Category Archives: Isaac

Ruth’s face, 2012 edition

When last we saw our fair heroine, she was bent in half from the blow to her gut leveled by Hurricane Sandy . . .

After dragging myself through November, I finally gathered the wherewithal to make it through my finals and my final papers.   I was in sight of the finish line.  It was the night before a sit-down final exam and due date for an 8-page paper for the same class (who does that to people??!!) when I received another blow.  And this one was bloody.

At 8 o’clock at night, after a lovely dinner out with dear, dear friends (celebrating the birthday of my curmudgeonly friend), Ruthie fell up the concrete steps to our third floor apartment.  When I turned to look at her, her face was dripping blood.  Dripping.  From inside her mouth and from the spot on her face where 2.5 years earlier a dog’s tooth had gone through to the inside of her mouth, a spot that had been repaired by a plastic surgeon.  I panicked.

Did she need to go to the emergency room?  Did this tear open an old wound?  WHY oh WHY?! does my poor baby have to keep suffering injuries to her face???!!

And her poor siblings!  Isaac especially, I think, continues to have some post traumatic stress from her other facial injuries: the awful dog bite when she was three and the run-in with the post when she was 17 months old.  But God bless him.  He was a trouper.  His initial response was panic and “RUN AWAY!!” but he held it together for the sake of his sister and stood firm.  Hannah, too, held it together.  Heeded my instruction to try to remain quiet and calm, to refrain from asking me too many questions as I tried to gather my own wits about me.

Have I mentioned how the Go-To Guy for all things bloody (or vomitous, or bodily-fluid-y in general) in our household is, indeed a Guy?  The Man, to be exact?  I rely more than I should on his training and experience in first aid he received as a 7-year veteran lifeguard.  Also, I do little to fight against my general response of Flight to all things stressful.  I’m the one who holds and comforts, who tends to the care of the bystanders (i.e., the siblings) and who grabs supplies like paper towels, towels, ice, and bandages on demand.  I’m like the administrative assistant in emergencies.  My husband is the calm in the storm, the level-headed, the stare-death-in-the-eye-and-declare-it-not-really-death-just-a-boo-boo Go-To Guy.

And yet, here I was.  With my youngest poor baby bleeding and scared because she’s been down this road before and it weren’t pretty.  And my oldest poor baby trying to be ever-so calm and cool and collected while his uber-empathy was trying to take him over.  And my middle poor baby who would have loved nothing more than to take charge and fix things, if only she had the answers to all her myriad questions!  And, me.  Pretending to be calm.  Pretending to know what the hell I was doing.  Pretending to be in charge and in control, reassuring everyone of things about which I had no assurance.

Finally, I concluded an emergency room was in order, but I didn’t even know where an emergency room was!  So, I left my three babies in my apartment while I went knocking on the doors of neighbors.  It only took two doors to get the information I needed (oh! how I love living in an apartment complex full of people whose vocations revolve around helping people!).  When I returned to our apartment, I found a beautiful sight.  Isaac and Hannah were in front of and along side of a sitting Ruth, rubbing her back, touching her leg, assuring her it would be OK.  They had brought out to her the big bucket of stuffed animals so she could pick out the one she wanted for comfort.  (Ruthie’s one of those stuff-animal-obsessed kids.)

My two olders.  They had set aside their own fears and anxieties enough to be present with their injured sister.  My eyes are welling up with tears now as I remember it.  I know they were scared.  I know Isaac was having flashbacks to the dog bite.  And yet, there they were:  surrounding her with their love and care.

So, off we went, just Ruthie and me.  Thankfully, Ruthie’s very lovely, wonderful, I-love-her-so-much babysitter was able to come and stay with Isaac and Hannah while I took Ruthie to the emergency room.  No stitches necessary, though as I look at the scar that remains, I still wonder if we made the right decision there.  There was so much of a scrape, I think it was hard to see what all was going on.  Her tooth had, indeed, gone right through her skin to the other side.  Her lips had begun to swell.  She was an awful mess.  But not nearly so bad as the last two facial injuries, so . . . well . . . yeah.  My poor baby.

Finally, at 10:30 PM, we returned from the hospital.  I tucked my baby into bed and went back to the table to finish up my paper that was due the next day and to try to study for the exam that was covering church and state relations from around the 8th through the 15th centuries.  No prob, bob.  ::sigh::

I skidded into the end of my semester, handing in work I can’t even read again (neither my writing nor the graders’ comments), getting grades I hadn’t seen since 10th grade, and feeling overall completely defeated, out of my league, and like a dingbat for ever considering coming back to school in the first place.  January found me in near fetal position and sucking down the entire Friday Night Lights series in the course of three weeks between semesters.

I wanted to quit.  I wanted to pack up my kids and our stuff and my books and head back home to the safety of our house.

Next up:  the apocalypse continues . . .

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Filed under academics, Family Life, Hannah, Isaac, Ruth, seminary

So many thinks to think . . .

and not a think to write.

My Boy has been home sick since yesterday around 11:00.  The phone rang around 10:35, and my caller ID said, Name of School.  And the school’s just not whom you want to hear from in the middle of the day.  Particularly when your pre-K-kid is in the bathtub and you have a massage scheduled for 100 minutes hence.  I told the nurse she must have some sort of complex because no one is happy to hear from her in the middle of the day.

So, I picked up my Boy from school.  After, of course, shooing the ever-so-easy-going Ruth out of the bathtub ahead of schedule, brushing and drying her hair as quickly as possible, skipping over the waiting-for-the-van, marathon bubble-blowing session to which we’ve grown accustomed, and rushing her over to the school twenty minutes before she was set to arrive for her own school day.  Poor Boy was green.  Thankfully, the nurse–who really is a lovely woman–offered to take Ruth to sit with her sister in the cafeteria until it was time for her school day to start, so that I didn’t have to drive her home simply to buckle her into the school van approximately 85 seconds later.

So, poor green Boy.  So sad.  So very sad.  My Boy is supposed to be full of energy and intensity, not lying like a lump on the couch.  So sad.

A good mother would end the post there.  But I make no claims about being a good, conscientious mother.  This mother, while sad for her poor, sick boy, is also sad for her poor lazy self.  I really wanted that massage I had scheduled yesterday.  I already payed for it with a Groupon-like thing.  And I waited for just the right day for it.  And yesterday was it.  And then it wasn’t.  And then, today I was desperate to just hang out by myself for a while, and my poor Boy is green once again.  So sad!  So sad for poor green Boy who loves food, but whose food is now playing tricks on him and seeking to jump right back out after it’s swallowed.  And poor, lousy, selfish mother who’d like to sit in silence for a while, to stew in her own frantic thinkings about major life changes and class schedules and childcare for two hours each of two afternoons a week . . .

Run on sentences.  They be my thang.

Poor green Boy appears to be less green now.  Actually he looks quite pink.  And he’s now enthusiastically looking at pictures of the Titanic in National Geographic.  I think he’s all better.  And I’m glad.  Because this is my Boy:  enthusiastic, full of non-fiction tidbits, and wild speculation.  That’s better.

I’ll think my thinks tomorrow.  Oh.  Never mind.  I won’t.  Ruth has no school tomorrow and the kids who do go to school will be home a little after 1PM.  I’ll think my thinks next week.  For, after all, next week is another week.

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Filed under being The Mommy, Isaac, Ministry of Reality, SAHM, sick kid, silliness

You have no idea . . .

Those are the words I heard from my Boy tonight:  “You have no idea how much I forget!”

This came in response to Hannah’s declaration upon entering the bathroom after Isaac exited:  “Isaac, you forgot to flush the toilet!”  I said, “Isaac.  How can you forget to flush the toilet?!”

“You have no idea how much I forget!”

. . . . .

Um.  I reflected for a bit.  On the fact that my boy seems a little detached from his surroundings.  How his brain is always, always whirring, taking him places far away from where his body is lumbering along.  How he loses track of what he’s doing with his body, tripping here, dropping there, walking away from the task at hand . . . all because his mind is racing with a new concept, a new idea he needs to conquer or develop or simply swim around in.

“You have no idea how much I forget.”

Um.  I just might.

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New Year, New Plans

So, I hear it’s a new year.  And I’ve noticed that many of the bloggers I follow are posting some pensive pieces, reflecting on the year that has passed, looking forward to the year that is to come.  So it got me thinking . . . maybe I should do that.  I’m such a copycat.

Let’s see . . . last year . . . let’s see . . . Is it too much to say, “It was the best of years, it was the worst of years . . .” ?  Probably.  And I’m not even convinced there were any parts to it that would qualify as “best.”  Well.  That can’t be true in a household with three healthy, beautiful children under eight.  Of course there were some “best of” times.  These are the magic years. . . .

Ruthie has spent most of the year as a two-year-old.  That, obviously, has brought its challenges, but at the same time, it’s brought us to the point where this whole parenting game is getting less intense every day.  Sure, sure, she yells and screams her every need, desire, and whim and you have to beg her to stop yelling at you.  And yes.  Yes, she does beat the stuffing out of her siblings on a regular basis, particularly her big sister.  But.  At the end of the day, she is super sweet and a funnier toddler there never has been.  She’s got chutzpah enough for the whole household and she lives every feeling to the fullest extent possible.  She fights hard, but she loves just as hard.  She lives with passion.  With gusto.  I look forward to seeing all of her raw energy and passion and drive come to fruition as she, with time, develops self-control and discernment.  What a joy!  What an absolute joy, this third kid o’ mine.

Isaac Boy turned seven mid-year.  I just discovered last week that not only was Isaac born on his Grandpa’s birthday, but the two of them were born within seven minutes of one another, Isaac on a Thursday, Grandpa on a Wednesday.  Isaac was happy to hear all those similarities.  I love seven.  I think seven is a wonderful, wonderful age.  He’s still full of grand ideas, but he’s acquiring more and more skills to make them happen.  He’s gained independence and asserts it very matter-of-factly.  He has nothing to prove, he simply can do some things on his own.  But seven is still little.  Still nice and little.  Even if, in the case of my boy, seven comes in a 72 lb., 54.5 inch package with a vocabulary better than most adults I know.  Seven is still little.  So my boy has a dear friend named Osbert:  a dollar store, long-armed, door-knob hanger penguin.  He named him after the penguin in a storybook of the same name and, while the little guy has been around for two years, sometime in the last six months he became Isaac’s new best friend.  I bought Osbert a Christmas present.  We bought Osbert a friend (another penguin-shaped penguin named Pete) for whom Isaac wants me to make a Santa hat and scarf like Osbert’s.  I even took Osbert to Isaac’s Christmas concert at school and held him up where he could see and wave to Isaac on the stage.  I’ve grown quite fond of Osbert myself.  At some point during the year, Isaac decided he didn’t need his blankie anymore–a sad, sad, day–but I really think Osbert came to replace the blankie rather immediately.  Apparently seven is too big for a blankie, but not too big for a beloved stuffed pal.  So, now Isaac goes to bed with Osbert right next to his cheek, and his old friend Polar Bear (who’s been around since year one) next to Osbert and Pete on the other side of Polar Bear, held in Isaac’s hand.  And every night, I tuck in and kiss goodnight all four of them:  *smack* “Goodnight, Isaac Boy.”  *smack*  “Goodnight, Osbert.”  *smack*  “Goodnight, Polar Bear.”  *smack*  “Goodnight, Pete.”  Seven year old boys are awfully nice.

Then my Hannah Girlie.  She turned five just over a month ago, so she spent the year as a four-year-old.  I’ll be honest, historically four has not been my favorite age.  But.  This is Hannah.  So, while four has not been my favorite age for her, she’s still Hannah, so even her four is sweet as can be.  I’m amazed at how she’s grown this year.  All around growth.  She has grown longer and leaner and her face has lengthened and her nose has gained a bridge.  And she’s older.  She started half-day pre-K this school year, so that adds a certain worldliness to her.  What is amazing to me is her empathy.  The thing is, that this child had empathy as a two year old, long before she ever should have been able to see past the end of her nose–ask Ruthie.  It’s not a slight, it’s just a developmental fact of life.  The world of a two-year-old revolves around herself.  And that’s OK.  But Hannah at two was worried that guests were hungry and thirsty, she was upset if someone else was hurt and sought to offer comfort.  The list goes on.  We were bowled over by it.  But now.  Now she’s at the age when she should be developing empathy.  So, she’s actually developing more.  The girl who’s always been aware of the feelings of those around her, concerned for them, caring for them, is growing even more caring and concerned.  I don’t know how big this girl’s heart is, but I’m not sure how it fits in her chest.

Well.  Now I’m just bragging.  Now I’ve turned this into one of those Christmas cards that make you gag.  Ooops.  It’s not my fault, though.  I cannot be held responsible.  It’s these kids.  They’re too great.  It has little to nothing to do with me, it’s just the way they were issued.

So, maybe this year wasn’t all bad.  It was pretty bad.  It was awfully bad in spots.  But then there were these three bright spots.  I do like these kids.  They’re keepers.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll reflect on some other stuff going on.  Don’t worry, you can eat a heavy meal beforehand, there will be no more nauseating goo streaming forth from me.  I’ll go back to my regularly scheduled sarcasm and pessimism and actually come up with some plans.  As per the title of this post.

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Filed under Family Life, Hannah, Isaac, milestones, Ruth

Life’s Miscellany

Ummm . . . let’s see. Apparently I gave up writing for Fall. Who knew it was a traditional time of fasting?

What else? . . . I’ve just discovered Pandora Radio. Not more than ten minutes ago. Who knew there was a way to find more music like some of the random songs I’ve come to find and enjoy? Maybe I’ll start listening to music again. I’ve been on a bit of a music hiatus for . . . Oh, I don’t know . . . a decade or so. I’m actually kind of excited, because I’ve been missing having music in my life.

OK. . . . Now what? Apparently Christmas is coming. Some might say it’s only ten days away, but I’m skeptical. Because if it were indeed only ten days away, surely I would have at least a present or two on hand and I don’t. No tree up. No presents bought. Well. Maybe one is on the way in the mail via a catalog order, but it’s for the one other fully literate member of my family, so I won’t give away anything more than I already have. Otherwise though . . . nothing. zilch. Noodle!! (ten points for the one who gets that reference.) No tree. An Advent wreath-like thing that’s been lit approximately three times so far and we’re, what? twenty-two days into Advent now? Oh. We do have lights on our house. That deserves a separate paragraph . . .

My Boy. Just call him Clark.  Specifically the Christmas Vacation version.  But really, Clark in general.  In fact he’s at least the fourth generation Clark.  Isaac.  Ry.  His father.  And his father before him . . . These men.  These men with their grand ideas.  Grand ideas borne of such noble motives.  Eternal, anything-is-possible optimism, never-say-die determination and perseverance.  Along with an inexplicable susceptibility to bad luck.  I love these men.  Every one of them.  So, Isaac’s latest manifestation of his inner Clark is his commitment to turning our house into a Christmas light extravaganza.  Given the fact that Ry and I, in our 15 Christmases as a family, have never been motivated enough to decorate any one of our homes–and this is our fifth Christmas-time dwelling–beyond a single strand of white lights once or twice in one apartment, we’ve given Isaac free reign and dubbed him King of Christmas Decorations.  As a result, my house looks like it’s been decorated by a seven year old with two good trips to K-mart.  It’s beautiful.

In other news . . . I’m getting a job.  Starting in January I will be the “Worship Leader” for the teeny tiny Presbyterian church in my teeny tiny town.  I’ll be leading worship (including preaching) every Sunday and doing crisis visitation.  It’s an absolutely minimal time commitment, which is simply perfect for where my family is right now.  I’m hoping the session of our family’s church will move the time of the service from 9:30 to 10:00, that way I’ll be able to get from the 8:30 service in our town to our family church in time for the start of worship, or at least by the end of the announcements.  I’m still committed to being with my kids as they grow up in the church and grow in their experience of worship.  I think Isaac and I came up with a wonderful solution this past week though.  He came to worship with me in our town, then we went to where his dad was preaching in time for Isaac to attend Sunday school there.  Best of both worlds.  It’s been to-my-core important for my children to worship with the rest of the believing community on Sunday mornings, but I’ve struggled to balance that desire with my kids’ comfort and enjoyment of their overall experience with church.  The church already runs most of our life, I want them to enjoy the fun and fellowship with their friends that is the added blessing of being part of a congregation.  Anyway, that’s really a whole other post . . .

Back to my new job . . . apparently I’m going to preaching every Sunday from now till I die.  Give or take.  That’s a little intimidating.  Scary.  Exciting.  Exhausting.  Scary.  And I admit I have some fear of alienating most to all of my Christian friends who are, for the most part, part of traditions that do not see women serving in preaching and teaching ministries to be in keeping with Scripture.  Just Saturday I watched a woman’s face fall as I shared with her that I’d be leading worship at the church in our teeny tiny town.  We just had been enjoying a conversation about our struggles with deciding whether or not to homeschool, determining the best educational path for our children when they move from our rather insulated elementary school to meeting up with the worldlier children from the southern part of our district in middle school.  There we were, bonding over our shared faith, our shared concern for our children’s moral and spiritual well-being, feeling like we had found a sister in the plight.  And I mention my leading worship and . . . confusion followed by polite head nods.  Anyway . . . there it is.  My used-to-be secret concerns about my vocation.

That’s enough chitty-chat chatter for one post.  Each of those paragraphs could have been a post in itself, probably.  Of course, my intention was to write far less.  But once my fingers start their little tippity-tap dance, they just can’t stop.

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Falling off the face of the earth . . .

So I’ve disappeared, apparently, from Blogland.  I don’t know why.  And I’m either having deja vu or I’ve written that at least half a half a dozen time in the last month or two or three.  I wonder if it’s because I’ve been preaching more regularly lately.  Don’t know.  But today, which, according to my last post must be tomorrow, I’ll talk about my cute kids.  Cuz I can’t do that too much while I’m preaching.  Though I do have a good story about Ruthie and Communion that will likely show up in a sermon some day . . .

So, on the kid front lately . . .

We have Isaac.  Who is seven.  And I’ve decided seven is my all-time favorite age.  At least that’s my story this year.  He’s just such a neat, neat kid.  He’s really coming into his own and we don’t have to struggle over every request, and his brain can handle some more complex thoughts and conversations . . . it’s just so fun.  And he’s so nice to his sisters.  He really is.  Especially when he’s not yelling at or kicking or otherwise bringing harm to Hannah.  They’ve been playing together so much better, just really being good friends together.  I love that.  They must have spent 4 hours in their bedroom on Saturday morning, just doing some sort of imaginative project together.  Very nice.

Now that it’s November, Isaac’s year-round Halloween obsession has come to an end.  I think he actually finally released enough of his Halloween ideas into the atmosphere that he’s no longer exploding with Halloween.  He’s making a good transition into Thanksgiving.  Which is probably his second favorite holiday.  Because of the food.  And because he love love loooves having guests over and hosting events.  He loves it.  So, he’s planned out how we’re going to have our family over for Thanksgiving dinner and he’s divvied up the dishes:  daddy’s turkey, mommy’s gravy, daddy’s mashed potatoes, Aunt L’s sweet potatoes and homemade cranberry sauce (we need her to make cranberry sauce.  I love Aunt L’s homemade cranberry sauce!!!), Grammy’s rutabaga and parsnips, Grandma’s peas and corn and apple pie, and mommy’s pumpkin pie.  I think that all covers it.  And picture it delivered much faster than you just read and with more enthusiasm than you can imagine, and you’re probably close to the live version.  Isaac is excited! about Thanksgiving.  He’s now talking of buying a giant blow-up turkey for our front yard because we don’t have any Thanksgiving decorations.  He’s also started planning for upping our Christmas decorations from last year’s additions.  Think Clark Griswald.  “Christmas Vacation.”  Except his father and I are more the simple all-white little lights and candles in the windows sorts.  If we were actually motivated to decorate at all, that is.  I’m not really sure where this boy came from.

Hannah.  Hannah girlie.  Hannah girlie’s birthday is right around the corner and is she ever excited.  We wrote out her invitations for her friends this morning.  This is her first birthday party with friends invited, not just family.  She was jumping up and down and wiggling with excitement.  Which means, when you do the conversion, if Isaac felt that same level of excitement he would, quite literally, be through the roof and out in space somewhere.  Hannah is giggly and excited and wrote everybody’s names on the envelopes along with a drawing of a stamp and an I ❤ U for every one of her classmates.  She’ll be five.  FIVE!  And if she saw you on the street, she would invite you to her party.  She’s just sweet as can be.  And I need to start making some plans.

Her “best friends” in her class are the kids who are in most need of early intervention and/or special education.  I’m not exactly sure why, she can’t explain what she likes best about them, but knowing Hannah, it just seems to fit.  She sees the people most in need of love and care and attention and she lavishes it.  Of all our kids, we can most easily, very easily, see Hannah following in the family business.  Of course, Lord knows what he’ll really call her to, but she has the kindest, gentlest heart and a passion for caring for people.  She’s precious.  Simply precious.

And Ruth.  Ruthie Ruthie Ruthie.  Ruthie’s big project this last week and a half is starting to use the potty.  I’ll save you the gross details.  Suffice it to say, she’s been so easy about it.  She just decided to do it and now she’s doing it.  It’s thrilling.  It’s the end of an era.  And there isn’t an ounce of bitter in its sweetness.  I’m thinking of opening a special savings account where I can squirrel away the money we’ll be saving on diapers.

Now that I’m thinking about it, I might just know the real reason I’ve been absent from blogland.  Ruth has been two-and-a-half.  And if you’ve ever met a 2 1/2 year old, you know what I mean.  Holy moly, Ruth is doing 2 1/2, like she does everything else:  with GUSTO!  Full bore!!!  Yesssireeebob, I am toddler, hear me roar!!!  Wow.  And I’m getting a little old for this stuff.  Finally, finally she seems to be mellowing out some.  Some.  She’s getting a grasp on taking turns.  She’s gaining a little bit of patience.  She’s developing better language skills and that seems to diffuse some of the intensity.  But at the end of the day, this toddler is positively hysterical.  When she’s not screaming at me, she’s saying and doing some of the funniest things and I find myself laughing at her all day.  What a joy!  What a blessing!

There ya have it.  My three kids and where they’re at and what they’re doing.  Meanwhile, I’m watching them grow and learn and be, and am, in many ways, simply along for the ride.  These years are far too fleeting.  I don’t want to miss a second.

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Seven?! Seriously?!

My Boy. He’s seven. As of this past Saturday. Seven. Seven. I’m having trouble wrapping my head around that. At the moment it seems so . . . Old. Mature. Big. I know the day will come when I will look at Ruth, see her as seven and say, Wow. She’s still so little! But in the meantime, my firstborn is hitting a new milestone and I can’t believe how old he’s getting to be.

He is simply great. In so many ways he is exactly the Boy who greeted me seven years ago. With these intense eyes, darting about, determined to figure this place out. “I don’t know where I am, and so far I can’t seem to be able to move much, but I. will. understand and conquer this place. Whatever it is.”

He’s still the Boy who would get excited from his toes to his nose and flap his arms up and down breathlessly when we would put his blankie over his face while he lay on the floor. His blankie is currently a tangle of waffle-weave knots.

He is still the Boy who as a toddler was surely a liquid as he expanded to fill every square millimeter of space available to him.

He is still the Boy who at barely three could walk into a room of grown-ups and assert himself, ask them what they were doing and how he could help.

He is still the Boy who moved non-stop from sunrise to sunset and slept and slept all night long.

Yep. He might be seven. And he might be getting awfully old. But he’s still my Boy. My sweet, sweet Isaac Boy.

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