Friday, May 29, 2009

What are you going to do about a second language?

Neil & i were visiting with a work acquaintance of his when the subject of our children's home education was brought up.
He asked what we were going to do about second language.
i felt pretty confident when i replied, "They will have holes in their education."
He nodded - i could tell he thought i was a fruit loop - & i hate defending my decisions to people who think i'm a fruit loop - so i refrained.
When i got home & was better able to think through my response, i decided i said just what i would have wanted to say. (Love it when that happens instead of the usual, "Doh, i wish i would've said___")
i grew up in french immersion - so learning french in our home is not out of the question - & we've done a bit here & there with different words & phrases. We've also explored the latin & greek roots of many of our words, but i wouldn't say that any of them have had nearly enough training in any language other than english to say that they had a second language.
So, there's a hole in their education.
There. i've admitted it. & i do feel better for it. i can't defend homeschooling by saying that my children will have a far superior education to children in the public system... (although, some homeschool moms certainly could - i've seen them in action, these gifted teachers & it is a thing of beauty to behold...)
i'm also not giving up before our horse has even left the start gate. i'm learning right along with my little ones & i'm definitely giving them as many opportunities for learning and growth as i can. i'm delving into some of the subjects that (can i admit it?) constitute the holes in my own education.
What??!! Holes in *my* education? But, i went to public school... French immersion for the most part, - surely there can be no holes in a public school education?? *grin*.
The thing is, we all have holes in our education. None of us has arrived. There is always new territory to conquer - languages to learn - history to remember - science to discover. What i want for my children is to foster a love of learning. i want to give them the tools to find the answers - and to be able to communicate ideas. i want to give them the freedom to explore their interests - and to be challenged by the mastering of the tools needed to get to that place.
But, most of all -
i want to give them *home*.
i want their childhood memories to be full of each other - with their friends playing supporting roles, but their family playing the lead. i want to show them that learning doesn't just take place in an institution - it's something that we can take with us into each & every situation in our life. i want to expose them to our worldview - to saturate their childhood with conversations *with* and *about* God.
i want them to grow in wisdom and stature and favour with God and man. (Luke 2:52)
& this is a goal that for *me* is best carried out in this little green house.
I find i need that volume of time. The quantity seems to be a vital ingredient for me.
Can i rephrase that a third time for emphasis? :)
Those hours are imperative for me to work towards my goal...
i want to tell you a funny little daydream i had the other day - because i sound all hard-core homeschoolish in this post & i hardly even recognize myself.
i daydreamed about putting a certain little person in public school.
We're struggling - yeh - all those beautiful ideas about fostering relationships, & giving them tools to learn, & igniting the passion for learning... it's hard work sometimes. So, the day dream came. Someone else could take the reigns of academics & i would be free to work on the fun stuff. i smiled as i dreamed of this freedom. Ahhhh, no more taking it to heart when i have to explain something for the 8th (hundredth) time. No more shame when they write a note to their friend that is completely illegible. Maybe magically, this child would now find academics to be *easy*. Suddenly, the gears on my day dream started to grind. i imagined something a little more realistic. i go to parent teacher interviews. My child is still struggling. They ask me to make sure that we are working on x, & y at home & i'm hit with the realization that *some kids struggle* - in public school, in homeschool, in private school...

& mine is one of them.

Will all of those problems magically disappear if i decide to send that child?
Not likely.
Will i have to sacrifice a lot of the good stuff we're doing here to make an effort for it to happen there?
Is it worth it for me?
Not a chance.
So, to end this incredibly long pep talk to myself - i will soften my seeming 'hardcore' stance by telling you that Neil & i consider *each and every year* what we will be doing with our littles the next year. Some years, i'm vibrating with anticipation for the year ahead & to set my plans in motion - some years, i'm full of self-doubt & quaking fear.
Holes can be darned (hehe) second languages can later be learned.
For, now i am going to give my children:

Thursday, May 28, 2009

You Were Always On My Mind

My husband & i are horrible with birthdays. Not just each others, but the kids too.
But i remember one time, only a couple of weeks into our marriage, Neil came home with this black leather wallet.
"Look what i got you." He said.
My wallet had just fallen apart & wouldn't stay shut anymore after the zipper broke & i guess he had noticed & decided spur of the moment to get me a new one. i couldn't believe it. All evening i bugged him.. "But, WHY did you get that?! Did you see it on SALE somewhere??"
"Nope. i just knew you needed one, so i went & found one..."
"But, why would you do that? What made you think of that? How did you know that i needed one?" It wasn't my birthday, our anniversary, a holiday, or even a Friday...
It was just too absurd to think of someone seeing a need & filling it for me.
13 years later - maybe i've started taking him for granted 'cause i get it now. i get that he buys me things to take care of me & to show his love. i get that he sucks at saying the right thing - but that his heart *surely* beats for me. i get that he's thoughtful, generous and a 'no reason gift-giver'.
's what i like better than birthdays or anniversaries, or Valentines, or Christmas.
i'm on his mind... & i wanna stay there.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Uncle Elmer

Uncle Elmer called tonight.
He calls quite a bit - usually at supper time & i find myself frequently getting the children to talk to him as i go about getting the meal on the table & quieting a noisy babe.
Uncle Elmer is Neil's uncle. He played a starring role in the play that is the beginning of our marriage. i credit uncle Elmer a lot for the tender man my husband is. Children, those with special needs & the elderly all feel at ease with my husband- he initiates conversation & draws them out, into comfortable territory. Uncle Elmer & i are kindred musical spirits - when we lived in Manitoba, i would go to play at the Care Center and Elmer would bring his harmonica & play on every song. When i would go home, he would phone & we would play over the phone. He would be disgusted when i didn't know a specific hymn- it seemed he knew them all.
When Neil's Gramma - who was still so needed by Elmer - had a stroke and moved into the personal care home, we had fun filling in a little tiny bit of the absence that was so keenly felt by Elmer. We got to go for supper at the Manor, i learned how to cut his hair & trim his eyebrows. We went for coffee & Cai would practice all her new vocabulary on him - much to his delight. He still remembers the time someone asked her her name & she answered, "Pancake". We found something worthwhile doing, in visiting & getting to know Neil's amazing family (& i'm not using the word amazing lightly) - while just learning to be a family ourselves.
Uncle Elmer has an uncanny memory. He remembers hundreds of birthdays - & loves to be tested on his knowledge. But, when i first lost Caleb - it made every conversation with him painful. i dreaded the moment when he would say, "But, Paige, your baby just died. Didn't your baby die? You should have another baby, but he went and died..."
i fought fury, pain & tears - i begged him not to talk about Caleb, i got Neil to talk to him about it too- but to no avail. Invariably the next time we visited he would bring up our little one whose absence tore my heart in two - my little one who i couldn't talk to anyone about - hardly even Neil - for years after his loss. Casually he would mention him - and his death - and another woman who he knew had lost a baby. Sometimes when i was expecting Sloanie, he would say, "And now maybe this one won't die on you... Maybe now, you will have 2 babies."
And with each darling child we added to our little brood, he would remind me, now you have 3, 4 or 5... but there should be 1 more, shouldn't there?
Over years... many, many, many years - my memories of Caleb became a little less painful. i learned how to open that little part of my heart & not feel like i hated the person who mentioned his name. i learned that he was a gift - & i learned to cherish his memory & the gift that God gave me when He gave me those 16 short weeks. Slowly i learned to forgive myself for all the regrets i had surrounding his birth - & my wish to be able to somehow go back in time and magically have the knowlege i needed to save him gradually became acceptance - that my son was with God - & he was safe there.
So tonight Elmer called.
We had a nice long talk.
Finally he said, "Paige, you have 4 girls and 2 boys, but you should have one more."
"Two more, Elmer," i corrected him, "i have 2 babies in heaven now."
It didn't hurt that he remembered. Suddenly, he was my best friend - remembering my tender child with me. What joy that someone else remembered with me.
"i guess you don't have to worry about those two anymore."
"No, Elmer. i don't have to worry about those precious two anymore."
"They say when i sit down in heaven i won't be blind anymore."
"No, won't that be neat?"
"Ya - ...& i guess you'll have your babies again."

Monday, May 25, 2009

You Never Let Go

In my heart, i sometimes wonder if it could be that through my own carelessness, i could lose you.
But, you never let go of me, did you?
When i was 12 & i was such a sad little girl -
you had a plan, didn't you?
When you lifted me up out of mud & the mire & gave my feet a firm place to stand -
You chose me, didn't you?
& even though sometimes i'm ill equipped, too lazy, too unkind -
i know you help me.

& i will fear no evil,
For my God is with me -
& if my God is with me -
Whom then shall i fear?
Whom then shall i fear?

Make no mistake - i know whose team i'm on...
me, Your girl, hiding in the shadow of Your wings.
You saw in me a girl who should be a momma.
No - i'm not good enough...
But You more than cover that for me don't you?
Your blessings abound - Your grace exceeds - Your love conquers.
This is my God.

Oh no, You never let go
Through the calm and through the storm
Oh no, You never let go
In every high and every low
Oh no, You never let go
Lord, You never let go of me

So, keep me Jesus. Keep all of me - bend me, break me, use me.
& never let go of me.

(*Matt Redman You Never Let Go)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Run on...

So, the fling continues...
i've been using Hal Higdon's 10k training schedule & it seems to be going at a nice little pace for me. i've gained 3lbs (of lean hard muscle i'm sure - bwahahaa) and have rediscovered my appetite... (k, i never really lost my appetite, but it's getting even bigger).
i don't know what the point of this whole fling is... It's not to lose weight, or even to be fit. i think for me it's all about pushing myself to do something that has always been on my dreamy list of things i'd like to be able to do - & to be able to push beyond that voice that says, "k, i'm uncomfortable, can we stop now?"
This past Sunday i ran the farthest i've run in recent memory - maybe i ran that far in highschool, but surely not since. i ran 5 miles (44:44 for those of you who care about things like time...). It's not very hilly where we live, so it wasn't a very difficult run. The weather was just perfect - not hot, not cold. i had awesome company - 2 pre-teens on bikes - & it was early morning, so not even any traffic to contend with.
i wouldn't have minded if Gage would have gotten up with me so i didn't have to carry the milk jugs with - but even so - it didn't seem too bad & that way Neil still got to sleep in. (He made me coffee when i got home...)
It's my new secret (or not so secret if i post it here & all four of you read it!!) thrill to map out my runs on & add them to my training log & get a sense of deep satisfaction from them adding a little running man logo to that day - or a little swimming person logo if i swam - or a little weightlifter if i... if i... if i do push ups & sit ups.
i feel like i'm in one of those relationships that is bound to turn long distance when the snow flies though & i'm just not sure if we have what it takes to weather that kind of trial.
Will i run when it gets cold - or will i just pack up my shoes & quit?

i wonder why i feel like i should have such a sense of failure if i do quit...

So, for now - i'm putting the thought of fall & snow & ice on hold... saving links for 'yak tracks' & enjoying these days of not too hot, not too cold springish weather - & taking it one day at a time.
Run on...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Don't Blink

i remember when Cai was a tiny newborn baby. She had these enormous blue eyes that almost made her look other-worldly with her miniature pale face & dainty features.
When she was only a couple of months old, we were invited to dinner at someone's house & among the guests was another family with a baby daughter too. Their little girl was 8 months older than Cai, & the mom looked at my teeny elfin princess & said, "Isn't it unbelievable that these two will be in kindergarten together??!!" i must've looked at her like she had 3 heads. The thought of my little girl growing into a toddler, preschooler or kindergartener had honestly *never* occurred to me. (i know, i must be a fairly short sighted person...) i couldn't fathom the light years that we were away from formal education. i felt like her babyhood would last forever.
As i remembered that conversation this morning, the realization hit me that 5 years from now, the same amount of time between her babyhood and kindergarten - i would be watching my girl graduate. Suddenly it didn't feel like an eternity. It felt like a blink, a moment, just a tiny measure of time left to me.

God give me what i need to make each and every moment count.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Confessions... Normal, me?

Cai made her own deodorant tonight. Normal behaviour for a 12 year old? i don't know.
She asked me as she was mixing the ingredients, "Mom, am i weird?"
um, yes.
She makes her own shampoo & toothpaste too. i like out of the box thinkers tho - so i think i will keep her.
As i'm cleaning up the kitchen - i am greeted by a sobbing 5 year old. What on earth could be the matter?!
"Now i can't pick my nose!!!"
Are you kidding me?
"S-s-s-s-Sloanie clipped my fingernails & now i can't pick my nose anym-m-m-m-orrrrrrrrre."
"Molls." (gently) "Maybe you could use a tissue."
"What's a tissue? Is that toiletpaper??"
"Yes, and you could use it to blow your nose."
Before i can stop her, she blows her nose into her empty hands.
Suddenly it's funny. & she runs off to wash them. Ew.
Normal behaviour for a 5 year old? I'm not sure, but i think not.
Incidentally, is it normal behaviour for a 10 year old to clip her sister's fingernails without being asked?
So, Neil's gone this week. i noticed that my stairs really, really need to be vacuumed. It's Tuesday... Neil gets home Friday...
Is it bad that i'm tempted to wait till Friday to vacuum them?
Keep in mind i have 6 children.
6 really really messy children.
Children who walk around letting crumbs drop out of their mouths no matter where they are or what they're eating.
Children who are experts at leaving little bits of thread, paper, leaves, grass, dust & dirt all over stairs that really, honestly should be vacuumed daily.
(Jutting out stubborn chin) i think i will.
i'm contemplating not showering till he gets home either...
Or brushing my hair...
Or making my bed...
i may just laze around in my pj's till i hear the van pull into the garage.
& make the kids eat cereal for supper every day.
i am also putting together a blog post in the near future about all the holes that are in my children's (homeschool) education & how i honestly believe that that is *no big deal*.
Anyone wanna top that one? Comments are open.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Disobedient tears

My friend just had a baby the other day...
A teeny girl - after 2 bouncing boys.
So, being the awesome blog stalker that i am, i pressed refresh on her blog a hundred times till she updated with pics. & then i sat back in wonder at this glimpse of fresh life & felt tears sting my eyes...
Suddenly, a similar memory washed over me. i was in the delivery room, after an agonizing labour that climaxed with shoulder dystocia & the birth of what seemed to us, a huge baby (9lbs 1oz).
i still remember Neil's voice. Just the tiniest catch in it, "oh, Paige... It's a boy."
More tears... Blurry computer screen... sweet baby taking my breath away...
Then the phone rang. It was my sister - giving me an update on my niece who has been readmitted to the hospital for *more* tests. It seems like answers are finally almost within arms reach. Hearing my sis sound hopeful, grateful to God for His tender mercies & all momma-ish about her whole brood brought more tears.
Sometimes they just refuse to stay put, don't they...
Disobedient tears...

*note* "disobedient tears" - the 2 words that most poignantly moved me from Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Monday, May 18, 2009

Nursing a 15 month old

He pushes my arm away as i try to stroke his hair that has become coarser in just a few short months.
"Are you done?"
He shakes his head emphatically "no" expertly keeping his latch. His blue eyes don't leave mine & i'm feeling a kink start in my neck keeping my head cocked to the side to keep my eyes locked on those precious, thickly lashed baby eyes.
His head has a huge bruise across it from when he fell & banged into our bed the other day while running around like a crazy man. He's such a little mover & shaker.
"Do you want the other side?"
i'm fairly certain that i've been emptied on this side, but again, he shakes his head & mumbles "MhmMhm"
It's not milk he's looking for, it's comfort.
He hardly ever nurses to sleep anymore, but i sense his body relaxing across mine. He keeps kicking, kicking, kicking & shoving his grubby little fingers all over my face, forcing their way through my lips, pulling hair, my necklace, my chin... trying to stave off sleep with activity.
Suddenly he laughs. Carefully keeping his latch - a tired muffled giggle escapes & i can't help but mirror it.
There is tumult outside my door - there is peace within, holding this boy in my arms preparing for sleep.
Somewhere in the back of my mind i hear the voices i've heard, "When they can ask for it, that's when i draw the line..." & i picture my son just a few minutes prior to this cozy scene, crying & pulling on the front of my shirt... "When they have more than a few teeth, that's when i draw the line," my little guy has a whole mouthful of teeth that most of the time he remembers to keep to himself. " Once they can drink from a cup, what do they need it for?" He has been expertly drinking from a cup for weeks now - & yet...
We're not done yet.
Where did that needy, toothless uncoordinated partner go who started this nursing journey with me? Tiny rooting mouth seeking, seeking, finding, losing, crying, trying again - ... relief... success...
The solid toddler in my arms has replaced that tiny baby - confidently latching on & settling in to the comfort that he knows will follow.
i don't know when this little partnership will end, but i know it's not over yet - & for some reason, i know that this is a comfort to us both.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

For the love of words...

My first and second born daughters inherited my love of words. Once, when Gagey was starting to fill out & get that round little baby look, i was holding him & snuggling him & i said, "Oh, Gagey, i love you my little rotund boy."
All conversation ceased.
"What does ROTUND mean?" (Seriously, you don't want to dis Gagey in our house. He is a king pin & has many loyal followers... )
Being the awesome homeschool mom that i am - i made them pull out the thesaurus.
Sloanie started reading & a smile spread over her face... "rounded or swollen with fat?!"
Cai continued, "chubby, plump, plumpish, plumpy, podgy, puddy, pudgy, roly-poly, round, roundabout, spuddy, tubby, compare to FAT, beefy, chunky, dumpy, heavyset, squat, stocky, stubby, thick, thickset, paunchy, potbellied, buxom, on the plump side."
They were roaring by now. All loyalty aside, Gage fit almost every word of description & he sat there with his satisfied smirk as they read them over and over again and tried to write a song incorporating every one.
And then there was the time when Sloanie out of the blue asked my mom, "Granny, do you know any pompous old fools?" She loved the way that handle rolled off her tongue.
So, it should have come as no suprise to me when Cai approached me with a slightly embarrassed smile on her face & told me she wanted to rename her blog.
"i want it to be "Me And My "".... i just need the perfect word... Not 'siblings' not 'subjects' or 'underlings'... but something like that... something that means that they're mine - but i need just the right word."
We searched for a very long time...
bootlicks, flunkies, servants, band, crowd, multitude, throng, crowd, company, minions, posse, assemblage, clan... We never found *just the right word*... but she eventually settled on "posse".
Any word lovers reading this post, feel free to offer your suggestions in the comments section & i will be sure to pass them on to my mini-me blogger.
Ah, for the love of words...

Friday, May 15, 2009

Tough Topics - second try - the adoption option??

So - i got through my first tough topics... i posted on a rainy friday - & i survived. i've decided to give it a go again.
So, here goes - this post is about some "uncomfortable adoption options". i know that just the word adoption makes some people uncomfortable - but i think for the most part, we have gotten pretty used to adoption... At least, in the circles i travel in - it seems to be a growing trend.
But -
Why are there certain incidences where adoption makes us so uncomfortable? There are 2 specific circumstances that i'm choosing to talk about in this post.
i talked briefly in my first 'tough topic' about embryo adoption - they're called snowflake babies - these tiny fragile beginnings of life - that didn't make the cut when their parents had ivf & are now finding homes in adoptive wombs. There's a part of me that can hardly wrap my mind around the whole idea of ivf - let alone the possible outcomes & choices to be made that can stem from that original choice.
My friend who *can* better imagine it, having been there, told me:
I know that when I got the paperwork, I poured over it and thought about it for a long time before making my choices . I knew what I believed but when you factor in such big circumstances (death, divorce etc.) you have to know the *right* thing to do still and be okay with it. Like, in our will, it states that in the event of my death, (dh) will find a surrogate, partner or consider embryo adoption. No other options are available to him because I said so. It is so much more than a whimsical's LIFE!
She also said:
I feel the same about my kids.....ya know when we went into IVF I did lots of research first and if (dh) wasn't willing to accept ALL of the babies that resulted from the process then I wasn't going to do it because I would never leave them.....luckily he feels the same. They all deserve that *chance*...i feel. And if (dh) wasn't willing to accept all of our babies, then yes, it would have broken my heart but I would not have created them only to destroy the *unwanted*. It's diabolical. I was not only in it for myself but for the *babies* that I knew existed within me......and had no chance of developing without a little help. I wish everyone felt that way.
She linked me to an article that blew my mind - & that i'm not even going to start voicing my opinions on today for fear i take a huge bite, instead of the smaller one i've planned on - but i'd love to share it just for food for thought. Click here.
(If you don't have the time to read the whole article, there are some startling statistics on the last page that you might not want to miss.)
i know it makes *me* uncomfortable to get excited about embryo adoption, because it breaks my heart to imagine wanting a baby *so* badly - & then not being prepared to deal with the consequences of IVF. i know that my last post makes so much more sense to me - encouraging ivf parents to not leave their babies behind... but in this case - adoption or death - it's a no brainer. A just society should welcome and protect little ones, and there are more parents open to adopting than there are "donated" embryos. Our hearts need to change - to soften towards life - even in the circumstances that make us uncomfortable... & even when it might seem like a less painful choice to choose to dispose of "unused embryos"... It's wrong.
It's not just the snowflake babies that i want to talk about today. The second part of the uncomfortable adoption option are the little ones who are diagnosed in utero with any type of "abnormality" before birth. Tests exist today to check for many types of congenital or chromosomal abnormalities before a babe is born. Statistics suggest that over 90% of children diagnosed with Downs Syndrome while in their mother's womb are aborted. It's not just the Downs Syndrome babies who are in danger... more & more we believe that when we decide that we are going to start a family, we are promised a perfect little baby with 10 fingers and 10 toes. This isn't always the case & when a babies seeming imperfections are diagnosed before birth - parents are given the choice of aborting.
Why is abortion a more comfortable choice than adoption? There are families waiting to adopt special needs children - & that option is always available. Honestly? i can see how it would make a mother & father squirm to go through the 9 months of pregnancy & then give that child up for adoption. It might seem embarrassing - or a huge physical ordeal to go through for a child that isn't what you bargained for. i can understand how it might seem like it would be less uncomfortable to choose abortion - less questions, less attachment, delayed guilt...
But again, it's life... it's not tissue. Given the chance, barring medical intervention - that little one growing inside would become... a *bigger person* who would continue to grow & at birth would finally be granted the right to it's life... If 40 weeks is all you're able to give - it's a lot more than 90% of parents with babies diagnosed with Downs Syndrome are able to give. & what a beautiful, sweet gift that someone would be *so* grateful to receive...
There are arms to take the babe - there are families that would welcome that wee gift...
Specifically, i guess instead of the broad statement 'someone will take the baby' - i should say, "Neil & i will take any baby". i know it's not likely i'm going to get an email tomorrow - but i just wanted to make sure that that offer is out there...
Well, this is turning into a long, emotional appeal. i'm sorry.
But, i think that if i'm uncomfortable with this "disposable life" world that we're living in, i need to be able to offer up the alternatives that are available. Maybe if we stop feeling so uncomfortable talking about them, parents might realize that there are other choices out there and abortion and destruction will become less common.
Here's hoping.
's all for now :)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Just sayin' hi...

The other night - all manner of threats had been uttered - & yet we kept seeing little pixie girl's head poke into our room. It was way past her bedtime & she had been tucked in, sent to bed, ordered to bed, asked to leave & begged to retire.
Finally Neil lost it... "PEYTON, IF I SEE YOUR FACE IN HERE AGAIN..."
Tiny bum disappearing down the hallway...
But, not 10 minutes later, we saw that cheshire grin outside our door.
"WHAT??!!" Neil exploded.
"Um, well, Sloanie is reading & it's really hard for me to fall asleep..."
"Well, put a pillow over your face, & try to go to sleep anyway."
"You're lucky you had a reason for coming in here."
"Yea, well - i really just came in here to say hi, but when i saw your face i knew i had to think up something quick."
How quickly they learn...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

What does a relationship with God mean to you?

"Carreen had very little to say these days as she moved, delicate and wraith-like, about the tasks which were within her strength. She prayed a good deal, for when Scarlett Came into her room without knocking, she always found her on her knees by her bed. The sight never failed to annoy her, for Scarlett felt that the time for prayer had passed. If God had seen fit to punish them so, then God could very well do without prayers. Religion had always been a bargaining process with Scarlett. She promised God good behavior in exchange for favors. God had broken the bargain time and again, to her way of thinking, and she felt that she owed Him nothing at all now. And whenever she found Carreen on her knees when she should have been taking an afternoon nap or doing the mending, she felt that Carreen was shirking her share of the burdens."
- Gone With The Wind, Margaret Mitchell

For me, i can't say that my relationship with God has ever felt like a bargaining process. It's interesting where we get our ideas of God from & how it affects every single aspect of our life. i remember after losing Caleb, being in the hospital & a pastor came to see me. i didn't know what i was supposed to say to him & he didn't know what to say to me, so he just kept asking, 'Are you angry with God? It's ok if you're feeling angry with Him...' & honestly, the thought had not even crossed my mind...

Monday, May 11, 2009

Humble Pie Tastes Disgusting...

& yet i seem to keep asking for seconds...
Friday was such a hilarious day. God took the whittle yet again to my pride & it was funny to watch.
Rewind to Wednesday... i'm still on my little exercise fling & so i rowed like crazy - my brother in law - (picture Mr. Incredible as a swarthy german & you'll get the picture) would be pleased to know that i also did some push ups and sit ups...
And then i showered...
Just kidding.
Thursday - i get up, put on my running shoes & get ready to run. It pours, but i wait, unshowered for it to clear so i can run. It snows, but i wait... i am kinda gross, but i really wanted to drop off a book for our pastor - (i know he has nothing better to do than read stuff that i think is important...) so i went to the church & dropped it off. i don't think he wrinkled his nose, but i can't be sure. i finally gave up on the weather & rowed again.
And then i showered...
Just kidding.
Friday dawns. i look in the mirror. i am a greaseball, but i'm planning on a very short run today so i figure, what's another hour before i get to shower?? i decide i want coffee first - & then you know how it goes, the phone rings, someone needs something... big girls get called to babysit... baby needs changing... i decide to drop everything & go for my run before i lose my babysitters. It was terrible, a soggy mess, but i feel kinda triumphant that i managed to go at all.
Home again & the doorbell rang. i contemplated hiding in the kitchen as i do sometimes - but decided against it at the last minute & put on my best, brave smile & greeted the lady who was picking up the girls.
As they shut the door, i looked around me.
The kitchen was a disaster - the girls' half finished breakfast lay on the table & there were crumbs, cereal & dishes all over the table. There were pokemon cards all over the living room floor & books spread all over the couch... and Gagey smelled funky. Weighing the importance of my options...
The shower won.
i took one step up the stairs & the door bell rang again.
If you can even imagine, it was my facilitator - here for our last meeting of the year! HA! Do you remember my post about my last facilitator meeting?? Honestly, i'm not usually this scatterbrained, but friday... ah yes - friday, i was (and, as it seems, every time i have a facilitator meeting)... At least i had all my questions, paperwork & plans ready - (our last meeting for the year, we always go over my plans for next year). She so graciously, and gently encouraged me. Then she quickly took all the notes that she needed & when i told her i had to take the kids to soccer soon, made our visit as short & painless as possible. i'm sure the floor felt crunchy under her feet & she had to push books out of the way to find a seat on the couch... but she didn't make me feel bad at all. She treated me like i was perfectly normal & didn't smell like i hadn't showered since Tuesday... But maybe Gagey's extremely funky smell at this point, masked my own earthy scent. Good stuff.
All in all, i'd say it was probably the perfect week for me to have switched to hemp all natural deoderant.
As soon as she left, i was so mortified, i couldn't shower until my main level was cleared of the rubble...
BUT, then i showered.
i really did.
Later, talking to Neil about my harried day - (he was in Edmonton all day golfing at a very important business meeting) i said, "But, what could i do?? i just had to take each thing as it came..." & he looked at me like i had antlers & said, "You could have been prepared.."
Ah, yes... but then again, my husband is never ridiculous...

Friday, May 8, 2009

Tough Topics - first try... IVF

Sometimes i feel like i want to address some of the really tough topics that there are out there... but i'm afraid. i'm afraid that i'll hurt and wound where i only want to speak Truth. i'm afraid that i'll say more or less than what the Truth is, and be misleading. i'm afraid that i'll misrepresent Truth. But i'm also afraid that if i say nothing - that i'm being a coward. i'm afraid that my silence is construed as support & that possibly... maybe... a tiny bit... if i let truth shine a little brighter, that maybe a heart or two would be softened to Truth.
So, i'm going to take a teeny bite today & talk about one tiny bit of a topic that makes me squirm.
i'm not biting off the whole topic of IVF... i'm taking a tiny teeny morsel - & that morsel speaks to *millions of lives*.
i'm talking about 'leftover babies'.
When we talk about IVF and infertility - it almost seems crazy to be talking in the same breath about superfluous life. We remember our friends and family who have struggled to have a baby - (i read one stat that suggested that nowadays the number may be as high as 1 out of 10 couples struggling with infertility) & the many that we know who have resorted to IVF, knowing that there was no other option for parenthood.
i talked in a previous post about my views on embryonic stem cell research - it led to this post about good from evil... but i was left wondering *why are there left-over embryos anyway? Where are the mothers and fathers who yearned for a baby & are now leaving these little ones to destruction?*... i remember someone once laughingly saying to me, 'i wouldn't take a million dollars for one of my kids, but i wouldn't pay a nickel for another one!' That seems to be the popular attitude when we feel that our families are complete. Is it different when the life is already created and waiting on ice for a momma's womb?
i guess i know it's uncomfortable to talk about things like this when i have had no experience with infertility treatments, but as a human being living in this age of disposable humanity, i feel like it's time to start talking about it.
A friend of mine who has struggled through infertility and miscarriages sent me this & i think it so beautifully states the logical answer to the question of what to do with leftover embryos:

To me, there is no other choice. Before **her husband** and I threw ourselves (emotionally and physically) into IVF we were faced with the "what if's". What if we had left over embryos? What if one of us died - what would happen to our little ones? What if we divorced? All these things that most people never think about. I have thought and thought and the only logical choice that my heart and mind arrive at is that these are *my babies*. They are tiny living *embryos*. Already fertilized eggs. Part me. Part (dh). They deserve a chance at life no matter what the circumstance. No matter how many embryos were left, who died, or if we divorced - we both agreed that they would be given life. It's funny but I actually think about them every day.....tucked away in their frozen home.....waiting for mama to come and get them ....and I will ....very soon.

i believe that life begins at the moment of conception - when even science has to back up that brand new DNA is created and a new little life that wasn't there before in the 2 halves of his parents genes is suddenly there & new life has begun. i know it's inconvenient... i know you might have your mind and hearts set on a set number of children children & having leftover embryos might put you in the uncomfortable position of choosing whether or not to go back for more, even though you thought your family was complete...
i know that the thought of giving up these babies for adoption might make you uncomfortable. A child that is genetically your little one, roaming the streets calling someone else mama? & yet, why is it that leaving the babe there to die, to be experimented on, or destroyed is somehow less uncomfortable? i think we need to look this little morsel - this tiny side effect of IVF in the face... & think through our decisions to their logical end.
*If* these are my babies - new dna formed at conception - carrying traits from my parents & their parents before... *then* i will treat them with the respect and love that they deserve.
IVF mamas, (& daddies...) don't leave your little ones behind. i can't even imagine the process, the pain, physical, the emotional trauma of going back when you didn't anticipate 'doing it again'... but if you don't stand up for these little lost ones, no one else can...

& that's sad.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Wanna come for Supper??

i was making tacos. It's a family favourite - & i had promised Neil supper would be ready early so we could head out to take Cai to her fiddling group.
Mixin' up the shells, i realize that i'm out of milk... i send the small fry to Mac's to pick up a gallon.
i fry up the beef & get out the veggies & cheese. Tiny sweet 5 year old has been complaining about her loose tooth for a few days now & is bemoaning the fact that she can hardly eat & she loves tacos. i offer to wiggle her tooth & see if it's almost ready to come out. I suggest maybe one more day, but she wants that thing out.
The milk comes - i start the shells - the tooth hurts - the baby grabs my legs yelling, "MAMAMA".
i tell little Miss to get me a kleenex & i'll see if i can yank that sucker out. i start grating cheese. Kleenex comes, i give it a yank, but no cigar, i give it a second yank - tiny tears appear in beautiful blue eyes & i feel horrible, but all we get is blood & no tooth. She gives me permission to give it one more try - she sings a pretty operatic note for me to keep her mind off it & i finally have the tooth in the kleenex. She is rewarded with a quickly grabbed handfull of money from my change jar. Her piteous tears arouse the sympathy of the large fry at our house & she quickly adds some extra change to her pile.
Burning taco shells...
i'm back on task... Charter grabs a tea towel to fan the smoke detector & i turn on the vent fan - we are like a well oiled machine where smoke is concerned... (should i admit this on my blog??)
Baby grabs my leg - i put him in his highchair & put a little pile of grated cheese in front of him.
Am rewarded with Big Toothy Grin.
Reward appreciated.
Supper arrives on cue.
Delighted children ignore the slightly smoky smell & noisily gather around the table.
Daddy receives important phone call & ends up missing it all...
A meal in the life of...

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Lucky Number 13

Notice anything in my sidebar? *wink wink* Check out the "about me" part of my profile... one tiny detail has changed. See it??!!
Yup, no more dozen.
We're up one... to lucky number 13.
When i married Neil, i can't say that i ever wondered what our future 13 years from that date would look like.
i was obsessed with our present. Being a new wife, momma - starting my new career, seemed to be the end... "and they lived happily ever after..."
Maybe i sorta figured i'd always have my teenager husband with his ribs sticking out...
i didn't really picture him with little greys starting to peek through - & his hands sprinkled with scars from working hard - & teeny laugh lines starting to form around his eyes.
i didn't know he would eventually trade his beloved work clothes for dress shirts.
i didn't know he would trade hours, months, years of hard work for a confident love of his job & his ability to do it well.
i didn't know he would remain so devilishly handsome throughout the next 13 years - & that i'd maybe even think he was more dapper than ever in the spring of '09. *hehe*
i probably believed that *this* was as deep as love can get.
His hazel eyes would lock on mine & i'd get that feeling - deep in my stomach - that he loved me... & that there was no more perfect place in this world than in his presence.
But now, 13 years have passed.
Would you believe me if i said that he still makes my stomach turn upside down when he enters a room?
Joy, tension, laughter, reconciliation, moments of tenderness, grief, humour, silence, sorrow, turbulance, tears, racket, kindness, protection - these things have all been a part of our last 13 years.
& oh, the love that has grown from them. The stretching without tearing - the bending without breaking - the sacrifice without bitterness.
o the love.
The shared memories make us stronger.
We were talking this morning about our wedding day & Neil said, 'i can hardly remember back that far...' & i found that it was true for me too... Seems so long ago all of a sudden. So in honour of our anniversary & the fact that neither one of us can remember what we did last week let alone 13 years ago, i give you:

13 recent small sweetnesses for 13 years of bliss -

* Strawberries & cream in bed - Gage woke up & stole most of them... but that just adds to the sweetness - teeny birdie with sweet open mouth...
* Flowers on my kitchen counter this morning.
* An invitation to 'come be with me' in the office...
* Rollerblading on Sunday afternoon... (in case you're wondering about my scabbed elbow & bruised hand... hehe)
* Coffee brewed this morning
* Supper plans tonight
* our famously short emails: paige: neil: and me you.
* He kept trying to hold my hand on Sunday.
* i let him.
* He only made fun of me once when i ate a whole bunch of jalopenos & made myself sick this week.
* He got his haircut for our date tonight.
* i gave him a haircut.
* He told me he loves my love of work. 'S a funny compliment - but it's so Neil.
& so, at this moment - 13 years in - (i joked to my sister that we're at our 'half marathon' mark). i am so grateful for my good man - this sweet marriage - this beautiful family.
What a gift.

Monday, May 4, 2009

happy birthday, princess

When my father in law turned 60, they had a big party. Some of his friends gave him one of those musical cards & when you opened it, it burst into song, "Celebrate good times c'mon!"
Mollen was completely entranced.
This was the best thing she had ever seen.
She was too little to remember the time Granny had sent them all musical valentines & Peyton had opened hers to hear the piercing rendition of "Fur Elise" coming from the inside, snapped it shut & with a devilish grin & eyebrows raised ecstatically told me, "There's something annoying in here!!"
This was Mollen's first experience with such a phenomenon.
From then on, she was as conscious of cards as her dad is... He shakes them open looking for money... she would open carefully, hoping for annoying ... ahem... melodious sounds to escape.
When Gammy asked her what she wanted for her birthday 7 months later, her only request was a 'Celebrate' card. My Mother in law took her on a little shopping trip & sent her home with a bag full of loot - but no singing card. Her shopping trip had come early, a matter of convenience because we happened to be in Kelowna a couple of weeks before her real birthday. When Mollen's real birthday rolled around, a curious, kind of fatter than your average birthday envelope arrived in the mail. Mollen, being the enthusiastic kid that she is, tore into it - in that moment forgetting her most dearest wish for a birthday gift. As she opened the Disney card, a voice started to sing, "Happy Birthday, Princess..."
i drank in that look on her face.
Sheer joy.
i swear, if that sweet, pleased, semi-shocked smile were food, none of us would have had to eat for a month.
She changed into a princess dress. She had the whole song memorized by bedtime. We *all* probably had that song memorized by bedtime.
As her birthday month of April has floated into May, that card is starting to get a little dog-eared. i noticed there are some dark smudges on the back... She has been making up her own, unique words to the Princess song... But, the card lives still.
Happy, Birthday Princess.

ps - i know it is our anniversary today... i will blog about Neil again in the near future. For now i will leave you with this:
Cairo: (examining the ingredients of her juice box) Dad, what's passionfruit??
Neil: It's what me & mom eat when you guys go to bed.

i love that man.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Uncle Jason

From the moment i hear that Uncle Jason is coming to visit, i start prepping the kids.
"i know he pulls money out of your ears everytime he comes to visit... Yes, i do realize that he had to make 3 trips out to his truck last time to scrounge for more money to give you... Mmmmhmmm, i understand that you are on a limited income with only your tooth money coming in - but please, please, please... don't mention the words 'magic' or 'trick' or 'money' when he comes... Please don't look like a bunch of little needy beggars with your dirty little turned up paws begging spare change. i will give you each a dollar if you will just remember to greet him warmly without scratching your ears hopefully... i know you lost a tooth since the last time he came to visit... Pullleeeeze don't bring it up saying, 'sometimes i get a loony when i lose a tooth!' - knowing that he will reach into his pockets and gruffly give you all the change your greedy little fingers can hold. Do we understand each other?"
"Yes, mom, of course! i won't ask for money - i promise..."
Downstairs we go - to find Mollen at the couch greeting uncle Jason warmly with a hug & a cute little gap toothed smile saying, "Peyton told me you know how to pull money out of kids' ears..."
i give up.


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