Sunday, January 30, 2011

the good life.


Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.
Mary Oliver


Since getting back into blogging, it really has made me look at little everyday things and see what I can say about them, expanding wee little tiny moments into beautiful well articulated maps of vibrant, multicolored picturesque scenery that perhaps could otherwise go unnoticed. No, I know, all of us that have ever had little ones at home have a bazillion moments a day where we are overwhelmed with the beauty in the simplistic details - our children's angelic faces while sleeping, a goofy grin in 'thanks for macaroni', a deep look of deep and utter admiration from a baby, soaking up his world, drinking everything in, and so wonderfully, beautifully, perfectly, many moments it is Mama's face that is at the top of the list of things to look at. 

This morning was no exception. I marveled at the sweet uniqueness in each of my children as they started their day, and began to take notes, not knowing when I'd be able to sit down and share it with y'all. I was relishing the littlest guys stirring. I love the moments of little children waking up, fuzzy hair in disarray. Rosy cheeks, snuffly breathes as chubby arms and legs stretch, stretch, stretch - reaching for familiar faces and mama's hands, curling back into a bundle of breathing, living, preciousness in your arms, on your lap, their glorious little breathing sounds and onlyinthemorning sounds warm all over and ready to take anything on. It is passionate, it is without hesitation that children begin their day. I adore the quiet moments when each of my little ones opens their eyes to the world, as if for the first time.


My nephew, Andrew - upon waking every morning says, with much exuberance, 
"GOOD MORNING EVERYBODY! HEY, LOOK I'M AWAKE!" 
And his complete and utter joy at the simple act of waking up in the morning and greeting everyone is priceless. It is a precious and valuable lesson for everyone and anyone over the age of three, I think.  Imagine how lovely our homes, our hearts, our world would be if we all greeted ourselves and our day and one another with a great big welcome and a no-holds-barred exclamation of joy. Thank you Andrew! Your excitement is so wonderful. 

Andrew as a wee babe, taking off his sock with that same exuberance.

Andrew now. Love you, sweet boy!

So this morning, I relished my babes waking up, took notes, and then we went about our day. Sometimes in trying to get all of us out the door, I end up saying "I feel like I'm herding cats". Anyone who knows anything about cats knows the ridiculousness that would ensue if one tried to herd them. Needless to say, it took a little while, but we got ready, got out the door, and enjoyed ourselves on yet another rainy day.

Jacob wanted to try the car seat handle as a chew-toy rather than get dressed. Herding cats, I tell you.

What did we do today? We hit up the craft supply aisle at Walmart. One of our favorite places to be. Not Walmart, no no no - but anywhere that sells craft supplies gets all of our creative juices flowin'. Well, today the kids found these wooden letters that we have found on several previous trips - but today, they became a little more special. And they got so excited, they were buzzing all up and down the aisle, exclaiming "Look there's a b! I found an h!" and you'd hear Jacob parrot back "Look it b! I fine en aichhhhh!"


See the stacks of letters in their hands? I just thought they were excited about all the creative ideas they had.




And they got creative. Yup. Nice. Love it.

Fast forward to this evening, I have a moment of peaceful silence (did I mention Joel was out of town for four days? No, I think I forgot to - busy busy busy) and I stumble upon my dear friend Randi's brand new blog, and the post that she got out this morning. And it's all about loving the morning even if you don't feel like getting up yet, but more - especially more about the beautiful outlook of children upon waking. Wow. Felt like she was writing the thoughts of my heart today.

Ah, maybe it's the mamacord - the beautiful, invisible, mamacord. I have to quote my new blog friend, Jen, on that one. Her words bring tears to my eyes and warm my heart. I found Jen by reading a comment she had left on Kelle's blog during the ONEder fund for Nella's birthday, and of course Nella is the little blue-eyed beauty who so reminds me of my Amos... and everything Jen describes is precisely what I did and what I felt and knew was there when I was carrying, birthing and waiting for our Amos to come home... but read and see:
 
"the amazing thing is, all of this, all of you, these cherub angel babes, this space, all of it has given birth to a motha of a movement, baby. move. ment. something stirred (and continues to stir) in so many who fell to knees right along side your story, as eyes swam in overwhelming tears, our throats burning, thinking, "oh, honey. i FEEL you." some of us really FELT you, those glorious mamas with babes and magic chromosomes. while others of us...we felt the vibration. you know, that vibration. it's the mamamcord that slings out into this big space, the land 'o blog, and anchors deep into the lives of those who have reached our hearts and taken hold.

so grab your man, grab those cherub babes, and swoon, baby. SWOON. 'cuz we're all swoonin' right along side ya.

big love, you groovy hearted girl. big love..."

Aaaahhhh goosebumps. This is where she won me. Maybe it's just me - but seriously. Tears and goosebumps. It resonated with me, because it was somehow familiar, and because I realized that all along my journey as a mother - not just this extra magical, wondrous journey with my newest little cherub - but all along I felt this cord, but had just never named it. And Randi? I feel the vibration. I feel your vibration. Swoon, baby. Swoon.

And all you other mamas and friends who read and have been so kind? Thank you for your love and support and words of kindness after my last post. I really laid it out there, so thank you for acceptance, and for giving me the sheer pleasure of reading them, although that's not why I wrote it. It really was for me to let it go. And I have. With exuberance. And I was also excited to see what kind of ripple it caused. And it has. I'm lovin' it.

I'm missin' this guy right now. But he's back tomorrow.
So grab your man, grab those cherub babes, and swoon, baby. SWOON.


Is it cheesy that I get teary-eyed at the simplest things? Kids waking up in the morning, a really great song playing in my headphones while my babies are all a-sleepin', a steaming mug on my desk, my soft jammie pants on, my hair freshly washed, pouring out and sharing some of these connections - and the mamacord (isn't it beautiful?), and relishing it all. This, my friends, is where it's at. This is my life. This is your life. Make it matter. Make it good.

This is gonna be a good life.





Thursday, January 27, 2011

I am not a dead fish.

Only dead fish go with the flow.
Andy Hunt

This post has been milling about in my mind several times over the past while. I have made numerous attempts to sit down and write something. The few golden times where I have a free moment, I want to simply get my coffee pot bubblin', get real pants on, have a slumbering baby in the swing next to my desk, and any number of other children playing, snoozing, reading, learning, loving around the house, and sit, and get it out. Just get it out. Get what out? I don't know, I don't know. But something is in there, aching and stretching and determined to get out.

And over the course of these last several days, those moments have eluded me. No luxury of getting real pants on by the end of the day. Coffee may get made, a cup may even get poured, but then it sits and like a lonely soldier, it waits with baited breath on the sidelines of the battle, biding it's time until it can fulfill the duty that it signed up for - and... nothing. Nothing. Cup after cup after cup goes cold, my arms full of babies and dishes and laundry and my heart heavy with the weight of what I want to share.

I used to blog as a way to journal and share my swirling thoughts mostly with myself, with anyone curious enough to read, and it was therapeutic. Actually, it was beyond therapeutic. With the events that transpired over the last year, the birth of our little Amos, I used facebook so much more as it was accessible from my phone while in the hospital, appointments, ultrasounds, and all of the scary and intimidating waiting rooms and hallways while walking a journey that was the most dark and terrifying path I've walked on this earth to date. Prior to that time, I used my old blog in the ways that were the most satisfying - writing, laughing, crying, sharing and spilling onto the screen an artful barrage of words and pictures and braiding a descriptive and joyful melting pot of imagery that was my life, my heart, my hopes, my battles, my victories, my enjoyment of all I had been blessed with - both simple and difficult all at the same time.

Ah, to even speak of that time in the hospital again hurts. It brings up these pangs of pain that I want to avoid, but I also want to dive in head first, share with others, and coax it to relinquish its grip on my heart - even though my heart is so much more full of love, of peace, of joy, of utter and complete contentment - but that pain - it is still there, still remembering, sometimes cradling my heart like a fragile, delicate little bird, and sometimes stomping on my heart to toughen it up again. To make it strong, and ready for the next storm, the next battle, the next uphill climb. I said to our marriage counsellor just yesterday that long ago I realized that it would be silly for me to think God has anything less in mind for my life than huge battles and huge ordeals and lots and lots and lots of stuff for me to deal with. For so many years, I would hear the phrase, 'you've really got a lot on your plate right now.'

And yes, I would have a lot on this philosophical plate that was my life.

(and I honestly do not say these things for anyone, anywhere to feel even the littlest bit sorry for me. Please, don't. I love my life, I adore every place that God has brought me to and brought me through. Some of those places still hurt like hell, but please please please don't feel sorry for me.)

I am a Registered Nurse. I worked my butt off as a single parent of my two oldest and precious, amazingly intelligent and interconnected children. I had to tell this story again in Joel's interview for a youth pastor position where both of us were interviewed by the search committee of people assigned this task. It was familiar, the sense of telling my story again - like an old blanket draped around my shoulders in a comforting and thank goodness I'm home kind of sense. I spoke of how I worked as many as five jobs at a time as well as attending full time university classes to have my work hours tailored to my schedule so I could be at home in the evenings with my babies. I spoke of taking the bus to school with my two little ones, my memories of running, exhausted, heart-pounding wecantmissthebus, feet pounding the pavement, legs and back and arms aching, sweating, crying down the street on slushy, muddy, wet and cold sidewalks with a baby on my back and a toddler in my arms (really, it was a toddler on my back and a full-blown child in my arms, Egan being 2 and Isaac being 4, but they were my little babies so in my memory, they were much littler), I spoke of my nightmares that would make me awake so startled in a weeping, terrifying, trembling cold sweat at night, nightmares of one of my precious children being accidentally left trapped behind the windows on the door of the bus as they closed, and the bus pulling away from me and the one I had in my arms. Agh, those dreams made me cry. To speak of those dreams makes me cry. Ugh, the pain - it was so much! It was so much to bear - and I was alone. I was alone - and I was strong. I was damn strong.

I didn't speak of the pain of where and when my first marriage went awry. I didn't speak of the betrayal, of the complete and utter shock of being smacked in the face of disbelief in the spot where my feet were planted. I didn't speak of the part I played in us getting there. 

Our old house.

I didn't speak of the saying goodbye to dreams and hopes in the selling of our house, and the children and I moving into a humble one bedroom apartment. I did, however, speak of the saving and diligence and empowerment I felt in paying cash for my car - and for two years of insurance coverage on my car - it was my sleek-little-shiny-black-sense-of-freedom - that I was ABLE. And that I was going somewhere.

I didn't speak of the unbelievable fulfillment I felt in working in the hospital with people who needed us as nurses, who needed me as a nurse. I didn't speak of the countless times I walked down the hall praising God for getting me there, the countless times I exclaimed 'thank you God, I LOVE this job'.

 I spoke of how I met Joel.




I spoke of how I had relinquished the control of my life - gave it all to God one day on my knees with arms outstretched - in my stairwell of the townhouse the kids and I had moved to. The reminder of this by hanging a set of car keys out of reach in my bedroom with a small sign that said 'God is the driver' It was a conscious effort to let go and let God; stop the sense that God was just my co-pilot. Not only was I not the driver with Him as my co-pilot, I had relinquished control so much that I removed myself to the backseat of the car.
Then I spoke of how I fell head over heels in love and got married while still so thoroughly and completely in love.







I didn't speak of the pillow I had from my beloved Grandma Harris that has soaked up so many of my tears, the silent witness that has been privy to every heartache, every trial, every new nursing baby, every joyful awakening to the sunshine in the morning - the pillow that has been with me for nearly twenty years that I had to say goodbye to, I think - simply because of the unsanitariness of it all (Yes, I know that's not a real word. Chill.).

I spoke of my frustration and anger at the injustice and great need in our world and overseas, and my passion for helping right here in our own backyards and on our streets and in our homes. I spoke of living in a tent when I was sixteen and the importance of wayward young people having a safe place to go. 

I didn't speak of my daily ritual working in the hospital of asking God to use me - to use me as a vessel that is so blatantly obviously full of His light so that all whose lives I touch today are changed - just that His light would be so apparent in me that people would have to ask, would be compelled to ask 'what is it about you?' And how many times this happened in my few short months of working in my role as a nurse.

I spoke of I finishing school, giving birth to our sweet Jacob two weeks after convocation, then nine months later going back to work when Joel was laid off, leaving my precious nursing baby Jacob at home with Daddy, then finding out we were expecting a new precious baby, working back at the hospital in labor and delivery until a short few months later. I was experiencing too many complications in the pregnancy to be working so many hours - so I needed to be done at the hospital in that role. 


I didn't speak of how I lost myself in the first two-and-then-some years of our marriage. I didn't speak of the fights with Joel. I didn't speak of the struggle with my weight, which I have never struggled with in my life - the extra twenty pounds hanging on for dear life - the pounds that at times I don't even realize are there until I see myself in a photo or in an unfamiliar reflection - and I don't recognize myself. I still don't recognize my own legs when I look down at them. In many ways I refuse to, because even now in my head I am saying 'they are not my legs.'
 
on the left - this is how I see myself - photo credit my lovely cousin Katrina Ketchum
on the right - my uber big pregnant belly

I was lost somewhere, uncomfortable in my own skin, until I found myself back in the halls of the hospital. This time not as an intelligent, able, wise and loving health care professional, but a a patient with a belly swollen beyond belief, and then as the mother of a baby tinier than any before him in my family, yet carrying more weight than he will ever know. I found myself there, again.

And the story between that - 
and now - 

is perhaps the one that... defines me the most?
defines us as a family?
rescued us?
rescued me?
tested us?
redefined us?
refined us. yes, that's it. Refined us. Refined me.



The story of Amos is a heartwrenching, soul stretching, infinitely painful and yet unbelievably joyful one that I am working on how to best tell it here. Like I said, it still hurts. So many days, back in that (#$%!) hospital room, I wanted to just scoop him protectively into my arms and run like hell - run away to the woods somewhere, with him, my wee oh so tiny precious babe, my other children attached to my skirts (skirts? Do I wear long skirts?) as we run, escaping the hospital, the needles, the tests, the constant 'there is something else wrong with your baby. no, he cannot go home.' and his diagnosis. Down Syndrome. I wanted to run somewhere where he was just my baby. I wanted so desperately for him to be allowed to just be my baby rather than this defect with 'multiple anomolies' (as his chart read) - where he had to be subjected to test after test and poke after poke - I thought if I was in the woods with him, he would just be Amos. Not Amos that is broken, not Amos that is imperfect, not Amos that needs umpteen more tests because of issues other kids like him have - I was aching for him to be permitted to be the loving little creature that grew in my womb and in my heart, the little lovey with perfect feet in his ultrasound picture. The baby with the prettiest face I had ever seen on a newborn. The little baby who so very patiently waited for me to get past my pain. Who looked at me with such trust, long before I could fully trust myself. Trust that I would come to the point I am at now.



The nurses - I became a nurse to love on people. I felt somewhat betrayed by my profession while having a child in hospital. Not by all of the nurses we encountered, but the ones who hurt us - they hurt me deep. I will (and do) speak of the good nurses and the good people - good people like Steph, she was one of the ones who held me before I fell to the ground. She caught my heart as fell to the floor, she was the one who lovingly and quietly either helped me pick the pieces back up, or bent and gently brushed them off, and rebuilt them inside my chest. She was the one who kept it all together for me - as if she had this end goal in sight of where I am now, and she held that vision up for me when I was on my knees in pain, in tears, and in labor.



Or there were the ones who sat quietly, urging me to pick it up, cheering me on in quiet prayers and telling me I could do this. I could do this. The nurses who wrapped my guts back up - both figuratively and literally (literally). And of my own Mama. My mama who came for weeks to take care of us.

Weeks. Care. Love.

So to keep plucking away here on the keys, clicking out stories of happiness with a capital H (thank you, Tara Whitney, for that one), when what I really want to share is:

"I am scared that when I truly share how I feel, no one will understand, and I will be alone.
I am not, nor have I ever been, a very private person. I am an open book. In person, I have no problem sharing personal anecdotes even with a stranger. I don’t take myself very seriously. I rarely get embarrassed. I have nothing to hide. I operate below the surface, meaning I don’t want to bother with small talk. I want to dig in and talk about THINGS. Too Much Information? Never. Not with me. I want to really know the people that come into my life. I want to be a safe place for them, so that they allow me in. And I am a lot of the time, and they do a lot of the time.
A lot of people just feel safe with me.
The problem is, I don’t often give myself the same safety net of myself. I have operated most of my life perpetually worried about how I come across. How others see me. I have obsessed for hours after a party about the things I have said or not said. I have chosen not to walk on a busy street alone, for fear of the eyes on me as I cross a busy intersection, and what they may sum up about me from a split second. I have chosen not to stand up for myself or my children, at times, to different authorities (medical, educational, etc), because I want to believe in them, I want to belong, and because I doubt myself. I have put others over myself and my own opinions and thoughts more times than I can count."

Ah, there. What she said. So I've been clicking out stories of happiness with a capital H, inspired to focus on the good in my life - thereissomuchgood, when what I really really want, and really need to do is dig deep. get dirty. rip it open, and deal. There is this pain, this comfort and familiarity of my unfolding and undulating story, the pain mixed in with the good. For example, this heaviness of my husband starting out on a new business venture at the same time as waiting to hear if he will be offered the long-awaited God'sbeencallinghim job as a youth pastor - and the long, lonely hours spent at home, in the house, alone with my four little beauties, no car (no sense-of-freedom), the extra twenty pounds on my body underneath and on top of it all - and a feeling of pretending that everything is always happiness, skipping down lollipop lane in the sunshine and gumdrops with beautiful cherub children, gorgeous, shiny happy people, cute outfits, a pretty home... and that ever underlying sense that this is not all there is.

Still - there is that story - our story - the story of intertwined pain and joy, wounds and sheer bliss - the sound of little feet running like mad and the uncontrollable giggles from our Jacob that set everyone off and bring so much sunshine into our lives. The deep, deep soulful wisdom that comes from Isaac in divine moments. The teary, heartfelt thoughts that pour from Egan when she feels so deeply. The smiling-with-his-whole-self from Amos that melts even the coldest heart. Seriously, even a glance from one of us while he's not in your arms and his face contorts into the hugest smile he can muster. Amos acts as if every time he sees you he is seeing you for the first time in a long, long time - and it is singlehandedly the most joyful moment of his life.



But today, the last few days, the pain was overriding the joy. The darkness was overpowering the light. But in order to get back into the light, after having spewed all that I just spewed onto the page - I now know I needed to do this in order to move on. Hindsight is always 20/20, right? Maybe I was feeding my bad wolf. Kelle spoke of this in a post some time back. I have copied the story from here.

A Cherokee Chief’s grandson once came to him in anger, proclaiming loudly the injustice another child has committed against him in taking credit for his discovery of a water well nearby.

With a smile the chief began, indirectly preparing his grandson to lead the tribe with a wise Cherokee parable:

“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.

“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves,” he paused momentarily – meditating upon the predicament the Chief faces on a daily basis.

“One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.

The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson of the wise Chief thought about it for a minute and then instinctively asked his grandfather “Which wolf will win?”

Delighted that his grandson had the wisdom to inquire, the Cherokee Chief smiled and countered with a whisper, 

“The one you feed.”


So with trying all this time to only feed my good wolf, I was experiencing a bit of a writer's block consciously denying food to my bad wolf, making every exhausting effort to focus and speak and write only things that spelled happiness with a capital H. In doing so, however, I was feeling a heavy weight, the weight of the actual therapy in getting it out so it is not there to feed my bad wolf.

Until today. I put my real pants on, tied up my hair, poured myself a cup of coffee and drank it - and wrote out my thoughts. All of them.

You good people who read and respond? You feed my good wolf, too. I hope I can also feed yours. 

My sweet baby boy is calling me, frantically pumping his tiny fists and smiling that gleeful smile in an attempt to catch my attention. My other little boy is exclaiming 'come on Mommy! let's play trains. 'N yet's have a tea party!'

I am off to play trains. And have a tea party. And snuggle babies, drink more coffee and await the arrival home of the other two lovely brown eyed beauties. Have a blessed day, and thank you for letting me share. Ah. Relief. Sweet and blessed, we can let our good wolves roam freely, and not just go with the flow. You and I? We are not dead fish. 




Look at a day when you are supremely satisfied at the end. It's not a day when you lounge around doing nothing. It's when you've had everything to do, and you've done it. 
Margaret Thatcher 

Enjoy.

final note: I was so engrossed in typing this out while Amos was asleep that, shamefully, I had no idea that this was what Jacob was up to the last few minutes.

oh, dear. at least it's washable marker.

Seriously. I am a bit freaked out since he was actually coloring on me.

Love it.




Tuesday, January 25, 2011

hats.



A hat is a shameless flatterer, calling attention to an escaping curl, a tawny braid, a sprinkling of freckles over a pert nose, directing the eye to what is most unique about a face.  Its curves emphasize a shining pair of eyes, a lofty forehead; its deep brim accentuates the pale tint of a cheek, creates an aura of prettiness, suggests a mystery that awakens curiosity in the onlooker.  --Jeanine Larmoth


I am a lover of hats. I love to wear hats, I wish I had more hats to wear. I want to wear big, floppy, dressy, elegant, striking hats. We need more hats in our society; hats need to make a comeback. I love babies in hats, children in hats, women in big hats at weddings, hats, hats, everywhere are hats.

We have had a very long month - I'll share more later - and the exhaustion of it is creeping in. The sickness has abated. Thankful for that. Our dear friends had to spend a week in the hospital with their littlest baby girl with RSV - and we nearly took Amos in three, or four, or five times. Thankfully, after much prayer and my hot tears falling on his sleeping fevered cheeks, he was well - he woke up with clear eyes, a grinning face, and was ready to pound back a bottle. So very thankful to not have to return to a hospital. Not ready to do that. Nope. Not for a long time. Pain is still too fresh. There is far more love and peace and contentment on top of the pain, but the hospital carries very little of that peace for me just yet.

But for now, for tonight - I am far overdue to pump (yes, still pumping to feed my little man) and as such my boobs feel like they're going to explode. Too much information? Sorry, honestly. I'd love to write more - and honestly with the music I've got going on in my ears right now - it's begging me to put on a fresh pot of coffee, crank it up and dance like no one is watching (since it's the middle of the night, no one is watching!), and pour my heart and soul out to you all - but, alas - it's late...

...and I must sleep. Today was a big day, and the lessthanfourhourssleep is creeping up and drastically shortening my wick with everyone, including myself.

So for tonight, I am going to leave you with some beautiful images of my beautiful children in hats.


Enjoy. 

Egan in the fur hat? Argh, she's breathtaking! Turn the lens toward her sweet face and she becomes... well... fierce. beautiful. older. shining. my baby girl. growing up.  

her and I, we butt heads the most, we are so similar, we are so strong, we struggle and we cry. this day, having her bask in the attention of my camera - she found a bit of herself there. how sweet to have a way to see her through a different lens, to see her for what she really is. and I was so gently reminded of how blessed I am to be her mama. i love her, my egan. my fiery little one. my sweet pea. stunning.

Good night. Must sleep. Love.

we aren't being blessed with a whole lotta natural golden light these days - waiting patiently for spring

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

gone gone gone, you been gone so long

I said to one of my friends that it feels as though I've been hiding under a rock the last few days - with this ickly prickly sickly cold going through our house and taking up residence in my head, throat, and chest - I have been out of commission in more ways than one.

I had also decided sometime in the last few weeks to get back into using my camera regularly again - that danged iPhone is always in my pocket, and although one can get and create some pretty cool shots on it - it just doesn't have the same quality and crispness as the camera, of course.

Still, even amidst sniffles and hacking coughs and phlegm and somanyboogies - before Opa, Gramma Colleen & Mikaela went back to Ontario we were able to go for a fun family day at Castle Fun Park here in Abbotsford, BC - the city in the country.

I would so LOVE to share photos with you, but alas, my camera cord has gone missing. Hunting all over the house, searching high and low, bending, twisting, reaching for baskets on high closet shelves - and still no cord.

So, for today's post - you will have to settle for the few pictures I took with my phone after my camera's battery had died.

These pictures, although grainy and low quality, are little pieces of what makes my heart happy. I so enjoy sitting around in good company, with steaming cups of coffee amidst conversation, laughter, and babies underfoot providing better entertainment that never gets old.




I love having good coffee with good people.
BettyAnne's house (or BuddyAnne, as Jacob calls her) is one of those good places to be. She has quickly become a friend to me and offers such a welcome into her home that Joel and I and all of our little ones feel so comfortable there. Family is such a blessing.

And today? I loved being in my pajamas snuggling soft bodies and little hands tucked up into my neck. Letting the bigger-but-less-sickly kids stay home for two days grants us some delicious and much needed sleeping in time - and for these good things and a new coffee maker, I rejoice and give thanks.

Enjoy the rest of your week. 

Friday, January 14, 2011

tell me.

Photo credit: Brendan McKenna

It started as a beautiful sleep interrupted by the jolting buzzzz of my iPhone alarm going off in the morning.

Although both the iPhone and iPad have changed my life with their sexy shininess and ease of use, and in this ease of use Apple has created uber-expensive yet entertaining toys for our children, and have made light the tasks of pumping, rockingababytosleepforthreehours, or the inexplicable insomnia that accompanies the nights my babies finally DO sleep through the night. Yes, I even used my iPhone while in labor. No drugs, no epidural, just iPhone.

Even with all they have brought to my life (but yes, of course, people lived for thousands of years without iPhone and did just fine, I know) ...these electronics have taken from me, too.


And no, they haven't just taken from me in 99 cent apps that add up - and no, they haven't taken from me just in time consumption (Zombie farm? Really? Yes. Words with Friends? Yes. But seriously, have you seen the CraigsEZPro app for the iPad? Get it - and be prepared to be blown away.) But again, I digress -
Jacob showing Opa around the iPad

What I'm talking about being taken from me by their sexy shininess and ease of use is this:

The good old-fashioned, fingers on home row, pensive expression; hands stretching, waiting, yearning, chomping at the bit to hear ready-set-go and be set loose like a racehorse to fill, douse, soak and saturate the blank slate in front of you - the pouring of heart and soul onto page.

As a young girl, I used to type notes to myself and to my dear friend Karen, and she did for me - clacking and plucking away messages of comedy, melodrama, encouragement or teenage angst to one another on archaic typewriters at school in typing class. Each of us had a typewriter at home, too - hers a sleek electric that, when one typed excessively fast, you could build up an entire sentence waiting to be written while the typewriter was scrolling to the next line...and the metal keys would clickety-clack against the ribbon to leave their letter impressions in an amazingly satisfying way. I don't know that I even have words to describe the joy I felt with each line, trumpeting out in clicks too fast for human fingers. Hers also had the fancy 'white-out' option - a typo could be corrected using the exact letter(s) that created it. I adored her typewriter. It was one of the coolest things I had ever seen.

I also adored my typewriter. Mine was old. A big, vintage, black, heavy, beastly but beautiful contraption that was stored in it's big, heavy, beastly box beneath my bed.
Photo credit:  mikeyriotphotography.com

To this day I cannot recall where it came from - but my spirit sang when my fingertips danced on those keys. Yes, sometimes they would get caught on each other if I was trying to outdo my typing-speed records - and yes, my fingers also got all inky rearranging and fixing, poking and prodding into its belly in attempts to suck more ink from the reel to reel of ancient ribbon. I wish I still had that typewriter. Many nights I hunkered over its frame, wrapped in a blanket, cross-legged on the floor in the dark so as to not wake my sleeping family. Yes, I still wish I had that typewriter.

Years later my love and yearning, familiarity and affinity for the pouring of soul onto page would make itself known in university. Through paper-writing, pleas to powers-that-be to help in places of un-awareness, and in messages to individuals gifted and talented beyond measure - I intricately wove words together in love, detailing how enriched my spirit was to have people in my heart that God had placed in my path.
My sister Sarah, Meaghan, Stephanie, Karen, Jess, Zara, Kim, Mel, Katrina - you all hold such a special place in my heart

Nowadays, I am doing my darndest to resurrect my ability to pour my spirit onto the page...but finding it takes so much more work while playing the starring role in my life of the foggy-minded rarely showered never-gets-to-finish-a-full-meal lady during these days of two small boys with horrendously congested chests and wet-sounding coughs, fevers, drippy noses and red-rimmed eyes and sinus-pressure inducing tears running down soft chubby cheeks equating to nosleepformamanosleepformamanosleepformama... I, as the bleary-eyed, pajama and hoodie clad mama, had to muster every ounce of strength I had to drag myself out of our warm and dark bedroom, where, finally deep into their slumber, slow and heavy breaths from my two littlest along with daddy where the only sounds heard above the whirrrrrr of the fan.
As I tiptoed down the hallway I could hear Gramma in the kitchen downstairs while Isaac was regaling Opa with some nonsensical dream-woven tale and jokes and the humor in fart sounds. Yes. Fart sounds.

Amos does this thing where he looks up at whoever is holding him - seriously, it melts your heart

Egan was still fast asleep, but awoke with a cheerful smile and a willingness to get 'er done, baby. Gramma had already made coffee and packed the children's school lunches, so life has been just a wee bit o' bliss in the morn.



My coffee cup in hand, I breathed deeply and felt so thankful in our eclectically-blended to the nth degree family, and this visit from Opa Rick and Gramma Colleen. What a blessing it was to simply sit, drink steaming, creamy sweetened vanilla coffee from a seemingly bottomless pot kept that way by Gramma Colleen.





Aunty Mikaela (or Kia, as little ones lovingly call her) scoops babes up in arms and snuggles and oohs and aahs with the passion and intensity all her own, and it always does such good things for a mama's heart.



To feel my cheeks hurt from smiling so much while I watch someone else have their heart transformed as they take delight in any or all of my children is always a grand thing. Conversations grew from how and where God is calling our hearts,

and blooming where you're planted,

to a simple what to do today.

It's been a beautiful visit.

  
One last thing. 

My hero, the ever-inspirational fellow blogger and facebook friend of mine, Kelle Hampton, is about to celebrate her gorgeous little Nella's 1st birthday. 
She made this video to bring awareness and acceptance of people with Down Syndrome. Watch for our Famous Amos at 5:23! 

If you like my blog, please follow it! I love love love your comments, too. And Kelle's sweet fundraiser for her sweet Nella? Let's do this in Canada, too! 

This is one thing I am going to do with my one wild and precious life. 

Thank you for the inspiration, Kelle, Nella, and my little wee precious Amos.





I love these glasses.

Good night.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

dream big.

So. Ever feel like you have been called to do something? Kind of like an itch you can't quite scratch? Or a little idea, buzzing around incessantly inside your mind, flitting and landing and little sparks of dreams and hopes and thoughts swirling and twirling around, building and growing into something you know is so very much larger than what you are? 

Mm. Me too. A lot.



This little lady has the same fire burning in her. I recognize it in her spirit, as we are cut from the same cloth, Egan & I. The name Egan means little fiery one. 

I have long-ago realized a huge part of my job in being Egan's mama is helping her learn how to hone and direct her fierce & passionate flame to do great things. This is something we continue to work on, some days much more successful than others. 


Jacob loves the park. This was him showing me his happy park face. Sadly, it's been cold and we go to the park so infrequently that he called it the parking lot. I am a bad mom in that regard. He HAS to go to the park more often. I am being called to be a mom that takes her toddler to the park. To date, I have been many wonderful mom things - but that has not been one of them. Done.


This little bundle-of-boy, my sweet Amos also enjoyed the outing, all snuggled deep inside his cozy nest. Such a sweet face. (please excuse the milk-ness on the front - that's not-so-cute, I know).

I dream of warmer days  like this again - even though it's really only been chilly (and now downright COLD) for a few weeks...



When I was in university I felt called to lead. So I did, in the best way I knew and could at the time. Now that I am even just a few years older, I can see so many more areas help was needed, and where I may have been able to accomplish more and be of greater assistance. But I stood and spoke and did my best and gave my all to be a beacon for those who needed it and touched down on this sense of a desire to be there "where there is a man who has no voice - there ours shall go singing." (Jewel)


However, that feeling of being called has been on my mind and even heavier on my heart for ages. It resonates even in our childrens' hearts. Joel was talking to Isaac about how he wants us as a family to go out and hand out clothes and food to people who need them. Isaac responded (the faith of a child) 'well, if we're going to do that then I'm going to want us to get a bigger house because we should to have someplace to bring the ones who don't have homes back to.'


Oh, Isaac. You wise soul.


Fast forward to the present. I am a mama of these four beautiful brown eyed children. Each one of them is amazing and special and such an immense gift-too-great-for-words and I cannot imagine or recall much of life before them, as if we always were and now just are. We just be.

I have spoken of the wildly popular blog www.kellehampton.com (Enjoying the Small Things) before. I have raved about it. I love it.  My closest friends have actually read her blog and said "she sounds like you." and I am ever so flattered.

I read her blog and I am inspired, not only by her amazing commitment to her blog, her family, and to her fundraising ONEder Fund marathon in honor of her sweet little Nella Cordelia's 1st birthday this January 22, 2011 (fundraising for the NDSS - National Down Syndrome SOCIETY in the US) (edited - I accidentally typed Association at first...sorry, 4 kids no sleep, give me some grace:) )  - but I am MOST inspired by her love of life, her zeal, her pizazz, her optimism, and her relentless pursuit of the sheer enjoyment of...well, of the small things.


Kelle and I have a few things in common (not to sound like her creepy stalker, or anything - honestly), but the most poignant (besides both being stunning brunettes - ha ha) is that we both have been given an amazing gift that is SUCH a gift - our little babes with an extra chromosome.  Her little Nella is such a beautiful little girl - and so is her Lainey Love, of course - but that Nella just does me in with her piercing blue eyes and her sweet scrunchy grins - and the way her little feet point when she's sitting down and she's wearing super cute little shoes and tights or just her perfect little bare feet...while she sits...the little toes and legs laying the way they do.... and it is soooooo sweet. You have to go see

Ooh, I love this little man. His presence in my life, in my heart, is so very much more than I can articulate.

Again, to quote Kelle (my new hero, obviously):

"Any attempt at threading words to just how funny, how spirited, how healing her existence is...well it seems so small and unworthy...

...I have changed. My eyes have been opened to the broad spectrum of beauty, the value of uniqueness and the amazement of the common thread that binds us all regardless of the color of our skin or the makeup of our chromosomes.

How could I not have been aware of their magic?"

I had to contact Kelle while her ONEder fund marathon is well underway, especially now that I am aware of their magic, too! I wanted some advice on how I could attempt something similar in Canada, for our little designer babies and folks up here. Thank you, Kelle, for responding so dang quickly and giving me pointers. So here we go.

I am making a commitment to blog more regularly, because people have been telling me for years (no exaggeration) that if I blogged, they would read it. So here you go.

I just hear her voice in my head - 'what are you going to do with your one wild and precious life?'




Well, this is something I'm going to do, baby. And I am running with it. All the way past the parking lot.

Stay tuned.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...