Monthly Archives: November 2008

Look who’s four!!!

Who turned four today?

Hmmmm . . .

Ummmm . . .

Ohh, that’s right. ME!!

Happy birthday to my sweet, sweet Hannah Girlie. I can’t believe she’s four. Four is like a whole new era. She had a lovely Queen-themed birthday party with grandparents and aunts and uncle and cousins. Tiaras all around. Isaac was up before the sun, alone downstairs, decorating, making signs and pipe-cleaner bows, and–sweetest of all–delivering a hand-made birthday card to Hannah’s pillow while she slept.

She had a Queen-tastic party, with all gifts involving butterflies, princesses, glitter, jewels, sparkles, the color purple, and many combinations thereof. Her favorites: a Sleeping Beauty Barbie and a Sleeping Beauty dress-up dress. Together they sent the sweet girl into orbit. About the doll: “She’s exactly what I wanted.” “I will take her everywhere with me and if I ever get bored I will just play with her.”

Pics will have to come another time as Ry and I work into the night to pack ourselves up to go out of town tomorrow. We’re going to visit his dad and his wife, a trip that was postponed by all our horrid sickness this week. The horrid sickness got worse than when I last posted. A trip to an ER and a pediatrician, some antibiotics and steroids later, and I think we’re good to go. Although Isaac was complaining of a sore throat before bed. Hopefully it won’t really get any worse and we’ll be off for our visit with our favorite set of parents. We’ll be gone until Wednesday and I’m not sure I’ll get a chance to write again before then.

So, pics of Queen Hannah in her new gown will have to wait until we come back. I’m sure you are all aflutter with anticipation.


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I haven’t been around this week . . .

I’d like to say it’s because I’ve been distracted by our reunited familial bliss.

I’d like to say that.  I’d really really like to say that.  But I can’t.

Everyone is sick again.  Ry was horribly, taken-to-bed sick all day yesterday and Hannah’s fever returned with a vengeance around lunchtime yesterday.  And Ruth hasn’t slept well for two days.

I need some real things to complain about, I realize.  But whine whine whine anyway.  In addition to the sickies, nobody has slept as well as they did when Ry was away!  Why?  Why why why?  Why?!  Ruth’s been getting up in the night again.  Hannah too.  I guess I saw it coming.  But part of me was really wishing, hoping beyond hope, that since they both slept straight through while he was gone they would say, “Hey!  Why haven’t I been doing this all along?  Last night was the first night of the rest of my life!  I found a new way to be!  A new way to sleep!  No more night-waking for me!!!!”

Um.  No.

Apparently Ruth was sleeping because she was sick.  And Hannah was sleeping straight through because she just likes to sleep with Daddy and he wasn’t there, no reason to get up.  But now he’s home, so we’re back to “Daddy, will you come lie down in mine bed wif me?”

Ahh.  Yes.  Everything is back to normal.

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Filed under Family Life, sick kid

He’s home!


I like this man.  In the words of a two-year-old Hannah, “He’s a dery nice man.”

Now I’m feeling the tension and adrenalin that sustained me through the days of being solely responsible for these small children seeping out of my pores, leaving me a puddle of exhaustion.  I don’t know how you ladies do it, you ladies who are parenting all alone all the time with or without a husband.  You are my heroes.

I am now hunkered down in my bedroom (no AC necessary this time, as the ground outside is covered in snow), tucked under my flannel sheet and quilt and 300 lb afgan.  Ahhh.  Nice.  Breathing deeply, feeling drowsy.  Moving only my fingers as necessary.  Ready, willing, and perfectly able to enter a coma right here and sleep for a week.  Boy I’m such a wimp.  But it’s OK.  So the lesson here, boys and girls, is that I need my husband.  And I think that’s OK.

Yesterday was a long day, waiting for Ry’s trip to be over.  It was made complicated by poor Hannah who took her turn being sick.  She’s one of those people whose body, in response to any kind of virus or infection, says, “Turn up the heat, girls!  Crank up that furnace!  We’re going to blast those bad boys right outa here!!”  Fever.  Oh man.  Can she rage a fever.  And that she did yesterday.  104.7 at one point and she seemed hotter still later but I didn’t want to bug her with the thermometer just so I could quantify what I already knew to be true:  her blood was sterilizing itself via boiling.  Poor, poor baby girl.  A little whimpering lump under a blanket on the couch watching hours of PBSKids.  Call the authorities, I let her do nothing but zone-out on Word World and Maya & Miguel and Clifford and George and Super Why and Word Girl (best girl super-hero evah) all day long and then follow it up with some Veggies for dessert.  Gives the rest of the kids a chance to catch up.  That’s what my sister always says.

I felt really bad, though, at the end of the day when it came time to go pick Ry up from the airport.  She simply was not up to it, and she really had been looking forward to it ever since we dropped him off.  I was afraid she’d throw a big fit over not going, and I think she was (rightfully) winding up for it until I told her I could call Aunt Worry and see if she would come stay with her.  “Yes, call Aunt Worry.”  Hannah is Aunt Worry’s clone and they are simply too sweet together.  So, Aunt Worry came over and sat on the couch snuggling Hannah while Isaac and Ruth and I went to pick up Ry.

Isaac enjoyed the airport.  There were escalators, first thing!  But then.  Then he saw it.  The baggage carousel.  Wow!  The baggage carousel.  “Mommy!!  What’s that conveyor belt doing there?!”  “You’ll see, Isaac.”  And see he did.  And it was good.  Funny little boy.  The most fascinating thing about the airplanes for him was he discovered there are bathrooms on them.  Fantastic!

So a fun trip to the airport at the end of a very long day at the end of a very long long weekend followed by some happy children welcoming home their Daddy followed by a happy wife welcoming home her husband.  All is right with our world again.  Five of us in the house.  And it is very good.


Filed under Family Life, sick kid

Last Day.

And I couldn’t be happier about it. Yet another good going-to-sleep night last night. Really it went about the same as the three previous nights. Now, do we think these kids could do this as easily with two of us here? Do you think Hannah can go to sleep all on her own in her bed, letting her dad just go right downstairs instead of lying down with her for a while which inevitably leads to his falling asleep there and my going up to poke him awake 45 minutes later? (By the time I got to the end of that sentence, did you remember that it started as a question?) My money’s on a big fat Nope! But somehow I think Ry will muddle through having to snuggle with his little girl for a while after not having seen her for four days.

I never mentioned how I didn’t even get to talk to Ry from Friday morning until 8:30 last night. I think that’s some sort of new record. Well at least a record for the last three years or so. It’s amazing to me, our history, the nature of our relationship, the way things have changed. We started out as friends spending all day, every day (Mon-Fri) together, then started dating and added every Friday and Saturday evenings. But then we went to college and only saw each other once a month at best, sometimes less, except for summers, of course. As college progressed, we spent more and more weekends together during the school year, but spent progressively less time together over the summers as Ry’s ROTC training increased. By the end of college we were well-conditioned for separations.

One summer during seminary (Ry’s years) we spent 12 weeks apart while Ry did Chaplain Officer Basic Course. We saw each other once during that time, and only because my beloved aunt died and Ry returned for the funeral. The summer he graduated involved three weeks apart, followed by six weeks together, followed by two weeks apart. Ry’s first six years of ministry involved his spending anywhere from three to six weeks a summer away from home as well as two to six weekends away through the school year. We were so good at separation. We felt like God had really used our college years to prepare us for a marriage of frequent separations.

I never liked being separated from him. I would be offended by the church ladies who suggested how nice a break I must be having with Ry away. That still mystifies me. I always missed him and preferred having him around. I’m pretty sure that’s why we got married. But still, we could enter a zone, the separation zone, and really do OK with it. Then we had Isaac. And all of a sudden, I never wanted Ry to leave home again. Ever. Ry spent 18 months of Isaac’s first two years on Active Duty, coming home every night, but after 14-16-hour days, 29 days a month. That was almost separation. And in some ways worse, because he was there but not there. Since that time, though, he has spent very little time away from home.

Ever since we moved to our current church, he’s been home. He no longer leaves for a week at a time; his weekend retreats are limited to two a year. It’s nice. I like it. But I think in the meantime I’ve lost sight of how well we still really can do with separation. So why so desperate for him not ever ever never to leave? Well. Really there are two different components to the separation, and I don’t think I’ve thought of it before. It’s not so much that I’m can’t-breathe-without-him desperate for him to be here. Ry and I do well enough being separated from one another. But neither of us does really well being alone with the kids for a long time. So. We’re the same as we’ve always been, relationally. We just desperately need each other for the whole parenting thing. And that’s OK. Our kids like having both of us around.

What was nice about these days with him gone is that I’ve discovered I really can do the parenting thing solo. I prefer not to, but I can. I’ve reflected on that a lot as Ry has thought about returning to the Army in some capacity (Reserves or Guard). It really has helped to do better than simply survive these days. Of course it’s required my talking on the phone to my sister two or three times a day, her and my mom spending the day with my kids while I attended Saturday’s presbytery meeting, my sister delivering our take-out pizza on Thursday, as well as her taking Hannah for a special outing all day Friday. OK. So I could do the solo parenting thing if I married my sister. But then, I guess, I wouldn’t be solo anymore, now would I? OK, so back to knowing I can’t really do this parenting thing alone. But should I be able to?

Hmm. Thoughts for another day.

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Filed under Family Life, marriage, my husband

A minor glitch, but still holding steady.

So, my wonderful, glorious children went to bed super-easily again last night.  Hannah did the same as the night before, waiting in bed for me, looking at her Beginner’s Bible until she fell asleep.  This time she fell asleep with it lying open on top of her head.  Poor baby.  She was all sweaty under there.  She’s just amazing me this week.  I mean, yeah, sure, she’s nearly four.  This shouldn’t be so remarkable.  But.  She’s Hannah.  So you understand when she needs extra snuggles.  However, I must say this is a nice change.

Here’s the glitch.  Ruth has been sleeping so well because she’s sick.  Like pukey sick.  Blech.  Poor baby.  She was a little off yesterday.  She threw up in the morning, but I thought (read:  hoped) it was because she had slept twelve hours straight for the first time in her life and nursed on an empty stomach from an unexpectedly neglected mom.  Yeah.  That’s why she threw up.  That’s what I told myself, anyway, when I was on my way out the door for a full-day Presbytery meeting.  Turns out she didn’t throw up the rest of the day, but her appetite was a little off.  She was very selective in what she ate.  Peas and corn?  Yes.  Chicken?  Blahch.  Nope.  Well at 6:30 this morning I discovered maybe the peas and corn weren’t such a good idea after all.

I was all psyched up for us to go to church by ourselves.  Our clothes were ironed, I was prepared to get myself fixed up super-quick.  This weekend has been going so well, I just knew we could make it.  And then poor Ruthie got sick.  Oh. She was pitiful.  While I changed her bedding, she draped herself over the footstool to our nursing chair and pretty much fell asleep there:  feet on the floor, bent in half onto the stool, clutching her fresh blankie.  Then she just lay limp on the changing table while I changed her diaper and jammies.  Then she let me just lay her right back in her bed where she slept for two more hours.  Pitiful.

So far her day’s not going too badly though.  No more throwing up.  But off.  Definitely off.  And sleepy.  Poor baby.  But still we trudge on.  Isaac and Hannah are being understanding and playing well and God is keeping me in a great place mentally.  We all just might survive after all.  But I sure do miss that man of mine.

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Filed under Family Life, sick kid

I think I’ll keep these kids after all.

Yep.  They’re keepers.  🙂

This is night two of Operation Daddy is GONE! and both bedtimes have actually gone quite well.  And these are the kids who have been extra crazy at bedtime lately.

Going into last night, I wasn’t really worried about Isaac.  Apparently he has finally settled in to his new room and come to realize that there are, in fact, no monsters living in the knee walls. He’s been getting up at 5AM since the clocks changed (yesterday he watched NOVA during the 5 o’clock hour), so he can barely keep his eyes opened through dinner.  Therefore, he basically collapses into a comatose heap as soon as his rump hit his mattress.

My Hannah Girlie, on the other hand, has been in the habit–since birth–of having someone lie down with her while she tosses and turns and hums and flops and plays with her hands and reaches toward the ceiling for twenty minutes until she drops off a cliff to slumber.

And Ruth . . . Boy, Ruth had me the most worried about this week.  Horrid Molar Teething Monster has set up shop and she has been sleeping terribly for a week or more.  I can’t actually remember how long it has been, as sleep deprivation leaves me incapable of marking time.  So bad has her teething been that I had her to the pediatrician last week, convinced she had an ear infection.  Head banging, ornery, sleepless–my good sleeper, too–oh, the poor baby has been a mess.  So, as you could well imagine, I was very worried about how this weekend would go, as Daddy is go-to guy when sitting in a chair and nursing to sleep fails, as it has been lately.

But last night went great.  Ruth had no nap yesterday, so she was whooped.  As a result, I was able to sit down on the floor of Isaac and Hannah’s room and nurse her to sleep while I sang to the other two.  Hannah’s flopping about came to an end, Ruth was passed out, so I thought I’d take Ruth to her crib.  When I stood up I saw that Hannah wasn’t quite all the way asleep so I panicked slightly.  She opened her eyes, gave me a sweet wave, blew me a kiss and said goodnight.  That was that.  I lay Ruth in her crib and I was done at 8:15.

I was less optimistic going into tonight.  Hannah had fallen asleep in the car on her way home from an outing with Aunt Worry, which generally means there is no way on earth she’ll be asleep before 9PM.  Ruth took a nice two hour nap.  Still wasn’t too worried about Isaac, though, as he had awakened at 5AM again today in hopes of getting to watch NOVA again–sorely disappointed he was.  As predicted, Isaac fell quickly to sleep while I sang and held Ruth in my arms.  My girls, however, took a little more convincing and for a while anyway I was afraid I’d be there a while.  In the end, Hannah lay in her bed “reading” her children’s Bible while I sang and nursed Ruth, but then Ruth became very unsettled.  She was not as sleepy as last night and so couldn’t just pass out.  She needed her nice dark room, and noise machine.  So I picked her up to take her downstairs and Hannah asked if I could lie down with her.  “No, honey, I’m sorry.  I need to take Ruth down to her bed.”  “Will you lie down with me after she’s asleep?”  “Sure.  But you lie here in your bed and look at your Bible and try to go to sleep on your own, OK?”  “OK.”  And she closed her eyes.

Ruth took a while.  Some nursing, an attempt to get down, some whines and cries for Daddy that I joined in on.  But finally she settled in nursing and fell asleep.  I lay her down with her making feeble gasping sounds indicating a desire for milk, but apparently that desire couldn’t overcome the exhaustion of two weeks of poor sleeping because when I lay her down she went right to sleep.  So.  Now, back to Hannah.  I went upstairs to lie down with her, as requested, but I found her there already asleep.  Curled on her side, still holding her children’s Bible.  She did it.  Two nights in a row.  To sleep on her own.

We’ll see how tomorrow goes.

As for how the rest of my day is going during my husband’s absence:  I’m missing the man terribly.  I really like this guy and like to live with him.  Really.  So not getting to hang out with him is no fun at all.  But so far I’m doing quite well on the mothering front.  Praise be to God, He’s giving me everything I need for this long weekend, including the assurance that he really did give me what it takes to be a mother.  Today while Hannah went on her adventure and Ruth took her nap, I actually sat in a chair for an hour and read.  Just me.  All alone.  With a book, a blanket on my lap, and my beautiful living room windows surrounding me.  Nice.  Very nice.  On to tomorrow’s adventures . . .


Filed under Family Life, Hannah, Isaac, Ruth

He’s leaving me!!!


My dear, sweet husband is going out of town for five days on a purely pleasure trip.  And I am so happy for him.  I really am.  I’m the one who really, strongly urged him to do it.  He needs it; he deserves it.  I’m so glad for the retreat he will experience, off with his former college roommates on a hunting ranch in Texas.  I am so totally excited for him.

And I am so totally terrified for me.  Five days.  As a single mom.  Now this is going to come off as a total whine to women who are single moms every day.  And it will come off as a total whine to moms whose husbands travel a great deal for work.  It will come off as a total whine to all the moms whose husbands work long hours, whose husbands, for whatever reason, are not terribly helpful around the house and with the kids.  In fact, this is a total whine, no matter who you are or where you are or how you slice it.  But let me have my whine.  And spare me the contest.

Yes, I am so lucky my husband is so involved in our day-to-day around here:  cooking some dinners, making Boy’s lunches, giving Girls baths, putting some kids to bed, sharing nighttime parenting, getting groceries . . . generally sharing all of the household responsibilities with me.  I am lucky.  I am blessed.  And the full reality is we share a whole lot of his church responsibilities as well.  We’re a pretty good team around here.  And now he’s leaving town.  And I am not in a good place for it.

I don’t know about other moms, but I feel like I ride this roller coaster:  going from thinking, “Yeah, I’m OK. I’m actually pretty good at this mom thing,” to days like yesterday.  Yesterday was awful.  Yesterday was one of those days that brings me to my knees, sobbing out to God:  “I’m so sorry I’m such a terrible mother.  I’m so sorry.  I’m just so awful at this.  I don’t know what to do.  I don’t know how to do this.  I’m so sorry.  So sorry.  So sorry.”  Awful, awful day yesterday.

So, tomorrow my husband leaves town for five days and I have until noon tomorrow to convince myself that God indeed knew what he was doing when he blessed me with these three wonderful children.  That I really can be their mother and take good care of them and love them the way he’s called me to.  And trust that because he’s called me to it, he has equipped me for it.  He has.  He has.  He has.  So, 24 more hours of chanting that and I should be fine, huh?


Filed under Family Life