Thursday, September 30, 2004

New Family

While I was at my mom's I had a chance to meet new family. My grandpa's half brother, Wayne (78-ish) and his new wife, Maxine, made a special two hour trip to come and see the babies. I was really taken aback by that - two hours to meet us? What a wonderful visit. They're two of the sweetest people ever. Uncle Wayne is a retired train engineer, a big man with white tussled hair, plaid shirt and red suspenders curving around his big, jolly belly (not too big, Uncle Wayne...). Aunt Maxine is a sweet woman with reddish hair and thin rimmed glasses. She has a smile that warms you up like a good cup of coffee, and a look of rapt attention when you talk, like she simply cannot imagine what wonderful, exciting thing you will say next. To be honest I was a little nervous to meet them, a little shy I guess, but within ten minutes it was just as mom said, " you've known them all your life...". I believe Uncle Wayne and I meet many years ago, once, but I wouldn't have known him if I'd fallen over him. What a neat couple. They were both widowed and found each other at their 50-year class reunion. They've been married 7 years now.

As we were all sitting in the living room I found myself doing something rather strange. I kept saying, "Uncle Wayne (blah blah blah)" or "Aunt Maxine (yadda yadda yadda)." It's like I couldn't help but refer to them using their family titles. I thought, I've only known these people for ten minutes. This is so strange! And I would catch myself looking at Uncle Wayne thinking, Part of this man's blood also runs in me, and in my children! We are family. It was profound for me because I come from a relatively small family. My dad's an only child, my mom's one of 3 girls but I only really knew my Aunt Esther, Uncle Laverne, and their two kids. Two cousins. That's all I related to growing up. But here, right before me was a lovely man with part of my DNA in him. And because he was so kind it made it all the better.

I have spent the vast majority of my twenties and thirties looking at the people in my family, carefully maneuvering around, and diagnosing the qualities that I would like or hate to acquire. I do believe that we're a product of our family lines, good or bad, sometimes both. But the best part is that I believe that God redeems the tragedy that runs in our blood. I'm referring to the generational sins, the habits and patterns that ruthlessly repeat themselves with each new family line. Because my family reads my blog I won't go into our particular saga, but I'm sure you can identify. The question is am I free, or getting free, of the ruts of my family line? Each generation has the chance to find liberation, a chance to re-write the future, and with God it is always an entirely new volume with a great new ending.

The kids and I are all fighting colds, allergies plus something else. Daddy is snot-free at the moment. Little boogers are a big problem when you're as old as Libby and your airway is the size of a pin, so I'll be on breathing duty tonight. Maybe someday, 20 years from now I'll get to sleep through the night again....

Wednesday, September 29, 2004


I was at my mom's for the last week - did you miss me? We loaded up the minivan after church and headed west, made it through customs without much trouble (twice) and pulled into my childhood driveway at about 7:30 that night. My folks were thrilled. My grandma was also pleased. She's 96, fading but still pleasant. She was enjoying Libby so much, having their little conversations, and then she'd look up and say, "Now you just need to have a boy." And then I'd remind her about Izak, and she'd say, "That's right...".

Traveling with two under two is a lot of work (let's hear it for the understatement of the week!). It was great to have Mom by my side, although with a fragile 96 year-old mother-in-law under her roof and a 36 year-old handicapped daughter, she had her hands full too. By the end of the day I wasn't worth much; hence the break in my blog.

A wise woman once told me that it takes as many days as you were gone to re-enter into your life once you get home. Today is day 5 and I feel like I'm beginning to see straight again. I have so much to share with you all, so stay tuned.

Friday, September 17, 2004

You're a stay at home mom when....

You know you're a stay at home mom (SAHM) when you don't know what the date is, you're not sure what day of the week it is, you don't wear a watch... but, without looking at a clock, you know EXACTLY what time it is.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Libby and Grandma, hand-made dedication gown Posted by Hello

Babies, brokenness, and sugar

Sunday I was in the fellowship mall at church, listening to an acquaintance of mine vent about troubles he's experiencing with his son and DIL and new grandbaby. My heart was really quite taken with his plight, and as a lull came in the conversation (one that feels like, "Okay, now I've told you all this... say something, please.") I said, "Babies bring out our brokenness." Of course I was choking back tears, I think he'd already cried most of his. And later I thought, now where did that come from??!?

But I think there's some truth in it. Life is balanced, polished, under control... then along comes a baby and it throws everything off kilter. And the dark parts of a person that were carefully governed are now hanging out. For me I think I struggled with the sudden lack of control, inability to make it better for all parties (Dad, Izzy, Libby) all the time, another unknown future to worry about. And that brokenness is only ministered to, really ministered to by the hand of God. He alone is totally aware of my image management, the parts of me that are (at a minimum) not very pastor's wife-like, the thoughts that cut and curse, the words that do not flow out of the better places of my spirit, the selfishness that lashes out. So chalk it up to sleep deprivation, hormones, noise level, whatever... I really think that for a period of time babies bring out brokenness. The question then is what to do with it...

On the lighter side, Wednesday night was my night on the town. Well, not really the town, but I did get to escape to rehearse with the band. :) I have this little ritual that I do on my way to rehearsal. Since I can't have caffeine or chocolate (Thank you, Libby) I stop and get a roll of Shockers, this wicked tart candy, and I eat the whole roll. Makes me drool just to think about it. Anyway, last night I bought myself two rolls! By the end of the night I definitely had a left-over sugar high going on! Matt said I was talking rather loudly! Hahahaha! Mmmmm, sugar good.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Libby at two months, having a grand time Posted by Hello

Cathedral singing

Saturday I had the opportunity to solo for a catholic wedding at a catherdral in downtown Buffalo. St. Louis' RC Church is the oldest catholic church in Buffalo, est. in the 1800's. They've recently spent a boatload of money to rennovate it, and it is breathtaking. (I almost wrote breast-taking ~ you can tell I'm a nursing mom! LOL) There is NO carpet in the place, so you can imagine what the acoustics were like... LIVE is an understatement! I was accompanied by the humongous pipe organ. Amazing. I was able to harken back to my classical side, using overtones and straighter sounds to really bounce the notes around. All of the years I had of french horn training and college chorale really taught me how to find the center of a tone, which was a definite plus when I was going for the purest, cleanest sound I could pull off. It was sooooo much fun!

People are very kind when I sing at church. One man said, "When you sing it's like the heavens opened up and the angels came down." Singing in that vast, grand space on Saturday, perched up in the choir loft out of sight beside the massive pipes, and listening to the echo of pure, pure tones... can I be honest? For once I actually felt like an angel singing.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Izak Matthew, Super Toddler! Posted by Hello

You're the mother of a toddler when...

You know you're the mother of a toddler when you have chili on the back of your t-shirt, spaghetti in your hair, and you didn't even have the pleasure of eating it yourself.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

A tiny house

Well, we're recovering from my sister and bro-in-law's visit. Izzy was out-of-his-little-mind excited to have them here! He was jazzed every single minute to have a new audience to play to. Visitors add a bit of extra mass to our little home since it's a small, adorable Civil War era cottage. We have two little bedrooms, one little bathroom, and a total of three little closets (b/c who needs closets during the Civil War? You only have two dresses!). We never thought we'd have kids when we bought our house. Boy, talk about growing pains. Liberty naps in our room during the day, and sleeps in the sunroom in a PackNPlay during the night; she's still a little too fussy at times to expect them to sleep together yet. But I feel that time coming, perhaps with a little more intrepidation since there's really no other choice long-term. Our cottage was originally built by the sleigh maker here in Water Valley. It also served as a temporary one-room school house when the other had been burned down and was being rebuilt. Our hardwood floors are made from the trees on the land. We enjoy a beautiful 2-acre backyard that has picture perfect sunsets in the summer. You can see two chimneys on the roof ~ one to our current fireplace, and the other that went to the fireplace that used to be in the kitchen (b/c that's where and how you cook your meals pre-appliances...). The detached garage was still set up as the stable that it was when we bought it. Matt took down the stalls so we could attempt to park in it; I might be successful with the minivan if it weren't for those stinkin' mirrors! There are apple trees, wild tart cherry trees, and a pear tree. I love my home and it's historic past... but it's feeling so small. Having a small home makes you evaluate everything you bring home. It prevents you from being too much of a pack rat, it keeps the volume of toys, appliances, groceries to a minimum. In short, it keeps things more simple for me by controlling the amount of stuff that invades my life. Doesn't mean I don't want more stuff... it just makes it impossible for me to indulge that desire.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Two sick kids

Talk about exhausting. My kids are sick simultaneously. Monday night Izak cried out, Matt went to check on him and I heard him sneeze... 4 times in a row. This, despite the fact that he had his daily Zestryl dose on board. And I knew immediately he was getting sick. Tuesday he was a bleary eyed, congested, Booger King. I started the familiar regime of Cold and Allergy elixir in each bottle, on top of the Zestryl, and 24 hours later I could tell we were winning! He was sick, but it wouldn't go to his ears. Then Thursday Libby started sneezing, and I thought, "Uh oh." I also feel punky, right side of my head is all clogged up, but since I'm breastfeeding I can't take a thing. Especially a decongestant b/c that will dry up the breastmilk. Last night Lib started to run a lo-grade temp. Dr. Rob said it was ok to give Tylenol and itty-bitty doses of cold and allergy around the clock. She was all ready for bed at 7p, Izak had retired at 6:30p because he napped poorly with the cold, only 2 hours, so Matt and I went out on a date. Our friend Laura stayed at the house. When we got home at 9:45p Libby had just finished up another 4 ounces of formula, pooped for the 3rd time that day, and was fussing in her crib. No temp, but all jittery from the meds. A temp of 101 or greater in a baby less than 3 months old means they have to go to the ER where the battery of tests included a spinal tap, IV, lab draws, and mandatory admission. So I need to remember that no temp is about the best we can do here.

I slept with her in bed (Dad on the couch), had her propped up on a wedge, and ran the humidifier. It felt like the Amazon, but she did okay once she got down. Woke to feed at 4:30a, struggled to get back to sleep, and then went until 9:15a. Today, less boogers, but she's only napping an hour at a time. Nursing every two hours. It's brutal. And Big Brother blew his nap again due to coughing. It's too hot here to be out so we've been playing in a little tent that I set up in the living room. We're all bored and counting the minutes until Daddy comes home!!!!Let's just say I'm beat from not having any downtime. And tomorrow I get to go to work and then do worship team in the evening and early Sunday morning. Kill me now...

My little sister and her husband are coming up from PA to stay a long weekend with us.

Today my thoughts are often of the hostage situation in Russia. It makes me really sick.