Sunday, April 16, 2017

A Different Kind of Easter

It is 4:31pm on Easter Sunday and I am still in my pajamas.  I haven't stepped outside in two days even though these were the warmest two days we had in months.   The house is silent besides the occasional coughing I hear from upstairs as everyone else is celebrating this holy day somewhere else.  I make myself some tea in my newest thrifted English cup and munch on a days old brownie.   


The cough wakes him up and he cries for me. I go upstairs and it begins again.  

"Water!" Sips on water.  "Cough.  Cough.  Milk!  Water on THAT nightstand!  No, on THAT one!  Cough.  Water!"  Etc, etc times 5 or 10.  I feel his body getting hotter again.  He commands me to do other things and my fatigue body complies.    Today is day three of his flu, 50th hour of him attached to my hip and his sweet face in mine, and I am too tired to act differently.   Also, he is my 5th child and I am wise enough.  

I scroll through my IG feed in the moments when he dozes off to sleep and I see picture perfect families together, dressed in their Easter best.  And I sign.  Today was supposed to be different. Three days ago, I was planning a party.   But as the Good Book tells us:  


Forgive the hyperbolic comparison...

I was supposed to dress all nice and enjoy the service after which I were to fly home and welcome 60 of our closest relatives and with a smile on my face take plates of yummy food of their hands and set it pretty on my cherry blossom tables.  

And we would take pictures and we would sing worship songs and we would chat and lament
over the family that lost their young beautiful mama today...    

You see, for that 44 years old mama of eight, a different party was planned for this Easter. Her soul met the resurrected King today.   The same one she trusted and hoped would show up here on Earth and spare her of suffering.  And he showed up, but did not spare.  Today is the day she found the answer to why not? while the rest of us are left to wonder... 

Left to hope.  Left to put things in perspective (whats a flu compared to childhood cancer?) and left to trust in a bigger picture.  We are left to remember that suffering and death is part of the human experience and that it is sanctifying as much as it is suffocating...  

We are also left to love.   Love like Jesus loved.  Love like 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 is engraved on our hearts and is a verb.  


Today, I am reminded that different is not bad and that not as planned is not necessarily disappointing.   

And I thank God that there is life after suffering.

P.S.   Oh, and here are some pictures baby niece, a rainbow baby, who made it into this world a few weeks prior and breathed new life into her long awaited parents and melted the heart of all those that knew their story.  Love you, Eva 💕.

Friday, January 13, 2017

The Longest Holiday

As I write this, I am procrastinating on whole bunch of home and business projects that are calling my name.  You see, the past several weeks (or has it been a month now?) have been pretty laid back around here and I think I am getting used to this type of life.  It started with three snow days in December extending our Winter Break to almost 3 weeks.

We got back from the break only to be sent home for more snow days totaling eight days as of today and who knows how many more.     NOBODY predicted it to be the biggest storm in decades with snow reaching a foot and even 15 inches in some places.

Needless to say these snow days have allowed for a lot of hours spent indoors lounging as well as outside playing.

 Because we live on a hill, sledding has been the most popular activity.


Did you know that boogie boards make the best sled?  We neither!   Snowboards were also attempted...but not enjoyed as much.

As we oohed and awed at the snow in the previous weeks, this snowstorm, with today's sunshine has created a sight fit for fairy tales.   Its chilly, yes, but there is zero wind and the sun actually warms your face.

If you are outside you want to stay...

and if you are inside you don't want to take your eyes off your window.

I chuckled as I walked passed the houses on our street and the street perpendicular.  People from every other house were outside either shoveling or playing with their kids.  A sight not usually seen.

I was finally able to see the faces of people who live in our neighborhood and even chatted with some. To my embarrassment, I found out that a neighbor three houses up had a baby.  Ten months ago.  And another has a kid similar age as Phillip who is kind and articulate.

Its not the first time that a snowstorm has introduced us to our neighbors.   Eight years ago, during our last major snowstorm, I wrote about that event here.     I don't know what it is about our neighborhood that has its lacking a sense of community.   We have been here 10 years this winter and it has always been this way.    It is because of the hills and lack of front yard space/porches?  Or that we are all mostly middle (striving for upper middle) class households that work many hours and don't have time to chit chat and connect?  

About eight years ago though... I started my blog when I was on maternity leave with this guy

looking exactly like this

Goodness gracious...😍

Sleepless nights were getting the most of my brain and I needed some way to prevent my neurons from getting completely fried.   So I started this blog and started typing away.  For the first year that is...  But 100 posts!  Thats one every three days with three kids 5 and under and a part time job and a Master's program!  How in the world?   This fixed itself though with later years averaging 3-9 posts a YEAR.  Ahem.

But I digress.   Snow.   Days off from work, school, sporting events, homework, chauffeuring.   Almost feels like getting off the hamster wheel for a bit and for the first time in ever...slowing down.  
Because when it snows, one really got no place to go...

These snow days come at a price.  It is almost certain that we will have to make them up in June. 
This means having the hardest month to teach/go to school go to almost July.  

I hope though that when June is here and we are crawling towards the year end, this post will serve as a reminder of the longest holiday we got blessed with this year and hope that it repeats come next Winter.  

Sunday, December 18, 2016

On Pictures and Parenting

Life has been busy!   As soon as soccer wrapped up, I found myself running around to wrestling and basketball, watching my boys tackle two new sports and the weeks got away from us.    

I’m not the first one to say that time flies and yet, how DID I find myself married to almost a forty year old?  I looked at my handsomest yesterday in natural, indirect sunlight and swooned over the fact that the amount of silver hair on his head is dominating.   

The other week, we were able to getaway for a few days to a paradise state and while playing 
in the crystal clear turquoise water like two newlyweds, it did not occur to either of us that we are 15 years older than that time in Mazatlan, Mexico and are currently parenting 5 kids-- toddler to teen and that we supposed to have figured some things out in this life by now. 

But the truth is,  when it comes to parenting  at least, we still, just like when we had our first, have no idea what in the world we are doing.  We find ourselves more patient with some things and less patient with others.  We understand that parenting is a serious matter, yet we are learning to choose our battles and laugh many things off.  We are less concerned with raising perfect children and more with people who are kind and wise.   And as we grieve over the fact that weeks fly,  time is at no mercy and this fact alone guides the words we utter to each other and the decisions we make.   Most of the time.   Sometimes, though our life is a bit like this picture.  

My sis captured our expression the moment my son threw a pinecone when he was supposed to pose for the picture and we are watching to see where it lands.   Will it hit her or her son in the head or will it miss?

Walking on eggshells hoping it all turns out OK...

It would be a lie to say that I treasure and swoon over every moment I have with my kids.   

We have all kinds of moments...  There are those when part of me earns for an escape, a place where I don't have to think of what to say next or how to handle a certain situation. 

I've never liked conflicts and by trying to avoid them all my life, have never learned a productive way to solve them.   

With a teen in a house and more on the way, I have a feeling I'll get a little better at them 😏. 

There are also those moments, when joy overspills and I cannot imagine greater happiness than this life of mine right that second.  

Our household is loud and the days where that noise is dominated by the kids are actually great days. The days where the patience for disobedience runs out and the household gets louder are days no one here is proud of...

And when quiet moments of reflection happen, we cling to grace and the never ceasing hope that tomorrow will be a better day.  

Parent teacher conferences happened a few weeks ago.  And with each of the three school children of ours, I smiled ear to ear and thought I would burst with pride as each teacher raved about them.   They are leaders, respectful, hard working, kind, etc, etc other qualities that this house of ours often doesn't witness.   When kids get home, they let their guard down and the pressure to perform, please and comply ceases and we see the real them.  Just as they see the real us...  

But just like the pictures from photoshoots that don't make it to Instagram and Pinterest because they they weren't perfect    didn't turn out as one of more subjects had their finger up their nose or a melt down, those things did happen and they are us, authentic, raw and imperfectly perfect.  

So when lament over the fact that these four walls see their share of antonyms and all the teaching and disciplining appears in vain, grace, forgiveness, and hope show up and your heart is full and you are content with your imperfectly perfect life.  

Our annual Fall pictures happened a month or so ago.   My sister graciously insisted that we need to take them that day or else they won't happen and so we went.   We couldn't decide where to go but when my husband suggested we go to the property we bought last year, I welcomed the idea and was so glad for it.  The lighting was perfect and the fall colors showed up here and there.   Most members of the fam were in a great mood and the whole photoshoot felt relaxed and natural. 


Plus, my sister, who is ever so awesome to continue to do this for us year after year...

Tomorrow marks the first official day of Christmas Break.  There is so much catching up to do around the house plus all the hosting that happens in December!    But because we keep Christmas pretty low key presents wise, there will also be time for cookie baking, extra long snuggles, feet massages,  book reading and Christmas lights sightings.  Oh and potty training.  Almost forgot potty training.  That is in our plans as well.  Ahem...  

So we will  have bad moments on great days--but that's OK as long as good moments, as gray hairs, dominate.