Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Another sick day yesterday and the spelling continues...sort of

Madeline is not pictured because she felt much worse yesterday and confined herself to bed exept for an occasional foray into the kitchen to ask if she could confiscate my computer in order to play online math games. I told her to go back to bed and lie down. She was so unwell that she didn't even argue with my decision, usually. However, her persistent nature kept her coming back every hour or so to ask again. I think though, that she was actually relieved by my refusal so she could just lay in bed and rest. 

It was difficult to get a clear picture of Lydia. All this sitting around at home made it hard for her to rest, even though she had still felt sick to her stomach in the morning.
Unfortunately, Isabella doesn't get an alphabet cookie picture of her name. While she was at kindergarten in the afternoon I laid the letters for her name aside on the counter. The "King of the Sneak Attack," Reagan, ambushed the cookies when I wasn't looking however, and unless I can figure out how to spell "Isabella" with the random R's, X's and D's left in the cookie box, her name won't get spelled out till I make it to the grocery store next. That will probably be a while from now considering the rate of sickness per capita in this family and the fact that my husband and I am sharing one vehicle. No complaints however! This is just another chance for me to "make less work!"

Our sick day reading circle. Lydia got out some books and started reading to her siblings. From the picture you can tell that Reagan was obviously feeling much better. Allen's face also shows his mood. He was crabby all day.
It is always so beautiful when the children choose to sit together and enjoy an activity. It is especially lovely when I don't have to orchestrate it. This was a spontaneous moment of cooperation; a much rarer thing then I had imagined before I had children of my own. Although I am not quite sure why because my sister and I fought almost incessantly until I went off to college.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Sick Day Spelling Cookies

She has the cough that will not go. Bryan has been coughing for over 3 weeks now. We thought Maddy wasn't going to get it, because all her siblings got it much earlier then her. Unfortunately she finally succumbed to the cough. Trying to get her to rest however is a very trying task indeed. She seems to think that jumping rope over my exercise bands is a new way to rest. Jumping brings on the coughing however. 

He was having trouble not eating his name. Three-year-olds are not often gifted with a surplus of patience. He too has the unrelenting cough although he insists that "the chine you bought" has made him better. He means "the machine" and by that he means the humidifier he now has in his room. Two weeks of more humid sleeping accommodations has helped, but the cough still persists. 
Poor little guy is still unwell in more then one way, as his frequent coughing fits and diaper changes  attest. I miss the rosy complexions they all had while we lived in Florida. Frequent trips to the beach and daily open air exercise made them all tan and tawny. Six weeks in this frozen winter have drained the color from us all, but spring will come again and it will seem all the more marvelous after these icy grim days. 

My two girls not pictured did not eat any alphabet cookies; too sick to their stomachs for that. Not too sick to fight and complain though, so I guess they will be all right.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Pear Tree (an impression)

It has long outgrown its productive height. Tall it stands in the darkness. Lit only by the reflected light of the house's spotlights shinning up on it from the millions of delicate flakes blanketing everything, coloring the ground white. Shaped by years longer then my own, twisting and turning through space and time, branches reaching out to the sky and then turning inward again, but then once again reaching out to the sun, always straining upward to find the light. Now it is resting, slumbering dormant till the sun awakens it's sap with the lengthening of days, calling it to grow again, to rise further from this earth, to reach up and out and away.
Who planted the seed or when, I will never know. How many children have eaten it's fruit or played beneath it's bows is knowledge known to itself alone.
Tonight it waits for another springtime. A springtime when my own young ones will watch with anticipation for the buds to break forth with new greenness, and for the misshapen pears to ripen out of their reach in hopes that some will drop to the ground in time for them to enjoy the imperfect beauty and sweetness.
A shadow with white frosted brightness. A gnarled, bending and overgrown outline against a frozen white landscape. A time worn beauty. A fruit tree in winter.

Friday, January 24, 2014


Before we moved in, my in-laws they were kind enough to install a dishwasher for us. Unfortunately, months later when we loaded dishes into the dishwasher, it didn't actually wash dishes. It was just pretending to do so by making the appropriate noises at the appropriate times. Sorta like when I tell my kids to brush their teeth and they go into the bathroom, run the water, and stand there for a few seconds. Then they run the water over their toothbrush again. It sounds convincing but doesn't accomplish much.
Unfortunately, unlike the kids, we can't just tell the dishwasher to "Get back in there and do it right this time!" I tried it. The dishes still came out dirty, dispite all the swishing noises and mechanical clicking sounds. The lights even switched on and off in concert with the swishing and clicks. Still, the dishes were untouched by water. The remains of food however were baked on by the very effective drying cycle, which managed to melt some of the plastic ware into Salvador Dali-esc shapes.
Today, due to the very cold temperatures outside, Bryan is stuck at home with us. In an effort to keep from going stir crazy due to lack of hard labor, he decided to take apart the dishwasher so we can order the appropriate parts, so it can do more then sound effective.
As evidenced by this picture, he had more help then he knew what to do with.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Am I the Great Weaver

God has a way of weaving together the threads of our lives, weaving intricate patterns, indiscernible as we look up close at the section we can see; the present moment.
I, like Job, am continually asking "Why?" about everything. I desire to see the pattern, to understand how the details of my life, the suffering of others, and the evil in this world are being redeemed, washed clean to make an unstained tapestry. My restless heart chants "Why, why, why?" in rhythm to it's beating, but I am left with the old, old answer. Older then the books of the Old Covenant which record the lives of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, older then the Exodus into the Promised Land, older then all the Law and the Prophets. It is God's first recorded answer to a human question.
Moses wrote the first five books of the Old Testament, and although they record the earliest human history, they are not the first to be written.
Job is the oldest book of the Bible, recording the oldest human question "Why?" 
All Jobs questions add up to this: "I will say unto God, Do not condemn me; shew me wherefore thou contendest with me."
God responds with questions himself, but they all add up to this "Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me if you have understanding...Shall the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him? He who rebukes God, let him answer it."
When I question God with the "Why?" of ages past, the "Why?” of my own aching heart, am I actually pointing my finger in accusation? I wouldn't do it this way. I wouldn't let people choose evil. I would keep the innocent free from hunger and oppression, safe from famine and torture. I would stop the evil of the world. I would not let things go on like this.
I suppose I am saying that I know better when I entertain theses thoughts. I am questioning God's judgment. Just like my daughters question mine. But my questioning is far more pathetic. My daughters believe they know what is best for them: unsupervised unlimited access to anything they want; TV, video games, movies, candy, junk food, ice cream, the whipped cream in a can. Denying them anything they perceive as good brings forth the question "Why?" 
What is my response? I am the mother and it is my job to decide what is best for them and how much is too much and when unpleasant discipline is required. When they question, they are just questioning me, another mortal. I question the infinite omniscient One with the same audacity of a ten-year-old complaining to her mom.
"Why not unlimited ice pops all day long?"
"Why not an endless string of happy days full of one pleasure following the other?"
Are either of us really asking "Why?" or just complaining? 
I want this world to be perfect. I want to never grow old. I want my children to live in peace and harmony with no pain, no suffering, no death. I never want to feel the undying ache of loosing my husband, watching a loved one waste away from cancer, or experience the body breaking torture of persecution. I don't want anyone to suffer. Yet that is the state of the world. Do I really think I know better then God how this world should be? 
The ache in my chest that never really goes away, the one that gnaws at me and tells me that something is wrong says, something is always wrong: time is passing and the specter of death hangs over every one of us like Damocles’ sword, waiting to cut us asunder from life, that ache says "Yes, this is all wrong. We were never meant for this. We were created in the image of God, perfect. How could He let this happen? Why?"
I am just like my ten-year-old daughter. I am always asking why and never satisfied with the answer no matter how true, because I want my own way. I want the easy way, the path without pain. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Home in NJ

Well we now call NJ our home again, after 12 years away (almost). Looking for work for Bryan is our main occupation right now. Oh and changing poopy diapers...
It has been a bit of weather shock for me and the children. Seven months of perpetual summer in SW Florida weakened our resistance to coldness and all these cloudy days and precipitation have been a difficult adjustment. Being with Bryan makes it all OK though. We just pile on more clothing and have to cuddle up under more blankets. If we must go outside full snow gear is in order. I used to love the cold and snow and rain and sleet and overcast days that are wintertime in NJ, but my constitution had adjusted to high humidity and heat of Fort Myers Beach, so I am relying on my attitude (mind over matter) to overcome my icy fingers and frigid toes. I have been considering wearing fingerless gloves in the house but I wash too many dishes for that to be practical.
I finally have a computer for blogging again (thank you dear sister and brother-in-law)and once Bryan finds regular employment I will start writing more regularly again as well as looking for a paper that might publish my work. I was so blessed to have The Berthoud Surveyor in Colorado and The Island Sandpaper in Florida. The awesome editors at those papers gave me a place on their staff. Seeing my work in print is a thrill every time and I hope to find a new outlet for my writing. In the meantime I hope to turn my efforts back to blogging again, now that we are settled into our new apartment at Bryan's parents home.
We have been the recipient of so much charity in the past few months. It is a very humbling experience.
Lots to write about but no time right now. I need to get Izzy ready for half day kindergartenand feed her and the boys some lunch all while avoiding eating too much myself. Here's to trying!
Home in NJ, it still sounds wierd to me.