Wednesday, April 29, 2009

He's my son

How many of you are following the Stellan story on MckMama's blog? I have to say, I'm a little obsessed the with it. I even thought about joining the twitter nation, just to follow her on twitter too. She is honest about her life as a wife and mother. She shares truth concerning her faith and struggles. She raises good questions about prayer and healing. But mingled in with all of that is a positive, never give up attitude that is contagious.

I say all of that to share a story about Garrett that brought me to tears. Ok, and a little bit of sobbing.

I was checking "my charming kids" for the fifth time yesterday morning and decided it was a good time to watch a picture montage, set to the song, "He's My Son" by Mark Schultz, that someone had made for MckMama. She warned to have tissues handy, which I didn't. As I began watching it, Garrett joined me. Picture after picture rolled by of Stellan in the hospital, hooked up to wires and tubes. Garrett continued to take in the images and asked, "What's wrong with that baby, mom?" I explained that he was born with a sick heart and that he had to be in the hospital so the doctors could fix his heart. I went a little further to explain that if your heart is sick, that your whole body is sick, b/c our hearts keep us alive.

VERY seriously and with his lip quivering he asked me, "Is he going to die?"

I shrugged my shoulders, getting ready to explain that LOTS of people are praying for him...etc, but he cut me off.

"He's not going to die, mom. Jesus is going to"...he struggles to find the right word... "cure him."

Ok, so the video hadn't made me cry, yet. But that comment started the tears. I grabbed him, put him on my lap and finished the video together. Me, quietly crying behind him all the way through it.

When it finished he looked up at me, lip quivering a little harder this time, tears welled up in his eyes. "Why are you crying buddy?"

"Because, that was a really sad song. I don't want that baby to die."

We went on to talk about how we can pray that God will heal him completely and how we can be thankful for our healthy family.

"Let the little children come to me, and so not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it."

Mark 10:15

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

We miss him!

It's official. I miss Josh. Olivia misses daddy. Garrett misses daddy. Esther misses daddy. And I'm sure, in his non-verbal way, Gideon misses daddy. And I know Indy misses his walks with daddy!

We are happy, different, changing, and the same. We are the same 6 people who moved from Michigan two months ago undergoing a major shift in life.

One of us is a little thinner.
One of us is a little bigger.
One of us is a little more tired.
One of us is a little more structured.
One of us wakes up REALLY grumpy from our naps.
One of us just keeps getting cuter.

But we're all the same people, dealing with change in our own way, and yet we deal with it together.

Olivia told me she was crying at school today. She thinks that because she's there all day, she's seeing Josh less then the other kids. I don't know if she thinks he's coming home at lunch, but I told her that she sees him as much as the other kids. I'm sure she misses walking home from the bus with him, eating lunch with him, and having him home at dinner 7 nights a week. I know I miss those things.

Garrett asks to wrestle at least 2 times a night. This was their activity. Josh wants to do it, and usually does, it just really hard because he's so physically drained.

All the kids would get excited when he would come home from work, but not like now! Man, they run out the door and meet him on the street. Esther yelling, "Daddy home!" and Gideon screaming joyfully all the way across the yard. The older two usually pull up on their bikes a minutes or two later to say welcome home.

I just thought of this while I was typing. Last night, while my dad and I were making dinner, all the kids were playing outside. Olivia asked me, "what does daddy's shirt say?" "His work shirt says, Lawn Connection. That's who he works for." "Thanks!" And she ran down the driveway. A couple of minutes later I walked down to find her drawing a chalk picture of Josh, in his work clothes, standing next to her. It was cute and she couldn't wait to show it to him.

So, we're all adjusting, some of us slower then others, some of us more verbally than others. We continue to trust in God and seek his direction as we train and lead our children through this new time in life. I know most of you already saw these pictures on facebook, but they are the most recent ones I have of my amazingly hot, hard working, husband...who I love!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Spring Break

School starts back up today. I don't know if I'm glad or dreading the schedule that I have to get back into. The kids had fun this week making new friends in the neighborhood, playing with cousins, and going to parties. The not so fun part was waiting out the rain for two days. Here's some pictures from the week.The girls at "Auntie Brooke's" (my cousin) baby shower. From left to right, Katie, Brooke's sister-in-law (no, I didn't type the relation wrong, she really is Brooke's husband's sister!), Olivia, Ella (my cousin Lauren's daughter), Esther and Avery.

The kids really love the playset in my parents side yard. Many, many hours are spent swinging and sliding!

One of the rainy days I covered the kitchen table with paper and let the kids go after it with Dot Paints. They are awesome! No prep, easy clean-up, fun for hours (ok, minutes), FUN!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Imperfection is perfect

Now that I'm living in the same house I grew up in, I've got a new appreciation for the house, the neighborhood, and the town that I grew up in. But most of all for my's the story...

I've always appreciated my parent's willingness to have an "open door" policy. When we were little, this was the house everyone came to. It wasn't well decorated, adorned, or fancy. BUT, it was a HOME, lived in, and loved. When we were teens, the freedom to bring our friends home didn't stop and you could often find our living room full of teens watching TV or just hanging out. One by one we went off to college, and you could almost guarantee at breaks, we brought people with us. Mom and dad never complained, never said no. They've had friends of ours live with them for long lengths of time. Co-workers, who needed temporary housing. And even fiances, who needed to save a couple of bucks, who moved in. When we were all finally out of the house two years ago, they were ready to be empty nesters...and for two years they were. However, the "open door" policy came back to haunt them. Josh and Corrie needed to save some money for a big move they had coming up and moved back into 428 Bem st. Mom and dad once again, embraced the extra bodies, including a dog. In January, Josh and I had a big move coming too, and the first place we knew to go to for help was mom and dad. Even with our four kids and dog in toe, they didn't hesitate to make it work. We moved in, took over two rooms and created enough upheaval in their lives for 10 years. Never a complaint, dirty look, or sigh of annoyance. Unconditional, 100% sacrificial love.

My dad and I sat outside watching the kids play, in the same yard I played in as a child. There were kids everywhere. Eight in our yard, three across one street, and five across the other. One day, not so many years ago, it was us filling the air with laughs and conversation with our friends. Playing football in the side yard, suicide on the big abandoned building, and whiffle ball on the corners. Now, a generation later, it continues. The life of this blue collar, low income town still rings loud and true. We've lived in three towns since being married, and only now do I realize what was missing from them. The freedom to play, uninhibited, as children should play. To get dirty, really dirty. To make friends, with every kid, no matter what color they are, what language they speak, or what their house looks like.

That same afternoon, while we sat outside, a guy on a motorcycle pulled up in front of the house. My dad wasn't alarmed, but said, "Oh, it's Bruce." Bruce was one of the kids who grew up in the house across the street from my parents. He and my brother were friends and we often took him to church. He was a great, friendly kid. All these years later, he stops at the house to catch up with my dad. He's a man, living on his own, with his own life. But, and this is just my opinion, I believe that my parents had such an impact on Bruce's life, that he enjoys coming back. He knows he was loved here once and feels that love when he comes back. The "open door" policy, unconditional love...are you seeing the pattern?

Do you know what I love about this house? All the imperfections. Including the inhabitants, past and present. I love that every wall tells a story, of before I was born, to after I was born, to the present. There are pieces of art made my by grandmother's hands, framed by by grandfather. There are pieces of art made by my mother's hands and our hands, framed by my father's hands. There are missing walls, that tell stories of in-laws working together to make a more comfortable living space for everyone.
Here's some of the history that hangs on the staircase walls.

I love that all of our paintings from our Sr. years of high school still line the walls of the staircase.

Here's the missing walls. And yes, the room has two different colored carpets and two different color rugs, but WHO CARES?!?!? Those multi-colored carpets continue the story that the walls started.

You know what these kitchen counters are telling me? "Yeah, there's not a lot of working space on me. And yeah, I feel crowed when there's two people in my space. But I love the conversation that happens around this table. I love being a part of the game nights. I love all the years of Easter egg dying, pumpkin carving, and cookie baking, no matter how many people are here. And you know what, I really like being crowded!"

This is the room I grew up in. The purple carpet is what my mom picked out for our room when we put the addition on. And it's never changed. I think the red is the third coat of paint on these walls, and I think they like not matching each other. Yep, they do, they really do!

This is the imperfect hallway upstairs. And if it could talk it would tell you this: That it really likes being uneven. It likes being the thruway between my parents room and the most lived in bedroom in the house. It likes the little feet that cross it every morning to wake up Grammy and P-pop (even if they don't always like it)!

Oooooo, this is one of my FAVORITE things about the house. The way it's heated. Do you know what this is? It's a radiator, (pronounced, 'rad'- (as in "That's totally rad!") -iator. Please do not read it RAIDIATOR or you will ruin the picture. I remember as a kids, we liked to warm our feet on them while we watched TV. They were great for drying our snowy clothes and warming our coats before going out in the cold. They really screw up the wall space available for furniture, but add such character, especially when you pronounce it RADiator. :)

I love that when we added on to the house, my grandfather and father slaved away to build us a better home. I love that my husband has added to this house. That there are nails hammered in by generations of loved ones, past and present. That it's a work in progress. Because, isn't that what we all are? Imperfect, flawed, uneven, and crowded out. But put together with unconditional love.

This is what the house looked like when my parents bought it.

This is what it looks like today. Notice the open door... come on over for a visit...we'd love to have you!

I love this house, the people who live here, who have lived here, and the neighborhood it's a part of. I love the history, the imperfection, the beauty.

Monday, April 06, 2009

The tooth is gone

Finally! Olivia's first tooth has been loose for months. The dentist told us she would loose it before we moved. She didn't. She didn't work it the way I remember working my teeth when I was a kid. This tooth has been hanging at a really gross angle for weeks. We tried everything to get her to work it out. The tooth fairy, unlimited DS time for a day, nothing worked. Until dinner tonight. One bite in, and it was out.

O: "Mom, I don't feel my tooth!"

M: "You lost it!?! Where is it? Is it in your mouth? On your plate? On the floor?"

We looked everywhere, except the one place that it probably is, her stomach. She said she didn't feel it go down, but it's the only explanation. So, in place of her tooth, she wrote this letter:

I guess we'll see tomorrow if the tooth fairy takes notes. :)

Token, "I just lost my first tooth" picture.