking God for his mercy!
I will be on the road this next week, and not sure how often I will get to post, but keep checking in -- you just might find something here.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Two down

Yes, our sad tale of woe continues.
Josiah is feeling better, though sporting a low-grade fever today.
But now, Daniel is sick.
He woke up this morning so warm and groaning out little sobs -- so pathetic.
What's a mother to do?
We saw the doc again today to make sure Josiah did not have strep -- he does not -- but Daniel has stomatitis.
This makes little people miserable for two to three days.
So, we are making the best of being indoors, and doing everything we can to speed recovery.
We are resting a lot, lots of fluids are being consumed and we are washing everything down with disinfectant.
The praying continues.
Hopefully, it all makes a difference.
I will use some of the down time to lesson plan for next year, and take care of my little men.
Hopefully this all clears up before we leave town next week.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A tale of woe, some stories of a day gone by, and other stuff

Today, Josiah woke up with a fever.
What a way to begin a gorgeous summer day.
My heart goes out to him.
I hate it when my children are sick, and they look at me with those eyes – those, “help me, mama,” eyes.
And I do everything I can do to help them, indeed.
And then, I pray.
He is resting comfortably now.
We have a doctor’s appointment for Daniel’s one year check-up in a bit.
Maybe I’ll see if she will give Jo a look too.
Hopefully, whatever this bug is will pass quickly, and I will get my bouncy ‘ol Josiah back soon.

Stories Of A Day Gone By . . .

Yesterday, as we were riding in the car, Isaac broke into a spontaneous game of “I see a . . . in the clouds.”
He spotted a dragon ("a whole one"), and a prehistoric alligator.
He is currently reading Eragon, so he has dragons on his mind.
Josiah said, “I see an alligator too, with a chicken on its back. And not a chicken, chicken, but a cooked chicken!”
He was pointing out the front of the windshield.
I followed his finger, and sure enough, there it was, drumstick and all.
Isaac saw it too.
We all saw Isaac’s dragon, then, when he pointed it out to us.
And I saw a dragon’s head, witnessed by all.
It was so much fun, and I was careful to pay attention to my driving, of course.
Cloud pictures.
What a perfect way to sharpen the imagination.
Next time, though, I think we’ll find a nice field, pull out a blanket, lay back and have a relaxing game of “I see a . . .”
And speaking of seeing things . . . Daniel discovered fireflies last night.
We were walking a friend who had been visiting out, and I was holding Daniel.
It was that twilight time of day when the shade trees harbor nighttime under their branches and the violet sky is surrendering to deeper shades of darkness.
Fireflies were flickering their lights at each other all over the front yard.
One flew up, just about eye level with Daniel, and winked its twinkle-light at him.
He drew in a breath, staring at it, and raised his finger slowly to point at this strange new bug.
He looked at me.
“Firefly,” I crooned.
“Lightning bug,” I sing-songed.
I caught one on my hand to show him.
He was amazed, and looked at it for a long time, watching as it finally flew away, blinking out its farewell.
Discovery is an amazing thing.
To watch your child see something for the first time, that is one of the best gifts in this world.

A Tale of Woe, Continued . . .

We are back from the doctor’s office.
What an experience that was.
Josiah was so sick (102.5 fever when they took his temp!) and Daniel was so fussy. Both of them were crying and it was quite overwhelming.
But the doctor just kept going, talking to the boys in soft, comforting tones, and I did too, bouncing Daniel, whispering in his ear, reassuring him, reassuring Josiah and comforting him, a hand on his hot little arm, his forehead.
Somehow, we got through it.
Josiah may have strep, and will have to go again tomorrow to be re-checked.
So far, he is the only sick little boy here.
I give him fever-reducer, I offer a cup of water, a cold rag for his head, a hand to hold.
I prop up another pillow.
There are those eyes again.
I pray, I pray, I pray.

A fun pic for the day . . .

Daniel, taking a peek at what's in the fridge.

On a side note,

check out this cool blank journal I found! Guess where? Wal-mart! It's a Meade. The best part is, it was $3.95! And it is so pretty! Hmmmmm. I wonder what I will write in here . . . (I told you I had a sickness!!)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Field of dreams

Tolstoy Plowing, 1887, Ilya Yefimovitch Repin

“You won’t plow a field by turning it over in your mind.”
This from a friend as we were talking tonight about knowing where we are supposed to be, what we are supposed to be doing in and with our lives, what God-dreams we are to be living out.
A very wise man said it to her, once, a long time ago; and, having not forgotten it, she whipped this gem out during our conversation.
We were talking, in essence, about being who we were intended to be, and doing what we were intended by God to do.
Some people struggle with these questions.
Some people know the answers to them beyond a shadow of doubt.
It's so different for everyone.
But one thing remains true for us all.
Our field of dreams will not plow itself.
Our purpose will not just materialize out of thin air . . . someday.
We cannot rely on our past efforts to pave the way for our future successes, and we cannot expect the future to drop our dreams in our laps.
In order to make a reality of what lives in our mind’s eye and what is our heart’s desire, we have to pray and plan and prepare.
We have to move and make.
We have to ask, seek and knock.
It actually makes me think of that movie, Field of Dreams.
We've all seen it, right?
Basically, it’s about a man who had a dream.
He had a destiny.
He could see it so clearly, even when others could not; even when those closest to him could not.
But seeing it did not make it real.
Talking about it did not make it real.
Thinking about it did not make it real.
He had to “build it” before he could live in the dream; before he could share the dream with others.
You know, “If you build it, they will come.”
Though I think what the dream looks like may change several times in the course of a life, I do believe the dream will remain the same in its essence.
It is a reflection of who you are.
It is a reflection of who He is.
And I know that fields do not plow themselves.
What is my field?
What am I doing to plow it?
My dreams have to do with my family (being the parent and wife I am called to be), Christian education (building schools, starting schools, connecting with other Classical Christian Schools around the world, equipping young people with excellence so they can do excellent things with their dreams), extending the kingdom of God through the arts, writing the Great American Novel . . . the list goes on.
I am reading, studying, talking to people who are way smarter than I am, researching, furthering my education, and trying to apply everything I am learning, both at home and in my classroom.
Could I be plowing more?
What is your field?
How are you plowing it?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I'm beginning to think the weatherman is a liar

The ten day forecast last Friday said we would have a nice weekend, and then rain and thunderstorms every day of the week this week.
I mentally prepared for the dreariness that can come with rain over a long haul.
I planned out things for the kids to do indoors.
I accepted the fact that we might face sirens and strong weather.
I would like to report there was nary a cloud in the sky today.
It was beautiful, breezy and perfect in every way!
And yesterday started out grey, but by afternoon we were enjoying sunshiny weather.
What do they know?

Here are some pictures of our day:

Indiana Jones is alive and well and living at our house.
Daniel walking around. Because he learned to walk by holding on to someone's hand, he now walks with one hand in the air. Funny!
On grandpa's stoop. We had a lovely time there today, a very nice visit with gramp. We swam, all of us, which is why there are no pics of it. The camera isn't waterproof. I did get some other great shots, though . . .
Don't they look so sweet?
Yeah, right!!
We got some ice cream . . .or should I say frozen custard from Freddy's. Yum. Can you tell what kind the boys had?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Four out of five dentists recommend . . .

Today, we went to the dentist.
The boys had a cleaning and some not-so-great news.
Isaac needs braces, sooner than later, to correct an under bite and the mysterious disappearance of his bicuspids.
Josiah's mouth looked good, but his big teeth are starting to grow in behind his still intact baby teeth.
He may have to have a few teeth pulled. The doc is giving him until August to work a few of 'em over and evict them from their present abode in his sweet gums.
As if right on cue, the one lose tooth he had (his first one ever!!) fell out right after we were done eating our Sabarro's Pizza in the mall food court!!
It's his first lost tooth!
Well, his first official lost tooth.
He lost one of his side front teeth when he was three, after biting into an apple.
So, the tooth fairy will visit us tonight.
Her husband will provide the dollars for under the pillow, of course.
She will kiss his forehead.
She will look at him for a long time.
She may cry, but just a little bit.
She will breathe in the smell of the six year old boy.
She will mark this momentous occasion with a notch in her heart.
(sorry the pics are so blurry. the tooth is so small, I had a hard time focusing on it.)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Good food, good meat, good friends, let's eat!

Today, after church, we had a few (okay, maybe more than a few) people over at Gramp's to celebrate Daniel's First Birthday, and Father's day.
Again, it was a bulging-at-the-seams house, full to the rafters with laughter and conversation and the smell of great food!
Thanks, Mike, for the excellent grilling!
Daniel got some really cute gifts -- outfits and tub toys and a guitar with lots of bells and whistles and music. He loves it, and it is so cute to watch him dance to the songs.

Thanks to all who lavished him with love and gifts.
Joe and Gramp got some stuff too, it being Father's Day and all.

The boys' friend, Sammy, stayed on after the festivities ended, and they had fun playing with Isaac's lab kit.
Can you say mad scientist?

Joe mowed at the house this afternoon, since the rest of the week is calling for rain and storms.
This evening, we spent time together, first taking a Sunday drive and then settling down with snacks to watch our shows.
We had a good day. Lots of good memories.
I thought about dad a lot today. I pictured him there with us, sitting, listening, commenting, grinning.
I could hear his voice, see the mischief in his eyes, anticipate his stories . . ."I knew a guy once . . . his name was Blinky. He had one glass eye."
The crazy thing is, it would be true.
I would say I missed him, but the odd truth is, he was right there, remembered, loved, thought of, as much a part of my heart as he ever was.
Happy Father's Day, dad.
"Happy Father's Day, Reading on Lake Shore" Print

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Pine wood derby day . . .

and we cleaned up!!
The boys worked on their cars with their dad every spare minute he had, cutting and shaping the car; sanding it down; painting and sanding and painting again; picking out decals and deciding where to place them.
They worked long and hard.
They were so excited about today, Isaac said to me last night, "I don't think I'm gonna sleep the whole night because I'm so excited about tomorrow!!"
He fell asleep . . . eventually. It did take a while though.
Today, all their hard work paid off.
Josiah came in first place in the overall race, and Isaac took first in the modified race!
The kicker here is, they raced each other for first both times!
One time, it worked in favor of Josiah, the other it worked in favor of Isaac.
They had some great opportunities to learn about losing graciously and good sportsmanship.
Overall, they handled it the situation well, and they had a blast, which is the most important thing.
Congratulations, boys!
I am so proud of you!!
And congratulations to all those who participated in the derby.
All the cars were so creative and everyone just had a good time!
Thank you to all those who made today possible. I think it was fun.
On the way home, the boys were talking about what kind of cars they wanted to make next year . . .

The boys and their winnings.

Friday, June 13, 2008

And the clouds are not sky-y all day

The skies have been full of dramatic could formations these past few weeks (in case you couldn't tell from my many photos of the clouds in this and previous posts. They have fascinated me.).
They have ranged from Hollywood-set-surreal white puffs to dark and brooding glowering greys.
They have raced and lumbered and meandered and sailed across the skies.
There have been so many strong storms in the plains region, the most recent ones claiming the lives of two western Kansans and four Boy Scout campers in Iowa (may God comfort those who mourn and may they find hope in tomorrow), and I believe the clouds here have been wild, because of the wild weather all around.
So far we have been . . . I always struggle with what to say here . . . blessed? lucky? fortunate? to not have weather that has been too severe come through our neck of the woods, though we have found ourselves in the basement waiting out sirens more times so far than any other year I have lived here.
I struggle with words in cases like this, because I in no way want to imply that God's blessing, or lack thereof, as the case may be, has anything to do with who is devastated by or spared from disastrous weather.
I do not believe in luck.
I guess fortunate is the best bet there, though again, this language can tend to separate into the "haves" and "have-nots." Fortune smiled on me in this situation but not on you . . .
Am I over thinking this?
Maybe this PC world we live in has addled my brain!
But I do think of the families who are missing loved ones sleeping in their beds tonight. Missing them sitting to a meal, coming home from work, singing in the shower. . . all because a tornado ripped through their lives and not mine.
Do not mistake me; I do not envy them.
I know their loss is deep.
I know my own sudden losses.
I know, also, that the wost thing someone else can be in those times is trite.
And so, I worry about words.

We had a quiet morning.
Joe helped the boys work on their pine wood derby cars, spiffing them up, getting them ready to race tomorrow.
Let me tell you, 'dem cars are fierce!
Isaac's is designed like a cool, blue shark, and Josiah's is a red hot rod with flames shooting out all over it.
Yeah, that's about right.

Josiah made his own peanut butter and jelly sandwich today, and Isaac made his own scrambled eggs.
*Sob*Sob* my boys are growing up!

The boys and I went shopping for father's day stuff and organizational items.
We are doing some summer work a little more regularly, and I want it to be fun and neat.
Neat = fun, right?
It does for mom.

I think Joe will like what we got for him (especially since he bought two of his own gifts).
The kids and I are working on a project though, and I think it might make him cry.
We went out to gramp's for dinner.
Leftovers of all the good food they've had there through the week. Yum.
The boys went for a walk with MeMe and Aunt Kat, and made bows and arrows out of sticks found on their outing.
I love this picture!

I let the boys stay up late, and watched Man vs. Wild with them.
We haven't seen T.V. in so long, especially all together.
Of course, the new seasons of HGTV Design Star and Next Food Network Star have begun, so you know where you can find us on Sunday nights. We all love, love, love those shows.
Anyway, it is much, much later now, and I am done with this day.
Tonight . . . clear skies.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The story of our lives

A friend recently asked me, “How do you decide what to write about [in your blog]?”
I didn’t have any fancy answers.
“I just write about our days, mostly; what we’re doing. It’s all just my life, really.”
It’s true.
I do not plan out what I will write, usually.
I just live my life and attempt to tell the story that is unfolding.
One of my favorite authors, Madeline L’Engle (recently deceased) once said, “All of life is a story.
This, also, is true.
Every person has one. A story of their own. A story to tell.
They are neither all good nor all bad, but an amalgam of these elements, with humor and horror and drama and romance all in the mix.
There are heroes. There are villains.
Why tell our stories?
We tell our stories, we listen to other’s stories, because it affirms the life in us, and it connects us to others.
Telling is a way of saying “I’m here. I exist. I am living this beautiful, brutal, precious, phenomenal life!”
Listening lets us know we are not alone.
God chose story to communicate His plan to man.
I’m sure you have heard the cute saying, “History is His story.”
While it contains commandments and poetry and genealogies and letters, story is the overwhelming medium God uses in the Bible to show us how to live, to enlighten us, to touch us, to speak to us.
He uses the stories of people – their lives and the stories of what happened to them are eternal examples of encouragement or admonishment.
And all our stories weave together, some of them touching right up next to each other, or intertwining, but all of them a part of His bigger story.
And when we allow Him, the creator of our being, the one who knows us inside and out, the assessor of our hearts and desires, to write our story, then we can be sure of one thing.
It may be sad, or messy, or wonderful, or difficult, or beautiful, or abundant, or all of these things.
But it will be right.

A few good quotes on the subject:

"The most important story we'll ever write in life is our own - not with ink, but with our daily choices."
— Richard Paul Evans

"You get old and you realize there are no answers, just stories."
Garrison Keillor

"Stories only happen to those who are able to tell them."
Paul Auster

"It's like everyone tells a story about themselves inside their own head. Always. All the time. That story makes you what you are. We build ourselves out of that story."
Patrick Rothfuss

The short story of another day

We stayed at home most of the day.
I think we all needed a “down-time” day after all of the running around we’ve done recently.
The boys read the books they got yesterday (Isaac is reading Eragon, and Josiah picked out some chapter books that his is reading on his own).
They played some video games with their friend (today was our last day to watch him).
They played outside for a while in meme’s backyard.
When they came back inside, it was to announce proudly to their dad and I that they had indeed broken a sweat out there.
We went to gramps for family dinner, which was a light fare of cold sandwiches and bean salad.
I love sandwiches. I could eat them for every meal!!
The boys got to swim a bit, though it was very breezy and quite late in the afternoon already.
It was a quick dip, and they had fun.

My lens seemed to be looking out at things a lot today (that in itself tells it's own kind of story) . . . looking at scenes out the screen door . . .

on the other side of the screen door . . .

(I tried to get a closer shot -- wings like fine gossamer, beaded body perfection.)

out the window.

And so, the story continues . . .